act situation.The Daily Echo says Hasenhuttl has m

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The have officially placed on the 15-dayAl Gharafa have completed the signing of Aston Villa striker Jonathan Kodjia.Kodjia arrived in Doha to undergo a medical and thrash out personal terms earlier this week to bring his stay at Villa to an end after three-and-a-half seasons.The @J_Kodjiapic.twitter.com/1PALoC4kkN— Al Gharafa SC (@ALGHARAFACLUB) January 19, 2020 disabled list, the club announced Sunday.

Forsythe will miss about six weeks due to plantar fasciitis. He was likely to start at third base with Chase Headley out. Instead, his injury opens up playing time for Alexi Amarista and Cody Ransu Suning.It broke on Sunday that Real had ended ntus.The Sun says Sarri is the Italian giants’ No 1 target after cooling their interest in ex-Blues boss Antonio Conte.Stamford Bridge chief Sarri, 60, is preparing his team for next Wednesday’s Europa League final against Arsenal but his future istalks with the Chinese giants over the sale of the Wales captain.And speaking with ESPN, agent Jonathan Barnett confirmed the reports.”They changed their minds when the player was given the go-ahead tosom in the Padres infield.

Jordany Valdespin’s cup came in handy Monday

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Young or sensitive readers, avert your eyes.

When facing ace on Monday, utility man squared to bunt. And then he had probably the most horrifying thing possible happen to him. He got hit with a pitch. Right, well, there. Yep, a 94 mile-per-hour heater to the junk.

, Valdespin was laughing afterward and said that he’s OK, so we can put two and two together here and realize he was wearing a protective cup. Thankfully. I don’t even wanna imagine what a Verlander fastball would do to … nevermind. I can’t even finish that sentence.

Good work on wearing the cup, Jordany. Everyone else, take note.

Additional kudos go to Valdespin for being able to laugh about it so soon. I feel like having a scare like that would scar me for life.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the aArsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette today addressed questions around a possible Champions League exit cla in selling attackers this summer.He also believes that a move for Mario Mandzukic from Juventus in January is a good option.United sold Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan, while they also allowed Alexis Sanchez to leave on loan to the same club.Marouane Fuse in his contract.He’s totally dismissed any knowledge of such a clause.”I didn’t know about this. I did not know,” said Lacazette.”Yeah, I have a contract with the club so there is no point for me to leave, everybody is happy with me at the clubts about the quality of Thiago Almada.The teenage midfielder is a target for Manchester City, which plan to sign Almada ahead of sending him on-loan to Sporting CP.Bravo isn’t surprised by the interest and told O Jogo: “I had Thiago at every level ub.”nd . Also, individually interact with us on Twitter: , and .

er Yannick Bolasie was satisfied with his Sporting

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Phillies outfielder continued his torrid spring pace on Wednesday, going 2-for-3 with a double andhas helped Algeria defeat Nigeria and book a place in the African Cup of Nations final.The Manchester City winger struck five minutes into injury-time with a precise and fierce set-piece intoy against Arsenal, despite being pushed to leave by Real coach Zinedine Zidane.Odriozola said, “Bale has always looked good to me. “They talk about him a lot, but he knows how to take it and he focuses on his day-to-day work. Today he scored a goal the top corner.Algerialing good after being diagnosed with coronavirus last week.The defender spoke to Juventus TV about having contracted the virus.“I’m fine, I’ve been pretty good. I haven’t had the symptoms you read about in the news,” Rugani said.“I was lucky desp opened the scoring when Nigeria def a run scored.

Report: Vladimir Guerrero seeking minor-league deal

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Outfielder Vladimir Guerrero is attempting a comeback and looking for a minor-league deal, to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com.

Guerrero, 38, signed a minor-league deal with the last season, but he only played in 12 minor-league games before asking for his release. His last significant role was in 2011, when he played in 145 games wletico and Inter Milan are interested in the veteran, with the La Liga club believed to be preparing a bid.Atletico boss Diego Simeone wants to add an experienced midfielder to his squad and believes Matic fits the bill.Coughing up a fee would suit Uith the . 

That season, Guerrero hit .290/.317/.416 w defender, 17, joined this summer from PEC Zwolle.Van den Berg told NOS, “When I just came in, I was nervous. You could see that. “Now it’s normal. I have a good relationship with the trainer (Jurgen Klopp). He said I shouldn’t be in a hurry and justith 13 home runs in 590 plate appearances. It was a precipitous drop from his .318/.379/.553 career line. Guerrero was mainly used as a DH ima.The striker joined Leipzig on loan with option to buy this season.However, his injury problems have continued in Germany, where he has managed to make only two appearances so far.Pavel Paska, Schick’s agent, says a return to Roma could happen.“Hn 2011, and might have a better shot signing with an American League team. 

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the latest rumors from bloggers ,  and , follow .

ly Echo says Saints aren’t interested in loaning o

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Reds outfield prospect has been a standout bat early in spring training. The 20-year-old outfielder is batting .500 (3 for 6) with one homer, two doubles and five RBI in three sbate.Turkish media sources say Leicester are holding out for €3Rodgers’ first summer signing when he arrived for a fee reported to be in the region of £8m – a transfer record for Luton Town.Since Justin’s arrival, the Foxes have splashed out £30m on Newcastle’s Ayoze Perez before Youri Tielemans arrived in am for the winger, but Besiktas are keen to get him for €2m.The Malian international, who joined the Foxes for €2m in January 2018 , impressed on loan at Turkish Super Lig side Sivaspring games. He even has a stolen base. “Talent wasn’t the issue with him,” manager Dusty Baker said, per the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Talent never was an issue. It’s getting the head and attitude right.” Baker said Rodriguez went through a transformation at Class A Dayton in 2012. “It’s part of grod legend Gary Neville says Manchester City could rue not signing Harry Maguire.The England international signed for United instead, and City have now lost Aymeric Laporte to a long-term injury.The former Red Devils defender told Sky Sports: “I said awing up and being a man,” Baker said. “That’s why he’s in camp. He really didn’t deserve to be in camp. They’re hoping that camp and being around the guys would help put him back on track.”

apped Alvaro Odriozola after defeat at Real Mallor

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White Sox reliever was held out of drills Tuesday because of elbow discomfort.inst Manchester City.The Clarets have been one of the most impressive sides in th Moggi says Fiorentina should bring Zlatan Ibrahimovic back to Italy.The Swedish is currently inviting controversy at LA Galaxy.Moggi, who signed Ibra for Juve, told Firenzeviola.it: “Zlatan has a biological physique that allows him to perform at hise Premier League this season, given their limited resources.But they were unable to hold off City’s attacking onslaught in the second half of their Premier League clash An MRI confirmed Thornton has inflammation and the left-hander will be held out of workouts for the time being. “He just said he didn’t feel right. We have so much time down here, it’s safer to slow him down and get him out of drills and make sure he’s comfortable before he continues on,” manager Robin Ventura told .com. “You’re concerned every time a guy has that. I’m not sure what level he’s at, but again, the beauty of being down here so early is that you can give him the time off and he can catch up and there’s’t join the rest of his Real Madrid teammates in the team’s pre-season preparations ahead of their tour in Canada.Instead, there was a total agreement between Real Madrid and Racing Santander for Zinedine Zidane’s son, while Keylor Navas is expected nothing wrong with it.”

to win it.The competition’s draw will be held toda

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A’s infielder played his second game of the spring on Sunday against the Angels. He went 0 for 1 with a walk and an RBI, making him 1 for 3 with two walks thus far. After missing last season due to a touthampton.The midfielder is being linked with Manchester United and Arsenal this week.”The best thing for me would be to stay here, but I don’t close the door on any club, or any country. I aspire to play in the very biggest clubs, now we will see worn ACL, Sizemore, who is competing for the starting job at second base, told .com that he glad to be playing in games again. “I’d say I’m still more comfortable at second than anywhere else,” Sizemore said. “It felt real good to get out there to just run around different situations, be in differ City striker Gabriel Jesus has cooled talk of a move to Bayern Munich.BILD reports Bayern turned down the chance to sign the Brazilian over the summer.The report states City were unwilling to part with Leroy Sane, offering Gabriel instead in a dealrent places, have different st Brom whizkid Louie Barry is finally set to make his debut for Barcelona’s Juvenil A (U19s).The team this weekend will meet San Francisco after receiving international clearance from FIFA. Sport says Barcelona confirmed the signing of Barry from Weresponsibilities, all the stuff that you don’t really practice until you’re in a game. It felt good to be out in a game for the first time in awhile. It’s nice to have your body do what it’s used to doing.”

Reds bringing back unfairly maligned Dusty Baker the right move

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(US Presswire)

Dusty Baker agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Monday. Soon to follow, legions of hate directed in Baker’s direction and also toward the Reds for being stupid enough to re-up with such a horrible manager. Meanwhile, I’m rolling my eyes.

The general malign on Baker is so unfair it’s hard to even put in a proper context.

For one, I still see people talk about him ruining young pitchers’ arms, despite the fact that the Reds had a young and . Are we all still clinging to the from a decade ago? And by the way, you can blame Baker for Mark Prior, but Kerry Wood’s arm troubles began before Baker and never made less than 30 starts in a season until 2009. So Dusty Baker overworked one young starting pitcher nine seasons ago. There’s your issue. Run with it.

Another issue with Baker is supposedly his refusal to play youngsters instead of veterans. Maybe he doesn’t throw guys into the fire as quickly as fans would like sometimes, but he’s overseen the development of , , , , , and . I kinda think that guy knows how to bring young players along better than a message-board poster, no? Also, in 2010 become the first pitcher since 1995 to skip the minors and head directly to the majors. But, yeah, Dusty refuses to play young guys, right?

Another positive: The fact that Baker’s players love and respect him.

“He is the only manager I’ve known and he is the one I’m comfortable with,” said Bruce (). “He has been great to me, to the team, to everyone. I would love to have him back and I know he wants to come back, but there is a lot more to it than that. This is the team he wants to be with.”

“All I can talk about is my relationship, playing under him, and I’ve really enjoyed playing for him,” said Votto (). “I’ve learned from him. I have utmost respect for him and I absolutely love calling him my manager.”

They aren’t alone. In support of Baker you’d find a line out of the door of current and former players.

It’s pretty tough to question Baker’s on-field success, either. He averages a division title slightly more frequently than once every four years (five in 19 seasons), and he’s not exactly operating the Yankees. In 2003, he led the Cubs to their first division title since 1989. He’s won the NL Central with the Reds in two of the past three seasons. Prior to that, the Reds hadn’t won the division since 1995.

We cannot forget that the Reds won 97 games this season while only getting 1ive update on his ankle injury.The Uruguayan sustained a fracture ankle in the FA Cup win over Portsmouth.He had been ruled out for between 8-10 weeks.But with the Premier League suspended until early April, fixtures could be pushed into the summer, 11 games from superstar Votto. The Reds actually thrived initially that many prestigious clubs want to sign Nicholas Pepe.The winger is the prized asset of the French club, having netted 23 goals and managed 12 assists in 41 games last term.Pepe is currently at the African Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast, but hewithout Votto — a top-five player in baseball when healthy — and there’s no chance that happens without strong leadership.

As far as the game management aspect, of course Baker makes mistakes. All managers do. I just feel like he’s so unfairly maligned it’s taken on a life of its own at this point. There’s no way to prove it, but is it possible people are just complaining about things when they don’t work out because it’s Baker?

Take Game 3 of the NLDS, for example. I’ve seen the cries of “Dusty should’ve walked Arias so the had to take Romo out” rise to a fever pitch. But what if issued a bases-loaded walk and the Reds lost 2-1? We’d be hearing about how stupid Dusty is for walking the bases loaded in a 1-1, extra-innings game. I guarantee that. Oh, I know he pulled Homer Bailey too early, too, right? Even though the Reds’ bullpen — a stellar group, by the way — didn’t allow a run until the 11th inning. Can’t you just hear all the complaining about Baker sticking with a pitcher for too long if Bailey loses the game in the eighth or ninth inning?

It just seems all too convenient. Every Dusty dissenter has a convenient excuse to malign every move Baker makes or doesn’t make … after the game.

To reiterate, yes, Baker has his weaknesses. It’s just that his positives far outweigh his negatives. I don’t have the answers as to why he’s so reviled in some circles. It’s not because he doesn’t have a ring. There are some adored managers out there (Joe Maddon, for one) without a ring. For whateve fore at this stage in the season.United have played two games a week for the majority of the season and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rotated his squad throughout the campaign.“Yeah it is a big test, there is no doubt about it,” Maguire told manutd.coer reason, it seems like bashing Dusty Baker is just the cool thing to do.

One thing is for sure: It’s become far too commonplace for fans to lazily pile on Baker. Kudos to the Reds for ignoring the noise and retaining a good manager.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and .

Players back Roger Clemens

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Baseball players are a close-knit fraternity, so it’s hardly a surprise that most of the reaction to Roger Clemens’ not guilty verdict on perjury charges were congratulatory in nature.Here’s some of the reaction culled from various reports from current and former big-league players:• shortstop : “I think [the verdict] means a lot for him, first and foremost,” Jeter said (). “That’s the important thing. I think it’s great for the game that we can stop talking about it now, you know whatl adjusting to eachother’s games.Zouma is relatively new to this particular Chelsea side, which he acknowledges is a work in progress.”We are improving a lot,” the central defender told chelseafc.com. “Last year there were some players out on loan wh I mean?”This is something that’s been going on for a long time. I’m glad it’s over with. I’m pretty sure baseball fans will be happy it’s over with.”• YankeeVlatko Andonovski is set to become the new head coach of the United States women’s football team.The 43-year-old is currently in charge of National Women’s Soccer League side Reign FC in Seattle.Previous head coach Jill Ellis took charge of her final game on 6 October, having won two World Cups with the US.s manager Joe Girardi: “I think when we get all trials out of the way, I think it does [end the discussion],” Girardi said (). “Because it seems like every time soneone was brought up before a grand jury, put on trial, you’d focus on what was going on the last 10, 15 years. Now it seems like we’re beyond. We can focus on what’s going to go on the next 10 years.”• Former catcher Brad Ausmus: “I’m happy for him,” Ausmus said (). “He’s a friend of mine. You certainly want to see the best for him. He was one of the best teammates I’ve played with. You hate to see people that you care about in distressing situations. I’m certainly happy for him, Debbie and the boys.”•  first baseman Lance Berkman: “Obviously this is a great thing for Roger and his family,” Berkman said (). “And I’m glad that he can put this trial behind him and move on to bigger and better things.”• right-hander Jered Weaver: “He’s a great guy, and you know, he always talked about work ethic in this league, and I’ve kind of taken it to heart and run with it,” Weaver said (). “He worked his butt off for a long time to come upw ith those accomplishments. I’m glad to see that everything came out OK.”• Angels outfielder : “The government came aottenham boss Jose Mourinho has told Sky Sports News that Eric Dier is almost certain to play against Burnley on Saturday despite his confrontation with a fan after the Norwich game in midweek.”I don’t think there is any reason for him not to be in tfter our two biggest stars and they got nothing,” Hunter said (). “It was a witch hunt. They got nothing on this sport. So leave us alone, please.”It should also be noted that Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, who testified in the trial, declined comment, as did admitted steroid user . Also adding a no comment was Mike Piazza. who will also be on his first Hall of Fame ballot this year.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and .

Cowboys reportedly set to cut Allen Hurns in move that will save millions in salary cap space

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After just one season in Dallas, it looks like the have decided to cut ties with one of their biggest free agent signings from 2018. 

According to .com, the team has made the somewhat surprising decision to release , who just signed back in March 2018. The move is mostly a surprise due to the timing: The Cowboys are set to report to training camp in just three days (July 26). Even Hurns seemed slightly caught off guard by the timing of the move. 

“Just wished ,” Hurns said, via NFL.conseca enjoyed their 1-1 draw with Lazio.Luis Alberto cancelled out Aleksandar Kolarov’s penalty in a dramatic Derby della Capitale. Roma rattled the frame of the goal twice.“To anyone who enjoys football, it was an extraordinary match,” smiled Fonom. 

In an interview with NFL Network, Hurns laid out the timeline of events. Apparently, the Cowboys asked him to take a pay cut this week, and when he refused, they decided to release him. 

“They asked me for a pay cut Monday,” Hurns said. “Couple days before camp.”

By releasing Hurns, the Cowboys will gain some serious salary cap space. The veteran receiver was set to count $6.25 million against the cap in 2019, but now that he’s going to be released, Hurns will count only $1.25 million against the cap, which is a savings of $5 million for the Cowboys. 

From a personnel standpoint, it’s not a shock at all that the Cowboys are letting Hurns go. With , and expected to fill the starting receiving roles in Dallas, the Cowboys would have been paying Hurns a total of $5 million to be a backup, which wouldn’t make much sense, especially if the Cowboys felt the money would be better used somewhere else. 

During his only season in Dallas, Hurns was expected to be one of the team’s top receivers, be scouts posted for Brescia’s Seria A clash with Juventus on Tuesday night.United will have Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali watched, says Gazzetta dello Sport.The 19-year-old, who has been compared to Andrea Pirlo due to his playing style and long sut he never really adjusted to the Cowboys’ offense. Although he played in all 16 games, with seven starts, Hurns caught only 20 passes for 295 yards and two touchdowns. All three of those numbers were career lows for Hurns, who entered the NFL in 2015. 

Hurns’ season came to a gruesome end in January when during the Cowboys’ 24-22 wild card win over the . The 27-year-old told reporters in J are going head-to-head for Nice superkid Pedro Brazao.The 17 year-old has broken into Nice’s first team this season and has attracted approaches from both European giants.Foot Mercato says Liverpool and PSG have asked Nice to name their price for Brune that from the injury after undergoing surgery in January. 

Rob Gronkowski addresses rumors that he might end retirement and play for Patriots again

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It has been a mere 71 days since after nine season starring for the . Almost as quickly as his career endeof Cuco Martina is clouded.The Liverpool Echo says Martina is close to a return after being sidelined with the knee problem which stopped a summer move out of Everton.But a switch for the defender in the January transfer window remains up in the air.d, there was speculation that Gro of academy graduates have been thrown in the deep end by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season.And Mataed Brighton boss Chris Hughton is being linked with West Brom.The Daily Mail says WBA will approach Hughton to discuss their vacant manager’s position now it is clear they will be in the Championship for another season.Hughton has an excellent track says it is the responsibility of United’s old guard to guide them through tough times.He said: “We have young players coming through and sometimes I snkowski might un-retire and come back to play for the Patriots as soon as this season. 

by commenting on an Instagram post noting that he hoped to throw more than 78 touchdown passes to Gronk. Agent Drew Rosenhaus said he would if Gronkowski returned to the field. 

For the first time, Gronkowski himself addressed those rumors this week. And he does not seem inclined to get back on the field any time soon. 

“Whatever I say it doesn’t matter. It’ll always be crazy out there. ,” Gronkowski said of un-retirement rumors during the One Mission Buzz Off for Kids at Gillette Stadium, per Mike Reiss of espn.com. “I’m feeling good, [I’m in] a good place.”

That’s a pretty definitive statement from Gronkowski, but as he notes, what he says doesn’t matter because there will still be speculation. And you never know if he’ll return until the opportunity presents itself. 

Besides, it’s not like a famous tight end deciding to quickly end his retirement and come back to football is unprecedented. It literally with and the . So, why not Gronk? 

Super Bowl 2019: How the New England Patriots were built through the NFL Draft

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As was the case a season ago, this  team features many prominent players Bill Belichick brought to New England via free agency or trade. However, there’s an important collection of players on both sides of the ball who are homegrown talents found by Belichick and the Patriots’ scouting staff in the draft. 

Outside of Belichick-drafted players  and , let’s examine how these Patriots were built through the draft.

Offense

United are N says Ruiz sees the Bernabeu as his preferred destination, despite rival interest from City and Barcelona.Ruiz does not have a release clause, and he could cost Madrid up to £86million.They have long held an interest in the 23-year-old and followedoffering 19-year-old midfielder Angel Gomes a bumper new deal.Gomes joined United’s academy at the age of six and has now broken through into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s first-team plans after a series of impressive performances.United are sai

Michel had an illustrious career at Georgia alongside stud teammate Nick Chubb. The former top recruit was expected to enter the 2017 Draft but stayed with the Bulldogs for his senior year and averaged 7.9 yards per carry with 15 rushing scores. Despite a smaller frame and twitchiness, Michel grew into an efficient between-the-tackles runner in that final year in college. After totaling just 84 yards on his first 24 carries in the , Michel ran efficiently for the rest of the regular season, when he averaged 4.57 yards per carry (847 yards on 185 attempts). Importantly too has been Michel’s postseason production as the clear-cut workhorse for a Patriots offense much more dedicated to the run than one would expect with Tom Brady still playing quarterback at a high level. He recorded back-to-back 100-yard outings in the divisional round and the AFC title game, and he’s scored a whopping five touchdowns. 

Thuney has been an ironman since entering the league in 2016 as a third-round pick. He’s played in 50 games, including 100% of the Patriots offensive snaps in 2018. He was a late-riser coming out of NC State and was a brick wall in pass-protection, especially late in his collegiate career. At the combine in 2016, he tested as one of the most athletic interior offensive guards in the class and of the past 20 years, with a 40-yard dash, broad jump, three-cone drill, and short shuttle no lower than the 87th percentile at the position since 1999. Thuney has gradually improved since an up-and-down rookie season and is now in the upper echelon of guards in the NFL. 

The Patriots knew they were getting a ridiculous run-blocker when they drafted Mason out of Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense in 2015. Being slightly under 6-foot-2 and under 310 pounds led to many believing Mason wouldn’t be able to continue his dominance paving lanes for the running game at the NFL level. That thought was wrong. Not only has Mason utilized his low-center-of-gravity power and light feet to routinely win the leverage and angle battles against defensive linemen and linebackers, under the tutelage of legendary offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia, he’s become a reliable pass-protector too. 

The 13th running back picked in the 2014 Draft, behind air backs like Dri Archer, Ka’Deem Carey, and De’Anthony Thomas, White has proven to be the most efficient of the group, although he’s morphed into almost purely an underneath wide receiver in New England. He ran for over 1,000 yards at 5.7 yards per carry with 14 rushing touchdowns as a freshman at Wisconsin but didn’t have more than 15 receptions in a season until his senior year when he had 39. His 8 and 1/4-inch hands measure in the 1st percentile among backs at the combine since 1999, but amazingly he’s been a super-reliable pass-catcher with 289 grabs in the regular and post season over the past four years. White currently has six carries for 23 yards and 19 snags for 146 yards in these playoffs.

Cannon battled non-Hodgkins lymphoma at the beginning of his career, and he’s come back from that illness with a vengeance. While he’s nursed some normal football injuries the past two seasons, which has limited him to just 20 games, the massive right tackle is one of the most underrated blockers in the league. In 2011 at the combine, Cannon measured in at 6-5 and 358 pounds, did 33 reps on the bench and still managed a vertical jump over 30 inches, which placed in the 79th percentile. Even his 5.26 second time in the 40 is in the 54th percentile, an awesome feat for someone his size. Cannon plays with impressive balance and plenty of power.

Edelman was (now famously) a quarterback at Kent State but Belichick took a flier on him as a receiver in the seventh round in 2009. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t invited to the combine that year but rocked his pro day with some insane numbers. At just under 5-11 and 195 pounds, Edelman ran a pedestrian 4.52 yet had a three-cone drill time of 6.62 seconds and a short shuttle drill of 3.92. How good are those figures? The three-cone time places him in the 94th percentile among receivers at the combine starting in 1999. The short-shuttle time is in the 97th percentile. No wonder Edelman has been so elusive in his Patriots career. 

Takeaway

Belichick’s ability to find powerful, highly athletic offensive linemen in the middle rounds has been a key piece to the Patriots success, especially this season. Of course, without Brady, New England’s offense wouls six Premier League clubs are chasing Liverpool midfielder Harry Wilson.Wilson, 22, has shone on loan at Derby County from Liverpool this season.The Mirror says Bournemouth, Newcastle, Southampton and Brighton are the top-flight contingent asking fod be considerably different, but a lot of credit has to be given to the likes of Thuney, Mason and Co. up front and for Belichick for being patient and finding them outside the first two rounds. As for Michel, for as good as he’s been of late, Belichick using a first-round pick on him was probably not the best value. However, for as much ridicule as teams have recently (and rightfully) received for taking a back that early, New England did have two first-round selections in 2018 and as a contender, adding a talented offensive piece isn’t the worst idea.

and it will air on CBS and streamed  and  for .

Defense

Roberts had 142 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, and six sacks in his senior season at Houston. His 142 tackles (and 88 solo) led the country in 2015. At just over 5-11 and a compact 234 pounds with 4.60 speed, Roberts landed in the sixth round. Not shocking. But he’s carved out an important niche as a rotational linebacker who finds the football often. In 2018, he only played 41% of New England’s defensive snaps but managed 65 total tackles and four pass breakups. Roberts reads play designs very quickly and is a high-motor defender.

Flowers has been the Patriots’ best pass-rusher for a few seasons now, and his hand work (and long arms) are to thank for his consistent production. At 6-2 and 266 pounds, Flowers’ 34 and 1/4-inch arms are super long, and he uses a variety of pass-rushing moves to beat offensive linemen after he keeps them off his chest. Flowers is an explosive linear athlete too, so he can win with burst off the snap. His vertical and broad at the 2015 combine are in the 90th and 91st percentile respectively among defensive linemen at the combine since 1999. He’s set to hit free agency after the Super Bowl and is bound to sign a lucrative multi-year deal. 

Brown didn’t have his fifth-year option picked up by the Patriots, so, like Flowers, he’s an impending free agent. The soon-to-be 25-year-old former first-round pick doesn’t have the dynamic athleticism to be a serious pass-rusher in the NFL, and his stats back that up. He has 8.5 sacks in three seasons and didn’t have a quarterback takedown in 2018. However, he’s a stellar block-shedder and a 6-2 and 319 pounds, he’s a boulder on the inside. Brown’s a great run-defender, which still has its value. Just not nearly as much as it did even five or 10 years ago.

After not being invited to the combine in 2013, Belichick took criticism for picking Harmon at No. 91 overall in that draft. He had five picks as a junior in 2011 but only reeled in one interception as a senior. He played in 15 games as a rookie and has played a full regular season in each year since, and he already has 15 picks to his name at the pro level, including four in 2017 and four in 2018. Harmon is a versatile safety who plays the run well, is above-average in coverage, and has great ball skills. This was a gem of a find for Belichick. 

McCourty is the quarterback of New England’s secondary and has seemingly not lost a step now into his 30s. At 5-11 and 193 pounds, he ran a blistering 4.38 in the 40 in 2010 and of any ball-carrier in 2018, when he reached 22.05 miles per hour an interception against the Bills in October. McCourty has at least one pick in every season as a professional and hasn’t had fewer than 78 tackles since 2015. He still has elite range from center field, which allows the Patriots to get an extra defender into the box with single high safety looks. 

Takeaway

Belichick has been able to get more out of Harmon, Flowers, and Roberts than anyone thought he could. McCourty started as a corner and has been one of the best safeties in the game for years now. Harmon and Flowers have standout athletic traits, and Roberts’ high-energy playing style is an ideal fit in his sub-package role. 

Pete Carroll, Seahawks ‘stand in support’ of Michael Bennett after ‘horrendous incident’

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has the full support of the . His coach and teammates after Bennett revealed Wednesday that he was the victim of excessive force and racial profiling by Las Vegas police late last month.

“Michael Bennett unfortunately experienced a horrendous incident on Aer manager Freddie Ljungberg is not worrying about the January transfer window.Ljungberg took over from sacked boss Unai Emery recently.Given he is not in the job permanently, the Swede would prefer to concentrate on getting the most from the playersugust 27,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters Wednesday, according to the team’s website. “We are thankful he is safe, and we take this opportunitCOMMENT: What a way to introduce yourself to your new boss. If first impressions matter, then Roman Abramovich surely has a new favourite player. That first 45 from Christian Pulisic couldn’t have gone any better…Two goals and a penalty won. All bey to say that we stand in support of him and anyone facing inequalities.

“What happened with Michael is a classic illustration of the reality of inequality demonstrated daily. May this incident inspire all of us to respond with compassion when inequalities are brought to light, and allow us to have the courage to stand for change.”

Bennett  with Las Vegas police that took place after attending the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight. Bennett says he heard gunshots as he was walking back to his hotel and as he and others began to flee the area, police “singled” him out. Bennett ended up on the ground with police pointing a gun at him for “nothing more than being a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

The police  Bennett’s claims of racial profiling, but video footage of the incident left his brother,  tight end , .

Meanwhile, Bennett’s teammate, , says he has had similar experiences with police.

“Yeah, yeah I mean I’ve experienced that,” said Sherman, who grew up in Compton, Calif. “I’ve been hemmed up countless times when I was younger. I mean you live in the inner city, that is just how it goes. They are trying to patrol the city, just trying to keep the city safe. A black between the size of 6-4 and 5-3 and they’re gonna get you. But thankfully I made it out alive, he made it out alive and we move past it.

“I mean it is unfortunate. Obviously, I’m happy that [Bennett] made it out. Day in the life, though, you know. I’m sure as he said, something that he has been through I’m sure and hopefully he doesn’t have to go through again, but no amount of money, no amount of fame and no amount of notoriety that could keep you from things like that happening to you …” 

Bennett also spoke Wednesday.

“Itosovo U21 in Hull on Monday night.Foden has been frustrated with his limited opportunities at Manchester City this season and he was at the prove a point at the KCOM Stadium.The attacking midfielder got his first after 25 minutes when he poked home f is a traumatic experience for me, my family and it sucks that the country we live in now, sometimes you get profiled for the color of your skin and it is a tough situation for me,” he said. “Do I think every police officer is bad? No, I don’t believe that. Do I believe that there some people out there that judge people by the color of their skin? I do believe that and I’m just focused on trying to push forward and keep continuously championing the quest for justice for people, keeping pushing equality for oppressed people and that’s what I am about and going to keep doing. …

“For me, I just want to thank my wife for supporting me,” Bennett continued. “Without her, I wouldn’t be able to have the strength to be up here right now. The whole time, through the whole situation, all I could think about was my wife and my kids. People sometimes think the game (of football) is the most important thing, but for me, the whole time I wasn’t thinking about the , I wasn’t thinking about what play we were going to run against Green Bay, or sacking , I was just literally thinking about my wife and children and how much they mean to me.” 

By Wednesday evening, commissioner Roger Goodell .

“Michael Bennett represents the best of the NFL — a leader on his team and in his community,” Goodell said. “Our foremost concern is the welfare of Michael and his family. While we understand the Las Vegas police department will address this later this evening, the issues Michael has been raising deserve serious attention from all of our leaders in every community. We will support Michael and all NFL players in promoting mutual respect between law enforcement and the communities they loyally serve and fair and equal treatment under the law.”

NFL explains why James Harrison can’t record video of mandatory drug test

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The NFL prohibited linebte.Bosnich, who played for both clubs, believes Pogba is the type of player Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should be building his team around.However, he reckons he needs one of his France team-mates in Chelsea’s Kante or Juventus’ Blaise Matuidi alongside himacker from and, it turns out, the league has reasons beyond “this is obviously a conspiracy!” for doing so.

“A player may not film a drug test,” spokesman Brian McCarthy told in an email. “Both the league and NFLPA recognize that the collection protocols and procedures are designed to ensure the accuracy and identification of the specimens to be tested. To maintain the integrity of the protocols and protect against the possibility of manipulation of the process at the time or during future tests, the policy prohibits devices and other objects in the collection area or taking photographs or video of specific collections.

“There are a number of protections in place for both the player and collector to ensure that the protocols are properly followed. In addition to the multi-step verification of identity and confirmations of specimen and bottle integrity, the protocols expressly allow both the player and collector to note and report for investigation any perceived irregularity or deviation in the collection his move to Real Madrid.The departing Flamengo attacker’s transfer was confirmed this morning. Real are paying €30m in total for the 18 year-old, with 80 per cent going to the club and the remaining 20 per cent being shared by the agents and familyprocess.”

Seems reasonable, even if Harrison had legitimate reasons for wanting to record the encounter.

“To clarify — I never have a problem being tested,” Harrison wrote on . “I wasn’t videoing the test because I was suspicious of the process. I was only vidm Manchester United.It is understood United made contact with Eriksen’s representatives over a potential move.However, according to journalist Tom McDermott, the Danish playmaker has given a clear “no” to the proposal.He added that United are havineoing leading up to the actual test to post it on IG for what I think is interesting behind the scenes content for the fans, which I had done when I was tested earlier this year, with no notice of wrongdoing.”

Worth pointing out: The drug tester from Harrison’s February test was fired for not following protocol.

Harrison continued: “If the league can invade our space and interrupt our preseason training with shows like Hard Knocks because it’s interesting behind the scenes content for the fans, why can’t I post this?”

And now we know: Accuracy and integrity of the test takes precedence over social media.

Vikings: Tight ends battle impacted by injuries

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The favor two tight end sets, and that requires depth at the position. They have five tight ends in camp, and injuries are beginning to take their toll. The remaining two weeks of the preseason will be important for the tight end position iand for backups trying to make the team.TE , who was brought in as a prized free agent during the offseason to give QB more weapons to throw to, injured the MCL in his right knee on July 31. He has not returned to practice for three weeks. Coach Leslie Frazier hopes to get him back next week to do some work prior to the final , while Carlson said he will be back for the season opener.He has missed plenty of valuable time building chemistry with his quarterback.“He started to really come along,” Ponder said of Carlson before the injury. “He was new to this offense and he had to get comfortable. But especially in mini-camp, he was making plays–like in the two-minute drill where he made a catch in tight coverage. He has great hands; he’s a really smart guy–even though he went to Notre Dame (Ponder said jokingly). He is going to do well once he gets back.”The other starting tight end, , made an early exit Friday from the Bills game after he was sandwiched between two defenders. Rudolph went through the concussion protocol even though he thought it was more of an eardrum injury. He returned to practice on Monday, but the Vikings may want to be cautious with him the rest of the preseason.That leaves two second-year tight ends, and , and the rookie to bolster the unit. Reisner and Shuler are two pass-catching tight ends, and may be locked in a tight bited defender Eric Bailly is eyeing an early return after undergoing knee surgery.Bailly went under the knife in July after suffering ligament damage in his right knee during a pre-season friendly against Tottenham in China.He was set to be ruled outattle for a spot, while fourth-round draft pick Ellison (who has 3 catches for 25 yards in the two preseason games) has taken advantage of the extra first-team reps for a rookie.“There’s definitely some more opportunChelsea boss Frank Lampard spoke about his dream return to Stamford Bridge.The former Blues midfielder faced his first home game as manager against Leicester City on Sunday.Despite the negative of a 1-1 draw, Lampard admitted it was a special moment ities out there,” said Ellison. “I am just trying not to make mistakes—just play my role in the offense whenever I get a shot.”Reisner was with the Vikier Gini Wijnaldum is among players helping to fund the country’s federation.Gorre has just led the nation to next year’s Gold Cup and feels only a lack of finances is holding the country’s footballers back.”I am convinced that we are going to be in tngs last season, bouncing on and off the practice squad, but he said he feels more comfortable.“It is a lot easier to play knowing your assignment—before, you were just thinking about it in the huddle,” he said.It may come down to who is the best blocker, since they can all catch the ball. They will need to fill the role vacated by the retired , who was one of the best blocking tight ends in the league. But if the injury bug continues, all three backups could find their way onto the roster.

For more Vikings news and notes, follow Joe Oberle on Twitter .