The clock is ticking on their contracts before the ink has dried.

Like he did throughout the free-agent signing period, Ballard relied heavily on input from Colts coordinators in evaluating prospects and how well they would fit into the systems being run. Based on recent Colts drafts, this approach stands in stark contrast to what sometimes transpired during Grigson’s tenure.

The Colts’ disastrous 2013 class — none of the seven players remain on their roster — and the 2015 first-round selection of wide receiver Phillip Dorsett when Indianapolis desperately needed defensive help are among the decisions that set the franchise back.

“If you’re not communicating on a daily basis — and you can never over-communicate — the rest of the building feels it,” Ballard told co-host Gil Brandt and me on SiriusXM NFL Radio. “When there’s tension, everybody feels it.

The past six first rounds have produced 17 quarterbacks since a rookie salary cap was instituted in 2011 as part of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement with its players union. Sixteen of them started at least one game as rookies with the lone exception being Tennessee’s Jake Locker.

No accident there. The clock is ticking on their contracts before the ink has dried. Teams have three seasons to determine whether it’s worth picking up the fifth-year option on those deals or move onto another passer.

Why? He’s a winner. Watson left Clemson with a 32-3 record as a starter, and it’s clear to anybody who watched the last two College Football Playoff championship games who the best football player on the field was.

The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball ringers, ranked

Long before Ken Griffey Jr., Wade Boggs and Ozzie Smith became baseball Hall of Famers, they highlighted another exclusive list: the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant softball ringers.

Yes, it’s been 25 years since plant executive C. Montgomery Burns concocted a ruse to win a corporate softball championship against bitter rival Shelbyville by using major league baseball players in place of his actual employees.

Other numbers provide some glimpse into how Boston’s offense can be so proficient at making contact and getting on base without scoring, and it isn’t all about the lack of the Large Father.

According to Fangraphs, the Red Sox have been the second-worst baserunning team in baseball, tallying -5.4 baserunning runs to date. They also have grounded into the third-most double plays. This provides some explanation for the baserunners-to-runs ratio.

Is that enough to absolve Ortiz’s absence as the reason for the woes? Definitely not. Losing the MLB leader in OPS and extra-base hits is going to have some impact.
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But, with all the talent in the lineup, and the numbers they’ve tallied, the question as to why the struggles are so acute isn’t all on Ortiz’s big shoulders.

Elite Mens Jacob Tamme Jersey Closing with a more serious tone, Obama noted the Cubs’ visit happened to be on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and discussed the impact sports can have on the country.

It is worth remembering, because sometimes people wonder, ‘Why are you spending time on sports, there’s other stuff going on,’ that throughout our history sports has had this power to bring us together even when the country’s divided, he said. Sports has changed attitudes and culture in ways that seem subtle, but that ultimately made us think differently about ourselves and who we were.

Group led by Derek Jeter, Jeb Bush loses favorite status in Marlins sale

They collect good (often great) defensive backs in the desert, but they just lost two to free agency, safeties Tony Jefferson and D.J. Swearinger.

Revis isn’t on track to be that kind of safety for them (if he switches), but it might not matter. If he’s close to his old form, grouping him with Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu would make that the Bermuda Triangle for quarterbacks. Worth thinking about.

Elite Mens Ronnie Lott Jersey Derek Jeter and Jeb Bush are no longer the favorites to win the bid to purchase the Miami Marlins.

MLB has told the groups bidding on the team that it wants to see the cash up front to prove they have the financial wherewithal to close the deal and operate the team, the Associated Press reported. Because of the league’s demand, the group led by Tagg Romney now has a head in front in the race to buy the Marlins.

Commissioner Rob Manfred’s office has told the bid groups that Romney’s group has raised a greater percentage of the money needed for the league’s owners to approve a deal, a source told the AP.
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Romney’s group also includes former MLB pitchers Tom Glavine and Dave Stewart, although Alex Rodriguez, Jeter’s ex-teammate on the Yankees, reportedly turned down an opportunity to join the effort.

There’s no doubt video played the ultimate part in how Rice and Hyde got handed their bans, and most recently, Oklahoma running back draft prospect Joe Mixon not being invited to the NFL Combine. Although there’s only video of what Elliott did this March and not of what he did/didn’t do last summer, it’s been swiftly, perhaps unfairly linked as an extension of the photos that surfaced from his accuser in 2016.

Aaron Judge shows off power in Yankees spring opener

Aaron Judge gave Yankees fans a reason to be excited.

The gigantic 24-year-old outfielder blasted a moon shot that hit the top of the scoreboard in Friday’s spring training opener at a renovated George M. Steinbrenner Field.

Judge’s monstrous home run came off Philadelphia’s Elniery Garcia in the fifth inning of New York’s 9-4 win over the Phillies.

It was one of three home runs hit by the Yankees, who went 84-78 last year and finished fourth in the American League East. It was just the fourth time since 2000 the Yankees missed the postseason.

After appearing in 27 games last year, the Yankees are expecting big things from Judge this year. Friday’s home run by the 6-7, 275-pound Fresno State alum gave the Yankees a huge reason to be optimistic.

As opening day approached, Hanson knew that a project of this scope would undoubtedly be an intense grind, so he needed someone with the right personality, the right skillset and the right work ethic to be the daily shepherd.

Youth Kendall Wright Jersey Young Atlanta TV news producer Glenn Diamond came to mind immediately.

Hanson had worked with Diamond before and knew his buttoned-up professional demeanor was the perfect fit for this ambitious enterprise that carried high expectations even before it really got started.

Authentic Kids Robbie Gould Jersey I think we should win an Emmy, Hanson told Diamond up front, given the time, money and resources going into the project.

It wasn’t so much an opinion as an informal order.

I was half-joking with him at the time, Hanson said, but only half-joking.

After leaving CBS, Tony Gonzalez joins Fox NFL pregame show

Former NFL tight end and future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez is no longer a free agent. The NFL’s all-time leading receiver at the tight end position has agreed to a contract with Fox to be a lead analyst on several programs.

Gonzalez will be “a fixture on Fox NFL Kickoff” moving into virtually the same role he occupied there as he did with CBS Sports since the 2014 season.

“What we do rely on is our medical experts, and we have joint medical experts between the players’ association and the league,” he said at the forum. “To date, those medical advisors have not recommended that we change our policy to permit marijuana use.”

Two months isn’t a long time for a man to change his mind, but it is clear Goodell is not backing away from those comments any time soon.

Two incoming NFL players, Jabril Peppers and Reuben Foster, had diluted samples coming into the NFL Draft, which started Thursday night. Peppers went 25th to the Cleveland Browns, while Foster went 31st to the 49ers.

Foster’s drop could easily be attributed to the diluted sample, which is considered a positive test by NFL standards.

The NFL has taken a strict stand on marijuana use with Goodell at the forefront taking over as commissioner in 2006. He opinions include recreational usage, as well.

Roger Goodell says on Mike & Mike that marijuana is addictive and unhealthy. He’s not on board with letting NFL players use recreationally.

NFL Draft 2017: Broncos’ No. 1 pick Garett Bolles has baby on board to meet Roger Goodell

Utah tackle Garett Bolles, the first offensive lineman taken in the NFL Draft, scored another first Thursday night.

He was the first player to bring a baby on stage.
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Vic Beasley Jersey After a thorough review of our football operations over the past several months, Kim and I informed Doug this morning that we will be moving in a new direction, read the release from Bills owner Terry Pegula, also speaking on behalf of his wife, Kim.

This was my decision. It was not an easy decision, but I believe it was the right one for the future of the Buffalo Bills.

Whaley, who has held the post since 2013, has been under fire for some time, and a change has been expected. Buffalo News reporter Jerry Sullivan wrote Saturday that, Whaley is a dead man walking at this point, a pathetic figure. As I said a month ago, they should have fired him and been done with it.

Whaley has found himself in some awkward situations in recent months, including the media conference after the season announcing coach Rex Ryan had been fired.

CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reports Panthers assistant GM Brandon Beane is the leading candidate to replace Whaley. Beane has a working relationship with new Bills coach Sean McDermott.

Malkin suited up and had a favorable performance without 87

You’ll recall that Cleveland golden child LeBron James willed the Cavs to erase a 3-1 series deficit against the mighty Golden State Warriors.

Look what you’ve done, Sad Sports Fan. You’ve robbed your own city of a precious World Series and poor, poor Cleveland of its first pro sports championship since 1964.

And two of the best stories in sports in 2016, if not ever, are gone. Poof.
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In the first game of the playoff series versus the Islanders back in 2013, Malkin suited up and had a favorable performance without 87, proving he’s still productive with two assists in a 5-0 win. But this isn’t the only time Malkin has shown his prestige when Crosby’s out of the lineup. In the 117 career games Malkin has faced the challenge, he’s tallied 66 goals and 88 helpers — a respectful 1.32 points per game average. This is reassuring because when Crosby is present and leading the top line, Malkin drops his productivity just slightly to an average of 1.15 points per game. It’s clear that losing Crosby doesn’t hinder him; it’s his motivation.

Authentic Womens Ben Scrivens Jersey The way he elevates his game offensively will prove that a team with such talent and depth like this should never be counted out. This is arguably the most perfect player to take the leadership reigns while the Captain reclaims his health in the suites of PPG Paints Arena in a suit and tie.

Game 4 has elements that confirm it’s a pivotal moment for each of these teams, but how the Penguins recover from their unfortunate luck will decide the mood of this series going forward. If the Capitals throw another barrage at Pittsburgh tonight, which they will, I fully expect the Pens to weather it. They’re veterans, their emotions are high, and they’re going to be fighting for their Captain.

Adam Jones says he was ‘called the N-word’ by fans during game at Fenway Park

Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones called for better handling of abusive fans after being berated by racist taunts Monday night during a game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, reports USA Today’s Bob Nightengale.

A disrespectful fan threw a bag of peanuts at me,” Jones said in comments following the game. I was called the N-word a handful of times tonight. Thanks. Pretty awesome.”

The veteran outfielder, one of 62 African-American players on opening day MLB rosters, is currently in his 12th season. He said that he’s been subject to racism from fans at Fenway Park before, but told USA Today that this was one of his worst experiences as a player.

It’s different,” Jones said. Very unfortunate. I heard there was 59 or 60 ejections tonight in the ballpark. It is what it is, right. I just go out and play baseball. It’s unfortunate that people need (to resort) to those type of epithets to degrade another human being. I’m trying to make a living for myself and for my family.

Authentic Youth Karri Ramo Jersey It’s unfortunate. The best thing about myself is that I continue to move on, and still play the game hard. Let people be who they are. Let them show their true colors.”

Mushidi was hitting shots all over the court at the Nike Hoop Summit in April. The Jazz can’t ride Joe Johnson forever. Maybe Mushidi could fill that role if he continues to develop his body and his game.

Lydon was a breakout freshman a year ago who helped lead Syracuse on an unlikely run to the Final Four as a No. 10 seed. Cuse missed the tournament entirely this season, but Lydon quietly had a productive sophomore season, He’s a shooter who isn’t afraid to mix things up on the glass.

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Why it’s better to laugh with JaVale McGee than at him

JaVale McGee is one of the most underrated figures in the NBA. Yes, he was a punchline for a long time. You could say he was appreciated then, but mostly because we were laughing at him on Shaqtin’ a Fool. Now, we can laugh with him.

McGee’s been better than ever for the Warriors this season, especially in the playoffs when Kevin Durant was missing due to injury. His averages on field goals and field goal attempts have gone up, too.

It hasn’t been easy to shake his old, blundering reputation. He also got into a wild Twitter beef with Shaquille O’Neal over Shaqtin’ that had everyone involved — Durant, the Warriors as an organization, even Shaq’s mom — jumping into the fray.

OK, so that one was maybe a mixture of laughing and looking on in mild horror. But he’s also the butt of jokes that are more in good humor — like Andre Iguodala using toilet paper with his face on it. (Iguodala and McGee have been teammates twice now, first with the Nuggets and now again with the Warriors.)

McGee can poke his own fun, though. He gave the whole Golden State team blankets with Draymond Green’s sleeping face on them, since Green was exposing everyone else’s naps on Snapchat.

NBA aside, we’ve also recently gotten some great glimpses into McGee’s personal life. His latest is posting this picture of him holding his baby daughter like a phone.

This was just the beginning for Westbrook. He would finish with three 50-point triple-doubles on the season.

“Official Photographer”

The world was watching when Westbrook’s Thunder and Durant’s Warriors met for the first time on Nov. 4. The hype was out of control for this game and Westbrook took it to another level when he showed up at Oracle Arena wearing a pinny that said “Official Photographer”.nike_redskins_2188

4 reasons we’re so happy Marshawn Lynch is back in the NFL

Marshawn Lynch is back in the NFL, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Even though he continued to entertain us during his retirement by starting a fire with one of his dreads in the wilderness with Bear Grylls and riding a bike around Houston, Scotland, for a Skittles Super Bowl commercial, football wasn’t the same without his antics.

Whether Lynch was leaping over the goal line or repeating I’m just here so I don’t get fined so often to reporters that he eventually trademarked the phrase, he was never afraid to be himself.

There are many memorable moments from Lynch’s career that kept us waiting eagerly to see what he would do or say next. We’re looking forward to adding many more to this collection from Lynch’s new chapter with the Oakland Raiders.

Watt is an outside backer, unlike his hell-raising defensive end of a big brother. He was a college starter for only one year at Wisconsin, but it was a great year. Watt had 63 tackles and 11.5 sacks for the Badgers. Watt is not massive; he measured 6’4, 252 pounds with 21 bench reps at the NFL combine. But he’s an explosive athlete, with a 4.7-second 40 time and a 37-inch vertical leap. He’s going to get sacks. We like sacks.
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The Steelers have really enjoyed making this sort of pick in the last few years. They got Jarvis Jones from Georgia in the first round in 2013, which failed. They got Ryan Shazier, an athletic inside linebacker from Ohio State, in 2014. That worked well. They got Kentucky edge rusher Bud Dupree in 2015, and the jury’s still out there.

Elite Kids Orlando Pace Jersey This is the fourth time in five years the Steelers have gone with an uber-athletic linebacker in the first round. That’s mostly because they’ve been old at the position, but I’m convinced it doesn’t hurt that Pittsburgh always rallies around a good linebacker. Watt would be a thrilling first-rounder in this market even if his last name were not Watt and his brother were not a future Hall of Famer.