Seahawks sign Rashaad Penny to his rookie deal

Another first-round pick is under contract as the Seahawks announced they signed running back Rashaad Penny, the 27th overall selection.

Penny, who led the nation in rushing at San Diego State last season, became only the second first-round pick for the Seahawks in the past six drafts.

He rushed for 3,266 yards the past two seasons and caught 34 passes for 359 yards.

Especially Curry, who snapped out of his slump with four in the second half.

“I’ve seen those explosions happen everywhere, not just here,” Green said. “His 3 is similar to some people’s dunk. You go to certain arenas and a guy gets a dunk it’s just absurd. That’s how his 3 ball is. … Don’t mean to disappoint, but I’ve seen crazier from him.”

Harden had 20 points and nine assists, while Chris Paul added 13 points and 10 rebounds as they combined to shoot just 12 for 32.

During a fan forum conference call, Suggs said he thought he and quarterback Joe Flacco would remain key parts of the franchise for years to come.

“To be totally honest with you, I don’t see my peak in my near future,” Suggs said, via Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. “The answer to your question is yes. We’re definitely going to be two major, key parts of the leadership on this team. We also have other leaders, but from an offensive and defensive standpoint, absolutely. We take that very seriously. We take pride in that. We’re looking forward to doing some special things this year.

“I’ve said this before: It’s a trip to get to do it all again. I love playing ball. I love being Sizzle. When the time comes for me to just be a full-time dad, a full-time actor, writer, director, producer, I will do all that. But right now, it’s flock. Go flock, Ravens nation.”
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Report: Donald Penn ‘in great shape’ after season-ending surgery

It’s been a whirlwind of an offseason to this point for Oakland Raiders starting left tackle Donald Penn. Much of it, though, hasn’t exactly been positive.

And now, with everything seemingly turning back to football, there’s actually some positive news on the Penn front, and this was certainly needed.

The end result was the same: a reinforcement of the O.J. Simpson model but on an even more public stage — there was no advantage to identifying with being black. That came with responsibility. Take, for example, the time when Woods was hitting supernova status, the most talked-about athlete in America. He had just won the Masters, and now, as his father predicted, he would “move mountains.” It was an unsubtle comparison to Ali, a wish to join the Heritage. It was all coming together.

It was also 1997, the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson entering the majors. The Jackie Robinson Foundation contacted Woods, asking him to participate in the celebration at a Mets game, side by side with Rachel Robinson. Woods demurred. He said he was busy. He said he had an overwhelming number of commitments to his sponsor, Nike.

I try not to even worry about that, Martin said. I need to make every rep count that I get. I’m doing what the coaches tell me to do, being in the playbook and taking this environment in.

Mincamps — with no pads and no tackling — are designed for running backs to shine, and Martin looked good hitting his holes and catching passes during his first NFL practice.

Competing in everything I do helped me, Martin said. The film doesn’t lie. There were a lot of ups and downs at Rutgers, but when you press play on the film I’m going to give it 110 percent every chance I get.

Including on kickoff and punt teams, which he played even as Rutgers’ starting running back.

I played defense in high school, so I have no problem hitting anybody, Martin said with a big smile. I’m trying to do whatever I can to get my foot in the door.

Martin finished 10th in Rutgers history with 2,256 rushing yards and ran for 18 touchdowns, but his two best seasons were his first two playing in a pro-style offense similar to the Giants’ scheme under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur.
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He’ll have to buy a ticket for admission.

“The time that I’ve spent wondering if this day would ever come seems to be vanished and erased right now because it did come, and it’s amazing,” the 62-year-old Morris said during a conference call.

Brady, Roethlisberger and Brees will someday receive induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Wentz will join them if his young career continues to skyrocket. Keenum?

But don’t make the mistake of getting too caught up in the past or future. Keenum is the right quarterback for the Vikings right now.

And if Minnesota (9-2) continues playing like it did in Thursday’s 30-23 win at Detroit, Keenum could very well become the most improbable signal-caller to win a Super Bowl since Kurt Warner with the 1999 St. Louis Rams.

Stefanou’s 17 field goals are tied for the sixth most in Colorado history, and were the second most by a true freshman this season. His 53-yarder against Arizona State was the second-longest field goal in school history. Bonus points for being the nation’s oldest freshman. The Australia native is 30.

Almost two seasons after letting Hayward walk in free agency, the Packers’ secondary has been a mess. Brett Hundley at QB is closer to a wash vs. Kizer. Green Bay has been relying heavily on the run, and if Cleveland contains as usual, it will have a real shot.

The money isn’t ridiculous or anything. I just worry about the home runs and the age and he’s probably not closer material. This isn’t a terrible deal or anything, but you’d prefer to solve this kind of setup roles with cheaper, internal options. — David Schoenfield
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Raiders’ Amari Cooper leaves game vs. Chiefs with ankle injury

The loss was the Chiefs’ fourth in their last five games. After sprinting out to the top of the AFC, Kansas City is now staring up at the opportunity to skip the first round of this year’s playoffs — and if the Chiefs can’t get this fixed, they could slip right out of contention altogether.

On Sunday, the Ravens did something no team has done since You were Time Magazine’s Person of the Year: They shut out the Packers at Lambeau.

Yeah yeah, Aaron Rodgers is injured right now, and the Packers’ running back situation is a big shrug emoji, but that’s still impressive, especially since it’s the third time Baltimore has blanked an opponent this season.

This space is intended for a list of key players, not including those who have been moved to injured reserve status, who are officially listed as “out” for the upcoming game.

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins, hamstring: This will be Reed’s sixth consecutive missed game as a result of the hamstring strain he suffered in Week 8. The team still has no plans to place him on injured reserve, according to coach Jay Gruden.

Colts coach Chuck Pagano said he isn’t letting the uncertainty of his job status weigh him down, despite it being the third straight year that he’ll head into the offseason not knowing his future.

A Stanton deal has been tougher.

The Marlins had the parameters of trades with both the Giants and Cardinals, but both clubs said Friday that Stanton refused to waive his no-trade clause for them.

“Our agreement with the Marlins to acquire Giancarlo Stanton subject to his waiving of the no-trade clause will not move forward and it is our understanding that the Marlins and Stanton are exploring other options,” the Giants said in a release.chargers_011

They are motivated to prove they can win without Paul.

They’ll play faster, attack the rim more, and generate their usual bounty of foul shots.

But something feels rickety, even beyond health anxiety. The Clips are thin on true wings. They will lean on three-guard lineups, and bigger groups with tweeners — including Gallinari in the starting group — contorting themselves into wings to accommodate Griffin and Jordan. Their defense slipped horribly last season after an airtight first 20 games.

It seems unlikely that Clippers find that 50-win ceiling. If they finish closer to their floor, they’ll end up in the lottery. That could bring seismic change

“It feels tremendous,” said Smart. “I do a lot of things that don’t show up in the stat sheet. And those things, you can’t teach. This league is so focused on scoring the ball, but they don’t look at the other things, like diving on a loose ball when it’s a close game, a one- or two-possession game, getting your team another possession. Or ripping the ball away from somebody or taking a charge.”

The way Smart slimmed down this season, some wondered if he’d still be able to guard bigger and stronger players. Smart found the suggestion that he might struggle amusing.

Irving (13.3 ADP) is being taken a little higher than I’d like, and he plays a point guard position that’s far and away the deepest in fantasy hoops this season. Neither of those are necessarily good things, but Irving has a chance to take his game to a new level in Boston now that he’s finally out of the shadow of LeBron James. I expect Irving to run be the Celtics’ go-to-guy while Gordon Hayward serves as the team’s next-best offensive option. If I can land Davis in the middle of Round 1 and Irving in the middle of Round 2, I’m thrilled with that nucleus.ravens_016

the Cowboys should rank among the league’s best offenses.

He grew up during a lull for star athletes coming out of Oakland. There was Morrison and Langston Walker, two O’Dowd products who played for the Raiders, but the connection’s a little bit deeper with guys from the public Oakland Athletic League schools like Tech, McClymonds and Skyline.

Lynch broke into the NFL as Peters was starting high school at McClymonds. His influence back home could be felt those 2,300 or so miles from Buffalo, but to have someone like Lynch playing for the Raiders…

“That would’ve been dope,” said Peters, now a Kansas City Chiefs star cornerback. “We ain’t got too many people who we can say are from Oakland for these kids to really look up to, at least who come back and give back like we all do. For ‘Shawn to finish off this last little stretch of his career here at home, that’s dope.”

The program is a voluntary alternative to criminal prosecution for first-time offenders accused of misdemeanors or nonviolent felony crimes.

Snead will still be suspended for the first three games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. He was originally suspended four games, but that dropped to three after appeal.

According to the police report, Snead was arrested shortly after 6:30 a.m. on June 11 near his home in Kenner, Louisiana, after his vehicle struck another vehicle and suffered “heavy front end damage.” A breath test later yielded a blood-alcohol content for Snead of 0.125, which is over the legal limit of 0.08.

Even if Ezekiel Elliott does miss a chunk of the season under suspension, the Cowboys should rank among the league’s best offenses. Remember, the Dallas O was dominant last season despite having Dez Bryant for less than 65 percent of its offensive snaps. The offensive line is retooling, but the three core pieces — Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin — are still around. And Dak Prescott should only get better in his second season.
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Martellus Bennett, Doug Baldwin support Michael Bennett’s national anthem protest

The backlash has continued against players who have not stood for the national anthem, including Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett.

Before Seattle’s preseason opener against Chargers on Sunday, Bennett sat while the anthem was played, furthering the movement started by Colin Kaepernick a year ago.

The deal adds Crabbe to a young, talented Nets backcourt that includes Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell. Crabbe is locked up for the next two seasons under that hefty contract with a player option in 2019-20, but he did waive his trade kicker, according to Wojnarowski. It’s still a steep price to pay for a player who averaged 10.7 points in 28.5 minutes per game last season, particularly when you consider the Trail Blazers had a significantly worse offensive rating with him on the floor. However, Crabbe did shoot 44.4 percent from 3-point range on nearly four attempts per game in 2016-17, and perhaps Nets coach Kenny Atkinson can continue developing the 25-year-old on the team’s long road to improvement.

For the Trail Blazers, this is a huge salary-cap move. ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes Portland will save more than $40 million in luxury taxes and $60 million in salary and taxes combined for the upcoming season. Prior to Tuesday’s trade, the Trail Blazers were second in the league in salary behind only the Cavs, a team with a very different set of issues at the moment.

Although Testaverde put together a good, long career with his play for the Browns, Ravens and Jets after Tampa, he was a bust from the Bucs’ perspective as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1987 draft. The hyped Miami Hurricane was an INT machine as a young passer, winning only a third of his 72 starts with just 77 touchdowns to 112 picks, including a 13-35 ratio in his second season. At least he stayed in great shape to get backup gigs all the way through age 44 and surpass 45,000 yards.dolphins_034

Cavs fan Justin Bieber played pick-up game in Steph Curry uniform

Does Justin Bieber have a new favorite NBA team?

The pop star, a known Cavaliers fan, recently shared a photo of himself on Instagram playing a pick-up basketball game in a full Steph Curry uniform while visiting Australia.

Is Bieber a bandwagoner? Or did he perhaps decide to switch teams after getting booed at the NBA Finals last year for picking LeBron James and the Cavs to win?

Tatum also moves up the board after a terrific final month of college basketball. Tatum has figured things out on this level and become the weapon that he was expected to be coming into the year. From Feb. 15 onward, Tatum averaged 19.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game for the Blue Devils while shooting 48 percent from the field, 36 percent from 3 and 89 percent from the foul line.

Put that into conjunction with a kid who is widely known to have a sterling reputation to pair with a hard-working personality, and it’s not out of the question that he gets into conversation for No. 1 overall if Duke goes on a run and he leads the way.

Jackson falls a touch here mostly due to the rise of Ball and Tatum. He’s still the same level prospect: a do-it-all wing who can score on or off ball, create plays for others through passing and play with an elite level motor. He’s still the first high-major freshman wing to put up averages of 16 points, six rebounds and three assists per game since Dwyane Wade (who did it in a Conference USA that was the No. 7 league in the country).steelers_124

Nationals SS Trea Turner reportedly suffers broken wrist, no timetable for return

Nationals shortstop Trea Turner suffered a broken right wrist Thursday in a 5-4 loss to the Cubs, according to the Washington Post.

Turner ultimately left the game after being hit by a pitch in the seventh inning.

There is no timetable for his return, but a similar injury gave Braves slugger Freddie Freeman a 10-week return date.

Turner had been stealing bases at an alarming rate in recent weeks, but he will now be out until close to the start of the postseason.

The Nationals already lost center fielder Adam Eaton for the season with a torn ACL, and have had a myriad of bullpen injuries.

Stephen Drew may immediately start at shortstop for the Nationals, but the team could look for a cheap trade before the July 31 trade deadline.

Last season, Ajayi had three games in which he gained 200 or more rushing yards. That’s good! He also had eight games in which he gained 51 yards or fewer. That’s bad!

The hard-charging rusher tallied 420 yards in two games against the Bills and 885 in 14 other games. Much of his inconsistent 2016 had to do with how Miami utilized him. His yards-per-game output dropped against winning teams as the Dolphins were forced to throw the ball more as they played from behind. He earned more carries against less successful clubs — nearly 4.5 per game — but his per-touch performance remained essentially the same regardless of opponent.
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J.J. Watt asks Antonio Brown to haze brother T.J. ‘a little extra’

Clady, who has missed 37 games in the last four years, simply is never healthy. He had a chance to jumpstart his career with the Jets last season but played poorly and once again finished the season on IR.

Teams are desperate for left tackles, and he may follow the Jake Long career path, playing for $1.5 million or so per year and hoping to put together one last quality season.

T.J. Watt may have been the Steelers’ top pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, but that likely won’t keep him from the usual rounds of rookie hazing. And if older brother J.J. Watt has any say, he may receive a few more.

The elder Watt, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said he asked Steelers superstar receiver Antonio Brown to “look over my brother and be sure to haze him a little extra for me.” Typical older brother move.

MORE: Three reasons Pittsburgh drafting James Conner is perfect

J.J. Watt, of course, can call in the favor since he and Brown were one-time college teammates at Central Michigan in 2007.

Couple that with the fact J.J. Watt is already excited to meet with T.J. in the Steelers-Texans Christmas Day matchup, and we have the beginnings of the next great sibling rivalry in the NFL.

Hey, at least Kizer, Webb and Beatherd got to enjoy half the feeling of Watson, Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes. Peterman, everyone’s favorite convenient Cousins comparison, is still sitting on the board.

For the QB-needy teams of the near future still needing one, Tennessee’s Josh Dobbs is the better option at this point.