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Owen Daniels confirms Duane Brown’s account of Bob McNair’s comments about Barack Obama

When former Texans tackle Duane Brown said last year that owner Bob McNair expressed dismay and disappointment to the team after the election of Barack Obama in 2008, the Texans and McNair did not dispute the claim. Nearly six months later, McNair has taken issue with Brown’s remarks, essentially claiming that Brown is lying.

“I don’t go into meetings and express views like that,” McNair told the Wall Street Journal. “I never said that. He has no problem saying things that are not true.”

Here’s what Brown told PFT last October, after McNair’s “inmates running the prison” remarks came to light: “He came to talk to the team. He was visibly upset about [the election of Barack Obama]. He said, ‘I know a lot of y’all are happy right now, but it’s not the outcome that some of us were looking for.’ That was very shocking to me.”

McNair now dismisses Brown’s version of the events by claiming that “all Duane was trying to do was be a troublemaker.” Based on some of the comments McNair has made in recent weeks, however, he’s apparently making enough trouble for himself.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh will be questioned at the team’s facility on Thursday, as part of Colin Kaepernick‘s collusion grievance. Kaepernick has the right to be present for the event, if he so chooses. (He attended the deposition of Texans owner Bob McNair in Houston.)

It’s possibly not a coincidence that the Ravens disclosed that they’ve worked out Griffin that they’ll sign him next week one day before these depositions. With the Ravens offering Griffin a contract last year (but not offering one to Kaepernick), Newsome and Harbaugh already were going to be grilled about their preference of Griffin to Kaepernick. texans_130

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Kevin Byard wears “Just a Fan” shirt in shot at Deion Sanders

Beckham remains a great player. The Giants have to ask whether they want to make a long-term financial commitment to him soon, or risk having him stay away from OTAs, training camp, the preseason, and possibly regular-season games. If they’re not willing to make a financial commitment, they should trade him to a team that will, and get what they can for him. Otherwise, the distractions will continue — whether originating with Beckham or with those who have tried to boost their own relevance by forcing their way into his story.

“It’s disappointing, some of the things that happened,” he told ESPN, “but nevertheless, it’s a huge step for me. I put pads back on. A lot of people wrote me off just to even get to this point. I’m definitely emotional about it. I’m definitely happy about it. This isn’t the end goal for me, but I’m having fun again. I have a smile on my face.”

Manziel says he’s hoping an NFL team will sign him, but if not he’d likely play in the Canadian Football League.

“The message that I’m sending is showing up every day and going to meetings,” he said. “Being engaged in everything that is going on during practice and in the game. I can’t control what is going on [with NFL teams’ interests] and I don’t know what’s going on in NFL meetings. If that’s the case, if the NFL is something that pops up, cool. If not, I’m going to work until I get back there. We’ll see how things play out.”

The 25-year-old Manziel last played in 2015, when he started six games for the Browns.

Smith, who has been arrested for violating the terms of a protective order arising from a domestic violence arrest and who had a bench warrant issued for his arrest after failing to appear at hearing in court, was jailed this time around with bail of $500,000. Public records indicate that he currently remains incarcerated, in advance of an April 11 court hearing.

The list of pending charges against Smith now includes three separate counts of contempt of court.

Smith last played in the NFL in 2015, before the league implemented a permanent banishment with the ability to apply for reinstatement after a year. It’s a dramatic fall for a player who had 42 sacks in his first 43 regular-season games.

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Calais Campbell: We’re starting back at zero

After the Jaguars lost to the Patriots in the AFC title game in January, veteran defensive lineman Calais Campbell said that he wanted his teammates to “use this as fuel” as they got ready for the 2018 season.

The loss is the only thing from last season he wants to be part of the team’s mindset this year. The Jaguars made a big jump from the bottom of the barrel to a division title last year, but Campbell wants the team to realize that those gains don’t carry over into the next season.

The Alliance’s salary structure provides players a way to keep their careers alive while they also pursue far greater NFL greenbacks. Polian said Alliance contracts would pay $50,000 for the season and as much as an additional $35,000 that could be earned based upon “wins and statistical achievements.”

Another potentially appealing element of the Alliance: post-secondary scholarship stipends and education programs for those who stay in the Alliance long enough to qualify.

The Cowboys signed Brendel as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA in 2016 but waived him out of the preseason. He signed to their practice squad September 22, 2016, but the Cowboys cut him a week later.

He signed with the Dolphins’ practice squad two weeks later.

Bottom line is that this is a virtually new Marlins lineup, and how they fare against deGrom remains to be seen.

Miami will counter with rookie left-hander Caleb Smith, who came over in a trade with the New York Yankees this past winter. Smith, 26, broke into the majors last year with the Yankees, posting a 7.71 ERA in 18 2/3 innings.

This year, he is 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in two starts, and his big issue has been bases on balls. He has allowed six hits and nine walks in 8 1/3 innings, striking out 12.

Since Smith is a left-hander, the Mets could use right-handed-hitting Wilmer Flores in place of Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Flores hit 18 homers in 336 at-bats last year but has yet to get untracked in 2018.texans_084

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Steve Kerr says Warriors’ effort better despite dropping second straight

After saying his team put forth a “pathetic effort” in a blowout loss Thursday to the Indiana Pacers, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his squad’s effort was better after Saturday night’s 126-120 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans at Oracle Arena.

“We’re going to be all right,” Kerr said, as his team now has a 6-9 record since March 9. “Tonight, we [were] playing a team that desperately needs to win. You can tell the teams around the league that have to win, they’re getting after it. They’re playing for their season. And our season begins next week, and we know that. So I’m not disappointed with the effort. I always want to win. We always want to win. But I liked the fight, especially in the second half, and I think we can take something out of this game.”

Speaking of the Warriors’ sub.-500 record in recent weeks, Kerr said, “I’m not too worried about the record at this point, especially with all the injuries. These last couple weeks has been disjointed, lineup-wise, and from one night to the next, it has been different. I don’t worry about that. We know the position we’re in. We’re in a good spot. We’ve just got to get a little better and start that fight from the beginning of the game and stay connected, and we’re in good shape.”

Torgersen played for the University of Pennsylvania in college and signed with the Falcons as an undrafted free agent last year. He was waived in September and spent time on the practice squad in Washington before closing out the year with the Lions. He was 8-of-20 for 95 yards and two interceptions in the preseason with Atlanta.

Torgersen will likely have to be pretty impressive over the next few months to have a chance of sticking on the active roster and any hope of that will take a hit if the Cardinals draft another quarterback later this month.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich agreed.

“It was a pretty exciting time,” Popovich said. “Manu’s done that over the years. It was great.”

Ginobili’s teammates often joke the veteran is bringing the “grandpa juice” when he produces such game-defining moments. The typically self-deprecating 40-year-old, meanwhile, credited an afternoon nap and nine hours of sleep the previous night for the strong performance.cardinals_014

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Brett Jones signs RFA tender with Giants

The Giants started their offseason program on Monday and center Brett Jones ended any chance that he’d be leaving the team as a restricted free agent.

Jones was tendered at the second-round level earlier this offseason and the team announced on Monday that he has signed that tender. They also announced the return of tight end Ryan O’Malley, who was an exclusive rights free agent.

Yankees: LHP CC Sabathia (right hip strain) and 3B Brandon Drury (severe migraines) were both put on the 10-day DL. Sabathia’s MRI results were clean and the club hopes he misses just one start. Drury has been dealing with serious headaches, which have been causing blurry vision. He will undergo tests beginning Monday and there is no timetable for his return. … INF Tyler Wade (flu-like symptoms) received IV treatment and was feeling a little better after experiencing a fever, shakes and dry heaving on Friday. … C Gary Sanchez (leg cramps) was improving after limping off of the field Friday. `’At this point it appears to be minor,” manager Aaron Boone said. … RHP Ben Heller on Friday underwent Tommy John surgery, which also involved removing a bone spur from his right elbow.

RHP Mike Wright Jr. faces LHP Jordan Montgomery in the series finale on Sunday. The 25-year-old Montgomery made five starts against Baltimore last season, going 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA.

Lions coach Matt Patricia and G.M. Bob Quinn both spent time with Cassel in New England and apparently think he’ll be a positive veteran presence in the locker room — even if they hope Stafford stays healthy and Cassel never actually gets on the field.

The Chiefs have made significant offseason roster changes in hopes of moving closer to their first championship appearance since Super Bowl IV. One of them was giving Mahomes a new fleet-footed target to work with through the free-agent signing of wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

“We’re gonna be even more explosive,” Hunt said. “You know we’ve got some weapons out there, Tyreek (Hill) and Travis (Kelce), too. That’s a lot of speed out there.”

A more dangerous deep passing game to scare defenses should make Hunt even more effective than he was during a breakout 2017 campaign in which he set the Chiefs rookie rushing record with 1,327 yards. Despite such success, Hunt believes he has plenty of room for improvement heading into his second season.

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NFL free agency: Worst of Cowboys’ salary cap hell still to come

There is one huge problem with kicking the can down the road when it comes to the NFL salary cap. Eventually, it stops rolling — and so do a team’s chances of upgrading its roster via free agency with splashy signings.

The 2018 Dallas Cowboys are experiencing this first-hand.

Had the Cowboys sealed that deal, the cap space needed to sign Watkins would have come from more contract restructures and player releases. Potential targets included wide receiver Dez Bryant, who likely would have been asked to trim his $12.5 million base salary or even jettisoned if an agreement could not be reached.

And on an aside: I don’t think the rookie class beyond Ohtani will remain uninspiring all year, especially not after some of the bigger names like Ronald Acuna and Nick Senzel are promoted. Good things are on the way!

AJ Mass: Colin Moran came over to the Pittsburgh Pirates from Houston in January’s Gerrit Cole trade. He probably wouldn’t still have rookie status, were it not for the freak injury he suffered last July, fouling a ball off his own face. He’s firmly entrenched at third base with his new team and, after going 0-for-6 on Opening Day, is now batting .345 on the season, with hits in his last six starts and a total of 8 RBI. Moran is rostered in just 11.6 of ESPN leagues, but has as many fantasy points as Manny Machado and Jose Altuve.

Even that may be an understatement.

Unlike the 43-year-old Wuerffel, the 29-year-old Harvey is still young enough to realistically attempt a successful NFL comeback. The 2009 first-round pick retired last March after injuries derailed an eight-year career highlighted by his impactful contributions on offense and special teams during Seattle’s blowout win over Denver in Super Bowl 48.

Wuerffel was nothing to sneeze at in his day, either. The 1996 Heisman Trophy winner lasted in the NFL for six years as a journeyman quarterback.

Wuerffel is now trying to adjust to a different form of football that continues to grow in popularity, especially among youth hoping to mitigate the increased concussion risk that comes with playing padded tackled football.

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Mel Kiper Jr.’s comments about Josh Allen highlight terrible double standard against Lamar Jackson

On Wednesday, Mel Kiper Jr., with a straight face, lauded Wyoming product Josh Allen for improving his throwing mechanics and accuracy during the pre-draft process. While doing so, he legitimately said of completion percentage and accuracy issues, That’s history now.

It’s worth pointing out that he also recently said that pro days don’t matter. But back to his comment about Allen, it’s pretty easy to be accurate when there’s no pressure in your face.

Watson then signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2016. He missed his entire first season in the Charmed City due to a torn Achilles. In 2017, Watson corralled 61 receptions for 522 yards and four TDs.

Entering his 15th NFL season, Watson rejoins Brees on a New Orleans team poised to make another playoff run. The Saints attempted to bring back Jimmy Graham in free agency. After striking out, they settled for the trusty Watson instead. The Saints add Watson to a tight end corps currently comprised of Coby Fleener, Josh Hill, Michael Hoomanawanui, Garrett Griffin and Alex Ellis.

While the Giants have said over and over that their intention is to sign Beckham to an extension, it appears they have reservations about not only paying a wide receiver low-end quarterback money, but also to a player who they seemingly don’t trust to be a franchise-level man. Now that we’ve established the Giants’ apparent reasoning for reportedly listening to offers for Beckham – including one from the Los Angeles Rams which included their first-round pick – let’s pick it apart. Firstly, there is literally no argument for trading Beckham from an on-field standpoint, so we’ll be brief.

The Giants’ offense – and quarterback Eli Manning especially – are simply better when Beckham is on the field. Manning has a passer rating close to that of Joe Montana’s career average when playing with Beckham, but transforms into essentially Chad Henne without him. broncos_011-500x500

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Jerry Jones hopeful suspended Cowboys DE Randy Gregory will be reinstated for 2018

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed that suspended defensive end Randy Gregoryis preparing to apply to the NFL for reinstatement.

And Jones said the Cowboys are helping him in the process.

Gregory missed the entire 2017 season after being suspended for one year for repeated violations of the NFL’s Policy for Substances of Abuse.

Gregory became eligible for reinstatement, but has yet to officially apply.

He is an NFL-caliber player with one hand, and he is as charismatic as any athlete you’ll find. He is the most intriguing player in this year’s draft, and you can bet he will be a top jersey seller almost immediately after some team picks him. Just ask Hughes, who ran through coverage drills with Griffin on Thursday. Hughes dropped the first ball thrown his way, which he figured was nerves, and then he watched Griffin pick off a throw easily, with one hand and one arm swallowing the ball. Hughes found himself inspired, and started catching everything in sight.

Ever since the moment the season ended, Dez Bryant’s time in Dallas looked like it was coming to an end. What was already a murky future became even more muddled when the Cowboys signed Bryant’s possible replacement, Allen Hurns.

The rumors constantly have been flying about regarding when the former Pro Bowler will be released, and now, we finally have our timetable.

The Cowboys reportedly plan to release their star wideout following the NFL draft.

You don’t have to say it’s over until it’s over, but Bryant’s party in Dallas is certainly winding down.

The big issue with Bryant is that he simply isn’t the top wide receiver he’s paid to be. He hasn’t broken 70 catches, 1,000 yards, or 10 touchdowns in three years despite being paid like a top-10 receiver.

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NFL free agency: Best players available at each position

The 2018 NFL free agency market was active well before free agency officially began at the start of the league year Wednesday. That means the majority of this year’s top free agents have been signed.

But a handful of solid free agents remain available on the market, ready to be signed to a new team.

If the Bills don’t think Mayfield is worthy of being their franchise QB and the Cardinals move out of the way from No. 15 to go up and get Allen, then it’s down to the Ravens and Chargers at teams that potentially could sneak away with Lamar Jackson as a QB to groom for the future. But because Baltimore and Los Angeles are in AFC contention mode, Buffalo probably can feel secure about Jackson being a strong fallback plan.

With Darnold to the Browns and Rosen to the Jets looking more like QB-team fits, pick Nos. 2, 4 and 5 create serious danger for the Bills to get stuck without a real QB choice at No. 12. While Mayfield is the wild card, Allen’s strong arm makes him the first ace out of the hole.

Allen would be the greater attraction for the Bills to target with such a high pick. Their getting equally aggressive for Mayfield would be surprising.

Restricted free agent Chris Boswell signed his second-round tender Thursday, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic reports. The Steelers still hope to sign Boswell to a long-term deal.

In the meantime, Boswell is due to make $2.914 million this season.

Boswell, 27, signed with the Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2014. Houston cut him out of the preseason but signed him to the practice squad for a week.

He spent time with the Giants in the offseason and preseason in 2015 before catching on with the Steelers in October of that season.

Corbin has gone 5-7 with a 3.33 ERA in 19 games (17 starts) overall against the Giants. He has had less success (1-4 with a 4.61 ERA) in seven starts in San Francisco.texans_030

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Yankees’ Masahiro Tanaka dominates Blue Jays in 4-2 win | Rapid reaction

The question was simple: Would the Yankees get the Masahiro Tanaka who was brutal for the first half of last season or the Tanaka that recovered in the second half, helping carry the team to a Wild Card berth

The answer was simple, too: Neither. At least on Friday night.

The 2017 postseason version of Tanaka showed up in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre on Friday night in front of 33,716.

The playoffs, though, were where Tanaka shined. In three starts, he gave up only two runs over 20 innings, nabbing two wins and a loss.

On Friday, Tanaka did it without the help of the big boppers that carried the Yankees in their season-opening win Thursday. Instead, he got assistance from the bottom half of the lineup, which could be the top half for some teams.

Didi Gregorius, hitting cleanup, ripped a triple and a double. He also walked. Billy McKinney, making his big-league debut, singled in his first at-bat.

Brandon Drury drove in two runs, including the game’s first, when he knocked in McKinney with a double. Drury also singled home a run in the fourth.

It happened last week during the owners meetings in Orlando and once again dominated the discussions at the grand opening of Entertainment District at The Star. It didn’t take long during the post-event press conference for both Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones for the topic to shift to football and once it did, it started with Dez.

However, Jerry Jones said nothing has changed as they still have yet to meet about the wide receiver’s future with the Cowboys.

I’ve asked him not to come in because I want to keep the questions going, Jerry Jones quipped to reporters. That will keep us in the paper.

When asked again, Jones got serious, but didn’t change his tune from what he has said all offseason.

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