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Sunday, August 20, 2017

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Charlotte Flair says Ric is ‘getting better’ after surgery

Ric Flair

The news on Ric Flair from those close to him continues to paint a picture of cautious optimism.

Flair’s daughter Charlotte posted an update Sunday, stating that while the wrestling legend is “not out of the woods just yet,” he is “getting better” as he recovers from surgery.

Last we heard, Flair is awake and communicating after surgery to address what sounded like a serious health issue. All the signs seem to be good for the moment.

Blake Griffin does not see LeBron James going to LA, thinks New York is more likely

Blake Griffin ground

Blake Griffin doesn’t anticipate having to make room for LeBron James in Los Angeles any time soon.

In a recent appearance on “The Cheap Seats Podcast,” the LA Clippers star big man commented on the rumors surrounding James’ uncertain future.

“Honestly, I don’t see him coming to L.A. period,” he said, per CBS Sports’ Colin Ward-Henninger. “Listen, again, I have no idea. I think something is brewing with him and his group of guys. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think something’s brewing and they’re going to try to make that work.

“I could see [LeBron] going to New York before L.A. I still think, when you go to the Garden, it’s a completely different feeling,” continued Griffin. “The energy, there seems like there’s just a consistent buzz the entire game. … Even last year when you go play them, it’s still there.”

James can hit free agency next offseason and his reported refusal to commit to the Cleveland Cavaliers long-term has led to rampant speculation about his future. That rumor mill has linked him most prominently to the Lakers, and tiny perceived hints from James himself have only added more fuel to the fire.

On the flip side, New York and the Knicks make for an intriguing alternative — they play in a weaker conference and an equally massive market, plus they famously courted James in the summer of 2010. Still, we have heard little-to-none about any possible interest they might have in the four-time MVP this time around, so this is all probably just some fun conjecture on Griffin’s part.

Redskins activate Jordan Reed from PUP list

The Washington Redskins will indeed have tight end Jordan Reed ready for the regular season.

Washington activated Reed from the Physically Unable to Perform list on Sunday, and by all accounts, he will be ready for Week 1, having recovered from a toe injury.

Reed said that he will wear custom orthopedics to help manage the issue.

“It’s been working good,” Reed said, via Stephen Czarda of the team’s official website. “It’s helped my toe out a lot and when I tried them out it felt really good.

“I think the coaches are allowing me to rest it and allow it to heal. I don’t think it will be a problem during the season because it’s starting to heal up really good right now.”

Reed also dealt with shoulder injuries toward the end of 2016, but he seems to be all set to go now, bolstering a deep tight end group in Washington.

Deshaun Watson thinks he did ‘decent job’ in second preseason game

DeShaun Watson

Deshaun Watson probably isn’t going to win the Houston Texans’ starting quarterback job, so he’s getting up to speed with the NFL game.

Watson’s second preseason game was a mixed bag. He completed just three of his ten passes, but threw for 102 yards and showed off his mobility with a touchdown run. He had a middling assessment of his performance afterwards.

“I did a decent job,” Watson said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I did what I needed to do to try to move the ball to help the team out. There’s always things I can get better at. I’m going to watch the film and I’m going to continue to work on that.”

For all of Watson’s efforts, indications are that Tom Savage has the starting job in the bag. He’s shown enough to convince many that he has a bright future, but it’s not here yet.

NBA confirms Lakers are being investigated for tampering with Paul George

Magic Johnson

The Indiana Pacers have accused the Los Angeles Lakers of tampering with Paul George earlier this summer, and the NBA is looking into the claim.

A report over the weekend revealed that the Pacers have filed tampering charges against the Lakers, claiming they broke league rules by speaking about and/or contact George before the star swingman was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. In a press release on Sunday, the NBA confirmed an independent investigation is underway.

“At the request of the Indiana Pacers, the NBA opened an investigation into alleged tampering by the Los Angeles Lakers,” the release said, via Pro Basketball Talk. “The independent investigation is being conducted by the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. The Lakers have been cooperative and, at this point, no findings have been made. We have asked both teams to refrain from commenting all the investigation is ongoing.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne provided some details of the investigation, noting that Magic Johnson’s alleged impermissible contact with George is at the center of it. The Lakers are reportedly confident they will be cleared, but possible penalties could include fines, the loss of draft picks and restrictions on their ability to acquire George if they are found guilty.

It’s no secret that the Lakers are the favorites to land George when he becomes a free agent next summer, and Magic Johnson has not exactly avoided the topic since he joined L.A.’s front office. In an appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” earlier this year, Johnson essentially admitted he is trying to skirt around the NBA’s tampering rules.

“We gonna say hi because we know each other,” Johnson said. “You just can’t say, ‘Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,’ even though I’ll be wink-winking like, ‘You know what that means, right?’”

Johnson also sent some not-so-subtle tweets immediately after a report came out claiming George had informed the Pacers he intends to sign with the Lakers next summer.

It seems unlikely that the Lakers will face serious sanctions, but Magic should probably be more careful going forward.

Report: Le’Veon Bell may return to Steelers by Labor Day

Le'Veon Bell

Le’Veon Bell may be ending his holdout sooner rather than later, according to a report.

A source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that, while Bell will not be in camp before the team’s next preseason game on Saturday, it would be a “surprise” if he is not back shortly after that, due to his love for the game.

An anonymous Steelers player agreed, saying the expectation is that Bell will return a little bit before Labor Day. In addition, the running back has been texting members of his offensive line.

There has never been any real doubt that Bell would ultimately return to the team ahead of the regular season opener. It was simply a matter of when he’d show up during the preseason, and while we still don’t know for sure, it sounds like he’s getting closer.

Report: Tom Savage ‘firmly in control’ of Texans’ starting QB job

Tom Savage

Deshaun Watson has generated a ton of hype in his first NFL offseason, but the Houston Texans are apparently tuning all that out when it comes to naming a starting quarterback for Week 1.

According to NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright, fourth-year quarterback Tom Savage remains “firmly in control” of the starting job after Houston’s second preseason game.

While Watson has drawn the praise of coaches and teammates, Savage has done nothing that would convince Bill O’Brien and his staff that they need to consider starting a rookie in Week 1. In Saturday night’s win over the New England Patriots, Savage completed 8-of-9 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. He finished with a passer rating of 149.1, and the Texans moved the ball extremely well in his two series.

In total, Savage is now 17-of-20 for 167 yards and a touchdown in five drives this preseason. He has already received public support from arguably the best player Houston has on offense, so it appears it would take an injury for Watson to end up starting when the regular season begins.

Report: Cowboys have concerns about Kellen Moore as backup quarterback

Kellen Moore

The Dallas Cowboys are going to have to have a discussion about their backup quarterback.

According to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Star-Telegram, the Cowboys will be having a discussion about Kellen Moore’s status after he struggled for the second consecutive preseason game, completing 10 of 21 passes and fumbling.

Though Dak Prescott is firmly entrenched as the team’s starter, Moore’s lack of experience and inability to impress is proving to be a worry for Dallas’s braintrust.

It’s unclear what Dallas would do if they did indeed decide to replace Moore as Prescott’s backup. While rookie Cooper Rush has been impressive, it is unlikely the Cowboys would give him the nod. Don’t expect to see this veteran free agent quarterback as a candidate either.

H/T ProFootballTalk

Demaryius Thomas has ‘no idea’ who Broncos starting QB will be

The Denver Broncos took a big step toward determining who their Week 1 starting quarterback will be with the way the two contenders for the job performed on Saturday, but the team has yet to make the announcement official — not even within the confines of the locker room.

After Denver’s preseason win over the San Francisco 49ers, wide receiver Demaryius Thomas said he has “no idea” who the starting quarterback will be. He also indicated he is getting a little impatient with the situation.

“I am sure they have some name in in mind. I have no idea what they will do,” he said, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “We will find out when we go back to work. It will be good for the receivers to get the timing down. To find out soon, it will help us. We are still going to do our job to help the team to get better.”

Paxton Lynch was once again outplayed by Trevor Siemian on Saturday. Lynch was the beneficiary of three 49ers turnovers in the first half, turning them into an 11-yard touchdown drive and two field goal drives of 26 and 11 yards. The former Memphis star completed 9-of-13 passes for just 39 yards. He also missed some open receivers and threw into traffic, once again proving he has a long way to go in making reads.

Lynch got the start, with Siemian taking over late in the second half. Last year’s starter completed 8-of-11 passes for 93 yards and threw a 19-yard touchdown. Those who watched the game will tell you Siemian outperformed Lynch by a mile.

Thomas has already been challenged by his new head coach this offseason, but it’s hard for receivers to build chemistry with two players at once. Given the way Lynch looked on Saturday, the Broncos would be wise to just name Siemian the starter.

Derek Carr: Hand on Khalil Mack during anthem was solidarity, not protest

Derek Carr

Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr denied that his actions during the national anthem on Saturday, in which he put his hand on defensive end Khalil Mack’s shoulder, was any type of protest.

Instead, Carr said he was simply sending a message of solidarity.

“What we wanted to do was show all the kids that look up to me, look up to him, that white kids, blue kids, brown kids, blue, green, doesn’t matter, can all be loving to each other,” Carr said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “And that’s what me and Khalil are — we’re best friends and we love one another.

“The only reason we did that is to unify people, and to unify the people that look up to us because, obviously, we see what’s going on in the world and, obviously, everyone pays attention to the national anthem nowadays, and so we just said this was the best time to do it while still honoring our country. Because I love this country, more than anything. We’re free to live here and play this game, but we’re also free to show each other that we love one another. And I think that that’s the message, and that’s the only message we were trying to get out.”

Carr isn’t the only player to do such a thing, as national anthem actions evolve a bit from Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling last season.

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