Tony Romo didn’t just analyze plays, he predicted them

Tony Romo passed the Twitter test, so by the standard of not being crapped on by social media, he had a pretty good debut in the broadcast booth. CBS’ high-profile replacement was a massive upgrade over Phil Simms, clearing a low bar.

It’s nice to be loved by Twitter and be better than TV’s worst color commentator, but his most impressive feat was predicting the future, one play at a time.

He calls a safety blitz in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, he pegged a run to the left. He called audibles, explained the rationale for fourth-down thinking and walked us through why the Raiders should’ve taken timeouts on defense at the end of the first half (so the offense would have more time).

“I’m just blessed with standing on the planet,” he said after Saturday’s game. “And then playing football? It’s just … I’m speechless.”

Marinovich left USC after two seasons, was selected by the Raiders in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft, but last only two seasons in the NFL. He went on to play for the L.A. Avengers in the Arena Football League, but drug and legal problems continued to follow him. Just last August, he was arrested after being found naked in another person’s backyard and in possession of meth, marijuana, syringes and a pipe. In March, he pled guilty to five misdemeanors related to that incident.

Raiders owner Mark Davis was among the 250-300 fans in attendance for Saturday’s Sharks-Coyotes game at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, Calif. Davis said seeing Marinovich in the SoCal’s white, silver, red and blue uniforms “made me think I was watching Tom Brady.”

We’re not sure about that, but it’s good to see Marinovich back on the right path.
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Glazer family to donate $1 million to Hurricane Irma relief

One day after Hurricane Irma ravaged much of Florida, the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, announced that they will donate $1 million to the storm’s relief efforts through the American Red Cross.

Structural engineers will inspect the Miami Dolphins’ Daimion Stafford Jersey stadium after a possible tornado was reported in the area during Hurricane Irma, according to multiple reports.
“Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction throughout the entire Authentic Dustin Colquitt Jersey state of Florida. The long recovery process is already underway, and the entire Buccaneer organization stands in support of all those who have been impacted,” Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said.

The deal gives Hekker $10 million guaranteed, the most ever for a punter, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Hekker has been named first-team All-Pro three times in six NFL seasons. Last year, he downed an NFL-record 51 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Hekker registered a 46.0-yard net average on 98 punts that year, breaking his own NFL record from 2013 (44.2-yard net average on 78 punts).

Hekker, who initially signed a six-year extension in 2014, downed all five of his punts inside the 20-yard line in Sunday’s 46-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Rams signed defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks through 2018 earlier on Monday. They’re still looking to agree on extensions with defensive tackle Aaron Donald, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. could contribute to NBC’s NFL coverage, report says

When Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series racing career ends at the conclusion of the 2017 season, he’ll head to a media role — a move many expected.

Few, on the other hand, have imagined Earnhardt becoming part of NBC’s NFL coverage.

Sports Business Daily reported Monday that NASCAR’s most popular driver has signed a multiyear on-air deal with NBCUniversal, effective beginning in January. Included in SBD’s report: “It is possible that Earnhardt, a noted Redskins fan, could be worked into the (network’s) NFL or even Olympics coverage.”

A federal judge blocked part of President Trump’s immigration order Saturday night, ordering that refugees detained at U.S. airports not be returned to their home countries. Yet the ruling did not allow them to enter the U.S., either.

Two active NBA players, Los Angeles Lakers veteran Luol Deng and Milwaukee Bucks rookie Thon Maker, originally hail from what is now South Sudan, which is not on the list of affected countries. However, they were born in Sudan. There has been some concern about possible problems wtih Deng or Maker, for example, returning from a trip to play the Raptors in Canada.

Maker’s family fled his home country when he was 5. He lived in Australia as a youth, is an Australian citizen and holds a passport from that country. Deng’s family fled the Sudanese civil war for Egypt when he was 5, and he has lived in the U.S. for 17 years.

Beyond those two players, the NBA is also eyeing several Sudanese players attending U.S. high schools or colleges who might one day play in the league.

“The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world,” Bass told The Vertical .t_rangers_001-115x115

Michael Bennett believes Seahawks would be ‘perfect place’ for Colin Kaepernick

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett voiced his support for Seattle to sign Colin Kaepernick, after rumors surfaced that the team may be looking to add him as a backup quarterback.

It’s been an unnecessarily long and drawn-out process for Kaepernick, but Bennett stepped up to the plate and spoke in support of the free agent.

The move is a response to criticism over a seemingly excessive amount of celebration penalties in 2016. There were 16 conduct flags through the first six weeks of the season, spurring complaints the NFL had become the “No Fun League.” In fewer than two months, more than $340,000 in fines was levied against players for violations like hugging referees, using the ball as a prop, and acts as egregious as a 1.5-second choreographed dance.

The change will be welcomed by officials and players alike. Scott Green, executive director of the NFL Referees Association, told SiriusXM Radio listeners, “Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone.

“We don’t really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great. The issue we’ll still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether it’s a foul or not a foul, hopefully we’ll get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.”

The new rule will give officials some leeway in calling these penalties, allowing them to issue an unofficial warning before a celebration can cross the line. However, since most celebrations come and go in a matter of seconds, it’s unclear just how effective a warning system will be.
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NaVorro Bowman trade rumors shut down by 49ers’ John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan

NaVorro Bowman’s future with the 49ers, considering the injuries that have forced the star linebacker off the field in two of the last three seasons, became questionable when San Francisco went through an organizational overhaul with this year’s hiring of general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan. The latter brings a defensive scheme in which Bowman has never played in the NFL.

Some believe it shifted from questionable to doubtful when the 49ers signed Malcolm Smith to a free-agent deal and then drafted Reuben Foster. And a recent report from The Ringer’s Michael Lombardi — that San Francisco “definitely” is shopping Bowman — escalated trade rumors around the four-time All-Pro selection.

Lynch and Shanahan, though, called shenanigans on the Bowman trade rumors Thursday with a joint statement issued to NBC Sports Bay Area.

“The report that we have been shopping NaVorro Bowman is completely false,” the statement reads. “From the time we joined the organization, NaVorro has been the consummate professional. It is evident he has been working very hard to prepare for the upcoming season and we have been impressed by what we have already seen on the field.

“We are looking forward to NaVorro’s future contributions to this team.”

The rawness of his tribute to her — complete with an F-bomb dropped live on NFL Network — was jarring in the context of an event so heavily stage-managed. But there was no denying the former UCLA star’s sincerity as he attempted to regain his composure with help from Deion Sanders.

McKinley took to social media himself Sunday with a response, posting a screengrab of Travis’ tweets as evidence “the devil is alive and well.”nike_chargers_220

The latest in the perceived Welker line for New England is Chris Hogan.

Edelman is a frequent comparison, but he was a quarterback in college who only lines up in the slot about half the time.

Danny Woodhead also comes to mind, but he played much more running back than slot receiver.

The latest in the perceived Welker line for New England is Chris Hogan. Although Hogan studied Welker, he plays on the outside and is nearly five inches taller.
But Switzer will in fact join the Cowboys’ young core of exciting young skill players forming a triumvirate with Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott to continue to pursue an elusive world championship in this millennium for America’s Team. The last time they won a Super Bowl, Barry Switzer was the head man.

But no, Ryan’s not related to Barry, although Barry did call Ryan’s father just to make sure as the young Tar Heel’s career ascended, now he’s landed in the NFL.

“He just talked about where he was from, where we are from. He wondered if it was a possibility if we were related,” Michael Switzer said. Leonard Fournette weighs 240 pounds and runs like a swarm of angry bees. Dalvin Cook’s record-setting career at Florida State has helped everyone forget his character issues. Joe Mixon hasn’t been as lucky. Christian McCaffrey does just about everything well, including playing the piano.

Those may be the first four tailbacks off the board April 29, but they’ll be followed by a handful of runners who may go on to even more lucrative careers. Alvin Kamara and Curtis Samuel are versatile rushing/receiving threats. D’Onta Foreman ran for more than 2,000 yards in just 11 games last season. Donnel Pumphrey finished his career with more rushing yards than any FBS player besides Ron Dayne and Tony Dorsett.nike_ravens_298-223x223

Top 10 running back prospects in 2017 class

The following 2017 NFL Draft running back prospect ranking is included in Optimum Scouting’s 2017 NFL Draft Guide, which is available for purchase here. The draft guide includes 300-plus scouting reports as well as position-specific analytics for prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft.

He faced a felony charge of harassment with a bodily substance after allegedly spitting at a female officer. That charge was dropped last month, but he still faces three additional misdemeanor charges in the incident. Those charges include assault, disorderly conduct and obstructing official business.

Jones has an extended “legal issues” section on his Wikipedia page, but the Bengals have been supportive of him through most of his career. Brown commented on the cornerback’s character last month.

“I see Adam Jones through my own eyes. I see different facets of his personality. I see him as a person who is energetic, lively, positive for the most part, exceptionally so. I know a little bit about his family, that weighs in my mind. I think back to when he had his little daughter and she was a premie. He used to drive up from practices at Georgetown every day after practice to look through the glass and see her where they kept the premie babies in the hospital and the lights went out, one after another in that group of little babies, they disappeared. His little girl managed to survive.

Now she has grown into a 5-year-old little girl. Wonderful little girl. Very pretty, very attractive, very energetic. To me, that is a story that registers. I would say this point blank: Am I looking to harm her? I’m not. It’s a bigger picture than one incident. And I get to be the one that sits in the chair to decide that. So I have chosen to decide it the way I am deciding it. I’m going to give him a chance. I hope it comes out right for him, for his family and for us. I know there are critics. I understand. But that is a full answer. And that’s what I have to say about it.”
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I do think we’re heading in the right direction.

The latest controversial penalty was on a hit by Ahmad Brooks of the San Francisco 49ers to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees. Mara defended that as the “proper call.”

“Is it more difficult for officials? Yes, I think it is and unfortunately these calls get scrutinized and replayed over and over again and it does increase the pressure on officials. I think those are thing we just have to live with because we do need to continue to try to make the game safer. That’s an obligation that all of us who are associated with the NFL have, and it’s something that I take very seriously being on the Competition Committee,” Mara said.

“Listen there are plenty of calls against my team that I don’t particularly like from time to time, but when you sit back at the end of the season and look at everything there are certain things that you just have to live with in order to make the game safer for the players. I think it’s well worth the effort that we’re putting into it.

“I do think we’re heading in the right direction. It’s not going to be without controversy, it’s not always going to be smooth sailing but if we can reduce the number of hits to the head and neck area and reduce the number of serious injuries then it’s all worthwhile.”

It is a fact of life in the MAC. The better you do, the faster you are looking for a new coach. You just hope to claim as many prizes as possible before he leaves.

Northern Illinois pulled this off a few years ago. The Huskies, two years removed from losing Jerry Kill to Minnesota, claimed an Orange Bowl berth before losing Dave Doeren to NC State. Bowling Green at least got conference titles out of Doeren (2017) and Dino Babers (2017) before losing them to Wake Forest and Syracuse, respectively.
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Thursday Night Football takeaways: Are the Redskins broken, or the Vikings reborn?

The Washington Redskins appeared to be on their way to an easy victory Thursday night. The first half went about as well as they hoped. Robert Griffin III threw three touchdowns in what was arguably his best half of football this season, Alfred Morris had 88 yards rushing and the Redskins held a 24-14 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. Life was good.

The Panthers scratched out a road win against San Francisco and managed to remain relatively healthy in the process. Ted Ginn left the game briefly due to leg cramps but returned to action. Linebacker Chase Blackburn has battled a foot injury and re-aggravated it on Sunday. He did not return to the game, but head coach Ron Rivera said the injury will not require surgery according to Joe Person.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers placed running back Doug Martin on injured reserve on Friday, ending his 2017 campaign. Martin sustained a torn labrum in Week 7 against the Atlanta Falcons. It’s a shame for Martin, who had an exciting rookie season in which he earned a Pro Bowl berth. The Buccaneers are 0-8 on the season so the decision to shut him down was probably easier for that fact. Martin finished the season with 127 carries for 456 yards and a touchdown.

Linked above is the report that the Dolphins took appropriate action in regards to the incident last year in which Incognito was accused of sexually harassing a female volunteer at a Dolphins golf event. Head coach Joe Philbin said that the team took “immediate action” after being made aware of the situation.

Then there was a report that suggested Incognito was in danger of being released prior to the 2017 season. The Dolphins were reportedly concerned with the various offseason incidents Incognito was involved in, most of which reportedly involved the abuse of alcohol. At the very least, the man keeps busy.
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NCAA condemns flying of Confederate flags outside South Carolina tournament site

Prior to a slate of opening round games of the NCAA tournament in Greenville, S.C. on Sunday, groups of protestors and other citizens waved large Confederate flags around the city, on sidewalks, and from the top of a parking structure next to an arena hosting the games, multiple outlets have reported.

Though the flag in the truck on the parking structure raised alarm, other citizens of Greenville were also around the arena waving Confederate flags. Some rode pickup trucks toward the arena near the games and attached flags to the back of their trucks.

Maverick Morgan, who gave that quote earlier in the season, scored four points and had two rebounds and five turnovers in 27 minutes.

March 10-12: Michigan kept winning and won the Big Ten tournament.
UM’s quarterfinal game against Purdue was a thriller, with Michigan coming back in the last minute to force overtime against the Big Ten’s No. 1 seed.

Then Michigan won against Minnesota in the semifinals, and against Wisconsin in the championship game. The Wolverines won four games in four days, with three of their wins coming against teams that had a bye on the day the Wolverines played Illinois.

Michigan found out on that Sunday night, March 12, that it was a No. 7 seed in the Big Dance. The Wolverines were only a few days removed from being a bubble team.

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