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JACKSONVILLE Brian Elliott Jersey , Fla. (AP) — It wasn’t too long ago that veteran receiver Donte Moncrief was buried on Jacksonville’s depth chart.
Moncrief had fallen behind Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and even rookie DJ Chark after missing a week of practice because of a sore knee.
Now, four weeks later and following a devastating injury to Lee , Moncrief might be the team’s go-to guy heading into the season opener at the New York Giants.
He certainly is the unwitting leader of that position group and will be counted on to fill a void created when Lee hurt his left knee in the preseason and was placed on injured reserve.
“The young guys, they look at me as an older guy,” Moncrief said. “I just told them, ‘Anybody can be great.’ It just takes the time and passion to go out there and want to be great. Go out there and make plays every day, not just in a game, also in practice, so you can build the trust when it comes down to game time.”
The Jaguars trusted Moncrief enough to give him a one-year, $9.6 million contract in free agency. The deal was fully guaranteed, a move general manager Dave Caldwell felt he had to do with so much uncertainty at receiver.
Jacksonville figured Allen Robinson was gone, was unsure Lee would re-sign, and planned to part with Allen Hurns. The team also had no idea it would get Chark in the second round of the draft.
So the Jags targeted Moncrief, hoping his big-play ability would help spread out defenses designed to slow down Jacksonville’s run-first approach .
The 6-foot-2 Moncrief caught 152 passes for 1 Brayden Schenn Jersey ,875 yards and 18 touchdowns in four years with Indianapolis. He missed 11 games the last two seasons because of shoulder and toe injuries. He also endured quarterback chaos, with Andrew Luck, Jacoby Brissett, Matt Hasselbeck, Scott Tolzien and Josh Freeman throwing him passes.
“Just having a chip on my shoulder to go out and show what I actually can do and have a healthy year and come out here and compete and show the league what I’ve got,” Moncrief said. “I know what I’m capable of and I’m going to hold myself to it.”
Jacksonville is counting on it now, especially without Lee.
Still, the team believes Cole, Westbrook and Chark have star potential.
Cole was an undrafted rookie from tiny Kentucky Wesleyan in 2017, a guy admittedly awe-struck by playing in packed NFL stadiums. He was barely noticeable on the field early, catching eight passes for 111 yards in the first seven games. He finished with 42 receptions for 748 yards and three touchdowns, plus a few huge plays in the postseason .
Westbrook, a fourth-round draft pick from Oklahoma in 2017, missed the first nine games of his rookie year because of a sports hernia, caught 27 passes for 339 yards and a TD in seven games.
Cole and Westbrook were in the starting lineup late last season, and it wasn’t an ideal situation.
“There were times last year where you kind of got that look in the huddle where it is like Alex Tuch Jersey Kids , ‘Hey, I have no idea what you were talking about,'” quarterback Blake Bortles said. “Looking at them this year, they are running out of the huddle before I can finish saying the play because they know what they have.”
The Jags expected those guys to make strides in their second seasons, but they didn’t want to have to rely on it.
Moncrief, meanwhile, welcomes the pressure of having to perform, especially on a one-year contract that essentially has him prepping for free agency again.
“Everybody in that room can play,” Moncrief said. “It’s just about stepping up when you’re ready to go. … I just tell them you’ve been doing this since you were little. It’s just football. Make plays, catch the ball, go block, and let everything else fall in place.
“We’ve got to be special in that room.”
Breaking his left ankle and having his career put in jeopardy has given New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. a new perspective on life and football.
Speaking to reporters here for the first time since getting hurt in a game in early October, Beckham on Saturday was thankful to be back on the field and seemingly more relaxed and more mature.
The 25-year-old said he was not worrying about upcoming contract talks, even though he admits he is taking a calculated risk being in training camp coming off an injury and in the final year of his rookie contract.
"I literally watched my world turn upside down," said Beckham, whose ankle snapped in a game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 8. "I watched relationships close to me devour and things go wrong Drew Stafford Jersey , and things go sideways. It was a lot of pain that I went through the last 10 months.
"So, just kind of taking it day by day and trying my best to just make my mindset every day that I wake up I am going to be happy," the three-time Pro Bowler said. "I am going to do this right. I am going to do the very best that I can in whatever it is, whatever it is I am doing. I changed my mindset and it has helped me a lot in everything."
The 10-month rehabilitation was not only tough, Beckham also had to deal with reports that the Giants were considering trading him and the never-ending social media tweets and video about his life off the field.
Beckham called the trade talk rumor and noise that he has now learned to ignore.
"I remember I used to say all the time: 'Don't take it personal' and stuff, but I still took things personal and I really have gotten that out of my heart to not take anything personal," he said. "And with doing that, it's left things that I used to worry about out of the equation. So, once you can really put that in your heart, don't take it personal and you can feel that, it's a completely different story."
Beckham's agent Zeke Sandhu was at the Giants' workout Thursday and was seen speaking to assistant general manager Kevin Abrams for almost two hours on the patio overlooking the field.
Beckham had said he wants to be the highest paid receiver in the game and that has not changed. However, he said he is leaving the contract talks in the hands of his agent and when something happens, it happens. He added if a deal isn't completed before the start of the season, he would cross that bridge at that time.
"I'm confident it'll all work itself out," Beckham said, who is scheduled to make $8.5 million this season. "Life always does."
Antonio Brown of the Pittsburgh Steelers is considered the highest paid receiver Brandon Montour Jersey Kids , earning an average $17 million on a four-year deal.
For now, being back on the field is fun. He is enjoying working with coach Pat Shurmur and said the new offense gives him the opportunity to line up in a lot of different spots.
"I love football," Beckham said. "Football was always an (release) for me, it was always how I could get everything out, and just being able to be back out on the field like I said, I remember waking up 4 (o'clock) in the morning and crawling upstairs to my bed and laughing to myself, like this is going to be a hell of a ride for you to get back to where you're at.
"And now I'm here, and there's still a lot more for me to do. It's truly, I'm just thankful; that God is able to put me back out there," he said.
Since being drafted in the first round in 2014, Beckham has played 47 games and has 313 catches for 4,424 yards and 38 touchdowns.
The 25-year-old Beckham says his rehabilitation was long and painful. He says there were nights he had to crawl up three flights of stairs to get to his bedroom. The three-time Pro Bowler says he has made significant strides in the past two months is still not 100 percent.
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Sending two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay for two draft picks gives the New York Giants much-needed salary cap space for 2019 and allows the Buccaneers to continue rebuilding a line that had the fewest sacks in the NFL last season.
With the unexpected trade announced Thursday Nico Hischier Jersey , the Giants take another step in their rebuilding under new general manager Dave Gettleman and the Bucs upgraded their defense in a bid to end a decade-long playoff drought.
The Giants will get Tampa Bay’s third-round pick (69th overall) in the draft in late April. The teams also will swap fourth-round picks, with the Bucs moving up to the 102nd pick and the Giants selecting 108th.
”Jason is an elite-level edge rusher who will make an immediate impact on our defense,” Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht said in a story posted on the team’s website . ”We are adding a two-time Pro Bowler who is passionate about the game and has established himself as one of the league’s premier defensive ends.”
Later in the day, the Giants announced they had terminated the contract of wide receiver and special teams player Dwayne Harris, who missed the final 11 games with a broken foot.
While the Pierre-Paul trade only clears up a couple of million dollars in cap space this year, the benefit for the Giants – who were 3-13 last season – will be in 2019 when it sheds roughly $18 million in cap space. That will be important with safety Landon Collins and receiver Odell Beckham Jr. both possibly looking for new contracts.
The effects will be more immediate for the Bucs, who were 5-11 last season and had 22 sacks.
Pierre-Paul, who had 8 sacks last season and 58 since being drafted with the 15th pick overall in 2010, joins a team that recently signed two members of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, defensive end Vinny Curry and tackle Beau Allen. Former Bears tackle Mitch Unrein also was signed.
They join returning six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy on a Bucs’ line that hasn’t had a player finish with double-digit sacks since Simeon Rice in 2005.
Not only does Pierre-Paul give the Bucs a pass rusher, the 29-year-old is an every-down player who has overcome a fireworks accident in 2015 that severely damaged his right hand. He signed a $62 million contract last year.
”We appreciate everything Jason has done for the Giants,” Gettleman said. ”He was a fine player for us.”
Pierre-Paul had 68 tackles, 8 sacks and two forced fumbles last season. He has played in 111 regular-season games with 85 starts Womens Marian Hossa Jersey , including all 16 games in 2017. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and ’12 and All Pro in 2011, when he had a career-high 16.5 sacks, the fourth-highest total in Giants history, and helped New York win a Super Bowl.
Pierre-Paul also forced 13 fumbles and recovered seven, including one he returned for a touchdown. He intercepted two passes, returning each for a score. He also had defended 47 passes.
The move also sends Pierre-Paul back to Florida. He attended the University of South Florida and played high school football in the state.
The Giants are moving to a 3-4 defensive alignment under new coordinator James Bettcher, although they will continue to use some 4-3 formations.
This is Gettleman’s second trade since replacing Jerry Reese. He acquired linebacker Alec Ogletree from the Los Angeles Rams for fourth and sixth-round draft choices.
The Giants will have six picks in the draft, including the second overall. They also have the second pick in the second round (No. 34), two third-rounders (Nos. 66 and 69), the Bucs’ fourth-rounder and the second pick in the fifth round (No. 139). They traded their seventh-round pick to Pittsburgh last year for cornerback Ross Cockrell.
Harris did not have a catch last season. He had played in all 16 games with one start in 2016 and was selected for the Pro Bowl as a special teamer.
In his first season with New York in 2015, he played in 15 games with six starts and had a career-high 36 receptions for 396 yards and four touchdowns. He finished third in the NFL with a 28.7-yard average on 22 kickoff returns, including a 100-yard touchdown return against Dallas. He also averaged 10 yards on 34 punt returns, including an 80-yard touchdown against the Jets.
Harris was the third player in Giants’ history with kickoff and punt return touchdowns in the same season Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey , the first in 60 years.
AP Sports Writer Fred Goodall in Tampa, Florida, contributed to this report.
Six years ago, quarterback Robert Griffin III was a lock to start in Washington. Now, he’s merely trying to stay on the roster in Baltimore.
He seems unfazed by the challenge.
Describing himself as an “old, young guy” of 28, Griffin took some of the second-team reps on Thursday, along with rookie Lamar Jackson. But, as Mike Jones of USA Today notes, during some segments of Thursday’s practice, Griffin “merely split a handful of snaps with fourth quarterback Josh Woodrum.”
Thus, as Jones points out, Griffin may not even make the team. Jackson’s arrival via round one presents the biggest threat to Griffin’s status Ryan Johansen Jersey , but Griffin doesn’t come off as jealous or resentful.
鈥淲hen they drafted Lamar, I didn鈥檛 look at it as a shot at me or a shot at Joe [Flacco],鈥?Griffin said. 鈥淚t was 鈥極K, Lamar is coming in here, and it鈥檚 our job to help him learn the offense and help him compete.’ So, for me, my job is to show them that I鈥檓 an asset to the team and not a detriment. . . . One [reporter] asked me if I was trying to showcase for other teams. No, my focus is, 鈥業鈥檓 a Baltimore Raven. I鈥檓 showcasing to them that this is where I鈥檓 supposed to be.'”
He seems to be prepared for the adversity that may come.
鈥淚 feel like the chips have been stacked against me numerous times throughout my life, not just my career,鈥?Griffin said. 鈥淭he biggest thing I learned last year was, whatever your first instinct is to do when you are faced with an obstacle, when you face a challenge in life Sergei Bobrovsky Jersey , that鈥檚 who you are. I feel like I鈥檓 a fighter. My first instinct is to continue to keep swinging, continue to keep trying, perfect my craft as best I can.
鈥淎 lot of people, their first instinct is to quit or to say, 鈥業t wasn鈥檛 me, it was that.’ You remember the stories of the guys in the bar who are telling stories of what great players they were in high school? And, 鈥業t wasn鈥檛 my fault.聽It was this and that.鈥?That鈥檚 never my reaction. My reaction has never been to do that.聽It鈥檚 been to go lift more weights. I go throw passes.”
Whether he’ll be throwing passes during the regular season for the Ravens or anyone else remains to be seen. But Griffin needs to be ready for anything, because as the last six years have proven, anything can happen.
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>All those promises worth millions upon millions to free agents turned into paydays Wednesday when the NFL’s business year began.Of course Gustav Forsling Jersey , teams needed to clear salary cap space or rejigger their ledgers to make it work, and they’ll still be doing so for months.While the likes of Drew Brees, Malcolm Butler and Andrew Norwell cashed in bigtime, having reached agreements in the past two days before everything became official, some value entered the marketplace.Arizona released safety Tyrann Mathieu when it couldn’t rework his deal. On Tuesday, the Cardinals let running back Adrian Peterson go.Baltimore cut receiver Jeremy Maclin. Detroit said goodbye to tight end Eric Ebron. Pittsburgh tore up a secondary that often was torn up by opposing quarterbacks, releasing Mike Mitchell, Robert Golden and William Gay.But Carolina had more success with a veteran, completing a one-year deal with defensive end Julius Peppers.The 38-year-old Peppers, who contemplated retirement after 17 pro seasons, remains with the Panthers for $5 million, with $2.5 million guaranteed, a person familiar with the situation said. The person spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team does not release financial terms of contracts.“I am fired up to have him back,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “It was amazing to have him as part of what we are trying to build and I think he can help us get to the next level.”Cleveland, meanwhile, did nothing more than listen to one of its greatest players, tackle Joe Thomas , announce his retirement. The Browns save his $10.3 million salary for 2018 and a $3 million bonus but lose their best player and leader in the expansion era (1999-present), a 10-time Pro Bowler.“This was an extremely difficult decision, but the right one for me and my family Jonathan Marchessault Jersey ,” Thomas said. “Playing in the NFL has taken a toll on my body and I can no longer physically compete at the level I need to.”CARDINALSMathieu was due for $18.75 million of his contract to be guaranteed when the league year officially begins. By cutting him, Arizona will save close to $5 million in cap space.Mathieu became a star in the Arizona secondary after being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft following a troubled college career at LSU. He was an All-Pro in 2015, when he had five interceptions and 17 passes defensed.But he also has been plagued by injuries and only last season did Mathieu appear in all 16 games.RAVENSBaltimore frees up an estimated $5 million in salary cap space by releasing Maclin, who signed on as a free agent in June. But Maclin missed two games with a shoulder injury, two more with knee issues, and finished with only 40 catches for 440 yards and three touchdowns. The 84 receptions he had over the past two seasons (2016 with Kansas City) are three fewer than he had with the Chiefs in 2015.Then the Ravens agreed to deals with receivers John Brown and Ryan Grant.Brown, 27, spent four years in Arizona and is a speedy deep threat, something Baltimore desperately needs. He can also return kicks.Grant, also 27, was with Washington for four seasons.49ERSSan Francisco agreed to a four-year contract with running back Jerick McKinnon and a five-year deal with center-guard Weston Richburg. McKinnon replaces departing starter Carlos Hyde and Richburg could start anywhere in the interior line.“We see Weston as one of the top young interior offensive linemen in the NFL,” GM John Lynch said. “His athleticism, intelligence and attitude are a perfect fit for our scheme. Jerick has proven to be an extremely versatile football player whose speed, elusiveness and tackle-breaking ability make him a very difficult matchup for defenses. We can’t wait to get them on the field with their teammates and coaches later this spring.”GIANTSNew York agreed with offensive tackle Nate Solder, late of the Patriots, to become its starter on the left side. Solder, 29, will get a four-year contract worth about $62 million.The Giants can move 2015 first-round draft pick Ereck Flowers to the right side as they rebuild a line that has struggled for years.TITANSTennessee kept right guard Josh Kline and defensive end David King with new contracts after making a splash in free agency by getting Butler for $60 million over five years ($30 million guaranteed) and also taking running back Dion Lewis away from New England.BILLSThe Bills restocked their quarterback position by agreeing to a two-year contract with AJ McCarron.The 27-year-old spent the past four seasons backing up Andy Dalton in Cincinnati after being selected by the Bengals in the fifth round of the 2014 draft.McCarron’s signing came five days after Buffalo traded three-year starter Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland. The trade left 2017 fifth-round pick Nathan Peterman as the only quarterback on Buffalo’s roster.Buffalo also added defensive end Trent Murphy from Washington and got a needed pass rusher, albeit a player coming off a major injury.Murphy had 15 sacks in 47 games, including nine in 2016 Womens Devante Smith-Pelly Jersey , then sat out last season after tearing two ligaments in his left knee in a preseason game.The Bills finished tied for 30th in the NFL with just 27 sacks last season.The Bills added defensive backfield depth by agreeing with safety Rafael Bush on a two-year contract, and got linebacker Julian Stanford on a two-year contract.FALCONSThe Falcons addressed a need by signing offensive guard Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games for San Francisco last season, to a three-year deal. Fusco, who began his career with the Vikings, could immediately start at right guard.DOLPHINSFive-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh officially was released, when the trades to acquire defensive end Robert Quinn and send Jarvis Landry to the Cleveland Browns were formalized.Miami also released tight end Julius Thomas, which had been expected, but decided to keep right tackle Like many young Russian hockey players, Nikita Kucherov grew up following Alex Ovechkin’s career, hoping to someday become a prolific scorer and maybe even compete against his countryman in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The 24-year-old Tampa Bay Lightning winger has spent five seasons fulfilling the first portion of the dream.
The other part becomes a reality Friday night, when the Lightning open the Eastern Conference finals against Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals.
”When he came in the league, he was the best player, and I mean he’s still the best player,” Kucherov said.
”Everybody would talk about him, and I definitely wanted to be in his spot one day, scoring goals,” the Lightning star added. ”He’s a great example for young kids and someone to look up to.”
Ovechkin is also looking for his first trip to the Stanley Cup Final, a platform Kucherov has already performed on.
The Lightning, who also feature of couple of other young Russians playing key roles in goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy and rookie defenseman Mikhail Sergachev Ivan Provorov Jersey , are in the conference final for the third time in four years.
In 2015, they defeated the New York Rangers before losing to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Cup Final.
”It’s great competition to play against the best players and then against your countrymen,” Kucherov said.
”I think it’s great for Russia to see the young guys come into North America and go through the CHL, AHL and then make it to the NHL,” he added. ”It’s great to see and to see how the kids want to be in the best league in the world. They don’t care about the money in the KHL, they want to be in the best league and play against the best. It’s nice to see.”
The Lightning have been exceptional through the first two rounds of the playoffs, going 6-1 at home while eliminating both the New Jersey Devils and Boston Bruins in five games.
The Capitals beat Columbus in the opening round before ousting the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
”They are similar to us in that they have a pretty deep lineup, a very lethal power play and forwards that can really change the momentum of the game with how good they are,” Lightning captain Steven Stamkos said.
”We are going to need to rely on our depth as well and stay disciplined. That’s something we’ve talked about going against Boston with how good their power play is and we saw first hand that if we are going to take penalties, teams are going to make us pay,” Stamkos added. ”Washington is very similar in that regard. That will be one of the keys for us.”
Ovechkin expects the Atlantic Division winners to be a stern test, too.
”Right now, in this situation in this time of year, everybody has the best players, the best goalies, and you have to be the best to beat them,” the Capitals star said.
”That has to be in our mind and we have to play as a group, not play individually.”
Some things to know about the Capitals and Lightning, one-time Southeast Division rivals meeting in the playoffs for the first time since 2011:
CAPITALS REINFORCEMENTS: Washington won Game 6 in overtime at Pittsburgh without top center Nicklas Backstrom and wingers Andre Burakovsky and Tom Wilson.
Backstrom, who took a shot from Justin Schultz off his right hand in Game 5 against the Penguins on Saturday http://www.officialflames.com/authentic-adidas-jaromir-jagr-jersey , skated and did some light stickhandling Thursday; Burakovsky (out with upper-body injury) practiced and are each considered day-to-day.
Wilson will be back off a three-game suspension, and with Backstrom and Burakovsky potentially close, the Capitals could have their full lineup soon.
”The first instinct is to try to put the lines back together that you had, but this time of year, you go with the guys who are going,” coach Barry Trotz said. ”The guys that are going well, you use, and the other guys wait for another opportunity. When I get the word, then we’ll put them back together.”
ROAD WARRIORS: The Capitals are 5-1 on the road through two rounds and 9-3 away from home going back to the 2017 playoffs. It helps Trotz to be able to get his top defensive pairing of Dmitry Orlov and Matt Niskanen out against opponents’ stars, but beginning on the road could prove beneficial for Washington.
”With the matchups on the road, you don’t get them all the time so I think guys are a little more aware of who they’re on the ice against, maybe a little more engaged in terms of knowing who’s on the ice,” winger Brett Connolly said.
”So I think we’re just playing on the road. Barry’s just throwing guys over the boards and they ultimately get to decide who they want to play against that line, so guys are feeling confident and comfortable and just playing and feel good about themselves.”
LONG TIME SINCE 2011: Only five players in this series were around when the Lightning and Capitals last met in the playoffs back in 2011: Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos and Victor Hedman and Washington’s Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and John Carlson. The Lightning won in a sweep before losing in seven to Boston in the East final.
”Obviously we haven’t played these guys in meaningful games like this for a while,” Stamkos said. ”So we can definitely expect a different series than that was.”
AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed.
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The NBA is headed to India next week Dmitry Kulikov Jersey , bringing another Basketball Without Borders camp to Asia.
Miami’s Kelly Olynyk, Oklahoma City’s Corey Brewer, Brooklyn’s Caris LeVert and Dallas’ Dwight Powell will be among the coaches at the camp that starts May 30, the NBA said Thursday.
Olynyk was a BWB camp player in 2009, invited from his native Canada to play in Mexico City.
Former WNBA players Ruth Riley and Ebony Hoffman will also be coaching in India, along with NBA assistant coaches – Brooklyn’s Bret Brielmaier, Atlanta’s Darvin Ham, Minnesota’s Ryan Saunders and Utah’s Mike Wells.
The camp runs through June 2 at the NBA Academy in India. Boys and girls from 16 countries were invited.
Other BWB camps are planned this year in Serbia and South Africa.
BALTIMORE (AP) — As long as Mike Tomlin is standing on the Pittsburgh sideline, watching Ben Roethlisberger pass to Antonio Brown or give the ball to Le’Veon Bell Jason Zucker Jersey , the Steelers will be favored to win the AFC North.
It makes no difference that Randy Fichtner is the new offensive coordinator, or that Roethlisberger turned 36 in March.
The Steelers are going to score points, and they’re going to play their best against division rivals in big games.
Baltimore knows this all too well. Two years ago, Bell rushed for 122 yards and Roethlisberger connected with Brown for a last-minute touchdown in a 31-27 victory that clinched the AFC North title.
Last December, Roethlisberger threw for 506 yards and two TDs, Bell scored twice and the Steelers beat the Ravens 39-38.
Baltimore hopes to turn things around this year, but if the Ravens are to break a run of three straight years without a playoff appearance, it will likely be as a wild card.
There are, by the way Youth Mark Letestu Jersey , two other teams in the division. Cincinnati and Cleveland deserve mention only because one will likely finish in third place and the other will occupy the cellar.
In Cincinnati, coach Marvin Lewis got a two-year extension despite his NFL-record 0-7 mark in the playoffs. After two straight losing seasons, he’s getting a 16th chance to finally get it right.
Cleveland is coming off an 0-16 embarrassment and can only hope to be respectable. Since the creation of the current AFC North in 2002, the Browns are the only team never to finish in first place.
Some things to know about the AFC North:
FOR WHOM THE BELL TOILS: Pittsburgh and its “Killer Bs” — Roethlisberger, Brown and Bell — have reached the playoffs four straight years. Yet all those trips to January have turned into just three postseason wins and no trips to the Super Bowl.
While the rejuvenated Roethlisberger believes he can play until he nears 40, this may be his last legitimate shot to win a third championship. Bell is likely in his final year in black-and-gold after being unable to come to terms with the club on a new long-term deal.
Bell is one of the most versatile backs in the league and not easily replaceable. He won’t lack for motivation. He believes he’s a unique talent and wants the paycheck to prove it.
Pittsburgh’s best chance to return to the Super Bowl will rely heavily on having Bell at the top of his game and will certainly take the tradeoff of seeing Bell elsewhere in 2019 if it means hoisting the Lombardi Trophy in February.
FAREWELL TOUR: Ozzie Newsome is the only general manager the Ravens have ever had, running the show in Baltimore since the team arrived from Cleveland before the 1996 season.
Newsome will be stepping aside after this season, to be replaced by current assistant GM Eric DeCosta, who in 2019 will finally get the job he wanted after spurning offers from several other clubs.
The Ravens have won two Super Bowls under Newsome Jimmy Vesey Jersey , who in his final season has assembled a team that appears better than last year’s model.
Having provided quarterback Joe Flacco with a new receiving group, Newsome addressed Baltimore’s most glaring weakness in 2017.
BENGALS ON THE LINE: Cincinnati’s offense finished last in the league in yards last season, the worst showing in franchise history. The focus of their offseason was overhauling the line, which failed to protect Andy Dalton or open holes in the running game.
The Bengals fired line coach Paul Alexander, traded with Buffalo for left tackle Cordy Glenn, signed right tackle Bobby Hart and drafted center Billy Price in the first round from Ohio State. Despite all that, the right side of the line struggled against the Cowboys in the second preseason game, renewing concerns that problems remain.
GOTTA BE BETTER, CAN’T GET WORSE: Cleveland coach Hue Jackson is 1-31 in two seasons with Cleveland Braydon Coburn Jersey , but Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam still believe they hired the right coach in 2016. Time will tell, but the pressure is on Jackson from the get-go to win or there could be more changes in a team that has known mostly upheaval for 20 years.
The Browns drafted quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, but the Heisman Trophy winner will begin the year as a backup to Tyrod Taylor, who helped Buffalo snap a 17-year postseason drought last season.
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DAVIE Mario Lemieux Jersey , Fla. (AP) Ryan Tannehill’s pass traveled 2 yards before landing in the hands of a young receiver, who dropped it.
Tannehill laughed. He doesn’t mind when a throw to his 2-year-old son, Steel, falls incomplete.
Their easygoing post-practice game of catch contrasted with what preceded it Monday – two hours of spirited work by the Miami Dolphins.
With players in full pads for the first time in training camp, there was a fight or two, plenty of trash-talking and one high-stakes play at the end of a passing drill, with the losing unit required to do pushups.
”It’s a competitive sport,” Tannehill said. ”I like what I see from our guys as far as the fire.”
Increasing intensity is understandable with the clock ticking toward another season Mike Smith Jersey , and it’s a little louder now for Tannehill because he turned 30 Friday.
After missing the end of the 2016 season and all 16 games last year due to knee injuries, he says he’s fully recovered and healthy. Five days into camp, he’s pleasantly surprised his arm isn’t even sore.
”I feel great,” Tannehill said. ”I was telling somebody the other day, I feel like I’m 25. Thirty just sounds old.”
Thirty is a little old to still be without a playoff appearance, as Tannehill is. But given the way such peers as Tom Brady and Peyton Manning aged so gracefully in recent years, Tannehill might have a decade or so left to play.
”He seems to keep getting better,” coach Adam Gase said. ”I guess I look at 30 now Dan Hamhuis Jersey Kids , and for quarterbacks it doesn’t seem – how many guys do we have that are 39 or 40 and MVPs of the league?”
The best hope for the Dolphins’ future would be that Tannehill becomes a late-bloomer. He has been a starter since his first training camp in 2012, and his best season came two years ago, when he was leading Miami toward a wild-card berth until sidelined by his first knee injury.
He hasn’t played since, and these days he’s not thinking about the arc of his career.
”I’m just trying to get better,” he said. ”I feel like I have a lot of good football left in front of me, and just want to be the best I can this year.”
It helps that the offensive line could be the best Tannehill has played behind, easing a perennial problem with pass protection.
And while favorite receiver Jarvis Landry departed last offseason, Tannehill is delighted about several newcomers Joonas Donskoi Jersey , led by veteran running back Frank Gore.
”It really surprises me how hard he hits the hole,” Tannehill said. ”That has probably been the most fun thing for me – just seeing him put his foot on the ground and go downhill and find a way to get through a crease where it looks like a human being can’t fit.”
Danny Amendola and Albert Wilson give Tannehill two experienced new targets at receiver, and he has been impressed with rookie tight end Mike Gesicki, a second-round draft pick from Penn State.
”He has incredible range,” Tannehill said. ”If you put a ball anywhere near him, he has the ability to either jump and get it or reach out and get it. One way or the other, he’s going to get his hands on it.”
And then there’s Steel Tannehill, who’s only 3 feet tall and a little inexperienced Womens Jaroslav Halak Jersey , and Dad hasn’t figured out yet whether he should be a receiver or quarterback. But he’s the camp newcomer who gets Tannehill gushing the most.
”I don’t know what position he is,” Tannehill said with a grin. ”Right now he’s the fun assistant.”
The Browns signed free agent linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who started last season for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Hendricks' official signing ends a strange sequence of denials about going to Cleveland and contradictory messages coming from his agent.
The 27-year-old started 13 regular-season games last season and all three during the Eagles' postseason title run. He underwent ankle surgery in March and Philadelphia released him on May 22.
Kendricks also visited with Minnesota and Oakland. Brother Eric starts at linebacker for the Vikings.
A seven-year NFL veteran, Kendricks brings more depth to Cleveland's group of linebackers. He provides more options to a unit that's undergone significant change in the offseason.
To make room for Kendricks, the Browns released s linebacker Tank Carder, who had been the team since 2012. He missed all last season after tearing a knee ligament during an exhibition game.
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President Donald Trump congratulated Jerry Jones Dustin Brown Jersey , the owner of the Dallas Cowboys football team, for saying his players will be required to stand for the playing of the national anthem.
Trump tweeted Friday: "Way to go Jerry. This is what the league should do!"
Jones was the first owner to publicly say that his players would not be allowed to stay off the field during the anthem. Jones said the team's policy is "you stand at the anthem, toe on the line."
However, Jones also said he understood the point of view of players who say they aren't protesting the flag or the military. He also described Trump's continuing involvement in the anthem issues as "problematic" for the league and "unprecedented." He said http://www.officialkings.com/authentic-adidas-alex-iafallo-jersey , "yes, everybody would like for it to go away."
Trump has repeatedly tried to bring attention to the player protests, which he opposes, and believes the culture war issue helps energize his base.
A statement from police in Milton Tyler Bozak Jersey , Georgia doesn’t mention Bills running back LeSean McCoy, but it also raises more questions about exactly what happened to trigger allegations of domestic violence.
According to Mike Rodak of ESPN.com, the police report described a targeted home invasion.
“On July 10, 2018 at approximately 3:18 A.M. William Karlsson Jersey , Milton Police responded to a home invasion at a residence on Hickory Pass near the Cherokee County line, the statement read. “The preliminary investigation indicates that this residence was specifically targeted by the suspect or suspects, and not a random incident. When officers arrived they found one victim who had been physically assaulted by a lone intruder.
“During the altercation, the suspect demanded specific items from the victim. An adult female victim was treated and released at North Fulton Regional Hospital. A second adult female victim also sustained a minor injury during the incident.”
McCoy has denied any involvement Scott Laughton Jersey , and the league and the Bills have issued the usual statements saying they were looking into the matter.
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Don鈥檛 expect to be drafted as a first round pick and not have high expectations. You were one of the best players of that year in your draft class. Expectations are going to be through the roof Rasmus Ristolainen Jersey , and some people can handle it while others can鈥檛. First-round draft picks might be the most prized聽assets for NFL teams. Rarely do you ever see teams trade away their second-round picks,聽let alone their firsts. The only time you would ever really see teams trade away their first-round picks is for some of the best talent already in the league. So basically, these draft picks are expected to be stars in the league, or at least have a big impact on their team.
When you draft players in the first round, usually you expect them to start within the next two years. Unlike many other college players, it is expected to play as soon as possible, except for maybe quarterbacks. First-round quarterbacks聽sometimes get聽time to develop, because their job is to become the future of a franchise.
Thinking about how much pressure is on first-round draft picks is scary, but the 2018 draft class had a ton of talent. Almost all of these first-round selections could be starters in the league, and some will, while others have struggled in training camp. It鈥檚 not easy to transition from college to the NFL. The game is different Scott Laughton Jersey , and the talent is different. Which first-round draft picks will rise to the challenge, and compete at a high level in 2018?
HOUSTON (AP) — Deshaun Watson’s performance in just a few games as a rookie last year has everyone looking forward to what the Houston Texans quarterback can do in a full season.
Perhaps no one is more excited about Watson’s potential than DeAndre Hopkins, Houston’s top receiver who has suffered through a revolving door at the position since he was drafted in 2013.
“The possibilities, what we can do is limitless,” Hopkins said.
Watson threw for 1,699 yards and 19 touchdowns and ran for 269 yards and two more scores in seven games, with six starts, before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in right knee in practice last season. He’s healthy now and determined to help the Texans bounce back from last year’s injury-plagued 4-12 season, their first losing record since 2013.
“I’m very excited for the new season and the potential that we have,” Watson said. “Now we’ve just got to go out there and perform and do it on the field.”
After he was injured last season Watson remained a fixture at the facility. He spent countless hours studying film, picking the brains of coaches and teammates and doing everything he could to continue his development while his knee healed. Coach Bill O’Brien loves that work ethic and believes the time Watson put in to improve mentally will pay dividends when he’s back on the field this year.
“I really can’t say enough about the guy. He’s a great guy Brandon Saad Jersey ,” O’Brien said. “He’s worked very hard to understand the system going into his second year. He’s the type of guy that’s always going to show up to work. He loves football. He’s got great questions. He’s been great since the day he walked in the door here.”
Some things to know about the 2018 Texans.
WATT’S RETURN: While Watson returns on offense, the Texans should also get a boost from the return of J.J. Watt to lead the defense. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year is healthy heading into the 2018 season after playing just eight games over the last two years because of a back injury in 2016 and a broken leg last season.
He made his preseason debut in Houston’s third game against the Rams and has said he’ll be ready to go for Houston’s opener against the Patriots on Sept. 9.
The defensive end said he’s feeling great, and was asked if he thinks he’ll be the same player he was before the injuries, when he piled up 38 sacks and 116 tackles combined in 2014-15.
“Any way I answer that question, I’m screwed,” he said. “You want me to say: ‘Yeah, it’s going to be incredible,’ then you’re setting insane expectations. I say: ‘No, I think I’m going to suck,’ that doesn’t bode too well for myself either. There’s really no good way to answer that question so I’m literally focused (on) what I can control.”
“Through all my injuries, that’s probably the biggest thing I’ve learned http://www.officialhockeyjetsshop.com/authentic-adidas-jacob-trouba-jersey , is control what you can control,” he said. “All I can control is today; workouts, practice, meetings, and then tomorrow I’ll be able to control that.”
HONEY BADGER IN HOUSTON: Houston’s biggest offseason acquisition was free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu, the Honey Badger.
Mathieu joined the Texans after spending his first five seasons in Arizona, where he played 66 games with 57 starts. The Texans hope, Mathieu, who has 11 career interceptions, will improve a secondary that allowed 215 yards passing a game last season. Though he’s new to the team, Mathieu has tried to step in and help mentor some of his younger teammates.
“I just want to bring some energy Andrew Shaw Jersey ,” he said. “I want to make as many plays as possible … I just want to be the ultimate leader for those guys and just show those guys that I’m going to show up every day.”
Hopkins is a big fan of Mathieu and has enjoyed sparring with him in training camp this year.
“He’s the quietest and (most chill) guy outside of the football field, but once he’s on the field he’s the Honey Badger,” Hopkins said.
CLOWNEY’S ENCORE: The Texans are hoping for another big performance from Jadeveon Clowney after the top overall pick in the 2014 draft had the best season of his career last year.
Clowney sat out most of training camp after offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, but returned last week and played against the Rams.
The defensive end anchored Houston’s defense last season with Watt out, finishing second in the NFL with a career-high 21 tackles for losses and his 9 1/2 sacks, 21 quarterback hits and two forced fumbles were also career bests.
He thinks Houston’s defense will be tough to deal with now that Watt is back and he’s playing at such a high level.
“If we stay healthy, I don’t see much bad going wrong with this defensive line and this secondary we put together,” he said. “I’m excited about this team and this defense.”
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