NFL allowing players to wear custom cleats without fines, finally

The NFL already relaxed the rules about celebration dances this offseason, and now they’re taking it one step further. The league will also ease up on the rules about cleats, making the game just a little more fun.

Boldin spent last season with the Lions, finishing with 584 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. He entertained offers from the Bills, Lions, and Ravens this offseason, but settled on Buffalo.

He played in just one preseason contest with the Bills, contributing one catch for five yards.

Boldin, who will be 37 in October, spent the first seven years of his career in Arizona after being drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2003 draft. He spent three seasons with the Ravens and three with the 49ers before landing in Detroit last season.

Watkins’ health problems were his main issue in Buffalo, though. He’s struggled to stay on the field since his rookie season, and the trade to Los Angeles is a case of the Bills giving up on him as a long-term piece.

He sat out of eight games last year, and even before then, he wasn’t playing up to par. When healthy, he’s among the most explosive receivers in the league, but his health has held him back from being great. The Rams now get a chance with him if he ever returns to full form, as the team continues to try to pile up weapons for 2016 No. 1 pick Jared Goff.

Earlier in the offseason, the Rams signed Robert Woods as a free agent, and now he’ll be reunited with Watkins.

The Bills will instead work with Matthews and take a step back defensively by swapping out Ronald Darby for E.J. Gaines.

Royals pitcher Nathan Karns kept a piece of his own rib after surgery

In mid-July, Royals pitcher Nathan Karns was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome — a neurogenic condition caused by the compression of nerves near the neck and shoulder — ending his season and necessitating surgery.

Thoracic outlet syndrome is treatable and can be fixed with surgery for the most part, but that surgery is also a rough one to think through, considering it involves removing a part of someone’s first rib in order to get them back to full health.

Which is what happened to poor Orbit in this case, as just after the picture was taken of Orbit and Chris holding the diploma, multiple people hopped out of the Rays dugout and started pelting Orbit with water balloons.
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Arian Foster Kids Jersey But don’t worry, Orbit was prepared for such treachery. He had a second jersey on underneath his top shirt, and immediately took a layer off to reveal that jersey was protected by a massive poncho. He knew this was coming and wasn’t taking chances.

Orbit also had a water gun stashed away nearby and retaliated against the Rays’ insidious plot with his own form of watery fun. He wasn’t born yesterday, clearly.

The Rays and Astros face off once more this week and after that they won’t meet again until 2018. If I could bet on whether this feud will have one more installment before the teams go their separate ways this season, I definitely would.

He tweeted a video of his latest homer, and said it was by far [his] favorite home run that [he] ever hit because he had tried multiple times this season to hit one out of the park with Babe Ruth’s swing.

he almost always gives his team some value after turning 28.

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Roth had injury problems, and his big mouth (dude’s nickname was Braggo) kept teams away from him when he was released. Travis was never the same after World War II. Lindstrom and Daniels both had knee problems.

Jefferies and Murray each had their own maladies, and they drifted away, but neither of them were nearly as awful as Sandoval was with the Red Sox.

Which means that in baseball history, there hasn’t been a collapse like this that wasn’t directly attributable to injuries. When a player is solid-to-excellent multiple times in his early 20s, he almost always gives his team some value after turning 28.

Sandoval wasn’t an MVP candidate, and he wasn’t on a Hall of Fame path, but he was a two-time All-Star with a history of hitting better than his peers. That didn’t mean there wasn’t a chance for a disappointing contract, but it did mean that a complete and utter collapse into the bowels of the nightmare void was nearly impossible.

It happened. But the lesson isn’t that Sandoval wasn’t that good to begin with. He was fine. Better than fine. And his swing really was made for Fenway.
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While the Lakers, who won just 26 games last year, are the subject of an ongoing media frenzy stemming from the additions of team president Magic Johnson (who, coincidentally, is also involved in running the Dodgers) and their anointed rookie savior Ball, the Dodgers have quietly emerged as the best team in baseball, posting a 66-29 record thus far while opening up a 11-game lead on the second-place Rockies.

The Dodgers, led by Bellinger, have been one of the most important stories in baseball this season yet have fallen short of national hysteria. The contributing factors: the rise of Aaron Judge, the surprising struggles of the defending champion Cubs and at least partially, a national obsession with Ball, his summer league performances and his loud-mouth dad.

NHL All-Star Game 2017: Wayne Simmonds steals show, MVP honors in L.A.

It was fitting that this Hollywood return for Wayne Simmonds came with a happy ending.

The Flyers winger, originally drafted by the Kings, dazzled at Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game in Los Angeles and, at times, outplayed superstar Metropolitan Division teammates Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin to win MVP honors at his old stomping grounds.

Simmonds scored three total goals, including the eventual game-winner in the final round against Connor McDavid and the Pacific Division, to capture the $1 million grand prize in his All-Star Game debut. He seemed at home under the bright lights of Staples Center. After all, it was there Simmonds established his NHL roots before blossoming into an All-Star after a trade to the Flyers in 2011.

Regrettably, there is a personal matter that requires my immediate attention that will force me to leave the team temporarily and miss the All-Star Game in Los Angeles, Tortorella said in a statement. This decision was not made lightly as representing the Columbus Blue Jackets is something I am very proud of, but it is the right decision for my family and I. I appreciate the support of our organization and the National Hockey League and my hope is to be back with the team next week.

Blue Jackets assistants Brad Larsen and Brad Shaw will handle head coaching duties in Tortorella’s absence.
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You know what, Mikey, you can make their heads bleed in this one. I’m going to make Wayne Gretzky’s head bleed for super fan No. 99 over here.
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This scene was so money, baby. It’s so money and it doesn’t even know it.

That’s doing right by the Panther Way.

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While all of these moves should lead to a better team, the Panthers need a healthy Newton to make another serious Super Bowl run. Rivera was encouraged that Newton would be ready for the season opener at San Francisco despite missing two weeks of practice because of pain in his throwing shoulder. Newton returned to team drills Sunday as the Panthers broke camp.

The doctors shut him down. He was going a little too fast, Rivera said. We needed to slow him down, so they did. They had him not doing anything active for a few days, then he started throwing on the sideline with trainers. He’s built it up.

Rivera hopes he can eventually say the same about his entire team when it comes to rebuilding from it 2016 debacle.

I feel strong about who we are, he said. I like the things we’ve done. If we jell and come together as a team, we can get right back to where we need to be.

That’s doing right by the Panther Way.
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Kerry Hyder, DE, Lions. Hyder suffered what’s being called a significant Achilles injury Sunday against the Colts and is likely to miss several weeks. It’s a big loss for Detroit, as Hyder led the team with eight sacks last season. The injury occurred when Hyder slipped to the ground while pressuring Colts QB Scott Tolzien.

Denzel Perryman, LB, Chargers. The injury bug keeps biting the Chargers, as Perryman was carted off about 10 minutes into the fourth quarter with a left ankle injury, depleting an already thin linebacking corps. The third-year middle linebacker has been pegged for a bigger role in San Diego this season, including calling the defensive plays.

Dodgers’ Rich Hill gets hit in the neck with a fastball, stays in game

Rich Hill has gone to hell and back for his baseball career. He’s not going to let a 91 mph fastball to the neck from Clayton Richard keep him from playing.

The Dodgers’ starting pitcher was up in a 2-2 game Friday when he set up for a bunt. What happened next was about as scary a moment as there can be in baseball.

Hill stayed down on the ground for a moment, and no one would have faulted him from coming out of the game. But for a guy whose career came to a standstill in 2007 and didn’t get going again for another eight years, he wasn’t going to let a fastball off his Adam’s apple slow him down.

He stayed in the game. After taking a fastball off his neck. And went back out to pitch the fifth inning.

Hill ended up striking out nine in six innings of work while allowing two earned runs.

Another former KBO player who has yet to unveil his potential stateside is ByungHo Park, who signed a four-year, $12 million deal with the Twins before the 2016 season. After a strong start to his big-league career, Park’s nagging wrist issues affected the performance, dropping the slash line to .191/.275/.409 before getting demoted to Triple-A.

Park had a lights-out spring training performance in 2017 (.353/.414/.745 with six home runs) but the team decided not to include him on the big-league roster. After a slow start and an injury to the season in the Triple-A, Park has hit .311/.370/.522 with five home runs in 25 games since the All-Star break.
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Game Womens Gregor Blanco Jersey It’s another tough situation, Thames said. Right now, in Minnesota, with what guys like (Miguel) Sano and other players are doing, there’s a logjam. (Park) has been working on his approach, though. If he keeps doing that and performing, he will get a call.

Trumaine Johnson doesn’t sign long-term deal with Rams, just as expected

Trumaine Johnson will play under the franchise tag for the second consecutive year. Johnson and the Los Angeles Rams failed to reach a long-term deal before the July 17 deadline, meaning the 27-year-old cornerback is scheduled to be a free agent in 2018.

He’ll earn $16.7 million next season under the tag, making him the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL.

As a result, Howard’s fight against the sophomore slump will be harder than any other second-year player’s. Opposing defenses will have a clear No. 1 on their to-do list each time they face a languid Chicago offense. Linebackers and safeties will creep closer and closer to the line of scrimmage unless the Bears’ passing attack finds a way to surprise in 2017. Shutting down the dynamic young back would mean the team has to beat you with players like Glennon and Meredith — not exactly intimidating forces.

But betting against Howard is a fool’s errand. He has preternatural vision and anticipation from the backfield, allowing him to see holes that haven’t even begun to open as he makes his cuts. His rookie season was a magic show. He’d disappear into a cloud of blockers, then emerge sprinting wildly out the other side.
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Geneo Grissom Game Jersey While Howard lacks the top-end speed to be a true home run threat like Ezekiel Elliott, his ability to move the chains for a lackluster offense in 2016 made him special. With the three-headed hydra of overthrown passes behind center — Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley — defenses knew they had to stop Chicago’s rushing attack. Despite the pressure, he still rushed for 1,313 yards, more than anyone else in the league not named Zeke.

In 2017, he’ll have to replicate that performance despite a passing offense that looks even worse on paper than last season’s. Fortunately, the second-year tailback is more than just a runner.

Penguins fans celebrate repeat title by crowd surfing, eating raw catfish

The party in Pittsburgh is only beginning after the Penguins repeated as Stanley Cup champions Sunday night with a 2-0 victory over the Predators in Game 6.

While the Penguins hoisted the Cup in Nashville, the City of Pittsburgh was celebrating in its own right.

Nearly 20,000 fans sold out PPG Paints Arena for a chance to watch Game 6 with thousands more watching outside the arena. After Carl Hagelin scored an empty net goal as the Predators pulled Rinne in a last-ditch effort to force Game 7, fans converged on East Carson Street on Pittsburgh’s south side to celebrate.
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Once inside PPG Paints Arena, Waddell went to the restroom, removed the fish, and wrapped it in a free T-shirt and towel handed out at the gate. With the help of his cousin and some fellow Predators fans the two bumped into at the game, Waddell snuck into a lower section and tossed the catfish onto the ice.

Aware that he was outnumbered, Waddell didn’t bother trying to dodge security.

You can hear the crowd getting restless: 鈥楬illbilly, redneck,’ all this other stuff they’re yelling at me. They’re calling me stuff I should be called, Waddell said. If it wasn’t one vs. 10,000, I wouldn’t have been uncomfortable, but I was kind of hoping the security guards would get us on out of there.

According to Pittsburgh police, Waddell was charged with disorderly conduct, possessing an instrument of crime and disrupting a meeting. However, the Nashville radio station intends to cover any fines issued to Waddell.

Marian Gaborik Jersey If they want to go down that road, we can go down that road, Waddell said. I’m pretty sure we’ll win that battle. I’m just stubborn enough, as you can probably tell my strapping a catfish to my crotch, to go up there and fight it.

Predators pull Pekka Rinne from goal in midst of rout

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For the second time in the Stanley Cup Final, Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has been pulled from the net.

With the Predators trailing 3-0 on Thursday, coach Peter Laviolette pulled Rinne after the hero of Games 3 and 4 allowed three goals on nine shots in the first period.

Juuse Saros replaced Rinne to start the second period but promptly allowed a goal to the Penguins’ Conor Sheary and another to Phil Kessel. The rout is obviously not a good sign for Nashville, who will host Game 6. The winner of Game 5 of 2-2 Stanley Cup Finals have won 17 of the previous 24 Cups.

Josh Anderson (Columbus Blue Jackets-RFA): Like Vatanen, it seems Anderson may stay put in Columbus due to a pre-arranged deal, but his pick is a no-brainer in this exercise. The 23-year-old scored 17 goals last season with Columbus, and would be a top-six right wing in Vegas. Other Blue Jackets considered: G Joonas Korpisalo, G Anton Forsberg and C William Karlsson.

Brandin Cooks Jersey Troy Brouwer (Calgary Flames-$4.5 million): Not coming off a real good season, but McPhee knows Brouwer from Washington. High-character, leadership skills, and a possible trade candidate to a contender. Other Flames considered: C Freddie Hamilton.

William Carrier (Buffalo Sabres-$689,000): A project up front for the Golden Knights. Five goals and eight points in 41 games with the Sabres in his rookie season a year ago, Carrier is also a former second-round pick of the St. Louis Blues. Other Sabres considered: G Linus Ullmark and D Josh Gorges.

Chris Bosh-to-Chicago reportedly generating some chatter

A Chris Bosh-Dwyane Wade reunion in Chicago?
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According to ESPN, the Bulls are interested in Bosh if the Heat decide to waive their star power forward in February.

Bosh, 32, hasn’t played in nearly a year — and might not play again — because of blood-clot issues that have plagued his career in recent years.

The report said word is Chicago is interested, but rival teams don’t expect Bosh to be on the market until after March 1 so that he’s not playoff-eligible for another team.

But then he was traded as a secondary piece in the Kevin Love-Andrew Wiggins deal, and that’s when the movement began that saw him play for four teams in under four seasons while never being a significant developmental piece. In Minnesota, Bennett played nearly 900 minutes, had a 45.8 true-shooting percentage and was among the worst defensive players in the league. He still wasn’t quite as explosive as many scouts expected when he came to the NBA. That led to a buyout of the previously-exercised third year of his contract — the first ever No. 1 pick to not get through his rookie scale deal essentially due to performance.

Game Vernon Hargreaves III Jersey From there, he went home to Toronto, where he only played 84 minutes on a playoff team, then to Brooklyn, where he posted slightly better but still underwhelming numbers in Kenny Atkinson’s free-wheeling offensive scheme. Bennett never developed enough as a shooter (only making 27 percent of his 3-point attempts this season), never rebounded enough (accumulating just a 20.8 defensive rebounding rate) and never developed defensively (posting a -1.3 DRPM thus far).