Adam Jones’ latest arrest should be final nail in ‘Pacman’ redemption lie

Did the Bengals ever really believe those Adam Jones redemption stories A man can change his surroundings, and surroundings can change a man. Unless they don’t.

The cornerback occasionally known as Pacmanwas arrested Monday night in Cincinnati on multiple charges, police said: assault, disorderly conduct, obstructing official business and harassment with a bodily substance. The last of those is a felony charge, which is nothing new for Jones; hes been arrested at least nine times since being drafted in 2005.

Maybe Mike Brown is surprised, though. The Bengals owner is a believer in rehabilitation. Though hes been slowly ceding control to his daughter, Katie Blackburn, Browns fingerprints were all over the Jones signing. Talented but troubled is his type, a weird sort of Moneyballphilosophy that has helped the Bengals to a 118-103-3 record since 2003 under coach Marvin Lewis. The market inefficiency here seems to be players with whom no one wants to deal.

Jones was on that track in 2009, when he couldn’t even get a job in the Canadian Football League. The Bengals signed him in 2010, the same offseason they gave a four-year contract extension to defensive tackle Tank Johnson, whose rap sheet was almost as long as that of Jones.

The redemption story line was put in motion almost immediately. Jones had completed rehabilitation for his alcohol problems. He had learned from his year outside the NFL which came shortly after a season-long suspension in 2007. He wanted to be on a winner, and the Bengals were coming off a 10-victory season and trip to the playoffs.

Best sights and sounds from Opening Night

Elite Nick Perry Jersey Super Bowl Opening Night was filled with stars from the Falcons and Patriots, throngs of media looking for a juicy quote and a few smiles from New England coach Bill Belichick. Yes, smiles. You know, expressions of happiness.

A friend of Jonathan Shecter aka Shecky Green, a music and pop culture journalist and former hotel executive in Las Vegas has been betting the Packers on the money line since their eight-game win streak started against the Eagles on Nov. 28, rolling over his winnings to make his wagers larger each week (via Uproxx and R.J. Bell).

For the uninitiated, winning a money line bet requires that a team win the game outright, regardless of the point spread.

This gambler started with a $300 bet on Green Bay at Philly, and the amounts of his wagers have grown with each Packers win. On Sunday night, his $10,259.50 bet on the Packers turned into more than $28,000 when they beat the Cowboys on Mason Crosby’s last-second field goal.

At the casino where the bet was placed, Green Bay was a +170 underdog vs. the Falcons for the upcoming NFC conference championship, meaning the $28,213 wager would net a $47,963 win if the Packers beat Atlanta, potentially boosting the gamblers Packers-based bankroll to $76,176 or $0 if the Falcons, who are favored by four points (-4), win outright.
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There are few areas in which Watson, at 6-2, 205 pounds, may not project as well as Kizer, Trubisky and Mahomes, starting with his undersized frame. There are concerns about whether he can translate his exceptional passing and running skills in the spread to a more conventional offense.

But that ignores what NFL teams will love about Watson.

NFL Pro Bowlers tell bad jokes in hilarious video

What do you call a pig that does Karate A pork chop.

What do you call a bear with no teeth A gummy bear.

Those are just two examples of the terrible jokes NFL Pro Bowlers read, as part of a game called, Bad Joke Telling.
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Watch as the players hilariously went head to head to see who could hold out the longest without laughing:
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New England’s goal-line stand just before halftime was huge, and the story going into the second half would be the health of Le’Veon Bell, whose groin injury kept him out almost all of the second quarter.

The Patriots entered the break with a 226-180 advantage in total yards despite having held the ball three minutes less than the Steelers. Neither team had much success running the ball through the first 30 minutes, as the game’s leading rusher was DeAngelo Williams with his 24 yards.

Tom Brady was his brilliant self in the first half, as he completed 19 of his 24 passes for 222 yards, two touchdowns and a rating of 133.0. Ben Roethlisberger had a solid half, too a鈧€?16 of 22 for 136 yards and a rating of 88.4. One of his potential touchdown passes was dropped, and another was reversed upon replay review.

Earlier this week, Bell told Bleacher Report that he wanted to change the way the running back position is approached in the same way Curry has inspired up-and-coming hoopers to hone their 3-point shot as opposed to their hops. True story: My friend Romando came over to my apartment and somehow slept through the whole game, perhaps worn out for cheering against the Patriots in their loss to Ravens in the early game. I seriously don’t know how, considering all the screaming.

Famed baseball player, broadcaster Jimmy Piersall dies at age 87

Jimmy Piersall, a former major league outfielder and White Sox broadcaster, died Saturday at a care facility in Wheaton, Illinois at the age of 87.

During an MLB career that spanned from 1950-67, Piersall played for the Red Sox, Indians, Mets, Senators and Angels. He appeared in two All-Star Games as a member of the Red Sox and also earned two Gold Gloves.
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That would work out just fine, as Fowler would have the best year of his career and earn his new deal in St. Louis. He hit .276 with a .393 on-base percentage, scoring 84 runs in 125 games with 4.7 WAR. He even hit a lead-off homer in Game 7 of the World Series. There’s no doubting that, without Fowler, the Cubs aren’t holding the trophy at the end of the season.
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Albert Almora Jr., a 23-year-old Cubs outfielder, got his first taste of the big-leagues in 2016 and had his own role to play in the World Series victory. Almora was the pinch-runner who tagged and went to second base in the 10th inning of Game 7 against the Indians, eventually coming around and scoring the go-ahead run. Fowler made a strong impression on the rookie, despite their limited time together.

Dexter was incredible, Almora said. He has the best smile in baseball for a reason, and it’s not fake. He’s a generally happy, great human being. It was a pleasure and an honor to learn from him during the time that I was here and he was here. He’s probably one of biggest reasons we won the World Series.

Geno Smith: ‘I can be one of the best’ QBs in the NFL

Geno Smith is set to become a free agent after four strange years with the Jets.

The West Virginia product was brought in to be the team’s starter, which he was in his rookie season. Things didn’t go well in his first year, however, as Smith threw just 12 touchdowns to 21 interceptions. He improved slightly in his sophomore campaign, but injuries have rocked his last two seasons.

His latest injury shouldn’t worry teams as Smith told NFL Network he’ll be a “full-go” by the time training camp starts. But what kind of quarterback will that team be getting?

“Now, you have teams like Buffalo, who have three African-American quarterbacks on their roster at the same time, and a couple of other teams, but when you’re talking about 32 teams and about the number of starting African-American quarterbacks in this league, and all of the guys who could have developed if given the opportunity, those are the things I think we miss on. It’s not the guys who are starting, because if you can come in here and play, nobody is going to deny you anyway. But you’ve got guys who stay in this league for 90 years and don’t even play.”

Williams’ concerns are similar to what’s happening with assistant coaches. An ESPN study published before the last season found that 80 of the league’s 85 offensive coordinators, quarterbacks coaches and offensive quality control coaches were white, while 23 of 32 defensive coordinators were white.

Many head coaches are discovered this way, which leads to fewer head coaches of color. Or in Williams’ argument, since fewer black quarterbacks are being developed, it leads to fewer black quarterbacks remaining in the league for long periods of time, or at least compared to their white counterparts.texans_030

Receiver could be in play with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon potentially gone

Jones led the Falcons with 83 receptions for 1,409 yards and six touchdowns, but quarterback Matt Ryan threw 38 touchdown passes this season to an NFL-record 13 different receivers. The Falcons also ranked fifth in rushing, led by Devonta Freeman’s 1,079 yards.

“It’s not just Julio,” Patriots safety Patrick Chung said before mentioning receivers Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel. “You have to really just slow them all down, do the best you can at slowing them all down just enough to get this win.”

When the Packers held Jones to just three catches for 29 yards in Week 8, it was Sanu who came through with nine receptions for 84 yards and the game-winning score. Sanu had five receptions on the final drive, ending with his 11-yard touchdown as he and Jones ran a crossing route.

Receiver could be in play with DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon potentially gone, but Washington adding to the defensive front seven is more likely. Cunningham is the inside linebacker presence and leader they need.
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Authentic Kids Johnny Damon Jersey After adding to their secondary earlier in this round, the Titans should look to give Marcus Mariota a game-changing receiving weapon. Ross is our top rated receiver and has similar athleticism and flashes that Odell Beckham Jr. showed at LSU.

It’s hard for the Redskins to justify pushing the limits with their money again after they worked so hard to get out of salary cap hell. Retaining everybody in free agency would be a lot to invest in the passing game, especially when they have several defensive needs. And their best veteran defensive lineman, Chris Baker, is about to hit the market, too.

Other teams will be more able to give Garcon and/or Jackson the money and parameters they want. While keeping only Garcon would be ideal for Washington, that seems unlikelier as his demands grow.

Tom Brady falters in first half, helps put Patriots in huge hole

Limited Kids Johnny Hekker Jersey Tom Brady’s first half in Super Bowl 51 was a bust. As a result, he’ll need to lead a historic rally to win a fifth championship.

Brady’s first-half stats — 15 for 25 (60 percent), 179 yards — look decent on the surface, but he missed open receivers and, most importantly, threw a pick-six to Robert Alford that gave the Falcons a 21-0 lead. He also was sacked twice and was often jittery in the pocket.

The biggest question for the Steelers moving forward is what to do with Le’Veon Bell. When he’s healthy, Bell is the best running back in the NFL, and his impact on the Steelers is gigantic.

When Bell was injured early in the AFC championship game, the Steelers’ offense simply did not function the same. But Bell also has massive red flags surrounding him. He already has had two knee injuries in a four-year career. He is ridden into the ground by the coaching staff. He has been dinged for drug test failure. That combination generally is a disaster once a running back is signed to a long-term contract.

The Steelers will have two options. They can use the franchise tag on Bell and commit around $12.5 million on the cap to him for 2017 … or they can sign him to a long-term contract with a much lower cap charge.
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Because of the way the Steelers do contracts, which contain only signing bonuses as guarantees, their protection levels in the event of drug suspensions or even injury are much lower than other teams. That can make any contract risky. The NFL market for runners has shrunk in recent years, but Bell should command around $10 million a season and close to a $20 million signing bonus.

Chicago literally has more outside linebackers than it knows what to do with

Kaepernick started off his season playing behind Blaine Gabbert and wound up piloting a 2-14 team, but his performance — especially given his supporting cast — was significantly better than his numbers suggest. While he only completed 59 percent of his passes, he limited turnovers and avoided mistakes, cutting his interception rate to a career-low 1.2 percent in the process. His 16:4 touchdown-to-interception ratio was one of the league’s top 10 performances last fall.

Chicago literally has more outside linebackers than it knows what to do with, which leads some to believe Lamarr Houston, a former 4-3 defensive end, might not stick on the roster. With Pernell McPhee, Leonard Floyd, Willie Young, Sam Acho and Dan Skuta, the Bears may have the most talented collective group of 3-4 edge rushers in the league.

Game Kids Louis Lipps Jersey Big things are expected out of McPhee and Floyd, specifically. New outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley already has praised McPhee, and Fangio has set the bar high for a healthy Floyd in 2017.

Considering draft picks and guaranteed money, no team in the NFL has more invested at quarterback with less evidence to justify its spending. For both Glennon and Trubisky, upside is the word used to validate the employment.

While the veteran is viewed as and paid like a stopgap starter, the Bears would be fools not to at least give the rookie a chance in an open competition for the job this year. Trubisky was drafted so high because the Bears believe he can and will be their longtime starter — no need to delay the inevitable if he proves immediately capable.

The good news for whoever starts at quarterback: A strong running game should take away some of the production burden.
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U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has known Schakowsky for decades.

“The fact that this explosion came out of that, was one: not the outcome that Republicans wanted; and two: not even close to what Jan expected,” an aide to a Democratic lawmaker says.

Since the day she got the NFL to publicly acknowledge the connection between CTE and their sport, Schakowsky has spent the past year leading the legislative fight to protect player health. This despite the fact that she counts herself as nominal NFL fan, a U.S. Representative who had no real interest in the topic of CTE until being confronted with the facts that day last March.

“Time and again, Jan didn’t have to put her finger in the wind to understand what was right,” Jon Samuels, one of Schakowsky’s top staffers from 1999 to 2007, says. “She just knows and goes off running.”

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin has known Schakowsky for decades. They usually speak weekly. But the day Schakowsky confronted the NFL, Durbin was in the Senate and hadn’t heard from his longtime colleague. When he found out what she did, however, it made sense.

With the changes, players can now use the ball as a prop, celebrate on the ground, and have group demonstrations. Things like twerking and hip thrusting, however, are still outlawed.

Roger Goodell, who has been a stiff in his own ways, didn’t defend Lewis when asked about the comments on Tuesday afternoon.

“I think the players will prove him wrong on that,” the NFL commissioner said. “I think the players will do this in a way that will be responsible, show good sportsmanship, and do it in a way that, I think, is entertaining but also respectful.”

They can’t readily add reinforcements.

Dominic Smith, 1B. The Mets drafted the smooth-fielding Smith in the first round in 2013. Smith, 21, added power to his line-drive stroke last year, the last big piece in his development. His work around the bag figures to be even better now that he has lost weight. Lucas Duda can become a free agent in the offseason; New York has a ready-made replacement, one who’s slashing .319/.376/.476 at Triple-A.

Gavin Cecchini, INF. The Mets’ first pick in 2012 could become Rosario’s long-term keystone partner in New York. He needs to pick it up at the plate in Vegas (.238/.292/.331), but his minor league numbers the past two years, including a big 2016 season at Triple-A, indicate that will happen. Cecchini, 23, could then become the successor to second baseman Neil Walker, who can walk after the season.
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Brandon Nimmo, OF. The 2011 first-rounder is off to a slow start at Vegas after suffering a hamstring injury in the World Baseball Classic, and at 24 he’s more suspect than prospect. Still, he’s in line to replace Curtis Granderson or Jay Bruce in the Mets’ outfield. Both men are in the last year of their contracts.
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Likewise, Eppler can’t really beef up the pitching to compensate for the weakened offense. A Jose Quintana or an Alex Cobb doesn’t seem realistic, absent a highly creative swap that might need a third team.

The bottom line is the Angels are in a very bad spot beyond the obvious of Trout being possibly gone through the All-Star break. They can’t readily add reinforcements. They will have to rely on players who thus far haven’t been productive. A third consecutive season without the playoffs suddenly appears likely.