Smith’s absence could open the door wider for DeAndre Liggins to improve on the promise he’s already shown

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Now it becomes about facing a Golden State team that’s currently on a five-game winning streak, taking its last two victories by a combined 75 points over Portland and Utah, while not being at full strength if Smith can’t go. It was much the same case last year when Shumpert and Irving were just getting back to full strength when Cleveland lost on Christmas Day at Oracle Arena and the Cavs could rationalize the result, in part, as them not being healthy.

Yes, Smith’s absence could open the door wider for DeAndre Liggins to improve on the promise he’s already shown, thus making him a potential contributor come playoff time. And yes, Shumpert is having his best season as a Cav so having him play more isn’t the worst thing in the world.

Q: So it feels like the Thunder got a pretty bad break. If these rules were around last year they might’ve been able to keep Durant and then also sign Westbrook and keep them both long term, right?

A: Yep, it’s a major bummer for OKC. They’ve gotten pretty unlucky in how the rules have applied to them. To make it worse, they won’t even have the new advantages when Westbrook can become a free agent in 2018 because he’ll have played 10 years and other teams can offer him the same starting salary.

Authentic Ben Roethlisberger Jersey Q: So will stars stop leaving in free agency? Don’t you love the excitement of free agency in July?
A: The owners of most teams don’t. This will probably slow the trend of big names changing teams. But it’s hard to qualify for this, so it won’t apply to that many players.

Q: Did any other players get raises?
A: Everybody got them. The players who get the least money, the guys on minimum contracts, got a 45 percent raise. So did all the players on rookie contracts, although their bumps are being phased in over three years.

Packers beat Bears 30-27 after Rodgers’ big pass to Nelson

The Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers fell short on Sunday of breaking the record for coldest game ever played at Soldier Field, but the official game-time temperature of 11 degrees still ranks among the city’s chilliest football days.

The wind chill at kickoff was minus-4 degrees, with winds of 12 mph.

The coldest game (wind chill notwithstanding) in the stadium¡¯s history remains the 2008 meeting between the Bears and Packers when the temperature plummeted to 2 degrees. The NFC North rivals also battled in 3-degree weather in 1983. The Bears won both games.

¡°You don¡¯t get used to it; you just deal with it,¡± Bears coach John Fox said. ¡°Both teams have to deal with; that¡¯s always been the case in my experience with cold-weather games. We¡¯ve had the guys out there a couple days in it just to prepare — what they¡¯re going to wear as far as footwear, upper wear — just so it¡¯s not a shock for them even in pregame.
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¡°The actuality is I¡¯ve been in situations where you¡¯re only able to deal with it in pregame, when you¡¯re the road team and you¡¯re going from warm weather to cold weather. But it comes down to mental toughness, and you do your best to be weatherproof.¡±
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In a text to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, Jenkins said, “I’m good. I’m fine.” A source told Anderson that Jenkins was having further testing on his back to confirm that he did not have a compression fracture, as well as evaluations for internal injuries.

Veteran Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie stepped into Jenkins’ spot on the outside. Rodgers-Cromartie had been playing in the slot.

Jenkins has been one of the Giants’ best and most consistent players this season after signing a lucrative free-agent contract during the offseason. The Giants have used him to shadow the opponent’s No. 1 wide receiver. Jenkins has held Antonio Brown, A.J. Green and Dez Bryant (twice) well under 100 yards receiving this season.

Bryant had two catches for 18 yards combined in the Dallas Cowboys’ two games against Jenkins and the Giants.

Jenkins was tied for second in the NFL entering Sunday with 17 passes defended. He also has three interceptions.

New Orleans has many problems

She wasn’t exaggerating much. New Orleans has many problems — a crime problem and a poverty problem and a drug problem, an anger problem and clearly a road rage problem — but it also has a gun problem. According to a report in the Times-Picayune, more than 46 percent of households in the state have guns, and there are more gun deaths per capita in Louisiana than any other state.

And then there’s Hunter. Even as he has surprised Vikings coaches with how quickly he’s progressed — “He’s gotten to where he is today faster than any guy I’ve ever coached,” Patterson said — he’s still got plenty of room for improvement in the coach’s eyes.

“The thing you’d be able to see is more tackles for loss for him in the running game,” Patterson said. “That part of his run play hasn’t showed up yet. He plays his blocking schemes well. He can stretch and make tackles on the other side of the field. But he’ll get to a point where he’ll read the scheme so fast that he’ll be able to get off it and get the back before he gets close to the line of scrimmage.”

The mix is appetizing enough that Patterson has no desire to go anywhere else. Defensive coordinator openings appealed to him earlier in his career, but the Cleveland Browns and Denver Broncos wouldn’t let him out of his deals in the early 2000s. Now, his wife, Donna, enjoys living in the Twin Cities, and his daughter, Ashmera, is a standout basketball player and thrower in track and field for Robbinsdale Armstrong High School.

Game Youth Ted Karras Jersey Patterson is content where he is, in his fourth stop with Zimmer and managing a group that’s hungry to show it’s one of the league’s best. And the Vikings are happy to have him.

Ognjen Kuzmic Kids Jersey “A lot of us grow up learning the same things — you attack this hand, you do this, you do that. He’s got subtle differences in the way that he coaches that kind of go against what you’ve learned your whole life,” Robison said. “Those are the things that, if you buy in, you get an understanding of how and why it can help you.”

Green Bay will have a very tough challenge facing Jay Gruden’s squad

They’ll have to get by the Steelers, though, who snuck into the postseason with the help of a Week 17 loss by the Jets. Pittsburgh has been hot and cold of late, but obviously boast one of the most dynamic and explosive passing offenses in the NFL. When Ben Roethlisberger gets things going in the passing game, he’s tough to stop, and he’s throwing to one of the league’s best in Antonio Brown.

On the other hand, Minnesota’s passing game is underwhelming, but it features the NFL rushing champion in Adrian Peterson, a strong defensive group, and explosive special teams group. The Vikings finished the year on a high note as well by beating the Packers in Lambeau to win the NFC North, so they’ll look to ride that wave of confidence into the playoffs.

Authentic Mens Kelvin Herrera Jersey Washington is playing great ball as well right now, and it all starts with Kirk Cousins. The fourth-year signal caller set passing records for Washington this year and passed for a touchdown in all 16 games, and with a healthy DeSean Jackson and an emerging Jordan Reed, that passing game can be as dangerous as any.

Elite Womens Pat McAfee Jersey The Giants got off to a roaring 11-2 start the next year, but their progress was derailed after Burress shot himself in the leg and was forced to miss the rest of the season. The team was later upset by the Eagles in the playoffs, and didn’t make it back until 2011 when they won the NFC East for the first and only time in Couglin’s career.

Coughlin, who previously worked at Syracuse and Boston College, got his first NFL head coaching job with the then-expansion Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995. He quickly built a drill sergeant reputation and led the Jaguars to four playoff victories. But three consecutive losing seasons led to his firing in 2002. He spent a year out of football after that and was hired by the Giants to replace the player-friendly Jim Fassel the following season.

Two years later the Giants were in the playoffs, but consecutive Wild Card round exits, and his notorious “Coughlin Time,” put his job in jeopardy. In response, he decided to adjust his coaching temperament, and a year later the Giants were hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

Ramirez seemed like a logical choice to take the baton from Ortiz

Moreland, 31, is coming off a season in which he batted only .233 with 22 home runs and a career-low .720 OPS in 460 at-bats for the Texas Rangers. But he won a Gold Glove at first base and has hit well throughout his career at Fenway Park, going 14-for-41 with four home runs and eight RBIs.

“Staying up the middle, going the other way (to left field) is one of my strengths when I’m going well, and you’ve got a little help out there (with the Green Monster),” Moreland said on a conference call Thursday night. “I’ve always felt comfortable here. Being able to feed off the atmosphere, it reinforces the love of the game when you’re out there on the field.”

Authentic Youth Joe Crede Jersey More importantly, though, Moreland represents an affordable bridge to first-base prospect Sam Travis, who is expected to open the season in Triple-A. With the Red Sox preferring to avoid paying a luxury-tax penalty for a third consecutive year, they never seriously considered signing a big-ticket free agent (Encarnacion, for example) or adding an expensive slugger through a trade.

Corey Crawford Authentic Jersey Both Fowler and Eaton are good, but not elite, baserunners. Fowler stole 13 bases in 17 attempts last season. He has averaged 15 steals the last three seasons and has an eight-season streak of at least 10 stolen bases. Fowler had a four-season streak of at least 10 triples in Colorado. At age 30, he’s slowed down a little. He had 15 triples combined the last two seasons for the Cubs.

Eaton stole 14 bases in 19 attempts in 2016. He is averaging 16 steals per season the last three seasons. Eaton led the AL in triples in two of the last three seasons. His 28 triples the last three seasons is the most in the majors.

FanGraphs’ baserunning metric, which takes into account taking extra bases on hits in addition to base stealing, gives Fowler an edge. He ranked sixth in the NL in that stat. Eaton’s total would have ranked 13th in the NL.

The Steamer projection system used by FanGraphs has the players reasonably close, with Eaton at 3.6 WAR for 2017 and Fowler at 3 WAR.

In other words, though both systems are skeptical about these players duplicating their 2016 success, Fowler and Eaton still provide reasonable to modest value to the teams that obtained them.

The starters listed who did not practice are DE Jadeveon Clowney and CB Johnathan Joseph.

The Texans are pretty banged up and head to Indianapolis for a crucial divisional game with 16 players on their injury report. The starters listed who did not practice are DE Jadeveon Clowney (wrist/elbow) and CB Johnathan Joseph. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien said both players are day-to-day and that he’d know more about their statuses later in the week. While the front seven had a solid performance in Green Bay without Clowney, the secondary struggled after Joseph left the game.

Thomas dreads coaching changes more than anything. It means that everything the team has studied for two years is meaningless and that the “middle class,” all of the good role players, are usually cut, replaced by ones the new coach trusts. But most of all, it means the team is probably another two or three years away from winning again.
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Thomas has soldiered through countless new faces and team slogans, but in January 2016, he finally lost patience. The Browns fired Pettine and general manager Ray Farmer after the season, and Manziel, the team’s supposed quarterback of the future, had disappeared on a trip to Las Vegas. Thomas was starting all over again, right after his 31st birthday.

And the news got worse. Within a few months, the Browns let linemates Alex Mack and Mitchell Schwartz, two of Thomas’ best friends, walk away. Mack went to Atlanta, Schwartz to Kansas City. Thomas was bummed.
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“[Thomas] told me he’d like me to be around because I’m his friend and a good player,” Mack says. “Without a doubt, leaving the guys was the hardest part about leaving Cleveland. It was a good place, a good time, and I liked it there, but the friends on the team were what made it special. But there’s no guarantee that [if] I had re-signed with Cleveland, they [wouldn’t have] traded Joe the next day.”

Emotional Jeremy Maclin carted off with knee injury, no indication yet it was a tear

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Jeremy Maclin left Saturday’s Wild Card game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans after getting tackled in the third quarter and seemingly twisting his knee. He was carted off the sideline to the locker room and later ruled out of the game.

He may have avoided a serious injury. After the Chiefs’ win, head coach Andy Reid said that Maclin suffered a strained knee and will undergo an MRI on Sunday. It was later reported that Maclin suffered an ACL injury, with no indication yet that it is torn.
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Maclin was emotional on the sideline.

The NFC Wild Card games will take place Sunday. Unlike the early game Saturday, the winners of Sunday’s frigid noon game between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings will know who their opponent is. The Seahawks will face the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte if they win, while the Vikings would take on the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale.

Roethlisberger got carted off the field late in the third quarter after taking a sack from Vontaze Burfict, suffering a shoulder injury. The Bengals finally got on the board on their next drive, with Hill punching it into the end zone from 1 yard out. With a 15-7 lead and Landry Jones now starting for Pittsburgh, the fourth quarter promised plenty of drama.

The Bengals’ defense forced a punt with Jones under center and McCarron drove his offense down the red zone despite missing both Bernard and Hill in the backfield. They ended up settling for a 35-yard field goal from Mike Nugent, cutting the deficit to five points with 5:12 left in the game.

Roethlisberger returned to the sideline with his helmet on, but did not re-enter the game. Jones stayed in and Cincinnati forced another three-and-out, giving McCarron his shot at a game-winning drive. That set up the wild finish that will surely have people talking for weeks afterwards.

Former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips found dead in prison, suicide suspected

Former Nebraska running back Lawrence Phillips was found dead in his cell at Kern Valley State Prison in California in a suspected suicide, according to a release from the prison:

DELANO – Officials at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) are investigating the death of inmate Lawrence Phillips as a suspected suicide.

Adreian Payne Jersey The incident occurred at 12:05 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, when staff conducting security checks found Phillips, 40, unresponsive in his cell. He was transported to an outside hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 1:27 a.m. Next-of-kin has been notified.
Phillips was facing charges of murdering his former cell mate, which carried the possibility of the death penalty. He was already serving a 31-year sentence for driving his car into three teenagers, and for domestic violence charges that arose in 2005.

Jeremiah Attaochu Youth Jersey Phillips was a star player for Nebraska’s National Championship teams in the mid-90s. He rushed for 1,722 yards in 1994. The next year, he was a Heisman Trophy favorite, but after two games, he was dismissed from the team for allegedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend, a Nebraska basketball player.

The Packers started the season 6-0 but struggled after their bye, losing six of their last 10 games. Despite a rocky offensive start, Green Bay is coming off a big win in the Wild Card round against Washington. The Packers gave up a safety and punted three times on their first four possessions, and Washington jumped out to an 11-0 lead. Green Bay’s line protected Rodgers well, allowing just one sack, and the Packers surged back to win, 35-17.

The Cardinals should be well rested after a first-round bye, and they likely have a chip on their shoulder after their abysmal Week 17 performance against the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle dominated throughout the game, beating the Cardinals 36-6. The quarterback combination of Carson Palmer, who sat out the second half, and backup Drew Stanton threw three interceptions.

Alderson said the answer may be using some of the Mets¡¯ starting-pitching depth in relief next season

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Although a simple-assault charge may be dropped against Jeurys Familia at a Dec. 15 hearing in Fort Lee, New Jersey, the Mets still are bracing for MLB to suspend Familia. Alderson plans to have Addison Reed slide into the closer role in Familia¡¯s expected absence. The team potentially will add a couple of middle relievers, ideally on one-year deals.

¡°The first guy we signed was a two-year deal, and that didn¡¯t work out,¡± Alderson said, referring to the Mets¡¯ signing of D.J. Carrasco in December 2010, shortly after Alderson took over as GM.

Authentic Youth Michael Ryder Jersey Alderson said the answer may be using some of the Mets¡¯ starting-pitching depth in relief next season, assuming everyone is healthy. Alderson listed Zack Wheeler as a potential reliever, presumably with Robert Gsellman in the rotation. Wheeler has missed the past two seasons while dealing with setbacks from Tommy John surgery, which he underwent in March 2015.

He¡¯s definitely changed his approach since his injury-wrecked 2014 season, selling out a little more for power at the expense of some OBP, but overall he has hit enough to be about a three-win DH, destroying left-handed pitching and hitting right-handers well enough that he¡¯s still a full-time option.

The two players most directly affected by the Beltran signing are prospect A.J. Reed and veteran Evan Gattis, the latter of whom was just brought back for 2017 a month ago, when the Astros picked up his $5.2 million option. Reed appears to be blocked right now, with Yulieski Gurriel the likely first baseman and Beltran at DH. Gurriel might be able to play a corner outfield spot, but the Astros have at least four outfielders — George Springer, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick and Nori Aoki — likely to take up all that playing time.

Everyone was responsible for the steroids era — players, agents, managers, front offices, owners — but the commissioner oversees the game and while the BBWAA has, for the time being, vetoed those players they view as PED users, another electorate has just chosen a man who helped enable the whole era to happen in the first place. Logic says Selig’s election should open the door for Bonds and Clemens, but we know there isn’t always logic when it comes to the Hall of Fame.

He flew to Seattle and apologized to Carroll and to a few executives in the Seahawks’ front office

So Chancellor decided the only way to begin this 2016 season was by making a series of apologies. He didn’t regret holding out, but he regretted the way it had affected everyone around him. He flew to Seattle and apologized to Carroll and to a few executives in the Seahawks’ front office. He text-messaged Sherman and asked him to meet in the locker room. “I should have been there,” Chancellor told him.

“It was powerful,” Sherman remembers. “It cleared the air. He didn’t have to do it, but I think that apology showed how much respect he had for us and moved us all forward.”

Then, for his final apology, Chancellor flew to Houston in April, where he was serving as a groomsman in Thomas’ wedding. A few hours before the ceremony, he pulled Thomas aside at the hotel and told him how much the holdout had been weighing on his mind.

Knowing the problem might consume him if he let it, Allen used last Tuesday to attend foundation meetings and prep for Thanksgiving. In his home, Allen was in charge of deep-frying the turkey and making the greens, for which he has a top-secret Cajun recipe. He marinated the turkey with creole butter sauce well in advance, and then greased it with peanut oil.

The widespread misinformation “kind of crushed me,” Allen said. His life is nothing like the other Allen’s, yet many won’t know the difference.

“You get all the negativity and [people] can say whatever — I can’t really do anything about that,” Allen said. “You kind of have to stop and pause for a minute. … But there’s no telling who reads that and how they perceive it. We’re in a society where it’s largely about perception.”
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Limited Kids Patrick Ewing Jersey Allen can handle probes from friends who knew he didn’t commit those crimes. But he has also had to quell a few concerns on the foundation trail over the last 18 months, forcing him to explain things anytime someone asks if he’s “that guy.”

n interaction with the other Allen. Before a game, Willie once approached Will with a joke. “Will the real Will Allen please stand up?” Willie James Allen said.