Cardinals and Bears start offseason program tomorrow

Offseason? What offseason?

While free agency has largely come and gone, and we’ve still got a few weeks before the draft, a few teams are about to get to work for the 2018 campaign.

Teams are also allowed to have one mandatory minicamp for veterans, and teams with new head coaches get an additional voluntary minicamp prior to the draft.

The Ravens will be thinking about wide receiver and offensive line with this pick, but like the Packers, they could use some rebooting in their 3-4 with Wink Martindale taking over the scheme and Terrell Suggs turning 36 in October. Davenport can turn into a Suggs-like dynamo while learning from the veteran in a situational role at first.

The Chargers are nasty on the edges with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, but they could use more explosiveness inside to round out what has the makings of an elite defense in 2018. Payne has Bosa-like short-area speed and can add to opponents’ backfield nightmares.

We posted an item earlier today regarding a report from WEEI that the Patriots will be trading tight end Rob Gronkowski in the coming weeks. The report, which was being picked up by other websites, appeared in a single tweet that had no equivocation of any kind. It was clear, it was plain, and it was getting noticed.

And it was all some sort of time-delayed April Fool’s Day gag, apparently.

Chris Curtis of WEEI called me a little while ago to explain that it was a joke. I’m still scanning the tweet for the setup, the reinforcement, and/or the payoff.

That is a humorous anecdote. I can’t wait to tell that one at parties and other social gatherings.

I told Curtis I’m not happy about any of this. Needless to say, nothing WEEI ever reports again will be taken seriously in this space. It’s hard enough to keep people up to date on everything that’s happening in the NFL without people throwing gratuitous and unfunny hurdles in our path.bills_260

Mark Rypien said he attempted suicide, suffers from depression

Mark Rypien is a former Super Bowl MVP and went 52-34 in his 11-year NFL career. The former quarterback’s life off the field has not gone as swimmingly, and Rypien wonders whether multiple concussions in football played a part.

“My story is impactful because people see me in a different light. I want them to see me in an accurate light,” Rypien said. “I’ve been down the darkest path. I’ve made some horrible, horrible mistakes. But I’ve given myself a chance to progress forward.”

Murray is doing that in passing lanes. He just appears out of nowhere, with preposterous arms, and intercepts simple side-to-side passes. Lanes appear wide open, and then, whoosh, Murray is going the other way. He averages two steals and 3.5 deflections per 36 minutes, elite marks. San Antonio’s defense is eight points per 100 possessions stingier with Murray on the floor, per

Oh, and he’s also just grabbing the ball from people. Excuse me, Andrew Wiggins, you seem very polite and can jump very high, but I will be taking the basketball. Thank you for your participation in this exercise.

But without a long-term contract, Anshah isn’t likely to attend the offseason program. Making it harder for Patricia to conclude that the franchise-tagged pass rusher should be part of the franchise’s future.

Ansah, a first-round pick in 2013, concluded his rookie deal in 2017. Injuries have contributed to a sense of inconsistency, which has prompted the Lions to opt for caution before committing major money to Ansah.

If Patricia likes what he sees from Ansah, it could end up being very expensive to keep him in 2019. At a tag this year of $17.143 million, Ansah would be entitled to a 20-percent raise for next year. That would be $20.57 million for a second season under the tag.bills_061

New league will go without kickoffs, and NFL will watch closely

The NFL seems to be moving toward eliminating kickoffs, and leading the way will be the new Alliance of American Football.

That upstart league, which will begin play in 10 months, will not have any kickoffs. The biggest obstacle to the NFL’s desire to eliminate kickoffs has been figuring out what to do about onside kicks, and the new league will allow teams to try to keep the ball after scoring by running one offensive play, needing 10 yards to get the ball.

In the 12th, Warren walked pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez with one out and Santander singled with two out before Gentry came up big after fouling off four two-strike pitches.

The loss left the Yanks 5-5 heading into a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox that begins Tuesday night at Fenway Park. 

Before facing Boston, the Yankees will have a day off, and they need the rest because their bullpen had to eat up 20 2/3 innings in their last three games, 7 2/3 on Sunday.

It’s a sign of solidarity as new coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman attempt to reshape the team’s culture and while Beckham still desires a new contract.

It provides the Giants a chance to look in person at the ankle he shattered last October and shows that Beckham is willing to buy into the new program. The hope is that this leads to more serious contract negotiations in the near future after the Giants left the door open for a trade two weeks ago at the NFL meetings in Orlando, Florida.

Offseason workouts are voluntary under the collective bargaining agreement. Beckham and Olivier Vernon weren’t around for much of the team’s offseason workout program last year. Vernon is also expected to attend this year with the team learning new offensive and defensive schemes under a new coaching staff.

Shurmur said last month he expected Beckham to be in attendance for the team’s offseason program, which starts Monday and officially ends with a mandatory minicamp in mid-June. Beckham has been working out vigorously in Los Angeles most of this offseason.bills_044

Aldon Smith Arrested for Violating Bail Condition for Domestic Violence Arrest

Former NFL player Aldon Smith was arrested Friday night after violating “a condition of his electronic monitoring,” according to TMZ Sports.

Per that report, Smith was fitted on Thursday with both GPS and SCRAM devices—the latter of which monitors the blood-alcohol content in sweat—after “allegedly violating a protective order put in place following his arrest for domestic violence.”

The Raiders released him in March after he was accused of domestic violence. He hasn’t played since 2015, when the NFL suspended him for a year and never reinstated him amid his ongoing legal issues.

Luck said he was not ready to disclose the timetable of his return, but that he will get back on the field better than ever.

Some will say he didn’t have the talent to be on a roster, but Kaepernick is a guy who helped get a team to a Super Bowl , and you never see those guys not get a shot on a second team.

Since Reid attached himself to the protest, there is a reasonable assumption that teams are showing some hesitancy in signing the safety, just as Kaepernick remains unsigned.

That topic came up during Reid’s free agent visit with the Bengals. According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk , Bengals owner Mike Brown explained that he doesn’t want any players kneeling during the national anthem.

So yes there is a legitimate reason. Legally their owners can tell them they can’t do it and they can’t do it. The protests caused the NFL to lose millions and millions, but the players contracts were not affected. They have the absolute right to inquire whether that player may potentially cause them as an owner revenue in the form of protests, and then hire them, or not, based on the result of that answer as they see fit.bills_008

Broncos Hosting Wyoming QB Josh Allen For Pre-Draft Visit

Mike Klis of 9 News reports that the Browns are hosting Wyoming QB Josh Allen for a pre-draft visit on Monday.

The Broncos have been doing work on all of the top quarterback prospects, so this shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

Denver is sitting at No. 5 overall and while three quarterbacks could be taken in the first four picks, it’s possible one of the top-four quarterback prospects could still be on the board by the time the Broncos are on the clock.

Our NHL experts, including John Buccigross, Linda Cohn, Emily Kaplan, Steve Levy, Barry Melrose and Greg Wyshynski, forecast the first-round playoff series and predict who will lift Lord Stanley’s Cup this year. (Hint: It won’t be the Penguins.)

Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel were the most obvious choices from the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, so if you liked the Penguins to repeat, they would have been no-brainer selections for your squad. Like clockwork, they finished one, two and three in scoring, and that was that.

The Broncos have continued to drop subtle hints that this may well be the case with the various workouts and visits scheduled with a few of the top quarterbacks in this year’s draft. According to JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago, the Broncos appear to be zoned in on taking former Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Having a great overall athletic profile is a great start, but even if a player doesn’t measure well overall, pass rushers have a more specific drill that’s valued above all others. Derek Barnett (4.89 RAS) was selected in the first round by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles last year despite an underwhelming overall profile, but his 6.96-second 3-cone was more than enough to supplement his exceptional tape.

The success rate for edge rushers with a sub-7.0 second 3-cone is incredibly high. Fourteen of the 39 players who posted times in that range have gone on to produce double-digit sacks in a season.rams_086

Packers WR Trevor Davis arrested on threat charge

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Trevor Davis was arrested on a misdemeanor threat charge at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, police confirmed to

Davis was arrested at the Hawaiian Airlines check-in counter when, after being asked security questions about his luggage by an attendant, turned to a female companion and allegedly asked her, “Did you pack the explosives?”

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur confirmed during a Monday conference call that the receiver reported for the opening of Big Blue’s offseason workouts.

Shurmur said he hasn’t seen OBJ yet but knows the wideout is “in the building”
“I really believe Odell is a professional. He wants to be great,” Shurmur said, via the team’s official Twitter feed. “He understands the importance of the offseason. He’s a competitive guy. Again, we had already started communicating before all that communication kind of got out there and was talked about to great deal. He’s a professional and I’m glad he’s here today.”

NFL Network’s Kimberly Jones reported over the weekend that Beckham was expected to report for the opening of the Giants offseason workouts.

Attending voluntary workouts is a good-faith gesture for Beckham, who hasn’t shied away from letting it be known he wants a new long-term contract that will make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid players. The lack of an extension placed him at the center of trade speculation for a large portion of the offseason, but Eli Manning wasn’t too worried about his top receiver leaving town.

“In everything that he is doing, he is crying out for help,” Lewis said. “We have a lot of people reporting about it. But it’s always been the duty of elders to go back to help. That’s why I raised my hand and told him, ‘I’m here whenever you need me.'”

Beckham joins Giants’ offseason program, but does that change anything?

Lewis said  Beckham initially was receptive to his outreach and committed to regular phone calls and conversations. So what happened?

The former Ravens star suggested the reason Beckham’s off-field life has gone a bit wayward this offseason — he was seen in a video with possible drugs and is the defendant in a $15 million lawsuit that Beckham calls  a “shakedown attempt” — is because he “has removed God from his life” and “where there is no God, there is chaos.”

Lewis said he planned to reach out to Beckham again.


Gary Harris set to return to Nuggets after 11-game absence

After missing 11 games with a right knee sprain, Denver Nuggets guard Gary Harris is likely to return to the lineup against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday, league sources told ESPN.

Injuries — the absences and the recoveries — have played a role in almost every team’s postseason case. Here’s a look at how every contending team is dealing with them.

Syndergaard allowed five hits, walked two and struck out five. He improved to 4-0 in six starts against the Marlins with an ERA of 1.62, 47 strikeouts and four walks.

Marlins: C J.T. Realmuto (back) is close to beginning a rehab assignment. … RHP Dan Straily (forearm) will throw a bullpen session Tuesday and is expected to begin a rehab assignment soon. … LHP Wei-Yin Chen (left elbow) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday in Jupiter and is then expected to advance to extended spring training. … 3B Martin Prado (hamstring) played three innings in extended spring training. … 1B-OF Garrett Cooper (wrist) will wear a cast for at least a week. … RHP Elieser Hernandez (tooth infection) has been temporarily sidelined from a rehab assignment because of a broken finger nail.

Marlins: RHP Dustin McGowan signed a minor league deal and will be assigned to Triple-A New Orleans. RHP Brian Ellington cleared waivers and was released.

Mets RHP Jacob deGrom (2-0, 1.54) is scheduled to start Tuesday against LHP Caleb Smith (0-1, 4.32).

Brogdon played 14 minutes off the bench and chipped in two points, two rebounds and an assist.

While the Bucks got Brogdon back, they still weren’t at full strength as star Giannis Antetokounmpo missed his second straight game with soreness in his right ankle. He sat out Saturday’s win at the New York Knicks with the same injury.

Interim head coach Joe Prunty said the Bucks are waiting until Antetokounmpo is strong enough to do everything necessary in game action.

Milwaukee has clinched a playoff berth but could still finish as high as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, depending on what happens over the last three nights of the regular season. The Bucks were the 7-seed entering Monday night’s games.

Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez struck out five of his first six hitters in his first game back off the disabled list from knee surgery. But Tampa Bay’s C.J. Cron tied it at 1 with a home run in the second.buccaneers_091

Anthony Rizzo (back) to miss fourth straight game

Considering the cold conditions at Wrigley Field, it’s not a surprise that Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo will miss his fourth straight game Monday with lower back tightness.

Rizzo, 28, missed the final three games of the Cubs series in Milwaukee this past weekend after experiencing tightness going back to last Monday in Cincinnati. He played through the pain on Thursday before missing the next three games.

An altercation between Coyotes defenseman Luke Schenn and Ducks forward Nick Ritchie in the first period resulted in minor penalties for both. That was followed by another confrontation involving Arizona’s Brad Richardson and Anaheim’s Derek Grant, with Richardson sent to the penalty box for two minutes.

The power play for the Ducks helped when Henrique muscled in a backhand for a goal at 10:54 of the period, giving Anaheim a 1-0 lead. Rakell got an assist, his 35th.

Richardson and Anaheim’s Corey Perry served five minutes for fighting early in the second period. The Ducks missed a chance to add to their lead when Jakob Silfverberg hit the post with a shot at 13:07 of the second.

Rakell scored off a pass from Ryan Getzlaf with 3:43 left in the second. Getzlaf picked up his team-leading 50th assist of the season.

Perry earned his 400th assist on Henrique’s goal.

Lane is due back in court in May. He could face up to 364 days in jail and/or a $5,000 fine.

Earlier this month Lane was released by the Seahawks after spending his entire NFL career with the team. He was picked in the sixth round of the 2012 draft and became a member of the “Legion of Boom” secondary during Seattle’s Super Bowl-winning season.

The Panthers and Redskins from 2014 to ’15, the Cowboys and Giants from ’15 to ’16 and then the Panthers again from ’16 to ’17 are even more proof of how quick teams can go from worst to first.

The team-building model of drafting a franchise quarterback and then spending big to surround him with weapons and defensive help is already in place, and teams like the Eagles and Rams are proof it works. Teams like the Bears are choosing to follow suit.

Cowboys release CB Orlando Scandrick, per his request

Cornerback Orlando Scandrick has been granted his request to be released by the Cowboys, reports.

The move will free up about $3 million in salary cap space for Dallas this season, to be applied June 1, although Scandrick will count $1.6 million against the team’s cap in 2019, according to the report.

Stephen Curry, dressed and with backpack on, hopped up and down a few times on his tender left knee in the locker room with a big grin alongside athletic trainer Chelsea Lane. They’re going on the quick road trip to Phoenix.

Curry did some light work on the court then iced his injured left knee before the game while munching popcorn at his locker.

He’s still a week from having his sprained knee re-evaluated and Kerr ruled him out for the first round of the playoffs.

“We’ll talk a week from today,” Kerr said. “There’s nothing to report.”

The Warriors waived forward Omri Casspi after the game. Casspi has been sidelined by an ankle injury and Golden State needed to clear a roster spot in order to make room for Cook to be on the playoff roster.

Neither club took batting practice, and players on both teams were bundled up when they came on the field. Several wore hoods under their caps to try to stay warm and combat the frigid conditions, which have been fairly common throughout Major League Baseball in the season’s first two weeks.

The Royals have already had two games postponed due to weather.

Saturday’s temperature was 34 at first pitch, and the game’s only run came on Lucas Duda’s seventh-inning homer off Trevor Bauer. The teams combined for nine hits, and Royals starter Ian Kennedy said the ball felt like an ice cube before he rubbed it up.

According to records kept by the Indians dating to 1970, the lowest game-time temperature at Municipal Stadium, the club’s home on Lake Erie until 1993, was 32 degrees on April 7, 1979. Cleveland’s Rick Waits pitched a one-hit shutout that day against Boston, with Jerry Remy getting the only Red Sox hit.

Tigers: Cabrera was back at first base and batting third two days after he jammed his hip when he tripped and fell rounding first on a single in the first inning. Cabrera played the field in the bottom half on Thursday before being replaced by Niko Goodrum.buccaneers_007

Lions add linebacker depth, sign Jonathan Freeny

The Detroit Lions added more linebacking depth Monday morning, announcing the signing of Jonathan Freeny.

Freeny, 28, split last season between three rosters, finishing the year with the New Orleans Saints. The two previous years, he played for the New England Patriots, appearing in 18 games for the franchise, including 11 starts. During the stretch, he recorded 33 tackles and a sack.

Widely regarded as a top-10 talent in last spring’s draft, Foster slid down draft boards because of character and injury concerns. The linebacker was sent home from the combine last March for arguing with a hospital worker. Foster started 10 games for the 49ers this past season, tallying 72 tackles.

With his latest arrest, Foster is subject to potential NFL discipline under the league’s personal conduct policy.

Current Panthers owner Jerry Richardson remains under investigation for alleged workplace impropriety and sexual harassment, with the inquiry being led by Mary Jo White. She is at work, Goodell said. I haven’t gotten an update from her in the last 30 days or so. But when she has completed her investigation, I certainly will meet with her and you will be aware of it also. Goodell added that the timeline of the investigation will not be influenced by the sale of the Panthers.

On the sale of the Panthers, Goodell added that the process is moving along with unprecedented interest and said he hopes owners will vote on the transition of ownership at the next owners meetings in May.

On former 49ers safety Eric Reid, one of the most socially active players who remains unsigned several weeks into the new league year, Goodell said: The 32 teams make their individual decisions on the players they think will best help their franchises.