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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.

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.”

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.”

Central Coast Mariners axe seven players after woeful A-League season

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A-League wooden spooners nfl jerseys china Central Coast are set for a major recruiting drive after axing seven players, including New Zealand international Storm Roux.

Roux, who played 105 games with the Mariners in four injury-hit years, has been released from the final year of his contract to pursue his career elsewhere.

Matchday regulars Roux, Liam Rose, Blake Powell and Peter Skapetis, as well as fringe players Jacob Poscoliero and Josh Bingham, have also been released.

Goalkeeper Tom Glover, who joined on a one-year loan deal from Premier League side Tottenham, has also ended his time at the Mariners.

Glover played four games for the A-League side.175

Just 14 players now remain on the Mariners’ books — meaning the exodus comprised of exactly one third of the wooden spooners’ squad.

Central Coast finished at the bottom nfl wholesale jerseys of the ladder with four wins from 27 starts.

With Blackhawks core fading, Alex DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz & Co. need to step up

Chicago Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammate Patrick Sharp after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) ORG XMIT: GMH103 Chicago Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammate Patrick Sharp after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) ORG XMIT: GMH103

“I let him win,” the 29-year-old Kane joked. “I was playing with [Patrick Sharp] the past couple of games, so I passed it every time. I give [DeBrincat] credit. official nfl jerseys cheap He had a great season and did his job. And he should be proud of himself.”

Chicago Blackhawks' Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammate Patrick Sharp after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) ORG XMIT: GMH103

Chicago Blackhawks’ Alex DeBrincat (12) celebrates with teammate Patrick Sharp after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Tuesday, Oct. 10, 2017. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP) ORG XMIT: GMH103

Indeed he should. DeBrincat’s 28 goals this season marked the first time a player other than a three-time Stanley Cup winner has led the Hawks in goals since the vaunted core became a thing in 2009-10. That’s a modest distinction in the worst Hawks season of the Joel Quenneville era, but still the first tangible sign that a new era beckons. It’s about time the next generation takes a bigger step toward leading the Hawks to their next serious Cup contention instead of playing a supporting role.

With the glorious core fading — only Patrick Kane had an in-his-prime season in 2017-18 — the Hawks still have hope that Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook can have rejuvenated seasons in 2018-19 and Corey Crawford returns in top form. But unless they’re chugging from the Fountain of Youth, it’ll be up to DeBrincat, Nick Schmaltz (21 goals, 52 points), Vinnie Hinostroza (seven goals, 25 points in 50 games) reebok nfl jerseys and other relative newcomers — including defensemen Connor Murphy, Jan Rutta, Erik Gustafsson and Jordan Oesterle — to take a giant leap toward leading roles on and off the ice. The Hawks no longer can afford to be a team with a veteran core supported by a group of deferential youngsters.

It will be a challenge, though. The leadership of the core group that became a hallmark of the three-Cup run is so strong that it can be an intimidating factor for the next group. When Toews became the third-youngest captain in NHL history at 20 in 2008, the longest-tenured Hawks were Jim Vandermeer (three-plus seasons) and Keith, Seabrook, Sharp and Rene Bourque (three seasons) — none of whom had won any Cups. Even with recent departures, players such as DeBrincat, Schmaltz and Hinostroza still are looking up at Keith, Seabrook, Toews, Kane and two-Cup winners Crawford and Brandon Saad.

“Those older guys you look up to so much,” Schmaltz said. “You don’t want to — I don’t want to say steal their show — but you respect those guys so much that they’ve done such a good job of leading and taking care of the young guys. But at a certain point, the younger guys coming up need to take a step in the leadership role. Whether it’s by leading with your play or saying a few things on the bench or in the locker room. As a young group, we can definitely step up and add some leadership.”