David Andrews Hopes To Continue Writing Undrafted Success Story For Patriots

FOXBORO, Mass. — While David Andrews was in Nashville for the 2019 NFL Draft last week, he had a chance to chat with Jessie Tuggle, the retired linebacker who starred for Dan Reeves’ Atlanta Falcons in the late 1990s.
For those unfamiliar with Tuggle’s backstory, he entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of Valdosta State in 1987, then proceeded to enjoy a highly successful 14-year career that included five Pro Bowl selections, three All-Pro nods and a spot in the Falcons’ Ring of Honor.
Andrews has a special appreciation for Tuggle’s success, and not just because, as Reeves’ nephew, he grew up rooting for those Atlanta squads. Andrews also went undrafted (out of Georgia in 2015), and while he hasn’t reached Pro Bowl or All-Pro status, he’s about to enter his fifth season as the starting center on a New England Patriots team that’s won two of the last three Super Bowls.
“I know even when my uncle was coaching, he had a lot of guys that were undrafted,” Andrews said. “Jessie Tuggle, I saw him this weekend down at the draft. That was a guy undrafted making the team, played a long career with the Falcons. So it happens all over the league. I think you’ve just got to come in, and it goes to those guys taking advantage of the position they get put in.”
After splitting time with Bryan Stork as a rookie, Andrews has started all but two games for New England over the past three seasons, building a strong connection with quarterback Tom Brady along the way. He’s one of several unlikely success stories for a Patriots team that has kept at least one undrafted rookie in each of the past 15 seasons.
Also on that list: J.C. Jackson, Jonathan Jones, Ryan Allen, Adam Butler, Brandon Bolden and Malcolm Butler, among others.
“Everyone is going to get a fair shot (in New England),” Andrews said. “I think that’s the truth. It’s about who can perform and who can help the football team. That’s what Coach (Bill) Belichick’s job is. It’s a tough place, and it’s a tough position to be in — undrafted — but you just come in, work, take advantage of your opportunities.
“You’re not going to make a football team within a day, so just kind of put your head down, go to work and take a deep breath when it’s all said and done.”
The Patriots signed 10 more undrafted prospects over the weekend, including three offensive linemen. They also drafted two linemen — tackle Yodny Cajuste in the third round and guard/center Hjalte Froholdt in the fourth — adding to a group that returns four of its 2018 starters (Andrews, left guard Joe Thuney, right guard Shaq Mason and right tackle Marcus Cannon).
Only left tackle Trent Brown, now with the Oakland Raiders, needs replacing. 2018 first-round pick Isaiah Wynn is Brown’s projected successor, but that’s no guarantee after Wynn missed his entire rookie season with a torn Achilles. It’s also unclear who the team’s swing tackle will be this season after LaAdrian Waddle left for the Buffalo Bills in free agency.
“As long as you get your foot in the door — whether you’re a free agent, undrafted guy, free agent coming from another team — you just get your foot in the door and earn your position, earn your role on this team,” Andrews said. “That’s what it comes down to. You’re going to earn your role or you’re going to earn your position or whatever it is.
“Everyone’s starting from ground zero here, and that competition stays throughout the year and I think that helps you develop, helps you push yourself. Competition makes us all better.”

Nikola Jokic Like Tom Brady? Nuggets’ Paul Millsap Offers Aggressive Take

Nikola Jokic is among the most cerebral players in the NBA, but how does he stack up with the NFL’s preeminent thinker?
Quite well, according to Paul Millsap.
Jokic, Millsap and the Denver Nuggets beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday in Game of their Western Conference semifinals series. And Jokic, as he often does, did a bit of everything: 37 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
After the game, Millsap compared his teammate to none other than New England Patriots quarterback tom Brady.
“He’s like a quarterback out there,” Millsap told reporters, via ESPN.com. “I consider him like a Tom Brady. He’s always going to pick you apart and make the right reads. Commend him for doing that at this stage in his career. It’s unbelievable.”
That’s high praise, and it might be deserved.
The 7-foot, 250-pound Jokic averaged 20.1 points, 10.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists during the regular season, leading the Nuggets to the No. 2 seed in the west. He’s taken things up a notch in the postseason, though, averaging 24. 9 points, 11.8 boards and 8.8 helpers in eight games.
Brady, meanwhile, is preparing for the 2019 NFL season and a run at yet another Super Bowl championship, which would be his seventh.

Celtics’ Jaylen Brown Opens Up About Teacher’s Ridiculous ‘Jail’ Comment

Jaylen Brown wasn’t trying to draw attention to himself when an old tweet resurfaced over the weekend. Nor does he necessarily want to revisit the content of the social media post.
But as Brown looks to inspire others in his position as an NBA player, the Celtics swingman understands the attention his 2014 tweet has garnered since Boston’s win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Sunday.
First, here’s the tweet, in which Brown — then a high school student in Georgia — pointed out a ridiculous comment made by one his teachers:

My teacher said she will look me up in the Cobb county jail in 5 years .. Wow
— Jaylen Brown (@FCHWPO) April 28, 2014

Flash forward five years: Brown, the third overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, is not in jail. Instead, the 22-year-old is a key contributor for a Celtics team that’s three wins away from reaching its third straight Eastern Conference finals.
“When somebody says something like that, you never really forget it. Something like that you hang onto,” Brown explained Monday, per MassLive.com. “I don’t really want to get into what happened, because I’m going to leave it in the past where it belongs, but it’s true.
“In Georgia, our education system isn’t the best so I don’t put too much blame on teachers. It is what it is. But one teacher handling 35 kids in one class it’s tough. There’s a lot of teachers who go through stuff and take a lot of crap all day, so who knows what was going through her mind that day when she said that. But I will let it be in the past. I will use it as motivation.”
It makes sense Brown doesn’t want to spend too much time living in the past. The present is nice and the future is even brighter for the Celtics standout. But Brown is perfectly fine with others looking at the tweet and using it as inspiration, namely against skeptics who try to shoot down their dreams.
“Stuff like that adds fuel to the fire, and then when it resurfaces it adds more fuel to the fire,” Brown said. “But it’s in the past. I don’t even look at it as a negative, you know what I mean? Or looking to give it back to the teacher. I’m just trying to be the best version of myself.”
Brown’s teacher undoubtedly is eating an elephantine plate of crow right now.

An Ode To ‘ESPN The Magazine,’ Before It Meets Its Demise Later This Year

The internet has enriched our lives in far too many ways to count. It is the greatest invention of a generation, transforming our way of life largely for the better.
But the internet has a growing list of victims, and perhaps nothing has felt the worldwide web’s wrath more than print media with another journalistic institution going on life support Tuesday with ESPN’s announcement that publication of ESPN the Magazine will end in September.
It’s a bummer for fans of sports and journalism alike, as the Magazine’s two-decade run occurred during a golden age of sportswriting. It came to be at the perfect time, in the late 1990s, when mainstream interest in all things sport was reaching a fever pitch and a time when print media technology was reaching its zenith.
Perhaps the truest testament to ESPN the Magazine’s greatness was that it survived this long while challenging Sports Illustrated, a true titan not only in the sports media business but the magazine landscape as a whole. ESPN the Magazine no doubt was able to survive this long because of the financial backing of the Worldwide Leader in Sports, but the medium’s sustainability wasn’t fueled solely by the ESPN cash cow — at least not in its heyday.
In a time where being able to hold a physical magazine (or newspaper) still had some intangible value, ESPN the Magazine promised to be bigger and bolder than its contemporaries like SI (or Sporting News or Sport). Former ESPN president John Skipper began his run in Bristol as the senior VP and general manager of the magazine. Skipper considers himself a content person, and that was evident from the jump, as literally was the influence of his Rolling Stone days with the look and feel mirroring the longtime music magazine.
That ESPN the Magazine came along when the network owned the sports media landscape helped and surely was no coincidence. The willingness and insistence to put seemingly unending resources into the project certainly stands out in hindsight. The advertising blitz is memorable even 20 years later with ESPN’s creative team taking some time away from the classic “This Is SportsCenter” campaign to push the magazine in creative, often hilarious manner.

(Coincidentally, ESPN the Magazine actually went with the “all nude, tastefully done” thing, in a way, with its annual “Body Issue.”)
The sort of attention ESPN now reserves solely for LeBron James was then given to the magazine in an attempt to make sure it didn’t fail. The magazine was a top priority, and the magazine’s top priority was good content. It’s a novel if not obviously outdated concept in 2019.
And the content itself deserved the attention. The covers were truly spectacular for the biweekly magazine. Resources clearly were devoted to make the cover look as good as possible every week.

Even more surprising looking back is the breadth of cover subject. For instance, in 2002 alone, wide-ranging figures like Kordell Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Detroit Red Wings, Vladimir Guerrero, U.S. men’s soccer team, Minnesota Twins, Serena Williams, Los Angeles Clippers and LeBron all made covers. When was the last time you remember even more than a highlight or two from the NHL or NASCAR on ESPN? Or even baseball, really, for that matter?
The content inside the cover was good, too. ESPN used it as a vehicle to get its on-air personalities even more exposure whether it was Stuart Scott’s always enjoyable column answering reader questions or “Outtakes,” featuring snippets of memorable interviews from Dan Patrick’s radio show. Oh, and don’t forget The Answer Guy, either. It was a coup that ESPN was able to get long-time SI columnist Rick Reilly for its own back page — although that was probably regrettable in hindsight — while the Magazine also served as a launching pad for Bill Simmons, too. Even more recently, the Magazine has served as a journalistic playground for some of the best sportswriters of the day like Wright Thompson or Seth Wickersham.
The death of ESPN the Magazine wasn’t unexpected or even that sudden. It was a foregone conclusion, and the dropoff in interest and profitability was reflected in the magazine’s standing not only within ESPN but among sports fans everywhere. Practically no one reads actual magazines anymore, and the content that typically graced the pages of the mag still will have a home on ESPN.com. The company didn’t announce any layoffs, but it sounds as if at least a handful of people will lose their jobs at some point, which stinks.
The whole thing is a bummer, and the inevitability doesn’t soften the blow. But that’s life in the internet age, for better or worse.

ESPN Writers Explain Why Red Sox Have Been Biggest Disappointment Of 2019 Season

No one could have imagined the first month of the Boston Red Sox’s season panning out the way it did.
The Red Sox kicked off their World Series title defense with a brutal, 11-game West Coast road trip, and things haven’t gotten much better since. Boston owns a 12-17 record entering Wednesday, tied for the third-worst in the American League.
As such, it’s tough to disagree with ESPN.com’s Dave Schoenfield, Eddie Matz and Sam Miller, all of whom believe the Red Sox have been the biggest disappointment of the 2019 season thus far. The trio explained why within a column highlighting Major League Baseball’s biggest winners and losers of April.
From ESPN.com:
Schoenfield: Certainly the Red Sox, not just because of their record, but because of some putrid all-around baseball. Heading into Monday, only the Baltimore Orioles and Miami Marlins had a worse run differential, and Boston is somehow 0-6 in games Chris Sale has started.
Matz: Of the three teams that rank at the bottom of the majors in run differential, two were expected to be awful (O’s, Marlins) and the other is … the defending champs??? The Red Sox earn this dubious distinction, and it’s not even close.
Miller: It’s the Red Sox as surely as the other answer (best April) was the Rays, but outside of the AL East it’s probably the Angels. They started the season as real wild-card contenders; they end April with a 1-in-25 chance of making the playoffs, and probably a 7-in-8 chance of having Mike Trout lead the league in WAR but lose out in the MVP voting.
Boston has flashed encouraging signs through the first month-plus, but the club has struggled mightily with consistency. Manager Alex Cora has maintained confidence throughout, and when looking at the Red Sox’s roster, it’s tough to blame him.
No team truly has separated itself from the rest of the pack either, unlike the 2018 Red Sox who ran roughshod through league from start to finish. With this in mind, Boston very well could find itself in the thick of things once it gets fully healthy and its star players perform at the level they’re capable of.

Here’s What Michael Bennett Believes Has Made Patriots So Successful

Michael Bennett has yet to play a down in Foxboro, but the veteran defensive lineman already seems to be fond of the “Patriot Way.”
Bennett will make his fourth career pit stop in the 2019 season when he suits up for the New England Patriots, who will be fresh off their sixth Super Bowl championship in franchise history. The 33-year-old has watched the Patriots from afar for the past 10 seasons, during which he’s gained a stronger understanding of what makes for a top-tier organization such as New England’s.
“I think it’s accountability,” Bennet said Monday on FS1’s “First Things First.” “I think when a team is accountable to each other and care about each other, I think it just makes the organization a lot better. I think when you have a coach who has a clear and concise message each and every day, I think it makes the team come together and they have a lot of morale. I think Bill Belichick does a great job of being honest. Doug Pederson does a great job of being honest. Pete Carroll, too. So when you have that, everyone can follow suit.
“Then they have — the best player’s always the best leader. If you look at the Seattle Seahawks, Russell Wilson was the best leader and he was always first when we were running. Tom Brady’s a great leader, and also Carson Wentz, he was also a great leader. When you have an organization that pinpoints a great leader who’s also the best player, it makes the organization a lot better.”
Bennett’s veteran savvy and leadership skills surely will be welcomed by the Patriots, whose roster is shaping up to feature a good number of young/inexperienced players. And judging by Bennett’s clear appreciation for New England’s method of operation, he should fit right in.

Why Patriots’ David Andrews Wasn’t Fan Of Latest ‘Game Of Thrones’ Episodes

FOXBORO, Mass. — The Battle of Winterfell wasn’t the epic television achievement David Andrews was hoping for.
Andrews, the New England Patriots’ starting center, voiced his disapproval on Twitter following Sunday’s super-sized episode of the juggernaut HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

Not that impressed with thrones
— David Andrews (@dandrews61) April 29, 2019

Andrews’ main contention, as he explained Tuesday during a chat with reporters at Gillette Stadium, was that the battle scenes simply were too dark — not tonally, but visually. That was a common complaint among “Thrones” fans, as the chaotic mix of darkness, storm clouds, dragons and thousands of on-screen soldiers in the longest battle sequence in the history of TV or film tested the capabilities of many a television.
“I don’t know,” Andrews said. “I mean, it was good, but we’re going to build it up, and it was kind of like driving to work with your windshield frozen. You’re like, ‘Was that a stop sign?’ I mean, it was good, but I think it got built up a little too much. We believed the hype a little too much there. …
“I like the battles — I guess that’s pretty cool — but you didn’t get to see nothing. You’ve got guys getting swarmed, and then all of a sudden, they get out of it scot free? How’d they do that?”
We’ll be sure to get Andrews’ updated reaction after the “Game of Thrones” series finale airs May 19.

ESPN Writer Believes Patriots Likely To Cut This Player After NFL Draft

The 2019 NFL Draft is in the books, which means we’ve reached the point in the offseason where leaguewide activity probably will die down a bit before training camps begin later this summer.
It’s still possible for teams to tweak their rosters, though, and sometimes an organization’s draft results play a role in how a veteran player’s situation is handled.
Look at the Arizona Cardinals, for instance. They drafted Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick and subsequently traded second-year signal caller Josh Rosen, whom they chose with the No. 10 overall pick in 2018.
Of course, most moves won’t be as high-profile as Arizona’s quarterback swap, but they could prove significant nonetheless. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell on Tuesday identified the player on each team who’s most likely to be traded or cut in the wake of the 2019 NFL Draft.
Barnwell’s pick for the New England Patriots: punter Ryan Allen.
The Patriots signed Allen to a one-year contract earlier this offseason, but they traded up in the draft to select Stanford punter Jake Bailey in the fifth round. Could that spell the end of Allen’s tenure in New England?
Here’s more from Barnwell, who also believes wide receiver Demaryius Thomas’ job could be in jeopardy after the Patriots selected fellow wideout N’Keal Harry with the 32nd overall pick Friday:
You don’t think Bill Belichick traded up to draft punter Ryan Bailey in the fifth round by accident, do you? I’d also worry a bit about Demaryius Thomas’ spot on the roster after the Patriots drafted 6-foot-2 wideout N’Keal Harry in the first round. The former Broncos standout was guaranteed only a $150,000 signing bonus when he joined the team, and if Thomas’ rehab from a torn Achilles doesn’t go well, the Pats might be more inclined to hand him an injury settlement in August.
Allen has spent the past six seasons with the Patriots after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2013. He has won three titles with the Pats and even played a huge role in New England’s Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams.
Perhaps Belichick is bringing in Bailey just to create some competition. That would make the fifth-round selection even more head-scratching, though, despite the Patriots entering the draft with a surplus of picks.
As for Thomas, there’s no guarantee he’ll crack New England’s roster this season even if he sticks around through the preseason. The 31-year-old is a four-time Pro Bowl selection who had some excellent seasons with the Denver Broncos, but his production has dipped in recent years. The Patriots basically just took a flier on Thomas last month while looking to bolster their depleted receiving corps.

Tottenham Vs. Ajax Live Stream: Watch Champions League Semifinal Online

Who last fall would have been brave enough to bet on Tottenham Hotspur or AFC Ajax progressing this far in European soccer’s elite competition?
The shock of the soccer world will give way to piqued interest Tuesday when the teams meet in London at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal series.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium #UCL pic.twitter.com/bBbHtyoLTD
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 30, 2019

Tottenham’s last semifinal appearance at Europe’s highest level was in 1962, and Ajax’s was in 1997. Nevertheless, they’re within striking distance of a chance to play for European club soccer’s biggest prize, with Tottenham having worked its way past Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City in the knockout rounds and Ajax rolling following its upset wins over Juventus and Real Madrid.
Tottenham’s star attackers Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min will miss this game due to an ankle injury and suspension, respectively. Ajax might enjoy the luxury of extra rest and recovery after the Dutch Football Association postponed last weekend’s round of Eredivisie (first division) games in order to afford Ajax more time to prepare for Tottenham.
Ajax and Tottenham haven’t played against each other in a competitive contest since their 1981-82 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round series, which Spurs won 6-1 on aggregate. However, there will be familiarity among the teams, as Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez all previously played for Ajax.

Tottenham heroes Ajax heroes #UCL pic.twitter.com/U2UZQfvAmD
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 29, 2019

The teams will play again May 8 in Amsterdam in the second leg. The winner of this Champions League semifinal series will face either Liverpool or Barcelona in the final.
TNT will broadcast Tottenham versus Ajax in English, and Univision will do so in Spanish in the United States.
Here’s how to watch the game online:
When: Tuesday, April 30, at 3 p.m. ET
Live Stream: B/R Live

Where Kyrie Irving Lands On Nick Wright’s Playoff Player Power Rankings

Kyrie Irving thus far hasn’t disappointed in his first NBA playoff run with the Boston Celtics.
Irving was the Celtics’ best player over the span of their four-game, first-round sweep of the Indiana Pacers. The star point guard averaged 22.5 points and 7.8 assists per game, both of which were team highs. Irving kept it going in Game 1 of Boston’s second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks, logging 26 points and 11 assists — both game highs — in the Celtics’ drubbing of the Eastern Conference’s top-seeded team.
While Irving has been undeniably great in the postseason, Nick Wright doesn’t believe he’s among the top five players in these playoffs thus far. The “First Things First” co-host laid out his power rankings during Tuesday’s show on FOX Sports 1, with Irving coming in at No. 6.

[email protected]'s top players this postseason:
1. Kevin Durant2. Damian Lillard3. Kawhi Leonard4. Giannis Antetokounmpo5. James Harden6. Kyrie Irving7. Nikola Jokić pic.twitter.com/nyvzVHXVps
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) April 30, 2019

It’s clear the listing is no knock on Irving, rather the sensational play of his fellow superstars. There’s a good chance Irving will climb the ladder as the playoffs progress, though, as the six-time All-Star tends to elevate his game as the stakes get higher. One of those players Irving could usurp is Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was a shell of himself in the series opener against the Celtics.
Irving will look to add another gem to his postseason catalog Tuesday night when the C’s and Bucks meet for Game 2 at Fiserv Forum.