Best tight end ever? Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski in conversation

Brandt, whose scouting-based contributions to football have been praised by New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick as being Hall of Fame-worthy, puts Mike Ditka and John Mackey in the top-five conversation, as well.

Meanwhile, Accorsi didn’t hesitate elevating Gronkowski into the elite ranks.

“I don’t know where you put him — there’s always opinions — but he’s one of the greatest to play the game, if not the greatest. There’s no question about that,” Accorsi said before noting the similarities between Gronkowski and late Green Bay Packers tight end Ron Kramer (1957-1967).cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Same type of player — ran over people. If you go back and look at the film of the 1961 championship game when the Packers beat the Giants 37-0, [Kramer] was the hero of that game, scored two touchdowns,” Accorsi said. “Gronkowski [6-foot-6] is a little bigger. [Kramer] was 6-3 and an all-around athlete who won nine letters at Michigan. He’s in the College Football Hall of Fame and could be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was so much like Gronkowski.”1

Accorsi said some of the things that separate Gronkowski from others are his performance in the clutch, the matchup issues he presented defenses and how he was open even when he was covered.
“The great ones, to me, are Mackey, Ditka. But Mackey was shorter. Mackey was probably faster but didn’t have the hands Gronkowski had — even though he never dropped the ball. He knew he was a body-catcher, and that was keeping him out of the Hall of Fame for a while. Winslow, who was more of a receiver. Gonzalez, obviously, caught a million passes, and he’s in there, too. Ron Kramer.“cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

This year, Gonzalez became the ninth tight end to earn induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, joining Dave Casper (1974-1984), Ditka (1961-1972), Mackey (1963-1972), Ozzie Newsome (1978-1990), Charlie Sanders (1968-1977), Shannon Sharpe (1990-2003), Jackie Smith (1963-1978) and Winslow (1979-1987).

The list serves as a reminder of how the tight end position has changed over the years.

“Gonzalez played a long time and caught a lot of passes. Winslow came along, and he brought the new era to the tight end,” said Brandt, who compares Gronkowski’s style of play most to Ditka’s. “We looked at Mackey — and yeah, he was a tight end and caught a touchdown pass to win a game against the Cowboys in the Super Bowl — but he was really, No. 1, a blocker first and a receiver second. I think in Gonzalez’s case, he was a receiver first and a blocker second.

Four relatives of Falcons WR Julio Jones wounded in Alabama trailer park shooting reports Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack said the cause of the Sunday shooting remains unclear. He said Jermain Dickerson, Tamarius Dickerson and Royald Jones confronted Jahlen Baker at gunpoint in Magnolia Springs. Mack said the Dickersons and Baker are brothers, and Royald Jones is a cousin. Mack said Julio Jones is either a cousin or uncle to the men.

He said Baker was shot in the abdomen cheap nfl nike jerseys from china and remains in critical condition. The other three were taken to a hospital and are in stable condition or have been released.1

Mack said guns and marijuana were recovered at the scene. He said charges are pending, and the investigation is ongoing.

Jones did not address the shooting specifically or even acknowledge his relation to those involved, saying only, “That’s family matters; this is football. That’s private.”nike jerseys nfl cheap

The Falcons excused Jones from talking to the media following last Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys, saying he had a family matter to deal with at the time.

When asked Tuesday about maintaining his focus while dealing with a personal matter, Jones said it would not be an issue.

“I never let stuff off the field affect me on the field,” Jones said. “I’ve been doing it for so long. Family issues, things like that, my family’s good, everybody’s good, so I can come out here and play and do what I need to do to take care of business.”

The Timberwolves’ cool new uniforms, featuring Prince

When Tyus Jones first heard that the Minnesota Timberwolves were designing an alternate jersey in honor of Prince, he knew how important it was that the team and Nike get it nfl jerseys cheap paypal

Jones is 22, too young for Prince’s heyday, but he grew up about half an hour from Minneapolis — Prince’s hometown — and understands the musical superstar’s connection to the region and its basketball teams.

“Being from here, you know,” Jones says. “He’s obviously an icon, but he’s even more of an icon and a legend here.”

Prince and other local music legends, including Jimmy Jam, Prince’s longtime friend and occasional touring partner, often sat courtside during the early years of the Timberwolves and the high points of the Kevin Garnett era. As the franchise receded into lottery contention, Prince the fan receded into the background. He rarely attended games. When he did, he preferred to do so in such a private fashion, most fans would not even know he was there, says Ted Johnson, the team’s chief strategy officer.

When Prince’s camp sent word he might attend a game, several staffers would drop everything to plan for his appearance. There were many false alarms. I was in Minneapolis on Nov. 12, 2015, when Prince’s people alerted the Wolves he might come that night to their game against the Warriors. A thrilled panic ensued. Staffers arranged private entrance and exit pathways for Prince, and a method of whisking him into a suite without attracting attention.2

He didn’t show. But Prince was always watching Minnesota hoops. He played basketball in junior high and high school, and in pickup games both on tour and at his home in Paisley Park — as memorialized in perhaps the most famous “Chappelle’s Show” skit ever. When the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx won the 2015 championship, Prince invited the team to Paisley Park for a private three-hour concert.

When Prince died in April 2016, Nike pitched the Wolves an alternate “city edition” jersey for the 2017-18 season that would honor him. The Wolves concluded it was too soon. They were already finalizing their 2017-18 jerseys, which would kick off a full-on rebrand — new jerseys, new logo, new court, tweaked color nike jersey cheap

But they decided then to prioritize a Prince jersey for this season. They set aside some of Nike’s other proposed Minnesota-centric motifs: jerseys paying homage to Bob Dylan, the Mississippi River (which runs through Minneapolis), and the original Minneapolis Lakers, Johnson says. (You might see some of those ideas down the road.)

In the spring of 2017, Cyrus Coleman, a product designer for Nike’s basketball division, pitched the Wolves a mockup that looked very much like the final Prince jersey the team will unveil later today:

Astros kick into extra gear in dominating sweep of Indians

That’s the way the Houston Astros handled the Cleveland Indians in a three-game sweep of the American League Division Series. After Monday’s 11-3 victory, the defending World Series champions now have a few days before they play either Boston or the Yankees in the next round.

The Astros dominated the series as convincingly as a sweep would indicate. Their pitching staff held the Indians to 13 hits and a .144 batting average. Their hitters hit .327 with eight home nfl nike jersey

The Astros did the big things better; they also did the little things better. Their pitching was suffocating, their hitting relentless. In the deciding Game 3, they scored 11 runs while also leaving 12 on base.

“There is an extra gear that our guys have,” manager AJ Hinch said. “And once we hit the postseason, it looks like, as of right now, that our guys really, really turned it on.”2

Houston tied an American League record by hitting a home run in 12 consecutive postseason games going back to last season. George Springer had two home runs in the deciding game, giving him seven in his past seven postseason games.

According to Elias Sports research, Springer is only the fourth player in Major League Baseball history to achieve that feat, joining Carlos Beltran (2004), Reggie Jackson (1977-78) and Lou Gehrig (1928-32).

Houston won 103 games during the season, Boston 108 and the Yankees 100. Houston would get home field if the Yankees win their series against the Red nfl jerseys china nike

“Our guys have an uncanny ability to focus on the day,” Hinch said. “Whether that’s at the beginning of the spring, into the season when we were pushed by our division, the A’s, into entering a playoff series with all the expectations, the target on our back.

“We’re the reigning world champs, and we really have a good ability to show up for the day.”

Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic thrilled with ‘lucky’ birthday winner vs. Brugge

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Christian Pulisic said that a bit a of luck was involved in scoring a late winner on his birthday against Club Brugge in a 1-0 Champions League victory on Tuesday night.

Pulisic, who replaced Champions League debutant Jadon Sancho in the 69th minute to make his 100th appearance for Dortmund, stuck his leg out to deflect the ball over goalkeeper Karlo Letica and into the net.

“It was great to come back after a small injury and being with the team again,” Pulisic, who turned 20 years old on Tuesday, told Sky. “Obviously, it’s great to get a goal although it may have been a bit lucky but I’ll take it on my birthday so I’m very nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“I just saw the ball the being played through. It looked like Marco [Reus] wanted to get a touch to it and then the defender just tried to clear it and I was just in the right spot at the right time to get my leg in and it went perfectly into the goal. Like I said, I’ll take it. I think we deserved a goal on the day.”12

Asked if there was going to be cake waiting for him after the match, Pulisic replied: “We’ll see, I hope so. Some cake would be nice. I’m just going to enjoy the rest of the night with my team.”

The team captain told Sky: “We were absolutely terrible going forward, we did not create any scoring chances whatsoever. We did not position well in the dangerous areas against five defenders. Our movement was not good either.

“Brugge had a couple of good chances in the first half where we were fortunate not to concede. We’ll gladly take the dirty win because it is important to start the Champions League on a high note.”

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre agreed with Reus’ assessment of the performance, saying after the game: “It was a tough one. It was no coincidence that the game would be hard for us because Brugge are on top of the Belgian league, which is a difficult championship. They ran a lot and were very athletic. They utilised their wings well and played with a lot of pace. They got tired about 60 minutes into the game and we could profit from nfl jerseys china nike

“We didn’t have enough movement up front to find solutions [on the ball], which is why we didn’t create any chances. The goal might have been lucky in the end, but the through ball from Mo Dahoud was terrific. Reus made a good run into space, provoking the defender to make the clearance that ultimately led to [Pulisic’s] goal.

Alex Smith gives Redskins new look, new Week 1 outcome

The beauty of Alex Smith, and what the Washington Redskins hoped to have in their new quarterback, was evident Sunday. He avoided bad plays and made good ones with his smarts, his legs, as well as with his nike jersey cheap

Smith was far from the only reason Washington beat Arizona 24-6 on Sunday. But he orchestrated the offense in a performance the Redskins would like to see duplicated. Of course, it helps when a team can run the ball the way Washington did Sunday, finishing with 182 yards. Then again, part of the reason Washington ran well was because of Smith’s ability to handle a heavy dose of run-pass option plays. It’s what they hoped for when making the trade for him, moving on from Kirk Cousins.

For a first game with a new quarterback, the Redskins were able to dig deep into their playbook. Why? Because they overloaded Smith at the start of camp with a heavier-than-normal installation of their offense and he showed he could handle it all. The key now will be to continue building on what they showed Sunday. The Week 1 output is even more impressive considering Washington’s offense had several key players either limited or out for much of camp because of lingering injuries and an abundance of caution.10

On Sunday, Smith completed 21-of-30 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran the ball eight times for 14 more yards and used his legs several other times to avoid danger, either throwing the ball away or running.

“I thought he was sensational,” Redskins coach Jay Gruden nike nfl jersey

Smith made strong decisions, which is one reason why they turned the ball over only one time — on a late fumble by Adrian Peterson. In Gruden’s first four openers, the Redskins had lost the turnover battle each time, thanks to 10 combined giveaways. Gruden mentioned the turnover stat leading into the game whenever he was asked about being 0-4 in openers.

Smith also avoided a safety when, with Robert Nkemdiche bursting clean through the middle, he flipped an underhand pass to receiver Josh Doctson. It was a pass that had no chance of being complete, but it saved the Redskins two points.

“That’s what he’s done his whole career,” Gruden said. “He does a great job not making a bad play worse and living to fight another day and moving on to the next play. That’s what he’s always done.”