Benardrick McKinney, Texans Reportedly Agree to 5-Year, $50M Contract

With Brian Cushing gone, locking up linebacker Benardrick McKinney was a top priority for the Houston Texans this offseason.

A deal has reportedly been struck.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported on Thursday that McKinney and the Texans came to terms on a five-year, $50 million extension.

The pace might have been a little slow, but Justify ran in all three Triple Crown races and he won the Triple Crown and went the whole mile and a half today. He showed up and he earned it.

And Smith makes no secret of why he is still doing this at his age and why he plans to keep on doing it.

On Thursday, Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group provided comments Young, who was inducted in 2005, made on ESPN about Owens potentially burning bridges with the Hall of Fame and its members.

The damage to the relationship could be permanent. You don’t want that, he said. So I beg him to reconsider because the longevity of all the people that want to respect him and that he should respect as well. Forget about, ‘I’m mad at the voters, I’m mad at the system.’ The damage that could be done by not going could overwhelm him over a period of time.

The following players, who are either rookies or rookie-contract players, will at a minimum be competing for a Week 1 starting role in 2018. Looking forward, they have skills that could lead them to Pro Bowls, which separates them from their young peers. Their development over the coming months could have an enormous impact on their respective teams this season.

After being branded as a can’t-miss recruit, Ricky Seals-Jones never cracked more than 560 yards in a season as a receiver at Texas A&M. As a result, he transitioned to tight end with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie last season.

In Arizona’s first nine games last year, Seals-Jones didn’t record a single catch and only had one target. However, a late breakout led him to finish his rookie year with 12 receptions for 201 yards and three scores.

Considering his switch to tight end, a position that rarely lends itself to productive rookie seasons, the future looks bright for Seals-Jones. The 23-year-old will need to work on his blocking to win the tight end job in Arizona, though.

The Giants hold bragging rights over the Jets in the popular Madden 19 video game.

But that’s the only team over which the Giants have an advantage.

The Giants received an overall team rating of 73, which is one point higher than the Jets, who are a NFL-worst 72, according to multiple reports. The Cardinals are tied with the Giants near the bottom.

The disrespect for the Giants and Cardinals is interesting considering NJ Advance Media’s research shows those two teams both have more top-end talent than other teams projected to endure long 2018 seasons such as the Colts, Bills, Dolphins, Browns, Bears and Buccaneers.

The Giants are a slightly better defensive team (77) than offensive team (75).

Team and individual ratings are subject to change and often do change even during the season because of live update features through internet connections.

Of course, this means absolutely nothing on the actual NFL field. Just food for thought.

And while they’re still searching for a linchpin running back, they have four intriguing options this summer in rookie second-round pick Kerryon Johnson, exceptional pass-catching back Theo Riddick, veteran free-agent addition LeGarrette Blount and 2017 team rushing leader Ameer Abdullah.

The risk is the Lions are all quantity and limited quality, but the receiving corps is still above average. If one or two of those backs/tight ends has a big year, this could become a top-10 supporting cast, rather than just one we think about as the scraps from the Calvin Johnson era that ended too abruptly. 

A post-Father’s Day quote below from Detroit wide receiver Marvin Jones, via Justin Rogers of the Detroit News. I love the imagery, the humor and the humanity of it. Many people see NFL players as robots; they are not.

Patrick Robinson needed rough first stint with Saints

When the Saints drafted Patrick Robinson with the 32nd pick of the 2010 draft, the idea was that he’d become a fixture in their secondary for years to come.

It didn’t work out that way, however. Robinson spent one season as a full-time starter, missed time with injuries and generally failed to meet the expectations he carried into the league. Robinson left the Saints in 2015, spent time with the Chargers and Colts and then flourished as a slot corner with the Eagles last year.

I just want to get back in the ring. Whatever show it is, I just want another opportunity to fight. Man, I’m having the time of my life and really enjoying it.

On awarding Hardy a contract, UFC president Dana White said: This is strange, when you look at a guy like Hardy, he has no experience, tonight was his first professional fight, but man can he punch and obviously there’s a lot more to that guy.

So what we’re going to do is bring Hardy in. This guy needs to get some more experience and we’ll figure out how to do that.

Watching Hardy’s fight, White was clearly impressed with what he saw.

Roethlisberger, a father of three children ages two through six, admitted that his kids won’t be permitted to play full contact football until fifth grade if they take an interest in the sport.

I think early on, you need to teach the fundamentals of football — how to properly tackle, how to properly hit, throw and catch, all those things, he added. When you learn those things early, then when football becomes what football is supposed to be, the kids are better prepared for it.

It was scary, but at the end of the day, I was still breathing. … I needed the faith of a mustard seed, and we’ll be all right, he said with a chuckle.

If there is any justice, he will be the face of a franchise again. The Jets drafted Sam Darnold to be their face. So maybe this is just a $500,000 stepping stone to another franchise for Bridgewater.

D.J. Chark impressing Cody Kessler, Jaguars

The Jaguars obviously have a roster full of talent, but they are excited about another talent they added during the draft. Second-rounder D.J. Chark has done nothing but impress everyone in the organization since Jacksonville spent a second-round pick on him.

Chark is learning all three receiver positions and five special teams spots.

Four years later, looking back on all the underachievement, Latimer said he believes he got what he deserved. Buried behind Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Bennie Fowler, he never earned a rise up the depth chart. His four-year totals of 35 receptions for 445 yards and three touchdowns are actually inflated by last season’s uptick (19 catches for 287 yards and two TDs). If not for his ability on special teams — where he uses his size and strength to great benefit — Latimer would not have completed his contact in Denver.

The 34-year-old walked six and hit four while allowing just two runs and one base hit at Globe Life Park in Arlington.

Houston’s right hander is the first pitcher since Long Tom Hughes on April 18, 1913 to walk at least four batters, hit four more and strike out at least five in a game.

Morton was removed for Brad Peacock in the fourth inning and he struck out the one batter he faced, getting out of a jam.

Things did not get better on the control side for the Astros after Morton left.

Peacock, Tony Sipp, Chris Devenski and Hector Rondon all walked a batter and Peacock hit one giving the Astros 10 walks and five hit batsmen in the game.

The Astros are the first team in the live ball era to walk 10 and hit five in a single game. That is ever, period. This has never been done.

Here at our facility, we take a natural, holistic, appropriate and, above all, legal approach to training and recovery for all of our clients. And anyone who would suggest otherwise is irresponsible, and just plain wrong, Guerrero said.

Jaguars expect Jalen Ramsey to report in shape after training with his father

Jalen Ramsey has not participated in the Jaguars’ offseason program, and the cornerback is not expected back with his teammates until the mandatory minicamp begins June 12.

Jalen will be here for mandatory minicamp, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said Friday, via quotes distributed by the team. He is training with his dad.

Then quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski kept everyone on edge by skipping OTA workouts.

On Thursday, a bad off-season got even worse, when news broke that wide receiver Julian Edelman faces a four-game suspension for PED use, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

With Amendola and Cooks gone, Edelman will be Brady’s go-to receiver in 2018. The former seventh round pick missed all of the 2017 season, including the playoffs, with a torn ACL.

When healthy, Edelman is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL.

State officials late Thursday warned racetracks they need to hold off until Gov. Phil Murphy signs newly passed sports betting legislation, according to a letter obtained by NJ Advance Media.

Monmouth Park in Oceanport has discussed being ready to accept bets as soon as this weekend. The talk came shortly after lawmakers passed historic legislation that would finally authorize legal sports betting in New Jersey.

In the bill that cleared both the Assembly and Senate, lawmakers removed a provision that would have penalized anyone who opened a sports betting operation before a new law was signed. That technically allows sports betting to begin under an existing law that does require state regulation.

Case is working hard, Musgrave said, via the team’s website. It’s a new system for him, it’s a new system for everybody. Case is getting — exclusively — all the reps with the ones. We’re not splitting them like you would if you didn’t have an established starter, so he’s getting more concentrated work, and it’s paying dividends.

Johnny Manziel: I’m here for a reason; I’m here to play ball

Johnny Manziel had his Welcome to the CFL moment early in his preseason debut against the Toronto Argonauts. The incident led to the Hamilton backup quarterback exchanging words with an Argonauts player.

I was trying to help a guy up out of the pile and he wanted to say some foul stuff, Manziel said, via Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun. Listen, I’m not here to be pushed over. You can come at me because my name is in the papers or on TV, so you can come at me. I’m not backing down. I’m here for a reason. I’m here to play ball, and I’m not going to be treated like [expletive]. It is what it is.

I thought when he was coming to talk to me he was going to tell me that. You know… I’m still learning a lot of things up here. I’m jogging into the locker room at halftime with zeros on the clock, and we have another play. There are going to be some of those growing pains. Coach [June] Jones told me that when I got here. But we’ll take them in stride.

Left tackle Matt Kalil told Bill Voth of the team’s official website that he’s feeling normal again, after a year spent recovering from hip surgery. He was able to play last year, but said he didn’t feel like himself until training camp, and that resulted in a slow start for a guy previous G.M. Dave Gettleman gave a five-year, $55 million contract to.

Obviously, you saw during the season the first few games I was kind of just iffy and a little behind, Kalil said. Even coach Ron Rivera, one of the most positive coaches in the league, admitted: Early on he was stiff.

That slow start is something the Panthers can’t really afford this year, not as they’re looking for a replacement for All-Pro left guard Andrew Norwell, who left in free agency. But Kalil said feeling healthy again will allow him to show more of what he’s able to do, and allow him to actually work on football.

I used to have to do what I could to survive. Now it’s to the point where physically nothing’s holding me back, he said. So I have a chance to excel and work on the things I want to work on rather than doing maintenance 24/7 and just trying to survive out there.

Aaron Rodgers on Packers’ rookie corners: ‘I’m going to dice them up a little bit’

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jets_096The Green Bay Packers drafted a pair of exciting rookie cornerbacks in Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson this offseason. And although Packers fans have high hopes for a secondary that’s been lacking in recent years, Aaron Rodgers has no intention of taking it easy on the young guys.

And let’s be real: This is what most of us in the media were there to hear, not about Wentz. Few thought we were going to see for ourselves something as football-relevant as evidence of Wentz’s progress, even when Pederson hinted in the morning press conference that Wentz had been participating in seven-on-sevens.

Player locker room interviews occurred later in the afternoon. There were 75 media members in attendance, according to an unofficial headcount: almost one reporter/photographer for every player on the Eagles’ 90-man roster. A three-deep throng surrounded Malcolm Jenkins’ locker, even though he had not arrived yet. (Eagles players took video of us circling an empty locker.)

Judge was 0-for-4 with three Ks and a walk in the Yankees’ 7-4 win in Game 1 before whiffing five times in a row in Game 2. According to ESPN, he is the first player in MLB history with eight strikeouts in a doubleheader.

Judge credited the Tigers pitching.

They were just hitting their spots in the corners, he said. That’s the biggest thing. When guys pinpoint their pitches and execute their pitches in certain counts, they usually do well in the mound. They just made their pitches and I just had a terrible day at the plate.

The five strikeouts were a career-high for Judge, who has had a pair of four-strikeout games, one this year and one last season.

No matter what you do in the past, either good or bad, it’s not going to help you in tomorrow’s game, Judge said. If I went 4-fo- 4 or 0-for-4, none of those at-bats are going to help me tomorrow when we’re playing Toronto, so why worry about them?

You learn from them. You learn from mistakes.

Walker Buehler latest Dodgers pitcher (rib soreness) to be injured

jets_095Dodgers starter Walker Buehler was pulled from his start with rib soreness, in another blow to an injury-depleted Los Angeles pitching staff.

Buehler was perfect through four innings against the Atlanta Braves and still cruising with one out in the sixth when manager Dave Roberts and trainer Nathan Lucero went to the mound. After a lengthy discussion, Buehler was pulled.

Buehler was hit in the ribs by a comebacker from Colorado’s Trevor Story on May 21, and Friday was his third start since then. But a problem was evident to manager Dave Roberts when Buehler’s velocity dropped.

It was a difficult thing to watch for the Dodgers pitching staff, but the bullpen came through, allowing a combined two runs over the final 3 2/3 innings to preserve Buehler’s win.

It makes my stomach sick, to be honest you,” said Kenley Jansen, who pitched a scoreless ninth. It was a crazy game. Thank God Venditte and [Adam Liberatore] picked it up. Me coming in to close it out, that was great.”

Strasburg said he’s been dealing with the issue prior to Friday.

White Sox: OF Adam Engel (right hamstring strain) missed his fourth straight game.

Red Sox: OF Mookie Betts (10-day disabled list, left abdominal strain) continues to progress towards a rehab assignment. Cora said Betts hit in the cage during Sunday’s game and had a great day. … 2B Dustin Pedroia (10-day DL, left knee inflammation) still has discomfort, but will travel on the team’s upcoming road trip. It’s been a slow process, Cora said.

Porcello won a foot race to first on Thompson’s sixth-inning grounder, but stumbled into first base umpire Quinn Wolcott. Anderson took advantage, rounding third and easily beating Porcello’s throw home.

McCutchen’s solo home run in the first inning was his third in five games and he later singled. He entered the game 3 for 22 against Strasburg.

Reyes Moronta (2-0) got two outs for the win.

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.

Dre Kirkpatrick and Carlos Dunlap not present for Week 2 of Bengals OTAs

jets_064The Bengals ‘ defense has some big names sitting out for the second week of OTAs taking place this week.

While most of the roster was present, the Bengals were without defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick.

Dunlap was expected to be out this week after skipping all prior voluntary OTA sessions this offseason. He’s entering a contract year and probably doesn’t want to risk an injury that could nuke his chances of a big payday. He also may be holding out waiting for a new contract.

I still also get why Bell wants to skip OTAs. He has a $14.5 million franchise tag waiting for him. He also doesn’t want to risk injury when he doesn’t have that longterm deal to fall back on. Not to mention, why would he bother wasting his time watching Ben Roethlisberger get applauded for doing what he shouldn’t be told he has to do (work with rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph ) when he can be making totally sick diss tracks to his haters. You know, those haters who say he isn’t focused enough on football, pushing him to make a song about it while not showing up to OTAs. Way to show them!

I am so apologetic to them right now. As a matter of fact, when I found out this went public, within seconds, I sent emails to Randy and Debbie both and I apologized and in no way did I mean for this to go public, and in no way did I mean for their names to be drawn out in public for this to happen.

Because we already knew that I wasn’t invited. And it made me even more sick when I saw them put out a statement that said Randy wasn’t involved in Old-Timers’ Day, because I thought someone told me he was. So I owe Randy Levine and even bigger apology, because he has nothing to do with this.

On Twitter, Leyritz, a Yankees playoff hero, called his exclusion from the event a joke,according to NJ Advance Media’s Brendan Kuty :

The 54-year-old retired catcher also liked a tweet that said, Randy Levine IS THE WORST.