Michael Sam drafted by Rams with 249th pick

Michael Sam drafted

Michael Sam waited nearly three days to finally hear his name called in the NFL Draft, but the wait finally paid off.

With the 249th pick in the draft, the St. Louis Rams picked Sam, a local college player from Missouri.

Sam was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, but he was not rated highly as an NFL prospect. His already shaky draft stock dropped following a poor showing at the NFL Combine where he scored poorly on measurable stats. He performed better at his pro day, but his size, speed and shaky athleticism led many to consider him a weak prospect.

Sam is still a good pass rusher and has the heart, but don’t be surprised if he ends up not making the team. Still, just seeing Sam get drafted shows there was not complete discrimination against him because of his sexual orientation.

In related news, Sam’s reaction to being drafted was just as historic as the event of him being drafted. He had his boyfriend by his side during his draft party, and the two shared multiple kisses on national TV to celebrate the occasion. That is sure to offend many people, but it was very sweet and genuine.

Here is the tweet Sam sent after being selected:

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport also reports that if he didn’t go drafted, Sam likely would have decided between offers from the Bears, Ravens, Rams and Giants.

Madison Bumgarner has words for Yasiel Puig after home run, bat flip (Video)

Yasiel Puig Madison Bumgarner

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner took exception to the way Yasiel Puig celebrated a home run on Friday night and let the Dodgers outfielder know about it.

Puig broke up Bumgarner’s shutout with a solo shot in the sixth. He did a little bat flip after hitting the homer, put his head down, and then began his trot around the bases. As he rounded third and made his way home, Bumgarner approached him to say something. Puig put his hands out and yelled back, and homeplate umpire Will Little broke it up.

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Shortly thereafter, Don Mattingly was ejected for arguing balls and strikes.

We obviously don’t know what MadBum said to Puig, but I don’t think Puig did anything too disrespectful or out of the ordinary. I mean that bat flip was tame by his standards. That one was more of a MadBum issue than a Puig issue. Pitchers can get sensitive after someone takes them deep.

Browns dominate first round, trade up to get Johnny Manziel at 22

Johnny Manziel Cleveland Browns

Credit the Cleveland Browns for working the NFL Draft masterfully.

The Browns had the No. 4 overall pick and there were rumors that they might select Johnny Manziel, though more recently reports said they would not take him that high. That obviously didn’t mean they were not interested in him, because they made three trades on the first day of the draft and came away big winners.

First the Browns traded the No. 4 pick to Buffalo in exchange for the 9th overall pick, a first-round pick in 2015 and a 4th-round pick in 2015. Then they moved up a spot to the No. 8 slot to select cornerback Justin Gilbert.

But the Browns weren’t done dealing. They traded the 26th and 83rd overall picks to the Philadelphia Eagles to move up to number 22 to draft Manziel, who had been falling in the draft.

“To be here it feels right,” Manziel said to ESPN after being selected.

I believe Manziel is the exact kind of guy who can turn around the franchise in Cleveland. As we outlined earlier, they’ve gone through multiple terrible quarterbacks over the past two decades. They need a franchise guy. They finally have one.

Brady Quinn didn’t work out for Cleveland at No. 22. Neither did Brandon Weeden. Manziel will.

‘Just a kid from …’ Johnny Manziel using LeBron James’ image strategy

LeBron James Johnny Manziel

If you follow Johnny Manziel on social media, you may have noticed that he has begun to use a certain hashtag that looks familiar. On Tuesday, the former Heisman Trophy winner shared the same photo on Twitter and Instagram of himself in New York.

Take note of the text and hashtag he used:

“We’re a long way from Hill Country!” he wrote. He complemented it with the “just a kid from Kerrville” hashtag.

That may seem like just a few words of no consequence, but they’re actually part of a very carefully crafted sentence by those helping to develop Manziel’s image.

Instead of being the hot shot/superstar athlete in college who was known as “Johnny Football,” Manziel is making a clear effort to develop an image of an everyday man. This is the exact same strategy LeBron James began using recently, and it has helped completely re-brand/shape James and allowed him to do a 180 in terms of public likability.

You ever notice how LeBron says he’s “Just a kid from Akron?” He says it over social media all the time.

He even says it when he’s doing interviews.

It’s a way to help humanize him and make him seem like he’s just your friendly guy next door. It helps you forget that he is one of the most talented athletes of all time who can afford to pay someone six figures just to pour his mouthwash in the morning. And whether the “just a kid from Akron” image is genuine or not, you begin to believe it because he constantly says it.

And who is Manziel’s sports agent representing him for marketing? LeBron’s management team. It’s no coincidence that they’re using the same strategy and actively playing out the “Just a kid from Kerrville” angle. I mean think about this for a second here.

This is the guy we all knew as “Johnny Football.” This is the same kid who made his name by partying in a Scooby Doo costume on Halloween; the guy who dates supermodels; the guy who’s out at the club with Lauren Hanley; and the guy who was busted in an autograph scandal. And this is the guy who’s supposed to be just some kid from the country? If he keeps saying it, maybe we’ll fall for it.

Johnny Manziel Facebook

To let you know how much of a concerted image-branding effort from Manziel’s PR team this is, when Manziel unveiled his new Facebook page on Thursday, he did so with a post that said “Draft Day” and invoked the hashtag “Just a kid from Kerrville.”

Really, I have to hand it to LeBron’s management team. This is a truly brilliant strategy. But we’re on to them. They need to switch it up so it’s not so obvious.

Tommy Lasorda hopes V Stiviano gets hit by a car (Video)

Tommy Lasorda doesn’t wish any bad luck to V Stiviano, but the former Los Angeles Dodgers manager does hope the woman gets hit by a car.

It seems like a contradiction, but it makes total sense, you know?

Lasorda was in South Florida where he received an honorary degree from Northwood University. While he was there, he was interviewed by WPBF in West Palm Beach and shared that he is a longtime friend of Donald Sterling.

“I’ve been a friend of that guy’s for 30 years,” he said. “It doesn’t surprise me that he said those things. And he shouldn’t have said it. He just hurt himself by talking too much and doing things he shouldn’t be doing.”

You notice that part? Lasagna wasn’t surprised that Sterling said those things. Translation: everybody knew the dude was a raging racist. But then came the money shot:

“And I don’t wish that girl any bad luck but I hope she gets hit with a car.”

From now on, that will be my go-to line. I don’t wish that person any bad luck, but I hope they get hit by a car. Lovely.


Texans not set on Jadeveon Clowney first overall in draft?

Jadeveon ClowneyThe Houston Texans are on the clock with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft, and there are plenty of questions about whom they will select.

The expectation has been that Houston will take former South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney at No. 1 despite any concerns about Clowney’s work ethic. The Houston Chronicle’s John McClain has suggested that the Texans could trade down and select Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles or even Khalil Mack. It seems like that may be their plan.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said on Sunday that the Texans aren’t 100 percent sold on Clowney and are willing to trade. Peter King says he does not know whom the Texans will take, but he says he’s hearing the same thing.

Are you buying this? It could be the source of the reports are executives fielding calls from the Texans about making trades, which would make the report very solid.

For what it’s worth, Texans GM Rick Smith said last week that they know whom they will pick.

“If we take the first pick, we know who we want,” Smith said Thursday. “It’s interesting to me that it’s a big deal that we know our board, and all of a sudden we know who we want. That’s our job. I think we ought to know that.”

There was one qualifier — Smith said “if” they keep the pick. That meshes with the talk that they are considering trading down.

California Chrome wins Kentucky Derby with ease (Video)

California Chrome won the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby with ease after breaking away from the field on the final stretch at Churchill Downs Saturday.

California Chrome was the favorite in the field at 2:1 odds before the race began. The horse ran a similar race to the Santa Anita Derby where he won by several lengths after breaking away on the final stretch.

California Chrome’s unofficial time was 2:03:66 for the horse and jockey Victor Espinoza. 164,906 people attended the race, which was the second-largest crowd ever.

California Chrome

California Chrome became the first California-bred horse to win the Derby since 1962.