The Browns signed Duke Johnson to a 3-year contract extension.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has snubbed Owens in the past, so he’s snubbing them — just in a different way.

If Owens is still holding a grudge against the Hall of Fame over last year’s snub, it’s hard to blame him. But some of the outrage folks are having on Twitter is funny, considering how peaceful Owens was in declining the invite. There was no salt (emphasis ours):

While I am incredibly appreciative of this opportunity, I have made the decision to publicly decline my invitation to attend the induction ceremony in Canton, Owens said in a statement Thursday. I have already shared this information with the hall. After visiting Canton earlier this year, I came to the realization that I wish to celebrate what will be one of the most memorable days of my life, elsewhere. At a later date, I will announce where and when I will celebrate my induction.

This is the final week of OTAs and mandatory minicamp around the NFL before a month and a half vacation prior to the start of training camp.

People often say there’s no offseason in the NFL because news never stops. But if there’s any period of the year that’s really quiet, we’re about to reach it. So before that arrives, let’s embrace the final week of pad-free NFL practices!

Over in Kansas City, the early thought is Patrick Mahomes’ unique talent will help him create separation on quick throws. Mahomes has been seen starting his throwing motion while he is still turning his body, before his feet are set. That has created some concern regarding his footwork, but it could be beneficial, too. There’s only so much Chiefs fans can read into Mahomes’ NFL ability after one start. But by golly, they’ll analyze all they can from that one game.

Over in Detroit, Matt Patricia is impressing his new players and the media. It’s only spring, but people have opinions on everything from his cursing to his player punishments. I think the one thing that sticks out is expectations are high, Lions guard T.J. Lang said via NFL Network. We realize that we’ve got a short offseason. We’re going to be in training camp and before you know it, we’ll be playing in preseason games. So we don’t have a lot of time to waste. We expect to go out there every day and be on top of the things and get it right.

Colin Moran crunches a grand slam in the fifth inning as the Pirates take a 6-3 lead over the Padres.

Rookie Colin Moran isn’t big on showing emotion, so he took it in stride after hitting his second grand slam of the season.

Manager Clint Hurdle, though, put the feat in perspective.

O’Reilly completed his third season in Buffalo since being acquired in a trade with Colorado, after which the Sabres signed him to a seven-year, $52.5 million contract. He’s one of the league’s most dependable two-way forwards, and set the NHL record by winning 1,273 faceoffs last year.

Cubs: LHP Mike Montgomery (2-2, 3.39 ERA) starts Friday against Minnesota in the opener of an eight-game homestand. It will be his seventh start to go with 18 relief appearances.

Dodgers: LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 5.30) starts Friday against Colorado. He is 0-3 with a 7.52 ERA in four career starts against the Rockies.Marquez pitches Rockies to 3-1 win over Dodgers

Tonight was really special for me, he said. It’s a night I’ll never forget.

Musgrove was relieved by Steven Brault, a 2010 Grossmont grad. Brault had a short night, allowing two runs on two hits while getting just one out in the eighth.

It was cool, Brault said. Felt good coming in, felt confident. Some things didn’t go my way, and that happens. Overall the experience is something that is priceless. Something I never knew I’d actually get to have.

The Giants are 40-1 to win the Super Bowl, which is a far cry from last season, when they entered with 12-1 odds. Arguably, no team will face a tougher start to the season than New York, which is currently an underdog in each of its first seven games. While the over is a -135 favorite on the Giants’ win total of 7, keep in mind that they have won six games or fewer in three of the past four seasons.

Expectations are low for the Redskins, who are currently tied with the Arizona Cardinals for the worst Super Bowl odds at 100-1. Washington’s division odds are 8-1, but we’ve seen this franchise overcome long odds to win the NFC East before. Washington won the division in both 2012 and 2015, despite entering each season as the long shot to claim the NFC East (10-1 in 2012 and 35-1 in 2015).

Mercer homered to center field leading off the fourth to make it 6-0. It was his fifth.

Lauer allowed six runs, three earned, on nine hits in five innings, struck out three and walked none.

Padres manager Andy Green was ejected before the top of the fourth inning by plate umpire Angel Hernandez. Green apparently was unhappy about a balk call against Lauer while trying to pick off Polanco in the second. The Pirates did not score that inning.

Athletics: 3B Matt Chapman could play a couple rehab games before returning from a hand injury. Chapman had a cortisone shot on Monday and was hoping to swing a bat on Thursday or Friday.

The Phillies pitcher actually spent his junior season in high school as a lefty-throwing center fielder due to bone chips in his pitching arm that prevented him from taking the mound.

And on Friday night, Velasquez startled Phillies first baseman Carlos Santana by throwing a ball to him left-handed from the dugout in between innings.

Kind of warmed up for that play today, Velasquez joked.

So, Velasquez knew he could throw left-handed — he just didn’t know if he could make an accurate toss.

I actually surprised myself throwing a strike right there, he said.

After completing the play, Velasquez then dropped to the ground, writhing in pain and clutching his right arm. He was pulled from the game with a bruise, having allowed one run and three hits.

Brice Butler out to prove he’s Cardinals No. 2 receiver

jets_065Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks said recently that it is hard to say who will be the team’s No. 2 wide receiver behind Larry Fitzgerald, but one of the competitors believes he will make it an easy call before the regular season gets underway.

My heart is broken. Today, I lost my little brother and one of my best friends. I cannot put into words how special Dwight was to me and to everyone his life touched. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother and a great friend and teammate. He showed tremendous courage and dignity in his battle with ALS and we hope there will soon be a cure for this horrendous disease.

I will always remember Dwight the way he was – larger than life, handsome, charismatic and the only one who could pull off wearing a fur coat at our Super Bowl parade. He was responsible for one of the most iconic plays in NFL history that began our run of Super Bowl championships, but to me, he will always be an extension of my family. I love him and will miss him terribly. Our hearts and prayers are with his wife Kelly, his children and the entire Clark family.

Vernon added that he hasn’t decided whether he’ll stay in the locker room during the anthem, in lieu of kneeling and risking a fine. It’s nevertheless clear that Vernon isn’t happy about the situation.

I mean, you never want to be told what to do, really, especially when it comes to your freedom of speech, Vernon said.

Vernon is wise to not kneel. Giants co-owner John Mara likely won’t be as charitable as Jets owner Christopher Johnson, who has said he won’t fine players for kneeling in violation of the new rule.

The promotion comes 13 months after a line drive struck Poncedeleon in the right temple, fracturing his skull during a game against the Iowa Cubs on May 9, 2017. Poncedeleon underwent an emergency craniotomy to fix an epidural hematoma, which is bleeding from his brain. He then went through weeks of rehab and endured three months of inactivity as he recovered.

When Poncedeleon returned to playing this spring, he wore a carbon fiber insert under his hat to prevent another injury. It’s a bit cumbersome but necessary.

You get used to it, he said.

Preakness Stakes 2018 weather: Will it rain for race? Latest forecast for Saturday at Pimlico

The Preakness Stakes, the second leg of the Triple Crown, will be run Saturday, May 19, 2018 (5/19/18) at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.  Kentucky Derby winner Justify is the favorite, as expected, and drew the No. 7 post position.

They drafted the runner in the first round, [Rashaad] Penny, who’s a good back but still way too high for him. You can’t run the ball and play good defense any more. Bottom line,” Prisco said. “You’re talking about an offense that wasn’t great to begin with and you take Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson off the offense. They should play fast and let Russell Wilson play fast. Play loose and fast. If you’re going to take Penny, use him, make him a guy who can help open up the passing game. Be a creative offense playing up-tempo.

Kroenke, who Forbes estimates to have an $8.3 billion net worth, said in January he lamented the Rams’ lack of home-field advantage in their temporary home, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In two years we’ll be in a new stadium, and I think we can have a true home-field advantage like a lot of the teams do, Kroenke told Josh Peter of USA Today. “We don’t really have it now.”

The Rams finished 26th in the NFL in average attendance (63,392) in 2017, per ESPN.com. The Chargers, who are playing at the StubHub Center, ranked last (25,335).

The new stadium is going to feature a 70,240 capacity expandable to over 100,000 for major events.

Fuller accomplished that while primarily covering the slot with support from star corner Josh Norman outside. Now, after a blockbuster offseason trade, he finds himself in Kansas City. And with Marcus Peters no longer a Chief, he’s the top attraction on that cornerback depth chart.

While the Chiefs will continue to move Fuller inside when they’re in a nickel defense, NFL Network’s James Palmer reported in March that the team plans on using him to cover X and Z receivers outside in its base defense. cowboys_068

Willie Snead looking forward to “fresh start” with Ravens

The Ravens took their time deciding about making an offer to wide receiver Willie Snead before ultimately signing him to an offer sheet on the final day that restricted free agents were allowed to strike deals with new teams.

Snead’s fresh start comes as part of a fresh start for the entire receiving group in Baltimore. John Brown and Michael Crabtree came as free agents and the Ravens drafted two more in an attempt to fix a weakness that grew to be a lot more than frustrating by the time the 2017 season was over.

Atlanta also signed two players with college experience at quarterback. Kurt Benkert played at Virginia the last two years after opening his college career at East Carolina while Lamar Jordan also saw time at wide receiver for New Mexico.

Louisville running back Malik Williams, Arizona State running back Demario Richard, West Virginia running back Justin Crawford, Tennessee Tech wide receiver Dontez Byrd, Northern Illinois wide receiver Christian Blake, Colorado State wide receiver Detrich Clark, Cincinnati wide receiver Devin Gray, Boise State tight end Jake Roh, Ohio tight end Troy Mangen, Alabama offensive lineman J.C. Hassenauer, Wesley College offensive lineman Matt Gono, and Utah offensive lineman Salesi Uhatafe round out the offensive additions.

On defense, the Falcons signed UCLA defensive lineman Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, Kent State defensive lineman Jontey Byrd, Georgia State defensive lineman Mackendy Cheridor, Vanderbilt linebacker Emmanuel Smith, Ball State linebacker Anthony Winbush, Rice linebacker Emmanuel Ellerbe, Brown linebacker Richard Jarvis, Florida cornerback Joseph Putu, South Carolina safety Chris Lammons, and Louisiana Tech safety Secdrick Cooper.broncos_039_047ef31ea22ebdf6-180x180

Pick Six Podcast: How Eagles gameday analytics could be copied by the rest of the NFL

The Philadelphia Eagles are having a pretty good run of things. They won the Super Bowl and look like they could set up shop in the NFC playoffs for a pretty long stretch of time thanks to the depth built into their roster by GM Howie Roseman. But maybe their biggest advantage is the willingness of the entire organization towards analytics, particularly on game day.

As he noted, owner Jeffery Lurie was adamant about wanting a coach who would really embrace the analytics and to maybe do things that aren’t traditionally accepted in the NFL.

And this is something I’m sure the NFL is going to start to copy, big time, because I don’t think a lot of teams have this approach. But this guy Ryan Paganetti is really a smart guy. He doubles as an assistant linebackers coach actually. But he’s up there in the booth and he’s going through all the analytics of going for it… and he’s just going for it with Doug and ultimately Doug makes sort of a Doug call based on the information he’s getting from above. There’s much more to the podcast than just the analytics, but this is absolutely something you’re going to see other teams start to use more and more.

There’s a lot on the head coach’s plate and giving him assistance via someone who is running scenarios makes a ton of sense. (My guess is it might be even more prevalent than we think across both college and professional football.)

What does this mean for the Saints?

Alvin Kamara was the Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 and progressively stole snaps from Ingram as the year went on.

With Ingram sidelined, the Saints will move Kamara into a full-time role for the beginning of the year. That could be revealing about the young star’s long-term future with the franchise and viability as a workhorse back.

After Kamara, there’s sixth-round pick Boston Scott, and a few inexperienced backs who could step into the spotlight, including second-year back Trey Edmunds. Don’t be surprised if the Saints parse through the remaining free agents to add some depth at running back. sharks-024

Lamar Jackson’s NFL evolution is a process with a big payoff in mind

Lamar Jackson’s NFL evolution is a process with a big payoff in mind More SportsPulse: Now that the dust has settled from the NFL draft, Trysta Krick looks at the biggest questions facing AFC teams as training camps approach.

Lamar Jackson needed just a few minutes during his second NFL practice to show why the Baltimore Ravens – a team already possessing a Super Bowl-winning quarterback – just had to have him. With a flick of the wrist, the 6-2, 216-pound Heisman Trophy quarterback delivered tight spirals. With sprinter’s speed – as defenders overwhelmed the offensive line and crashed in on Jackson during one play – he darted up the middle of the line untouched, slipped through traffic and into the open field.

Some records from the interrogation program, including documents that haven’t been made public, show that Haspel was an enthusiastic supporter of what the CIA was doing, according to officials familiar with the matter. But others have disputed any characterization of Haspel as some kind of cheerleader of the harsh treatment of detainees and noted that the program was authorized by the president, deemed legal by administration lawyers and briefed to members of Congress.

Sara Blackwell, representing former Saints cheerleader Bailey Davis and former Miami Dolphins cheerleader Kristan Ware, said on Friday evening that she would suspend the two complaints for now, in hopes that the N.F.L. was genuine in its offer to listen to suggestions for improving workplace conditions for all cheerleaders.

I’m grateful for this letter, and I do believe that this is a good-faith effort by the N.F.L., Ms. Blackwell said, declining to provide a copy of the letter for publication. There could be good things that come from it.

The N.F.L. confirmed that a letter had been sent to Ms. Blackwell from a lawyer representing the league.tigers_051-115x115