Earl Thomas to skip Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp over contract

cowboys_076Seattle Seahawks star safety Earl Thomas announced Sunday that he will not attend this week’s mandatory minicamp until my contract situation is resolved.

In a message posted on Twitter, Thomas emphasized that he wants to remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career. But Thomas, who is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal, also said he wants to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career.

Thomas, 29, was the subject of trade speculation earlier this offseason. Seahawks general manager John Schneider never shot down the possibility when asked about it, saying it’s his job to listen to all offers. He told Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR after the NFL draft in April that the team wasn’t trying to trade Thomas.

Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner are two of the star defenders who remain with the Seahawks after an offseason of big-name departures. Seattle cut Richard Sherman, traded Michael Bennett, lost Sheldon Richardson in free agency and released Cliff Avril with a failed physical designation. Kam Chancellor’s football future is uncertain because of a neck injury. Seattle also lost tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Paul Richardson in free agency.

Davenport will be able to practice this week before having the surgery, according to the source. It’s unclear when Davenport suffered the injury. But the timing should work out as well as possible under the circumstances, since the Saints are scheduled to break for seven weeks after the minicamp.

The Saints obviously have high hopes for Davenport, as they traded up from No. 27 to No. 14 to get him (using their 2019 first-round pick to do so). But the 6-foot-6, 265-pounder is still considered a bit of a raw, developmental prospect after playing at the University of Texas-San Antonio, where he had 15 sacks over his final two seasons.

Among other things Davenport will need to adapt to at the pro level, he is switching to a more traditional three-point stance after playing almost exclusively in a two-point stance in recent years. That means the Saints will want him on the field for as much of training camp and the preseason as possible. But Davenport has gotten some valuable work already during the past three weeks of OTA practice sessions. He has practiced regularly with the first-string defense since veteran DEs Cameron Jordan and Alex Okafor have been recovering from injuries of their own.

NFL free agency: Brandon Marshall to sign with Seahawks

cowboys_078NFL free agency: Brandon Marshall to sign with Seahawks More Russell Wilson will have another veteran target available this fall. Brandon Marshall has agreed to a one-year deal with the Seahawks, ESPN reported Tuesday. The news came shortly after Marshall posted a series of pictures on his Instagram account in which he sported a Seahawks 12sjersey. Marshall, 34, gives Seattle a big body alongside Doug Baldwin and Tyler Lockett, not to mention more than a decade of NFL experience.

There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views, Smith added in a subsequent tweet. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go.

The NFL Players Association expressed displeasure with Trump’s decision, saying in a statement Tuesday: Our union is disappointed in the decision by the White House to disinvite players from the Philadelphia Eagles from being recognized and celebrated by all Americans for their accomplishment. This decision by the White House has led to the cancellation of several player-led community service events for young people in the Washington, DC area. NFL players love their country, support our troops, give back to their communities and strive to make America a better place.

Several Eagles players have been active in trying to raise awareness of social injustice, but none took a knee during the anthem last season. Several, like Jenkins, raised a fist during the anthem at times; Long has supported those teammates, standing beside them.

This is a very winning, strong issue for me, Trump told Jones, according to the deposition. Tell everybody you can’t win this one. This one lifts me.

In order to win, the owners needed to connect with their players, turn the protests into more community action and send a smarter message about a sensitive subject. They could have given their players reason to stop kneeling and using the pregame ceremonies to protest by supporting them and using their influence and a little money to provide another avenue to spark meaningful discussion and possibly even change. The players were trying to speak for the voiceless and make pleas for justice and equality. Most of the owners didn’t even understand that until after meetings with a coalition of players late last season. By then, however, the league was amid a civil war, and it was desperate to negotiate a truce.

And what happened after all those negotiations turned into an agreement to partner on an $89 million fund for social justice causes, which will be doled out over a seven-year period? The owners thought it was over; the players thought it was a good start. The owners returned to being underhanded; the players called them out, but they also failed to stay unified and couldn’t agree on what to ask for next. It was an awful mistake.

New York Giants defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson is another player who makes his money in the trenches but will still be worth watching closely during OTAs.

If Godwin can deliver this spring, he should be on track to start stealing most of Humphries’ snaps—and perhaps some of Jackson’s—come September.

Offseason practices aren’t supposed to be physical, so it’s difficult to get a feel for the effectiveness of those who work in the trenches. But when the Indianapolis Colts start OTAs next week, those in attendance will be closely monitoring third-year center Ryan Kelly.

After all, the 2016 first-round pick will be trying to prove that he’s physically OK after a broken foot and lingering symptoms from a concussion derailed his sophomore NFL season.

Two years ago, the Colts hoped Kelly could bring some much-needed stability to an oft-maligned offensive line, and he got off to a good start by playing more than 1,000 snaps without missing a start as a rookie. According to Pro Football Focus, he didn’t surrender a single sack that year.

With 2017 regulars Adrian Clayborn and Dontari Poe now gone, McKinley should have a chance to earn an even larger role.

It’ll help if he’s able to bounce back from early-offseason shoulder surgery in time to make a strong impact when the Falcons kick off OTAs on Monday.

Head coach Hue Jackson is their attempt to establish something even remotely along the lines of stability and synergy — and he’s posted a 1-31 record over the past two seasons. Many thought he would be fired this past offseason, but the Browns are taking one last grasp at keeping this crew together before they hit the big red button, which presumably is prominently featured on Jimmy Haslam’s desk with the words “FIRE COACH” on it.

Jackson is an interesting character himself, and seeing him either rise to the occasion in what is a make-or-break year or completely fall apart would make for good viewing.

We don’t want him to fail for our amusement, though it should be fascinating to see if any of that dysfunction will appear on the show. Surely, there will be plenty of it to film, but whether or not it makes it past editing is the real question.

At the end of the the 2016 season, Jackson promised that the team would not be 1-15 again.

“No. I’ll be swimming in that lake [Erie] over there somewhere. That’s not happening,” Jackson said.cowboys_045

Eagles sign Markus Wheaton

The Eagles signed a former Bears wide receiver to a one-year deal last offseason and bringing Alshon Jeffery to Philadelphia paid off for the team.

Markus Wheaton won’t be expected to have the same kind of impact as Jeffery, but he’ll also get a chance to continue his career with the Eagles. The team announced on Tuesday that Wheaton has signed a one-year deal with the team.

On Wednesday, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones stuck up for Bryant, saying that he believes Bryant can still help a team in a big way.

I think Dez has an excellent opportunity to make a significant contribution to a team in the NFL, Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota. Our time was the right time as far as our relationship, but that doesn’t preclude him from being productive for another team.

Jones might not be entirely wrong, but it comes down to how he defines a significant contribution. Can Bryant still help a team?

“There would have been a discussion,” Ballard said. “But [Nelson’s] ceiling is higher.”

Ballard showed reporters Nelson’s game tape, footage of his workouts, and even a picture of him stretching and came to the conclusion that “God made him a little bit different than He made everybody else.” Ballard thinks Nelson is a player who can be a centerpiece of the Colts franchise for years to come.

The Cleveland Browns have another new quarterback, with former Eastern Michigan star Brogan Roback signing a free-agent contract Thursday.

He has agreed to a three-year deal, and becomes the fourth quarterback on the current Browns roster, including last month’s No. 1 overall pick, Baker Mayfield, as well as expected starter Tyrod Taylor and former Michigan State standout and veteran NFL backup Drew Stanton.

It’s absolutely motivating, Roback told The News, speaking of the quarterbacks he will be competing against.broncos_106_34ed6e06d0ab4222-180x180

Outside of the fifth inning, he did not allow multiple runners to reach base in any frame.

NEED TO KNOW: The Warriors have been dominant on their home floor for two straight postseasons, having won a franchise-record 14 consecutive playoff games at Oracle Arena and already closed out the Spurs at Oakland in Game 5.

With a 15th straight home playoff win, the Warriors would tie Chicago for an NBA record. The Bulls did so from April 27, 1990, to May 21, 1991.

The bigger the game the better Draymond plays, coach Steve Kerr said, the more intense he is, the more focus he has. He’s going against Anthony Davis night after night and just doing an amazing job in concert with his teammates. Draymond’s a rare guy. Every time the moment gets bigger, he gets better and not everybody can say that. Durant has scored 20 or more points in 16 straight postseason games.

PRIORITY ON SHOOTING: Gentry gives New Orleans little chance of staying in the series and staving off elimination without a big scoring performance. The Pelicans lost 118-92 on Sunday and shot just 36.4 percent — 32 of 88 and 4 for 26 on 3-pointers.

You’re not going to beat them if you’re not going to score 115 points, I don’t care how good your defense is, Gentry said.

He gave way to relief pitcher David Robertson after Nunez legged out an infield single to lead off the top of the seventh inning after a 10-pitch at bat. Severino threw 109 pitches.

Nunez scored on Betts’ single with Severino watching form the bench. Robertson then struck out Benintendi to end the inning.

When a good player becomes a bad player, nine times out of 10 it’s the player’s fault, not the GM’s or head coach’s. It’s impossible to consider all these factors and then assign a grade. So, what you see below is more an examination of how a draft turned out, as opposed to how it was conducted. With big moves in Rounds 1 and 2, we can play the woulda/coulda/shoulda game (demeriting the Bills for trading up to get Sammy Watkins in a draft that also had Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandin Cooks, for example), but most of the woulda/coulda/shouldas will be left on the table, where they belong.sharks-010

Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. to miss rest of Raptors series

Wizards forward Otto Porter Jr. will miss the rest of the team’s first-round playoff series with the Toronto Raptors because of a leg injury.

Porter underwent a minor procedure on his left leg Friday to address swelling in the area of a bruise, the team announced. He will not play Friday night in Game 6 or Sunday in a possible Game 7.

Coach Scott Brooks said Porter suffered the injury in Game 4 and it worsened in Game 5.

“He’s probably been dealing with it for a while, but he’s been going out there and giving us everything he’s got as a teammate. And we respect and appreciate that as much as possible.”

Kelly Oubre Jr. will start in Porter’s place, and Ty Lawson and Tomas Satoransky will see more minutes, especially when the Raptors go with a smaller lineup.

“Do I want to lead a team again? Absolutely,” Foles told reporters. “But am I trying to run away and do that right now? Well if it presents itself and that works out, then fine, I’ll live in that moment. But at the same time, I’m so grateful to be a part of this organization.”

Foles said he wasn’t worried about trade rumors as it’s not worth worrying about something he can’t control. Eagles coach Doug Pederson said at last month’s owners meetings that Foles won’t be traded.

Foles agreed to the restructured contract last week, a deal that includes a $2 million signing bonus, incentives if he starts and hits certain benchmarks, and a mutual option for 2019. Foles was in the final year of his contract and was scheduled to make a base salary of $4 million this season.

“It was sort of a mutual thing,” Foles told reporters. “We had been talking about it, just because of the situation we’re in. The contract, if you really analyze it, it’s really a good, good contract. It benefits me; it also benefits the team, as well. They have an option on me. We were able to basically create something that protected me and protected the team because it is a unique situation we’re in now.”dolphins_013

Saints move up 13 spots to draft DE Marcus Davenport, trade 2019 first-round pick to Packers

The New Orleans Saints made a major trade Thursday night to move up in the first round of the NFL draft and select defensive end Marcus Davenport with the 14th overall pick.

The Saints traded their first-round pick this year (No. 27), a fifth-rounder (No. 147) and their first-round pick in 2019 to the Green Bay Packers to land Davenport, a former Texas-San Antonio star who figures to bolster New Orleans’ pass rush.

Although Payton said it was fair to label Davenport as more of a raw, developmental prospect than most rookies in this year’s draft class, he said the 6-foot-6, 264-pounder fits the size/speed “prototype” for the position. He ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.58 seconds at the scouting combine, and Payton also praised his intelligence and “tremendous makeup.”

First-year Packers GM Brian Gutekunst wasn’t done trading after the deal with the Saints. He went from 14 back to 27 and up to 18 — where he took Louisville cornerback Jaire Alexander after a trade with the Seahawks.

Gutekunst said he did not have the deal in place with Seattle GM John Schneider, a former colleague in Green Bay, when he moved back from No. 14. But he was intent on moving up.

Ole Miss objected to Patterson’s waiver request earlier this month with the school saying it didn’t believe he and the other players were told lies about the future of the program. Rebels coach Matt Luke said he and others at the school have no problem with Patterson being able to play in 2018, but the school did not agree with the way his request was worded. Athletic director Ross Bjork told reporters he had “no choice” but to object because of the claims made in the waiver request.

Bjork said Thursday night that Ole Miss was waiting for the NCAA to send the school Michigan’s updated filing before deciding how to respond. Ole Miss has the option to agree, disagree or give no response to the filing, but ultimately it is the NCAA’s decision to make.

“It’s a blessing and an honor. It just shows that [the Raiders] kept faith in me and they got faith in me, and also that I believe in myself. Things aren’t going to be easy, things are always not easy, but you’ve got to just keep fighting and keep working, and I’m going to be all right. I’m going to handle my business, come to work here and prepare and go out and handle my business as a man.”

Bryant was acquired Thursday night for the third-round pick, No. 79 overall, Oakland had acquired from the Arizona Cardinals in trading back from No. 10 overall to No. 15 in the first round of the NFL draft.sl_cardinals_095

Ryan Pace: Cameron Meredith’s knee was why Bears didn’t match offer sheet

Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace said on Tuesday that input from Chicago’s team physicians and training staff weighed heavily in the organization’s decision to decline to match the offer sheet that wide receiver Cameron Meredith received from the New Orleans Saints.

In her letter to the 81-year-old Richardson, the woman said she “didn’t know what to do” about alleged multiple sexual advances by the Panthers owner.

“I didn’t know what to do when you called me to your stadium suite in the middle of the week so you could take off my shoes, place my legs in your lap and rub their entire length, from toes to crotch,” the woman wrote in the letter. “I didn’t know what to do when you asked me to turn around so you could see how my jeans looked. I didn’t know what to do when you brushed my breasts to put my seat belt around me in the front seat of your car. I didn’t know what to do when you put your hands on my mouth, for me to kiss them. I didn’t know what to do when you asked me uncomfortable, sexually charged questions.

“I didn’t know what to do. So, I did what you told me to do.”

“It feels good, especially the way we’ve been playing,” Tillman said. “We know we are capable of better and it feels good to come out of a game with the lead for once.”

“It was fun to watch,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “We all know what it could mean to us if Chris could get going like Chris is capable.”

Mike Fiers (2-2) allowed three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and one walk over six innings for the Tigers, who have lost three straight.

“I definitely could have made better pitches,” Fiers said. “Manny Machado is a tough out. He’s one of the hottest hitters in the league right now so you have to be careful.”

Machado gave the Orioles the lead in the first with a solo homer to center. Fiers retired 12 in a row before Alvarez homered in the fifth.

Former Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis, who was fired in January, has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over what her attorney called “antiquated” and “blatantly discriminatory” policies.

He sent an 0-1 slider from Alex Wilson (0-1) just over the 21-foot-high wall in right field, at first standing at the plate and watching the drive before starting to jog up the first-base line. A fan in a black Pirates sweatshirt reached out and caught the ball, and Wilson immediately pointed to ask for a video the initial home-run call.

Ivan Nova pitched eight scoreless innings and allowed six hits while striking out five. He got 13 outs on ground balls.sl_cardinals_013

Gray strikes out 11 to help Rockies beat Padres 5-2

Jon Gray altered the grip on his slider and set his aim higher in the strike zone.

It added up to a big change in fortune.

The hard-throwing righty struck out 11 in six dominant innings and David Dahl lined a two-run triple, lifting the Colorado Rockies to a 5-2 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

“Pitches were at a premium for him today,” Padres manager Andy Green said. “Obviously after four that was enough. I think he did enough to keep us in the ball game. We just didn’t do anything offensively.”

Dahl provided the big blow at the plate with a triple off the wall during a three-run third that gave Colorado an early 4-0 cushion. That was more than enough support for Gray, who’s been struggling with his rhythm. He entered the game allowing 18 earned runs over his three-game skid.

He found his groove early, striking out Jose Pirela to start the game. Two batters later, a fan interfered with first baseman Ryan McMahon trying to catch Wil Myers’ foul ball near the stands. Gray quickly regrouped after the fan got the souvenir and promptly struck out Myers.

“I would actually say that I’m not as angry that there were nine guys ahead of me, just three quarterbacks,” Rosen said. “That’s kind of what gets to me. So, there were three big mistakes ahead of me, but honestly, it’s a blessing in disguise. This is an incredible team that I think is really, really primed and set to do some incredible things in the future, and I think I just, very simply, lucked out.”

Rosen donned a navy-blue suit with a white shirt and red tie as he gave a brief statement and then answered questions. Rosen, whose frustrations with sliding to 10th came through during his interviews Thursday night, ended his opening statement by saying, “I don’t have too much to say.”

Rosen doesn’t think his outgoing personality will hinder his ability to make a smooth transition to the Cardinals’ locker room. In fact, he believes it’ll help.

“I think that’s probably the unique reason why I get along with my teammates very well, is because I’m me,” Rosen said. “Who I am at this podium and how I’m talking to you is the exact same way I’m talking to my teammates, my family, everyone.

“I’m very real. I am who I am, and I think that’s why I’m very grateful to be an Arizona Cardinal, because the team that picked me, they picked me. I didn’t try to put on a face. I didn’t try to put on a show, which is why I think I’m a perfect fit here.”jets_038

Mahle loses no-hitter in 7th, Reds beat Braves 9-7 in 12

The Cincinnati Reds couldn’t get Tyler Mahle a win despite his dominant performance. Scooter Gennett made sure they avoided another gut-wrenching loss.

Gennett hit a two-run homer in the 12th inning for a 9-7 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night, salvaging a game that got out of hand when their rookie starter left. Mahle took a no-hitter into the seventh, and it all came apart.

Freddie Freeman homered for Atlanta’s first hit, only the third ball the Braves managed to get out of the infield. He homered again as Atlanta scored four times in the ninth for a 7-7 tie.

Freeman led off the seventh with a homer on the rookie’s 90th pitch — Mahle turned his head and muttered a word in frustration as the ball left the bat. Kurt Suzuki hit a two-run homer off Mahle later in the inning.

Mahle drew attention on his way to the majors by throwing a no-hitter in Single-A in 2016 and a perfect game last April 22 at Double-A. He was starting to think another was in reach on Tuesday.

“It’s always in the back of your mind a little bit,” Mahle said.

The 39-year-old third baseman in his 21st season didn’t sound optimistic after the game but wanted to wait for an MRI on Wednesday before saying much else.

If Beltre ends up on the disabled list, the Rangers won’t have any of their opening day infielders in those spots for the finale of what is already a fifth straight series loss at home, the most to start a season since the franchise moved to Texas in 1972.

“We already have our key players hurt on the middle infield,” Beltre said. “We didn’t need another one. It’s no secret we’ve been struggling offensively. We’re trying to find a way to get through it.”

Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus is out at least another month after breaking his right elbow when he was hit by a pitch April 12. Second baseman Rougned Odor has been out since April 10 with a left hamstring strain.

When Andrus got hurt, Joey Gallo was shuffled to left field from first base, where rookie Ronald Guzman is starting now. Delino DeShields has returned to center field after a broken hand sidelined him for three weeks and weakened the Texas outfield significantly.

“It’s gut-wrenching, to say the least,” said manager Jeff Banister, whose Rangers (8-17) have matched their second-worst 25-game start and are 3-12 at home. “However, I’ll continue to say this: There is no timeout. We’ll continue to play.”jets_065