Nick Foles tells Ellen DeGeneres he almost quit football

I don’t think they’re done. Brady’s pseudoscientific diet and workout regime may be all bullshit, but what isn’t bullshit is that Brady believes in it, and that belief is what matters. He gets to choose. And he’s chosen to sacrifice gluten and negatively charged ions or whatever the hell to ensure he gets to keep doing this.

Fitzgerald signed a one-year contract extension in November worth $11 million guaranteed, but when Bruce Arians stepped down at season’s end, some wondered whether the wideout would follow his coach into retirement.

The league announced Tuesday that Baltimore and Chicago will meet Aug. 2 in the annual Hall of Fame Game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

The Hall of Fame Game matchup typically brings together two franchises with strong ties to that year’s class of inductees, and this one features a pair of iconic linebackers. Ray Lewis spent his entire 17-year career with the Ravens, while Brian Urlacher likewise served as the face of the Bears for his entire 13-year run in the NFL.

It will be the Ravens’ first appearance in the traditional preseason opener and the Bears’ fifth.

The Patriots went into halftime of Super Bowl 52 trailing the Eagles 22-12. To bring home a sixth Lombardi Trophy, Tom Brady needed to pull off another signature comeback playoff win. He didn’t.

San Francisco is also aware of the fact that it’s basing that hope off a total of seven career starts and just one month for Garoppolo as the 49ers’ starter. If things go south for the quarterback, the 49ers run the risk of sinking the franchise’s assets into a player who isn’t who they thought he was.

But details of the contract released Friday reveal the 49ers will be just fine if Garoppolo falters. Here are the full parameters, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

To translate: Garoppolo is going to cost a ton in the next two seasons, and the 49ers’ hands are tied if he doesn’t live up to the hype. In 2020 — year three of the new contract — Garoppolo will count $32.2 million against the salary cap, and the 49ers could recoup $11.2 million by releasing him.

In 2021, Garoppolo will have a $32.5 million hit, and the 49ers will have a chance to save $18.5 million by cutting him. Then it’s a $32.6 million hit in the final year with the opportunity to save $25.6 million by parting ways.jaguars_097-223x223

Super Bowl halftime show 2018 performers: Justin Timberlake takes the stage 14 years after ‘wardrobe malfunction’

Justin Timberlake is no stranger to performing at a Super Bowl halftime show. He performed at Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 with Janet Jackson, and 14 years after the controversial “wardrobe malfunction” the NFL decided to bring him back to the big stage.

The Bruins tied it with eight minutes to play after a flurry in front led to Grzelcyk putting the puck past a diving Talbot.

Boston completed the comeback with just 64 seconds to play in the third, after the Oilers lost control of the puck in their own end. Danton Heinen sent it out in front, allowing Krejci to score his 11th of the season.

It was the second and final meeting this season between the teams. The Oilers took the first game 4-2 in Boston on Nov. 26. … Oilers defenseman Kris Russell played his 700th NHL game. … The Bruins acquired D Nick Holden from the New York Rangers for minor league defenseman Rob O’Gara and their third-round pick in this year’s draft. Holden was not in Edmonton in time for the game.

After catching five interceptions and defending 18 other passes, Lattimore took home the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. It allowed the Saints to sweep the Rookie of the Year Awards after Alvin Kamara won the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Lattimore finished in the top 10 in passes defennded. Quarterbacks tried to test the rookie, hoping he would make a mistake. But Lattimore used his speed and ball skills to defend the pass in 2017, and it helped the Saints improve a depleted defense.

According to Pro Football Focus, Lattimore finished with a 90.5 grade, fifth best among cornerbacks. He has a knack for getting physical with big receivers — just watch the interception he made against Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones in Week 14:

Quarterbacks didn’t have much success throwing the ball in his direction, as he was quite effective in making plays on the football. When in coverage, receivers only caught a combined 36 receptions for 486 yards and no touchdowns.bears_089-223x223

That’s when his season, as well as the Mariners’ year, went sideways.

An elbow injury sidelined him for a couple weeks in August. He returned later that month, but threw fewer than two innings before bone spurs in the same elbow ended his season. He had surgery to remove them in September.

I think he was a key loss to us, Servais said, if you look at last year’s season when he went down.

A check of the standings backs up Servais’ claim. Seattle was 1 1/2 games back from a wild-card berth when Phelps first got hurt, four games back when he was lost for the season and the Mariners finished 7 1/2 games behind Minnesota for the final playoff spot. Losing Phelps meant the team had to rely more on an injury-decimated starting rotation and an exhausted bullpen.

With a season best of 71.79, the British pairing of Nicholas Buckland and Penny Coomes had high expectations. They came up ninth in the order and scored a 68.36, good for first place.

Another break for warmups for the next group of competitors, and Xinyu Liu and Shiyue Wang of China hit the ice. They took a costume deduction when they lost part of an outfit on the ice, and had a score of 57.81, which slotted them in eighth. The Slovakia team of Lukas Csolley and Lucie Mysliveckova was next, and they scored a 59.75, good for sixth.

Manager A.J. Hinch loves to hear how Correa and the rest of his young players want to keep improving. He also thinks attitudes like Correa’s mindset will be the key to more success for the team this year.

It’s pretty nice, he said. It shows how special the season was, but it also shows that you’re still vulnerable when you show up the next season if you haven’t taken a step forward, and that’s the part that I’ll demand out of them.

Ford, which swept all four restrictor-plate races last season, has taken control of the Daytona 500 as the race nears the halfway point (Lap 100). The manufacturer holds the top four positions with Ryan Blaney leading, Paul Menard second, Brad Keselowski third and Kevin Harvick fourth.

Danica Patrick’s NASCAR career came to an end early, as she got swept up in a wreck that started when Chase Elliott hit the wall near the front of the pack.
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Whether the Angels make the postseason is what counts, he said.

Everybody in this locker room was disappointed that we were so close, but we didn’t get to the postseason. That to me is more important than anything else, he said.

Pujols also declined to talk about playing with pain in recent years.

I don’t need to talk about that. Everybody plays with pain. I don’t put excuses on how I’m hitting, he said.

With a possible Supreme Court case being heard this year that could legalize sports betting, the NBA has taken proactive steps to be prepared for it. We’re still in the early stages, but they’ve suggested that the league should be owed 1 percent of all profits off sports betting should the model become actuality.

It’s what our view of a model bill was, but we’re happy to sit with legislators and talk about what the best system would be, Silver said.

The NBA feels entitled to such a cut because it would cost it money to legislate and ensure fairness in sports betting, Silver said.

Jason and I discussed that and talked about how that communication was the two-way street, Kapler said. He shared what a good communicator coach Pederson was and how that communication was critical in establishing and maintaining trust throughout the season.

Kapler said he felt the message Kelce gave his players was one that will inspire them and one they needed to hear as they begin the season.

I think there were 8 to 10 (things) to take away, but the No. 1 was it is OK to fall down, be fearless, get back up, be bold and do it all over again, Kapler said. Champions have stories to share and they’re effective for a reason.

The next skater up is the defending Sochi gold medalist, Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu. He skated to Ballade No. 1 by Frederic Chopin. Hanyu’s early skate was flawless, hitting his spots without any trouble. A quad toeloop into triple toeloop was executed perfectly, and he finished with a brilliant score of 111.68.royals_084

One storyline that continues to surface as the Patriots wrap up their season with Tom Brady under center is whether or not the quarterback is “human.”

After all, he did lead the Patriots through the playoffs with a reported 12 stitches in his hand. No matter the consensus, former players around the league are taking notice of what Brady has accomplished throughout his career and many are finding it hard to believe he’s really 40 years old like the team’s media guide says.

What exactly are former NFL players saying? Well, Joe Theismann, who played for the Redskins from 1974-85 and retired at 35, isn’t completely convinced his birth certificate is right.

Super Bowl 52 will be Brady’s eighth Super Bowl and 290th NFL game overall. He was pressed earlier this week on the topic of retirement, but it’s a subject that’s not even on his mind. He’s just a few seasons away from becoming the oldest NFL player to start a game at age 44 and if he’s still in the league at 48, he would become the oldest quarterback in NFL history on a roster.

The Patriots used a familiar formula to get to their eighth Super Bowl under coach Bill Belichick: clutch play from both quarterback Tom Brady and their defense. The Eagles have been the NFL’s most complete team in their ability to light up the scoreboard while also shutting down opponents.

What looked like a lopsided QB advantage for Brady feels a little different after Nick Foles turned in one of the greatest playoff passing performances ever against the Vikings. Facing another daunting defense that will stop the run, Brady will have no issues passing often in a game that has all the makings of a shootout.

The Patriots have the better secondary to contain Foles’ targets, but the Eagles have the better front-four pass rush to throw at Brady. Look for both Doug Pederson and Josh McDaniels to be aggressive and call upon their QBs to go after big plays downfield.

Dion Lewis and Jay Ajayi both will flash in the running game, but it comes down to which gamebreaking wide receiver-tight end combination — Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz vs. Brandin Cooks and Rob Gronkowski — can have more success stretching the field.bills_043

Here are the five best Super Bowl halftime performances in the history of the big game.

From Paul McCartney to The Rolling Stones, the list of legendary acts that have performed at halftime of the Super Bowl is long and prestigious.

Beyoncé brought life, energy and Destiny’s Child to her Super Bowl 47 halftime show. Accompanied by a Vince Lombardi speech, she appeared on stage and immediately showed off her singing and performing talent, as she sang the entire performance live. From the holograms to the choreography, Beyoncé delivered an outstanding performance.

They not only have the talent to run with any squad in the conference, but they have enough depth and versatility to create problems for opponents on both sides of the ball. That’s exactly what every head coach and GM hopes a new draft class adds to the roster when they do the picking in April. Decision makers want to select a handful of players who can make an immediate impact at their respective positions. To do so, evaluators must have a clear vision for how each player would fit into their scheme and locker room.

“First thing — and this was critical, man — we needed to have a good draft,” Saints coach Sean Payton told The MMQB.com in November. “And (assistant GM) Jeff Ireland, the scouting department, everyone involved in that process as we looked closely this year, and even a year ago, was trying to find the right fits and the right guys. … It absolutely had to be [a good class]. And we made the (Brandin) Cooks trade so we’d have more ammo.”

Peterson has practiced with the Cardinals since Wednesday and Arizona coach Bruce Arians pronounced him “be ready to go” for Sunday. Peterson said he felt like the trade was an answer to a prayer, considering how frustrated was as a second or third back in the Saints’ system. He called being the Cardinals’ feature back “shows that you’re appreciated,” that “someone in the organization believes in you and what you’re able to do.bills_016

The league will find out how long that remains the case, and whether Kaepernick’s status will remain background noise or erupt into an encompassing topic.

Kaepernick’s continued unemployment has not blotted out the league’s on-field product. But it lingers as a simmering discussion that boils each time a quarterback struggles or suffers an injury. Kaepernick has not dominated NFL conversation, but he has hovered in the background, ever-present.

Edwards warned Goodell that Kaepernick would become a “martyr” if he was not signed. He argued, convincingly, Kaepernick should be a model: Rather than only protest, Kaepernick has donated nearly $2 million to youth, education and community programs.

“That’s where it all starts: It’s about the big uglies,” Smoot said in a telephone interview. “Jonathan Allen showed he can be dominant at times; we have to have somebody else dominate.”

Smoot’s choice of defensive linemen — N.C. State’s Bradley Chubb, recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation’s top defender — is likely out of the Redskins’ reach at 13th. But Clemson and Alabama have schooled appealing defensive linemen, too. Free agency is also an option.

“I always had my better years when the quarterback was throwing off his back foot and making mistakes because of the big boys up front,” Smoot said. “So that’s where I spend my money.”

“We have 13 more regular-season games,” he said. “We could win them all. We could lose them all.”

This Vikings team is different. Sure, fortune was on Minnesota’s side last week. I can dig that, but that last-second touchdown pass still required a high degree of skill, namely from Case Keenum, who threw the ball right where it needed to be. The matchup between Minnesota’s “plucky” QB, as my editor calls him, and the Eagles’ pass defense will decide Sunday’s affair in Philly. Doug Pederson’s team might be playing with house money at this point, too, as no one expected the Eagles to get this far with Nick Foles playing in Carson Wentz’s place.

Philly’s front seven has had much to do with this team’s survival. Fletcher Cox’s ability to blow up the middle of the line is so important, because no quarterback likes pressure in his face, repeatedly. The Saints brought much of that duress to Keenum in the second half last week, allowing them to crawl back in the game. jaguars_091

All year long, Henry was the better runner. He out-gained Murray by 85 yards.

According to PFF, Henry totaled 33 missed tackles on running attempts and was the fifth-most elusive running back. Murray, on the other hand, totaled 24 missed tackles on running plays and finished as the 23rd-most elusive back. Yet for some reason — it probably has something to do with pass blocking — Henry collected eight fewer carries than Murray.

Eagles are barking: Then, there were the Philadelphia Eagles. They fell behind early and were relying on a backup quarterback. But the Eagles survived their divisional round matchup with the Atlanta Falcons, winning, 15-10, to advance to next Sunday’s NFC championship game.

Nick Foles passed for 246 yards, LeGarrette Blount rushed for his ninth career postseason touchdown, and the Eagles’ defense held Atlanta to 281 total yards. The NFC’s No. 1 seed, which will host the winner of Sunday’s Saints-Vikings matchup, managed to escape with the Falcons advancing all the way to the Philadelphia 2-yard line on their final possession. A fourth-and-goal pass to Julio Jones by Matt Ryan went through the wide receiver’s hands and fell incomplete with just over a minute left.

Mike Glennon gave a decent performance Sunday against the Falcons, keeping the Bears competitive before failing to get them into the end zone for what would have been a winning TD in the final minute. But did the Bears hand out that contract for decent play at QB? And is decent play enough to keep rookie Mitchell Trubisky on the bench?

It’s going to be a long, long first season in the Bay Area for the new regime of Coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch. It’s a necessary first step. But it won’t be much fun for anyone, most likely.

The Browns are improved. There’s little question about that. That, however, was a low bar to clear. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer showed some promise against the Steelers. But he and the Browns have plenty of distance to cover to reach respectability.jaguars_072

In Week 8 before the team’s bye week, Burkhead finished with seven receptions for 68 yards.

Improbably, there’s more. Five days before Mariota’s visual delights in Kansas City, another “M.M.,” McKenzie Milton, quarterbacked the University of Central Florida to a Peach Bowl win over Auburn, which cemented UCF (13-0) as the only unbeaten team among the 129 playing top-rung college football.

Hawaii has annexed a football giddiness generally unavailable to states ranked No. 40 in population (a stat that further credits Hawaii). While Tagovailoa thrived in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, citizens told of audible bursts of cheering ringing up and down Honolulu streets. “It’s the year of the Hawaiian quarterback in America!” tweeted local sports host Kanoa Leahey.

New England visits Denver on Sunday night, and the Broncos have been vulnerable defensively. With these teams trending in opposite directions, the hunch here is that Burkhead will get enough touches and maybe a plunge into the end zone. But while there are plenty who like Burkhead’s upside, owners should only be inserting him into the lineup if their RB depth is severely lacking in Week 10. With a receiving corps that has been banged up, Burkhead offers Tom Brady another solid receiving option out of the backfield to help compensate. Not everyone is on board given the committee approach the Patriots utilize. Burkhead is owned in nearly 11 percent of ESPN leagues.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans: In a new development, Hopkins did not practice Friday after practicing both Wednesday and Thursday. There’s been no statement by the team, but owners will need to monitor Friday’s injury report and his status for Sunday. Hopkins is back to a must-start this season, no matter the matchup.

Carson Palmer, QB, Cardinals: One way or another Arizona will be without its quarterback for an extended period. Hopefully Palmer owners have another capable quarterback on the roster because typically the waiver wire has few quarterbacks with upside. For those looking, Case Keenum of the Vikings has a tantalizing matchup against the Cleveland Browns. Keenum is owned in just 11.6 percent of ESPN leagues.jaguars_028

Few have taken the Jaguars, Eagles and Vikings seriously during their respective runs this season.

That’s part of the reason they have made it so far, and it’s why the Patriots will handle their business — New England won’t overlook Jacksonville in the AFC title game the way Pittsburgh did in the divisional round. And it’ll have the same attitude against its Super Bowl opponent.

Given the Patriots’ season-opening loss to the Chiefs on national TV and their shaky start to the season defensively, it’s easy to forget this is a team some thought had a legitimate chance to go undefeated in 2017. The defending Super Bowl champion only got stronger with offseason additions, and Tom Brady, even at age 40, is still playing at an All-Pro level. Trust Bill Belichick’s team to do its job. — T.H.

The Bucs are home against the Falcons; Evans had six catches for 78 yards at Atlanta in Week 12. The pundits are out in full force and are against playing Evans this weekend. His owners probably don’t have the luxury of sitting him, even if they have been getting by with his limited production. Perhaps some owners drafted extremely well or picked up other wideouts to provide depth along the way. While Evans is 24th among wide receivers in scoring, when it’s all said and done, he’s too risky to bench. On even very talented rosters, Evans would be in the mix for WR2 and/or flex spots.

Brady was facing a Jacksonville pass defense that was better statistically than what Denver (in the 2013 and 2015 AFC championships) and Seattle (in Super Bowl 49) have had in recent years. He played with a cut in his throwing hand, with little support from his running backs and, for most of the game, without Rob Gronkowski. Brady did it in the face of a ferocious front four pass rush. He did it against a fast back seven that can cover everything.

The Jaguars’ lead was not as big as that of the Falcons, but it was more daunting with much less time. The Patriots had only 10 points before their comeback Sunday and had been completely shut down in the third quarter.

Mayfield may not be seen universally as a surefire prospect, but if enough teams become enamored, he could be plucked early.

“I could see those type of guys falling in love with Baker, and those guys spent time around [Brett] Favre,” Klatt said. “They seek Baker’s ability to improvise and play with unnatural confidence, and they see Favre. That’s what Andy Reid saw in Mahomes, so he moved up and got him. The Brett Favre tree of coaches, the [former Packers coach Mike] Holmgren tree, those ones that will love Baker Mayfield.”jaguars_013