Month: April 2018

Rangers fire Alain Vigneault after missing playoffs for first time since 2009-10

The New York Rangers fired coach Alain Vigneault on Saturday night.

The announcement came after the Rangers closed out the season with a 5-0 loss to the Flyers in Philadelphia, finishing 34-39-9 and missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

New York finished last in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points.

The Rangers said they will begin searching for Vigneault’s replacement immediately. Associate coach Scott Arniel and assistant coach Darryl Williams were also let go while Lindy Ruff remains on staff, general manager Jeff Gorton said Monday.

The Rangers declared in a letter to fans before the NHL trade deadline that they were “reshaping” the team, which would bring an infusion of youth and would include some trades involving veteran players. They dealt captain Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller to the Tampa Bay Lightning, forward Rick Nash to the Boston Bruins and Michael Grabner (their top goal scorer at the deadline) to the New Jersey Devils.

Gorton told ESPN in March that it was less a “reshape” than a “rebuild” for New York.

The possibility of teams addressing the position in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft plays a role, as well. Rather than signing a veteran, clubs with safety needs might instead be focusing on prospects like Alabama’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, Florida State’s Derwin James or Stanford’s Justin Reid.

“I still have it. But I didn’t know if it was from him so I felt no need to respond.”

In a piece for Sports Illustrated in June, Young said detailed the number of issues reportedly between the two, including how Fisher would cancel meetings without telling him, he leaked personal conversations between the pair to the media, and that he told people Young was suicidal.

Fisher denied all those accusations.

“I’ve been asked many, many times to comment in response to three of his comments, and I had nothing to gain my commenting because all three of his comments were false, they were not true,” he said. “I know the truth, so I stayed away from all that.”

“I’ve been able to see results,” Lopez said through a translator. “These first two outings have been good, and those are just the first two good outings. I’m expecting more in the future.”

{ Add a Comment }

Saints RB Mark Ingram was no match for military dog

Mark Ingram is on an NFL-USO tour with several other football personalities, and on Wednesday the peer pressure from the rest of the guys made the Saints running back take on a well-trained military K9.

NFL Network’s Marc Sessler is covering the tour, and he tweeted out a video of Ingram failing against the dog.

Ingram is a two-time Pro Bowl running back and a Heisman Trophy winner, and that dog took him down in seconds.

So what made the Saints back want to do this in the first place? In a video from Sessler, he explained that he was almost forced to do it by people around him.

Nationals: 2B Daniel Murphy (right knee surgery) needs another week of running the bases at full speed before a possible rehab assignment.

Mets: RHP Noah Syndergaard (1-0, 5.40 ERA) starts when the Mets open a series Monday in Miami. He is 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA in five career starts versus the Marlins, who will start RHP Jose Urena (0-1, 4.91).

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer (1-1, 1.64) opposes Atlanta’s Julio Teheran (0-0, 10.13) on Monday when the Nationals host the Braves in the first of three games. Scherzer is 7-6 with a 3.92 ERA against Atlanta.

“He’s hard to bring down. One of the reason’s I’m excited to be with the Raiders is to join forces with Lynch,” Gruden continued. “But, we’ll see what happens. Obviously, we have to take a look at the entire roster, but I’m counting on him. I’m counting on him being a big part of our football team.”

While the Raiders also have running backs DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard on their roster, Martin is expected to be the No. 2 running back on the squad.

In addition to the $1 million roster bonus, Lynch is slated to make a base salary of $4 million in 2018, per Spotrac.

“This was a heck of a challenge,” Bossard said.

“For some reason, when I’m out on the field, I don’t feel anything. My hands are nice and warm before I leave the dugout, but honestly, I don’t feel anything as far as weather.” — Archer, who wore short sleeves.

{ Add a Comment }

Former Saints cheerleader fired over racy Instagram post; files complaint

Bailey Davis, a former Saints cheerleader fired over a racy Instagram post, has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the NFL forces unfair rules against cheerleaders, The New York Times reported.

Davis, 22, said the Saints claimed a photo posted to her private Instagram violated a policy prohibiting cheerleaders from posting pictures of themselves appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie.

In text messages obtained by The Times, senior director of the Saints cheerleading team Ashley Deaton told Davis her Instagram post displayed very poor judgement because she was recently accused of being at the same party as a player.

Though no evidence was found she was at the party in question, Davis was fired four days after the Instagram post.

At the appropriate time and in the appropriate forum, the Saints will defend the organization’s policies and workplace rules, the Saints said in a statement. For now, it is sufficient to say that Ms. Davis was not subjected to discrimination because of her gender.

They also provide Jon Cooper with depth and versatility. Yanni Gourde scored 64 points this season after toiling away in the minors for years, and veteran Chris Kunitz and Alex Killorn have gone from top-six players to exceptional bottom-sixers. Teams dream of having the top-to-bottom skill of the Lightning forwards.

Eagles defensive end Michael Bennett was taken into custody Monday in Houston after his first court appearance since being indicted by a grand jury in Harris County, Texas, for allegedly injuring a 66-year-old paraplegic woman after Super Bowl 51 in February 2017.

Bennett’s bond was set at $10,000 and he was issued a no-contact order by Judge Robert Johnson in the 177th Criminal Court before Bennett was led away in handcuffs, according to local media reports (via USA Today).

Bennett surrendered to authorities after prosecutors on Friday announced that he faces a single felony charge of injury to the elderly, which carries a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

{ Add a Comment }

Steve Spurrier, Mike Singletary among potential coaches for upstart Alliance of American Football

The biggest names in the upstart Alliance of American Football probably won’t be on the field.

They’ll be on the sidelines.

In conversations with multiple industry sources, Sporting News has learned several prominent former NFL head coaches are potential targets to join the eight-team upstart spring league that is scheduled to begin play in February after Super Bowl 53 is completed.

But as deals are finalized, here are eight coaches who fit the bill of what the Alliance is seeking.

Mike Singletary: The Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker enjoyed a quick NFL ascent, becoming San Francisco’s head coach less than five years after first becoming an assistant in 2003. His descent was almost as rapid. Singletary has spent three of the past four seasons out of the NFL entirely after his 18-22 tenure with the 49ers ended after the 2010 campaign.

Justin Rogers of the Detroit News reports that Ansah is in Ghana dealing with a family obligation, adding that Ansah, who grew up in Ghana, has been in touch with the team about his whereabouts. Rogers also adds that Ansah is expected to join the team soon.

During a recent appearance on PFT Live, Lions General Manager Bob Quinn said the team wants Ansah and Patricia to get to know each other for a while before turning up talks about a long-term contract. A report late last month indicated that Ansah would sign his franchise tag before training camp if no long-term deal comes together.

“You show me your crowd, I will show you your future,” Lewis said. “Man, Justin Timberlake ain’t never played no football. I love Justin, but Justin ain’t getting out there on the ground like that. These guys he’s hanging out with, they’re in studios all night. They don’t have to get up, they don’t have no discipline when it comes to athleticism. . . .

{ Add a Comment }

Denver continues pre-draft work on quarterbacks with Josh Allen’s visit

The Broncos’ pre-draft evaluations of the quarterbacks continued Monday with Josh Allen’s visit to UCHealth Training Center, Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News reports.

It was Allen’s third meeting with the Broncos, as they also met with him at the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine.

In fact, San Antonio has played with its entire lineup available in only one game this entire season.

“As we mentioned many times, we’ve had a very tough season with a lot of injuries and rotations,” Ginobili said. “I don’t know what’s the number, but the amount of starting fives we’ve had is crazy.

“It’s been a roller coaster. Some games you feel great and [feel] that you got over the hump. Then you go to L.A. and lose two bad games,” Ginobili said, referring to the Spurs’ consecutive losses to the Clippers and Lakers on April 3 and 4. “Then we come back and we flourish again or we fight again. It’s been a tough season.”

All the attrition and constant change appeared to be finally taking its toll Monday night with 6:05 to play and the Spurs trailing by 14 points to a struggling Kings squad. San Antonio didn’t take its first lead of the game until 10:18 remained in the contest.

He punted 1,110 times for 50,500 yards, giving him a career average of 45.5 yards.

Defensive tackle Bennie Logan‘s search for a new team for the 2018 season took him to Nashville.

Field Yates of ESPN.com reports that Logan visited with the Titans. He has also met with the Seahawks since becoming a free agent this month.

Logan is one of the few players left on our list of the Top 100 free agents of 2018 and spent the 2017 season with the Chiefs. He had 52 tackles and 1.5 sacks for Kansas City after spending the first four years of his career with the Eagles.

He started 51 games in four years with the Eagles and would be a replacement for the released Sylvester Williams if he signs in Tennessee. The Titans have been in the market for defensive line help and met with Ndamukong Suh before Suh signed with the Rams.

{ Add a Comment }

Les Snead: None of our moves affect keeping Aaron Donald

The Rams have spent quite a bit of time talking about a contract extension for defensive tackle Aaron Donald over the last two years, but nothing has come to fruition to this point.

It’s always a process to hammer out a long-term deal with one of the top players in the league and it’s one that has had to go on alongside the Rams’ other moves this offseason. They’ve acquired Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, Ndamukong Suh and Brandin Cooks since the end of last season, leading some to wonder how the shopping spree might impact their push to lock up Donald.

As a GM, I’d have a hard time paying Beckham elite wide receiver money to put him at or above Antonio Brown’s $17 million per year or even Mike Evans’ $16.5 million per year. Making matters worse: It will be a battle to get him to sign an extension at those numbers when he has $20 million or more per year on his wish list.

Gettleman and the Giants can try to postpone an extension by forcing Beckham to play out the option year of his rookie, first-round contract at around $8.5 million. That likely would lead to Beckham skipping the Giants’ offseason program and OTAs as well as a possible training camp holdout — not a good situation for a player coming off major ankle surgery. The team also could franchise tag him after the upcoming season, which would lead to more Le’Veon Bell-type acrimony.

“It’s been exciting,” Robinson said, via the team’s website. “We both have been born into this on the same page as far as learning a new system. I think that’s special in itself because we can just talk about certain things as we go. He’s a young guy and I think that’s really good as well. For me being 24 years old, we both kind of have that eager energy as far as coming into this situation and learning the system.”

Another thing Robinson might be excited about is the role he figures to play in the Chicago offense this season. He was signed to front a receiving corps that underwhelmed last season and should get plenty of chances to show that he’s all the way back from the injury once the Bears get on the field for game action.

“I think that any time I would miss in college, it was largely due to my feet,” Allen said. “In getting with Jordan, I’ve been trying to correct my feet through every throw and make sure that I was sequencing consistently. Once my feet started to clean up, that’s when you started seeing the ball placed in the right positions.”

{ Add a Comment }

Gil Brandt denies pressuring Baker Mayfield to attend draft

Baker Mayfield claims that he has been pressured to attend the draft. The man responsible for inviting players to the draft denies applying pressure to Mayfield.

“I’m ecstatic about the 22 players we will have at the draft,” Gil Brandt of NFL.com said on Twitter. “I never worry (and certainly would never pressure) those who don’t want to be there. Baker made that clear very early on.”

As mentioned earlier, the league didn’t invite Mayfield to attend the draft because he had made it clear that he doesn’t want to attend. Still, it’s possible that league officials other than Brandt tried to get Mayfield to change his mind.

Speaking to reporters in Humboldt on Monday about the visit, Kennedy choked up.

“To be able to have some conversations with some of those young people and their families and to be able to have a couple laughs and to be able to look in their eyes and tell ’em, you know, it’s good to see a smile,” Kennedy said. “To me, that stuff is important.”

“We shot the ball confidently,” Toronto’s Kyle Lowry said. “We needed that, heading into the next couple of weeks, shooting the ball confidently.”

After clinching the top spot in the Eastern Conference on Friday night with a win over Indiana, the Raptors gave guard DeMar DeRozan and center Jonas Valanciunas the night off. Toronto will rest players again Monday night at Detroit, then return to full strength Wednesday night for the regular-season finale at Miami.

“It’s not like we totally need rest, but I think it’s the prudent thing to do for our team,” coach Dwane Casey said.

Lowry scored 11 points as the Raptors converted 39 of 78 field goal attempts. Anonoby made five of eight from 3-point range, while Miles hit 5 of 10. Toronto made 17 of 40 from beyond the arc.

“We didn’t guard the 3-point line well enough,” Magic coach Frank Vogel said.

{ Add a Comment }

Titans agree to deal with Bennie Logan

The Titans added some size in advance of the start of their offseason program.

The Giants were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. They’re .125 average (3 for 24) batting with runners in scoring position is the worst in the majors.

“Our guys were battling,” Holland said. “It was a pitcher’s duel going in and he lasted longer than I did. Just processing this game, they were hitting the ball. They made contact, found some holes, hit mistakes.”

The Giants activated RHP Tyler Beede, and the 24-year-old right-hander will start Tuesday’s game for his major league debut. Beede, a 2014 first-round pick, will pitch in place of RHP Johnny Cueto, whose start was pushed back to Wednesday. In a corresponding move, the Giants optioned RHP Roberto Gomez to Triple-A Sacramento.

Diamondbacks: OF Steven Souza Jr., on the DL with a right pectoral strain, complained of discomfort Sunday after playing in a simulated game in which he homered twice in seven at-bats and threw from over 100 feet. An MRI showed fluid in the area of the injury. “This is part of the process,” Lovullo said. “I do not consider this a setback whatsoever.” … 3B Jake Lamb (left shoulder AC joint sprain) took dry swings and did some running and throwing Monday. He’ll ramp up baseball activities Tuesday.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (right pectoral strain) pitched three innings in a simulated game and is expected to throw make a rehab start later this week. He could be activated next week.

Picking 12th and 22nd, they won’t have a shot at him. Even if General Manager Brandon Beane gets on the horn with his old boss and makes a bold move, they still might not, if the Browns end up taking Darnold first overall.

But the fact they’re going to be ready to get into that range (they’re also bringing Josh Rosen and Baker Mayfield to Buffalo for visits) suggests that Beane’s doing everything he can to solve the quarterback problem for Buffalo for the long-term.

“If you saw me, I was cheering, cheering, cheering,” Murray said. “He’s 40 years old. What do you want from him? He already paid his dues. He’s a future Hall of Famer. He’s won championships. So it’s like that’s just a bonus for us. Manu could be with his family and kids. But he’s showing the love and passion he has for the game, and he’s here with us.”

{ Add a Comment }

Eric Reid to visit the Bengals

A month into free agency, Eric Reid is finally drawing some interest.

Reid, the safety whose lack of offers has led some to suggest he’s being blackballed for kneeling during the national anthem, will visit the Bengals, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

The 26-year-old Reid has played his entire five-year NFL career with the 49ers. He became a free agent this offseason and there were no reports of any teams showing interest, even though he’s been a starter throughout his career.

Kyle Soppe: Ohtani has been simply amazing and may be in the process of ruining our perception of what a successful rookie season looks like (football fans saw this with the 2014 WR draft class), but I like this question as not all rookies need to steal all of the headlines to be considered a very early season success. For me, Jack Flaherty was outstanding in his lone appearance (5 innings, 1 earned run, and 9 strikeouts in a no decision against the Brewers) and positioned himself to be a worthwhile fantasy asset when (not if) he returns to The Show.

Sure, it was only one start, but the Brewers failed to make contact on nearly 37 percent of their swings against the rookie and his ability to keep the ball on the ground appeared legit to my eye. Fantasy baseball is a marathon, not a sprint, so don’t lose track of the big picture and try to make room for Flaherty sooner than later.

The meaning, inescapably, is this: Manziel thinks that the Browns should have known that he wasn’t going to study film, that he wasn’t going to work hard, and that he was simply going to wing it. To understand the problems with these remarks, it’s important to consider the broader context that emerged in early 2014.

Manziel worked very hard before the 2014 draft to create the impression that he’s a hard worker. He specifically refrained from the Super Bowl-week car wash, during which he would have made tens of thousands of dollars promoting products at Radio Row, because he supposedly was fully focused on football. He routinely declined interviews prior to the draft for that same reason. His trip to the Nike facility in Oregon raised eyebrows because it represented a rare break from the full-football focus.

Four years later, Manziel essentially wants to adjust the “fool me once, shame on you” adage to “fool me once, shame on me.” He fooled the Browns, and now — in that one isolated but fully accurate portion of his interview — he blamed the Browns for getting fooled.

“If Cleveland did any of their homework they would have known I wasn’t a guy who came in every day and watched film,” Manziel said. “I wasn’t a guy who really knew the X’s and O’s of football.”

{ Add a Comment }

Colts GM Chris Ballard shockingly against Josh McDaniels rule, which fails to pass

In the aftermath of the Josh McDaniels fiasco with the Colts earlier this offseason, the NFL was expected to pass a new rule that would allow teams to officially hire away coaches working for playoff teams. Surprisingly, the rule wasn’t enacted at the NFL owners meetings this week. Even more surprising is that Colts general manager Chris Ballard wasn’t in favor of the rule change.

On Tuesday, the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder reported that Ballard said he was not a proponent of a new rule.

And that playoff team who has worked their (butt) off, they’re trying to win, man. The rules are in place to protect them. It’s already a distraction, but now you’re creating a whole other issue.

It’s surprising to hear Ballard talk this way because of just how much the current rules screwed him over. On Jan. 15, CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora reported that McDaniels was a virtual lock to be the Colts’ next coach. But because the Patriots were in the middle of a playoff run, McDaniels couldn’t officially take the job — not until the Patriots’ season ended, which didn’t happen until the Super Bowl when they lost a heartbreaker to Eagles. Two days later, the Colts announced the hiring, even scheduling an introductory press conference. Later that day, McDaniels shockingly decided to stay with the Patriots. Because he hadn’t signed a contract with the Colts, he had the ability to spurn the Colts without any repercussions — besides his reputation taking a hit, of course.

As for Jinnies, he spoke on how enticing the process has been for him.

They were unlike anything I’ve ever been to. I’m used to getting a call after or an email, he said. This one was about three weeks long and we had a bunch of rehearsals in between and an extensive interview process, but it was really humbling and amazing to be invited every time you came back.

But it was all worth it as the two were part of the 40 cheerleaders chosen out of 76 finalists.

None of this has helped. The league’s leaders aren’t sitting by idly, instead planning to assemble head coaches and special-teams coordinators to craft a solution — which very well could include elimination of the play altogether.

{ Add a Comment }