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How will the Broncos handle Joe Flacco with Drew Lock as starter?

Drew Lock will be the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in the 2020 season.

Or, as Broncos chief football decision maker John Elway put it earlier this week, it would be “unrealistic” to say Lock is not the starter next season.

But beyond that, the Broncos’ quarterback depth chart is little more than financial questions and future decisions, starting with Joe Flacco. Consider how Elway started his answer Monday about whether Lock would be the team’s starter after going 4-1 to close out the season.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Elway then quickly followed with: “Obviously, he finished, did a heck of a job, won four out of five games and played well, but he still has a long way to go — he’s got a lot of work to do. But we’re excited about where Drew is, so, we don’t like to show our hand, but it’s unrealistic to say we’re going a different direction.”8

The 2020 Broncos will have Lock as the projected starter and Flacco as the only other quarterback under contract who has started an NFL game. Flacco’s playing future is uncertain because of a herniated disc in his neck and he’s facing the possibility of surgery. The Broncos did sign Brett Rypien, who spent his rookie season on the team’s practice squad, to a futures contract Tuesday.

The Broncos will have to consider free agency as well as the draft as they determine Flacco’s health. Flacco has two years remaining on his contract that carries a whopping $23.65 million salary-cap figure for the 2020 season and $27.65 million for 2021.

The Broncos won’t entertain paying anything near that galaxy for their No. 2 quarterback, but teams can’t release an injured player without a financial settlement. In short, the two sides are talking about Flacco’s future and his contract no matter what — even as Flacco tries to determine if he can even return to the playing field.

Flacco was quick to say this week that if he were healthy and cleared to play, he would “love” to be back with the Broncos.new nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Of course,” Flacco said. “… I’ll actually look into those things, think about those things when I have to. For now, I’m just focused on working out, getting as healthy as I can.”

Flacco, who went to injured reserve Nov. 1, is scheduled to have an MRI on his neck “around the Super Bowl,” and he said at that point a decision would be made as to whether he will, or won’t, need surgery.

Panthers star Christian McCaffrey named All-Pro at 2 positions

Christian McCaffrey’s versatility and superb statistics helped him to a rare double: The Carolina Panthers running back has made The Associated Press NFL All-Pro Team at two positions.

McCaffrey rushed for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns and caught 116 passes for 1,005 yards and four TDs this season. He became the third player in NFL history to finish with at least 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yards receiving in the same season, joining Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig, who is on the senior ballot for the Hall this year.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

McCaffrey was selected as the first-team running back and the top flex player in voting by the 50 members of a nationwide media panel who regularly cover the NFL. The flex position was created in 2016 to reward players who epitomize the way offense is now played in pro football. No one fits that description better than McCaffrey, whose terrific season came for a 5-11 team.

“It means a lot,” says McCaffrey, a third-year pro. “It is a big honor, and that is something that you don’t work hard for it, but when it comes you are really grateful and appreciative.”7

New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas and New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore were unanimous selections. It’s the second straight season both made the squad, Thomas doing it with an NFL-record 149 catches and Gilmore anchoring the league’s top-ranked defense.

Ravens sensation Lamar Jackson, who in his second season led Baltimore to a league-best 14-2 mark, was chosen as the quarterback. Jackson and McCaffrey were among 14 first-time All-Pros.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Los Angeles Rams safety Eric Weddle witnessed the jukes and jaunts of Jackson firsthand during a 45-6 Ravens romp on Nov. 25.

“When you get on the field and you get to the speed of what they run, it’s tough,” says Weddle, a former All-Pro and Jackson’s teammate in Baltimore last season. “I mean, some of the plays I didn’t know who had the ball because they run it so efficiently. [Jackson] is one of a kind; he’s pretty special.”

This special class includes several multiple-time All-Pros: Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner, each for a fifth time; and Cowboys right guard Zack Martin and Ravens kicker Justin Tucker for a fourth time.

Bears kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson made his third All-Pro roster, as did Eagles center Jason Kelce and Texans receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Don Larsen, who pitched only perfect World Series game, dies at 90

Don Larsen, the journeyman pitcher who reached the heights of baseball glory when he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history in 1956 with the New York Yankees, died Wednesday, his representative, Andrew Levy, tweeted Wednesday night. Larsen was 90.

Levy said the former pitcher died of esophageal cancer in hospice care in Hayden, Idaho. Levy said Larsen’s son, Scott, confirmed the death.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Larsen was the unlikeliest of characters to attain what so many Hall of Famers couldn’t pull off in the Fall Classic. He was 81-91 in his career, never won more than 11 games in a season and finished an unsightly 3-21 with Baltimore in 1954, the year before he was dealt to the Yankees as part of a 17-player trade.

In the 1956 World Series, won in seven games by the Yankees, Larsen was knocked out in the second inning of Game 2 by the Brooklyn Dodgers and didn’t think he would have another opportunity to pitch. But when he reached Yankee Stadium on the morning of Oct. 8, he found a baseball in his shoe, the signal from manager Casey Stengel that he would start Game 5.8

“I must admit I was shocked,” Larsen wrote in his autobiography. “I knew I had to do better than the last time, keep the game close and somehow give our team a chance to win. Casey was betting on me, and I was determined not to let him down this time.”

The Dodgers and Yankees split the first four games, and Stengel liked the deception of Larsen’s no-windup delivery. The manager’s instincts proved historically correct. The lanky right-hander struck out seven, needed just 97 pitches to tame the Dodgers and went to three balls on a batter only once — against Pee Wee Reese in the first inning.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement Thursday that Larsen’s perfect game has “remained unique for 63 years and counting.”nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“On a team of many stars, Don illustrated that anyone can make history — even perfection — on our sport’s biggest stage,” Manfred said.

In their 2-0 win, the Yankees managed only five hits against the Dodgers’ Sal Maglie but scored on Mickey Mantle’s home run and an RBI single by Hank Bauer.

Larsen, selected MVP of the 1956 Series, had two close calls. In the second inning, Jackie Robinson hit a hard grounder that was deflected by third baseman Andy Carey to shortstop Gil McDougald, who threw out Robinson. In the fifth, Mantle ran down a long drive to left-center field by Gil Hodges. With two outs in the ninth, pinch hitter Dale Mitchell took a third strike, completing the perfect game and sending catcher Yogi Berra dashing out from behind the plate to leap into Larsen’s arms.

RHP Pierce Johnson goes from Japan to Padres

The San Diego Padres have added a reliever who excelled in Japan, signing right-hander Pierce Johnson to a two-year contract.nfl nike jersey cheap

A source told ESPN’s Jeff Passan that the deal — announced Monday by general manager A.J. Preller — is for $5 million with a club option for the third year.7

Johnson, 28, struggled in the big leagues in his previous stint. The 2012 first-round pick of the Cubs made only one appearance for Chicago before being waived in 2017 and claimed by the Giants. He played for San Francisco in 2018, posting a 5.56 ERA over 37 appearances.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

He spent the 2019 season with the Hanshin Tigers in Nippon Professional Baseball, where he went 2-3 with a 1.38 ERA and 40 holds in 58 appearances.

Johnson will make $2 million in each of the 2020 and 2021 seasons, sources said. The 2022 option is for $3 million and includes a $1 million buyout.

Sources: Darren Collison mulling February return, likely to an LA team

Veteran guard Darren Collison, who stunningly retired before free agency, is considering a February return to the NBA — with the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers emerging as his preferred destinations, league sources told ESPN.

Collison, 32, exited the league abruptly in late June despite an expectation that he would attract multiple contract offers in the neighborhood of $10 million-plus a season.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Collison’s interest in a return and his focus on the Los Angeles teams sets up another possible recruiting showdown between the Lakers and Clippers, two of the NBA’s primary championship contenders.

Many of the league’s contenders have monitored Collison’s interest in returning and have stayed in contact with his agent, Bill Duffy of BDA Sports, and others close to Collison, league sources said.7

It is unlikely that a Collison comeback would come before the NBA’s trade deadline on Feb. 6. The Lakers and Clippers are also competing to acquire Andre Iguodala, who is waiting for Memphis to trade him.

In an interview with The Undefeated and ESPN’s Marc Spears on June 28, Collison cited religious reasons for retiring.

“While I still love basketball, I know there is something more important, which is my family and my faith. I am one of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and my faith means everything to me.

“I receive so much joy from volunteering to help others and participate in a worldwide ministry. The joy I feel is unmatched.”

Collison averaged 11 points and six assists with the Indiana Pacers last season. He’s become a progressively better 3-point shooter in his career, including shooting 47 percent in the 2017-18 season with the Pacers.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Collison played one season for Doc Rivers with the Clippers in 2013-14, including 13 playoff games as a backup to Chris Paul. Collison also had stops with New Orleans, Sacramento and Dallas.

T.J. Watt and the board game bringing the Steelers together

It was Christmas afternoon and Pittsburgh Steelers players were scattering quickly after practice, in a rush to get back to their families.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

But Anthony Chickillo had business to take care of first.

He took the Biñho board from T.J. Watt’s spare locker and placed the table-top soccer game on the team’s covered pool table and dumped out the small game balls that look like marbles.

Then he turned and motioned Watt over.

“One game to five, that’s it,” Watt said.8

The two each took a side behind a tiny goal, reached across the table and shook hands over the board, which measures about a foot wide and two feet long. Defending each goal are 10 stationary defenders, represented by markers that look like golf tees. The object is to score by knocking the marble around the defenders and into the small goal.

As the game started, offensive lineman David DeCastro walked over and leaned in over the table to watch.

One by one, more teammates encircled the pair of players, watching breathlessly as Chickillo and Watt flicked the marble back and forth. Rookie tight end Zach Gentry morphed into a de facto commentator as Watt took a shot.nfl nike jersey cheap

“He knows all the nuances, it’s insane,” Gentry said. “He revolutionized the game.”

At one point, Alejandro Villanueva leaned in and pointed at the marble before Chickillo’s shot, trying to direct the linebacker where he should go with his next flick. Watt scolded the offensive lineman for giving his opponent extra help.

After 10 minutes, the score was tied, 4-4.

Watt was close on a number of near winning shots, yelling as one ricocheted off the bendy wall and came to rest just in front of the goal.

“I need to make that shot,” he said.

Finally, Watt finessed a soft shot through the stationary defenders and into the tiny goal, fist pumping as shot went in.

Manchester United turn on style in comeback defeat of Newcastle

Anthony Martial scored twice as Manchester United hit back in emphatic fashion from a rocky start against a benevolent Newcastle United to open their Christmas programme with a 4-1 victory at Old Trafford on Thursday.

After a 2-0 loss at Watford last weekend, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had demanded a response from his players but a yellow card for Scott McTominay after 24 seconds and going behind to Matthew Longstaff’s 17th-minute goal was not what he had in mind.

It was all smiles later though as Newcastle folded and Martial, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford all struck before half-time before Martial scored again early in the second half as United moved back to seventh, four points off the top four.

United have now won 21 Premier League games on Boxing Day for a win percentage of 81% — more than any other club.

With midfielder Paul Pogba also coming on after half-time, only his second appearance since September because of injury, United will hope to end an up-and-down year with a flourish with a trip to Burnley looming on the horizon on Saturday.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Against Watford we were not good enough for our standard but the boys showed a great intensity today and we thoroughly deserved the three points,” defender Harry Maguire said.8

“We have now got a big game in two days and our story so far has been a good performance and then a not so good one.”

Newcastle have made steady progress up the table under former United defender Steve Bruce and could have gone above United with a win on Thursday. So when 19-year-old Longstaff tucked his shot past David de Gea after linking well with Joelinton the away fans went wild.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

It was Longstaff who scored the winner in the reverse fixture at St James’ Park this season, but any sense of dread for the Old Trafford faithful soon diminished as United sparked into life to play some flowing football.

Six minutes after Longstaff’s goal, United were level with Martial’s shot squeezing in at the near post when Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka should really have kept it out.

Newcastle offered United another gift as they tried to play out from the back but merely gave the ball to 18-year-old Greenwood who thumped a left-footed cracker in off the crossbar.

Manchester United’s Scott McTominay suffers knee ligament damage vs. Newcastle

Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay suffered knee ligament damage during the win over Newcastle, according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

McTominay left Old Trafford on crutches after being substituted at half-time during the 4-1 victory over Steve Bruce’s side.

The 23-year-old was involved in a challenge with Sean Longstaff in the opening stages but was able to play on until the break before being replaced with Paul Pogba.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“He’s done his ligament in the knee,” said Solskjaer.7

“I don’t know how bad. Let’s see. The boy has got the biggest heart, you see the attitude of the kid [to play on]. I’m not sure if he’s going to be ready for Saturday [against Burnley] but we’ve seen him heal quickly before.”nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

United moved to within four points of the top four with victory over Newcastle, which was secured thanks to goals from Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford and a brace from Anthony Martial.

Greenwood’s goal — his eighth of the season — was a spectacular effort from outside the box that went in off the underside the of crossbar and Solskjaer has warned the rest of the Premier League that the 18-year-old is only going to get better.

“He’s learning, growing as a human being,” said the United boss.

“He’ll grow more and more and we’re not going to see the best of Mason for a couple for years. When I was 18 … I was nowhere near the level he is now.”

Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (ankle) practices, could return Thursday vs. Spurs

Luka Doncic was a full participant in the Dallas Mavericks’ Christmas Eve practice — his first since spraining his right ankle almost two weeks ago — and could return as soon as Thursday’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs.

“He seems to be doing better every day,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle said. “I don’t know what his status will be for Thursday, but he’ll certainly be upgraded. He’s doing well. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, and then Thursday we’ll see what’s what, but things are looking better and better.”

Doncic moved well during the practice, but the Mavs want to monitor how his ankle responds before determining his status against the Spurs.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I’m feeling good,” said Doncic, who has emerged as an early MVP candidate by averaging 29.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game. “Just taking care of it. [There’s] a lot of things that we have to do, and we’re just taking care of it. We’ll see how it progresses, and we’ll see if I play.”8

Doncic injured the ankle when he stepped on the foot of Miami Heat guard Kendrick Nunn while driving to the basket in the opening minutes of the Mavs’ double-overtime loss on Dec. 14. The ankle rolled over so far that it touched the hardwood, and the Mavs felt fortunate that X-rays were negative and Doncic was diagnosed with a lateral ankle sprain.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

The Mavs managed to win two of the four games that Doncic sat out despite facing Eastern Conference powers, pulling off road wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers with Jalen Brunson replacing Doncic in the starting lineup. It would have been a 3-1 week for the Mavs, but on Sunday they became the first NBA team in a decade to blow a 30-point lead as they lost the Toronto Raptors.

“We have a great team and had some tough matchups,” Doncic said. “They played great. Like I always say, we have a deep team.”

After staying home when the team traveled to Milwaukee immediately after his injury, Doncic joined the Mavs for their weekend road trip to Philadelphia and Toronto and ramped up his rehabilitation process. He went through extended workouts under the supervision of Casey Smith, Dallas’ director of player health and performance, before both games. Doncic worked at close to full speed Sunday in Toronto, going through a series of one-on-one moves against the defense of assistant coach Jamahl Mosley.

“I just want to go back on the court to play, because I’m competitive,” Doncic said. “I just wanted it to get better quick, get back as soon as possible.”

Sources: Lakers’ LeBron James, Anthony Davis expected to play vs. Clippers

The Los Angeles Lakers will have their stars on the court for a Christmas Day showdown with the LA Clippers.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are expected to play on Wednesday, league sources told ESPN. James missed a game for the first time all season Sunday with a thoracic muscle strain and discomfort in his groin; Davis tweaked his right knee during that game, a loss to Denver.nfl nike jersey cheap

James and Davis encouraged an impromptu early-morning practice on Christmas Eve, sources told ESPN, in preparation for the Lakers’ first game against the fully formed Clippers with both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George available to play.

The Lakers, who recently completed a stint of 12 out of 15 games on the road, also practiced Monday, but both James and Davis were held out of on-court participation.7

With an early 5 p.m. PT tip on Christmas making it too much of a time crunch to hold a morning shootaround on game day, the two Lakers leaders brought the group in on Tuesday so they could join their teammates in the walk-through to prepare for the Clippers.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel lamented his team’s overall lack of practice time and conceded that it could be a contributor to the three-game losing streak L.A. is mired in.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“We went a 10-day trip without a single practice, really,” Vogel said Monday. “One shootaround, I think. Sometimes that benefits your legs, but usually it leads to a little bit of slippage in your execution and togetherness, particularly on the defensive end.”

The Clippers beat the Lakers 112-102 on opening night in a game that the Lakers admit did not feature their best execution. “I think we were super emotional in the first game, and it showed,” Dwight Howard said this week, looking back at the loss.

James and Davis’ extra practice time would seem to be a step toward drilling down the game plan to have that knowledge to fall back on when the atmosphere gets charged at Staples Center for Lakers-Clippers, Part 2.

“It’s a little bit like the playoffs,” Vogel said. “You want to be jacked up. But sometimes the best mental approach to the playoffs is managing your adrenaline and managing the edge. But let’s start with the edge first. Bring the juice first. If we’re overboard with it, we can always pull back. But you don’t want to be it the other way around. And it won’t be.”