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Dwyane Wade’s last dance with Heat begins

Dwyane Wade doesn’t know how this whole notion of his final season being called “The Last Dance” even started.

Fun fact: He can’t dance.

But the three-time champion and 12-time All-Star can still play, and the Miami Heat are hoping — and expecting — Wade to still be extremely valuable in this, his 16th and last season in the NBA. And at Heat media day Monday, Wade said that even he doesn’t know what to fully expect from what will be the last months of his playing career.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“I have no idea what I want out of this year,” Wade said. “We’re going to be able to figure this thing out as the year goes on. It’s going to take on a life of its own. … To me, that is the beauty of it, is that I do not know and we do not know.”11

Starting Tuesday, the story starts getting told.

Wade and the Heat head about 45 minutes north to Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida for training camp — five straight days of workouts preceding Sunday’s preseason opener at San Antonio. Decisions will have to be made quickly about playing time and roles, and part of that formula is figuring out how Wade best fits into coach Erik Spoelstra’s plan.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“Most pro athletes, unfortunately, they don’t get to know when the end is — or at least they’re the last ones to know and it’s certainly not on their terms,” Spoelstra said. “He has this incredible blessing to know when that finish line will be and be able to have the perspective to make every day matter. It’s the right player, the right organization, the right coaching staff, the right timing for all of this.”

Wade said one of the reasons why he’s back is to fulfill a promise to Udonis Haslem that they would end their careers together. Later Monday, Haslem — also entering his 16th season with Miami — confirmed that he is retiring when this season ends.

“I don’t have a video,” Haslem deadpanned after climbing — without a ladder — atop a backboard on the Heat practice floor.

Wade announced his decision in a 10-minute video released on Sept. 16 that he was coming back for a final season, after at one time leaning about “90 percent” toward retirement over the summer. He agreed to a minimum contract worth $2.4 million, or roughly about $200,000 less than he made in his rookie season after the Heat took the Marquette guard with the No. 5 pick in the 2003 draft.

“At the end of the day, he’s a Hall of Famer,” Heat point guard Goran Dragic said. “He still can produce. He showed that last year. He can still take over a game at any time. And just to have him on the court is special. His ability, his aura, his presence on the floor, it influences everyone. It’s contagious, know what I mean? His confidence spreads, his ability, it’s a feeling that’s so good for us.”

Andre Drummond: Pistons’ Dwane Casey gave me ‘green light’ to shoot 3s

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond said he’s been given the “green light” by new coach Dwane Casey to shoot 3-pointers this season.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

Drummond, who’s made just five 3-point field goals in his six seasons with the Pistons, said he has worked on his perimeter shooting throughout the offseason and his career.

The 6-foot-11, 279-pounder said he will still be selective with his long-range shots.8

“It’s not something I’m going to just start jacking up randomly,” Drummond said Monday. “They’re going to be opportunity 3s. [Casey] has given me the green light to shoot it, and if somebody backs up off me, I’m gonna shoot it.”

Drummond, 25, averaged 15 points and a league-leading 16 rebounds last season with the Pistons but shot 0-for-11 from 3-point range. He is 5-for-30 in his career from beyond the arc but reiterated he won’t hesitate if he’s “wide open.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“It’s not something ]where] I’m gonna just come down and [shoot] pull-up 3s,” Drummond said. “If I’m contested, I’m not going to shoot the pull-up 3. But if I’m wide open and someone backs up off me, I’m gonna shoot it.”

Maryland regents complete Jordan McNair investigation but haven’t told family

The University System of Maryland Board of Regents on Friday will announce the findings of an investigation into the death of Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

However, it has not told McNair’s parents about the status of the report nor given them a chance to redact any private health information, according to a letter sent Thursday from the family attorney to board chairman James T. Brady.

The USM board will hold its regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m. ET on Friday at Towson University and will enter a closed session during which members will be briefed by Rod Walters, a nationally recognized sports medicine consultant. Maryland hired Walters to determine whether the football staff followed proper protocol on May 29, when the 19-year-old McNair suffered heatstroke at a workout. He died two weeks later, on June 13, from heatstroke.

The law firm Murphy, Falcon & Murphy wrote in a letter, obtained by ESPN, that McNair’s parents didn’t know the report would be released Friday until learning about it through the media.5

“Jordan’s parents do not want to learn the details about what happened to their son by watching television tomorrow and seeing a press conference,” wrote Hassan Murphy, a managing partner at the law firm.

Murphy pointed out in the letter that “the family has the right to review the report and insist on redaction of any material that would violate Jordan’s privacy rights or violate federal state health privacy laws.”china nike nfl jerseys cheap

Murphy requested the report be given to the attorneys and the family before it is released to the public and cautioned any premature release could “subject the university and those responsible for the such release to serious civil and criminal liability.”

Later Thursday, USM issued a statement saying it does plan to share the findings with the McNair family, but it did not specify when.

“The University System of Maryland Board of Regents is committed to finding the facts related to the circumstances of Jordan McNair’s tragic death,” the statement read. “As part of that effort, the board assumed control of an investigation being undertaken by Dr. Rod Walters. Dr. Walters is expect to brief the board on his findings Friday afternoon. The board has neither received the report nor learned of its contents.

Anthony Martial must build on his fine display vs. Young Boys

Martial has an unusual relationship with fans, who hear little from him. He rarely talks to the media yet remains popular — especially with younger supporters — and has achieved almost cult-like status among some who call themselves “Martial FC.”

Those he stood before on Wednesday were generally longer in the tooth but his acknowledgment of their praise following a good performance will have done him no harm in the eyes of match goers; Mourinho himself has found that out in recent weeks.

Martial still being on the pitch at full-time was a rarity. He has had few chances to thank fans properly at the end of a game, having failed to go 90 minutes in last season’s Champions League and managing it just six times in the Premier League. That he got stronger as this latest game went on showed he is not going to tire easily.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

A photo I tweeted of Martial applauding quickly went viral, accompanied by many positive messages. An hour later, I showed him my phone in the post-game mixed zone after he left the dressing room. “Nice!” he said. “I like it.”

He has not always been content at Old Trafford and, earlier this year, his agent let it be known he wanted to leave. Martial wanted to play more and to be happier than he was, yet United had no intention of selling a player with the potential to be one of the best attackers in the game.

One game will not make everything perfect. Before Wednesday, he had started only once this campaign, lasting an hour in the capitulation to Brighton. He was poor that day and has shown signs that he lacks interest, to the ire of his manager. However, Martial remains a fine sight when running at and trying to go past opponents. His first touch, even when controlling a ball hit at speed, is usually faultless.

Young Boys Bern are not Juventus or Valencia, United’s other Group H opponents, but Martial looked like he had a point to prove and did enough to keep his place against Wolves side on Saturday. But will he or will Alexis Sanchez, the team’s top earner, be recalled instead? Despite a couple of promising pointers in preseason, the Chilean forward is yet to spark this term and will get more chances to come good.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

The good news is that, with games coming thick and fast either side of the next international break in mid-October, both should get opportunities and possibly in the same line-up; it is not like they cannot play in the same team, given each man can operate on the left, centrally and the right.

Sheldon Richardson’s prove-it season with Vikings off to fast start

When the Minnesota Vikings decided to prioritize the 3-technique tackle position this offseason, they sought to find a player who can torment the quarterback following that trajectory as efficaciously as their superstar defensive ends.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

What Minnesota got with Sheldon Richardson came in the form of a 295-pound wrecking ball capable of knocking the passer off his spot and providing the defensive line with the interior push needed to constantly disrupt the QB’s rhythm.

Richardson’s signing flew under the radar in free agency because of the record-setting contract Kirk Cousins inked in Minnesota just 24 hours before the former Jets and Seahawks defensive tackle became a Viking. They got a high-end upgrade at a critical position on the NFL’s No. 1 defense at a steal of a deal — one year, $8 million. It’s a prove-it contract as he attempts to reset his market value and get back to his 2014 Pro Bowl form.6

The Vikings saw the beginnings of their return on investment against San Francisco in Week 1. Richardson’s stat line from his Minnesota debut read: 0.5 sacks, three QB hits, two run stops and a total of seven pressures, which was the most among all defensive tackles, according to Pro Football Focus.

After a quiet preseason, the former Defensive Rookie of the Year showed the Vikings why they went out to get him in the first place; that he’s exactly what they needed at the 3-technique position on a defense primed to lead Minnesota to the Super Bowl

Sitting outside on a concrete ledge adjacent to the Vikings practice fields, Richardson thinks back on the makings of his explosive debut. He hasn’t taken over a game like that in awhile.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

Not since, he recalls, he played the Vikings during his second season in 2014, when he racked up three sacks, four quarterback hits and three tackles for loss in the Jets’ 30-24 overtime loss.

Whether knifing his way into the backfield to stuff the run or chasing down Jimmy Garoppolo to inhibit an open-field scramble, Richardson is a big man who can move like a defensive end with loose hips, explosive power and quick twitch. A crown jewel on a star-studded defensive line, Richardson’s skill set makes him every bit the unicorn coaches are in search of year after year.

Yankees feel sense of urgency with wild-card lead down to 1 game

While away from home over the past 10 days, the Yankees went 4-5, dropping their series to the Athletics and the Twins. The series loss at Oakland might have been the most costly, as it helped the A’s creep closer in the American League wild-card chase — a race the Yankees had led by 4½ games the day before they arrived in Northern California.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“I haven’t looked,” Yankees reliever David Robertson said late Wednesday, when asked about the wild-card standings. “I know we’re close. That’s about it.”

Thanks to the Yankees’ loss in a near-no-hitter and Oakland’s blowout win at Baltimore on Wednesday, the A’s have tightened the race for the top wild-card spot to one game.5

That might be easier said than done, considering how the Yankees have played lately.

Since Sept. 1, the Yankees are 5-6. They have collectively hit .194 with 67 hits and 95 strikeouts and a .641 OPS within those 11 games. Their pitchers have a combined 4.21 ERA and have allowed 93 hits in that same stretch.

Slugger Giancarlo Stanton has factored heavily into that rough offensive showing, amassing just four hits in the 10 games he has played. Batting .105 (4-for-38) with two RBIs, Stanton is homerless in that stretch, and he has an OPS of just .370. Boone and Stanton contend his timing is just a little off, but he’s close, as they believe his at-bats are showing signs of improvement.

As poor as all of those numbers have been, they are about par for the course, given the way the Yankees have competed over roughly the past six weeks.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

Since right fielder Aaron Judge went on the disabled list July 27, the Yankees have gone 25-20. Their hitters have a collective .235 batting average with 360 strikeouts in those 45 games. Their pitchers have a 4.31 ERA during that stretch.

“We’ve kind of been going through it a little bit lately,” Yankees first baseman Greg Bird said. “That’s just the way it is sometimes, and if we’re going to get where we want to go, you’ve got to be able to bounce back from these things.

Norv Turner doesn’t shy from using Cam Newton as a runner to win

It actually was dispelled in the first half as Newton, who has rushed for more yards than any quarterback since he entered the league in 2011, carried seven times for 64 yards and a touchdown.

And most of these were designed runs, not scrambles, like the 4-yard, second-quarter touchdown run to the right side that Newton celebrated by galloping around like he was on a horse.

All that was missing was the pregame cleats Newton wore that looked like cowboy boots with a sheriff’s badge.cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

“I still want the wow factor,” Newton said. “I had the spurs, too. But the spurs didn’t make it. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board with that one.”6

Turner didn’t have to go back to the drawing board when figuring out how to utilize Newton, who said there never was a doubt from the time he met his new coordinator that he would be allowed to utilize his legs.

“It was as simple as, ‘Hey, baby! I’m going to let you be you now, baby!'” said Newton, doing his best imitation of Turner. “I said, ‘OK, coach.’ [He said], ‘All right now. Just let it go out there today, baby.’ He loves baby.”

Newton loves to run and defenses hate to see him run.

“When you have a two-headed monster like that, man, it’s tough,” Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said. “And he’s a two-headed monster. When he can pull the ball down like he did today and make guys miss, have those splash plays like that, he’s tough to start.nike nfl cheap jerseys

“When he’s on target and making throws and getting the ball downfield to those electrifying receivers we have, it’s scary.”

Newton, who finished with 13 carries for 58 yards (several kneel-downs at the end), began with a carry for no gain on Carolina’s second play. Three plays later, he went 16 yards up the middle after faking a handoff to running back Christian McCaffrey.

This was nothing like the playcalling Turner did in the early 1990s at Dallas with Troy Aikman — who happened to be in the booth calling the game — at quarterback.

Kirk Cousins learns first-hand how good Vikings can be in his debut

Leading the 49ers by a slim margin late in the fourth quarter, Kirk Cousins was determined to single-handedly extend the Vikings lead, even if it meant causing U.S. Bank Stadium to cringe in unison when he scrambled on third down and slid head-first in hopes of earning a first down.

Cousins came up a yard short of moving the chains, but his attempt to preserve the Vikings 24-16 margin was applauded by those on his sideline.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

“Hey, when the game is on the line, we’re trying to get the first down,” coach Mike Zimmer said. “Go for it. I’m all in.”

Minnesota’s $84 million investment paid off – at least this week – in a season-opening win over the San Francisco 49ers. Cousins impressed with pinpoint precision, no turnovers and a fiercely competitive drive.5

“You could see it in his preparation,” running back Latavius Murray said. “Just the way he carries himself, the way he goes about the game.

“For a quarterback to lower his shoulder and give his body up, that’s motivating. That’s inspiring because I don’t see a lot of quarterbacks doing that.”cheap nike nfl jerseys paypal

The Vikings offense had many bright moments in Cousins’ Minnesota debut. On an afternoon where the quarterback eclipsed the century mark in career touchdown passes, Cousins threw for 244 yards, two touchdowns and finished with a 95.1 passer rating.

Familiar with the “distracted boyfriend” meme? The one where a gentleman walking hand-in-hand with his girlfriend looks over his shoulder at a woman in the forefront? That’s probably how 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan felt. After being Cousins’ offensive coordinator in Washington, Shanahan the QB he hoped he’d one day reunite with make incredible touchdown throws, including a 22-yard dime to Stefon Diggs and an 11-yard pass to the back of the end zone where Kyle Rudolph was waiting — a throw he executed with the hand of DeForest Buckner inches from his face mask.

The unique relationship between Russell Westbrook and Mo Cheeks

One by one, Oklahoma City Thunder players cleared off the practice court. Rookie two-way guard P.J. Dozier finished a round of free throws; Paul George disappeared through a door after shooting about a hundred corner 3-pointers; and head coach Billy Donovan and Steven Adams walked toward the corner corridor after talking pick-and-roll positioning at midcourt.

Underneath a basket across the court, Russell Westbrook sat on a basketball leaned up against the stanchion. Next to him sat Maurice Cheeks, reclined up against the padding next to Westbrook.

With 2Pac’s “I Get Around” popping through the speakers, they sat alone together in the spacious practice facility, talking. It wasn’t an unusual sight; Westbrook and Cheeks are almost always together after practice.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

They routinely compete in free-throw contests against each other — Cheeks wins a lot of them, by the way — and are always connected in conversation.6

Knowing what was likely happening in this Westbrook-Cheeks meeting, a couple of staffers couldn’t resist wandering over to join in. Eventually, somehow, a bet was made for Cheeks to race strength trainer Kevin Hyde.

Ready, set, and before “go,” Cheeks took off — a savvy veteran move — and won in a “sprint” from baseline to half-court as Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step” played.

Westbrook, almost assuredly having a hunch, had placed his bet on Cheeks. He roared with pride at his pick.

“Give me my f—ing money!” Westbrook yelled.

The synergy between Westbrook and Cheeks started basically from Day 1, when Cheeks was brought in as a top assistant under Scott Brooks in 2009 with a pretty straightforward job description: Russ.

Westbrook was coming off a rocky rookie season that featured ample criticism, too many turnovers and an outsider belief that he wasn’t actually the team’s point guard of the future. Critics said Westbrook, while he could create moments of brilliance, was too wild to run a team.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Cheeks went to work quickly, building a unique bond that has remained strong for more than a decade. He became the unofficial Westbrook Whisperer.

Jared Goff returns to Bay Area, this time as a Super Bowl favorite

For Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff, the first game of his professional career sometimes seems like a distant memory.

Goff stood on the sideline at Levi’s Stadium — 70 miles from where he grew up in Northern California and 40 miles from where he starred at Cal — and watched as the San Francisco 49ers, his childhood team, shutout the Rams in a season opener.

The rookie and No. 1 overall pick did not dress for the game, which aired on Monday Night Football. He was inactive and buried on the depth chart behind Case Keenum and Sean Mannion.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

“It does feel like a long time ago,” Goff said this week. “I guess it was two years ago now. It feels like forever ago and it is kind of ironic.”

The Rams finished that 2016 season 4-12, coach Jeff Fisher was fired and Goff was winless in seven starts.6

Two years later, the Rams return to the Bay Area for a season opener — this time against the Oakland Raiders — but again on a Monday night. And Goff is squarely in place as the franchise quarterback for a team considered to be among Super Bowl contenders.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

For Goff, 23, two years have made all of the difference.

“I’ve grown up a lot,” Goff said. “You mature, you learn a lot. You learn a lot about yourself, a lot about the NFL and how to prepare, how to go about your daily business, how you get ready for a game.”

In 2016, the Rams’ offense struggled under Fisher, and Goff was no exception. With the season off to a 4-5 start, Goff replaced Keenum and passed for 1,089 yards and five touchdowns, with seven interceptions. He was sacked 26 times.