Broncos beat the Panthers, 21-20, in the Super Bowl matchup we all wish happened in February

The Panthers weren’t treating the season opener in Denver against the Broncos like a rematch of Super Bowl 50. They weren’t looking for redemption, or for a way to put the brutal 24-10 loss behind them. What the two teams gave us, though, was a much better matchup than the Super Bowl as Denver won, 21-20.

In the first half, it was clear Eric Ebron Jersey that regardless of what the Panthers had said leading up to this game, they were on a mission. Cam Newton was playing inspired football, connecting with Kelvin Benjamin on a 14-yard touchdown and then adding a 2-yard rushing score of his own.

In July, the NFL made rule changes to the concussion protocol threatening teams with fines or lost draft picks if the league Glover Quin Jersey determines protocol was broken to maintain a competitive advantage. But in the case of Newton, the Carolina Panthers are likely in the clear because the quarterback was never pulled from the game in the first place and an independent neurotrauma consultant didn’t flag him for further evaluation.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has returned to Thursday Night Football against the Denver Broncos after suffering what appeared to be a leg or ankle injury in the third quarter.

Newton was having a phenomenal game prior to injury, and he broke the QB rushing touchdowns record of 44 set by Steve Young with a 2-yard run for a score late in the second quarter. Newton also broke Young’s record of 31 games with a passing and rushing touchdown. The Panthers took a 17-7 lead into the half.

In the third quarter, after a Bene Benwikere interception gave the Panthers the ball on the Carolina 10-yard line, Newton took a sack from DeMarcus Ware on third down. As Newton was going down, Von Miller entered the fray, and there was helmet-to-helmet contact between Miller and Newton.

Newton appeared to be injured in the third quarter, but returned to the field for Carolina’s next drive.

This is Drake blowing Stephenson’s ear

This is Drake Paul Kruger Jersey blowing Stephenson’s ear. Chances are, this is as good as the ESPYS are going to get. Nevertheless, it was still a funny little bit. Crazy-ass is a pretty good sport about his crazy-assness. Look at the Rock, so tastefully amused. Then Drake and went over to ‘s ex-teammate Paul and double-Lanced him.
Menu ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Guyer and Kiermaier homered, and the Tampa Bay bullpen held the Kansas City Royals to one hit over five innings the Rays’ 3 win. Kiermaier’s sixth-inning off Luke Hochevar broke a 2 tie. It was Kiermaier’s second two games and sixth of the. Cedeno got the win relief while Boxberger pitched the ninth for his 32nd save. Four of Kansas City’s seven hits came during a two-run third that included RBIs by Ben Zobrist and Cain. The Central-leading Royals, who lost for only the sixth time 23 games, had a to tie it the eighth when Rays first baseman James Loney completed a double play by throwing Pierre Desir Jersey Zobrist out at the plate. Rays starter Karns gave up two runs on six hits while striking out five. It was the rookie right-hander’s 19th start which he has given up two runs or fewer, most the. Kansas City starter Danny Duffy gave up two runs while striking out six five innings. Guyer led off the third with a off Duffy, his sixth of the. By salvaging the final game of a three-game series, Tampa Bay prevented the Royals from a 7 sweep of their series, a feat they have not accomplished since going 12 against Baltimore 1988. TRAINER’S ROOM Royals: OF Alex Rios, out of the lineup for the second straight game with a virus, was sent back to Kansas City…. RHP Madson has been resting since Aug. 22 to recover from a dead-arm period. Rays: OF Souza Jr. is hitting off a tee and doing soft toss. He expects to be back mid-September. NEXT Royals: RHP Johnny Cueto looks to end a personal two-game skid when he faces Detroit RHP Verlander the opener of a nine-game homestand Tuesday night. Verlander is coming off a 5 shutout Wednesday against the Los Angeles Angels which he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning. Rays: RHP Chris Archer will go against Orioles LHP -Yin Chin Monday night to start a three-game series Baltimore.

The Queen of England has a crown set with the. Former queens of Portugal had the. This guy above, who we’re going to go ahead and assume is the of Comerica Park, has a baseball glove hat. Is it just as majestic as any other nation’s set of crown jewels? Absolutely. Does this particular monarch retain any law-making power? We’re gonna say no, simply based on the fact that Comerica is not full of and bacon on a stick, which is what we would demand if we had kingdoms of our own. Oh wait, ? New food at Comerica Park in 2015! Bacon and Eggs: Bacon on a stick topped with deviled eggs and fried jalapenos – Detroit Tigers All bow to the of Comerica and his glorious baseball crown.

Menu Kyle Okposo believes the state of Minnesota is going to do all it can to make the 2011 NHL Entry Draft a memorable experience. He should know. Born and raised St. — just 10 minutes from the site of this year’s draft at Xcel Energy Center — Okposo is aware of how passionate the fans be to host NHL event of this magnitude. I think it’ll be tremendous; the people be ecstatic, Okposo told. There be a lot of fans there and the people follow hockey closely. The Wild have a tremendous fan base and there be a lot of interest. The state react favorably and give the NHL a good audience. Does he have any advice for those draft-eligible prospects? Two years ago, one of friends slipped a little the draft, Okposo said. I texted him to tell him that he would play the League a long time. Wherever he was going to go, I told him he’d be a good situation and he ended up getting picked by Vancouver. If I could tell those prospects one thing, it would be to remember that the draft is simply a stepping stone — you have to work hard wherever you go. The Entry Draft be held The North State for the first time since 1989, when it took place at the Met Sports Center. Okposo, who not only played high school hockey Minnesota at Shattuck-St. ‘s but spent two years at the University of Minnesota, was part of the 2006 draft at General Motors Place Vancouver. The 6-foot, 210-pound wing was taken with the seventh pick by the New Islanders, a moment he’ll never forget. It was a cool, fun day, Okposo said. I just remember waiting to hear name called and feeling pretty nervous, and I just kept saying to myself that it was just a stepping stone. It was obviously really exciting to be part of organization, but I didn’t really know a whole lot about it. I knew I was going to go to college and I just wanted to get better and try and make it with the Islanders. And he did. If not for a right shoulder injury that sidelined him four months, Okposo would probably be close to notching career high totals across the board this season. After all, he set personal standards with 19 goals, 33 assists and 52 points his second full season on Long Island 2009. Since returning to the lineup January, Okposo has produced 4 goals, 16 points and a career-best plus-10 rating. Obviously, I missed four months with the shoulder, but to then watch the team go through what they did earlier the season was definitely tough, said Okposo, referring to the Islanders slide earlier the year. When I came back, it was hard because you’re not midseason form like everybody the League at that point. To come back from that is a tough thing to do, but lately it’s been better. The team is playing well and line especially has been playing well. The team is starting to win. Really, Grabner and Nielsen are grateful to be skating alongside Okposo. He was obviously hurt and I didn’t really see him play too much person, but he’s really good with the puck, has good hands and he’s obviously really strong the corners, Grabner said. I’m just trying to make some room and he find me if I get to open spots. I think just him coming back gave our team a little boost. Everyone was excited. He’s a great guy the locker room, a good leader, and I think when he returned, that’s when we started to get on a roll, too. The Islanders have gone since Okposo’s return to the lineup. Oki is a solid two-way player, Nielsen said. I think supports each other good out there. They definitely make it easier for me. I know I don’t have to worry if they come back first, they can both play down low. I think all three of us are pretty good all-round players. Prior to playing for the Gophers and head coach, Okposo also spent a year the United States Hockey League with the Des Moines Buccaneers. Okposo had 27 goals, 58 points and a plus-28 rating 50 with Des Moines 2005 and was named the most valuable player of the USHL playoffs and the league’s top rookie en route to leading the Buccaneers to the Clark Cup. I think is a really great league and no one really mentions it as often as it should be mentioned when they talk about the top junior leagues North, he said. Everyone knows the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League and the Quebec Major Hockey League, but the USHL was a good stepping stone for me. It’s good for American and Canadian players who want to come down and eventually play college. Rookie Ennis comes up big for Sabres Halak anything but shaky must-win game Keith: ‘I just wanted to play the NHL’ Hornqvist latest key Pred to get hurt playoffs Laperriere willing to trade pain for victory.

Rumsfeld spoke of him glowing terms

It’s not called ‘dirty war’ for nothing; so it’s no surprise to individuals who are associated and sort of know the ins-and-outs of that kind of war, reappear at different points these conflicts, he says. A generation later, and half the world away, ‘s war Iraq was going from bad to worse. It Marc Staal Jersey was 2004 – the neo-cons had dismantled the Ba’athist party apparatus, and that had fostered anarchy. A mainly Sunni uprising was gaining ground and causing problems Fallujah and Mosul. There was a violent backlash against the US occupation that was claiming over 50 American lives a month by 2004. The US Army was facing unconventional, guerrilla insurgency a country it knew little about. There Mark Messier Jersey was already talk Washington DC of using the option Iraq and the who would spearhead that strategy was already place. after the invasion March 2003 Steele was Baghdad as one of the White House’s most important consultants, sending back reports to Rumsfeld. His memos were so valued that Rumsfeld passed them on to George Bush and Cheney.

Rumsfeld spoke of him glowing terms. We had discussion with General Petraeus yesterday and I had a briefing today from a named Steele who’s been out there working with the security forces and been doing a wonderful job as a civilian as a matter of fact. 2004 Petraeus arrived Baghdad with the brief to train a new Iraqi police force with emphasis on counterinsurgency. Steele and serving US colonel James Coffman introduced Petraeus to a small hardened group of police commandos, of them among the toughest survivors of the old regime, including General Adnan Thabit, sentenced to death for a failed plot against Saddam but saved by the US invasion. Thabit, selected by the Americans to run the Special Police Commandos, developed a close relationship with the new advisers. They became friends. advisers, James Steele and Colonel Coffman, were all from special forces, so I benefited from their experience … but the main person I used to contact was Petraeus. With Steele and Coffman as his point men, Petraeus began pouring money from a multimillion dollar fund into what would become the Special Police Commandos. According to the US Government Accounts Office, they received a share of $8bn fund paid for by the US taxpayer. The exact amount they received is classified. With Petraeus’s almost unlimited access to money and weapons, and Steele’s field expertise counterinsurgency the stage was set for the commandos to emerge as a terrifying force.

One more element would complete the picture. The US had barred members of the violent Shia militias like the Badr Brigade and the Mahdi Army from joining the security forces, but by the summer of 2004 they had lifted the ban. Shia militia members from all over the country arrived Baghdad by the lorry-load to join the new commandos. These men were eager to fight the Sunnis: sought revenge for decades of Sunni-supported, brutal Saddam rule, and a to hit back at the violent insurgents and the indiscriminate terror of -Qaida. Petraeus and Steele would unleash this local force on the Sunni population as well as the insurgents and their supporters and anyone who was unlucky enough to get the way. It was classic counterinsurgency. It was also letting a lethal, sectarian out of the bottle. The consequences for Iraqi society would be catastrophic. At the height of the civil war two years later 3 bodies a month were turning up on the streets of Iraq – of them innocent civilians of sectarian war. But it was the actions of the commandos inside the detention centres that raises the most troubling questions for their American masters. Desperate for information, the commandos set up a network of secret detention centres where insurgents could be brought and information extracted from them. The commandos used the most brutal methods to make detainees talk. There is no evidence that Steele or Coffman took part these torture sessions, but General Muntadher Samari, a former general the Iraqi army, who worked after the invasion with the US to rebuild the police force, claims that they knew exactly what was going on and were supplying the commandos with lists of people they wanted brought. He says he tried to stop the torture, but failed and fled the country. We were having lunch. Col Steele, Col Coffman, and the door opened and Captain Jabr was there torturing a prisoner. He was hanging upside down and Steele got up and just closed the door, he didn’t say anything – it was just normal for him. He says there were 13 to 14 secret prisons Baghdad under the control of the interior ministry and used by the Special Police Commandos. He alleges that Steele and Coffman had access to all these prisons and that he visited one Baghdad with both men.

Kevin Draper and Burneko exchanged some emails

After the Warriors stormed back to defeat the Thunder 121 overtime on Saturday night to improve to 53, and with legend Robertson’s grousing fresh everybody’s minds, our Kevin Draper and Burneko exchanged some emails Dwight Freeney Jersey about how to stop Curry and the Warriors offense, or at least slow it down. Their exchange is below. Draper: Let’s start by ruling out a strategy that a surprising amount of analysts clamor for, but that doesn’t actually work: Doubling Curry.

It sometimes worked two years ago, but not anymore. Over the past two offseasons, Curry has become a much better ball handler, especially under pressure. You’ve seen the crazy dribbling drills. He’s now able to keep his dribble alive under serious pressure while searching for outlet, instead of picking the ball up and getting Eddie Royal Jersey tied up, or having to jump and hopefully find open body.

In the Warriors’ scheme, that open body is almost always Draymond Green, receiving the ball near the top of the key. If he wants he can rise for open three-he’s shooting 40% from distance on the season-but more often than not he attacks the hoop a 4-on-3 situation, against a defense pulled out of position. If Green were a normal power forward this would be okay, but he’s not: he is exceptional playmaker. These 4-on-3s almost always lead to a layup or corner three attempt, which is even better result than Curry uncorking a three. however you try and stop Curry, it must be with only one defending him. Burneko: Yeah, no argument there. The doubling trapping routine that has become the consensus approach to defending Steph on high screens is suicide. But then the question is: Why do teams do it?

This is where the puzzle of trying to figure out a defense against Steph and the Warriors reminds me that I’m talking about human beings with finite physical and psychological stamina and limited tolerance for humiliation. From couch, the least-suicidal defense seems fairly clear: crowd Steph, ride him over the screen at all costs, keep the screener’s back a bit, stay at home on everybody, and just happily surrender like a full half-acre of space between the three-point line and the restricted area to Steph and his roll. Conceptually, the abstract, it makes sense to sell out to Steph inside the three-point line and force him to make 50 floaters; he’s much more like a normal, conceivable 21st-century point guard from 22 feet and than from farther out.

Utah defensive tackle Lotulelei tackles California running back Isi Sofele the first quarter

This Oct. 27, file photo, Utah defensive tackle Lotulelei tackles California running back Isi Sofele the first quarter during NCAA college football game, Salt Lake City. Lotulelei won’t be among the two dozen players attending the NFL draft person New York. He declined the invitation he could be Jakub Zboril Jersey with 50 to 100 family members and friends at his home south of Salt Lake City. FILE – This 20, file photo, Defensive lineman Lotulelei and wide receiver DeVonte Christopher talk between performances during Utah’s NFL football pro day, Salt Lake City. Lotulelei won’t be among the two dozen players attending the NFL draft person New York. He declined the invitation he could be with 50 to 100 family members and friends at his home south of Salt Lake City.

DESERET NEWS OUT; LOCAL TV OUT; MAGS OUT Panthers general Jeremy Lauzon Jersey manager Dave Gettleman has been to six Super Bowls during his 25-plus years the NFL and is convinced the only way to reach that summit is to assemble a great defensive line rotation. it came as no surprise that Gettleman got one of the hog mollies – his term of endearment for big linemen – he coveted entering the NFL draft. The Panthers selected Utah defensive tackle Lotulelei with the 14th overall pick Thursday night Gettleman’s first NFL draft with his new team. If you look historically at the Super Bowl champions show me one that has had a bad defensive front – it doesn’t happen, said Gettleman, who has been to Super Bowls with Denver, Buffalo and most recently the New York Giants. I’m telling you, it doesn’t happen. It marks the first time ever the Panthers have selected a defensive tackle the first round. Defensive tackle was considered a position of need after the Panthers released starter Edwards a salary cap move earlier this offseason. was 14th the league against the run last . Lotulelei, 6-foot-2 and 311 pounds, is expected to step and start right away alongside veteran defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who re-signed the offseason. Gettleman called Lotulelei a three-down lineman. What does is he impacts the game on every snap terms of the run game and the pass game, Gettleman said.

He’s not someone you are going to replace your sub package defense. Gettleman likes the idea that Lotulelei can occupy two players at the point of attack, which he hopes free up middle linebacker Kuechly to make even more plays. Kuechly, the 2012 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, led the NFL tackles last . It gives more protection, which makes our whole defense better, Gettleman said. his last two seasons at Utah, Lotulelei had 20 of his 86 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and posted 6 sacks. He also forced four fumbles. We think he’s going to be impact player for us as far as our front is concerned, coach Rivera said. He’s a guy that command the double teams and can split the double teams as well as hold them point, which give our linebackers opportunity to run. It affect the way we play pass coverage when you’ve got two guys up front him and Dwan that be able to push the pocket for us. It’s been a strange two months for Lotulelei. Medical tests at the Scouting Combine February revealed his left ventricle was pumping at only 44 percent efficiency raising red flags about his future the NFL. But following a variety of tests, including those by a cardiologist specialist Utah, it was revealed that a virus was causing the abnormal heartbeat. Medication cured the problem fairly quickly. He was thoroughly checked out, Gettleman said. Our doctors felt very comfortable that he’s fine. He’s been completely cleared. Lotulelei said it was a scary situation at the time. It was definitely a big blow, the soft-spoken Lotulelei said. But it ended up just being a virus I had from a cold. But everything has been cleared and I’m ready to go. I’m ready to get down there and get to work. A native of Tonga, the 23-year-old Lotulelei is already married and has two daughters. Lotulelei hails from the same school as two current Panthers stars – wide receiver Steve Smith and offensive tackle Gross.

Lakers discuss best ways to make statement as a team

Before holding media day for the 2016-17 season at their training facility on Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers’ coaches and players met to discuss athletes’ recent national anthem protests against unjust treatment of African-Americans in the United States, a movement that first gained recognition from San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Or, as Warriors forward Draymond Green put it: “Everybody is going to grow. And are you going to with 74 games? To be quite frank with you, I don’t want to win 74 games or 75 games. It’s brutal.”

“I’ve never played alongside a guy like Derrick,” Anthony said. “I’ve played alongside other point guards, different style, different type of point guards. To play alongside an explosive guy like Derrick, someone who can pick the pace up, who can push the pace throughout the course of the game, someone who’s a threat at that position — I think for me, the only thing that I can do is go out there and play basketball and enjoy playing basketball again and having fun with the game.

“I’m excited. I haven’t felt like this in a long time.”

If this season is going to go the way the Knicks hope, it likely will be because Anthony and Rose play well together and off of one another. As ESPN analyst and ex-Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy recently said, the play and health of Rose is the big unknown for the Knicks.

Rose, Anthony and many other Knicks have been scrimmaging together at the team facility and at a gym in Manhattan recently. Anthony said he likes what he has seen from Rose — as well as the rest of his new teammates — in those scrimmages.

“He’s extremely focused right now, he’s healthy, he has a different mindset, he has a clear mind and he’s ready to go and try to help us with our goals,” Anthony said of Rose, who is facing a civil suit alleging sexual assault, as well as a criminal investigation.

Rose said Monday that he’s feeling great coming into the season — thanks in part to a longer offseason (he missed the playoffs for the first time in his career). Rose also said he’s trying to emulate Kobe Bryant’s dribble efficiency this season.

Isaiah Thomas surprises 14-year-old Celtics fan … twice

When 14-year-old Robbie McNulty saw someone walking toward him on a playground in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last week, he didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. The man looked a lot like the usual hoopsters he might encounter while getting up shots at St. Peter’s Park.

A closer inspection revealed it was actually Boston Celtics 5-foot-9 All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas, who asked McNulty if he could shoot with him for a bit.

“[McNulty] was the only kid there,” Thomas told the Globe. “So I’m like, ‘I’m just going to go get some shots up with him.’ When I walked over, he rebounded his own shot and turned around and I’m like, ‘Can I get a couple shots?’ And he stopped. He didn’t even say a word, like his eyes were so big. He just stopped and froze and I’m like, ‘Pass me the ball.'”

McNulty, who just entered his freshman year of high school, posted the picture on Instagram with a caption that noted, “Isaiah Thomas played basketball with me.” Thomas even replied to the post from his Instagram account writing, “Nice rebounding for u.”

Make sure you draft point a point guard in the first two rounds.

This might seem like common knowledge for longtime fantasy hoops players who realize the importance of a point guard-heavy roster, but it rings truer in 2016-17 than it has in years.

Humor me for a second and think back to your youth, when you passed time by playing tic-tac-toe. You remember, don’t you? If you were anything like me, typically your first turn always seems like a good move.

That’s similar to the way the first round of fantasy hoops drafts feel this year.

Looking through ESPN’s updated rankings, you see a top 12 filled with big names like James Harden, Karl-Anthony Towns, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, LeBron, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George, who tantalize you with their upside and overall talent at positions other than point guard.

While there are other lower-ranked point guards, the problem is the steep drop-off after the first two rounds; Rajon Rondo (46) and Goran Dragic (50) are the next two point guards in the top 50, and both are over 20 picks lower than Bledsoe.

What we learned: Kyle Hendricks is great, and Rougned Odor is clutch

It’s time to admit that Kyle Hendricks is the Cy Young front-runner. Right? No? Maybe? I don’t actually know. What I do know is that the Chicago Cubs’ starter is 15-7 with a 2.03 ERA after he took a no-hitter into the ninth against the Cardinals. He lost the no-no when Jeremy Hazelbaker led off the ninth with a home run on an 0-2 changeup. Hendricks is so good at manipulating the ball and working it around the edges of the strike zone:

“I don’t want to say I had to make levity of the situation, but I definitely had to have something distracting because I was going to some pretty dark places,” Blanck said. “I immediately named the tumor ‘Yankee’ because I hate the Yankees. And then, when I got introduced to what treatment was going to be like, it seemed very fitting to name the chair ‘Big Papi’ because he’s a Yankee killer.”

The first round of chemo began March 21. Four and a half months later, Blanck had lost his hair but not his faith, because he passed time during many of his most draining treatments by sitting on “Big Papi” at the University of Vermont Medical Center and watching Ortiz wallop opposing pitchers in one of the greatest seasons ever by a 40-year-old slugger.

“Early in the season in April, when you’ve got a lot of day games, I was always sitting there watching the Red Sox,” Blanck said. “The nurses, every day when I came in, they would put a sign up, a picture of Big Papi with a quote and tape it to my chair. I was always wearing one of my Red Sox shirts. So they all started getting into it as well. For those first several months, sitting there and reading about it and watching the Red Sox every afternoon when I was getting sicker and sicker, it was a relief. It was an awesome distraction all summer.”

Blanck chronicled his fight on Facebook and his wife, Shalagh, kept a blog. At one point, Blanck wrote that he hopes somebody, “I’ll be able to get one of those Big Papi hugs,” that Ortiz has doled out to his Red Sox teammates since 2003.

It didn’t happen Tuesday, although Blanck and his family got the next-best thing. Through friends, they were given tickets to the Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles and sat in box seats next to the dugout. They also were escorted onto the field before the game. While they didn’t get to meet Ortiz, Geoff, Shalagh and their daughters Emma, 13, and Annecy, 11, took pictures in the dugout and were greeted by Red Sox president Sam Kennedy.

Stephen Strasburg dealing with strained flexor mass in elbow

Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg is dealing with a strained flexor mass in his right elbow but his UCL is intact, trainer Paul Lessard said Thursday.

Strasburg had an MRI on the elbow earlier Thursday, one day after leaving a start in the third inning.

Lessard said the injury is not necessarily season-ending but offered no timetable for Strasburg’s return.

“I’m thinking let’s take care of the swelling and get him to a pain-free range of motion, and then we’ll start a strengthening program,” Lessard said. “I’m just worried about the next four or five days right now.”

Strasburg felt a pinch in the back of his elbow Wednesday night, and was forced to make an early exit in his first start since returning from the disabled list.

“Unfortunately, it just happened on one pitch,” Lessard said. “It’s just an acute injury vs. an overuse injury.”

Strasburg previously had been out since Aug. 17 because of soreness in his right elbow. He left Wednesday’s start after 2 1/3 innings and 42 pitches, allowing a run on two hits, before NL East-leading Washington went on to defeat Atlanta 5-4 in 11 innings.

Before going on the disabled list, Strasburg allowed 19 runs over his final three starts, including nine over 1 2/3 innings in a loss to Colorado his last time out. In his first 17 starts, he was 13-0 with a 2.51 ERA.

It was Strasburg’s second stint on the disabled list this season. The right-hander missed 17 games in June with an upper back strain.

How to define “in the hunt”? That’s its own problem, so to keep things simple, I’m just including everyone within five games of a playoff spot as of Sept. 8. We’ll proceed in alphabetical order. Here are the reasons why each good team could come up short.

Tebow won the Heisman Trophy for the Florida Gators in 2007 and helped the team take two national championships. He played professionally for the Denver Broncos and New York Jets from 2010 to 2012. He spent training camps with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles in 2013 and 2015, respectively, but never played in the regular season for those teams.

Since 2013, Tebow has been a college football analyst for ESPN. Alderson said Tebow will be excused a couple of days each week from fall instructional league to fulfill that commitment.

“Tim is committed to his role at SEC Network and ESPN this fall,” Stephanie Druley, ESPN senior vice president, event and studio production, said in a statement. “We have always been supportive of Tim’s athletic pursuits. His new schedule will allow him to continue as a college football analyst on SEC Nation this fall.”

Former major league pitchers Dallas Braden, who is now an ESPN analyst, and C.J. Nitkowski questioned how serious Tebow was about playing baseball based on the arrangement to give him excused days off each week.

Mike Leake sent to DL after case of shingles

MILWAUKEE — The St. Louis Cardinals placed pitcher Mike Leake on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of shingles and recalled left-handed reliever Dean Kiekhefer from Triple-A Memphis.

The Cardinals, 68-61 entering Monday, own the second wild-card spot in the National League.

The staff ace is on his way back after throwing two innings in a simulated game earlier this week, but more still needs to happen before he takes his rightful place atop the Dodger Stadium mound.

All of this is speculative, of course, and dependent on how Kershaw’s back responds until his next outing.

And now they get to see what happens as he tries to make it in their sport, baseball.
On Tuesday in Los Angeles, former Heisman Trophy winner, two-time national-champion Florida Gators and former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow will hold a showcase for Major League teams as he attempts to land a contract to begin a new career in professional baseball.

As usual with Tebow, who has been working as a broadcaster on ESPN, there are many supporters and probably just as many doubters. Ever since his agent, Brodie Van Wagenen of CAA Sports, announced Tebow’s intent to try to play pro baseball, the social media universe and skeptics have swarmed on this story. Many called it a publicity stunt.

But a handful of current and former Major Leaguers who have observed Tebow closely and from afar over the years seem to agree on three main points: that Tebow’s sincerity shouldn’t be questioned, that he faces a long, tough road to the Major Leagues, and that even despite the odds, an athlete of his caliber with a work ethic as solid as his deserves to at least be taken seriously.

“He works his tail off, and you know the intangibles are there,” Aardsma said. “For me, it’s about baseball IQ. Where does he stand with the baseball part of it? The athleticism, the work ethic, the clubhouse demeanor, that all plays. And you see the passion. Honestly, he’s losing money by doing this, so you know it’s not a publicity stunt. If he wanted that, I mean, he’s already on TV. What more do you need?”

Aardsma added that Tebow is in incredible shape and that his power is “no joke” and neither is this latest pursuit.

“I don’t think it’s a crazy notion, because I know the athleticism that it takes to play baseball and I know he’s got that athleticism,” Aardsma said. “Plus I love the idea that somebody’s still passionate about this game, no matter who you are. We need to be passionate about this game.”