Cowboys hoping to host another Super Bowl someday

The Cowboys want to host another Super Bowl, giving them a second chance to make a first impression. Or something like that.

The snowstorm of the century in North Texas combined with a seating fiasco ruined the team’s first try seven years ago.

Despite limited mobility after his surgery, Shazier made appearances at Heinz Field, visited teammates at practice in January, and stood up at a Penguins game to show his progress from an injury that slowed his lower-body movement.

“Right now I’m reading a book and it’s basically saying trust the process,” Shazier said. “I’m really trusting the process. I know the end goal. So I’m taking every step of the way, I’m giving everything I got. The therapists are like, ‘Man this is crazy; I’ve never seen anyone work this hard.’ They almost see progression every day.

“They say like some progressions they see week-to-week , they see from me day-to-day. I’m really trying to come back and still be a Pro Bowler. I’m sorry, because I feel I got snubbed this year for All-Pro even though I got hurt. But I feel like my stats are as good as those who made it.”

Last weekend, Washington drafted defensive tackle Da’Ron Payne in the first round and defensive tackle Tim Settle in the fifth.

McClain will turn 30 before the start of training camp. A former second-round pick of the Panthers, he also played with the Texans and Cowboys.

Which teams improved the most via the draft?

Anyone who has spent any time here over the past 10 years or so (thanks, by the way) knows how I feel about draft grades. They’re worthless and useless and ultimately an opportunity to land on @OldTakesExposed.

The standing draft grades from PFT are, each year and every year, an “I”. And whenever anyone says, “Well, why not got back three years and issue grades from past drafts?” I say this, “There’s no market for it. People don’t care. They look forward, not backward.”

So, fully aware of my reluctance to issue draft grades, Monday’s PFT Live included a draft of the teams that most improved themselves via the draft. Check it out and then chime in via the comments as to who won, and anything else you’d like to say.broncos_048_07321b3b44ca10e8-180x180

Jerry Jones gave Jason Witten a diamond-covered football as retirement present

The Dallas Cowboys put on an incredible retirement ceremony for Jason Witten on Thursday, and the gift he received from owner Jerry Jones was just stunning.

Jones gave Witten a football literally covered in diamonds.

It appears the Cowboys’ refusal to send a second-round pick to the Seahawks for Earl Thomas did not squash their interest in acquiring the three-time All-Pro safety. The Cowboys remain in the Thomas market, per David Moore of the Dallas Morning News, but it’s unclear how badly the franchise wants to execute a deal.

What could have been: The Browns could have stuck with Derek Anderson over 2007 first-round pick Brady Quinn in the 2008 season, one year after Anderson led the Browns to a 10-6 record.

Does it matter? Hard to say. Quinn was ineffective that season and Anderson suffered a season-ending MCL injury. Bruce Gradkowski and Ken Dorsey combined to start four games. Eric Mangini came in the following season and split starts between Anderson and Quinn again. Both quarterbacks were gone after the 2009 season.

When teams are evaluating Fitzpatrick as just a corner, they’re siding more with the pure-positioned Denzel Ward of Ohio State. Then come teams deciding how high they want to go on a safety, which has similarly caused James’ stock to slip a bit.

The 49ers are taking an in-depth look at Fitzpatrick with an extended visit but between the Browns at No. 4, the Buccaneers at No. 7 and the Bears at No. 8, someone could still spoil that match. Luckily for San Francisco, there isn’t much of a drop-off from Fitzpatrick to James as a fallback option.

Although general manager Mike Maccagnan and Todd Bowles have taken tempered public stances, folks on One Jets Drive privately believe that if Darnold is who they think he is, then the rookie has a great chance to be QB1 when Gang Green kicks off the season on Monday Night Football in Detroit on Sept. 10.

Real talk: The Jets are borderline giddy – and relieved that they might have finally found the right guy. Some people in the building still haven’t wrapped their heads around how Darnold fell to No. 3.tigers_050-115x115

Claude Giroux says booing fans may have caused Flyers to press at home

The Philadelphia Flyers lost all three of their first-round playoff games at home to the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing the series in six games. On Wednesday, captain Claude Giroux said the team may have tried too hard at home, pressing, in part, because of the boos coming from the Flyers fans.

Philadelphia was outscored 18-6 at home and went 0-for-13 on the power play. Center Sean Couturier told the Inquirer that while the reaction from the fans can be frustrating at times, he doesn’t think it contributed to the team’s struggles at home against the Penguins.

“There’s some nights they probably had the right to boo us. We were bad enough and we probably deserved it,” Couturier said. “… I don’t really think it had an effect on the results of our home record. I think we’re a tight group and we kind of shut it off.”

“I said, ‘What’s going on?'” Babcock told reporters of his conversation with Matthews. “It’s interesting, in Toronto, you [media] do such a good job. You’re everywhere. You’re under the bench, you’re in the crack in the door, you’re in the car, you’re in the parking lot. You’re everywhere, and anytime anybody does anything, there’s a big story.

“I asked him flat out, ‘Do we have any [issues]?’ He was sitting right there. We don’t seem to.”

Matthews, who had just a goal and an assist against Boston, said talk of friction also was news to him.

“I don’t know what that’s all about,” he said. “Our relationship’s fine. Obviously, you guys can speculate all you want, but I think it’s pointless.

“Stuff happens, people speculate. I can tell you right now it’s not the case.”

The 20-year-old from Arizona scored 34 goals in the regular season despite missing 20 games due to injury, but admitted to being frustrated in the Bruins series following a Game 7 in which Toronto blew a 4-3 lead in the third period and lost 7-4.dolphins_034

Spurs G Tony Parker demoted to bench, says ‘no problem’

The Tony Parker era for the Spurs may not have ended Sunday, but it may have entered its twilight era when Spurs coach Gregg Popovich started Dejounte Murray at point guard in place of a healthy Parker.

The 35-year-old Parker has started almost every game he’s played for the Spurs since 2001, helping lead them to four NBA championships. But as he’s seen with some of his Spurs’ teammates through the years, from Tim Duncan to Manu Ginobili, Father Time eventually comes calling.

“If Pop sees something that is good for the team, I will try to do my best,” Parker said. “But I will support Pop’s decision, and I will try to help DJ the best I can, and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu and Patty (Mills).”

Parker scored 12 points and dished out five assists in 20 minutes in a 94-86 loss to the Pacers Sunday. The 21-year-old Murray scored eight points, with seven rebounds and four assists.

Braun, the longtime franchise face, is no longer the focus of attention in Milwaukee. The Brewers spent $80 million on free agent Lorenzo Cain and traded four players to Miami for Christian Yelich, and the new arrivals adorn the cover of the team media guide. The Brewers would be happy with a healthy season from Braun, who logged an .823 OPS while missing 58 games because of calf and wrist injuries a year ago.

Braun broke into pro ball as a third baseman and has made 1,296 MLB starts in the outfield, but first base is foreign turf to him. In his Cactus League debut against the Giants, he used an outfielder’s glove at first.

“There are going to be mess-ups, no question,” said Brewers coach Pat Murphy, who is helping Braun with the move. “He’s never played first base. Never. It’s a huge transition, and there’s so much to learn. But he’ll make that transition as good as anybody in the game because of the athlete he is. He’s diligent about his game, and he will take care of business.”
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Terrell Owens never had the opportunity to win a Super Bowl in his illustrious career — but he’ll always be known for having the most heroic performance in the big game.

Seven weeks before Super Bowl XXXIX, Owens broke his leg and and tore a ligament in his right ankle. The injury required surgery, and his doctor wouldn’t clear him to play against the Patriots back in 2005.

When the injury happened, Owens believed the Eagles could still get to the Super Bowl without him. “There’s no reason for the city of Philadelphia to get down because I’m not there,” he said, via the Washington Post. “Obviously, my presence will be missed, but we have the guys to get it done.”

Life moves on, and our focus shifts to 2022. While it was obviously a lesser brand of hockey than we’re accustomed to seeing, many hope that NHL players will return for the 2022 Games in Beijing. Though NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has remained coy on the topic, it will certainly be an issue in the next collective-bargaining talks, and the players have some leverage to work with: The league has an interest in growing the game in China, and has planned even more preseason games there for next season.

“We always have a good group of guys in the locker room, and we love having fun,” Nowitzki said. “We enjoy each other’s company, but we also respect one another. We respect females and our male co-workers. Whatever happened on the business side, I can’t really comment on.”

The Eagles and Patriots gave us a Super Bowl instant classic on Sunday. It featured a 505-yard performance by Tom Brady with three touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough to top Nick Foles and the underdog Eagles.

Foles finished the game completing 28 of his 43 passes for 373 yards and three touchdowns. Former Patriot LeGarrette Blount ran the ball 14 times for 90 yards against his old team, and rookie Corey Clement had four receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown.

It was a game for the ages and one that we’ll talk about for years to come. These were the defining moments of Super Bowl 52 that won’t ever be forgotten in Philadelphia.

It was a telling start to the game for Jeffery, who finished with three catches for 73 yards, all in the first half.jays_877_9d11c41cb1b11d51-180x180

The buzzword for the 2017 NFL offseason was “distraction” — so much so that it bled into the regular season, too.

The odds that the people who need that lesson will get it, though, are slim.

That’s why, even after the Eagles win and celebrate and get showered with praise at their parade this week, the NFL will still be embroiled in the same issues in the 2018 offseason as in 2017.

A litany of other injuries followed that kept Gronkowski from completing a 16-game season between 2012 and 2016 (a complete list can be found here). This lengthy history of torn ligaments and broken bones led to a curious contractual development in the 2017 offseason.

With his salary now lagging behind others at the position, Gronkowski agreed to a restructured deal that could make him the NFL’s highest-paid tight end. However, Gronk would have to stay healthy enough to hit specific thresholds required to get there.

Gurley ran for 1,305 yards and caught 64 passes for 788 yards despite sitting out the regular-season finale. The Rams went 11-5 to win the NFC West and posted their first winning season since 2003 — the last time they won the division. Gurley entered the final week of the year as the NFL’s rushing leader, but was passed by Chiefs rookie Kareem Hunt in Week 17 as Gurley rested for the postseason.

Gurley scored 13 rushing touchdowns and had six receiving scores for an NFL-high 19 touchdowns. He joined Hall of Famers O.J. Simpson and Marshall Faulk as the only players in NFL history to have at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing TDs and more than five receiving TDs in a single season.

The third-year back from Georgia led the NFL in 10-plus-yard rushes with 39 and his 66 rushing first downs was second in the league. Gurley also led all NFL running backs in highest receiving yard average (12.3 yards per catch) and 25-yard-plus receptions (nine). His 276 scrimmage yards against the Titans Dec. 24 was the most by any NFL player in 2017, and he became only the third player in NFL history to have 150 or more receiving yards and 100 or more rushing yards in the same game.

Terrell Owens and Randy Moss headline the 2018 Hall of Fame class announced Saturday in Minneapolis. nike-youth-cardinals-006

Carson Wentz suffers knee injury in win over Rams

The second-year quarterback stayed in the game to throw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery as the Eagles took a 31-28 lead. Wentz then walked to the locker room with a towel around his neck. The Eagles declared him out to start the fourth quarter.

The Rams scored to regain the lead on the ensuing possession and Nick Foles took over at quarterback trailing 35-31.

Sunday’s game was a matchup of the top two picks in last year’s NFL Draft as Wentz squared off with Rams QB Jared Goff. Wentz, who was selected second in the 2016 draft, was 23 of 41 for 291 yards with four touchdown passes and an interception before exiting.

One unknown element is how he will respond to contact on that shoulder if he does play. No doubt the Patriots would not activate him if they were truly concerned, but it is worth pointing out that they are without their tight end this week, as Rob Gronkowski is sitting out due to suspension. Other pass-catchers will need to step up, and Hogan might be one of them, alongside Danny not-on-this-week’s-injury-report(!) Amendola.

The Cowboys carried a 10-point advantage into halftime and allowed just one touchdown in the second half as they pulled away. The victory moved Dallas to 6-6 on the year, while Washington fell to 5-7.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott threw for two touchdowns, while Alfred Morris rushed for 127 yards and a score. Dez Bryant also registered a touchdown catch for the Cowboys.

Kirk Cousins recorded 251 passing yards and two touchdowns for Washington but he also threw two interceptions. The Redskins tallied just 56 rushing yards in the contest.

Just days after signing a one-year extension, Larry Fitzgerald caught nine passes for 91 yards and a touchdown, helped made Blaine Gabbert look surprisingly fine, and oh yeah, moved himself into fifth place on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list. Fitzgerald isn’t done climbing the leaderboard, either. By the time the season is over, he’ll likely pass Isaac Bruce and Randy Moss for third place.orioles_020

How cubsfan333 won $1 million in DFS on Sunday

It already had been a stressful Sunday for “cubsfan333.”

On Saturday against Georgia Tech, Clemson looked like the team that started out 6-0, not the one that lost to Syracuse. The selection committee will factor in the injury to Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant in the Tigers’ loss to the Orange, but defensively, Clemson did not perform well in that game.

We’ll get a sense of the committee’s thinking when it releases its rankings on Tuesday. It’s the first of six rankings, but it will reveal how highly the committee regards the Big Ten, and whether it comes at a price to the Big 12.

“I mean it’s early in the season, I feel like, to do it but it wasn’t one of those meetings where it was so ‘over the top,’ so to speak,” Love said. “It was just figuring out exactly what we need to do. We watched certain segments on film of the game. We broke down film a little bit differently and came out here and got some good work in.”

“We’ll look at that week-to-week,” Shanahan said. “It’s a huge challenge. You know, Jimmy coming here, never playing in this offense before. I know it’s a completely different terminology from what he had in New England and college. That takes a lot of time. I know Jimmy is going to come in here and do everything he can to get ready. I know we are too, but by no means are we trying to rush the process.

Mike Gillislee still looks likely to get goal-line touches, and the role of James White plus Burkhead cannot be ignored, but based on volume and performance, Lewis is still an add that will likely rank inside our top 30 running backs each week once the Patriots return from a bye in Week 10.ducks-012

The Bills honored late star running back “Cookie” Gilchrist by adding him to the New Era Field’s Wall of Fame.

Gilchrist, who died at the age of 75 in January 2011, was regarded as one of football’s most athletic and powerful running backs and drew comparisons to Hall of Famer Jim Brown.
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Though he only played three seasons in Buffalo from 1962-64, Gilchrist was the American Football League’s player of the year in 1962, when he had 1,096 yards rushing and a league-leading 13 touchdowns.

In two starts with the Ducks, Hill threw 11 scoreless innings, gave up two hits, two walks and struck out 21. In his second start on Aug. 9, he set a Ducks franchise record with 17 strikeouts. The next day, the Red Sox signed him for their Triple-A team in Pawtucket, and by September, the Milton, Mass., native was pitching lights out at Fenway Park for his hometown team: a 1.55 ERA with 36 strikeouts and five walks in 29 innings. “He called me after Nino Niederreiter Jersey he got to Boston,” Baez says. “He thanked me for giving him the opportunity. Not everybody does that.”

Stuck in between the rush of Big Ten schools is TCU. The Horned Frogs picked a rough week to suffer their first loss of the season, falling to a surging Iowa State team. With surprise wins over Oklahoma and TCU, the Cyclones find themselves ranked 15th in the CFP.

The Miami Hurricanes (7-0) round out the CFP top 10. While many have claimed “The U is back,” the Canes still have work to do, but a Nov. 11 home game against Notre Dame would go a long way toward silencing any doubters.

Oklahoma State is just outside the top 10 and is followed by Washington (the highest-ranked Pac-12 team), Virginia Tech, Auburn, Iowa State, Mississippi State Adam Lowry Jersey and USC.

UCF is the highest-ranked team among the Group of 5 schools, at No. 18 in the CFP rankings. The only other Group of 5 school ranked this week in the CFP is Memphis at No. 24.

NFL power rankings 2017: Tracking where teams are entering Week 7

With the NFL season nearing the halfway mark, the power rankings continue to see a major shakeup. With the Chiefs being the last unbeaten team to fall and several other teams suffering major losses, the rankings are nearly a free-for-all.

Butker jumped to the NFL as a Panthers’ 2017 seventh-round draft pick after four years as Georgia Tech’s top kicker. After rocky sophomore and junior campaigns, he finished his college career with a 15-17 performance as a senior to put himself on the NFL radar. He couldn’t beat out Graham Gano for the team’s primary role, but he landed on Carolina’s practice squad after a perfect preseason (two field goals, four extra points).

Opportunity knocked when the Chiefs placed Santos on injured reserve. Coach Reid, looking for a new field-goal specialist, turned to the former Yellow Jacket. Butker signed with Kansas City on Sept. 26, just five days before his pro debut. While he started off shaky by pushing his first NFL field-goal attempt wide left from 46 yards, he recovered in time to push his new team to a prime-time victory.

Through five games, the Patriots had yet to hold an opposing quarterback to fewer than 300 passing yards. Journeyman Jets passer Josh McCown was supposed to be the guy to break that streak — instead, he’s breaking New England.

McCown carved up the Patriots’ defense in the first half of their AFC East showdown, getting his team out to a 14-0 lead in the second quarter before New England stormed back in a 24-17 victory. Despite the loss, McCown managed to throw for 354 yards to keep the Pats’ ignominious streak alive.

The Atlanta Falcons were the only other undefeated team heading into Week 4, but they dropped down the list after a disappointing home loss to the Bills. Speaking of which, the Bills are 3-1 and surprising some people along the way.
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