Maybe Hammond thought he needed to make a big play.

As usual, the American Athletic (Cincinnati and SMU), West Coast (Gonzaga and Saint Mary¡¯s), and Missouri Valley (Illinois State and Wichita State) are the only other multi-bid conferences this week. With a victory at Cincinnati on Wednesday, the Houston Cougars can give themselves real hope to being a third American entrant. Meanwhile, with Wichita State looking like a solid top-15 team in any metric that¡¯s not the RPI or a poll, I¡¯m increasingly confident the Shockers will make the field if they reach the Valley final and lose to Illinois State. On the flip side, my confidence level isn¡¯t as high on the Redbirds¡¯ chances if the situation¡¯s reversed.

And that day is coming soon, as nearly two weeks¡¯ worth of elimination basketball began last night with a quartet of Atlantic Sun quarterfinals. Over at Blogging the Bracket, my Conference Tournament Central page will have updated scores, matchups, and TV information all the way through Selection Sunday. I¡¯ve even written a brief primer summing up the biggest Championship Week changes for this year, headlined by the Ivy League¡¯s first-ever tournament.

Authentic Mens Patrick Willis Jersey It¡¯s going to be a fun two weeks, so buckle up. My next update, a full one with a quick look at the lock and bubble picture, will arrive Friday. Starting Sunday morning, new brackets will arrive daily.
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There’s nothing wrong with letting the damn thing go into the end zone and letting the offense line up on the 20-yard line. In fact, there is a lot right about doing that. It wasn’t a desperation move because, hell, the Chiefs were actually up at that point in the third quarter, 21-13.

Maybe Hammond thought he needed to make a big play. Turns out after fielding the punt on the goal line, he ended up taking it all the way back to the Chiefs’ 48-yard line. Doesn’t take a math major to see that means he had a 48-yard return, which would definitely qualify as a big play.

the Eagles fall in the rankings after stumbling against Seattle

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The Broncos remain contenders to get back to the big game, and come in at fourth in our rankings after holding off the Bills. Manning had his worst game of the season though, throwing for just 173 yards while tossing two picks. His streak of games with a touchdown pass sadly ended at 51, three short of Drew Brees’ NFL record. Without much help from Demaryius Thomas (two catches for 11 yards) and missing Julius Thomas (active but on the sideline nursing an ankle injury), the Broncos instead turned to their run game. C.J. Anderson ran it in for three scores. Denver showed the ability to lean on that part of its offense when the pass game wasn’t clicking.

Meanwhile, the Eagles fall in the rankings after stumbling against Seattle. They still boast a strong defense and potentially electric offense, assuming Mark Sanchez can prove he has a short memory. Philly doesn’t have any time to dwell on Sunday’s game, though; the Eagles host the Cowboys in a crucial matchup of the NFC East leaders this week.
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The Colts stick at the sixth spot after dispatching the Browns with an Andrew Luck-engineered game-winning drive, moving to 9-4 and strengthening their hold on the AFC South. Luck struggled throughout the day against a stingy Cleveland defense, turning the ball over three times before gutting it out when it mattered. Regardless, winning on the road is always a tough proposition, and I’m sure Indy will take this win for what it was — ugly — and move forward.

When I watched the replay, I saw Hoyer’s accuracy get progressively worse during the game. At the end, he threw what I like to call some “what the fuck?!” balls. Why in the hell are you throwing late to Tyler Gabriel with three Bills defenders on him?! And keep in mind that going into the fourth quarter the Bills were only up 14-3, not a great situation, but not an insurmountable lead.

The only thing I was shocked about was that the Browns stayed with him as long as they did in a game they had a chance to win. That made me wonder what Hoyer’s mindset is at this point. Does he think he deserves to start just because he has so far this season no matter how he plays?

File under Weird ’80s Stuff: John Elway in a bathrobe

I work out of a cubicle tucked in the far northwest corner of the NFL Media newsroom. On my desk sits a television that is tuned to NFL Network pretty much all the time unless there’s a televised police chase taking place in the greater Los Angeles area.

Based on this news, the franchise tag will not be an option for the 2014 Pro Bowler.

The Patriots and Bennett have a “mutually respectful” relationship, Rapoport added, but it will be quite a challenge for the two sides to find common ground on value once the new league year begins on March 9.

As we pointed out after the Pats’ Super Bowl LI victory, the one financial constant of the Belichick era is a steadfast refusal to set the market for any player — a policy that now leaves Bennett on the outside looking in.

The team is understandably unwilling to pay any tight end more than Rob Gronkowski’s $9 million annual figure.

Soon after trading for Bennett last offseason, New England offered him a new deal worth $7 million per year, Rapoport reported early this month. Bennett promptly rejected that offer.

At this time last year, Bennett was available to 31 teams for the bargain-basement cost of a fourth-round pick. After transforming his reputation from clubhouse headache to selfless Super Bowl champion, he’s now counting on one of the remaining 30 teams to overpay for his services.

While we marvel at the feats of a nearly 40-year-old Tom Brady, don’t forget what Harrison has accomplished — and the havoc he continues to wreak — in Pittsburgh. The player and team remain a perfect match, much to the disdain of the AFC North.

Like Elway and so many other former athletes, Lynch’s post-football career simply didn’t satisfy the competitive fire.

Staring at the r¨¦sum¨¦s of some of the last teams in Chris Dobbertean¡¯s latest bracket can be perplexing. Clemson has a 4-10 record in its conference, Providence is 16-11 with two wins of any real consequence, Arkansas … just seems like a team that has no business hearing its name called on Selection Sunday. I get all that. I¡¯m just not sure what we¡¯re expecting after doing this same thing every March for as long as any of us can remember.

There is never going to be a ¡°historically strong bubble.¡± There¡¯s never going to be a year where you hear Joe Lunardi say, ¡°sure Duke is 22-5, but I don¡¯t think you can call them a lock just yet, not in a year like this.¡± The bubble is supposed to be underwhelming. That¡¯s the nature of the beast when you¡¯re talking about a postseason tournament that includes almost 1/5 of the teams from a sport that has 351 of them.
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The last handful of teams that hear their names called three Sundays from now are going to be weak. They¡¯re just not going to be historically weak.

Like Elway and so many other former athletes, Lynch’s post-football career simply didn’t satisfy the competitive fire. It’s a fire that Shanahan recognized still burns in Lynch when the subject of working together in San Francisco was first broached.
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He enjoyed doing the announcing and being a part of the NFL, but the fight to go through something with a group of guys and what we go through together, and it is not easy and it¡¯s a grind for everybody, but it is worth it. That¡¯s really what people who played, people who coached, those are the reasons when people get out of it, they miss it so much.”

It’s that same competitive persona that made taking this particular job appealing to Lynch. Although he had never been all-in on moving into personnel, he said he has had conversations with teams in the past about making the move. In the run-up to recent drafts, Elway has invited Lynch to help the scouting department.

Pete Carroll says the Seahawks have made big offers to Marshawn Lynch

Elite Austin Howard Jersey The Seattle Seahawks know how much running back Marshawn Lynch means to their offense. It’s no surprise then that head coach Pete Carroll says the team has begun extension talks with the All-Pro “in earnest,” according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News.

Carroll has been speaking with the media as part of the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine. He told reporters that the Seahawks have “big offers out there” for Lynch, and that they expect him to remain in Seattle for the foreseeable future.

Gasol took advantage of Cousins and Kawhi Leonard sitting after halftime, starting and finishing the second half at center and playing the most minutes (21) of any West reserve. Gasol was two assists away from joining Durant with a triple-double, including setting up several highlight dunks, and he hit a Dirk Nowitzki-esque fadeaway when Kerr called his number after a late timeout.

Elite Brett Favre Jersey Of all the All-Stars, Green probably saw the least change in his typical role. As usual, Green focused less on scoring — attempting just two shots in 17 minutes — and more on setting up his teammates, defending and rebounding. His pass led to Curry’s dunk, and a pair of Westbrook dunks were also among Green’s six assists.

Melvin Gordon: The value of running backs is all over the place in the NFL today, but if any back is considered likely to go in the first round, it’s Wisconsin’s Gordon. He put up 2,587 yards in 2014, the second most in FBS history. He’s a solid all-round back who needs a decent showing everywhere to keep his name at the top of the list.

T.J. Yeldon: The Alabama back is 6-foot-2 and 221 pounds … he’s quick for his size, but nobody is quite sure what his top-line speed will be. The 40-yard dash will be the most important thing for him, and it could decide whether he’s one of the top three backs taken in the draft or if he falls out of the top five.

Zack Wheeler suffered a flexor strain and was shut down

The Dark Knight is the biggest question mark of all. He’s just eight months removed from surgery to remove a rib and relieve thoracic outlet syndrome. While two dozen other major league pitchers have had that surgery, with varying degrees of success, almost no one on the list is as young as Harvey (27) and depends on the same arsenal of power stuff that Harvey dominated with at his best. So even though Harvey says he “feels great,” his team will be watching him closely this spring. Collins is charged up by seeing a guy who is “determined to be great,” he said. “Last year was a humbling experience for him. And you can tell it really bothered him.”

Amelia died in October but lived on with Ventura in a photograph that served as January’s entry in the 2017 “A Year of Hope” calendar. Before the month was over, Ventura flipped his Jeep on the Juan Adrian Highway in San Jose de Ocoa and died at age 25. And the irrepressible joy expressed in the photo they share has been replaced by an unspeakable sadness.
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Those little, personal touches are foremost in the thoughts of teammates who know it will be a long time before they come to grips with the magnitude of the tragedy.

Limited Womens Nick Foles Jersey Under any circumstances, it would’ve been a bold statement, but it’s even moreso given the conspicuously convalescent condition of the Mets’ rotation. Just how banged up are the Mets’ arms?

If you didn’t know any better, you’d think GM Sandy Alderson stumbled upon a Groupon for an orthopedic surgeon and was just looking for excuses to use it. In July, ace Matt Harvey had season-ending surgery to combat his thoracic outlet syndrome. In August, while rehabbing from his 2015 Tommy John surgery, Zack Wheeler suffered a flexor strain and was shut down. In September, fellow righty Jacob deGrom had season-ending elbow surgery, as did southpaw Steven Matz. Then there’s Noah Syndergaard, who pitched much of the year with a bothersome bone spur but didn’t have surgery.

Renner notes that nearly half of Pryor’s receiving yards came in just four starts

The Gamecocks actually signed more four-stars in this recruiting cycle than Tennessee did, but the Vols had three more commitments and landed five-star tackle Trey Smith, boosting their class just a touch above South Carolina’s No. 21 class. The Gamecocks had an player star rating of 87.02, while the Vols edged them out at 87.14, according to the 247Sports Composite. That’s a negligible difference.

The schools have similar geographic challenges, given the fact that they don’t have lots of talent in state and have to fight with just about everyone in the conference and outside of it to get the best players.

But on the flip side, because of that location, it’ll be a bit easier for South Carolina to get prospects than the bottom-tier recruiting teams in the division, Kentucky and Missouri. The Wildcats traffic consistently in the low 20s and 30s. Mizzou’s 50th-ranked class follows up a No. 43 ranking in 2016, and the days of Gary Pinkel seem far gone.

Both those teams fight battles on different fronts in different regions though: Missouri in the Midwest and Kentucky in the Ohio River Valley. Vanderbilt remains a bit of a recruiting outlier unto itself because of the academic standards of the program and how much the administration cares about sports. The key for South Carolina is figuring out where it best fits, then executing.

But none of that is what’s critical now. Best wishes to Key on getting through whatever has sidelined him.

Renner notes that nearly half of Pryor’s receiving yards came in just four starts. Cleveland didn’t have much continuity at the quarterback position last season, which could be a contributing factor.

Rob Gronkowski partied heavily at the Super Bowl parade, which is not a surprise because this is Gronk we’re talking about.

The free agent-to-be had a real opportunity to have a breakout season in 2016, his first as a full-time starter opposite Ezekiel Ansah. It just never really panned out, though. He still had some success rushing the passer but wasn’t an edge-setter against the run and did not make the impact the Lions had likely hoped for last season. He recently switched agents, too, signing with Drew Rosenhaus. So that could mean he’s looking for the best possible deal and trying to get paid. He has a unique skill set and could blossom somewhere else, but it just doesn’t seem to be working in Detroit.

Taking a wide receiver early in the draft is the best way to find a No. 1 receiver. Over the past three seasons, six of the top nine players in receiving yards were selected in the first round: Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Demaryius Thomas, DeAndre Hopkins, Mike Evans and A.J. Green.
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Kyle Brodziak Womens Jersey Unlike those receivers, Perriman has had an extremely rough start to his career since being the No. 26 overall pick in 2015. A partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee sidelined him for his entire rookie season, and a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last offseason forced him to miss most of 2016 training camp.

“I think it’s going to be a huge advantage for me,” Perriman said. “There’s no more rehabbing. It’s just straight to work on the things that I know I need to get better at. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Rob Gronkowski partied heavily at the Super Bowl parade, which is not a surprise because this is Gronk we’re talking about. (At this point, it’d be more surprising if he wasn’t partying.)

The world was gifted some great photos during the parade, which was full of Gronk spiking beers and going shirtless. Gronk’s partying didn’t stop at the parade, however. He later ended up at Foxwoods Resort Casino with Rick Ross.

The Hawks and Kings became best friends thanks to the NBA’s new Twitter rules

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The NBA wanted to emphasize its social media guidelines this week to curtail trash talking among teams on Twitter. A memo circulated from the league office stated:
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¡°Teams are prohibited from mocking and/or ridiculing opponents (including teams, players, team personnel (including owners) and opponents’ home cities) and game officials on social media in any form, including through statements, pictures or videos.”
The memo came as a result of banter between Chandler Parsons and C.J. McCollum that bled into the official Blazers team account, which began siding with McCollum and mocking Parsons.

On Friday night, the Hawks and Kings played, and both teams decided that instead of pushing back against the NBA memo ¡ª they¡¯d have some fun inside the rules. The sarcastic back-and-forth became one of the highlights of the night:

Dwight Howard got the ball in the lane and slammed it home. After the Hawks posted a GIF, the Kings were quick to compliment:

We know how this ends: The Warriors will succeed at the highest level with Durant leading the way, and the Thunder will fall short.

We knew it on July 4 when Durant announced his decision. We knew it when the Warriors beat the Thunder by 26 in November and 21 in January, and we know it now as Durant prepares for his first game in Oklahoma City in a Golden State jersey (8:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, ABC).

Nothing Westbrook, the Thunder, or the people of Oklahoma do will change that. But they can all express their anger at their new reality. That¡¯s what they¡¯ll do Saturday night: offer up a final primal scream at Durant and his new reality.

Las Vegas media have floated a couple of predictable names in Ed Roski and Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta

Womens Anthony Davis Jersey Las Vegas media have floated a couple of predictable names in Ed Roski and Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta. But both own casinos and if, as the theory goes, the NFL was still reluctant about letting Adelson have such a huge stake in the stadium and the owners were actually relieved to see Adelson exit, why would feelings be different about Roski and the Fertittas? And why would Roski and/or the Fertittas want to contribute such a huge amount of money if a stake in ownership of the Raiders is not involved (it isn¡¯t) or the Raiders stick to their guns with the lease proposal that has them paying $1 a year in rent and gives them control of stadium operations with little to no say for UNLV, which would share the dome?

Keep this in mind, though: The Fertittas, who sold UFC for $4 billion, were involved early on in the Raiders¡¯ study of a potential stadium site in Las Vegas, on a 113-acre site west of Interstate 15 on Tropicana Avenue. The Raiders, though, have identified a 62-acre plot on Russell Road, west of Interstate 15 and the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the south end of Las Vegas, as their preferred site.
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Not quite. Because even if the Raiders did get $650 million and the approval of the NFL owners to move, they would still have to deal with an angry Adelson in Las Vegas. Think he wouldn¡¯t want to make things as hard as possible for the new kids on the block after he was shut out? Be it construction or concessions, some smoothing over would be necessary.