Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum on All-Rookie team

Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons and Utah’s Donovan Mitchell are unanimous selections to the NBA’s All-Rookie team.

The two guards received all 100 first-place votes from a panel of sports writers and broadcasters. Both players helped their teams reach the second round of the playoffs.

The second team was guards Dennis Smith Jr. of Dallas and Lonzo Ball of the Lakers, Atlanta forward John Collins, Sacramento guard Bogdan Bogdanovic and Phoenix forward Josh Jackson.

The addition of guard Zach Fulton should help the offensive line, but they still have the worst tackle situation in the league. Taking a flier on safety Tyrann Mathieu and signing Jacksonville slotback Aaron Colvin to play full-time cornerback could pan out, but they aren’t the safest bets.

Rarely do we see a team go from 4-12 to a top-three finish in the AFC, like these odds imply, much less after not making a pick in the first two rounds of the draft.

“It is what it is,” Williams said, via Eric Williams of ESPN.com. “Even when you’re doing good, you’re going to have haters. Haters are going to hate. Somebody has to hate on you to keep you going. So I appreciate all the haters. But Mike Williams is going to be on top next year, and they’re going to be on the bandwagon. So we are going to take it like that.”

The Chargers led the league in passing yards despite Williams’ limited contributions and most of the key players from that attack are back this year. That means Williams won’t be guaranteed anything come September unless he makes it impossible for the Chargers to resist putting him in a prominent role.

According to oddsmakers, the San Francisco 49ers are more likely to make the Super Bowl than the Jacksonville Jaguars, who lost by four points in the AFC Championship Game last season. Mind you, this 49ers team started off 0-9 last season before the midseason trade of Jimmy Garoppolo pushed San Francisco to a 6-1 finish.

A quality quarterback should give a team optimism, but would you take Garoppolo over Matt Ryan, whose Atlanta Falcons have worse odds to win the Super Bowl? If not, it makes little sense why the 49ers would be thought of as an elite team.cowboys_004

NFL free agent news: Browns sign QB Drew Stanton to 2-year deal

The Browns and quarterback Drew Stanton have agreed to a contract, the team announced Sunday.

The team did not release details of the deal, but Stanton’s agent, Mike McCartney, disclosed the quarterback received a two-year contract.

Five of Minnesota Duluth’s top six defensemen are freshmen, and Shepard, a sophomore, recorded a sub-2.00 goals against average with eight shutouts.

“We felt our forward group was pretty good. We were replacing scoring, but we had some good depth,” Minnesota Duluth coach Scott Sandelin said. “The job that young group back there did, I think it really moved forward when Shep grabbed the net and played the way he did. It gave our whole team confidence.”

UMD has played 11 consecutive one-goal games in NCAA tournament play, winning eight of them.

How things go at the annual meeting in Orlando next week will determine how these rules are adopted/enforced.

The Cardinals took a 3-2 in the third with all the runs coming after there were two outs. Fowler hit an RBI single and after Jhoulys Chacin walked the bases loaded, Marcell Ozuna hit a two-run single.

Milwaukee scored twice in the second on a single by Domingo Santana and a two-out double by Arcia.

Milwaukee outfielders cut down two runners attempting to take an extra base. In the first, Fowler tried to stretch a single to right center into a double and was thrown out by center fielder Cain. In the second, Ozuna was thrown out at third after hitting a double down the third-base line by left fielder Ryan Braun.

Brewers: OF Brett Phillips was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Monday. He replaces OF Christian Yelich (right oblique injury). Phillips, who was 1 for 7 with a triple and seven walks, at Colorado Springs, takes the spot of reliever Adrian Houser, who was optioned Sunday to Double-A Biloxi.
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Mark McGwire: Didn’t need PEDs to hit 70 home runs

Mark McGwire insists he didn’t need to use performance-enhancing drugs to hit 70 home runs, telling Stadium TV in an interview that he would have accomplished that feat without help.

“Absolutely,” McGwire said, according to The Athletic. “I just know myself. I just know. I was a born home run hitter. I mean, unfortunately, I did [take PEDs]. And I’ve regretted that. I’ve talked about that. I regretted it. I didn’t need to. That’s the thing. Didn’t need to.”

Twelve years later, McGwire admitted in a televised interview with Bob Costas that he was using PEDs when he set the mark.

McGwire told The Athletic that he wasn’t prepared for the question when Costas asked him about PEDs. McGwire said that had there been testing, there was “no way” he would have used PEDs.

“There wasn’t anything going on [to keep the sport clean],” McGwire said. “The game has done a terrific job of doing what they’re doing now. I commend them for doing it. I think we all wish [testing] went on when we had played. But unfortunately, it didn’t.”

McGwire’s record fell in 2001 when Barry Bonds, who has also been linked to PED use, hit 73 homers.

The 28-year-old Smith turned himself into police March 6 and was released on $30,000 bail.

Smith is currently waiting to go to trial on counts of domestic violence, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, false imprisonment and vandalism.

His lawyer said he had never missed a court date before and that he planned to be present.

The Raiders released Smith in March after learning of the domestic violence incident. Selected by the 49ers with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, Smith hasn’t played in the NFL since 2015, after being suspended in August of that year for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Heat: Miami outscored Oklahoma City 58-32 in the paint. … The Heat shot 5 for 22 from 3-point range. … James Johnson got poked in the eye and Richardson banged a knee late, but both suggested after the game that they’ll be fine.cardinals_109

‘Sad and depressed’ Texans star J.J. Watt optimistic about 2018 comeback

J.J. Watt is optimistic about returning to the football field this season but admits that injuries which limited the three-time defensive player of the year the past two seasons took a toll.

I was depressed, Watt, the Houston Texans all-pro defensive end, said at the Adobe Summit in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

Watt, who helped raise more than $37 million for the Hurricane Harvey recovery effort in the Houston area, said he drew hope from flood victims who overcome their own adversity.

That’s helped motivate me to get back to where I am today, and I can’t wait to get back on the field,’’ said Watt, whose efforts earned him the NFL’s Walter Payton man of the year award in 2017.

It has consumed the airwaves everywhere, and especially in the tri-state area, former Giants center Shaun O’Hara said on NFL Network on Wednesday night. The Giants are not trading Odell, and nobody is giving up two first-round picks for the guy…. People in the front office of the Giants are just laughing at the commotion that this has caused, because I don’t think there’s any validity to it.

OK, but this is still the same league that saw Joe Montana, Peyton Manning, Jerry Rice and Brett Favre — among countless others — unexpectedly switch uniforms. With that in mind, here are six teams which seem like realistic destinations for Beckham this year and beyond:

Not only for myself but also for all those people who helped inspire me.broncos_004-500x500

Geno Smith visiting Seahawks

What position should he play That’s part of what made Thursday so interesting. He said teams have looked at him as a WILL – weak inside linebacker – and he’s been asked if he can cover in space. He said spinning is his favorite pass-rush move. I spin like three times a play, he joked. He’s a hybrid and a wildcard.

Los Angeles Rams: Perhaps there’s mutual interest, given the Rams’ willingness to take on big personalities and need for a deep threat to replace Sammy Watkins in conjunction with Beckham’s megawatt stardom and love of the limelight. The Rams also have a ton of cap space in 2019 to get a deal done, though it would be a challenge to pay Beckham, Aaron Donald, Marcus Peters and maybe even Ndamukong Suh beyond the upcoming campaign.

San Francisco 49ers: An ascendant flagship franchise that plays in a major market. A roster that hasn’t had a 1,000-yard receiver since 2014. A general manager sitting on a pile of dough and unafraid to take risks. A coach with a brilliant offensive mind perhaps uniquely qualified to leverage Beckham’s estimable athletic gifts. And a blossoming star at quarterback who’s stabilizing the position all receivers are dependent upon. Maybe an ideal marriage.

New York Jets: They’ve got the money OBJ apparently desires. They’ve got an emerging star with LSU roots on defense (Jamal Adams), but no equivalent for an offense that will presumably soon feature a young stud at quarterback. And, of course, Beckham wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle of moving. Still, unless the Giants became desperate to offload their biggest drawing card, tough to envision them stomaching the headlines that would come by dealing Beckham to their cross-town foes… unless the Jets offer a mint that would probably wind up stunting their own rebuild.

Oakland Raiders: Beckham and coach Jon Gruden could be a volatile mix. Beckham and Las Vegas could be a volatile mix. Yet those could also be compelling reasons to make a move if Gruden 2.0 still has the wherewithal to design an effective offense for a franchise that’s obviously willing to ante up for star power as it lays the groundwork for the impending move to Sin City.
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Gregg Popovich: ‘It is a different position’ for Spurs this season

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich ended an interview and spun around to reach for the door handle after uttering three words in response to a question about his team clinching a playoff berth for the 21st consecutive season.

“Aww, it’s wonderful,” he said.

News conference, over.

Current circumstances no longer allow for such a luxury.

“Sometimes you have got to adjust your goals relative to your potential and the way you have been playing, the way the season is going,” said Manu Ginobili, who contributed 17 points and five assists. “We have to be realistic. Maybe we are not the favorites this year, or it was not going to be a 60-win season like the previous ones. After what happened in February and early March, we had to shift our expectations, and we mentioned it many times. The goal was to make the playoffs. Once we clinched, then we could talk about standings. The way the West is this year, it’s crazy. Everything is so clogged, so tight that at this point, we are happy to have it clinched.”

Still, General Manager Mickey Loomis is confident the Saints can find some good players.

“It’s a different opportunity than we had a year ago, and obviously we’re excited about the players we got and excited about the contributions they made,” Loomis said, via Josh Katzenstein of the Times-Picayune. “I’m just as excited about those guys improving in this upcoming season. So, our expectation for that group is high, and hopefully we can get some players that can have that level of contribution in this year’s draft.”

Loomis is fine with the Saints waiting their turn this year after having the 11th and 32nd overall picks in 2017.

“Well, I like sitting and waiting toward the end of the draft,” Loomis said, “because that means you had a better season the year before than maybe we’ve had the last few years. That’s the good side of that double-edged sword.”
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How the Jets’ roster looks after initial wave of free agency

How the Jets’ roster looks after initial wave of free agency More Rich Cimini ESPN Staff Writer Close Longtime Jets beat writer for New York Daily News Syracuse University graduate Follow on Twitter Mike Maccagnan promised to be “very active” in the early stage of free agency. He wasn’t kidding.

Reuniting with former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, who is now serving in the same role in Green Bay, could be what Wilkerson needs to get his career back on track. The Packers have a grim outlook in the secondary, so they’ll need all the pass rushing help they can get. 

The move: The New York Jets are signing former Los Angeles Rams CB Trumaine Johnson and former Cleveland Browns RB Isaiah Crowell, according to multiple reports.

With the most cap space of any team, the Jets took longer than some might have thought to make a splash. Johnson gives the team the No. 1 corner it desperately needed, though at a high price of an expected $15 million per year. He should fit nicely into Todd Bowles’ scheme and add another asset alongside S Jamal Adams. Crowell is a nice addition after he showed promise at times in Cleveland, but it’s hard to see how he’ll carve out a role behind Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire. 

Rapoport reports the Jaguars are signing former Jets tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins to a two-year deal worth $10 million, according to a source. Seferian-Jenkins was ranked No. 58 on the Top 101 list.

The Miami Dolphins signed former Bears guard Josh Sitton to a two-year deal for roughly $15 million, a source involved with the negotiations told Rapoport. The contract can be worth up to $18 million and includes $8 million guaranteed. Sitton ranked No. 50 on the Top 101 list.

The Houston Texans have agreed to terms with cornerback Johnathan Joseph on a two-year contract, Rapoport reported via a source. Joseph, who’s spent the past seven seasons with the Texans, was ranked No. 94 on the Top 101 list.

Henry is a bruising power back, but he isn’t much of a receiver.

Lewis can do just about everything, but he can’t stay healthy.
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Yankees acquire Seahawks QB Russell Wilson in trade with Rangers

As if acquiring Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t enough, the Yankees have added another star to their roster.

The Rangers on Wednesday traded Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to the Yankees for future considerations.

“We’ve admired Russell’s career from afar for quite some time,” Cashman said in a statement. “After talking to a number of our players, there is a genuine excitement in having Russell join us for a short time in camp. We are all looking forward to gaining insight into how he leads teammates toward a common goal, prepares on a daily basis for the rigors of his sport, and navigates the successes and failures of a season.”

Wilson, a Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowl player, hit .228 with five home runs in 315 minor league at-bats during the 2010 and ’11 seasons.

The Yankees open spring training play under new manager Aaron Boone against the Tigers on Feb. 23.

It’s technically no longer the offseason, with players reporting to camp in best shape of their lives, but there are still a few high-quality starters on the market. Let’s not pretend Jake Arrieta is someone the bargain-loving Wilpons are going to splurge on after the starter reportedly turned down a Yu Darvish-type deal from the Cubs. But what about Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, two cheaper alternatives who arguably had better seasons than Arrieta?

Aaron Colvin, CB* Headed to: Houston Texans | Age: 26 News: Colvin to sign four-year deal with Texans Barshop: Colvin acquisition a step in right direction for Houston defense Colvin has been an excellent nickelback for the Jaguars but won’t be a starter as long as Jalen Ramsey and A.J.

Bouye are on the roster.

Does that mean Colvin could be looking to play elsewhere, for more money and playing time? It’s something to consider. packers_162

Jarvis Landry has been all over the place this offseason.

He was hit with the franchise tag by the Dolphins in February, and the two sides seeded open towards negotiating for a deal. He wasn’t thrilled with the tag, claiming it wasn’t his best deal.

But it’s since been circulated that Arizona is one of four remaining teams in the hunt for Cousins. The Jets and Vikings look like the primary suitors and Cousins’ decision probably comes down to those two teams, but it’s worth noting that, according to Mike Jurecki of 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station, Arizona is prepping a monster offer for Cousins.

Specifically, per Jurecki, the Cardinals plan to offer Cousins a five-year deal worth $145 million, which would mean Cousins makes $29 million per year, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history, surpassing Jimmy Garoppolo’s average annual value. Additionally, Jurecki reports the offer would feature a $20 million signing bonus and $15 million in base salary in the first year, along with a whopping $90 million in guarantees over the first three years of the deal. That sort of the contract would absolutely put the Cardinals in play for Cousins.

It’s believed the Jets could offer him north of $150 million over five years, which would obviously top this offer. But the Cardinals are a substantially more competitive team and could potentially make another splash in free agency to help entice Cousins.

That’s pretty revealing of their financial situation — along with their trade of Michael Bennett — and what they think Sherman is worth. Sherman returning to Seattle would make for a nice story. But the most-likely scenario sees him leaving for a team that is willing to pay him the money he desires and quite frankly, deserves.

The Kirk Cousins drama is hanging heavy over the NFL as free agency’s March 14 date approaches. Although reports widely indicate that the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets are the two teams most heavily in contention, some players around the league are taking a “never-say-die” attitude. One of those players is Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson. Johnson tweeted at Cousins, telling him to “c’mon” and “stop messing with every1 & tell them you’re coming to the desert.”

Former NFL star linebacker Aldon Smith, who played for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Oakland Raiders, pleaded not guilty Monday to domestic violence, assault, false imprisonment and vandalism charges.buccaneers_032

He isn’t the fastest cornerback, but he uses the sideline well and is among the smartest players in the league, so he rarely gets himself out of position.

In the nine games he appeared in 2017, Sherman held opposing quarterbacks to a 75.5 passer rating when throwing his direction. It was the first time in his career that the number was over 70, but was still top 25 among cornerbacks who played at least half of their team’s snaps. From 2012 to 2014 — when Sherman first burst on to the scene — his opposing passer rating never topped 50.

The Panthers go for?more quickness and toughness for their passing game after they drafted another Christian, McCaffrey, at running back in the first round of?last year’s draft. Offensive line also will be a consideration with this pick, but Kirk’s rising stock as a versatile playmaker is hard to ignore.

Darvish was initially scheduled to pitch last Thursday, but stomach problems delayed his debut. He threw a bullpen session and took batting practice as he recovered instead.

ESPN noted Darvish likely won’t bat against Los Angeles, though he is expected to throw two or three innings.

Darvish, 31, began last season with the Rangers before being sent to the Dodgers ahead of the July 31 trade deadline. He pitched well for Los Angeles to close out the regular season, but struggled in the World Series. Darvish then signed a six-year deal worth up to $150 million with Chicago as a free agent.

Take me back to when you first came over from Japan. Is there anything you wish you knew back then or advice you would give to Ohtani and other Japanese players making the same transition?

White Sox: Same basic theory as the Phillies and Braves, except that the White Sox are at least a full year behind those two franchises in the rebuilding process.

If Gausman can continue to maintain that arm slot and success, he may be able to give the Orioles a sorely needed frontline starter — or least return to his form from 2016, when he had a 3.61 ERA and was worth 4.2 bWAR.seahawks_082_9e622c74648a5550-180x180