Braves give first-round pick Kyle Wright $7 million bonus

The Braves love to sign players to under-slot contracts so they can save money for the later rounds. They did it with their first-round pick in 2016 Ian Anderson and were able to sign their second pick Joey Wentz to a big deal even though he was ranked much higher than a second-round pick.

They had no such luck with Kyle Wright this year.

The Fireflies (39-26) are 15-3 over their last 18 games and have made up a six-game deficit in slightly more than three weeks to overtake Greenville.
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Tebow? Well, he did have a hit and RBI in Thursday’s win, but since hitting two home runs in his first three games with the Fireflies in early April, he has exactly one more since.

Tebow’s 61 strikeouts put him among the top 15 in the league, and he is hitting only .161 on the road. Overall, he has picked things up in June (.278) after struggling through May (.194) and is slashing at .228/.327/.349 with the three homers and 21 RBIs.

Rickey Jackson Elite Jersey On the bright side: Thursday’s win at Fluor Field was sold out.

Columbia opens a three-game series at Charleston (32-35) on Friday to close the first half. The first- and second-half division winners advance to the postseason in August.

Other notable sophomore slumps from quarterbacks, like Sam Bradford, Matt Ryan, and Robert Griffin III, were a direct result of injury. All three of these players earned Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in their first season. Then they missed games in their second years, which made it impossible for them to live up to the previous year’s performances.

For every player who has suffered through a down year in their second season, you can find a player who improved in year two. Russell Wilson didn’t just improve his statistics slightly in his second season with the Seahawks. He led the team to a commanding 43-8 Super Bowl win over the Denver Broncos.

Collins was maybe the most productive player for his age in the country this season

Kennard might be the most consistent shooter in the draft, and pairs that shooting with a terrific offensive game off the bounce — both in the pick-and-roll and when attacking closeouts. He’s also an excellent passer for his size. The question will be whether a team can get anything out of him defensively.

Collins was maybe the most productive player for his age in the country this season. Don’t believe me? At 19 years old, Collins is around the same age as Lonzo Ball, Jonathan Isaac, Dennis Smith and Zach Collins. The only freshmen to put up 19 points, nine rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game in the last 25 years? Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley and Joe Smith. He has a lot of holes defensively, but his overall production shouldn’t be overlooked.

Charles Barkley does not like the way he looks.

The Basketball Hall of Famer and current NBA on TNT analyst said following Game 4 of the NBA Finals he will go on a six-week health retreat in San Antonio this summer to get his “fat ass in shape.”

“I’m going to a fat farm,” he told his NBA TV colleagues after Cleveland’s 137-116 victory over Golden State. “I’m embarrassed at how fat I’ve become. I’m not healthy.

“I’m not getting any younger and, one thing you don’t see is a lot of fat old people.”

Barkley joked that fellow TNT analyst and Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal could go with him. Barkley won’t be able to drink alcohol nike_vikings_1828and will be eating healthy foods while exercising daily.

“Next season when I get back, I’m going to be so sexy,” Barkley said. “You all are going to be like, ‘Damn, Chuck looks good.'”

Lamar Odom reportedly escorted out of strip club at 3:30 a.m.

D.J. Alexander Youth Jersey Lamar Odom reportedly got escorted out of a strip club around 3:30 a.m. Sunday after breaking in line.

According to, Odom and two female friends showed up at the Red Tie Gentleman’s Club in Van Nuys, Calif., and skipped the line waiting to get inside. In a video shot by a bystander, several people waiting in line can be heard shouting, Let him in, or He got us a ring, referring to Odom’s play on two Lakers’ NBA championship teams.
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The former NBA star underwent rehab after a three-day binge at a Nevada brothel in late 2015 ended with him being discovered nonresponsive. Odom was in a coma and spent several days on life support before recovering.

With Embiid, the Sixers seem to have the sweet-shooting, rim-protecting center needed to pair with Simmons. In Covington, the team found a versatile defensive maestro to take tougher defensive matchups (and hopefully knock down shots as long as his performance ins 2016-17 was more of a down year). And in Fultz, the team has found its point guard that can play both on and off the ball, that can knock down shots and distribute in the halfcourt.

There’s no sure thing that all of this works out. Simmons and Fultz have yet to play a game, and Embiid has only played 31. That’s not enough to know just how low the floor or how high the ceiling is for this trio yet (or if the ceiling even exists). But while this deal was consummated by Bryan Colangelo and the current 76ers front office, it has the fingerprints of the past regime all over it. Under Sam Hinkie, the organization built up a treasure trove of assets in order to get as many cracks at the superstar table as they could.

Derek Fisher arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after flipping Cadillac in L.A.

Derek Fisher, a former NBA player, head coach and president of the players’ union, was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving after his Cadillac flipped on the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles at about 3 a.m. Sunday morning, the L.A. Daily News reports.
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Womens Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Jersey I’ll probably be replaying that play for a while, Kyrie Irving said following the 118-113 loss. It hurts. Did some great things tonight. Came down to the stretch, and they made some big time plays. But it definitely hurts. I’m human, as well as my teammates, and to lay it all on the line like that, you want to come out on the winning side. But we gave a great effort, and the result just didn’t turn out the way we wanted to.

I seen him getting ready to pull up, he uses a rhythm dribble to get a good look, and when K.D. shoots, he falls forward, and I wanted to get a contest, James said. The last thing I want to do is foul a jump shooter. So I wanted to jump and contest it, but I know he — when he shoots, he kind of leans forward a little bit. So I just stayed there, high hands, contested, and he made it.

At the same time, Howard is a financial risk for the Hawks. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft has averaged a double-double in each of his 13 NBA seasons, and is one of the last true centers in the game.

A higher precedence has been placed on stretch 4s and mobile big men that can step outside and shoot. Even guys like DeMarcus Cousins and Al Horford have transitioned into outside-inside threats.

By NBA standards, Howard is a dinosaur walking his last steps before the meteor hits. The game has moved on from the post feed, transitioning instead to the pick and pop that requires a big man to step outside and hit open shots.

Don’t expect a mistake by either QB to decide Super Bowl LI.

While Brady was known as a clutch playoff performer from his first run, Ryan has gotten progressively better in the postseason. In his first three appearances against the Cardinals, Packers and Giants, Ryan combined for a dismal rating of 71.2. In his past four playoff games against the Seahawks (twice), 49ers and Packers, that’s shot up to 118.8 better than what he did in ’16. In that latter stretch, he’s averaged 344 yards per game with 13 TDs to only 3 INTs.

Don’t expect a mistake by either QB to decide Super Bowl LI. In their 32 comined games (including playoffs) this season, they’ve only thrown 11 INTs.

Ryan, along with his 4,944 passing yards, 69.9 completion percentage and 38 TDs, also led the league with an incredible 9.3 yards per attempt and 13.3 yards per completion. The Falcons made a ton of big plays because of Ryan’s strong ability to push the ball deep and also putting all of his receivers in great positions to run long after the catch.

Brady had 3,554 passing yards, a 67.4 completion percentage and 28 TDs in 12 games. Over a full 16, Brady’s projections were 4,739 passing yards and 37 TDs. Those numbers would have come remarkably close to Ryan’s, and that’s why they’re in such a tight MVP race.

Brady got his first Super Bowl MVP when the Patriots upset Kurt Warner and the Rams in Super XXXVI. That was actually Brady’s second-worst Super Bowl performance, behind only 82.5 against the winning Giants defense in Super Bowl XLII.

In his three other Super Bowl victories with New England, Brady rated 100.5 (vs. Carolina), 110.2 (vs. Philadelphia) and 101.1 (vs. Seattle). Brady was again on the other side of a century (91.1) in the second loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI.vikings_120

Aaron Rodgers passive-aggressively chides Falcons for crowd noise

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Two days before the NFC championship game, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a passive-aggressive swipe at the Falcons for their history of pumping artificial crowd noise into the Georgia Dome.

Rodgers acknowledged that noise will be a factor on Sunday, no matter what Atlanta has to do to make that happen.

It boiled over in the fourth quarter of the 35-14 New England win when Suh appeared to push and attempt to punch Blount, setting off a shoving match. Blount then ripped off Suh’s helmet out of retaliation, drawing a 15-yard facemask penalty, and the tussle ended. But Blount vented his frustrations after the game.

There’s not many guys in this league like that guy. He’s a dirty player. He’s always been a dirty player, Blount said in an interview with WBZ-TV in Boston. There’s no room in the game for that. At some point in time, guys have to defend themselves when he’s doing the things that he does.

Suh also was flagged earlier in the second quarter for encroachment when he crossed the line of scrimmage and knocked over Patriots center David Andrews.

Guys are just children sometimes, but at the end of the day you take care of your business and continue to play as I did, Suh said after the game.
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Blount does have his fair share of sportsmanship issues, as well. His rookie year with Tennessee Titans, he punched teammate Eric Bakhtiari during a Titans practice. He’s also remembered largely for a punch he threw at Boise State defender Byron Hout following a season-opening loss.

Tom Brady’s dad destroys Roger Goodell and his handling of Deflategate

Thought you had heard the last of Deflategate You were so, so, wrong.

Alex Boone Game Jersey Patriots quarterback Tom Brady may be done speaking about Deflategate, but that doesn’t mean his father, Tom Sr., is. Brady’s father had plenty to say about the scandal, the NFL and Roger Goodell in particular.

Jamon Brown Game Jersey The elder Brady held nothing back in an interview with San Francisco television station KRON4, even going so far as to question Goodell’s ethics and saying he doesn’t even belong on the same stage of his son, should he lead New England to a victory in Super Bowl 51.
For what the league did to him, what Roger Goodell constantly lied about, Brady Sr. said, is beyond reprehensible, as far as I’m concerned.

You can watch the whole interview here: King’s first experience coaching the Generals in 1994 was decidedly not championship-caliber. The pieces were there, starting with Jamie himself: He had the knowledge from playing in high school and in the minor leagues. Jamie had also gleaned knowledge from his broadcast experience.

His team went 7-6 that year, but became a precursor for future success. Although Jamie’s ’95 team, which ended up going 11-1 that season, had considerably better talent and coaching, it still struggled in the kicking game.

Even with Pro Football Hall of Fame credentials, Freeney is aware that no team considers a 36-year-old defensive end anything more than a short-term option should its roster lack pass-rush punch. Thus, NFL training camps opened the past two years without one of the league’s all-time sack leaders on a roster.

Both seasons unfolded with Freeney standing one win away from reaching the Super Bowl.

Tigers’ Justin Verlander leaves start against White Sox with groin injury

Tigers ace Justin Verlander left Sunday’s start against the White Sox in the third inning with a groin injury, the team announced.

The right-hander was visited on the mound twice by manager Brad Ausmus and head athletic trainer Kevin Rand before being replaced by Warwick Saupold as Detroit trailed 2-0 in the top of the third. Verlander did not appear to be limping and remained in the dugout before the team clarified he was taken out as a precaution with a tight right groin muscle.

Verlander struggled in his shortest start since playing just one inning against the Pirates in August 2014. He logged 72 pitches before being pulled in the third inning after allowing Todd Frazier a lead off home run and Yolmer Sanchez a walk on four pitches.

Verlander, 34, had gone 4-4 with a 4.50 ERA and 1.37 WHIP through 11 appearances entering Sunday’s game.

Jordon’s influence at Newburg is real.

Recently, Nicole called a student who was, in her words, not being a good citizen into her office. He’d broken the rules, and he knew there would be consequences.

The only thing he said to me was, 鈥楳rs. Adell, please don’t tell Jordon. Please don’t tell Jordon.’ That was what was on his mind, she says. Not that I was going to send him home for a couple days, but the fact that he did not want me to tell Jordon.
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The message Jordon and Nicole are preaching at Newburg is one the family has practiced at home forever. Nicole and Scott Adell made sure their two kids, Jessica and Jordon, tried a bit of everything.
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Dolphins get Julius Thomas from Jaguars; Branden Albert deal to follow, reports say

The Dolphins have a trade in place to acquire tight end Julius Thomas from the Jaguars in exchange for a 2017 seventh-round draft pick, NFL Media first reported .

“We have rules in place, and the Raiders haven’t asked us to compromise those rules or policies,” Goodell said. “We will continue to have that separation. I don’t see an ownership position for a team from a casino — and not likely a stadium, either.”

If the NFL really wants a team to stay in a city, it can make that happen. If the NFL wants to force itself into a market with a team, it can also do that. There are billions of other ways the Raiders can find their hundreds of millions, and the league will use its influence to find one of those to make it happen.

In regards to gambling, the NFL keeps pretending there’s a difference between putting the toe in water and swimming a few laps. Goodell noted that gambling and the NFL are already abie to co-exist. It’s more than that — they are two enitties that thrive off each other. Every time the league mentions its “fine line” stance, it’s more of a reminder that it doesn’t consider that connection being of any real concern.

“We’ve always said we’re going to maintain the integrity of our game by making sure there’s a separation between sports gambling and the NFL,” Goodell said. “That’s something we think is imperative. We want the fans to know the game they’re seeing unfold does not have any undue influence.”

Don’t be fooled that the NFL can’t influence and faciliate the Raiders move. They have already dropped San Diego over the balcony for not paying up. Oakland is dangling over the edge, and the league is only about to push Las Vegas a whole lot harder.texans_032

Why Houston linebacker Tyus Bowser warrants first-round consideration

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Along with running back and tight end, the 2017 NFL Draft class appears to be one of the deepest pass-rushing classes in recent history. Myles Garrett tops the list, but as many as 12 others would garner first-round grades depending on which NFL team you ask.

Vinnie Iyer (pick against spread): Brady and Ryan is a Super Bowl QB duel for the ages. The Patriots’ defense has been terrific, but it hasn’t faced anything close to the Falcons’ high-flying offense this season. The real matchup to watch, and more critical for the NFC team, is Atlanta’s young defenders vs. Brady.

Christine Michael Sr Kids Jersey There’s a lot of speed, quickness and toughness in coach Dan Quinn’s group. The Falcons’ secondary has compensated well for the loss of shutdown corner Desmond Trufant. Their green linebackers have grown up fast and get around the field in a hurry, led by pass-rushing beast Vic Beasley Jr.

They are aggressive and hard-hitting, but Brady needs to get to them before they can get to him. He’ll find good mismatches in the middle of the field, and the Patriots can counteract the Falcons’ strengths with Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman.

Brady should also get consistent support from LeGarrette Blount in the power running game to open up a few shots downfield to AFC title game hero Chris Hogan. Although the Falcons will be a little prepared for this based on facing their own offense in practice, the Patriots’ specific versatility within their scheme is difficult to slow down. The Falcons’ weaknesses in the red zone will be exploited by both run and pass.