Devonta Freeman won’t skip Falcons offseason program as he awaits new contract

Considering his financial aspirations weighed against the risk of injury, it would be understandable if Falcons running back Devonta Freeman skipped the team’s offseason football activities until given a new contract.

That won’t be happening.

Freeman told Sporting News he will partake in all of Atlanta’s upcoming workouts and minicamp while remaining optimistic that a deal can be finalized before the 2017 regular season begins.

Freeman said the decision is based on his passion for football and strong feelings toward his teammates, as well as faith in the Falcons to extend his current rookie deal, which is set to expire at the end of the 2017 season.

“I’m doing everything,” Freeman said Wednesday after participating in the players-only “Camp Brotherhood” workouts organized by Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan at the University of Miami.

“I love these guys. I love football.”

Freeman, 25, is set to earn $1.84 million in the final year of the contract he signed as a 2014 fourth-round draft pick. Freeman, though, has put himself in position for a significant raise after two consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus rushing yards.

Freeman and his agent made their desire for a new deal public before Super Bowl 51 via NFL Network. Last month, general manager Thomas Dimitroff told co-host Vic Carucci and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio that the Falcons were “confident something can get wrapped up” with Freeman later in the offseason.

The reporter complied, but Jones, who reportedly was taking anger management classes in [the] wake of his arrest, continued to berate the reporter, who had walked clear away from his locker, while walking to the restroom after ending the interview, yelling at him for asking “stupid ass (expletive) questions.”
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LeBron James’ death stare means he definitely hasn’t forgotten about Lance Stephenson

From the time he was taking his offensive line to Sizzler even though he was broke, Lynch has gone out of his way to give things to people. Even things it doesn’t really make sense to give to people. From a Monday Morning QB profile by Robert Klemko:
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During his college years at Cal, if a teammate, friend or acquaintance complimented Lynch on the shirt he was wearing, he would hand it over. Hes walking around on the street with his shirt off, says Ravens running back Justin Forsett, a former teammate of Lynchs at Cal and in Seattle. Just because somebody said, Thats a nice shirt.

LeBron James and Lance Stephenson have a history during the NBA Playoffs, most notably that one time Stephenson played mind games and blew into James ear in 2014.

Pacers-Cavs starts off NBA playoff weekend, which also means it’s the return of LeBron vs. Lance.

Limited Dennis Wideman Jersey It seems as though James hasnt forgotten about how pesky Stephenson can be, because during Game 1 of the Cavs-Pacers series, James gave a brief, but serious stare towards him.

Writer Gregg Doyel caught James saying something after this moment, which indicates that, yes, after all these years, James remembers Stephenson.

LeBron to Cavs bench after that layup vs. Lance: Every time. If Brogdon hadnt produced at this level throughout the season, I would have gone with Embiid. That Brogdon did it for a playoff-bound team also helped his cause. There is a difference between putting up numbers in a defined role on good teams and compiling them for poor ones, which is why hes also ahead of Saric and Buddy Hield.

This is one of the weakest rookie classes in memory, both in terms of top-end talent and overall depth. Such as it is, the All-Rookie team is below.

How important is past playoff experience?

An afternoon full of mirth and glee turned violent on Easter Sunday when a crazed rabbit leaped from the stands and attacked Teddy Roosevelt during a president’s race.

Authentic Youth Laken Tomlinson Jersey It was truly a case of the hunter becoming the hunted, as the human-sized rabbit crashed into Roosevelt’s trademark giant head, almost knocking off the president’s glasses. Roosevelt was in attendance to celebrate Easter, running around the field in novelty rabbit ears at the time of the vicious attack.

On Sunday, McCann strongly hinted that he believed Verlander was tipping his pitches as opposed to having signs stolen.

“We use multiple signs with nobody on base. We change our signs often. It’s got to be something other than that,” McCann told reporters, according to mlive.com.

“For a day where I thought he had his best stuff all season, they seemed to be on quite a few pitches,” McCann said. “What that is, I don’t know. We’re going to study film and see.”
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Indians manager Terry Francona said his team wasn’t stealing signs.

“I’m just happy when our guys get our signs — and I’m being serious about that.”

Asked if he thought Verlander might be tipping his pitches, Ausmus told reporters: “Could be.”

“Hitters are always trying to find an edge on pitchers. And looking for a pitcher tipping is standard operating procedure. I can’t tell you whether it is or isn’t. Only the Indians could tell you that, and they probably won’t,” he said, according to mlive.com.

Alex Smith isn’t a playmaker inside the pocket

Youth Greivis Vasquez Jersey Nobody is confusing the Chiefs offense with the Broncos offense, but they don’t have to. An overwhelming pass rush and conservative quarterback play are the key reasons this team has won nine straight games.
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Alex Smith isn’t a playmaker inside the pocket, but he does the little things it takes to win games. He knows when to check down to an outlet pass and how to utilize his running backs in the passing game. Pair this with Jamaal Charles and you get a varied and dangerous offense that’s often underrated because it doesn’t generate an excess of points.

Where this team really shines is on defense, where the league’s best pass rush can derail quarterbacks before they have a chance to get in rhythm. The Chiefs have an astonishing 36 sacks in 2017, with linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston combining for 20 this year. Another nine players have taken down the quarterback this season, making Kansas City the best defense Peyton Manning has faced.

Torrey Smith leads the Ravens with 753 receiving yards and over 18 yards per reception. If you can name that Marlon Brown is second on the team in receiving, give yourself a cookie, because his 307 yards and 5 touchdowns are second and first, respectively, on the team. That’s not very impressive (well, the yardage at least – 5 touchdowns is still a pretty solid year). The Ravens aren’t completely devoid of weapons, but Smith is heads and shoulders above the rest of the cast. Schematically, take away Smith’s big plays and don’t let him behind.

A matchup of Aaron Rodgers vs. Eli Manning looked very attractive at the start of the season.

This is the highlight game in the NFC this week. The 49ers and Saints are widely regarded as two of the top three teams in the NFC. San Francisco dropped to 6-3 with a loss last week, and another this week would do major damage to their attempt of catching Seattle.

The Saints are also chasing the Seahawks in the race for the No. 1 seed, but also need a win to hold off the surging Carolina Panthers. Despite being in good position entering the game, a loss for either team could prove to be extremely costly.

A matchup of Aaron Rodgers vs. Eli Manning looked very attractive at the start of the season. Instead it will be Scott Tolzien taking on a struggling Manning. Despite their 3-6 record, the Giants are still alive in the NFC East. New York could potentially be just a half game back in the division if things break right. A loss could also end any chance it has to make the postseason.

This is the most obvious place for Tony Romo on CBS. I honestly can’t believe they didn’t hire him to host these awards. His name is literally Tony. I could see Tony Romo having a real soft spot for musicals. I bet he LOVED Hamilton. He knows all the words to Wicked (“Defying Gravity” is his favorite song, though, because he’s a little basic). Neil Patrick Harris is his celebrity crush. His opening monologue would involve throwing a bedazzled football through a bedazzled hoop. — Charlotte Wilder

Secretary of State Tea Leoni has gone to Bolivia to try to bust up a drug cartel (the writers of the show don’t actually know what a Secretary of State does, hence the muddled plot line here), and she gets kidnapped by the kingpin. Tomy Romo shows up as a DEA agent who played high school football. He saves Tea Leoni by throwing a football packed with explosives into the jail cell next to hers, blowing a hole open in the cinderblock wall. He climbs in, pulls her out of the rubble, and they make out. She doesn’t tell her handsome professor husband. — Charlotte Wilder
pacers_101

Ric Flair’s accomplishments in professional wrestling are difficult

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With the game on the line, freshman big man Zach Collins — the star of Gonzaga’s semifinal win over South Carolina — was nowhere to be found. That’s because Collins, easily the most effective post player for the Bulldogs on Saturday night, had been fouled out of the game with 5:03 play. The fifth foul came after a handful of questionable others had limited his impact on the preceding 35 minutes.

A player who was on the court during the game’s most critical moments was Gonzaga’s leading scorer and All-American Nigel Williams-Goss. Only he was out there on one good ankle. After hitting a free-throw and back-to-back jumpers to give his team a 65-63 lead with 1:55 to play, Williams-Goss rolled the same right ankle that he had turned two nights earlier in the Bulldogs’ win over Oregon.

Game Derek Roy Jersey “Walking her to her first WrestleMania match was unbelievable.” But Flair wants Charlotte to become a Hall of Famer herself. He was more focused on what was to come. Enthusiastically, he noted that WrestleMania 33 was going to be “incredible because it’s the same place I walked in 2008.” The four-time WWE Raw Women’s champion made the walk down the ramp and at what is now known as Camping World Stadium without Ric, but she definitely still had the family style.

Ric Flair’s accomplishments in professional wrestling are difficult, if not outright impossible, to match. He has won 16 world championships, the most of any competitor. Flair was once the only one who could claim this feat, but John Cena recently matched him for the record. Cena is almost destined for No. 17, but Flair won’t make it about himself. “I love John Cena. I wouldn’t be bothered by it at. I’d be happy for John. He’s worked hard for it.” After all, Flair’s legacy is fine the way it is.

Dan Quinn turned to Steve Kerr, Terry Francona for advice after Falcons’ Super Bowl loss

Dan Quinn went into the coaches’ breakfast at the NFL owners’ meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., knowing he would field plenty of questions about the Falcons’ blown lead in Super Bowl 51. That experience hasn’t been far from Quinn’s mind, especially a day after 3-28, when people used the date to make endless jokes on the internet about the Falcons’ blown 25-point lead.

Quinn revealed that he got support from two coaches who know something about guiding their teams through excruciating choke jobs: Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and Indians skipper Terry Francona.

The Warriors become a meme after giving away a 3-1 lead to the Cleveland Cavaliers in last year’s NBA Finals.
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“The people who I’ve reached out to, a guy like Steve Kerr, who had called and said ‘Hey man, I recognize, we were up 3-1,’” Quinn said on Wednesday.

The injury gives Josh McCown another opportunity to start under center. His recent play has prompted questions about whether the Bears should return to Cutler when he’s healthy, or stick with the hot hand — but publicly there seems to be no motivation to change. McCown has posted a passer rating of 100.0 over four games, including five touchdowns and no interceptions.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden has been suspended one game for headbutting Delanie Walker of the Tennessee Titans.

The incident happened in the first half of the game on Thursday night when emotions were high. Walden pulled off Walker’s helmet in the tackle, before exchanging words and eventually headbutting the defenseless offensive player.

Walden’s suspension could mean Bjoern Werner will make his first start for the Colts after being selected in the first round of the NFL draft.

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Carlos Correa’s puppy named Groot helped him practice at spring training

The Bucs’ ever-evolving offense is finally taking advantage of their players’ strengths that were always there. Exhibit A is the running game. Yes, left tackle Jamon Meredith is a marginal upgrade over, say Gabe Carimi, who started there in the first game of the year. However, the fact that the Bucs are choosing to run more with a fullback leading the way and/or using more kickout blocks by the guards is the overriding reason why the running game has been more productive of late. Especially now that for the most part, the kickout blocks are being handled by Meredith rather than right guard Davin Joseph, who hasn’t played well at all this year.

The Bucs might simply be reveling in the presence of a competent QB, as Mike Glennon’s steadfast refusal to snap the keel and set fire to the sails has set him in stark contrast to the departed Josh Freeman. Tampa’s better-late-than-never deployment of Darrelle Revis as a man-coverage eraser of opposing #1 wideouts hasn’t hurt matters, either. With Vincent Jackson hauling in bombs and scatback Bobby Rainey running wild, the Bucs have quietly added a little swash to their buckle.

“When you’re designing what you want your defense to look like as a head coach, you pretty much pick the defense you hated to go against the most and you say ‘that’s what I want to run,'” Lester said.

I always love that attitude 鈥?play the defense you hated to face.
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An aggressive, confusing defense tends to pair well with an up-tempo offense in that it can force quick-change situations, wear opponents out, and create those deadly touchdown-turnover-touchdown situations that can turn a close game into a laugher.

Elite Kids P. J. Williams Jersey Of course, if you aren鈥檛 good at the up-tempo offense or the aggressive defense, you鈥檙e creating identical disadvantages for yourself. We鈥檒l see if the offense can play efficient ball, but I have fewer concerns about the defense. It could take pretty well to an aggressive approach.

NFL news roundup: E.J. Manuel to start, Doug Martin wants to play in 2017

E.J. Manuel is expected to start for the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, head coach Doug Marrone announced Thursday. Manuel is returning off a five-week layoff due to an LCL sprain. Barring a setback, he will suit up against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While questioning the driver the Officer detected a strong odor of marijuana from inside of the vehicle. The officer then requested the driver and two passengers to get out of the vehicle. Once out of the vehicle the Officer explained to the driver, who owned the vehicle, that he was a K-9 Officer and that the dog would alert to an illegal substance. Subsequently, inside of a black bag the officer discovered the wallet of the driver and vehicle owner, Dwayne L. Bowe, and two containers that had 6.6 grams and 3.8 grams respectively of what is believed to be marijuana in them. Bowe was then placed under arrest for the possession of a controlled substance. The K-9 alerted to a black backpack and inside of that was found a container that had 4.2 grams of what is believed to be marijuana in it.

One of the passengers, George A. Thompson, said the backpack belonged to him. Subsequent to his arrest for possession of a controlled substance, Thompson was searched and on his person two hand rolled cigarettes, containing what is believed to be 2.2 grams of marijuana were also found.

Bowe and Thompson were both transported to the Riverside Police Department for booking on the following municipal charges: Bowe for speeding and possession of a controlled substance with a bond of $750; Thompson for the possession of a controlled substance with a bond of $500. The third passenger in the car, who was not charged, posted bond for both men and they were released with a court date of December 18, 2017.

John Dorsey tells The Border Patrol that the Chiefs were aware of Bowe’s arrest but will not comment any further on it.
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Bills vs. Steelers 2017 results: Pittsburgh defense bounces back in win over Buffalo

Known historically for their defense, the Pittsburgh Steelers were presumably quite unhappy after giving up a team-record 55 points to New England last week. Perhaps they used that as motivation in Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills, bouncing back to a comfortable 23-10 win Sunday afternoon.
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The return of rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel didn’t prove to be much help for the Bills against Pittsburgh. Manuel was 22-of-39 for just 155 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Bills only added a touchdown when Manuel hit Chris Gragg for a score with three seconds left in the game.

The 28-year-old former receiver played six seasons in the NFL, totaling over 700 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
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More connections to the NFL sprung from the sentencing of Sam Hurd, as it was alleged by the defense that the father of current Detroit Lions cornerback Chris Houston was the primary partner in the drug ring, not Hurd.

There has been no acknowledgement of the claim by Houston or his father at this time.

Cincinnati Bengals running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has fumbled just once this season, despite playing with a broken thumb.

Green-Ellis believes he’s back to full strength, which will be welcome to a team struggling with offensive consistency this season. Quarterback Andy Dalton has been unreliable in the last two weeks, increasing the need for the Bengals to lean on their running backs.