Category Archives: Sports

Browns sign OL Greg Robinson

The Cleveland Browns have signed offensive lineman Greg Robinson, a 2014 first-round draft pick with the Rams.

The 6-foot-5, 330-pound Robinson was the No. 2 overall pick that year out of Auburn. Robinson failed to live up to expectations with Los Angeles and was traded to Detroit before last season for a sixth-round pick.

Robinson started six games for the Lions before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

He’s getting another chance with the Browns, who are looking to replace 10-time Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas and need to add depth up front. Thomas retired during the off-season.

To make roster space, the Browns waived offensive lineman Rod Johnson, a fifth-round pick in 2017 who missed his rookie season with a knee injury.

This is just the latest move for Cleveland this offseason after becoming just the second team in NFL history to go 0-16. The Browns have acquired Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry, Carlos Hyde, Damarious Randall, Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb and more.

Despite all of those additions, however, the team also had to address the offensive line, as longtime left tackle Joe Thomas retired.

Cleveland signed veterans Donald Stephenson and Chris Hubbard back in March. Now, it has added one more body to the mix.

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Robinson spent the first three seasons of his career with the Rams. After turning out to be a disappointment, he was traded to the Detroit Lions last offseason for a sixth-round pick. His time in the Motor City didn’t last long, though, as he was waived in November after suffering an ankle injury.

A change of scenery didn’t help his performance on the field, either. Pro Football Focus (h/t’s Kevin Patra) rated the 6’5″, 330-pound Robinson as the No. 71 tackle out of 78 qualified candidates.

But a team that couldn’t manage to muster a single win last season can afford to take a risk. Robinson will have to prove himself in order to make the team. If he can do so, the 25-year-old will have a chance to show he can play.

There’s still time for Robinson to prove that he’s not a bust, but given two teams have already given up on him, he may be running out of opportunities.

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Billy Price says he’ fully cleared for football after combine injury

Most summer injury stories coming out of the NFL are negative, but on Monday, a positive injury update emerged for a team that needs all the good news it can get. On Monday, Bengals first-round pick Billy Price revealed that he’s fully cleared for football activities again, which means he should be a full-go for training camp next month and the coming season.

That’s great news for both the Bengals and Price, who suffered a torn pectoral muscle while he was bench pressing at the NFL combine. At the time, it was viewed as a potentially devastating injury considering Price was regarded as one of the top center prospects in the draft. The injury, however, didn’t prohibit the Bengals from gobbling up Price with the 21st-overall pick in the draft.

In Cincinnati, Price is expected to start from Day One to bolster an offensive line that allowed the 13th-most sacks last season (40) and ranked 20th in pass protection by Football Outsiders’ metrics.

The Bengals might not be the favorites in the AFC North or the favorites in the wild-card race, but they might not be as bad as many think they’ll be. A year ago, they went 7-9 and placed 24th in overall DVOA. That’s definitely not good, but with a few improvements, the Bengals could hover around .500, which could be enough to get them into the wild-card mix.

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The former Ohio State offensive lineman attended the NFL Combine in early March after a successful five-year career with the Buckeyes. After doing the normal measurements, Price took part in the bench press, and that’s where everything went sideways.

After just a few reps, Price had to rerack his weights and stop the testing. He grabbed at his chest and was examined by the medical staff. Later that day, Price told the media in Indianapolis, Indiana that he suffered an incomplete pectoral tear and he would come back from the setback.

Healthy again, Price will have a chance to showcase what he can do in Cincinnati when the players report for training camp.

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Kelvin Herrera traded to Nationals from Royals

The Kansas City Royals announced they have traded closer Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals on Monday.

Herrera has been one of MLB’s most logical trade candidates for months given the Royals’ descent into the American League Central cellar and his contract-year status.

His numbers have also been superb. In 25.2 innings this season, Herrera has logged a 1.05 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 22 strikeouts and just two walks.

That efficiency has been buoyed by a stellar three-pitch arsenal that features a blazing fastball—which is still registering an average of 96.4 mph despite dropping a few ticks from his peak—nasty slider and steady changeup, according to FanGraphs. Herrera had spent his entire seven-plus year career in Kansas City.

Herrera is owed the balance of a $7.94 million salary for remainder of 2018 and is eligible for free agency this coming winter.

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The Royals receive minor-league infielder Kelvin Gutierrez, minor-league outfielder Blake Perkins, and minor-league right-hander Yohanse Morel. Gutierrez, 23, has batted .285/.344/.388 across parts of six minor-league seasons with 22 triples and 55 stolen bases in 416 games. He’s a primary third baseman who’s also seen time at short and first. This season, he’s been at Double-A Harrisburg. Perkins, 21 and a former second-rounder in 2015, has a .655 OPS in four partial minor-league seasons. He’s a center fielder who’s been at the High-A level this season. Finally, Morel is just 17 years of age, and he’s made only one start in the Dominican Summer League in this, his first pro season. According to MLB Pipeline, Gutierrez and Perkins were the Nationals No. 10 and No. 11 prospects, respectively.

The Royals of course just recently traded away outfielder Jon Jay, and as such they could be entering full-on sell mode.

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World Cup: Mexico beats Germany

The 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has its first absolute stunner. Mexico, behind a first-half goal from Hirving Lozano, upset reigning champs Germany in the group stage opener, 1-0. In a tense, hectic match that would make anybody shake from the nerves, El Tri bent but did not break in the second half, withstanding chance after chance from the European giants for arguably its greatest World Cup victory ever.

A massive, world-shaking goal that Lozano said after the match was the most important of his young, sparkling career. After the match, Lozano put all the praise on his coach Juan Carlos Osorio.

“He told us to keep playing like we were playing. To come out 100 percent … He saw the game well,” Lozano said in the post-match press conference.

“To start off on the right foot against the best team in the world, it’s a huge result and great work from the team.”

Guillermo Ochoa was huge in goal for El Tri as well, making save after save to keep the mighty Germans out. Germany had 60 percent of the possession, 25 shots, nine on target, yet couldn’t crack El Tri’s defense.

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The win gives Mexico three points and puts them in a golden spot to move on, while Germany now can’t afford another slip up with South Korea and Sweden to come.

“We can compete against anyone,” Lozano told Televisa Deportes. “We have great players, and we showed it today”

“After this score, we can say that this generation of players is here to achieve big things. We did our best today, and we have to continue on the same path.”

“It was a very important game for Mexican football, for Mexican history because starting the World Cup against the world champion and winning three points was something that very few people expected,” said Ochoa after the game.

Mexico is scheduled to train at its complex outside of Moscow on Monday morning in preparation for its match against Korea on June 23 in Rostov.

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World Cup: Spain draw Portugal as Cristiano Ronaldo scores hat-trick

It was one of the most talked about matchups of the group stage. And we got one of the most entertaining World Cup matches in recent memory. In Group B, Spain and Portugal played out a wild six-goal thriller, with the teams drawing 3-3. Spain overcame a 2-1 deficit to take the lead in the second half before Cristiano Ronaldo completed his hat trick with a crazy late free-kick goal.

He had got the opener, too, a penalty in the fourth minute after Nacho felled him in the box, before Diego Costa’s bullying low finish dragged Spain back into the match when they were at their most vulnerable.

But just before the break David de Gea made a terrible and uncharacteristic error, fumbling a zipping Ronaldo shot through his gloves and over the line. Another dose of adversity for Spain to deal with.

Lopetegui’s hasty replacement, Fernando Hierro, saw his team respond through Costa again, the Atletico Madrid striker smashing in from Sergio Busquets’ knockdown nine minutes after half-time, before Nacho redeemed himself with a stunning volley from the edge of the area that crashed in off both posts and seemed to have given Spain victory.

But, as so often, Ronaldo would have the last word.

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Portugal’s captain had spent large parts of the second half as a spectator, powerless to halt Spain’s recovery, but he emerged from the shadows of this fascinating spectacle to define the game’s result and in doing so become just the fourth player to score at four World Cups.

Before this match Ronaldo had scored only three times from 13 World Cup games. His return still doesn’t make for Ronaldo-like reading – six in 14 – but with the opening goal he became the fourth player to score in four separate World Cups, joining Germans Miroslav Klose and Uwe Seeler and Brazil legend Pele.

And the Portuguese is now also the first player in history to score in eight consecutive major tournaments in a streak going back to Euro 2004.

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Andy Lee signs contract extension with Cardinals

The Arizona Cardinals have signed punter Andy Lee to a two-year contract extension, the team announced Thursday. Lee’s contract will now run through the 2020 season.

Lee, 35, ranked seventh in the NFL in punting yard average for Arizona last year at 47.3 yards. That was a single-season franchise record.

Against the Houston Texans in Week 11, Lee had six punts inside the 20-yard line, which tied a franchise record.

Lee’s net average of 39.7 yards a punt last season on his 88 kicks was the team’s best since Dave Zastudil had a 40.1 net in 2013.

Lee, who will turn 36 in August after coming into the league in 2004, has averaged 46.4 yards a punt in his career with a career net of 39.7. He spent the first 11 years of his career with the 49ers, before spending a season each with the Browns and Panthers prior to signing with the Cardinals. He also serves as the holder on field goals and extra points.

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The punter spent the bulk of his career, 11 seasons, with the San Francisco 49ers while earning three Pro Bowl selections and being selected first-team All-Pro three times. He spent the next two seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Carolina Panthers, with an injury leading to an early end to his 2016.

Last season was Lee’s first with the Cardinals but his 14th in the NFL.

It wasn’t a perfect season for the veteran, who ranked 35th in the NFL with a 39.7 net in 2017. However, he provided enough consistency to solidify the position for the Cardinals.

With a lot of turnover in the roster from last season, this is a spot the organization won’t have to worry about for the next couple of years.

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Terrance West signs with Saints

The Saints are signing West to a deal, according to a source informed of the situation.

The addition of West should immediately bolster a Saints running back group that will begin the regular season without Mark Ingram, who will serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The 5-foot-10, 225-pound West is set to join the group with five years of NFL experience. He entered the league in 2014 out of Towson as a third-round pick with the Cleveland Browns before being traded to the Tennessee Titans in 2015. West then joined the Baltimore Ravens in 2015 and spent three seasons with the club.

On his career, West has 1,816 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 465 attempts, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. He also has 344 yards receiving and two touchdowns on 51 career catches. West’s best season came in 2016 when he led the Ravens with a career-high 774 yards rushing.

The deal is expected to qualify for the minimum salary benefit, which means that West will cost the same as a younger player would.

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West rushed for 138 yards and two touchdowns last season with the Ravens, but the 27-year-old back can help the Saints early in the year as Mark Ingram serves a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Last year’s rookie sensation, Alvin Kamara, will be the starter.

The Saints also hosted a visit from veteran Jamaal Charles Wednesday, and although he passed his physical, reported both sides “decided the situation didn’t make sense at this time.”

There’s no reason for New Orleans not to lean heavily on Ingram and Kamara again in 2018. The former eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards for the second year in a row, while the latter had 1,554 yards from scrimmage. Kamara’s role in the offense is likely to grow, too, now that New Orleans is well aware how talented the 2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year is.

Should Ingram or Kamara go down with an injury, though, the Saints can trust West to be a solid second option on the ground.

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Raiders cut Christian Hackenberg

The Christian Hackenberg era in Oakland has officially ended, as the Raiders waived the former Penn State QB on Tuesday afternoon, per the NFL’s transaction wire.

The Raiders acquired Hackenberg from the New York Jets on May 22 in exchange for a conditional seventh-round draft pick in 2019. Oakland will now keep the pick, per NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport.

Raiders head coach Jon Gruden, then an analyst at ESPN, was a fan of Hackenberg coming out of college.

“What he showed during that first year at Penn State — before the coaching change, before the system change, before all the things that derailed him — would be enough for me to take this guy early,” Gruden wrote in an article for ESPN. “He just has to get in the right system with the right people and refocus on the small details.”

Apparently, after less than a month in the Bay Area, Gruden had seen enough to make this decision.

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Hackenberg (a 2016 second-round pick) and linebacker Brady Sheldon were both waived to accommodate the team’s signing of defensive tackles Ahtyba Rubin and Frostee Rucker.

It’s not clear if a market for his services will materialize. After all, Hackenberg — despite being the 51st overall pick in 2016 and despite playing on a team starved for competent quarterback play — never made a regular-season appearance in two seasons with the Jets. According to Football Perspective’s Chase Stuart, Hackenberg is the first quarterback in more than 35 years to get drafted in the first two rounds and then not throw a pass during his first two NFL seasons.

What we’re left with to evaluate Hackenberg is preseason data. In the 2016 preseason, he went 17 of 47 (36.2 percent) for 159 yards (3.4 yards per attempt), one touchdown, two picks, and a 35.7 passer rating. In the 2017 preseason, he went 42 of 74 (56.8 percent) for 372 yards (5.0 yards per attempt), two touchdowns, two picks, and a 68.1 passer rating.

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Federer wins at Stuttgart Open after three months

Roger Federer rallied to beat home favourite Mischa Zverev 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 at the Stuttgart Open on Wednesday in his first match in nearly three months.

The Swiss great converted four of his 10 break points to end a two-match losing streak and start his grass-court season with a win.

Federer hadn’t played since March, when he lost to Thanasi Kokkinakis and Juan Martin del Potro in Miami and Indian Wells, respectively. He skipped the entire clay-court season for the second year in a row.

Zverev had never won a set against Federer in their five previous meetings, but he took the first before the second-ranked Swiss upped his game and broke the German twice to force the decider.

Federer lost to another German, Tommy Haas, in his Stuttgart opener last year, but will now face Guido Pella or Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the quarterfinals.

Indian qualifier Gunneswaran upset sixth-seeded Denis Shapovalov of Canada 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 in their first-round match.

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There were also wins for Milos Raonic and Maximilian Marterer in the first round, while Denis Istomin defeated Florian Mayer 6-3, 6-4 in the second round.

“Three months [out] is a long time, it’s longer than the year-end break,” said Federer.

“I’m very happy returning on good terms on to the tour. It’s difficult, missed some chances maybe in the first set, he connected well at the right times. Then I found my rhythm.”

He added: “I’m super happy to be back on tour – it’s been a great start.”

During his two and a half months out, Federer has dropped to second in the world rankings, behind Spain’s Rafael Nadal.

But the 36-year-old will regain top spot if he reaches the final in Germany and faces either Guido Pella or Prajnesh Gunneswaran in the last eight.

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Ryan Grigson joining Seahawks as front-office consultant

Former Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson, who was a senior personnel executive with the Cleveland Browns last season, is joining the Seattle Seahawks’ front office as a consultant, according to ESPN’s Brady Henderson.

Grigson, 46, was fired from his general manager post with the Colts back in January 2017 with 3 year left on his contract.

A sixth round pick in 1995, Grigson had a very brief NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions, eventually landing in the CFL. He eventually returned to the NFL in 1999 as an area scout for the St. Louis Rams’ team that won the Super Bowl, staying in that organization until 2003. Grigson spent the next eight years in the front office of the Philadelphia Eagles, working his way up to Director of Player Personnel before being hired as the GM of the Colts in 2012.

He spent last year with the 0-16 Cleveland Browns as a senior personnel executive and he was not retained at season’s end. This is not the first time Schneider has hired a former GM who was widely panned for his move, as the Seahawks hired former Miami Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland as a draft consultant in 2014. Ireland is now the assistant GM for the New Orleans Saints.

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The Colts went 11-5 in each of his first three seasons and advanced to an AFC Championship Game but missed the playoffs with 8-8 records in his final two years at the helm.

His missteps with the Colts included trading a first-round pick in 2013 to the Browns for Trent Richardson only to cut the running back two years later after he failed to make an impact, and failing to address Indianapolis’ offensive line needs in a timely fashion.

Grigson didn’t make a full commitment to improve the offensive line until the 2016 draft, when the Colts used half of their eight picks on linemen. That commitment came only after Luck missed nine games because of injury in 2015.

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