Catching up with a potential trade chip

White Sox starter James Shields has played himself back onto the radar of the trade market, though time and circumstances have something to do with that. Shields is ostensibly in the last year of a four-year, $75 million contract he signed with San Diego in 2015. There is a $16 million club option with a $2 million buyout in the contract for 2019, but it’s pretty clear that the buyout will be the outcome of that.

Shields’ evolution actually began the latter part of last season, when he started using a lower arm slot. In doing so, he traded strikeouts for soft contact the exact opposite of trends around baseball. Shields struck out more than a batter per inning in 2015 but has lost more than a third of his K/9 rate since then. However, his well-hit average this season (.119) is easily a career best. That number was .194 last season.

In his last three starts, Harvey allowed 14 earned runs and five homers in 16 1/3 innings.

Luke Weaver struggled with his control while pitching into the six inning. He gave up four runs and walked five, including Winker with the bases loaded.

Just an icon in St. Louis, Matheny said. He set a real high standard for what it looks like to go about your business and wear this uniform well.

Martinez has driven in multiple runs in each of his last three games. He’s batting .315 and has a team-high 39 RBI.

Right fielder Dexter Fowler reached into the stands to try to catch Alex Blandino’s foul in the sixth, but a fan in a Cardinals shirt got his hands on it first.

Harvey also gave up three homers in a game four other times: against the Giants on June 10, 2015; against the Nationals on May 24, 2016; against the Brewers on May 12, 2017; and against the Cubs on June 14, 2017.

Just a good stretch for me. That’s how baseball goes. It seems like there’s a lot of pitches over the plate for me, he said.

I’m sure it won’t be long before I have a stretch where it seems everything is right on the corner. That’s kind of how it goes. When you get in a stretch like this, you have to take advantage of it, he said.

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The Dallas Cowboys began their offseason program Monday with a noticeable void.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant is no longer a member of the organization. Defensive backs Byron Jones and Jeff Heath each spoke of how the Cowboys will miss Bryant’s passion and competitive spirit in the locker room.

Him being out here all the time, always fired up about something. We’ll miss that, Jones said. You can’t replicate that. I am sure he’s going to do well wherever he goes. Added Heath, That was probably line one with [Bryant], just his love for the game. He really demonstrated that when he was out on the field. In games, when he’d get going, I think the whole team fed off that. We’ll definitely miss that about him, but I’ve been in this league long enough to not really be surprised by any move. Jones and Heath spoke to reporters after going through a few lacrosse drills with members of the Dallas Rattlers, the new professional team in town that calls Ford Center home.

But the storyline with the Cowboys remains Bryant’s departure. Jones described his reaction as shock when he heard that the Cowboys were parting ways with their all-time leader in receiving touchdowns last week.

The Jaguars unveiled new uniforms and helmets Thursday, switching to a no-nonsense style that matches the team’s blue-collar identity.

The franchise showed off their new duds at the team’s annual state of the franchise presentation.

True to our current identity and what we want to represent for years to come, our new uniforms are no-nonsense, all business and unmistakably Jaguars, team owner Shad Khan said.

The official unveiling actually came a day after workers at Jacksonville International Airport inadvertently put up life-size posters of current players wearing the uniforms.

The Nike Vapor Untouchable uniforms feature much cleaner lines, which some might consider plain. They have three jersey and pants options — black, white and teal. The all-teal combination, including matching socks, can only be worn during Thursday night games.

The high-gloss black helmets replace the two-tone widely mocked the past five years.

The Giants released veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall on Thursday, GM Dave Gettleman confirmed.

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He realized they only granted him a scholarship so they could ink Shaquill.

The way coaches would tell me,’You’re not going to be nothing but a shadow of your brother,’ or,’You’re always going to be on scout team.’ I had to hear that all the time, Griffin says. They can’t dictate how hard I work. They can’t dictate what I’m going to do for myself. I had to remember that. Obviously, for any player, it’s hard to have that negativity from coaches who are supposed to push you to be better than anybody wants you to be. But from that old coaching staff, I didn’t have that feeling that the coaches wanted me to be good.

Not every single day, he says. Obviously, that’d be unhealthy. But I threw up a lot. It was usually on the hot days where it’d get me.

Many nights, before his senior season, he even slept at the team facility. He needed to eat, sleep, breathe this game.

As a result, habits were created. Everything, he says, became second nature. Griffin points to one sack against UConn that was the direct result of his maniacal practice habit to chase quarterbacks back side. UCF went undefeated in 2017 with Griffin as the face of the program.

He’ll be firing passes to receivers against the Houston Texans. Brady isn’t quitting the game after losing a Super Bowl. That’s not him. So he will be there on opening day. He’s also why New England games are always must-see TV. That’s why I have three Patriots games among my top-10 games for the 2018 NFL season.

Borland led the 49ers in tackles as a rookie and was named to the all-rookie team and was a Pro Bowl alternate before stepping away for a post-playing career that includes a company he started, T Mindful, to help bring meditation into sports.About 10 percent of the time, I miss 3 to 5 percent of the game, Borland said.I look back and I’m happy that I played. I’m not wistful. You miss big games. I miss the locker room camaraderie. Sometimes I miss the lifestyle. It’s great to get around old players because in a society where people like to dance around topics, it’s good to be around like-minded people who cut the BS and are able to rib one another. I enjoyed that. But I don’t long for it or reminisce daily.

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Police: Rifle used in Tyler Hilinski’s suicide taken from former teammate

Hilinski just finished his redshirt sophomore season and was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback next season. He started the team’s bowl game against Michigan State and appeared in eight games, throwing for 1,176 yards and seven touchdowns.

The native of Claremont, California, enrolled at Washington State in January 2015 after attending Upland High School in southern California.

Haley spent six seasons in Pittsburgh, helping the Steelers maintain a potent offense led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. However, rumors of tension between Roethlisberger and Haley may have ultimately led to his dismissal from the team.

Haley also spent three seasons as Chiefs head coach. He was 19–26 as a head coach in the regular season and 0-1 in the playoffs.

The Browns own two of the top-4 picks in this year’s NFL Draft (1 and 4). Many pundits predict them to take a quarterback No. 1 overall and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley with the fourth overall pick.

Cleveland ranked 24th in the NFL this season in yards per game, but Haley likely has reinforcements on the way.

Since the start of 2001, the Eagles are 6-2 against the Vikings, and 2-0 in the postseason. Additionally, Philadelphia is 9-2 in their last 11 home games (including playoffs) against Minnesota.

The Chargers wide receiver, who ironically was coming back from a lacerated kidney that prematurely ended his previous season, tore his right ACL in the second half of that opener. That brought some mild dread to this season’s Monday night opener in Denver, but Allen caught a touchdown pass that helped fuel a furious-but-failed late comeback bid.

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Colin Kaepernick, J.J. Watt among finalists for community MVP award

The NFLPA on Tuesday announced the five finalists for the Byron Whizzer White Community MVP award, including one name that might come as a surprise.

The list of finalists for the award, which honors players for their community service work in their teams’ cities and hometowns, includes Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, Broncos linebacker Von Miller, Eagles defensive end Chris Long and free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

The award is named after Byron Whizzer White, a former Supreme Court justice and noted humanitarian who was an All-Pro halfback in the 1940s. The player who wins will get $100,000 to donate to the charity of his choosing, with the other four finalists getting $10,000.

In only 14 games of regular-season action, Brown racked up 101 catches for 1,533 yards and 9 TDs. When Rice won in 1990, he had similar numbers for the 49ers: 100 catches for 1,502 yards and 13 TDs.

Before Brown missed the final two games of the season with a calf injury, he was on pace for 115 catches and a career-high 1,752 receiving yards. He finished with a dazzling effort in the AFC divisional playoff loss to the Jaguars with 7 catches for 132 yards and 2 TDs.

It’s right up there among Brown’s best seasons in his illustrious eight-year career.

Pro Football Focus gave Brown a grade of 93.9 for 2017, the second-highest for any offensive player behind Tom Brady, who won SN’s award, as voted on the players, last season.

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Blind long-snapper Jake Olson enters USC QB competition with highlight video

USC long-snapper Jake Olson has officially submitted his name into the Trojans’ 2018 quarterback competition.

Although he is completely blind, Olson played two years of high school football in his native Orange County. He has worked out with the Trojans since 2015, enrolling at the school with a scholarship for physically challenged athletes and gradually persuading his USC coaches and teammates that his dream is far more than a stunt.

The Eagles will make more plays in the slot with Nelshon Agholor working on former Eagle Eric Rowe, and the Patriots will see Danny Amendola cool off against Patrick Robinson. Overall, not much will separate the offense explosiveness. And with weather not being a factor, the game likely will come down to the final possession.

In the end of a close, somewhat high-scoring game, it’s easier to trust the steady Brady over the streaky Foles.

Miami cornerback Malek Young’s football career is over, after the sophomore suffered a neck injury in the Hurricanes’ loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Orange Bowl.

While we’re disappointed that Malek’s football career is over, his health is our top priority, head coach Mark Richt said. Malek is a terrific young man, one who I’m confident will go on to accomplish great things. He will remain on full scholarship and we will support him every step of the way.

The door is still open to find some common ground. I understand addressing the offensive line is one of their main priorities this offseason. In the meantime, I will explore my other options and see what path God leads me on. My main goal remains the same: to win a Super Bowl championship with a great team, which I also believe we have in Minnesota.

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No. 24 Rhode Island in midst of historic run

Rhode Island is on a historic winning streak of 10 games, its longest in almost 70 years, and the Rams are ranked — at No. 24 — for the first time since November 2016.

They are also coming off their eighth straight conference road victory, a program record, in an 88-74 win at Dayton last Saturday.

Rhode Island’s last 10-game winning streak occurred between the 1948-49 and 1949-50 seasons. The Rams (15-3, 7-0 Atlantic 10) look to build on the streak when they next visit another program nicknamed the Rams — Fordham (6-13, 1-6) in New York City on Wednesday.

If he would have gone sour coming off the bench and been frustrated, that would have had a negative effect on the team. Instead, he’s a weapon, Hurley said.

Reserve junior forward Nicola Akele helped fill the void left by the foul-plagued Rams’ frontcourt against Dayton with a season-high nine points, all in the first half. Forwards Andre Berry and Cyril Langevine had two personal fouls apiece while Akele went 4-for-5 from the field and added three of his four rebounds in 11 minutes in the first half.

Isaiah Walton scored 14 points and Charles Glover 11 while Damarion Geter had 12 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double this season for the Lancers (6-15, 3-5), who have lost two straight.

Kamba scored 12 seconds into the game and High Point led the rest of the way. Fox scored all 11 of his points and Proctor also 11 in the first half with the Panthers leading 42-21 at the break.

The lead reached 28 points, 58-30, with 14 minutes left.

According to people familiar with the league’s deliberations, the NFL believes there are several possible outcomes to its appeal of an injunction that would result in Elliott missing games in 2017, including a scenario that would sideline him for the postseason should the Dallas Cowboys qualify for the postseason.

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Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson among Lombardi Award finalists

Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma and fellow Heisman finalists Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Bryce Love of Stanford are among the finalists for the Lombardi Award. The award is given to the nation’s top player based on performance as well as leadership, character and resiliency.

American running back Martez Carter of Grambling State led all rushers with 45 yards on 10 carries.

Carter did a good job,” Green said. Sometimes people kind of put you in a box because you come from a Division II school. I came from a D-II school (Texas A&I). He’ll be in the NFL.”

Likewise, Martz said he had nearly a dozen players on his National team he thought were NFL bound.

I think (Toledo quarterback Logan) Woodside is going to play in the NFL,” Martz said. He’s further along than any quarterback we’ve had at this time. Ten or 11 guys are not just going to make teams, they’re going to play.”

Canada replaces Walt Bell, who left earlier this month to become Florida State’s offensive coordinator. Canada has led offenses at LSU, Pitt, NC State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Northern Illinois and Butler.

Matt has a unique ability to utilize any and all types of personnel and still produce extremely explosive offenses, Maryland head coach DJ Durkin said in a statement. He’s a very versatile coach that has experience developing impact players at every offensive position. Matt’s had a great deal of success everywhere he’s been, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have him here at Maryland.

Durkin also announced that Terrapins associate head coach/wide receivers coach Chris Beatty has been promoted to co-offensive coordinator.

Reserve freshman guard Fatts Russell scored all 10 of his points in the second half, creating a 10-5 run of his own.

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The Dolphins are hanging by a thread in the AFC wild-card race, while the Chiefs have their groove back in the West.

Kansas City win its division in style here by keeping it simple with Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill, and the defense will have another strong game against the pass vs. Jay Cutler.

Even though the Raptors stumbled into the Eastern Conference finals in 2016, there’s a sense that they’ve disappointed in the postseason. DeRozan and his costar Kyle Lowry have certainly both struggled to be themselves. After last season’s loss, even Toronto acknowledged it.

After that performance, we need a culture reset here, Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri said in his season ending media interview. The style of play is something we need to change. I’ve made it clear. [Head coach Dwane Casey] has acknowledged it.

You know what, though? DeRozan reliably hitting three-pointers might be exactly what he needs to change that. (You can also see Toronto’s improved spacing in the gif at the top — DeRozan initiates that pick and roll from about 30 feet and has plenty of room to step into a clean three-pointer.)

Dallas will start its drive at its 24 with 6:30 to play.

Dallas is called for holding and never recovers as it goes three-and-out. The Cowboys punt and the Raiders will take over with 8:15 to play and the score tied.

Touchdown, Raiders. Oakland puts together a 10-play, 53-yard drive that ends with a 2-yard touchdown catch by Michael Crabtree to tie the score, 17-17. Crabtree has seven receptions and two scores in the game.

Field goal, Raiders. Oakland fails to punch it in after the Cowboys’ turnover as Carr throws two incompletions and Marshawn Lynch registers a short run. Giorgio Tavecchio hits a 39-yard field goal to tie the score 10-10 with 6:14 left in the third quarter.

Turnover, Cowboys. Prescott is hit as he throws and the pass is picked off by Sean Smith, who runs it into the end zone. After review, Smith is ruled down by contact and the Raiders will take over at their 22.

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The L.A. Lakers knew what they were signing up for when they drafted Lonzo Ball No. 2 overall in the 2017 NBA draft.

As Packers coach Mike McCarthy said, Rodgers and Green Bay’s doctors/training staff deserve credit for his aggressive rehab and quick return from a broken right collarbone sustained in Week 6. The speculation at the time was that Rodgers’ season was over; it would take extensive rehab lasting through the entire season because it was the collarbone on his throwing side. Instead, the QB is back within the minimum eight weeks allowed after being placed on designated to return injured reserve.

On Sunday, ESPN’s Jeff Goodman published quotes from LaVar claiming that Luke Walton has lost his Lakers’ ears and that the team no longer wants to play for him. This isn’t the first time an NBA dad has criticized his son’s coach. This isn’t the first time that’s happened this season. But because the sports media (including SB Nation) covers the Ball family rather closely — ESPN sent a reporter to Lithuania to follow the younger Ball sons — LaVar’s quotes were blared from chyrons and Twitter accounts.

Should the Titans, however, also finish 9-7 with one more conference win, they would maintain a conference-record tiebreaker over the Bills. There’s also a fair chance of the Titans losing out and the Chargers winning out to get to 9-7. Buffalo loses the head-to-head tiebreaker there thanks to the debacle of starting Nathan Peterman in a 54-24 loss at Los Angeles in Week 11.

The Ravens would be in as either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed if they win out with a favorable home schedule against two bad teams. The Titans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over them, but the Ravens would have the common games tiebreaker over the Bills after going 5-0 against the Colts, Bengals, Raiders and Dolphins.

Also, given the degree of difficulty of the Titans’ and Bills’ remaining slates in relation to that of the Ravens, it’s difficult to see all three teams finishing with the same 10-6 record. Baltimore’s playoff chances are the equivalent of a chip-shot field-goal attempt by Justin Tucker.

At age 40, Brady is the oldest remaining quarterback in the playoffs. The Titans have the youngest in 24-year-old Marcus Mariota. The 16-year age gap between them is the largest between starting quarterbacks in a playoff game in NFL history.

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