Category Archives: Sports

Ex-Seahawks WR Baldwin indicates he’s retiring

Doug Baldwin has broken his silence with a heartfelt string of messages posted to social media, suggesting he plans to retire from the National Football League.

The now former Seahawks receiver, who was released by Seattle last Thursday with a failed physical designation, took to Twitter on Mother’s Day to write an introspective letter to his younger self — expressing gratitude to the journey so far and welcoming the next chapter of his life

“The end of one journey sees the beginning of another,” Baldwin wrote in the series of tweets. “And guess what … it will be one hell of a journey. You will feel emotional and physical pain you never knew existed. You will fail over and over again. But don’t worry, all of it will be the reason why you succeed.” Baldwin didn’t explicitly state that he’s retiring in the tweets, but he referenced an end to a journey multiple times and shared pictures from throughout his career. He ended the thread with a gif saying “My watch has ended.”

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Seahawks general manager John Schneider had confirmed that Baldwin was contemplating retirement during the NFL draft a couple weeks ago. Both Baldwin and Chancellor — who remained on Seattle’s roster in the 2018 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list — had their contracts terminated last week.

Baldwin had an injury-riddled 2018 campaign, voicing multiple times throughout the past year how much of a challenge the season was for him. More than once, he referred to his battles as “hell.”

Baldwin missed three games last year, the most in his career. He finished the 2018 season with 50 catches for 618 yards and five touchdowns. Baldwin trails just Steve Largent for most career receiving touchdowns in Seahawks history (Baldwin has 49 to Largent’s 100). He also ranks third in both career receptions (493) and career receiving yards (6,563).

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Geno Smith to sign with Seahawks

Former New York Jets and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Geno Smith is expected to sign with the Seattle Seahawks, reports ESPN.com’s Jordan Raanan.

Smith will compete for the No. 2 job with Paxton Lynch, who signed with the Seahawks in January.

Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported that Smith will visit the Seahawks on Wednesday, adding: “No contract talks yet, but a visit shows clear interest if everything checks out.”

Smith, 28, was a second-round pick by the New York Jets in 2013 and expected to become the team’s franchise quarterback, though that never materialized. He threw for 5,571 yards, 25 touchdowns and 34 touchdowns in 30 games (29 starts) in 2013 and 2014 before losing his starting gig, riding the bench for the Jets the next two seasons.

He then served as Eli Manning’s backup for the New York Giants in 2017 and Philip Rivers’ backup for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018. Smith’s competition for Seattle’s backup spot has far less experience. Lynch has appeared in just five NFL games, throwing for 792 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions while completing 61.7 percent of his passes.

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Smith should be the favorite to win the backup role, solidifying a spot that has seen a rotating cast of characters behind Wilson, including Trevone Boykin, Austin Davis and Brett Hundley in 2018.

Undrafted free agent Taryn Christion was Seattle’s other quarterback under contract but he was waived on Monday, creating a roster spot for Smith. Coach Pete Carroll appeared underwhelmed by how Christion and tryout players Troy Williams and Michael O’Connor fared at the team’s rookie minicamp.

“I thought the quarterbacks had a hard time. I thought they struggled with the system and the playcalling,” Carroll said. “A lot of guys calling the plays for the first time, in the huddles for the first time, under center for the first time. So there was some brand-new experiences, and so they were competing on many levels just to get going. So we’ll take a look at the film now that we get out of camp and see where it all fits.”

The 28-year-old Smith saw action in two games for the Los Angeles Chargers during the 2018 season, completing 1 of 4 passes for 8 yards.

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Yankees’ Hicks set for season debut as Orioles visit

While the New York Yankees are anticipating the returns of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton from injuries, they can look forward to the imminent return of Aaron Hicks.

Hicks is expected to be activated off the injured list and make his season debut Monday night when the Yankees host the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Hicks will be playing his first game after getting a seven-year, $70 million contract extension in February. He injured his back during batting practice on March 1 and slowly progressed before appearing in five minor league rehab games.

The Yankees will be hoping to get the version of Hicks they saw last season. He set career highs with 27 homers and 79 RBIs while batting .248. He played in a career-high 137 games last season, but injuries have been a theme. Hicks has been on the injured list in each of his seven seasons, with 10 total stints on the injured list.

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Hicks will be rejoining a team that has survived his absence, Stanton’s absence since March 31 due to a biceps injury and Judge’s absence since April 20 due to an oblique injury.

The Yankees are 18-7 in their last 25 games after taking two of three in Tampa Bay over the weekend. They rested Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres on Sunday and recorded a 7-1 win by scoring four times in the ninth following a 43-minute power outage.

“More guys just continue to step up,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It’s not easy for us right now. We’ve got to grind and scratch for everything.” Baltimore won two of six meetings with the Yankees as part of its respectable 7-10 start under first-year manager Brandon Hyde. Since then, the Orioles are 7-16 but are heading to New York coming off one of their better games of late.

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Bucs LB Beckwith to miss second straight season

The Bucs defense took another hit Friday when the team announced that linebacker Kendell Beckwith had been placed on the reserve/non-football injury list with an ankle injury that will force him to miss his second consecutive season and, worse, might be career-ending, TampaBay.com reported.

A third-round pick from LSU in 2017, Beckwith’s ankle was broken in an auto accident in April 2018 while home in Louisiana. He was a passenger riding with former Tigers teammate Lamin Barrow.

The ankle required surgery, and he began last season on the non-football injury list. He attempted to come back in late October but was unable to make his way back on the field. Friday’s news comes a little more than a week after Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul sustained a broken vertebra in his neck when he crashed his Ferrari into a concrete barrier May 2 on on I-95. If Pierre-Paul’s neck requires surgery, he could miss the 2019 season, too.

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“You hate to see guys lose their career off the field,” Bucs coach Bruce Arians said Friday. “For Kendell, he was a bright prospect and it’s just unfortunate. You have to move on. For me, I was never really counting on him coming back. I was hoping, but that’s one of the reasons Devin [White] is here.”

Beckwith, 24, played every linebacker position as a rookie in 2017, recording 73 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.

The decision to place him on the reserve/non-football injury list came after numerous evaluations from orthopedic specialists and was not totally unexpected, according to TampaBay.com.

The Bucs drafted LSU linebacker Devin White No. 5 overall last month and signed Cardinals free agent Deone Bucannon in the offseason. Pierre-Paul has been undergoing further testing this week to determine the next course of action.

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Jaguars LB Smith says he won’t play in 2019

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith says he will not play football in 2019.

Smith, a five-year veteran, is coming off a season where he had a career-high 134 tackles. However, in an Instagram post, Smith said he wants to take some time “away from the game.” Smith did not say he plans to retire.

“It was said to me from a great coach that in order for the man to be his best, he must get his world in order. At this time I must take time away from this game and get my world in order,” Smith wrote. “I must give this time back to myself, my family and my health. I appreciate all the support I will and will not get. I just ask y’all to respect my decision to not play football this season.”

In a statement, the team said it has not yet spoken to Smith about the situation.

“We will not have a comment about Telvin Smith’s statement at this time. We need to have a conversation with Telvin to understand the situation and the circumstances,” the statement said. “If there is a way we can support him we need to understand that.”

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Smith, 28, was chosen in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Jaguars and has played his whole career with the franchise. Over that five-year span, he has been a staple of their defense, accumulating a whopping 586 tackles, 7.5 sacks and nine interceptions. He has had at least 100 tackles in all five of his professional seasons.

Smith, who signed a four-year, $45 million extension in October 2017, was not present for the voluntary portion of the team’s offseason workout program, prompting some to wonder about his status with the team.

There were even murmurs that Smith could be a trade candidate, but Smith said on social media that he “never” wants to leave Jacksonville. In Thursday’s Instagram post, Smith again addressed the trade rumors.

“I know the rumors of trade talk came about, but I started my career in Jacksonville and the day I do decide to call it quits it will be right here in Duval,” Smith wrote. The Jaguars chose Kentucky outside linebacker Josh Allen with their first-round draft choice.

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Dolphins to give CB Howard record deal

The Miami Dolphins are signing Xavien Howard to a big-time extension that will pay him more than any other CB in the NFL.

According to a report, the Miami Dolphins and Xavien Howard have agreed on a contract that will pay him $46 million in guaranteed money on a four-year extension that could be worth north of $76 million.

The previous largest contract for a corner was Josh Norman’s five-year, $75 million deal signed with Washington back in 2016. Trumaine Johnson came close to topping it with a five-year $72.5 million deal with the Jets last offseason, but ultimately came just short of Norman’s number.

Now, Howard is at the top of the position. Howard was Miami’s second-round pick in 2016, and after being brought along somewhat slowly early on, blossomed into an all-out star in 2018. 

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He totaled 11 interceptions and 25 passes defensed in 28 games across the past two seasons, and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2018. Among the 76 cornerbacks who played at least 350 snaps in coverage, Howard allowed the single lowest passer rating at 62.6, per Pro Football Focus. 

He was headed into the final season of his rookie contract in 2019, but this deal will keep him in Miami for a lot longer. New coach Brian Flores will presumably deploy Howard as a lockdown perimeter corner, which should help as he builds out his defense over the next few years.

Last season, Howard finished tied for the league lead in interceptions with seven, but he only played in 12 games. The Baylor product played all 16 games in 2017, but only saw action in seven contests during his rookie year, although he did start in six of them. Knee issues were the cause of missed time in his rookie year and last season.

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Coutinho to be sold after UCL elimination

Barcelona star midfielder Philippe Coutinho could be on his way out of the club as soon as this summer. The player is set to be sold following Barcelona’s epic collapse in the Champions League semifinals against Liverpool on Tuesday where the club blew a 3-0 lead after the first leg to lose 4-0 at Anfield in the semifinals, according to ESPN.

The report says the club has decided to sell the player, who joined from Liverpool in 2018 for over $130 million, as things has just not worked out. He hasn’t been a consistent starter, he has dealt wit some injury issues, and despite double-digit goals last season and this season, he hasn’t been a first-team player regularly under manager Ernesto Valverde, who might also be on the hot seat, according to the report.

A promising youth career saw him move to Inter Milan in 2008, but he played just 47 matches in three seasons there. He joined Liverpool in 2012 and exploded, netting double-digit goals in his final three seasons at Anfield before forcing a move to Barcelona.

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In both semifinal legs, he was taken off before the hour mark and received jeers at both the Camp Nou and Anfield. A member of the Brazilian national team, there will be no shortage of teams interested but it may be tough for Barcelona to come close to recovering the amount spent on the player.

Whether he moves back to England or Italy, perhaps maybe to France or Germany, it remains to be seen. But one thing seems certain, and that he’ll need to find a new club to revive his club career. ESPN FC first revealed in March that Barcelona were ready to listen to offers north of €105m for Coutinho and his performances against Liverpool have done nothing to change their plans.

He was taken off before the hour mark in both matches, jeered by Barca fans last week and Liverpool supporters on Tuesday. The Catalan club made a huge effort to sign him but there’s now an acknowledgment that things have not worked out.

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Seahawks to sign ex-Lions DE Ansah

The Seattle Seahawks are signing defensive end Ezekiel Ansah to a one-year contract, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

There had been momentum toward a deal earlier Wednesday, as Rapoport reported the Seahawks had emerged as the front-runners for the veteran’s services.

Ansah, 29, had a disappointing 2018 season for the Detroit Lions, as shoulder injuries limited him to just seven games after a promising start to the year. For Ansah, it followed a familiar pattern, as he’s alternated big seasons with down years since 2015

As Michael Rothstein of ESPN.com noted in December, “In his six seasons with Detroit after being drafted fifth overall out of BYU, Ansah has dealt with shoulder, ankle, knee and biceps injuries—including a shoulder surgery in 2014 and a knee cleanout this past offseason.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Thursday morning that “Ansah still is recovering from shoulder surgery that is expected to keep him out of training camp or longer; some league sources believe Ansah could miss the first month of this season, at least.”

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The Lions and Ansah couldn’t agree to an extension before the 2018 campaign, with Detroit instead choosing to slap the franchise tag on him. That was never a likelihood again in 2019, however, and Ansah hit the market.

When he’s healthy and on his game, he’s one of the NFL’s better edge-rushers, and the Seahawks will be hoping that’s the player they get in 2019. Based on how his past four seasons have played out, he’s due for a big campaign.

With Frank Clark traded to the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, the Seahawks needed to bolster the pass rush. The team did address the edge in the draft, adding L.J. Collier in the first round, but adding a veteran like Ansah made sense for Seattle. Ansah isn’t as good as Clark at this point in his career, not by a long shot, but if he can regain his 2017 form he could be a very nice addition for the Seahawks.

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George out for camp start after surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George will miss the start of his team’s 2019-20 preseason training camp at minimum after undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder, the team announced (per Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman).

George averaged a career-high 28.0 points and 8.2 rebounds this season. The All-Star was considered an MVP candidate before spending the latter half of the year dealing with a shoulder injury.

“I think it came at a terrible time, especially [because] the team was rolling,” George said of the shoulder injury. “We were playing good. I was holding up pretty, pretty, pretty good. I just thought it came at the wrong time, honestly. But again, I’ve never made no excuses on it. I was dealing with it for a long time throughout the season. It just got worse and worse as it went on.

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“Injuries are part of the game,” he added. “I’ve missed a season being hurt, so I was able to— the training staff assured me I was fine to play through it, and I will be fine going forward. I’d had no other thought in my mind but to be out there and play and ride it out with my guys.”

George was the Thunder’s best player throughout the regular season, and it was clear the shoulder was hampering him more than he was letting on.

Russell Westbrook also underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left hand that he’d been dealing with the final six weeks of the regular season. The injury was never made public, and the level to which it affected Westbrook’s game is unclear. The 2016 NBA MVP also underwent a procedure on right knee that was considered “proactive maintenance.” 

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Jason Pierre-Paul has fractured neck, may miss season

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered a fractured neck in a one-car crash in South Florida last week and might miss the entirety of the 2019 season, according to a report from ESPN on Tuesday.

The outlet added that Pierre-Paul will see more doctors this week “to see if there’s hope to save this season.”

The crash occurred Thursday morning, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht confirmed in a statement, and Pierre-Paul was released from a local hospital the following day. The team did not provide other details about the crash, and the Associated Press reported that Pierre-Paul was not cited in the incident. “As we stated last week following the news of Jason’s auto accident, our immediate concern was for both Jason and his passenger,” Licht said Tuesday in a statement. 

“While Jason was treated and released in south Florida the same day of the accident, we wanted to ensure that our medical team had an opportunity to perform a thorough evaluation here in Tampa, and that process is currently ongoing.”

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Pierre-Paul, 30, is a two-time Pro Bowl honoree who spent the first eight seasons of his NFL career with the New York Giants before being traded to the Buccaneers last year. He recorded 12 1/2 sacks for Tampa Bay in what was his most effective season since 2015, when he lost the index finger on his right hand in a fireworks accident on July 4.

Without him, they will have to count on players like Noah Spence and Carl Nassib, as well as some of their more recent draft picks, to generate pressure on opposing quarterbacks. It is unknown how Pierre-Paul’s status will affect the future of interior lineman Gerald McCoy, who was been speculated about as a possible cap casualty throughout the offseason.

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