Bruce Irvin gets his college degree, compares it to winning the Super Bowl

Raiders outside linebacker Bruce Irvin won a Super Bowl ring when he played for the Seahawks, but another accomplishment this offseason meant just as much to him.

Irvin got his degree from West Virginia, and he sees that as just as much of an achievement as his Super Bowl ring.

When kids come up to him, they can say that his dad was a good football player and he can stop them and say he was a good football player but he also got his associate’s degree, got his bachelor’s degree, Irvin said. He wasn’t only a football player. He put education up there right along with his job. It was bigger than me. It was for my son and his kids and generations after me.

Considering his $8.6 million salary and his struggles with injuries (he was healthy last year, but Aaron Rodgers wasn’t), he was wise to approach the offseason that way. He was recently spotted in a walking boot, but the team’s apparently convinced he’ll he ready for the regular season.

He probably needs to be, since the Packers aren’t particularly deep at the position, filling in with a bunch of rookies this offseason after getting rid of Nelson.

You can see things changing [around here], Cobb said. You can see the vibe changing a little bit, and that’s a good thing. Change is inevitable with time, and it’s part of the game. I think that’s the only constant thing you have in life is change. You just have to be able to adapt to that change.

And at least for the moment, he hasn’t become part of that change.

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.

Clean-cut Rob Kelley not stressed over Redskins’ running back competition

Rob Kelley felt the need for a transformation this offseason. The Washington Redskins running back was plagued by injuries in 2017 and watched the team search for his replacement in the months that followed. So Kelley headed to the barber for a fresh start. Thirty minutes later, the nine years of dreadlock growth that flowed over his shoulder pads was chopped down to a tightly cropped coif.

The external change triggered a bit of an internal adjustment as well, and the New Orleans native arrived at the team’s offseason workouts saying this summer is a new beginning.

I didn’t take it no type of way, Kelley said. At the end of the day, it’s a business. What do you expect? I hate to say it, but if I’m playing Madden and my running back is hurt, I’m going to get another running back. You’ve got to keep the train going. You can’t let one man stop the show. It’s our job to create our own value on this team. So, that’s what I’m doing.

Matthews fell to the ground after he was hit by the ball off Lucas Patrick’s bat and then walked quickly off the field holding his face in his glove. The game was delayed, but the announcer at Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton, Wis., initially said the linebacker was doing fine shortly after he went to the clubhouse.

He’s a smart football player, he picks things up very fast, Stewart said. He’s explosive and he’s really good in his route running. That’s one of the things that he’s really focused on, is his ability to run routes.

Just as this is all new for Barkley, Stewart, too, has an adjustment to make as he heads into NFL season No. 11 in something of a caretaker role.

I know they drafted Saquon in the first round, so you know he’s got a lot of expectations and stuff like that, Stewart said. But as far as my preparation for this game, it’s never going to change. It’s always prepare to be the starter because you never know when your name’s going to get called.

Browns WR Corey Coleman identified in beating victim’s testimony

Browns wide receiver Corey Coleman was accused Tuesday in court testimony of leading a group that beat a personal trainer unconscious during a confrontation in a stairwell, Cleveland.com reported.

The victim, Adam Sapp, testified in Cleveland during the trial of Coleman’s brother, Jonathan, that he now remembers Corey Coleman at the front of the group that ambushed him on Dec. 31, 2016.

Sapp said he didn’t remember whether the Browns star hit him but that he remembers that Corey Coleman was at the front of a group that followed him into the stairwell of a parking garage connected to an apartment building.

“It’s a fast, hard-nosed game,” he said. “The intensity ramps up and the style of play. It’s hard to score. There are a lot of 2-1 games, 3-2 games, and you have to find different ways to score. I’ve always prided myself on being able to score in different ways and I think the physical element as well. That’s a big part of the playoffs. Guys who have 20 hits all year the next thing you know they have 20 hits in two games. It’s definitely a different animal, and I’m looking forward to experiencing it.”

DeBoer said he expects all his players to be available for Game 1 on Thursday with the exception of Thornton, who has been out since Jan. 23.

It’s not clear whether this is a run-of-the-mill training session for Donald. If it is, then it helps explain how he has been able to dominate offensive lines over the years and record 11 sacks and five forced fumbles last season.

If this is a new regimen — and if Donald is only getting better from it — then the rest of the league should be taking note and tripling its offseason efforts.

Obviously this could all just be for show and the knives don’t do anything, but notice this: Donald isn’t the one wearing protective padding; the knife-handler is, too.

Little went right in a season Buffalo opened 1-5-2 and closed 2-9, extending the franchise’s longest playoff drought to a seventh straight year.

Buffalo matched a franchise low for home wins by going 11-25-5, including a 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers in the Winter Classic at New York City. The Sabres finished last in the NHL with 199 goals scored, 91 goals at home and in being outscored by 81 goals.buccaneers_010