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Colts took LB knowing about sex assault claim

Colts general manager Chris Ballard says he knew Stanford’s Bobby Okereke had been accused of sexual assault in 2015 when he drafted the linebacker in April.

“When we looked at it and talked about it and talking to the young man, an incident from four years ago, no discipline by the university [and] he was never charged with a crime,” Ballard said Wednesday. “And then you look at his track record from that point to now. Team captain. Lott Trophy quarterfinalist. He graduated with a degree in management and engineering. He’s working on his master’s. From 2015 to 2019, from everything we gathered and high recommendations that we got, it felt appropriate to take him.”

Okereke was forthcoming about what occurred in 2015 when he met with the Colts at the Senior Bowl in January, Ballard said. The general manager said the team investigated the situation, including reviewing the documents from the ensuing Title IX case, and felt comfortable selecting the linebacker in the third round.china nike nfl jerseys cheap7

According to a New York Times story in December 2016, an unnamed Stanford football player was not disciplined by the school or football team after an in-house disciplinary board made up of five panelists did not get the necessary four votes to say they believed he sexually assaulted the accuser. Three of five did believe the accuser, according to the newspaper. Ballard said Okereke told the team that he was the player in the article when he was asked at the Senior Bowl if the Colts should be aware of any issues in his past.

“[These things are] very difficult,” Ballard said. “Not only from our perspective from trying to get the information, but from the university perspective. You have a he-said, she-said incident. I don’t want to sit here and act like we don’t have sensitivity for both sides of it. But as I’ve kind of said, it happened four years ago and because there were no charges or disciplinary actions by the university and then his track record from everything we know to this point has been good.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

The general manager acknowledged Wednesday that the team did not talk to the accuser or her lawyer due to the fact that there were no charges or discipline handed down by Stanford officials.

Ballard, who has put a premium on character inside the locker room as he continues reshaping the organization, was asked why he did not reveal the information about Okereke sooner.

“I didn’t see it [as] appropriate considering he had never been charged or disciplined by the university. That’s the reason why we did not give you that information,” Ballard said.

Champs of change: Ravens embrace youth and rebuke skepticism

The New England Patriots overhauled their wide receiver position and lost Rob Gronkowski. The Kansas City Chiefs revamped their struggling defense.

But when it comes to the most change on both sides of the ball for a defending division champion, that crown goes to the Baltimore Ravens. After a strong late-season run to an AFC North title, the Ravens parted ways with two starting wide receivers (Michael Crabtree and John Brown), two top pass-rushers (Terrell Suggs and Za’Darius Smith), the quarterback of the secondary (Eric Weddle) and the leading tackler on the league’s top-ranked defense (C.J. Mosley).

The total loss: 17 Pro Bowls, 4,608 snaps and a great measure of respect.

The Cleveland Browns, who haven’t won a division title since 1989, are the trendy team in the AFC North. The Ravens apparently are the forgotten one. They aren’t considered the favorites to repeat or even finish second-best.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

After filling many of its holes with young but unproven talent, Baltimore is projected to finish third, according to the oddsmakers in Las Vegas and ESPN’s Pro Football Index.5

“I guess if a guy has never played in the National Football League, he’s a bad player,” coach John Harbaugh said. “That’s the exciting part. It’s really fun to see what the next generation is going to do and who they’re going to be and who’s going to make a name for themselves.”cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Ravens could have as many as seven new starters, including three rookies (receiver Marquise Brown, outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson and guard Ben Powers) and a first-year starter (either Kenny Young or Chris Board at weak-side linebacker).

Perhaps this is why the FPI gives Baltimore a 29.9 percent chance to capture the AFC North and a 2.1 percent chance to win the Super Bowl.

“[We] kind of just want to block out that noise,” safety Tony Jefferson said. “There’s been a lot of talk going on, but that’s really for the media to take hold on that. We know, in this building, it’s all about us, and we’re working on getting better each and every week — whether it’s a workout, whether it’s being in meetings, anything of that sort. We’re fully confident, we’re loaded, and we expect to be the best in the NFL.”

Sources: City would part ways with Delph for £15m

Manchester City will sell Fabian Delph if they get the right price for the England international, sources have told ESPN FC.

City would expect to receive about £15 million for the former Leeds United and Aston Villa midfielder and won’t stand in his way if he decides to leave.

Delph, 29, will be in the final year of his contract next season and has fallen behind Oleksandr Zinchenko in the pecking order with the Ukrainian set to be offered a new deal.

Pep Guardiola converted Delph into a left-back after a cruciate knee ligament injury to Benjamin Mendy and he played a key part in City’s 100-point title-winning season.nike nfl jerseys for cheap6

“It’s frustrating for anybody who doesn’t get as much game time as they want,” Delph said. “I’m quite experienced now and very level-headed so my main focus was to help my teammates.

“I always talk about being a team player. I think I’m a really good team player. I had the lads’ back all the way through. I was pushing them in training. I was there, a big voice in the changing room before games.”

Delph joined up with England early ahead of their Nations League clash with the Netherlands on Thursday to get some fitness and admits he faces a dilemma over his City future.

“It’s a difficult one. When I was at Villa and I was captain there, playing week-in, week-out, and I had the opportunity to go to City it played on my mind that I wouldn’t be as pivotal in terms of playing,” he added.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

“Initially I didn’t want to go. Then a lot of things happened behind the scenes and I realised I had to go. But I never thought I’d be playing 60 games a season for City. I knew I’d be playing probably half of that if I was lucky.

“I knew that a club with that much power and that many resources would always be flooding players into the team. When you’re playing for a team in the top four, a team that are challenging for everything, it’s all about the squad it’s not about that one player.

“So for me personally it wasn’t about playing week-in, week-out, it was about being part of a fantastic squad and the aim was to win trophies. In the four seasons I’ve been [here] I think we’ve won seven now, so I definitely think I’ve ticked that box.”

Lakers 2.0: The failed reboot of the NBA’s crown jewel

Before them were Rob Pelinka and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who had been formally introduced in March 2017 as the Lakers’ new front-office leaders — with Johnson, an iconic player from the team’s 1980s “Showtime” era, serving as its president of basketball operations, and Pelinka, who had famously served as Kobe Bryant’s agent, as the general manager.

Neither possessed front-office experience but were chosen by Lakers president and governor Jeanie Buss, who had fired the organization’s longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and, separately, her brother Jim in February 2017.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

This gathering would serve as one of Pelinka and Johnson’s initial attempts to address the basketball operations staff in a more formal setting — and to make an impression regarding their managerial style.4

In his remarks, Johnson expressed excitement about the task ahead, but he also made clear he didn’t accept excuses or mistakes, and that those who weren’t on board with the new management and their mission should leave, according to six staffers who were present.

Pointing upstairs, toward his office, Johnson drove home his point. He had a large stack of resumes sitting on his desk — “a thousand” of them, multiple staffers recall him saying — and he could replace any of them at any time.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“It was shocking,” said one Lakers coaching staff member who was present. “If you’re going to be in this business, you bring enough pressure on yourself. You don’t need more pressure, especially from someone who’s supposed to be an ally.”

The message would set the tone for what many staffers describe as Johnson’s confrontational demeanor over the next two years. “If you questioned him on anything, his response was always a threatening tone,” said a Lakers front office staffer who interacted with Johnson directly. “He used intimidation and bullying as a way of showing authority.”

When Pelinka and Johnson ascended to their posts, there was talk of a new beginning, the start of returning the Lakers to greatness. The era was even given a sleek brand: Lakers 2.0.

But the era was short-lived, culminating in Johnson’s sudden resignation during an impromptu news conference on April 9. He cited “backstabbing and “whispering” as reasons for his abrupt departure. In just over two years, what was deemed a bold front-office experiment had failed.

Phillies acquire outfielder Bruce from Mariners

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired former All-Star outfielder Jay Bruce from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Class-A infielder Jake Scheiner and cash considerations, the Phillies announced Sunday.

Bruce is owed $8,317,204 this year from his $13 million salary and has a $13 million salary in 2020 — the remainder of a three-year contract he signed with the New York Mets in January 2018. The Mets remain responsible for the second $1.5 million installment of his $3 million signing bonus, a payment due Jan. 31, 2020.

The 32-year-old Bruce is hitting .212 with 14 homers and 28 RBIs. He has struck out 53 times in 165 at-bats.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“I figured this would be the situation,” Bruce told reporters. “It’s bittersweet. I really like the group of guys here [in Seattle]. I got to know some of them and had great relationships. It’s part of the business, though. I get to go somewhere I have a chance to win, and at this point in my career, that’s pretty paramount for me.”7

A three-time All-Star for Cincinnati in 2011, ’12 and ’16, Bruce was acquired by the Mets from the Reds on Aug. 1, 2016, traded to Cleveland on Aug. 9, 2017, then became a free agent and returned to the Mets in 2018.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

He hit just .223 with nine homers and 37 RBIs in 94 games last year, and New York traded him to Seattle in December as part of the deal in which the salary-shedding Mariners sent second baseman Robinson Cano and closer Edwin Diaz to the Mets.

Philadelphia outfielder Odubel Herrera was placed on administrative leave by the commissioner’s office Tuesday under the sport’s domestic violence policy after his arrest in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Bruce is expected to help fill that void.

Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said Bruce would be used both off the bench and as a starter.

“Jay Bruce makes our bench stronger and I also think he makes our lineup stronger on days when we’ll see a right-handed pitcher,” he said.

Bruce’s last hit with Seattle was memorable: He clubbed his 300th career home run on Friday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Scheiner, 23, hit .256 with two home runs and 19 RBIs for Class-A Clearwater this season.

Phillies’ McCutchen sprains knee, will have MRI

Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Andrew McCutchen sprained his left knee while in a rundown in the first inning of Monday’s 8-2 loss to the San Diego Padres and will have an MRI.

The former NL MVP had to be helped off the field and was taken to the clubhouse for examination. He was replaced in the lineup by Jay Bruce, who was acquired this week in a trade with the Seattle Mariners.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

“I didn’t feel it pop or anything,” McCutchen said. “Something felt uncomfortable, something that made me grab my knee and go down. I’ve had an ACL injury before and I know what that feels like. This didn’t feel like that.”5

Manager Gabe Kapler said the Phillies will bring up Adam Haseley on Tuesday and if McCutchen isn’t available for the Phillies, “it will sting,” he said.

McCutchen, 32, is hitting .256 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs as a leadoff hitter in his first season in Philadelphia. He was signed to a $50 million, three-year contract during the offseason after finishing up last season with the New York Yankees.cheap youth nfl jerseys

McCutchen spent his first nine seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, joined the San Francisco Giants last year and then was traded to the Yankees.

Browns eager for good dose of OBJ in minicamp

Browns coach Freddie Kitchens was direct when asked what Odell Beckham Jr. was missing during organized team activities, which are voluntary.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“A lot,” Kitchens told reporters Thursday. “The offense.”

Beckham attended the first OTA session May 14 but has missed the eight sessions since. The Browns open mandatory minicamp Tuesday, and Beckham is expected to show. Beckham also attended an April 1 news conference with teammates Baker Mayfield, Jarvis Landry and Myles Garrett, but he has not been a fixture at the team facility since Cleveland acquired him in a March 12 trade with the New York Giants.7

“I just want to see him,” Kitchens said when asked what he wants to see from Beckham during the three-day camp.

Mayfield has been running the offense without several top options. Landry did not participate in Thursday’s session, and Kitchens said an injury will likely keep him off the field for minicamp, delaying the on-field reunion of Beckham and Landry from their LSU days. Running back Duke Johnson, the subject of trade rumors, has stayed away.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Two weeks ago, Kitchens said he wanted every player here but stressed they had the option to attend. Receivers coach Adam Henry, who coached Beckham in New York and at LSU, said he has no concerns about Beckham’s readiness.

“He’s a worker. He’s a guy who works hard,” Henry said. “He’s always in condition. You have to save him from himself when he’s practicing because he’ll go and go and go. He’s like the young person with the ball. If there’s a ball being thrown or kicked, he wants it.”

The Browns haven’t seen much of that in person but are eager to find out.

Beckham is entering the second year of a five-year, $95 million deal he signed with the Giants last offseason.

Sitting Pat standing pat: Gronk still retired

Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski said Sunday morning that he is happy in retirement, while playfully deflecting a question on whether he wanted to end rumors that he would ever consider a comeback.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

“Oh man! Whatever I say, it doesn’t matter. It will always be crazy out there, but you can put them to rest,” Gronkowski said with a smile while taking part in the One Mission Buzz Off for Kids at Gillette Stadium. “I’m feeling good. [In a] good place. It’s great to be back here.”
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While Gronkowski, 30, didn’t decisively spike the possibility of a comeback — which is something his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, said in March wouldn’t surprise him — he clearly seems to be content in retirement.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Gronkowski said returning to Gillette Stadium for Sunday’s event, which marked the ninth year in which he’s served as an ambassador by shaving his head in support of kids with cancer, reminded him that “there will always be family here, and it will always be home here.”

Gronkowski didn’t detail specific plans for his retirement, other than saying he plans to be part of more charitable and community events.

“I love the New England community. It’s something special, all the support through many, many years of playing. The support of just not on the field, but off the field as well. New England will always be special, always have a big part in my heart, and always have much love,” he said. “It’s great to continue giving back. Just because I’m not playing any more doesn’t mean you can’t give back. You can do more, actually.”

Girona’s relegation poses a problem. Will Man City still care about Pep Guardiola’s brother and his club?

An hour after Girona’s final game at Estadi Montilivi, the kit man was still going back and forth from the dressing room to a van parked outside the ground, making his many trips in silence, lugging bag after bag and stopping just once to embrace the security guard, a look of sadness on their faces. Neither of them said anything; they didn’t need to. Watching him go and looking at the overall scene, it was hard not to see it as a case of packing away the first division. Defeated by Levante, it was just about over: They were on their way back to the second division.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

By that point, the last player had gone, sobbing as he went. Captain Alex Grannel had been in tears too, apologising for what had happened. And what had happened, the club’s sporting director Quique Carcel later said, was a “total failure.” In the news conference, coach Eusebio Sacristan struggled to talk. “I failed everyone,” he said, his voice cracking. After a few questions, the press officer asked: “OK?” In the small room, the journalists mumbled OK — no one had the heart to keep him there any longer. It was dark outside, and there was nothing much he could say.

At the full-time whistle, Girona’s owner Pere Guardiola, brother of Pep — yes, that Pep — had gotten up from his seat in the main stand and made his way downstairs, defeated. His second season — and the mighty City Football Group’s second as part-owners and investors, the club just one of many connected to Manchester City through that holding company — had ended in relegation. Girona had one more game to play, but it was over. No one was clinging to a potential miracle, and ultimately, it never came. A few days after the season ended, Eusebio resigned, his reputation damaged. He walked away, demanding nothing. He was a good person, everyone agreed, but maybe not a good manager — at least not for this team. He could have been sacked sooner: Girona should never have been in trouble but won just one of their last 10 games.5

This was only Girona’s second-ever season in the Primera Division: Three times previously, they had been on the cusp of coming up, but it didn’t actually happen until 2018. Now, in 2019, they were on their way back down. On one level at least, that was entirely normal. Leaving the stadium that night, you looked at the temporary standing at one end and wondered if it might be taken down soon. Girona had doubled the number of season-ticket holders, but could that be sustained in The Segunda? This is not a big football city. Or, at least it wasn’t. They had hoped to change that; now, maybe, they will see if they actually did.nfl nike jersey cheap

In a news conference a few days later, Carcel said that relegation had always been a possibility, and everyone knew it. He compared the situation that Girona found themselves in to where they’d been five years earlier, which on the surface, at least, was true but didn’t make it easier to take in that moment. Some didn’t entirely agree with that mindset; they also had doubts about where this would go now. “What did you want, everything to be flowers and violets?” Carcel said. “We have to be humble enough that this could happen to a club with the budget and history of Girona.”

Sure, but not to a club with a budget and a history of Manchester City.

That was the doubt lingering in some of the criticism and the fears: doubts that focused on their past, their present and particularly their future. Would Man City still care now? Had they cared enough before? What had Girona gained? Would they now lose all that? What had City gained? What, in fact, did City really want from their ownership of Girona anyway?

Emery wants Arsenal to trust process after loss

Arsenal manager Unai Emery expressed disappointment in the team’s 4-1 loss to Chelsea in the Europa League final but asked fans to continue to trust the process.

After a goalless first half, Arsenal saw their Champions League dream evaporate in the first 20 minutes of the second half, as goals from Olivier Giroud, Pedro and a send-off penalty from Eden Hazard saw Chelsea run out to a 3-0 lead.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Alex Iwobi pulled one back with a brilliant volley into the top-right corner but Hazard answered just three minutes later to make it 4-1 and squash any comeback hopes in Baku.4

“The first half we were in the match with possibilities. We didn’t concede too many chances to them, with one good save from Petr Cech,” Emery said. “We wanted to carry on our game plan and take our chances when they came. But they scored the first goal. The first goal was very important in this match because, afterwards, we needed to play with calm but we made some mistakes.

“They have very good players to make use of these mistakes, and efficiently score. After the second goal, it was even more difficult.”

Arsenal have lost their last four major European finals, with their sole contintental win (excluding Super Cups) coming 25 years ago — a 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup win over Parma.nfl nike jersey cheap

“We knew it would be difficult, and we are in our process. I want to say to all the supporters, we are in this process,” Emery said. “Really the first target has not been achieved this year, but I think we are closer: firstly in the Premier League, and secondly in this competition, playing this final. Next year is a big challenge to take one more step in our way, in our will with young players.”