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Sunday, January 21, 2018

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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.

Robert Kraft: Tom Brady’s hand injury less ‘severe’ than it could have been

Tom Brady

The New England Patriots have said virtually nothing about Tom Brady’s hand injury in advance of the AFC Championship Game, but team owner Robert Kraft may have provided us with a glimpse into just how serious it is — or isn’t — hours before kickoff.

Appearing on NFL Network, Kraft was asked about Brady hurting his throwing hand in practice on Wednesday. While he did not rule out that the injury could affect Brady’s play, he said it could have been a lot worse.

Brady is going to start the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and reports have indicated he suffered a nasty cut but no ligament damage. The 40-year-old made sure to walk into Gillette Stadium a certain way on Sunday so that the media couldn’t get get any more information.

Jack Del Rio reportedly lead candidate for Giants defensive coordinator job

Jack Del Rio

The New York Giants are expected to reach a deal at some point to make Pat Shurmur their next head coach, and it would appear the Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator has already been contacting potential assistants.

ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that former Oakland Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio is one of the top candidates to become Shurmur’s defensive coordinator with the Giants. As Mortensen notes, Del Rio is set to make $6 million per year over the next three years as part of his buyout with the Raiders, so any money he made as an assistant elsewhere would offset that amount.

Del Rio’s Raiders went 6-10 this season, and he was fired after his third year on the job so the team could bring back Jon Gruden. He finished with a record of 25-23 as the head coach in Oakland. Prior to being hired by the Raiders, Del Rio was the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos from 2012-2014.

Report: Adam Thielen to play through ‘extremely painful’ back injury

Adam Thielen

The Minnesota Vikings will have their work cut out for them on Sunday against a tough Eagles defense in Philadelphia, and there’s a chance the back injury Adam Thielen suffered last week could have a big impact on the game.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that Thielen is dealing with multiple slight fractures in his lower back and has been in a great deal of pain. Despite that, he is expected to play in the NFC Championship Game.

“I am told this is extremely painful — more than a bruise after that hit from Marshon Lattimore,” Rapoport said. “I’m actually told he has a couple of slight fractures in his back. He is going to be dealing with a lot (on Sunday).”

Thielen had a breakout season this year, catching 91 passes for 1,276 and four scores. He, like fellow wide receiver Stefon Diggs, has thrived in offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur’s system. Thielen caught six passes for 74 yards in last week’s win over the New Orleans Saints.

The Vikings are still alive thanks to one of the most miraculous plays in NFL postseason history, but they can’t rely on that in the NFC Championship. If Thielen is at far less than 100 percent health, that could be a huge advantage for the Eagles.

LeSean McCoy takes funny shot at ‘little short coach’ Chip Kelly

LeSean McCoy Bills

LeSean McCoy has never tried to convince anyone that he got along with Chip Kelly when he played under the former Philadelphia Eagles head coach, but the star running back had a hilarious way of reminding everyone of his thoughts about Kelly on Sunday.

Appearing as a guest analyst on NFL Network, McCoy spoke about Nick Foles and said he has grown fond of Philadelphia again “now that the little short coach is with the kids where he belongs.”

McCoy, of course, was referring to Kelly taking another job at the collegiate level with UCLA.

If you remember, McCoy implied back in 2015 that Kelly had racially motivated reasons for trading him and other players. He also implied that he has no interest in ever speaking with Kelly again. It does not appear that has changed.

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.

Luke Falk will wear No. 3 at Senior Bowl to honor late teammate Tyler Hilinski

Tyler Hilinski

Washington State quarterback Luke Falk will be taking part in the senior bowl next weekend, but he will not be wearing the jersey number he has worn with the Cougars all year. Instead, Falk has chosen to honor his late teammate Tyler Hilinski.

Falk has announced that he will wear No. 3 as a tribute to Hilinski, a Wazzu quarterback who took his own life earlier this month.

After news surfaced that Hilinski had committed suicide, Falk shared a heartfelt message about how close he was with Hilinski:

Another Washington State player, offensive lineman Cole Madison, plans to wear a No. 3 sticker on his helmet and bring extras in case anyone else wants to pay tribute to Hilinski.

Hilinkski’s death shocked the Washington State community. He was 21.

Rich Rodriguez accuser files new $8.5 million claim against Arizona

Rich Rodriguez Arizona

The woman who claims Rich Rodriguez sexually harassed her when she worked as his assistant at Arizona has filed a new $8.5 million claim against the university.

Melissa Wilhelmsen, who filed a $7.5 million sexual harassment claim against Rodriguez last month, filed an additional claim on Friday with the Arizona Board of Regents. According to Caitlin Schmidt of the Arizona Daily Star, the documents state that Wilhelmson and her husband have accused Rodriguez of slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress in the wake of his firing as the head football coach at Arizona. The claim said that includes “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.”

Wilhelmson’s original claim stated that Rodriguez sexually harassed her for over a year and forced her to lie to his wife to cover up an affair the coach had with another woman. The newer claim accuses the University of Arizona of being “vicariously liable” for Rodriguez’s behavior while he was in charge the football program. It also lists Rodriguez’s wife and several Arizona athletic department employees as defendants in addition to Rodriguez. Wilhelmson said she informed several school employees of Rodriguez’s behavior and was ignored, including when assistant athletic director Mike Parrish allegedly told her “we can’t afford those kinds of problems right now.”

Rodriguez was fired by Arizona on Jan. 2, with the school admitting it had received a sexual misconduct complaint about Rodriguez in October and hired an outside firm to investigate it. Rodriguez called the investigation “thorough” and claimed Wilhelmson refused to cooperate, though he admitted to not being faithful to his wife.

Rory MacDonald taken to hospital after Bellator 192 win

Rory MacDonald

Rory MacDonald was taken to the hospital after his win over Douglas Lima at Bellator 192 on Saturday night at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif.

MacDonald won the fight by unanimous decision to capture the Bellator Welterweight Championship. He suffered a massive hematoma on his left shin that was visible and clearly bothering him in the fourth round.

Before the fifth round began, MacDonald was checked by a cageside doctor who forced him to stand on his leg to prove he could continue. He was able to pass the test, and then he was able to score a takedown on Lima in the final round, which helped him get the victory.

After the fight, MacDonald’s leg was so bad that he had to be carried into the locker room. He joked in his postfight interview that it felt like he had another person growing inside his leg.

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  • MMA

Report: Tom Brady will probably wear glove against Jaguars

Tom Brady will probably wear a glove on his throwing hand in Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to a report.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that a source told him they expect Brady to wear a glove to protect the stitches on his hand.

Brady hurt his hand during the New England Patriots’ practice on Wednesday. There have been varying reports about the extent of the injury. Some reports have said it is significant, while others do not think it will impact him much.

Brady reportedly had four stitches on his knuckle to close a cut. Schefter’s tweet seems to confirm that Brady did have stitches on his hand. The quarterback is officially listed as questionable for the game.

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