Picture Framers Chelvey

Richard Sherman serving as pseudo assistant coach as he recovers from Achilles injury


San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman isn’t yet capable of taking part in practices with his new teammates in Santa Clara. However, that hasn’t stopped him from making his presence known in other ways.

“He’s very active, he’s very hands-on and he wants to see my game go to the next level,” cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon said.

Sherman is still recovering from a torn Achilles sustained last November, which is keeping him from taking part in offseason work. He had a secondary surgery to clean up bone spurs in his other ankle but that was a minor procedure.

The Packers cut veteran receiver Jordy Nelson in March; the former Pro Bowler eventually signed with the Oakland Raiders. Although Green Bay did not sign a free-agent receiver, new general manager Brian Gutekunst drafted three of them: Missouri’s J’Mon Moore (fourth round), South Florida’s Marquez Valdes-Scantling (fifth) and Notre Dame’s Equanimeous St. Brown (fifth).

Gutekunst also signed the top receiving tight end in free agency, Jimmy Graham.

Still, there’s no clear-cut No. 3 receiver behind Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, although third-year pro Geronimo Allison likely has the inside track on that spot entering OTAs.

Well, we like young receivers, so I’m assuming that’s the way they’re going to keep going, Rodgers said. “I don’t know why you’d cut Jordy and bring in Dez, but he’s a talented player. He’s going to end up somewhere. If he ends up here, we’ll obviously welcome him with open arms and get him up to speed as quick as possible.”ravens_089

Darnold and Mayfield own at a high clip.


Jaylen Brown sat brooding in the visitors locker room as a Boston Celtics trainer patched a small gash near his right temple, the result of an uncalled foul — the NBA would later admit as much — during a critical juncture of Boston’s series-tying Game 4 loss Sunday to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Brown had turned in a career night, but it was what went into the official box score as a Khris Middleton block during the final minute that left Brown smarting. To make matters worse, now he had to go to a news conference, bandage on his head, and discuss it all.

Fresh from being docked $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, Marcus Morris once again vented frustration about the rash of technical fouls that he has been given in recent weeks, including one in Boston’s Game 4 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Teams have to figure out what value that has. Allen’s win percentage is a little low for playing in a weak conference. Look at what Wentz did against low-level competition. He dominated. Allen did not. That could hurt him.

With the Oilers’ collective dud of a 2017-18 barely in the books, Lucic is already pledging to do better next year. Once projected to skate on a top line with Connor McDavid, the veteran winger fell well short of productive expectations, earning only 34 points (minus-12) through 82 games.

Centering a scoring line with Jordan Eberle, the 2015 first-rounder easily exceeded our fantasy-fueled hopes and dreams with 22 goals and 63 assists. Barzal’s better-than point-per-game numbers are too rich to ignore.

Karlsson scored six goals and 19 assists in 81 games with the Columbus Blue Jackets last year. In Vegas’ inaugural campaign, the 25-year-old steered his newly cobbled squad with 43 goals and 35 helpers. He also comfortably led the league with a plus-49. If that doesn’t qualify Karlsson as sleeper extraordinaire, I’m not sure what does.

His go-to postgame meal is a bologna sandwich. His practices aren’t overly technical. “The system he has is very basic,” Reaves says. “He trusts everybody to make their reads. He doesn’t focus as much on what the opponents are doing but wants guys to play their game.”canucks_1163

The Maple Leafs’ offseason game plan: Help wanted on D


As each NHL team is eliminated from playoff contention — either mathematically or by losing in the postseason — we’ll take a look at why its quest for the Stanley Cup fell short in 2017-18, along with three keys to its offseason and a way-too-early prediction for what 2018-19 will hold.

From the first round all the way through the Stanley Cup Final, ESPN has you covered. Check out the full picture and coverage on each team.

Would the Toronto Maple Leafs (49-26-70, 105 points) have fared better against the Pittsburgh Penguins than the Boston Bruins in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs?

Under the old conferencewide one-vs.-eight format, they would have faced the defending champs, so this is not mere navel-gazing. Instead, they were slotted against a Bruins team that was built for playoff success and had a dominant top line that neutralized the Auston Matthews unit for the Leafs.

“I’m just looking forward to doing the best I can do and giving it my all and seeing where I end up.”

Johnson had 285 rushes for 1,391 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. He also had eight 100-yard rushing games for the Tigers last year. Meanwhile, the Lions haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in 68 games.

As it stands, Mike Fisher will most certainly center Nashville’s fourth line, but there are some interesting choices about who should play on his wings. At the start of the first-round series with the Colorado Avalanche, Fisher played with Ryan Hartman and Miikka Salomaki. Once healthy, Calle Jarnkrok replaced Salomaki in the lineup, and veteran Scott Hartnell stepped in when Hartman was suspended for Game 6.

All four wingers are available for Game 1 against the Jets, as is prominent rookie Eeli Tolvanen, who played just three games with the team after spending the season with Jokerit Helsinki in the KHL. For that matter, the Predators also have Frederick Gaudreau, Harry Zolnierczyk and Brandon Bollig at their disposal.

According to each player’s scoring rate, and the player’s impact on the team’s share of shot attempts, the best combination would be for Hartnell and Hartman to flank Fisher on the fourth line, although a case could also be made to for Jarnkrok.

With his team facing elimination, Antetokounmpo vowed to be more aggressive following a five-point loss in Game 5.

The two-time All-Star produced in the crunch time, scoring 20 points in the second half on 8-of-14 shooting.

Gronk: I won’t be at Pats’ workouts, I’ve got dirt biking to work on


Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski isn’t planning to show up for the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, and he isn’t shy about explaining why: Right now his focus is dirt bikes.

Clichés fly early and often when talking to a team down 0-3 in a series, mainly because for the first time they are not giving you hallow platitudes when they say it is all about winning one game because there is no tomorrow and your back is against the wall. The Kings know they need to win four games in a row, but that can’t happen without first winning one on Tuesday. It’s a daunting task, but one that the Kings are familiar with.

“Having a few guys that have been through it definitely helps, but we’ve got to focus on winning one game and we’ll move on from there,” said Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin. “We won one game at a time [in 2014] and we had guys in the room that believed we could come back and we were able to. You just have to believe and trust the team and trust the plan. You have to work extremely hard and if you believe and trust and focus, you can accomplish some pretty great things.”

His latest brutalization was noted by USA Today’s Josh Peter, who wrote that women’s college basketball “could use a mercy rule. Or a coach who knows how to show mercy.”

Asked about that by the Hartford Courant, Auriemma said, “That dope from USA Today — I don’t even know his name — I guarantee he didn’t see the game. He doesn’t know what happened.”

I’ve seen dozens of his games, and most were similar to this one — only not quite as twisted.

And unless the play-by-play sheet and boxscore were sabotaged, what went down was inexcusable, as 33-0 UConn, already ridiculously lopsided winners, piled it on.

Auriemma’s team played, as he explains it, “the way we always play,” which seems more a self-indictment than a reasonable explanation.

Ohio State offensive lineman Matthew Burrell transferring


Offensive lineman Matthew Burrell announced Wednesday that he is transferring from Ohio State.

Burrell is a redshirt junior who was in the top-100 recruiting rankings for the 2015 class when he signed with the Buckeyes.

“I am thankful for everything this amazing university has done for me,” Burrell wrote on Instagram. “Being a Buckeye is a once in a lifetime opportunity on the field and off. That being said, and after prayer and thought, I will be transferring from OSU.”

Maybe Portland could get its guards going by using someone other than Davis’ man to screen for them. That’s what they did to generate this clutch McCollum 3-pointer:

Although it isn’t clear why Burrell decided to leave, he was not a starter in 2017 and only saw sparing game action after guard Branden Bowen was injured. Burrell played in 13 games during his redshirt freshman season.

The Buckeyes lost left tackle Jamarco Jones and center Billy Price to the NFL draft, but are bringing back Bowen, guards Michael Jordan and Demetrius Knox as well as tackle Isaiah Prince among the starters from last season.

The charges of harm to a public servant, eluding police and resisting arrest have been dropped, according to the report, quoting a Broward state’s attorney spokesman as saying, “There was a possible discrepancy regarding the initial estimated speed, but there is no doubt that the defendant was driving recklessly. The other charges were declined, not filed, due to insufficient evidence.’’

Anderson now faces one misdemeanor count of reckless driving. Anderson also is facing charges from an arrest last spring for resisting arrest at a concert in May 2017. A hearing for that trial recently was postponed to Aug. 6.

He could be disciplined by the NFL under the league’s personal conduct policy. Anderson last season had 63 receptions and led the Jets with 941 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

Jack Whitaker told you over dinner two weeks earlier about the do-over in Super Bowl I when NBC hadn’t gotten back from commercial.jets_063

Jets explored moving to No. 1


It’s still unclear who the Jets are targeting with the third overall pick in the draft. The latest tidbit regarding the move from No. 6 suggests that they’re definitely leaning quarterback.

Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that the Jets talked to the Browns about a move all the way to No. 1. Which means that, potentially, the jump to No. 3 is merely a pit stop on the way to the top of the draft.

Watching film last season, Mathieu would shout aloud, “What the hell is this?” He didn’t recognize that imposter wearing No. 32 on the field, because, he admits, he too often visualized “not getting hurt” instead of pulling the trigger. Too often approached ball-carriers thinking, How am I going to make this tackle?

“And think about how that can mess with somebody who plays the game the way I play the game,” he says.

Mathieu says he effectively let those injuries “suffocate” the passion and emotion that made him the Honey Badger.

King joined the team in a trade with the Chiefs before the start of last season and ed a reserve role on the defensive line last season. He saw action in seven game, recording seven tackles and a sack in those appearances. King also had two tackles in the team’s off win over the Chiefs, but did not suit up for their loss to the Patriots.

He was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month of November and won the NFC Defensive Player of the Week during week 6.I loved Byner and still do, but he got sloppy on that play.The player he shared SWC POY honors with was none other than, with the coaching staff’s decision to recruit the two friends proving to be a wise decision the long run.You’re a phone call away from the big leagues.He sports an 8 record with 3, 1 WHIP and. 229 batting average against.

He was cut just prior to the start of training camp.P Allen ranked seventh net average and the coverage squads are solid.There’s nothing to indicate that this team is going to grow by any great stride next, either.as a penetrating lineman is much different against the run than he against the pass.Since then, he’s hit. 264 with 14 home runs and 78 stolen bases 383. Elevates well to go up and attack the ball, just needs opportunity and chances are he?ll come down with it ?

The 25-year-old Hitchens was capable of ing all three linebacker positions in a 4-3, but likely slots in as the replacement for Derrick Johnson in the middle of the Chiefs’ 3-4.

In addition to Johnson, the Chiefs have also cut pass-rusher Tamba Hali and safety Ron Parker, and traded cornerback Marcus Peters.

Colts wanted to add picks, but stay in position for a premium player


The Jets’ plan after moving from the sixth overall pick to the third overall pick still isn’t clear. The Colts’ plan is much more obvious. They’re trying to add good, young players to a roster that doesn’t have nearly enough of them.

“It gives us a chance to really replenish our young talent, and start building a core of young talent that we need to do,” Ballard told the team’s official website in a video posted to social media. “I’ve said this since I walked in the door, you want to build with your own players. You want to draft and develop your own guys. That’s how you build a lasting organization and team that builds and grows together, and that’s important to us.”

Los Angeles suffered from starting the less-than-athletic Wiggins and Slauson last season. Feeney started nine games in place of Slauson, and it was clear he was an upgrade with his ability to create running lanes and get upfield. Lamp, an even better athlete than Feeney, figures to play either center or right guard.

There are always growing pains with young offensive linemen, as even Feeney struggled in pass protection. But the Chargers invested in these picks and must continue to be confident in head coach Anthony Lynn and his staff’s ability to develop them. Adding a veteran like center Mike Pouncey to complement those two could be a worthwhile risk that helps this line transform into a dominant run-blocking unit.

Plus, the Bills could now receive additional competition from another team in better position to skip ahead, provided a quarterback is within their sights. That’s Denver, which sits at No. 5 and may still be enticed to draft a quarterback, even after this week’s costly free-agent signing of Case Keenum. There’s also the possibility the Broncos could try to bluff Buffalo — which went the bridge quarterback route in free agency with AJ McCarron — into making a deal.

MORE: Top 50 prospects of NFL Draft

The consensus top four quarterbacks in this year’s draft class are Wyoming’s Josh Allen, USC’s Sam Darnold, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and UCLA’s Josh Rosen.

No quarterback has been identified as Cleveland’s favorite yet. But by sending second-round picks in the next two drafts to Indianapolis, the Jets don’t appear worried about it, even if their top option is gone.patriots_321

Hall, Laine look to continue streaks as Devils host Jets


For his part, Stastny has five points in his first four games with the Jets, who play the third game of a six-game road trip in Newark on Thursday.

Winnipeg could be without one of its key offensive talents against the Devils, though. Mark Scheifele, who has 51 points in 50 games, suffered an upper-body injury against the Rangers and missed the last half of the game. There was no update on his condition Wednesday.

Mathew Barzal is New York’s top scorer during the skid with seven points (two goals, five assists). The 16th overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft leads all rookies with 69 points (18 goals, 51 assists) — 15 more than the Canucks’ Brock Boeser, who is expected to miss the remainder of the season with a back injury.

New York has scored 16 goals during its skid but keeping the puck out of the net is a bigger problem. Halak is 0-4-2 with a 3.67 GAA and .870 save percentage with Christopher Gibson accounting for the other defeat in his season debut last Saturday.

Halak has yielded 12 goals while recording one win in his last four starts versus the Oilers.

While the Lightning and Predators are well stacked, in years past it hasn’t paid to be the No. 1 seed. In fact, the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks are the last team to win their conference and reach the Cup Final.

There are a few possible explanations for the struggles of top seeds. There is a high degree of luck involved in a seven-game series. Sometimes injuries play a role. Teams can also be better than their overall record indicates, especially following deadline deals. But most often, it’s matchups that dictate whether a team moves on.

So will we see the Predators and Lightning buck the trend? Which teams could give them the toughest time? Let’s have a look.

While Laine was already amid a solid season, he has really taken off after veteran Paul Stastny arrived from St. Louis at the trade deadline. Since forming a line with Stastny and Nik Ehlers, Laine has three straight multiple-goal efforts while increasing his consecutive games point streak to nine, as well.

Big performances in the Super Bowl get immortalized — as long as they come from players on the winning team.


The athletes who step up on the game’s brightest stage typically earn a hefty reward. They get to hold the coveted Lombardi Trophy, and if they were particularly impressive, claim MVP honors and the big prize — typically cars or the chance to tell a waiting videographer you’re going to Disneyworld.

Coach Tony Granato and his staff faced an unenviable task in getting Team USA on the same page in short order. This wasn’t a bunch of guys from the NHL; this was a collection of players from the KHL, Finland, Germany, the AHL, the NCAA, unemployment and other far-flung regions. Which is to say that getting them all in the same place for a few practices before the Games was near impossible.

Remember when Team USA and Canada would hold Olympic camps during the summer, before the Games? Good times. Unfortunately, the NHL’s waltz with the International Olympic Committee made that kind of long-term planning rather difficult for these games.

One of the true silver linings for Team USA in the 2018 Winter Games was the play of its college players. Ryan Donato of Harvard led the team with five goals and an assist. Troy Terry of Denver had five assists. Jordan Greenway of Boston University had a goal — but more important, he was a dominating physical presence.

The profile of a Graham suitor instead should be more like the Seahawks — a team that considers itself an established playoff contender. Graham has slowed down a little as a field-stretcher, but at 6-7, 265 pounds, he remains a red-zone monster, catching 10 TDs in 2017 as part of his 57 receptions for 520 yards.

He also continues to provide little as a blocker, so the team that signs him has to live with him being a specific kind of receiving threat. Keeping all that in mind, here are the six most intriguing teams for Graham going forward.

Nash is currently on pace to equal his fantasy-irrelevant totals from last season in more games and more minutes per game. He can still offer some upside as a power-play specialist and depth winger, but Nash will turn 34 during the offseason, and unless he is hiding something in the tank to bring out for a contender, he probably won’t have a massive post-deadline fantasy impact.bears_132

When the Lions played the Pats in Foxboro in 2006, the same thing happened, Sports -Illustrated reported.


Keenum continues to help the Vikings win despite the fact they lost their biggest offensive playmaker, rookie running back Dalvin Cook, to a season-ending knee injury and have been without their top receiver, Stefon Diggs, who’s missed the past two games with a groin injury.

The Jaguars have an option on Bortles’ 2018 contract. They could bring him back for a bit more than $19 million, walk away with no dead money under the salary cap, or renegotiate a long-term deal. That may end up being a better idea for Coughlin than bringing in Eli Manning to play at age 37.

Todd Gurley ran off left tackle for 57 yards and a touchdown late in the first half in Seattle. The wide-open scamper symbolized the Rams’ utter dominance in a 42-7 wipeout of the Seahawks that put all but the finishing touches on a changing of the guard in the NFC West that has been in the making all season.

Russell Wilson, who almost singlehandedly kept Seattle in the hunt despite injuries to the entire Legion of Boom secondary, had all his powers taken away by the Rams defense. He was sacked seven times, including three times by Aaron Donald.

The Rams clinched a playoff berth, their first since 2004, and now need one win or one Seahawks loss to guarantee their first division title since a year before that.

Vita Vea, DT, Washington. The Chargers have a pair of beasts on the edge to rush the passer, but too many times this year they were done in by the run, giving up a league-worst 4.9 yards per carry as six opponents topped 150 rushing yards against them this season. Vea, a massive presence in the middle of a defensive line, will go a long way toward fixing that deficiency, while also providing enough quickness to penetrate into the backfield on some third downs.

“From what I can remember, he had quite a fit when we took him out,” Packers President Bob Harlan said.nike-youth-cardinals-116