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Thursday, March 23, 2017

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Report: Von Miller’s stolen helmet being sent to Denver FBI

Von Miller

When authorities began searching for Tom Brady’s missing game-worn jersey from Super Bowl LI, Von Miller probably didn’t realize the investigation would lead to him having a valuable possession of his own returned. Sometimes things just have a way of working themselves out.

Mauricio Ortega, the former Mexican newspaper director who has been accused of stealing two of Brady’s Super Bowl jerseys, is allegedly the same person who took Miller’s helmet after Super Bowl 50. On Tuesday, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported that Miller’s shell and Brady’s jerseys were on their way to be authenticated so they can be returned to their rightful owners.

“Von Miller’s helmet is going to be transported as early as (Tuesday) — if it already hasn’t been — to the FBI office in the Denver area for them to authenticate it,” Glazer said on Fox Sports 1.

What originally appeared to be the case of a brazen thief who wanted Brady’s jersey after the New England Patriots’ incredible comeback against the Atlanta Falcons was actually only a piece of an elaborate scheme. Ortega was a credentialed member of the media, and one report claims he has been selling sports memorabilia items for years.

Miller probably didn’t consider the possibility that his helmet was in the same place as Brady’s jersey, but it would appear the same man who walked into the Patriots’ locker room after Super Bowl LI (video here) was also in the Denver Broncos’ locker room a year prior.

Rangers open to discussing Yu Darvish contract extension in season

Yu Darvish

The Texas Rangers seem to be approaching the Yu Darvish contract situation with caution, but they are open to discussing an extension during the season.

Rangers GM Jon Daniels told 1310 The Ticket’s Norm Hitzges on Monday that the team has “interest in him staying here,” regarding Darvish. Daniels also said the team is open to having contract talks with Darvish at any point.

“Where we left [it] is that either side can privately open it or raise it at any point,” Daniels said on 1310 The Ticket. “No set deadlines or anything like that. The lines of communication are open, and the relationship is very good. That’s a great starting point.”

The Rangers are banking on their belief that Darvish likes Texas and would want to stay with the team.

Texas is proceeding with caution because Darvish is still working his way back from Tommy John surgery. The Japanese starter has been an unquestionable ace when healthy, but he’s only made 100 career starts since coming over in 2012. If Darvish puts up a strong 2017 or does anything like he did in 2013, the Rangers will probably end up regretting not trying to seal the deal sooner.

Did NFL try to cover up Dwight Clark ALS revelation with Tom Brady jersey news?

Roger Goodell

The news that Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jersey had been recovered came less than 24 hours after San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark revealed he has ALS, and at least one person who is familiar with the league does not believe the timing was a coincidence.

An NFL agent hinted to ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he or she believes the NFL was trying to cover up the shocking revelation Clark made on Sunday night by leaking word that Brady’s jersey had been tracked down.

If true, that would be despicable. But given the history of the NFL and the way they have tried to cover up the long-term health hazards of playing football, it would not exactly be shocking. In his statement, Clark said he suspects football has played a role in his condition and urged the NFL Players Association to work with the league to make the game safer.

By now, the link between CTE and playing football is indisputable. Still, we have seen NFL officials make themselves look bad time and time again by denying science. Why wouldn’t we believe they would pull a cheap stunt like taking attention away from Clark’s illness for the betterment of the shield? No reason, really.

Tom Brady jersey thief has reportedly been selling sports memorabilia ‘for years’

Tom Brady

It took authorities roughly six weeks to track down the man who stole Tom Brady’s game-worn Super Bowl jersey, but apparently the thief had been getting away with similar heists well before February.

Sources familiar with the situation told TMZ that Mauricio Ortega, the former Mexican newspaper director who has been accused of stealing Brady’s Super Bowl LI jersey in addition to his jersey from Super Bowl XLIX, has been “selling various sports collectibles for years.” Ortega supposedly authenticated the memorabilia to buyers by showing them photos he took with prominent NFL figures like Brady, Robert Kraft and Ben Roethlisberger.

One particular item, Brady’s jersey from the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks two years ago, was reportedly being shopped to a group of wealthy collectors who believed it was obtained legally. Ortega was said to be asking $75,000 the item.

TMZ also noted that Ortega has had access to Super Bowl locker rooms for at least 10 years, so there’s no telling if he has been swiping items from teams and players all along. In addition to the two Brady jerseys, there have been rumblings that the same person who robbed Brady may have stolen something from Von Miller after Super Bowl 50.

A video that was obtained by Jay Glazer of FOX Sports appeared to show a man — supposedly Ortega — entering the locker room after Super Bowl LI not far behind Bill Belichick. He later exited with an item tucked under his left arm that he did not have several minutes before. You can see the footage here.

Report: Jets are ‘committed’ to Christian Hackenberg

Christian Hackenberg had a rookie season to forget with the New York Jets, but perhaps all the bad press he has received is not an indication of how the team envisions his future.

The Jets signed Josh McCown to a one-year contract on Monday, and the veteran quarterback could be asked to lead the team in an obvious bridge year. Now that they have seemingly settled for a mediocre option, you have to wonder if the Jets feel their quarterback of the future is already on the roster. According to an NFL source that SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano spoke to, that guy is Hackenberg.

“I think they might already have their quarterback,” the source said. “I think they’re committed to (Christian) Hackenberg.”

New York didn’t even attempt to sign Mike Glennon, who was considered the best QB on the free agent market this offseason. They also haven’t shown any interest in Colin Kaepernick or made an attempt to trade for a potential starter. The Jets have the No. 6 overall pick in the upcoming draft, so they could be in position to take Mitch Tribusky — whom they are supposedly enamored with — or another top QB prospect.

As Vacchiano notes, the Jets did not draft Hackenberg in the second round last year just to give up on him in year two. McCown likely won’t stand in the way of Hackenberg getting a shot at some point in 2017, no matter what certain members of the Jets organization have supposedly said about the 22-year-old.

Lane Kiffin says he ‘got in trouble’ for dog years joke at Alabama

Lane Kiffin FAU

Lane Kiffin made some questionable comments about his time working under Nick Saban just before he parted ways with Alabama, and very few people believe that was a coincidence. Kiffin isn’t exactly claiming it was, either.

In an appearance on “The Dan Le Batard Show” on ESPN Radio Monday, Kiffin was asked if he was happy at Alabama. The FAU coach admitted he faced many challenges in Tuscaloosa.

“I had a unique situation where for the first time my family didn’t come with me — my kids and my wife — so that made it, outside of the football part, not so fun because they were across the country,” Kiffin said, as transcribed by Saturday Down South. “That played into that. I think it would have been much more enjoyable had they come … Versus coming somewhere, where the only reason you are going there is to dive into football, to learn from Coach Saban and to win a bunch of games. And to have a blast on the field like we did. We went 40-3, so it was a good time (on the field).”

When Le Batard asked Kiffin how much of a toll coaching at Alabama took on him, he hinted that he created some issues for himself with a candid interview he gave to Sports Illustrated.

“I already got in trouble for that statement one time,” Kiffin said with a laugh. “When I called it the equivalent of dog years. I thought it was kinda funny at the time, but I guess not.”

Kiffin could have been referring to the media reaction, but we would not be surprised if Saban was irritated by some of the things he said. We already said prior to the National Championship Game that we believed the SI interview was one of the reasons Kiffin was fired so abruptly.

To say the relationship between Saban and Kiffin went stale would probably be an understatement.

Amari Cooper appears to have bought his mom her dream house and car

Amari Cooper

Amari Cooper shared a very cool photo and story on Instagram Monday.

Cooper, the Oakland Raiders receiver, shared a picture of his mother in front of a mansion and Range Rover, and talked about how they went from the projects to her now having a dream house and car.

Cooper, who played college ball at Alabama, has averaged 78.5 catches, 1,111.5 and 5.5 touchdowns per season in his first two years in the NFL. The Oakland Raiders star has more than lived up to his position as a No. 4 overall draft pick.

Javy Baez steals third on incredible slide move (Video)

Javy Baez slide

Javy Baez continues to do all the little things to make himself one of the most fun baseball players to watch.

Playing for Puerto Rico in the WBC on Monday night, Baez pulled off a stolen base by using an incredible swim move after diving into third:

Here it is in GIF form:

Puerto Rico was unable to drive him in after that, which is partly why the game went to extra innings where they won 4-3. Between this and his awesome tag earlier in the tournament, Baez has made some great plays.

Su’a Cravens upset about ‘bs’ story

Su'a Cravens

Su’a Cravens was mentioned in an article discussing the troubles in the Washington Redskins’ front office, and he is not happy about it.

The Monday Morning Quarterback’s Albert Breer wrote an article published last week in which he examined what led to the departure of GM Scot McCloughan. Breer identified three key points that contributed to McCloughan’s firing. One was the Kirk Cousins contract situation; McCloughan wanted to extend the QB, while president Bruce Allen didn’t. The second point had to do with a biceps injury for Cravens.

According to Breer, when Cravens initially injured his biceps on Dec. 11, the team thought it was a tear, but it turned out to be a bruise. Cravens missed two games which supposedly upset some teammates. After Cravens missed a treatment prior to Week 17, McCloughan called the player. That didn’t sit well with some who felt the GM was overstepping his bounds.

Even though the Cravens anecdote was mentioned in the context of a strained Allen-McCloughan relationship, the Washington safety did not appreciate being caught up in the middle.

The USC product was on vacation in Hawaii and must have just gotten around to the article, because he tweeted some angry thoughts on Monday night and promised to go Marshawn Lynch on the media.

I’m not really sure how Cravens was “slandered” in the article as he thinks. This wasn’t even about him. Sure, there was talk that some players felt he should have played through his injury, but I’m not really sure how freezing reporters out is going to help his situation. He really would be best off just letting it go.

Jurickson Profar picked off while celebrating single (Video)

Jurickson Profar picked off

Jurickson Profar just learned the hard way that he needs to be standing on a base before celebrating a big hit.

Profar is playing for the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic and singled with a man on second and one out in the top of the first inning of his country’s semifinal game against Puerto Rico on Monday night.

The throw from right field went all the way to catch Yadier Molina at home, which held the Netherlands’ runner at third. After rounding first, Profar carelessly meandered back to the bag, all while pumping up his teammates. He had taken his eyes off the ball and play, and Molina noticed that. Molina threw behind Profar, who was tagged out for the second out of the inning.

The next batter up, Wladimir Balentien, homered to make it 2-0. Not only did Profar’s mistake likely cost them a run, but the Netherlands made another out on the bases while he was at-bat. They only made one out with their bats that inning.

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