Packers’ Aaron Rodgers details frenzied departure from Peru

Aaron Rodgers and his travel party that included three other people got out of Peru nine days ago, within minutes of the airport closing due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Green Bay Packers quarterback revealed Friday on a radio show.

Rodgers told Pat McAfee and former Packers teammate A.J. Hawk, who co-hosted the show, that it was “quite the ordeal.”cheap new nike nfl jerseys

“Have you seen the movie ‘Argo’?” Rodgers asked. “The scene at the end where they’re racing to the airport. Nobody was chasing us, thankfully, or holding us. We didn’t have to speak Farsi to get back into the country, but there were some moments where we worried we were not going to get out. It was absolute pandemonium at the airport.”7

Rodgers returned to his home in Malibu, California, and has followed stay-at-home guidelines along with girlfriend Danica Patrick. He said that of the four people on the trip, none had any symptoms at the time or in the days since.nike jersey nfl cheap

He said he had planned other parts of his trip to South America, but they cut it short. The group flew via private plane, which Rodgers said helped them get out of the country quickly. Had they flown commercial, he said, he does not think they would have gotten out when they did.

“Probably not, not right away,” Rodgers said. “I know there’s been some planes and some folks who were down there who’ve gotten brought back [since then]. … When we rolled up to the airport at, like, 7 in the morning, it was wall-to-wall people, and you couldn’t move. I was thinking, ‘This isn’t very safe.’ Not many masks on, and there was definitely a panic in the air. But somehow [we] made it down, and then they shut the airport down because it was really bad weather. They had a drop-dead time where they were going to shut the entire airport down. We made it by about 15 minutes.”

Rodgers said his group was in remote areas near Cusco, Peru, where there are not any reported cases of the coronavirus.

TE Jimmy Graham responds to critics of Bears’ move: ‘I’m still fast’

The Bears’ decision to sign veteran tight end Jimmy Graham to a two-year contract that included $9 million guaranteed and a no-trade clause — on the heels of him being released by division rival Green Bay — was arguably the most universally panned move in free agency, but Graham insisted on Thursday that he still can perform at an elite level.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“I’m still fast. … I still have the ability to make big plays,” Graham said during a conference call with Chicago media.

A third-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in the 2010 NFL draft, Graham quickly emerged as the game’s most feared pass-catching tight end, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in just his second season (2011) with 99 receptions, 1,310 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. Graham, 33, would eventually be named to five Pro Bowls over stints with New Orleans (2010-14) and Seattle (2015-17) before agreeing a free-agent deal with Green Bay in 2018.
Green Bay released Graham on March 12.6

“Obviously, it was a tough pill to swallow,” Graham said. “It was the first time I lost my job. And I work extremely hard. I’ve sacrificed everything for this game. I’ve given it everything I have, and obviously to go through that, it was difficult. Now I have the opportunity to win a bunch of games this year and I’m very grateful for that, and I’m obviously grateful for the opportunity and the friendships I did make just up north there. But for me, it’s lit a fire.

“I know what player I am and I know what I can do. I think I was able to show a little bit of that in the playoffs with some of the opportunities I was given. And after being 10 years in, I’ve only missed six games. That’s coming off of, at times, all kinds of injuries … at times I’ve kind of been on ice the last two years, so my knee right now is the best it’s felt in four or five years. This is the best that I’ve ran, this is the fastest I’ve been in the last four or five years. I’m going to get back to being me. I’m going to get back to making big plays and scoring touchdowns because I think I’m somewhere in the top of scoring touchdowns and I want to continue that. I want to continue climbing that list and get to where I’m supposed to be.”

Chicago had the NFL’s least productive group of tight ends in 2019. The Bears did not have a tight end reach 100 receiving yards — J.P. Holtz led the team with 91 — or 15 receptions as Chicago, overall, ranked near the bottom in total offense, points scored, rushing offense and passing offense.cheap new nike nfl jerseys

Graham joins a tight end room that includes often-injured Trey Burton (guaranteed $6.7 million in 2020), 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen (26 career catches for 249 yards), Ben Braunecker and veteran Demetrius Harris, whom Chicago added in February.

The Bears are also in the midst of a quarterback competition. Chicago traded a fourth-round compensatory draft pick to Jacksonville for veteran quarterback Nick Foles, who is expected to challenge 2017 second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky for the starting job.

Ighalo’s Man United future uncertain amid coronavirus crisis – sources

Odion Ighalo is facing an uncertain future at Manchester United with his loan deal set to expire on May 31, sources have told ESPN.

The striker moved to Old Trafford in a short-term transfer from Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua on the final day of the January window.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

The agreement would have covered United’s campaign until after the Europa League final on May 27, but that has now been thrown into doubt after the Premier League and European club competitions were suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus crisis.8

As things stand, the Premier League are committed to finishing the season even if it means playing games through the summer and beyond. But unless Ighalo’s loan can be renegotiated, the Nigeria international will have to leave on May 31.

Officially at least, United hold his registration until June 30 when the transfer window is due to re-open in China. However, with no agreement for the player to be at Old Trafford beyond the end of May the deal would need to be renegotiated. United would also need special permission from FIFA to keep the striker beyond July 1, when all loans across Europe’s major leagues expire.

With the UK placed under lockdown by the government on Monday, there is no indication yet about when the season might be able to resume.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Former Watford striker Ighalo has been a success since arriving at Old Trafford, scoring four goals in just eight appearances.

The boyhood United fan has scored on each of his three starts against Club Brugge, Derby County and LASK Linz.

Man United optimistic of keeping Pogba beyond summer- sources

Manchester United are optimistic Paul Pogba will remain at the club beyond the next transfer window and doubt whether any of Europe’s elite clubs can afford the midfielder, sources have told ESPN.

Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, has said he “wants to take a great player to Real Madrid” sparking more speculation the Spanish giants are set to bid for the France international.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Juventus are also interested in re-signing Pogba but there are significant doubts over whether either club could finance a deal, even if the 27-year-old insists he wants to leave Old Trafford.7

Pogba has a contract until June 2021 but United can also trigger a clause to extend it for another 12 months until 2022.

Real Madrid were put off by the £180 million asking price last summer and while privately United accept Pogba’s value will dip with time running out on his contract, they still value their record signing at more than £100m.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

As well as the transfer fee, Real Madrid and Juventus would have to put together a hefty wage packet of around £300,000-a-week to seal a deal.

The issue is complicated further by concerns surrounding finances in football relating to the coronavirus crisis and the implications for broadcasting deals while major league and European club competitions are suspended indefinitely.

Pogba is training at home while United’s Carrington training base remains off limits to the majority of players and staff.

The squad were due to return on April 10 but that is now unlikely after the British government imposed a nationwide lockdown on Monday night that will last for the next three weeks.

Pogba has been limited to just eight appearances in all competitions this season after suffering metatarsal and ankle injuries. He has not played a competitive game since United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle on Boxing Day but was due to return to first team training just before the Premier League was suspended on March 13.

Rangers’ Willie Calhoun cleared for activity after fastball to face

Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun, who suffered a broken jaw after getting hit in the face by a baseball during a spring training game on March 8, said he has been cleared to resume workouts.

“Got cleared to start doing my daily workouts and baseball activities again,” Calhoun said Thursday on Twitter.nfl jerseys nike cheap8

Calhoun’s jaw was broken when he was hit in the face by a fastball from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias. He was taken off the field on a motorized cart and airlifted to the hospital. He underwent surgery the following day to insert a plate and stabilize the jaw.

Calhoun hit .269 with 21 homers in 83 games last season. He is expected to start in left field for the Rangers, who traded outfielders Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara over the winter.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Mets’ Noah Syndergaard to have Tommy John surgery for torn UCL

New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery this week, the team announced Tuesday.

Dr. David Altchek will perform the surgery Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, according to the Mets.

“After experiencing discomfort in his elbow before spring training was suspended due to the pandemic, Noah and our health and performance department have been in constant contact,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “Based on the persistence of his symptoms, Noah underwent a physical examination and MRI that revealed the ligament tear. A second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache confirmed the diagnosis and the recommendation for surgery.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Noah is an incredibly hard worker and a tremendous talent. While this is unfortunate, we have no doubt that Noah will be able to return to full strength and continue to be an integral part of our championship pursuits in the future.”

Syndergaard, 27, who is one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in baseball history and has among the best arsenal of pitches in the game, was expected to anchor the Mets’ rotation alongside ace Jacob deGrom.

Syndergaard threw a career-high 197⅔ innings last season, and while his ERA was a career-worst 4.28, the combination of good health and stuff foretold good things.nfl jerseys nike cheap

The health end did not hold up, and Syndergaard will be sidelined until April 2021 at the earliest — and more likely until the early summer. He is the second high-profile pitcher to need Tommy John surgery in recent days, with Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale also confirming he would undergo the elbow reconstruction surgery.

Syndergaard, acquired by the Mets in 2012 when they traded Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto, was an instant phenom. His fastball consistently hit 100 mph, he ripped off sliders as fast as 93 mph, and he struck out 166 batters in 150 innings as a 22-year-old rookie in 2015. His best year came in 2016, when he was an All-Star and posted a 2.60 ERA in 183⅔ innings.

Injuries wiped out most of Syndergaard’s 2017 season and shortened his 2018. He planned to join deGrom and Marcus Stroman atop the Mets’ rotation, with Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha filling out the last two spots.

With baseball sidelined until at least May because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Mets now won’t have to choose among the final three for a rotation spot. Their prospects for 2020, which were bright during a strong spring, got that much more difficult in a National League East with the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals, defending division winner Atlanta Braves and a Philadelphia Phillies team with playoff aspirations.7

New UAB coach Andy Kennedy braces for ‘most unusual’ basketball season

Andy Kennedy acknowledged the bizarre nature of an introductory news conference without any media in attendance.

It wasn’t even the strangest scene the new UAB coach has experienced because of the coronavirus.nfl nike jersey cheap

“We’re living in unusual times, hence a press conference with no people,” Kennedy said Monday, when he was formally introduced as the new coach of his alma mater, replacing Robert Ehsan.

UAB allowed only 10 staffers inside the Green and Gold room at Bartow Arena, with a moderator and live stream on Facebook in an attempt to minimize the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

Kennedy was introduced by athletic director Mark Ingram, and then he fielded a few questions from radio announcer David Crane, who relayed several taken in advance from reporters. The men sat at opposite ends of a small table, with their chairs pulled back and a 2015 Conference USA tournament championship trophy between them.6

Kennedy, who was living in suburban Birmingham after his 12-year run as Mississippi’s coach, jokingly noted that they might not have the full 6 feet of separation recommended by health officials during the pandemic.

It was a strange scene, but less so than what happened last week — or what Kennedy fears could lie ahead.

Kennedy was working at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Nashville for ESPN and the SEC Network when the remaining games around the country — including the NCAA tournament and many other sporting events — were called off. Suddenly, the arenas were empty.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“It felt surreal, like, is this actually happening?” said Kennedy. “This is certainly not the introduction that we wanted. I can’t wait for this room to be filled and to see many familiar faces.”

Normally, introductions for new coaches at UAB and elsewhere would include some fans, prominent boosters and a number of reporters and cameras.

But not this time. Kennedy was joined in the room by Ingram, media relations officials and the production crew.

Kennedy, whose hiring was announced Friday, received a six-year contract and an unconventional situation that coaches and athletic programs around the country are confronting.

Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton headed to NBA draft

Iowa State sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Tuesday.

Haliburton, the No. 7 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, emerged as one of the draft class’ elite point guard prospects.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Haliburton averaged 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 2.5 steals for the Cyclones. Despite his season being cut short because of a fractured wrist in February, Haliburton established himself as one of the most intelligent, versatile and efficient playmakers in the country.5

Haliburton is a career 43% 3-point shooter in college.nfl nike jersey cheap

Considered a mid-major recruit for much of his high school career, Haliburton made a rapid ascent in his game to become a likely NBA lottery pick. He took advantage of an injury to Iowa State’s starting point guard as a freshman and eventually emerged on NBA radars with a strong showing at the FIBA U19 World Cup last summer, leading Team USA to a gold medal.

Selection of Jordan Love in first round would be decisive move for Bill Belichick, Patriots

The New England Patriots have three quarterbacks who account for less than $3 million in salary-cap space in Jarrett Stidham, Brian Hoyer and Cody Kessler, easily the lowest financial total at the position in the NFL.

The top question facing the budget-conscious team is obvious: Which low-cost option rises up? With the Patriots so snug to the salary cap, they are limited in what type of significant free-agent addition they might be able to make, which leads to another question: Could a high 2020 NFL draft pick be an avenue they consider?nfl cheap jerseys nike

The Patriots haven’t selected a quarterback in the first round since 1993, when Drew Bledsoe (No. 1 overall) was the pick. That was a different era, when Bill Parcells had just arrived as coach, and hope was restored to a region starved for winning football.4

Under coach Bill Belichick (2000-present), the highest quarterback selected was Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014 — in the latter portion of the second round (No. 62 overall). Third-rounders Kevin O’Connell (2008, No. 94), Ryan Mallett (2011, No. 74) and Jacoby Brissett (2016, No. 91) are next in line.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

So if the Patriots follow through on what ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. says is possible in his latest mock draft — tabbing Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the No. 23 pick — it would be a decisive move that breaks the Belichick mold.

In that scenario, the Patriots would have to be confident Love is an upgrade from Stidham, who in 2019 had the best preseason of any rookie quarterback under Belichick. They would also have to be willing to concede that Love projects more to 2021 than 2020; considering there will be limited practice time in the offseason — if any during the coronavirus pandemic — relying on any rookies for big things this season seems like risky business.

The Patriots also have several other needs to address, and going with a quarterback would push the team’s opportunity to focus on other spots into the late third round (No. 87), which is when they pick next.

Why Dolphins happily draft QB of future in Mel Kiper Jr.’s latest mock

The Miami Dolphins filled a bunch of holes in NFL free agency but finding a long-term quarterback remains a top priority headed into the 2020 NFL draft. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is the beloved incumbent quarterback, and the 37-year-old is comfortable being a bridge starter and mentor for whoever Miami brings in as the quarterback of the future.

Since 1979, the Dolphins have drafted two quarterbacks in the first round — Dan Marino (1983) and Ryan Tannehill (2012). Since Tannehill was selected No. 8 overall in 2012, the Dolphins haven’t drafted a quarterback before the seventh round. That lack of quarterback investment helped land them in this situation, but that should change during April’s draft during which Miami is expected to secure its franchise quarterback in the first round.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. has the Dolphins selecting Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa with the fifth overall selection. Tagovailoa is projected as the second quarterback off the board — behind Joe Burrow to Cincinnati — and a pick that certainly would make a lot of Dolphins fans very happy.3

Tagovailoa is a perfect fit for the Dolphins and the city of Miami. It’s a win for the franchise to land him without having to trade up. Tagovailoa, during three seasons under coach Nick Saban, displayed a propensity to rise in the biggest moments, an elite accuracy and field vision that makes him seem near ready for the NFL, and an innate leadership that would make him a great figure to build an ascending franchise around. Simply put, Tagovailoa has “it” on and off the field.nfl cheap jerseys nike

It’s not a pick without risk, as Tagovailoa’s injury history, most notably his dislocated right hip and posterior wall fracture suffered in November, presents a valid concern — particularly in a year when predraft visits, pro days and medical evaluations have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dolphins will have to feel confident that Tagovailoa will return to his previous playing ability. But the benefit here is that the Dolphins don’t have to rush Tagovailoa on the field in 2020, and he learn the NFL and work on his rehab while sitting behind Fitzpatrick for a season.

The Dolphins have two more first-round picks — assuming those aren’t used to trade up for Tagovailoa — and Kiper addresses two of Miami’s biggest needs with them in his mock, projecting Georgia running back D’Andre Swift (No. 18) and Houston offensive tackle Josh Jones (No. 26) to Miami. The Dolphins finished tied for worst in sacks allowed (58) and last in rushing (72.3 yards per game) in 2019, so the additions of Swift and Jones would help Miami close out Round 1 on a strong offensive note.