How Raiders GM Mike Mayock fleeced Steelers to land Antonio Brown

As such, Mayock’s baptism by fire as a real NFL general manager after nearly two decades as a TV GM was a resounding success.

The Raiders absolutely fleeced the Pittsburgh Steelers in the trade for seven-time Pro Bowl receiver Antonio Brown, a transaction that becomes official at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday with the start of the new league year, and Mayock was at the helm. Not only in surrendering only third- and fifth-round picks for a four-time first-team All-Pro, but in negotiating Brown’s new nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Mayock is a very, very talented general manager and he’s a tough negotiator,” Brown’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told NFL Network, Mayock’s previous employer. “Any chance you guys would take him back? He was a hard guy to strike a bargain with.”

Rosenhaus laughed.2

“He did a good job,” he said of Mayock. “You guys would have thought he was a veteran general manager. This is my 31st year; you never would have known that this was his first year as a GM. He was very sharp and he was very professional, and it was good working with him. He actually worked on Antonio’s deal with me.”

Of course, Rosenhaus would be in a giddy mood. He got his client a raise on the remaining three years of his contract to the tune of $30.125 million guaranteed on a deal worth $50.125 million that can increase to $54.125 million with incentives.

On one hand, that’s a lot of coin for a receiver who had become a distraction in Pittsburgh, will turn 31 on July 10 and gives Raiders fans bad memories of Randy Moss’ unmotivated two-year stint in nfl jerseys china nike

On the other hand, it simply is the price of doing business with a potential Hall of Fame player who is still one of the best receivers in the game, in his prime after leading the NFL with 15 touchdown catches last season and will be “a hungry and determined wide receiver to get back to his old ways of dominating,” according to Moss, now an ESPN NFL analyst.

And don’t forget Brown being a member of a mutual admiration society with Raiders coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr. Or how Brown, who has averaged 114 receptions for 1,524 yards and 11 touchdowns over the past six seasons, instantly upgrades the offense for a franchise that never had a player hit those marks in catches or receiving yards in a single season.

Manuel Pellegrini on Man City penalty: ‘Soft is being a little generous’

Manuel Pellegrini accused Manchester City’s Bernardo Silva of throwing himself to the floor to win the decisive penalty in West Ham’s 1-0 defeat to the title challengers.

The Portuguese forward went down under a challenge from Felipe Anderson in the second half and Sergio Aguero converted the spot-kick as City kept the pressure on leaders Liverpool.

“Soft is being a little generous — it wasn’t a penalty,” the former City boss told a news conference. “It was a play that happens a lot of times inside the nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“In the other box Manuel Lanzini had exactly the same and he didn’t throw [himself] to the floor. If we had lost this game with another action then maybe we could accept it, but not that penalty.2

“They didn’t score another goal and we defended very well. The first save of [West Ham goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski] was in minute 61. After that, they had a couple of chances. If you lose the game with those options maybe you can accept it more.

“We played very well in defending and not so well in attacking because we didn’t have the possession we wanted to have — especially when we played this game with eight players injured and four players we rested for the game on Saturday.

Pep Guardiola said before the game that he would be able to tell if his side had what was required to maintain their title challenge and he was happy with his side’s display.

“We played so well,” he said. “When you see the result it looks like it could be better but we created an incredible amount of chances — after five minutes it could be 2-0.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Of course we didn’t score as many goals as we needed but the performance in terms of how we won second balls … we did everything.

“We conceded one shot on target — it was an important chance for them. After 120 minutes and all the tension, the performance was amazing and I’m so delighted with the way we played today.”

The hardest thing to do in sports? Trying to hit Ryne Stanek down 0-2

Not long ago, the Tampa Bay Rays called Ryne Stanek out of the bullpen to face Giancarlo Stanton with two runners on in a three-run game.

It’s quite possible there has never been a physically stronger hitter than Stanton. Of the 10 hardest-hit balls this season across the major leagues, Stanton has hit eight of them. Only two players in history, Mark McGwire and Babe Ruth, have homered more frequently than Stanton has in his career. Even on a pitcher’s pitch, even when he looks beat, he can slap a ball over the wall in right field. With Stanton representing the tying run in a close game, this matchup represented, I will argue, the hardest thing to do in nike nfl jerseys paypal

“The hardest thing to do in sports” is such a hopeless, pointless question, it’s amazing we don’t argue about it more. Ted Williams famously launched the argument — “I’ve always said that hitting a baseball is the hardest thing to do in sports” — but in the very next breath, he also showed how easy it is to plead for almost anything else: “But fishing takes a lot, too,” Williams continued. “Learning the habits of the fish, what kind of flies to use, how to rig ’em just right, when to apply tension to the rod, all that. And patience, patience, patience.” So, hitting a baseball or rigging a fly rod just right.2

The truth is that almost everything in sports is easy to do poorly — my daughter hit her first baseball when she was 3 years old and still lost her balance on sidewalks — while almost everything in sports is extremely hard to do well. That’s the point of watching the literal best in the world attempt something against the literal second-best in the world. This question is so hopeless. So pointless.

There’s an answer, though. I can’t believe Ted Williams missed it. The answer is facing Ryne Stanek after falling behind 0-2, as Stanton had to do that day in the three-run game.

Forty-one hitters have attempted it this year. Those 41 batters have hit .050/.073/.075. In major league history, about 2,000 pitchers have batted at least 100 times. Only 13 of those 2,000 pitchers had a lower OPS than major league hitters have against Stanek after an 0-2 count this year. Thirty-one of those 41 hitters struck out, a rate of 22.6 strikeouts per nine innings.

It doesn’t have to be Stanek. Instead of Stanek, we can maybe say “after falling behind 0-2 against an elite power pitcher in a strikeout era.” Wade Davis, after an 0-2 count this year, has allowed a WHIP of .077 — that’s a zero in there. The lowest WHIP in history in regular, non-0-2 baseball, is .570, so hitters behind 0-2 against Davis have been one-seventh as likely to get a hit or walk as if they were facing the single-best pitching season in jerseys nfl cheap

Against Josh Hader, batters have a .029 on-base percentage after an 0-2 count this year, which is to say that in a world where batters all started 0-2, Hader would throw the equivalent of a perfect game between each baserunner. Aroldis Chapman has struck out 67 percent of all batters, 503 of them, who have fallen behind 0-2 against him in his career. Jose Fernandez struck out 266 batters who fell behind 0-2 in his career; he walked two.

Gordon Hayward still fan of esports, not yet investor

“Everybody around the world is starting to understand there is a lot of money that can be had in esports,” Hayward told ESPN. “You see, not just the NBA, but business leaders and CEOs are investing in teams; Robert Kraft is invested in an Overwatch team. At this point and time, I wanted to have a team for the last four or five years and I’ve almost pulled the trigger three or four times, but at this point and time when you have Robert Kraft jumping in, it’s almost over my head. There’s some big money at play.”

Hayward appeared on Thursday at a Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 activation hosted by Activision and Comcast at an Xfinity Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts, about 15 minutes west of the TD Garden where his Celtics play. Hayward, a long-time proponent of esports, particularly in League of Legends, competed in the forthcoming game against both Call of Duty and Celtics fans who won a contest to attend the private event. Xfinity is a partner of both Hayward and the nfl authentic jerseys

“To partner up with [Xfinity], they’re already a partner with the Celtics, on the gaming side, it’s a really cool opportunity for me,” Hayward said. “I’m big into League of Legends, but I’ve played Call of Duty in the past; just the opportunity to play the game before everyone else was really enticing. I’m pretty big into Fortnite right now; I know Call of Duty is introducing a battle royale mode, so I’m looking forward to what that’s going to be like.”1

Hayward said that he was originally slated to compete in the Fortnite Pro-Am event at the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles in June, but due to complications following his second surgery in March — to repair a fractured tibia and dislocated ankle — he couldn’t make it to L.A.

“I was supposed to be in the Fortnite Pro-Am, but I had my second surgery, so I couldn’t make it out there and play,” he said. “That was cool to watch.”

Instead of Hayward, that event featured six active NBA players, including the likes of Oklahoma City Thunder star Paul George, Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond, Brooklyn Nets forward Kenneth Faried and 2018 NBA Summer League MVP Josh Hart. Hayward mentioned that he’s seen exponential growth of the number of players in the NBA who have competitive video gaming as a part of their daily lives.

“I know all of [my teammates] play games,” he said. “I didn’t travel with the team, so I didn’t get the chance to play against them. I know some of them play [NBA] 2K, Madden and FIFA; Semi [Ojeleye] plays a lot of Fortnite. Even like Clash Royale, I know Semi plays Clash Royale, we’ve talked about that a lot. That’s an easy one to play, because you’re on the bus or in the locker room and you just play it on the phone. Everyone nowadays in the NBA [is] big into video games.”customized nfl jerseys cheap

In September 2011, Hayward, then a 21-year-old player in his sophomore year with the Utah Jazz, appeared in IGN Pro League commercials in which he mocked LeBron James and ESPN’s The Decision broadcast, as well as other promotions. The following month Hayward competed in a StarCraft II exhibition match at the IGN Pro League 3 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Since then, Hayward has made a number of appearances with League of Legends developer Riot Games. In September, Hayward appeared in front of a live crowd for the first time at the TD Garden in Boston during the NA LCS summer finals, following the signing of his four-year, $128 million deal with the Celtics.

Angels face unique challenge in trying to get Shohei Ohtani right

One hundred years had passed since a major league player simultaneously handled pitching and hitting the way Ohtani did during his first 10 weeks with the Los Angeles Angels. Now Ohtani is nursing a tender elbow that saps his ability to pitch without actually affecting his ability to hit, igniting a recovery process for which there are no parallels.

In other words, the Angels have unintentionally taken on the responsibility of crafting the blueprint for rehabilitating two-way nfl jerseys cheap china

They don’t seem to mind.

“It actually kind of fits the way that we prefer to operate here,” Angels general manager Billy Eppler said. “It pushes us more into a mindset of staying present rather than trying to worry about the future or trying to obsess over the past and things like that. It keeps us, really, present-focused.”

That present, from which Eppler refuses to stray, looks like this: Ohtani has a Grade 2 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament of his right elbow, which basically constitutes a partial tear. In hopes of avoiding Tommy John surgery, the Angels — specifically Steve Yoon, an expert in the field of orthobiology — injected Ohtani’s ligament with platelet-rich plasma and stem cells, part of a low-risk, conservative treatment plan that uses a patient’s own blood to accelerate regeneration.

The Angels plan to re-evaluate Ohtani on Thursday, three weeks after the procedure. But a detailed plan for his recovery may take even longer to map out.70

Staying flexible, Eppler said, is “critical” in this circumstance.

Ohtani, with a .907 OPS and a 3.10 ERA as a rookie, could conceivably help as a hitter while recovering as a pitcher, a concept the Angels seem to be open-minded about. But the possibility of Tommy John surgery, which typically knocks pitchers out for at least 14 months, complicates everything.

“I think that’s kind of jumping,” Eppler said, “and the only reason why is because nobody has said ‘surgery’ to me. So I’m not going to think about it until somebody who’s a qualified M.D. tells me to think about it.”

For now, the Angels seem to at least be thinking about giving Ohtani a chance to hit. The 23-year-old has spent more than a week swinging a bat with his left arm in order to keep his hips active. On Friday, he stood in for Felix Pena’s bullpen session to track pitches and maintain some semblance of nfl nike jerseys from china

Eppler claims he has not yet spoken to Ohtani about the possibility of hitting while he recovers as a pitcher.

Cousins connection: Vikings building chemistry with new QB

Quarterback Kirk Cousins’ relationship with his Minnesota Vikings playmakers and how quickly they get on the same page while learning a new offense is being looked at under a microscope this offseason. Three months from the start of the 2018 season, people want to know how up to speed Cousins is with the talent around him and vice versa. Maybe someday he, too, will trust a teammate enough for a Minneapolis Miracle-type moment — much like the trust former quarterback Case Keenum spoke about having with Stefon nfl jerseys from china

We often hear stories about QBs buying dinner and gifts for the offensive linemen who keep them protected and upright in games. The relationships between a quarterback and those he’ll be throwing to or handing the ball off to is equally important.

These connections don’t just happen. It takes months — sometimes even longer — for both sides to get to a level where things feel seamless.2

Cousins took it upon himself to jump-start that process in early April. He invited Diggs and Adam Thielen down to Atlanta for an informal throwing session before he was able to work with them in an official capacity. It was a chance for the Vikings’ top wideouts to learn what Cousins likes to do on the field, how he wants certain routes run and, most important, who their quarterback is underneath the helmet.

“He’s definitely a blessing to be around as far as the energy that he brings,” Diggs said. “As far as being our general and the guy that’s going to lead us, I put 100 percent faith in him and I trust him.”

Cousins didn’t wait long to break out the energy. He was fist-pumping and yelling during organized team activities as things started to click with his receivers.

“The big thing for him is when you emphasize something and you finally get it done and you finally get on the same page with the quarterback-receiver, it’s kind of exciting,” Thielen jerseys cheap china

But even with OTAs wrapping up and mandatory minicamp next week, it’s difficult to quantify those connections.

“It’s hard to figure that out if it’s paying off or not,” Thielen said. “I know that it doesn’t hurt. I think something like that is just a jump-start to a long journey of getting on the same page. I think people underestimate how much time, how much effort and how much repetition it takes to get on the same page with a quarterback.”

Earl Thomas to skip Seahawks’ mandatory minicamp over contract

Seattle Seahawks star safety Earl Thomas announced Sunday that he will not attend this week’s mandatory minicamp “until my contract situation is resolved.”

In a message posted on Twitter, Thomas emphasized that he wants to “remain a Seahawk for the rest of my career.” But Thomas, who is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal, also said he wants to “have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career.”authentic nfl jerseys cheap

“I also believe that based on my production over the last 8 years that I’ve earned the right to have this taken care of as soon as possible,” Thomas wrote. “I want to have certainty in regards to the upcoming years of my career.”

Thomas told ESPN at the Pro Bowl in January that he may hold out if he doesn’t get a new deal before the season, and he also skipped the Seahawks’ voluntary OTAs last month. He would be subject to fines if he were to skip minicamp, though teams can decide to not impose them.1

“I hope my teammates understand where I’m coming from,” Thomas wrote. “I believe this is the right thing to do.”

Seahawks GM John Schneider told reporters before the draft that he was told by Thomas’ representatives that Thomas was not planning on holding out.

This year, the maximum fine amounts for missing minicamp are $14,070 for the first day, $28,150 for the second day and $42,215 for the third day, for a total of $84,435. The Seahawks’ three-day minicamp starts Tuesday.

Thomas, 29, was the subject of trade speculation earlier this offseason. Seahawks general manager John Schneider never shot down the possibility when asked about it, saying it’s his job to listen to all offers. He told Seattle’s Sports Radio 950 KJR after the NFL draft in April that the team wasn’t trying to trade nfl jerseys from china

Thomas and linebacker Bobby Wagner are two of the star defenders who remain with the Seahawks after an offseason of big-name departures. Seattle cut Richard Sherman, traded Michael Bennett, lost Sheldon Richardson in free agency and released Cliff Avril with a failed physical designation. Kam Chancellor’s football future is uncertain because of a neck injury. Seattle also lost tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Paul Richardson in free agency.

NFL dream drives Nathan Shepherd from factory job to Jets

Once an afterthought on the NFL scouting trail, Fort Hays State became a popular destination last fall. The Division II school, which hadn’t produced a draft pick since 1987, boasted a 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive lineman with freakish skills. Word spread quickly. If you bill it, they will come — and scouts from every team made the trek to Hays, Kansas, a long-ago frontier outpost that once served as the home of General George Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody and Wild Bill Hickok.

The new star of the Wild West show was Nathan Shepherd, whose circuitous football journey to the small school prompted the same skeptical question from every scout — “the gold-standard question,” according to assistant head coach Al nfl jerseys from china

McCray responded the same way every time. He repeated the question, laughed and proceeded to tell them the amazing story of the Canadian-born football player who willed his dream into reality.

Shepherd, drafted in the third round by the New York Jets, made it to the NFL with a blue-collar mentality that carried him through dark times. He dropped out of college for financial reasons and worked odd jobs for two years, hoping to save enough money to get back into school. With each birthday that passed — 20, 21 — the odds of a happy ending grew slimmer.

“Most mornings you’re thinking, ‘I have to go to work and this check is not doing anything to improve my life today that I can see,'” Shepherd said. “That was difficult, but you just have to keep the dream alive, knowing you’re that much closer.”302

Shepherd grew up in hockey country in Ajax, Ontario — suburban Toronto — but football became his sport. He was a 205-pound high school linebacker who got by on tenacity, and it was good enough to land a roster spot at Simon Fraser University, outside Vancouver. He packed on the pounds, becoming an effective 250-pound lineman by his second year, but he dropped too much money. There are no full athletic scholarships at Canadian universities, so he was forced to withdraw.

He hung around the Vancouver area, working in a plant nursery and in electrical construction, his father’s trade. He sat out two football seasons, 2013 and 2014, returning to Ajax to work in a factory that made cardboard boxes for beer and soda. That wasn’t fun. He worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., switching every two weeks to the graveyard shift. The hours were long and he’d come home with paper cuts on his meaty arms.

“People say, ‘Oh, how much time you had off,'” Shepherd said. “In my mind, I was going in six-month increments. I was just looking at very small increments of time. It just added up to a little bit longer in time.“cheap nfl jerseys china

During breaks at work, he did push-ups. A lot of push-ups. We’re talking 1,000 per day, the “homework” assignment he received from his personal trainer, Paul Watkins, who has known Shepherd since he was a kid. Watkins sent him motivational texts almost daily: “The day you decide not to do 1,000 push-ups is the day you decide you no longer want to go pro.”

Brad Marchand opens up on the art of being a pest in Players’ Tribune

There are very few players in the National Hockey League that evoke the emotional response Brad Marchand does. The pesky Bruins forward is someone you either love, hate, or love to hate. On Thursday, Marchand released an article in the Players’ Tribune titled ‘Built for Boston,’ nfl cheap nike jerseys explaining that his irksome tendencies are nothing new.

The first story the Halifax, Nova Scotia native shares is from his childhood. There was a kid from Marchand’s neighbourhood who took his electric four-wheel truck and was driving away in it.

“He takes off. He’s driving around our garage, laughing. I’m fuming, man. This little rat is driving around my truck, in my driveway, honking my horn, you know? After about 30 seconds, I couldn’t take it anymore. I jumped right in front of the truck and put my hand out, like, “You’ll have to run me over.”

He stopped, and I shoved the kid right out of the front seat. Yoink.

He was on the ground crying, being a real baby about it, like, “Whyyyyyy.”278

I went riding off into the cul-de-sac, honking the horn. My mom says I had this little smirk on my face, too.”

Has anything changed? Nope. Not a single thing. The same kid who was smiling after he pushed a neighbourhood kid off his truck is the same kid who will give his opponent an extra jab and skate away as if nothing happened.

But as there is in many great stories, in Marchand’s there is a master, new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap the person who taught him everything he knows. Growing up, the All-Star forward drew inspiration to be a pest from his slightly younger brother. I am sure anybody who has a younger sibling knows exactly what he is talking about.

“He was the original pest. He was my inspiration. We’d be out on the lake, shoveling snow for like two hours, and he’d claim that he had to do his science homework or something ridiculous like that. But of course he’d be inside on the computer typing away on AIM to some girl he liked. “Hey, hehe, lol. O.K. babe, BRB.”

Celtics praise injured teammate Kyrie Irving’s text message of support

Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving sent a group text message to his teammates before Game 2, the contents of which resonated with his teammates before they took a commanding 2-0 lead in a first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Irving, who attended Game 1 and sat official nfl football jerseys on the bench during the first half, was not spotted inside TD Garden for Game 2, but his teammates said his words of encouragement helped them before Tuesday’s 120-106 triumph.

“[Irving] sent us a message before the game today, just telling us what to expect,” said Shane Larkin, one of Boston’s ballhandlers thrust into a larger role due to Irving’s season-ending knee surgery.

“We have a lot of guys in here that have never seen a playoff game. So he really gave some words of advice today and we all read it, made some comments back, and he just had an open conversation with us and he’s definitely helping off the court now that he can’t be out there with us fighting.194

“He’s definitely still locked in with us every single game.”

It’s notable that Celtics players have gone out of their way to praise Irving’s leadership, particularly when juxtaposed to a situation like San Antonio and the lingering uncertainty surrounding Kawhi Leonard.

The Celtics have won their first two games of the playoffs in large part because of the contributions of players like Terry Rozier, who hasn’t committed a turnover in 78 minutes of floor time since elevating to a starting role in place of Irving.

For 21-year-old Jaylen Brown and 20-year-old Jayson Tatum, Irving’s leadership and playoff experience is even more valuable.

“Kyrie talked to us before the game, just kind of let us nfl football jerseys for sale know what to expect, a lot of things to expect, and for us to stay locked in, and not worry about if we hit some adversity or whatever, just play through it,” said Celtics All-Star big man Al Horford. “And I thought our guys just did that. [The Bucks] made a run and we stayed poised and moved onto the next thing.”