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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Matthew Stafford, wife Kelly welcome third child

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has just three weeks to prepare for the start of another NFL season, but his hands may be more full at home than they are at work these days.

On Sunday, Stafford’s wife Kelly revealed that the couple welcomed their third child last week. Kelly said the baby is healthy, but there has been no indication of whether it is a boy or a girl.

Matthew and Kelly welcomed baby twin girls in April 2017, so you could say they have a rapidly-growing family. Mrs. Stafford recently fired back at Jalen Ramsey after he criticized several NFL quarterbacks, and it sounds like she was on the verge of giving birth when she made the remarks.

DeAndre Hopkins has extremely high praise for Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson needed just seven games last season to prove that he is capable of taking the Houston Texans’ offense to new heights, and his most dangerous target is understandably excited for what the 2018 season has in store.

Watson was on pace to throw more than 40 touchdown passes last year before he went down, and DeAndre Hopkins insists that was more than just beginner’s luck.

“The possibilities, what we can do is limitless, not just him and myself, but this whole team,” Hopkins over the weekend, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “He runs this whole team and he does a great job.”

Hopkins, who admitted Watson has “a lot to work on,” said he and the former Clemson star have spent a lot of time trying to improve their chemistry this offseason.

“The way he studies and our communication on the field, we’re always talking in between reps about what we can do better,” Hopkin said. “So, that’s something that he’s always had, but just something that he’s improved on – just us communicating and trying to get better reps.”

Watson has been practicing without a knee brace for two months now, and there has been no indication that he has dealt with any setbacks. He injured his knee last October and has said all along that he is ahead of schedule, which is remarkable considering it is not his first torn ACL.

We already know how confident Hopkins is in his own abilities, and there’s no reason he and Watson can’t become one of the best WR-QB duos in football.

AJ McCarron getting second opinion on collarbone injury

AJ McCarron

Buffalo Bills quarterback A.J. McCarron suffered what was believed to be a fractured collarbone during Friday night’s preseason game against the Cleveland Browns, but the team is not yet ruling him out for the start of the season.

On Sunday, Bills head coach Sean McDermott told reporters that tests on McCarron’s shoulder were inconclusive and he is seeking a second opinion. McDermott stopped short of saying the veteran is no longer in the hunt for the starting QB job.

McCarron has been battling with Nathan Peterman and rookie Josh Allen for Buffalo’s starting quarterback job, and it seemed like a virtual certainty that he would be out several weeks after reports of his injury surfaced. None of the three players have stood out in the competition yet, with McCarron completing just 3-of-6 passes for 12 yards in Friday’s start.

Richard Sherman rips NFL over ‘idiotic’ new helmet rule

Richard Sherman

The NFL has implemented a new rule for 2018 that lays out a very specific way players are required to tackle, and Richard Sherman feels defenders have absolutely no chance of adhering to it.

After one of his teammates was flagged for unnecessary roughness in a preseason game for violating the new rule, Sherman took to Twitter and unloaded on the NFL. His argument is that it is physically impossible for a defender to not lead with his helmet in some manner while making a tackle.

Sherman then did what many other opponents of the rule have done, which was point out how even rugby players lead with their heads while making what are considered clean tackles.

The NFL still has time to alter the rule before the regular season, but as of now the league expects players to either lead with their facemask or not use the head at all while making a tackle. There’s certainly a difference between a defender spearing an offensive player with the crown of his helmet and the helmet simply being involved in a hit, so you can understand the frustration from Sherman and others.

One defensive back has already ruthlessly mocked the NFL over its new rule, and it would not be a surprise if we see it called less during the regular season whether the language is changed or not.

Klay Thompson’s dad predicts how long son will be with Warriors

Klay Thompson

The Golden State Warriors will almost certainly want Klay Thompson to take less money from them next summer than he could earn on the open market, and it seems clear that the sharpshooter is very much open to the idea of a hometown discount.

Thompson’s father, former NBA star Mychal Thompson, spoke with Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday about his son’s impending free agency. The elder Thompson said he has complete confidence that Klay will remain with the Warriors for years to come.

“Oh yeah, you can mark it down,” Mychal Thompson said. “Klay’s going to retire in the Warriors’ uniform. He’s going to play at Chase Center (the Warriors’ new arena, opening in 2019), and he’s not going to be at Chase Center as a visiting player, he’s going to be a Warrior for the next seven or eight years.”

Even with the Warriors continuously adding talent and less shots to go around, Thompson has consistently averaged 20 or more points per game for the past four seasons. He’s one of the best shooting guards in the game and is an obvious max contract player, and Golden State can dip further into the luxury tax to sign him. Rather than Klay taking a pay cut, Mychal hinted that he believes the Warriors will be willing to pay the big bucks.

“He’s got such a good thing here,” Mychal said. “The Warriors have such a special thing here. For the next six or seven years they’re going to be championship material, they’re not going to break that up. The Bulls (with Michael Jordan) were broken up too prematurely. (Warriors owners) Joe Lacob and Peter Guber aren’t going to let that happen. Are you kidding? They can afford it. They’re the Warriors, this is the Bay Area, they got a beautiful arena, and money’s no object for this team.”

Kevin Durant has already taken a pay cut to allow the Warriors to keep their core together, and some comments Thompson made in the past make it seem like he could be open to doing the same. There’s obviously some sort of limit to how much luxury tax Golden State wants to pay, so perhaps there will be enough motivation on either side for them to come to a reasonable agreement with Thompson.

Hue Jackson says ‘there’s a chance’ Josh Gordon will play Week 1

Josh Gordon

Josh Gordon announced over the weekend that he has rejoined the Cleveland Browns after leaving as part of his ongoing treatment program, which gives the star wide receiver three weeks to prepare for the start of the regular season. However, he is not a lock to play in Week 1.

During a conference call with reporters on Saturday, Browns head coach Hue Jackson would not commit to Gordon being ready for the start of the regular season.

“There’s a chance,” Jackson said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “Obviously, we’re just going to take it one step at a time. His focus is going to be on meetings and conditioning, and then we’ll just kind of go from there. Hopefully, we can get him up and running by the first game.”

Jackson’s remarks were similar to the ones made by Browns GM John Dorsey, who said Gordon will ease back in and resume all football activities when “deemed appropriate.”

The fact that Gordon has returned several weeks before the start of the season is certainly a good sign, as there was no timetable for when he would be back at one point. There were also rumors that he may have been facing possible disciplinary action from the NFL, but that is not the case.

It’s still unclear if there was a specific event that inspired Gordon to take some time off, though there has been plenty of speculation. The Browns hosted Dez Bryant for a visit during Gordon’s absence, but Jackson has insisted the team’s interest in the free agent wide receiver has nothing to do with Gordon’s status.

MLB Twitter account takes epic shot at Boston radio host

JD Martinez

There were more than a few people who thought the Boston Red Sox were making a mistake when they signed J.D. Martinez last winter, and Boston radio host Tony Massarotti may have been the most outspoken about it. The official Twitter account of Major League Baseball does not want him to forget it.

Martinez hit his MLB-leading 38th home run of the season in Boston’s 5-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday. The person who runs MLB’s Twitter account capitalized on the opportunity to taunt Massarotti over it. To his credit, Mazz was a good sport.

For those of you who don’t get the reference, Michael Felger is Massarotti’s co-host on 98.5 The Sports Hub’s “Felger and Mazz Show” in Boston. Massarotti ripped the Red Sox on the air repeatedly before the season over the Martinez signing, and he also sent several tweets bashing the team.

Martinez’s 106 RBI are 11 more than any player in baseball, and his .333 batting average is second in the majors behind only teammate Mookie Betts. He’s a legitimate MVP and Triple Crown candidate, and his production has filled the massive void left in Boston’s lineup after the departure of David Ortiz. He’s listened to plenty of criticism throughout his career that has even spilled over into this season, and he’s clearly using it as motivation. Red Sox fans can thank Mazz for that.

Orlando Scandrick signs with Chiefs

Orlando Scandrick was released by the Washington Redskins earlier this week after never playing a regular season snap with the team, but the veteran cornerback has already found work elsewhere.

On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs announced that they have signed Scandrick.

Scandrick, 31, was only with the Chiefs for about five months and collected a hefty signing bonus to essentially do nothing for the team. He spent the previous nine years of his career with the Dallas Cowboys and had some harsh words after he was released.

This isn’t the first time the Chiefs have taken a chance on a veteran in their secondary, as they also signed Darrelle Revis last year. They’re hoping the Scandrick addition pays off more than the Revis one did.

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