Isaiah Thomas on Hall-of-Famer Allen Iverson: ‘I definitely want to be just like him’

Boston Celtics 5-foot-9 point guard Isaiah Thomas has repeatedly professed his admiration for Allen Iverson and, on the morning of Iverson’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Thomas again gushed about the inspiration that the generously-listed-as-6-foot Iverson provided for him.

“You know how much D-Will loves to dress up,” Devin Harris said, recalling the Halloween party Williams hosted last year, when the point guard went with a “Macho Man” Randy Savage outfit.

There was nothing macho about the uniforms Williams and several Mavs teammates wore Saturday. He named their team GWA (Grannies With Attitude), going with mumus and gray wigs for uniforms.

Williams even convinced Rick Carlisle to wear the uniform while “coaching” from the bench.

The event benefited Williams’ Point of Hope Foundation, which supports autism awareness, education, and research, a cause close to his heart as he is the father of a son with autism.

“If you follow the way [Kaepernick] talks and the message he’s trying to send with his act, from his mouth, he’s not disrespecting veterans. He’s not disrespecting military. That’s not his intention,” Curry said. “He’s obviously continued the act to create a conversation for more social justice and things of that nature. So, I’ve been a part of certain conversations off the grid, and finding different ways to make our community better, especially for African-Americans. And so, that’s not the way that I would do it, but I support him in his attempt to start a conversation or continue the conversation.”

What’s a bit surreal is that nearly a year before their chance encounter, McNulty posted a photo of Thomas muscling his way through traffic during a Celtics game with the caption, “The GOAT.”

During a taped appearance from the Celtics’ practice facility on GMA, Thomas told McNulty, “Thanks for letting me shoot hoops for you the other day” and invited McNulty to be his guest at a game this season.

A stunned McNulty asked, “Are you serious?” Which is what all of his friends have been asking him since last week.

Rookie T.J. Rivera rescues Mets in first start since Aug. 23

WASHINGTON — It took back surgery that ended Neil Walker’s season and a neck injury to Wilmer Flores for T.J. Rivera to get into the lineup Tuesday at second base. The rookie then rescued the New York Mets from what would have been a crushing defeat.

Rivera capped a three-hit, three-RBI night with a solo homer in the top of the 10th against Mark Melancon as the Mets salvaged a 4-3 win over the Washington Nationals.

Rivera was starting a major league game for the first time since Aug. 23. He had won the Pacific Coast League batting title in early September before returning upon the completion of Triple-A Las Vegas’ season.

Farrell had 217 million reasons to configure the rotation so that Price is lined up to start the final game of the season if the Red Sox need a win to clinch a playoff berth or the division title. But principal owner John Henry and president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski have empowered Farrell since spring training to eschew salaries and contracts as a guide for making personnel decisions, and they aren’t about to change that policy now.

So Price had to earn his way into a Game 162 start — or, if the American League East-leading Red Sox have their druthers, Game 1 of the division series. And after three largely miserable months in which he pitched as poorly as he ever has, endured a proportional amount of criticism, brooded after his worst starts and tried to buoy his spirits by tweeting the sort of uplifting quotes that appear in fortune cookies, the $217 million man finally is pitching like the guy the Sox paid so handsomely to get this past offseason.

The reference, of course, was to a June 8 start in which Price muted the San Francisco Giants for seven innings before giving up a solo homer to little-known rookie Mac Williamson. And that’s how it went for Price through the first half of the season. He gave up five or more runs in five of his first 16 starts, and when he did pitch well, somebody named Mac Williamson was there to ruin everything.

It all began to turn for Price on July 28 in Anaheim. He blanked the Los Angeles Angels for eight innings of what turned out to be an excrutiating 2-1 loss on Hanley Ramirez’s throwing error in the ninth inning. And although he melted down in the seventh inning five nights later in Seattle and gave up six runs (three earned) in only five innings on Aug. 7 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Price seemed to be gaining confidence.

Reflecting on Tim Tebow’s farcical, ill-fated season with the Jets

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — The Tim Tebow memories came flooding back Thursday morning upon hearing the news that he’s signing a minor-league contract with the New York Mets. My first thought: Sal Paolantonio will be doing a stand-up any minute now.

Amid the negativity and resistance to Tebow’s being handed a uniform and given an opportunity to take his shot, the natural question is: Why?

Why is it such an affront to the baseball community for a team to take a flier on a 29-year-old mega-athlete who can run a 60-yard dash in 6.7 seconds and hit a baseball 450 feet (albeit in batting practice)?

And what’s so abhorrent about that pursuit generating interest in the game and selling some extra tickets in spring training or Tebow’s first minor league stop? Is Tebow fatigue so rampant and ingrained in the sporting consciousness that we’re not the least bit curious in seeing how this story plays out?

I get it: The chances of Tebow ever making it to the majors are roughly equivalent to that of Jose Bautista and Rougned Odor becoming Facebook friends.

Tebow hasn’t played organized ball since 2005, so he’s 6,000 at-bats and hundreds of hours of backfield development time behind the curve. During his two-hour audition in Los Angeles last week, Tebow looked rigid and mechanical in the outfield and displayed a throwing arm that was surprisingly weak by former Heisman Trophy quarterback standards.

Tebow looks imposing in a form-fitting T-shirt, but that 6-foot-3, 255-pound frame (with 7.3 percent body fat) isn’t doing him any favors. He’s not busting through the line anymore in pursuit of the goal line, so he might want to pare back on the weightlifting.

Jon Lester dazzles as Cubs reach 40 games over .500

CHICAGO — Jon Lester has been there before, more than anyone, in fact. Thirteen times he has taken a no-hitter through at least five innings, most among active players. And every time it happens, he’s thinking the same thing as everybody else.

“You go through the first inning, you think no-hitter,” Lester said. “Anybody that tells you different is lying to you. Every time you go out there, you know when you haven’t given up a hit.”

Save for one errant pitch to San Francisco’s Hunter Pence in the seventh, Lester dominated the Giants on Friday, working quickly and efficiently all through a complete-game three-hitter, a 2-1 victory that pushed the Chicago Cubs 40 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1945 season.

Lester had retired 18 straight and allowed only a first-inning walk when he faced Pence with two out in the seventh. Pence reached out and hooked a ball into the second row of the bleachers near the left-field foul pole.

“It was terrible,” Lester said of the mistake pitch to Pence, making you think that despite the mostly terrific 101 other pitches he threw, that was the only one he was thinking about.

That killed the no-hit bid, but Lester wasn’t done riding out a low pitch count. He pitched around the Brandon Crawford double that followed, Trevor Brown’s one-out two-bagger in the eighth and Pence’s two-out walk in the ninth. Lester got Crawford looking to end the game. Easy.

But as good as Lester was Friday, he was quick as usual to point out the missed brushstrokes on what everybody else sees as a masterpiece.

“I think the big thing is them being aggressive,” Lester said. “I wasn’t able to throw the ball where I wanted to at the beginning, as much as later in the game. Them being aggressive kind of helped me out a little bit. I was able to keep the ball down and keep the defense active today, so that was good.”

It was Lester’s 14th career complete game, and he needed just 102 pitches to do it, the fewest yet. And while he didn’t end up with his second career no-hitter, he did become a 15-game winner for the seventh time in his career. He allowed one run or fewer for the 17th time this season, the most in baseball. And in doing so, he joins teammates Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks in what is shaping up to be a wild chase for this season’s Cy Young award.

Lester has been especially dominant of late. Over his past seven starts, the 32-year-old is 5-0 with a 1.38 ERA. Only Hendricks has a lower ERA during that span. His 2.61 season ERA ranks fourth in baseball, joining Hendricks (first) and Arrieta (sixth) among MLB leaders.

“This is Jon Lester, the guy I known since I’ve been catching him,” said David Ross, who caught Lester for the 84th time Friday. “This is typical Jon. He’s going to go out and keep you within striking distance. He’s going to go out to the mound, and he expects perfection out of himself. And expect perfection when I’m catching him. He’s having a phenomenal year.”

“The cool thing for me is that when you’ve got this kind of lead this late in the season, guys are still not giving away [at-bats] late in the game,” Ross said. “Or you get down like the other night and still find ways to come back. That’s a sign of guys just focused on what’s going on, on the field. Nothing else.”

Forgetting individual accomplishments, there are strategic reasons for starting Lester in the playoff opener. The St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Dodgers and these Giants are all in the bottom half of the league against left-handed pitching. Even the Washington Nationals rank just seventh against lefties. Starting Lester in up to two games in a best-of-five scenario makes all the sense in the world considering not much separates him and the righty starters on the team anyway. Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked if he saw the strength in Lester facing their potential playoff opponents.

“Against those teams, absolutely,” he said. “He’s been really solid pretty much all season.”

And he has the experience of being a Game 1 starter. That’s not to say Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks can’t be good, but why put that kind of pressure on Hendricks and why not use a lefty weapon against weaker opponents as much as possible? Plus, most observers would agree Lester has been more consistent than Arrieta and deserves two starts in a series if it’s needed.

“You can’t prepare for the playoffs,” Lester said. “It’s a whole other season. I’m not looking past the next one.”

Lester is thinking of the next one because he desperately wants to reach 200 innings. That’s the statistic in which pitchers take the most pride. He has thrown 169 innings so far this season after his masterpiece against the Giants. And there is a level of trust there this season that might have been missing a year ago. It’s hard to argue with 15-4 and a 2.61 ERA.

clayton kershaw to pitch simulated game

DENVER — Clayton Kershaw is the headliner in an important simulated game scheduled for Tuesday at Dodger Stadium that could lead to his return to the starting rotation within the next week.

Roberts also indicated outfielder Andre Ethier, despite reporting steady progress during his injury rehab assignment with Rancho Cucamonga for a broken leg, is “a possibility, but unlikely” to be activated when rosters expand Sept. 1.

“When he’s ready to come back and feels like he can contribute, he’ll be back,” Roberts said. “It’s all contingent on ‘Dre and his leg. Right now it’s certainly improved. He hasn’t had any soreness. Every day he feels better and the recovery is getting better.”
Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

“It’s easy to hate on him if you think that none of this is thought out and he’s just like, ‘I’m going to play baseball. I can do that,'” Ross said. “But remember that this is a guy who talks to kids all the time about chasing your dreams, about how you can do whatever you want to do if you put your mind to it and work hard at it.

“We need more people with that kind of attitude, frankly, so I applaud a person like that. Go for your dreams.”

Gerrit Cole was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday due to posterior inflammation in his right elbow, the club announced. The assignment was made retroactive to Thursday, so Cole is eligible to return on Sept. 9.

Cole had been scheduled to start the Pirates’ series opener against the Cubs on Monday night at Wrigley Field. Instead, he flew to Los Angeles for a second opinion on his sore throwing elbow. Shortly before Monday’s game, Pittsburgh put Cole on the shelf and recalled left-hander Steven Brault to take his place.

Cole informed the club after his last start that he “had a little bit of discomfort on the outside of his elbow,” general manager Neal Huntington told reporters over the weekend. Beyond that, the severity of the injury and Cole’s timetable to return are unclear.

In five starts following his first career complete game on July 27, Cole went 1-3 with a 6.08 ERA, allowing 41 hits with only 22 strikeouts in 26 2/3 innings.

After allowing five runs on seven hits in five innings in a loss to the Astros on Wednesday at PNC Park, Cole chalked up his mistakes to poor execution and an inconsistent delivery, but he couldn’t explain the cause of either. An injured elbow might help make sense of his slump.

Thunder fan petitions to have name of Oklahoma town changed from Durant to Westbrook

Oklahoma City Thunder fans were understandably upset when Kevin Durant announced his decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors on July 4, going so far as to even burn his jersey.

“In talking with Boston, I was given the option of taking that pick or else taking Jae Crowder. I liked Crowder but I thought he wouldn’t get much of a chance to play behind Carmelo [Anthony], so I took the pick, which turned out to be Cleanthony Early. While Cleanthony has missed lots of time in the past two seasons with us, he still has the potential to be a valuable player. Even so, I should have taken Crowder.

“Anyway, for all of us, making mistakes are part of the learning process. … We won 15 more games this season than we did last season, something that’s not easy to do in the NBA. I’d be more than happy if we could make the same jump next season.”

A few things to unpack here: Dallas traded Crowder to Boston in December 2014, and he signed a five-year, $35 million contract in the summer of 2015 to remain with the Celtics. That’s one of the more valuable contracts in the NBA at the moment. The salary cap spike has led to a massive increase in contract values for free agents, and getting a versatile player like Crowder for $7 million a year is very team friendly.

Assuming the Knicks acquired Crowder in the 2014 trade and signed him to the same contract as Boston, he would be an extremely valuable piece. Adding Crowder — who averaged 14.2 points and 5.1 rebounds last season — also would have changed the complexion of the Chandler/Felton trade; none of the players the Knicks acquired in the deal is currently on the roster.

Rubio has had several conversations with Thibodeau since he was hired. But they haven’t had the time to really dig into the situation. Thibodeau was an assistant on Team USA in Rio, so now that the Olympics are over, the two expect to have more in-depth conversations.

“In my five years I’ve been there, definitely it’s the best group,” Rubio said. “Players, coaches, you put it all together and it’s the best we’ve ever had. The excitement is real. We have really young talent that can really take us to the next level with veterans that can help. And the coach, I think, is going to be the key and the difference.”

“The past is the past, but that No. 1, I think, will always be stuck with me. It’s always going to remind people and give them memories of how I played when I was younger. I was playing reckless, and I was just ballin’. I had raw talent,” Rose said in an interview with The Vertical. “Now, with the No. 25, I think you’ll see a more mature player. You’ll see the player that you saw toward the end of last year. More under control-type of game, and I got a lot more options now this year. That No. 1 will always be engraved in me, and it’s not going anywhere. Twenty-five is just a new step, and a new step in the right direction.”

The Knicks traded for Rose in late June, the first step in putting together a club that they hope can snap the franchise’s three-season playoff drought.

Seahawks’ Michael Bennett: Scuffle at practice due to ‘dirty play’

RENTON, Wash. — A day after he was yanked from practice for the second time this summer, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said a dirty play by left tackle Bradley Sowell was the source of his anger.

“At the end of the day, I love Mike. He’s one of my favorite players in the NFL. I’ve enjoyed watching him over the years. So we talked it out real quick and we were sitting there having lunch together. So it’s nothing big.”

Bennett said he respects Sowell but that players have to look out for each other when it comes to avoiding injuries.

“There’s a code in the NFL,” Bennett said. “There are a lot of problems with the NFL when it comes to injuries and concussions and stuff like that, but I feel like a lot of the time it’s the players that can really control what happens to each other.

To be sure, it was still an extremely small sample size as the Green Bay Packers ease their Pro Bowl receiver back into the mix. But on the one-year anniversary of tearing the ACL in his right knee, Nelson ran routes against an actual defender in tight coverage for the first time.

By unofficial count, he did that three times in the one-on-one receiving drill. Twice, he caught passes against Sam Shields — one down the left sideline and another on a crossing route. The other came down the seam with Quinten Rollins in coverage.

It was after the throw down the sideline that Aaron Rodgers said he remarked to quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, “I could throw that ball with my eyes closed, because I know exactly where he’s going to be.”

“That’s the beauty of us playing together for a long time,” Rodgers said after practice.

It’s why even if Nelson doesn’t play in either of the two remaining preseason games, Rodgers doesn’t seem worried about getting the chemistry back with his top receiver. When Nelson last played in 2014, he posted career highs with 98 catches and 1,519 yards to go along with 13 touchdowns.

Forty-five of Nelson’s 49 career regular-season touchdowns have come from Rodgers, who became a starter in 2008, the year Nelson was drafted.

“We’ve got a thousand reps together,” Rodgers said.

Nelson still hasn’t not done any 11-on-11 work in practice; he said he expects that may come next week.

Tony Romo moves into different role: mentor

Now they are as inexperienced at the position as they were in 2004.

“There is so much to the day that you can’t possibly learn it all,” Romo said. “Their job is to ask questions, watch tape, learn, get out there and throw the football and work on their technique and fundamentals, work on their thought process. Also, through osmosis, just learn from being around it. These guys really do a great job of that. They are both hard-working guys. They set themselves up for being successful.”

As Romo watched the preseason opener against the Los Angeles Rams, Prescott was impressive in his debut, completing 10 of 12 passes for 139 yards with two touchdown passes. Showers was not as fortunate to play with some starters, completing eight of 15 passes for 99 yards, but he had a scramble that led to a 47-yard completion to Vince Mayle.

Romo spent the game on the headsets.

“He was into it,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “I said, ‘Tony, a big part of this is we’ve got these young guys and they’re going to need your presence.’ He was into it, looking through the photos and the video and kind of talking through some of the things that came up and kind of talking about some of the plays that we’re going run and how to look at them. He did a great job of being a leader with those guys in between series.”

The Cowboys’ plan entering training camp was to have Kellen Moore as Romo’s backup, but he broke his fibula in the second padded practice and is likely out until November. The Cowboys flirted with the possibility of signing Nick Foles and had discussions with the Cleveland Browns about Josh McCown.

They could re-visit the position before the season starts, but they are committed to giving Prescott and Showers snaps.

“I couldn’t ask for a better mentor, better leader of the quarterback room,” Prescott said. “He’s an offensive coordinator behind the center basically. The things he talks about in the meetings and he comes out here and puts them on the field each and every day. It’s just great to see.”

Prescott said Romo will quiz the quarterbacks in the film room as they watch the practice film. He seeks their advice and opinions as well. Testaverde did the same thing to him.

Romo is 36. He is in his 14th season and is signed through 2019. He has constantly changed how much longer he is going to play, anywhere from four years to eight years, but he knows his time is closing.

“I mean any time you can pass on your knowledge and help especially good people, guys you see a little bit of yourself in with the work ethic, I think it’s exciting to see them succeed and compete,” Romo said. “I want them to be successful. The hope and goal is for one day to pass that one and let these guys run off and play, Kellen included. Hopefully they can carry on the level of play we want at the quarterback position.”

NFL, ESPN and Hall of Fame scramble after game cancellation

Scoff if you want at the NFL’s extra preseason game, but it’s a big deal. It often sells out in Canton, Ohio. And it does huge ratings. Last year’s Hall of Fame game between the Minnesota Vikings and Pittsburgh Steelers drew about 11 million viewers. Game 3 of the NBA Finals this year drew an average of about 16.5 million viewers, to put that into perspective. Starters rarely play in the game. Most of the players in the contest won’t make the final roster of either team. Yet, people tune in because we’re so desperate for football.

It’s not just the television crowd. Last season’s Hall of Fame game officially drew 22,364 fans. Capacity for Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium is listed at 22,354, according to the Canton Repository, so the game does very well in town. The Hall of Fame said it would refund all tickets, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter said that would cost the non-profit Pro Football Hall of Fame about $4 million.

When Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker got on a microphone at midfield to explain to those in attendance what happened, the fans booed him. Players from both teams clapped for him to show some support, but it didn’t help. The fans continued to boo throughout Baker’s announcement.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we know a lot of you came a long way,” Baker told them. “Here at the Hall of Fame, we have the greatest respect for players. We have the greatest respect for player safety … as a result of some painting on the field today, some questions arose about player safety. We met with both teams, we talked to both sets of players. I can tell you, I had a son that played in this league [former Atlanta Falcons offensive tackle Sam Baker], and if [this] had happened with him on the field, I would have wanted somebody to make the same decision.”

ESPN said on its broadcast that Baker made the call to not play, after talking to coaches, executives and the athletic training staff of both teams. They couldn’t ensure the safety of the players.

”We are very disappointed for our fans, but player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight,” the NFL and NFLPA said in a joint statement.

“Someone had to make a very tough decision, and I respect that,” Colts quarterback Andrew Luck told ESPN.

Pittsburgh Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams said the field wasn’t good last year for the Hall of Fame game, and criticized the NFL for it.

Hey @NFL it was that terrible last year but u didn’t cancel the game we had our kicker tear his acl and a few mcl strains so thanks????
— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) August 8, 2016

In the stadium, the Hall of Famers were introduced to the crowd, singer Lee Greenwood went on with a show that was meant for halftime, and players milled around for a while, seemingly unsure what to do without a game to play.

ESPN did its best to entertain fans that tuned in expecting to see football. It wasn’t easy, especially considering Charles Woodson, Matt Hasselbeck and Randy Moss were on the “Monday Night Countdown” set with Berman for the first time. ESPN signed off from Canton at 9 p.m. and went to “SportsCenter.”

It wasn’t that long ago when Eli Manning could just roll out of bed and show up at practice, feeling good and full of energy. He was younger then, of course. These days, at age 35, he says “it takes me about an hour to get loosened up.”

But that’s about the only concession to his age that the New York Giants quarterback is willing to make, and there aren’t any obvious signs of other age related issues at all. His arm looks as strong as ever. His numbers have only gotten better over the last two years. And he doesn’t look like a player fighting off an inevitable decline.

“He’s getting better,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said.

He better be, because Manning is the key to the Giants’ immediate future or, as GM Jerry Reese put it, the Giants “are on his back.” They spent $200 million on rebuilding the defense and left the offense largely as is because they are confident it can succeed in the hands of their franchise quarterback.

But if he begins to show any signs of age or of a late career decline, it would mean big trouble for the start of the McAdoo Era. And it could mean a long wait before the Giants are contenders again.

For now, though, the Giants don’t have to worry about a long search for their next franchise quarterback because the one they have has thrived in his two seasons under McAdoo’s offense. In 2014, he set a career high in completion percentage (63.1), and he threw a career high 35 touchdown passes last season while topping 4,400 yards in back to back seasons for the first time in his career. He even threw a total of just 28 interceptions in those two seasons nearly the same total he threw (27) in 2013 alone.

He’s made it clear he loves McAdoo’s offense, which was a huge reason Giants management promoted the offensive coordinator to head coach, and the numbers show it obviously works. The only question has been how long Manning can physically keep going and improving as he nears the end of his long career.

DeSean Jackson defends Josh Norman’s much-scrutinized practices

Coach Jay Gruden said it during his news conference and he’s not just pumping up a guy: Linebacker Martrell Spaight looks good. He’s typically facing backups, so keep that in mind, but you can start to see why the Redskins drafted him in 2015. Spaight had a terrific play Thursday when he read RB Keith Marshall running to his left, shot through the line untouched and stopped him for a loss. I’ll have more on this later, but Spaight has worked hard in coverage. What he doesn’t have to work hard on is hitting the hole with violence. That’s what he showed at Arkansas and he’s showing more than a few glimpses in camp.

Mentioned rookie lineman Matt Ioannidis the other day and I’ll touch on him briefly again: He falls into occasional lapses where he stands too upright looking for the ball. When he doesn’t do this, he can be effective and he does move well laterally. For now, it’s part of the transition from college.

With Trent Williams sidelined, second-year Arie Kouandjio took snaps at left tackle Thursday afternoon with the third unit. Ty Nsekhe worked with the starters and continues to hold his own whenever he’s on the field. Those long arms pay off for him.

Another rookie, Su’a Cravens, is starting to feel more comfortable and playing a little faster. You can see his instincts starting to emerge. He covered a checkdown with good speed, racing up to make what would have probably been a 2-yard gain. He broke before the pass so it was a good read. Cravens showed good reaction on a run earlier in the practice, filling the gap fast. And on a boot to his left, Cravens did a nice job covering Ryan Grant on a cross.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins capped a two-minute drive with a fade to the left corner of the end zone for receiver Pierre Garcon, who was covered by Bashaud Breeland. Cousins had two plays earlier that jumped out, one good and one not so good. On the first, Cousins connected with Rashad Ross in front of Norman but the corner never had a chance. The ball was out before Ross had planted and turned. On the next play, Breeland read the play, undercut Grant and nearly intercepted the ball.

Washington Redskins cornerback Josh Norman fired back at Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, who took a jab at Norman on Twitter over his Madden NFL 17 ranking.

After a video from practice surfaced last week of wide receiver Pierre Garcon running past Norman in a one-on-one drill, Peterson replied to a tweet by saying, “but he’s the highest rating lol madden is a joke.” Norman, who actually broke up the pass on the video, received the No. 1 ranking among cornerbacks in Madden NFL 17; Peterson was fourth.

Norman responded on Twitter with a Kermit the Frog meme and said, “guess they ain’t put NO #RESPEK! On your name #4.” On Thursday, Norman, who signed a five-year contract in April worth up to $75 million, was perplexed by Peterson’s initial tweet.

“That guy? Come on, man,” Norman said about Peterson on Thursday. “Be No. 4 and be happy. Come on, don’t talk about me, I’m not talking about you. I mean, I’ll still continue to work and try to be better than No. 1. Where that is, I don’t know, but I’m working toward that. Obviously he’s somewhere trolling other people. He should be worried about what he’s doing on the field and if he gets beat up this year. He shouldn’t be trolling me.”

Norman has battled Garcon and DeSean Jackson in practice, losing on occasion and winning on others. His losses have been shown on video. Peterson then mentioned in another tweet that of the three games Jackson has played against him, he’s only had one big play, which happened to be for 56 yards in 2014.