So far this offseason, Covid-19 has done little to throw the NFL off schedule.
But as annual in-person workouts draw near, we might start to see for the first time how the league plans to navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson, this year’s minicamp start might be a little bit closer to mid or late June, as opposed to early June.
Wrote Robinson on Tuesday: “The sources told Yahoo Sports that if coaches resume their in-house work next week, minicamps including players could be scheduled as early as June 15 or as late as June 27, depending on COVID-19 data and whether a handful of franchises get a “go ahead” signal from state governments to resume full operations. ”
Despite the delay, this obviously does not significantly push things back. The league appears hellbent on starting the season on time, so keeping minicamps within the month of June certainly is a step towards accomplishing that.
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Another day, another reason to believe Michael Jordan wasn’t totally forthright during “The Last Dance.”
Ever since the conclusion of ESPN’s wildly popular documentary, multiple former teammates of Jordan’s have accused the Chicago Bulls legend of lying and/or being disingenuous throughout the 10-part series. Horace Grant, in particular, has been critical of Jordan and the makers of “The Last Dance.”
And then there’s the controversy surrounding Jordan, Isiah Thomas and the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team, more popularly known as “The Dream Team.”
Thomas was not picked for the team, something many attributed to Jordan’s anger over Thomas and Detroit Pistons not shaking hands with members of the Chicago Bulls after the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. Jordan long has denied accusations of blackballing Thomas, and did so again during “The Last Dance.”
Well, “The Dream Team Tapes” podcast recently released old audio in which Jordan can be heard admitting to telling 1992 Olympics selection committee member Rod Thorn he’d quit if Thomas made the team. The audio seemingly contradicts Jordan’s denial from “The Last Dance.”
Read the transcript and listen to the audio below:
“Rod Thorn called me. I said, ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.’ He assured me. He said, ‘You know what? Chuck (Charles Barkley) doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team.’”
Audio of Michael Jordan admitting that he told Rod Thorn that he wouldn't play on Dream Team if Isiah Thomas was on the team pic.twitter.com/TXI27fRFhV
— Viral Sports (@NotScTop10plays) May 25, 2020
Make of that what you will.
At the end of the day, none of this drama takes away from Jordan’s greatness as a player. However, it does paint a picture of a man who is far more flawed off the court than he is on it.
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Ryan Clark isn’t expecting to see a 12th consecutive division title heading to Foxboro this season.
The AFC East is more up grabs in 2020 than it has been in over a decade. The Patriots, who struggled mightily throughout the second half of last season, seemingly didn’t improve this offseason, while New England’s three division rivals all made multiple significant upgrades.
Clark seems to believe a below-average offense will doom the Patriots this season. Furthermore, he thinks the significance of Tom Brady’s departure cannot be stressed enough.
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“…When you look at the Buffalo Bills and the New England Patriots, they both play great defense,” Clark said Tuesday on ESPN’s “Get Up.” “But down the stretch, the New England Patriots’ defense began to falter and we saw some different things when they played teams that actually had good football players on the offensive side of the football. So I think we saw some cracks in that defense, which is why they still tried to address it in the draft and they didn’t get better on the outside. Many people thought the reason Tom Brady’s game regressed last year was because he didn’t have the weapons. Well, they didn’t improve out there.
“You lose the quarterback of all time. I don’t think you can ever underestimate what it is to have the greatest quarterback of all time on your team and for you to be able to coach him hard. For that to be the example you set of the Patriot Way and then he goes out and performs. You no longer have that. Now, this is going to be Bill Belichick’s greatest coaching challenge of his career with Jarrett Stidham and this new-look, 2020 New England Patriots team. I just don’t think they’re good enough to win the East.”
In the confines of their own building, the Bills very well might believe they’re the new top dog in the division. But they’re not going to give the Patriots any bulletin-board material, as both their head coach and general manager have insisted New England still is the team to beat in the AFC East.
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It’s rare to see one GOAT troll another GOAT — then again, these are strange times we’re living in.
Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning defeated Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson on Sunday in The Match: Champions for Charity. If you watched the event, you know Brady — aside from a ridiculous birdie on the front nine — didn’t really bring his A-game to Medalist Golf Club. Sure, he stepped it up a bit on the back-nine, but it nevertheless was a rough day for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback… and his pants.
Things seemingly went from bad to worse for Brady after the match, depending on how you interpret one of Woods’ post-round tweets.
“What a job by Peyton,” Woods tweeted Sunday night. “Thanks for helping me beat Phil Mickelson this time around. Tom Brady showed up too. What a fun day for an even better cause!”
What a job by Peyton. Thanks for helping me beat @PhilMickelson this time around. @TomBrady showed up too. What a fun day for an even better cause! pic.twitter.com/uB08sZkW17
— Tiger Woods (@TigerWoods) May 25, 2020
So, was Woods simply being nice and praising Brady for rebounding after an objectively putrid start, or was he trolling Brady for doing nothing noteworthy after showing up to the event?
Close call, but we’re going with the latter.
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The New York Jets find themselves in a tricky situation when it comes to Jamal Adams.
Adams, who’s set to enter his fourth season in the Meadowlands, reportedly is hellbent on receiving a new contract, though the Jets are taking a patient approach given the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season. But while a new deal for the star safety doesn’t appear likely any time soon, neither does a blockbuster trade.
New York, of course, eventually could decide to ship Adams out of town if the tension between the sides becomes overwhelming. But Eric Mangini believes New York should be wary of the potential chain reaction if the franchise were to execute such a deal.
“…New York’s gotta look at this and figure out whether they want the player on the team,” Mangini said Monday on FS1’s “First Things First.” “He’s in his third year, he already wants a new contract. There’s been issues in terms of chemistry and prospects for the future. You gotta figure out do you want him on your team, but in addition to that, you gotta figure whether you want to send the message that guys are able to shoot their way off the team. That sets a dangerous precedent, too, that in your third year you can demand a trade and the team is willing to accommodate you. So there’s a lot of things at play here.”
The Dallas Cowboys have been the only team consistently linked to Adams in rumors. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport on Monday reported there’s nothing brewing between the sides at present, as America’s Team’s top priority is ironing out Dak Prescott’s new contract. Rapoport didn’t rule out the possibility of the Cowboys making a play for Adams once Prescott is locked up long term, however.
So whether it be for a new contract or a trade, Adams probably is going to have to resign to waiting.
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Game 1 of the 2007 American League Division Series was never in doubt for the Boston Red Sox. Game 2 was a little bit of a different story.
After Josh Beckett made easy work of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the series opener, the Red Sox had to grind it out in the second game, getting a little help from a very unexpected place along the way.
Be sure to tune in to NESN at 8 p.m. ET for a rebroadcast of Game 2 of the 2007 ALDS. Before you do, here are a few things you might have forgotten from that game.
1. Daisuke flops
The Daisuke Matsuzaka experiment was executed with mixed results in his rookie season of 2007. He finished the season with a respectable 15-12 record to go along with a 4.40 ERA, while logging more than 200 innings. In hindsight, the Japanese star never was going to live up to the lofty expectations, but there were times the hurler was downright tremendous for Boston. Game 2 of the ALDS was not one of those. Matsuzaka dealt with traffic in each of his five innings and fell into a 3-0 hole early, as the Angels tagged him for three runs, including an RBI double from old friend Orlando Cabrera. LA chased Matsuzaka in the fifth inning, as he allowed three runs (all earned) on seven hits while walking three in 4 2/3 innings. It was the kind of frustrating performance that ultimately came to define his Red Sox tenure.
2. The Danny Vinik Game
OK, so maybe this game would be remembered for something else when it was all said and done, but don’t forget the name Danny Vinik. The young fan was sitting in the first row down the first-base line just behind the camera well. In the fifth inning, with the Red Sox rallying and trailing 3-2, Manny Ramirez hit a lazy pop-up right down that line. Angels catcher Jeff Mathis looked to have a play on the ball, but as he reached into the stands, Vinik was able to snatch the ball away for a barehanded grab. Instead of popping out to end the inning, Ramirez ended up walking to extend the inning. Mike Lowell followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game 3-3.
“I still can’t believe it,” Vinik told reporters after the game, as he enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame. “It was unbelievable. Just seeing it up there, sticking my hand out there and it just landed in my hand. I don’t really remember what happened. Just unbelievable, amazing.”
Vinik, who is the son of minority owner Jeff Vinik, also got a high-five from Stephen King as he later walked back up to the concourse.
3. Big-time bullpen
Red Sox reliever Javier Lopez came on for Daisuke Matsuzaka in the fifth inning. He was able to wiggle out of trouble, retiring the only batter he faced, setting the tone for a dominant effort from the Boston bullpen. Lopez, Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon combined to toss 4 1/3 no-hit innings to keep the Red Sox in the game after falling behind early.
4. Manny being Manny
Despite the bullpen’s efforts, the Red Sox weren’t able to push anything across, and the game was tied 3-3 entering the bottom of the ninth. Julio Lugo led off the inning with a single and got to second on a Dustin Pedroia groundout. With one out and the winning run on second, Mike Scioscia summoned All-Star closer Francisco Rodriguez from the bullpen. K-Rod was in the midst of a four-season run in which he would rack up 194 saves. Rodriguez struck out Kevin Youkilis for the second out, and then the Halos elected to intentionally walk postseason menace David Ortiz to get to Ramirez.
That’s when this happened.
While many aren’t exactly bullish on the New England Patriots’ chances in 2020 following widespread offseason departures headlined by Tom Brady, it would be silly to think the Pats will be an abject disaster this season.
And ESPN’s metric for measuring teams on paper has some seemingly reasonable expectations for New England in 2020.
ESPN released their “Football Power Index” rankings for 2020. The FPI “measures team’s true strength on net points scale; expected point margin vs average opponent on neutral field.”
So, the Patriots ended up ninth in the league for 2020, with 8.6 projected wins and a 60-percent chance of reaching the playoffs. They were tied with the Buffalo Bills, who had the same projected wins total and percent chance of reaching the playoffs.
While those win totals might seem low for a playoff team, it’s worth keeping in mind FPI win totals generally are low. For example, the No. 1 team, the Kansas City Chiefs, only are projected for 11.2 wins.
Also of note, Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one spot above the Patriots in eighth place, with 9.1 projected wins and a 63-percent chance of making the playoffs.
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The Boston Red Sox are staying creative in finding ways to honor our heroes.
Last week Fenway Park hosted dozens of ambulances on the field’s warning track as the city and state honored our EMS and healthcare workers. The work done by these medical professionals has always been heroic and this week we recognize them as our VA Heroes of the Week, proudly presented by VA Healthcare.
NESN’s Courtney Cox details the Fenway ceremony in the video above, and you can learn more about VA Healthcare by clicking here.
The night before Super Bowl LIII, Tom Brady surely was getting in some last-minute preparation for the New England Patriots’ championship clash with the Los Angeles Rams.
As it turns out, the star quarterback got the wheels turning on an off-the-field project that evening, too.
“Man in the Arena,” a nine-part documentary series on Brady’s prolific NFL career, is coming to ESPN some time next year. Gotham Chopra, the series’ producer, recently revealed to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer that he was summoned to Atlanta by Brady the day before Patriots-Rams to kickstart the project. Chopra apparently was hesitant, as he spent a week in Minnesota the year prior to wrap up “Tom vs. Time” before Brady at the last minute decided to scrap filming ahead of Super Bowl LII.
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But Brady insisted, and Chopra sounds more than pleased with the results.
“He was just a very different person,” Chopra told Breer. “He had a perspective going into that game, he was reminiscing about the prior season and everything he’d learned across that season, across that Super Bowl, in losing that game. He was like, Trust me, tomorrow, I’ll be ready. He’d managed to really almost encode himself with the failure of the prior year, and it had given him some perspective going into this game. And again, it was very different.
“What he told me about that Eagles loss, it was dealing with it as a father, dealing with it as a husband. He was a very different person than with the Giants losses, he had a different perspective that I think poised him for that game. I thought, ‘Wow, it’s really interesting how a guy who’s still at it is learning like that.’ Because he’s like (Michael) Jordan, he’s incomparable. There’s no one else who has that story, has that perspective.”
So, what else can we expect from “Man in the Arena”? As Chopra explained to Breer, the origins of “The Patriot Way” will be covered in detail, while both the Spygate and Deflategate scandals will be addressed. We might even get an appearance from Bill Belichick, too.
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Excitement over the Bundesliga just might reach fever pitch.
Borussia Dortmund will host Bayern Munich on Tuesday at Signal-Iduna-Park in a Bundesliga Round 28 clash that likely will have implications for this season’s title. The matchup, known as “Der Klassiker,” pits second-place Dortmund against league-leading Bayern, with just four points separating them atop the standings.
The teams have faced off twice so far in 2019-20, with Dortmund winning 2-0 on Aug. 3 in the German Super Cup and Bayern exacting revenge on Nov. 9 with a 4-0 win.
Here’s how to watch Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich.
When: Tuesday, May 26, at 12:30 p.m. ET
TV: FS1; FOX Deportes
Live Stream: FuboTV — free trial | FOX Sports GO
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