Eagles release Donnie Jones from retired list

The Eagles officially released punter Donnie Jones from the reserve/retired list.

Jones announced his retirement after Super Bowl LII, calling it quits after 14 seasons. He will be a free agent if he decides to return to the NFL.

The Seahawks made Jones a seventh-round choice in 2004. He played for the Dolphins, Rams and Texans before signing with the Eagles in 2013.

Mitchell throws outlet pass length of court for Ingles lay-inDonovan Mitchell throws a beautiful pass right into the arms of Joe Ingles for the easy bucket.
The same can be said about the Jazz. After losing Hayward to the Celtics in free agency, Utah could have been devastated and just slipped into rebuilding mode. No one would have argued with that, especially after the Jazz got off to a slow start and Gobert went down twice with injuries.

Even as Utah was turning its season around, it traded Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson away at the trade deadline. So with Hayward and George Hill departing in free agency, and Hood being traded away, Utah enters this postseason without three of its top four scorers from a season ago when it finished with 51 wins and reached the Western Conference semifinals before being swept by the Golden State Warriors.

Denver has shown interest in all of the top prospects.

Josh Rosen visited Denver last week, and Sam Darnold worked out for the Broncos in Los Angeles on Friday. Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson also have Denver’s attention.

The Broncos continue to seek a long-term solution at quarterback, with Case Keenum the starter this season after signing in free agency. Denver went through Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler after Peyton Manning retired. None worked out.

Thus, the Broncos are expected to use the fifth overall choice on a quarterback, assuming one of the top prospects remains.

The Spurs have played with 25 different starting lineups this season, including another new one against the Kings. Spurs players have missed a total of 196 games due to injury, with star forward Kawhi Leonard leading the way with 71.

Instead, he declined the offer and the Browns gave a similar deal to Kenny Britt, who flopped and was cut in December after making $10 million guaranteed.

Terrelle Pryor could be coming back home, and the Browns will consider tackles such as Nate Solder to replace Joe Thomas, sources tell cleveland.com. What’s more, the Browns’ trade for Packers cornerback Damarious Randall won’t preclude them pursuing big-name cornerbacks in free agency such as the Rams’ Trumaine Johnson, who played for Browns defensive coordinator Gregg Williams for four season with the Rams.

Pryor also didn’t fare well in Washington, but struggled with foot and ankle injuries for most of the season and ultimately underwent season-ending ankle surgery in November.

His numbers in Washington were similar to what Britt’s were here: 22 catches for 240 yards and a TD in nine games, including two starts. But Browns coach Hue Jackson likes Pryor and actually tried to get him back in a trade before the deadline in October. Under Jackson and then-receivers coach Al Saunders, Pryor caught 77 passes for 1,007 yards in 2016.

This is one of multiple moves the Seahawks have made or will make this offseason in an effort to build a younger, more cap-friendly defense that will allow the team to rebuild from a 9-7 campaign and their first missed postseason since 2011. And while neither side has closed the door on the possibility of Sherman returning at a discounted price later in free agency, Friday’s news opens up several intriguing possibilities for the three-time All-Pro corner. The field has several favorable options like the Green Bay Packers.

New general manager Brian Gutekunst has talked about being “aggressive” in free agency, something the past regime was widely known for not being. No contending team needs cornerback help more than the Packers — only the Jets ranked work in pass coverage last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Sherman’s California connections make the Raiders, (+550), Chargers (+600) and 49ers (+1,500) intriguing options as well. Whichever team lands Sherman might not get the All-Pro-caliber player that he was from 2012-14, especially after he tore his Achilles nine games into the 2017 season, but in a league always looking for help shutting down elite passing attacks, Sherman will certainly have plenty of suitors.

Sherman, 29, joined the Chiefs in a 2013 trade with the Arizona Cardinals.

2018 Free Agency Preview: Running Backs More With free agency set to begin later this month, Redskins.com previews the 2018 NFL free agent class position-by-position. Today’s focus is on the running backs.

Keenum threw for 318 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ Divisional round win over the New Orleans Saints with his improbable heave to Stefon Diggs in the closing seconds for the win. Keenum is also a player the Broncos felt like they knew well given the team’s senior personnel advisor and former coach Gary Kubiak coached Keenum for two seasons when Kubiak was the Texans’ head coach. Kubiak has an increased role in the Broncos’ personnel evaluations this year and has been a major voice as the Broncos have prepared for free agency and the draft.

He played in all 16 games in each of his five seasons in Kansas City, making 22 starts, and was a valuable special-teams player.

He was an effective lead blocker and productive on the few occasions when he did get the ball. Sherman got the ball only 75 times between rushes and pass receptions but still managed to score three touchdowns.

The news of Sherman’s deal was first reported by Barstool Sports. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Eagles are one of the most aggressive trading teams in the league and built their Super Bowl success around a deep, dominant defensive line, so it’s no surprise that they acquired Michael Bennett from the Seahawks today. Bennett will slot in as a replacement for Vinny Curry, and with three years and $22.1 million left on his deal, Bennett won’t break the bank as part of one of the league’s best defensive lines.

The Bucs have been adamant about re-signing their own this free-agency period, locking wide receiver Mike Evans into a five-year deal Friday worth $82.5 million.

The Rams free up cap space as part of this deal, which marks the second expensive defender they’ve dealt away in a week after trading Robert Quinn to the Dolphins. It now seems more likely that they’ll hang on to fellow linebacker Mark Barron, who seemed like a plausible cap casualty. L.A. will have $6.5 million in dead money on its cap for Ogletree this year, but with $47.3 million in space, the Rams can use the savings to bring back receiver Sammy Watkins, who would otherwise be an unrestricted free agent.

Noah Syndergaard strikes out seven straight against Nationals

Noah Syndergaard does not appear to be far off his All-Star form in 2016 as he struck out seven straight Nationals batters in an 8-5 Grapefruit League win for the Mets Thursday.

As impressive as the scoreless outing was over 3 1/3 innings, he was the first to say he was not at his best.

The truth is, the Mets have a talented roster on the whole. But as always with the team from Queens, their issues lie on the training table.

Last season, Conforto missed time with the aforementioned shoulder injury. Cespedes landed on the DL thanks to his piano-string hamstrings and played in exactly half the season.

And then there’s that pesky rotation, which faces issues every year. Hopefully, Noah Syndergaard decided adding 17 pounds of muscle as he did last offseason was a terrible idea. (Reminder: It was as bad of an idea as showering with a toaster.) Matt Harvey used to be the hero that the Mets needed, but now he’s become an afterthought in their rotation. Zack Wheeler has seen the mound so few times in recent seasons that he probably forgot what dirt under his cleats feels like.

But the Browns still have a bunch of space to work with under new general manager John Dorsey.

Expect the team to still make a splash or two in free agency, but the biggest impact Friday is that it probably takes the team out of the market for AJ McCarron .

After McCarron won a grievance making him an unrestricted free agent , a reunion between Hue Jackson and the Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback was almost considered inevitable. After all, the Browns came close to trading second- and third-round picks to Cincinnati for McCarron in October.

But Taylor now fills that veteran role, and the Browns can use one of their two first-round picks to take a franchise quarterback to build around for the future.

Cleveland addressed three of its biggest needs Friday and left itself the room and ability to go after another big fish in free agency. It just probably won’t be McCarron or any other quarterback.

How will this affect the Browns’ draft plans?

Better All-Star squad, Team Stephen or Team LeBron? ‘NBA 2K18’ decides

The NBA has implemented a format change for this year’s All-Star Game, going from East vs. West to a pick-up style draft by the respective top vote-getters from each conference. Stephen Curry and LeBron James have chosen their teammates (you can see the full rosters here), and immediately after doing so, the debate began over which superstar ended up with the stronger squad.

Curry finished as the MVP with 31 points and eight assists for his victorious team. James Harden added 24 points and 11 assists, and Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 19 points and 11 assists.

On the other side, James finished with 25 points and 13 assists. Former Thunder teammates Russell Westbrook (27 points) and Kevin Durant (26 points) had impressive outings in the loss.

Most of the statistical categories were practically even, except for possession control and presence down low. Team Stephen had more steals, rebounds and second-chance points than Team LeBron in the win.

“We can’t knock facts,” he said. “The fact of it is we haven’t been producing the way we know we’re capable of producing. People are going to critique us and criticize us to a T, and we do the same to ourselves.”

Beal is averaging career highs in points (23.6), rebounds (4.3) and assists (3.7), but the Wizards are currently 26-21 on the year and just 14-13 against teams with records below .500.

Fellow Wizards guard John Wall called out his team’s performance against sub-.500 teams after a loss to the Hawks in December, but the team continues to struggle against opponents who are simply not the caliber of Washington.

Beal and the Wizards know this and they are as upset about it as anyone.

Mike Piazza frustrated with rent for his Italian soccer team

Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Piazza, the majority owner of a low-level Italian soccer team, passionately ranted about his club’s financial hardships and stadium situation during a recent news conference.

Piazza, who purchased a majority share of AC Reggiana in June 2016, frequently banged his fist on a table during the emotional news conference, which was published Friday on the team’s official Facebook page.

“I’m tired and sick of Reggiana being pushed around,” Piazza said. “I am frustrated, and I’m frigging pissed off.”

Mock drafts are simply practice drafts that don’t count for anything. It’s a terrific way to get used to our draft software, make sure you know how everything works and test strategies. Maybe most importantly, mock drafts allow you to make mistakes now — so you won’t make them when they count. Practice makes perfect.

Draft day is the most exciting day of the season because it’s time to create your team. If you have prepared for your draft by reading up on players and strategy and doing mock drafts, you’re ready. Take a deep breath and relax. You’ve got this.

Need to know the basics? Here’s what you need to know before you hop into the draft room.

Still, his earnings will be well under his $8 million salary last year.

To make room for Jay on the roster, the Royals placed pitcher Jesse Hahn on the 60-day disabled list.

Jay became a quiet leader for the Chicago Cubs in 2017 while slowly earning more playing time, eventually becoming the de facto leadoff hitter. Jay hit .296 with a solid .374 on-base percentage, though with little power. He’s a solid addition to a team but not a front-line player.

Behind the scenes, Cubs players followed Jay’s lead, as he rarely enjoyed talking about himself. He was a good mentor to up-and-coming center fielder Albert Almora Jr.

Jay can play all three outfield positions, though he isn’t considered a Gold Glove-type defender. But like his offense, his defense is steady. He made several running catches in center field, proving that he can still play there and not just the corners. He’s a good fourth outfielder but was more than that in 2016.

What Giannis can learn from Lillard and DeRozan to boost his fantasy ceiling

I noted a bit of blowback surrounding my inclusion of Giannis Antetokounmpo in last week’s All-Disappointment Team. Fantasyland is obviously very protective of its Greek Freak.

“It’s how he was shooting before he got hurt,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said of Ball’s shooting confidence prior to spraining his left MCL on Jan. 13. “I would’ve expected it would take him a little bit of time to find his rhythm again [upon his return on Friday].

“As soon as we got in [to Atlanta on Sunday], him and Miles and Tyler Ennis came into the gym and got shots up again. He’s putting in his work to make sure that he stays where he’s at and continues to get better. But he’s shooting with a lot of confidence.”

“He gets better with time,” said Cavs coach Tyronn Lue. “He’s had a great month. He’s really done a good job of just carrying the team. We was going through a tough stretch and he stepped up. He really put this team on his back and his shoulders, and especially with these new guys, he’s showing them the way.

“I think he’s being very [on point], showing those guys a lot of confidence and giving those guys a lot of confidence by talking to them, and it’s good for our young team going forward.”

Not only was it a first for the 33-year-old player’s already-decorated career, but James also became the oldest player in NBA history to average a triple-double in a calendar month containing at least 10 games played, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous oldest to do it was Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968 at 31 years old.

Other fake items include several Manning jerseys, a pair of 2012 Super Bowl helmets, and a game-worn Michael Strahan jersey from the Super Bowl that he once showed on Showbiz Tonight.

By Golden State Warriors standards, the team is struggling, having lost four of its past eight games. The midseason break usually is a time to regroup and refresh, physically and mentally, but some of the Warriors’ four All-Stars will have to settle for just a physical refresher.

I think that’s kind of a double-edged sword of being an All-Star, Curry said. It’s an amazing accomplishment, an amazing honor, but if you’re thinking about it in the perspective of getting rest and really taking advantage of the full slate of the All-Star break, it doesn’t really start for us until right now. So a little bit of it is just having the mindfulness of what you need to do to get your body right, get off your feet, not run yourself to exhaustion throughout the course of All-Star Weekend and take advantage of these next two days that we have to get off the radar, get our minds right.

Rob Gronkowski movies would be bad, but still better than ‘Justice League’

If 80s movies proved anything, it was a leading male actor doesn’t have actually be able to act. They just have to be kind of muscular and deliver quips after landing punches. But it’s not the 80s anymore. Hollywood demands a new breed of action stars to make another dozen Fast and Furious sequels. Could Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski be their man? Maybe!

The Gronk’s post-Super Bowl comments left his football career up in the air when he refused to commit to playing in 2018. On top of retirement, he may be considering a career on the silver screen, according to a report from the North Andover Eagle-Tribune.

Let’s be real, these are all just thinly plotted films with 75 minutes of explosions punctuated by a shirtless Gronk belting out awkward one-liners and winking at the audience … all of which would still be better than Justice League.

“You work so hard your whole life to get here. Everything culminates and I can’t help but think back to a quote my grandfather gave me from Calvin Coolidge about persistence … He gave me that quote when I was 18 years old, when I was not given a scholarship at any Division I university,” he said as he fought back tears.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”

“My father and mother told me to stay after my dream,” he said with a whimper. “And I’ve officially accomplished the best thing in this sport with a group of guys who mean the world to me.”

Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo fought back tears as he spoke to the BB&T Center crowd just a couple of minutes before the start of the game.

This was the Panthers’ first home game since last week’s deadly shooting at nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Luongo, a resident of Parkland, spoke to the crowd about his admiration for the students, who have loudly pushed for change after yet another school shooting.

Then again, nobody has been hotter lately than Malkin, who has 11 goals and 18 points in his past seven home games.

“When he’s feeling it like this, you can’t take the puck off of him,” Crosby told the Post-Gazette. “He’s taking the puck from end to end. He’s taking it to the net. He’s shooting. He’s good in every area.

“You can tell he has that extra step. He has that right now.”

A few minutes later, Varlamov was able to stop McDavid on a clear breakaway and later in the period did the same against Edmonton forward Anton Slepyshev.

Edmonton made it 2-0 with 5 1/2 minutes to play in the second when Mark Letestu hooked a shot in front to help Kassian score his seventh.

Colorado got a goal back with 19 seconds remaining in the period when Girard’s point shot hit the post and caromed in.

The Avalanche tied the game 50 seconds into the third when a pass deflected off an Oilers defender to Wilson, who scored his sixth of the season.

That included Trump supporters, like Kraft, who released a statement via the team saying he was deeply disappointed by the tone of the statements made by the president.

Belichick issued a statement saying that he would discuss these matters with his players and he preferred to keep those conversations private. But Brady came right out and said he didn’t agree with the president’s position, in a rare moment of forthrightness.

NHL players have spoken up about their dislike of the rule’s inconsistency from game to game.

NHL players have had enough of the controversial — and inconsistent — goaltender interference rule, if Cam Talbot’s outburst on Saturday is any indication. The Edmonton Oilers found themselves on the wrong side of a goaltender interference call, again, in a 1-0 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

The Winnipeg Jets were rightfully furious when Vegas was allowed to keep a goal despite James Neal breaking his stick over Connor Hellebuyck’s head right before the goal. St. Louis general manager Doug Armstrong was unable to complain about a controversial Bruins goal because he doesn’t know what the rules are, marking just how clueless the entire league is on how the rule should be called.

However, Talbot’s objection and frustration about the ruling is the strongest bit of wording we’ve gotten so far about how players and coaches feel on this topic. It remains to be seen if the NHL will take action with Talbot’s choice of words to reporters, but the netminder has spoken his mind, and there are likely many out there that agree with him.

Pharrell is known for his work with other major artists primarily, even though his work with Chad Mayo in N.E.R.D is a throughline across his long career. Fitting of his image, Williams brought out one special guest for the show: Migos, who performed a ubiquitous song about crack cocaine production.

Megaproducer Pharrell Williams and his band N.E.R.D will headline the 2018 NBA All-Star Game halftime show on Sunday in Los Angeles. Williams, who you know best from his global conquest Happy and a hundred other hits with other artists, should bring a hip-hop flair back to All-Star after an R&B performance from John Legend at halftime a year ago.

As The Neptunes, Williams, and fellow N.E.R.D. member Chad Hugo produced a slew of hits, including Jay Z’s I Just Wanna Love U, Britney Spears’ I’m A Slave 4 U, Gwen Stefani’s Hollaback Girl, and Nelly’s Hot In Herre. Williams, also known as Skateboard P, had a featured spot on Snoop Dogg’s 2004 No. 1 hit Drop It Like It’s Hot and has worked with artists as varied as Clipse, Shakira, The Hives, and Hans Zimmer.

N.E.R.D’s music has only rarely hit the mainstream, but it’s good and it’s a beautiful fit for the All-Star halftime.