Tyrod Taylor faces off against the team that wanted to jettison him for more than a year.

After missing the entire 2017 season with a mysterious, lingering injury to his throwing arm, Andrew Luck is appealing to the Indianapolis faithful for patience as the Colts assemble for Phase 1 of their offseason program.

Toiling through an extraordinarily deliberate rehabilitation program, Luck began throwing again in February. To this point in the process, however, he has yet to reach the next level of throwing “The Duke” — the NFL’s official football.

“When the time is right,” Luck explained, “I’ll pick it up.”

Although the face of the Colts franchise is tempted to accelerate his rehab efforts, he emphasized the importance of diligently following his prescribed timetable.

With that Week 1 target date in mind, Colts fans shouldn’t expect to read rave reviews of Luck’s progress in mastering Reich’s offensive scheme during practices over the next two months.

The goal is to be ready for training camp “without a governor on,” Luck added, meaning full participation with no limitations. Once he reaches that pivotal stage, the three-time Pro Bowler expects to embark on a successful season that will have him in the running for NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors.

“I am very, very confident and very, very optimistic,” Luck explained. “I’m going to be absolutely fine and come back better than I was. I think I’ll be a better quarterback, a better teammate, a better person and I’m very confident.”

Case Keenum hosts the team that believes it upgraded at his position. Toss in the fact that Keenum and Kirk Cousins debut with their new teams on the same field and you’ve got yourself an enticing storyline. Taylor could also be battling the No. 1 overall pick for the starting gig. Preseason is little more than a walkthrough for starting quarterbacks, but if you don’t think at there is at least a little bit of residual bitterness in the bones of Taylor and Keenum after they were cast aside following playoff berths, you’re underestimating the competitive edge NFL players harness daily.

Well, duh, no amount of revenge in the preseason would make up for a Super Bowl loss. That doesn’t mean watching the reigning conference champions duke it out is worthless. Both Bill Belichick and Howie Roseman have retooled their squads this offseason to make another run at the Lombardi Trophy. How will those new pieces mesh? We could also get the nascent return of Carson Wentz to the playing field after his ACL tear last season.

Owner Robert Pera ‘committed to Memphis’ as home of Grizzlie

Robert Pera, the controlling owner of the Memphis Grizzlies, announced Monday that he will retain his majority interest in the team in connection with the “buy-sell” process.

Pera, 40, made the announcement in an open letter that was emailed to Grizzlies season-ticket holders. He will continue to operate the team with controlling interest after making a “buy-sell” agreement with minority partners.

In his letter, Pera said he is “committed to Memphis as an NBA market and as the home of the Grizzlies.”

Story homered for the second straight game, sending a fastball into the left field seats in the fourth, one inning after Nolan Arenado singled in a run .

Freddie Freeman’s RBI double with two outs in the sixth made it 2-1 and chased Bettis.

Braves: 3B Johan Camargo (right oblique strain), who went 0 for 4 Friday while playing shortstop for Class A Florida, will move his rehab to Triple-A Gwinnett after DHing Saturday. “He feels good, health is not an issue,” Snitker said. “It’s just about wanting to see some pitches.”

Rockies OF Charlie Blackmon battled through a stiffening back and was replaced by defensive sub Mike Tauchman to start the 10th.

ESPN has not announced terms of the deal.

“Tonight was obviously a debacle,” Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We were stuck in mud from the beginning of that game.”

Portis scored 13 points in the first quarter to help erase an early 16-7 Nets lead.

In the second quarter, baskets by Rondae Hollis-Jefferson bookended a 14-1 run for the Nets which opened a 61-47 lead with 1:11 left until halftime.

Crabbe knocked down four of the Nets’ nine 3-pointers in the third as Brooklyn pushed the lead past 20 points, cruising the rest of the way.

“It’s pretty tough, man,” Portis said of defending Brooklyn. “It’s like playing the Rockets. They shoot a lot of 3s. They shoot a lot of contested shots. That’s what their coach preaches.”

Vikings-Eagles scheduled to open 2018 season, report says

The 2018 NFL season opener should be a good one.

Even though the NFL schedule hasn’t been released, the Vikings and Eagles will face off as the first game of the season, according to Howard Eskin of SportsRadio 94WIP.

Brian Elliott made 17 saves in his second game in goal after returning in Thursday’s 4-3 win over Carolina following a 25-game absence because of core muscle surgery on Feb. 13.

Elliott was shaky in the win over the Hurricanes, allowing a pair of soft goals while making 19 saves. He didn’t have much action against the Rangers.

Provorov got the Flyers on the board 6 1/2 minutes into the game when he scored on a 6-on-5 advantage as a result of a delayed penalty. Sean Couturier sent the puck toward the crease from the left of the goal, and the puck caromed off Provorov’s right shoulder and past Lundqvist. The goal stood after an officials’ review.

D Brady Skjei is the only Rangers player to appear in every game this season. Four Flyers: Couturier, Provorov, Giroux and Jakub Voracek, accomplished the feat for Philadelphia. … Eric Lindros was the previous Flyers player to reach 100 points, with 115 in the 1995-96 season. Giroux’s other hat trick came in Game 2 of the first round of the 2012 playoffs against the Penguins. … LW Matt Beleskey, acquired in the trade that sent Rick Nash to the Bruins on Feb. 25, made his Rangers debut and C Steven Fogarty made his NHL debut for New York.

But the Patriots have a knack for turning journeyman receivers into stars, so this is a good career move for Patterson. It’s also a good move for the Pats, who’ve learned the last couple of seasons that you can never have too many quality receivers after Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski faced injuries.

“That’s been a pretty good combo for us,” Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. “I’d rather win the game a little earlier, but there’s some comfort when Bregman is up to bat and Fisher is on second.”

Chris Devenski (1-0) pitched 1 1/3 innings for the win. Robbie Erlin (0-1) took the loss.

Gerrit Cole struck out 11 in seven sharp innings for Houston, giving up five hits and walking none. Since being acquired by the champion Astros, he has given up one run in 14 innings and fanned 22, a franchise record for the most strikeouts through the first two starts.

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

Report: Redskins trade Cravens to Broncos for 5th-round pick

The Washington Redskins have agreed to trade troubled Su’a Cravens to the Denver Broncos in a five-pick deal that will see the two teams swap draft selections in the fourth and fifth rounds, with the Broncos also sending another fifth-round pick to Washington to complete the deal, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, citing a source. The Broncos will receive the 113th and 149th overall picks while the Redskins will get the 109th, 142nd, and 163rd overall selections in return, Schefter reports. Cravens tweeted his response to the deal on Tuesday.
The Broncos have been rumored to be pursuing Cravens since February.

The 22-year-old safety was a Redskins second-round pick in 2016, but Cravens sat out the entire 2017 season after an injury-plagued rookie campaign. Aside from a biceps injury and going under the knife for knee surgery, Cravens said he feared he suffered permanent damage to his eyesight due to a concussion. He threatened to retire ahead of the 2017 season and Washington placed him on its exempt list. He was reinstated by the NFL in February. The Broncos continue to retool their secondary. The No Fly Zone that once featured Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward will move forward with Cravens joining Chris Harris Jr., Bradley Roby, Darian Stewart, and Justin Simmons.

Steelers:It’s gut check time in Pittsburgh. After falling short of the rematch with the Patriots that many presumed was predestined, the Steelers have to address the self-destructive tendencies that have haunted them in key stretches. Still, few teams can keep up with them when they’re at their best.

Saints:New Orleans looked ready for this level — and beyond — before Stefon Diggs dashed the hopes of Drew Brees and Co. with his last-second touchdown in the divisional round. With an ascending roster powered by young talent, it’s difficult to find many holes here.

Vikings:Kirk Cousins very well may not be the missing ingredient for a title run. But with a championship-ready defense and plenty of weapons around him, the prized quarterback shouldn’thave to play hero to return Minnesota to this stage.

Wonderlic scores leaked, Josh Allen dominates the competition

It’s part of the evaluation process. It might not be the end all. Some might have major issues with the questions posed in the Wonderlic test at the annual NFL Scouting Combine. That’s fine. Teams still use the test as a way to evaluate potential draft picks.

In what has been a continual theme recently, scores for this year’s Wonderlic testing have been leaked. Here’s a look at the 2018 NFL Draft’s top quarterback prospects and how they graded out.

His story does not get old, and his personality does not get old either. After he went through all his workouts and all his interviews, Griffin met with two young fans with 3-D printed arms. One was named Wyatt and one was named Annika. They both got their limbs from a non-profit run by engineers at UCF. The kids were both in awe and familiar, gawking and nodding knowingly. It’s easy to imagine their joy replicated by hundreds or even thousands of fans in some NFL city by year’s end. It’s going to happen, no matter what draft round, no matter what rank on the roster. That is the Shaquem Griffin effect.

The 27-year-old spent the first four seasons of his career with the Jets, who took him in the second round of the 2013 draft. Smith joined the Giants on a one-year contract last spring and started one game in 2017, going 21 of 36 for 212 yards and a touchdown in a Week 13 loss to the Oakland Raiders. In 35 career games (31 starts), Smith has 6,174 passing yards, 29 touchdowns, 36 interceptions and a QB rating of 72.9.

He owns a 12-19 record as a starter. He is not expected to return to the Giants, who have 2017 third-round pick Davis Webb behind starter Eli Manning, along with the No. 2 pick in next month’s draft. The Chargers have an opening behind Philip Rivers, with veteran Kellen Clemens unsigned as a free agent. Clemens, 34, spent 2017 on a one-year, $1 million deal with the Chargers. The Bolts also have 2016 fourth-round pick Cardale Jones, who was acqpatriots_126-223x223uired from the Buffalo Bills for a conditional draft pick last July. The Seahawks are looking for a signal-caller behind Russell Wilson after releasing former backup Trevone Boykin on Tuesday following reports of Boykin’s involvement in an alleged March 20 domestic-violence incident.

Denver Broncos open to possibly drafting QB at No. 5

John Elway signed a bridge quarterback this offseason, adding Case Keenum on a two-year deal. That won’t stop the Denver Broncos from possibly using the No. 5 overall pick on a quarterback.

The general manager said on The Adam Schefter Podcast Show this week he’s keeping his options open as the team ramps up its draft preparation.

That’ll be wide open, Elway said, via ESPN’s Jeff Legwold. … I’m betting we won’t know what direction we’re going to go until probably the day of [the first round] or the day before.

Jordan danced around possibilities, discussing edge rushers, Penn State tight end Mike Gesicki and avoiding crowding New Orleans’ talented backfield before turning to the quarterback position.

If you’re looking for an heir apparent, maybe give him the Aaron Rodgers treatment. Let him learn from the best for a couple years and then send him on. But I’m not putting here nor there, I’m just simply saying, Jordan said before immediately mouthing Lamar Jackson.

No, I’m saying Sheldon Rankins is from Louisville, Jordan said in a playful cover-up attempt.

We know months worth of prognostication become moot within the first couple hours of the NFL draft, but should Jackson end up in New Orleans, add football fortune teller to Jordan’s list of accolades — even if Suh didn’t want to join him.

I asked him in Orlando if he’d give up a pinky toe if it meant a guaranteed Super Bowl victory in the next seven years. He did not hesitate in his answer. ‘Right now,’ NFL Media’s Dan Hanzus noted.

Well, the pinky toe is probably the least important of all the digits down there. It’s not quite on par with Hall of Fame safety Ronnie Lott giving up one of his fingers to play in a game. Even then, we’re openly wondering whether Reid’s family would be okay with this exchange.

All or Nothing has proved to be sturdier than initially expected from a storytelling standpoint. To put it another way, the show doesn’t live or die by the success of the team being studied. NFL Films knows how to work magic, whether it’s documenting a 2015 Cardinals team that came within one victory of the Super Bowl or a dreadful 2016 Rams team that lost constantly and eventually fired the head coach. (I can still see Jeff Fisher holding his dog and waving as the team busses departed for another slaughter in Seattle. I’m not sure he’s been seen since.) patriots_013-223x223

Lamar Jackson’s stock reportedly climbing, expected to go in first round

Lamar Jackson has been somewhat of a mystery as we inch closer to the NFL Draft, but apparently he has a good chance of being selected very early.

Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports reported over the weekend that Jackson’s stock is rising and he could be picked as early as No. 15 overall, with the Arizona Cardinals in need of a quarterback of the future.

Starting corner Malcolm Butler and veteran receiver Danny Amendola are also gone, leaving the Patriots roster thinner than most of their upper-echelon counterparts.

Fortunately for New England, the AFC is the weaker of the two conferences. The Pats expect to get two-time 1,000-yard receiver Julian Edelman and Pro Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower back from injury, and you know they’ll get something out of new arrivals Adrian Clayborn and Danny Shelton.

The Patriots always find a way.

The former Buffalo Bills quarterback underwent surgery on Wednesday to remove cancer from his jaw and lymph nodes. The surgery involved reconstructing his jaw using part of his fibula. That means not only is he writing messages on a board to communicate due to the jaw surgery, but his leg also is recovering.

The good news is Kelly on Sunday took his first steps since the operation. His daughter, Erin, shared a video of Kelly walking.

According to Football Outsiders, only three teams were hit harder by injuries in 2017 than the Houston Texans. But those numbers don’t do justice to what happened to Houston, which lost three-time Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt in October and then saw sensational rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson go down with a season-ending knee injury in November. jets_038

Washington honoring 1987 replacement ers with Super Bowl rings

Washington won the Super Bowl to end the 1987 season. But the replacement ers from that team who led Washington to a 3-0 record during the strike have previously had their role recognized only in stories, a movie and a documentary. They had nothing else to show for their contributions.

Washington finished 11-4 in the regular season in 1987, winning the division on its way to a 42-10 victory over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.

Curran’s column shares a quote from Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who said last year that Belichick has explained that, at this point in his career, he wants to coach ers he likes, ers he wants to be around. Has Belichick extended that same attitude to anyone who possibly would scrutinize and criticize Belichick’s ideas to the point that he doesn’t want to be around them?

As the Patriots try to regroup after a season that ended in a sense of failure, it’s important to wonder whether Belichick has those voices who are able to steer him away from circumstances that could lead to future failures.

According to Ian Rapaport of the NFL Network, former Texans linebacker Brian Cushing is visiting Seattle today.

Cushing ed for Pete Carroll at Southern Cal, establishing the connection.

The 31-year-old linebacker would give them a solid presence alongside Bobby Wagner and K.J. Wright as they rebuild a defense.

Having traded Michael Bennett, and with something going on with Richard Sherman, and Kam Chancellor suffering a neck injury last year that puts his future in doubt, things are going to look very different there.jets_133