That does not mean that his three Olympic golds were not earned or that those tears he shed after he won gold were not real.

Meanwhile, the fact that Martinez will not need to bring his outfield glove with him — Boston boasts a terrific, young defensive outfield already — is a good thing, in theory. Perhaps it keeps him healthier. Martinez will keep outfield eligibility in fantasy all of 2018. He might not have it in 2019, but I would argue it is not relevant, even in a dynasty format. It should not stop anyone from acquiring Seattle designated hitter Nelson Cruz, for example, and Martinez is a lot younger and similarly productive. It did not stop fantasy managers from loving David Ortiz. Do not worry about positional qualifications in the early rounds of drafts.

As for others affected here statistically, there are a few. For one, the Red Sox will likely platoon lefty-hitting first baseman Mitch Moreland with right-handed Hanley Ramirez, and based on production, this is certainly wise.

It just means that the human story is more complicated than the heroic myth. There’s enough space for that, and people are intelligent enough, one would hope, to deal with it.

The redemption story can be fine for White for himself because he did have to overcome his own internal struggles, and an injury like he had to someone who has never suffered a serious injury must have been a shock and hard to deal with. But it’s dishonest to sell someone as a hero to the public, using all the good attributes to promote it while ignoring (or outright silencing) anything negative about him. At that point, it’s propaganda.

Losing David Ortiz is losing someone who is charismatic and a great leader, Werner said. I know there have been some comments that I respect that we didn’t have the most popular team, but when I look at (Andrew) Benintendi and Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers and Bogaerts and Bradley, I see energized, young, exciting players.

I don’t quite see it the way some of the fans see it. I respect their point of view, but I think we’ve got a fun team. And if it’s healthy, I think we’re going to be — we’ll bring the fans back.

Fuller burst onto the scene with a strong rookie season, but injuries and Chicago’s general badness has made the former first-round pick an afterthought as he stands on the brink of free agency. He missed the entire 2016 season due to a knee injury and had the Bears decline the fifth year of his rookie contract. But a solid season should make him a useful commodity in free agency in 2018. Fuller knocked down 22 passes and made a pair of interceptions to reclaim his value, and playing in a more stable environment than a rebuilding Bears team should do wonders for his career.bears_019

Washington attorney Cyrus Mehri had announced his intention to challenge Smith for the job.

That won’t happen now, and Smith will lead the union through the upcoming set of labor negotiations with the league and the owners. The current collective bargaining agreement lasts through 2020, and Smith has said publicly he believes there will be a strike by the players or a lockout by the owners in 2021.

“This approach with this secret constitution and vote of 14 disenfranchises 2,100 current NFL players, let alone former players,” Mehri said in a phone interview Tuesday night. “There are players on 26 NFL clubs that were not represented in this vote. They [the players] were instructed not to look at other viable candidates, such as my campaign.

“His legitimacy has been thrown out the window because he refused to compete like NFL players do every day. We’re going to right this wrong over time. We’re going to keep getting the word out. This robs players of their ability to control their destiny.”

Coach Jay Gruden has great confidence in backup Colt McCoy, who led the Redskins to an overtime victory at Dallas in 2014 – as do Redskins players. That’s largely why McCoy is signed through 2018, and why Gruden felt comfortable with just two quarterbacks on his roster last season rather than three. The downside of that decision, however, is that the team has no young quarterback in its pipeline.

Brady’s day did take a turn in the third quarter, however, when Rob Gronkowski was pulled down by two defenders, twisting his surgically repaired back awkwardly. Gronk left the game, but was listed as questionable to return with a groin injury, not a back injury. His status was unknown following the game, but he said “I’m good” to ESPN reporter Mike Reiss.

As the Post’s Mark Maske writes, while the Patriots proved reports of their demise were exaggerated, the injuries are starting to pile up for them.

The Panthers’ Newton brought back the dab briefly, but his game resembled the dismal lost season of 2016 more than the triumphant 2015 MVP-winning campaign. Newton had been sacked six times in three quarters and was blasted on two third-quarter plays, the last of which momentarily left him face down and in pain. He popped back up, though, and kept playing.
jaguars_111

The Broncos nearly squandered a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter Monday night to the Chargers but just held on to win on a blocked field goal with one second left.

Coach Vance Joseph got the victory in his NFL head coaching debut and QB Trevor Siemian played well enough to instill belief that he’s capable of getting the Broncos back into the playoffs.

The offense simply is not good enough without WR Odell Beckham Jr., who was sidelined Sunday night by the ankle injury he suffered during the preseason. Minus Beckham, there is no playmaker who allows the offense to transcend the deficiencies of the offensive line. It is not all that difficult right now to envision the Eagles supplanting the Giants as the primary challenger to the Cowboys in the NFC East.

EJ Manuel takes over at QB and must prove that he’s up to the task. The Raiders’ next two games come at home against the struggling Ravens and winless Chargers. But then comes a quick turnaround for a Thursday night showdown, also in Oakland, with the Chiefs on Oct. 19, making it difficult to see Carr returning for that key game.

That was a stunning victory in Seattle, given the depleted state of the Redskins’ offensive line. It’s still difficult to imagine the Redskins contending for much of anything unless they can get far healthier and provide far more help to QB Kirk Cousins. But if they can hold things together a bit longer and some of their injured key players return, you never know.

The loss to the Redskins was alarming. Yes, the kicking misadventures of Blair Walsh played a key part in the defeat. But playing at home against a team with the sort of injuries that the Redskins had along their offensive line, the Seahawks should not have allowed it to come down to kicking. That’s the sort of performance that signals you might not be as good as you think you are.

The Raiders are talking about going 6-1 the rest of the way to reach 10 wins and secure a playoff spot. Nothing about how they have played suggests that the Raiders are about to go on such an extended run of solid play.
jaguars_045

The greatest shooter of all time is having the most efficient shooting season of his career.

When Stephen Curry became the first unanimous MVP in league history two seasons ago, he did it mostly thanks to delivering what was easily the best shooting season ever. Although the 3-point shooting gets most of the attention — rightfully so given the manner in which he obliterated his own record for made 3s while finishing second in the league in 3-point accuracy — it was far more than simply dialing in from downtown.

He essentially shot the same on 2s as MVP Shaquille O’Neal and converted a higher percentage at the free throw line than Steve Nash, the most accurate free throw shooter of all time. Taking it all into consideration — the 3s, 2s and 1s — Curry finished with a true shooting percentage of 66.9, the best ever by a 20-points per game scorer. It’s hard to fathom anyone putting together a more complete shooting season.

When asked before last Sunday about the celebrations across the league, New England Patriots Coach Bill Belichick responded, with an expressionless face and the grimmest monotone, “We’re really more interested in trying to keep the other team out of the end zone. None of us really spend a lot of time on the halftime show.”

Sunday, Patriots wideout Brandin Cooks scored a touchdown and then jumped on tight end Rob Gronkowski’s back and rode him around like a horse. The Patriots, under Belichick, had of course been banned from premeditated celebrations.

Dion Lewis, RB, Patriots: Lewis is morphing into New England’s main ball carrier, having played more snaps than Mike Gillislee the past two weeks. The Patriots face a porous defense in the Chargers, who despite playing better of late, enter Week 8 with the NFL’s 31st-ranked run defense. And when New England takes a lead, that bodes well for Lewis, so I’m not alone in liking him in Week 8 and beyond.

The outcome of the Elliott case, at least for now, serves to further cement Goodell’s authority in matters of player discipline under the CBA, just as the NFLPA’s ultimately failed challenge in federal court of Tom Brady’s Deflategate suspension did. Brady played the entire 2015 season after a judge overturned the four-game suspension of the New England Patriots quarterback. But Brady sat out the first four games of last season after the NFL prevailed on appeal. The Brady case also played out in New York, serving as a precedent for what happened in the Elliott case.
jaguars_020

It’s the same problem the NFL had before the rule was put in place in 2003, and at various times since.

Baseball runs into the same problem; its total of minority managers has risen to four, from three last season, but still far down from 10 in 2009. College football encounters it regularly, too. Baseball has a version of the Rooney Rule. The NCAA does not.

Failing to hire diverse candidates is problematic enough. The Fritz Pollard people make the effort to serve teams a list of candidates every hiring season. They fight constantly against impediments like the recent swerve toward head coaches with offensive play-calling experience, positions from which minority coaches are steered away.

They were one of the feel-good stories of the season. Sean McVay, the youngest head coach in modern NFL history, immediately turned Jared Goff into a franchise QB, RB Todd Gurley into an MVP candidate and the Rams into winners. They also have a defensive player of the year candidate in DT Aaron Donald. There’s no telling how the Rams will handle the bright postseason spotlight. But this team is plenty talented enough to be a factor in these NFC playoffs, as long as McVay makes sure the Rams are not satisfied merely to have gotten there.

On the first of three straight baskets by McIntosh, the senior point guard who’s the all-time program leader in assists, the Wildcats retook the lead at 60-59 with 7:37 left and never lost it again. Coffey’s dunk with 4:12 remaining brought the Gophers within 66-63, but that was the last time they made it a one-possession game.

The Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford set two NFL records with his performance Thursday but was outperformed by Case Keenum and the Minnesota Vikings, who won the NFC North battle, 30-23.

Stafford distinguished himself from the rest of the NFL players who have toiled on Thanksgiving, setting an NFL record for career passing yards on Thanksgiving Day. The record-setting pass was a six-yard touchdown toss to Marvin Jones and moved Stafford past former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who passed for 2,338 yards in 10 Thanksgiving games. Stafford was only 120 yards shy of Romo’s mark coming into the game.

But the day belonged to Keenum, who led the Vikings to their seventh straight victory and completed 21 of 30 passes for 282 yards and two TDs. Stafford completed 20 of 35 passes for 250 passes and two TDs.jaguars_005

The Jack Del Rio-led Raiders looked like they were on the rise after making the playoffs last season.

A healthy Derek Carr was primed to bring his team back to the promised land after so much wandering in the desert. But this Oakland team regressed badly in 2017, which led to a 6-10 record. Now Del Rio is out in Oakland, the team announced Sunday, and the team is reportedly trying to bring back Jon Gruden to replace him.

And by all accounts, the Raiders are very close to making Gruden their next head coach.

Most goals by a centre, career.His durability 2013 was quite the script flip compared to his three-year stint with the New Orleans Saints.The victory gave the Panthers their first three-game winning streak their sixth attempt.Brindza Brindza made it 13 days with the Jets after signing a reserve future contract.

His physical limitations eliminate him from first and likely second-round draft pick discussion, but he has the tools to succeed offense tailored to his abilities.was forced by the situation.Skrine added that he isn’t afraid to a bevy of passes tossed his way.Lillard is the Blazers’ unquestioned leader, but Henderson has evolved into one, too, only with a different style and demeanor.

Fisher expressed that he is ready to start a family, however, Underwood was more interested growing her career.Earlier this Youngblood was kicked the leg and infection set .JL: How about number one?the playoffs, Ciccarelli played his first game with the Red on 19, earning assist a 6 win over the Toronto Leafs.Hopefully, with one of these neat T-shirts.

They had a chance to beat teams like the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers. A questionable decision to go for it on fourth down hurt Detroit’s chances of beating Minnesota. Then, Caldwell decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line against the Steelers, which cost the Lions.

Detroit will want to find a coach who can reinvigorate its defense and rushing offense. This defense already has some great players like cornerback Darius Slay, safety Glover Quin, and defensive end Ziggy Ansah.

Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is expected to interview for the job, according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport. If Patricia were to take it, he could wind up keeping the offensive staff headed by incumbent coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.

On offense, the Lions have one of the best passing attacks in the NFL, and a strong run game will take tons of pressure off Stafford. Bob Quinn, the Lions general manager, has been in Detroit for only two seasons. Obviously, he didn’t hire Caldwell. But now that Caldwell is gone, Quinn will finally get his opportunity to handpick his own coach.bears_133-223x223

A lot has changed since these two teams faced off during Kickoff Weekend 2017 when the Vikings claimed a commanding 29-19 win over the Saints.

New Orleans might have the momentum coming into the matchup, having just bested one of its division rivals, the Carolina Panthers, on the way to the divisional round.

It was a solid offensive performance from New Orleans, with Brees throwing for 376 yards and two touchdowns, and two Buckeye receivers (Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr.) each claiming over 100 receiving yards. If the passing game struggles for even a second, the Saints boast one of the top rushing duos in the league with rookie Alvin Kamara and veteran Mark Ingram.

Part of offensive line that blocked for offense that gained 403 total net yards per game, good for second the NFL.That , caught 89 balls for 1 yards and seven touchdowns.CARDINALS 23ERS 20: Chandler Catanzaro kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired as Arizona narrowly averted a devastating loss against visiting San .With the IR designation, the Eagles have empty spot on their 53-man roster as the team prepares to face the Cowboys the finale on .

Collins was Pro Football Focus’ No.recorded two tackles for …I think now being a true pro-style offense after coming from a spread offense has helped.I ‘t think they’re the talk about the Bruins again until the until didn’t treat the next election he’s a that was something.

Pittsburgh that would recover they just didn’t do it.When was traded by the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins, he admits that it was a bit of a shock.I’m just going to keep progressing, Gurley told .We have a great group of guys, and I definitely feel I’m a part of this thing, he said.Expect the doting father to make his return Tuesday against the Jets.When a freak Dec.

That left Cam Newton with Devin Funchess and a whole bunch of guys you’ve never heard of in your life as targets.

“I was like, I don’t know if I can hit .320, but I might get to .300,” José says.

He overhauled his diet that winter, swearing off the burgers and ice cream, and dropped from 178 pounds to 160. He finished at .341, winning the first of his three batting titles. It also marked the first of four consecutive 200-hit seasons. He is only the fourth righthanded hitter to accomplish that—and the first player ever to lead the majors outright in hits for four straight years.

Two hundred hits has become his personal benchmark. Says Correa, “The most impressive thing is he’s never complacent. If he’s 3 for 4, he wants to go home 4 for 5 or else he won’t be happy.”bears_144-223x223

The catch was ruled incomplete, but Ron Rivera wisely challenged.

Last year, the Panthers missed Kuechly desperately when he was sidelined for six games with a concussion. He’s arguably the best linebacker in the league and you can see why on this play, which saved the Panthers from an upset loss to the New York Jets in Week 12.

The Panthers were trailing the Jets, 20-18, when Josh McCown was sacked by defensive end Wes Horton and fumbled in the process. Kuechly scooped it up and scored, averting a Panthers defeat.

The ruling was overturned on review, because Byrd’s left butt cheek hits in bounds before the rest of his body lands. Now we know that one butt cheek = two feet.

Byrd had the best name for his catch: “butt drag swag.”

The Panthers couldn’t avoid Sunday’s loss to the Saints despite a solid late-game effort. But fans will be able to look back at this season fondly — especially the butt-related parts.

But the fact is, Goff’s in a much better spot than he was even a few months ago. McVay’s proud of Goff for completing 70 percent of his passes last week, and even prouder that he stayed out of the turnover column. On the other hand, Cousins’ presence on Sunday will serve as a reminder on how far they have to go.

“Hopefully, you’re an extension of one another where they can anticipate what’s going on because you’re so in tune with the game plan,” said McVay. “That evolves over time. With my relationship with Kirk and really Colt McCoy over the last couple years, they had a really good feel for what we were trying to get done offensively as a coaching staff and that allowed them to anticipate the play calls coming in.

“Things take time. (Goff) is in a really good place, it’s not one or the other. It’s the fact that we just haven’t worked together long enough. We’re trying to figure it out.”

You can read my write-up on what the Eagles need to do with Foles, but the key for them is Doug Pederson. The conventional wisdom is when you have a backup quarterback with a strong run game and a good defense, you play it safe with the route concepts. However, I think Pederson needs to scheme up some shots for Foles.bears_025-223x223

Marcus Mariota scored a touchdown in the Titans’ Wild Card Game with the Chiefs by throwing the ball to himself. Really.

Mariota escaped pressure and couldn’t find an open receiver. He rolled to his left, and the Chiefs’ defense collapsed in to stop him short of the goal. Mariota targeted a receiver in the end zone, but the ball was deflected by the Chiefs and bounced right back to him. So Mariota ran and dove over the pylon for the score.

He may look the part of a complete baseball player more than, say, fellow free-agent first baseman Lucas Duda, but for his career Duda has 20 points of slugging on Hosmer with an essentially identical OBP. How much do those singles get you, really, relative to walks? Hosmer also hits too many ground balls—53.4 percent of the balls he has put in play for his career, according to Fangraphs. A return to Kansas City is rational if the smartest teams stay away.?

Jon Tayler: The wave that was the Royals crested with the 2015 World Series and broke slowly but surely over the last two years as they flopped out of contention. And with Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain all hitting free agency at once, it’s hard to imagine the Royals coming anywhere near those heights any time soon unless they can keep at least one of that trio.

Despite starting last season’s MVP, the Falcons may not have the edge at quarterback Saturday. Matt Ryan saw his completion rate, touchdown rate, and efficiency drop down in his team’s 10-6 campaign. Jared Goff, on the other hand, took a major step forward in his second season as a pro, posting a top-five passer rating and a stellar 28:7 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He threw for 301 yards and four touchdowns to hold off the Titans in his last start of the season.

A renewed defensive effort has been paramount to the team’s late-season revival. Since Week 8, only two opponents have scored more than 21 points against Atlanta’s swarming D. Young contributors like Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Takk McKinley have set a high standard not just for 2017, but for years to come. Through 15 games, the club ranks in the top 10 in total defense, red zone defense, and they’re 14th in total sacks.bears_005-223x223

The Saints have the better quarterback, but he’s facing one of his toughest challenges yet with a Vikings defense that has almost no flaws.

Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians announced Monday he would be retiring as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, but told his team Sunday night.

“I can’t thank you enough, that’s the greatest f***ing effort I’ve ever seen,” a tearful Arians said of the team’s final game against the Seahawks:

“It’s been my f***ing pleasure to be your coach,” Arians said. “I was gonna wait to tell you tomorrow — that’s my last game. I love all of you, every single one. Man I’m gonna miss the hell out of [you guys], I promise.”

Since the Vikings’ bye week, Murray has averaged 4.3 yards per carry, slowly becoming the workhorse back, while McKinnon has been more balanced between running and receiving. Combined, they’ve averaged 110 yards rushing per game, adding an average of 35 receiving yards per game, or 145 total yards per game.

If New Orleans can’t get Kamara and Ingram going, it could be a long day for Sean Payton. The Vikings play to their style and grind out a close win.

I stopped watching when Kaepernick opted out of his contract from the 49ers. When that relationship ended, it was evident that he wasn’t going to work anymore, so that’s when I bowed out. I stopped watching games or attending games, and purchasing any merchandise. I just took a very reflective look at my own life. I am Mexican-American, I’m a second generation American; with that personal background and upbringing, I have experienced some of what is happening to people of color, so not supporting Kaepernick was not an option for me.

But despite having only one more win than Buffalo in 2017, this Jaguars team looks the part of a substantial favorite, ranking sixth in the league in total offense averaging 365.9 points per game and second in total defense allowing only 286.1 yards per game. Jacksonville was a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS in three games as a favorite of seven points or more this season.

Offensive line issues persist. You guys want hear me go on about the problems with offensive line play in the NFL again? It didn’t take much to see it coming, after all. Middling linemen were breaking the bank in March (Riley Reiff, Matt Kalil, and Russell Okung all got more than $11 million per year), because teams knew there wasn’t much help coming in the draft; the 2017 draft wound being the first one ever to go without a lineman in the Top 15 picks. Then, high-end linemen (Donald Penn, Duane Brown) saw their value rising and held out. And here we are.nationals_033