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Sunday, January 21, 2018


Rob Gronkowski suffers concussion in AFC championship game

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski was ruled out for Sunday’s AFC championship game with a concussion.

The New England Patriots tight end was hit in the head by Jacksonville Jaguars safety Barry Church with under two minutes to go before halftime on Sunday.

Gronk immediately headed to the locker room for testing. He was initially termed questionable to return but was later said to be out for the game after it was determined he had a concussion.

Church was penalized 15 yards on the play, but that was minor compared to the loss of Gronk for the game.

Gronkowski had one catch for 21 yards before suffering the concussion.

Interestingly, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman actually defended Church for the hit, saying there was nowhere else for him to go.

Rob Gronkowski leaves game after hit to head from Barry Church

Rob Gronkowski

Rob Gronkowski left Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars after taking a hit to the head by Barry Church just before halftime.

The New England Patriots had a first-and-10 at their 40 with around 1:30 left in the first half when Tom Brady lofted a pass to Gronk. Gronk got nailed directly in the helmet by Church, who was penalized.

Church got flagged 15 yards for unnecessary roughness. On the next play, A.J. Bouye was penalized for pass interference.

The Patriots ended up scoring on the drive to close the margin to 14-10. Gronk went straight to the locker room for testing.

Report: Giants GM wants Eli Manning to remain starting QB in 2018

Eli Manning

For one week earlier in the season, it appeared that Eli Manning’s long and successful tenure with the New York Giants was coming to an end. But now that the team is under new management, there have been many indications that the two-time Super Bowl MVP will be back under center with the Giants in 2018.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that Giants general manager Dave Gettleman told Manning in a meeting earlier this month that he wants him to remain the team’s starting quarterback next season. However, Gettleman was honest in telling Manning that the Giants, who have the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, will evaluate quarterbacks.

Manning is under contract with the Giants for two more seasons, so it makes sense that they would want to keep him around while grooming a young quarterback. We saw how fans in New York feel about Manning when former head coach Ben McAdoo chose to bench the 37-year-old in favor of Geno Smith, so hanging onto Manning would be wise from a football and business standpoint.

According to Mortensen, Manning expressed no concerns over the Giants potentially drafting and developing his successor. Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who is expected to be hired as New York’s next head coach, reportedly also offered a “favorable impression” of Manning when he interviewed with the team.

Gettleman has been very complimentary of Manning since he was hired by the Giants, so the latest report is not a surprise.

Tom Brady hides right hand while walking into Gillette Stadium

Tom Brady

Tom Brady is going to play in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday barring some catastrophic event leading up to kickoff, but the star quarterback is very clearly doing all he can to keep his injured right hand hidden.

Brady arrived at Gillette Stadium about six hours before kickoff on Sunday, and he kept his right hand in his pocket the entire time he was on camera. As Rich Eisen of NFL Network noted, Brady almost always carries a briefcase or some sort of bag in his right hand when he shows up on game day.

Again, Brady is going to play. We’re not implying that his status for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars is in danger, but you’re crazy if you think it’s a coincidence that Brady’s hand never left his pocket.

The Patriots love keeping their opponents guessing about injuries, and Brady’s hand injury has been no different. Reports have indicated that Brady suffered a nasty cut in practice earlier in the week, and it remains to be seen if his play will be impacted.

Aly Raisman’s mother blasts Tom Izzo over Nassar comments

Tom Izzo

Lynn Raisman, the mother of Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, blasted Tom Izzo over his comments about Larry Nassar and Michigan State’s president.

After Michigan State’s 85-57 win over Indiana on Friday, Izzo faced questions about school president Lou Anna K. Simon. Simon has come under heat for the way she and the school handled accusations of sexual abuse by Nassar, a former osteopathic physician at the school who worked as an athletic trainer. Nassar is accused of sexually abusing over 100 athletes at Michigan State and USA Gymnastics, including Raisman.

In his comments on the matter, Izzo expressed empathy towards the victims, but also said he hoped the right person was convicted, indicating he wasn’t completely sold on Nassar being a serial child abuser. He also expressed support for Simon.

Izzo has been a coach at Michigan State since 1983 and became the Spartans’ head basketball coach in 1995. He is one of the most respected figures in athletics in the state, as well as one of the most respected college basketball coaches in the country.

Izzo’s comment that he hoped they got the right guy did not sit well at all with Raisman, who blasted the coach on Twitter Saturday.

Raisman has a good reason for the tweet. Izzo’s comment about hoping they got the right person could not be worse. Nassar already has pleaded guilty to felony child pornography charges and several sexual assault charges. Over 100 people have come forward to share their stories of how Nassar abused them.

Aly Raisman, who has won six Olympic medals in gymnastics for the USA, was one of the victims to speak in court on Friday and address Nassar.

Several other USA Gymnastics national team members have accused Nassar of sexually abusing them, including McKayla Maroney, Jordyn Wieber, Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas. Biles and Douglas, teammates on the “Final Five” gymnastics team, had previously gotten into a social media tiff over victim shaming. Douglas was among those who later stepped forward as one of Nassar’s victims.

LeBron James unsure about Ty Lue’s job security

Tyronn Lue

LeBron James did not exactly give Tyronn Lue the strongest endorsement after the Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

Following the loss, James was asked what the Cavs need to do differently and did not identify one thing. He also was asked about the possibility of Lue being fired and said he hoped that wouldn’t happen.

Well, that’s not exactly comforting if you’re Lue. You’d rather have someone completely defending you and dismissing talks of a firing as crazy. He didn’t exactly get that.

Including Saturday’s 148-124 loss to OKC, the Cavaliers have now lost five of their last six games. Their defense in particular was horrendous (as it’s been lately), as they allowed the Thunder to make 58 percent of their shots. Maybe it’s as simple as figuring out how to play with Isaiah Thomas in the lineup, as they’re 3-4 in games he’s played. Lue better hope he’s not next to get the David Blatt treatment.

Report: Cavaliers pursuing deals for DeAndre Jordan, George Hill

DeAndre Jordan Clippers

The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly want to make some big moves ahead of the NBA trade deadline.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Cavaliers are hoping to make deals for both Clippers center DeAndre Jordan and Kings guard George Hill, though it is unclear if they would have the assets to acquire both.

Stein also adds that the Clippers’ Lou Williams is another potential trade target.

Cleveland’s interest in Jordan is not new. We also heard about their pursuit of Hill earlier in the day.

Cleveland sits at 27-17, a disappointing third in the East. With LeBron James’s free agency coming up, they probably want to show that they remain serious about maintaining their stranglehold on the East and dethroning the Golden State Warriors. All the same, this sounds like it will be easier said than done.

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