The Colts gave quarterback Andrew Luck a six-year, $140 million contract last summer

Irsay interviewed Colts vice president of football operations Jimmy Raye III and said it was a tough decision to pick Ballard over Raye.

Chris’s enthusiasm rubs off quickly, Irsay said. I know that his optimism is going to turn into reality.

The Colts gave quarterback Andrew Luck a six-year, $140 million contract last summer. Grigson blamed Luck’s contract for the lack of overall depth on the roster. Ballard will place a priority on building a complete roster.

Andrew is a great player, but it will never be about one guy, Ballard said. It’s about all 53 men in that locker room, 63 including the practice squad. It will always be about the team. Is he a good piece, absolutely, but it will always be about the 53 men in that locker room.

It has lost a little luster with both teams suffering upset losses this week, but Kentucky-Kansas is as good as it gets for college basketball before the month of March. Look for this matchup of top five bluebloods to deliver the second-biggest rating of the season on any network, behind only Kentucky-North Carolina in December. Prediction: 2.0.

Saturday’s final will not come close given the middle-of-the-night start time, the other-side-of-the-world location, and the lower stakes Serena was going for the calendar grand slam that year. Still, expect biggest rating for the Australian Open women’s final since it moved to 3:30 a.m. ET in 2009. Prediction: 0.6.

Also for an unexpected ninth time, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal meet in the final of a major. Once the biggest rivalry in tennis, Federer-Nadal moved the needle like nothing else in men’s tennis. The last time they met in the Australian Open final, their five-set thriller in 2009 had a 0.8 rating quite strong for the 3 AM window. Expect comparable numbers this time around. Prediction: 0.7.falcons_010

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith trolls Cowboys fans as Skip Bayless mourns on FS1

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Monday’s most ridiculous TV in the wake of the Cowboys 34-31 loss to the Packers came from Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.

The NFL’s partner TV networks aren’t the only ones who ride the Cowboys for every last TV viewer and rating point. The two former debate partners on ESPN2’s First Take now Smith’s show on ESPN while Bayless stars on FS1’s Undisputed are both all-Cowboys, all the time on their dueling morning shows.

If Peterson is remains on the roster through March 11, he’ll receive a $6-million bonus. He’s set to earn $11.75 million in base salary in 2017.

All three cities seem like viable landing spots.

The Giants won 11 games in the regular season before, falling to the Giants in a wild-card matchup in the playoffs, but there rushing attack ranked 29th among 32 NFL teams, failing to find much consistency in a backfield that primarily featured veteran Rashard Jennings and rookie Paul Perkins.

Bucs running back Doug Martin returned from injury in 2014, and finish as the No. 2 rusher in the league behind Peterson with 1,402 yards the next season. He struggled through myriad ailments this past season, seeing action in just half Tampa Bay’s games. He must serve a four-game suspension after testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Backup Jacquizz Rodgers, a favorite of head coach Dirk Koetter, is a free agent and third-down specialist Charles Sims is recovery from injury.
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The Texans’ passing game languished, averaging just 190 yards a contest, despite the additions of big-money free-agent signee quarterback Brock Osweiler and first-round draft choice Will Fuller to go along with standout DeAndre Hopkins. Adding Peterson to a backfield that already includes 1,000-plus yard rusher Lamar Miller would make a viable 1-2 punch for the defending AFC South champions next season.

Packers use Legos to recreate thrilling win over Cowboys

Everything is better in Lego form, just ask the Packers, who used Legos to recreate the best moments from Sunday’s 34-31 win over the Cowboys, that advancedGreen Bay to the NFC Championship.
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People see you as a real smart football mind, but what would you say to those who point out that you’ve never worked in a front office position and might have some trepidations based on that

I would say that I’m eager to earn their trust. I think the feelings that some might have there are natural. I was thinking earlier today, it wasn’t really conventional when I was playing up at Stanford. I went as a quarterback. I was off playing minor league baseball and [former Stanford University and 49ers head coach] Bill Walsh called me up because he had taken the job and I had moved over to safety and begged me to come back for my senior year because he thought I could become a Pro Bowl safety. I thought coach Walsh was crazy at the time, but he convinced me to do it.
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That wasn’t conventional. It wasn’t conventional when early in my career I struggled to get on the field and here I am this weekend as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and knocking on that door. So, there’s a lot of things in my life that haven’t been conventional. I think I appreciate that Jed was willing to think outside the box and we just had a number of great conversations and you could feel the momentum building each time that we got together and finally when we actually got together in person and it just felt right. We asked a lot of tough questions. We took ourselves through that exercise. I did because I had to make a decision in a real hurry. I didn’t need the job. I had a really good job at FOX that I was very happy with, but every time we got together I could check another box and I presume Jed could check another box towards maybe this could become a reality, and it did.

Noah Syndergaard’s stubbornness is the dumbest thing in baseball this week

We knew the Mets’ No. 1 starter is extremely talented. We knew that his ceiling is the roof. We knew that he could have led a rotation to playoff glory.

But now we know he’s as stubborn as a coupon-wielding customer at Shop Rite.

Syndergaard saying Thursday that he has no regrets in declining his MRI is just the latest in a long line of minor, petty but detrimental offenses from him in the past six months. Let’s run down the timeline.

Authentic Kids Dan Williams Jersey Like with Rizzo, it wasn’t just the winning atmosphere or the fun they had together in the clubhouse that makes Fowler so special. Almora tells a personal story about a small gesture Fowler made shortly after he was called up to the major leagues for the first time, and it opened his eyes to the thoughtfulness of a man he’d eventually replace in center field.

Authentic Kids Spencer Drango Jersey The biggest thing that Dex did for me was off the field, he said. My first trip, I think it was in Washington, we went to a mall and I went to the store and I went to pay for something. Dexter said, ‘No, I’m going to take care of this for you.’ And he didn’t have to, but it was his way of saying welcome to the big leagues.

Rumors eventually came that the Orioles had signed him to a three-year, $33 million deal, which was well below the market for a player of Fowler’s caliber. But the next day, he showed up at camp in Mesa, Ariz., to surprise his Cubs teammates. Fowler had turned down the three-year offer from Baltimore to take what would end up being a one-year, $8 million deal with the Cubs.

Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards and also set game records with 43 completions and 62 attempts.

“I just had to run through one guy and find a way to get in there,” White said after the game. “I saw a crease. You have to find a way to make a play for your team at that point in the game. That’s what you dream about as a kid. It was an amazing comeback by our team and I’m just proud to be a part of it.

“It hasn’t really set in,” White added. “Honestly it’s all very surreal right now. It is just a great team victory. You couldn’t even write this script. You could never imagine it. We just went out there and got a great team victory.”

White also said it was “surreal” to set a Super Bowl record for receptions and then score the game-winning touchdown.

“What’d he have, three touchdowns tonight? It was unbelievable,” Brady said after the game. “What a hell of a game he played. It was awesome.

“He’s just everything you want in a teammate and a football player — dependable, consistent, durable. The best attitude, brings it every day and we just kept going to him. So I think that speaks for itself.”

Brady threw for a Super Bowl-record 466 yards and also set game records with 43 completions and 62 attempts.

“I hope the next time you’re in court is when you sign the dismissal papers,” Ca?as told him.

If and when that happens, Manziel would have a better chance of convincing an NFL team to give him one more shot in the league after sitting out all of 2016. Even if that happens, he likely would have to serve a significant suspension — reportedly six games — before being allowed to play.

But those criteria are still more palatable to Manziel than simply walking away, so he figures to do whatever he can to at least get a chance to prove himself.texans_133

I have worked hard to build an expertise in two different fields

While there is no salary cap crunch on the horizon, the Seahawks will need to begin planning for their next series of big extensions. This past year they were willing to extend 31-year-old Michael Bennett to a $9.8 million per year extension. Bennett, at the time of signing, had one game remaining in 2016, the playoffs, and a full season in 2017 under contract with the Seahawks. That decision should open the door for a number of critical Seahawks who will be free agents in 2019 to seek extensions late in the year.

At the top of that list should be star cornerback Richard Sherman, who will earn $11 million in 2018 before becoming eligible for free agency. Sherman is a tier one player at a very high priced position and should look to surpass the totals of Darrelle Revis and Josh Norman to become the highest paid corner in the NFL. Earl Thomas is arguably the best player on the defense and the team struggled when he was out of the lineup with an injury. Thomas will also likely look to be the highest paid safety in the NFL if he returns to form.
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Especially when there are hundreds of behind-the-scenes producers, directors and assistants working 24/7 to put a good product on the air.
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That’s probably one reason for the departure of longtime baseball analyst John Kruk, who didn’t like his golf game being interrupted by phone calls from producers.

Sporting News reached out to Young and ESPN for their reactions to the Bloomberg profile. Young said in a statement that, contrary to what was written, both jobs are important to him.

“I participated in this story to encourage athletes to think about their futures because I want to inspire them to think this way. I have worked hard to build an expertise in two different fields, and I am proud of that.

Snickers to attempt first-ever live Super Bowl ad

Elite Mens Merril Hoge Jersey Snickers has announced its plans to air the first live commercial in the history of the Super Bowl.

Snickers will join brands like Hyundai with a new creative approach on Super Bowl commercials. The company will be airing their first live Super Bowl commercial created in real-time DURING the Big Game. Around 150 ad executives from Mars, ad agency BBDO, and production company O Positive, will work together to shoot the 30-second, western-themed spot. The ad will beperformed and broadcast during the first commercial break within the third quarter.

Along with the commercial, Snickers plans to run a 36-hour live stream from the set beginning Feb. 2 at noon ET, on Snickerslive.com and on the brand’s Facebook page.

Brady admits his personal life affected him in 2016. His Deflategate battle against the NFL reportedly ended when it did only because Brady had a more important battle with which to concern himself back home.

Anthony Beauvillier Game Jersey Brady was willing to give up that fight in the name of personal priorities. There’s no reason to believe they would not trump an unnecessarily long playing career, either.

Brady is a 12-time Pro Bowler. He ranks fourth all time in passing yards and touchdowns. His 97.2 career passer rating is the third best in NFL history. He is a four-time Super Bowl MVP and two-time NFL MVP. Only once in 16 years have the Patriots not won the AFC East title with Brady as their starter for the entire season. Assuming he keeps up that diet after he retires, the Pro Football Hall of Fame might as will go ahead and get his measurements for a gold jacket right now.

Chris Sale hit hard, given run and fan support in Chicago return

Chris Sale received plenty of support from White Sox fans during the first two days of his return to Chicago. On Tuesday night, his new team gave him lots of support on the field.

The Red Sox backed him with 10 runs at Guaranteed Rate Field, which Sale needed as he had his worst statistical performance of the season. He had qualified for the win when he left the mound, and the Red Sox went on to a 13-7 victory.

Sale pitched a season-low five innings, allowing five earned runs on 10 hits — both season highs — before he was replaced by reliever Heath Hembree in the sixth inning.

Game Womens Marcel Dionne Jersey I clearly didn’t have it tonight, Sale told reporters in comments broadcasted by NESN.

Sale received a standing ovation Tuesday, following a scoreboard tribute Monday, in his return to the city’s south side.

With the 12-2 win, the Astros (28-12) own the best record in the majors and have now won 13 of 16 games. Keuchel’s ERA actually rose to 1.84 after allowing two runs to the otherwise stagnant Marlins offense, which went hitless for the final 6 2/3 innings against Keuchel and two relievers, and totaled just four hits.

Brian McCann and Jake Marisnick ked the Astros with four RBIs apiece as Marlins starter Tom Koehler gave up eight runs in three innings. The slumping veteran was demoted to Triple-A New Orleans after the game as his ERA inflated to 7.04 this year.

Mike Evans Womens Jersey The Yankees extended their lead in the AL East by routing the Royals 7-1 at Kauffman Stadium behind 13 hits. Gary Sanchez (three-run HR), Chris Carter (two-run HR), Jacoby Ellsbury (two RBIs), and Aaron Judge (two hits, stolen base) feasted on Jason Hammel and Co. in the win.

Chicago Bears head coach John Fox said that was not the case with the practice debut of rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

A key part of the Rams’ offensive struggles has been their inability to score points. In 2003, they put up 27.9 points per game, second in the league. Since then, the Rams averaged over 20 points per game four times. That fell to a meager 17 points per game in 2015 and an embarrassing 14 points last season.

Those numbers are a cry for help. That’s where McVay comes in.

Chicago Bears head coach John Fox said that was not the case with the practice debut of rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Fox said Trubisky “had a great camp.” Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer offered on rookie running back Dalvin Cook: “He showed acceleration, good feet, good vision, a lot of the same things we saw on tape.”

The draft’s No. 1 pick, defensive end Myles Garrett, strolled into the Cleveland Browns’ den and turned heads and raised eyebrows when he said that Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith told Garrett he was slow off the ball.

What?

Not the type of stuff you want to hear about the top pick. Fortunately for the Browns, head coach Hue Jackson did not label Garrett a bust after initial workouts.

“He’s athletic, fast, big, fun,” Jackson said. “He has to earn the right to be what we think he can be. He’s got to put his head down and work.”

Bruce Smith heard the furor over his analysis.

The Rams got little production from their wide receiving corps, but a big part of that turnout was thanks to the Case Keenum-Jared Goff tandem at quarterback. They added Bills free agent Robert Woods this offseason to help boost a depleted depth chart and added the NCAA’s most prolific wideout in the draft, but still need plenty of help to boost their aerial attack.

Like in Chicago and Jacksonville, Cruz would add a reliable veteran presence to help a young passer develop. He’d have a clear path to playing time as well, having to beat out Woods, rookie Cooper Kupp, and the perpetually underused Tavon Austin for snaps in LA.

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Marcus Mariota injury update: Titans QB returns to field, takes snaps at OTAs

Marcus Mariota is back.

The Titans quarterback made his anticipated return to the football field and took a few snaps at the team’s OTAs on Tuesday for the first time since breaking his leg at the end of last season.

Game Youth Brandon Myers Jersey It felt great, Mariota told reporters. Four months ago I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to participate in OTAs and being able to do some of the drills through practice, it [says] a lot about my progress and my recovery. I was very happy and very grateful to be out there.

Glennon, who could have the second and third years of his contract voided, is just worried about this coming season.

This year is my year and I’m not going to worry about the future, Glennon said Tuesday, via Bears Radio Network. They brought me here to be the quarterback this year and nothing has changed so in my mind I have to go out and play well.

Glennon also said that he would still have [come to Chicago] even if he had already known the Bears were going to draft Trubisky.

While most Bears fans don’t expect this to be a winning season for their team, and a fair few are upset with the Trubisky selection, Chicago has a few options to finally find a franchise quarterback of the future.

Wilfork: My professional status is enjoying barbecue. I want to make sure that I’m 100 percent making the best decision, right decision when it comes to what I want to do in life, if it’s football, if it’s not football. I just want to make sure I’m making the best decision and the right decision so until then, me and Kingsford are best buddies so we’re going to barbecue until the bottom out of my smoker falls out. And that’s where I stand.
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How important was it that you’ve been successful in your career to allow yourself to have opportunities to use your name and platform?