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Sunday, March 26, 2017

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Fire Norv Turner trends nationally on Twitter after Chargers loss

The San Diego Chargers dropped to a game under .500 after losing to the Cleveland Browns 7-6 on the road Sunday, and many fans are not happy with the team.

Minutes after the Chargers lost, the hashtag “#FireNorv” was trending nationally on Twitter. The names of football players, coaches, and teams frequently trend during NFL Sundays, but it likely took thousands of tweets with the “FireNorv” hashtag to get the term trending.

Norv Turner is in his sixth season as head coach of the Chargers, and many have felt for years that the team has underachieved during his tenure. The Chargers went 9-7 two years ago, 8-8 a season ago, and are now 3-4. They haven’t made the postseason since 2009, and the calls for Turner to lose his job have been going on longer than that.

San Diego blew a 24-0 lead against the Denver Broncos on “Monday Night Football” and had the bye week to prepare for their Week 8 game in Cleveland. They only managed six points against a team that had been 1-6 entering the game and ranked 23rd in points allowed. The poor performance was inexcusable, and it’s quite understandable why Chargers fans would have been fed up with the team after Sunday’s loss.

We’ve felt that Norv Turner never should have been hired by San Diego in the first place, and therefore that he should have been canned years ago. Hopefully Chargers ownership will realize that and can Turner — and possibly GM A.J. Smith — before much longer.

Jimmy Johnson: Cam Newton ‘better worry’ about his job

Cam Newton may have been the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season, but at least one person believes the second-year quarterback may need to start worrying about his job security.

FOX NFL Sunday analyst Jimmy Johnson thinks that the Carolina Panthers’ decision to fire general manager Marty Hurney during the week could put Newton’s job status in jeopardy.

“With a new general manager, this team will be gutted and rebuilt over the next couple of years,” Johnson said during FOX NFL Sunday. “Cam Newton better worry about his own job because they are going to turn this roster over. It was the wrong move to re-sign both their running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart.”

It’s hard to believe that after all the success Newton enjoyed last season that he would be in danger of losing his job, but Johnson thinks that is the case.

The Panthers are 1-6 through seven games this year, just like last season. Newton is posting similar stats to last year:

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Carl Crawford says he felt pressure from Red Sox fans to play hurt

From the moment he was pouring sweat uncontrollably when the Boston Red Sox announced him as their newest signing in 2010, you had to wonder if Carl Crawford could handle the pressures of playing in Boston. Looking back on his year-and-a-half with the team, one would come to the conclusion that he could not.

Crawford’s inability to stay healthy was a big part of the reason for his struggles. He needed Tommy John surgery and did not get it until the day after he was traded to the Dodgers. Why did he wait? He was tired of being ripped to shreds by the fans.

“Nobody said I should keep playing, that was just me,” Crawford told the Los Angeles media according to the Boston Globe. “I didn’t want anyone to say ‘I’m not sitting on y’all money.’ That was the biggest thing, people on the radio shows saying he makes 20 million. I’m a hard worker and I wanted to show that. I wasn’t performing well. I know Boston is a blue collar town so I just wanted to have the same attitude that I was working hard to be on the field. At the end of the day, I should have listened to the doctor and helped myself out.”

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Nick Saban upset with Alabama backups for giving up points

Alabama further proved that it is in a class of its own on Saturday with another dominant victory, this time over 11th-ranked Mississippi State. Those of you who like to gamble may have seen Mississippi State getting 24 points heading into the game and thought it was easy money since they are ranked so highly. Instead, Alabama covered another mind-boggling spread. Nick Saban still saw room for improvement.

“I got upset with the backup players because they are better than that,” Saban said according to Andrew Gribble of AI.com. “They can play better than that. They need to play with poise and confidence when they go in the game and compete just like everybody else competes. That’s being able to execute and do your job.

“Everybody has to understand their role and go out there and do it.”

Alabama won 38-7, but Saban was upset about Mississippi State’s lone touchdown drive which included a 15-yard facemask by freshman cornerback Geno Smith. The Bulldogs’ nine-play, 63-yard drive spoiled a potential shutout, but Saban insisted it is not holding his opponent to a goose egg that matters.

“It’s not about shutting anybody out,” he said. “It’s not about any of that. It’s about them playing their best football. We are trying to get our players to play their best that they can play in every regard. We need to keep improving as a team.”

Saban is a perfectionist, which is why he has his team in a tremendous position to repeat as national champions. As we have seen from some of the blow-ups he has had at the media, Saban obsesses over making sure his team never gets too cocky or underestimates its opponents. If that involves ripping reserve players for not preserving a shutout, so be it.

Alex Morgan, Sydney Leroux dress as US gymnasts for Halloween (Pictures)

Alex Morgan and Sydney Leroux of the US women’s national soccer team decided to trade cleats for leotards on Halloween. The soccer stars dressed as members of the US women’s gymnastics team.

Morgan, seen above giving her best “Not Impressed” face, went as US gymnast McKayla Maroney, while Leroux went as Gabby Douglas.

Below is a picture of Morgan and Leroux with a few other teammates:

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James Harden traded to Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb

The Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to trade James Harden to the Houston Rockets for Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, and several draft picks.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news and says the trade comes after the Thunder and Harden were unable to agree on a contract extension. The two sides were days away from Wednesday night’s deadline for 2009 draft picks to sign an extension. Talks reportedly broke down after Harden rejected a four-year extension offer for between $53-54 million.

Wojnarowski reports that the Rockets will give Harden a four or five-year deal for maximum money by the deadline.

Both Wojnarowski and The Oklahoman’s Darnell Mayberry report that Cole Aldrich, Lazar Haywood, and Daequan Cook are headed to Houston along with Harden in the deal. The Rockets are sending Martin and Lamb as well as several picks in return.

The Thunder are receiving two protected first-round picks (from Toronto and Dallas) in 2013, as well as a second-round pick in 2013.

Harden is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and the No. 3 overall draft pick in 2009. He has improved in every statistical category each of his three years in the league and will likely develop into an All-Star in Houston.

The Thunder have had difficult decisions to make about their future. They signed Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to maximum contracts, and gave Serge Ibaka a four-year, $50 million extension in August. Those who felt the Ibaka deal would make it tough for the team to sign Harden long-term were correct.

Not only will Harden get at least a half-dozen million more by signing with Houston, but he also is going to Houston where there is no state income tax, which will mean even more money. His priorities will be questioned because he’s going from a team that reached the NBA Finals last season to a middling franchise, but maybe he believes he can help Houston become a top team. He also will finally be able to start after coming off the bench in Oklahoma City his entire career.

The Thunder made the difficult decision to trade Harden once he wouldn’t agree to take less than market value. They got back good value in return: a scorer in Martin (whose contract expires after the season), a rookie with potential in Lamb, and three picks. The Rockets were dissatisfied with being a mediocre team and coveted an All-Star. They got one in Harden. I think this trade will work out well for both sides.

Here’s the reaction to the trade from some NBA players, including Thunder players Kevin Durant and Eric Maynor:

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Marcus Lattimore reportedly tore all knee ligaments, broke femur (UPDATED)

South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore appeared to suffer one of the worst leg injuries we’ve ever seen, and early reports suggest the injury was every bit as bad as it looked.

Lattimore, a junior from Duncan, S.C., was injured on a second quarter carry against Tennessee on Saturday. He took a handoff out of the I-formation and gained a few yards before being wrapped by linebacker Herman Lathers. Junior defensive back Eric Gordon then dove at Lattimore’s lower half and his helmet appeared to go straight into Lattimore’s right leg (video here).

Lattimore was carted off the field and taken to the hospital by ambulance.

Bryan VanOchten shared the word circulating around the press box at the Alabama-Mississippi State game that Lattimore suffered a broken femur and tore all four of his knee ligaments — the PCL, LCL, MCL, and ACL. Payne Insider adds that he has a chipped knee cap.

The injury would have been awful for any player to suffer, but it was particularly devastating for Lattimore who has already worked so hard to come back from another knee injury.

Lattimore was hurt in South Carolina’s win at Mississippi State on Oct. 15 last season and suffered a season-ending left knee injury. He missed all of the team’s spring practices after undergoing surgery, and spoke about coming back even stronger.

“The main thing is getting stronger,” Lattimore said in April. “I feel like I’m almost there.

“I’ll never take my legs for granted again,” he said.

Lattimore worked all the way back and was enjoying another stellar season. The former SEC Freshman of the Year had rushed for 597 yards and 10 touchdowns entering Saturday’s game. He rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries against Tennessee before suffering the injury.

UPDATE: Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said on Sunday that Lattimore suffered a dislocated knee, but he would not confirm anything else about the season-ending injury.

UPDATE II: The official word from South Carolina is that Lattimore suffered injuries to knee ligaments, but no fracture or additional injuries.

Photo credit: Jeff Blake-US PRESSWIRE

De’Anthony Thomas outran Colorado’s entire team on punt return (Video)

De’Anthony Thomas lived up to his reputation as one of the fastest and most exciting players in college football with this punt return on Saturday.

The Oregon running back took a second-quarter punt 73 yards to the house for a touchdown to make it 42-0 against Colorado in Eugene just 19 minutes into the game. The 5’9″ sophomore also had five carries for 97 yards and a touchdown.

Thomas avoided being tackled about five times, and then he just turned on the jets down the sideline to outrun two Buffaloes who had the angle on him.

From a football perspective, it was an awful decision by Thomas to pick up the punt as it bounced past him. That’s just asking for a fumble that could lead to an opponent’s touchdown. He also ran about 15 yards backwards after scooping up the punt before running past the entire Colorado punt coverage team.

Sure it was a spectacular play, but this says as much to me about the lack of quality competition in college football as it does about Thomas’ incredible talent. That type of poor decision would have led to a 20-yard loss or fumble in the NFL. Once you get in the habit of picking up balls like that because you can turn them into touchdowns against crap teams like Colorado, it becomes hard to break.

As a reminder, Colorado lost the game 70-14 and is now 1-7. They didn’t belong on the field with Oregon.

Jordan Reed fumbled by goal line and appeared to cry on Florida’s bench

Florida lost to Georgia 17-9 in Jacksonville on Saturday for their first defeat of the season, and perhaps nobody was more heartbroken about the loss than Jordan Reed. The junior tight end led the Gators with five catches for 74 yards, but he had one costly mistake at the end of the game.

Reed caught a pass from Jeff Driskel on second-and-six with 2:22 left in the game. He broke a tackle to get the first down, and he was headed toward the end zone where three Georgia defenders converged on him. Reed decided to go airborne around the 5-yard line, and the ball was knocked out of his hands by Jarvis Jones. Georgia recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback.

Jones had 13 tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles, per the AP.

Georgia took over after Reed’s fumble and was able to run out the clock for a 17-9 victory. There’s no guarantee Florida would have scored and made a two-point conversion, but the fumble took away their best chance at tying the game.

In addition to combining for nine turnovers — six by Florida, three by Georgia (all Aaron Murray interceptions) — the teams were penalized a total of 127 yards. Both teams are now 7-1.

H/T Jeff Barlis for the photo

Miguel Cabrera gets Triple Crown trophy from MLB (Pictures)

Detroit Tigers third baseman/DH Miguel Cabrera received an awesome crown trophy from MLB for winning the Triple Crown in the American League during the 2012 season. The trophy is an actual crown, and it features a Detroit Tigers “D” on the front, golden baseball on the top, and is lined with purple cloth.

The front of Cabrera’s trophy says: “2012 American League Triple Crown presented by Major League Baseball to Miguel Cabrera.”

Cabrera was presented with the trophy prior to Game 3 of the World Series in Detroit. Commissioner Bud Selig and former Triple Crown winner Frank Robinson presented him with the award. He also won the Hank Aaron Award for Most Outstanding Player in the American League, while Giants catcher Buster Posey received the honor for the National League.

“I want to congratulate Miguel on his magnificent year and winning the Triple Crown,” Selig said, via MLB.com. “Hard to believe it was 45 years since Carl Yastrzemski won it, and the year before our friend Frank Robinson. So it’s a really momentous year.”

The back is further customized to reflect Cabrera’s statistics:

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