Inside Steelers’ shocking trade for Troy Polamalu 15 years ago

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The 2003 Pittsburgh Steelers were prepared to make franchise history by moving up in the first round, and as Whaley began to call teams, he was greeted with disbelief on the other end of the line.

“A lot of teams were like, ‘Yeah, yeah, you’ll really come up,’” said Whaley, official nfl jerseys cheap then-Pittsburgh’s pro personnel director who later became general manager for the Buffalo Bills. “And other teams were like, ‘What?’ At first, they didn’t believe us. It just showed the confidence Kevin Colbert and Bill Cowher had in the player.”

That player was a game-changing safety out of USC, a speedy, hybrid defensive back before it was trendy, an eventual Hall of Fame talent who sent lightning through Pittsburgh’s defense with perfect hair and Marvel superhero leaps over the line of scrimmage.236

This week’s NFL draft marks the 15-year anniversary of a trade that forced a traditional team to act non-traditionally to acquire Troy Polamalu with the 16th overall pick.

The Steelers never had traded up in the first round before that moment, nor had they drafted a pure safety in that round.

But the Steelers wanted to improve their secondary and got their guy for modest compensation, giving Kansas City their 27th pick — which it used on running back Larry Johnson — along with the 92nd pick (corner Julian Battle) and 200th pick (quarterback Brooks Bollinger).

The Steelers’ draft room is known as businesslike, emphasizing consensus building over reactionary high-fiving.

That day, everyone sensed the satisfaction without saying a word.

“We’ve always had the philosophy, if you like a guy, you go get him,nfl authentic jerseys ” said Ron Hughes, the Steelers’ longtime college scouting coordinator who retired in 2015. “We drafted the best player available to us.”

Julio Jones, absent workouts, deletes Falcons pics from Instagram

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Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones has yet to join the team for offseason workouts, nfl jerseys from china according to multiple sources, and the deletion of Falcons photos from Jones’ Instagram page fueled speculation regarding unrest between Jones and the team.

Jones was not with his teammates when the Falcons officially began offseason workouts last week but was expected back this week. However, he wasn’t present when the players returned to the field Monday.

Regarding Jones’ decision to delete the Instagram photos, the team said it had to do with Jones wanting a “fresh start” on social media and nothing more.

There have been whispers about a possible contract situation regarding Jones, but nothing has gone public from Jones’ camp or from the team. The five-time Pro Bowler signed a five-year, $71.25 million extension ($47 million guaranteed) in August 2015 and still has three years and $34.43 million left on the deal. His average from the deal — $14.25 million — falls below the averages for Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown ($17 million per year), Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans ($16.5 million), Houston’s De’Andre Hopkins (16.2 million), Kansas City’s Sammy Watkins ($16 million) and Cincinnati’s A.J. Green ($15 million).235

The Falcons have prioritized signing quarterback Matt Ryan to an extension this offseason, with Ryan having one year and $19.25 million left on his deal. General manger Thomas Dimitroff also talked about nose tackle Grady Jarrett, left tackle Jake Matthews,official nfl jerseys cheap and free safety Ricardo Allen possibly being extended. The immediate focus is preparing for Thursday’s NFL draft.

Jones’ situation will be worth monitoring closely, considering the Falcons have touted how beneficial it is to have him healthy this offseason to put in the practice time with Ryan. Jones is working out with former NFL receiver Terrell Owens.

Flames fire head coach Glen Gulutzan after 2 seasons

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With a year remaining on his contract as head coach, Gulutzan was fired along with assistant Dave Cameron and Paul Jerrard less than two years after they were hired.

A poor home record, a wretched power play best cheap nfl jerseys and a late-season dive contributed to Calgary finishing out of the playoffs with a 37-35-10 record.

”Accountability lies with all of us,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said at a hastily-called news conference at Scotiabank Saddledome.

”As a manager I lead that charge. Our hockey staff leads that charge and also our players. When you make a decision (like) I made today, there is lots of blame to go around.”

Gulutzan coached Calgary to the playoffs in his first season, but the Flames were eliminated in four straight games by the Anaheim Ducks in 2017.224

The additions of veteran goaltender Mike Smith and defenseman Travis Hamonic were considered to be the pieces of the puzzle that would get the Flames deeper into the playoffs.

Riding a seven-game win streak and sitting second in the Pacific Division in January, the Flames lost six in a row coming out of their bye week and continued to struggle coming down the stretch.

The team held down the Western Conference’s final wild-card spot Feb. 25, but managed just two victories in its final 11 games of the regular season.

Smith’s performance dropped late in the season after missing a month with a lower-body injury.

Top-line center Sean Monahan played through multiple injuries that nfl jerseys for women required surgeries when he was shut down for the season March 21.

Treliving extended the contract of Gulutzan’s predecessor, Bob Hartley, in December 2014, but fired him 17 months later and brought Gulutzan on board.

Hartley had a reputation for being hard on players, while Gulutzan was considered more approachable.

Wild lose Parise for multiple weeks to broken sternum

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The Minnesota Wild were hit with a major setback in their first-round playoff matchup with Winnipeg, a broken sternum for left wing Zach Parise suffered in the last game that will keep him out for at least the remainder of the series and likely longer if they advance.

The Wild revealed the injury about three hours before Game 4 against the Jets, nfl nike jerseys china with a vague announcement on Tuesday by general manager Chuck Fletcher that declared Parise’s status as ”week to week.”

Parise took a hard hit to the chest area with about four minutes remaining in Game 3 and the Wild leading 6-2, when he was sandwiched by Jets center Mark Scheifele and defenseman Ben Chiarot. Parise didn’t appear shaken up, and he spoke to reporters afterward without any sign of discomfort.

Tyler Ennis took Parise’s place in the lineup, and coach Bruce Boudreau shuffled his top three lines to adjust to the absence. Asked following the team’s morning skate if Ennis would play, Boudreau quipped, ”Why would we change the lineup? We won. That’s my answer to that.”223

”He did great. Even when he came back, I said that it would be 20 games before he got his game together,” Boudreau said. ”But if anybody knows Zach, he’s one of the hardest workers around, and he worked himself into getting ready to play. And when his back wasn’t hurting, that was tremendous, and then once he started getting back to normal, he became the player that everybody thought he was.”

The Wild, who’ve become well-accustomed to key best cheap nfl jerseys players missing this season, were more concerned about Parise for the moment. Boudreau said he saw the ”sadness on his face” after learning of the diagnosis on Monday.

”Here’s a guy that’s worked so hard to get back to where he was and so hard to want to play for his hometown and bring glory,” Boudreau said, ”and he finally gets to that spot and this happens, you know?

Real or not? Early exit, blister bring Shohei Ohtani back to earth

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Maybe we needed to slow down. Shohei Ohtani was making the game look a little too easy, and it most certainly is not easy.

In his third major league start, Ohtani scuffled with his fastball, couldn’t throw strikes with his off-speed stuff and then left after two innings and 66 pitches because of a blister. Obviously, depending on when the blister developed,reebok nfl jerseys it might have affected his performance. Keep in mind that Ohtani is adapting to a different baseball — the major league ball is slicker and smoother, while the Japanese ball has higher seams. That said, it was a rough outing and a reminder that while we saw peak Ohtani on April 8 against the A’s, he’s still a 23-year-old who might not be quite a finished product on the mound.

Of course, the Red Sox also present a different challenge than the Athletics, Ohtani’s opponent in his first two starts. The A’s are more of a three-true-outcomes kind of team — walks, strikeouts and home runs — the kind of lineup you can exploit when things are working. The Red Sox will battle more to put the ball in play and maybe do a better job of controlling the strike zone if you’re not throwing strikes. Indeed, Ohtani’s 66 pitches were the second-highest in the first two innings of a game this season, with the highest count also coming against the Red Sox.

One takeaway from this game is more of a long-term outlook for the Angels and how Mike Scioscia ultimately handles his six-man rotation, a group that is already down JC Ramirez for the season and has lost Matt Shoemaker to a current DL stint. Assuming the blister isn’t an issue, wouldn’t it be tempting to bring Ohtani back sooner than next Monday or Tuesday, given that he threw just 66 pitches? Same thing goes for Garrett Richards if he has a low-pitch game. That’s aside from the temptation to start using the Angels’ best pitchers more often if the American League West turns into a tight two-team race.212

Ohtani’s poor outing came as we released our annual ranking of MLB’s top players. I was one of the voters in the project, and it was almost impossible to rank Ohtani because he had made just two starts and was off to a hot start at the plate. nfl authentic jerseys cheap He ended up No. 52 on the list, though I had him higher. This start was a reminder that the baseball season is a long journey of highs and lows. For Ohtani, I still believe there will be a lot more highs than games such as this one.

P.S. With three three-homer games in his Red Sox career, Betts has tied Ted Williams for most three-homer games in Red Sox history. The Red Sox are also 14-2.

Baseball’s best double-play combinations have a clear No. 1

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Even now, official nfl jerseys cheap in an era of ongoing league-wide change, it remains vitally important to have a strong middle infield.

Yes, shifts and other adjustments in defensive positioning have reduced the need for exceptional range. Yes, strikeouts continue to rise higher than ever, reducing the number of balls in play. Yes, batters are placing greater emphasis on lifting the ball, reducing overall chances in the infield. And yes, we’ve seen that second basemen and shortstops are getting far less action than they used to.
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The game of baseball is in transition. That much is no secret. Yet the middle infield positions remain at a premium. Shortstop, especially, is still far harder to play than first or third base. There are fewer players available who can play regularly in the middle, so teams that are strong there have a distinct advantage over their rivals.

It’s worth considering, then, which teams appear to be strongest at the two positions — that is, reebok nfl jerseys the two positions together, taking everything into account. This isn’t just offense, and this isn’t just defense. I have chosen what I think are 2018’s five best double-play combos.

Coach Brett Brown says 76ers and Joel Embiid ‘very unified’ in handling of his injury

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Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown said on Tuesday that the organization, Joel Embiid, his representatives and team doctors are “very unified” in how Embiid’s injury is being handled.

The All-Star center expressed frustration cheap nfl throwback jerseys late Monday night about being held out of the Sixers’ Game 2 loss to the Miami Heat thanks to injury.

Embiid has been sidelined since March 28 because of a broken orbital bone and concussion. He has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol but has not yet been cleared to take contact. There remains no definitive timetable for Embiid’s return, though Brown said Tuesday that it is not “that far away.”200

“It’s still moving forward,” Brown said before the Sixers’ practice on Tuesday afternoon. “What I can say is there is a very unified effort with his representation and the people around him. With the people that did the operation, the doctors, with our medical staff, with the team, with me, the coaching staff. We’re all doing this. There’s a unified sort of spirit and line of communication.”

There are still a few medical hurdles for Embiid to clear as he returns from surgery, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. The recovery is a process of ramping up to different stages of activity.

Internally among the Sixers, there is optimism that Embiid will return when the series is in Miami, although it’s unclear whether he will play in Game 3 on Thursday, according to sources.

Embiid was expected to practice with the team on Tuesday, participating in shooting drills and other non-contact activity. His presence on the practice floor was encouraging to Brown, who added that Embiid was progressing toward being cleared for contact.

“We’ll get up and down and do some script stuff,” Brown said. nfl jerseys cheap shop “It’s progressing. When that ultimately leads to an answer — he’s playing — I don’t believe is that far away. But we’ll learn more over the next 48 hours, I suspect.”

Wade scores 28 points off bench, Heat tie 76ers at 1-1

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Dwyane Wade sat alone, wrapping his 36-year-old knees in ice long after the Miami Heat practiced Sunday afternoon at Temple University. The media throng that throwback nfl jerseys cheap covers the Heat seemed more focused on Hassan Whiteside’s virtual no-show in the first game of this playoff series against the 76ers and the adjustments the team would have to make for this series to be competitive.

Wade’s paltry 19 minutes in Game 1 didn’t even register as a significant storyline at this stage in his career. That’s about what he had been playing since rejoining the Heat after a midseason trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anything more he could give them than that was seen as a bonus, not something the Heat could count on.

Fellow Heat lifers Alonzo Mourning and Juwan Howard each came over to him as he worked on his knees and stopped for a conversation. Wade will be joining them as Heat emeriti soon enough. Always welcome around the team, always a part of the family … once their playing careers were over.199

I asked him why he was wrapping his own knees in ice. The Heat have plenty of trainers for tasks like that. Wade laughed and said, “I like doing this myself.”

After all, how many more times would he wrap those knees in ice after a practice? No, if these are indeed the last days of his Basketball Hall of Fame career, Wade is determined to do everything exactly the way it should be done.

Which is how he approached Monday’s game against the Sixers. The Heat had brought him back for games just like this: down in a playoff series, needing a win at all costs and desperate for the type of calming, veteran leadership the three-time NBA champion can provide.

Wade delivered a throwback 28-point performance in cheap nfl throwback jerseys 26 minutes off the bench to propel the Heat to a 113-103 win and snap the Sixers’ 17-game win streak.

“Just taking time to think, that’s all I’m doing,” Wade said. “Taking time to think and looking at every angle and what’s the best situation for me to be in. That’s all. It’s a lot of different, it’s a lot of different things that come into play.”

Aaron Rodgers on Packers moves: ‘You’ve got to trust the process’

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If Aaron Rodgers is frustrated over a lack of a input into the moves the Green Bay Packers make — and there have been multiple events that suggest he is — the two-time NFL MVP wouldn’t come right out and say it.

Instead, he said he understands his job description.

“Well, I think I know my role, nfl jerseys from china and that’s to play as well as I possibly can at quarterback,” Rodgers said Tuesday on the first day of the Packers’ offseason workouts.

“There are decisions that are going to be made from a personal standpoint. That’s the toughest part. You’re in this business for a long time, and you start relationships with your coaches and players. As you get older — and I knew this as a young player — if I had the possibility and success to play a long time, I’d probably outlive a lot of close friends in this business. Because the longevity offered to a quarterback is obviously greater than a guy who’s banging heads all the time, or running all over the field. So that’s the toughest part about the whole thing, is losing guys over the years.”

This offseason, Rodgers said goodbye to his favorite receiver, Jordy Nelson, and his quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt, whose contract was not renewed. Rodgers told ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo at the Super Bowl that he was not consulted when the Packers made a change with his position coach. Head coach Mike McCarthy hired Frank Cignetti Jr. to replace Van Pelt, who coached Rodgers since 2014 — the second of his two MVP seasons.189

New general manager Brian Gutekunst said on the day he released Nelson that he talked with Rodgers, but only after the move was made.

After Nelson’s departure, Rodgers told Milwaukee radio station 102.9 FM, “I think it’s pretty clear that players play and coaches coach and personnel people make their decisions That’s the way they want it.”

Then on Tuesday, official nfl jerseys cheap Sports reported that Rodgers has grown frustrated with the organization and that it could impact the negotiations on a contract extension that started this offseason.

Lions LB Jarrad Davis approves of new NFL helmet targeting rule

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Detroit Lions linebacker Jarrad Davis, a player who was injured last year when he was hit from behind by Odell Beckham Jr., causing his head to fly into Paul Perkins, said Tuesday he believes the league’s new rule prohibiting leading with the head is a good one and that it will enhance safety.

“I haven’t really read up on it a lot. I heard about the changes. It’s definitely something that’s going to take care of us as players and it’s going to make you more of a fundamentally sound player as well.nfl jerseys cheap china It’s something you have to continue to practice, you have to continue to work on every single day because when you get tired, that’s when you go back to those bad habits and that’s when you really risk injury, hurting yourself, hurting other players.

“It’s a good rule to help take care of everybody else in the game.”187

The hit that injured Davis shouldn’t be considered part of the new rule — especially since Davis was thrown into another player — but protecting the heads of players has become a larger emphasis.

One of the big concerns about the rule is how difficult it will be for players to adapt to it and for officials to properly call the new rule, which is a 15-yard penalty akin to targeting. When the rule was announced, the president of the NFLPA instead called for meaningful change that everybody is on board with.

Davis wasn’t too worried about the new rule, saying that it is just something that has to be worked on early and drilled so that it doesn’t become a problem that needs to be fixed.

“It’s just something that you got to really authentic nfl jerseys make sure you pay attention to detail on,” Davis said. “And put the extra work in.”