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NFLPA files challenge to league’s new anthem policy

The NFL Players Association responded Tuesday by announcing it has filed a grievance against the league challenging the new rules. The union’s statement said the two sides will try to reach a solution before taking the next step to court.

I can’t emphasize enough the openness I plan to have in this organization. An openness in team team of this organization. I think there’s been an atmosphere where this organization wasn’t allowed to be a team. (People were) not able to go up and talk about things. There’s going to be no impediment to that in the future. Whatever that means and whatever that brings, that will bring. Whatever falls, that will fall.

This being one of the few places that doesn’t have new practice fields, obviously we’re in need. A lot of these things can’t be done independently. I can’t talk about practice fields without talking about new stadiums. The Carolina Panthers are both states, so we have to think about where we’re putting things. Winning is important; we can’t be less competitive than other NFL teams, and at this point, given our practice field and what other people have in the league, we’re falling behind a little bit. Top priority would be thinking about that practice field.

But injuries crept up on Montgomery last season, opening the door for rookies Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams. Jones got the first crack and looked great, rushing for 448 yards and four touchdowns on just 81 carries. But he too suffered an injury. Williams was next up, and though he didn’t dazzle like Jones, he proved a capable chain mover, totaling 556 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

In a complete shift from two years ago, the Packers now find themselves stable at running back, yet in need of another veteran wide receiver. They would be better served making Montgomery the third or fourth receiver than starving him for carries as the No. 3 running back.

Adams stepped up last season, hauling in 10 touchdowns despite having Brett Hundley under center. Cobb has regressed over the last couple seasons, and he battled an injury this offseason. Allison has potential, but he caught just 23 passes and zero touchdowns last season. He seems better suited as a fourth wide receiver.

The Packers opted to focus primarily on defense this offseason, selecting cornerbacks with their first two picks in the draft. They also signed defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. It appears the defense is ready to contend for a Super Bowl.

Like many rookies, Rosen made some mistakes in his first NFL practices but reports say he progressed even in single minicamp sessions.

During the spring, Rosen worked on learning the Cardinals’ lengthy playbook, breaking the huddle, getting up to the line of scrimmage and calling out the cadence, according to ESPN.

The Bengals CB helps breakdown why today’s defensive backs aren’t grinding out interceptions at the same rate as players in the 20th Century.

Brett Favre, George Blanda, Paul Krause, and Night Train Lane hold interception records that can’t be topped.

Ove Johansson once kicked a ball 69 yards through the uprights for Abilene Christian.

Can Odell Beckham Jr. return to his record-setting ways?

The 1978 Patriots rushing record will never be broken.

Sometimes, you’re just unbelievably, spectacularly wrong. Sometimes, we all are. So let’s all go jump in a lake and collectively dunk on ourselves for what are some truly terrible sports predictions.

No, it started long before that, and it was in its heyday when Mike Nolan was the head coach and Mike Martz was the offensive coordinator.

Back in 2008, the 49ers signed Martz after a stint with the Detroit Lions, and Martz brought in O’Sullivan, who ostensibly knew the system. What followed was a sham of a quarterback battle against Alex Smith and Shaun Hill that O’Sullivan won solely because it wasn’t actually a battle at all. Martz, by that point, was more than set in his ways and was convinced he could keep doing the same exact thing regardless of the personnel and make it work. He could not.

But that didn’t stop me, in my first year of sports writing in any capacity, going all-in on O’Sullivan as a gunslinger who would not only get the job done, but make the Pro Bowl and take the 49ers deep into the playoffs. I went in hard on it, I believed firmly that this would happen. It did not.

Justin Houston of the Kansas City Chiefs got to 22 sacks with a four-sack performance in the last game of the 2014 season

Strahan has also had to deal with accusations that his record-breaking moment was a sham.

I just hate that it got caught up in the wash of the record-breaking sack, Strahan said on NFL Network in 2013. The sack record’s great — absolutely phenomenal, but I almost feel like in a sense it was diminished, because everyone goes, ‘Oh, Brett Favre gave you a sack.’ I caught so much flak over it. It’s not worth it, because everyone looks as if one sack that they question is the defining moment of my career.

I’ve always kind of taken it, but I always have to say, if you don’t like it, then break it.

With Case Keenum under center, perhaps the Denver defense will get to pin its ears back like it did earlier in Miller’s career. If it does, don’t be surprised to see Miller pushing his sack numbers back into the elite tier and maybe even the record-breaking stratosphere.

Arizona signed Kurt Warner to a cheap, one-year deal in 2005 and gave him a three-year extension after his first season. But he’s about to turn 35, and the Cardinals take Jay Cutler to be the team’s quarterback of the future.

Shazier attended a Pittsburgh Penguins playoff game and while standing, he led the fans in a Let’s go Pens cheer.

Shazier attended an NCAA tournament game in Pittsburgh.

During the NFL Combine, Shazier hopped on the phone with NFL Network’s Mike Mayock and Rich Eisen.

My end goal is to allow the Lord to let me come back and play at the high level that I was before, Shazier said. Every day I try to get better. I strive for the Hall of Fame and I was doing that through this year, the whole time I was playing. And I still do that while I’m doing rehab. I know it’s still a possibility. I have the Lord and he has my back and I constantly feel I’m going to come back and play football.

Chris Baker confident he’ll bounce back with Bengals

Defensive tackle Chris Baker joined a new team this offseason when he signed with the Bengals following his release from the Buccaneers, but there are familiar faces in Cincinnati.

Defensive line coach Jacob Burney and linebackers coach Jim Haslett were both in Washington with Baker from 2011-2014 and both men have fond memories of how Baker played during those years. Baker feels the same way and says the two men groomed me and really believed in me, which is why he feels confident he’ll rebound after a disappointing season in Tampa.

LOS ANGELES — The fastball reached 93 mph, the curveball came with appreciable depth and the slider looked sharp. Clayton Kershaw breezed through five innings against a dangerous Chicago Cubs lineup on Thursday afternoon, scattering four baserunners while giving up only one run.

Anthony Rizzo’s three-run double and Addison Russell’s two-run homer highlighted a seven-run seventh inning as the Chicago Cubs broke loose after Clayton Kershaw exited, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 11-5 on Thursday.

Clayton Kershaw might be the Dodgers’ current king on the mound, but Sandy Koufax’s perfection is the stuff of legend.

The Los Angeles Dodgers ultimately lost 11-5, falling for only the 11th time in their past 38 games — but it appears they got their ace back.

Believe It, written with Joshua Cooley, tells Foles’ story of his career and the impact his faith has had in his life. It also touches on just how close Foles came to walking away from football before rejuvenating his career with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016 and turning that into a Lombardi Trophy and Super Bowl MVP in relief of an injured Carson Wentz last season in Philadelphia.

Hey, how about the NFL? he said, via John Marshall of TalkingPointsMemo.com. Look, I don’t want to cause controversy. . . . But how about they pass this stupid thing. You don’t have to do this anymore. If you don’t respect the flag, or if you don’t like the country, or whatever it is. Just go into the locker room. . . . I think in many respects, that’s worse. Isn’t that worse than not standing? I think that’s worse. . . . I actually think in many ways it’s worse.

LeBron James did not pick up his player option with the Cavaliers, setting up a summer sweepstakes for the unrestricted free agent.

It is unclear at this point if an in-person meeting between James and the Cavs has been scheduled down the line. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported this week that James would not be seeking elaborate pitch meetings during the free-agency process.

James’ camp and the Cavaliers’ front office have maintained a dialogue since the season ended, sources said. Paul informed the Cavs on Friday morning that the four-time MVP would not opt in to the final year of his contract; he was scheduled to make $35.6 million in 2018-19.

A source familiar with the Cavs’ thinking said re-signing James is Cleveland’s Plan A, B and C when it comes to free agency.

Cleveland is already over the league’s projected $101 million salary cap, even without James’ contract, with the 10 guaranteed contracts already on the books. The Cavs’ $3.4 million qualifying offer to make Rodney Hood a restricted free agent, as first reported by Cleveland.com, would bring the total to 11 players.

He chaired the stadium committee, co-chaired the committee to select Goodell as NFL commissioner and headed the effort to negotiate the current collective bargain agreement.Nick Castellanos grand slam helps Tigers beat Jays, snap 11-game skid

The big lefty bounded off the mound to field Mookie Betts’ tapper and throw him out to end his outing. Slowed by knee problems in the past, a pumped-up Sabathia kept in motion and jogged to the dugout.

High-stepping right there, you mean? he said.

Betts and Andrew Benintendi hit consecutive doubles in the fifth for Boston’s run in the opener of a three-game series.

It’s important, Betts said. As long as we make it to the playoffs, anything can happen.

With LeBron James heading to Lakers, Chris Bosh could seek return in LA, source tells SN

There would be many hoops. There would be much caution. But with LeBron James officially signing with the Lakers on Sunday night, the first full day of free agency, one name that arose as a potential teammate should sound familiar: former Heat star and LeBron sidekick Chris Bosh.

But a source told Sporting News that Bosh could petition the league again for a return to action, arguing that advances in blood-thinning medication make him less likely to have an on-court problem and that he’s willing to accept responsibility for any such incidents.

The Cubs said the heat index was 107. That’s a calculation of how hot it feels, with humidity factored in.

There was a short break in the sixth after Twins catcher Wilson drew a walk. A couple of cups of water were brought out for him to sip and douse himself to cool off. Wilson wound up scoring and was replaced with the score tied at nine.

I just couldn’t catch my breath,” he said. My heart was fluttering. I felt dizzy. Started getting a headache. Just couldn’t even hold a conversation in the dugout.”

Kepler also left early because of heat illness on an afternoon Cubs manager Joe Maddon described as the worst he has experienced during a major league game.

That was a pretty brutal day,” Maddon said. If you put that on AstroTurf, that would have been like the worst ever.”

All three Twins players were treated with IVs.

Diddy drops NFL ownership interest: I don’t want to ‘oppress black men’

Julian Edelman reportedly facing four-game suspension for violating NFL’s PED policy

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman missed all of the 2017 season after tearing his ACL in a preseason game. One of Tom Brady’s favorite targets, Edelman hauled in 98 passes for 1,106 yards and three touchdowns in ’16, and was eager to get back on the field this September.

Now it looks like his return will be delayed, but not by injury concerns. According to ESPN’s Field Yates and Adam Schefter, Edelman is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. He is appealing the suspension. As recently as Tuesday, which was also the Patriots’ first day of mandatory minicamp, Edelman spoke about his recovery.

After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Complicating matters are the Rangers, Blackhawks, Flyers, Senators and New York Islanders, all of whom own multiple first-round picks.

So that means when 37-year-old CC Sabathia holds the lowly Rays to little production, the Yankees have to step on their necks.

James Worthy was on both of those teams 1983 and 1989 but didn’t actually play in the first sweep because of injury.

So besides Abdul-Jabbar, Johnson and Cooper, the only other player to appear in two finals sweep losses was Wes Unseld with the Bullets in 1971 and 1975.

Golden State could hand James his second sweep loss Friday night. The Warriors lead this year’s NBA Finals 3-0.

Sideline reporter is one of those jobs that, if you think about, is just a cool profession. You’re on the sideline every NFL Sunday, you’ve got sources and you’re breaking stories. On top of all that, you get to develop a rapport with certain players. However, like any job of its nature, it has limited demand and a lot of interest.

It’s not all about what you see on the field. There’s plenty of behind-the-scenes work too. We meet with the home and away team Friday we meet with the home team, Saturday we meet with the away team and you’re usually meeting with the coach and the coordinators and then at least three or four players, Wolfson said of production meetings. She said that over time you learn who will be worth talking to.

It changes lives’: International yacht race pulls into Jersey City

For the past 10 months, a small bunk room and crammed kitchen below deck of a 70-foot ocean-racing yacht has served as a home for 20 people at a time.

The crew members of the Qingdao yacht share one bathroom and limited living space, but its all well worth it for a life-changing trip around the world.

A lot of the crew now have the competence, or the start of the competence, to make these massive crossings – really long crossings in dangerous and uncertain waters when nobody else does that, said Gregory Schey, 28. I mean, what an experience.

Schey, who lives in London, talked about the pleasant surprise he received when his ship docked in Jersey City.

The weather’s fantastic and the marina’s fantastic, Schey said. I’ve been walking up and down some of the other platoons and, they do say Americans are friendly, but I didn’t think it would be this friendly.

The 28-year-old serves as the onboard doctor for the Qingdao, which sails out of China. He’s been at sea for 335 days and has learned firsthand that the sailing isn’t necessarily the most difficult part of the competition.

Top wide receiver Davante Adams has scored 22 touchdowns the last two years and is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, but he’s yet to go over 1,000 yards four years into his career. Fellow projected starter Randall Cobb peaked in 2014, and his yards-per-game average has been sinking ever since. And with Jordy Nelson gone, they’ll need Geronimo Allison to play a major role in 2018, but that’s a lot to put on an undrafted third-year wideout who has played a limited role in his first two seasons. 

No other receiver on the roster has significant NFL experience. 

The Packers do deserve credit for bringing in tight end Jimmy Graham to help Rodgers in the red zone, but even Graham is beyond his prime entering his age-32 season. He made the Pro Bowl with 10 touchdown grabs last year in Seattle, but it wasn’t a good sign that he caught fewer than 60 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging a career-low (by a mile) 9.1 yards per reception. 

And while there’s a decent chance Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams or Ty Montgomery takes off this season in the backfield, the fact is there’s still a lot up in the air at the running back position because none of those guys grabbed the reins in 2017.

MLB extends Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna’s administrative leave for 6th time

Major League Baseball has extended Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna’s administrative leave through June 25, marking the sixth time MLB has extended his leave since he was arrested earlier this year and charged with assaulting a woman.

Osuna was originally placed on administrative leave for seven days starting on May 8 and it was extended for another seven on May 14, May 21, then June 4, 11 and 18. He was scheduled to appear in court Monday, according to multiple reports.

The 23-year-old remains on the restricted list and continues to receive his $5.3 million salary, but is ineligible to play. However, administrative leave is not considered discipline.

I hate making mistakes, but I love making mistakes, I love having [missed assignments] and drops because it just reassures you and makes you get back on the grind and makes you lock in and focus a little more, Barkley said. Better to happen now in practice than in Week 1 against Jacksonville.

And in case he forgets that, his teammates won’t be afraid to remind him.

That’s perhaps why he isn’t sweating his latest setback, since he insists it is temporary.

Via Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com, the Eagles cornerback spent his time on the sidelines during minicamp with what he would only call soreness.

He said it was unrelated to the torn Achilles that kept him out of all but one game last year. The injury was suffered in a pre-draft workout, and the Eagles took him in the second round anyway, amounting to a redshirt season.

Precaution, Jones said of the recent issue. [The team] doesn’t want me practicing right now. Just minor soreness.

Jones didn’t participate in the OTA session open to reporters last week either, but he said he was encouraged by the progress he’s made the last two months.

I feel really good. Coming back is a blessing. I feel really comfortable on the field, getting used to the defense, knowing the defense inside and out, he said. Getting comfortable with the defense because last year when I was playing I was practice squad going against then. But it is a good feeling to be in the defense and get the scheme.

Javier Baez injury update: Cubs infielder on bruised left elbow, ‘I’m good’

Javier Baez, who left the Cubs’ game Sunday against the Cardinals with a bruised left elbow after being hit by a pitch, said Monday on 670 The Score radio in Chicago that I’m good but added that he may need Monday night off.

Javier Baez tells the guys his elbow is good. He did not get an x-ray. Says, I’m good, but admits he may need another day.

The 25-year-old infielder suffered the injury Sunday night when he was hit by a pitch from Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty in the third inning. Baez took a few steps from the plate before falling to the ground, and he remained down for several moments. He was then removed from the game.

Texans safety Andre Hal has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

He received the preliminary diagnosis from team physician Dr. James Muntz at Houston Methodist Hospital, according to a team statement. He is undergoing further testing to assess treatment options.

Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system. It starts in the white blood cells, which regulate the body’s immune system.

Unless Irving wins his appeal, the first game he is eligible to play is October 7 at Houston.

Irving signed a one-year, $2.91 million tender as a restricted free agent.

He missed most of the team’s offseason program while attending to his off-field problems, including a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend, who made and recanted domestic violence claims.

I’ve been through a lot, Irving said Thursday. I’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel. I got my daughter. It’s just me and her. That means it’s no stress really. Have a good relaxing day with the person that loves me the most, the person I love the most. It’s going to be good.

My faith in God and the support from my family, friends, teammates and coaches will see me through this difficult time, Hal said in a statement. I will not let this diagnosis stop me from fulfilling my dreams and I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me. I know how to beat this and I will beat it.

Head coach Bill O’Brien said the news hit the team hard.