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Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers

Alex Ovechkin finishes as NHL’s leading goal scorer for seventh time

Alex Ovechkin scored twice to give him an NHL-leading 49 goals as the Capitals beat the New Jersey Devils 5-3 Saturday night in each team’s regular-season finale.

Serenaded by chants of “We want 50,” Ovechkin wrapped up his seventh Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer and came one goal short of his eighth 50-goal season. Ovechkin, 32, scored for the third consecutive game. He is the oldest player to lead the NHL in goals since Phil Esposito in 1974-75 at age 33.

By beating the Devils in regulation, the Metropolitan Division-champion Capitals ensured they wouldn’t face New Jersey in the first round of the playoffs.

Playing without MVP front-runner Taylor Hall, New Jersey fell to the second wild card in the Eastern Conference. The Devils will open on the road against the Atlantic Division winner — either the Boston Bruins or the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Wentz, 25, threw for 3,296 yards and ranked second in the NFL in touchdown passes with 33 to just seven interceptions despite missing the final three games of the regular season and Philadelphia’s eventual Super 52 win over the Patriots.

Finishing in first place puts some pressure on the Capitals, but it’s nothing like in years past. More than anything, there is urgency to win, with Ovechkin 32 and having three years remaining on his contract.

“We all know what we’re playing for is to win a championship, and I’m hoping we do it this year,” owner Ted Leonsis said. “I’m hoping we do it within his contract time.”

Columbus is a tough first-round matchup for the Capitals, but their play down the stretch makes a long playoff run possible if they get strong goaltending from Braden Holtby or Philipp Grubauer. From the net out, Washington looks like a contender thanks to the trade-deadline additions of defensemen Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek and the play of centers Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nicklas Backstrom.cardinals_098

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Monday morning one-liners

Boston is 14-7 without Irving, having posted wins over the Raptors (twice), Portland Trail Blazers (twice), Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.

“This team, we’re resilient,” Morris told the Globe. “Everybody on this team is ready to compete. We all feel disrespected. Kyrie, Marcus, Theis — all those guys are major for our team. But they’re not here, so we still have to approach the game as if we’re going to win and get as far as we can.”

The tag for defensive ends comes in at just over $17 million for 2018. Ansah is coming off a 12-sack season for the Lions last season and had 14.5 sacks in 2015.

The Lions have until mid-July to come to an agreement with Ansah on a long-term contract or he will be tied to his one-year tender with the team.

Aaron Judge tied the score at 3-all with an RBI groundout in the fifth. He also hit an RBI double in the seventh, giving New York a 6-3 advantage.

Judge has driven in at least one run in a club-record 14 straight home games, tied for fourth-longest since RBI became an official stat in 1920.

Gardner safely reached base four times despite playing on fumes, including a two-run single in the second that gave the Yankees an early lead.

“It’s easy to go home and go to sleep if you win but if you lose a game like that it makes it somewhat more difficult,” Gardner said. “I remember laying in bed last night at, I don’t even know what time it was, but wishing and praying that I could somehow fall asleep.”

Oklahoma City (46-34) is tied with San Antonio and New Orleans for fifth in the loaded Western Conference, a half-game behind idle Utah. The Thunder can clinch a playoff spot with a victory at Miami on Monday.

“This game was important but the Monday game is just as important as this game because if we don’t take care of business Monday then this game doesn’t really mean anything,” said Carmelo Anthony, who had 22 points.

The Thunder took two of three in the season series against the NBA-best Rockets.

James Harden had 26 points for Houston, and Chris Paul added 17.

“I thought we tasted the playoff atmosphere because these guys are fighting for their lives and we’re not,” Houston coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It’s human nature, there’s no reward in winning.”

Paul hit a step-back jumper and Gerald Green scored to give the Rockets a 92-91 lead with 7:09 left. But Westbrook scored five quick points to start an 11-0 run by Oklahoma City that made it 102-92 with about four minutes remaining.texans_088

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With destiny back in Devils’ hands, why they won’t change approach

The Devils are trying to keep their focus within their own locker room, even if it is human nature to scoreboard watch this late in the season.

Yes, the Devils know the Florida Panthers lost in regulation on Wednesday, keeping the Devils three points ahead for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Devils control their own playoff destiny with six games left to play in the regular season, but their focus hasn’t changed. They continue to look at the next game on their schedule.

It’s nice to know we control our own destiny and we control how we play, forward Taylor Hall said. And we have a couple more home games and some hard teams coming up. No one ever said it was going to be easy, and the fact that Florida has gone on this run, it’s pretty incredible for them. So they’re still going to nip at our heels, they’re still going to win some games. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s nice that we can control how we play going forward here.

The Devils’ lead over the Panthers has been relatively small throughout March, but they have never surrendered it to fall out of a playoff spot. They did that by keeping their minds on the task at hand, and that will be their goal over the next 10 days.

As far as right now, the race, you know it could change every day, forward Travis Zajac said. I think for us, it’s trying to make sure we’re in the right mindset as a team, as individuals and trying to get our game as sharp as we can these last six.

The 5-foot-9, 190-pound junior is one of the best players on the Rutgers baseball team and is a legit prospect for this year’s Major League Baseball Draft despite serving a suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules earlier this season.

If not for the strong likelihood that he will sign if he gets drafted in baseball this June, Harris would certainly be penciled in as a contributor to a defensive backfield that, according to Scarlet Knights coach Chris Ash, lacks depth this spring.

But is Ash counting Harris to contribute if the MLB Draft scenario doesn’t work out

I haven’t talked to Jawuan about coming back,” Ash said. His focus right now is baseball. I know he’s got dreams and goals of hopefully going on and getting drafted and having an opportunity to play Major League Baseball. I know he started the year off pretty good for baseball and he’s a pretty good player.patriots_034-223x223

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Brandin Cooks: I’m blessed to be part of an organization on the rise

In an offseason in which the Rams have added a number of good players, the newest one is excited about what is being built in Los Angeles.

Brandin Cooks said at his introductory press conference today that he’s excited about the direction the Rams are going in.

“It’s part of the game. I’m extremely blessed for this opportunity to be part of a special organization that’s on the rise,” Cooks said.

The biggest threat to Averett’s first-string status in 2017 didn’t come from a blue-chip recruit. It came from a pothole. Averett stepped in one prior to Alabama’s Sugar Bowl game against Clemson before boarding the team bus en route to practice.

“My foot turned a different direction, a direction it’s not supposed to turn, and I put all my body weight on it,” said Averett, who was admittedly distracted when sending a text message while stepping off a curb. “When I sat down on the bus, I’m like, ‘OK, I rolled it a little bit. I’ll be all right.’ I mean, it’s not the first time I did that. I’m from Jersey. We’ve got a lot of pot holes.

“When I got off the bus, I realized I couldn’t put any weight on it. I was like, Woah, this is more serious than I thought. (The trainers) picked me up and walked me to the training room and I had to deal with it there.”

Any team that would trade for Beckham also would need to be willing to give him a long-term contract in the range he reportedly is targeting: $20 million or more per year.

If the Giants don’t want to make a major financial commitment to Beckham, a trade could still happen. Maybe another team decides to give up two first-round picks, maybe the Giants decide to accept less than two first-rounders. Regardless, the fact that the Giants have entertained the thought of not having Beckham means a deal could still happen at some point between now and the first night of the draft.

But our coaches did a great job coaching those guys up, and the young players stepped up. It became an extremely competitive position and allowed us to win a lot of games.

One of the true strengths of the 2017 Eagles was depth and having players ready to step up if injuries occurred to starters. How conscious were you of that in building this roster?texans_033

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Marshawn Lynch apparently safe after Doug Martin signing

The Raiders are just going to be deep in aging running backs.

It was natural to wonder about Marshawn Lynch‘s future in Oakland after Doug Martin agreed to terms today, but according to Michael Silver of the NFL Network, the addition doesn’t mean they’re subtracting Lynch.

LB Avery Williamson has agreed to a three-year deal with the Jets, reportedly worth $22.5 million.

New York needed help at just about every level of the depth chart. Williamson, a steady and durable piece of the Tennessee defense the past four seasons,?likely supplants Demario Davis for the Jets.?

ESPN’s Adam Schefter also confirmed the signing.

As Fallon Smith C. of NBC Sports Bay Area reported on Wednesday, quarterback Derek Carr met Nelson at the airport to begin his meeting with the team.

Two top House Democrats said Thursday that they have proof the Trump administration engaged in an intentional effort to rid the State Department of career officials they suspected of being “disloyal” to President Trump, citing documents a whistleblower gave to the panel.

The ranking Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Government Reform committees sent a letter to White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly and Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, writing that they received documents “indicating that high-level officials at the White House and State Department worked with a network of conservative activists to conduct a ‘cleaning’ of employees they believed were not sufficiently ‘supportive’ of President Trump’s agenda.”

We don’t know. The It could be very long morsel is more than a little concerning. As long as the Senators’ leader in goals per game remains sidelined, Marian Gaborik is favored to fill in on a second scoring line with Bobby Ryan. That shouldn’t thrill Ryan’s fantasy managers much either.ravens_015

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If Minnesota wants to land Cousins, it will have to make him the highest-paid quarterback in NFL history.

Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has requested his release from the team, according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). The Cowboys are reportedly planning to trade or release Scandrick, but the veteran would prefer to choose his own destination. Scandrick is scheduled to carry a $5.28MM cap hit in 2018. By moving on from him, the Cowboys will save $1.4MM while carrying $3.88MM in dead money.

He and the Bucs began discussing a new contract early last season and the process intensified this offseason, with Tampa making retaining the dynamic player a priority.

So, the word is Cousins wants a short-term deal, with all guaranteed money, and the chance to potentially hit free agency again in three to four years. It could be the first fully guaranteed multiyear contract in NFL history.

But that doesn’t mean the Vikings have to tip their hand entirely in his favor. There’s no benefit for the Vikings to give him a three-year contract of all guaranteed money and the option for Cousins to hit the market as a free agent again when he’s 32. In order for this to work, the Vikings need some protection on the back end of this deal.

But if the Giants take Manning’s successor at No. 2 — assuming the Browns also take a quarterback at No. 1 — the Colts might be in a position where they get to pick the player they want. That — essentially having the first pick in the draft — might be impossible to say no to. There’s no way to know how it’ll all turn out. Even the Colts don’t know what kind of offers they’ll be getting.

But the Colts are doing the right thing by keeping their phone lines open until the moment they turn in their draft card. You never know if a team will get so desperate they decide to hand you an endless supply of draft picks. And let’s face it, the Colts are more than just a player away from competing for Super Bowls. They can use all the help they can get.

Adrian Peterson has been linked to the Dallas Cowboys ever since he broke out as a star freshman at Oklahoma. He grew up less than two hours away from Dallas in Palestine Texas, and his big personality made him the ideal running back to wear the star on his helmet. For most of his career, a homecoming wasn’t possible, but now, it finally makes some amount of sense.buccaneers_074

Los Angeles Chargers

MLB trade news: Yankees acquire Brandon Drury in 3-team deal with D-backs, Rays

The Rays continued their offseason moves by sending outfielder Steven Souza to Arizona in a three-team trade that saw the Yankees acquire a sought-after infielder in Brandon Drury, the teams announced Tuesday.

The Yankees acquired INF/OF Brandon Drury from ARI. As part of the trade, the Yankees sent INF Nick Solak to TB and RHP Taylor Widener to ARI. OF Stephen Souza, Jr. went from TB to ARI, and LHP Anthony Banda from ARI to TB.

The three-deal trade was a win-win for the Yankees and Diamondbacks, while signaling a rebuild is in order for the Rays, who have designated outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment and traded righty Jake Odorizzi in the past three days.

Baseball players know how to market themselves. Why do you think they post the workout videos on Instagram, looking shredded, while we stare at our guts in the mirror while we get ready for work, contemplating whether we want that extra donut?

Some ballplayers are on the cutting edge of fitness, using the latest performance enhancing … supplements, and have their own personal trainers and all that other stuff. Even the players understand how bad of a cliché this has become, with some of them mocking it openly in recent years.

Well, at least this guy’s in the best shape of his life. Really.

“That’s the part that I can’t wait — winning,” Stanton said. “I’ve never had that before. That’s what I always wanted. That’s what everybody wants in their career. And what my previous years haven’t been.

“You’re not going to be in your prime forever. You’re not going to be in the game forever. I wish every player can experience what I’m about to experience.’”

Stanton said he didn’t want to be part of a rebuild in Miami under new ownership, but he also didn’t want to accept a trade to the Giants or Cardinals. He narrowed his finalist down to the last four teams standing in 2017 — the Yankees, Dodgers, Astros or Cubs.

Now, the 28-year-old reigning NL MVP is ready to win at all costs, saying he doesn’t care if he only hits “two home runs all year.”buccaneers_005

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Former Panther Rae Carruth breaks silence with an apology letter; Saundra Adams responds

After spending 17 years behind bars for conspiring to kill the mother of his son, former Carolina Panthers player Rae Carruth has spoken out with a public letter of apology.

“If I could change anything, I’d change the whole situation. His mother would still be here and I wouldn’t be where I’m at. So that’s what I’d want to change. I want the incident to never have happened at all. … I let him down as he came into this world and the only way that I can make that right and the only way I can work out my relationship with my son is to be there for him.”

He went on in the interview to say that he believes he should be the one to raise his son and that he could “make a difference,” while also thanking Adams for the “unconditional care, compassion, love and support” that she gave Chancellor.

Carruth said he wanted to make the letter public because his past attempts to contact Saundra Adams haven’t received a reply.

“I feel like if I did it in the open, it would put an end to the lies. If I say publicly, ‘Ms. Adams, I apologize, Ms. Adams, I take responsibility for what happened,’ that she can no longer get on television and do an interview and say Rae has never apologized to me,” Carruth said.

This is the first time Carruth has spoken publicly since 2001 after not taking the stand during the trial and appearing in a brief interview with CNN early in his sentencing.

A source told SN in 2017 not to expect a grand announcement from the FBI if Tillman succeeded.

“They will try to get him to fade to anonymity as much as they can,” said retired U.S. Marshal Kim Widup, a 38-year law enforcement veteran who led the Whitewater investigation. “But I think at some point the FBI will also use it as part of their recruiting policy, as in, ‘Look who we got.’”

Tillman is not the first high-profile athlete to be connected to law enforcement. Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Herschel Walker made well known his interest in taking FBI classes. Basketball Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal is a deputy marshal in Louisiana, a reserve police officer in Florida and a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia. Not totally unrelated, former NFL guard Daryn Colledge enlisted in the Army National Guard in March 2016, and more notably, Pat Tillman left the Arizona Cardinals in June 2002 to enlist in the Army Rangers in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.jays_298_adb123b3050ea281-180x180

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Timberwolves prepare for Bulls, await word on Butler’s MRI

Cameron Payne also saw time at backup point guard instead of Jerian Grant as Chicago fell 116-115 to Philadelphia.

“I couldn’t be happier the way we went out and played and competed,” Hoiberg told the team’s website. “We dig ourselves an 18-point hole and fight all the way back and have complete control of that game. A lot of guys played well, so there’s a lot of positives to take out of this game. I loved our effort all game long.”

The Timberwolves have a chance at much more as they try to break a 13-year streak of missing the postseason.

Minnesota started Friday sitting fourth in the West after having played more games than any other team in the NBA. The Wolves had 21 games left to cement their position. Now they might be doing so without Butler.

“It’s 21 games in 47 days,” Thibodeau told the team’s website before Friday’s game. “And there’s some unusual breaks, too, in terms of we have a five-day break, we have two three-day breaks, we have four two-day breaks. For our players, most NBA players, like to play every other day. … Whatever comes our way, we’ll have to deal with it.”

Once again, the Eagles spent big to put their past mistakes behind them, but this time, the cost was draft currency. Philly sent two first-round picks, a second, a third, and a fourth to Cleveland for the right to draft the North Dakota State quarterback with the No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 NFL draft. The gamble paid off. After a promising but uneven rookie campaign, Wentz developed into an MVP candidate in 2017. While he missed the final three games of the season with a torn ACL, he still finished second in the league in touchdown passes with 33 in 13 games.

The decision to extend the contracts of Tom, Dave and Doug isn’t so much a reward for last season, which no doubt was impressive, as it is to recognize their importance to our football team this coming season and for years to follow, Khan said in a statement. We’re past celebrating the accomplishments of our division title and playoff run, and now it’s time to take the next step. We need the right leadership firmly in place to make that happen, and it’s good to know we’ll have that with Tom, Dave and Doug secure in their roles with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Marrone led Jacksonville to a 10-6 record in his first full season as head coach after the team went 4-12 in 2016.bears_111-223x223

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With these things in mind, I’ve made a few key adjustments to the Kings of Command baselines.

Taking things a step further, 16 percent has become a comically poor measure for a successful relief pitcher strikeout rate, as the major league average for relievers alone last season was 23.3 percent. Compare that to the starters’ average (20.6 percent), and it’s even clearer that starters and relievers should be evaluated separately.

In addition, with pitching workloads in rapid decline this decade, and role-driven staffs becoming increasingly in vogue, not to mention there being even more advanced measures with which to measure a pitcher’s true skill, I think it’s time we shift the swing-and-miss metric off of the pure strikeout rate.

The aim remains the same: Identify the pitchers who surrender the fewest free passes, induce the most swings and misses and command the strike zone the best. For the first time this season, however, starting pitchers and relief pitchers will have their statistics split up, and each set will have its own set of baselines.

But the Central Florida target still carries the potential that made him the 26th overall pick nearly three years ago. His combination of solid size (6’2, 214 pounds) and elite speed (a 4.24-second 40 time at his pro day in 2015) helps offset the lingering rawness he can’t seem to shake. Perriman still has plenty of room to grow, and a new coaching staff could be the key that unlocks his Pro Bowl potential.

It’s the first time Alderson has been that definitive about his anticipation of the former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback’s future, but he is pleased with the progress Tebow has made since the team signed him on Sept. 8, 2016. That’s why Tebow was one of the 15 non-roster invitees who will work in the Mets’ big league camp over the next six weeks.

He’s dedicated himself to improving, Alderson said. Spent a lot of time in the offseason working with hitting coaches and so forth. So some people say, ‘Well, gee, why is he in the major league camp?’ I think realistically given his age, given where he started, he and we need to try and accelerate the process.

This experiment, if you will, is not going to last forever, but he’s made meaningful progress. We thought he would best benefit from being in major league camp. That would accelerate his development rather than falling back on protocol.

Leading 2016 receiver Shaedon Meadors missed the season with injury, and slot receiver Deltron Hopkins transferred, meaning Lamb was without each of his top four targets. Freshmen Thomas Hennigan, Jalen Virgil, and Malik Williams combined for nearly 40 percent of Lamb’s targets and finished with 84 catches, 1,121 yards, and 10 scores.bears_135