NFL free agency news: Eagles, WR Mike Wallace agree to 1-year deal

The Eagles have every intention of returning to the Super Bowl next season, as made clear by a bevy of offseason moves that includes the signing of veteran wide receiver Mike Wallace on Thursday.

Wallace, 31, caught 124 passes for 1,765 yards and eight touchdowns in two seasons in Baltimore. Prior to his stint with the Ravens, Wallace made a name for himself as a deep threat with top-end speed in Pittsburgh, Miami and Minnesota. He has three seasons of 1,000 receiving yards or more, and 19 of his 57 career touchdowns have been 40 yards or longer.

They won’t be watching the scoreboard Wednesday night, either.

“We can’t anticipate them helping us,” Devin Harris said. “We dug ourselves into this hole; we’ve got to dig ourselves out.”

“We wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Gary Harris, who returned from an 11-game absence with 12 points. “If we win we’re in.”

NFL owners will consider that and other issues at next week’s annual owners meeting in Orlando.

One might think that the NFL could accommodate that request, but the league has several other factors to consider, including its TV partners. It’s worth noting the league’s 4 p.m. starts generally boast much higher ratings than 1 p.m. starts, although that’s partly a function of there being fewer games in the late slot, and there is usually a marquee matchup at that time.

Forsberg scored on a snap shot at 11:04. Then he got his 26th goal of the season just before the buzzer for a 3-0 lead with a shot from the right circle that went off the post and then Korpisalo into the net. Officials reviewed the play, which crossed at 0.4 seconds before the end of the period.

With Korpisalo pulled, Forsberg got the hat trick with an empty-net goal with 39.4 seconds left as fans celebrated by tossing the giveaway visors onto the ice.

Forsberg tied his career high with 64 points and also became Nashville’s scoring leader for the regular season with Viktor Arvidsson (61 points) scratched.cardinals_087

Tom Gores to meet with Stan Van Gundy to discuss Pistons’ future

Tom Gores, owner of the Detroit Pistons, said he’s undecided about Stan Van Gundy’s future with the franchise.

“I wouldn’t make a decision without Stan,” Gores said at halftime of Monday night’s 108-98 loss to the Toronto Raptors. “He’s been our partner for four years.”

Gores said changes need to be made because the team isn’t winning enough, adding that none will happen until he speaks with Van Gundy. The two are expected to meet next week.

The Pistons made a major move trying to shake up their lackluster franchise by sending players and a first-round pick to the LA Clippers for Griffin. The trade didn’t pan out this season, and Griffin will have to produce a lot to live up to the $171 million, five-year deal he signed with the Clippers last summer. Griffin has been out with an injured right ankle, following a recent pattern in his career in which he struggled to stay healthy.

Gores defended the deal, saying the franchise now has a superstar. He also said Van Gundy didn’t make the move without input from him.

“There’s not a big move that Stan made without me,” Gores said.

Taillon’s current locker in the Pittsburgh clubhouse, by the way, is the one formerly occupied by both Burnett and Cole. Though the 26-year-old right-hander is quick to brush off suggestions there’s some meaning to the move, his performance on the field so far has been ace-worthy.

“He attacked our lineup and didn’t make many mistakes and we didn’t do much offensively at all,” Reds manager Bryan Price said.

Gregory Polanco keyed a four-run outburst against Mahle in the fifth by drilling a shot to the seats in right field for his third homer of the season. Corey Dickerson added his first home run since being acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay in February.

The day, however, belonged to Taillon. The former first-round pick was solid during his rookie season in 2016 but missed time last year after being diagnosed with testicular cancer last May. He returned after a five-week absence and struggled during the second half as Pittsburgh fell out of contention.

Still, Hurdle cautioned, “It’s April.”
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Red alert: Richard Sherman ‘excited’ to be a 49er

Richard Sherman was dressed to the nines as he was officially introduced as a Niner.

The veteran cornerback entered his introductory press conference Tuesday with a fiery and confident attitude about his future with the franchise.

Very excited to be here, Sherman said. It was a tough decision, but things happen and you got to move on. I’m looking forward to moving on to a new chapter and helping this team win ballgames.

Despite coming off of a year in which he was limited to nine games after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury, Sherman is optimistic he’ll get back on the field May-June after undergoing surgery and a procedure to remove bone spurs. He added there’s no doubt he’ll be ready to play Week 1 and looks forward to taking on his former team.

I look forward to helping the 49ers win games, Sherman said. I’m sure the rivalry (with the Seahawks) will be renewed, and that I’ll be at the center of it again.

With assists from general managers and others around the league, I’ve put together a ranking of the 10 best value signings and the 10 worst overpays.

The good news is that Watkins is young, talented and joining a team coached by Andy Reid, who excels at maximizing personnel. The bad news is that Watkins simply has not been very productive, a leading reason he is on his third team in eight months.

The Chiefs are paying Watkins as though he’s a sure bet. They were not the only team willing to spend big for him. Dallas was also interested, as was Chicago. It seems like a case of teams valuing a player based more on their draft reports than what the player has done since college.

The Giants scored their only run in the eighth when Crawford doubled leading off the inning and scored on Blanco’s infield grounder.

Archie Bradley pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save.cardinals_283

Falcons hire two defensive assistant coaches

The Falcons start their offseason program next Monday and they’ll have a couple of new coaches on the defensive side of the ball when the players report for work.

The team announced the addition of assistant defensive line coach Travis Jones and defensive quality control assistant Aden Durde on Monday.

Jones comes to Atlanta from Seattle, where he worked with current Falcons head coach Dan Quinn in 2013 and 2014. Jones was the defensive line coach with the Seahawks from 2013-2016 and a senior defensive assistant last year. Jones also worked with Quinn in Miami in 2005 and 2006 when Quinn was the defensive line coach for the Dolphins.

Durde previously worked in football development for NFL UK and spent time with the Cowboys as a coaching intern in 2014.

“We love the game. That’s why we go on these bus trips,” the coach said. “We have to be there for each other and grieve and support this community. And we need to make sure we are grateful and enjoy every time we step on the ice.”

The $2.5 billion benchmark — which would set a record for an American sports franchise — was more than he was prepared to bid, according to the report, pegging his offer between $2.0 billion and $2.2 billion.

That leaves South Carolina financier Ben Navarro and Canadian steel magnate Alan Kestebaum. The report says Navarro is believed to have offered $2.6 billion, though there remain questions about the financing of his bid. Richardson’s going to take whichever offer he wants, though the sale would have to be approved by 24 of 32 owners.

The goal has been to wrap up the sale in the next few weeks, so owners could vote on the sale at the May meetings.

Roseman, with the help of his strong scouting department, has done just that. An example is a pair of 2016 picks in starting corner Jalen Mills (seventh round) and offensive tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai (fifth round). The latter was thrust into the starting left tackle spot after Pro Bowler Jason Peters was lost to a midseason knee injury. Vaitai improved in that role as the year progressed.
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Colts QB Andrew Luck ‘confident,’ optimistic about return from shoulder injury

Andrew Luck still isn’t throwing a regulation football, and the Colts quarterback isn’t revealing the timetable on when that will happen. What Luck would say, though, is that he wants to head into training camp this summer with no limitations on his surgically repaired shoulder.

“There is a timetable, but I’m not going to share it with you guys,” Luck said Monday. “I’ve very, very confident and very, very optimistic I’m going to be absolutely fine and come back better than I was. I’ll be a better quarterback, a better teammate, a better person.”

Luck’s right shoulder injury has been the focal point of the Colts organization since he underwent surgery in January 2017. Last year, he missed all of the team’s offseason workouts, training camp and eventually the entire season. Luck practiced for a couple of weeks in the middle of October before the team shut him down and gave him a cortisone shot because of continued soreness. He spent about six weeks in the Netherlands rehabbing his shoulder late last year and has spent the early part of 2018 working with throwing experts in Southern California.

Adam Germek, president of the Special Olympics of Tennessee, said of Mariota and the team giving their time to the Special Olympians, “I heard one of our athletes say this is the best day of his life.”

Benn got his hat trick at 13:57 by tipping Radulov’s pass past Quick for his 10th point during a five-game point streak. He has eight goals and two assists in that span.

The Stars took a 1-0 lead at 6:41. Shore scored on a backhand after poking the puck away from Kings defenseman Christian Folin. It was Shore’s 11th goal, and his third point (two goals, one assist) in five games.

“Obviously, that’s not a good enough start,” Martinez said. “Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing. We left our goalie out to dry, and that’s not fair to him.”

Martinez scored on a slap shot at 3:42 in the second, getting the Kings on the board. He cut the deficit to 4-2 at 12:27 on a one-timer from Michael Amadio after a power play expired.
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David Johnson “motivated” after missing most of last season

David Johnson returns fully healed from his fractured left wrist — “all back together” — but the injury left a chip on the running back’s shoulder.

“I’m very motivated,” Johnson said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “Not really just about the people out there, but it’s really about myself and coming back for the team, for my teammates, for the coaches with everything being so new.

Tyrod Taylor (82 Overall) will act as a serviceable bridge QB until the rookie the Browns draft is ready. Taylor’s 88 Speed, 87 Throw on the Run and 91 Throw Power will help Cleveland generate some big plays on offense. The acquisition of Jarvis Landry (88 Overall) gives the Browns a legit receiving threat from the slot, and while Carlos Hyde (83 Overall) is a solid performer at running back, he could end up sharing time with Saquon Barkley.

Trading away Marcus Peters hurts, but the Chiefs managed to fill his position with an above-average replacement, and they upgraded at several other spots.

Moving from Alex Smith (86 Overall) to Patrick Mahomes (76 Overall) at quarterback is risky because of the unknown, but Mahomes has a much stronger arm and is a better athlete. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins (82 Overall) could see a resurgence if he can take advantage of downfield opportunities. Kendall Fuller (84 Overall) steps in at corner, as does Anthony Hitchens (83 Overall) at linebacker.

Jahzi McCree’s injunction accuses Marlon McCree of verbal and physical abuse dating to 2008.

Marlon McCree, 41, played for five teams in eight NFL seasons. The Jaguars drafted the safety in the seventh round in 2001, and he later served as an assistant coach with Jacksonville.

The player generating the most excitement lately is rookie shooting guard Josh Hart, who’s coming off back-to-back 20-point games for the first time this season.

Hart had 20 points and 10 rebounds in a 113-96 loss to the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night, and then came back with 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting in a 112-97 loss to the Utah Jazz on Sunday.
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Jon Gruden’s back to coaching today, sort of

Even though Jon Gruden has had three months to prepare for his first day of coaching actual Raiders players today, he’s going to actually ease into it today.

The Raiders are among the teams kicking off their offseason conditioning programs today, but he’s not going to be too fiery no matter how fired-up he is to begin again.

Of course, watching him have to hold back might be the most entertaining part of it all, as he has 10 years of pent-up coaching that’s just dying to come out.

Imagine trying to juggle all the aforementioned responsibilities while additionally fielding calls from your new boss — i.e. the hiring NFL team owner — asking questions about what’s to come, or all the other inquiries that inherently come with a head coach hiring. It’s a headache-inducing recipe for failure.

Safeguards are needed to provide some insulation from those distractions for the sake of the affected coaches and the Super Bowl teams themselves. Keeping the current rule is the best way of accomplishing that, no matter how anxious teams hiring new head coaches from those staffs are to get started building their own winner.

Among the players who did extra work with Manning at Duke were wide receivers Brandon Marshall, Roger Lewis and Sterling Shepard, tight end Evan Engram and running back Wayne Gallman. Beckham is at the Giants’ facility today as they begin their voluntary offseason work.

“At this point, I just want to reach out and support the families,” Garinger said. “It’s not about understanding anything.”

Labelle’s father, Paul Labelle, told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saturday that he arrived at the scene of the crash along with his wife and daughter.

Paul Labelle, an emergency room physician, told the StarPhoenix that after initially trying to assist police at the scene, he and his family continued on their trip to Nipawin, where the Broncos were scheduled to play their playoff game later Friday night.cardinals_008

Lions sign Matt Cassel as Matt Stafford’s backup

The well-traveled Matt Cassel will make his next stop in Detroit.

The Lions are signing Cassel to serve as Matthew Stafford‘s backup, NFL Network reports.

Cassel spent the last two seasons in Tennessee and started one game each year. Prior to that he was in Dallas, Buffalo, Minnesota, Kansas City and New England.

In Detroit, Cassel joins a quarterback room that includes both Stafford and 2016 sixth-round pick Jake Rudock, as well as camp arm Alek Torgersen. The No. 2 quarterback competition will likely come down to a training camp competition between Cassel and Rudock.

“I’m gonna work on the little things like some of my reads in the run game and things just before the play even starts making sure I know what I’ve got to do in receiving and in pass (blocking),” said Hunt, who also caught 53 passes for 455 yards and three touchdowns last year. “I feel like there are some times during the middle of the season that I left some yards out there.”

Hunt did give himself the chance to reflect on the positives of his first NFL season by returning to Mobile for acceptance of the Senior Bowl’s Rookie of the Year award. Hunt said his 118-yard rushing performance in that all-star college game provided a huge boost to his draft stock.

Jones took over as the team’s starting center after Weston Richburg was hurt last season and is set to remain in the role now that Richburg has gone to the 49ers as a free agent. Jones started 13 games overall for the Giants last season and came to the team in 2015 after two successful seasons with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

O’Malley joined the Giants in December after stints with the Raiders and Bills. He appeared in one game with the Giants and also played one game for Oakland in 2016.

“There is still another level we know he can go to but we really had a need to get some length out of our starter today and Chris provided that, kept us engaged in the game,” manager Buck Showalter said.

Orioles: OF Colby Rasmus (left hip flexor strain) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. … Mark Trumbo (right quad strain) was expected to play first base in an extended spring training game.texans_004

Taylor Lewan: I am here to take over this league

Taylor Lewan has become one of the league’s top left tackles. The Titans will have to pay him accordingly to keep him.

Nate Solder became the league’s highest-paid left tackle when he signed a four year, $62 million contract with the Giants last month, getting $34.8 million in guaranteed money.

Lewan, 26, currently is scheduled to play this season on the fifth-year option of $9.341 million. That ranks 16th among left tackles this season.

Maybe the struggles in three of the past four Super Bowls experienced by the units of coordinators who were halfway out the door were not a coincidence. Dan Quinn’s defense in Seattle collapsed in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl 48 loss to New England. Kyle Shanahan experienced brain lock with his second-half offensive play calling in the Falcons’ Super Bowl 51 collapse against the Patriots. Matt Patricia’s defense yielded 538 yards and didn’t force a turnover in New England’s 41-33 loss to Philadelphia.

If the challenges awaiting Quinn, Shanahan and Patricia with Atlanta, San Francisco and Detroit, respectively, were pre-game distractions, it’s hard to blame them. The situation will only get worse if the contract with a new employer can permissibly be signed before the current one has officially expired.

“He always thinks he can beat me in Top Golf,” a smiling Hunt told Sporting News last week while being honored at the 2018 Senior Bowl Hall of Fame banquet. “He won most of the time. But, you know, I got a couple wins in there.”

Mahomes’ prowess in yet another sport should come as no surprise. He lettered in football, basketball and baseball while attending Whitehouse (Texas) High School. Mahomes, whose father Pat enjoyed a long pro career as a pitcher, was even a 37th-round draft choice by Detroit in the 2014 MLB Draft.

Mahomes instead opted to continue his pursuit of playing in the NFL by attending Texas Tech.

It looks like he made the right choice.

In the recent trade of quarterback Alex Smith to Washington, Kansas City paved the way for Mahomes to become its 2018 starter. Ex-Chiefs offensive lineman Zach Fulton, who signed with the Texans this offseason, believes Mahomes is ready for the opportunity after the 2017 first-round pick received a year of tutelage under Smith.

“He’s still young, of course, but he’s got a super bright future,” Fulton told co-host Bill Polian and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “He’s a playmaker. He’s a little raw, but he plays off his instincts. They’ve got him this far. It’s going to be exciting to see what he does.”patriots_108-223x223

Ex-Seahawks QB Trevone Boykin arrested on aggravated assault charge

Former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Trevone Boykin was arrested by Texas authorities Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated assault with serious bodily injury.

The charge stems from accusations made by Shabrika Bailey, Boykin’s longtime girlfriend, who reported to police in Mansfield, Texas, last week that Boykin had assaulted her, which left her hospitalized. Bailey told Dallas’ WFAA-TV that she was knocked unconscious and woke up in a puddle of blood on the kitchen floor, alleging that the attack left her jaw broken in multiple places.

Boykin was taken into custody at his home – where Bailey said the alleged assault occurred – by Mansfield police officers on Wednesday, according to a statement issued by the department.

A spokesperson for Mansfield police told USA TODAY Sports that Bailey was initially interviewed by investigators on March 21 at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.

Bailey and Boykin were each arrested last March after a car accident in Dallas last March. Bailey faced two charges of intoxication assault with a vehicle causing serious bodily injury after she accelerated in reverse and struck several pedestrians before crashing into the side of a bar, according to the Dallas police. Boykin, who was a passenger, was arrested on suspicion of possession of marijuana and public intoxication.

Cops say Boykin was arrested at his home — without incident — and transported to jail.

Bond has not yet been set.

NFL QB Trevone Boykin is in custody after being arrested Wednesday for allegedly punching his girlfriend and cracking her jaw… TMZ Sports has learned.

Boykin was being investigated by cops in Mansfield, Texas after he was allegedly involved in an altercation with his longtime GF, Shabrika Bailey, last Wednesday.

He has been arrested for aggravated assault with serious bodily injury.

O’Brien is installing an entirely different offense this offseason, the Texans coach revealed to NFL Network’s James Palmer at the Annual League Meeting in Orlando.
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