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  1. #11
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    Nick Foles has a calling far greater than throwing touchdown passes. If Foles leads the Philadelphia Eagles to a Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots Byron Maxwell Color Rush Jersey , he’ll become a folk hero in a city that has desperately waited for a championship since 1960.
    But that won’t define Foles in the big picture. He has more important plans for his future.
    ”I want to be a pastor in a high school,” Foles said Thursday. ”It’s on my heart. I took a leap of faith last year and signed up to take classes at seminary. I wanted to continue to learn and challenge my faith. It’s a challenge because you are writing papers that are biblically correct. You want to impact people’s hearts.”
    Foles is part of a team that has a strong Christian brotherhood. MVP contender Carson Wentz has been outspoken about his faith and many players spend a lot of time together in prayer, studying the Bible and sharing devotionals.
    Foles was one of the study leaders during his first stint in Philadelphia and has become a go-to source for younger guys. Left guard Stefen Wisniewksi also plans to become a pastor after his career ends.
    ”Guys like Nick and Wis can spit out scripture all day and it’s awesome to take in that knowledge,” said special teams ace Kamu Grugier-Hill.
    Foles is passionate about helping students find their way and plans to use his experiences to inspire and encourage them.
    ”When I speak to (students), that’s such a time of young men and young women’s lives that there’s a lot of things that are thrown at them. So much temptation in this world , so much going on with social media and the internet that you want to talk to them and address it and share all the weaknesses I have because I’ve fallen many times,” Foles said. ”It’s something I want to do. I can’t play football forever. I’ve been blessed with an amazing platform and it’s just a door God has opened, but I still have a lot of school left and a long journey.”
    Foles, who was offensive MVP of the Pro Bowl following the 2013 season, contemplated retirement after he asked the Rams to release him last year. He ended up going to Kansas City and reuniting with Andy Reid Rich Hill Los Angeles Dodgers Jersey , who drafted him in the third round in Philadelphia in 2012.
    He says prayer helped him decide to stay in the NFL, and he returned to the Eagles to be Wentz’s backup. When Wentz tore his left ACL in Week 14, Foles stepped in and led Philadelphia. He was spectacular against Minnesota in the NFC championship, tossing four touchdown passes in a 38-7 win.
    Foles – not Tom Brady – has the highest passer rating in postseason history for quarterbacks who’ve thrown at least 75 passes. Foles has completed 72 of 96 passes for 793 yards, with five touchdowns and no interceptions in three games for a 116.4 passer rating.
    ”It took a lot more faith to come back and play than it would’ve to go in the other direction Daniel Kilgore Color Rush Jersey ,” Foles said. ”Either way would’ve been fine. Either way, I would’ve trusted in God. I would’ve done something else and glorified God in that instance.
    ”The reason I decided to come back is I’ve loved the game of football since I was a kid, I loved playing sports, I loved being part of a team, and I knew as a person that the more growth I’ve had and the more opportunity I would have to glorify God and trust in him would be to go back and play football.”

    AP NFL website: The Buffalo Sabres have signed two-time Notre Dame leading scorer Andrew Oglevie to a two-year entry level contract.
    Oglevie capped his college career on a top-ranked Fighting Irish team that lost the NCAA Tournament championship game to Minnesota Duluth last weekend. The forward was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team after scoring three goals and four assists in four games.
    The 23-year-old from Fullerton Zach Davies Milwaukee Brewers Jersey , California, led the Irish with 15 goals and finished second on the team with 39 points last season.
    Overall, the undrafted player finished with 41 goals and 48 assists for 89 points in 107 career games.
    Oglevie will complete the spring term at school, before his contract kicks in for the start of next season.

    This story has been corrected to reflect the Sabres announcing Oglevie’s contract is for two instead of three years.

    More NHL hockey: .

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    Walter Payton Bears Jersey

    ??The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers each are getting starting offensive linemen back for their early round playoff matchup.Saints left tackle Terron Armstead and Carolina guard Trai Turner each had been listed as questionable for Sunday’s NFC wild-card game after both were unable to play in their teams’ regular-season finales a week earlier.Armstead was limited in practice this past week as he worked his way back from a thigh injury that sidelined him last week at Tampa Bay. Turner is returning from a concussion that forced him out of three games.Panthers offensive tackle Matt Kalil also is available to play after being listed as questionable with an illness Friday.Panthers leading receiver Devin Funchess Sam Hubbard Jersey Elite , too, is active as expected after being listed as questionable with a sore shoulder.Also returning for New Orleans is rookie defensive end Trey Hendrickson, who has missed three games with an ankle injury.Nearly all of the players deactivated were healthy scratches.Among the Panthers’ inactives are: center Greg Van Roten, defensive end Zach Moor, offensive tackles Blaine Clausell and Amini Silatolu, cornerback Kevon Seymour, defensive end Charles Johnson and third-string quarterback Garrett Gilbert.Inactive for the Saints are: defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad, DE Kasim Edebali, offensive lineman John Fullington Authentic Cordy Glenn Jersey , center Cameron Tom, receiver Austin Carr, running back Jonathan Williams and tight end John Phillips. Eagles players and officials made individual decisions to not go to the White House for a scheduled celebration of their Super Bowl title, leaving two players actually planning to make the trip to Washington before the visit was canceled by President Donald Trump, according to players and a person familiar with the arrangements. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of the sensitivity of the issues.
    All-Pro center Jason Kelce said players filled out forms anonymously indicating whether they wanted to go to the White House, not make the trip or go to Washington and do something else.
    ”It’s a little bit disappointing as a country right now that we’re so divided, I think that’s the bigger disappointment,” said Kelce, who became a folk hero in Philadelphia for an impassioned Cheap DJ Chark Jersey , profane rally speech he gave after a day of antics during the city’s Super Bowl parade.
    The players did not urge a collective decision on what to do as a team, giving each player his own option of whether to take the trip.
    Defensive end Chris Long, who skipped the trip last year when he was with the New England Patriots and again decided early to not attend, said he hopes athletes on championship teams in all sports won’t have to make the decision when Trump’s term is up for re-election in 2020.
    ”The players didn’t create this division (in the country),” Long said. ”I’m extremely proud to be part of this team.”
    Safety Malcolm Jenkins, an outspoken leader for social reforms, held up handwritten signs on issues important to him and other players instead of verbally answering questions.
    ”You aren’t listening,” one sign said. Another said that former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick gave $1 million to charity. Kaepernick began the wave of kneeling protests in the NFL as a way to protest racism and police brutality, and is working through a grievance case against the league after he was not signed by any team following his run with San Francisco.
    Another sign by Jenkins read: ”More than 60 percent of people in prison are people of color.”
    Coach Doug Pederson said before practice that he was looking forward to going to the White House to be recognized as Super Bowl champions but he wouldn’t further discuss details of the trip’s breakdown. He declined to provide information on how things escalated to the White House accusing players of abandoning their fans by deciding to not attend.
    ”What you’ve seen and what you’ve heard is enough. I’m not discussing it Youth Robert Golden Jersey ,” Pederson said. ”The team is great. We’re united. Our goal is 2018. It’s over. It’s behind us. We’re moving on.”
    Trump rescinded his invitation late Monday and instead turned the ceremony for the Eagles on Tuesday into his own brief ”Celebration of America” after it became clear most players weren’t going to show up. Trump tied the dispute to his criticism of players who have kneeled during the national anthem, even though no Eagles players kneeled for the song during the 2017 season.
    Also Wednesday, hockey player Devante Smith-Pelly said he would skip a White House visit if the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup. Smith-Pelly, one of two black Capitals players, spoke about Trump to Canada’s Postmedia.
    ”The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” Smith-Pelly said with the Capitals a victory away from their first title. ”Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with. It hasn’t come up here, but I think I already have my mind made up.”
    On Tuesday Walter Payton Bears Jersey , NBA stars LeBron James and Curry both said they wouldn’t visit.

    Eagles Tight end Zach Ertz wore a Team USA soccer jersey while answering questions and said he’s ”proud to be an American.”
    ”Everyone in this locker room understands that everyone’s heart is in the right place,” Ertz said. ”We weren’t going to let someone try and formulate an agenda. What’s unique about this locker room is that everyone’s treated with respect, people truly care about one another, people respect other people’s opinions. We’re united.”
    Long took a shot at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for staying silent on the matter.
    ”If he doesn’t want to stand up for his players, that’s not my business,” Long said. ”I know my teammates are great men. There’s men of faith in this locker room. There’s men who serve their communities. There’s men who have a lot who give back to people with a lot less.”


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    Marcedes Lewis wasn’t sure if the Green Bay Packers were the right fit for him. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and tight end Jimmy Graham made him feel at home at Lambeau Field. Lewis visited Green Bay last week thinking he wanted to explore his options during his first stint as a free agent following 12 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He received calls from other teams Youth Johnny Townsend Jersey , but he said that the Packers were the most persistent so he made Lambeau his first stop.
    He never made another visit.
    ”This was the only place I took a trip … I took my trip, and Aaron was here in the locker room. I started talking to him,” Lewis said Thursday. ”I started talking to Jimmy and I kind of made my decision that day.
    ”When I came down here, I didn’t expect to sign anything,” Lewis added. ”I was just coming down here to get a feel. Once I saw Aaron and Jimmy, it was a no-brainer after that.”
    Lewis, 34, was released by the Jaguars in March after the team had picked up his one-year, $3.5 million option in February. His signing filled a glaring need – a blocking tight end – and gives the Packers another veteran at the position with Graham Michael Gallup Color Rush Jersey , a five-time Pro Bowler, and Lance Kendricks.
    ”I don’t think we’ve had this much experience at the tight end position in my time here,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy, who called Lewis a ”prime-time player.”
    ”An on-the-line tight end is something we haven’t had a lot of, as far as the way we’ve played over the years,” McCarthy added. ”He can block any defensive end on the league, and that’s definitely a huge asset.”
    Lewis, who said he felt he got a ”raw deal” from the Jaguars, started 157 games for Jacksonville. He has 375 career receptions Authentic Customized Texans Jerseys , including 24 for 318 yards and five touchdowns last year.
    Still, Lewis hasn’t caught more than 25 passes in a season since 2012, when he had 52 receptions. His best season came in 2010, when he earned his lone Pro Bowl selection by catching a career-high 58 passes for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns.
    The 6-foot-6, 269-pound Lewis said he takes the ”blocking tight end” moniker as a compliment, but added that ”I pride myself on being a really good all-around tight end, whatever it is that I’m called upon to do.”
    It’s the type of attitude that Rodgers loves to hear. Lewis’ ability to help slow down pass-rushers should help an offensive line that has questions on the right side.
    ”Obviously, I’m a really good blocker, but don’t get it mistaken. I didn’t come here to be a tackle. … Be on the other side of Jimmy doing some good things Billy Price Jersey Bengals ,” he said. ”It’s going to be trouble out there.”
    Graham’s strength is making tough catches. Kendricks provides experienced depth.
    ”Jimmy’s not known as a blocking tight end, but he’s willing. He will get in the way. He will punch you in the mouth,” Lewis said. ”So it’s going to be interesting. We get in that personnel with three tight ends on the field and (defenses) have to leave base on the field, it’s not going to be good.”

    The Arizona Cardinals have signed safety Tre Boston to a one-year contract.
    The deal was announced Friday as players reported for the start of training camp.
    Boston played in all 16 games, 15 as a starter, with the Los Angeles Chargers last season, when he set career highs with 79 tackles, 61 solo, five interceptions and nine passes defensed.
    Boston , entering his fifth NFL season, is very familiar with new Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks. A fourth-round selection in the 2014 draft out of North Carolina, Boston played his first three seasons with Carolina, where Wilks was the defensive backs coach.
    The 25-year-old Boston joins Antoine Bethea and Budda Baker as safeties expected to see considerable action in the Cardinals' new defensive scheme.
    Arizona released African-born defensive end Moubarak Djeri, who is trying to make the NFL after playing in the German Football League.

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    The Jacksonville Jaguars turned to LSU to improve their running game for the second time in as many years. The Jaguars selected big and speedy receiver DJ Chark from LSU in the second round of the NFL draft Friday night Youth Russell Bodine Jersey , giving them a proven deep threat and one of the best perimeter run-blockers available.
    Jacksonville chose the 6-foot-3 Chark with the 61st overall pick Friday night. General manager Dave Caldwell and top executive Tom Coughlin stayed in the Southeastern Conference for the third round and took Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison at No. 93.
    Chark, Harrison and first-round defensive tackle Taven Bryan probably won't even start as rookies. It's the first time since 2006 the Jaguars didn't get a plug-and-play starter in the first three rounds. It's a tribute to the team's roster, which is mostly intact after making the AFC championship game.
    "If they come in and play, that's a bonus, too," Caldwell said. "Competition is great. The more depth you can have and be prepared for any situation, the better off we'll be."
    Bryan will open his career behind Pro Bowler Malik Jackson. Harrison will be back up starters Barry Church and Tashaun Gipson. Chark will be a rotational player alongside Marqise Lee, Donte Moncrief and Keelan Cole.
    The Jaguars expect Chark's speed ??and blocking ability ??to help create more space for bruising runner Leonard Fournette. No team faced more eight- and nine-man boxes than Jacksonville in 2017.
    It proved to be a huge problem in the playoffs, especially in the AFC title game. The Jags led New England by 10 points in the fourth quarter and were up 20-17 with a little more than 5 minutes to play, but were unable to do enough offensively to get to the Super Bowl.
    "It's a pick not only for our passing game, but also for our running game Youth JK Scott Jersey , too," Caldwell said. "Obviously, when you have a guy with that type of speed, teams have to be cognizant of him making the big plays down the field."
    Chark covered the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, the fastest of any receiver at the event. He also turned heads at the Senior Bowl while catching passes from Richmond's Kyle Lauletta.
    "Being able to go over the top and get open, I feel like I am a kid in a candy store right now," Chark said.
    Chark was college teammates with Fournette, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 draft. Both wore No. 7 at LSU, which annually gives the number to its top playmaker.
    Chark, a Louisiana native, didn't make nearly as many plays for the Tigers as Fournette did Aaron Rodgers Jersey Elite , but mostly because he never played alongside a notable quarterback.
    He caught 66 passes for 1,351 yards and six touchdowns in three seasons at LSU. He had 40 receptions for 874 yards and three scores as a junior in 2017. He averaged 21.9 yards a reception, which ranked sixth nationally.
    "He's a very good run blocker, which you don't hear much about with wide receivers," Caldwell said. "He's a good fit for what we want to do offensively, and he's got some rare traits."
    The Jaguars gave Lee a four-year contract worth $38 million in free agency and signed Moncrief to a one-year, $9.6 million deal. Cole and fourth-rounder Dede Westbrook showed promise as rookies last season.
    Caldwell said they considered moving up to as high as No. 50 to draft Chark but were unable to find a trade partner, so they had to wait nervously through a run on receivers.
    "I don't know if we struck out of hit a home run because we didn't trade up and we got him," Caldwell joked. "... Nobody likes the Jags. Back when we were 3-13, everybody wanted to make deals with us."
    BALTIMORE — The young Miami Marlins are coming off a tough 16-inning loss to the San Francisco Giants on Thursday. However, the Marlins did take three of four games in that home series.
    But the Baltimore Orioles have been on another skid. They’ve lost seven in a row Rams Cheap Jerseys , and the Boston Red Sox swept a three-game series in Baltimore this week. The Orioles had a day off Thursday but will somehow need to find some offense when they face Miami to begin a weekend series at Camden Yards Friday.
    Jose Urena (1-8, 4.59 ERA) starts for Miami. Urena won 14 games last year but dropped his first seven this season despite not pitching too badly.
    This will be the right-hander’s first career appearance versus the Orioles.
    Kevin Gausman starts for Baltimore. He is 3-5 with a 4.58 ERA this season and has been very effective on several occasions. Home runs have hurt the right-hander this year, though, as Gausman has allowed 14 homers in 76 2/3 innings.
    This will also be Gausman’s first appearance against Miami in his career.
    The biggest problem for Baltimore right now is that anemic offense. After Wednesday’s 5-1 loss to the Red Sox, the Orioles ranked last in the American League — and next-to-last in the majors — with a .226 batting average.
    Chris Davis is hitting .150 with four homers and just 15 RBIs so far this season for Baltimore, and has been getting more and more time off, especially against left-handed pitchers. Trey Mancini is struggling, along with Jonathan Schoop and others.
    To make things worse, even though the Orioles just got back closer Zach Britton — he had been sidelined following Achilles tendon surgery in the offseason — the team has just lost Richard Bleier. The left-hander has been one of the most consistent pitchers coming out of the bullpen but suffered what might be an injury to the latissimus dorsi muscle. And those take a long time to heal. Bleier was scheduled for a Thursday MRI.
    “It’s got the characteristics of a lat, so we’ll see,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said in The Baltimore Sun on Wednesday. “Hope for the best. Obviously Authentic Customized Buccaneers Jerseys , he was in a lot of discomfort, so we’ll see. He never had anything like that before. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him for very long. He was pretty down as you can imagine.”
    Miami will be coming to town after that nearly five-hour loss to the Giants on Thursday. The Marlins tied it in the ninth but the Giants got three in the 16th for a 6-3 win.
    The Marlins played tough while winning the first three games of that series against San Francisco. Manager Bruce Bochy joked to the media that he was very happy to get his Giants out of Miami.
    “For four straight games we’ve been fighting, clawing, getting back into it,” Marlins outfielder JB Shuck told the Miami Herald. “We didn’t give up. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to win that one.”
    Also, for the Marlins, pitcher Caleb Smith has left the team because of a funeral and will apparently go on bereavement list.

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    Yes Deion Sanders 49ers Jersey , Predators forward Filip Forsberg has watched the video of his jaw-dropping goal against Colorado a couple times, and even he agrees putting the puck through not only his legs but a defender’s with a dangle ranks as his most creative yet. ”I had some opportunities, but I haven’t finished any of them off,” Forsberg said. ”But it was good.”
    The Colorado Avalanche showed that they can give Nashville fits with their speed and too-young-to-know-better attitude with the youngest roster this postseason. Having a chance in this first-round Western Conference series against the NHL’s Presidents’ Trophy winners will mean figuring out a way to slow down the Predators’ top scorer.
    Forsberg’s two goals in the third period not only rallied Nashville to a 5-2 win in Game 1 , the forward is averaging more than a point per game for his career against Colorado. Forsberg now has 26 points (15 goals, 11 assists) and five game-winning goals in 21 games.
    He also outscored Colorado’s top line as Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each had assists setting up the Avs’ opening goal.
    Coach Jared Bednar said he thought his Avalanche, playing without top defenseman Erik Johnson (knee injury), did a nice job on Forsberg most of the game. Sam Girard played 22 minutes, 7 seconds in his postseason debut against the team that drafted him.
    ”He uses his skill and beats a guy one-on-one,” Bednar said of Forsberg. ”The go-ahead goal at 3-2 was a lucky bounce. They shot it wide, and he got to the right spot on the ice and hit maybe his stick and a shin pad. He just goes to the hard areas.”
    The Avalanche are catching Forsberg at a bad time. The 23-year-old forward from Ostervala, Sweden Cheap Jessie Bates III Jersey , now has 32 points in his last 31 games after leading the balanced Predators with 64 points in the regular season.
    The Predators have a chance Saturday in Game 2 at something they haven’t managed yet as a franchise: Taking a 2-0 series lead in their own building.
    ”We’ve got to be better to get this done,” Forsberg said.
    Some things to watch Saturday:

    Devils at Lightning, Tampa Bay leads 1-0 (3 p.m EDT, NBC/CBNBC)
    The Lightning look and sound like a team rejuvenated by playing meaningful games again.
    The Atlantic Division champions spent the final three weeks of the regular season essentially biding time while awaiting the start of the playoffs. Captain Steven Stamkos said it was important to re-establish an edge in the series opener, and now the top seed in the Eastern Conference can take a commanding lead on the underdog Devils.
    ”There’s a wealth of experience in this room, with guys that have been in this situation,” Stamkos said. ”I think you could tell, once the puck dropped, that we were very determined to set the tone and play the right way.”
    About half of New Jersey’s roster entered this series with no playoff experience. Coach John Hynes expects that to be less of a factor in Game 2.
    ”I don’t really want to get into what the exact message with our team was, but it (basically) was don’t get too high, don’t get too low,” Hynes said. ”We have to make sure we understand the areas we’ve got to be better at Youth Natrell Jamerson Jersey , and I think mentally make sure that we’re ready to play a certain way.”

    Maple Leafs at Bruins, Boston leads 1-0 (8 p.m. EDT, NBC)
    The Bruins may be without forward Tommy Wingels, who did not skate Friday after taking a hit from Toronto forward Nazem Kadri. Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said Wingels was being evaluated by doctors and lists him as questionable as the Bruins try to take a 2-0 lead.
    If Wingels can’t play, a possible replacement could be rookie forward Ryan Donato. Cassidy said the former Harvard star could make his postseason debut Saturday. Donato skated with Noel Acciari and David Backes in practice. Cassidy said they have options with Brian Gionta as a right wing and Danton Heinen, who can slide over.
    ”I think Ryan played really well when he was here for his 12 games,” said Cassidy. ”We plan on using Ryan, just want to pick the right time.”
    The Maple Leafs know they have to play better on special teams after giving up three power-play goals. They also spent Friday waiting to learn what punishment the NHL would give Kadri.
    ”I don’t know what they’re going to do so might as well get prepared,” Toronto coach Mike Babcock said.

    Sharks at Ducks, San Jose leads 1-0 (10:30 p.m. EDT, NBCSN)
    The Ducks looked largely lifeless as they gave away their home-ice advantage by failing to maintain the momentum from their impressive finish to the regular season. This is a familiar pattern for the veteran Ducks, who have lost Game 1 at home in four of their last five playoff series over the past three seasons. They won two of those series.
    Perhaps Evander Kane’s gritty two-goal performance in his playoff debut will get the Ducks’ attention Eli Manning Jersey , reminding them that they can’t play into the Sharks’ hands by skating on the perimeter of the ice and failing to generate consistent traffic in front of Martin Jones.
    Or maybe the Sharks are hitting their stride after losing five of their final six games in the regular season. San Jose was better on both ends to win the opener 3-0 .
    ”They played how you’re supposed to play in the playoffs,” Anaheim forward Andrew Cogliano said of the Sharks. ”They played patient and played the right way. When you get chances, you have to score on them. You just execute the game plan. They did that. I Giants coach Pat Shurmur says he expects Odell Beckham Jr. to attend offseason workouts when they start in April.
    Trade rumors are surrounding the controversial star receiver and there has been strong speculation Beckham will hold out during training camp because he doesn't want to play the fifth and final year of his rookie deal without a new contract.
    "All reports are he will be ready to go as we get going," Shurmur said Tuesday morning at the NFL meetings. "There are steps he has to take. All indications are he will be back healthy by the time we start playing in September."
    Beckham is recovering from a broken left ankle that forced him to miss the last 12 games in 2017. Giants owner John Mara on Sunday expressed his disappointment in Beckham, saying no player is untouchable.
    "That's another way of saying we're going to try to do everything we can to make our team better," Shurmur said. "I understand that. It's sort of refreshing to know that we're going to look under any rock and turn over every stone that we can to make sure we make the New York football Giants the best team we can make it."
    Beckham recently was seen in a video in bed with a woman and what appeared to be white powder, though the timing of the video and its content is uncertain. Mara said Beckham uses "bad judgment" too often.
    "I think it's important that you get all the information," Shurmur said. "Who knows how that video appeared? We all understand that there are certain ways we need to act and certain things we don't want to be doing."
    Shurmur met with Beckham in Los Angeles earlier in the offseason when he went to California to visit college prospects.
    "He's a very charismatic guy. I think he really cares. I'm looking forward to working with him," Shurmur said. "It's important as coaches and players and anybody who is working together to visit and get a chance to know one another. I really don't think you can know somebody by seeing reports, reading reports, hearing what people think and say. I think it's important, especially in the player-coach relationship Mike Hughes Color Rush Jersey , to get to know him."
    Beckham was the 2014 Offensive Rookie of the Year and has been New York's best offensive weapon when healthy. In his first three seasons, he had 288 receptions for 4,122 yards and 35 touchdowns. But he's known as much for his highlight-reel catches as incidents that are distractions.
    "We always want weapons," Shurmur said. "He's been an outstanding player, especially his first three years. We want really, really good players. We want guys who are passionate about playing the game. We want guys that understand the importance of relationships, which means they want to be coached. And we want guys that understand what it is to be a good teammate."

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    Shaquem Griffin came back. The crowd loved it. Players in attendance not selected in the first two days of the NFL draft usually head out of town before the fourth through seventh rounds. Griffin Lukas Dostal Ducks Jersey , who sat through 100 names being called in the first three rounds, wasn't in AT&T Stadium on Saturday. Then he was after Seattle spent the 141st overall selection on the Central Florida linebacker who has no left hand. That fifth-round choice, announced in Seattle, drew loud cheers from fans at Jerry's World. Griffin, whose left hand was amputated when he was young, has become the feel-good story this year and one of the most popular players in this draft because of his perseverance, outgoing personality and, of course, his talent. "I mean that was amazing," Griffin said. "To even have an opportunity to come back, I didn't think I was going to be able to come back and do it ... I don't remember seeing too many people who have left and came back. "That was the most amazing experience of my entire life. Me thinking about it, that moment, to be up on that stage and having the crowd go crazy, it was like we had won the Peach Bowl all over again. It was nuts." Griffin helped UCF go undefeated last season, then blew through the NFL combine with a 4.38 in the 40, sensational lifting work with his prosthetic Authentic Customized Packers Jerseys , and a can-do attitude. Exactly the sort of player the Seahawks seem to find; they drafted his twin brother, Shaquill, out of UCF last year. "It's been a really good experience," Shaquem said. "I would have been crazy to turn an experience down like this. I'm just glad I was one of the selected few to be here." Griffin had one of the more unusual ways of finding out he was chosen. "I was using the restroom and my brother came and tackled me with my cellphone, saying 'answer it, answer it,' and I looked, and that's when tears started pouring down," Griffin explained. "I literally went to use the restroom and that's when my brother busted in and tackled me. I think I was more scared of him tackling me in the bathroom and not knowing what was happening than anything." Griffin received, by far, the biggest cheers of the day ??louder even than when the Cowboys' selections were announced. And he made a promise: "Great things are coming to Seattle." Griffin's selection early in the fifth round enlivened a day in which most picks are relatively unknown or obscure players. Not all, though. Michigan defensive tackle Maurice Hurst was taken one spot in front of Griffin by Oakland. The All-American would have gone much earlier, but a heart condition was discovered at the combine, dropping him far down draft boards. He had 5? sacks as an interior rusher and led all nose tackles and defensive tackles with 49 total quarterback pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. "It's tough thinking that you're one of the top players in the draft and having good tape and everything like that, just having to wait http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.c...patrick-jersey ," Hurst said. "You believe you're better than guys who go ahead of you is tough. I'm just happy to be in the right place and a great organization." As for his health, "I'm ready to go right now." Another All-American, Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell, was taken by Denver at No. 106. He's not considered quick, but he is active and seemed to be in on every tackle for the Hawkeyes. "A lot of that is instincts. A lot of film watching for me," he said. "It really helped me because I did not run the fastest time ever, not even close. I had to be able to make up from somewhere else." Also: ??ichigan State extended its streak of having at least one player selected to 78 years when Brian Allen went to the Rams early in the fourth round. Only Michigan and USC have longer streaks, both extended to 80 years during the first two days of the draft. ??he Giants took the first quarterback of the third day, Richmond's Kyle Lauletta at No. 109. The Giants passed on trying to get their quarterback of the future to replace Eli Manning in the first round, taking running back Saquon Barkley at No. 2 overall. Lauletta doesn't have a big arm, but he showed good athleticism and accuracy playing at the FCS school. Other quarterbacks chosen: Western Kentucky's Mike White to Dallas; Washington State's Luke Falk to Tennessee; Nebraska's Tanner Lee to Jacksonville; LSU's Danny Etling to New England; Florida International's Alex McGeough to Seattle; and Toledo's Logan Woodside to Cincinnati. ??allas acquired wideout Tavon Austin from the Rams in a trade Saturday. ??leveland used a fourth-round pick, No. 105 overall, to take one of the draft's most talented but troubled wide receivers: Florida's Antonio Callaway. He had multiple suspensions while playing with the Gators, missing all of last season because of his part in a credit card fraud scheme. When Callaway plays he is a deep threat receiver and dangerous return man, but he could be the next Josh Gordon, who has had many off-field issues and NFL suspensions with the Browns. ??isconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli Cheap Sam Hubbard Jersey , who is missing the index finger on his left hand, went to Denver in the fifth round. ??hree punters ??yes, three ??were taken in the fifth round. Michael Dickson, the Australian from the University of Texas, was picked 149th overall by Seattle. Alabama's JK Scott was drafted 172nd overall by Green Bay, a pick before Oakland took Johnny Townsend from Florida. Townsend was the NCAA leader last season with a 47.5-yard average on his 64 punts. In 1988, there were three punters selected in the first 102 picks. Tom Tupa, who also went 4-9 as a starting quarterback during his 16 NFL seasons, and Greg Montgomery were both taken in the third round and became All-Pro punters. Barry Helton was a fourth-round pick. One more punter, Logan Cooke of Mississippi State, was chosen by Jacksonville, and the Sidney Crosby doesn’t think the Pittsburgh Penguins have some sort of mystical edge over the Washington Capitals. That all those series and all those years and all that dominance won’t mean a thing when the two longtime rivals meet in the playoffs for the 11th time starting Thursday night in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Of course, it’s kind of easy to say that when you’re on the side that always wins. Eras change. Stars change. Coaches change. Styles change (well, sort of). The result when the Penguins are on one bench and the Capitals are on the other and a spot in the next round in the pursuit of a Stanley Cup is on the line does not. The Penguins have won nine of the 10 previous meetings. Epic collapses. Unlikely comebacks. Wild finishes. Emotional scar tissue from losses that come from being the hockey equivalent of Sisyphus. Hall of Famers (and future Hall of Famers) all over the place — particularly if you wear black and gold. Crosby, Alex Ovechkin and company have a lot to live up to. But before we throw ourselves into the physical and psychological maw for two weeks, let’s press our finger on the bruises – or relive the joy Cheap Taven Bryan Jersey , depending on your point of view – of the magic and misery that came before and almost certainly is to come. — THE YEAR: 1991 THE ROUND: Patrick Division Finals THE RESULT: Penguins in 5. THE DEFINING MOMENT: The Capitals scored three times in the first 10:26 of the third period of Game 2 in Pittsburgh to take the lead. Randy Gilhen – he of the three career playoff goals – jumped onto the ice during a delayed Washington penalty and emerged from a sea of bodies to tie it with less than 5 minutes left in regulation. Kevin Stevens won it with a wrist shot off a pretty setup by Ron Francis 8:10 into overtime to even the series. The Capitals scored three goals total the rest of the way as the Penguins advanced to the conference finals for the first time in franchise history. GUT PUNCH LEVEL: 2. The massively talented Penguins had seven Hall of Famers on the roster (eight if you include the ageless and sure-to-be inducted Jaromir Jagr) and won their first Cup two rounds later. — THE YEAR: 1992 THE ROUND: Patrick Division Semifinals THE SERIES: Penguins in 7. THE DEFINING MOMENT: The Capitals sprinted to a 3-1 series lead. After getting drilled at home in Game 5, Washington led 4-2 4 minutes into the second period of Game 6. And then Mario Lemieux happened . Super Mario scored or assisted on three power-play goals over the final 30 minutes as the Penguins tied the series, then shut the Caps down in Game 7, a 3-1 win on the road to propel them to a second straight Cup. GUT PUNCH LEVEL: 8. Pittsburgh had a bit of a Cup hangover after winning it all in ’91 and appeared on the verge of collapse after the Capitals crushed them 7-2 in Game 4. And then … well, consider this the start of a trend. — THE YEAR: 1994 THE ROUND: Eastern Conference quarterfinals. THE SERIES: Capitals in 6. THE DEFINING MOMENT: Washington again jumped out to a 3-1 series lead only to lose Game 5. Back home for Game 6, the Capitals went up 3-0 only to have the Penguins cut it to 3-2 after the first period. Momentum teetering, Washington defenseman Calle Johansson beat Tom Barrasso 1:25 into the second to restore the Caps’ two-goal lead and Washington closed out Pittsburgh for the first – and only – time. GUT PUNCH LEVEL: 6. Pittsburgh viewed 1994 as a redemption tour after its bid for a three-peat was derailed by the Islanders in the 1993 playoffs. The Penguins won the Northeast Division and had the third-best record in the league only to lose to a Capitals team that started the season 0-6 and fired coach Terry Murray at midseason and replaced him with Jim Schoenfeld. — THE YEAR: 1995 THE ROUND: Eastern Conference quarterfinals. THE SERIES: Penguins in 7. THE DEFINING MOMENT: Lemieux sat out the lockout shortened 1994-95 season due to fatigue and the Capitals took advantage in the playoffs. Washington – stop us if you’ve heard this before – headed to Pittsburgh with a 3-1 lead and jumped ahead four separate times in front of a stunned crowd at the Igloo. Kevin Stevens, however, drew the Penguins even with 8:18 left in regulation and Luc Robitaille kept Pittsburgh’s season alive with his OT winner 4:30 into the first extra period to give the Penguins a 6-5 victory. Pittsburgh went on to win Games 6 and 7 by a combined 10-1. GUT PUNCH LEVEL: 9. For a franchise that didn’t exactly have a reputation for answering when pushed, Washington’s remarkable play in Game 5 went against the grain and they didn’t have to worry about Lemieux. And yet … — THE YEAR: 1996 THE ROUND: Eastern Conference quarterfinals. THE SERIES: Penguins in 6. THE DEFINING MOMENT: Make it defining moments. All of them seeming to come in an epic Game 4 . The Capitals led 2-1 and didn’t have to contend with Lemieux after he was ejected late in the second period for fighting Washington’s Pat Peake. Regulation ended tied at 2. So did the first overtime. And the second (after Washington’s Joe Juneau couldn’t convert the first overtime penalty shot in NHL history ). And the third. With 45 seconds left in the fourth extra period, Petr Nedved threw a shot in from outside the left circle that slipped by Olaf Kolzig and into the net to tie the series. Pittsburgh captured the next two to advance to the conference finals. GUT PUNCH LEVEL: They might not have invented the number yet to rate the emotional toll of this one. Say R.

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    It was just another routine throw in practice Aaron Hicks Jersey , a rookie quarterback tossing the ball to a rookie receiver. When the two failed to connect, Julio Jones stepped in.
    Do it again, he ordered.
    "What a pure example of what we stand for as a group," said Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn, clearly pleased that one of the NFL's top players would even take the time to notice. "It doesn't matter who the quarterback is. It doesn't matter who the receiver is. What matters is getting it right."
    Jones' leadership qualities could take on special importance this season.
    Calvin Ridley was the Falcons' first-round pick .
    Like Jones, he went to Alabama. Like Jones, he plays receiver.
    The Falcons are counting on the rookie to quickly carve out a role in an offense that has plenty of weapons but needs to find ways to lure coverages away from Matt Ryan's favorite target.
    Jones is certainly doing his part of help Ridley ??and, by extension, his own pass-catching prospects.
    "Everybody knows Julio is really, really good," Ridley said. "But people don't really know how good he is. He's so detailed in the plays. He knows everything. He's like a coach. He coaches me on everything."
    Early in Tuesday's practice, undrafted quarterback Kurt Benkert ??a longshot to make the team ??was working with Ridley on a particular route.
    They haven't gotten a lot of time together in practice, so it wasn't all that surprising when the two were out of sync.
    That wasn't acceptable to Jones.
    "Julio was like, 'Do that one again,'" Quinn marveled. "That might've gone unnoticed to some people."
    Even when Ridley makes a catch in practice, he usually has Jones in his ear.
    "He says, 'You can do it better, you can lean on him Will Hernandez Game Jersey , whatever it is,'" the rookie said. "It's like having another coach on the field. He's watching everything that all of us do."
    While Jones took some heat from fans and the media for skipping offseason workouts and a mandatory minicamp in a bid to land a new contract ??he agreed to report to training camp only after the team adjusted his deal for this season and promised to renegotiate in 2019 ??there is no question about the commitment to his teammates.
    He shows it with his willingness to work with anyone who has a desire to get better, whether it's a first-round pick such as Ridley or a fringe player such as Benkert.
    Jones is impressed with Ridley's work ethic and potential.
    "I knew he was going to come in and be a hard worker," said Jones, a two-time All-Pro who has gone four straight seasons with at least 80 receptions and more than 1,400 yards receiving. "He definitely has all the tools to be a great wide receiver. The game just has to come to him. Just seeing things on the move and not thinking, that's the only thing. He's a rookie. He's going to have to think. He's going to see unscouted looks, things like that. You can't make that transition on the run."
    While Jones has enormous physical skills, he knows his success as a receiver goes beyond his speed, size and hands. He keeps telling the rookie to pay attention to what's going on around him.
    The eyes might be the most important attribute of all.
    "Watching safeties," Jones said. "Watching what people are trying to take away. Different concepts. Knowing what he can and cannot do on a route to help his teammates."
    To give all the rookies an idea of what they're up against in Friday's first preseason game against the New York Jets, Jones showed a tape of his very first exhibition contest against the Miami Dolphins in 2011.
    "We have a great group of young receivers on our team," he said. "But it's going to get blurry out there. You're out there at full speed, and you don't know what to expect. I told 'em, 'Just do what you do. Do what got you here. You don't have to go out there and make up things. The game will come to you.'"
    Someone asked Jones for a critique of that younger version of himself.
    "I was flying around," he said, breaking into a big grin. Just as quickly, he turned it into another teaching moment. "If you're a young guy Cheap Avonte Maddox Jersey , you don't want to bust a play and start looking around. If you bust it, go full speed. You'll get the next one."
    Notes: Longtime Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed attended practice Tuesday at Quinn's invitation. In particular, the Falcons coach wanted Reed to stress the importance to creating turnovers. "One the best ball hawks of all time," Quinn said. "It was important for him to spend some time with the DBs."
    Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at s://apnews/search/paul%20newberry The cool, calm and confident kid from Southern California is going from Hollywood to the Big Apple. The New York Jets selected USC quarterback Sam Darnold with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night ??and they didn't have to endure a horrific season to get him, after all.
    Since the glory days of Joe Namath nearly 50 years ago, the Jets have been searching for a homegrown QB to deliver a similar type of sustained success as the face of the franchise.
    New York is counting on the athletic and strong-armed Darnold to be their man.
    "I'm taking it head on," Darnold said during a conference call. "I'm a pretty confident guy and I'm really comfortable in my own skin, so I'm going to go in there, do my thing and do what the coaches ask me to do ??and do that at the highest level."
    Many draft pundits projected several months ago that Darnold would be the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, and still tabbed him as the best overall quarterback of this year's class. But after Cleveland kicked off the draft by taking Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and the Giants selected Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, the Jets honed in on Darnold, who met with them and had a private workout late in the pre-draft process.
    It seemed unlikely for the last several months that Darnold would end up with the Jets, especially after their 5-11 season didn't quite play into the "Suck For Sam" campaign pushed by some fans who preferred even more losses in the hopes that a year of misery would translate to a greater chance to land the star quarterback.
    After striking out on luring Kirk Cousins in free agency, the Jets positioned themselves to be able to get one of the top available QBs in the draft by moving up three spots and acquiring the third selection from Indianapolis in a trade last month. It cost New York the No. 6 pick, two second-round selections this year and a second-rounder next year ??a steep price to pay, but one general manager Mike Maccagnan was comfortable with.
    And, in the end Logan Cooke Jersey Jaguars , landed the player many fans ??and the Jets themselves ??have been dreaming of leading their offense.
    "We just sort of sat tight and had to see how it unfolded," Maccagnan said. "We felt very happy that Sam was there and we had a chance to pick him."
    It was reminiscent of the 2015 draft when defensive end Leonard Williams, who some had ranked as the best overall player, fell to the Jets at No. 6. It happened again last year when safety Jamal Adams dropped to New York at sixth.
    Darnold has been lauded for his leadership, poise and quick release, along with his ability to extend plays and get himself and the offense out of trouble. The Capistrano Beach, California, native played just two seasons at USC and went 20-4 as the starter, but showed enough potential to make scouts drool.
    "I like his competitiveness," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "Obviously, all the quarterbacks compete, but the biggest thing that you really don't see is he has an inner desire and drive that brings out the competitiveness in the other players."
    The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Darnold redshirted his first year, and then was selected the Pac-12 offensive player of the year. He led USC to a victory over Penn State in the Rose Bowl, setting the game's record with five touchdown passes. Darnold also won the Archie Griffin Award, given to college football's most valuable player for the entire season ??and was the first freshman to do so.
    He was a Heisman Trophy favorite entering last season, but had a rocky start in which he matched the number of interceptions he threw his first season ??nine ??in just USC's first six games while working with several new faces in the Trojans' offense. But Darnold bounced back nicely, finishing with 4 Brandon Parker Color Rush Jersey ,143 yards passing with 26 touchdowns and 13 INTs and leading USC to an appearance in the Cotton Bowl ??a 24-7 loss to Ohio State in which he struggled at times.
    With the Jets, Darnold will get a chance to bring his "it" factor to a franchise and fanbase that will be immediately energized by his selection. He should also be able to adapt well to coordinator Jeremy Bates' West Coast-style offense.
    He joins what is suddenly a crowded quarterbacks room with Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg also on the roster. But the addition of Darnold could spell the end of the road for both Petty ??a fourth-rounder in 2015 ??and Hackenberg ??a second-rounder in 2016 ??in New York.
    So, Darnold could have a chance to give the veterans a run for the starting gig this summer.
    "There's no timetable," Bowles said. "We're not going to throw him in there, but at the same time, we won't hold him back, either."
    Darnold's selection marks the second time in franchise history that the Jets have picked third overall in the NFL draft. The last time came in 1981, when they took UCLA running back Freeman McNeil.
    It's also the fifth time New York has taken a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft, with Darnold following in the footsteps of Richard Todd (1976), Ken O'Brien (1983), Chad Pennington (2000) and Mark Sanchez (2009) ??who also came from USC. All four had some measure of success during their stints with the Jets, but none was able to deliver them to the Super Bowl like Broadway Joe in 1969.
    That will ultimately be the way Darnold's career in New York will be measured.

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    More than three months after the NFL draft Marquez Valdes-Scantling Jersey Packers , Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Maurice Hurst is still a little bitter about how things played out. Projected to be a sure first-rounder after his final season at Michigan, Hurst wasn’t selected until the fifth round amid questions about his health stemming from a heart condition that also got him sent home from the scouting combine.
    Although Hurst said he first learned of the issue during his freshman year in college, he was stunned not hearing his name called until the third day of the draft.
    He’s still not fully over it.
    ”I don’t know if it ever goes away,” Hurst said Friday. ”It’s just something that’s always on your shoulder and something that you always have to carry with you. Just keep it there to push you harder.”
    The Raiders are counting on Hurst and second-round pick P.J. Hall to improve an interior pass rush that was almost non-existent last season. Both rookies have gotten work in with the starting defense during practices and will get an extensive look when preseason games begin next week.
    ”They don’t want us to be rookies,” Hurst said. ”They want us to come out and play right away and play effectively, and come out and just dominate and do what they expected us to do. Just be a vital part of this defense.”
    Hurst had 12 sacks in college, five coming as a senior when he was an All-American.
    With the Raiders, he’ll be part of a rotation up front that includes Hall and veterans Justin Ellis and Mario Edwards. Eddie Vanderdoes, a second-round pick in 2017 who started 13 games as a rookie, is recovering from ACL surgery.
    To help accelerate his growth, the Raiders have had Hurst play against starting center Rodney Hudson and guards Kelechi Osemele and Gabe Jackson. Hudson and Osemele were Pro Bowl picks last season while Jackson was an alternate in 2016.
    ”They throw a few crumbs every now and then,” Hurst said. ”They don’t want you to beat them every time. But they’ve been extremely helpful. Every day I get to go to work I get to play the best guys in the country. That’s only going to make you better every day.”
    Hudson said Hurst’s natural instincts have made for a smooth transition.
    ”He’s got a lot of ability,” Hudson said. ”Smart rusher. He’s always attentive and asks questions. He’s got a lot of God-given ability. He’s quick and he uses his hands well to be so young.”
    Hurst showed all of that during a pass-rush drill Friday. Paired against two offensive linemen, Hurst burst through the middle of the double-team effort and used his right hand to knock away one defender’s block attempt.
    If only finding a place to live was that easy for the Raiders rookie.
    Hurst admitted getting sticker shock while checking out the housing market in Northern California and joked that he might have to go back to driving for Uber, something he did in college to earn extra money.
    ”It’s ridiculous,” Hurst said. ”Look here Anthony Averett Jersey Ravens , look home, look Michigan. I’m like, `I can get a nice place over there.’ But over here you get a little box. There was one on Craigslist I saw that someone was renting out a closet for $400.”
    Notes: Jackson was held out of practice for unknown reasons, one day after leaving the workout early. . Left tackle Donald Penn, who has not practiced in camp yet after having offseason foot surgery, appears close to returning. Penn has been working out with a team trainer and got work in on a blocking sled.

    LeBron James saved a game. Russell Westbrook and Paul George saved a season.
    And now, Game 6 awaits them all.
    A trio of possible series-ending games are on Friday night’s NBA playoff schedule: Cleveland at Indiana, Toronto at Washington and Oklahoma City at Utah. For the Cavaliers and Raptors, the scenario is they advance with a road win or head back home for Game 7 on Sunday. The Thunder don’t have such a safety net; they must win in Salt Lake City, or it’ll be the Jazz going to the second round.
    James went from goaltending to game-winning in a matter of seconds in Game 5 on Wednesday night, his straightaway 3-pointer at the buzzer giving Cleveland a three-point win and a 3-2 series lead. Westbrook and George looked well on their way to summer vacation in their Game 5 matchup with the Jazz , before they combined for 54 points in a 61-28 Oklahoma City run that rallied the Thunder from a 25-point second-half deficit.
    The stars carried the Cavs and Thunder.
    The Raptors, they have a 3-2 lead thanks to a more unsung hero. Delon Wright was fantastic for Toronto in the fourth quarter of Game 5 against Washington , and the Raptors held serve by beating the Wizards to reclaim the lead in their series.
    What James did was stunning in Game 5, and his final half-minute was memorable to say the least. He went from potential goat (turning the ball over, which the NBA said was a bad call) to hero (blocking Victor Oladipo’s layup Kolton Miller Raiders Jersey , which the NBA later said was also a bad call and should have been goaltending) to hero by hitting the game-winner.
    ”He’s the best player in the world,” Cleveland’s Kyle Korver said. ”He’s on our team, he’s going to give us a chance every single night. We all have to do our part but he is that good.”
    Oklahoma City was finished, done, ousted – except no one told Westbrook and George. Those players alone shot 20 for 35 (and 6 for 9 from 3-point range) in the final 20 minutes of Game 5 against Utah, while the Jazz shot 11 for 36, 1 for 16 from 3-point range. So a 25-point hole in the third quarter ended up as a eight-point win, and now Utah will inevitably feel pressure in Game 6.
    In Toronto, Wright scored 11 points in the fourth as the Raptors pulled away.
    Some other things to know going into Friday’s Game 6 matchups:
    Toronto leads 3-2. Game 6, 7 p.m. EDT, NBATV.
    NEED TO KNOW: The Wizards have been so much better at home than on the road, winning eight consecutive playoff games in Washington, so pushing this to a Game 7 is not out of the question. But another fourth-quarter collapse like in Game 5, when coach Scott Brooks’ team gave away a lead and went more than 3 minutes without a point, could spell the end of what would amount to a disappointing season for the No. 8 seed Wizards. ”We’re having trouble closing out games in Toronto,” Brooks said Thursday at the Wizards’ arena. ”We’ve done a pretty good job of closing out games here.”
    KEEP AN EYE ON: DeMar DeRozan. He has been the unquestioned star of this matchup for No. 1 seed Toronto Cheap Armani Watts Jersey , putting up 28.8 points and 5.0 assists, with three games of at least 30 points apiece.
    PRESSURE IS ON: Washington’s trio of max-contract players. While PG John Wall has been mostly terrific all series, averaging 26.6 points, 12.2 assists and 5.8 rebounds, his minutes (38.8) might be catching up to him. He faded late in Game 5, as did SG Bradley Beal, who was great in Games 3 and 4 at home, less so on the road. The biggest issue for the Wizards is a lack of production from their third-best player, SF Otto Porter Jr., who is scoring only 10 points per game and has made five 3s all series. As a whole, the Wizards need to be better from beyond the arc than in Game 5, when they went 5 for 26, 1 for 10 in the fourth quarter.
    INJURY UPDATE: Porter sat out the last regular-season game with a strained right calf and his playoff problems could be connected to that. … The leader of Toronto’s second unit, PG Fred VanVleet, has played a grand total of three minutes in the series because of a hurting right shoulder.
    Cleveland leads 3-2. Game 6, 8 p.m. Cheap Albert Wilson Jersey , ESPN.
    NEED TO KNOW: When James gets a chance to land a knockout blow, he delivers. The last 11 times a James team has gotten to 3-whatever in a series, it has closed out the matchup in its very first opportunity. That’s not a great sign for the Pacers.
    KEEP AN EYE ON: How Indiana responds. It’s very simple – after the NBA’s Last 2 Minute Report on Thursday for Game 5, the Pacers can very easily get lost in how Oladipo’s layup should have counted. Would James have gone for a 3-pointer if the Cavs were down by two in that situation? The Pacers need to regain focus and not worry about what’s already done, since calls were missed both ways in that game.
    PRESSURE IS ON: Oladipo. He’s had a great year, and will likely be the league’s Most Improved Player. And he’s had a strong first five games, as well. But if he’s going to be thought of as someone who’s gotten to that next level, staring James down and fending him off in an elimination game would probably help his cause.
    GETTING DEFENSIVE: The Pacers are 27-2 this season when holding opponents under 98 points, and 2-0 in this series when that happens.
    Jazz lead 3-2. Game 6, 10:30 p.m. EDT, ESPN.
    NEED TO KNOW: Westbrook finally broke out in Game 5 and took over. Oklahoma City got Utah post players Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors in foul trouble, allowing Westbrook to play his normal aggressive style. Westbrook scored 33 of his 45 p.

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    The Yankees have acquired left-hander Zach Britton from the rebuilding Baltimore Orioles for three prospects Clay Matthews Jersey Elite , a trade that will bolster New York’s bullpen for the stretch run. Right-hander Dillon Tate is going to the Orioles along with left-hander Josh Rogers and right-hander Cody Carroll. The teams announced the deal Tuesday night.
    The 30-year-old Britton will serve as a setup man for closer Aroldis Chapman, joining David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Chasen Shreve, Chad Green, Jonathan Holder and Adam Warren in an already strong bullpen.
    Britton is eligible to become a free agent after this season, which makes him a summer rental for the Yankees in their pursuit of first-place Boston in the AL East.
    He began the season on the disabled list after tearing his right Achilles tendon in December. He made his debut on June 12 and has appeared in 16 games, going 1-0 with a 3.45 ERA and four saves. He has not allowed a run in his last eight appearances, allowing just three hits over eight innings.
    NEW YORK (AP) – Yoenis Cespedes is back on the disabled list, and the New York Mets were still trying to determine whether the oft-injured slugger needs surgery on both feet that would require an eight-to-10-month recovery.
    An announcement had been expected before Tuesday night’s game against San Diego, but about 35 minutes prior to the first pitch Mets spokesman Harold Kaufman said the team was waiting to receive a second opinion and it was unlikely the news conference would take place until afterward.
    Following a 6-3 win over the Padres James Washington Steelers Jersey , however, the Mets still had no update.
    ”We’re still on the second opinion from the second doctor,” manager Mickey Callaway said. ”You have to take everybody’s information and make a judgment call on what they all feel. I don’t think I’ve ever been in a situation where two doctors haven’t been able to get together and come to some type of conclusion in the end.”
    Cespedes had an MRI and was examined by a foot specialist Monday in an effort to ascertain whether he should have an operation to alleviate chronic heel pain.
    CLEVELAND (AP) – Baker Mayfield’s first win was beating the clock.
    The No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NFL draft signed his rookie contract with the Cleveland Browns, who believe the quarterback from Oklahoma can lead them back to respectability and more.
    Mayfield finalized his four-year, $32 million deal a day before Cleveland’s players are scheduled to report to training camp and avoided being a holdout. Mayfield’s contract includes a $22 million signing bonus.
    Rookie cornerback Denzel Ward, selected with the No. 4 overall pick, remains unsigned. But the Browns are hopeful they can also get the former Ohio State star under contract before their first practice on Thursday.
    One of college football’s most popular and polarizing players, Mayfield is not expected to start in his first season for Cleveland. The Browns acquired former Buffalo quarterback Tyrod Taylor during an offseason trade and coach Hue Jackson has made it clear that the veteran will play until Mayfield is ready.
    ORONO, Maine (AP) – A University of Maine football player has collapsed and died during a preseason workout on campus.
    University officials say 18-year-old Darius Minor, a political science major from Locust Grove, Virginia Authentic Customized Jets Jerseys , collapsed Tuesday afternoon. Training staff and first responders were unable to resuscitate him.
    Minor was in the third week of UMaine’s Freshman Workout. Officials say he was one of 17 first-year student-athletes participating when he collapsed about 15 minutes into a supervised light workout.
    Interim athletics director James Settele says the campus is ”devastated by this terrible incident.” He says the campus community extends its deepest condolences to Minor’s family.
    All that’s standing between the San Jose Sharks and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs is a win over a team they haven’t been able to solve this season.
    It’s a pivotal season finale Saturday night when the Sharks meet the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center.
    San Jose (45-26-10) snapped a four-game skid with a 4-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
    “It wasn’t a pretty win, but we found a way. Tough time of year, tough circumstances against a real desperate team,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said.
    Home-ice advantage through the first two rounds of the postseason goes to the team that finishes higher in the regular-season standings. With 100 points, San Jose is in second place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks and two in front of the Los Angeles Kings.
    All three California teams are in action Saturday. Anaheim travels to meet the Arizona Coyotes, while Los Angeles plays host to the Dallas Stars. Neither the Coyotes nor the Stars are headed to the postseason.
    A win over Minnesota locks down second place for San Jose and would come after two crushing losses. On Dec. 10, the Sharks rallied from three goals down at home before falling 4-3 in overtime to the Wild. On Feb. 25, San Jose squandered a two-goal edge and lost 3-2 in overtime in St. Paul.
    Brent Burns has two power-play goals against the Wild this season. Minnesota selected Burns 20th overall in the 2003 draft before trading him to the Bay Area in 2011. With 65 points, last season’s Norris Trophy winner is second in the league in scoring among defensemen, one point behind the Stars’ John Klingberg.
    Sharks forward Evander Kane is expected to miss his third straight game with an undisclosed injury. However Authentic Tarik Cohen Jersey , he told the San Jose Mercury News this week that he’ll be good to go for his postseason debut.
    “As long as I’ve got two arms and two legs, I’ll be playing no matter what,” said Kane, who has nine goals and five assists in 14 games after being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres at the trade deadline.
    The Sharks’ Martin Jones, who collected his 30th win Thursday, is 0-3-2 with a 3.35 goals-against average in his last five starts against Minnesota. Backup Aaron Dell has never faced the Wild.
    Regardless of the outcome of this game, Minnesota (44-26-11) will not have the home-ice edge when it faces the Winnipeg Jets in the first round. However, the Wild are looking to avoid their fifth consecutive loss on the road — including a California sweep.
    After falling 3-1 to Anaheim on Wednesday, Minnesota dropped a 5-4 overtime decision to Los Angeles.
    “We’ve got to get back to playing the right way,” Wild defenseman Nate Prosser said.
    Three of Eric Staal’s 41 goals on the season for Minnesota have come versus the Sharks. He needs one more to top his total over the last two seasons combined with the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Rangers and the Wild.
    There is a chance that the 33-year-old veteran of nearly 1 Adam Boqvist Blackhawks Jersey ,100 games might sit out to rest for the postseason, but he’d rather see action.
    “I like to play, I love being out there regardless of any situation,” said Staal, who has four goals and two assists in his last two games in San Jose. “We’ll see what gets talked about (Friday) and what the game plan is. But I’m fine with playing. We’ve got a couple more days anyway before playoffs start, so I’d like to be out there with the guys.”
    Devan Dubnyk has alternated losses and wins in his last nine starts (4-3-2) with a 2.08 GAA and a shutout for Minnesota. Backup and former Shark Alex Stalock made 31 saves in the win over San Jose in December.

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    ??A day after Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins referred to him as a cancer Cheap Taven Bryan Jersey , cornerback Eli Apple was suspended Wednesday by the New York Giants for the season finale against the Washington Redskins.The Giants announced the suspension hours after Apple had participated in the practice. Interim general manager Kevin Abrams and interim coach Steve Spagnuolo informed him of the suspension.“We have suspended Eli for a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team,” Abrams said.Collins never referred to Apple, the Giants’ first-round draft pick in 2016, by name in a radio interview on Tuesday. However, he said only one cornerback on the team needed to grow up and later added, “But that first pick … he’s a cancer.”Collins apologized for the comments on Wednesday. He and Apple met separately with Spagnuolo and then all three talked.Collins was not in the locker room after practice. Apple declined to speak with the media.The suspension was announced several hours later.Apple played in 11 games this season with seven starts. He had 49 tackles (41 solo) and eight passes defensed. Apple was inactive for four consecutive games, from Nov. 19 to Dec. 10. He returned to action against Philadelphia on Dec. 17 and had a team-high nine tackles (seven solo).Despite playing well against the Eagles, Apple only played on special teams last week. Brandon Dixon and Ross Cockrell each played all 68 defensive snaps at cornerback.“The way the practices went last week Authentic Mark Walton Jersey , we felt that the two guys that we played practiced better with the group and that’s why we went in that direction,” Spagnuolo said. Even as he sat in the back of a police car sprinting to the hospital to get a precise prognosis on his injured left calf while the Pittsburgh Steelers played on without him during a loss to New England three weeks ago, Antonio Brown always believed he’d be back. He just needed time.
    When his teammates provided it by assuring the AFC North champions of a first-round bye, Brown pushed his rehab.
    By last weekend video surfaced of Brown working out in Florida with former NFL wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
    And there Brown was on Monday, going through drills with the rest of the Steelers well on track for a return on Sunday against Jacksonville in the divisional round of the playoffs.
    ”I never count myself out regardless of circumstances,” Brown said. ”I know playing football you’re going to have adversity. Just got to grow from it.”
    While stressing he’s ”still got a lot to test,” the only unanimous selection on the 2017 All-Pro Team and the only player in NFL history with five straight seasons with at least 100 receptions appeared to be relatively close to his old self.
    ”AB is nice,” cornerback Joe Haden said. ”If he’s out there Cheap Rashaad Penny Jersey , I expect him to be AB. He’s not going to be out there limping around. When he was running, he looked pretty good. You never know how it’s going to feel afterward, but while he’s out there, while he’s running his routes, he looked like AB.”
    Brown left in the first half against New England on Dec. 17 when his legs got tangled with a pair of Patriots defenders while trying to haul in a touchdown pass.
    The Steelers lost 27-23 before rebounding to close out the regular season with wins over Houston and Cleveland.
    Still, their best chance at reaching the AFC championship game for a second consecutive season comes with Brown’s No. 84 in the lineup.
    The Jaguars have one of the NFL’s top defensive backfields, though Brown still finished with 10 receptions and 157 yards on Oct. 8, the lone bright spot for the Steelers in a 30-9 loss in which Jacksonville scored the final 23 points and left Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shaken after throwing five interceptions.
    Roethlisberger hasn’t shied away from talk of a rematch. That’s fine by the Jaguars.
    ”Be careful what you wish for Authentic Uchenna Nwosu Jersey ,” Jacksonville cornerback AJ Bouye said. ”This is what he wanted. This is what he’s going to get.”
    What the Steelers are likely to get in return is a heavy dose of Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette.
    He was dominant with 181 yards and two touchdowns against Pittsburgh in October, including a backbreaking 90-yard sprint with 1:47 left that showcased the speed and the power that makes him so dangerous. Jacksonville finished with 231 yards rushing in all, the most given up by the Steelers all season.
    It was perhaps the biggest upset in the NFL season at the time. In the rearview, not so much. The Jaguars have proven they’re legit while reaching the playoffs for the first time in a decade.
    Though Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey suggested Pittsburgh must feel like the loss was a ”fluke,” the Steelers insist that’s not the case.
    ”We don’t feel like it was a fluke,” linebacker Bud Dupree said. ”We actually saw the plays they made and everything that was going on and the mistakes that we made and … that’s what happens. We let them get a couple of explosion plays.”
    Yet Steelers safety Mike Mitchell is quick to point out the blowout on the scoreboard didn’t exactly reflect what happened on the field. Even with Fournette’s closeout dash to the end zone, Pittsburgh outgained the Jaguars 373-313.
    ”If you watch that football game, it’s not like their offense exploited us a ton Ezekiel Elliott Cowboys Jersey ,” Mitchell said. ”I don’t think it was a dominant performance from that standpoint. I thought we played well enough to win the game. Obviously we didn’t. We’ve got to do better Sunday as a complete team to win the game.”
    One of the reasons Roethlisberger wanted another shot at Jacksonville. The two-time Super Bowl winner facetiously wondered if he still ”had it” after turning the ball over repeatedly back in October.
    All he did over the second half of the season was throw 18 touchdowns against five interceptions while leading Pittsburgh to a second straight division title and fourth consecutive playoff appearance.
    Roethlisberger’s swagger is back. And with Brown nearing a return, the Steelers believe they’re three wins away from a seventh Lombardi Trophy regardless of who may stand in the way.
    ”(Got to) find a way to win this one,” Brown said, ”and then the next one and the next one.”

    AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville, Fla., contributed to this report.


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