Tagged in: washington

New York Jets signing RT Morgan Moses to one-year deal

The New York Jets are signing right tackle Morgan Moses to a one-year deal, sources confirmed to ESPN on Friday.

Moses, 30, released by the Washington Football Team on May 20 in a salary-cap move, will compete with incumbent George Fant at right tackle.

Not only do the Jets get a proven starter in Moses, but it increases their depth and flexibility. If Fant loses out to Moses, which is the likely scenario, he can be the backup/swing tackle.

This is another assertive move by general manager Joe Douglas, who made it a priority to rebuild one of the league’s worst offensive lines. Douglas used his 2020 first-round pick on left tackle Mekhi Becton, and he followed up by using a 2021 first-round choice on Alijah Vera-Tucker, who projects as the team’s starting left guard. The Jets liked Vera-Tucker so much that they traded up nine spots to take him.

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The Jets had planned on riding with Fant — $4.45 million of his $8.5 million salary is guaranteed — but they changed course when Moses became available. They hosted him on a free-agent visit.

“Morgan is a fantastic player. He’s played at a very high level,” coach Robert Saleh stated recently. “We’re not going to shy away from adding good football players.”

Tackle depth is important.

Becton, battling plantar fasciitis, missed most of the offseason program. He was hurt in the first practice and remained on the sideline. Saleh downplayed the injury, saying he’s “not worried about his availability” for training camp.

Still, there are concerns about Becton’s weight and durability, as he missed the equivalent of five games last campaign due to various injuries. When healthy, he was dominant at times.

Moses (6-foot-6, 330) is one of the most durable lineman in the league. He has started every game since 2015, all but one at right tackle.

In 2020, he ranked 39th out of 62 qualifying tackles in pass block win rate, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Fant was 40th in the rankings. The Washington Football Team cut Moses with two years remaining on his contract.

He was due to make $7.75 million in 2021. Moses, a third-round pick out of Virginia in 2014, has played 104 games, including 97 starts.

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LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

Zach LaVine scored 24 points, Lauri Markkanen added 20 and the Chicago Bulls defeated the short-handed Toronto Raptors 114-102 on Thursday night.

The Bulls pulled within two games of idle Washington with two remaining for 10th place in the Eastern Conference and the final play-in spot.

Chicago led by 24 in the third quarter, with the Raptors holding out their best players, and came away with the victory despite a big effort by Stanley Johnson.

“We don’t control our own desiny, but we live another day, so to speak here,” coach Billy Donovan said. “It’s out of our hands. And I thought it was important that we show up and do our job as best we can.”

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LaVine, coming off a 41-point in Tuesday’s loss to Brooklyn, scored 16 in the second half.

Markkanen made six 3-pointers — one shy of his season high.

Coby White had 17 points and 10 assists. Nikola Vucevic added 16 points and 16 rebounds to help the Bulls win for the fourth time in five matches.

Johnson led Toronto with a career-high 35 points. The sixth-year pro nailed six 3s and grabbed 10 rebounds while playing turnover-free ball.

“You put a lot of work in, you put a lot of effort into something, to get a positive result and affection is always good,” Johnson said.

“As much as you kill yourself when you’re down, you’ve got to give yourself a pat on the butt when you’re up. … To be able to play a decent game, a good game, I’m happy.”

Rookie Jalen Harris scored a personal-best 17. Malachi Flynn added 16 points. But Toronto lost for the eighth time in nine games.

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Schwarber debuts, leads Nats over Cardinals 5-2

Kyle Schwarber doubled home a run in his delayed Nationals debut, Andrew Stevenson had a pinch-hit homer and Washington defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 5-2 Monday night.

Schwarber, Josh Bell and Josh Harrison were in the starting lineup after being sidelined for Washington’s first six matches by a coronavirus outbreak that prompted the postponement of the team’s season-opening series and left the club short-handed.

The Nats ended a five-game skid, while the Cardinals lost their third consecutive. “We talked about it before the game: Fresh start for all of us, our guys are back,” Nationals manager Dave Martinez said. “So let’s forget about the first six games and start today.”

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Stevenson hit his first homer of the season into St. Louis’ bullpen in right field leading off the seventh inning, putting Washington ahead 4-2. The solo shot was just his fourth homer in 221 career at-bats.

Kyle Finnegan (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up a run on one hit. He struck out two.

Schwarber, acquired in the offseason after the Chicago Cubs declined to offer him a contract, hit a 1-0 pitch from starter John Gant into right-center to drive in Juan Soto, who singled to start the sixth.

“I felt like a lot of guys had great at-bats all night, working deep counts and making that guy grind out there,” Schwarber said. “You know, that’s contagious.”

The Nationals added a run on the next pitch from reliever Giovanny Gallegos when Starlin Castro hit a sacrifice fly to foul territory in right, driving in Bell.

Gant (0-1) went five innings and gave up three runs. He permitted six hits, struck out four and walked three.

“The challenge tonight was not getting them all out,” Gant said about the sixth inning, when the first three batters reached against him. “They got a couple of knocks and got me out.”

Washington had an opportunity to break the game open when the first four batters reached to start the eighth against reliever Andrew Miller, including Castro singling home Bell. Ryan Helsley struck out Yan Gomes, and pinch-hitter Ryan Zimmerman flied out to center fielder Dylan Carlson, who threw out Schwarber at home to end the inning.

Yadier Molina hit his second homer of the season in the sixth to pull the Cardinals to 3-2.

Matt Carpenter ended an 0-for-12 start to the season with a bunt single in the third and scored on Tommy Edman’s hit, tying the game at 1. Carpenter has struggled at the plate since spring training, with just two hits in 37 at-bats, including 13 strikeouts.

“I was just glad to get one on the board,” Carpenter said. “Sometimes the first one is the hardest. It obviously was for me.”

Victor Robles led off the game with his second triple of the season and scored on Soto’s one-out single to give the Nationals a 1-0 lead.

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Washington LB Thomas Davis Sr. says he’ll retire after 2020 season

Washington Football Team linebacker Thomas Davis Sr. will retire at the end of this campaign, he said in an Instagram post.

Washington (6-9) can extend Davis’ final season by defeating the Philadelphia Eagles to win the NFC East on Sunday.

Davis, 37, has played 16 years in the NFL — the first 14 with Carolina and then the past two with the Los Angeles Chargers and Washington. Davis has served mostly in a backup role with Washington this season. He has played in seven games and received 132 snaps from scrimmage, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Washington coach Ron Rivera signed him because of Davis’ leadership and his familiarity with what Rivera wanted from his players.

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Rivera trusted Davis because of how he played for him in Carolina, where he made the Pro Bowl three consecutive seasons, from 2015 to 2017. He was a first team All-Pro performer in 2015, the year Carolina reached the Super Bowl. Davis signed a two-year deal with the Chargers in 2019 but was released last offseason.

Davis also endured three torn ACLs.

As a reminder of how he endured, Davis posted pictures of cleats on Instagram that sum up his career. One cleat has written on it “3 ACL Tears. 3 ACL Recoveries.” It also shows how many Pro Bowls he earned. On the other cleat, it reflects him winning the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award.

Carolina drafted Davis with the 14th overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft; he had played linebacker and free safety at Georgia. He was considered a top safety prospect before that draft, but the Panthers moved him to linebacker.

His speed and athleticism helped him have success in the NFL. In 199 games, Davis recorded 1,151 tackles, 29 sacks, 18 forced fumbles and 13 interceptions.

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Washington Wizards teammates laud Russell Westbrook’s ‘great’ overall impact in his debut

Russell Westbrook drove the lane, found Thomas Bryant open for an easy dunk as the Washington Wizards’ big man drew a foul and then immediately ran to Bryant to scream his approval.

In his first match with the Wizards, Westbrook logged only 17 first-half minutes in Washington’s 99-96 triumph over the Detroit Pistons. But his impact was felt with his energy, pace and ability to get the ball moving and draw the defense’s attention.

“You could see in the first half really how many open shots we got,” Wizards forward Davis Bertans said of Westbrook’s impact. “And how many good looks we had and it was all I would say Russ.

“He set the tone for driving and kicking … I am pretty sure it is going to get better from here.” After being held out of the Wizards’ first two preseason games, Westbrook played in the team’s final tuneup before the regular-season opener at Philadelphia on Dec. 23. Westbrook ended with 8 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and shot 4-for-10, including 0-for-3 from behind the arc.

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“It was good,” Westbrook said of his first game as a Wizard. “We won, the most important part … I like where we were tonight.

“My job is to try to set the tone. Have them be ready to play.”

The Wizards saw Westbrook’s encouragement on offense in the ability Bradley Beal had to work one-on-one against defenders and how much the Wizards tried to push the pace. Washington led by as much as 16 and had 10 fast-break points in the first half when Westbrook played.

“It just felt great,” Beal said of playing with Westbrook. “It was great energy … I don’t think it will be tough as people are trying to make it out to be. We both do a really good job off of feeding off of each other, just adjusting to how each other plays.

“The most important thing is his pace and energy he brings to the table … it just works out well. We just continue to play off each other, feed off each other and push each other.”

While Beal missed all seven of his 3-point attempts, he scored 15 points and hit seven field goals.

Beal averaged 30.5 points last campaign but drew the majority of the opposing defense’s attention as the Wizards’ lone star.

“Our job is to make the game easier for him,” Westbrook said. “Find a way to constantly feed him the ball so he can score at a high rate. He has shown he is able to do that. He is going to be great. I am not worried about Brad one bit.”

Bryant benefited from the attention Westbrook drew, scoring 22 points and making 7 of 12 shots. And Wizards coach Scott Brooks loved seeing an animated Westbrook celebrating Bryant’s dunk with the foul and encouraging the big man in the first quarter.

“Really good,” Brooks said when asked about Westbrook’s first preseason action. “He’s been looking like that all training camp. His spirit is about winning, not about stats. He plays the right way and teaches our young fellas the right things. He’s great. “He’s nothing short of spectacular, what he tells the guys, how he coaches his teammates and they listen. What he’s done, how he prepares and how he trains and how he looks at the game is priceless.”

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New York Giants WR Golden Tate suffers knee injury in practice

Golden Tate was planned to address the media for the first time since being benched for last week’s game versus Washington. Instead, the wide receiver was a late scratch after the New York Giants said he suffered a knee injury late in Thursday’s practice.

The original belief is that the injury is not anything potentially season-ending, a source told ESPN. Tate was officially listed as a limited participant in practice.

It has been an eventful campaign for Tate. He missed the season opener with a hamstring injury, fought Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey at midfield in Week 4 and expressed his displeasure with his shrinking role late in a Monday night loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then was suspended for his actions.

Just when he was supposed to return to face one of his former teams, the Philadelphia Eagles, he hurt his knee. The veteran receiver was set to resume his previous role, according to wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert. Tate was playing just over 50% of the offensive snaps before being benched.

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He seemed to be participating fully during the portion of Thursday’s practice that was open to the media.

“We’re kind of past that issue now,” coach Joe Judge stated before practice. “We’re getting ready to play Philly right now. Golden’s getting ready to play Philly as well right now.

“I love the way he came to practice [Wednesday]. I love the way he’s preparing so far today. We’re going to be on the field today. We’ll be over in the stadium. It’ll be a good chance for the entire team to work on the turf for a day today and get moving forward with it. But look, we’re totally past the whole situation last week. It is what it is. I look forward to getting Golden on the field with us. We’ll roll him in fast.”

Undrafted rookie Austin Mack took Tate’s snaps in Sunday’s victory over Washington and led the Giants with 72 yards on four receptions.

Tate is a former Pro Bowl receiver with 682 receptions for 8,116 yards and 46 touchdowns in 112 career starts. But last week he was told to stay home Wednesday while the Giants practiced and spent most of the rest of the week working with the scout team.

In Week 8, Tate was caught on camera yelling “Throw me the ball” after a spectacular leaping touchdown grab late in the fourth quarter put the Giants in position to tie the score. His wife, Elise, ranted that night on Instagram about his lack of opportunities, and Tate later liked a tweet that suggested he should be cut and given an opportunity to sign elsewhere.

Sources stated the Giants were open to moving Tate before the trade deadline. But his salary (almost $4.5 million this season), age (32) and deteriorating production (22 catches for 226 yards and two touchdowns in seven games) made it unlikely.

The rare times Tate has been called on in recent weeks, he has produced. He had touchdown grabs of 19 and 39 yards despite just five targets combined versus the Buccaneers and Eagles in his past two games.

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NBA suspends Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo 1 game for headbutting

Giannis Antetokounmpo let his emotions get the best of him on Tuesday, and the reigning MVP is paying the price for it. In a tense second quarter between his Milwaukee Bucks and the Washington Wizards, Giannis, who had been fouled several times, finally lost his temper after a charge call.

The Bucks called timeout, but Antetokounmpo, in his frustration, delivered a headbutt to Wizards big man Moe Wagner. He was called for a flagrant-2 foul and ejected.

As a result of the head shot, the NBA is suspending the Greek Freak for the Bucks’ final seeding game Thursday versus the Memphis Grizzlies, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Antetokounmpo was remorseful in his actions when speaking to the media after the game. “Terrible action,” Antetokounmpo said. “If I could go back and turn back time and go back to that play, I wouldn’t do it. But at the end of the day, we’re all human, we all make mistakes.

I think I’ve done a great job all year, in my career, of keeping my composure and focusing on the game, but like I said, we’re human, we make mistakes. But at the end of the day, learn from it, keep playing good basketball and keep moving forward.”

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In relation to why he reacted that way, the reigning MVP said that he was responding to what he felt was a build-up of emotion over the course of the game. While Wagner received the brunt of Antetokounmpo’s frustration, he wasn’t necessarily angry with him.

“I don’t think I was frustrated with Wagner,” Antetokounmpo said. “I think it was just the whole, like, build-up of dirty plays in my mind. Guys tripping me, guys falling in front of my feet, holding me, hitting me. It wasn’t just — I don’t have nothing against Wagner, it wasn’t just him.”

The ejection was the third of Antetokounmpo’s regular-season career and fourth overall. Based on historical precedent, Antetokounmpo’s one-game suspension was expected. Hasheem Thabeet (2013) and Kevin Garnett (2015) both headbutted opposing players and were suspended for their team’s next game.

Milwaukee’s next game comes versus Memphis as the Grizzlies desperately try to fight their way into the play-in tournament for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot. 

Milwaukee has nothing to play for having long-since clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, so losing Antetokounmpo for a game has no bearing on its playoff future. But the Bucks have struggled to get into a rhythm in Orlando due to a combination of rest- and coronavirus-induced absences.

They will have a relatively easy first-round series versus the Magic in which they can hopefully regain the momentum they’ve lost, but after that, they will have to win three very difficult series versus fellow contenders. 

Now Antetokounmpo loses his final tune-up game with the Bucks. They didn’t exactly need this win, but getting him those minutes on the court would have been valuable.

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Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka unsure whether he can take 1st rotation turn

Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is uncertain whether he will be able to take his first turn through the rotation as he recovers from a line drive off his head.

Tanaka was hit on the right side near the temple by Giancarlo Stanton’s shot during batting practice on July 4. While the 31-year-old right-hander says he has no concussion symptoms, he has not thrown off a mound since.

New York opens the season July 23 at Washington, and Tanaka is projected as part of a rotation behind new ace Gerrit Cole, joined by James Paxton, J.A. Happ and perhaps Jordan Montgomery. He still hopes to avoid missing any starts.

“I want to be optimistic and say yes,” Tanaka stated Tuesday through a translator. “But obviously the injury is at the head, so I think it’s something that I need to be cautious about and kind of take it careful, more so than other injuries.”

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Right fielder Aaron Judge was close to returning to intrasquad games following a stiff neck that sidelined him since late last week.

Tanaka was taken to a hospital for a CT scan after he was hit.

New York put Tanaka through the concussion protocol but he said he has not felt any symptoms. “Obviously, we’re taking things a little bit more carefully now. But the good thing is that I’m feeling fine right now,” Tanaka said. “I feel very lucky because, it could have been something that’s much worse.”

He doesn’t think he will fear being hit again.

“I think everything will be OK once I step on the mound,” Tanaka said. “But you really don’t know until you face a live hitter and at that point in time, you might feel some worries or concern going up on the mound. But as of now, I feel OK getting back on the mound.”

Tanaka is 75-43 with a 3.75 ERA in six campaigns with the Yankees and is entering the final season of a seven-year contract.

After spring training was stopped by the pandemic on March, Tanaka initially remained near the Yankees’ spring training complex in Florida, then returned with his family to Japan. He did not detail whether his decision was tied to allegations of threats against Asians in the U.S. but did say he was “considering what was best for the family.”

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Investors call on Nike, FedEx, PepsiCo to cut ties with Redskins over name

In order to get Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to pay attention to the ongoing calls for him to change the name of his NFL team, investors in major companies that have relationships with the franchise want to hit him in the wallet.

According to Adweek, letters signed by 87 investment firms and shareholders worth a collective $620 billion were distributed to Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo last week. Each of the three separate letters asked the companies to end their business relationships with Washington’s football franchise unless it changes its team name.

PepsiCo recently made the decision to sunset the Aunt Jemima brand, so there is some precedent for the company taking meaningful steps toward making real change.

Carla Fredericks, the director of First Peoples Worldwide and head of the University of Colorado Law School’s American Indian Law Clinic, told Adweek she was pleased to see shareholders in Fortune 500 companies like FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo realize the potential power they wield to shape change.

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“I’m very encouraged by the rising awareness of how every dollar you spend is a vote you cast on your values,” Fredericks said. “And that applies to money you have in investments as well as any brands you support. Anyone that has a simple stock portfolio with an index fund owns a share of these companies.”

Former NFL coach and current NBC broadcaster Tony Dungy also newly shared his method of encouraging Washington’s team name to be changed.

“When I’m on the air, I try to just refer to them as Washington. I think it’s appropriate,” Dungy said. “If the team doesn’t want to change, the least I can do is try not to use it. You can say, ‘This has been a historic name and we’ve used it for this team for X number of years, but in this day and age, it’s offensive to some people, so we’re going to change it.’ I don’t think that’s hard.” Snyder, Washington’s owner since 1999, said as recently as 2013 that he does not plan to ever alter the team’s name.

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PGA champions event in Washington canceled

On June 11th, the City of Snoqualmie revealed the 2020 Boeing Classic – the longstanding PGA TOUR Champions event held at the Club at Snoqualmie Ridge (benefitting Virginia Mason programs and services) – will not happen this summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tour stated the cancellation was “out of an abundance of caution for public health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Originally organized for the week of Aug. 17th-23rd. organizers of the event will instead focus on a successful return to the Champions Tour calendar in 2021. According to the news release, “The decision was made jointly with state and local health officials, as well as the PGA TOUR.”

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“While we are deeply disappointed to cancel the 16th annual Boeing Classic, this is the right thing to do given the uncertainty for large public gatherings in our state and the need to protect our players, fans, sponsors and volunteers,” said Boeing Classic Tournament Director Brian Flajole.

Since 2005, the tournament has raised nearly $10 million for local charities, including its main beneficiary, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason.

The weeklong event features the Seattle Seahawks Rumble on the Ridge golf tournament, as well as a variety of activities culminating in the PGA TOUR Champions event where legends of the game compete for a $2.1 million purse.

“The Boeing Classic is a community tradition in the Puget Sound region and a charitable event showcasing some of the greatest senior golfers in the world,” Flajole said. “The health and wellbeing of fans, players, staff and volunteers is of utmost importance to The Boeing Classic and all our partners. We are looking forward to the return of the Boeing Classic in August of 2021.”

This year was set to be the 16th playing of the only professional golf event held annually in the state.

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