Boston needed a win, and they got back on track for a game at least.

We will have no 3-0 leads coming from Friday’s games, with both teams who trailed by two games picking up a win. First came Boston, who shifted Gerald Green into the starting five and found their offense once again. It was a panic move, because anything happens in a panic when a top seed goes down two games to none against the No. 8 team. But Green scored eight points, and it reinvigorated the Celtics enough for the win.

It’s not quite the same situation, but the Thunder also won Game 3 to prevent that just about insurmountable 3-0 deficit. James Harden dropped 44 points in the loss, amazingly.

Finally, the Jazz and the Clippers provided us another thrilling ending and game in general, really turning this entire series into a much watch. Here’s a breakdown for each one.

Baltimore owner Steve Bisciotti wasn’t very accepting of the apology, to say the least.

I’m disappointed in the Bears and the McCaskeys,Bisciotti said via The Baltimore Sun. It is, in my opinion, a deviation from their great legacy. They concluded that their heartfelt and admirable apology was sufficient for our loss. All of us at the Ravens strongly disagree … probably end of story.
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Ravens head coach John Harbaugh spoke in an interview later.

With about two and a half minutes left, we had a deal. And for two and a half minutes, Ozzie [Newsome] was on the phone with the Bears, and the Bears were telling Ozzie that they had called the deal in. I mean, we all know that you’ve gotta call the deal in for it to be official.

Game Kids Greg Luzinski Jersey I think we had an understanding that we would get Jimmy [Smith] even when we were off the clock, we didn’t overreact to the fact that we were off the clock. But we were very disappointed, and we’re still disappointed.

The NFL might finally be easing up in its War on Fun

Last night I had a dream. In that dreamland, I watched a wide receiver catch a 38-yard pass and run it all the way into the end zone. As soon as the ref threw his arms up in the air, the player put the ball on the ground and thrusted his hips, once, twice, three, and four times. Fans watching in the seats gave their own joyous gyrations in return. An orgy of fun.

Youth Sam Koch Jersey In another dream a cornerback rudely grabbed an errant pass before it could make it to a waiting running back in the flat. Eight seconds and 60 yards later, pick six. He threw the ball into the air and shot it down with an imaginary arrow fired from a bow he conjured up from space.

The Nevada Gaming Commission is the policy maker for the state of Nevada and gaming, and (the NFL has) not approached us in any shape, way or form, Tony Alamo, the Nevada Gaming Commission chairman, told ESPN.

It’s a sticky situation for the NFL, which has typically not been flexible about the rules on gambling. The league even fined several players for participating in an arm wrestling competition this spring because it was held in a casino.

But mobile betting isn’t a new problem for the league. Gambling is legal in England, and with games in London each year, the NFL has had to navigate this issue already. During London games, the betting kiosks inside Wembley Stadium are unavailable, but fans are still able to make bets through smartphone apps.
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The NFL didn’t have much to say about the matter. Spokesman Brian McCarthy simply said that the Raiders are required to abide by league rules.

NFL owners meet this week in Chicago, and they are expected vote on whether or not to ratify the Raiders’ lease.

they weren’t in operation for three of those seasons.

New York has had Boomer Esiason, Vinny Testaverde and Brett Favre pass through as all-stars in their twilight years. Heck, Sanchez didn’t make the Pro Bowl, but he had a couple of strong playoff runs after the 2009 and 2010 seasons. And here’s a reminder that Cleveland had current Carolina backup Derek Anderson go to Honolulu only 10 years ago.

Since Ken O’Brien in ’85, the Jets have had only 25 starting QBs. Since Bernie Kosar in ’85, the Browns have had 37 starting QBs, and they weren’t in operation for three of those seasons.

Game Youth Christian Folin Jersey So the quantity is close to Chicago, with a little more quality in both cases. It also makes it appropriate that ageless journeyman Josh McCown is going for the Bears-Browns-Jets starting trifecta in 2017 — something neither Testaverde nor Mike Tomczak could complete.

The skid: Haven’t won the World Series, ever (franchise started in 1961 as the Washington Senators)

Game Youth Brian Rafalski USA Jersey Need to know: The Rangers, of course, have been tantalizingly close to that elusive first World Series title recently. They made the Fall Classic for the first time in 2010, but the Giants won that one in five games. Texas made it back in 2011, and the Rangers were only one strike away — on two separate occasions — from claiming the crown in Game Six against St. Louis, but the Cardinals rallied both times to force Game Seven, which they won, 6-2. Texas should be ready for another run in 2017.

Cowboys’ Randy Gregory reportedly fails 7th drug test

If Randy Gregory had any hope of playing football again, that chance is now certainly blown.

The Cowboys’ troubled defensive end recently failed a drug test for the seventh time and has prompted genuine concern for his well-being from those close to him, TMZ Sports reported Saturday.

Though he was a full-time starter just one season, Charlton was a first-team All-Big Ten selection after collecting 9 1/2 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. At 6-6, 277, Charlton has superior length with 34-inch arms and can wreak havoc up front. He has to be more consistent, so the challenge for the Cowboys defensive staff is to help him develop into an every-down starter.

“He’s got length, he’s got power, he’s got athletic ability. He doesn’t have the twitch,” NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said of Charlton. “What you see on tape is what I saw at the combine where he doesn’t quite have the twitch of an elite edge rusher, so I think he’s more of a base 3-4 end. And there is nothing wrong with that. You can be a good football player that plays eight to ten years in the league.”

The Cowboys were stout against the run last season, but did not have much of a pass rush. Charlton can fill that void, especially with Randy Gregory set to miss most of the season with another suspension.

Draft picks: Ole Miss TE Evan Engram, Alabama DT Dalvin Thompson, Cal QB Davis Webb, Clemson RB Wayne Gallman, Youngstown State DE Avery Moss, Pittsburgh T Adam Bisnowaty

Jerry Reese has done it again. Offensively, New York got a little more support for Eli Manning with both Engram and Gallman, but also got a potential No. 1 QB to groom behind him in Webb. Defensively, Moss and Thompson are their typical brand of 4-3 linemen. Bisnowaty has left tackle upside. The only thing missing is some needed youthful speed and quickness at linebacker.


Cubs’ White House visit first championship celebration attended by First Lady

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President Barack Obama, in his last week in office, welcomed the World Champion Chicago Cubs to the White House on Monday. It was the first visit from championship sports team attended by First Lady Michelle Obama in his eight years as president, Obama revealed.

The Cubs’ visit was the last official White House event of Obama’s presidency.

They said this day would never come, Obama opened. Here is something none of my predecessors ever got a chance to say: Welcome to the White House, World Series Champion Chicago Cubs!

If you were Smith or Manuel and you could get a re-do, wouldn’t you sit on the bench for three or four years? How different would their careers and financial futures look? Would Kaepernick’s situation be different had he refused to waive his guarantees and just sat on the bench last season?
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Smith’s desire to start for the Jets and his ability to actually win a starting job in 2013 and ’14 likely cost him somewhere between $12 million and $14 million. Had he been a success, how much more would he have made?

If you are Jimmy Garoppolo, AJ McCarron, Paxton Lynch, Christian Hackenberg or any late first- to mid-round draft pick who has some name value, why would you jeopardize your financial future? Look good enough in the preseason or a few snaps in mop-up duty to get some interest, but not good enough to unseat the starter.

In general, the salary disparity comes off as unfair and should make players in the future think about the benefits of playing when things around them are bad.

This might not be a problem in the NFL today, but if the divide in contract valuation between the Glennons and the Manuels of the league continues to exist, it will have an impact in the future.

Manny Ramirez signs with club in Japan to revive playing career

Manny Ramirez will play professional baseball once again in 2017 — in Japan.
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The former MLB star has signed a contract with the Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League Plus, the club announced Monday, reviving a playing career that’s been dormant since 2014 when Ramirez was a player-coach with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate.

MORE: Ranking the 25 worst Hall of Fame selections ever

The SILP is a four-team independent league that’s not associated with Nippon Professional Baseball, Japan’s top-tier professional league.

Ramirez, 44, last played in the majors in 2011, when he made 17 plate appearance with the Rays.

The 19-year MLB veteran is on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year, though he’s not expected to carry the requisite 75 percent of the vote for election.

Last month, Ramirez’s wife, Juliana, hinted to TMZ that the former slugger had begun training to play again, stoking rumors he might try to stage an against-the-odds MLB comeback. Now we know what she meant.

Now he, too, is sidelined with an injury.

This season has been a struggle even for the healthy guys. Five position players have at least 19 plate appearances and a batting average of .185 or worse: Leonys Martin (.111 before he was designated for assignment Sunday), Danny Valencia (.172), Mike Zunino (.185), Carlos Ruiz (.133) and Mike Freeman (.111).
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Pitchers have struggled, too. James Paxton has a 1.78 ERA, but he’s the only starter under 4.00. Six relievers with at least four innings pitched have an ERA of 5.40 or higher.

Look, it’s early. I get that. One bad inning can torpedo a reliever’s ERA early in the season. We’re not making bold The Mariners are finished! proclamations. Far from it.

Rockies, All-Star 3B Nolan Arenado agree to 2-year, $29.5M deal

Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado, a Gold Glove defender and strong presence in the middle of Colorado’s young batting order, agreed Friday to a two-year deal worth $29.5 million, The Denver Post reported.

Arenado, 25, avoids arbitration with the contract that takes him through the 2018 season and leaves him only one more year of arbitration.

Nolan earned his contract, and the Rockies treated him right, Arenado’s agent, Joe Wolfe, said.

Arenado batted .285/.331/.520 with 41 homers and 133 RBIs in his fourth major-league season.

The two-time All-Star also earned his fourth Gold Glove and second Silver Slugger award.
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He is considered a cornerstone of a young Rockies everyday lineup under new manager Bud Black.

Carlos Hyde Kids Jersey Good entertainment was all Turner wanted. He left the details up to Wussler and Hanson, who outlined a program that would focus on the behind-the-scenes aspects of a baseball season in a way that, while told through the Braves, would appeal to fans of any team.

How does a player occupy his day? What does he do on a road trip? What happens in a team meeting?

The routines of ballplayers, Hanson said. That was my intention going in.

It didn’t matter that the Braves weren’t a good team. The documentary would be structured so that the season’s on-field results would be secondary, serving mostly as a backdrop, so the content could be entertaining and relatable for years to come.

Chad Kelly has the physical skill, size and toughness required to play in the NFL.

By eliminating what would have been a fascinating drama over when, or if, Kelly would be signed after the draft, Elway also added more than one unique twist. Kelly, as most know, has the bloodlines as Jim Kelly’s nephew. The Hall of Fame Bills quarterback took to Instagram two weeks before the draft to vouch for Chad and his character, and Chad showed his appreciation on Twitter.

Elway, as observers noted immediately after the pick Saturday, was a draft mate of Kelly in the famous 1983 first round, which was loaded with legendary quarterbacks. They led their teams to nine Super Bowls combined, and tangled endlessly throughout the 1980s and ‘90s for AFC supremacy, along with Dan Marino.

Authentic Kids Nelson Agholor Jersey Chad Kelly has the physical skill, size and toughness required to play in the NFL. But his sketchy judgment has been well-documented — including a bar incident earlier in his college career that was the basis of his combine invitation being rescinded.
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Brantley, the Florida defensive tackle with the second-highest grade at his position according to, was the first pick of the sixth round Saturday by the Browns, 185th overall. How long he stays with Cleveland is very up in the air, though, as general manager Sashi Brown quickly told reporters that they might release him, depending on what the team finds as they continue to investigate him.

Brantley was expected to be taken by the end of Day 2, in the first three rounds, before his arrest in Gainesville, Fla., earlier this month on battery charges. He is accused of striking a woman outside a bar, knocking her unconscious and knocking a tooth loose.

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.

Arizona’s 26-year-old freshman QB is a former No. 3 overall pick in the MLB draft

Arizona will have a 26-year-old freshman quarterback on its roster this season — one who was a top pick in the MLB draft all of eight years ago.
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Donavan Tate was the No. 3 overall pick in the baseball draft 2009 by the San Diego Padres. The Cartersville, Ga., product came off the board two picks behind pitching wunderkind Stephen Strasburg to the Nationals. Tate didn’t just never make the majors; he never made it to Double-A ball, posting a career .652 OPS in the minor leagues and fizzling out. He served a 50-game drug suspension in 2011 and played his last minor league game in 2016. By that time, his career was long-stalled.
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Tate was a prodigious athlete coming out of high school, and he’s now trying his hand at something different. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez announced Wednesday that the Wildcats would add Tate at quarterback. He’ll enter school as one of the oldest players in college football and will have a full slate of NCAA eligibility. He just can’t play baseball, because he’s already turned professional on the diamond.

An interesting angle to this for Arizona: Because of Tate’s agreement with the Padres eight years ago, it apparently won’t cost Rodriguez a scholarship to put him on the team.

I’m told new Arizona QB Dovavan Tate will be a walk-on. Padres, who picked him No. 3 overall in 09 MLB draft, will pay his college costs.

Tate’s draft year included a ton of busts at the top, with every top-five pick except Strasburg failing to make much of a mark. 2009 was the Mike Trout year, when the Angels picked the world’s best baseball player 25th overall.