Marshal Yanda can rank among all-time best guards with strong finish

Marshal Yanda made certain that he will finish his career with the Baltimore Ravens.

Yanda can put himself in the conversation as one of the NFL‘s all-time great guards if he adds an exclamation point over the next two seasons.

If Yanda reaches the Pro Bowl in 2019 and 2020, he will total nine trips to the all-star event. Randall McDaniel, Will Shields and Larry Allen would be the only players with more Pro Bowl selections as a guard, according to the Elias Sports Bureau (Bruce Matthews’ 14 Pro Bowls included five as a center).

But it’s uncertain whether Yanda will play next season and strengthen a potential Hall of Fame resume.

“You just take it one day at a time,” he said. “I’m healthy, I’m feeling really good about playing this fall, and I don’t look any further down the road. I’m worried about playing this fall and playing good football.”

Yanda, who will turn 35 in Week 2 of the regular season, has been among the most dominant linemen of his generation. He is the second-best guard in Pro Football Focus’ grading history (since 2006).
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Known for his toughness and technique, Yanda was a key member of the Ravens’ run-heavy offense with quarterback Lamar Jackson. Last season, he led an offensive line that has helped the Ravens produce the NFL‘s No. 2 rushing attack (141.9 yards per game).

There was concern among Ravens officials that Yanda wasn’t returning this year.6

Asked recently about the state of the offensive line, owner Steve Bisciotti said, “I’d be much more concerned if our All-Pro decided that he was going to call it a career. I kind of looked at that as our upgrade. I really thought that Marshal was pretty close to maybe deciding that it was a career.”

Yanda was entering the final year of his four-year, $32 million contract before agreeing to a one-year contract extension on April 11.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

He received an $8 million signing bonus after reducing his 2019 base salary by $5 million (from $7 million to $2 million). His base salary for 2020 is $7 million.

“Whatever happens, we just wanted to make sure I could finish it here, and that’s important to me, just being able to play my entire career here and just taking care of me,” Yanda said of the reasoning for the extension. “That was the whole deal there.”

A third-round pick in 2007, Yanda has gone from being the 10th offensive lineman drafted in 2007 to becoming one of the best in the league. Known for his powerful run blocking, Yanda has shoved three defenders to single-handedly open a hole. A top-notch pass protector, he regularly allows the fewest sacks at his position.

In 2014, then-offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak said Yanda is as good as any offensive lineman he’s been around. In 2015, coach John Harbaugh offered a prediction.

Seven big questions heading into NBA’s crazy free agency

• Boston potentially devoting most of its cap space to Walker would mark an intriguing rebound after the season from hell. It would leave Boston with precisely zero proven frontcourt players and limited means to get them. (Boston can in theory stay over the cap and maintain its full midlevel exception — worth about $9 million — but the pathways there are complex.)

• The Lakers’ contorting their way into nearly max-level cap space could impact any star free agent — including Walker. If the Lakers are hellbent on using all of their room on one player — and it’s debatable whether that is their best strategy if said player isn’t Leonard — they should at least glance at Walker. LeBron James needs another high-volume creator to soak up some ballhandling duty.

• Speaking of which: The league has projected the cap at $109 million, but several team executives think that could go up by about $500,000 once all the numbers are in — a bump that would get the Lakers that much closer to legit max cap space.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

• If Boston inks Walker, it will be interesting to see how Brad Stevens uses him. Walker ran about 56 pick-and-rolls per 100 possessions in Charlotte, according to Second Spectrum. Irving averaged about 36, and everyone whined about him hogging Boston’s offense. How useful is Walker in a more democratic system?4

Walker should thrive screaming off handoffs the way Isaiah Thomas did. Charlotte nudged him into some off-ball action, and Walker is a capable gunner popping off screens. But his height is more of a limiting factor in those actions than when he has the ball.

I liked the idea of Boston throwing a big offer sheet at Malcolm Brogdon, and handing more off-the-bounce duty to Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, and Gordon Hayward. It’s time to see what those dudes can do. Boston could have used the leftover space — probably around $13 million — and the $4.8 million room exception to fill the front line.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

But Walker is really good. Chasing a restricted free agent — Brogdon — is a high-risk, low-reward game. Boston is going to play Brown, Tatum, and Hayward together a lot, meaning one of them will function as power forward. Depending on how free agency unfolds in Boston and elsewhere, this version of the Celtics has a chance to compete for the No. 4 seed in the East.

• If Boston signs Walker, Brogdon loses a suitor. The Bucks are bracing for a monster Brogdon offer sheet. They have a walkaway number somewhere, sources say. If Brogdon’s 2019-20 salary reaches $20 million or more, it becomes very hard for the Bucks to retain Brogdon, Brook Lopez, and Khris Middleton, and stay below the luxury tax — even if they dump Ersan Ilyasova or use the stretch provision to waive Jon Leuer.

It’s unclear where such an offer might come from, though there are a few candidates: Phoenix, Chicago, Dallas, Indiana, and perhaps a couple of others. Some of those teams are worried about Brogdon reinjuring his foot, sources say.

Sources: Liverpool won’t sell Mignolet for £8m

Liverpool do not intend to sell goalkeeper Simon Mignolet to Crystal Palace for £8 million, sources have told ESPN.

The 31-year-old, restricted to two appearances in 2018-19 on account of the brilliance of Alisson since his £65m switch from Roma last summer, is of interest to the Selhurst Park club.

Reports have suggested they are prepping an offer for the Belgium international, however, Liverpool expect him to remain at Anfield.

Mignolet has been the ultimate professional despite being demoted, with vice-captain James Milner revealing in April: “It’s incredible how he is around the training ground, he has the best attitude I’ve ever seen in my life.”

As such, Jurgen Klopp, goalkeeping coach John Achterberg, the rest of the backroom team and the squad want Mignolet to extend his six-year stay with the club.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

This is further reflected by sporting director Michael Edwards not putting a price on the stopper, who is part of Liverpool’s senior players’ committee, as he doesn’t foresee a sale.6

Palace’s valuation, nonetheless, would fall short of his worth given his extensive experience aligned with a contract that expires in 2021.

Liverpool would only consider the possibility of letting the keeper leave if he was seriously enthused by a suitor and the fee is acceptable — as was the case with Lucas Leiva’s £5m move to Lazio in 2017.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Meanwhile, Alberto Moreno has agreed to join Villarreal following his release from the club.

The left-back was offered a lucrative new Liverpool deal last year, but turned it down in search of greater game time having played just five times in the recent campaign.

The Spaniard, signed from Sevilla for £12m in 2014, was also tracked by his former club and Marseille.

Moreno knew he would be on reduced terms upon departing Liverpool, but his decision was driven by his career and the happiness of his family.

The 26-year-old will officially become a Villarreal player on July 1, when his contract with the Reds expires.

Liverpool are due to announce their first signing of the summer this week after beating out PSV Eindhoven, Bayern Munich and Ajax to land coveted teenage defender Sepp van den Berg.

Furious Liverpool call Pepe reports ‘pure lies’

Liverpool have told ESPN FC that information suggesting they are in concrete talks with Lille over the transfer of Nicolas Pepe is “pure lies.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

The Premier League club insist no meetings or discussions of any sort have taken place for the 24-year-old, contrary to reports in France.5

Earlier in June, Liverpool’s sporting director Michael Edwards personally reached out to Lille manager Christophe Galtier, informing him the European champions have “zero interest” in the Ivory Coast international.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Liverpool feel they are being used to escalate interest in Pepe, whose valuation is already around £70 million.

The versatile attacker has been linked to Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Inter Milan, among others, as Lille aim to generate maximum profit from a key asset they are resigned to losing.

Pepe is expected to provide clarity on his destination of choice following his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Yankees homer in MLB-record 28th straight game

The New York Yankees wasted no time breaking the major league record for consecutive games with a home run.

DJ LeMahieu’s leadoff homer off Toronto’s Clayton Richard in the bottom of the first inning of Tuesday night’s game in New York gave them home runs in 28 straight games, breaking the record set by the 2002 Texas Rangers.

“I’ve heard the players comment on it, and they’re very aware of it,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after the game. “It’s impressive to me. It’s a tribute to having a lot of really good hitters and guys that could hit for power.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

During this streak, 14 Yankees have combined to hit 51 home runs. Aaron Judge got his first of the streak right after LeMahieu. It was the first home run since April 20 for Judge, who returned Friday from an oblique injury that sidelined him for two months.6

“I was just trying to do what he did. He’s been our MVP,” Judge said of LeMahieu. “DJ stole the show. We’re happy for him. No better person I want breaking that record.

“We’ve got something special.”nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Gleyber Torres and newly acquired slugger Edwin Encarnacion each chipped in with a home run to help the Yankees defeat the Blue Jays 4-3.

The most recent game in which the Yankees failed to hit a home run was May 25 against the Kansas City Royals.

Last season, the Yankees set the major league record for home runs in a single season, with 267.

Hopeful Orioles introduce No. 1 pick Rutschman

The Baltimore Orioles interrupted their miserable 2019 season to introduce a sliver of hope for the future: Adley Rutschman, the top overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft.

Rutschman sat alongside general manager Mike Elias during a news conference Tuesday at Camden Yards before the Orioles were to face the San Diego Padres, whose most notable player, Manny Machado, was nabbed by Baltimore with the third selection in the 2010 draft.

Machado became a star, but the Orioles traded him away last year in the midst of a 115-loss season because they couldn’t afford to keep him beyond 2018.

Now in the process of a major rebuild, Elias is counting on Rutschman — a switch-hitting catcher from Oregon State — to become a key figure in the team’s rise to respectability.

After mulling over several options, Elias settled on Rutschman and bestowed upon him an $8.1 million signing bonus, the largest ever provided to an MLB draft pick.cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

Elias termed the selection of Rutschman as “probably the biggest decision this organization is going to make this year.”

Whether the 21-year-old rises to his potential will be determined soon enough, but at this point there is no understating his importance to a franchise that finished with the worst record in the majors last year and appears well on its way to duplicating that lamentable feat this season.4

“We couldn’t be more thrilled, having him be a part of the process we’re going through to take this organization back to where it belongs,” Elias said. “We are in phase right now where we are looking for building blocks, and I think by signing Adley Rutschman, we found a very big piece.”

Rutschman intended to take batting practice with the team and was to be introduced to the home crowd on Tuesday night. After that, the plan is for him to take a break to accept some of the many awards he garnered this season, then play in the Gulf Coast League before joining short-season Class A Aberdeen.

“I always believe, when in doubt, start players at the lower-level league because it’s very easy to transfer them if they’re performing well,” Elias said. “We took a lot of college players and almost all of them will be starting there.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Rutschman has already played plenty of baseball this season, but he can’t wait to get started with the next phase of his career.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to be in this position,” Rutschman said. “For me, it’s always been about the process of getting there. So, now it’s about setting new goals. Now that I’m here, I am just excited about the opportunity and I’m truly humbled to be a part of the building process that is going on right now.”

Rutschman is a pivotal piece of the rebuilding puzzle that Elias is trying to put together, but the Golden Spikes Award winner can’t turn the franchise around alone.

“We’re trying to bring in talent from every direction possible,” Elias said. “Obviously having the No. 1 pick in the draft is a special opportunity to do that. The important thing for us is, this doesn’t start and end here. But to have a player of his caliber, that I think is not necessarily available every year in the draft, is big for us.”

Pitino spurns Greek team, focused on NBA job

Rick Pitino has turned down an offer to return as president and coach of Panathinaikos, the franchise he led to a Greek League championship this season, Pitino told ESPN on Friday.

The Naismith Hall of Fame coach said he wants to return to the full-time pursuit of a job in the NBA — as a coach or in a player personnel or advisory role.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Pitino led Panathinaikos to a Greek Cup title, completing a 15-0 season. The team was 7-0 when he arrived. Pitino also led the team into postseason play in the EuroLeague playoffs.6

Pitino, 66, won NCAA titles at Kentucky and Louisville, reached seven Final Fours and claimed conference titles in the Big East, SEC and ACC. His career has also been marred by scandals that led to his demise at Louisville, where a national title and two Final Four appearances were vacated. He was fired in 2018.

The FBI inquiry was the last in a series of scandals at Louisville — including an NCAA investigation into strippers and prostitutes used during recruiting visits to the school.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

In the NBA, Pitino resigned from the Boston Celtics in January 2001, during his fourth season, with a 102-146 overall record. He was considered to have been overwhelmed with dual roles after signing pro sports’ biggest coaching/executive deal to date (10 years, $70 million). He resigned with nearly $30 million left on the deal.

“I’m not looking for any of that [control] at this stage of my life,” Pitino told ESPN in December. “I want to develop teams and develop players and build a winner. I value analytics. I want to fit into an organization. At this stage, that’s all I’m interested in.”

Pitino had a shorter but more successful run as coach of the New York Knicks in the late 1980s, winning an Atlantic Division title and reaching the playoffs twice (1988, 1989) before leaving for Kentucky. Under Pitino, the Knicks won 52 regular-season games and reached the conference semifinals in his final season.

How the Clippers can make their anti-pitch to Kawhi Leonard

What could possibly compel a player who just won an NBA championship and a Finals MVP award to ditch his existing team?

For the LA Clippers, who have been eyeing Kawhi Leonard since his exodus from the San Antonio Spurs to the Toronto Raptors nearly a year ago and even sent senior basketball officials to observe him at Raptors games this season, this is the riddle they must solve. As a rule, challengers looking to unseat incumbents during good times typically face long odds; people looking for prosperity and stability aren’t inclined to switch things up when times are prosperous and stable.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Had the Raptors flamed out against the Philadelphia 76ers or even in the Eastern Conference finals versus the Milwaukee Bucks, the Clippers could have approached Leonard with the proposition that there’s a natural ceiling to what he can accomplish in Toronto. But with the Raptors writing a storybook ending to their Season of Kawhi, the Clippers have a much more daunting task than they did even two months ago convincing Leonard to change course.

But if love of Southern California is one of Leonard’s defining features, so is an insistence on structure and professionalism. Those who have observed Leonard during his one season as a Raptor describe an athlete who moves with uncommon precision through a full day at the training facility, and expects it to run like clockwork — no matter which postal code that facility sits in. By every account, Leonard already has that in Toronto and would demand it with the Clippers.5

One of the cardinal virtues of the Clippers’ current brass is the belief that they should never have to use the market as a selling point for prospective free agents. Although they appreciate that NBA players are drawn to the region, the Clippers feel it is imperative to become the kind of organization that wins recruiting battles based on the quality of their management, culture and infrastructure. In this regard, the Clippers think they have a compelling pitch to Leonard as an organization that has spent the past two seasons sculpting itself into the kind of workplace that appeals to Leonard’s sensibilities.

A perennial laughingstock for decades under the ownership of Donald T. Sterling, the Clippers spent recent seasons climbing their way up from the ranks of the NBA’s dregs. It took years to rebrand the franchise in the imaginations of players and agents and to build the infrastructure to catch up with the rest of the league. (There are still plenty of NBA players who were active when the Clippers practiced in a health club in El Segundo.)

The 2019 Clippers bear little resemblance to their namesake of a decade ago. Sterling has been replaced by Steve Ballmer, the wealthiest owner in North American sports. Ballmer has invested significant resources into accelerating the Clippers’ makeover, including a massive renovation to the training facility currently underway, with the most advanced arena in the NBA to follow in five years.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

A front office that less than a decade ago could have fit into a compact SUV is now one of the NBA’s deeper basketball operations departments. It’s a thoughtful, forward-thinking group that has already demonstrated an ability to evaluate talent, build and refine systems, and identify the kind of NBA organization it wants the Clippers to be. They can point proudly to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the process that acquired him in a draft-day trade last June, the Kawhi-ish manner in which he comports himself, and the quality of his development over the course of his first-team All-Rookie season.

The Clippers are well aware that Leonard has already priced his love of the region into the equation. Leonard grew up in Southern California’s Inland Empire, before heading off to San Diego, where he played his college ball at San Diego State. Extremely protective of his private life, he keeps close quarters with a tight circle of family and dear friends — many of them located in Southern California. Those who have spent time with him in San Diego say that the impassive Leonard is a different person when he’s in his natural habitat. They describe someone who is a portrait of perfect contentment when he’s having dinner during the offseason at George’s at the Cove overlooking La Jolla Bay, or relaxing in North County with people close to him.

Perhaps the Clippers’ proximity to the places Leonard feels most at home will be enough. The informed belief that Leonard had every intention of signing in Los Angeles in 2019 was the determining factor for both the 76ers and Boston Celtics in not accepting more robust proposals by the San Antonio Spurs for Leonard last summer, according to sources with each team who were close to those negotiations.

Brees awarded $6M in diamond fraud lawsuit

A jury has awarded more than $6 million to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees in a lawsuit that claimed a San Diego County jeweler sold him overpriced diamonds.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that a Superior Court jury made the award Friday in a fraud suit Brees and his wife filed against a La Jolla jeweler last year. Brees wasn’t in court.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal6

The suit claimed that Vahid Moradi improperly valued gems the Breeses bought as an investment at $15 million, when they were worth millions less.nike nfl cheap jerseys

Moradi denied the allegations in court.

Brees was with the San Diego Chargers from 2001 until joining the Saints in 2006. He led New Orleans to victory in Super Bowl XLIV following the 2009 season.

Last season, Brees set the career passing-yardage record for NFL quarterbacks.

No home rehab for Broncos’ Phillip Lindsay this time

The hit to the wrist of Denver Broncos running back Phillip Lindsay during a Christmas Eve game against the Oakland Raiders last season sent shockwaves of anxiety through the rookie.

Lindsay knew something was wrong. After all, he had suffered injury before, having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during his senior season at Denver South High School. The memories of the pain, the recovery and the do-it-yourself rehab sessions on the living room floor of his parents’ Aurora, Colorado, home are always with him.

“But a lot of has changed this time,” Lindsay said. “Like night and day, a lot of night and days.”

Oh, what a difference a few years can make. Lindsay is on track to return from wrist surgery to repair ligament damage and should be ready to go when the Broncos open training camp next month.

After spending countless hours with the team’s medical staff, the strength and conditioning staff and the training staff, Lindsay has promised, repeatedly, to return to the lineup and remain the Pro Bowl running back he showed himself to be during his rookie season in 2018.nfl nike jerseys cheap china5

“I’m very thankful [for the Broncos’ staff],” Lindsay said as the Broncos’ offseason program drew to a close. “They hold the reins back on me a lot. They make sure everything goes well, which they’re supposed to. You don’t want to go out there and mess up by tripping or falling or by something that’s not supposed to happen. I’m itching to be out there, and they know that.”

The recovery process is much different than what he endured in 2012. When he suffered that knee injury, his family couldn’t afford visits to a physical therapist. Lindsay’s “rehab” usually consisted of his father, Troy Lindsay, trying to bend and stretch the injured knee the way he believed a physical therapist might. That process has Phillip Lindsay carrying injury baggage that many players don’t. Lindsay has often said he didn’t get into any sort of physical rehab with a doctor, or a physical therapist, until he arrived at the University of Colorado in the fall of 2013.

That was more than eight months after he had suffered the injury. And Lindsay has routinely credited Dr. Ted Layne at Colorado as being the person who saved his knee.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

This time, Lindsay has immersed himself in his rehab. He has been on the field with his teammates during the Broncos’ offseason program but was held out of virtually all drills.

“I feel like I’m very close,” Lindsay said. “It’s going to come down to the head coach and our training staff to make the decisions. I trust them. For me, I’m going to be ready when it’s time. That’s it. When they say it’s time to go, they say I’m going today, I’ll be ready. … It’s a long process, but it’s worth it. You can’t go out there half injured, half healthy. You’re going against these grown men and it’s your livelihood. You have to be OK.”

It remains to be seen if the Broncos want to put Lindsay on some kind of limit when it comes to his carries, at least early in the season, but the team’s new coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello, knows what it has in the 24-year-old. Last season, Lindsay rushed for 1,037 yards, had 10 total touchdowns and added 35 catches for 241 yards.