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Monday, June 25, 2018

Stories by Steve DelVecchio:

Vikings LB thinks wrong player won NFL MVP award in 2017

Russell Wilson

Russell Wilson did not receive any votes on the final ballot for the NFL’s MVP award for last season, and one of his opponents believes that was an oversight.

Tom Brady became the oldest MVP in league history when he received 40 votes after throwing for 4,577 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley finished second with eight votes, and Carson Wentz came in behind him with two. In an interview with NFL.com this week, Minnesota Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said he would have given the honor to Wilson.

“His ability to extend plays and he never has help, and he’s always able to somehow … He should have won MVP, I think, this past year,” Barr said. “No offensive line, no running game, can’t name three receivers on his team and he just makes plays.”

Wilson had a fine season, and Barr is right that his supporting cast has been questionable at best. He was able to throw for nearly 4,000 yards, 34 touchdowns and 11 interceptions despite getting minimal protection from Seattle’s O-line and a running game that has been MIA since Marshawn Lynch left.

It’s tough to argue against Brady winning, but you could certainly make a case that Wilson did not receive enough credit for leading the Seahawks to a 9-7 record and just missing the playoffs. He has been taking a beating like never before over the past two seasons, and it’s about time Seattle finds a way to keep him on his feet going forward.

Jalen Rose reacts to Chris Webber accepting Jim Harbaugh’s invitation

Jalen Rose

Jalen Rose is thrilled that his former Fab Five teammate Chris Webber has decided to return to Michigan this fall for the first time in years, but he has one question — why football?

Last week, Webber accepted Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh’s invitation to serve as an honorary captain at a game this season. Rose was asked for his thoughts on the topic on ESPN’s “Get Up!” Monday morning, and he said numerous times that he is “elated” Webber has finally decided to reincorporate himself into the Michigan family.

“I’m elated. I’m excited because this really unlocks the legacy of the Fab Five,” Rose said. “Him not going back to Ann Arbor and not acknowledging the university actually put a ceiling on the acknowledgment of the Fab Five and on (former coach) Steve Fisher, who all did a terrific job of trying to establish a level of success and appreciation for what we were able to accomplish.”

Webber, of course, was at the center of an NCAA scandal when it was discovered that he and other Michigan players accepted money from booster Ed Martin, who died in 2003. Webber took over $200,000 from Martin and was the highest-profile player called to testify before a grand jury. He initially lied to the grand jury and was later convicted of perjury, and Michigan was forced to vacate its Final Four appearances and wins from the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Webber was not elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame earlier this year for the seventh straight year, and some believe the Michigan scandal is the main reason voters are snubbing him. Rose believes that is why Webber is now trying to reconcile with Michigan.

“I’m elated by this news. I’m not surprised by this news and, respectfully, it’s calculated,” he said. “He understands that he is a Hall of Fame-level player. He has to turn around the thoughts of a lot of media members who didn’t select him. To me, I see this as the first step of him (reigniting) his Hall of Fame candidacy for public consumption.”

Finally, Rose also wondered why Webber has accepted an invitation from Michigan’s football program and not the basketball team.

“The one person that I’m pretty sure is probably like, ‘What’s going on?’ is (Wolverines coach) John Beilein. The last time I checked, (Webber) didn’t play football. He played basketball.”

Rose has made some very harsh comments about Webber in the past, so it’s clear where he stands in regard to how things have gone over the past two decades. For Webber, serving as an honorary captain for a football game would be a start, but it might not be the capacity many fans and alumni were hoping to see him in.

Report: Aaron Hernandez’s ex-fiancee has baby with amateur boxer

Shayanna Jenkins, the former fiancee of Aaron Hernandez, announced last month that she was pregnant and expecting a baby girl. The baby was reportedly born a little over a week ago, and some information has surfaced about who the father is.

TMZ reports that Jenkins gave birth to a healthy baby girl on June 16 in Rhode Island. Sources told the gossip publication that the father is Dino Guilmette, an amateur boxer from Providence.

Hernandez committed suicide in his prison cell in April 2017, but there were still rumors that the former Patriots tight end may have had his sperm frozen before taking his own life. That was apparently not the case. He and Jenkins already have a daughter together.

Jenkins stood by Hernandez through both of his murder trials and has seemingly been in denial about the way he died.

LeBron James reportedly not interested in elaborate free agency pitches

LeBron James

LeBron James is widely expected to opt out of his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers and become a free agent, but it sounds like his decision-making process will be a lot different this summer than it was in the past.

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports that LeBron has no intention of meeting with teams to hear “elaborate” pitches and presentations. While he may speak with owners and club officials from certain teams at some point, sources told Shelburne that James and his camp don’t feel they need powerpoint presentations and fancy meetings to make an informed decision this time around.

As we all remember, LeBron’s free agency courtship was about as flamboyant as it gets when he first left the Cavs in 2010. He has since admitted that “The Decision,” which was an actual special that aired on ESPN, was a mistake. When he became a free agent in 2014, LeBron met with only the Heat and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert in person. It’s unclear how many teams James is potentially interested in this time, but it sounds like the process will be much more similar to 2014 than 2010.

For what it’s worth, Shelburne notes that LeBron has not yet made a decision about whether or not to pick up his player option for the 2018-2019 season. It would be pretty shocking if he opts in for another year in Cleveland, but it apparently is not out of the question.

While Las Vegas oddsmakers have already made up their mind about where LeBron will play next season, it sounds like multiple teams remain in the mix.

Former Bucs top pick arrested for ninth time since 2010

Keith McCants was once a star at Alabama who went on to become the No. 4 overall pick in the NFL Draft, but life after football has not been kind to the former defensive lineman.

According to Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times, McCants was arrested early Monday morning for possession of crack cocaine. The arrest was his ninth in the Tampa area since 2010, and he was booked on a felony cocaine charge in addition to a second offense of driving with a suspended or revoked license.

McCants was most recently arrested in January for driving with a suspended license, but he entered a not guilty plea and is awaiting a jury trial on July 10. Most of his other past charges are related to drug arrests and warrants, and he also served two days in jail in 2016 over a battery charge.

McCants has spoken openly about his battle with drug addiction in the past, and he says money was the worst thing that ever happened to him. The 50-year-old played for three different NFL teams over six seasons

Report: Julian Edelman to argue NFL mishandled his drug test results

Julian Edelman beard

Julian Edelman is scheduled to appeal his four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drug use on Monday, and part of his argument will be that there were mistakes made in the way his test results were handled.

ESPN’s Dan Graziano reports that Edelman’s camp is planning to present a “vigorous defense” that argues the NFL mishandled the case for two reasons. The first issue the New England Patriots receiver will present is that the substance he tested positive for was one not even recognized by testers, which was previously reported by Albert Breer of The MMQB.

Edelman will also present evidence that the NFL mishandled the delivery and documentation of his test results. Graziano reports that it was discovered during the course of the investigation that the league mishandled evidence, and the 32-year-old will cite that as a reason he should be exonerated.

If Edelman’s appeal is denied, he could still pursue avenues to drag the case out in federal court similar to the way Tom Brady handled his Deflategate suspension. Of course, Brady ended up serving the four-game ban in the end.

Judging by the apology he issued after his four-game suspension was announced, it seems as though Edelman is committed to pleading ignorance. That typically isn’t a strong enough defense when testing positive in the NFL, but perhaps he will be an exception.

LeBron sends fans into frenzy by changing social media themes

LeBron James

LeBron James is preparing to make one of the biggest decisions of his NBA career, and he may be tipping his hand with some big changes he made to his social media pages. As for what it all means, that’s anyone’s guess.

At some point on Sunday, LeBron changed his Twitter and Instagram profile pictures in addition to his Twitter cover photo. The theme was very clearly pro-Akron, which of course is the area of Cleveland in which LeBron grew up.

Naturally, the changes sent fans into a frenzy. Some feel that LeBron is hinting that he is going to re-sign with the Cavs, while others are convinced he has begun his farewell tour.

If you believe that Las Vegas always has the answers, LeBron has already decided which team he will sign with in the coming weeks. Whatever the case, the social media changes aren’t a coincidence. LeBron’s previous photos were Cavs-related, and everything he does is calculated. Fans are buzzing about it because he wants them to be.

Padres had legendary team bus mishap on way to face Giants

Padres logo

The San Diego Padres arrived to AT&T Park for their game against the San Francisco Giants on Sunday in a form of transportation that is very familiar to people in the Bay Area, but let’s just say the memorable entrance was not planned.

For whatever reason, the bus that was supposed to pick the Padres up at their hotel on Sunday morning never showed. That forced the team into a situation where they had to make other arrangements, and they ended up riding in a double decker tour bus with a police escort.

You can’t make this stuff up.

The Giants have been no strangers to transportation issues this season, but seeing their opponent pull up in a tour bus was probably something they won’t soon forget.

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