Report: Le’Veon Bell won’t show up for Steelers’ OTAs


It would have created a bigger headline had Le’Veon Bell decided to show up for the Steelers’ organized team activities, but as expected, the Steelers running back won’t attend, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reports.

Bell remains unsigned after the team placed the franchise tag on him for a second consecutive year. Tom Brady, Julio Jones, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Donald are other big names around the league who are absent for voluntary offseason work.

A year ago, Bell reported to the Steelers a week before the season opener, holding out until the last minute. He played under the $12.12 million tag last year, earning All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors.

And don’t forget to join the @PFTPMPosse by following the Twitter account that has gone from a handful of members to more than 500, and constantly growing.

New ESPN analyst Jason Witten, a former teammate of Bryant’s with the Cowboys, speculated last week that Bryant will “end up going to the Green Bay Packers.”

On Tuesday, Rodgers was asked about Witten’s prediction, which Witten said was based on Bryant fitting what Rodgers does.

“I’m paid to play quarterback, so I don’t make those decisions,” Rodgers said, via Rob Demovsky of ESPN.

The Packers drafted three receivers, getting Missouri’s J’Mon Moore (fourth round), South Florida’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling (fifth) and Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown (fifth). The rookies will compete with Geronimo Allison for playing time behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb.ravens_099

The free-agent market is often about choices for players as they entertain interest from teams.


For running back C.J. Anderson, fitting in with an offensive scheme played a large role in his decision to sign with the Carolina Panthers.

I just think it fits my game personally well, Anderson said Wednesday afternoon during a guest spot on NFL Up To The Minute. They love to run the ball. That’s something they do more of.

However, a concussion ended Shields’ 2016 season after just one game. It was his fourth documented concussion with the Packers, and he decided to sit out all of 2017.

I was going through hell—headaches, couldn’t see the light, things like that, Shields said, per Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com.

Shields believes he’s ready for a return to football—and we wish him nothing but the best—but it’s fair to wonder whether concussions remain a concern and what kind of player he’ll be after a year away.

L.A. gave Shields a one-year deal worth just over $1 million for an opportunity to compete. But the Rams are trying to win now, so if they don’t believe Shields can help with that, they can release him without paying him anything.

They’re more meaningful to the fans in Los Angeles, because the Rams wore that getup before they left for St. Louis after the 1994 season. There’s a connection to those uniforms that there clearly isn’t for the St. Louis-era garb. But, nope. According to the Los Angeles Times, the NFL hasn’t yet allowed the Rams to use the throwbacks as their primary uniform because … well, who knows. The Times reported that the Rams are talking to the league about wearing the blue-and-yellow uniforms more often. The fans want them, but the league limits those uniforms to twothrowback games.

Los Angeles Rams receiver Pharaoh Cooper in the blue-and-yellow uniform the team wants to wear more often in 2018. (AP) More The Times wrote that the Rams requested to the NFL last season that they be allowed to wear the throwback look in Week 6 against Jacksonville and in a wild-card playoff game against Atlanta, and the team was denied both requests.

We have spent the year educating (the NFL) on our fan base, Rams chief operating officer and vice president for football operations Kevin Demoff told the Los Angeles Times.colts_126

Boston’s president of basketball operations, called back the next day and Larkin agreed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal to return to the NBA.


Ainge, At that moment, the pact made little sense for both sides: The Celtics already had 15 guaranteed contracts and a point guard depth chart that was helmed by Thomas, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.

Nine months later, with Boston’s roster decimated by injuries, Larkin is now an integral part of the Celtics’ playoff rotation and the only pure ball handler behind now-starter Rozier.

In Sunday’s Game 1 of a first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, Larkin logged the sixth-most minutes on the team and — despite a first-half rough patch during which he committed a rash of turnovers — chipped in five points and was plus-12 during his floor time (only Jaylen Brown had a higher mark at plus-18).

Kenley Jansen was unavailable for Monday’s save situation, having worked a pair of scoreless outings over the weekend, including Sunday’s save. The Dodgers called upon Josh Fields, who worked around a hit to record a scoreless conversion. This all but confirms he’s the top backup plan should Jansen have to give up the closer role for any reason. Jansen’s improved form has soothed early-season concerns, but the Dodgers did help fantasy players by clarifying the replacement pecking order, and Fields remains a decent stash.

Jason Heyward (L), 10 percent, Chicago Cubs vs. Cleveland Indians (RHP Josh Tomlin): Did you know that Heyward has a .900 OPS against righties this year? The much maligned outfielder is holding his own with the platoon advantage and gets a great opportunity to further that against Tomlin. Lefties are doing whatever they want against Tomlin so far this year with an eye-popping 1.460 OPS, albeit in just 23 plate appearances.

Dexter Fowler (B), 49 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets (LHP Steven Matz): Fowler hit .293 against lefties from 2015 to ’17 and though he’s a horrid 1-for-18 against them so far this year, we’re going to #trusttheprocess here. He still leads off regularly and his plate skills (K and BB rates) are the same as his career marks. Matz has allowed an .828 OPS to righties this year with five homers and five steals. Perhaps Fowler can deliver a combo meal (1 HR, 1 SB) and jump-start his season numbers a bit.
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Xander Bogaerts returns for Red Sox, who place Brock Holt on DL


Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts returned to the starting lineup after missing 15 games with a broken talus bone in his left ankle.

Bogaerts was activated from the 10-day disabled list Friday. He started at shortstop and batted fifth against Tampa Bay.

Bogaerts missed more time than initially expected. Boston manager Alex Cora said he wasn’t going to rush the 25-year-old, an All-Star two years ago who was batting .368 with nine RBIs at the time of his injury.

“I wasn’t going to push him just to have his name in the lineup,” Cora said. “I want him to feel comfortable and move around and feel that his pace is there. It’s very important for him.”

“We just never quit,” George said. “We never quit. I can’t pinpoint one thing we did wrong. We just never got down on ourselves, regardless of the lead they built and the shots they were making. We could surge back and we did.”

Jazz: Shot 57 percent in the first quarter to take a 34-29 lead. … Crowder scored 15 points in the first quarter. … Mitchell was fouled on a 3-pointer with 11.1 seconds left in the first half. Before Mitchell shot his free throws, Thunder coach Billy Donovan was called for a technical. Mitchell made all four free throws, and Utah led 56-41 at the break. … Rubio finished with 10 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

The top prospect on our board, Barkley projects as an every-down back with the elite talent and intangibles to become a franchise-changing player. He’s gifted enough to emerge as an All-Pro-caliber player early in his career.

Chubb has a prototypical build, plays a lot of snaps, has some experience in coverage and compares favorably to Ravens pass-rusher Terrell Suggs. He grades out as a high-impact NFL edge defender and is one of the best all-around players in this class.

Nelson is a road grader who excels at getting into defenders and moving them off the ball. He anchors well, and his wide frame and strong hands tend to mask his athletic limitations when he’s forced to mirror. Nelson is one of the best guard prospects in recent history.

“The NBA is 82 games, a lot of flights, non-stop,” he said. “So to come back and play 28, 30 games, hopefully more if the Sydney Kings go on to the playoffs and the finals… that played a big part.

“I’ve committed to the World Cup in 2019 and the Olympics, so that was a big factor.”steelers_105

Center Riley Nash returns for playoff debut with Bruins on Monday


Boston Bruins center Riley Nash made his return to the lineup Monday as the first-round series shifted to Toronto for Game 3 with the Maple Leafs.

Nash has been out since March 31 after being struck in the ear by a slap shot. The Bruins won the first two games in Boston.

“Every manager’s been booed at some point,” Thomson said. “When the Yankees hired Joe Torre, it was ‘Clueless Joe’ in the front page of the [Daily News]. Then he gets booed for a while, then we win and everybody cheers. Then Girardi comes in, and they boo him because he’s taking over for Torre. Then he wins and everybody cheers for him. I think that’s all part of it. If we win a bunch of ballgames, all that stuff will go away.

“I just tell him stories about things that happened in New York. You had two World Series managers, and some of the things they went through are very similar. I just try to let him know, ‘You’re not the only guy that’s ever gone through this. You’re not on an island all by yourself. We’re all with you, and we all have your back.”’

Mitchell left Sunday’s Game 1 in the fourth quarter to get an X-ray on the foot before returning and playing through some apparent pain in the Jazz’s 116-108 loss.

“I just stubbed my toe,” Mitchell said. “Nothing major.”

Mitchell returned with 7:47 left in the fourth quarter but was subbed out about a minute later after making a jumper and grimacing as he ran back on defense. Mitchell was visibly confused on the bench and, with the help of some teammates, lobbied to re-enter the game.

“I was just limping, and they saw me limping and thought I needed to come out,” Mitchell said, “but I was just being a baby.”

Playing in his first postseason game, Mitchell finished with 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting, plus 10 rebounds.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said all signs point to Mitchell being ready for Game 2 on Wednesday.jets_103

NFL vows lowering helmet rule will be “a substantial change” to the sport


How big a deal is the new NFL rule outlawing lowering the head to initiate contact with the helmet? A very big deal.

McKay made clear that this is not just a rule that applies in certain situations, such as hits on defenseless receivers or quarterbacks. This rule applies to everyone: Offense and defense, receivers and safeties, blockers and pass rushers, ball carriers and tacklers. If you’re on the football field, you’re not allowed to lower your head to initiate contact with your helmet. If you do, you won’t be on the football field anymore.

In Los Angeles, Smith joins a quarterback room where Rivers is the unquestioned starter and Cardale Jones is also on the roster as a backup.

While 37-year-old Eli Manning now gets the services of Solder in New York, Brady will turn 41 with an unknown quantity trying to keep the QB upright. The rest of the line, plus Brady continuing to get the ball out of his hands quickly, should help limit the damage.

If Fleming isn’t re-signed, at least the Patriots know they will have stud right tackle Marcus Cannon returning from his ankle injury. While Fleming and Waddle filled in well for Cannon, guards Joe Thuney and Shaq Mason and center David Andrews performed at a level rivaled by few interior line combinations.

No team had more passing attempts than the Patriots with Brady last season (584), but the 84 QB hits and 35 sacks they allowed were better than more than half the league. The unit’s success came as a whole; it wasn’t tied to an individual.

Tight end Eric Ebron never quite lived up to the expectations that came with being the 10th overall pick of the 2014 draft during his four years with the Lions, but he’ll get a fresh start with the Colts after signing with them earlier this month.
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Orioles get LHP Luis Ysla from Dodgers for RHP Jesus Liranzo


The Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers have made a trade involving a pair of minor league pitchers.

The Orioles obtained left-hander Luis Ysla, and the Dodgers got right-hander Jesus Liranzo on Monday.

Ysla, 25, has played five seasons in the minors, reaching Triple-A in 2016 with Pawtucket of the Boston Red Sox organization.

That’s where the Dodgers are right now. The same core players are back. They’ve won the NL West five years in a row. Continuity like this can be a sign of stagnation, but that’s not the vibe you get from the Dodgers. It’s more like a sense of collective assurance.

At the same time, the story of the Dodgers’ 2018 season can’t be written until what seems like a sure-fire sixth straight trip to the postseason. Everything that happens from Camelback Ranch through the dog days of August will be mere prelude. The entire morning had been, for lack of a better term, boring.

When you’re as good as the Dodgers, you can afford to be boring because you know how much excitement lies ahead.

There’s no doubt that replay has the ability to overturn an egregious blown call. However, modern technology can be both a blessing and a curse, at least to this coach.

Seager doesn’t want days off. Or won’t admit it, if he does. When asked whether he was on board with Roberts’ plan, Seager said, No. He paused as if to elaborate, not something he’s prone to do. Then he said, again, No.

That’s about as much conflict as there was in Dodgers camp, with the possible exception being the team’s clubhouse doubles pingpong tournament.

Meanwhile, back in the B game, after a few innings Jansen took a seat in the bullpen area. His wife watched the proceedings nearby while his young son entertained swooning fans by throwing a baseball, running to retrieve it, then throwing it again. Take note, scouts: He’s a righty.patriots_098

Kirk Cousins has a film crew documenting his free agency experience


Tom Brady isn’t the only NFL quarterback who has a camera crew documenting his life.

Police forwarded its findings in the case to prosecutors in December, a Harris County DA spokesman confirmed to NFL.com. Specifics regarding the victim’s injuries have not been made public.

He ed his first four years with the Bills, and retires second on the Jaguars’ all-time tackle list with 973, trailing only Daryl Smith (1,089).

Even the normally dispassionate New Yorker magazine claimed, under the headline , We Need You 2016, the last for bringing some rationality to the 2016 Presidential field died.Even though we were watching at home, we didn’t notice his absence, though.He could barely bend over to tie his skates.- Hornets associate coach Patrick Ewing sat courtside at Time Warner Arena, watching 7-foot-3 Kristaps Porzingis shoot pregame warmup shots.Yet it was only when he moved to largely white St.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that Cousins will visit the Vikings. That’s a curious wrinkle, since teams and would-be free agents technically aren’t allowed to line up visits until free agency officially begins. (So, essentially, the league is reporting that one of its teams may be violating the tampering rules.)

Maybe you’d rather play a video game for a while if your team is faring poorly; you can keep tabs and click back if they make it close.We disagree.When you take the elevator to the top, said Dikembe Mutombo, please ‘t forget to send it down, that someone can take it to the top.Offensive lineman Sowell was active for the first time in three weeks, while rookie offensive lineman Rees Odhiambo was inactive.My response: Give them a microphone and teach them how to lip-sync.He’s been a surprisingly consistent contributor fantasy this, and playing alongside Tavares has helped immensely.

Randall fell out of favor with the Packers coaches last season, but the Browns think that having him in the middle of the secondary will have multiple benefits. First,he ed safety in college and may simply be more comfortable there. Also, it allows second-year safety Jabrill Peppers to closer to the line of scrimmage, and if they continue to add at cornerback in free agency, it strengthens the entire secondary.
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Max Pacioretty to miss 4-6 weeks with knee injury


Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty will miss four to six weeks with a knee injury suffered Friday, the team announced Monday.

Pacioretty suffered the injury in the third period of Friday night’s win over the New York Islanders. He was the subject of trade rumors ahead of the Feb. 26 trade deadline but denied reports last week that he requested a deal to a new team.

Mark Stone passed from the left faceoff circle across to Hoffman below the edge of the right circle. His shot went off the sprawling Lehtonen’s upper left arm and into the net.

Duchene has 33 points (13 goals, 20 assists) in 35 career games vs. Dallas. … In the last six games, Seguin has seven goals and four assists. … Ottawa RW Marian Gaborik returned after missing two games with an undisclosed injury. … The Senators had killed 13 of 14 penalties in the previous six games. Dallas had been 17 for 18 over five-plus games.

The Wizards (28-22) are now 2-0 since Wall was sidelined (they beat the Hawks Saturday). They need every win they can get with Wall out. They’re currently in fifth place in the East, but they’re only up a couple of games on the eighth-place 76ers. So this win, against a tough visiting team, was big. Coach Scott Brooks liked what he saw.

“We fought, we battled, we clawed. We didn’t complain; we just played,” Brooks said.

Before the game, Brooks had said he didn’t think the Wizards would acquire a guard before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

“This is a minor setback. (Wall) will be back,” Brooks said. “We’re not gonna change things up just because of this.”

Tuesday night, the crew the Wizards had on hand was enough to get the job done.

The Celtics dropped to 34-11 but remain in first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic needed only one half to log a double-double against the Mavericks, as his 20 points and 11 rebounds helped Denver take a 61-48 lead into the locker room. He finished with 29 and 18, and the big man can pass, too. Here’s one of his seven assists in the Nugs’ 105-102 win.packers_157

Who made the bigger jerk exit: Josh McDaniels with the Colts or Bill Belichick with the Jets?


If McDaniels doesn’t eventually take over for Belichick, he might never be an NFL head coach again. (Oh, who are we kidding. This is the NFL, where Jeff Fisher gets 20-plus years to play .500 football. The league never rejects a familiar mediocre white man who’s been around long enough).

Then again, when Belichick leaves, there’s a good chance Brady won’t be there anymore. I just don’t see the Patriots as successful without Brady and Belichick.

Belichick, hands down. There’s the whole dynasty thing mentioned above. But it also helped fuel a rivalry between the two AFC East teams. There’s a palpable hate in the air every time these two teams meet.

“I have won it plenty of times. Again, it’s hard to even answer that question. There’s really no basis for it. It’s hard to — I don’t know. I just shake my head,” Brady said, via WEEI.

“Until Monday at the trade deadline—I believe that was Oct. 30—the last time I talked to Bill about Jimmy’s situation was in a group with Bill, [club president] Jonathan [Kraft], [director of player personnel] Nick Caserio … a small group of us, I think in June. That is the last time I talked to Bill about it. I would see Nick occasionally and say, ‘Anything going on?’

Arizona’s Zac Rinaldo hammered Matt Stajan with a shoulder check early in the first, and the Flames’ Micheal Ferland retaliated by fighting Rinaldo the next time the Arizona forward hit the ice. Stajan returned to the game for his next shift.

TOMS makes sturdy, reliable shoes that were once the hippest thing in America, but have comfortably found a place being solid. That and the company donates a lot of money to charity, and is socially conscious. This aligns with Long to a T.

Mall of America, you’re beautiful. Thank you for giving me 500 options to choose from. Y’all really don’t need 6.5 lids and five Caribou Coffees, though.

The Hall of Fame has been known to be unreasonably slow to elect wide receivers. Only four have ever gotten in on the first ballot: Jerry Rice, Steve Largent, Paul Warfield, and Raymond Berry.bears_142