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Friday, April 20, 2018

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Pete Carroll dismisses Earl Thomas trade talk

Earl Thomas

Pete Carroll dismissed all the trade talk and other rumors surrounding Earl Thomas in a radio interview on Thursday.

The Seattle Seahawks coach joined Dave “Softy” Mahler on KJR in Seattle on Thursday and was asked about Thomas. Carroll said the team is counting on Thomas and that he “better be there” for camp in July.

There have been questions about Thomas’ status with the team all offseason. The safety has been the subject of trade rumors and has threatened to hold out. Thomas did not show up for the team’s voluntary workouts on Monday, either.

Thomas is due to make $8.5 million in what will be the final year of his contract. The 28-year-old only played 11 games in 2016 and 14 last year due to injuries.

WWE gets emergency restraining order against notorious fan

WWE logo

The WWE obtained an emergency restraining order against a notorious fan earlier this month.

You may recall that Armando Montalvo, who was described in the past as a “deranged” fan by WWE, was shot outside the WWE Performance Center in Orlando in 2015. He was believed to be in possession of a knife at the time. Montalvo also had spread urine and feces outside the building and posted a video on YouTube of it. The WWE obtained a restraining order against him at that time and has done so again.

TMZ Sports reports that WWE sought and was granted a restraining order against Montalvo for harassing WWE employees at an event venue in March. They also say he threatened wrestlers and staff in an Instagram video posted in April, which led them to seek the restraining order.

Montalvo showed documents on his Instagram account that seem to confirm the restraining orders he received.

Royals OF Alex Gordon to begin rehab assignment on Friday

Alex Gordon

The Kansas City Royals could be getting some much needed reinforcements soon.

Alex Gordon is set to begin a rehab assignment on Friday, the Royals say. He will be rehabbing at Triple-A Omaha. Both the high level starting spot and the proximity to Kansas City suggests they anticipate a quick return to the big club.

Gordon was placed on the disabled list on April 10 with a labral tear in his hip. He was batting just .174 (4-for-23) on the season.

Gordon is in the third season of a four-year, $72 million contract and has been a major bust since signing the deal, as his average plummeted to .220 in 2016 and .208 last season. This year does not seem to be getting a whole lot better, but there is still plenty of time for a turnaround.

Dwyane Wade on Kevin Hart: We’re not friends right now

Dwyane Wade Heat

Dwyane Wade is putting his friendship with actor/comedian Kevin Hart aside during the playoffs.

Wade said Thursday that he and Hart are not friends while the Miami Heat are facing the Philadelphia 76ers.

“We’re not friends right now,” Wade said Thursday, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “We made it very clear we’re not friends now. But we’ll be friends after the playoffs is over with. We’re not friends. I don’t like him.”

Wade should hope that Hart will be in attendance for Game 3 given what transpired in Game 2. Wade turned back the clock in an outstanding performance while leading the Heat to a road victory in a tough environment. He said after the game that he was motivated by the opportunity to stick it to Hart, who was trash talking him during the game.

Hart, who is a Philadelphia native, has been trying to associate himself with Philly sports teams, but it hasn’t worked out too well. His interference in Game 2 backfired, his attempt to recruit LeBron James didn’t go well, and he completely embarrassed himself at the Super Bowl.

Joel Embiid upgraded to probable for Game 3

Joel Embiid 76ers

Joel Embiid has been pushing hard to play in the postseason, and he may get his wish.

The Philadelphia 76ers big man was upgraded to probable on the lasted injury report ahead of Game 3 between his Sixers and the Miami Heat after previously being listed as doubtful.

Embiid has not played since leaving the team’s game on March 28 after colliding with teammate Markelle Fultz. Embiid suffered a concussion and broken orbital as a result. He has passed concussion protocol and is recovering from surgery to repair the facial fracture.

Embiid voiced a complaint over social media after the Sixers lost Game 2 to the Heat about not being able to play, so it seems that he is pushing his way into action.

Embiid has worn a mask during both public and social media appearances, suggesting that that is what he will be wearing for protection when he steps onto the court.

Braves’ minor-league affiliate hosting free beer night

Atlanta Braves logo

There are bold moves, and then there’s what the Florida Fire Frogs are doing.

The Advanced-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves announced on Thursday that they will be hosting a free beer night during their game against the St. Lucie Mets. Complimentary brew will be served from first pitch until the Mets score.

The Fire Frogs have given up 4.3 runs per game through their first 13 contests of the year, so the promotion may be short-lived. But this should be an easy (albeit risky) way for them to increase their unspectacular attendance this season (1,026 on average, eighth out of 12 in the Florida State League).

At the very least, it can’t be more ill-advised than the promotion that we saw elsewhere in Minor League Baseball last year.

Jabari Parker admits he is frustrated with limited minutes

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker seems to be confirming some of the recent rumors about him.

Speaking with reporters on Thursday, the Milwaukee Bucks forward admitted that he was frustrated with his limited minutes and indicated that he was not on the same page with Bucks interim coach Joe Prunty. Here is what Parker had to say, according to Stephen Watson of WISN-TV in Milwaukee.

Parker, 23, averaged 12.6 points in 24.0 minutes per game during the regular season. But he has scored just two total points in 25 total minutes through the Bucks’ first two playoff games against the Boston Celtics (both losses).

The former No. 2 overall pick’s frustration may make a bit more sense when you consider that he recently returned from the second right ACL tear of his young NBA career. But Parker is set to become a restricted free agent after the season, and this latest development comes just days after a report revealed that the Bucks supposedly had some gripes with him as well.

Report: Brandon Marshall agreed to take pay cut, thought Giants were keeping him

Brandon Marshall

If Brandon Marshall was not released by the New York Giants on Thursday after he failed his physical, it sounds like the wide receiver was willing to return at a discounted rate.

Kimberley Martin of the Washington Post reports that Marshall had agreed last month to take a pay cut for the 2018 season and was under the impression that he would return. Marshall, who had surgery after a season-ending ankle injury last year, failed his physical and was cut.

Marshall was due to make $5.5 million this upcoming season, and there’s no way he would have gotten that on the open market. It makes sense that the 34-year-old agreed to take less money to remain with the Giants, though it doesn’t matter now.

Ironically, Dez Bryant says he went through something similar with the Dallas Cowboys before they released him, and the star receiver has indicated he wants to get revenge against his former team. Could the Giants have had Bryant in mind when they decided to part ways with Marshall? That would be quite the story.

John Elway: Broncos open to trading back from No. 5

John Elway

With just one week remaining until the start of the NFL Draft, John Elway insists that the Denver Broncos still have no idea what they are going to do with the No. 5 overall pick.

On Thursday, Elway met with the media and discussed the various approaches his team could take. He basically ruled out nothing, including trading back.

For what it’s worth, Elway also said the Broncos have only given four quarterbacks a first-round grade.

Since they pick fifth overall, that is significant. All four teams picking ahead of the Broncos could use a quarterback, though they will be tempted to take Penn State’s Saquon Barkley or NC State’s Bradley Chubb. If one of Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen or Josh Allen is still on the board when the Broncos pick, it would be tough to imagine Elway passing up that opportunity.

The Broncos signed Case Keenum this offseason, so they are set at the QB position for at least 2018. However, Elway — a Hall of Fame quarterback — still has not been able to draft a franchise-type QB. He also traded Trevor Siemian this offseason, so the Broncos could use a backup.

Elway seems determined to prove he can make the right move at the position, which is why it makes sense for him to see how the first four picks play out. But if some team is desperate to draft one of the big QB prospects this year, Elway may get an offer he can’t refuse. He would be unwise to tell teams the phone lines aren’t open.

Brandon Marshall released by Giants after failed physical

Brandon Marshall Giants

The New York Giants will be fairly deep at the wide receiver position if healthy to start the 2018 season, so it should come as no surprise that they have decided Brandon Marshall is expendable.

As first reported by Kimberley Martin of the Washington Post and later confirmed by Giants GM Dave Gettleman, Marshall is being released after he failed his physical.

Marshall and Odell Beckham Jr. were expected to be one of the best wide receiver duos in football last year, but both went down with season-ending injuries in what was an incredibly disappointing year in New York. Marshall appeared in just five games and did not appear to be the same player even when he was on the field.

While he’s just two years removed from one of his best seasons as a pro, when he caught 109 passes for 1,502 yards and a career-high 14 touchdowns, Marshall was due to make $5.5 million in 2018. The 33-year-old simply isn’t worth that much at this point in his career.

We already know one star free agent wants to play for the Giants next season, so it will be interesting to see if Marshall’s release opens the door for that to happen.

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