Dan Quinn and 2 Chainz taking a picture at the airport warms the Atlanta soul

Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn took a picture with 2 Chainz at the airport. Two of Atlanta’s finest in one photo, at a place that isn’t surprising they’d run into each other at when you consider the subjects.

It’s a photo that captures Atlanta sports and music well. Sports and music are two things the city takes great pride in. Even if the sports hurt sometimes.

Look at 2 Chainz’s outfit, y’all. He has on a Supreme outfit, complemented by a crisp pair of white Air Jordan 4s, and an icy ring and watch.

Offensive linemen usually don’t score touchdowns, but Brown certainly does. He was tied for second in the league last year with 12 receiving scores, so he had plenty of opportunities to dance in the end zone.

Brown’s celebration dances were flagged and fined because they were deemed sexually suggestive.

Kurt Warner Authentic Jersey Unfortunately, Brown’s twerking — though entertaining — would still draw a penalty, even after the NFL eased up on celebrations. Celebrating with teammates is legal now, so Brown won’t get in any trouble for bringing his offensive linemen into the mix.

Authentic Mens Pierre Garcon Jersey Brown got some pushback from Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers about his sensual celebrations last season.

He knows, we all know, Coach Tomlin brought it up yesterday, that is a huge penalty that we can’t do, Roethlisberger said on Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan in November. We put our kick coverage team in a bad situation and we can’t have it, and AB knows that.

But if Brown plans to celebrate with his offensive line and skip the pelvic thrusting, he should be just fine from now on.

Nine rising MLB stars who could break out in 2017

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The calendar has finally flipped to 2017, but we all started thinking about the 2017 baseball season long ago.

Martin Brodeur Authentic Jersey Which teams will surprise? Which teams will disappoint? Which youngsters will, to use overused words, break out in 2017? Alex Reyes is almost certainly going to be a star for the Cardinals in 2016. Same with Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox) and Dansby Swanson (Braves) and Yoan Moncada (White Sox). But we’re not going to talk about those youngsters here, though, because they all still own their rookie status for 2017.

No, we’re going to talk about another crop of rising stars who could very well wind up making their first All-Star teams soon. These guys have big-league experience but have yet to experience full-season success in the majors, and the combination of talent and opportunity should give them that shot in 2017. Think about what guys like Adam Duvall (from eight total career homers to 33 last year) and Jonathan Villar — whom improved from a career-high 18 stolen bases to NL-best 62 — did in 2016, for the Reds and Brewers, respectively.

Despite the demand for David Ortiz to come out of retirement and return to the contending Red Sox, it isn’t going to happen.

Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski did everything in his power to persuade Ortiz to change his mind by acquiring ace Chris Sale from the White Sox, solid set-up man Tyler Thornburg from the Brewers and Gold Glove first baseman Mitch Moreland in free agency.

Switzer snagged it. And he paid the price.

Switzer says he’s his own player. But he also acknowledges that those guys helped open gates for his NFL shot.

“The last 10 years there have been guys my size or smaller doing incredible things in college and the NFL,” Switzer said. “So I think that they’ve done the work, they’ve paved the way for guys like me to have success.”

Ask Switzer which play best sums up his play, and you won’t get a show-stopping touchdown grab or an electrifying punt return, despite the many he has to choose from.

Instead, it’s a simple first down from a regular-season game in 2014 against Virginia Tech.

Switzer was running across the middle of the field, briefly open. Tar Heels quarterback Marquise Williams saw him and threw across his body. The throw was going to leave Switzer vulnerable.

Switzer snagged it. And he paid the price.

“I took the hardest hit that I have ever taken in my career. It was something, wow, I can still feel it,” Switzer said. “But I completed the catch, I stood back up. I think that just shows the resilience that I have, the toughness.”

Budda Baker, DB, Washington: Baker offers some versatility in the secondary with the ability to cover and tackle. He’s explosive and quick, though undersized at 5-10, 195. He can be a free safety or a nickel corner thanks to a high-motor work ethic, instincts and excellent ball skills that all led to a team-high 71 tackles, 10 for loss, with two interceptions and six passes defensed last year. nike_cardinals_1944

It was really a blessing to play behind those guys because they’re elite

Former NFL receiver Maurice Stovall has been putting Hopper through workouts at IMG and said Hopper’s biggest hindrance will be not having any game tape from last season. That said, Stovall hasn’t seen any dropoff in Hopper’s ability since his final season at Clemson.
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He looks sharp, healthy and polished, said Stovall, who spent five of his seven NFL seasons with the Buccaneers. From a coaching standpoint, he hasn’t lost a step at all. … If he does everything he did when he was training at IMG at his pro day, I can’t see that do anything but help him get invited to a minicamp.

Hopper, whose ideal position is as a slot receiver, said he learned a lot at Clemson playing alongside the likes of DeAndre Hopkins, Sammy Watkins and Mike Williams.

It was really a blessing to play behind those guys because they’re elite, Hopper said. There are just a lot of small things, like where to put your hands, just little stuff you wouldn’t see on TV.

Game Sheldon Richardson Jersey After playing in Clemson’s national championship loss to Alabama, Hopper said it was tough but satisfying to watch his former teammates beat the Crimson Tide in January.

Kaepernick at one point looked like he and Russell Wilson would have many epic duels as strong-armed, mobile passers with championships on the line. It’s hard to believe the 49ers-Seahawks classic NFC title game was played only three years ago, given what all has happened since.

Wilson led Seattle to a ring after the 2013 season, something Kaepernick fell just short of the season before. While Wilson and the ‘Hawks have remained a conference contender, Kaepernick faded hard right along with the Niners’ post-Jim Harbaugh freefall.

It’s OK to celebrate, NFL clarifies, but watch the video anyway

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Apparently, Troy Vincent saw his Twitter mentions Wednesday night — including those from Martellus Bennett.
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On Thursday, though, Vincent stood behind the video and its premise — while emphasizing that liberating players was the goal, not further restricting them.

As for the Brady heist, Glazer said NFL security, Patriots security and the FBI collaborated and have zeroed in on a person of interest. He revealed the suspect somehow snuck into the team’s locker room after the game.

He actually, from what I’m told, they have him going into the locker room right behind Bill Belichick as if he’s with the team, Glazer said. Goes in there, loiters around a little while and is seen leaving the locker room — this is the video they’re trying to look at right now — seen leaving a little bit later with something under his arm.

From Glazer’s comments, it doesn’t sound like they could tell what was under their arm but it’s suspicious that they came in with nothing and left with something.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told FOX26 they found the suspect in Mexico.

The HPD criminal intelligence division detectives identified a suspect in Mexico, Acevedo said. I’m proud to say as a result of their hard work, and with the assistance of the FBI and Mexican authorities, we believe we’ve recovered the jersey. Further authentication is in process (of being completed).

Acevedo added federal charges are pending against the suspect. The NFL described the suspect as a credentialed member of the international media. Glazer claimed this person posed as a member of the media, and was not actually affiliated with anyone.

Orioles closer Zach Britton dealing with possible oblique injury

Being drafted by the White Sox 26th overall in 2016 was pretty cool for Burdi. He’s from Downers Grove, a Chicago suburb that’s roughly 26 miles from the White Sox’s home ballpark (now called Guaranteed Rate Field).

His older brother, Nick, was a closer at Louisville, too. Nick was a second-round pick by the Twins in the 2014 draft, and he’s at Double-A Chattanooga right now. In his 91 1/3 career inning in the minors, Nick has 129 strikeouts. So, yeah, it runs in the family.
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Orioles closer Zach Britton will be held out of an intrasquad game Wednesday after experiencing oblique soreness, manager Buck Showalter said Tuesday.

Britton, 29, instead will be allowed to rest as spring training ramps up. The extent of a possible injury should become more clear later this week.
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Oblique injuries can be problematic, especially for pitchers, as some players have missed several weeks. The Orioles will be overly cautious with their bullpen stud with over a month left until opening day. Baltimore begins its spring training schedule Friday against the Tigers.

The left-hander was phenomenal in 2016, converting all 47 of his save chances while gaining Cy Young consideration. He also finished the season with a miniscule 0.54 ERA and 0.83 WHIP.

Through all their struggles, the Rockies are going to field a very potent offense in 2017. While Ian Desmond fell off after a hot start to his 2016 renaissance, playing in the thin air at Coors Field will only help his numbers. Arguably the biggest acquisition of Colorado’s offseason is the hiring of manager Bud Black, one of the most respected baseball men in the game. If Colorado and MVP-candidate Nolan Arenado can get it going offensively in 2017, they’re going to give a lot of pitchers problems.

Jim Kiick, member of ’72 Dolphins, reportedly has ‘gaps’ in his brain

Former Dolphins running back Jim Kiick displays medical evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, according to an NFL-approved neurologist (via Sports Illustrated).

Kiick has been suspected of having CTE over the last few years as he displayed gaps in his memory and started to drift into dementia. He was put into assisted living last year after he was found to be “living in squalor, failing to take care of either himself or his apartment and consuming an alarming amount of medications.”

But in the last few days his condition became clear, and it became more clear because of the medical research Dr. David B. Ross did on the two-time Super Bowl champion.

“Jim actually had signs of contusion: bruises,” Ross told Sports Illustrated. “You can see it clearly: It’s called ‘encephalomalacia’ — wasting or hardening; there are areas of the brain where there are gaps, and that’s where a specific brain injury occurred. It’s the stuff you see after significant localized head trauma or stroke. He has holes in his brain.”

Ross went on to explain that this is not dementia, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s but a clear sign of brain trauma.

While Kiick is often the forgotten member of the ’72 Dolphins’ backfield alongside Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, the impact he had on the game was enormous. Kiick was one of the first running backs to truly be a dual-threat in the running and receiving games.

In a nine-year career, Kiick finished with 3,759 rushing yards in addition to 2,302 receiving yards. But in a time when the equipment was not nearly as safe as it is today, Kiick took plenty of shots to the head as did teammate Nick Buoniconti and is now suffering the consequences.

“There’s no question that he suffered significant brain trauma,” Ross said.

Corey Davis’ sister wants a ‘booty’ with her brother’s NFL money

Elite Womens George Fant Jersey Good news for Corey Davis. New butts cost less than new cars.

The Western Michigan wide receiver prospect, who’s projected to land in or near the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, will be relatively wealthy soon, meaning he likely will be buying close relatives and friends gifts. Thanks to TMZ, he now knows what his oldest sister, LaToya, wants if her brother is in the giving mood.

The Titans picked former Western Michigan pass catcher Corey Davis Thursday with the fifth overall pick.

Longtime NFL receivers coach Jerry Sullivan, who retired in January after 25 years, spent time working with Williams and Davis.

Authentic Kids Robbie Gould Jersey Sullivan described Davis as a great kid and student of the game who had an exceptional career at Western Michigan. Davis has prototypical size at 6-3, 209 and good speed. He was a first-team All-American last season with 97 catches for 1,500 yards and an NCAA-best 19 touchdowns.

Davis helped the Broncos roll through an undefeated regular season and a MAC championship last year before losing to Wisconsin the Cotton Bowl. He joined Randy Moss as the only wide receivers from the MAC to be drafted in the first round.

His ankle injury wasn’t considered serious, but did prevent him from running at the combine and the WMU pro day.

Why it’s better to laugh with JaVale McGee than to laugh at him.

LeBron James’ LeBron XIV retails at $175, with the customizable XIV iD series ringing up $220 before tax. Kevin Durant’s latest KD9 comes in at $150, while James Harden’s Harden Vol. 1 Series with Adidas run $140. Under Armour debuted Steph Curry’s Curry 3’s at $149.99, but has since slashed the price to $99.99.

And Paul George’s debut sneaker, the PG1, hit shelves this year at $109.99.

For some players, sneaker price is a status symbol. When Durant’s KD9 dropped last June, its $150 tag was $30 cheaper than that of its predecessor, the KD8. But it was still nearly twice as expensive as his debut sneaker, the KD1, that retailed for $88.

As humbly as I can say it, I’m not a $88 player, Durant said, according to Nick DePaula. I’m an elite player in the league. I wanted everything to be affordable, but I knew we had to sacrifice some stuff.
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Jonathan Stewart Kids Jersey LaVar Ball thinks the world of his son. He’s twice claimed Lonzo Ball is better than Curry, a two-time league MVP. And at his $200 price tag, he’s doubled down on those sentiments.

Now only two questions remain: Can Lonzo’s play back up his father’s talk? And more importantly, will the kicks be fire?

You can tell how competitive a Warriors game is by how many minutes Steph Curry plays in the fourth quarter. If Golden State is worried or it’s a legitimate dogfight, Curry plays seven or eight minutes. If it gets a bit touchy, he plays four or five. On Tuesday in Game 1 against the Jazz, he played 23 seconds in the fourth. Utah’s offense just got squeezed hard by Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. It felt at times that Golden State was playing at 75 percent yet still led by 20. Scary, scary team.

Why it’s better to laugh with JaVale McGee than to laugh at him.

Good morning. We have that and more in Saturday’s NBA newsletter.

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If you don’t love Steve Ballmer at his Devastated By Joe Johnson’s Daggers, you don’t deserve him at his Apoplectic At Chris Paul’s Genius. The Point God struck again Friday night, racking up 29 and eight as the best player on the floor by no small measure. He did it in Utah, one of the toughest places for road teams to play. He did it facing elimination and with Blake Griffin out.

Game 7 will be Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC). That will be our only Game 7 in the first round, though.

The Wizards went up big on the Hawks in their Game 6 on Friday … and the Hawks steadily climbed back into it, getting close late in the fourth. Then John Wall went fully bonkers, dropping 12 straight points on a mix of jumpers and drives to the rim. Then he taunted Julio Jones, sitting courtside, and said goodbye to Atlanta. So petty!

Milwaukee’s offense has hit a rut at an inopportune time, averaging just 84.5 points per game over the last two games in this series after putting up 100.3 points per game through the first three games of the series.

With the exception of Game 5, the Bucks have done a good job of keeping Toronto’s explosive offense in check this postseason, but they’ll need to find their own rhythm on offense again if they hope to extend this series. The Bucks are 4-13 SU and 7-10 ATS in their last 17 playoff games.
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Thursday’s total is set at 195 points. The UNDER is 13-4-1 in Milwaukee’s last 18 postseason games.

Despite the close nature of this series with both team splitting at home and on the road through the first four games, all but one game has been decided by 11 points or more. Milwaukee will try to get back on the right side of a blowout and force a Game 7 with a home win.