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’

cardinals_039

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.

Broncos RB De’Angelo Henderson OK after car accident

Broncos running back De’Angelo Henderson was involved in a car accident on Saturday night, but avoided any severe injuries.

Team spokesman Patrick Smyth announced on Monday that Henderson was taken to the hospital as a precaution and released after suffering minor injuries. Henderson was at the Broncos facility on Monday and is expected to participate when organized team activities start next week.

CBS Denver reports that the crash occurred when a vehicle that was reported as stolen in Denver collided with other cars, including the one Henderson was driving, while trying to elude police. The driver of the car faces charges of vehicular assault, eluding, motor vehicle theft, DUI-Drugs, and several other traffic offenses.

After all, the Bolts are even more stacked than when they won six of their final seven games last season. New center Mike Pouncey brings a strong veteran presence to the offensive line, safety Derwin James was an absolute steal in the middle of the first round on draft night, and they might even get a boost if their top two picks from last year—wide receiver Mike Williams and guard Forrest Lamp—are able to actually get on the field consistently in 2018.

“It’s going to be a cleansing of the Cleveland Browns,” Jackson said earlier this year. “That’s what it will be.”

Jackson said he was doing so for charity (specifically, his foundation which works to fight human trafficking), and would pledge $100 for every Browns employee who jumped in the lake with him.

It would have been more of a punishment had he done so in the winter, but there’s a reason he didn’t. Jackson had a stent placed in his heart in 2014, and his doctors forbade him for plunging into the frigid right-after-the-season water.

This year, the Jaguars will play the Steelers on Sunday Night Football in November, they’ll play the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football in December and they’ll play the Philadelphia Eagles in an exclusive time slot from London in Otcober. Don’t be surprised if they’re also on national television when they play the New England Patriots and Dallas Cowboys in late-Sunday afternoon slots during the first half of the season.  cardinals_039