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Friday, April 20, 2018

Stories by Grey Papke:

Peyton Manning explains why he passed on broadcast jobs

Peyton Manning

Despite being courted by all the major networks, Peyton Manning is still resisting the call to become an NFL broadcaster.

Appearing at the 2018 Restaurant Leadership Conference, Manning explained that he simply prefers being a fan at this point, and doesn’t want to be a critical voice.

It’s not a small thing that Manning has turned down job offers. One network reportedly went to great lengths to try to recruit him, but he isn’t biting. Perhaps the real reason is that he has another career in mind down the road.

Dolphins say Ryan Tannehill will start at QB regardless of draft pick

Ryan Tannehill

The Miami Dolphins may well draft a quarterback, but the job remains Ryan Tannehill’s to lose.

In a Wednesday press conference, general manager Chris Grier said that, while the Dolphins may look to take a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft, Tannehill will remain the team’s starter regardless.

Interestingly, the Dolphins have made no secret of the fact that they’re at least considering first-round quarterbacks, which has to make Tannehill wonder a bit. One in particular seems to have Miami entranced. It seems, however, that Tannehill’s job is safe for a year. Beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

Report: Tom Brady has continued usual offseason regimen

Tom Brady

New reporting has cast fresh doubt on the future of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, but his actions don’t seem to be adding any fuel to those rumors.

Despite reports that Brady has not formally committed to the Patriots for 2018, teammates who have spoken to him have been given no indication that he’s doing anything but planning to return. Additionally, Brady has reportedly been sticking to his typical offseason program.

In other words, if Brady is still pondering retirement, he certainly isn’t acting like it, despite his absence from offseason workouts. Perhaps he still has some doubts but wants to be prepared in case he does decide to come back, but it certainly seems more likely than not that he’ll be playing in 2018.

Brian Bowen declares for NBA Draft while awaiting NCAA clearance

Brian Bowen

Former five-star recruit Brian Bowen, who was at the center of the Louisville recruiting scandal that ultimately brought down Rick Pitino, is declaring for the NBA Draft — with a caveat.

Bowen, who is awaiting NCAA clearance to play next season at South Carolina after transferring, declared for the draft in case he does not get that clearance, according to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

An FBI investigation alleged that Adidas funneled $100,000 to Bowen’s family for committing to Louisville. He has denied all knowledge, but the allegations have certainly thrown his college career way off track.

Braves sign Jose Bautista, plan to use him at third base

Jose Bautista curtain call

The Atlanta Braves have thrown everyone a curveball with the signing of Jose Bautista to a minor-league deal.

The Braves announced the surprising deal on Wednesday with an even more unexpected twist — Bautista will report to extended spring training and begin working at third base.

Alex Anthopoulos, who was part of the Toronto Blue Jays front office that acquired Bautista, is currently GM of the Braves, so the links are there.

Bautista hasn’t played regularly at third base since 2011, though he came up as one when he was much younger. The hope may be that he can eventually take over the hot corner at the MLB level from Ryan Flaherty, who isn’t a permanent solution despite a hot start.

The question is what Bautista’s bat has left to offer. He hit just .203 with 23 home runs for Toronto in 2017, and he had to fend off retirement rumors as recently as last month.

Old Blazers tweets are fitting amid playoff struggles

Rajon Rondo

New Orleans Pelicans guards Jrue Holiday and Rajon Rondo put the Portland Trail Blazers to the sword in Tuesday night’s Game 2 of the Western Conference quarterfinals, and it sounds like the Blazers should have seen it coming.

Holiday led the charge, dropping 33 on the Blazers, while Rondo, not known for his three-point shooting, made two of them, including a backbreaker in the final minute to more or less seal the game for the Pelicans.

It didn’t take long for a pair of years-old tweets from Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to surface that seemed quite clairvoyant.

Accurate on both counts. Holiday even has ownership of the Blazers now. Portland is down 2-0 and will need to win one on the road just to avoid being swept.

Saquon Barkley’s agent denies report about trying to avoid Browns

Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley’s agent has denied a report stating that the highly-touted running back has been advised to do everything he can to avoid being drafted by the Cleveland Browns.

As part of a profile in Sports Illustrated, SI’s Ben Baskin wrote that Barkley’s Roc Nation representatives don’t want him in Cleveland and have gone as far as to “pull an Eli Manning” and tell the Browns to pass on him. This was quickly denied.

“I can say on behalf of our entire team that we would be thrilled for Saquon to go to whichever team drafts him,” Barkley’s agent Kim Miale told Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com. “We know he will be a resounding success for any team fortunate enough to select him.”

Amazingly, this isn’t the first rumor we’ve heard about a top prospect trying to duck the Browns. The good news for Barkley, if true, is that it sounds like the Browns will go quarterback first overall and he probably won’t be left for them to get a second chance at him at No. 4.

LeBron James explains why Cavaliers were caught off-guard by playoffs

LeBron James Cavs

The Cleveland Cavaliers did not look ready for their playoff opener on Sunday, falling behind 25-8 out of the gate and eventually losing 98-80 at home to the Indiana Pacers. LeBron James thinks he knows why.

According to James, the Cavaliers did so much regular season tinkering that they spent too little time preparing for the postseason.

“I think we spent so much time trying to figure out who we were in the regular season and getting the right lineups and guys in and out and things of that nature, we could never build for the playoffs,” James said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It was kind of like, build for the next game. So the postseason finally hit us and it hit us very well. And I think that can be the best teacher for us to know exactly what we should be ready for tonight.”

Cleveland’s myriad of midseason moves means that they’re not as experienced as they have been in years past, though James himself was pretty passive early on as well. The star forward thinks that loss should serve as a wake-up call and an introduction to playoff basketball that some of his teammates may have needed.

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