UFC announces Greg Hardy will face former NFL player Austen Lane in pro MMA debut

Greg Hardy will make his professional MMA debut against Austen Lane, another former NFL player.

It was announced during the UFC 224 broadcast that the two will face off in a heavyweight fight on June 12 as part of “Dana White Tuesday Night Contender Series.”

The ongoing coverage of Alex Ovechkin’s chicken parm obsession is better than playoff beard stories. “It’s a tradition from day one,” Ovechkin told Emily Kaplan. “They have the Italian food always when we came to the rink, and it’s very delicious.”

Because all the evaluators added that before he returns to the NFL, Manziel must also show an improved ability to throw from the pocket, which would not only keep NFL defenses honest and prevent them from keying on his scrambling like the Chiefs did in his final appearance, but also help him preserve his smallish frame in a league full of behemoths. “If Manziel’s first receivers weren’t open, he was gone, out the pocket,” one evaluator told Yahoo Sports.

The new setup is designed to greatly reduce the amount of full-speed contact between the cover and return teams and, in turn, reduce injuries.

But even though the field is wider in the CFL, which makes for a more open game, it’s primarily a passing league because teams have only three downs to get 10 yards as opposed to four, meaning Manziel will conceivably have plenty of opportunities to work on his pocket passing if he nails down the job. Manziel has never been known as a tape fiend, let alone someone particularly obsessive about fundamentals. But some around the league wonder whether his on-field competitiveness and mental toughness — which one evaluator even compared to 2018 No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield’s — will finally begin to manifest itself in his weekly work habits if he’s indeed got his life together. “I felt like he could make it three years ago,” one decision-maker said.

Eli Apple is ready to move on from his rough 2017 season.cowboys_373

Former Saints, Redskins linebacker Junior Galette considering retirement

Junior Galette is considering retirement.

The 30-year-old linebacker, who has been in the NFL since 2010, is currently a free agent. He said in an Instagram post Sunday he has received three contract offers but is unsure if he wants to play in 2018. Galette did not say which teams contacted him.

That entire 20-plus-year journey to the pinnacle of his profession, without anyone finding out about an indictment. Not a complaint, a probe, an arrest, a detainment, an arraignment — an indictment.

This, in a league where an anonymous smear video clip can alter the course of a player’s career in an instant, just because that’s what teams can do.

No, it does not make sense.

Except in all the ways it makes perfect sense. It’s the least-plausible and most-plausible thing imaginable. It’s the NFL in 2018 in a nutshell.

“At this point we aren’t concerned this injury will jeopardize his season,” McDermott told reporters, adding it was “best for us to get this done now.”

It isn’t yet, though.

So far this year, Tom Brady in New England and Aaron Donald in LA, among others, have been placed under the microscope for not being there for Day 1 of offseason workouts. It really is part of the NFL’s offseason routine — do a head count for camps, OTAs and the like, see who’s missing, dig for reasons, grill head coach and teammates about what’s going on and what it means.

The disclaimer is always included: Workouts are voluntary, but …

It’s exhausting. It needs to stop. It sucks up energy that could be applied elsewhere.

It won’t stop, though. The 2018 offseason is off to that kind of start already. The NFL has flunked another English exam.ravens_173

Fraud lawsuit against Eli Manning moves closer to trial

The Giants’ Organized Team Activities begin on May 21. A week before that, another type of organized activities involving the Giants will get rolling.

The lawsuit alleging that quarterback Eli Manning committed memorabilia fraud remains scheduled to head to trial on May 14.

The England and Wales Cricket Board is to adopt the Rooney Rule as part of an action plan aimed at boosting engagement with south Asian communities. Cricket’s version of the Rooney Rule, named after the former owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the National Football League in the United States, will ensure at least one applicant from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds will be interviewed for any coaching position. The Football Association announced it would adopt its own version of the rule for roles within the England set-up in January.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison cites the measure as a really important element of the governing body’s national action plan. This is one of 11 recommendations we’re starting from today after this long consultation process, Harrison told Sky Sports News.

Saturday, they gave him an understudy.

With the 101st overall pick and the first of the fourth round, the Panthers took Indiana tight end Ian Thomas. The Panthers acquired the pick last night, when the Packers wanted to move up to 89th.

Thomas is a raw prospect who has 28 career receptions, but he’s a good athlete, and the Panthers don’t need him to be an immediate contributor. They were actively pursuing free agents to go with Olsen (Eric Ebron and Luke Willson), and two-tight end sets will be a part of what coordiantor Norv Turner wants to do.

Benjamin’s career wound up being up and down, and he was traded to Buffalo by interim GM Marty Hurney three months after GM Dave Gettleman was fired.

In exchange, the Panthers received third- and seventh-round picks in 2018.

Kony Ealy had both his coming out and going away party in Super Bowl 50, where he recorded three sacks and an interception.

Instead of turning into Carolina’s newest D-line star, he was off the roster after 2016.

He’s now a rotational player in Dallas after spending last year with the Jets.broncos_010_decd4bcaeca0aa61-180x180

Russ Brandon resigns from Bills

Russ Brandon, the president of the Buffalo Bills, the Buffalo Sabres, and Pegula Sports and Entertainment, has resigned. Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula announced the development on Tuesday.

Via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News, the move comes after an internal investigation regarding Brandon’s workplace behavior and allegations of personal misconduct.

Peters has encountered some controversy, which might help explain why the Rams were able to acquire him and a sixth-round pick from Kansas City in exchange for a 2019 second-round pick and a 2018 fourth-round selection. But this remains a low-risk move with a huge potential reward, especially with his fifth-year option for 2019 guaranteed only for injury.  

Allen Robinson didn’t come cheap for the Chicago Bears, but the team had plenty of salary-cap space entering free agency and was in desperate need of weapons for second-year franchise-quarterback-in-the-making Mitchell Trubisky. 

The team leases the land, and terms and length of the lease are unknown, per Beasley.

News about a new Dolphins’ practice facility was included in a 2026 World Cup bid book submitted by the North American partnership. FIFA is expected to choose between North America and Morocco’s bids on June 13.

While Roethlisberger justified his frustration by suggesting that the Steelers could have instead used that pick on a player who could help this team now, the reality is few third-round picks become great NFL players, and the Steelers had two third-rounders at their disposal. Plus, as James Boyer noted at Behind the Steel Curtain, Rudolph’s mere presence could motivate Roethlisberger. 

In the last 25 years, only three players selected in that No. 76 spot have become Pro Bowlers (Ahman Green, Brandon Brooks and Keenan Allen), and only about a half-dozen of those 25 became consistently successful starters.broncos_088_f349548e7a6e1945-180x180

Matt Nagy: Bears “certainly have enough” offensive pieces now

The Bears went into the offseason with a goal of upgrading their offensive options and head coach Matt Nagy gave a positive review of their work after the end of the draft on Saturday.

Chicago added help at wide receiver and tight end in free agency, drafted interior lineman James Daniels and wide receiver Anthony Miller in the second round and then added another wide receiver in the seventh round. Nagy said the new faces leave him happy with the pieces he will be working with in his first season on the job.

Gregory was banned by the league on Jan.6, 2017, for a minimum of one year due to multiple violations of the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

A 2015 second-round draft pick out of Nebraska, Gregory last played for Dallas in the 2016 season finale.

He’s being very diligent in preparing his information and preparing his application, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters Wednesday at Cowboys Golf Club in Grapevine, Texas.

The name of the bunch is Moritz Böhringer, who has been allocated to the Bengals. He was a sixth-round pick of the Vikings in 2016, after a standout career with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League. He spent the 2016 season on their practice squad.

Other players include German Football League fullback Christopher Ezeala (Ravens), former British American Football League defensive back Tigie Sankoh (Browns) and former English professional rugby player/tight end Christian Scotland-Williamson (Steelers). Tight end Alex Gray (Falcons), defensive end Alex Jenkins (Saints), linebacker Eric Nzeocha (Buccaneers), and defensive end Efe Obada (Panthers) return for another year as well.

They can’t be promoted to the active roster (such that they would), so it’s an extra body for coaches and a marketing opportunity for the league.

The Dolphins were trailblazers in that, by the way.broncos_012_39f2516d2435d739-180x180

Yankees gush over Gleyber Torres, who’s making history, by the way

NEW YORK Neil Walker watched Gleyber Torres take his second base job.

Still, when asked how impressive the Yankees ‘ top prospect has been since getting called up just two weeks ago, Walker couldn’t help but praise on the 21-year-old.

It seems like the bigger the spot, the bigger the situation, the better he is. He doesn’t even flinch in that moment. And the approach there back through the middle and the other way off Otero, who you know is going to run that sinker in on you. To have an extended at-bat like that that’s just a big-boy, mature at-bat from a good hitter and he hammered that ball.

Torres became the youngest player in Yankees history to hit a walk-off home run at 21 years and 144 days old. Hall of Famer and Yankees legend Mickey Mantle was the previous youngest at 21 years and 185 days on April 23, 1953, vs. Boston.

Torres’ is the first major-league position player since 1900 to start and be on the winning side in 14 of his first 15 big-league games. His 11 RBI are tied for the eighth-most by a Yankee in his first 15 career games.

I own a chicken company, Walker says … If the guy that I hire don’t want to do what I ask him to do, why do I hire him? And I think that’s the problem right there, you know.

The Los Angeles Chargers inked former Miami Dolphins center Mike Pouncey to a two-year contract in March. Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is gushed about the addition of the veteran lineman.

He’s a good football player, Whisenhunt said per the team’s official website. That was really a tremendous get by our guys, Tom [Telesco] and his staff. To be able to pull that off was fantastic. I’ve seen him for a number of years, and he’s obviously a very good center. He brings a lot to the table from that standpoint.

Prior to his March release, Pouncey played 16 games in 2017 for the Dolphins the most he’s played in a season since 2012.tigers_012-115x115

Michael Strahan’s ‘jersey should definitely be retired’ by Giants

Michael Strahan is everywhere these days.

Except in the exclusive club of Giants greats who have had their jersey number retired by the franchise.

Giants fans are trying to change that omission with a grassroots online petition (Retire92.com) that as of Friday night had nearly 5,000 signatures since entering social media circulation May 1. Add former Giants star Brandon Jacobs to the list of supporters, too.

The group I’m a part of, I’m sure everybody is on board, Jacobs told NJ Advance Media of the retired former players with whom he stays in contact. I’m 100 percent on board with it. I think it’s something that definitely should happen.

I really have no update in terms of his medical status other than what was released earlier, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin told reporters. I would imagine at the appropriate time that those who are responsible for his care will give you a reasonable assessment of where he is. I imagine that would occur as soon as later on today.

From my perspective, obviously it was a tough evening, he said. Ryan’s a trooper. I had an opportunity to spend some time with him, and he’s in good spirits.

Assistant head coach Greg Roman was San Francisco’s offensive coordinator from 2011 through 2014, when Colin Kaepernick brought his Pistol offense from Nevada and merged it with Roman’s power-blocking concepts to set every defense the 49ers faced on edge.

Now, it will be up to Jackson to take the things he does well to the NFL and improve on the things that need work.

On the good side, Aikman’s point about the complexity of Petrino’s offense is correct. Under Petrino, Jackson ran a version of the Erhardt-Perkins offense that the New England Patriots have had a great deal of success with through the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era. The Erhardt-Perkins offense is filled with quick plays with little in the way of traditional verbiage, the ability to move receivers around the formation without changing the base call at the line of scrimmage and a ton of crossing and option routes. It’s a fully fledged system that has worked at the highest level of football for years, and to assume that Jackson is just a runaround guy drawing plays in the dirt is to completely underestimate what he’s capable of as a quarterback.

Dak Prescott might already have a path to his next career.

Is Yankees’ Aaron Boone already tracking Red Sox in AL East race?

NEW YORK Around 11:30 p.m. Saturday, it became official.

The Red Sox, for at least another day, would remain atop the American League East standings, thanks to their close road win over the Rangers.

The victory pushed them to 24-9 a game ahead of the scorching Yankees, who beat the Indians, 5-2, on Saturday. It was their 14th win in 15 games an astounding streak.

But for how good the Yankees (24-10) have been, the Red Sox were actually hotter at one point, starting the season 17-2. Since then, they have gone just 7-7.

The Broncos don’t take a quarterback in any round. Even though it might not be the case, the Broncos, because of what’s left on their defense, will think they can vie for a playoff spot in the AFC West with a few quick fixes to their offense. So their pursuit of a young franchise passer could be put on hold as they wait to see whether either Lynch or Chad Kelly will pan out.

Elway, for the first time since the arrival of Peyton Manning, has a definite answer at QB. Not forcing a passer in the draft also would allow for the flexibility required to replenish other positions.

That’s pretty cool to me, Jackson said when told of Baltimore’s supposed laboratory. They want me on the field to utilize my talent and be a quarterback. That’s cool to me.

The Courier-Journal reported that the rainfall Saturday edged out the previous record of 2.31 inches, which held for nearly a century since May 11, 1918.

The weather service also said it was the wettest May 5 in Louisville history.

Justify was the social media and betting favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.

The unbeaten colt, which remained the 5-2 betting pick less than an hour before the 144th Derby despite the rain throughout the day and the track downgraded to sloppy, was the runaway choice on social media with 14,700 mentions, according to Talkwalker. The analytics firm measured data across social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook and found that users’ opinions differed from the oddsmakers.

Don’t make the mistake, though, of labeling it Newsome’s final draft class.

Although Newsome is stepping down from his GM role after the 2018 season, he is slated to become the highest-paid scout in America, Bisciotti quipped in February.

It’s not Ozzie’s last draft. Let’s put that to rest, DeCosta emphasized Thursday. But the dynamic is changing. It will change next year.

Wynn can play both guard, and tackle, which makes him a versatile option for the Patriots. He was a dominant player in college where, according to Pro Football Focus, he only allowed four sacks, two hits and 20 QB hurries in 1,104 pass-blocking snaps at both positions since 2014.

Similar to Derwin James, teams went quarterback crazy early, allowing some of the top defensive players to fall. Fitzpatrick should start on Day 1 for Miami, and bring some athleticism to its defense.

And he’s in some good company, historically. He’s only the third player in college football history to win the Jim Thorpe Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award. The other two? Nine-time Pro Bowler Charles Woodson, and seven-time Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson.

The Cleveland Browns announced the general manager signed 13 undrafted free agents Friday, one of whom was Tennessee’s Evan Berry.

Evan Berry, who played defensive back in college just like his older brother, is being brought on as a wideout. The younger Berry was dynamic with the football in his hands when he wasn’t battling injuries in his four-year collegiate career, scoring four kick return touchdowns and adding one 100-yard pick-six.

The Chiefs, meanwhile, are giving Evan and Eric’s other brother, Elliott Berry, a shot to make their squad, extending a minicamp invitation to the former Tennessee linebacker.

Tennessee needed a linebacker after losing Avery Williamson in free agency. Also, Brian Orakpo is in the final year of his contract, which means Rashaan Evans was a great fit for the Titans.

As far as value goes, the Titans got him 22nd overall after trading up and likely stealing him away from the Patriots.

Baker Mayfield says competition with Tyrod Taylor won’t separate the locker room

Baker Mayfield will nip at starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s heels every day, but vows that the competition between the two won’t be divisive.

Lamar Jackson’s long Thursday night wait at the 2018 NFL Draft finally ended when the Ravens made the Louisville quarterback the final first-round pick after a trade with the Eagles. It means time now is officially running out on the Joe Flacco era in Baltimore. Sooner than later, the fifth QB selected overall in 2018 will be replacing No. 5.

Thus, the retiring Ozzie Newsome’s final first-round pick as Ravens general manager was a memorable one. It also saved Jackson from the indignity of spending an entire night in the draft’s green room without being chosen in the first round as projected.

As others were drafted ahead of him — including fellow quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (Browns), Sam Darnold (Jets), Josh Allen (Bills) and Josh Rosen (Cardinals) — Jackson supporters made their presence known via social media. Among them was Giants wide receiver Odelll Beckham Jr.

Here’s an explanation: Every draft prospect gets put through the public ringer for months thanks to perceived football flaws or off-field concerns. The wise ones ignore the outside noise. Jackson didn’t.

I was surprised when they took a quarterback because I thought that maybe in the third round, you know you can get some really good football players that can help this team now, Roethlisberger said. Nothing against Mason, I think he’s a great football player. I don’t know him personally, but I’m sure he’s a great kid. I just don’t know how backing up or being a third (string) well who knows where he’s going to fall on the depth chart helps us win now. But, you know, that’s not my decision to make. That’s on the coaches and the GM and the owner and those kind of things. If they think he can help our team, so be it, but I was a little surprised

Roethlisberger, 36, made a point to notify team officials early in the offseason about his plans, which he admits depend on health. He did this, he said, to ease any concerns for the offseason, including the draft.

The Browns and Chiefs agreed to a trade earlier this week that would send tight end Randall Telfer to Kansas City in exchange for linebacker Dadi Nicolas, but it won’t be going through.

The NFL’s daily transaction wire brings word that the teams have called off the trade. No reason has been given, but both teams will be moving on without the players, both of whom entered the league as sixth-round picks, they tried to ship elsewhere.