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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

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Matthew Stafford has ‘Kershaw’ audible seemingly about friend

Matthew Stafford

The Detroit Lions’ offense has one of the coolest audibles we’ve heard.

During the third quarter of the Lions’ Monday night game against the New York Giants, quarterback Matthew Stafford could be heard saying “Kershaw” for one of his calls at the line of scrimmage:

The “Kershaw” audible seemed to be a nod to Stafford’s childhood friend, Clayton Kershaw.

The two grew up playing sports together in Highland Park, Texas, and Stafford even served as the southpaw’s catcher in high school.

We certainly have heard a bunch of interesting audible calls this season that appear to honor sports figures. The Cowboys showed off their “Shanahan” one in Week 1.

Report: Judge Adalaide Byrd could be removed from UFC 216

Canelo GGG

Judge Adalaide Byrd’s immediate future is in question after she turned in a scorecard for the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin fight Saturday night that was highly criticized.

Alvarez and Golovkin fought to a draw in their superfight. One judge scored it 115-113 for Golovkin; another had it 114-114; and Byrd scored it 118-110 for Alvarez. Her scorecard suggested she saw Alvarez win the fight easily. Most people who watched it felt it was a close fight, with many thinking GGG had the edge. Social media was not kind to Byrd after the fight as these tweets show, and now it sounds like the Nevada Athletic Commission may take action.

The Irish Independent reports that NAC executive director Bob Bennett said he would give Byrd a “small break.”

“I’m not going to put her right back in,” Bennett reportedly told the Independent. “She’ll still be in the business, but she needs to catch her breath.”

On top of that, CBS Las Vegas reporter Chris Maathuis said Byrd had been removed from the UFC 216 fight card she was set to judge on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas.

Bennett may have been getting ahead of himself in his comments to the Irish Independent, because he later told MMA Fighting that they will decide Byrd’s fate over the next week. It could be that news about Byrd leaked out quicker than the commission was ready for, leading them to ask for patience in an announcement.

Evan Engram gets penalty for crotch grab after touchdown

Evan Engram crotch

Evan Engram’s first career touchdown was a memorable one, and one that taught a lesson.

The rookie tight end caught an 18-yard touchdown pass to open the second quarter during the New York Giants’ game against the Detroit Lions on Monday night. During his celebration, Engram decided to do a crotch grab.

Engram was penalized for the crotch grab, leaving the Giants kicking from their 20-yard line. The penalty combined with a kickoff going out of bounds gave Detroit the ball at the New York 45. The short field led to a touchdown for the Lions. So it’s safe to say Engram’s penalty was costly.

Andrew Wiggins expected to sign $148 million max contract this week

The Timberwolves have been planning to offer Andrew Wiggins a max contract offer for some time now. It sounds like the team expects the deal to be finalized this week.

Wiggins is one component of an exciting young core Minnesota has that also includes Karl-Anthony Towns and newly acquired Jimmy Butler. To keep Wiggins around for the foreseeable future was always going to be expensive. The amount will likely be $148 million over five years, according to Darren Wolfson of KSTP in Minnesota.

Wolfson adds Wiggins is supposed be in town later in the week for a pre-camp physical and for the team’s Media Day.

Wiggins, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, is preparing for his fourth NBA season. He has missed just one game through his first three seasons and averaged a career-high 23.6 points per game last season.

Blazers burn Warriors with funny tweet

The Blazers used a fun exchange on social media to burn an NBA team that will soon be moving from Oakland to San Francisco.

On Sunday afternoon, ESPN tweeted a link to an article on its site regarding a tattoo Damian Lillard has on his chest that will also appear on one of the Warriors’ new Nike uniforms. The Blazers responded by referencing the popular phrase “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

A Twitter user responded by saying, “They act like Dame isn’t from Oakland smh.” That’s when Portland unleashed the below gem.

Ouch. The Warriors, who now call Oracle Arena in Oakland home, will be moving to San Francisco in the not-so-distant future as the brand new Chase Center is expected to be ready in time for the 2019-2020 NBA season.

We still have a little while until there are meaningful NBA games to watch. However, in the meantime, we can settle for the social media accounts of teams flexing their muscles.

Matthew Stafford poked in eye on strip sack

Matthew Stafford eye poke

Matthew Stafford was poked in the eye on a strip sack in the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the New York Giants.

Jason Pierre-Paul came around the edge and applied pressure on Stafford, getting the sack and forcing the fumble. Devon Kennard came from the front and caught Stafford in the eye while reaching in with his hand.

Stafford immediately grabbed for his eye and was clearly bothered after being poked. But it didn’t hinder his play.

The Lions got a turnover on the next play, giving the ball right back to their offense. Stafford ended up throwing a touchdown pass on the drive to put Detroit up 14-7.

Jason Garrett: Ezekiel Elliott lacked effort on interceptions

Ezekiel Elliott

Jason Garrett on Monday made note of “uncharacteristic” plays from Ezekiel Elliott where the running back showed a lack of effort on plays in Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos.

Elliott was criticized for giving up on a play after Dak Prescott threw an interception to Chris Harris with the Cowboys down 28-10 in the third quarter at Denver.

Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson was among the critics of Elliott, saying the Cowboys back “quit.”

While speaking with the media Monday, Garrett said he hadn’t yet talked with his running back, but said that kind of effort was not the way the Cowboys expect to play.

“One of the things we preach to our team on both sides of the ball when there is a turnover, everybody is involved. If you’re an offensive player, become a defensive player on a fumble or an interception,” said Garrett.

“Zeke is one of the most natural competitors I’ve ever been around. He loves to play. He loves to practice. I think we’ve seen that through his first year playing. Those two plays were not indicative of the kind of competitor that he was and we have to get that addressed.”

Garrett mentioned how Urban Meyer praised Elliott coming out of college for being great even when the ball is not in his hands.

“Again, those plays were uncharacteristic of him,” Garrett continued. “We’ll certainly address it with him, but we have to address that with our entire team.

“That’s not the way we play.”

Elliott had just eight yards on nine carries in the game — by far his worst effort as a pro. Garrett was all over his guys after the blowout loss. He also threw Dak Prescott under the bus.

Dustin Pedroia leaves game after foul ball off face (Video)

Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia left Monday’s Boston Red Sox-Baltimore Orioles game after taking a foul ball off the face.

Pedroia was leading off the top of the fourth at Camden Yards and poked at a 1-1 pitch. The ball hit off his bat, bounced, and hopped up into his face:

Pedroia was bleeding some after being hit by the ball. Brock Holt replaced him during the at-bat and actually doubled.

Pedroia was 0-for-1 in the game but is batting .304 with 18 doubles and seven home runs this season for a .784 OPS.

Odell Beckham says he will play against Lions

Odell Beckham

Odell Beckham Jr took the field for warmups roughly two hours before the New York Giants were set to take on the Detroit Lions Monday night, and the star wide receiver felt good enough to declare himself ready for his season debut.

Beckham, who has been battling a sprained ankle, told reporters he is ready to roll.

Reports throughout the week indicated Beckham was trending in the right direction, though some comments he made recently made it seem like he could miss multiple games.

The Giants looked completely lost on offense without Beckham in Week 1. They managed just three points against the Dallas Cowboys, and Eli Manning completed 29-of-38 passes for 220 yards, no touchdowns and an interception. It goes without saying that they will be thrilled to have OBJ back.

Su’a Cravens could reportedly still show up to work, create ugly situation

Su'a Cravens

Su’a Cravens is ineligible to play for the remainder of the season after the Washington Redskins put him on the reserve/left squad list on Monday, but the defensive back may show up for work this week anyway.

A source told Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk that Cravens was planning to return to the Redskins on Tuesday and could make things uncomfortable for the team by following through with that plan. According to Florio’s source, Washington knew Cravens planned to show up this week and basically blocked the move. Here’s the full explanation:

As the source explains it, Washington was aware that Cravens was coming back on Tuesday. Out of the blue on Monday, they shifted his status from exempt/left squad to reserve/left squad, ending his season. Cravens, we’re told, wasn’t informed that the team was planning to make the move until after the move already had been made.

The circumstances that allowed Cravens to receive a four-week roster exemption set the stage for Monday’s developments. By rule, Washington was required to send Cravens the so-called “five-day letter,” which informs him that if he doesn’t return within (duh) five days, he can be placed on the reserve/left squad list. So, basically, once five days elapsed, Washington had the ability to shut Cravens down — even if he was under the impression that he had four weeks to return.

As Florio noted, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported over the weekend that Cravens had decided to return to work. The 22-year-old made a public appearance on Saturday when he was spotted on the sideline at USC’s game against Texas. Redskins coach Jay Gruden said Monday that he had not heard from Cravens or anything about the defensive back’s situation.

There were some rumblings that Cravens, who underwent knee surgery last month and made some interesting remarks about concussions last season, was contemplating retirement. If he felt like Washington gave him the impression he would be welcomed back, a grievance could be coming.

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