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Sunday, April 30, 2017

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Magic also reportedly interested in Kevin McHale for president position

Kevin McHale Rockets

Kevin McHale hasn’t been employed in a front office capacity for nearly a decade, but the Orlando Magic could be looking to change that.

Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports reports on Friday that the Magic “have serious interest” in McHale for their team president position.

The 59-year-old McHale, who currently works for Turner Sports as an NBA analyst, has vast experience as an executive, having served as vice president of basketball operations for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 1995 to 2008. But he left the front office to coach the Timberwolves followed by the Houston Rockets and hasn’t been back since.

We also heard that the Magic, who fired general manager Rob Hennigan earlier this month, were interested in this former Boston Celtics teammate of McHale’s, so maybe Robert Parish will be the next candidate on their list.

Marquette King roasts Twitter troll over Tyreek Hill jab

Marquette King dance

An unsuspecting Twitter user got a sombering reminder on Friday not to bring that weak stuff into the King’s court.

After former USC standout Adoree’ Jackson reacted to being drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King tweeted him congrats and offered some light banter.

Of course, it was inevitable that somebody would crack a wise response to King’s tweet, and one did, referencing Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver/kick returner Tyreek Hill, who returned one of King’s punts for a touchdown in Week 14 last season.

King was having none of it though and gave this vicious response:

As it turns out, nobody — not Super Bowl-winning running backs, not grocery store clerks, and definitely not social media trolls — is safe from the unbridled savagery of Marquette King.

Felix Hernandez, Mitch Haniger expected to miss 3-4 weeks for Mariners

Felix Hernandez ovation

If the Seattle Mariners are going to turn things around in the early going this season, they’ll have to do it without two of their top players.

The Mariners announced on Friday that pitcher Felix Hernandez and outfielder Mitch Haniger are expected to miss 3-4 weeks with injuries:

Haniger was one of the hottest hitters to start the season but strained his oblique during an at-bat against the Tigers on Tuesday. He is on the DL, currently sporting a 1.054 OPS thanks in part to his 7 doubles and 4 home runs in 79 at-bats.

Hernandez was pitching for the Mariners in that Tuesday game against Detroit but struggled early and was quickly replaced. His manager said he was going through a “dead arm” phase, which has now been diagnosed as shoulder bursitis. Hernandez is 2-2 with a 4.72 ERA this season.

Marc Stein says he is part of ESPN layoffs

Marc Stein

ESPN’s latest round of layoffs has not spared even some of their best talent.

Many quality reporters ranging from Ed Werder to Andy Katz to Calvin Watkins already shared the difficult news that they have been let go by ESPN, but this latest one is a stunner to say the least.

Marc Stein said on Twitter late Friday that he has been let go by ESPN:

The news of Stein’s firing was met with immediate shock from many. Stein has been one of ESPN’s best reporters for a while and is constantly at the forefront when it comes to breaking news.

Another outlet will certainly hire Stein soon, but this sure is a huge surprise to say the least. It also could be another sign that ESPN expects to have Adrian Wojnarowski on board in the future.

Steve Smith has harsh words about Brock Osweiler

Steve Smith

The fire that burned inside Steve Smith during his playing career has not disappeared now that he’s retired.

Smith is now an analyst for NFL Network and spewed some hot fire when talking about Brock Osweiler on Friday.

It started with former GM Charley Casserly saying he didn’t think the players available on Day 2 of the NFL Draft were better than Osweiler. That’s when Smith interjected:

“Anybody’s better than Brock Osweiler. … They gave him to the Goodwill, and the Goodwill’s trying to get rid of him,” Smith said.

That of course was a reference to the Texans dumping Osweiler on the Browns, who are also reportedly thinking of dumping the QB.

You get the sense that people wouldn’t have such negative things to say about Osweiler had the Texans not signed him to an outrageous 4-year, $72 million contract last offseason based on how little he’d done in his career. Contracts like that immediately change the perception of a player.

Reuben Foster hung up phone on Saints when 49ers called him

Reuben Foster

Reuben Foster told a story for the ages during his introductory press conference on Friday.

Foster was picked No. 31 overall in the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, who traded up with the Seahawks in order to get the linebacker. But they almost didn’t get him.

According to Foster, he was on the phone with the New Orleans Saints, who were picking at No. 32 and about to take him, when the 49ers called to draft him:

The Saints instead settled for offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk at No. 32. They did draft Marshon Lattimore with the No. 11 pick, so it wasn’t all bad news for New Orleans’ defense, but you can bet they wanted Foster.

Now if Foster goes on to become a major success, you can bet Saints fans will be crying over this story for a long time. And this certainly is a much better draft-day phone story than another we’ve heard.

CFL fines head coach for meeting with Johnny Manziel rep

Johnny Manziel hair

There is some fallout in the Johnny Manziel CFL case.

Back in February, around the same time that Manziel was revving up his efforts regarding an NFL comeback, a site covering the Canadian Football League reported that Manziel worked out for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. That would have constituted a violation because another team in the league holds Manziel’s rights.

The CFL investigated the report and did not find evidence that Manziel worked out for the team. But they did fine the team’s coach/GM, Chris Jones, $5,000 for meeting with Manziel’s publicist.

At the time the news was reported, Manziel refuted the report and said he did not work out for the team. Jones also said that did not happen and he threatened legal action against the website responsible for the report.

Outside of a meeting with this NFL head coach, there has not been much news on the Manziel comeback front. He has not played in the league since the 2015 season.

Dalvin Cook reportedly dropped out of first-round due to character issues

Dalvin Cook drop

Dalvin Cook has been ranked by many as one of the best running backs in the draft, but he did not go on Day 1.

Two running backs were picked — Leonard Fournette by the Jags at No. 4 overall, and Christian McCaffrey — who can play multiple positions, went No. 8. Cook is probably next up on most peoples’ draft boards.

Why did he drop out of the first round? NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says it was due to character concerns surrounding the former Florida State rusher.

Many of Cook’s problems date back to middle school. The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Robert Klemko had a lengthy piece on Cook’s background. The report says he was arrested when he was 14 and 15, the first for robbery and the second for having or firing a weapon.

Then in college at FSU, Cook was charged for a BB gun incident; cited for mistreating puppies; and he was named in an assault case for allegedly brandishing a weapon at a neighbor.

That’s a lengthy rap sheet for an athlete being considered by NFL teams. But there’s no denying the talent Cook possesses. He rushed for at least 1,000 yards in all three of his seasons at FSU, scoring 20 touchdowns both as a sophomore and junior. He rushed for an average of 7.4 yards per carry as a sophomore.

Some team is going to take him, likely in the second round, and they will find out whether he stays out of trouble off the field once he gets into the pros.

Broncos make great Garett Bolles ‘Lion King’ mashup

Garett Bolles

The Denver Broncos put together a great mashup video they released on social media Friday to honor their first-round pick

Garett Bolles, whom they selected at No. 20 overall in the draft, recently welcomed a new baby son into his family. Bolles brought his son Kingston with him to the draft. He had the 4-month-old on the red carpet and when he got picked.

At one point, the Utah product held up baby Kingston like the famous scene from the “Lion King.” That led to this Broncos masterpiece:

Jets still shopping Sheldon Richardson in trade talks

Sheldon Richardson

The New York Jets reportedly are looking to trade defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson.

NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the Jets have been making calls about Richardson trying to trade him, but they’re still seeking a return for him.

The Jets have been shopping Richardson for a while, dating back to last season. As of last November, they reportedly were seeking a first-round pick in return for the talented defensive lineman. More recent reports said a 4th-round pick was about as much as they could expect to get for him.

Richardson, a former first-round pick, is set to make $8 million in the final year of his contract with the Jets. But his play slipped somewhat last season, and he reportedly was a locker room problem. Teams shouldn’t be in a rush to give up much for him.

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