Category Archives: Sports

Byron Buxton on DL due to migraines

The Twins will be without one of the best defensive center fielder in baseball for at least the next week.

Minnesota announced Wednesday, former No. 2 overall pick Byron Buxton has been placed on the 10-day disabled list due to migraine headaches.

Outfielder Ryan LaMarre, who was already with the team as a special 26th man for the Puerto Rico Series, was moved to the 25-man roster. The Twins will have one less player for Wednesday’s game.

Buxton’s move is retroactive to April 15, the furthest they can backdate such a move to.

The Twins were ready to put Buxton in the lineup on Tuesday when he arrived at Hiram Bithorn stadium showing symptoms and was sent back to the team hotel.

“You could tell he wasn’t right when he came in,” Molitor said. “He got checked out and we sent him back to the hotel.”

Twins catcher Jason Castro, who has had migraine issues of his own, knows what Byron Buxton is going through.

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“I have then very infrequently, but I can sympathize with what he is going through,” Castro said. “The thing is there is nothing you can do, just isolate yourself and hope that it goes away.”

Just like on Tuesday, Max Kepler started in center while Robbie Grossman started in right field and batted eighth. LaMarre can play all three outfield spots, making the move a no-brainer.

Max Kepler will take over center field duties for the Twins until Buxton’s return. Though he’s no Buxton, Kepler was fine enough in center field. The more troubling news is that moving Kepler to center fielder means Robbie Grossman will likely take over most of the duties in right field — and, no offense to Grossman, but his last name is a pretty good descriptor of his defensive capabilities out there. It’s a huge step down from having the best defensive player in baseball in center field and basically two other center fielders on either side of him.

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LB Kendell Beckwith had surgery on fractured ankle after car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured his ankle in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the upcoming season in question.

General manager Jason Licht said that Beckwith had surgery Tuesday to repair his injured ankle, but did not yet know whether his timeline for recovery would extend into training camp or the regular season.

“We’re very fortunate that it wasn’t life-threatening,” Licht said. “He’ll be out of OTAs and in training camp, we’ll have a better idea of how far along he is.”

Beckwith, 23, played the most snaps of any linebacker as a rookie last year, filling in when starting linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander missed time with injuries. He finished with 73 tackles.

Due to an ACL tear late in LSU’s 2016 season, Beckwith fell to No. 107 in last year’s draft. He recovered in time to appear in all 16 games with 11 starts as an NFL rookie.

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Beckwith was drafted by the Bucs in last year’s draft after a solid campaign at LSU. He finished his rookie season with 73 combined tackles, one forced fumble and one sack. Though there were concerns following the ACL injury he sustained during his time in Louisiana and whether or not he would thrive in the NFL, the Bucs still took a chance on him, drafting him in the third-round round. The Buccaneers signed him to a four-year, $3.17 million contract that includes a signing bonus of $706,288.

Beckwith’s availability for the entirety of the 2017 season became quite important when early-season injuries to Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David took the team’s two veteran starters out of action for extended periods. Beckwith began the season as the Bucs’ starting strongside linebacker but took over in the middle when Alexander was hurt in the season opener. Beckwith later adopted play-calling duties for the defense, as well, when David joined Alexander on the sideline. Later in the season, when Alexander and David were back in the lineup, Beckwith took on another role as a stand-up edge rusher on passing downs.

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Pelicans hold off Blazers, take 2-0 lead

Jrue Holiday had a career playoff-high 33 points and the New Orleans Pelicans took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers with a 111-102 victory on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time).

Rajon Rondo had 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists for the Pelicans, who host the Blazers on Thursday (Friday, PHL time) as the series shifts to New Orleans. Anthony Davis added 22 points and 13 rebounds.

CJ McCollum, who struggled with backcourt teammate Damian Lillard in the opener, rebounded with 22 points to lead the Blazers.

Portland trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter but Lillard hit a three-pointer and added a free throw to tie the game at 93 with 7:31 left. Holiday’s pull-up jumper and Rondo’s driving layup kept the Blazers from pulling ahead.

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Maurice Harkless dunked and Al-Farouq Aminu had a layup to re-tie the game at 97. After Holiday’s hook shot, Harkless made a three-pointer to give Portland a 100-99 lead.

Nikola Mirotic and Holiday each hit three-pointers to put the Pelicans back in front 105-100 with 1:35 remaining and Portland couldn’t catch up.

The third-seeded Blazers, in the playoffs for the fifth straight year, dropped the first game against the Pelicans 97-95, becoming the highest seed to lose at the start of the opening round.

Davis had 35 points and Rondo had 17 assists to tie the franchise record. Lillard and McCollum combined to shoot just 13 for 41 in the opener.

Portland got a boost in Game 2 with the return of Harkless for first time since he had a minor procedure on his left knee in late March. He missed 11 games.

Portland led 35-30 after rookie Zach Collin’s bank shot and the Blazers led by as many as nine points before taking a 59-54 lead into halftime. Holiday led all scorers with 14 points. Aminu had four three-pointers and nine rebounds for the Blazers in the opening half.

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Matt Forte to retire as Chicago Bears

Running back Matt Forte will sign one-day contracts with the Chicago Bears and retire as members of the organization where they starred.

The team says they will make it official at a ceremony on Monday. Forte had already announced he would retire as a member of the Bears.

Forte’s 9,796 yards rushing in 10 seasons with the Bears and New York Jets rank 33rd on the NFL’s career list. He also had 554 receptions and 14,468 yards from scrimmage — most in the NFL in the past decade.

The Bears selected Forte in the second round in 2008, and he played in Chicago through the 2015 season. He rushed for 1,238 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie, one of the best rookie seasons for a running back in team history.

He spent two seasons with the Jets, announcing his retirement after last season. Forte finished with 9,796 career yards and 54 touchdowns on 2,356 attempts. He added 4,672 receiving yards on 554 receptions with 21 touchdowns.

Forte led the Bears in rushing for eight straight seasons from 2008-15, the longest stretch since Payton was the team’s top rusher for 12 consecutive seasons from 1975-86. Forte also became the second fastest player in NFL history to compile 8,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards receiving behind only Marshall Faulk.

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In his first NFL game, Forte rushed for 123 yards, including a 50-yard touchdown in a 29-13 win over the Colts. He set a Bears single-season rookie rushing record that has since been broken by Jordan Howard with 1,238 yards.

In 2014, Forte established a single-season NFL mark for most receptions by a running back with 102, and he remains one of three running backs in league history to record at least 100 catches in a season, joining Larry Centers and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Forte, who spent his final two NFL seasons with the New York Jets, was a two-time recipient of the Bears’ Brian Piccolo Award, the team’s 2015 Walter Payton Man of the Year nominee and one of eight NFL finalists for the 2015 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

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Nick Mangold announces retirement

The Jets center on Tuesday took to Twitter to announce his retirement from the NFL after 11 seasons with New York.

Mangold released a lengthy statement summarizing his thoughts on his decision and thanking those who have supported him throughout his career. Although he was released by New York in February 2017, he’ll sign a one-day contract next week to retire a Jet.

“Everything that happened from pee-wee football to high school football to having the good fortune to play at The Ohio State University molded me for my opportunity to play for the New York Jets,” Mangold wrote, in part.

“My biggest regret is not bringing the Lombardi Trophy to New York but, as I retire, I will continue my efforts to bring the Trophy home in a different capacity. I have no idea what that capacity is but I’m sure I will figure something out in the future.”

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Mangold, 34, was selected out of Ohio State by the Jets in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He made 164 starts and only missed 12 games, including eight in his final season after suffering an ankle injury in 2016 that landed him on injured reserve.

The decorated veteran earned seven Pro Bowl selections and was named first-team All-Pro twice during his career.

The Jets announced they will hold a news conference April 24 at their facility to honor Mangold.

Mangold’s wry sense of humor made him popular among the media, and he was often a go-to presence in the locker room as a team leader.

Mangold thanked his family, friends and fans as well as the Jets organization. He talked of how his love for football grew from his youth league days in Ohio and the “amazing ride” he has had thanks to the sport.

“If you made it this far, thanks for reading my ramblings,” Mangold closed his statement. “And I can’t wait to see what this new chapter brings.”

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Broncos release CJ Anderson

C.J. Anderson, one of the Broncos’ most successful undrafted free-agent finds in recent years, has been released, the Broncos announced Monday.

“Over the last five years, C.J. developed from an undrafted player into an important member of our team,” President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway said. “We appreciate all he did as a Bronco, especially during our Super Bowl season, and thank him for his many contributions on and off the field.”

Anderson, who in 2017 became the Broncos’ first 1,000-yard rusher since 2013, provided plenty of highlights during his time in Denver.

He broke onto the scene in 2014 with his lone Pro Bowl selection, which was aided by plays like a 51-yard touchdown reception against the Raiders. Anderson scored a career-high 10 touchdowns that season.

“It’s business, I understand it,” Anderson told The Associated Press on Monday after he was released by the Denver Broncos. “I’ve been here five years and it came to an end. So, I’m excited for the next opportunity.”

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Where that is, “I don’t know,” Anderson said. “I have no clue at all.”

Anderson hits free agency at an opportune time. He’s 27, has just 683 career carries and is coming off his best season, one in which he played in all 16 games for the first time and ran for a career-best 1,007 yards .

“I would never say it’s a good time to be free,” Anderson said. “All I ever tried to do was give my best effort to Denver in every way possible. I did that for five years. Now it’s time to go and do that for another team.”

Anderson wasn’t one of the 23 running backs drafted in 2013 but the Cal alum has put up better career numbers than all of those running backs except for one: Steelers star Le’Veon Bell.

Because there was no dead cap money in 2018 or ’19, Anderson knew his release was, if not imminent, a very strong possibility this offseason as the Broncos rebuild an anemic offense following a 5-11 season.

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Vikings sign LB Eric Kendricks to 5 year extension

One of the most important pieces from the Minnesota Vikings’ league-best scoring and yardage defense is sticking around long term. The Vikings announced on Monday that they’ve signed linebacker Eric Kendricks to a multi-year contract extension.

The $50 million total on his deal is the second-most among all inside linebackers, per Spotrac, while the $10 million average annual value ranks fourth and the $25 million guarantee is third.

The No. 45 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Kendricks has emerged as the leading tackler and beating heart of Mike Zimmer’s defense. After tallying a career-high 136 tackles (87 solo) in 2017, the former UCLA star became the first Vikings player since Rip Hawkins (1961-1964) to lead the team in total tackles in each of his first three seasons.

Kendrick is likely the first in a string of defenders the Vikings will lock up, as important defenders like Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter will become free agents after this coming season. Sheldon Richardson and Brian Robinson both only have one year on their deals as well, but they are not necessarily guaranteed to be pieces of the Vikings’ long-term core unless they prove they should be throughout the 2018 campaign.

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With Kendricks, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, and Harrison Smith all signed through at least 2021, the Vikings should have a strong defense for a very long time, whether they are able to re-sign Barr and Hunter or not.

While that list leaves general manager Rick Spielman with the need to perform financial gymnastics under the salary cap, it’s also evidence of his stellar track record as a drafter and team-builder.

After an eighth-place standing in Football Outsiders’ 2016 defensive metrics, the Vikings finished behind only the Jaguars last season.

Now that Spielman has added former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson without losing any part of his talented core, this defense should push for the top spot in the upcoming season.

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Sebatian Janikowski agrees contract with Seahawks

Sebastian Janikowski’s NFL career isn’t finished yet. The veteran kicker signed a two-year contract with the Seattle Seahawks on Friday, the team announced.

Janikowski, 40, played his entire 18-year career with the Oakland Raiders but missed all of last season with a back injury. In 2016, he converted 82.9% of his field goal attempts.

The 40-year-old Florida State product connected on 80.4 percent of his 515 field-goal attempts with the Raiders, including 55 percent of his kicks from beyond 50 yards. His 1,799 points and 268 games are both franchise records.

Janikowski told Jerry McDonald of the Bay Area News Group in February he was back to full strength and wanted to keep playing.

“I’ve been kicking since Week 8 last year,” he said. “I’m doing more than I usually do this time of year. I usually wait until the beginning of April. Hopefully it will be a new beginning, a new city. I’ve got some goals to accomplish and I love what I do. I miss it.”

In all, he ranked third among kickers in Approximate Value during his time with the Raiders behind only Adam Vinatieri and Phil Dawson, according to Pro Football Reference.

Seeing Janikowski kick in a uniform other than Oakland’s trademark silver and black is going to take awhile to get used to for longtime NFL fans. That said, he wasn’t prepared to enter retirement and the Seahawks gave him a chance to extend his career.

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He became one of the most well-known kickers in NFL history because of his on-field success as well as his atypical build (6-foot-1, 260 pounds) and his history of run-ins with the law while at Florida State and in Oakland. The most recent came in 2011, when Janikowski was charged with misdemeanor battery and false imprisonment stemming from a 2010 incident involving an alleged victim who was a female. Among his other legal scrapes was a 2002 DUI charge.

Coach Pete Carroll said at the scouting combine that the Seahawks would likely bring in another kicker to compete with Myers, whom they had signed to a futures contract after the season. The 26-year-old Myers spent parts of three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who released him last October.

Janikowski has a connection to the Seahawks’ staff in special-teams coordinator Brian Schneider. He held the same job with the Raiders in 2007 and 2008.

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Cowboys release WR Dez Bryant

Dez Bryant’s eight-year career with the Cowboys came to an end on Friday when the team released the wide receiver.  Bryant, who hasn’t had a 1,000-yard receiving season since 2014, met Friday with owner and general manager Jerry Jones, three days before the team opens offseason workouts.

Speculation about Bryant has surrounded the Cowboys since the end of the 2017 season, when it was first suggested that the former All-Pro might need to take a pay cut in the coming year. Prior to his release, he was set to make $12.5 million in 2018 and count $16.5 million against salary cap.

That all stems back to the five-year, $70 million contract he signed in the summer of 2015, which he had struggled to live up to in recent seasons.

The Cowboys were obviously willing to part ways with their mercurial star receiver – but they hadn’t been willing to say much about it. Both Jerry and Stephen Jones were asked about the situation last month at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, and neither was willing to elaborate much.

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“That’s one of the things that we’re going to have to work through as we move into our future,” said Stephen Jones.

Clearly, the front office came to a consensus about what worked best for them. Releasing Bryant frees up an estimated $8 million in salary cap space, giving them more room to maneuver in free agency.

The Cowboys’ first-round pick in 2010 made three Pro Bowls over eight seasons, including an All-Pro selection in 2014 with a career-best 16 receiving touchdowns.

Along with his impressive statistics, Bryant has been marked by his fiery demeanor and his passion for the game. That fire sparked him to 531 career receptions for 7,459 total yards, plus a franchise-record 73 receiving touchdowns.

The Cowboys will move forward with a younger wide receiver corps. Hurns steps into the top receiver job at just 26 years old, and it seems like a good bet the team might make receiver a priority in next month’s NFL draft.

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Texans cut OT Derek Newton

The Texans have released right tackle Derek Newton. Newton, who has not played since Week 7 of the 2016 season, failed a physical on March 23.
On Oct. 24, 2016, Newton tore the patella tendons in both legs and spent all of last season on injured reserve. Newton was owed a roster bonus of $500,000 for being on the roster on April 1, but was told Houston will not be paying that, so he reportedly plans to file a grievance against the team.

Before his injury, Newton was the Texans’ starting right tackle. He started six games in 2016 and all 16 games in each of the previous three seasons.
On March 27, Texans head coach Bill O’Brien was asked about Newton’s progress and said “he’s on schedule” but probably wouldn’t “be able to do a ton of things this spring.”
“Nobody’s worked harder than Derek Newton to try to get back to where he’s at,” O’Brien said. “He’s a hardworking guy. … That guy’s been in there every single day at 6 a.m., five days a week. He probably comes in on the weekends on his own. I would say he’s probably not able to do a bunch of field work — he can rehab-wise, but not in team periods and things like that.”

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Texans drafted Newton in the seventh round in 2011 and signed him to a five-year, $26.5 million contract in 2015.
The Texans signed tackle Seantrel Henderson in free agency and he is expected to get the chance to start at right tackle. Houston did not add a left tackle after starting five different players at the position in 2017, but O’Brien said at the NFL owners meetings that second-year linemen Julien Davenport will be given the chance to win that job.

Newton was due a bonus of $500,000 if he was on the roster and able to pass a team physical April 1. The Texans gave him a physical March 23, but Newton failed it. Despite recording showing extensive progress and even performing one-legged squats, he was unable to perform a straight-leg raise, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

Newton went to James Andrews for a second opinion, and the surgeon deemed him healthy enough for team workouts next week.

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