Grading Jets’ 2018 NFL Draft picks

I hope he does, Claiborne said.

Overall, Claiborne has high hopes for the Jets’ revamped secondary, now that Johnson’s arrival will let Buster Skrine slide to his natural slot corner role. Plus, the rookie safety duo of 2017, Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, is one season more mature.

I feel like we can go as far as we allow ourselves to go, Claiborne said of the Jets’ secondary. I feel like we have all the pieces to the puzzle.

Several of the teams currently ahead of Rutgers in APR – like Alabama and Clemson – won’t ever have to think about the 5-7 loophole. But there are plenty of teams ahead of the Scarlet Knights that could realistically be in the picture, starting with Northwestern, the current APR king, and working all the way down ( an easy to digest list can be found here via SB Nation ).

Then video came out of Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter telling players they need to have a fall guy in case something goes down. This year, the Pittsburgh Steelers actually documented what their rookies have gone through as they prepare for their first training camp and regular season. In the video below you can watch them take tours of the city, visit young children at the Mel Blount Youth Home, and learn some valuable life lessons which have nothing to do with football.

The Meadowlands has partnered with Betfair US to offer sports betting at the track. It is a subsidiary of Paddy Power Betfair, one of the largest publicly traded sports betting companies in the world.

Gural said sports betting will help the track’s bottom line, but added it will not, by itself, save the horse racing industry in New Jersey, which continues to struggle competing against neighboring states that subsidize their tracks. New Jersey’s tracks used to receive $30 million a year from the state’s casinos, but former Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, ended those payments in 2011.

Yankees legend Andy Pettitte throws batting practice

From there, the Yankees added an insurance run in the seventh on a two-out RBI double by Giancarlo Stanton and they held on to escape town with a win and a loss instead of two losses.

Holder got a lot of love from teammates during post-game interviews.

But they believe in me. They know what I can do. They’re moving me inside and outside. That just shows the amount of faith they have in me, and I’m grateful. And they know what I can do. They’re just telling me to get it going. I’ve got to make some plays and find a way to be productive.

If Tampa has any chance at contending in 2018, the team’s pass defense has to become markedly better. And If the Buccaneers are going to be motivated to consider picking up Hargreaves’ option next year, he’s going to need to be a big part of that improvement.

Corey Coleman has become the poster child for the unending misery that has been the Cleveland Browns in recent years. The 15th overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, Coleman has been an abject failure over the first two seasons of his career. After just 33 catches for 413 yards and three scores as a rookie, Coleman actually managed to be worse last year with 23 grabs for 305 yards and two touchdowns.

Sure, the quarterback situation in Cleveland has been awful, but so has Coleman. The fourth-down drop that sealed Cleveland’s 0-16 2017 campaign is the perfect metaphor for his career to date.

New Browns offensive coordinator Todd Haley told Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com that 2018 is a pivotal year for the young receiver.

He’s been out here working, Haley said. I’ve seen him every day. He understands this is a big, big year in his career. Year three is usually the make-or-break year of what kind of you’re going to be. I’ve made that clear to him. He understands it, and he’s working hard accordingly to try to be the best that he can be.

Bartolo Colon ties Juan Marichal for most wins by Dominican-born pitcher

Bartolo Colon edged toward a bigger piece of baseball history Wednesday with his 243rd career victory, tying him with Hall of Fame right-hander Juan Marichal for the most by a Dominican-born pitcher.

With Wednesday’s 8-2 victory against the A’s in Arlington, Texas, Colon reinforced his already-prominent place in Dominican Republic baseball history.

I feel very happy because I finally got my 243rd win, Colon told reporters (via MLB.com). I tied this mark with a Hall of Famer, so I feel very proud and honored to do that. It means a lot. Because he’s Dominican. He was the first guy from the Dominican to become a Hall of Famer.

In Game Over, Man! Shepley was a body double for Robert Maillet, a 6-foot-10 former professional wrestler. Maillet’s character is killed when the main characters crash through a window into him, knocking him across the room into computer equipment. Shepley’s part was being the dead body.

It was pretty funny, Shepley said. I got paid like a thousand bucks to lay on my stomach for four days.

Britton, 30, has battled injuries the last two years, but he recorded 120 saves from 2014-2016. He has emerged as a potential trade piece this summer with the Orioles already out of the playoff hunt.

The Brewers also received a boost Monday when they activated slugger Eric Thames from the 10-day disabled list. Thames missed the last seven weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb, but he went 6 for 14 with a home run during a brief rehab assignment.

Thames will likely see time at first base and in the outfield upon his return with Jesus Aguilar earning more playing time. Thames is not in the starting lineup Thursday.

Blessed are the Cheesemakers is a line from the 1979 flick Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

Terrell Suggs on contract extension: Cross that bridge when we get to it

Ravens coach John Harbaugh heaped praise on linebacker Terrell Suggs this week, saying the player is on a mission and that he wants to watch that mission continue this year, next year and for as long as he plays.

Suggs, who turns 36 in October, has also talked about an open-ended playing future as he comes off an 11 sack season for the Ravens. The only complication to Suggs continuing in his role is his lack of a contract beyond this season, but it’s not anything that Suggs is stressing with another season approaching.

Was not a mistake on @KellyannePolls part. It’s Biblical. ‘Blessed are the Cheesemakers,’ wrote Huckabee, father of Trump mouthpiece Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

It’s why evangelicals are supportive of @realDonaldTrump and you would know that if you knew the Bible AND Monty Python! he added.

Obviously, Antonio would be a natural fit, Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco said on San Diego station 97.3 FM, via the Los Angeles Daily News. He’s someone that we have talked to. We’ve talked to his representatives. Sometimes, it’s not just as easy as saying, ‘Hey, let’s just bring him back. Let’s go.’

The Chargers publicly bid Gates farewell in April. But after Hunter Henry tore his anterior cruciate ligament last month Telasco said the Chargers would look at all the options that are out there.

Virgil Green has 71 catches for 807 yards and four touchdowns in his seven-year career. None of the other tight ends on the roster has a regular-season catch.

Gates, who turns 38 next week, had a career-low 316 yards and a career-low 10.5 yards per catch last season.

Jets coach Todd Bowles, asked about his concern that seven players were arrested in the last year, gave it a shrug: It’s not a Jets’ problem or a league problem. It’s a nationwide problem.

Dan Quinn says conversations have begun on a new contract for Julio Jones

Star Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is not in Atlanta Falcons minicamp. Jones has three years left on the five-year, $71 million contract extension he signed a few years ago, but his base salaries of $10.5 million, $12.5 million, and $11.4 million over those three years are not exactly commensurate with his talent level given how receiver contracts have exploded over the last few years.

Jones is headed into his age-29 season and still appears to be at or near the top of his game. He’s struggled a bit with injuries over the last couple years, but he’s also shown the ability to play through them and still be effective. If Jones were to wait until his current deal expires to get paid again, he would likely be looking at a significantly diminished contract value.

I care about record-breaking Super Bowl wins and things like that—that’s more important to me, he added.

After the Steelers went 13-3 last season with one of the most talented rosters in the league, the squad remains a top contender to win a Super Bowl in 2018. According to OddsShark, the team has 10-1 odds to win it all, trailing only the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.

Roethlisberger has been a Pro Bowler in each of the last four years, but he noted other players’ needs above his own in regard to money.

I think there are a lot more, maybe a lot more important people who need to get their deals done now, he said. For me to do it two years out, if it doesn’t make sense for the team, I’m not going to sit here and worry about it.

Perhaps the most notable contract situation is with running back Le’Veon Bell, who is expected to hold out deep into training camp as he did last year. He was placed under the franchise tag but hopes to sign a long-term deal.

Shane Ray dealing with more wrist trouble

Broncos linebacker Shane Ray missed half of last season with a wrist injury and his offseason work is being interrupted by issues with the same wrist.

Ray did not take part in the team’s OTA practice on Monday and coach Vance Joseph said, via James Palmer of NFL Media, that the team is going to be smart with Ray during what’s left of the offseason program. The Broncos wrap that up with a three-day minicamp next week, so Ray may not work on the field again until the team is at training camp this summer.

Wilson, who played collegiately at Houston, had not been practicing with the team during OTAs.

The team also said punter Britton Colquitt and rookie defensive end Chad Thomas are sidelined after undergoing surgeries, but both should be back for training camp next month.

The Bears signed Miller to a one-year contract on Monday that will pay him $458,000 while he’s on the PUP list. Miller said he plans to help the other tight ends while continuing his rehab and it’s hard to imagine his upbeat attitude in the face of injury won’t be of some help to his teammates as things unfold in the coming months.

It’s a common belief, despite the struggles of the franchise since the mutual parting with Jim Harbaugh.

So what does 49ers quarterback Jim Garoppolo think of the chatter about a playoff berth for the new edition of the franchise?

I think we’ve got to have a strong finish to these OTAs first, Garoppolo told reporters on Tuesday. People always like to talk about the predictions with the season. Even when the season just ends, they start talking about it. It’s all noise on the outside, but I think we have a good group that is locked in right now. We’re focused on OTAs. We’ll go in to training camp, hopefully have a good training camp and take it day by day.

Eagles’ Chris Long is tired of discussing the White House

Eagles defensive end Chris Long came out as one of the league’s harshest critics of the new policy. His didn’t attempt any subtlety in his criticism of the league and its owners for their decision. Wednesday, he was a little more subtle in his criticism of Goodell.

I mean, Tom Brady has been working out with Julian Edelman in their practice bubble almost on a routine basis. And yet, refusing to go into the locker room and work out with his teammates. This is very clear, there is a rift in the relationship between Brady and Bill Belichick.

In another time, place and sport, Patterson might have been tight with Yogi Berra. But for now, it’s a matter of connecting with other legends, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, which could determine whether this immensely talented player emerges as a key X-factor for New England, his third home in three years.

Patterson, 27, is well established as one of the NFL’s most lethal kickoff-return threats, evidenced by the two first-team all-pro selections. He owns the longest kick-return touchdown in the NFL record book (109 yards). And with a radical rule change for kickoffs looming — players covering kicks can no longer begin with a running start, and space will conceivably open up as eight players must be aligned within a zone 15 yards from the kickoff — Belichick may have pulled off a coup in landing Patterson.

To have a guy like Cordarrelle, there’s nobody like that in the league, Matthew Slater, the Patriots’ special teams captain and a perennial Pro Bowler, told USA TODAY Sports.

It’s exciting to think about the possibilities, but there are no guarantees. We have to lay the foundation, each and every day in practice. It’s not just going to happen.

NFL Census: Finding the league’s biggest outliers

Nearly 1,700 players come together to form the big picture of the NFL — a collection of 32 53-man rosters that fluidly change throughout the season. Each roster can be sliced in myriad ways to show the makeup of the league through a variety of lenses, providing a look at the smaller strokes that are unique to each club.

Teams begin each offseason with a 90-man roster that gets trimmed to the final 53 active players before Week 1. Those opening week rosters were the ones we analyzed to determine a variety of findings, ranging from the vital metrics of each player, such as height and weight, to how much cash was paid to that player during the 2017 season.

Using our data set of nearly 1,700 players that made opening week rosters in 2017, here’s a look at how each position stacks up in terms of the averages:

Mejia, a catcher/outfielder, was ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law in January. He has been hot of late, batting .350 with three doubles, a triple, a home run and 10 RBIs in his past 11 games.

The Indians optioned right-hander Evan Marshall to Triple-A Columbus in a corresponding move. Marshall has a 6.75 ERA in 6 2/3 innings over nine appearances this season.

Mejia, 22, struggled in the majors when he was called up last year, hitting .154 in 14 plate appearances.

Despite his recent success in the minors, he has struggled overall in Triple-A, batting .214 with four home runs and 25 RBIs in 214 plate appearances this season. He hit .304 with 16 home runs and 61 RBIs in Double-A last season.

When the Chiefs are doing a specialty jersey, eagles_036, the team’s director of business operations and merchandise, contacts her sales rep at OT Sports. I tell her, ‘This is what we’re thinking, this is what we have in mind,’ and one of their designers will send us a few concepts, says Berger. Sometimes they nail it on the first shot, and sometimes we have to go back and forth a few times to get it right.

Earl Thomas won’t attend Seahawks minicamp

eagles_037Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said last week that he was expecting safety Earl Thomas to be at the team’s mandatory minicamp when it starts on Tuesday, but Thomas has other plans.

In a post to Twitter on Sunday, Thomas announced that he will not attend the team’s minicamp. Thomas suggested he won’t be at training camp either unless the team gives him a new contract.

I will not be attending the upcoming minicamp or any team activities until my contract situation is resolved. I want everyone especially the 12s to know that I want to remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career but I also believe that based on my production over the last 8 years that I’ve earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible.

Jose Miguel Fernandez (L), Los Angeles Angels at Minnesota Twins (RHP Fernando Romero): Note to those in ESPN leagues, Fernandez isn’t yet available for pick up, but he’s worth tracking for when he is listed. He’s in line to see the at-bats Shohei Ohtani was getting, plus a few more. Granted, at 30 years old in the great hitting environment of Salt Lake, his Triple-A numbers shouldn’t be taken at face value, but he was slashing an impressive .345/.412/.562 for the Bees when summoned to the majors.

A bronzed version of receiver Terrell Owens will debut in August, joining a room that includes the permanent sculptured likeness of receiver Michael Irvin. And Owens and Irvin have entered the early stages of a full-blown feud.

Irvin was among the many who called out Owens for choosing not to attend the induction ceremony. Said Irvin on Thursday’s edition of NFL Network’s Total Access: It’s not about the voters. Don’t give the voters the pleasure of knowing that they meant that much to you that when you finally got in, you’re not even showing up. And the whole while you campaigned about being in. When he did not get in, he and I were shooting a commercial together one time and he came to the commercial with a Hall of Fame gold jacket with all of his records on it. So you went and made a made-up gold jacket , but you won’t show up to get the real gold jacket? It’s something beyond my capabilities of understanding up here.

On Saturday, Owens injected Irvin’s name into a back-and-forth with FS1’s Jason Whitlock, who also has lambasted Owens for his decision to skip the enshrinement ceremony. After taking gratuitous shots at Whitlock’s weight, Owens agreed to meet Whitlock for donuts after Whitlock loses 100 pounds. And then Owens added this: Bring ur boy @michaelirvin88 too. I got some ‘powdered’ donuts for him. U 2 Uncle Tommers!

Falcons excited about Vic Beasley’s move back to DE

The Atlanta Falcons again tinkered with Vic Beasley ‘s position this offseason, moveagles_038ing the pass rusher back to defensive end full time after using him as a linebacker. Both the coaches and Beasley are excited about the position reversal.

Young dismissed the notion Beasley’s move back to defensive end could weaken the Falcons ‘ run defense.

He’s about 240 and 245, Young said. He plays with good strength. He plays with good power. People don’t realize how strong that Vic is. So, I think he’ll be OK holding his own.

The Packers struggled to get after the quarterback consistently in 2017, ranking 17th in the NFL with 37 sacks. Green Bay is counting on Matthews, who has compiled fewer than eight sacks each of the past three seasons, having a career renaissance under new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

At the same time, it does show their confidence in Nick and myself, as well as the guys we have, Matthews added. At some time, I’m sure it will be addressed, but for the time being, the guys we have here are the guys who have to hold up their end of the bargain.

Everybody on the outside trying to look in and trying to destroy what we built there. I’m not going nowhere. I’ll be there. I love the team. I love the organization. I love everybody there. I’m good.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank didn’t sound concerned last week about Jones’ absence from OTAs, saying he hopes the wideout is a Falcon for life. It’s a sentiment the playmaker reciprocated.

I am [going to be a Falcon for life], Jones replied bluntly when asked about Blank’s comments.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he’s spoken to Jones this offseason and expects the wideout to participate in mandatory minicamp next month.

At 38 years old, eight years removed from his last NFL game, Lewis is already living with the post-traumatic effects of concussions. He knows he did irreparable damage to his brain and that there’s a chance he’s currently living with CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy).