Stephen Tulloch has no regrets about celebration that led to ACL injury

Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch sustained an embarrassing injury in Week 3. Tulloch was celebrating a sack when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season. But the veteran linebacker says he has no regrets about how the injury occurred, saying that he’d do it again if given the opportunity, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

“If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Tulloch said, “Just a matter of time.” So it sounds like he doesn’t really blame the injury so much on the fact that he chose to celebrate. He said that he’s played a “long time” in the NFL and that players are simply “susceptible to this kind of injury when you go out there and play.”

Murray is coming off his best season, when he rushed for 1,121 yards on 5.2 yards per carry.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers organization have been adamant that due process will need to play out before McDonald receives any punishment. On Friday, Harbaugh said that he is being “patient” with the process.

“I’ve lost family members that I was able to get over. I don’t think I’ll ever get over this,” he said. “It makes me emotional all of the time. I’m one of those guys, I don’t take stuff for granted most of the time. And it really hit me more after his death that this life that we go about every day like it’s nothing, it’s really not something to play with.”

Moss and Taylor both grew up in the same area in Miami, but it wasn’t until they became teammates in Washington that they formed a bond that was more family than friend. And while Taylor was known to be guarded with the media, behind the scenes he wasn’t afraid to show emotion.6

The Bills could release their two most important offensive players thanks to big guarantees tied to the 2017 season

The Patriots want to run the fake bubble screen with the two vertical routes (yellow circles). Pump to the bubble, draw the defensive backs downhill and target the seam or outside fade to move the sticks. It’s not there. But instead of panicking (as we see often from young quarterbacks), Garoppolo calmly maneuvers in the pocket to find an open lane and continues to keep his eyes down the field. This allows Garoppolo to reset his feet/platform and hit Amendola when the wide receiver separates across the field. And the quarterback takes a shot too after throwing this ball. It was a big-time play to move the sticks and continue to drive.

Look, I want quarterbacks who battle, guys who show up in critical moments of the game. Yes, this is only one play. And I get that. But given the situation — down in the fourth quarter and needing a play to continue the drive — I love Garoppolo’s ability to manage the chaos and find a way to advance the sticks against a very good defense.

NFL: NFC Divisional-Green Bay Packers at Dallas CowboysNFL: NFC Divisional-Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys

The Bills could release their two most important offensive players thanks to big guarantees tied to the 2017 season. McCoy cemented his place as one of the league’s top tailbacks after running for 5.4 yards per carry and 13 touchdowns, while Taylor earned his second straight Pro Bowl invitation — though that may be more a condemnation of the AFC’s roster than the quarterback’s strength. At cap hits of $8.875 million and $15.9 million, respectively, the pair could prove too expensive for a new regime in upstate New York.

Buffalo could mitigate losing its starting running back by handing his duties over to Mike Gillislee, who was the only qualified player in the league to have a better yards-per-carry average than McCoy. Replacing Taylor would be tougher. The team could turn to Cardale Jones instead, but the former Ohio State standout looked every bit a rookie in his lone appearance last fall.

 

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It can be a touchy subject for quarterbacks because they’re simply operating out of the offense that’s in place at the school.

“I don’t know that they can’t play in our league, but it becomes more of a projection when you’re trying to determine if a guy can go in a huddle, call a play, go to the line of scrimmage, make an adjustment, take a snap, read a coverage and deliver the ball,” Smith said.

It can be a touchy subject for quarterbacks because they’re simply operating out of the offense that’s in place at the school. At Baylor, for instance, Bryce Petty rarely had to run through a call or work under center. That changed at the Senior Bowl, where the Tennessee Titans coaching staff made him play from under center and call plays from a huddle.

“You don’t know things until you live it out. You can hear about it as much as you want, but until you’re actually in there and doing it, you have no idea,” Petty said. “It’s a learning curve a little bit, going from what we were doing at Baylor to what we’re doing now, but it’s all part of the process.”

Petty may have been the benefactor of participating in the Senior Bowl. It was an opportunity some quarterbacks, like Marcus Mariota of Oregon, turned down despite playing in offenses that rely heavily on cards.

“He taught me so much that I was able to have enough information for four years,” Fowler said. “He was just a great coach. A player’s coach type of guy. He’s smart. I was hurt when he left but I knew he was going to do great things.”

Now with Quinn owning the eighth overall pick in the draft, maybe he and Fowler can reunite and do great things together in Atlanta.

“I feel like, as a rookie, you have to come in and be versatile,” said Duke tackle Takoby Cofield. “Unless you’re going to come in and be a day one starter, you have to come in and know, at least, how to play the opposite side. So, if you’re a left tackle, you have to at least know how to play the right tackle spot.

Terrelle Pryor loves the Browns and wants to stay in Cleveland

Terrelle Pryor says he loves being with the Browns, and he wants to stay in Cleveland. That should help the Browns work out a long-term deal with Pryor, Cleveland’s top receiver last season.

“I know this is an important month,” Pryor said via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “But I do love being with the Browns and like I said before, this thing isn’t about joining a different team because a different team’s good.”

Hue Jackson has earned Pryor’s loyalty, and Jackson is a primary reason Pryor wants to remain with the Browns.

Jackson and Pryor’s relationship was cemented in 2011, when Jackson was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders. Jackson took a chance on Pryor in the third round of the supplemental draft. Now, Pryor wants to be a part of what Jackson is building in Cleveland.

He’s not the only one. Pryor’s teammate, left tackle Joe Thomas, wants to remain with the Browns and help Jackson rebuild.

“I’m a Clevelander,” Thomas said, via ESPN’s Elizabeth Merrill. “I’ve spent the majority of my adult life here. Every day when I come to work, it’s ‘Let’s turn this team into a consistent winner.’“

The Browns signed linebacker Jamie Collins, a midseason acquisition via a trade with the New England Patriots, to a four-year, $50 million contract extension in January. Now the team’s top focus is locking up Pryor.

Cleveland hopes to come to a long-term agreement with Pryor and avoid using the franchise tag.

Pryor, who converted to wide receiver after spending his college career playing quarterback at Ohio State, does carry some risk for the Browns. He’s coming off a productive season, with 1,007 receiving yards and four touchdowns. But Michael Renner of Pro Football Focus identifies Pryor as a free agent who has the ability to demand top dollar despite uncertainty about how he will perform going forward.

Enter Conan O’Brien and Ford, who presented White with a Ford F-150 on O’Brien’s late-night talk show.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave his MVP truck from Super Bowl XLIX to cornerback Malcolm Butler as a way of saying thanks for his game-saving interception. This year, he said running back James White deserves it.

But there was one notable problem: Since Super Bowl XLIX, the Super Bowl MVP has no longer received a truck.

Enter Conan O’Brien and Ford, who presented White with a Ford F-150 on O’Brien’s late-night talk show.

I don’t see how Jay Cutler comes back. Both sides need a clean break. Eight years is enough. But regardless of what happens to Cutler (trade or release), the Bears have to draft a quarterback at some point. They have to explore every possible option to upgrade at quarterback — and keep doing so well beyond 2017. If the worst-case scenario is the Bears strike out on Garoppolo, draft a developmental quarterback, and re-sign a veteran such as Brian Hoyer to begin the year, then so be it. I just can’t envision Cutler being part of any future plans.

Garrett, a Texas A&M defensive end who hadn’t officially declared for the NFL draft at that time, addressed Jerry Jones, owner of his hometown Cowboys, and Dallas coach Jason Garrett.

“All right, I’m speaking to you, Jerry,” Garrett said. “Mr. Garrett, make it happen. Dak Prescott is leading our team right now. I need you to take Tony Romo, take a couple picks, give them to Cleveland so you can pick me up. Please. I would love to play in Dallas. Just make it happen.”

Falcons coach Dan Quinn relieved former defensive coordinator Richard Smith of his duties earlier in the week, with Smith now reportedly interviewing to be linebackers coach for the Los Angeles Chargers. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Quinn took over playcalling duties from Smith late in the regular season, during a Dec. 4 game against Kansas City.

Johnathan Massaquoi and Malliciah Goodman offer some depth on the strongside edge

“We won’t have 1,000 different defenses,” he explained. “What we will do is not necessarily what we play (but) is how we play it. That style will be real clear to come across in terms of the style and the attitude that we play. We’ll try to best feature the players that we have, and that’s one of the real things I’m looking forward to getting started with now is to better learn these guys here, and so we can now best feature them in the best way.”

He’s got to figure out which players he has who he can utilize in his system, and which players would become either cut candidates or potential trade chips. Even before free agency starts, he has some interesting players on the front seven with which to build a solid foundation. As he said, it’s not necessarily what they’ll play — he’s been flexible and very multiple over the past couple seasons — it’s how they’ll play it, fast and physical.

Up front, he’s got Tyson Jackson, Paul Soliai, Re’Shede Hageman and Jonathan Babineaux to work with and those players all offer versatility in 3-4 and 4-3 fronts. Quinn has shown flexibility in moving guys around on the line to use their talents, so Hageman in particular, with a rare combination of size and athleticism, will be a very interesting player to watch in 2015.

Additionally, Johnathan Massaquoi and Malliciah Goodman offer some depth on the strongside edge, so on paper, with the right scheme and coaching, the Falcons seem to have a group up front that can get the run defense back on track.

One of the most interesting cases heading into the draft season is Shaq Thompson. Thompson played a bevy of positions at Washington, including running back, linebacker and safety. Kiper sees Thompson in myriad ways, perhaps helping his draft stock because he appeals to teams with multiple needs.

“Shaq Thompson has the ability a variety of positions, he is a great athlete. … He’s not a pass-rusher though. He could play the WILL linebacker or maybe play as an in-the-box safety like Deone Bucannon played for the Arizona Cardinals last year.”

Tom Brady explains what a day in the life of Tom Brady is like

If you want to eat like Brady, you can!

The quarterback just released a $200 cookbook that consists of 89 recipes that all use ingredients that are Brady-approved. After dinner, it’s time for bedtime in the Brady house, and that’s when things get interesting.
So Brady does have a weakness: Reading Portuguese.

Jets fans, make sure to taunt him with signs written in Portuguese the next time the Patriots are playing in New York.

Anyway, between his family and football, it might not sound like Brady has much downtime, and that’s the truth.

“During the season, most of my time to unwind is in my car ride home,” Brady told ABC News. “When I get home, it’s being with my kids. There’s not much time to unwind, but you know what, it’s because I love what I do. I look forward to the season. I look forward to playing games. It doesn’t ever feel like work.”

When Brady does get some downtime in the offseason, there are a few things that he does like to do.

“I have hobbies. I like being active,” Brady said. “I like to surf a lot, play a little bit of golf.”

He also likes to cliff-dive.

Based on Brady’s lifestyle, it looks like Benjamin Franklin was right: “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”

The Ole’ Gunslinger is finally coming back to Lambeau Field. Brett Favre served notice of his return to Green Bay on Monday in order for the Packers to retire his jersey.

Favre posted a note on his website stating he’s “pleased to announce that I will be returning to Green Bay, Wisconsin in 2015 for induction into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and retirement of my jersey.”

It’s been expected that No. 4 would come back to Lambeau at some point in order for him to be retired into the Packers Hall of Fame. There were concerns Favre might get booed if he came back in 2014 and the health of Bart Starr — Favre wanted to return with the other legendary Packers quarterback — proved to be an obstacle last year as well.

The Falcons are certainly not the first team to bring in SEALs to work with. ThePatriots did it last year, for example.

For four days, Falcons players worked with retired SEALs on “a combination of physical training and classroom sessions, focused on developing some of the core tools of SEAL training: mental toughness and resilience, teamwork and stress management.” What does that mean?

What did the coaches and players think of the experience? “We learned that leadership comes from all levels,” Quinn said. “Just because a player is going into his second or third year doesn’t mean he isn’t going to have significant leadership value here.”

Quarterback Matt Ryan noted that it wasn’t the first time a coach has brought in an outside influence to talk to players, but that this was different because the SEALs embedded themselves with the team for four days. He was also struck by how some teammates changed their routine due to the SEALs’ presence.

“We would see guys at 3:30 in the afternoon in our facility just talking with the SEALs. That doesn’t happen this time of the year. Usually when you are done, people are out of here pretty quickly.”

Philadelphia’s best fit: DB Jalen Mills, LSU, No. 233 overall

With at least one defensive back selected in nine of the past 10 drafts, LSU has become a virtual minor-league team for NFL clubs in need of help in the secondary.

And while he may lack the elite athleticism or stopping power that helped Patrick Peterson (Arizona Cardinals) and LaRon Landry (New York Jets) earned Pro Bowl honors after starring in the SEC, Mills offers plenty of traits which project well to the next level, including agility, instincts and versatility.

The 6-foot-1, 191-pound Mills started 46 games at LSU, beginning his career outside at cornerback before sliding inside to handle safety and nickel duties as an upperclassman. During that time, Mills recorded 216 tackles, 16 pass breakups and six interceptions.

To make it in professional football at age 38 (he turns 39 in August), Brady really has to take care of his body, and that’s where his day starts.

The quarterback says the he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. every day.

Adrian Peterson says Teddy Bridgewater reminds him of a Hall of Fame QB

Bridgewater was sacked on 9.0 percent of his dropbacks last seasons, one of the highest figures in the league. The signings of Alex Boone and Andre Smith, as well as the returns from injury of John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt, should help him stay upright in the pocket and maybe get a little more time to deliver the ball accurately and down the field. Bridgewater isn’t a great deep ball thrower, but if he has more time, it’s possible he takes more shots and lets his wide receivers such as Stefon Diggs and rookie Laquon Treadwell make plays on the ball.

“As far as Randy, it is a big step for him to be out here interacting, a big smile on his face and meeting people,” Stephen Jones said, via the team’s website. “This is good for him, and I appreciate him being out here.”

Without Fitzpatrick on the roster, the Jets are making alternate plans. They selected Christian Hackenberg in the second round of the NFL Draft from Penn State, and they kept Geno Smith, with the idea the two would compete for the job if Fitzpatrick doesn’t return.

Now, by all accounts, both sides want a reunion if the money is right, and Fantasy owners remain hopeful Fitzpatrick will be back in New York in 2016. While his production in 2015 was solid (3,905 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and 15 interceptions and 270 rushing yards and two touchdowns), it was what he did for Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker that has us concerned.

In an interview with Jim Rome, UFC president Dana White disputed the accuracy of that report.

“The reports that came out were not very accurate at all,” White said on the Jim Rome Show. “Obviously we’re a business, we’re always doing business, we’re always trying to grow the sport and take it to the next level, and we’re always working on deals, and as far being sold, people make us offers all the time. So we’ve turned downed some pretty big offers.”

Although White denied that the company was for sale, he didn’t deny anything when he was asked this week if only part of the company might be for sale.

“Obviously, if I’m in the middle of a deal right now, there’s a lot of confidentiality involved in it,” White told the Dan Patrick Show. “We’re working on expanding. We’re working on growing the company and moving it to other territories like China, Japan and Korea.”

“Keenan’s doing a heck of job,” he said. “It’s definitely a transition. It’s real. I think he said it. Guys have been doing this over and over again, rep after rep, thousands and thousands of reps under their belt. He’s got maybe a couple dozen under his belt right now, but that being said he’s doing really well. He’s a natural athlete. He’s got natural hands, which is a big plus. He can get in and out of routes. He’s a guy who’s still got a lot of work to do, but he has the ability to pull it off.”

Ward was Public Enemy No. 1 in Baltimore for years, but he could end up in the Hall of Fame one day too. And for as much as Ravens fans hated him, they would also love nothing more than having the next Hines Ward on their roster, haunting the Steelers for the next decade.

It’s worth noting that Brady, even while playing the so-called “caretaker QB” role early in his career, threw about three more passes than Bridgewater did in his first two seasons. And considering Brady came up in the early 2000s, when teams threw the ball less often than they do these days, the difference is probably even greater. Bridgewater edged out Brady in completion percentage, yards per attempt, and QB rating through two seasons, but Brady turned his throws into touchdowns more often (4.5 to 3.3 percent) while throwing interceptions at basically the same rate (2.6 percent to 2.5 percent).

Jerry Jones raves about Las Vegas, seems very open to a Raiders move

“It has a flair for entertainment, and it has two million people, and they’re avid sports fans, the full-time residents,” Jones said, via ESPN.com. “They have a huge visiting contingent that more often than not are fans of some NFL football teams. You add all that together, and it’s certainly in a conversation about the future relative to the NFL. As you well know, you have to have the right situation. You have to have the right ownership, want to and then a lot of other considerations that have to come into play.”

“For me, I think that certainly the fact that Las Vegas has a gambling aspect to it is far overshadowed by the entertainment value, if you will, family appeal, that you have, the convention appeal,” Jones said. “So it does not have disfavor with me, in my opinion, relative to being an NFL city.”

The mayor of Las Vegas seems to believe the Raiders are going to move, and with both Davis and Jones on board, a Raiders relocation to Sin City looks more and more realistic by the day.

After surviving a nightmarish season — a year filled with complicated contract negotiations, a foot injury, and multiple surgeries — Cowboys star receiver Dez Bryant still isn’t ready to completely take the field with the Cowboys when minicamp begins. He’s still not fully medically cleared.

That’s according to head coach Jason Garrett, who offered some insight into Bryant’s recovery from a January surgery on his right foot. The good news is that Bryant hasn’t suffered any setbacks thus far.

“He’s done a really good job with his rehab, and he’s made progress,” Garrett said, per ESPN. “Like with all those guys, it’s a day-by-day, week-by-week thing. But he’s had no setbacks, but he really continues to get better and better.”

If the Raiders remain in the Bay Area and Vegas approves stadium funding, that means Sin City would have an NFL-caliber stadium with no NFL team. And even if that happens, that still doesn’t mean the Chargers would move.

At that point, the only way the Chargers would move is if funds for the team’s new stadium didn’t get approved by voters in November.

The team has to collect 66,447 valid signatures by June to get the stadium funding initiative on the ballot in November.

It’s worth noting that the study did not use any concussion or CTE data. So, the research doesn’t indicate if former players with CTE had a higher suicide rate than those without CTE or the general population. That’s a significant shortcoming of the study, as the suicides of players who were diagnosed with CTE (like Junior Seau) have led to an important discussion about the dangers and negative consequences of football.

Marcus Stroman returns to Duke for his college graduation

On Saturday, the Washington Nationals made an obvious decision, exercising the two-year option they held on general manager Mike Rizzo’s contract. Rizzo’s tenure has largely been a success: he’s led the Nationals from a lengthy rebuild to four consecutive winning seasons and counting. But rather than restate his record and all that jazz, let’s mark the occasion by looking at his five best and worst moves.

Rizzo’s five best

1. The draft. Is this cheating? Probably. But under Rizzo’s watch, the Nationals have selected Stephen Strasburg , Bryce Harper , Anthony Rendon , andLucas Giolito . Quibble all you want with how much credit Rizzo should receive for those picks — or for grabbing a pair of generational talents, and two others who went later than expected — but it’s impossible to rank this collection lower than first.

You can play all three of these studs in a lineup with tonight’s top pitcher and still have nearly $3,000 to spend at the other positions. There’s no guarantee all three break out tonight, but it’s definitely worth trying in a couple of tournament lineups.
Starting Pitchers

Adam Conley ($8,300, $8,200)

If you’ve listened to our podcast at all, you know we like to give Chris Towers a hard time for his Conley fandom. I’m not as certain the young lefty has the same upside, but he has plenty of it against this matchup. The Phillies .273 wOBA and 24.1 percent K rate vs. LHP are just as bad as they sound. Conley is a solid favorite and the Phillies are projected to score the third least amount of runs.

Kenta Maeda ($8,800, $9,700)

On one hand, Maeda does have a good matchup against an Angels team that sports a .127 ISO vs. RHP. On the other, the Angels simply do not strike out. Maeda has the best shot of getting to seven innings and is the biggest favorite of the night. Only his strikeout potential holds him down. The discount price on FanDuel will make me take a hard look at him, even without the big strikeout potential.

Park’s power is no surprise; scouts knew he had impressive raw strength all along. The reservations about Park revolved around the fear that his swing-and-miss tendencies would be exacerbated by a move to the big leagues. Sure enough, his rate statistics resemble that of a traditional three-true-outcomes slugger. He’s K’d in more than 30 percent of his plate appearances, he’s walked in another nine percent, and he’s homered in more than seven percent. Add it all together, and that’s almost half his trips to the plate ending without a ball in play.
Rank Player Three True Outcome %
1 David Wright 54.1
2 Jason Castro 52.8
3 Bryce Harper 51.9
4 Joc Pederson 51.3
5 Steven Souza 50.4
13 Byung-ho Park 47.5

Predictably, Park’s contact woes have been as dire as expected. His 64.9 percent contact rate is among the lowest dozen or so in the game, and he’s whiffed on nearly 60 percent of his swings against breaking balls. Combine his inability to put the bat on the ball with his patient (but not always disciplined) approach, and you have the recipe for a lot of strikeouts. Park has been able to balance his strikeouts thus far by walking and bopping, yet his .324 ISO is certain to drop — last season, Bryce Harperled the majors with a .319 ISO — and the amount of the drop will determine where he falls on te average-to-above-average DH spectrum.

The Blue Jays took a quick 1-0 lead in the second inning Sunday on a Michael Saunders single. In the third, with his team still leading 1-0, Blue Jays skipper John Gibbons was ejected by home plate umpire Dan Iassogna for arguing balls and strikes. To the action footage:

Gibbons thought the 0-2 pitch to Rougned Odor should have been called a strike, and you know what? He’s probably right. Here is the PitchFX strike zone plot of the at-bat, courtesy of Brooks Baseball:

Pitch No. 3 is the pitch in question. Ultimately it did not matter on the field. Odor struck out two pitches later, except this time Gibbons was a spectator in the clubhouse after getting tossed.

Rays @ Blue Jays

This is partially for the BvP crowd, with the Jays having a ton of success against Happ in the past. The Rays haven’t been as good as you’d expect against RHP, but their .180 ISO is seventh in baseball and they get a huge park factor shift in the Rogers Centre. Any RHH in the top six in the order are in play, but it’s more of a tournament play than cash.
Lineups

I’m going to offer my early take on a cash game lineup, but of course you should always check out our Sportsline projections for lineup changes right up to lock. Also, check out our podcast on iTunes for extended thoughts on each slate from Chris Towers, Mike McClure and myself.

The hypothetical question about what Evan Gattis’ value would be if he were catcher-eligible again is about to get real.