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Monday, June 26, 2017

Football

Mets promote Tim Tebow to High-A Florida State League

Tim Tebow Mets

Tim Tebow was batting only .222/.311/.340 with three home runs, 23 RBI and 69 strikeouts for the low-A ball Columbia Fireflies, but that was apparently more than enough for New York Mets general manager Sandy Alderson to promote him.

The Mets announced on Sunday that Tebow would be moved to the St. Lucie Mets of the High-A Florida State League.

“It’s not like he’s tearing up the league, but at the same time all of the indications are positive in terms of various things we look at — chase rates and exit velocity,” Alderson told ABC Sports. “The bottom line is the average isn’t there, but he’s improving.”

The 29-year-old Tebow signed with the Mets in September of last year and spent time in both the Florida Instructional League and the Arizona Fall League. Prior to that, he had not played organized baseball since High School.

Upon signing, Tebow was reportedly given a $100,000 bonus.

A Heisman Trophy with the Florida Gators, Tebow was a first-round selection (No. 25 overall) of the Denver Broncos in 2010. He later joined the New York Jets in 2012, the New England Patriots in 2013 and attempted a failed NFL comeback with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2015.

Ezekiel Elliott cracks great joke about Dirk Nowitzki’s running style

Dirk Nowitzki held his annual charity baseball game on Saturday, and Ezekiel Elliott was one of a number of Dallas Cowboys players who took part. The star running back also may have provided the best joke of the night.

As you might expect from a man who is 7-feet tall, Nowitzki is not the most gifted runner. Elliott pointed that out to the Dallas Mavericks star, noting that Dirk’s running style is similar to that of a baby giraffe.

Elliott kind of has a point. Check it out:

Believe it or not, Dirk claims he was running his hardest on that particular play.

Don’t feel too bad for Dirk. While it was bold of a young player like Elliott to zing him, Nowitzki is a notorious troll — just ask Harrison Barnes. What goes around comes around, as they say.

Louis Riddick denies report he is interviewing for Chiefs GM job

If the Kansas City Chiefs intend to interview Louis Riddick for their vacant general manager position, the ESPN analyst says he has not heard anything about it.

On Sunday, Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reported that the Chiefs have contacted Riddick about setting up a meeting for next week. Riddick claims the report is completely false.

The Chiefs announced last week that they are parting ways with former GM John Dorsey, who had been considered one of the best personnel men in football over the past four years. The timing of the decision was very unusual, and one report about Dorsey’s reaction made it seem like it was unexpected.

Riddick, a former NFL safety, has worked as an analyst for ESPN since 2013. After he retired from playing, he worked as a scout and director of pro personnel for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. There was some talk about Riddick potentially joining the San Francisco 49ers’ front office earlier in the year, but nothing ever came of that.

Paxton Lynch gaining on Trevor Siemian in Broncos quarterback race

Paxton Lynch

Just two short weeks ago, Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch, who was the team’s first-round pick in 2016, was considered a “work in progress” and an unlikely threat to Trevor Siemian for the starting job.

Over the final two weeks of Denver’s offseason workout program however, Lynch made substantial progress and may now be a legitimate option to start at quarterback in 2017.

Mike Klis of 9News reports that Lynch began looking like a player capable of leading the team and not necessarily a developmental option for down the road.

His switch was flipped. He started to get it. He started to play as if he was doing just that – playing. Playing and not thinking about his protections and hot reads and coverages and delivering the ball on time.

“Yeah, I mean the more reps I’m getting with these guys, the more I get to go against the defense and see the looks live compared to just on paper, it’s helping me a lot,” Lynch said in an offseason exit interview of sorts with 9News. “I think each practice I’ve progressively got better.”

Lynch will still be considered the outsider when the Broncos report to training camp on July 27, but he’s clearly put himself in a much better position to compete for the starting job.

If nothing else, Lynch’s sudden progress will help push Siemian and any other quarterbacks on the roster. And competition always yields positive results.

Report: Chiefs will interview Louis Riddick for GM job

The Kansas City Chiefs are looking to fill a vacant general manager job with roughly one month to go until training camp, and Louis Riddick is reportedly on the list of potential candidates.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Chiefs have reached out to Riddick to set up an interview.

Riddick, a former NFL safety, has worked as an analyst for ESPN since 2013. After he retired from playing, he worked as a scout and director of pro personnel for the Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles. There was some talk about Riddick potentially joining the San Francisco 49ers’ front office earlier in the year, but nothing ever came of that.

The Chiefs announced last week that they are parting ways with former GM John Dorsey, who had been considered one of the best personnel men in football over the past four years. The timing of the decision was very unusual, and one report about Dorsey’s reaction made it seem like it was unexpected.

10 NFL players with most to prove in training camp

Blake Bortles Jags

Before long, all 32 NFL teams will officially be reporting to training camp in preparation for the 2017 regular season. It will be the beginning of a quest for Super Bowl LII, and everyone should legitimately feel like they have a chance.

That extends to the players — both rookies and veterans — who will be trying to earn a job or secure a starting position.

It’s easy to point out highly-drafted rookies or fringe players who need to perform well in training camp, but what about players of prominence? Whether they’re coming off injury, switching positions, or just looking to rebound from a poor 2016 season, here are 10 players with the most to prove in training camp.

10. Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills

After three injury-prone seasons, the Buffalo Bills opted not to pick up Sammy Watkins’ fifth-year option. That undoubtedly came as an unexpected blow to the talented youngster, but the reasons why are obvious.

The Bills have to be kicking themselves over selecting Watkins ahead of Odell Beckham Jr. in the 2014 NFL Draft, but what’s done is done. Now it becomes a prove-it year for Watkins, who would not only like to prove to the Bills they made the correct choice, but show the rest of the NFL he could be a worthwhile investment in 2018.

There’s no denying Watkins’ talent. Anyone who lays eyes on him can see the athleticism and skill he possesses, but after missing 11 games in three seasons, there are legitimate injury concerns.

Even on the field, there have been lapses in Watkins’ play. Needless to say, he needs to come out strong in both training camp and the preseason, and then carry that over into the regular season.

9. Ereck Flowers, OT, New York Giants

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Dolphins reached out to Peyton Manning about possible comeback

Peyton Manning

The Miami Dolphins were desperate for quarterback help when Ryan Tannehill went down with a knee injury late last season, and they apparently thought there was an outside chance they could convince Peyton Manning to embark on one more Super Bowl quest.

In an interview with the Times-Picayune on Friday, Archie Manning revealed that he witnessed a text message conversation between his son and Dolphins head coach Adam Gase.

“It started with Gase,” Archie Manning recalled. “He said, ‘Hey 18, Tannehill went down.’ He said, ‘I think he’s going to miss some time. The first question I’m going to get at the press conference in the morning is if I’m going to try to bring you to Miami. What do you want me to tell them?'”

Gase and Peyton Manning have some history together, as the former was the offensive coordinator for two seasons with the Denver Broncos while the latter was still there. Despite that, you can probably guess what Peyton’s response was.

“The text message came back from Peyton, ‘You tell them I could probably come play, but there’s no way I can miss carpool the next two weeks,'” Archie said. “So, he was done.”

Archie said before last season that he was asked several times if his son was truly retired, and the answer was always the same. Those who watched Peyton in the playoffs in his final season saw that the future Hall of Famer was out of gas, but Gase probably would have liked his chances better with Manning instead of Matt Moore. It was worth a shot.

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