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Chicago Bulls

Jonathan Martin will meet with NFL investigators, per report


Miami Dolphins offensive tackle Jonathan Martin plans to meet with the NFL’s special investigator next week, according to a report from the Associated Press.

The NFL has appointed Ted Wells, a New York attorney with prior experience with sports-related cases, to investigate the claims of misconduct and hazing in the Dolphins locker room. Offensive guard Richie Incognito has been suspended indefinitely by the team after a profanity-laden voicemail surfaced that featured several racial slurs and threats.

Tolzien was pressed into action early on Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles after veteran Seneca Wallace left with a groin injury. The third-year former undrafted free agent out of Wisconsin came into Sunday with no career pass attempts, but finished 24-of-39 for 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions as the Packers lost, 27-13.

After an impressive career with the Badgers, Tolzien was undrafted but signed a contract with the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers released Tolzien during final cuts, but he was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers and spent two seasons there before being released and signed by the Packers.

He will now try to hold the fort down until the All-Pro Rodgers can return, just 10 weeks after Tolzien was released by the 49ers. When Tolzien was at Wisconsin, he set the school record for completions in a season with 211 of them. Over the course of his two-year career as the Badgers starter, he completed 68 percent of his attempts for 5,164 yards, 32 touchdowns, 17 interceptions, and 8.7 yards per attempt. And then Wilson came along.


Notable cuts tracker: Who already has been released?


Hollis Thompson Limited Jersey Free agency has yet to arrive, but that hasn’t stopped NFL teams from trimming the fat.

The first few weeks following Super Bowl LI have seen a handful of notable players cut by their respective teams, as some organizations aim to clear cap space in anticipation of the start of the new league year. Veterans who are suddenly deemed expendable have been released, as have underachieving players who entered the league as high draft selections. We’ve assembled a round-up of the most notable moves so far.

Chance Warmack and Luke Joeckel, offensive linemen

If the Browns got a third-round compensatory pick, they would convey it to the Patriots. The Browns found out that they did get a compensatory pick on Friday, so the 103rd overall pick will be in play for Bill Belichick to use in April. The Patriots now have two third-round picks and two fifth-round picks to go with selections in the first, second, fourth (they acquired one in a trade during last year’s draft to offset the one stripped by the NFL in Deflategate) and seventh rounds.
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This is the first year that teams have been allowed to deal compensatory picks in trades and the Patriots weren’t the only ones adding a third-round selection to their collection. The Titans will pick at No. 100 with the Rams sending their compensatory pick to Nashville in last year’s trade for the first overall pick.

The Browns were rewarded with four compensatory picks, but they will only have two come the draft. They also agreed to send a fourth-round compensatory pick to the Eagles as part of Philly’s deal for the No. 2 overall pick last year. They received two of them and it is believed the higher of the picks — No. 139 overall — will go to the Eagles.

It¡¯s worth losing your job over a meat pie


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The meat pie. It¡¯s objectively one of the world¡¯s great foods, and something that it horribly underrepresented in U.S. culinary tradition. Today we¡¯re talking about in in relation to sports after Sutton United goalkeeper Wayne Shaw ate a pie on the sideline and started ¡°Piegate,¡± also known as ¡°Pieaffair.¡±

Elite Brandon Williams Jersey Shaw ate a pie on the sideline after learning that bookies were taking bets at 8-1 odds that he would eat a pie during the game. It was a lark, but also a serious violation of betting laws and created a quagmire he wasn¡¯t fully prepared for. On the plus side, he got to eat a pie.

I¡¯m of the fervent belief that almost any job in the world is worth losing over a meat pie. For the uninitiated, this is a small, hand-held pie with buttery pastry and filled with a mixture of meat and gravy. Sometimes you can have mushrooms in it, maybe some onion ¡ª this is a free area because all meat pies are good pies.

We have been tricked by a false god in America. We have been led to believe that a hamburger is better than a meat pie. Some have gone so far as to take the common pastie, a British culinary treat and passed it off as a true meat pie. This is false. The difference between a true meat pie and a pastie is the meat-pastry ratio, which is perfect in a pie and skews too far towards pastry.

We can understand why the Kings traded Cousins, even if we don¡¯t understand the return they received in the trade. Each side needed a fresh start. But when videos emerge showing Cousins spilling his heart to his fans away from that sporting world, it strips down what makes sports special to its most basic level.

The Patriots defense allowed just seven points to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship


What differs between the playoffs and the regular season is simple: the game cannot end in a tie in the postseason, and that of course counts for the Super Bowl. The overtime period is a 15-minute frame in which both teams get three timeouts apiece. If the game is tied after that first frame, they’ll play as many 15-minute periods as needed until one of them scores.

The Patriots defense allowed just seven points to the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship, albeit in sloppy conditions. Whether the Seahawks offense can gain traction early in the game or the Patriots defense maintains its momentum could swing the outcome. Here’s everything you need to tune in:

Beyonce’s performance was one of the most well-received halftime shows ever. Bruno Mars’ halftime also drew high marks for his halftime show last year. The Red Hot Chili Peppers aspect of that show left something to be desired, but all in all, this year’s performers do have some recent history to live up to.

Also per tradition, President Obama did not make a prediction for Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. He did admit that he thinks the game will be close, though he has worries about the health of Seattle’s secondary.

Although both essentially shrugged off what happened afterward, Keselowski also choose to look ahead to next Sunday¡¯s season-opening Daytona 500. His message was clear and directed not only to Hamlin, but those not eligible to compete in the exhibition race who were watching the Clash on television.

Game Youth Theoren Fleury Jersey ¡°I guarantee he knows ¡ª and everyone else who was watching today ¡ª that I¡¯m going to make that move again,¡± Keselowski said. ¡°And you better move out or you¡¯ll end up wrecked.¡±
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Brett Favre revenge: Would Packers be interested in Adrian Peterson?


Game Mens Vincent Valentine Jersey The road from Green Bay to Minneapolis — a 278-mile trek along Wisconsin 29 and Interstate 94 — is not a one-way route. A woman named Sheila who answered the phone at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation was nice enough to confirm that.

¡°There are two lanes eastbound and two lanes westbound,¡± she said.

Peterson can still deepen the intrigue. The Vikings’ looming decision on Peterson should be closely watched at Steelers headquarters. The Vikings are widely expected to pass on the 31-year-old Peterson’s $6 million roster bonus in the final year of his deal. That leaves Minnesota with two options: Cut him or ask him to take a reduced salary, a reality a prideful Peterson might not accept.

If Peterson is released, that $14-million-a-year clip is off the books, leaving McCoy the game’s highest-paid back. The Steelers easily could give Bell more than McCoy without jeopardizing the salary cap.

Elite Arik Armstead Jersey The Cardinals will tag outside linebacker Chandler Jones unless a long-term deal can be reached, coach Bruce Arians said during his end-of-season news conference in early January. “Chandler’s not going anywhere because, if we have to, we will franchise him,” Arians said. The Cardinals want to keep the 26-year-old as the foundation of their pass rush.

He has produced double-digit sacks in each of his past two seasons, including 12.5 sacks in 2015 with New England and 11 in 2016 with Arizona. The projected franchise tag for linebackers is $15.287 million. If he can convince the Cardinals to call him a defensive end, he could be tagged for $16.988 million, a difference of about $1.7 million more.

After his season ended with a Super Bowl victory parade in Boston, Jimmy Garoppolo would be a worthy investment if the Browns envision him as their quarterback of the future.

Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points against Chicago on Sunday


Gordon Hayward certainly hasn’t slowed down since earning his maiden All-Star nod; Hayward has cracked the 30-point plateau in four of his past five games and remain on course to record the highest scoring average by anyone in Jazz colors since Karl Malone’s 23.2 PPG in 2000-01. Utah’s week, however, ended with a double thud after it hiked its record to 15 games over .500, thanks to blowing that 21-point lead in Dallas and a home loss Saturday night to Boston, suffered despite George Hill’s 22 points. The Jazz are now 12-1 when Hill scores at least 20 points … as well as 19-5 ?when both Hill and Hayward are in the lineup. Without Hill? The Jazz are 12-13.

Jim Otto Youth Jersey Milwaukee Bucks: With Jabari Parker (knee) out for the season and Khris Middleton out of the lineup Saturday against Indiana, the Bucks turned to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Beasley and Thon Maker as their starting frontcourt, with Matthew Dellavedova starting at point guard and Tony Snell manning the 2-guard. This is a rotation to keep a close eye on, as it will evolve on a game-to-game basis, with Greg Monroe and Mirza Teletovic being two other options who could start in the future.

Denzelle Good Womens Jersey Minnesota Timberwolves: Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points against Chicago on Sunday, giving him 20 or more points in each of the past 13 games. How has he done it? For one, he’s taking a lot of shots with Zach LaVine out for the season and no longer in the lineup (20 FGA in the past five games), but he’s also been very efficient. The third-year swingman is shooting 52 percent in his past five games and 49.5 percent in the past 10.

But he said they can’t do it without Cousins hitting his full stride when the time comes.

“We’re very similar,” Barnes told ESPN-Tencent. “Obviously he’s the superstar and I’m a role player. But I think we have similar reputations. You know me being young. And doing all the stuff he did, reputation-wise, I think I can give him advice sometimes.”

Kevin Durant hired extra security for his return to Oklahoma City


Kevin Durant¡¯s return to Oklahoma City promises to be an emotionally charged atmosphere. To prepare for that, Durant will be traveling with extra security for him and his family members in attendance, according to ESPN¡¯s Chris Haynes.
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The Warriors will travel with three times as many personnel as they normally do on road trips, according to Haynes. A number of them will be specifically assigned to protect Durant¡¯s mother, Wanda Pratt. Pratt will sit next to Durant¡¯s agent, Rich Kleiman.

The Warriors played in Memphis on Friday night, so Durant won¡¯t have much time to explore the city he once lived in for nine years. However, he ¡°won¡¯t be locked in his hotel room,¡± a source told Haynes. Kleiman will make several community appearances on Durant¡¯s behalf.

LeBron James did the same thing before his return to Miami
In fact, James actually took more precautions. From a 2010 ESPN article:

To ensure James’ safety, there will be dozens of extra police officers on hand, both uniformed and undercover. Officers will be stationed inside and outside the arena, and many will be positioned by the Heat bench and at the tunnel where the Heat players will enter the court.
The Cavaliers also confiscated any sign or apparel that was deemed inappropriate. It¡¯s unclear if Thunder security plans to do the same. Some fans have already made special KowarD T-shirts:

That extra security prevented a serious incident from happening in James¡¯ return, though it was still a charged atmosphere. David Fizdale, the Grizzlies¡¯ current head coach and a Miami assistant in 2010, told Haynes that fans threw batteries on the floor in James¡¯ return:
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Fizdale doesn¡¯t expect Oklahoma City to be as ¡°volatile¡± as Cleveland was that night. We¡¯ll see if that is indeed the case.

Danny Amendola scored one of the Patriots’ two fourth-quarter touchdowns that helped New England overcome a 25-point deficit


Elite Ben Zobrist Jersey The Falcons didn’t have much impact in the return game, but give them credit for awareness and the ability to recover a Patriots’ onside kick in the second half. The play would have been wiped out by a New England penalty, but it showed preparation on the biggest stage.

The New England Patriots erased a deficit of 28-3 and went on to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime in Super Bowl LI. Here’s a report card on the Falcons’ performance:
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This was a script that not even Hollywood could have come up with for believability, especially when considering the greatest Super Bowl comeback had previously been 10 points.

Danny Amendola scored one of the Patriots’ two fourth-quarter touchdowns that helped New England overcome a 25-point deficit.

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower’s strip sack in the fourth quarter changed the momentum of the game, and receiver Julian Edelman’s 23-yard “how-did-he-do-that?” catch was the reverse David Tyree.

“That’s the best catch I’ve ever seen in person. That’s why they call him Julian Incredible-man,” marveled Hightower.

As for his strip sack, Hightower said, “It’s not a complicated blitz, just blitzing outside, and they had run the play once or twice the previous series. I guess [Devonta] Freeman didn’t see me outside and went to chip or release, and lost sight of me. I see Matt Ryan with the ball in his hands and I wanted it, so I went and took it.”

The grade isn’t for the total, necessarily — Atlanta had 102 yards rushing early in the fourth quarter — but they did damage early to set the tone. They found early room on the perimeter.

His ascent as a football general manager began with the Falcons in 2008 and there truly was nowhere to go but up.


Falcons owner Arthur Blank, right, watches practice next to general manager Thomas Dimitroff during their first training camp together in 2008. AP Photo/John Amis
Dimitroff said he has great admiration for many in the Patriots organization, where he first served as a national scout in 2002 before earning a promotion to director of college scouting the following year. Preparing to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl is a moment he always hoped he would have the opportunity to experience.
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“It’s that fantasy game that you have in your mind, the team playing one of your mentors,” he said of Bill Belichick. “I don’t want to go overboard, but I do believe Tom Brady is the best quarterback in the history of the game to date. I obviously learned a great deal from that organization and how they approached things.”

He credits the Patriots with teaching him things such as “indisputable role understanding” during his New England tenure. But when he left the Patriots he had quite the task ahead.

His ascent as a football general manager began with the Falcons in 2008 and there truly was nowhere to go but up. The Falcons were coming off a season in which head coach Bobby Petrino abruptly quit and quarterback Michael Vick was suspended after an admission of guilt in a dogfighting scheme. Dimitroff was hired to help clean up the mess.
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This was one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever, especially for those who took the over, as the Cardinals and Steelers combined for 16 points in the final three minutes. Pittsburgh led by 10 at halftime and by 13 entering the fourth quarter, but Arizona came back to take the lead with 2:37 left. However, Santonio Holmes’ game-winning touchdown with 35 seconds left gave the Steelers the victory and put the game over the total.

The QB sneak is a remarkably efficient play, and an excellent way to extend a drive


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Falcons: During Atlanta’s current six-game winning streak, its defense has made significant strides from the one that surrendered 27.9 points per game through the first 12 games of the regular season. Over this six-game stretch, the defense has allowed just 19.3 points per game. Playing the likes of the Rams and 49ers offered an opportunity to pad numbers, but it’s hard to argue with the Falcons holding their own in playoff matchups against Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. In the playoffs, the Falcons have forced four turnovers, building off the momentum from the end of the regular season. Quinn preaches “the ball” all the time, which is why the Falcons finished the regular season with a plus-11 turnover ratio, tied for fourth in the NFL.

Since the start of the 2001 season, the Patriots lead the league in QB sneaks, running 0.52 every game, which translates to one roughly every other week.1 For comparison, Kansas City, which is last in the league, runs about two QB sneaks per season. Most teams attempt about three or four sneaks in a season, with Jacksonville (0.5 per game or roughly eight per season) and Baltimore (roughly seven per season) the only other teams that approach New England’s frequency. During that period, the Patriots, led by Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, have won 14 of 16 AFC East titles and have been to the Super Bowl seven times, including Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
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The QB sneak is a remarkably efficient play, and an excellent way to extend a drive. Leaguewide, the conversion rate2 from 2001 to 2015 on 3rd-and-1 or 4th-and-1 plays that are not QB sneaks is 65 percent — on sneaks, that success rate jumps to 84 percent.3 And there’s a similar story when teams have 2 yards to gain, with sneaks 20 percentage points more successful (75 percent versus 55 percent) relative to other runs or passes.