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Thursday, August 25, 2016


CFL would welcome Johnny Manziel with conditions, says commissioner

Johnny Manziel hair

The CFL would welcome Johnny Manziel, provided he bought into the culture of the league.

CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said that the door was not closed on Manziel in Canada, but he would have to be a good representative of the league.

“We try not to speculate on situations like that,” Orridge told ESPN’s Kevin Seifert on Friday, “and I really can’t speculate too much on hypotheticals. But I can tell you that what’s paramount to us is ensuring the success of an athlete, while at the same time preserving and promoting the integrity of the league and the game.

“I rely primarily on the assessment of the team. It is their charge to evaluate the talent and to bring that talent forward. To be candid, if there is a situation that we believe warrants additional input, we certainly want to provide that to the team. We’re obviously charged with making sure that the integrity of the league and the integrity of our brand is perpetuated.”

You might think that the CFL will take anyone who will play there, but they do draw a line somewhere. That said, it doesn’t seem likely that Manziel will be taking them up on their offer, if he gets one.

Browns reportedly trade Barkevious Mingo to Patriots


The Cleveland Browns are giving up on their No. 6 overall pick from the 2013 NFL Draft.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Browns have agreed to a trade that will send linebacker Barkevious Mingo to the New England Patriots.

Mingo was a star at LSU, but he has been a disappointment with the Browns. He appeared in all 16 games last season but recorded just 24 total tackles and no sacks. His sack totals have decreased each season since he had five his rookie year.

It’s unclear what the Patriots are sending to Cleveland, though it can’t be much. Mingo’s stock has plummeted at this point, and he may have to fight for a final roster spot in New England. In other news, Harry Potter is probably a Patriots fan now.

Report: JJ Watt expects to return to practice next week

JJ Watt

Despite reports claiming he could miss the start of the regular season, J.J. Watt is reportedly expected to return to practice before the Houston Texans’ fourth and final preseason game.

According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Watt could practice as early as next week.

Watt underwent back surgery last month, and the initial estimation for his recovery period was 8-10 weeks. Missing 10 weeks would likely mean Watt is not ready to play in Week 1 or Week 2, but he’ll almost certainly be suiting up in Week 1 if he returns to practice next week.

Texans head coach Bill O’Brien recently said he expects Watt back fairly soon, though it was unclear exactly what that meant. A report from earlier in the week made it seem like Watt is in danger of missing regular season time, but Texans fans have to be encouraged by the latest news.

James Harden organizing players-only minicamp with Rockets


For the second consecutive year, James Harden is looking to get a jump on preparing for the upcoming season with a players-only minicamp.

According to Mark Berman of FOX 26 in Houston, Harden has rounded up his Houston Rockets teammates for some pre-camp workouts beginning next week. Corey Brewer says Harden has been responsible for all the planning and organization.

“James is doing everything,” Brewer said. “He is showing he wants to be a leader. He’s the franchise player. He signed the extension. So it’s his team, and he’s doing all the right things to do what we need to do to have a chance to win championships.”

Harden did the same thing last season, and the Rockets got off to a painfully slow start. However, this is a new team. Dwight Howard has moved on and Harden signed a lucrative extension.

“We want to send a message that we’re ready to go,” Brewer added. “We’re going to work our butts off. All the guys have been working hard this summer. Last year was a year that we didn’t like. Everybody has a bitter taste in their mouth. So we can’t wait to get started.”

There’s a potential hurricane forecast for Miami this weekend, which is where Harden wanted to hold the minicamp. He may have to alter the plans because of that.

Harden’s leadership ability has been questioned in the past, but his teammates seem to respect him. Now that his supposedly icy relationship with Howard won’t be an issue, perhaps the Rockets can develop better chemistry. Getting an early start can only help.

H/T Pro Basketball Talk

Pacman Jones: Bengals told Andy Dalton to stop making tackles

Andy Dalton thumb

The Cincinnati Bengals want Andy Dalton to focus on one thing and one thing only after he or one of his teammates turns the ball over this season — getting the heck out of the way.

During an appearance on PFT Live Thursday morning, Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones said the team has specifically instructed Dalton to not make any tackle attempts in 2016.

“We’ve made that clear here. We’ve made that clear,” Jones said. “Whatever happens, he needs to run his a– back to the sideline.”

Dalton was having by far his best season as a pro last year before he suffered a broken hand while trying to make a tackle. While the play did not look that bad (video here), the injury forced Dalton to miss the final three games of the regular season and Cincinnati’s only playoff game. Had he played against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the postseason, the Bengals might have won their first playoff game since 1990.

It’s hard to convince a quarterback to not help his teammates out, especially if he’s the one responsible for the turnover. However, the risk clearly is not worth the reward in this situation. Dalton and the Bengals learned that the hard way last year.

Colin Kaepernick believes he can still win starting job, beat out Blaine Gabbert

Colin Kaepernick hat backwards

All indications are that Colin Kaepernick has fallen way behind in the quarterback competition in San Francisco, but he is not ready to concede that Blaine Gabbert has won the job just yet.

Kaepernick returned to practice this week after nursing a shoulder injury, and he told reporters on Wednesday that he still believes he can be the starter come Week 1.

“Yeah, most definitely,” Kaepernick said, via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m going to go out and show everything I can these next two games and make sure I put my best foot forward to show this organization, this team, this coaching staff what I’m capable of.”

Kaepernick is expected to play in the 49ers’ preseason game against the Green Bay Packers on Friday. He underwent three surgeries after last season and missed most of the offseason training program. The 28-year-old then sat out of training camp with a shoulder injury that sounds somewhat concerning.

Kaepernick said it was “very, very frustrating” to not be able to practice, and he was asked if he feels the time he missed gave Gabbert the inside track on the starting job.

“I can only worry about myself,” he said. “I focus on the reps that I get and the mental reps that I’ve taken. So when I step on the field, I feel very prepared.”

If Kaepernick lights it up on Friday, Chip Kelly and his coaching staff will have a difficult decision to make. However, many reports have indicated the decision has already been made. Time will tell.

Raiders file trademark applications for ‘Las Vegas Raiders’

Mark Davis

How serious are the Oakland Raiders about moving to Las Vegas? Serious enough that they have filed for trademarks in case it happens.

Darren Heitner of Forbes discovered this week that the Raiders filed trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the mark “Las Vegas Raiders” on Aug. 20. The trademarks have been filed to cover such areas as education and entertainment services, apparel, mobile applications, football helmets, trading cards, jewelry and play figures. Here’s a screenshot of one of the filings:


As Heitner notes, the filings don’t necessarily mean the Raiders relocating is a guarantee or even anywhere close to happening. The San Diego Chargers filed trademarks for “LA Chargers” but are still trying to determine if they are leaving their current home.

However, a Raiders move to Vegas has picked up steam in recent months. There are obviously some serious financial obstacles involved, but team owner Mark Davis wants it to happen. We’d say trademark filings are a better indication of future plans than the offer the Raiders got from a gentleman’s club.

Katie Ledecky turning down $5 million per year to go to school


At 19 years old, Katie Ledecky has an opportunity most people can only dream of. Believe it or not, she’s turning it down.

For now.

Ledecky dominated the Summer Olympics in Rio by winning four gold medals. She became a household name in the process, which has led to a number of endorsement offers. Ledecky could be earning up to $5 million annually in endorsements, but she has instead chosen to enroll at Stanford and compete at the amateur level. In an interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike and Mike” this week, she said the decision was not all that difficult.

“No, it wasn’t,” Ledecky said, as transcribed by Cork Gaines of Business Insider. “I’ve always wanted to swim collegiately and have that experience. I think it is going to be a lot of fun to be on a team with some really great friends and great swimmers and also just go to class with them.”

Fellow Olympians Simone Manuel and Lia Neal will also be on Ledecky’s team at Stanford, so they should find plenty of success.

“I know we have a really great team, and I am excited to get to Stanford and see what we can do,” Ledecky said.

Before the Rio Olympics, sports marketing expert Bob Dorfman told ESPN’s Philip Hersh that Ledecky should be able to earn $5 million per year in endorsements if she swam the way many expected her to. Ledecky won four gold medals and a silver.

As long as she continues to compete at a high level, Ledecky will have plenty of opportunities to earn endorsement revenue. If she can also get a degree from Stanford and enjoy moments like this in the meantime, more power to her.

Scout: Tim Tebow has ‘no shot’ of making it in baseball

Tim Tebow

At least 20 MLB teams are expected to take a look at Tim Tebow’s baseball prospects at the former NFL quarterback’s workout next week, but some scouts is confident nothing will come of it.

Katie Strang of spoke with three pro baseball scouts on Wednesday, and all three “expressed serious doubt” that Tebow can play at the major league level. One took it a step further.

“No shot,” a scout told Strang.

Another scout has already seen Tebow’s swing on video, and he was very critical of it.

“If it was any longer, it would take out the front row,” the scout said.

A video that surfaced on Reddit Wednesday showed Tebow seemingly getting fooled by a slider from a right-handed pitcher.

Tebow was an all-state baseball player in high school, but that was the last time he played the sport competitively. You have to be more than just a great athlete to jump into pro baseball after not having played for 10 years. Despite what this former MLB star may believe, Tebow’s chances of playing in the big leagues are slim to none.

Angels RP Cam Bedrosian has blood clot in pitching arm

Cam Bedrosian Angels

The Los Angeles Angels recently placed relief pitcher Cam Bedrosian on the DL with tendinitis in his middle finger, but that’s just a minor part of his injury issues.

The Angels announced on Wednesday that a CT angiogram revealed Bedrosian has a blood clot in his pitching arm. The OC Register says Bedrosian will see a specialist to see what his next step should be.

Bedrosian, 24, was having a stellar season for the Angels. After struggling with a 6.52 ERA and 5.40 ERA in his first two seasons in the bigs, Bedrosian broke out this season. He had posted a 1.12 ERA and 1.09 WHIP this season with 51 strikeouts in 40.1 innings.

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