Lions to practice with Raiders, Giants this summer

When Lions coach Matt Patricia was on the Patriots coaching staff, the team often held joint practices with other teams during training camp and he said in April that he wanted to do the same thing in Detroit.

Patricia’s wish has been granted. The Lions announced on Friday that they will hold practices with the Raiders and Giants this summer.

The Lions will travel to Napa to work with the Raiders at their training camp on August 7 and 8 before they play a preseason game in Oakland on August 10. They’ll host practices with the Giants from August 14-16 and then play a game at Ford Field on August 17.

There are few decisions in recent NHL history as maligned as the one Florida GM Dale Tallon made in opting to protect defensemen Mark Pysyk and Alexander Petrovic rather than Marchessault, who led the team with 30 goals in 2016-17. Vegas jumped at the chance to draft the 5-foot-9 forward, whom McPhee called a hard-working player with no ego. Marchessault had a career-high 75 points this season, including 27 goals. He has 18 points in 15 games in the playoffs.

It’s hard to say right now who will be that number two, Cardinals coach Steve Wilks said, via Darren Urban of the team website. We’re still working, and those guys understand and know — we talk about it all the time — the best 11 are going to play. We create competition.

Christian Kirk, a second-round pick this year, and Chad Williams, a third-round pick last year, figure to play into the competition along with Brice Butler, Cobi Hamilton and J.J. Nelson. Nelson had the second-most yards on the Cardinals behind Fitzgerald last season with 508, though he caught only 29 passes.

And the Cardinals still could sign a veteran to fit into the mix, via Urban.

The Rangers were hamstrung by protecting a young core while managing no-movement clauses, and they had to expose players they liked, such as Lindberg. Vegas was enamored by the then-25-year-old’s speed and took him instead of guys such as Jesper Fast, Antti Raanta and Michael Grabner. Fast might have been the better pick. Lindberg never found his footing in Vegas (11 points in 63 games) and has cracked the lineup in just three playoff games.

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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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Jay Ajayi wants to return to workhorse role

Running back Jay Ajayi joined the Eagles in the middle of the 2017 season and split time in the backfield with LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement on the way to a Super Bowl title.

Blount left as a free agent this offseason, but Clement is still around and the Eagles brought back Darren Sproles after last year’s torn ACL. Recent draft picks Wendell Smallwood and Donnel Pumphrey are also on the roster and former Washington starter Matt Jones recently joined the team, so the pieces for another committee would certainly seem to be in place.

Always wanted to play in front of these fans, Marshall wrote in a post with a picture of him in a 12th man shirt.

The 34-year-old Marshall is a six-time Pro Bowler, but the Giants cut him in April with a failed physical designation. He was coming off ankle surgery after playing five games last year for Big Blue.

While players were discouraged by the league’s decision, they were happy that Jets CEO and chairman Christopher Johnson publicly said he would not impose punishment on any player who protested, and would pay any fines the Jets, as a team, incurred from the league for their players staging a protest.

We’ve been actively in conversations with Christopher, on how we can go about it, and other ways to make change, Kearse said. I’m very appreciative of him. I think he kind of gets it, the fact that he has taken ownership, to support us and be actively involved.

We’ve spent an awful lot of time, I think this is our fourth day in the red zone, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said, via Andrew Krammer of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. I think it’s just important we get a lot of work in there. We put a big emphasis on it last year. We’re going to continue to do so.

While Cousins has found some early rapport with tight end Kyle Rudolph, the rest of the passing game is a work in progress. With new coordinator John DeFilippo putting in new things, there’s a big emphasis on installation this time of year, with a new set of basics like snap counts and play calls.

That’s why we’re doing it. It’s not easy, Cousins said. It is condensed. You have to be on the screws. Your throws have to be that much more accurate. The routes have to be that much more perfect in terms of the depth, the cut and the timing. That’s why we’re practicing it right now. . . .

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Giants GM expresses interest in Dez Bryant after releasing Brandon Marshall

It just makes too much sense for the New York Giants. Following the release of wide receiver Brandon Marshall earlier in the day, general manager Dave Gettleman took to the media and seemingly indicated that the team is interested in free agent pass catcher Dez Bryant.

We already know that Bryant wants to remain in the NFC East after being released by the Dallas Cowboys earlier in the month. Up to this point, no team within the division had shown any real interest in signing the former Pro Bowl receiver. That has now changed.

The final count on the whistles: 30 fouls for the Heat, 26 for the 76ers, and three technicals each as well.

But just like in Game 1, Philadelphia pulled away after halftime and now it’s the Heat back on the ropes.

76ers: Philadelphia had a pair of shooters fouled beyond the 3-point line in the first quarter: Robert Covington made two of his three free throws, and Belinelli turned his chance into a four-point play…. Embiid missed his first five shots, then put his finger to his lips in the universal shush sound to the crowd after getting his first one to fall.

Darnold, he’s like a cow on ice, Dan Shonka told the New York Post. His footwork is all over the place. His feet in the pocket are embarrassing. When you turn the ball over [35 times] in 26 games, you’re intellectually dishonest when you’re talking about bringing in Sam Darnold as your next savior. This guy opens his hands over the ball, it just drops out when he’s in the pocket. If you look at his film, they talk about his accuracy.
Giants 7-round projection | Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley or Bradley Chubb at No. 2?

Shonka scouted for National Football Scouting, the Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs during his career and is now the general manager of Ourlads.

In two seasons as a starter at USC, Darnold completed 64.9 percent of his passes for 7,229 yards with 57 touchdowns and 22 interceptions on the way to a 153.7 passer rating.

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Burnett’s 24 points lead Mississippi over Alabama 78-66

It’s no secret that Mississippi’s basketball team is built around a quartet of veteran guards.

The first half of the game featured wide swings in momentum with Ole Miss taking an early 18-9 lead.

Alabama responded with 18 straight points before Ole Miss came right back with 14 in a row. The Rebels ended the first half on a 23-4 run to take a 10-point lead by halftime.

I’m really proud of our guys to take that punch and then finish the half strong, Kennedy said.

Ole Miss’ Burnett led all players with 16 points in the first half, making 6 of 8 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

Alabama was led by Donta Hall’s 14 points. Dazon Ingram scored 10.

Burnett’s 24 points gave him 1,020 for his career. He’s scored 825 points during three seasons at Ole Miss and also had 195 points during his freshman season at Miami.

Alabama: It was a tough night for Alabama, which came into Oxford on a roll, but struggled with its shooting touch. Sexton was a little rusty in his return after missing two games, but the Tide will certainly need him during the rest of the season.

Ole Miss: The Rebels are a handful to deal with on their home court and shot nearly 55 percent in the second half to pull away for the win. Ole Miss has some big games over the next week, traveling to Texas before a crucial SEC home game against No. 19 Auburn.

Philadelphia and New England were the best teams in the league all season, and they have backed it up with strong playoff runs. The Eagles and Patriots match up well with each other, offensively and defensively.

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NFL senior VP of officiating Al Riveron will return in 2018

Alberto Riveron will return as the NFL’s senior VP of officiating in 2018, according to ESPN.

The 58-year-old was the NFL’s first Hispanic referee spending and started calling games at the highest level in 2004. He was eventually made a referee in 2008.

I am, in my heart of hearts, a better driver today than I was at 35, Johnson said Tuesday at the NASCAR media days at the Charlotte Convention Center. There’s just a lot of pieces of the puzzle to get it right.

That [talent piece] is not it. If you look at the car count I went through [because of crashes], it showed I was taking more chances and [driving] on that ragged edge a lot more.

Or all those crashes could mean that Johnson has lost that edge, that advantage that made him virtually untouchable.

Doleman was picked fourth overall by the Vikings in the 1985 NFL Draft. After eight years in Minnesota, he spent two seasons with the Falcons and three with the 49ers before returning to the Vikings for his final season in 1999. He was elected to the Pro Bowl eight times and was the NFL sacks leader in 1989.

Doleman was elected to the Hall of Fame five years ago and was also inducted to the Vikings’ Ring of Honor.

Kevin Knox got things started with his jumper, PJ Washington created opportunities at the foul line and other Wildcats chipped in as needed to get it done.

Washington had a career-high 22 points, Knox scored 19 with four 3-pointers and Kentucky pulled away late for a 78-65 victory over Mississippi State Tuesday night to end a two-game losing streak.

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NFL launches ‘Let’s Listen Together’ campaign focused on social justice

The NFL announced Tuesday they are launching a joint program between players and coaches with a commitment to focusing on social justice.

The Let’s Listen Together campaign will focus on supporting programs and initiatives that reduce barriers to opportunity, with a priority on supporting improvements in education and economic development, community and police relations, and the criminal justice system.

We are pleased to have developed a new initiative that focuses on creating meaningful solutions to improve our communities, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. In developing this plan, we have taken the lead from our players and are honored to join them in this work. Their work has deepened our understanding of the unique platform we have to help advance progress in a profound and unifying way.

Running back Jordan Scarlett, receiver Rick Wells and linebackers James Houston and Ventrell Miller are enrolled in school and rejoining team workouts.

The four entered a pretrial intervention program in late October that could result in the dismissal of felony credit card fraud charges. The players needed to make restitution and comply with probation protocols over a 12-month period to get the charges dropped without any legal findings.

A source told ESPN that the four players will go through workouts, spring practice, summer workouts and fall camp, but there is no promise that they will play in the first game of next season.

A fifth player, defensive lineman Keivonnis Davis, also remains enrolled in school but is recovering from a non-football injury.

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Rider finishes on 8-0 run, tips Fairfield 90-88

Dimencio Vaughn scored 20 points with 13 rebounds and his extra effort underneath the basket paid off with the game-winner Tuesday night as Rider edged Fairfield 90-88 in a wild finish.

Really for me, my decision is just going to come down to do I feel like I’m healthy enough to survive another season?

It’s a valid concern for a 32-year-old who played every down possible until the middle of his 11th season. It’s also fair for an all-time great lineman who’s been trapped on an island of ineptitude — save for his rookie season in which the Browns won 10 games but missed the playoffs — since 2007. He’s more than earned the right to move into the next phase of his life if he so desires.

For this year’s game, the league asked the FBI to perform security checks on all credentialed personnel, including members of the media, McCarthy said. The NFL’s security department, which controls the composition of the application form, attempted to make the press credentialing process consistent with checks that are done for others who receive a working credential, which includes requesting racial information.

The FBI has said that while providing racial information is helpful to conducting security checks, it has not been, and was not intended to be, a required field on the application form.

On Wednesday, 19th-ranked Auburn will travel to face a Missouri team that features three players — Jordan Barnett, Kassius Robertson and Jordan Geist — who all shoot better than 40 percent from behind the arc.

You’ve got to do it consistently, Robertson said. We’ve been in countless close games this season. We’ve got to learn how to consistently keep leads and take care of the ball at the end of the game and execute at the end of the game.

Over its past eight games, Missouri (13-6, 3-3 SEC) alternated wins and losses, but as Pearl noted, is 12-1 at home.

Auburn, which will have sizes issues inside and outside against Missouri, will need a repeat performance from Bryce Brown, who made 5 of 9 shots from long range and scored 28 points in the win on Saturday.

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Los Angeles comes up just short on a third-and-8 and it elects to go for it on fourth down.

Rivers drops back to pass on the play and the Chiefs bring pressure. Rivers lofts a throw to Antonio Gates and the ball is intercepted by Kansas City linebacker Justin Houston. Three straight Los Angeles drives have ended with a turnover.

Field goal Chiefs. The Chiefs move the chains once but Alex Smith’s third-down pass comes up short of the marker and Kansas City settles for a 51-yard field goal from Harrison Butker. The Chiefs now lead 23-13 with 10:59 to play.

Turnover Chargers. Rivers completes a 7-yard pass to Austin Ekeler, moving the Chargers to their 41. But Ekeler looses the football and its recovered by Kansas City safety Ron Parker. Two straight Los Angeles drives have ended in turnovers.

Tyler Jones? You mean TYUS Jones? Either the Cleveland Cavalier assistant coaches made the same mistake on their pregame notes as my iPhone X does when it autocorrects Tyus to Tyler, or the three-time NBA champion doesn’t have much time (or respect) for the first-round draft pick (and STARTING POINT GUARD) for his upcoming opponent. Either way, the setup has occurred.

The Capitals took a 2-0 lead, and the Blackhawks rallied to tie before the third period. Troy Brouwer, who won a Stanley Cup with Chicago, scored the game-winning power-play goal with 13 seconds left in regulation to send a partisan crowd of nearly 43,000 fans into hysterics.

Gorgeous stadium, too, even if the 40 degrees and sunny weather didn’t make for memorable conditions.

Call it recency bias, call it what you will, but the 2018 Winter Classic delivered another of the event’s better games while riding a wave of hype surrounding the 10th anniversary of the first Winter Classic in Buffalo (more on that in a bit).

Freezing temperatures at game time made for some adventurous puck play, and the annoying shadows that made TV viewing a bit difficult in the first period were gone by the second. The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the first, and the Sabres rallied with goals in the second and third. For the first time since 2014, the game went to overtime, where J.T. Miller ended it for the Rangers.

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