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Inside Steelers’ shocking trade for Troy Polamalu 15 years ago


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.”

Flames fire head coach Glen Gulutzan after 2 seasons


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


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


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.

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


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.”

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


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.

Netherlands striker Bas Dost retires from international football


Prolific Sporting striker Bas Dost has announced his retirement from international football after just 18 caps for the Netherlands.

Dost, just 28, has scored 193 goals in 364 appearances in his professional career,nfl wholesale jerseys but has netted just once for his country since making his debut in March of 2015.

He watched from the bench in the Netherlands’ 3-0 friendly victory over Portugal last month but said on Tuesday he’d contemplated quitting the national team for quite a while.

“I have suppressed the feeling that I wanted to stop with [international football] for a long time,” Dost said.

“The fact that I felt really rotten for a week [after the last international break] was the deciding factor.176

“It did not go well with Netherlands for whatever reason. I have come to the moment when I say ‘no more.’ It just has not worked.”

Dutch manager Ronald Koeman said of Dost’s retirement: “Bas told me personally — I think that was good of him. I’m sorry he is retiring.

“I certainly saw a role for him with Netherlands. nfl jerseys from china When I started as the national team coach, I said that I would like to use the first four international matches to try out players and playing methods so, in that sense, much is still open.

“But I respect the decision he has made, also because I understand that he has had this feeling for some time.”

Barcelona’s players and coach have no answer to deserving Roma


For anyone mourning Barcelona’s limp, uncompetitive exit from the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage against Roma, there is some bitter consolation: nfl shop jerseys authentic There was no doubt whatsoever, across two matches, that the more deserving side advanced.

There will be many who argue that the elimination was due to the “Barca disease,” which is that, unless they actually win the competition, then it’s normally this stage that does them in. Since 2014, they’ve wilted four times in the last eight.

What knits those painful experiences together is the sight of a talented, ambitious team reaching — time and again — for the gear lever, yet failing to get out of first. Ripped apart in Rome. Bullied, badly, in Turin last year. Impotent in 2014 and 2016 defeats to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Iniesta’s contract dictates that he has until April 31 each season to inform the club whether he is automatically renewing his deal, or if he wishes to leave. When he left the pitch, close to the end and with the result already evident to anyone, who understands football or human psychology, there was at least that “Hail Mary” chance that someone would score the away goal to put Barcelona through.

But as I saw how disconsolate Iniesta was, it became clear that he walked off fully aware that these might well be the painful last minutes of a great love affair. “It’s a possibility,” he admitted when someone asked whether this might have been his final European experience with the team he has inspired for so many years.

In purely football terms, it is as heartbreaking as Roma’s absolutely admirable tactical, athletic and sporting performance is uplifting. They picked up the thread that was left dangling at the Camp Nou and which read: “This is the path to the semifinals.”

I’ve been at matches like this before. In 2004, Deportivo La Coruna cheekily took the lead at the San Siro before reigning European champions Milan cuffed them 4-1. shop nfl jerseys online Throughout the first-leg defeat, though, it was clear the Spaniards were being betrayed by the score. So it was that return game ended in a devastating 4-0 win for Depor.

Would the Cowboys draft a tight end project in the second round?


Eventually the Cowboys will have to replace Jason Witten. Maybe this is the year they cut back on some of Witten’s snaps to keep him fresh and help develop a tight end for when he retires in … 2025? Who knows? It might be sooner than that.

While Gesicki’s playmaking could be a boost to the offense, the Cowboys are breaking in tight ends coach in Doug Nussmeier. He played quarterback. authentic nfl jerseys He coached quarterbacks. He’s been an offensive coordinator. Not that he can’t teach a tight end how to block, but it will be something he learns on the job along with the player. Witten would be able to help in that department as well, but his focus should be doing everything he can to be ready for the season.

Would Nussmeier’s inexperience at the position preclude the Cowboys from taking a tight end in the second round for the fourth time since 2008? Not necessarily, but it adds another layer to the debate as to whether they should.

Kiper’s and McShay’s first-round picks are plausible for two reasons. The Cowboys have needs at both spots, and both players visited The Star before the draft. That latter detail is a big part of the Cowboys’ evaluation process. The only times since 2004 their first picks did not visit beforehand were DeMarcus Ware (2005) and Morris Claiborne (2012).

Of the two, Evans is the bigger need. The Cowboys lost Anthony Hitchens in free agency, and despite their positive words about Jaylon Smith, they can’t be convinced he is ready for full-time duty based on what he did in 2017. Bryan is a 3-technique defensive tackle and defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli loves 3-techniques. Oh, and he put Bryan through the paces at the player’s pro day.

Of the third-round picks, I like McShay’s pick better because we don’t know yet what will happen with receiver Dez Bryant. Hamilton impressed at the Senior Bowl and is Penn State’s all-time leader in receptions. He might not be the fastest, but he produced and he is considered a solid route runner.

Shepherd is something of a project, albeit a talented one. But here’s something to consider: Since Will McClay took over the draft room in 2014,wholesale nfl jerseys the Cowboys have not selected a player from a small school in the top three rounds. Again, does that eliminate the player from consideration? No, but it adds another layer to the debate.

Runner, illustrator Scott Magoon draws strength five years on


Scott Magoon jogged toward the Boston Marathon finish line five years ago, his goal in sight. He’d jumped into the last wave of runners that morning at the start in Hopkinton, nfl shop jerseys authentic Massachusetts, without an entry bib — a “bandit,” in distance running parlance — and he didn’t feel any qualms about that. Whom was he hurting? He was about to beat his official time from the year before.

He heard an explosion ahead of him. A debris cloud rose. Objects rained out of it. Magoon turned to the runner next to him. “That’s not good,” he said. They slowed to a stop. Then a second bomb detonated 50 yards behind them, and the concussive shock wave clouted Magoon in the back. He instinctively threw himself belly-down on the asphalt, calculating how far he was from the spot where his wife and two young sons were waiting to see him go by.

“It seemed so quiet,” said Magoon, a 45-year-old freelance illustrator from the Boston suburb of Reading. “It just took a few seconds for people to make noise and realize, ‘We gotta get the hell out of here.'” He inhaled deeply, pausing in the retelling. “I remember looking around in the direction of the bomb, finally. I didn’t see a whole lot, but I saw enough.”

Magoon pulled out his phone and was able to reach his wife. His kids were unscathed and mostly uncomprehending; his younger son thought a giant had attacked. As Magoon fled the course to find them, his only apparent injury a scraped knee, he already understood how fortunate he was compared to many on Boylston Street whose lives were forever altered.

But he was fine. Or was he? The day rang in his ears and his mind, lingering in a way he hadn’t anticipated. Sudden loud noises would catapult him back to that moment of fear and uncertainty. His walk to the office where he worked at the time took him by the finish area, where the stone fa?ade of the Old South Church loomed like a reproach: See what happens when you go where you’re not supposed to be? It’s your fault you were in the bomb zone. You don’t deserve to feel bad. Other people are suffering so terribly.

Magoon wrestled with his spiraling thoughts in what he describes as a “relatively mild case” of post-traumatic stress disorder. Finally, at his wife’s urging,shop nfl jerseys online he saw a therapist and went on medication. He pulled through but kept his journey mostly to himself. “It gave me perspective,” he said. “I heard so many stories of people who went through similar things that I didn’t feel like so much of a wimp or an outcast, unable to process or cope.”