Panthers Place RB Fozzy Whittaker On IR

Fozzy Whittaker‘s season has ended before it could even begin. The Panthers announced the running back has been placed on injured reserve with a non-contact ACL tear.

Whittaker, 29, has spent the last four seasons with the Panthers. For the most part, he’s been used as a reserve option and a third-down running back. He saw the most usage of his career in 2016 when he carried the ball 57 times and averaged an impressive 4.6 yards per try in that limited sample.

Cole kept the A’s scoreless in the 10th and 11th innings, setting the table for Walker to steal the spotlight.

I gave it everything I had because I know they’re doing the same, Cole said of his teammates.

Nobody will question the on-field talent of 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster. The 2017 first-round pick made plays all over the field and amassed 72 tackles as a rookie last season. From a talent standpoint, he’s one of the best players on San Francisco’s roster.

Unfortunately, off-field behavior could lead to Foster’s release. Foster was arrested in February on domestic-violence charges involving his ex-girlfriend Elissa Ennis. Ennis has since recanted her accusation, but the Santa Clara District Attorney’s Office is still following through with charges. His future with the team will depend on the legal outcome.

If Reuben did indeed hit this young lady, he won’t be a part of our organization going forward, 49ers general manager John Lynch said, per Cam Inman of the Mercury News.

According to Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports, the district attorney is in possession of video that is described as showing the alleged victim sustaining injuries in a fight with another woman.

Foster may well be cleared of the charges. If he isn’t, he’ll become one of the most talented young players on the NFL cut pile.

If things were based on talent alone, there’s almost no way the Seahawks would consider cutting safety Earl Thomas. The Texas product has been a mainstay of Seattle’s defense for eight years and is a six-time Pro Bowler.colts_092

Von Miller catches shark, faces investigation

Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller posted pictures of himself on social media with a shark he caught on a Florida fishing trip. That may have been unwise.

Miller is now being investigated after People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accused Miller of illegally catching and killing the shark.

The easiest fix would be to get rid of the fifth-year option completely, allowing players to hit the market or commence the franchise-tag dance in year five. Alternatively, the league and the union could agree to a system that voids the fifth year based on playing-time or performance triggers applicable to each position.

However it plays out, a system aimed at not providing windfalls to first-round picks who never make it has given teams the ability to wait far too long to give a fair and just reward to those who do.

Watkins appeared in 28 games with five starts for the Eagles the last two seasons.

Miles Mikolas (R), 18 percent, St. Louis Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers: For about a day, Mikolas was the top hitter-pitcher combo coming over from Japan this season — having spent the last three seasons with the Yomiuri Giants. Mikolas’ second start is a rematch, this time at pitcher-friendly Busch Field. The Brewers are showing signs they’ll resemble last year’s offense, one that is dangerous but quite punch-out prone.

Miguel Gonzalez (R), 1 percent, Chicago White Sox vs. Tampa Bay Rays: The Rays bats woke up a little on Sunday but, in general, the opposing hurler will be a streaming option. Guaranteed Rate Park isn’t the best hitter’s park, but that’s mitigated by the cool temperatures.

Outside the windows, the skyline of the Las Vegas Strip, with its massive casinos, could be seen on the horizon. It’s the epicenter of American sports betting, but was it a fit for the NFL? The topic was on the table.

The previous summer, according to an ESPN The Magazine report, Davis had expressed interest in Las Vegas to an NFL official during a West Hollywood meal. He was told then that the league would oppose any such move “on principle.”

Strictly speaking, the NFL is actually the most American of the four major sports leagues in the United States.

From Da Coach, Mike Ditka, to Da President, Donald Trump, fired-up critics of kneeling and fist-raising during the national anthem have suggested that protesting NFL players are un-American.

“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage,” Trump told a crowd in Alabama last month.

“If you don’t respect our country, you shouldn’t be in this country playing football,” Ditka said in a radio interview Monday.

In Miami, Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams are nobody’s idea of proven commodities and the Dolphins offense is still bad, so it’s hard to be revved up about these new co-starters. Drake has more lateral quickness and explosiveness, but Williams is my favorite: a more reliable, fast and powerful player who can catch it.

Back to Foles, who made good use of Ajayi (18/73) through the air and spread the ball to seven targets. Jeffery (5/85), Smith (5/69) and Agholor (3/59) — a largely invisible trio since Wentz went down — all sprung to life, while Foles showed much-needed, saucy chemistry with tight end Zach Ertz, who beat Minnesota’s coverage for 93 yards off eight grabs.

Brady joked that it was not all going to end because of a handoff in practice, of all things, but these are the kinds of misfortunes that cause hiccups for other teams and which the Patriots seem to find a way around.

For all the angst over Brady’s well-being — blood, stiches, gloves — he completed 26 of 38 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns. A few passes sailed, but even Brady couldn’t bring himself to say that the injury bothered him, worrying that it would sound arrogant to say he was impaired after he had such a good game.

It is an admirable mindset, and one that almost always serves the Steelers well. But this was a precious missed opportunity and they knew it. The Steelers will need all the breaks they can get going into the playoffs, with Brown’s status uncertain, and home field would be a very good one to secure. In the locker room, there was pin-drop silence. General manager Kevin Colbert stared straight ahead, stone faced. cowboys_063

NFL playoffs schedule 2018: Times and TV channels for Saturday’s Wild Card Games

The NFL playoffs will officially start on Saturday with one Wild Card Game from each conference. First, the Tennessee Titans will travel to Kansas City to clash with the Chiefs in the AFC at 4:35 p.m ET on ESPN (live stream). Later at 8:15 p.m. ET on NBC (live stream), the Atlanta Falcons — last year’s NFC Champion — will fly to the West Coast for battle against the Los Angeles Rams.

Tennessee (9-7) and Kansas City (10-6) found success on the ground this season, with both rushing offenses finishing in the top 15. But this game will come down to which team can make more plays in the passing game. The Titans finished with the 23rd-best pass offense in the NFL, while the Chiefs’ seventh-best pass offense clicked on all cylinders. Both defenses struggled with defending the pass in 2017, so the keys to winning this game are simple: throw the ball and defend the pass.

But the scare that the Chiefs put into them was phenomenal. McDonough’s call was even better. It’s almost too bad that it was all for nothing, but we’ll still have his breaking voice for the rest of time — and Jon Gruden won’t let him forget it.

The week before the injury that changed everything, Mike Mitchell leaned against a wall outside the locker room at the Steelers’ practice facility. This was early December. His team was 9–2, and Pittsburgh’s resident free safety–free spirit had a lot on his mind.

The result: Aided by an improved secondary that has forced passers deeper into their progressions, the Steelers racked up a franchise-record 56 sacks (from 15 different players), the NFL’s highest total since 2013. There were blips—see: Bears, Bengals, Browns and an A-Rod-less Packers—but they often outplayed their own vaunted offense. Despite Shazier’s injury (and others, including to Antonio Brown), Pittsburgh finished 13–3, securing a first-round playoff bye, and hosts the Jaguars this Sunday.

Even Haden—the newcomer who felt the unfamiliar sensation of playing for a winning team—knows how to frame this postseason. “It’s all about number 50,” he says.

The biggest upset of Wild Card Weekend has to be that Gruden has a smartphone. He totally seems like the kind of person that would still have a flip phone like a Super Football Guy.patriots_037_38b52494b1ae61ae-180x180

Titans’ Jurrell Casey ready for playoff moment, but ‘pissed’ about losing division to Jags

“It has definitely been amazing,” said Casey, 28. “I feel like when I wake up in the morning I’ve got more energy. If I’ve got aches and pains, they go away much faster.

“It has just been a process to help me knowing that I’m about to be into Year Eight (career-wise). You need to start taking care of your body.”

It’s not about what Rosen has said about college athletes deserving to be paid, players sitting out bowl games or his statements about preferring to play for a top franchise; it’s the fact he’s always the person questioning the system. There’s a reason most quarterbacks speak in cheesy cliches and never let on too much. It’s a quarterback’s job to be as non-divisive and football-focused as possible.

The Saints, Panthers, Eagles and Vikings round out the list of playoff newbies. I like Minnesota’s chances to be the first team to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Too many flaws or too much playoff inexperience will doom the others outside of the Vikings and Patriots. The Steelers’ playoff history in Foxborough will be their downfall.

This is a great time of year to work for an NFL team that has fought through the peaks and valleys to reach the postseason. First, there is a feeling of job security although we have seen owners occasionally fire coaches and GMs even after a playoff season. It happened to me in a power struggle with the head coach when I left the Vikings after our 15-1 season in 1998, but I fortunately wound up as president of the Titans’ Super Bowl team. Generally, it’s nice not to have to worry about Black Monday and firings in the NFL when playoffs are on tap.

When Saban named true freshman Jalen Hurts his starting quarterback early the 2016 season, he tacitly admitted defeat to the spread, a system he, by all accounts, abhors.Jill Sorenson did a fantastic feature from Kettler as the dads arrived Wednesday.The combination was a key to the Sharks’ run to the Cup Final.Alstott’s retirement is all but official at this point, as he’s basically said that he has no plans to play again.DiMarco tilted fantasy owners by scoring a pair of wide-open red-zone touchdowns early the game.Most of the time, answering a question with another question proves to be not answer at all.Goodness gracious!That could result player and team agreeing to push back his current 1 opt-out date, per the report.Cabot: I really worry about the concussions.

Well, he’s done it in the SEC East, but still.

Missouri quarterback Drew Lock has done everything and more in his career, and he’s done it in the SEC.

The junior quarterback threw for 448 yards and five touchdowns in Missouri’s 48-45 win over Arkansas Friday, which gave him 43 touchdown passes on the season. That’s the most touchdowns in a single season in SEC history. What’s more, his third touchdown pass of the day also broke Chase Daniel’s Missouri record for most passing touchdowns in a season.

Through the first half of the season, Mara obviously was hoping the team’s fortunes would improve. But New York in 2017 has become a train wreck of offensive inconsistency, defensive failure, injuries and too many frustrating losses, resulting in a 2-10 record. This followed an 11-5 playoff year that had Giants fans thinking Super Bowl. Instead, it’s another team with high expectations that wound up in the tank, which is never a good omen for the coach and GM.

First-base production is still relatively easy to find, and Hosmer’s inconsistency should make a team wary about paying $20 million for the kind of production you can find for much cheaper. — Schoenfield

Packers coach Mike McCarthy on whether Aaron Rodgers could return this week to play the Panthers: “In his mind, he’s ready to go. But it’s a medical decision.”

Seahawks defensive end Quinton Jefferson on confronting Jacksonville fans who threw drinks at him: “I’m a human just like anybody else. I’m not going to let somebody disrespect me and throw a beer on me. Just because I’m playing football, I’m still a human being.”

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles on the chippiness of Sunday’s win over the Seahawks: “Teams aren’t used to getting beat by the Jags. We beat the crap out of them for 60 minutes.”lakers_015

The Steelers were fortunate to beat the lowly Colts, which is why they dropped a couple spots.

Every week, we’ll mine the waiver wire for lesser-owned assets to help your fantasy hockey squad, whether you favor dynasty or the redraft format, and we’ll also toss in some tips for DFS players out there. Finally, we will look at some former go-to fantasy assets who might be overvalued — in the short or long term — for one reason or another.

“There’s something about him, to me, that’s really just kind of like sturdy and stable,” Presti said of George in September. “He’s been in the league for a little while now, and he’s seen a lot of things. I think he’s got a nice confidence about him.”

George likes to fish; Westbrook prefers dominoes. Over the summer, Westbrook even went fishing with George, his first time to ever try it.

“Did nothing,” Westbrook said. “He didn’t catch anything either.”

After cruising past the Broncos, the Patriots didn’t head home to Massachusetts, but instead remained in Colorado before Sunday’s game against the Raiders in Mexico City.

Ravens (4-5), Raiders (4-5), Dolphins (4-5), Jets (4-6). Miami failed to pull even with Buffalo after it lost at Carolina. Oakland beat the Dolphins and the Jets but lost to the Ravens. It still is the best bet to make the playoffs from this group even with Baltimore ahead for now.

It didn’t matter that old defensive friend Dick LeBeau did his best to bring heat on Big Ben as Pittsburgh’s attack became one-dimensional — Roethlisberger was vintage Big Ben as he came through with the tough, grinding plays so Pittsburgh could pull away.nike_steelers_1464

NFL reviewing if Russell Wilson, Seahawks ignored concussion protocol Thursday

The NFL confirmed that it is conducting a “thorough review” of whether the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson followed the league’s concussion protocol during Thursday night’s game against the Cardinals, The Associated Press reported Friday afternoon.

Wilson took a solid pop to the chin from Karlos Dansby during Seattle’s 22-16 win at Arizona.

Referee Walt Anderson sent Wilson off the field for a concussion check, but Wilson spent just one play on the sideline before running back onto the field.

“I think Walt did a great job first of all. He made the smartest decision. I was fine, though, 100 percent fine. And then they finally went over through the whole concussion stuff and all that. We went through every question you could imagine, and I answered even some more for them just so they knew I was good, and then went back in there.”

Teams can be fined up to $150,000 for violating the concussion policy, while employees or medical team members can also be forced to attend remedial education.

He entered Thursday’s game needing nine completions to reach 4,000 for his career and 214 yards to pass Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon for eighth all time. After his completion to James, Roethlisberger had 97 yards in Thursday’s game on 9-of-17 passing.

The pass to Smith-Schuster came during an 12-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard pass to James on the first play of the fourth quarter to give the Steelers a 30-17 lead.

Roethlisberger, who finished Thursday’s game 30 of 45 for 299 yards and four touchdowns, also moved past Philip Rivers for eighth place all-time in career completions with a 14-yard pass to running back Le’Veon Bell early in the third quarter. broncos_095-500x500

Stanley Johnson’s dunk with 6:56 left put the Pistons up 98-88.

“When our intensity and energy rises on defense I think we’re a pretty good team,” Johnson said.

Golden State looked efficient again initially, passing well and making better decisions, but it was sloppy down the stretch. The Warriors shot 57.1 percent with 29 assists and were at a 63.5-percent clip midway through the third quarter before allowing the Pistons back in the game.

Griffin also said that the success of other mobile quarterbacks this season shows how a system can be tailored to a quarterback such as himself.

“A lot of these guys are doing great things and they’re implementing — whether it’s zone read, play action from the gun — all those things to help these guys excel and then giving them little things so they can grow,” Griffin said.

“The league is honestly repeating itself back to the years in 2011, 2012, 2013, and those offenses are becoming more prolific. I think it was really fun for everybody to watch what happened [Sunday] between Seattle and the Texans, and I feel like those are the type of offenses that would really suit me.”

In between, there were touching tributes, Cirque du Soleil dancers and 60 unforgettable minutes of game time. The Golden Knights’ first home game served dual roles Tuesday night—offering an outlet for the sold out crowd to look back and remember, and a chance to look ahead.

And at the end of the journey came the most gratifying part, when Fisher jumped into the arms of a stocky, bearded man who was awaiting his arrival like an oasis in the desert.

Jay Cutler’s injury might be the best thing that’s happened to the Dolphins offense all season.

For now, Goedert’s squarely on the Senior Bowl’s radar, and is projected in a profile to contribute immediately as a TE2 with potential as a starter. Goedert, in turn, is ready to pounce on an invitation.

“I think the Senior Bowl would be a great opportunity to show what I can do against higher competition,” said Goedert, who is coming off a huge performance against Missouri State (8 catches, 170 yards, 1 TD). “That’s the question mark on me. And I can answer it.”

Like it or not, Jay Cutler’s injury might be the best thing that’s happened to the Dolphins offense all season. He had only eclipsed 200 passing yards twice and left the game with a six-week interception streak. Ugh. Anyway, Matt Moore will take over under center for the time being, and in the eight games that Matt Moore has quarterbacked in Landry’s career, the Miami receiver averages more yards and touchdowns per game (72/0.75) than without Moore (61.7/0.22).

“I lined up for the first time at 205 pounds against our starting D-end, working blocking drills with him. I didn’t have my chinstrap buckled, I didn’t have my mouth guard in, and he told me, ‘You might want to buckle up and put that in,’ ” Goedert said. “We were just in helmets and shoulder pads. No (football) pants on, just shells. In high school, if we were in shells, we weren’t hitting. In high school, half the time we didn’t have enough players, so we’d be going against our coaches holding bags.”

The rep outcome was predictable: “I got thrown like a rag doll,” Goedert said.

While Goedert’s background in football has its rough edges, he’s also escaped a lot of the trappings that can saddle high-profile college players.

He was a highly competitive swimmer from age 4. When he was 6, he emerged from the water at one meet and was told by his coach and aunt, Dianne Yelkin, that he’d broken a record. Dallas began sobbing, as if he’d instead broken a window.