Kobe settled a civil suit for an undisclosed sum in which he apologized but did not admit guilt

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The case was so atomic that most people who know anything about Kobe Bryant instantly recognize the reference to the 2003 sexual assault allegation made against him by a woman who worked at a hotel in Edwards, Colorado. Bryant was arrested. The case never went to trial as the woman declined to testify, and the charges were later dropped. For many people, Colorado remains a troubling section of his life story that never digests.

Kobe settled a civil suit for an undisclosed sum in which he apologized but did not admit guilt. Neither party may discuss details of the case.

The world shunned him. All but one of Kobe’s sponsors dropped him. He’d alienated his teammates when it was revealed that he had told police details of O’Neal’s extramarital affairs.

But come on, did you really think la Mamba Negra, the Black freaking Mamba was going to fade away?

He’s been planning his basketball death for years now. Scripting it down to his final words.
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Chopra and his crew set up an office closer to Kobe’s house in Newport Beach, California. Kobe invited them to film everything. Family time, doctors’ appointments, hours and hours of mind-numbing rehabilitation sessions.

If the cameras weren’t following him, he would have been alone as he stared into the abyss of his basketball mortality. Instead, as he says in the trailer for Muse, “it became therapy on film.”

He’d show up at the office as early as he used to show up at the gym to get shots up before practice. They’d talk craft well into the night.

“Like someone would say we should do the beginning like the beginning of ‘Black Swan,'” Chopra said. “And the next morning, not only would he have watched ‘Black Swan’ but, like, every Darren Aronofsky movie. He’d be quoting from his student films.”

Johnson is also one game shy of a perfect 16-for-16 game season scoring double-digit fantasy points in each

Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins: Though he padded his stats during overtime, the result was impressive nevertheless, as Ajayi tallied at least 200 rushing yards for the third time this season, becoming only the fourth player in history to have that many games in a single year (Earl Campbell 4, Tiki Barber 3, O.J. Simpson 3), per ESPN Stats & Information. The result was 26 fantasy points, the third-highest score in his career, with the two higher scores coming Authentic Mens Max Pacioretty USA Jersey in his other games with at least 200 yards rushing: 32 in Week 6, 27 in Week 7. Ajayi was started in 79.8 percent of ESPN leagues Saturday, 13th-most among running backs.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Bills: What Kids Chance Warmack Jersey a way to try to salvage a season largely lost to a foot injury. On Saturday, Watkins scored 21 fantasy points, his season-high and tied for the fifth-best output of his three-year, 36-game career. He was started in just 24.1 percent of ESPN leagues.

Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, Packers: After setting a new personal best with 28 fantasy points in Week 15, Montgomery was held to a quiet three fantasy points Saturday. His was an example of the reactionary nature of many owners; his 72.6 start percentage set a new career-high, after he was active in just 33.6 percent of ESPN leagues last week.

DeMarco Murray, RB, Titans: He picked a bad week to post his season-low in fantasy points (five), letting down owners in the 98.5 percent of ESPN leagues in which he was active (fifth-highest among running backs). In all likelihood, Murray will finish outside the top 25 in scoring at the position — 20 running backs had already outscored him as of 5 p.m. ET Saturday — which would snap his streak of 14 consecutive games ranked within the top 25 weekly scorers to begin the season. That leaves only Ezekiel Elliott (plays on Monday Night Football) and David Johnson as running backs who have been top-25 scorers every week.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty

Stafford leads a 9-5 Lions team that is atop the NFC North and didn’t have a single player named to the Pro Bowl. But Stafford is the real highlight. The 28-year-old quarterback is putting together one of the best seasons of his career.

Completing 66.3 percent of his passes for 3,720 yards, 22 touchdowns, and eight interceptions, Stafford is running an effective, efficient Lions offense that doesn’t simply rely on huge splash plays like the team has in recent years. Eight fourth-quarter comebacks, eight game-winning drives, and Stafford’s somewhat pedestrian touchdown numbers are much easier to digest.

“We were in panic,” Sanches said Tuesday in Suffolk Superior Court, via the Boston Globe. “Screaming, crying, crazy.’’

This was at a pretrial hearing for Hernandez, who is already serving a life sentence for the 2013 killing of Odin Lloyd, who was a former linebacker for a semi-pro football team.

Hernandez is charged in the deaths of Safiro Furtado and Daniel de Abreu, and prosecutors say that Hernandez gunned them down after one bumped into him at a nightclub.

Hernandez has pleaded not guilty. The judge will decide what testimony will and will not be allowed at the trial, which is slated to start in February.

On the very next play I guess Cherilus was fed up or something, because he came off the ball and was very aggressive in pushing his hands forcefully into Irving’s facemask. While he somehow got away with the blatantly illegal contact to the head, the problem was Cherilus seemed to have forgotten that Irving’s arms were longer than his.

So while he got full extension into Irving’s facemask, Irving got full extension with his inside hand into Cherilus’ chest and was able to create enough distance to run right around him.

Bryce Petty’s growing pains, O-line injuries will turn Jets into fish food

Their quarterback is so green that he struggles to read the most basic blitzes. Their offensive line is down three starters and likely will have to play its fourth-string right tackle. Their secondary is missing two starters, including the guy who runs the show.

Yes, the New York Jets could be in serious trouble Saturday night against the Miami Dolphins. If coach Todd Bowles figures out a way to win this game, he’d deserve a public vote of confidence from owner Woody Johnson — and a nice Christmas bonus, too.

The game means everything to the contending Dolphins (8-5) and nothing to the Jets (4-9), so would anybody be shocked if this turns into another prime-time laugher? Not me.

Five thoughts on the game, which kicks off at 8:25 p.m. at MetLife Stadium:

The Jets were charmed last season with injuries — only 19 games-lost among the starters. This season, they’re guaranteed to have a minimum of 75 games lost. The loss of safety Marcus Gilchrist (season-ending knee injury) hurts the defense because he calls the signals for the secondary.

The offensive line has absorbed some huge hits. In fact, the projected line in the spring — Ryan Clady, James Carpenter, Nick Mangold, Brian Winters and Breno Giacomini — hasn’t played a single snap together. And won’t.

“Bad luck,” Bowles said.

Welcome Matt: Replacing the injured Ryan Tannehill (knee), Matt Moore will come out of mothballs to make his first start since the 2011 finale. Remember that game? You should. It came against the Jets on the day of the infamous Santonio Holmes meltdown. Moore is a cagey veteran who came off the bench in 2012 to beat the Jets at MetLife. He likes to take chances and the Jets think he’s prone to interceptions. We’ll see.

First-quarter blues: The Jets have fallen behind, 14-0, in each of the last two games. The 49ers scored touchdowns on their second and sixth plays, the Indianapolis Colts the seventh and 11th. Bowles can spin it any way he wants, but the slow starts shine a harsh light on the preparation. For a change, how ’bout an early lead?

Derby gets a little added inspiration to make amends given the Broncos face the Patriots

Derby called it “frustrating” and “unacceptable” before admitting it caused him “a sleepless night.” In his quest for a little retribution, Derby gets a little added inspiration to make amends given the Broncos face the Patriots, his former team, Sunday.

“I would say that it’s a little weird,” Derby said. “Knowing all of those guys and practicing against them, it will be good to go live against them. It will be fun.”

In Pereira’s scenario, however, there are officials working surreptitiously and outside of policy. In Monday night’s game, Ravens coach John Harbaugh could be seen asking why Hochuli had moved the ball. Shouldn’t these decisions be clear, obvious and transparent? And if the NFL is disregarding this particular set of rules, what other polices is it failing to follow?

“It’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Pereira said. “It’s just kind of undercover at the moment. But you can see it. This is the landscape of where officiating is going.”

Indeed, I’ve written often about the inescapable tug of technology on officiating. Ubiquitous HD broadcasts have given fans better and more consistent views of plays than officials, and sports leagues around the world are scrambling to catch up.

Having an official with access to those same views, a system the Canadian Football League established this season, makes all the sense in the world. Many of us figured the NFL would eventually catch up. But Pereira, who has more knowledge and insight into the league’s officials than anyone not currently in its employ, thinks it already has.

Our conversation covered a number of topics in the book, including the issue of full-time officials and the impact of new discipline the league introduced last season and appears already to have backed away from. You can find further details below.

Cam Newton would’ve had to adjust to a whole new system after just his second season in the league

Now he’s derided as the biggest reason for the Eagles’ failures. Glory can be fleeting in the NFL.

Jim Harbaugh knows that all too well, considering the 49ers ousted him last year despite enjoying three playoff appearances in four years –– including a Super Bowl birth. Harbaugh’s relationship with 49ers general manager Trent Baalke reportedly grew too contentious to continue, and the organization severed ties with him. Now one year later, the 49ers are looking for a new head coach again after dismissing Jim Tomsula Sunday. Lurie better choose Kelly’s replacement more wisely than the 49ers selected Harbaugh’s, that’s for sure.

The same can be said for Jim Irsay, the erratic owner of the Colts. His team’s head coach Chuck Pagano has spent the bulk of the year on the hot seat despite leading the Colts to the AFC Championship last January. In fact, Pagano’s job was seemingly on the line before the 2015 season even started.

Four new teams took their place — Kansas City, Minnesota, Houston, and Washington. The NFL is surely happy with this outcome, as the playoffs field this year keeps a 25-season streak alive in which at least four teams have qualified for the playoffs after missing the postseason the year before.

Elsewhere, the Saints beat the Falcons, the Lions beat the Bears, the Eagles beat the Giants, the Niners beat the Rams and Washington beat Dallas.

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Mariota had a good rookie season and whoever is hired will likely have their immediate future tied to Webster’s selection. That new general manager will have the opportunity and task to pick from every single college player in the draft to build around Mariota too, as the Titans hold the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Webster has also been a scout for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the vice president of player personnel with the Seattle Seahawks, a team for which he also served as interim general manager before joining the Titans.

the Cubs needed more depth to compensate for their potential injury risks

David Schoenfield’s take: If it goes down, this looks as if it would be a great signing for the Cubs at that price. Uehara will be 42 years old, he usually finds himself on the DL at some point and he gives up a few too many home runs, but his other numbers are still excellent: Opponents hit .200 against him and he averaged 12.1 K’s per nine. His fastball sits at only 86-87 mph, but the deception between his fastball and splitter still leaves batters flailing.

The Nationals have far more certainty than the Mets, between Max Scherzer, Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rendon and Adam Eaton, among others. Their biggest question mark is the health of Stephen Strasburg and the first full season of Trea Turner, who looks like he’s going to be a superstar. And remember that the Nationals still plan to add a big-time closer, which will probably widen the gap a little more.

Signing Jansen would cost the Marlins a first-round pick, which would be the 14th pick in the first round. But owner Jeffrey Loria is said to be contemplating whether to sign off on sacrificing that pick and making a potentially record-setting, five-year offer to Jansen, who pitched for manager Don Mattingly in Los Angeles. One friend said Mattingly was pushing hard for Jansen.

On Encarnacion: Sources who familiar with him says Rangers could be an interesting match. Market leverage for EE appears to be dropping.

Jim Bowden’s take: The Texas Rangers are the team to watch on Edwin Encarnacion, as team president Jon Daniels is always opportunistic during market changes, as he was last July, when the Indians’ deal with Jonathan Lucroy fell apart, and he swooped in to land him. The Indians are also a sleeper team if the market falls further. Encarnacion’s smartest option might be to do what Yoenis Cespedes did last year — take a three-year deal with an opt out after Year 1, so he can go back on the market next offseason.

NFL announces London will host 4 games in 2017

The NFL continues to expand the amount of games played overseas, and announced Friday morning that London will now play host to four games in 2017.

Games in the United Kingdom began happening once a year in 2007, but expanded to two games in 2013 and three games per year in the last three seasons. A fourth game in 2017 will be the most ever hosted by London in a season.

This expansion is on a pace set by the NFL in 2015 when a partnership with London’s Rugby Football Union guaranteed that there will be at least five games played in London in 2018.

“We continue to be incredibly excited by the passion and love for the NFL shown by our millions of U.K. fans,” Roger Goodell said. “London is an amazing city. We have had tremendous support from our fans, from Mayor Khan and other government leaders and business partners, and we are looking forward to taking the next step in the U.K. by playing four games in London next season.”

“I keep my flag in my back right pocket in my coaching pants, and I was a little underdressed in the first half. I started getting cold, so I put some wind pants on and then I put a jacket on, and then I had this really long jacket.”

During the game, Fisher was wired for NFL Films. When he wanted to challenge the play, he had to verbally tell the referees.

In eight seasons with the Bears, Cutler has a 51-51 record and is the franchise’s all-time leading passer with 23,443 yards, 154 touchdowns, and 109 interceptions.

Derrick Johnson was in elementary school the last time the Chiefs

Those games served as a candle in the window of sorts for those who, like Johnson, were hoping to see Chiefs-Raiders reclaim its former place among NFL rivalries. For those people, the time has arrived.

The 10-2 Raiders and 9-3 Chiefs meet Thursday night at Arrowhead Stadium with the winner earning possession of first place in the NFL’s best division with three games remaining.

“The rivalry is back,” Johnson said. “It’s going to be an old-school type of game.”

Derrick Johnson was in elementary school the last time the Chiefs and Raiders played in December with a division title on the line.

Teammates have said they like to hear from Berry because his message is usually one that speaks to the moment. Berry’s comeback from cancer — he returned to the Chiefs last year only eight months after being diagnosed with lymphoma and worked out meticulously through his chemotherapy treatments so he could make such a speedy recovery — give his words even more weight.

“You definitely take all of that into consideration when he’s talking,’’ defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches said.

But Berry was this way before his cancer diagnosis.

“When you’re around him here, it’s all about football,’’ coach Andy Reid said. “That’s the part you appreciate, him coming to work and bringing that attitude. There’s never a day off. It’s, ‘Let’s stay focused. Let’s go through the process, let’s get ready to play the game and then play it hard.’ That can be contagious.

“He’s so mentally tough. I think that helped him in his recovery. He just says, ‘I’m doing it, no one is stopping me and here we go.’ That’s kind of how he goes about life.’’

That rivalry dates to 1960, the first season of the old American Football League. But it started to heat up in 1966, when an eight-year run began when the teams finished 1-2 in their division.

Panthers expect Jonathan Stewart back against Seahawks’ top-ranked rush defense

Carolina Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart will likely return in time to face the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional round of the NFL playoffs, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. Stewart has been dealing with a foot injury that forced him out of the team’s Week 17 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Stewart became the primary running back for the Panthers when DeAngelo Williams departed in free agency this offseason, and he treated the 15-1 Panthers to 989 yards, six touchdowns and a per-carry average of 4.1 yards. Stewart missed three games in the regular season and has only played a complete 16-game season three times in his eight-year career.

The Panthers will be glad to have Stewart back against Seattle’s top-ranked rushing defense, as opponents average 3.6 yards per carry and 81.5 yards per game against the Seahawks. Seattle held Adrian Peterson to just 45 yards on 23 carries and kept the Vikings to just 58 total yards on the ground in the Wild Card round of the playoffs.

While the NFL has been criticized for the quality of Thursday games by fans and players alike, the ratings for the league suggest things are going just fine for the league. According to Sports Illustrated, ratings again reached an all-time high in 2015, with Fox, CBS, NBC all reporting a year-over-year increase in average per-game NFL viewership.

The NFL has also been experimenting with digital broadcasts and will sell its full slate of Thursday games separately from the TV rights, per Ourand. Sites like Amazon, Apple, Google and Yahoo! could all become broadcast partners with the NFL during the 2016 season after the NFL contacted each for bids. In 2015, the NFL sold exclusive streaming rights of a London game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Buffalo Bills to Yahoo!.

Decisions for broadcast partners are expected to be made by the NFL before Super Bowl 50 on Feb. 7, according to TheStreet.