Detroit Free Press honors late Mike Ilitch with touching front page

Detroit and the rest of the sports world are mourning the death of Detroit Tigers and Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, who passed away Friday at the age of 87.

The Detroit Free Press offered a fitting send-off to the beloved team owner.

Funeral services for Ilitch will be private, but a public memorial service is being planned. In lieu of flowers, the Ilitch family prefers donations be made to Ilitch Charities, The Detroit Tigers Foundation or The Detroit Red Wings Foundation.

It probably helped that the team’s initial introduction to the crew coincided with a record-setting 13-game winning streak, Diamond said. Had the team started the season 0-13, the reception probably would’ve been different.

I think it set a tone for relationships, Diamond said of the streak. When teams win, the attitude is different.
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Garber offered a more matter-of-fact reason.
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The guys were with us so much of the time, he said. And it’s just like, OK, well this is the way things are gonna be. We’re gonna have them around.’

More than anything, though, the team’s cooperation was a credit to Diamond’s personality and professionalism, Torre and players said.

Glenn did his job perfectly because he never got in anybody’s way, Torre said. He was never demanding in any way and yet let you know what he needed.

Whatever razzing, nicknames or hijinks came his way, Diamond took it as a good sign.

It’s when they stop giving you s鈥?that you start to worry, he said. And they gave us s鈥?every day.

NFL Draft 2017: O.J. Howard’s small-town roots paved way for big-time chance in Tampa Bay

He could have attended the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia to revel in the moment when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers elected him with the No. 19 pick on Thursday. He would have been comfortable with that.

Howard, however, was more comfortable in the comforts of home, with family and friends. Howard shared that draft-day moment at his home near Prattville, Ala.

And if that wasn’t enough, they’re missing a fourth-round pick but have an extra sixth-rounder because of their trade for tight end Dwayne Allen. They’re missing a fifth-round pick because they gave that up as compensation to the Bills for signing restricted free agent running back Mike Gillislie. That signing now allows them to take their own free-agent back LeGarrette Blount 鈥?or leave him.

It’s not unfair. It only seems that way.

Elite Mens Tavon Young Jersey Yet there’s one more name the Patriots have to leverage the rest with of the league, one whose presence couldn’t be avoided throughout free-agency and draft season: quarterback Jimmy Garoppollo. The first round of 2017 came and went without any team biting on him in a trade.

Elite Mens Emmanuel Lamur Jersey But after the whirlwind of Day 1, the Browns and Bills both have two first-round picks in 2018. If at least one first-rounder is still the price for Garoppollo, they both can pay it, though the Pats have reportedly already rebuffed an inquiry from the Browns.

That’s a lot of winning for a team that doesn’t play a game for more than four months, and did not pick a single player Thursday. And, of course, just won the Super Bowl less than three months ago.

Seahawks’ Justin Britt gets stolen car back after Twitter appeal

Pegula: You know, we’re close on the Sabres to having a final answer. These are just things when you own two teams that, they occur. If we own three teams, it gets even more complex.

I know you conducted a review but what specifically was lacking from the general manager position in terms of Doug? What specific factors led you and Kim to this decision?

Pegula: You know, I don’t want to discuss publicly why we made the decision, the factors. Like I said, Doug’s a good guy, he’s a smart man. But we made the decision. The reasons remain private to us and Doug.

You said in January when Rex Ryan was fired that Doug Whaley was going to head up your search committee for a new head coach. You’ve taken issue with the word ‘dysfunction’ to describe the organization. What message do you think it sends when you put a GM in charge of hiring a head coach then fire that GM three months later?

Pegula: Doug wasn’t the only person involved in hiring the new head coach. It was Kim and I and a lot of input from other places. I mean, that’s a legitimate question but, no, things change.

You have a lot of money out there. You’re paying people to not work for you anymore. At what point should people believe that you’re actually getting things right? That reeks of mistakes when you have that much money out of the organization for past people.

Pegula: Well this isn’t justification but there’s not — it’s very common in pro sports to have “dead money” in coaching and management.

Never underestimate the reach of Seattle’s 12th Man.
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That’s how good the Spurs’ forward is.

Through five games against the Grizzlies, Leonard is averaging 31.6 points on a remarkable .576 percent clip from the field and 54.2 percent shooting from downtown. He’s also made 47 of his 48 free throw attempts (98 percent). Memphis head coach David Fizdale thinks Leonard’s a robot who doesn’t breathe and bleeds antifreeze and publicly took suggestions on ways to defend him.

That’s how good the Spurs’ forward is.

Darron Lee Youth Jersey Leonard’s led the Spurs to a 3-2 series lead over Memphis with a chance to close out in Game 6 in Memphis. But from his comments, nothing would matter more to him than advancing past this round and dancing with the Houston Rockets.
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Murray, the former #2 overall pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, has had a disappointing start to his career, to say the least. He has missed time with varying shoulder, knee, foot, and hand injuries. He has been productive when he has been healthy; unfortunately, he cannot stay healthy. This season, with a wealth of young and hungry defensemen eager to make their mark on the team, Murray was relegated to 3rd pairing minutes, spending most of the year with rookie Nutivaara before a broken hand ended his season prematurely.

With so many young and promising defensemen in the pipeline, would GM Jarmo Kek?l?inen consider moving Murray? Murray has shown promise when healthy, playing all 82 games in the 2015-16 season including first pairing minutes when Seth Jones arrived in January before Zach Werenski relegated him to the third pairing this year. Murray could perhaps benefit from a change of scenery, and packaging Murray together with a prospect or a pick could bring some needed goal scoring help back in return.

As noted, this is all speculation at this point. Gavrikov will have to make a decision this summer to come to North America or not, and every other decision will snowball from there. In the meantime, Jackets fans will speculate over the future of the blue line.

No basketball on Saturday.

The Celtics went up big on the Bulls in their Game 6 on Friday … and finished the job in completely undramatic fashion. As it turns out, the Bulls are exactly who we thought they were. They were fun to watch for exactly two games this year.

These results mean that Clippers-Jazz Game 7 will be joined by Game 1 of FUNERAL SERIES on Sunday (1 p.m. ET, ABC). Get ready for salt. We’re going to be covered in it.

The first is ESPN NBA writer Royce Young’s incredibly moving essay about the decision he and his wife Keri made to bring their terminal baby to term so that her organs could be donated. It’s such a powerful piece, and the bravery of the Youngs knows no bounds. You can find out how to become an organ donor at OrganDonor.gov.

The second item: the massive layoffs at ESPN, particularly among the NBA staff. On Friday, we learned that Marc Stein, Henry Abbott, Chad Ford, and David Thorpe have been laid off by ESPN. The combination of talent, work ethic, and good-heartedness these people all have is unparalleled. It’s a sad week in NBA media. And frankly, it’s a little hard to understand.

No basketball on Saturday. Hug your loved one, visit a friend, play catch with your tortoise. We’ll be back on Monday to overreact to Wiz-C’s Game 1 and Jazz-Clips Game 7.
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Allen was Shaka Smart’s first signature recruit at Texas and was supposed to take the program to the next level. Instead, the Longhorns stumbled to an 11-22 largely because they had no true point guard. Allen might not have made a big impact on college basketball, but his tools are undeniable as a long-term prospect.
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OKC desperately needs a scorer on the wing who can take pressure off Russell Westbrook. Ojeleye could be that guy. He broke out in his debut season at SMU this year after transferring from Duke, where he blossomed into a versatile three-level scorer.

Victor Oladipo earns himself a slam thanks to a steal and around-the-back save

Victor Oladipo has to make sure he’s more involved for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Here’s a good start.

The Thunder’s second-leading scorer struggled in Game 1 and 2, averaging less than 10 points per game, but this steal, around-the-back save, and flush is exactly what he needed to get going. And hey, Russell Westbrook picked up an assist, too. That’s good news for everyone involved.

Where they stand now: As of right now, the Flyers are looking at two stone-cold locks to be protected in Shayne Gostisbehere and Radko Gudas, two guys that they’ll have to choose between for their last spot in Andrew MacDonald and Brandon Manning, and then a bunch of AHL players and young expansion-exempt defensemen.
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I happen to believe MacDonald is going to get that final protection spot, because I think the Flyers like him as a defenseman. But I don’t think that they’re dead-set on that, and they certainly could go out and look for an upgrade.

It’s tough to say how they feel about getting NHL-level defensemen to play meaningful roles right now, though. Michael Del Zotto said pretty definitively two days after the season ended that he is not returning to the Flyers, noting that Ron Hextall essentially told him they were looking to move in a younger direction. Del Zotto will be all of 27 years old next season ¡ª not typically the age at which you are told we’re going to go younger here.
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Again, we’re saying what we think would be fun, not what we necessarily think is going to happen.

NFL draft 2017: Pick-by-pick results

The 2017 NFL draft rolls on into the weekend. Friday night featured the second and third rounds. Saturday, it wraps up with a marathon session for rounds four through seven.

This year Philadelphia fans will get their chance to boo the commissioner with the draft being held in their city.

Follow the action with our 2017 NFL draft tracker with pick-by-pick results and analysis updating in real-time for all seven rounds.

Friday night’s draft action has been interesting with trades coming fast and furious and massive run on defensive backs, which has been the real strength of this year’s draft class.

The top offensive player, for me, in this year’s draft is Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. Like Allen, if you consider his on-field performance it’s hard not to be enamored by his play. He’s like a better version of Devonta Freeman with his ability to run around defenders and catch passes. Directly behind Cook is LSU running back Leonard Fournette. The two may have entirely different styles and strengths, but they grade out closely.

Then there are the quarterbacks.

Deshaun Watson of Clemson comes out on top for the position, but rates as the 14th overall prospect in the draft. Directly behind him is Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina at 15th overall. Expect both to be picked higher than where they’re slotted. Watson would be rated higher if he had a somewhat stronger arm and didn’t throw so many interceptions. Trubisky would be rated higher if he had more than one year of starting experience.

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We didn’t have to wait long for the first surprise of the night.

Since another pick doesn’t have to be teased in the mock draft, here are some final thoughts:

– It’s not really a surprise players like Tim Williams and Joe Mixon weren’t picked in this mock draft because of their off-field issues. I still anticipate both getting picked in the first two rounds this week.

– Every year in this mock draft, linebackers and running backs almost always end up being the best players available. It’s easy to devalue both positions. Players like Anderson and McMillan may not have a lot of value to some because they don’t get after the passer frequently.
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– I thought the best drafts this year were from Baltimore (Mike Williams and Carl Lawson) and Indianapolis (Jonathan Allen and Sidney Jones).

We didn’t have to wait long for the first surprise of the night. After the Browns took Myles Garrett first overall, the Bears traded up to acquire the 49ers’ second overall pick to select boom-or-bust quarterback prospect Mitchell Trubisky. Time will tell if he’s worth the risk, but their fans were not amused.

Game Kids Paul Krause Jersey You can watch the NFL draft on the NFL Network or ESPN. If you plan to watch the event online, you can stream it on NFL.com or Watch ESPN. Seems legit. Teams looking for a headlining safety may prefer LSU’s Jamal Adams, a complete safety who is equally dangerous against the pass and run. With other top prospects like Garrett, Solomon Thomas, Jonathan Allen, Marshon Lattimore, and the aforementioned quarterbacks all competing for top bill, it’s reasonable that Hooker slides to No. 6 or beyond — but don’t expect him to make it to the back half of Thursday’s proceedings.

Cardinals trade up for Budda Baker, who could be another Tyrann Mathieu

Authentic Youth Josh Robinson Jersey Budda Baker, the ball-hawking safety out of Washington, has been selected by the Arizona Cardinals with the 36th pick in the 2017 NFL draft. The Cardinals gave up a pretty big haul to get Baker, trading their 45th, 119th, 197th, and a 2018 fourth-rounder to the Chicago Bears. Arizona moved up nine spots in the second round as a result.

The former Husky has the range to serve as a centerfielder at the free safety position, as well as the versatility to line up as a nickel cornerback and match up with opposing tight ends.

Authentic Youth Johan Franzen Jersey Why did the Cardinals pick Baker? This is one of the few venues that fans can en masse really let him have it. Many times, if hes at a stadium on a regular Sunday, hes in a luxury box, and you likely wont realize hes there. Pretty much the only time Goodell is out in the open in front of thousands of fans is the draft and the Super Bowl trophy presentation.

To be fair, Patriots fans took that opportunity and ran with it after their team beat the Falcons in February.

As he walks through stadiums across the country, perhaps you can do some jeering, and its always cathartic to yell at him while hes on TV. But this is thousands of people getting together to just shower him with boos as he stands lonely on stage behind a mic. A lovely torch-and-pitchforks moment for us all.

Smith also compared the Browns to Goodwill.

Game Youth Teppo Numminen Jersey Steve Smith had some strong words not just for Brock Osweiler, but the Cleveland Browns, as well.

While discussing the quarterbacks of the draft on NFL Network, Charlie Casserly said that he wasnt sure if any of the quarterbacks available in the draft were as good as Brock Osweiler.

Smith then said, Anybody is better than Brock Osweiler.

He added that the Houston Texans gave him to the Goodwill, referring to the Browns. The Goodwill is trying to get rid of him.

So far, the Browns drafted Myles Garrett, Jabrill Peppers, and David Njoku in the first round on Thursday. They have nine more picks as the draft progresses, with DeShone Kizer, Davis Webb, Nathan Peterman, and Brad Kaaya still on the board as the best quarterbacks available, according to Dan Kadar.

The Browns quarterback situation certainly wont get better with Osweiler under center, so we could assume at some point the Browns will roll the dice on somebody. But even first-round picks rarely get the luxury of a year or more on the sideline to adjust to life in the NFL. Many teams hope to slowly bring along a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers or Jimmy Garoppolo, but rosters in need of a quarterback rarely have a Brett Favre or Tom Brady to lean on in the meantime.

About half of the NFLs starting quarterbacks ¡ª including Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott ¡ª were starters on Week 1 of their rookie seasons, and several more took over later in the year like Goff.
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Theres an urgency to win and its understandable that a team would want to see what a young quarterback can do when things are going south. But there are ways to help a passer once he gets to the NFL.