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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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Jets owner commits to Adam Gase as head coach in 2020

The New York Jets have been a massive disappointment in their first season under Adam Gase, but the head coach is going to get another chance to prove himself in 2020.

On Wednesday, Jets owner Christopher Johnson told reporters Gase is not going to be fired during or after the season no matter what unfolds over the final seven weeks. He cited Gase’s relationship with quarterback Sam Darnold as one of the main reasons he plans to keep the coach around.

That should certainly take some of the pressure off Gase and potentially Jets players down the stretch. However, it is at least somewhat surprising given the team’s 2-7 record.

While it is rare for an NFL coach to be fired after one season on the job, many believe Gase was the wrong hire for the Jets to begin with. Some fans have gone out of their way to show how fed up they are with the way the team has played under Gase, but ownership is not going to be influenced by fan frustration — at least not yet.

Gase appeared to be having problems with the Jets’ front office immediately after he was hired, and there were rumblings that he was unhappy with the way the team spent some of its money in free agency. He should have more influence over the draft process and roster this offseason, so this may be the team’s way of giving him a chance to prove he knows what he is doing from a personnel standpoint.

Chase Young to return from suspension after one more game

The NCAA has reached a conclusion in its investigation into a loan that Chase Young received, and Ohio State announced on Wednesday that the star defensive end will be suspended for one more game before returning.

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said Young has been suspended for two games, with one of them having already been served last week against Maryland. Young will sit out Saturday’s game against Rutgers and then be eligible to return.

“I want to thank and express my sincere gratitude to university staff members who worked so diligently and expertly to learn and understand the facts, and then to report these facts to the NCAA as part of our request to have Chase reinstated,” Smith said, via Dan Hope of Eleven Warriors. “This is the example of the culture of compliance we have at Ohio State. I also want to commend Chase Young and let him know how proud we are of him. He took responsibility for his actions, cooperated throughout the process and understood and accepted that there would be consequences.”

Young says he took a loan from a “family friend” the summer before his freshman season at Ohio State and has since repaid it. Even though it has been paid back, the loan was still considered an extra benefit by NCAA guidelines.

It’s unclear how the loan was brought to the NCAA’s attention, but some FOX broadcasters wondered last week if one of Ohio State’s opponents may have been responsible for the information coming out.

Young has 13.5 sacks and five forced fumbles in eight games. He is arguably the best defensive player in the country, and the two-game suspension could not have come at a better time for the Buckeyes. They defeated Maryland 73-14 without Young last week and will likely see a similar result against Rutgers on Saturday. There was some speculation that Young could be suspended for four games, but he will now be able to play against Penn State and Michigan to close out the regular season.

Bill Belichick ‘not sure’ if Patriots will attend Colin Kaepernick workout

Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick is essentially in charge of all roster decisions in addition to being the head coach with the New England Patriots, but he claims he does not know if the team will get a closer look at Colin Kaepernick when the NFL hosts a workout for the free agent quarterback on Saturday.

Like many other coaches, Belichick was asked on Wednesday about Kaepernick’s workout. He said he is “not sure” if any representatives from the Patriots will be present and that director of player personnel Nick Caserio would know better than him.

Belichick is one of the most informed and prepared coaches in NFL history, so he would certainly have a say in whether or not the Patriots scout a player. Since most teams spend Saturday preparing to face their Sunday opponent, he and the key members of his coaching staff are not going to travel to Atlanta to watch Kaepernick throw passes. The same is likely true for any other team that isn’t on a bye this week.

This is precisely the reason many believe the NFL is simply holding the Kaepernick workout for show. They basically dumped the plan in his lap and told him to take it or leave it, which doesn’t sound like a genuine effort to get him signed.

We already know of one surprise team that may have interest in Kaepernick, but ultimately the odds remain stacked against him finding work. Any team that wanted to get a closer look at the 32-year-old would have set up a private workout by now.

Tua Tagovailoa once again considered game-time decision with ankle injury

Tua Tagovailoa

Tua Tagovailoa put up huge numbers in last week’s shootout loss to LSU, but the Alabama quarterback is still not fully healed from an ankle injury he suffered less than a month ago. Because of that, he is not a lock to play in Saturday’s game.

Alabama coach Nick Saban told reporters on Wednesday that Tagovailoa is still considered “day-to-day,” which is what Saban said about the Heisman Trophy candidate leading up to the LSU game.

The Tide need to win out in order to stand a chance at getting back into the College Football Playoff, so it would be a surprise if Tagovailoa doesn’t play. Although, Alabama beat Arkansas 48-7 without him, and Saban may feel that his team will have no problem against Mississippi State this weekend if Tagovailoa would benefit from a week of rest.

Saban had a funny comment about Tagovailoa’s availability last week, but he probably won’t be in as much of a joking mood coming off a tough loss. Most expect Tua to play, but he will need to avoid setbacks in practice this week.

Yu Darvish sends hilarious tweet about Astros cheating scandal

Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish has shouldered much of the blame for the Los Angeles Dodgers losing to the Houston Astros in the 2017 World Series, but the bombshell report that was published on Tuesday has some wondering if he may have been just another victim of sign stealing. Darvish has obviously heard those rumblings, but don’t expect him to admit it.

Shortly after The Athletic dropped its story about the Astros using electronics to steal signs back in 2017, Darvish — who was shelled in his two outings during the 2017 World Series — became a trending topic on Twitter. The Chicago Cubs pitcher sent a fantastic tweet about it.

Darvish is extremely entertaining on social media, which we were reminded of when he took a swipe at Justin Verlander during the playoffs this year. He also probably misspelled “trending” intentionally, hence the way he quickly corrected himself.

In total, Darvish allowed eight earned runs in 3 1/3 innings pitched during the World Series two years ago. His first start was in Game 3 at Houston, which is where the Astros appear to have been caught redhanded stealing signs as late in the season as September. Darvish was then knocked around again in Game 7 in Los Angeles.

The Astros said Darvish was tipping his pitches during that series, and the right-hander had done that before. However, it’s only natural for people to wonder now if there was some sort of sign stealing going on. Give Darvish credit for having a sense of humor about it.

Jeopardy unbelievably had sign-stealing clue day of Astros report

Alex Trebek

The biggest bombshell story yet about the Houston Astros and their sign-stealing tactics dropped on Tuesday, and somehow “Jeopardy!” was ready for it.

A huge story from The Athletic detailed how the Astros used an electronic system to steal opponents’ signals during their World Series season in 2017. As luck would have it, the episode of “Jeopardy!” that aired on Tuesday night featured a clue about sign stealing in baseball.

What are the odds? Episodes of “Jeopardy!” are typically filmed about three months before they air, so that was likely a complete coincidence. The timing just happened to work out perfectly.

Between the clue about sign stealing and the touching moment we saw during Final Jeopardy’ on Monday night, this has been quite the week for the long-running show.

Report: Cowboys have interest in Colin Kaepernick workout

Jerry Jones

The NFL has made the bizarre decision to host a workout for Colin Kaepernick on Saturday and invite all 32 teams, and you may be surprised to hear that the Dallas Cowboys are expected to have at least one representative in attendance.

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season, when he became the face of a social justice movement in sports due to his kneeling for the national anthem. Many people believe that is the reason he has remained unsigned, and the Cowboys have a fairly strict policy regarding the anthem. Despite that, ESPN’s Josina Anderson reports that they are willing to give Kaepernick a look.

Anderson also reported that an NFC team said there is “nothing to lose” by attending the Kaepernick workout but that it would likely be for nothing more than to gather information.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was very outspoken about the anthem kneeling issue from the start, and the team still strongly encourages — if not requires — players to stand during the anthem.

It’s impossible to determine which teams have legitimate interest and which are simply going through the motions. The same is true for the NFL, as even some teams reportedly believe the workout was organized all for show. Others might argue that the league is trying to pave the way for Kaepernick to get another shot after teams have largely ignored him.

Whatever the case, there are many details about the workout that make it sound disingenuous. Saturday is a day in which most coaches are preparing for Sunday’s games and scouts are watching college players, so it remains to be seen if teams will actually send high-ranking officials and/or decision-makers to the event. There’s still a lot of skepticism that Kaepernick will be signed.

Details emerge regarding Colin Kaepernick NFL workout

Colin Kaepernick

The NFL arranging a workout for Colin Kaepernick on Saturday raises many questions about the process. How did the workout come about? And who was involved in arranging it?

We got a few answers to those questions via The Ringer’s Tyler Tynes.

Tynes says the league reached out to Kaepernick’s representatives out of nowhere on Tuesday, and adds that there had been no conversations leading up to that point. The league told Kaep’s representatives they wanted an answer within two hours about their offer to move forward with the plans for the workout.

Kaepernick’s representatives were hoping for the workout to be on Tuesday, a few days later, or the following Saturday, but were told this was the day. It was essentially a take it or leave it offer.

Kaepernick’s representatives are hoping to receive a list of which league personnel will be present at the workout to ensure its legitimacy.

Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since the 2016 season, when he became the face of a social justice movement in sports due to his kneeling for the national anthem. He sued the league alleging that they had colluded against him due and settled the case earlier this year.

Skeptics of the workout will say the NFL is only doing it for show. They will argue that by hosting it on Saturday, when many team coaches are preparing for Sunday’s games and executives are scouting college players, the league’s effort is disingenuous.

On the other side of the debate, one could argue that the NFL is trying to pave the way for Kaepernick to make it back into the league. They could argue that teams have opted against signing and working out the free agent, and now the NFL is trying to initiate things and help out the quarterback by making a genuine effort to get him signed.

It’s hard to say what exactly is going on. If you thought Kaepernick was being blackballed beforehand, you probably feel this workout is just for show. If you thought Kaepernick was not being signed because owners felt the quarterback’s ability to help a team would not outweigh the negative publicity he would generate, you probably feel the NFL is trying to help the quarterback.

Report: Masai Ujiri, Sam Presti could be possibilities for Knicks’ front office

Masai Ujiri Raptors

The New York Knicks have already put head coach David Fizdale on the hot seat and may also look to make changes to their front office. If the Knicks change up their front office, some names have already emerged as potential targets for the team.

The New York Daily News’ Stefan Bondy reported on Tuesday that Masai Ujiri and Sam Presti have emerged around the league as executives the Knicks might target.

Bondy further reported Trajan Langdon could be another name in the mix.

Steve Mills has served as Knicks team president and Scott Perry as GM since 2017. The two are in their third season leading the team, and the tenure has not gone well. The Knicks had the worst record in the league last year (seemingly by intention), and at 2-8, they have started out as one of the worst teams this season.

The Knicks have been a bad franchise for a while, and most of that is due to poor ownership. Hiring Ujiri or Presti would help them turn things around, but one has to wonder whether either of the two would have interest in working for James Dolan.

Gabe Kapler hired by Giants to be team’s next manager

Gabe Kapler

The San Francisco Giants were down to some finalists in their search for a new manager and have decided on Gabe Kapler.

The Giants were looking for a replacement for Bruce Bochy, who announced he would retire after the 2019 season (though he still may want to manage in the future). They were down to Joe Espada, Rays bench coach Matt Quatraro, and Kapler in their search, and decided on Kapler.

Kapler, who worked in the Dodgers’ front office at the same time as Farhan Zaidi, was said to be Zaidi’s choice all along.

Here is Zaidi’s statement on hiring Kapler:

Kapler played 12 seasons in the bigs and managed the Phillies the last two seasons. He was fired after going 161-163 in his two seasons.