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Friday, October 9, 2015


Arian Foster’s return to game after head injury raises questions

Arian Foster Texans

Arian Foster raised some questions about the NFL’s concussion policy when he exited Thursday’s Houston Texans-Indianapolis Colts game for a play after taking a hit to the head and then quickly returned to the contest.

On a first down run in the second quarter, Foster carried on a rush attempt and took a hard hit to the head from D’Qwell Jackson. Foster walked off the field woozy with a trainer at his side.

Foster sat out a play and then returned immediately after, rushing for no gain. The Texans settled for a field goal on the drive.

Fans were incredulous that Foster could have suffered a head injury that took him out for a play and was allowed to return. He was later taken into the locker room for evaluation, and he was angry about the further examination.

Josh Donaldson exits game after getting kneed in head by Rougned Odor (Video)


With the Toronto Blue Jays succumbing to the David Price quandary-solving Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday by the final of 5-3, here’s one case of literally adding injury to insult.

Third baseman Josh Donaldson, Toronto’s resident AL MVP frontrunner, was forced to exit the playoff contest in the fourth inning after taking a knee right smack in the face from Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor while trying to break up a double play.

Donaldson’s departure was precautionary, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.

The good news for the Blue Jays, who also saw fellow slugger Jose Bautista leave in the ninth inning with hamstring tightness, is that Donaldson passed concussion tests, and both he and Bautista are expected to be good to go for Game 2 on Friday.

Amidst the modern-day Murderer’s Row that is the Blue Jays’ offense, Donaldson could be the most murderous one of all. He clubbed 41 home runs and 123 RBIs during the regular season on a slash line of .297/.371/.568 while playing Gold Glove-level defense at third base. Donaldson could wind up taking home the MVP award after the season (though one Mike Trout probably has something to say about that), and his health is arguably the most important factor for Toronto as they chase their first World Series title in over two decades.

Video via Baseball Reddit

Week 5 expert NFL Picks against the spread – Del’s selections

Del was able to grind his way to another winning record of 8-7 in Week 4, but we are still waiting on that huge week to really kick things into gear for the 2015 season. Could this be the week?

After posting a rare 0-2 record in locks of the week, Del will be looking to bounce back in a big way. The good news is three games jumped out at Del as potential money-makers, so there’s a lot to feel good about — at least until Sunday does its thing and humbles us all. Here are Del’s Week 5 NFL picks, with some analysis after the chart.

(ATS = Against the Spread, SU = Straight Up)


Cincinnati has been rolling this season and looks like the second-best team in the AFC behind the Patriots. That said, they have not exactly been tested with top-flight defenses. The four teams the Bengals have beaten (Raiders, Chargers, Ravens, Chiefs) rank in the bottom 10 of the NFL in points allowed per game. The Seahawks rank third in that category and should only get better with safety Kam Chancellor in his third game back and anchoring the defense. Seattle is capable of beating Cincy, and I can see Pete Carroll’s team getting to 3-2 before the Bengals get to 5-0. Seahawks outright.

Next, we move to a New York Giants team that is still getting punished by oddsmakers for some boneheaded decisions in the first two weeks of the season. The G-Men looked decent against the Redskins in Week 3 and came away with a very impressive 24-10 road win over the Bills last week. They dominated Buffalo as a 6-point underdog. This week, the Giants face a 49ers team that didn’t exactly embarrass itself against the Packers but only managed to score 3 points. San Francisco’s offense is an absolute mess and its defense isn’t far behind. Don’t let hanging with Green Bay at home fool you into thinking the Niners will do the same traveling all the way across the country.

Finally, Del has a good feeling about the Chargers only laying a field goal against the Steelers at home in a primetime game. Yes, San Diego struggled to beat the Browns last weekend at home and Pittsburgh has had 10 days to prepare, but I’m simply not a believer in Michael Vick. Even if the Chargers can’t contain Le’Veon Bell (not many teams can), they should do their best to make Vick beat them through the air. Is he going to be able to do that? Not if he plays like he did against the Ravens last week. With Antonio Gates returning and Keenan Allen playing at an extremely high level, Philip Rivers should have no problem scoring points. I can’t say the same for Vick and his offense.

John Calipari says Wildcats will be ugly to start season: ‘We stink’

John Calipari

Certain expectations come with perennial quests for 40-0, churning out heaps of NBA-level talent year in and year out like a pro factory, and being the biggest college basketball powerhouse in the nation today. The 2015-16 Kentucky Wildcats are apparently nowhere close to living up to those expectations just yet and head coach John Calipari isn’t sugarcoating it.

“This year’s team, as we speak, we stink,” Calipari said at Wednesday’s Wildcat Tipoff Luncheon per The Courier-Journal. “I said to them two days ago: ‘There’s one really good thing that’s happening.’ They said, ‘What’s that, Coach?’ I said, ‘We’re not playing tomorrow, so we’re OK. I’m not going to panic yet.’

“The greatest thing is we got great kids; they are gonna do what we ask them to do,” the 56-year-old coach continued. “Please understand: They are children. They are 18 and 19 years old. I’m telling you, early on, we’re going to be ugly.”

Kentucky went 38-1 last year, falling just short in their hunt for the perfect season, losing to the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four. They lost their seven top scorers from last year’s team to the NBA Draft, including No. 1 overall pick Karl Anthony-Towns along with three other teammates who were also selected in the lottery (Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, and Devin Booker).

But the Wildcats being the Wildcats, their roster heading into next season is still universes away from being something to sneeze it. In classic Kentucky fashion, the team brought in a plethora of elite freshmen including standout two-way Haitian big man Skal Labissiere, Team Canada standout Jamal Murray, and highly-rated point guard playmaker Isaiah Briscoe.

The Wildcats will also return a solid amount of talent from last season such as defensive dynamo Alex Poythress returning for his senior season after suffering a torn ACL last December, junior forward Marcus Lee, and Isaiah Thomas-clone Tyler Ulis who is ready to start at point guard as a sophomore.

Amidst all the doom and gloom, Calipari actually took some time to praise Ulis. “We gotta hope that Tyler is so good that we get by being ugly,” he said. “He’s really good. My other guards are underwater with that: they got more turnovers than assists. But that’s OK. They’re learning.”

Ultimately, it’s easy to dismiss Calipari’s comments as typical self-deprecating Coach Cal media-speak. Similar to the way LeBron James and David Blatt attempted to temper championship expectations for the Cavs before last season (a situation, if you recall, that Calipari almost wound up in), if Coach Cal can lower the bar a little bit and take some pressure off these kids heading into the year, it could wind up doing a world of good.

After all, we’ve seen how this story plays out before. Kentucky pulls themselves together, opens the season as the No. 1 team in the nation, blazes a path of destruction through the collegiate universe, survives a couple of close calls from non-conference opponents, and remains the frontrunner for national championship contention all year. Wash, rinse, repeat.


Lamar Miller tells fantasy owners to ‘stay tuned,’ hints at more carries

Lamar-Miller-DolphinsLamar Miller has been one of the most frustrating names in fantasy football this season, as many experts and analysts predicted he would have a breakout season with the Miami Dolphins in 2015. Instead, Miller has not received more than 13 carries in any single game and has just 131 yards rushing through four weeks.

With the Dolphins on a bye this week and making serious changes to their coaching staff, Miller hinted that he expects to be a bigger part of the plan going forward.

The Dolphins recently fired head coach Joe Philbin and defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle, but offensive coordinator Bill Lazor is sticking around — for now. Miller played a larger role for Miami last year as the season went on and ended up averaging a respectable 5.1 yards per carry. He rushed for 270 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries in the final two games, which left many thinking he could reach his potential in 2015.

It hasn’t helped Miller’s fantasy owners that the Dolphins have been getting blown out, but the team needs to find a way to get him more touches. He has proven he can be a playmaker both as a rusher and receiver. Miami needs to get better at playing to its strengths.

Jessica Mendoza responds to sexist rant from Mike Bell

ESPN’s Jessica Mendoza on Thursday got a chance to address being the target of a sexist social media rant, and it is no surprise that she took the high road.

In an interview with “Good Morning America,” Mendoza was asked about Atlanta radio host Mike Bell saying some incredibly inappropriate things about her and bashing ESPN for allowing her to work as an analyst for an MLB playoff game. She claims she never read the specific tweet that got everyone buzzing.

“Just before I was going to click on (the tweet) I thought, you know, why?” Mendoza explained. “Why even give it the attention? I didn’t even open it, so I have actually yet to read it.”

We’re not going to run the sexist tweet again, but those of you who haven’t seen it can see that one and more of Bell’s idiotic comments here.

On Wednesday, 92.9 The Game in Atlanta suspended Bell for three days. Bell also issued an apology, which Mendoza said she accepts.

“I accept his apology. To me it was really about the fact that he attacked me because I’m a woman,” she said. “Being able to call these baseball games — yes, I’m a female, but I want it to get to the point where we think about what I’m saying and doing and not so much about the sex that I am.”

Jessica Mendoza ESPN

Mendoza is the first woman to work as an analyst during an MLB playoff game, and anyone who watched the broadcast can tell you she is incredibly knowledgeable about the game and does a lot of homework. Mendoza sounded natural in the role and did a fantastic job.

Report: Matt Barnes punched Derek Fisher, was begged by child to stop

Matt Barnes

Matt Barnes punched Derek Fisher in the mouth last Saturday and only stopped fighting with his former teammate when one of his children begged him to stop, according to a report.

Citing a witness account of the incident, TMZ claims Barnes was furious from the moment he walked into his ex-wife Gloria Govan’s house and made it clear that he felt betrayed by Fisher. When Fisher stood up to Barnes, the Memphis Grizzlies forward allegedly punched him in the mouth and a fight broke out. According to the witness, the fight only stopped when one of Barnes’ children came out of the house.

We’re told Derek fought back and “was holding his own” — until several people, including Gloria, rushed in to try to break it up.

But the fighting didn’t stop until one of Matt’s children came into the backyard and begged the men to stop fighting. We’re told that pretty much ended things.

Matt eventually left the home. We’re told both men were bleeding from the scrap.

Barnes, who has been very protective of Govan in the past, supposedly drove 95 miles to Govan’s home in Los Angeles just to confront Fisher. Fisher, the current coach of the New York Knicks, and his wife are separated and filed for divorce back in March.

Barnes recently claimed he has been dating Rihanna, though the music icon blasted him for saying it and basically called him delusional.

The NBA is aware of the situation between Barnes and Fisher, who were once teammates with the Lakers. You can read more about the history of the relationship between Barnes and Govan here.

Bob Ley fires back at Bill Simmons in wake of more ESPN criticism

Bill Simmons ESPN

Bill Simmons has made it a mission to trash ESPN seemingly every chance he gets now that he has begun a new era with HBO, and one of his former coworkers is tired of having to sit back and take it.

During an appearance at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, Simmons was once again critical of ESPN for the network’s coverage of major NFL issues.

“I think the way you’ve seen ESPN cover the NFL the last year has been really shaky,” he said. “Some of the stuff like the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Deflategate was embarrassing because ESPN was in the middle of that story with bad reporting. Then when everyone turned on (Roger) Goodell in July in August, you didn’t really see anything on ESPN but you saw it everywhere else.

“It’s hard to watch that stuff and not say, ‘Wait a minute, this is (the NFL’s) biggest partner. Are they holding back a little?'”

Simmons said that ESPN and other networks like CBS were “absolutely” holding back with their coverage of certain stories because of their partnerships with the NFL. Enter Bob Ley, who does not feel Simmons is being fair to the World Wide Leader.

The one story Simmons seems to be ignoring is the lengthy Outside the Lines report from last month, which certainly made the Patriots look worse to some but was also very critical of the NFL for the way it handled Spygate several years ago. The narrative in the OTL report about former Rams coach Mike Martz was a horrible look for the league. That said, ESPN did itself no favors in the public eye when someone at the network conveniently edited a reaction piece to the OTL report that was written by an ESPN employee.

Simmons took aim at ESPN and Mike and Mike in one of his first new podcasts with this colorful rant, and it doesn’t look like he plans on slowing down anytime soon.

Matthew Stafford wife Kelly blasts ‘incompetent’ NFL refs


The Detroit Lions fell victim to one of the most controversial — and clearly incorrect — calls of the season Monday night, and the starting quarterback’s wife is fired up about it.

On Wednesday, Matthew Stafford’s wife Kelly shared a screenshot on Instagram of a text message exchange she had with her husband. Stafford informed Kelly that the league might be fining him for the cleats he wore against Seattle, and wifey responded by ripping the NFL’s referees.

Stafford’s wife later deleted the screenshot, which probably should have been kept private. If you have not seen the play that may have cost the Lions a win, you can watch it here.

As Josh Katzenstein of The Detroit News notes, Stafford was wearing all blue cleats Monday while most other players wore a combination of black, white and pink for breast cancer awareness. It’s unclear if not wearing those colors constituted a uniform violation.

Kelly Stafford has always been one of our favorite player wives, mostly because of that time she went “drunk modeling” in Costa Rica. But in this instance, I’m sure Matt would have preferred if she didn’t share the text messages with the world.

H/T Black Sports Online

Matt Hasselbeck went to emergency room with illness on Tuesday


Matt Hasselbeck will likely start for the Indianapolis Colts Thursday night with Andrew Luck expected to miss another game due to a shoulder injury. At this point, it sounds like Hasselbeck is the healthier of the two quarterbacks as opposed to the healthy quarterback.

Hasselbeck missed practice earlier this week with an illness, and ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the 40-year-old actually took a trip to the emergency room early Tuesday morning to be treated. Hasselbeck is still feeling the effects of the virus.

Strange things have a tendency of happening in the NFL, but Thursday has suddenly turned into a nightmare spot for the Colts. While the Houston Texans looked horrible last week against the Atlanta Falcons, you have to like their chances at home against a 40-year-old backup quarterback who has been sick all week. If the Texans can’t win tonight, their season is unofficially over.

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