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NFL seems to be adopting targeting rule without adopting targeting rule

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Before the 2018 annual meeting, Mark Maske of the Washington Post reported that the NFL would not be adopting a college-style targeting rule, allowing ejections for the use of the helmet as a weapon to be imposed by someone other than the on-field officials. That position appears to be on the verge of changing.

Maske reported on Monday that ejections by officials under the rule that prevents lowering of the helmet to initiate contact will be subject to replay review. The unanswered question (for now) is whether failures to eject will be correctable via replay review, allowing 345 Park Avenue to buzz the referee and to instruct the referee to remove a player from the field when deemed necessary.

Second, after jettisoning Joe Haden last summer, the Browns were left without a former first-rounder at a premium position, and it showed.

Meanwhile, they already had Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah on the edge.

To be clear, this wasn’t pushing a need, but need can be a tiebreaker when things are close.

And third, when Ward came on his visit, he appealed to the staff by talking about his Northeast Ohio roots, and the coaches came away thinking Ward wanted to be in Cleveland and embraced the idea of being part of a turnaround, which fit into the culture change Dorsey has been pushing.

According to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, the position is considered permanent and no search is being done for a replacement.

Kim Pegula and her husband Terry bought the Bills in 2014, so it’s not as if she didn’t already have power there. But it does break a bit of ground, as she joins a very short list of top female sports executives.

Tina Becker has been chief operating officer of the Panthers while the team is being sold, though she’s not necessarily expected to remain once Jerry Richardson hands the keys to someone else. And Katie Blackburn (the daughter of Bengals owner Mike Brown) serves as their executive vice president.

But roles for females at the top of sports organizations are still rare, and while the circumstances add a layer of irony, it represents a positive step in what has always been very much an old boys club.

The uniforms should take the form of the classic college cheerleading look, skirts and crop tops that highlight their six-packs without revealing major cleavage.

On the left, the Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders at an opening-week game in 2016.

McCarthy: Kizer would’ve been first-round pick in 2018

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Mike McCarthy’s quarterback situation is as solid as possible at the top, but he’s welcoming a fresh face to the depth chart.

That fresh face, former second-round pick DeShone Kizer , has earned quite a compliment from the coach, who thinks Kizer has been undervalued in his first year in the NFL.

In my opinion, if he was in that class this year, he would’ve been part of that group of first four guys , or first five, McCarthy said, per USA Today. I always felt there were five, the five quarterbacks, first-round guys.

More of the same came as a result: Cleveland again found itself in the market for a franchise quarterback and jettisoned Kizer to a land of new opportunity (and dairy products), dealing the youngster to Green Bay in a swap that included defensive back Damarious Randall . A fresh start was best for a green quarterback whose confidence didn’t need further damaging.

Kizer will battle with Brett Hundley for the backup job behind entrenched all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers . Based on last season’s unfortunate series of events Hundley replaced an injured Rodgers and Green Bay’s offense slowed to a crawl that included a limp Kizer should have a realistic chance to win the backup job. Going from chaos-ridden Cleveland to mostly stable Green Bay and learning behind Rodgers would be an ideal setup for Kizer.

Haspel told the White House she was interested in stepping aside if it avoided the spectacle of a brutal confirmation hearing on Wednesday and potential damage to the CIA’s reputation and her own, the officials said. She was summoned to the White House on Friday for a meeting on her history in the CIA’s controversial interrogation program — which employed techniques such as waterboarding that are widely seen as torture — and signaled that she was going to withdraw her nomination. She then returned to CIA headquarters, the officials said.  

Taken aback at her stance, senior White House aides, including legislative affairs head Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, rushed to Langley, Va., to meet with Haspel at her office late Friday afternoon. Discussions stretched several hours, officials said, and the White House was not entirely sure she would stick with her nomination until Saturday afternoon, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

Bills tried to trade up with Browns, Broncos before getting Josh Allen at No. 7

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The Bills got their man, quarterback Josh Allen, by trading up to the seventh overall pick in the draft. But they wanted to trade up higher.

Shazier was immobilized on a backboard, carted off the field, and taken to a Cincinnati hospital.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin did not have an update on Shazier’s status after the game.

This is a tough game, tough business, Tomlin said. 5-0 (Shazier) is our brother.

My elbow is feeling much better. It feels good, Rutgers linebacker Trevor Morris told NJ Advance Media in his first comments since dislocating his elbow during spring practice . I’m very happy with where I’m at. I’m hoping to get right back to where I was, if not better, this coming season.

Morris is out of his sling after suffering the injury in April’s final spring scrimmage. Morris then sat out the final week of practices and the Scarlet-White spring game . Head coach Chris Ash said at the time he anticipated Morris would be ready for the start of training camp in August, and nothing has altered that expectation. The injury did not require surgery.

Just a lot of rest, a lot of recovery, Morris said. I should be back to 100 percent.

Morris, a King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, native, has been Rutgers’ weakside linebacker the last two seasons. He’s posted back-to-back 100-tackle seasons with 118 in 2017, the second-most in the conference . When Morris entered the Scarlet Knights’ starting lineup in 2016, he was a bright spot for a struggling position group. The linebacker corps has since become one of the team’s deepest units.

(Pittsburgh fans who lived in the D.C. area, of course, could still break through this firewall.) “I got a lot of emails from Pittsburgh saying I was mean-spirited and unfair. I don’t care. I’m going to keep doing it,” Leonsis told the Washington Post. While the practice of teams protecting home ice is more commonplace today, it was seen as a petty reaction to the Penguins’ popularity at the time.

Baffert didn’t need to worry.

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Going in, my main concern was really just getting him out of the gate, Smith said. Because, believe it or not, I mean, he’s just so talented. I mean, this horse, he’s so above average, it’s unbelievable. He has a mind to go with it. I knew if I could get him out of there and get him into a big rhythm, he can go fast. That’s how good he is. He can go at 45 and still finish like he did was incredible.

Big Money Mike knew exactly what he had and what he wanted. He wanted to lay second as the pack came out of that first turn. Yes, second would be fine. It all fell into place for him. Promises Fulfilled dutifully became the pace-setter. He was no threat, and Smith tucked in behind him out of the first turn, just as he wanted.

Then it happened just as sure and he felt it would.

As the Jets this week waived one quarterback (Bryce Petty) and welcomed another (No. 3 overall draft pick Sam Darnold), Christian Hackenberg remains on their roster.

This offseason, Hackenberg has changed his throwing motion, with the help of a personal quarterback coach.

But is it too late for him with the Jets? Probably, since they just drafted Darnold and traded away three second-round picks to move up from sixth to third, in order to get him.

The Jets are now in the second phase of their offseason workout program, so Hackenberg can get out there on the practice field and throw. (The Jets begin spring practices, with organized team activities, on May 22.)

The majority of NFL teams that are running an optional rookie camp will hold their workouts May 11-13.

The nine teams beginning workouts include several of the top rookies from last week’s draft, including Baker Mayfield (Cleveland), Lamar Jackson (Baltimore), and Sam Darnold (New York).

The three days of work allow the first-year players to get a jump-start on learning the playbook and preparing for their immersion in the NFL.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, each team may hold one post-draft Rookie Minicamp on either the first or second weekend following the NFL draft, with players participating in club activities for a maximum of ten hours per day.

Panthers DB coach resigned following investigation

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Carolina Panthers defensive backs coach Curtis Fuller resigned this week following an investigation into complaints of inappropriate conduct, the team announced Friday.

TV cameras often show the rooms before the draft starts, when team personnel are settling in and reviewing their notes. That’s a quiet time.

Then the cameras show teams when they are on the clock. By then, they know who they’re planning to take … unless an appealing, last-minute trade offer comes through.

Then the room becomes more animated as the trade details are worked out and called into the league before time expires. The last thing a team wants is to not submit their pick or trade details on time, because in that case, the next team can jump in and select.

The Ravens had designs on selecting a running back, only to get foiled by teams selecting ahead of them in the middle and late rounds of the draft.

It’s safe to say DeCosta is a fan of the Bears ‘ first-round pick. While the Ravens traded out of the opportunity to select James, they wouldn’t have passed up the chance grab Georgia’s Butkus Award winner.

If you’ve got a chance to get a guy like Roquan Smith, DeCosta said, you should probably take him.

In the early rounds, teams generally wait for last-minute trade offers before telling their representatives at the draft site to hand in the pick. With 10 minutes allotted in the first round (previously 15 for most of my NFL years) and seven minutes in the second round (previously 10) before it drops to five minutes in the remaining rounds, there’s a lot of down time.

The draft presents a mix of highs and lows in terms of a team’s success, but everybody knows it takes two or three years before actual success can be determined.

Now in my consulting work with an NFL agent group, the draft is more of the same — sweating it out as I wait for our players to be selected.

Jaguars owner might not be allowed to buy Wembley Stadium until 2057

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Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan caused a bit of a stir last week when he announced his offer to purchase Wembley Stadium in London. It wasn’t so much the proposed purchase price of $840 million — Khan is one of the world’s richest people, so he can easily afford it — or the fact that a U.S. citizen wanted to purchase English soccer’s biggest stage that had people buzzing, but rather that Khan told the BBC that ideally he’d like to configure Wembley so it could host a Super Bowl down the line.

What could have been: The Browns drafted Myles Garrett with the No. 1 pick, but could have packaged picks to draft a quarterback such as Deshaun Watson, who showed promise with Houston as a starter before a season-ending injury.

Does it matter? There is still time for Cleveland first-round picks Jabrill Peppers and David Njoku to develop, but Watson was another chance for the Browns to rectify that problem. If the Browns draft a quarterback in 2018, that player will be propped up against Watson on some level.

Instead, Eric Trump said, the firm’s existing businesses — commercial buildings in New York, licensing deals for Trump-branded hotels and clothes — produced so much cash that the Trumps could tap that flow for spending money. 

He had incredible cash flow and built incredible wealth, Eric Trump said. He didn’t need to think about borrowing for every transaction. We invested in ourselves.

He added: It’s a very nice luxury to have.

The cash purchases began with a $12.6 million estate in Scotland in 2006. In the next two years, he snapped up two homes in Beverly Hills. Then five golf clubs along the East Coast. And a winery in Virginia. 

The biggest cash binge came last, in the year before Trump announced his run for president. In 2014, he paid a combined $79.7 million for large golf courses in Scotland and Ireland. Since then, those clubs have lost money while Trump renovated them, requiring him to pump in $164 million in cash to keep them running.

Trump’s lavish spending came at a time when his business was leaning largely on one major financial institution for its new loans — Deutsche Bank, which provided $295 million in financing for big projects in Miami and Washington.

NFL draft 2018 CB rankings: Denzel Ward is class of deep group

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The top cornerback prospects entering the 2018 NFL draft:

1. Denzel Ward, Ohio State (5-11, 183): The Buckeyes have produced three first-round corners in the past two drafts (Marshon Lattimore, Gareon Conley and Eli Apple), and Ward is next in the pipeline after being named a first-team All-American in 2017.

4. Isaiah Oliver, Colorado (6-0, 201): A standout decathlete, he has athleticism NFL teams crave. Oliver has the size to excel as a press corner and the speed to close when the ball is in the air. His footwork, however, leaves him vulnerable to sudden changes of direction, and he must improve his route recognition. Projected: Round 1-2

5. Mike Hughes, Central Florida (5-11, 191): After starting his career at North Carolina and transferring to junior college, he was one of the breakout stars of the Knights’ undefeated season. His rugged, relentless approach in press coverage is not what one might expect given his stout frame. Certain teams might not see Hughes as a fit given his height and length, as well as his potential problems adapting to off coverage, but he’ll contribute early as a returner at minimum. Projected: Round 1-2

A slight-framed, injury-prone quarterback who can’t move in the pocket? That scares teams.

But scouting is looking at the trees and understanding the forest.

Rosen has his warts—as does every quarterback in this class—but he also has mechanics that make evaluators drool and the best accuracy of any passer in the group. And he might have an Aaron Rodgers-like chip on his shoulder that allows him to somehow get better the more teams hit him.

There is enough on his tape for scouts to consider him the best quarterback in the class.

And to worry he’ll get them all fired.

The next LeSean McCoy? Ex-Penn State defender explains what makes Saquon Barkley special

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Penn State running back Saquon Barkley  is viewed by many as one of the most complete prospects to enter the NFL Draft in recent memory. 

Weighing in at 6-foot and 235 pounds , Barkley’s game film is full of explosive touchdown runs, plays where he leaps defenders and sticks the landing before keeping on running, and catches both out of the backfield or from the slot that have blown games wide open. 

Barkley’s production at Penn State is impressive, but given the fact that he was often used as a decoy on run-pass options in the Nittany Lions offense and frequently out of the game by the fourth quarter during his junior season, his numbers could have been even more eye-popping than the 5,038 total yards from scrimmage and 51 touchdowns over three seasons. 

Similarly to the NFL career that the 5-foot-11 and 210 pound McCoy has built, Barkley is a threat to score as a runner, a receiver, or after having the ball directly snapped to him largely because of his ability to cut on a dime and burst upfield. 

“The thing is, he’s a complete-back,” Cabinda said. “He blocks in the running game. He blocks in the passing game. He does it all. I think that’s what makes it special.”

Now the two, who have both had their fair share of playoff disappointments, will try to carry their regular-season success into the postseason when the Rockets open a first-round series with Minnesota on Sunday night.

Sixers’ big win | Observations

The guards have been effusive in their praise for one another, with Harden recently joking that his relationship with the nine-time All-Star was “love at first sight.” Paul didn’t go quite that far, but a huge smile crossed his often serious face when asked how their pairing has worked.

“Unbelievable,” he said. “You just (don’t) get this opportunity too often in a career to play with somebody like James … you get a chance to appreciate greatness.

“What he’s doing on a nightly basis and stuff like that, it’s crazy and I’m in awe,” Paul continued. “I’m grateful I get to play alongside him.”

When told of what Paul said about him, Harden was quick to answer.

“You can tell,” he said. “It feels like it’s been forever but it’s not even been a year yet.”

When is the 2018 NFL Draft? Date, time & live TV coverage from AT&T Stadium

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More than 250 new players will join the league in the 2018 NFL Draft in April. Some top college football players will be important additions for teams like the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants, as they look to rebuild for the future.

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2018 NFL Draft, including order of picks and live TV coverage on ESPN.

Live coverage of Rounds 2 and 3 on April 27 (7 p.m. ET) will be shown on four networks: NFL Network, Fox, ESPN and ESPN2. Joel Klatt, Fox’s lead college football analyst, and Charles Davis will join NFL Network’s Peter Schrager and Chris Rose on the coverage.

For the first time, ABC will simulcast ESPN’s coverage of Rounds 4-7 on April 28 (noon ET). NFL Network will cover the later rounds, too. Fans also can also stream the action through NFL, Fox Sports and ESPN apps.

ESPN’s “College GameDay” will even put its college-themed twist on the draft Thursday and Friday. Rece Davis will be joined by “GameDay” regulars Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit and Desmond Howard behind the mic.

The 2017 first-round draft pick out of Alabama started 10 games as a rookie, tallying 72 tackles.

Jeter blinked first after reportedly telling Stanton that he’d force him to be on a watered-down rebuilding club for years if he didn’t accept a trade that the organization worked out as opposed to one to a team that he preferred.

The Yankees and Marlins completed a trade in December to move Stanton, who hit 59 homers and won the National League MVP last season, and ever since there’s been very little looking back other than continuing past friendships with former teammates.

“I follow whoever my friends are,” Stanton said. “I check out how they’re doing. I made sure to send notes when they’re doing well and keep ’em going.”

Come August, Stanton will have another reunion with his old club, one that probably will be more meaningful: The Yankees’ two games in Miami.

“It’ll be cool to see my guys (this week), but I think it’ll be a little bit different when I go to Miami,” he said.

Report: Daryl Worley Tased, Arrested by Police; Gun Recovered at the Scene

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Ex-Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Daryl Worley was reportedly tased and then arrested in Philadelphia early Sunday morning.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the incident occurred at 6 a.m. ET on Sunday after Worley “became combative with police.” Rapoport added that “Worley was found passed out inside a vehicle blocking a highway” and “a gun was recovered at the scene.”

Per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the incident took place near the Eagles’ team facility.

The Eagles announced Worley has been released after the arrest.

The Redskins’ interior line took a hit with Spencer Long leaving in free agency (Jets), and guard Shawn Lauvao is unsigned. They should think defense with this pick if the player is right (Smith or Vea), but Daniels would be a fine player to line up in front of Alex Smith and also upgrade the run-blocking.

According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Huizenga passed away Friday after a battle with cancer.

Huizenga first bought a partial stake in the Dolphins in 1990, and bought control of the team from Joe Robbie in 1993.

He eventually brought baseball and hockey to the South Florida region as original owner of the Florida Marlins and Florida Panthers as well.

Even after he sold controling interest in the Dolphins in 2008 to Stephen Ross, he retained a small share of the team, a testament to his passion for the local sports scene.

During his career as a businessman, Huizenga launched three Fortune 500 companies — Waste Management, Blockbuster Entertainment and AutoNation.

Our thoughts are with the Huizenga family at this time.

McCourty continued: “I think it’s why I got involved in the Players Coalition and to have a presence. Obviously we don’t know all the information and we’re not the brightest people in the room, but I think because of our platform, we get to elevate all the people around us so we make sure everyone hears it.”