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In Oakland, veteran Bruce Irvin finds smack-talking, kindred spirit in Jon Gruden

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You could say these are bright times for Bruce Irvin, who has had his share of dark days in his life.

Since the end of last season, he has earned a degree, becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college, made a much-desired position switch from outside linebacker to defensive end and maybe, just maybe, found a kindred spirit in returning Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden.

“He talks s— like I talk s—, so we get along,” Irvin said.

Irvin came to Oakland as a free agent in 2016 after four star-crossed seasons with the Seattle Seahawks, which included an eight-sack rookie season, a Super Bowl championship and another trip to the Super Bowl.cheap nike nfl jerseys free shipping

Initially an edge-rusher, Irvin made the switch to outside linebacker despite his concerns that he was not “smart enough” to play in coverages. Ken Norton Jr., then his position coach in Seattle and later his defensive coordinator in Oakland, admonished his pupil, telling him to never admit such a thing.

Besides, Norton told Irvin, he was capable of playing linebacker.10

The Raiders were obviously impressed enough to sign Irvin to a four-year deal worth a max of $37 million and $12.5 million fully guaranteed to make him a bookend pass-rusher with All-Pro Khalil Mack.

Irvin’s presence helped Mack become the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 as Oakland went 12-4 and appeared in the postseason for the first time since the 2002 season.

The team regressed badly under Jack Del Rio in 2017, going 6-10 before Del Rio was shown the door. Gruden agreed to return to Oakland with an eye on Irvin and his skill set.

Enter new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who worked Irvin out at West Virginia and wanted the Cincinnati Bengals to draft him before the Seahawks struck at No. 15 overall in 2012.

“I knew he was a really gifted rusher,” Guenther said. “… Just coming here, I thought his best assets for us was to go forward rather than go backwards. He’s done a good job with what we’re asking him to do in the base fronts.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

“Obviously, we know what he can do as a pass-rusher. Hopefully, we can get him over a double-digit [sack] mark this year. That’s the goal for him.”

Redskins’ Derrius Guice fast becoming man of the people

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As the line of players dwindled Wednesday, one slowly worked his way down the autograph line until nobody was left. He signed; he chatted with some and laughed with others. Running back Derrius Guice already has become a man of the people, it seems, in only one month of being a Washington Redskin.

It’s too early to have a foregone conclusion on what any rookie might do in his first season. Most players should look good in the spring; they’re at their healthiest and no one is in pads.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

But it’s clear via social media Guice has become a player Redskins fans can’t wait to see in action. When it comes to Redskins rookies, the list of those who have generated a lot of buzz with their talent and personality isn’t long. In the past 20 years, LaVar Arrington and Robert Griffin III would be on that list. The late Sean Taylor was a buzzworthy player, mainly because of how much people liked his game. He was a big presence, but did not need the sort of spotlight others craved. Griffin just needed to smile and fans would swoon; he was charismatic, too. When camp was at Redskins Park, Arrington would pit groups of fans against one another, asking them to loudly cheer to decide where he’d go sign. He enjoyed it; fans ate it up.

Fans light up around Guice, mainly because he lights up around them. Whether it’s treating fans to a movie (and refreshments) on a whim or greeting them behind the ropes as players exit the field. Stories on the running back generate more action on Twitter and Facebook than almost any other. Just a Twitter mention of how no one seemed to be enjoying themselves more on the field than Guice warranted more than 275 likes. And counting.9

Guice also has quickly embraced his new city, tweeting about the Washington Capitals and even attending the watch party at the Capital One Arena for the Stanley Cup-clinching Game 5.

It’s impossible to speculate how Guice will develop as a player. Thus far he looks patient, but decisive when he cuts. Rob Kelley looks good, too. But what happens when the defenders are in full pads and going a lot harder than they are in the spring? We won’t get a taste of that until the preseason games begin in two months. In college, Guice ran with violence; more of the same is expected with the Redskins, but who knows to what degree.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Guice also showed Wednesday he can catch. He doesn’t let the ball get into his chest, grabbing it with his hands. He’s able to gather his feet quickly and turn in stride. Protection, not his hands, will dictate how well he does when the Redskins have him in passing sets.

Lightning beat Bruins 4-3 in OT to take 3-1 series lead

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Dan Girardi scored 3:18 into overtime to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 victory over Boston on Friday night in a game that featured more face-licking from Brad Marchand but left the Lightning with a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals as they return to Florida for a potential clincher in Game 5.

“It’s going to be the hardest game of the series, and it always is,” said Tampa Bay wing Ryan Callahan, who was swabbed by Marchand’s tongue in the second period — the second straight opponent to complain about the tactic by the Bruins’ forward.customized nfl jerseys cheap

“It’s unfortunate that he goes that low to do that, but doesn’t take us off our game,” Callahan said. “Hopefully, the league looks at it. I don’t know if there is discipline for spitting in someone’s face, but to me it’s worse if not the same.”127

Steven Stamkos tied it 3-all with seven minutes left in regulation after Bruins defenceman Charlie McAvoy turned the puck over behind the Boston net after he appeared to be pulled down from behind. Girardi ended it when he got a stick on a pass from Alex Killorn that was deflected off Brian Gionta’s skate in the crease.

Tuukka Rask stopped 28 shots for the Bruins. Torey Krug, who was helped off the bench to the locker room in the third period and did not finish the game, had a pair of assists, as did Marchand.

But Marchand — whose nickname “Little Ball of Hate” even made its way to President Barack Obama when the Bruins visited the White House after their 2011 Stanley Cup win — was the talk of the postgame more for his penchant for licking opponents.

Marchand went nose-to-nose with Callahan after a whistle with 1:21 left in the second, then leaned in and tried to lick Callahan’s face. The Lightning forward pushed him away.

“He punched me four times in the face,” Marchand said. “He just kept getting close. Nothing big.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs also complained about the tactic during their first-round series with Boston. Told that Callahan compared licking to spitting and said it should be penalized accordingly, Marchand said, “That’s cute. Good for him.”cheap nike nfl jerseys china

Two nights after scoring twice in the first 3:19 for a lead they would never relinquish, the Lightning again opened a 2-0 lead. Point scored about five minutes in when he split defenders Zdeno Chara and McAvoy at the blue line and then faked out Rask in the crease.

Ron Hainsey sends message to Toronto after deadly van attack

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Maple Leafs defenceman Ron Hainsey delivered an emotional message to cheap new nike nfl jerseys all those affected by the tragic van attack that claimed the lives of 10 people in the north end of Toronto Monday afternoon.

The Bolton, Connecticut, native extended his condolences and was nearly brought to tears as he spoke to Sportsnet’s Kyle Bukauskas ahead of Game 6 against the Boston Bruins.
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“On behalf of myself and my teammates, we’d like to extend our deepest sorrow and thoughts to all the victims, the victims’ families, the men and women first on the scene, the brave men and women first on the scene, who do so much to keep everybody safe — thank you so much,” he said.

“Hold your loved ones tight. Give them an extra kiss tonight. I know I will, because you just never know anymore. cheap nfl jerseys nike china As for tonight — we’re going to play our heart out for this city.”

The Maple Leafs held a pre-game moment of silence to honour the victims of the van attack at Yonge and Finch in Toronto which has, as of this posting, left 10 dead and another 15 injured.

Yankees acquire RHP A.J. Cole from Nationals for cash

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The Yankees have acquired pitcher A.J. Cole from the Washington Nationals, hoping the once-promising righty can find his rhythm in a new place.

New York announced it obtained Cole for cash following a 14-1 win over Minnesota on Monday night. china nfl jersey wholesale Right-hander David Hale was designated for assignment after pitching two scoreless innings to finish off the rout.

The 26-year-old Cole was cut by the Nationals on Friday. He was 1-1 with a 13.06 ERA in four games.

Cole won the fifth spot in the rotation out of spring training, but was tagged by Atlanta for 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings in his first start. He made one more start, then was shifted to the bullpen when Jeremy Hellickson joined the Nationals.259

The 6-foot-5 Cole is 5-8 with a 5.32 ERA in parts of four seasons with Washington.

Hellickson was signed less than two weeks before opening day. nfl apparel for men Once he became available after an extended spring, he was added to Washington’s roster and Cole became expendable.

Hellickson has made two starts for the Nationals and kept them in the game both times.

Ginobili, Aldridge help Spurs beat Warriors to avoid sweep

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Before Gregg Popovich, Ginobili played in Italy for Messina, and on Sunday he delivered a throwback performance for his old coach to save the Spurs’ season.

Experiencing a flashback to his days playing for Messina in the Euroleague in his early 20s, the 40-year-old Ginobili scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help San Antonio beat the Golden State Warriors 103-90. cheap authentic nfl jersey The Spurs avoided a series sweep as Popovich missed his second straight game following the death of his wife, Erin, on Wednesday.

In his 16th season in the NBA and perhaps the final home game of his career, Ginobili rebounded from a scoreless effort in Game 3 to help Messina capture his first playoff victory as a coach, albeit an unofficial one.

”For moments when he talks to the rest of the team, or when he gets upset and he yells at us, a lot of flashbacks,” Ginobili said, chuckling. ”He’s very strict and he wants the team to play his way, so whenever we stopped executing the way we should have, the old himself comes back. It was good to see him coaching on this stage. Good memories.”

Ginobili played for Messina while both were with Virtus Bologna in 2000-02.248

Kevin Durant had 34 points and 13 rebounds for the Warriors, who can wrap up the series in Game 5 at home Tuesday.

”You have got to give them a lot of credit,” Golden State forward Draymond Green said. ”They came out and they probably played with more intensity this game than they did the entire series.”

LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Spurs, but they were willed to the finish by Ginobili, who has said he will decide in the offseason if he will return for a 17th season.

Ginobili was 3 for 4 in the final quarter, including making both of his 3-point attempts, and did not have a turnover in 6 1/2 minutes.

”I am so happy for him,” Messina said. ”I’m so happy.nfl cheap jerseys from china I think he deserves everything that is happening to him in his life and his career.”

Golden State outscored San Antonio 29-21 in the third quarter and went on a 13-5 run beginning two minutes into the fourth quarter to pull within 88-86 with 6 minutes remaining after trailing by as many as 17.

Netherlands striker Bas Dost retires from international football

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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.”

Alex Cobb’s debut turns into disappointment (O’s lose 10-3)

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 14: Alex Cobb #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox on April 14, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images) BOSTON, MA - APRIL 14: Alex Cobb #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox on April 14, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Alex Cobb can’t be judged on one start. Signing him as a free agent can’t be deemed a colossal failure after one inning. The same patience required to prepare him for today’s debut with the Orioles is needed to grade him.

He didn’t pass today. nfl jerseys from china There will be plenty of other tests.

The first four Red Sox batters reached against Cobb this afternoon and he allowed three runs and threw 28 pitches before retreating to the visiting dugout. The storms forecast for the next two days arrived early without the precipitation.

Cobb lasted only 3 2/3 innings and was charged with seven earned runs (eight total) and 10 hits while the Orioles fell behind the Red Sox 8-0 at Fenway Park.

Pedro álvarez’s two-run homer off Hector Velázquez with two outs in the fifth reduced the lead to 8-2.

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 14: Alex Cobb #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox on April 14, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

BOSTON, MA – APRIL 14: Alex Cobb #17 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during the first inning of a game against the Boston Red Sox on April 14, 2018 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Hanley Ramirez and J.D. Martinez homered off Cobb, who allowed his most runs since giving up eight to the Astros over three innings on July 31, 2017 while pitching for the Rays. He made only seven more starts due to a toe injury that forced him on the disabled list.

The Orioles didn’t sign Cobb until March 21 and they chose a deliberate pace for his arrival, with simulated and extended spring training games sprinkled among bullpen sessions. They got him up to six innings and 93 pitches.

Getting him through the first today was a challenge.

Mookie Betts drew a six-pitch walk to lead off the inning and he scored official nfl jerseys cheap on Andrew Benintendi’s double off the Green Monster. Benintendi moved to third on Manny Machado’s error on the relay throw and he trotted home on Ramirez’s shot over the famed wall.

Martinez singled before Cobb finally registered his first outs of the day on a 4-3 double play grounder from Rafael Devers. Jackie Bradley Jr. singled to center field, a line drive up the middle that forced Cobb to duck while raising his glove, and Sandy Leon flied out on the next pitch.

Blackhawks lose the benefit of the doubt with playoff-less season

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As we begin to sift through the ashes of the five-alarm fire that was the Chicago Blackhawks 2017-18 season, it feels like a proverbial line has been crossed by this organization.152

Since 2010, whenever this Blackhawks team has needed a Herculean effort to get out of a massive hole, it’s delivered.

You know all the greatest hits and deepest cuts of this album by now: forcing a Game 7 against the top-seeded Vancouver Canucks, reebok nfl jerseys a pair of overtime victories against the then-Phoenix Coyotes, rallying from a 3-1 deficit against the Detroit Red Wings, overcoming a 2-1 deficit to the Boston Bruins, pushing the Los Angeles Kings into overtime of Game 7 before a horrific bounce ended it all, erasing a 3-2 deficit to the Anaheim Ducks and countless regular season comebacks that are on the B-side.

Every time the Blackhawks got down, they told us not to worry. And then they’d come back. It was like clockwork. It’s one of the biggest parts of what’s made this last decade so enjoyable.

But in the last three seasons, that hasn’t happened. Chicago’s fallen behind in some manner, told everyone it was OK, but then failed to overcome that particular hurdle.

And after missing the playoffs this season, it’s hard to carry that same faith into the upcoming NHL seasons.

There are still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Chicago’s 2018-19 season. There are a slew of young players who fared well.nfl authentic jerseys  Patrick Kane is still one of the league’s best offensive weapons. And with six months before the regular season begins, Crawford has plenty of time to recover from whatever it is that’s ailed him since Christmas.

But if we get to the holiday season in 2018 and this team is again on the outside of the playoff picture, it won’t be easy to believe that everything is going to be fine, no matter how many times the players say it.

Seahawks Canceled Colin Kaepernick Visit When QB Refused to End Protest

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The Seattle Seahawks reportedly postponed a meeting with free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick because of his decision to continue protesting wholesale authentic nfl jerseys racial injustice during the national anthem.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Thursday that the Seahawks’ decision came after Kaepernick declined to stop kneeling during the national anthem next season.

However, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the Seahawks didn’t postpone the meeting solely because Kaepernick declined to stop kneeling. Instead, they “asked for his plan moving forward on how to handle everything and there was not a firm plan.”

Per Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times, the Seahawks will hold internal talks about potential backup options at quarterback, but they could still consider signing Kaepernick in the future.

After sitting out the entire 2017 season, Kaepernick held a throwing workout on a practice field in Houston last month.

Kaepernick began protesting during the national anthem during the 2016 preseason with the San Francisco 49ers. His decision to protest stemmed from not wanting to “stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he told NFL.com’s Steve Wyche.

The Seahawks were one of the teams Kaepernick met with as a free agent last offseason, but NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported contract talks broke down official nfl jerseys because the two sides couldn’t agree on financial terms.

In 69 regular-season games with the 49ers from 2011 through 2016, Kaepernick threw for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns with 30 interceptions.