an could be allowed to leave Barca this summer in

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MLB.com reports Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said he’s still deciding whether or will be the team’s starting second baseman. “It’s going to come down to the wire, and … we may end up playing both of them a lot there,” GibVigo has him on the brink of overtaking a Cristiano Ronaldo record.Barcelona ran out 4-1 winners on Saturday evening at Camp Nou – and Messi scored three of the goals, all from dead-ball situations. This haul brought the Argentine level with Ronaldo bons said Tuesday. “They’re both having really good camps and they’re both proven big league players.” Although the Blue Jays added Bonifacio in a trade this offseason, Gibbons is giving Izturis every chance to win the job. “I saw Izzy play a number of years out in Anaheim with the Angels, and the one thing he always did was play the game the right way,” Gibbons said. “If you needed to do something on the field — get a runner over, bunt, big hit, have a great a bat, make a great play on defense — whatever it is, he always does the right thing. I’ve seen him do really well in the past, so we can expgn the Chelsea star.DH reports Thierry Henry has gained his licence to become a player agent and is ready to get involved in the negotiations.Talks have stalled over the past week with Chelsea now concerned about being blocked from signing a ose Mourinho has paid tribute to Manchester United defender Max Taylor.The 19-year-old was diagnosed with testicular cancer in October 2018 when Mourinho was in charge at Old Trafford and the Portuguese was devastated with the news.Following surgery replacemect him to be a big boost and do those things for us.”

Yanks, Cano have work to do to reach deal before free agency hits

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(US Presswire)

TAMPA — The recently began multiyear contract negotiations with star second baseman , but a resolution appears nowhere in sight.

Early indications are that they begin with at least a significant difference in either talent assessment or valuation, suggesting a decent likelihood that Cano — the storied franchise’s best position player in his prime — has a pretty decent chance to become a free agent at year’s end. While the sides won’t admit he’s sure to hit free agency, at the very least it’s clear there’s plenty of work to do.

Word is, early on the team has suggested they considered Cano a “top 10” or maybe at worst a top 15 player in the game, while Cano, following three straight top-six finishes in American League MVP voting, seems to be thinking a bit higher than that.

“There are few elite players. That just is a very short list — less than Inter Milan.The striker has been linked with Barcelona.“Lautaro Martinez will not leave Inter and he can’t wait to start work with Conte,” agent Beto Yaque told FCInterNews.“Obviously, being praised by the best player in the world is wonderful afive,” Cano’s agent Scott Boras said by phone of his client.

Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner recently revealed to Yankees writers that the sides have had “a conversation or two.” But left unsaid at the time is where things stand.

“Robinson is happy being a Yankee, and both sides recognize that this is one of the elite players in the game,” Boras said.

Exactly how elite may be at issue, however, as the Yankees aim to keep him from becoming a free agent after the season. This isn’t going to be a short process, however, and it appears it will take some major concessions from one or both sides to beat the deadline to get him signed before his free agency begins five days after the 2013 season ends.

Star players generally go to the marketplace when they get within a year of free agency, though there have been exceptions. The Yankees themselves have a policy to allow long-term contracts to expire before trying to extend players, and they made an exception just by opening negotiations with Cano.

The Yankees tried the same last spring with catcher Russell Martin, offering a three-year deal for $18 million in a rare attempt to head off free agency, but Martin turned that down and wound up signing a free-agent deal with the Pirates for $17 million over two years. Cashman, whose own extension waited until his contract was up, suggested he will on rare occasions make an exception for younger players, such as Martin and Cano.

“There’s been a conversation or two,” Steinbrenner told Yankees writers six days ago. “We’ll get into that, and we’ll talk about it at a later date. He’s been a great erty has announced he’s cut ties with Arsenal.Jeorge Bird’s Arsenal academy reports Flaherty has confirmed that he has left Arsenal after seven years at the club.The 18-year-old spent time on trial at West Ham United and then Newcastle United. It is Yankee, and we hope he’s here his entire career.”

Cashman flatly declined comment on the Cano talks, deferring to Steinbrenner’s brief earlier remark.

This is obviously a touchy subject.

Another dynamic at play is the Yankees’ stated intention to get their payroll below $189 million for the 2014 season in order to markedly reduce their luxury tax rate, from 50 percent to 17 percent. However, the verbiage on-loan striker is hoping to fire Villa into the Premier League today when the club take on Derby in the Play-off final.”Ever since I stepped foot through the door, I have felt at home,” he said in the Wembley match programme.”We are a family here e has changed in recent days; it was once said to be a mandate to go below $189 million, now they refer to it as a “guideline.” While slightly different payrolls are cited, the Yankees’ current payroll, the second highest in baseball to the Dodgers, is currently pegged at $217 million, according to an executive with another team.  

It isn’t known what the Yankees may have offered Cano so far, but if they see Cano as a “top 10 player,” that would mean somewhere from Adrian Gonzalez’s $154.3 million deal and up. Top 15 would put him at least on part with the $138 million, eight-year contract for crosstown Mets star David Wright.

The average of the top five contracts, from Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million Yankees deal down to Joe Mauer’s $184 million contract (Albert Pujols $240 million, Joey Votto $225 million and Prince Fielder $214 million are in between), is $223 million.

Boras also will be making the case that baseball’s revenues have shot up over the past several years, as have franchise valuations. “The marketplace has dramatically changed from five years ago,” he said.

Also likely at the center of the talks will be a disagreement over term. Cano, 30, will surely seek at least a 10-year deal, with the Yankees likely hoping to keep it to eight. A-Rod got his 10-year Yankees deal at age 32.

A-Rod himself may be another area of disagreement, as the Yankees will point out the A-Rod deal hasn’t worked out, certainly the last half of it. Boras, who negotiated that contract but no longer represents Rodriguez, will counter by saying Cano is his own entity and personality, a clean liver with a clean resume whose only similarity with A-Rod is that they share a clubhouse.

eir standard for victory at Bournemouth.Wolves led

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Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said Saturday the expectation is and will share the catching duties at the beginning of the season, pushing back to Triple-A rence maker for the Red Devils.United secured Fernandes with days remaining in the January transfer window.He arrived from Sporting CP and has impressed in his two Premier League outings since.Fernandes helped United defeat Chelsea 2-0 away from homePawtucket. “For right now, I think our expectations [are] Salty and Ross, they’re the two proven guys,” Cherington said. “We signed Ross for a reason and Salty has continued to build on each year and added some things and gotten better. He’s a power threat, capable of being one of the best catchers in the leaguia midfielder is a target for Manchester United and Juventus.“The important thing is that we have today built a club that is no longer just a stepping stone to bigger things, but many players dream of coming here,” Lotito told Sky Sport Italia.“Le. We’ve seenime.The Colombian has won the Apertura with Banfield, before clinching eight titles at Porto, another seven with Real Madrid and five in Germany with Bayern Munich.”Football is short; maximum up to 34 years,” he told the Youtube channel Otro.”So, I w that. Lavarnway has come a long way. We think he’s going to be a really good player for us. Sometimes the clock doesn’t start exactly when the player wants to. But he’s proven at the Triple-A level that he’s capable of helping a major-league team. That’s going to happen; we just don’t know exactly when.”

Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell are being tracked by

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Right-hander , who will attempt to wig Manchester City on Sunday.As second-place Liverpool play Wolves at Anfield, Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City stars are aiming to secure back-to- back titles by winning at Brighton.But Gross says: “They have not won it yet. “They have to play onen a job with the Twins this spring after missing all of 2012 because of surgery to repair a torn shoulder capsule, is more likely to make the team as a reliever, according to 1500 ESPN Twin Cities, but the Twins would prefer to see him as a starter. “He has done both,” general manager Terry Ryan said. “And I would tell you starter not for sale.The midfielder has battled for minutes this season, with the youngster being urged to quit City for the sake of his career by many ex-player pundits.But Guardiola insists Foden has his total confidence – and there’s no way the club willif the health issue was not a part of this thing, burised at the recent comments made by Danny Rose about his future at the club.The England left back recently commented that he would be okay if he were to transfer away from the club this summer.”It’s not about regular first-team football. I know my at he’s not been healthy. So we have to keep that option open.”

Jim Thome says he’s not retired

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(Getty Images)

Apparently 612 home runs aren’t enough for — the 42-year old slugger wants to play in 2013.

“I’m not retired,” Thome . “If someone wants me captain.33-year-old Koscielny looks set to leave the Gunners after refusing to join the club on a preseason tour in the US.And Monreal insists he would be proud to accept the role.”Two captains left last season, if I have to be one of the captains Ito play, I”d consider it for sure. I feel good. If I didn’t feel goodverton striker Cenk Tosun.Turkish media sources say Eintracht Frankfurt are in talks to sign Tosun this month.The Turkey international is viewed by the Bundesliga outfit as a replacement for Sebastien Haller, now with West Ham.Tosun, 28, is a former , I wouldn’t even consider it. But I feel good. I’d like to play.”

Thome saire Jim Ratcliffe admits buying a Premier League could happen in the future – though he has distanced himself from a move for Chelsea.Ratcliffe already owns Lausanne in Switzerland and was linked with Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea earlier this year.“tarted the 2012 season with the Phillies and made 71 plate appearances, hitting five home runs in 30 games. He started four games at first base and nine as a DH during interleague play.  The Phillies traded him to Baltimore on June 30. He played in 28 games during the regular season with the Orioles, including 26 starts at DH, with three home runs. Overall he hit .252/.344/.442 with eight homers and 25 RBI.

Thome said he’d be better as a DH, but wouldn’t rule out signing with a National League team.

“At this stage, am I an everyday player? No,” Thome . “But I think I can still play. The best thing for me is being a designated hitter somewhere. But if an NL team calls, sure I’d consider it. I still feel like I can give a team a veteran presence and get a big hit off the bench.”

Thome’s home run total is the seventh-best in history, 18 shy of Ken Griffey Jr. for sixth on the list.

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Cardinals move Lance Lynn to bullpen

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(Associated Press)

The surging Cardinals have moved the struggling to the bullpen and nager Jurgen Klopp has no transfer concerns as he continues preseason preparations.The Reds are set to defend their Champions League title, while they hope to break their Premier League hodoo next term as well.They have not made any significant movesreplaced him in the rotation with , .

The 25-year-old Lynn, who made the NL All-Star Team earlier this season, has a 3.93 ERA in 144.1 innings this season. However, he’s struggled badly of late (5.23 ERA in departure.El Ahly says Arsenal might be about to offload Elneny with the Egyptian midfielder’s agent in London for talks over his future.Elneny has never been a sure-fire starter during his time at Arsenal and has been pushed further to the fringes bthe second half, 6.56 ERA for August), which raises concerns that Lynn has hit a wall. The burly right-hander lasted just 2.0 innings in decision at the start of their game against Arsenal.The Blues had to come from 1-0 down against the Gunners away from home in the London derby on Sunday.Lampard had started the team in a 3-4-3 formation, but switched to a 4-3-3 for the second half.”Friday’s win over the . Lynn, however, insists that he’s not going through any kind of “dead arm” phase.

Kelly, age 23, has posted a 3.26 ERA in 77.1 innings at the major-league level this season. Of 14 appearances for , 12 have been starts.

Manager Mike Matheny tells Goold that the new arrangement will be reevaluated after each of Kelly’s starts.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow on Twitter, subscribe to the and .

He’s no Greinke, but Liriano could be just what the White Sox need

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execute a trade to get . (US Presswire)

If the White Sox were sure that could hold up and could stay healthy, if they were sure that John Danks could come back strong, if they were sure that could pitch the way he did Saturday night in rather than the way he has pitched for the last three months . . . Then they wouldn’t need to trade for another pitcher.But the only thing they can be sure of is that this surprising team deserved a boost from the front office, and deserved a shot at taking this all the way to October.Thus, Francisco Liriano.Liriano, , obviously isn’t Zack Greinke, who the White Sox spent Friday trying hard to trade for. But they couldgend Gaizka Mendieta hopes the club can retain the services of Ferran Torres, but admits offers are likely to come.Torres started his footballing career with Valencia’s youth set-up at the age of six.He made his first-team debut against Real Zaragozan’t get Zack Greinke.They could get Francisco Liriano, and he could help.Look, the White Sox are well aware of how up and down Liriano could be. They scored seven runs off him and knocked hadrid.Okdiario says Real president Florentino Perez sees Kane as a replacement for veteran Karim Benzema.Florentino has long been a big fan of Kane and pushed hard for the striker last season.Just last Friday, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino recogniseim out in the third inning the last time they faced him.But they’ve also seen him at his best, in a no-hitter last year and in a seven-inning, one-run, four-hit performance this June. Now they can turn him over to outstanding pitching coach Don Cooper and see what he can do.Realistically, the White Sox’s hopes depend a lot more on Sale and Peavy than they do on Liriano. But it sure would have been a shame to let this promising season slip away because they didn’t add a pitcher when they had a chance.”We had to have it,” a White Sox person admitted shortly after the deal was announced.Remember, as outstanding as Sale has been, he’s already pitched 53 more innings than he did all of last year, with two monnto the stands and confronting his own fans last night.Shortly Norwich City won their FA Cup shootout, Dier jumped over a barrier and raced up the stands, with footage showing a supporter getting involved in a spat with his brother, PatrickThe Englanths still to go in the season.As outstanding as Peavy has been, he’s already made more starts than he’s made in any season since 2008.And as much as the White Sox have kept hoping that Danks would return, he still hasn’t pitched in a game since May 19, and his return remains uncertain.The White Sox were going for it all with their strong run at Greinke, and there’s no shame in going for it and falling short.What would have been a shame would have been to let Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline pass without acquiring another starter, without giving this group its best chance at a storybook season.It was just last winter that general manager Ken Williams was talking rebuilding. It was just this spring that scouts were looking at the White Sox and predicting 100 losses.They’re better than that, obviously. They’re good enough to deserve the front office’s best effort, too.

They’re getting that effort. The White Sox desperately needed a third baseman, and Williams came up with . The bullpen was full of kids, so he went and got .

And now Liriano.Greinke would have been a dream addition. They tried.Liriano is more of an uncertainty — just like the entire team he’s about to join.There’s no guarantee he’ll do well. But it would have been a mistake for the White Sox not to take the chance that he will.

Prospect spotlight: Reds speedster Billy Hamilton

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CINCINNATI — Dayton Dragons manager Delino DeShields didn’t even let me finish the question.”Hypothetically,” I started last week, “if it’s August or September…””I would,” DeShields said last week. “That’s me. To have that coming off the bench, in September and into the playoffs. That would be a tremendous weapon to have.”That weapon is Billy Hamilton, the Reds’ shortstop at Class A Bakersfield (Calif.), who last season stole 103 bases at low-Class A Dayton with DeShields. Just 21 and without a deep baseball background, the former Mississippi State football signee may be the fastest man in baseball. A switch hitter, there’s still plenty of development he needs as both an offensive and defensive player before he’s ready for the majors — but, that speed isn’t just big-league ready, it’s game-changing.”I call him a little ninja — he doesn’t leave footprints when he runs,” said DeShields, who stole 463 bases in his 13-year career, including two seasons with 55 or more stolen bases. DeShields played with the likes of Tim Raines, Otis Nixon and Marquis Grissom and played against Kenny Lofton — and he said Hamilton is in the category and has the potential to be even better.Forget where he stole 100 bases, Reds manager Dusty Baker said, just the fact he became the first player since 2001 to steal 100 bases in the minors is impressive enough.”Hey man, 100 is 100. It’s like hitting .400 — I don’t care where you hit .400, you hit .400,” Baker said. “Is it going to get tougher? Possibly. How much? I don’t know.”Through the first six games at Bakersfiled, Hamilton has five stolen bases and hasn’t been caught yet. He’s hitting .217/.333/.478, with three of his five hits going for doubles. Last week he played in the Reds’ Futures Game at Great American Ball Park. Against Reds starter , Hamilton singled in the first inning and everyone knew what was coming next, including Leake, catcher and manager Dusty Baker. That’s why Leake pitched out — and Hamilton didn’t care. He was thrown out, but only because he overslid second.”The base came real fast for some reason, and I guess big league dirt is different than minor-league dirt because I kept on sliding for some reason,” Hamilton said. “When I saw a pitchout, I just kept running. Some people when they see a pitchout, they stop a little bit. I just kept our running. I might have been safe if I didn’t slide past the base.”Hamilton did steal a base later in the game — this time off of and — and finished 2 for 3, before getting on a plane to head to Bakersfield. At Bakersfield, Hamilton will again learn from an accomplished former big-league speedster, Ken Griffey Sr. Griffey stole 200 bases in his 19-year career, but he was the fastest player on the Big Red Machine and his speed was used as a weapon. It wasn’t planned for the Reds to have DeShields and Griffey managing him in consecutive years, but it doesn’t hurt. He’ll also have former Red and current roving instructor Eric Davis — who stole 80 bases in 1986 and 349 in his career — working with him on occasion.”That helps. Big time,” Baker said of Hamilton’s mentors. “Reading pitchers as much as anything. Knowing pitchout counts, seeing the catcher jump out, reading signs from the catcher, there’s a lot involved in stealing bases. Just because you have speed, not just everyone can stealp has urged Jose Mourinho to buy this summer.Spurs were dumped out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage after failing to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit against RB Leipzig in Germany, losing 3-0 on the night and 4-0 on aggregate.They are now bases.”But even without that — DeShields says Hamilton is “outrunning the baseball right now” — he could still outrun the baseball at the bid defender Axel Tuanzebe has warned his young teammates not everyone makes it at Old Trafford.Tuanzebe has progressed into a first team player at United after loan spells at Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship.“Everyone has their own individualg-league level. It probably won’t be this year, but if the Reds are in the hunt at the end of the season, it would be an interesting thought.Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen still keeps in touch with Hamilton, who was recruited to be a defensive back and returner for the Bulldogs, and even though Hamilton says he misses football on Saturdays in the fall, he doesn’t miss the rest and knows baseball will be his career. He’s currently at shortstop, but many have predicted he’ll eventually move to second. just signed to an extension through 2017, so outfield may be in his future at some point. However, no matter where he plays, his speed will be the difference.”I have a whole bunch of confidence when I’m on the bases,” Hamilton said. “I don’t mind a pitchout. I’m confident I’ll get second. If you throw me out one time, you’re going to have to throw me out twice. That’s not my gbruary.The Northern Irishman set to link up with FIFA in a senior role. Massey has been connected to the club since 2013, when he was handed the role of academy doctor.Massey’s departure was confirmed in an internal email from FIFA, which has been leame, sitting on first base.”• Bad news for the , as third baseman –the sixth overall pick in last year’s draft — suffered a partial fracture of his left ankle, the team said on Thursday. He had to be carried off the field on April 7 and the initial diagnosis was a sever sprain. The 21-year-old will see a foot and ankle specialist on Friday. According to GM Mike Rizzo, though, the fracture may be better news than a bad sprain, because it can heal quicker and cleaner. Rendon was considered by many as the best college position player in last year’s draft, but slid in part because of concerns over his injury history. He had two different injuries to his right ankle and didn’t play the field last season because of a shoulder injury.• ‘s first rounder from last season, , has 18 strikeouts in 10 2/3 innings for Double-A Mobile in two starts this season, including 11 in 5 2/3 innings on Tuesday.• , the fourth overall pick by the in last June’s draft, has thrown three perfect innings in each of his first two outings as a pro for Class A Delmarva of the South Atlantic League. He has struck out 12 of the 18 batters he’s faced, including the last five in Wednesday’s game against Kannapolis.• One of the reasons the felt like they could trade Michael Pineda this offseason was their depth of talented starting pitching in the minor leagues. While Taijuan Walker and Danny Hultzen are the big names, don’t forget about left-hander . The 23-year-old has 17 strikeouts to just one walk in 10 1/3 innings over his first two starts of the season. • And just because you’re probably wondering, is hitting .261/.320/.391 with a double, triple and stolen base in six games for Triple-A Syracuse.

Trent Williams reportedly returns to the Redskins, but still has no intention of playing this season

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All-Pro left tackle has reportedly ended his holdout, and returned to the team on Tuesday.

The news was right after the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline had passed, and just moments later. 

This development does not mean that everything has been resolved between Williams and the Redskins, however. According to JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington, while Williams has reported to the team, .

On Wednesday, Finlay reported that with Williams. During thahas told Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham he’s in his plans amid interest from Nigeria.Nigeria Football Federation president Melvin Amaju Pinnick stated earlier this month that Abraham would have a better chance of getting games with his country than wit time, he can practice and take part in team activities. After the Redskins’ bye week in Week 10, Washington will be forced to decide whether Williams should be added to the 53-man roster. It’s believed that Williams will address the media for the first time on Wednesday.  

Redskins general manager Bruce Allen had maintained over the course of the first eight weeks of the season that its seven-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle, but Ian Rapoport reported on Monday , and was . The fact that Washington was even open to moving Williams was a substantial flip to where they’ve been.  even reported on Sunday that teams were growing frustrated with the Redskins’ unusual stance to ly Mail says City boss Pep Guardiola is considering moves for a new defender in the January window, with Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar and Shakhtar Donetsk’s Mykola Matviyenko both options.City have suffered heavy blows at the back this season, with Ahang on to Williams despite multiple teams vying for his services. 

The Redskins wanted a first-round pick and then a player who could come in and make an immediate impact in exchange for Williams, but no such offer ever surfaced. The were the one team that had been consistent in inquiring about Williams, but it’s unclear how close they got to the Redskins’ asking price. 

Back in June, Williams failed to appear at mandatory minicamp, and has been absent from all t Lampard.The latter is now Chelsea manager, while Cole is eager to join his backroom staff.The 38-year-old has retired from the game, which means he is looking for the next step in his career.Cole shared a picture on social media of him at an airporteam activities ever since. Erin Hawksworth of 106.7 The Fan initially reported that Williams . CBS Insider Jason La Canfora then reported that . 

Williams’ issues with the Redskins are not financial at all. He told his teammates that he demanded a trade or his release from the team due to their handling of a recent medical situation, and has vowed not to play for them again. 

As you can see, this situation is far from over.

‘Humbled’ Richard Sherman says 49ers defense failed to play ‘championship football’ in win over Cardinals

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was clearly miffed as he sat on the bench after rookie receiver scored on an 88-yard catch and run that cut the ‘ lead to 28-25 with three minutes remaining. Fortunately for Sherman, his offense, led by quarterback , picked up three critical first downs on the 49ers’ ensuing possession that allowed them to run out the clock while improving to 8-0 at the season’s midway point. 

While Sherman praised Garoppolo and the rest of his offensive teammates following Thursday night’s win, with his own and his defense’s performance against a Cardinals team that is 21st inSpain coach Roberto Moreno insists Real Sociedad midfielder Martin Odegaard wouldn’t be good enough for his squad.Odegaard is ready to play for Norway against Spain on Saturday night.Asked if he would make it into the Spain team, Moreno was clear.”I’ the in total yards per game and 17th in scoring. 

“You’re thankful for the offense. You’re thankful for how they played,” said Sherman, via 95.7 The Game. “We let us down, myself included. You gotta get him tackled at that point. The guy breaks, we gotta get him down; I gotta make that tackle, get him down and give us a chance to continue to defend. So, it’s humbling. It’s humbling for the defense. We need to be humbled. That was a humbling game. We need to be humbled on all levels, and I think there’s accountability on all levels. We’ll watch the tape, and we’ll watch it critically. And everybody will watch it and judge themselves critically, because we can’t play like that. That’s not championship football.” 

The Niners are still unbeaten, but it wasn’t easy in Arizona. Ryan Wilson, John Breech and Sean Wagner-McGough join Will Brinson to break it down on the Pick Six Podcast. Listen below, and  for daily NFL goodness fired into your eardrums.

After just becoming the first team since 1977 to allow 100 or fewer net passing yards in four consecutive games, San Francisco was bested on several occasions Thursday night by Cardinals rookie quarn to parent club BrightonAndone is on a straight loan at Gala and has admitted frustration with his 12 months in England.Though he told AS: “I was misunderstood and I want to make it clear. My year there was not what I expected. I missed that they haterback , who went 17-of-24 for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Running back , who was acquired by Arizona via a trade with the earlier in the week, rushed for 110 yards and a score on 15 carries while also catching four passes for 52 yards. 

Fortunately for Sherman, his offense was a little bit better than Arizona’s. Garoppolo, who entered Thursday’s game with just a 9/7 touchdown/interception ratio, had easily his best game of the season, going 28-of-37 for 317 yards with four touchdowns and zero picks. While tight end (six catches for 79 yards and a score) continues to be his favorite target, Garoppolo has gained a quick rapport with , who caught seven of nine targets for 112 yards and a score in just his second game with the 49ers. Garoppolo’s play helped San Francisco make up for a less than stellar day on the ground, as the 49ers averaged just 3.26 yards per carry against a Cardinals defense that forced the 49ers to beat them through the air. 

While Sherman has good reason to be motivated following his unit’s substandard performance, even he would probably admit that it’s not a bad thing to see that his offense, specifically Garoppays the Rea youth coach is ready to accept an offer from Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay to return to San Sebastian.The former La Real star will take a new job at his old club which will included youth development and the prospect of coachingolo, lead San Francisco to victory. As Sherman — a champion during his time with the — knows, it’s going to take a total team effort if the 49ers are going to have a shot at winning their first Super Bowl in a quarter century. 

Bengals’ Carl Lawson says Aaron Rodgers is ‘easier to sack’ than most quarterbacks

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In recent seasons, as the regressed from a frontrunner to a team merely fighting for a spot in the playoffs, Mike McCarthy’s antiquated offense came under fire for its failure to create simple and easy throws while faced criticism for always wanting to hit a home run when he dropped back to pass.

So, even though Rodgers is athletic enough to dodge incoming pass rushers, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to hear that he might be one of the easier quarterbacks to bring down. According to edge ruson loan from Chelsea.The Italian defender was on loan with the capital club this season, but he has failed to make many appearances.Zappacosta has suffered injury issues in his calf and cruciate ligament.But Roma do like the player, per Gazzetta Dellher , who notched 2.5 sacks against Rodgers during the 2017 season, Rodgers 

“Honestly, I think it’s easier to sack Aaron Rodgers than most quarterbacks,” Lawson told Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Monday. “He sits there, and he pats the ball. At the same time, sacking him don’t mean nothing if you don’t do it for four quarters. You know, he came back against us.

“So, I mean, he’s an easier quarterback for me to sack personally, because he sits there, and he probably gets eight to 10 yarder Ruben Vinagre is facing several weeks out with a hamstring injury.The Daily Mail says Vinagre has been ruled out of their forthcoming games with a hamstring injury.Nuno Espirito Santo’s small squad is being stretched to the limit after Vinagre reps in the pocket. He’s got a great left tackle in (). So, he just sits there, he waits, he waits, getting that read. When he gets sacked, he doesn’t get flustered. I only saw him get frustrated maybe one time when I did sack him, which was the third and a half sack that they took off (negated by a penalty)…”

Again, this shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. in large part because his offense simply wasn’t working the way it did during the years when the Packers were competing for Super Bowls. Instead of using modern concepts to free up quick and easy throws, the Packers often relied on their receivers — an unproven group outside of — to win isolation routes while Rodgers waited for them to get open downfield. Rodgers, of course, . It’s not all McCarthy’s fault he’s gone from the game’s best quarterback to one of the game’s best quarterbacks.

According to NFL Next Gen Stats, — only four quarterbacks averaged a higher time to throw. Rodgers was sacked 49 times last season. Meanwhile, a quarterback like was sacked only 21 times and he held the ball for an average time of 2.61 seconds — only six quarterbacks averaged a lower time to throw.

Unsurprisingly, Lawson named Brady as one of the toughest quarterbacks to sack. It’s also worth noting that in his response, Lawson appeared to indicate that he doesn’t think Rodgers has gotten enough help from his coaching staff.

“The toughest to sack? Those young quarterbacks that offensive coordinators like to protect,” Lawson said. “Maybe a (Mitchell) Trubisky, or someone like that. The guys that sit there maybe like five (steps), get the quick reads. The guys that are like — I’m not calling them not elite or nothing like that — but the guys that kind of have more help in their offense than opposed to (guys like Rodgers).

“And they had an agreement with Alexis Sanchez over a new deal before he quit for Manchester United.The Chilean was close to signing a new deal in December 2016 before he changed his mind.He eventually left in a swap deal with Henrikh Mkhitaryan to join Tom Brady. I haven’t sacked him or played against him, I’ve just watched him. I watched the film and like ‘Oh, he’s getting that out in like 1.9, 2 (seconds).'”

, who is regarded as an innovative offensive mind after his work under Sean McVay in Los Angeles. LaFleur’s one-year run in Tennessee as the ‘ offensive coordinator didn’t go well, but he was also forced to deal with injuries at the quarterback position. Not many coaches would’ve succeeded with  taking snaps. How Rodgers and LaFleur mesh will likely determine if the Packers are able to reclaim their spot atop the NFC North a season after they watched the  surpass them. 

As for Lawson, after an awesome rookie season that included 8.5 sacks and a 2018 season that ended prematurely with a torn ACL, he told “Good Morning Football” 

LOOK: Tom Brady admits to referee before Super Bowl he might treat him like garbage

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quarterback is notorious for his extremely competitive drive. When Brady is trying to win a big game, especially a game like the , he can get a little crazy,Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Real Madrid they can forget ever signing Paul Pogba.Real president Florentino Perez and under-fire boss Zinedine Zidane spent all summer trying to prise the World Cup winner away from Old Trafford. which is apparently why he decided to have a fun pregame conversation with referee Carl Cheffers.

During the Patriots’ warmup before Super Bowl LI, Brady walked over to Cheffers and politely apologized for something he hadn’t even done yet — and then he admitted that he can sometimes be an overwhelming person to deal with on the field.

“If I yell aPep Guardiola urged calm after their 2-2 draw at Newcastle United.The result leaves City 11 points behind leaders Liverpool.Guardiola said: “We have to accept it, work on strengths and learn from it.”It’s tough but we have just two days to recover.”It you, nothing personal,” Brady told Cheffers. “You know me, I’m an [expletive].”

Yup, Brady broke the ice with the Super Bowl referee by calling himself a curse word, although we don’t know for sure which one because Films put a perfectly placed “bleep” into the clip. Here’s the clip of their exchange.

After listening to Brady, Cheffers basically gave the Patriots quarterback the green light to yell at him during the game.

“I don’t take anything personally here. Don’t worry about it,” Cheffers said.

The good news for Cheffers is that there wasn’t ever really a reason for Brady to yell at him. The officiating crew pulled off a nearly perfect Super Bowl, and even el Tuanzebe believes that he toughened up at Aston Villa.Tuanzebe, who is a highly rated centre-back, was part of the Villa side that gained promotion last season.Now that he is back at United and competing for a first team place, Tuanzebe spoke aboumade the correct call on several key plays, including ‘ sideline catch, ‘s ankle catch and ‘s winning touchdown.

Sure, each of those plays had to be reviewed, but the officiating crew looks a lot better when the call doesn’t get overturned.

WATCH: NFL players try to crack each other up with truly terrible jokes

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A bad joke seems like a perfect metaphor for the Pro Bowl, which has been criticized for being something other than a proper All-Star Game, mostly because after nearly five months of football, those remaining players left standing don’t want to get hurt in a meaningless game of glorified tag. Even commissioner Roger Goodell has lamented the lack of competitiveness.

Days after the Feb. 2012 Pro Bowl, Goodell said this: “I really didn’t think that was the kind of football that we want to be demonstrating for our fans. And you heard it from the fans. The fans were actively booing in the stands. They didn’t like what they were seeing. …

“I know players love to be in Hawaii but we have to start with the quality of what we’re doing. If the fans are responding negatively to what we’re doing, we better listen. And that was my message.”

A year late.The Daily Echo says Saints are holding out for a permanent deal to get rid of record signing Guido Carrillo but could yet be forced to loan him out again.The 28-year-old has been one of the biggest transfer flops of recent times with Saints having sr, and the game continues, though this year it will take place inted defender Rio Ferdinand has hccording to reports.The Serbian centre-back enjoyed a trophy-laden nine-year stay at Old Trafford.He won five Premier League titles and the Champions League in 2008 during his time at the club.Now reports in his homeland have claimed Vidic could be bammered Moyes’ time in charge at Old Trafford.But Moyes has now responded by insisting he had to make his own mark at the club.“Well I look at it in many ways, they’re very experienced players,” Moyes told BBC Sport Orlando.

Which brings us back to the bad-joke metaphor. players spent part of the week telling each other truly terrible jokes. Apparently, the rules are pretty simple: make the recipient of the bad joke laugh and you win. If he remains stone-faced, you lose.

In related news: is our new favorite NFL player. This joke from — “How do you make tissue dance? You put a little boogie on it.” — elicited elicited this from Hudson:

The jokes go on like this for nearly four minutes, though we’ll admit the “What do you call a guy with a rubber toe?” was legitimately laugh-out-loud funny.

Giants Notebook: First-round pick David Wilson gets taste of first-team action

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For the first time this preseason, Giants” data-canon=”New York Jets” data-type=”SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM” id=”shortcode0″> first-round pick took reps with the first-team offense Monday. But even though second-string running back played poorly Saturday against the (11 carries, 15 yards), coach Tom Coughlin didn’t want the media reading into Wilson’s ascension.“He hadn’t had those reps with the first group, and we wanted to take a look at that,” Coughlin said, adding that this “was scheduled.”Wilson, who had just 26 yards on eight carries against the Jets on Saturday, tossed a touchdown pass to receiver on an option play at Monday’s practice. But what may have been more significant was the way the first-round pick got outside the tackles. Even though the Giants weren’t at full speed, Wilson’s quickness in turning the corner was obvious. It’s not clear if Wilson is now the top backup behind , but Coughlin did note that Ware dropped a screen pass Saturday.“I think that was right after the punt protection,” Coughlin said, referring to the blocked punt on which Ware failed to pick up his blocking assignment Saturday. “Maybe that was on his mind.”Bradshaw was active Monday but was held out of team drills because he still has some swelling in his hand (Bradshaw ended Saturday’s game with a compression sock on his right hand after rupturing a cyst). Coughlin said he thinks Bradshaw could have practiced, but the Giants wanted to take every precaution with their primary ball carrier’s right hand. Now that he’s been “limited” at practice for three days following the end of his stint on PUP, Nicks was able to fully participate on Monday for the first time this season.His two most-impressive catches of the day were a touchdown grab over Amukamara and a back-shoulder reception while being smothered along the sideline by Webster. Coughlin said Nicks looked good, but the coach didn’t know if Nicks would be able to play in either of the remaining two preseason games.“We’re going to go slow that there’s never a setback,” Coughlin said. “He’s very anxious to do more.”Nicks previously said he expected to take 50 percent of the snaps on Monday, which is about what he appeared to be doing. After battling with a hip issue for weeks, Williams returned at weakside linebacker Monday and even made an impressive interception along the sideline.It was unclear if Williams got his feet in bounds, but safeties coach Dave Merritt appeared to signal it was a clean interception.“Seemed to move around well,” Coughlin said. “He didn’t have any issues.”Coughlin said he didn’t know whether Williams coulc return to play in a . The Giants practiced without Beatty again, which significantly increases the chances that makes the team.“He’s a veteran football player,” Coughlin said of Locklear. “He knows his job. He knows what he’s doing.”Coughlin said Locklear had some issues with communication issues, but “by and large he’s done well.”Of course, if Beatty were going to be out for awhile, the Giants could move veteran right tackle back to the blind side. For now, Coughlin said he’s keeping Locklear there because he’s played well and because he wants to see this group work together.“There’s going to have to be flexibility, whether Sean plays left or right or whether David Diehl plays left or right or that type of thing,” Coughlin said. “But, you know, we obviously expect and live in expectation that Beatty will come back to the practice field. If something would happen otherwise we would have to do something.“And of course, it’s close,” Coughlin continued, referring to the Sept. 5 opener against the . “We’re getting close and those five guys need to play together.” The veteran defensive end was seen having his neck and shoulders massaged and iced during Saturday’s e he plays.The youngster is happy with the way he broke into the first team last season.But he wants to continue making progress and establishing himself as a key member of the first team.”That’s always been my goal,” he said to reporters.”It’s my ampreseason win over the Jets, but Tuck insisted there isn’t a problem there.“I’m good,” Tuck said. “I know a lot of people ask me about why I keep icing my shoulder. I’m just getting ahead of it.”Tuck had a second surgery on his shoulder in the offseason, but he also dealt with neck and groin issues last yee scored against RB Salzburg on Wednesday night.The Scotland international turned in a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold to score only his second goal for the club in 89 appearances.It was Liverpool’s second goal of a match than eventually ended in aar, so he said he’s being proactive about all of his past injuries. “My shoulder felt great,” Tuck said. “If you look at the Jacksonville game, I did the same thing. And if you could all be in the locker e reigning Premier League champions are now top of Group C with six points from two games after Tuesday’s 2-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb.The England forward said: “We know the teams we have in Europe, they are top opponents. It will never be easy to win room after games in the regular season, I’m going to do the same thing. Just a precaution I guess.” Tuck also said that he’s noticed cornerback Prince Amukamara playing with more confidence.“It just seems like he’s had probably the best string of practices over the last two weeks that I’ve seen and a lot of that has to do with his confidence level,” Tuck said. “And as it continues to grow, I think he’s going to continue to grow as a football player.”Amukamara has continued to be very physical at the line of scrimmage. Clearly he’s someone that is going to play a lot of bump-and-run coverage. RB (unknown), WLB (hamstring), DB Brandon Bing (hamstring), OT Will Beatty (back), CB Michael Coe (hamstring), CB (toe) and DT (back) as well as the PUP players DT (knee) and TE (knee).Coughlin said Austin is making progress, but there’s some question as to whether he can practice on his medication. If it’s determined that he can, Austin may be able to return sooner rather than later.Coughlin also said Hosley is battling soreness, so the trainers are working to keep him off his feet.Follow the Giants and Alex Raskin and .

Bengals: Safety position shifts from weakness to strength

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When the Bengals released veteran this offseason and didn’t pursue a free agent or draft a replacement, a gaping hole was left in the back end of the defense next to starter .A funny thing happened in the process of searching for an answer at the position — they found three of them. Suddenly, a position of perceived weakness shifted to one of depth and versatility.Current starter is being pushed by emerging backup , while cornerback Nate Clements has spent more and more time working in at safety in passing situations.The combination allows Mays’ physicality, Miles’ athleticism and Clements’ coverage skills to create a versatility capable of inserting the desired skill set for the corresponding situation.“That’s what you want on your football team,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said. “You want to have 16 or 17 guys who feel like they’re starters on each side of the ball. And I think we’re going to have that defensively.”The current starter, Mays, entered with a sullied reputation after the San Francisco 49ers bailed on their 2010 second-round pick, offering to trade him to anyone willing to take him off their hands. The Bengals eventually obliged and placed the physical specimen into the special project bin of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.One year later, what emerged has been one of the most physical, intimidating safeties Zimmer’s been privy to since arriving in .“I weigh almost 240 pounds; I should be (physical),” Mays said. “There are some plays where I could have been more physical still, and if that’s the best part of my game, I need to show it all the time.”He’s shown it enough for Lewis and Zimmer to keep him as the starter for now despite the play behind him.Miles leads the Bengals in passes defensed (3), is one of ves his team’s potential for future growth.The Foxes pushed City all the way but ultimately lost 1-0 at the Etihad courtesy of a late thunderbolt from Vincent Kompany.Despite the result, Rodgers has seen enough from his squad to believe they can takethree players with an interception and is third on the team tackles (13). He made his reputation as a special tr Argentina coach Cesar Luis Menotti helped Barcelona sign a young Diego Maradona from Boca Juniors, it has been revealed.Menotti produced a report on Maradona in 1978 and delivered it to Barcelona, who were interested in siTomori to a new five-year contract.The London Evening Standard says the Blues have been talking to Tomori’s representatives since autumn and it is believed all parties are confident of agreeing a five-year contract in the coming weeks.The centre-backgning his compatriot.His reams ace and will continue to do so this year, but his spike in production defensively allowed Zimmer to rotate Miles in with the first team the last two games and the confidence is growing in what he can bring to the position.“He’s a great blitzer, he has a chance to come up and play nickel and do some things for us in special situations,” Lewis said. “When you’re playing against tight ends that flex out and do those types of things, you have some flexibility with a Jeromy Miles.”Nobody has become more flexible than Clements, though. When he hits the practice field these days, he waits for someone to point out which group he will be joining. Zimmer spent much practice time poking around with Clements at safety and the 11-year veteran corner even started at safety against Green Bay. It lasted for only one snap because the numbers at corner are low at the moment. Lewis made it known after the game, however, he hoped to see more snaps for Clements back there.With , , , first-round pick all expected to play Thursday the situation eases for Clements to experiment at safety. He’s never played a down there in his life.“Getting used to the different sight lines lining up at safety in comparison to corner was the biggest adjustment for me,” Clements said. “But, as far as knowing my responsibilities, I think at safety spot you have to know a lot more checks and a lot more assignments then one built-in call.”Follow Paul Dehner Jr. for Bengals updates on Twitter at .