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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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Penguins GM rips trash-throwing Flyers fans

The end of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers turned ugly on Sunday as frustrated Flyers fans threw garbage on the ice as the Penguins eliminated their team.

Toward the end of Pittsburgh’s 8-5 win, some Philadelphia fans threw beer cans onto the ice, potentially endangering some of the players. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford was quick to take the offending fans to task.

“There were frustrated fans,” Rutherford told Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “They decided to waste their money and throw some things on the ice that they had already spent money on. I guess some of them have more money than brains.

“Somebody could have gotten hurt. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. The game’s over at that point.”

Rutherford credited the Flyers with pushing the series to six, and made clear that it was the handful of fans he was singling out.

“I don’t know who they were aiming at,” Rutherford said. “You have players from their home team there. Somebody could have been hurt bad. It doesn’t make any sense.”

It’s fair to say that Flyers fans weren’t exactly on their best behavior during this series. Rutherford is right — it was pretty dumb on the part of the Flyers fans who participated.

Kevin Durant appears to like Instagram comment bashing Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant Russell Westbrook

Kevin Durant vs. Russell Westbrook will never truly die.

The latest spark is Durant allegedly liking an Instagram comment suggesting Westbrook was “the problem” when the duo were teammates on the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Weird things happen on Instagram. Sometimes things accidentally get liked or faked. Given the context and the history between Durant and Westbrook and the fact that Durant has a long history of using social media to defend himself and his past, however, this looks like it may be legitimate. If it is, it’s going to needlessly drum up more questions about that relationship as the Warriors are still trying to close out the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference quarterfinals — while the Thunder try to fight back from a 2-1 deficit in their matchup with Utah.

Joakim Noah celebrated Earth Day with his new blonde beard

Joakim Noah left the New York Knicks on sour terms back in January and has not played competitive basketball since, but he appears to be doing quite well. In fact, it looks like the big man has taken his time away from the court to get in touch with nature.

On Sunday, Noah celebrated Earth Day by showing off his blonde beard on Instagram. We’ll just let you watch the video:

Jah bless the earth

A post shared by Joakim Noah (@stickity13) on

The reports we heard about Noah’s relationship with former Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek made it seem like he was dealing with a lot of tension in his life, but that certainly looks like a man who has found peace. It will be interesting to see if Noah remains with the Knicks next season and if he brings his blonde beard with him.

Horse named after Rob Gronkowski may miss Kentucky Derby

A horse named after Rob Gronkowski set to compete in the Kentucky Derby may end up missing the race.

Gronkowski, named after the New England Patriots’ tight end, had qualified to start the Kentucky Derby. However, an unspecified issue has put the colt’s participation in jeopardy.

“We’ve had a minor setback and we will know where we are in the next 24 hours,” trainer Jeremy Noseda said on Monday, via Jon Lees of Racing Post.

Owing to the popularity of his namesake, Gronkowski had become one of the more well-known Kentucky Derby hopefuls. It got even better when the tight end himself bought an ownership stake. It would be a shame if the horse’s absence deprived us of Gronkowski, who’s having fun this offseason, making an appearance at Churchill Downs.

Sam Darnold explains why he ignores mock drafts

Sam Darnold

Quarterback Sam Darnold may or may not become the first overall pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday, but whatever happens, he’s making it a policy to ignore mock drafts.

Darnold told PFT Live on Thursday that he would “drive myself insane” if he paid attention to every mock draft he sees.

“I haven’t looked at mock drafts,” Darnold said, via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk. “If I looked at those a lot I think I would drive myself insane. With the draft coming up I’m just trying to spend time with my family and close friends. There’s so many mock drafts out there I haven’t been able to keep up with them.”

There are a lot of predictions about Darnold, but his policy is probably the best one. Some of the information out there is false or meant to deceive, and it’s not like the former USC quarterback can control much of the situation anyway. He may as well just sit back and enjoy the journey.

Tom Brady’s agent says QB plans to play in 2018 and beyond

Tom Brady

Tom Brady still wants to play football next season and well into his mid-40s, assuming the New England Patriots quarterback is not lying to his own agent.

On Monday, Brady’s agent Don Yee seemingly put an end to all the speculation that Brady could be contemplating retirement.

“Tom’s intentions have not changed,” Yee told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “He’s consistently said he’ll play beyond this contract and into his mid 40s, or until he feels he isn’t playing at a championship level. I understand the constant speculation, but this is one point he’s been firm about.”

Brady’s current contract is set to expire after the 2019 season. Yee also confirmed that Brady has been training just as much this offseason as he has in past years.

“He customizes his preparation to each season in order to maximize his performance,” the agent said. “His training methods are always evolving and getting better. The year he missed the first four games — that month of training on his own was particularly efficient.”

There has been talk that Brady may want a new contract or could want Bill Belichick and the Patriots to give his personal trainer Alex Guerrero more access to the team. Other theories have also been floated around about Brady still being upset over a certain coaching decision Belichick made in the Super Bowl.

Whatever the case, it would have been shocking if Brady suddenly decided he was done with football. His TB12 brand only becomes stronger with each season he plays at a high level, and his training methods will be even more trusted if he continues his MVP-caliber play in 2018 and beyond. The tension between Brady and Belichick seems very real, but that does not mean the four-time Super Bowl MVP is calling it a career.

Brett Brown says 76ers are in ‘grad school’

Brett Brown Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers’ success has been a long time coming, but now that it’s here, coach Brett Brown has a pretty good analogy for it.

After the Sixers went up 3-1 on the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals, Brown said his team has graduated college and is now in grad school.

It’s apt. After several historically bad seasons, the Sixers are looking as good as any team in the Eastern Conference right now, with the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Boston Celtics facing real battles in their first round matchups. They even have some attitude to them. They’re still growing and learning, too, with much more to come.

Sean Payton not sure if any QBs in draft are better than Patrick Mahomes

Patrick Mahomes

The 2018 NFL Draft is one that is considered to be loaded with quarterback talent, but Kansas City Chiefs fans are going to like what a rival coach thinks about the guy they were able to nab at this time a year ago.

In an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was asked for his thoughts on this year’s QB class. He took the opportunity to praise Patrick Mahomes, whom he says the Saints had rated very highly in last year’s draft.

“With regards to the quarterback class this year, this is just us, the Saints, the guy we had graded very high last year was Mahomes,” Payton said, as transcribed by Joel Erickson of The Advocate. “I don’t know that I see that player in this class.”

The Chiefs traded up in last year’s draft to take Mahomes, and New Orleans ended up taking former Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore at No. 11. Payton claims the Saints would have taken Lattimore even if Kansas City passed on Mahomes, but he’d probably say that even if it weren’t true.

Payton doesn’t seem particularly high on this year’s QB class despite all the buzz, as he also told Peter King of The MMQB that teams at the top of the draft should feel “uneasy” about which signal-caller to take. Payton said he does not believe the next Andrew Luck or Carson Wentz is in this class.

As we know, the Chiefs also think very highly of Mahomes. They moved on from Alex Smith this offseason even after Smith had a career year in 2017, and some key players in Kansas City have already made their feelings on Mahomes clear.

Twitter goes nuts over Buccaneers using parrot to deliver draft picks

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Monday that their day three draft picks will be delivered by a parrot, and Twitter reacted as you would have expected it to.

The Buccaneers will have an announcer stationed on the infamous Raymond James Stadium pirate ship, and a pirate will be delivering the picks to them. Naturally, this gimmick was roasted on Twitter, with various tweets pointing out how silly and superfluous it was.

You: The draft has become ridiculous, overhyped and gimmicky

The parrot delivering the Bucs pick: Hold my pina colada pic.twitter.com/YStyt3BsRb

The Bucs trading up in the the draft to draft a parrot is more understandable than a kicker

It’s all fun and games until the parrot leaks the Bucs draft picks to Adam Schefter

/Jerry Jones tries to draft the parrot https://t.co/vGMCeFAObW

“What was your draft experience like, Johnny?”

“Incredible. Gathered around the tv with my family, friends, and loved ones, and then a parrot said I’d made it to the NFL. Dreams do come true.” https://t.co/0TSqisQmuh

In regards to the parrot calling the Bucs’ Saturday draft-picks on TV, my Titans friend sent me this as a response: “A parrot would be an upgrade to their current front office”

A fine time for all to get that lawn mowed. https://t.co/vsyQHMB8iS

As long as this goes better than the whole trading up for a kicker thing, this should be fine. Twitter will laugh, though, and it’s hard to blame them.

Report: Ravens out on Dez Bryant after signing Willie Snead

The Baltimore Ravens have bolstered their receiving corps this offseason, but they are reportedly not planning to make a huge splash by signing Dez Bryant.

On Friday, the Ravens offered Snead a two-year deal worth up to $11.5 million. Snead is a restricted free agent, but ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the New Orleans Saints are not going to match the offer. And now that Snead is joining Baltimore along with Michael Crabtree, the Ravens are no longer a suitor for Bryant.

The interest in Bryant hasn’t really seemed to heat up yet, which could have to do with it being so late in free agency and him likely costing a significant amount of money. Many teams don’t have a lot of salary cap space at this point in the offseason, and they still need to save money for the draft.

Bryant has given hints that he is hoping to get revenge on the Cowboys by signing with a certain team, but it’s unclear if the interest is mutual.

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