Several Eagles players have said they will not attend the traditional Super Bowl champions’ visit to the White House.

As cleanup from the celebrations in Philadelphia continued Monday, some Eagles players had business of their own to handle, declaring they would not visit President Donald Trump at the White House.
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Safety Malcolm Jenkins, Blake Martinez Jersey a leader in the player’s coalition that has met with NFL officials about social justice issues, explained his reasons Monday to CNN.
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There has long been precedent for athletes skipping championship commemorations at the White House; Celtics legend Larry Bird once passed on a visit with President Ronald Reagan at the White House, saying, If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me. Yet they’ve become more common, and source of controversy, during President Trump’s time in office.

The Patriots attended last year’s celebration, although a sizable number of players were missing. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors opted not to accept their invitation last year when the president uninvited Stephen Curry for his comments on the president. The NCAA basketball champion Tar Heels did not attend a commemoration because of a scheduling conflict.

Conspiracy theories involving the Patriots have jumped the shark. Each cycle is more absurd than the last, and it has mutated into something almost as painful as the Patriots’ long-term success is for many.

New England’s 24-20 victory over Jacksonville in the AFC title game amplified the theories, and by now you know the routine. Max Kellerman questioned the officials on ESPN’s First Take. Memes of smiling referees and detailed video compilations of how the Patriots cheat were generated in excess after Brady led a fourth-quarter comeback. The narrative was scripture long before CNN’s Jake Tapper branded the Patriots cheaters. That’s how broad the reach of the perception runs.

Matt Calvert Authentic Jersey When you put it all together, it’s a bunch of loose strands that stretch too far off the field. The Patriots won the game. Moreover, the Jaguars lost the game. Jacksonville choked, plain and simple.

Kelvin Benjamin was never an ideal fit as the No. 1 receiver in Carolina’s offense.

His two exceptional attributes are his catch radius and his ability to make contested plays. The latter has never been Cam Newton’s style. The Panthers quarterback is at his best when seeing a man open, not when he has to place a ball toward a receiver’s leverage when locked up with a defensive back. Benjamin’s separation ability was always lacking and it’s why the offense not only didn’t miss a beat, but also got exponentially better without him in 2015. To get picks in return for him was huge.

This is by far the biggest winner of the trade deadline. Wilson will be able to sleep far easier at night with Duane Brown at left tackle. Over their last 16 games, the left tackle position in Seattle has yielded 76 total pressures. Over Brown’s last 16 games, his given up exactly half as many. That’s over two pass plays a game where Wilson won’t have a defensive end barreling down on him.

That streak was finally snapped — after 154 snaps — with a two-yard run by Rod Smith. Dallas failed to convert its ensuing two-point attempt.

The Chargers were also in a pickle in the kicking game because Nick Novak injured his back in the first quarter when he missed a 35-yard attempt.

The Cowboys’ fortunes could hinge on the availability of running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is in a court battle over a six-game suspension. Elliott has 783 rushing yards — the second-most in the NFL this season — with a share of the league lead for rushing touchdowns (seven). The game charters at Pro Football Focus rate him as this year’s fourth-best back, illustrating how integral he is to the Cowboys’ chances. However, Dallas has already faced the tough part of its season in terms of rush defenses, so — should he ultimately be suspended — that could help offset the decline in talent from Elliott to backups Alfred Morris, Darren McFadden and Rod Smith.

It’s true that the Steelers have been handicapped in their past two losses to the Patriots, losing Le’Veon Bell early in last year’s AFC title game and Antonio Brown during this season’s meeting. The Steelers also outplayed New England until the zany sequence at the end of their regular season game. Still, the Steelers coming into New England is a movie we have seen before, and we know how it ends.cowboys_098

Mayfield is great at going through his progressions, and won’t tip his hand by staring down receivers.

Mayfield, a walk-on-turned-Heisman winner, has a 6-1 frame and thick lower body that allows him to fight through contact (and has prevented him from suffering major injuries). He’s a great athlete who can create plays when the pocket breaks down, throwing accurate balls on bootlegs and rollouts. Pre-snap, he demonstrates complete understanding and control of the offense; during the play, he shows outstanding decision-making ability.

He has a concise delivery, lightning release and great velocity on his ball. He has outstanding arm strength and can hit any throw on the route tree with ease: Mayfield is great on short, intermediate and deep routes, though he occasionally throws a touch behind receivers on crossing routes.

“I just tried to do the exact same thing by just throwing it over his head out of bounds, thinking he’s still in the area, the ball’s going at him. If he had turned and looked at me and the ball had gone 10 feet over his head, they would have said ‘Oh, just an inaccurate throw.’ But I guess because he didn’t turn and look at me, they’re allowing that to affect the judgment of the call. It just gets to be a little grey.”

Since becoming Washington’s starting quarterback in 2015, Cousins has completed 1,034 of 1,525 attempts (67.8 percent) for 12,121 yards, 73 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. His passer rating of 99.7 over that span ranks fifth among 22 quarterbacks with at least 1,000 pass attempts. Only two future Hall of Famers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees, and the 2016 MVP, Matt Ryan, have a higher total passer rating since 2015. The order changes slightly — Brady, Ryan, Brees, Cousins — if you use adjusted net yards per pass, an updated version of passer rating that has a slightly higher correlation to team wins.

The offensive line, held together with duct tape and glue, ranks 29th this season for pass-blocking ability, per Pro Football Focus, and has seen Cousins pressured on 36.6 percent of his drop-backs in 2017, the highest rate during his three-year run. Yet his passer rating under pressure this season is 81.6, a career high and the sixth-highest in 2017.cowboys_004

Philip Rivers calls Giants’ benching of Eli Manning ‘pathetic’

Philip Rivers and Eli Manning will forever be connected because of a trade on April 24, 2004.

With 12 playoff games, Manning has actually started 222 consecutive games. Rivers will run his own consecutive-starts streak to 188 (197 with playoffs) Sunday against the Browns. He had a difficult time watching an emotional Manning speak Tuesday about his benching.

“I just thought it was too bad the way it was handled,” Rivers said Wednesday. “And with Eli, we’re not close buddies, but as a friend and fellow quarterback, it was tough to watch him yesterday. You can only imagine how he felt. And he handled it like a pro, like he’s handled everything.”

Kaepernick’s protests sparked a social firestorm last NFL season that carried over into this season, especially as President Donald Trump criticized players who continued the protests as the former Niners QB remained a free agent, despite having a better resume than many quarterbacks on NFL rosters.

The NFL eventually suspended Payton for one full season and handed out severe punishments to Vitt, general manager Mickey Loomis and the entire organization in the form of fines and lost draft picks. Four players were also initially punished — including a full-year suspension for linebacker Jonathan Vilma — though all of the player punishments were eventually overturned on appeal by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

When asked during those appeal hearings what motivated him to come forward, Cerullo said: “I was angry for being let go from the Saints. … I was angry at Joe Vitt, and I wanted to show that I was fired for lying and I witnessed Joe Vitt lying and he still had a job.”panthers_091

Taylor took over in the second half of last Sunday’s 54-24 loss.

Smith didn’t play poorly Sunday, going 23 of 36 for 199 yards and another 35 rushing yards, but the Chiefs offense struggled to get anything going with only one first down in the first half. A late Smith interception, the only turnover of the game, sealed the Bills victory.

Simmons was one of the new arrivals on the court after his first season was wiped out by injury. He has been everything expected, producing averages of 18.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game. Veteran J.J. Redick also joined the team, providing more optimism in Philadelphia.

Injuries and defense have hurt the Sixers.

Multiple players who had met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and other owners last month in New York about the matter — including Michael Thomas of the Dolphins and Eric Reid of the 49ers — sent out Twitter messages Wednesday morning that announced their withdrawal from involvement in the players coalition founded by Malcolm Jenkins and Anquan Boldin.

All the pools combined had more than 23,000 entries, players with knowledge of the contests said, with a collective value that surpassed $2.5 million.

Survivor pools require a bettor to pick one team that is going to win each week of the football season without using the same team twice. Once a team that is picked loses, that person is eliminated. In Ron & Mike’s Football Pool, those still remaining had to pick two teams to win in Weeks 11 through 15 and three teams in Weeks 16 and 17 in order to produce a winner from so many entries.royals_015

Here are three questions with Saints receiver Ted Ginn Jr.

“I knew it was pretty severe, but I wasn’t in pain,” Miller said. “I was actually calm. When Nate (Breske), our head trainer got there, I remember looking at him. I was grabbing my facemask and I said, ‘My knee’s gone bro,’ I could tell something was different.”

It is no coincidence that North Texas is making its second consecutive bowl appearance after Littrell was hired before the 2016 season. Littrell was a candidate for the SMU job recently before Sonny Dykes, part of the Mike Leach coaching tree, like Littrell, was hired by the Mustangs.

“I really like what those guys do on offense, so I’ve watched them quite a bit as the years have gone on,” Brown said of North Texas. “I’ve got a good feel for what they’re trying to do offensively. The Fine kid … they recruited him hard here at Troy. He’s doing a really good job.”

It’s easy for the Badgers, win and they’re in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes will need some help and, even Ginn isn’t certain two-loss Ohio State deserves a spot ahead of one-loss Alabama (11-1), even with a conference championship.

Ginn said there is not yet a bet in place with Saints lineman Ryan Ramczyk, a rookie from Wisconsin selected in the first round, but there will be.

“It’s coming,” Ginn told Omnisport this week during a conference call. “We’re going to have to do something.”panthers_028

A new week means Alvin Kamara returns to his season ticket seat in the NFL Africa Zone

It’s pretty much routine to expect thrills from Kamara each gameday and on Sunday versus Washington he did not disappoint.

SkyCam has been around since the 1980s but didn’t become a common tool for TV networks until the turn of the 21st century. NBC was the first network to employ the remote-controlled, computer-assisted, cable-suspended camera regularly while broadcasting the XFL in 2001.

Per SkyCam’s website, the Skycam system is virtually a flying Steadicam: “Its unique design makes the SkyCam the only stabilized camera system in the world that can unobtrusively fly anywhere in a defined three-dimensional space, right in the middle of a sporting event.”

“Tonight was definitely a group effort,” Ball said. “Second unit, shout out to them.”

After going scoreless in the first half, Randle sparked the Lakers with eight points, four rebounds and one magnificent block at the rim on Bobby Portis.

Rookie Josh Hart, who recently was called up from the G League, provided 11 energetic minutes and one impressive offensive rebound putback dunk. And Clarkson scored 10 of his 12 points in 14-plus minutes to help even the game at 80-80 with 9:32 left.

The Bulls went back up by seven, but the Lakers came charging back and took their first lead since 21-20 with a Caldwell-Pope putback with 3:06 left. Caldwell-Pope played the role of closer, scoring 11 of his 21 points in the final 3:06.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to bring back Simeon Rice, just for the entertainment.

Rice was one of the NFL’s best pass rushers and one of its biggest personalities when he played from 1996-2007. He’s still one of the best personalities. And he thinks he can still rush the quarterback too.

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in desperate need of a pass rusher, former Bucs great Rice tweeted that he could still play. He wasn’t joking, and if you’ve ever met Rice, that’s no surprise. He has never lacked confidence. Rice, who is 43, tweeted that he wanted to come back to play for the Buccaneers and confirmed to ESPN’s Jenna Laine that he was serious.

And I know the NFL has seen longer streaks. Eli Manning Jersey with the active consecutive-starts streak. Brett Favre with the all-time consecutive-starts streak. Me constantly being wrong about Melvin Gordon in fantasy, each and every week. There are more, but Thomas is still the most impressive.

His grandmother, Bev Phillips, once scored 65 points in a high school basketball game, and that was in 1953, long before the dawn of the three-point shot. His mother and aunts were champion softball players, and David Goedert was a champion discus thrower. His sister Megan played volleyball at Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D., while sister Emily played volleyball and basketball at Valley City State.

Football stars? Goedert is the first. But athletes populate the lineage on both sides of the family.

GOEDERT IS BLUNTLY HONEST about something few athletes would admit: He just didn’t work all that hard to improve himself at the high school level. He didn’t have to. He was always naturally bigger and stronger than his competition, and because he was planning to pursue basketball rather than football, the weight room never really appealed.

One of the most indelible images from Sunday was Titans LT Taylor Lewan chasing after Thomas as he was leaving the field

That’s crazy, man. It’s easy to come to work and be ready when things are going great. But even the guy who gets paid to train polar bears at some point has to be all, “I can’t take this son of a [female dog] another day” once in a while, right?

Thomas’ perseverance is extraordinary. Don’t take my word for it, though. One of the most indelible images from Sunday was Titans LT redskins_048 chasing after Thomas as he was leaving the field (this is when it’s acceptable to leave the sideline) to show some respect for the best in the business. That says a lot.

Goedert was around 230 pounds at the time and had shown the coaching staff vast potential, but they all knew there was more to be mined.

“I challenged him, Coach Schleusner and I both, that he had a chance to play at the next level. To that point, he had done what I had asked, but he just kind of did it,” Moe said. “But he responded better than anybody I’ve ever had that NFL conversation with. After that, he attacked it. Since then, he’s been our lifter of the year in the offseason.”

That’s the sound of the alarm, and this is the song it sang:

Goedert now stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 270 pounds. He can run the 40-yard dash in 4.65 seconds, a blistering time for his size. His squat max is up to 552 pounds, his vertical jump at 36 inches. In short, he’s significantly narrowed the gap between what he can be and what he is.

“He was a 35-inch vertical when we first tested him at 230 pounds, and he can still do that now at 270,” Moe said. “That’s explosiveness.”

Rookie Shaquill Griffin Jersey has been great opposite Richard Sherman Jersey

Seattle has received key contributions from newer names. Rookie Shaquill Griffin has been great opposite Richard Sherman. He’s like the youth movement in the “Legion of Boom.” Like when a wrestling stable adds a youngster to the group. Like when Randy Orton joined Evolution. Frank Clark has done well in relief of Cliff Avril, and you have to love Jarran Reed. Of course, it’s not going to be complete unless you add the veteran savvy …

I know: Who have they played? You aren’t impressed by Jacoby Brissett Jersey? How. Dare. You. But hey look: They have a game against Deshaun Watson and the Texans on Sunday. So, I can sit here and try to convince you. But I’ll let the Seahawks do that this weekend.

In attendance on the players’ side were retired receiver Anquan Boldin, Colts safety Darius Butler, Chargers left tackle Russell Okung, Dolphins players Kenny Stills, Julius Thomas, and Michael Thomas, Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, Jets players Kelvin Beachum and Demario Davis, Eagles players Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long, 49ers safety Eric Reid, and Redskins’ cornerback Josh Norman.

They were joined by DeMaurice Smith, Eric Winston, and Don Davis from the NFLPA, and Roger Goodell and Troy Vincent from the NFL. The following team representatives attended the meeting: Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, Falcons owner Arthur Blank, Bills owner Terry Pegula, Texans owner Robert McNair, Jaguars owner Shad Khan, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Giants owner John Mara, Steelers owner Art Rooney, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, and 49ers owner Jed York.

After that meeting, the players and owners jointly backed criminal justice legislation, and the owners agreed to finance an activism bootcamp. They did not change the NFL’s national anthem policy, and players will continue to go unpunished (by the league) for kneeling or sitting during the anthem.