NFL execs admit pressure from Trump a factor on anthem policy

A day removed from the NFL changing its national anthem policy, it’s hard to escape the feeling that they were simply bullied by the President into doing something, whether it actually made anybody happy or not.

[Trump] certainly initiated some of the thinking, and was a part of the entire picture, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. But all of that was given consideration.

Others cited market pressures, with Colts vice chair Carlie Irsay mentioning letters the team received from suite holders who said they were more upset with the league than the team.

At the end of the day, we are an entertainment property, 49ers owner Jed York said. You tune into football on Sunday or Monday or Thursday to get away from everything else. And I think people have had enough of the political fights. I think people do want to get back to football. But our players also have the ability, and the right to champion their causes and bring attention to those causes.

York was the one owner to abstain from the vote, which the league announced as unanimous.

Meredith, who caught 66 passes for 888 yards and four touchdowns in 2016, was injured during the preseason while with the Bears. The Saints signed the restricted free agent to an offer sheet that Chicago declined to match.

He expects to be ready for the start of the season.

If Oliver Ekman-Larsson doesn’t accept what we understand is a Coyotes’ offer of an eight-year extension in the neighborhood of $8 million per, the defenseman with one year to go on his contract will all but certainly be dealt at the draft. Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson, also a pending 2019 free agent, is expected to be traded, as well.

The potential availability of OEL and Karlsson on the market was a factor in the Rangers’ decision to move Ryan McDonagh at the deadline rather than to wait until the offseason. Again, though, it was Tampa Bay’s inclusion of Libor Hajek into the package coming back to New York that sealed the deal.

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Giants, Seahawks face offensive line challenges

The New York Giants, who host the Seattle Seahawks at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, have some common ground.

The biggest similarity is that both teams have had issues on their respective offensive lines.

Rodgers broke his right collarbone after Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr hit him in the first quarter Sunday. The quarterback was rolling out to his right with Barr pressuring him. As Rodgers threw, Barr hit him in the midsection and drove him into the turf, where Rodgers landed on his shoulder.

Bradford was sacked four times and mostly looked like a player who’d rather hit the ground himself than have someone hit him. He finished with just 36 passing yards on 11 attempts and was mercifully replaced by Keenum just before halftime.

The Jets were at the 47-yard line with seconds left in the first half — if Catanzaro had been called in, he would have been tasked with hitting a 65-yard kick. They called one more play, however, and earned 8 yards on a pass. This resulted in a 57-yard kick for Catanzaro, which he nailed, and was still good enough for the longest field goal in Jets’ history.

For those of us who reside on Cleat Street, this is the type of attitude that brings a tear to our eye. It’s glorious. It’s a man looking at a big ole kick, and saying, “You know what? I want KICKIER.”

Minor league baseball game settles ‘Star Wars’ vs. ‘Star Trek’ with a dance battle

The best way to settle Star Wars vs. Star Trek is to have a massive three-hour film featuring characters from both franchises battling it out for sci-fi supremacy. That will probably never happen. So the second-best way to settle Star Wars vs. Star Trek is at a minor league baseball game.

The Fresno Grizzlies, Triple-A affiliate of the Astros, had Star Wars night on Saturday, giving everyone free rein to dress up as their favorite Jedi, Stormtrooper, Sith Lord, or whatever the hell Yoda is. It was supposed to be a good time, until people dressed up in Star Trek costumes walked in, so they confronted each other while Ennio Morricone’s theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly played. (You know what, we’re already mixing franchises; we might as well add western movie theme music.)

But fans are affected, too, and the truest test of one’s dedication to the cause is one’s willingness to sit out getting shat on by rain for hours on end, just to witness a potential advancement to the College World Series.

Some might describe this as cavalier folly. Others might cite the Gators’ dramatic walkoff victory on Saturday night again, after a four-hour rain delay as factual evidence that the end of this game bears witnessing. Wherever you land on these fans’ collective decision to stick it out, one thing is indisputable: they’re getting absolutely drenched on purpose.

I used Baseball-Reference to search for shortstops from the last 20 years, and I used their quick-‘n’-dirty guide on what WAR totals usually mean, which is this:

The Yankees have enjoyed, at a minimum, starting-caliber seasons from their shortstop in 17 of the past 20 seasons. This is not a surprise. Derek Jeter had 15 of those seasons, And Didi Gregorius had two. There have not been a lot of seasons in which the Yankees have wondered what they were going to do about their shortstop.

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The Pistons are in no position to pass on the best talent available.

3’s Company features A.I. and DerMarr Johnson. You might think we’d want another scorer here — maybe Latrell Sprewell or Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. You’d think wrong. Iverson, who is the team’s coach, captain, and star, will be leading the BIG3 in scoring come hell or high water. Joe Smith is a fellow rapper and Virginian. I daresay he’s a lock at No. 2.

You’re sensing a trend with the team names, yes? The Killer 3s feature Chauncey Billups and Stephen Jackson. I’m perplexed, actually, that this team isn’t called the Rachel Nichols All-Stars. Along with his BIG3 contract and Killer 3s jersey, Reggie is guaranteed at least one Cheap NFL Jerseys appearance on The Jump this season.

Markkanen is a special shooter at 7 feet tall. He has a quick release and can score in the pick-and-pop or running off a screen. Andrew Wiggins, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Zach LaVine will appreciate the driving lanes.

The Pistons are in no position to pass on the best talent available. Collins offers two-way potential at the five, and could even become a match next to Andre Drummond if he continues to develop his jump shot.

The Pelicans sit at No. 10 in the lottery standings with just a 1.1 percent shot at landing the top pick. If their pick doesn’t land in the top three, it goes to the Kings as payment for the DeMarcus Cousins trade. It would take a miracle for New Orleans to make this selection, but Lonzo Ball would be a perfect fit if it happens.

Anthony Davis and Cousins deserve a point guard with special vision and passing instincts. Ball would help supercharge an offense that finished No. 26 in efficiency this season. Find a couple shooters on the wings and the Pelicans could turn their fortunes around quickly.