Bills sign C Eric Wood to 2-year extension

Eric Wood will spend another couple seasons in Buffalo.

The Bills on Saturday announced they have signed the veteran center to a two-year contract extension that will keep him in Buffalo through the 2019 season.

USA Today reported Friday that Kaepernick’s game-worn jersey, shoes and a photo of his controversial protest will be displayed as part of a Black Lives Matter exhibit at the famous museum in Washington, D.C. The exhibit will reside in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History.

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture has nearly 40,000 items in our collection,” Damion Thomas, the museum’s sports curator, told USA Today via email. “The Colin Kaepernick collection is in line with the museum’s larger collecting efforts to document the varied areas of society that have been impacted by the Black Lives Matter movement.”

The report comes almost a year to the day, Aug. 14, 2016, that Kaepernick first sat during a pre-game national anthem to protest what many perceive as racial inequality and injustice in the U.S. And it comes during a month in which other NFL players and athletes have voiced their support for Kaepernick and adopted his cause as their own.

Kaepernick is currently a free agent after opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers at last season’s end. His political activism is cited as a reason the 29-year-old quarterback hasn’t found another job in the league.
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Marc and Pau Gasol’s younger brother looks eerily like Mike Conley, and they all love it

Andre Williams Limited Jersey Marc Gasol has developed an interesting theory about his teammate Mike Conley: That perhaps they’re half-brothers. What began with a simple photo now has Marc pondering the nature of his family, and the relationship with his teammate.

Normally things would end here. A laugh between teammates, a nod to Conley looking like the youngest Gasol. Everyone goes on with their Summer. But the resemblance gnawed at Marc from within. He began to question everything he thought and knew.

It appears Gasol’s theory is that Adria Gasol and Mike Conley are actually twins, separated at birth and divided between Spain and the U.S. This would mean that all the Gasol boys share the same mother, but Adria’s dad is actually Mike Conley Sr.

In an offseason where several Western Conference teams improved — the Warriors, Rockets, Thunder, Timberwolves, and Nuggets included — the Spurs did so, modestly.

They added Rudy Gay to a two-year deal and signed Joffrey Lauvergne. San Antonio also re-signed Patrick Mills, Manu Ginobili, and David Lee.

The thought process in San Antonio could be how close it came to dethroning the Warriors with last year’s roster. The Spurs were up 23 points in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals — already without Tony Parker — before Kawhi Leonard suffered a season-ending ankle injury.

We all know how that series ended: The Warriors came back to win Game 1, then swept the Spurs before eliminating the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Now, San Antonio has chewed on the thought of what could have been had the gang been healthy all year long.

In re-signing Gasol, the Spurs give themselves another shot at challenging the Warriors for the West’s crown. The 37-year-old Spanish big man averaged 12.4 points and 7.8 rebounds in his 16th season in the NBA, leading the league in three-point percentage at 53.8 percent.

It just so happens it cost them $48 million to bring him back.
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Manu Ginobili made a new bald friend, who happens to be an eagle

Limited Logan Ryan Jersey Manu Ginobili may be thinking about re-signing with the Spurs for another season, but the 39-year-old is spending his summer making new friends.

On Tuesday, he posted a photo on Twitter featuring him in Spain staring at his new friend, a stern bald eagle. Manu captioned the photo with #baldies.
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To be fair, neither the bald eagle nor Manu is really bald, though they do have their fair share of gray. I wonder what they were both thinking as they took this photo. Manu is probably thinking I blocked the hell out of James Harden in the playoffs. You don’t scare me, eagle.

The bald eagle, obviously knowing who Manu is, is probably intimidated by all this but still needs to play it cool anyway. The only other question left to answer is: Who won this staring contest?

Mirotic needs to be a better long-range shooter to justify his minutes and volume. You wonder how much of his lower clip from deep has to do with Chicago’s lack of spacing — he was often the only Bull on the floor who was even a threat from deep. Things could look better with a different supporting cast. Otherwise, Mirotic is an anemic rebounder and poor defender. He’s there to hit shots.

The Michael Beasley rejuvenation continues. He’s a nice bench scorer who can step out to the three-point line (though he doesn’t do it often). Beasley is basically interchangeable with Marreese Speights.

We’re still not sure the answer to that question. Additional reporting suggests the Pacers rejected multiple Celtics offers and also turned down a three-way package that would have landed them Denver’s Gary Harris and other goodies. Maybe Kevin Pritchard likes Oladipo and Sabonis that much. Maybe those other proposals weren’t as solid as it appears. Only Pritchard and the Pacers’ front office really know.

The George blockbuster was the headliner of a busy night in the league. Here are the winners and losers from the first few hours of the free-agent period.

Clark was lowkey my favorite player on the Warriors roster.

Kristian: Ian Clark plays within a system, can shoot threes and can play either guard spot. Check, check and check.
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Whitney: Clark was lowkey my favorite player on the Warriors roster. He knows what it takes to win a championship too. That doesn’t mean he’ll be the No. 1 guy on this team but at least he’s been in a winning culture and can bring that to Virginia Beach.

Kristian: Pick 14 in an expansion draft gets tough. What I did know is this: Thomas Bryant is from Rochester, N.Y., and my cousin played ball at the local YMCA with him before. Here’s how that conversation went:

Mens Brett Howden Jersey My cousin’s month-old endorsement was good enough for me. Besides, Bryant’s a 19-year-old rookie big man who play like he has multiple chips on his shoulder. I’ll take that at pick No. 14.

Vader isn’t Bron, but he’s a star in his own right and a marketing machine that’ll keep fans engaged during a rebuild. The Death Star itself is obviously off limits, but the plans could be useful to ransom if LeBron wants to return one day. (Think of them like the Heat sending over two draft picks in a LeBron sign-and-trade, which helped the Cavs rebuild to recruit James back later on.) The Super Star Destroyers can be quality rotation players for a couple of years, and while the stormtroopers are disposable, it’s possible one develops into something useful.

(We’re in an office somewhere in New York City. A whiteboard with names of NBA players stretches across one wall. The faint scent of peyote still lingers, but it’s weeks old. Knicks general manager Scott Perry dials Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman.)

The worst plays from Thursday’s NFL preseason games.

We saw 99-yard touchdowns, Mitchell Trubisky and DeShone Kizer showing out, and plenty of other highlights from Thursday’s preseason games. But the beauty of the preseason lies in those plays that aren’t so pretty. Let’s celebrate them.

Yes, Trubisky turned in an impressive performance, but he isn’t the Bears’ starter. That would be Mike Glennon, who was at the center of several embarrassing plays.

Hoyer is almost certainly going to be the 49ers starter in Week 1, unless Matt Barkley or C.J. Beathard show us something they haven’t before. But that was a very Preseason Quarterback play by Hoyer.

Mathews entered the league as a first-round pick with the San Diego Chargers in 2010. He was intended to be the heir apparent to 2017 Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, but Mathews struggled to stay healthy and never quite lived up to his draft billing in San Diego.

Tomlin didn’t just talk about Bell, but also Martavis Bryant and his return to the gridiron.

“He’s ready to move past it. His actions day-to-day prove that, his words also illustrate that. With that in mind, we’re ready to move forward as well. I think that’s the attitude of all of us, not only players, but coaches and organizationally. He’s taken the steps to move beyond this,” Tomlin said.

“It’s just been fun to watch him enjoy being back part of this thing, doing the things that he needs to do not only as a player, but just as a man, a son, as a father. His dots appear to be aligned right now. That’s a fun thing to see. Football is football, but we know we care about these young men and to see him grow in the right ways has been an awesome thing,” Tomlin said.

With Bryant back, the team is just Le’Veon Bell away from having the ‘Killer B’s’ back on the field all together. Something which has only happened 21 times.redskins_084_010487a08bd91eed-180x180

The Bengals quarterback situation is in good shape with Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron

This is your typical training camp fight. Things get heated, there’s a brief physical encounter, and the rest of the teams steps in to break it up.
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The thing that gets me about this one is Spence punching Gardner in the helmet. It’d be awfully embarrassing to break your hand because you punched a teammate’s hard plastic lid. Maybe not as embarrassing as when Washington’s former GM broke his hand punching a wall after hearing that one of his players was injured last year. But way more embarrassing than when quarterback Jim Harbaugh broke his hand punching Jim Kelly.

Papa Blake’s is a pretty run-of-the-mill pizza place, but what sets it apart from others is the phenomenal specials. In honor of the owner and founder, Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles, you can pick six toppings for each pizza at no extra charge.

And while some big chains offer a discount every time the local team wins, that’s not the case for Papa Blake’s. Jaguars fans can eat away their sorrows with a half-priced pizza every time Jacksonville loses. Your team might not get to .500 yet again, but at least you’ll get some cheaper pizzas out of it.

The Bengals quarterback situation is in good shape with Andy Dalton and AJ McCarron, but McCarron is due to become a restricted free agent in the offseason and is already the subject of trade rumors. It would make sense for the Bengals to begin their hunt for a new backup, but they might not have to.

Driskel spent the 2016 season as the third-string quarterback for the Bengals after he was claimed off waivers from the 49ers following preseason. On Friday we got a glimpse of what Cincinnati sees in Driskel.
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He finished 8-of-9 passing against the Buccaneers for 97 yards and a touchdown pass. But it was his 18-yard touchdown run that was the play of the game for the Bengals.

If the Bengals were worried that trading McCarron would leave them in a precarious spot with the quarterback depth chart, maybe Driskel alleviated those worries a bit Friday.

I don’t really love all the marketing and all that stuff

Youth Jordan Staal Jersey At 13.5 games back from the first-place Nationals in the NL East, the Mets are yet again in a full-on firesale mindset. Their rotation isn’t the powerhouse it was expected to be this season (New York’s hottest club is the Mets’ disabled list!) and they couldn’t overcome that setback enough to crawl into anywhere close to a playoff position halfway through the summer.

In other words, everyone get off the train, the Mets are in turnaround mode once again, and they’ve got some contracts they’d like you to take a look at if that’s something you might be interested in.

Their likelihood of saying goodbye to Rivera at this point is iffy at best seeing as he’s still a rookie, with a season line of .303/.348/.459, and has five controllable years left. Sending Rivera away without asking for something huge in return wouldn’t only be a firesale situation, it might be a setting the franchise on fire situation depending on how things turn out. Not that the Mets haven’t made those mistakes in the past, but let’s just pretend they’re smart(er) now.

Still, they need to recoup this season somehow and getting a few young arms out of it (the Sox have both Jay Groome and Mike Shawaryn playing A-ball) wouldn’t be the worst option.

LA, a city long loaded with superstars like Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Wayne Gretzky, and Kobe Bryant, is in a bit of uncharted territory with these Dodgers. Despite being the best team in baseball and having six players in Miami as all-stars last week, the club doesn’t have a willing superstar, even if it does have someone who most consider the best pitcher on the planet in Clayton Kershaw.
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I don’t really love all the marketing and all that stuff, Kershaw said. I think starting pitchers are hard, going once every five days. You have to have a really outgoing personality, so it’s hard.

Chris Archer’s beef with the Astros’ mascot escalates with ‘Declaration of Unfriendliness’

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Tampa Bay pitcher Chris Archer has some beef with another team. It’s not the entire organization or a player on the field though — it’s with Houston Astros mascot Orbit. In advance of Monday’s Astros-Rays game, Archer passed Orbit a note with the following message:

A state of discord has existed between Chris Archer of the Tampa Bay Rays and Orbit of the Houston Astros.

Whereas general mischief and rascality has been among Orbit’s repeated trespasses, Chris Archer is hereby resolved to carry on a campaign of pranks, gags and high jinks in retaliation which include, but are not limited to, use of objects such as:

There weren’t any outsized interactions between Archer and Orbit during the 2016 season, but now things have escalated. And both teams are getting involved.

The Rays tweeted their support of Archer, offering him all the water balloons and silly string he requires in his battle against a furry, smiling mascot. In response, the Astros simply tweeted Oh.
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The Astros ended up crushing the Rays on Monday night, but whether that has any bearing on the ongoing human-mascot beef remains to be seen.

Orbit might want to check around every corner in the stadium with a mirror during this series just in case Chris Archer is lying in wait with a whipped pie. It looks like some interteam diplomacy may need to be involved here if there’s any hope for a peaceful resolution in the near future.

Patriots schedule 2017: New England will be tested, but not often

he Patriots’ regular-season schedule for 2017 does not appear too difficult for a team that arguably was better the day the schedule was released than it was months before, when it won Super Bowl 51. That said, perhaps no schedule would be too difficult for the defending champs.

New England, as champions do these days, will host the season-opening game. This year, the Chiefs will make the trip to Gillette Stadium on Thursday, Sept. 7 to kick off the 2017 regular season. Here’s a breakdown of the Patriots’ 2017 schedule in its entirety.

The Thursday night season-opener is the one Thursday night game teams want to see on their schedules. Not only does it mean the team is hosting the game as a Super Bowl champion, but it means a couple extra days of preparation for Week 2. In the Patriots’ case, that means more time before a tough road game in New Orleans, where newly-acquired wide receiver Brandin Cooks will make an early-season return to the Superdome. All that before a Week 3 home game against the Texans, who the Patriots eliminated in the playoffs last season. Tom Brady might still be sore from that game.

The Super Bowl 51 rematch was not scheduled as the season-opener as some had hoped. But the Patriots probably don’t mind a few weeks of warm-ups before their grudge match against the team from which they stole the title. It comes after a pair of games against always-tough NFC South teams in the Panthers and Buccaneers, with the latter being a Thursday night matchup and a short week; but also more prep for the Falcons game. The annual road game against the Jets is always fun.

“That’s fine. I guess that’s their business or whatever. But it kind of seems a little ridiculous to me. To act like Colin isn’t one of the top — let’s just call it 64 quarterbacks in the world right now is even more disingenuous. The fact that he’s not on a team right now, I think, kind of speaks to that. It’s kind of pretty silly.”
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It’s fun to see your buddies play well

Why they’re here: Corey Kluber is an ace’s ace, and Carlos Carrasco is an excellent No. 2 playoff starter. Danny Salazar struggled for a couple of months this season, but in his two starts back from the DL, he’s allowed just four hits and struck out 16 in 13 innings. They still have that Andrew Miller-Cody Allen combo at the back of the bullpen, and the lineup is solid (and will be better when Jason Kipnis comes back healthy).

Limited Womens Delino DeShields Jersey Why they’re here: The rotation is outstanding, led by Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer. The lineup is deep and dangerous, led by MVP candidates Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon. And that one big weakness (the bullpen) has been fortified with three additions with closing experience — Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson and Brandon Kintzler. If not now, when?

Why they’re here: They have a .704 winning percentage this season. They’re 38-6 in their past 44 games, which is an insane .864 winning percentage. And they went out and added Yu Darvish to the rotation and a pair of lefties (Tony Watson and Tony Cingrani) to the bullpen. Their entire roster is a ridiculous case study in excessive talent.

But Fowler parred the last three holes, and ended up 3 strokes back — lamenting his bogey/double-bogey/bogey finish on Saturday and a triple bogey he made during the opening round.

Limited Womens Brandon Belt Jersey Despite the disappointment, Fowler, 28, waited around to see the outcome, and was one of the first — after Thomas’ dad, Mike — to congratulate him on the win beside the 18th fairway, along with Spieth.

With all the young guys, we want to see everyone play well, Fowler said. It’s fun to see your buddies play well. But at the same time, it’s even more satisfying when you get to go out and beat all of your buddies.