Luke Kuechly expecting to be ready to go for training camp

Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuchely has not yet been allowed to take part in full team activities as he recovers from offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

While having to watch from the sidelines right now might be frustrating, Kuechly is firm in his belief he will be full speed for the start of training camp next month.

Manning and Beckham stayed late at practice, running routes in the rain as the rest of their teammates left the field.

It is not lost on Darron Lee that the likes of Lawrence Taylor and Derrick Thomas did not have to adapt to a move to inside linebacker as NFL pups.

So there have been growing pains for Lee, and growing pains are always painful to young men in a hurry.

But as his third season with the Jets nears, Lee is all grown up, dedicated to his craft, believing his time has arrived.

I had to be patient with myself coming in, especially learning the gist of it, but now, I knew once I got a grip of everything, now it’s time to let the chains off, Lee told The Post.

Asked what Jets fans should expect from him this season, Lee said: A way, way, way, way better version from the first two years.

In St. Louis, Stan was a hero for everybody, Pujols said, via MLB.com. Getting to St. Louis and getting drafted by the organization, I grew up and learned about the history and what kind of man he was. It was pretty special that the Lord allowed me to spend some time with him before he left this earth. He made a big impact in my life.

Yesterday, when I tied him, I was pretty emotional. I tried not to show it too much because we still had to play a baseball game. And then today to be able to pass him, I don’t have any words to describe it. Everything that I wore pretty much and both of the baseballs are going to go to his family, because I believe that they deserve that.

Pujols still trails Hank Aaron (2,297), Babe Ruth (2,213), Alex Rodriguez (2,086), Barry Bonds (1,996) and Lou Gehrig (1,995), but could rank fourth on the all-time list by the end of the season if his performance stays on pace.

Pujols, 38, is hitting .256/.294/.412 with nine home runs, 36 RBIs and 23 runs scored in 252 plate appearances this season.

My response to that is I’m just happy that we are on the same team and he only gets to hit me maybe once or twice a year, rather than a full game, Barkley said with a grin Wednesday after the Giants wrapped up their second of three minicamp sessions.

Kellen Winslow II arrested for sex crimes

Former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II’s legal troubles are getting deeper.

Winslow was arrested by San Diego Sheriff’s Department on Thursday and is facing a long list of sex crime charges. Winslow is being charged with two counts of kidnapping with intent to commit rape, two counts of forcible rape and two counts of residential burglary. He also faces charges of sodomy, forcible oral copulation and indecent exposure.

He is scheduled for arraignment on Friday.

Wilkins, who doesn’t call herself a feminist, said she is pursuing justice for other women who will be part of that legacy one day.

According to Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio, the Eagles have parted ways with Dr. Peter DeLuca (their head team physician) and Dr. Gary Dorshimer (team internist). No reason was given for the move, but both doctors had been with the team since the Andy Reid years.

They’ve also named a new head athletic trainer.

The team announced that Titans assistant athletic trainer Jerome Reid has been hired. Reid had been with the Titans the past four seasons.

He replaces longtime athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi, who stepped away earlier this offseason after 19 years with the Eagles.

On a conference call to promote ESPN’s draft coverage, Bobby Marks, a former Nets executive, said too much attention is paid to individual workouts and favoring 18-year-olds over 21-year-olds. Marks’ contention is going with the more proven commodity even if two years older is fine. Bridges, a redshirt junior, was at Villanova for four years.

William Jackson: People will definitely know about me this year

Cornerback William Jackson wasn’t able to get on the field for the Bengals during his rookie season due to a torn pectoral muscle, but the 2016 first-round pick started showing why he was such a high pick by the time the 2017 season came to an end.

The process of the catch proviso failed on two major fronts. For starters, it took one of the fundamental acts of the sport and turned it into a burlesque farce. Members of the viewing audience can’t be convinced that they witnessed a drop when the player possessed the ball and took multiple steps before it was jarred loose. Secondarily, it’s the responsibility of a professional sports league’s competition committee to foster rather than eliminate spectacular athletic maneuvers on the field of play.

There was actually a positive energy on both sides, Taylor said.

That means New Jersey might not have betting in place for the end of the NBA or NHL finals or the Mets-Yankees series this weekend. Then there’s the World Cup, which begins next weekend.

Still, there’s an outside chance Monmouth Park in Oceanport will open its long-planned sports betting operation Friday afternoon.

The Baltimore Ravens will get slightly less preparation for the 2018 NFL season than the rest of the league, and they’ll be forced to pay for it. On Wednesday, the Ravens forfeited two of their OTAs (June 7 and 8) and received a fine for violating the CBA’s offseason workout rules. The violation and resulting penalty was first reported by Jeff Zrebiec. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, owner Steve Bisciotti was fined $100,000 while coach John Harbaugh got stuck with a $50,000 fine.

Whether I was or whether I wasn’t, I’m not there anymore, Taylor said. That’s his decision moving forward. I still feel that I’d done more than enough to stay where I was. But at the end of the day, they made a decision to move forward, and that’s their decision.

Taylor said McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane kept him informed of trade talks before the Bills sent him to the Browns on March 9. He said the phone conversation informing him of the trade wasn’t a bad one.

Columnist thinks coach could lose players for making them (gasp) run

Lions coach Matt Patricia’s short tenure has had some unexpected twists and turns. Now, even before the end of his first offseason program with the team, he’s facing his first locally-generated hot take.

A columnist in Detroit thinks Patricia could be in danger of losing his players, because (wait for it) he makes them run at practice as punishment for mistakes.

The players’ actions were characterized by some and perceived by some as disrespectful to the flag, our country and our military, and what should be a unifying moment for our communities and our country has become in some instances another source of divisiveness.

Surely, the Eagles had to say something. Ultimately, the Eagles opted to say next to nothing.

It’s a continuation of the fear with which the NFL regards the President and his base. For a league that constantly fights and fights and fights and fights anyone and everyone and anything and everything, the NFL has finally found a foe who is capable of making the league run up a tree.

Brown said Monday that it’s not something he’s currently focused on.

My agent is handling that, he said following practice. I trust that everything is going to happen in good time and when it’s supposed to. For now I’m just concerned with this moment, embracing every day that I have here in the offseason. This is the first time that I’ve been able to work with this group of guys in the offseason and I’m really cherishing it and enjoying it. It’s my 11th year I’m going into so I’m not concerned with that. I’m concerned with improving as a player, helping my group up front improve and doing all I can for this team and everything else will work itself out.

Former Devil Devante Smith-Pelly helps put Capitals on verge of Stanley Cup

Devante Smith-Pelly showed what kind of streaky scorer he could be when he first joined the Devils at the end of the 2015-16 season.

He’s on one of those runs again right now at the most important time of the season with the Washington Capitals.

I knew coming in, you only get so much chances to stick, Smith-Pelly told The Washington Post after Game 4. I knew that this could be my last one. I took the buyout personally.

Smith-Pelly scored the Capitals third goal on Monday, giving Washington a 3-0 lead over Vegas with 20.5 seconds left in the first period.

Oddly enough, Smith-Pelly could have easily been a Golden Knight. He was one of the players exposed by the Devils in the 2017 Vegas Expansion Draft. The Golden Knights instead selected defenseman Jon Merrill.

Getting ahead of Trump’s attempts to use the NFL as political leverage was a large part of the reason why a new national anthem policy was passed in May.

I honestly believe that had we done nothing that the anthem protest would have subsided on its own,” an NFL owner told SB Nation’s Thomas George. But the risk of giving Trump another football to kick was too great. A lot of his fan base is our fan base.

But Trump showed Monday that he’s still plenty capable of leveraging the opinions and social activism of NFL players into political opportunity.

Collins is the best bargain on the Giants as he counts just $1.94 million against the salary cap in his final year before entering free agency. He plans to ditch the barely noticeable carbon fiberprotective equipment on his arm before the season kicks off.

Padres’ Jose Torres suspended rest of season after domestic violence charges

jets_020San Diego Padres pitcher Jose Torres has accepted a suspension without pay for the rest of the year by Major League Baseball after his December arrest on domestic violence charges.

Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement Friday. The penalty is retroactive to June 5 and covers 100 games. Torres has agreed not to appeal and will take part in an evaluation and treatment program.

That’s exactly what we needed to see, he said. We all knew that he had to get back to commanding the fastball down in the zone, and he did just that.

The Tigers took only four pitches to grab a first-inning lead on doubles by Leonys Martin and Nicholas Castellanos, but Bauer quickly settled down.

Cleveland tied it in the fourth on Alonso’s two-out RBI double. Edwin Encarnacion scored from first, but Alonso was thrown out trying for his third triple in nine major league seasons.

Hurdle says the Pirates were being proactive and trying to settle him down by placing him on the DL.

Rodriguez is 1-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 22 relief appearances. Pittsburgh also called up right-hander Dovydas Neverauskas from Triple-A Indianapolis.

MLB.com’s Mike Petriello, one of those aforementioned Statcast wizards, and Baseball Prospectus’ Russell Carleton both leaped headlong into the data and came to similar findings.

The shocker was this: Pitchers walk more batters when throwing in front of a shift. In fact, the extra number of walks exceed the number of singles saved by the strategy.

Shifts do significantly lower batting average on balls in play, which is why the practice has caught fire. Petriello’s analysis of the 2017 and 2018 seasons showed that BABIP against shifted defenses has been .281, versus .299 without it. However, once you factor in the walks and the slightly higher home run rates (i.e., the increased launch angles meant to hit the ball over the shift), batters have put up a .336 wOBA against the shift versus a .334 on non-shifted players.

Josh McDaniels says he wants to be a head coach again, happy he stayed with Patriots

Patriots assistant coach Josh McDaniels spoke to the media Friday for the first time since backing out of the Colts head coaching job, and it appears he’s still happy with the decision he made earlier this offseason to remain with the Patriots as offensive coordinator.

While speaking with reporters at Gillette Stadium where all of New England’s assistant coaches were made available to the media, McDaniels fielded questions about turning down the job saying he was “very happy” and “thankful.” However, he also reiterated that he still wants to become a head coach again.

Not calling the Giants seemed utterly foolish, but if the Jets were indeed comfortable with Mayfield, Darnold or Josh Rosen, which is the case according to Breer, then ultimately their move was the right one. It looked expensive to give up all those picks for a shot at their third option and it looked foolish not to call the Giants and try to guarantee themselves one of the top two picks. But they did some nice due diligence, guaranteed they could get one of the quarterbacks they believed was a franchise signal caller with their pick and didn’t sacrifice a future first-round pick to do it.

On the first passing play of what turned out to be the final start of his NFL career, Johnny Manziel rolled into his drop after a play-action fake and was hit — hard — by Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford just moments after whipping an incomplete pass. This was back in December 2015, and the hapless Browns went on to lose, 17-13, of course. It was the first of five times the 6-foot, 207-pound Manziel would be hit behind the line of scrimmage, as he not only struggled to throw with anticipation and accuracy — he completed only 13 of 32 passes for 136 yards and an interception — but also took a beating doing it. Oh yes, Manziel did some Johnny Football things that day, using his trademark break-neck, Fran Tarkenton-ish scrambles to rush 11 times for 108 yards.

Bottom line: This is a pivotal year for the franchise given Lewis’ tenuous hold on the head coaching job and back-to-back losing seasons. There’s been a familiar pattern in the division the last two years, too: Cincinnati sweeps Cleveland, splits with Baltimore and loses both games to Pittsburgh. If Cincinnati can find a way to make that record 4-2 or better, then it will be in the AFC wild-card hunt. If it’s less than .500, the Bengals might be looking to change directions once and for all. Record prediction: 8-8

The NFL is planning further changes to the kickoff, hoping to reduce the number of high-speed collisions that happen on the play. A proposed new rule that owners will vote on next week will make several changes to the kickoff.cowboys_098

WR Russell Shepard asks for release from Panthers, report says

Russell Shepard has asked for his release from the Panthers after he refused to take a pay cut, the Charlotte Observer reported.

The release occured Monday, which will make the receiver a free agent.

Shepard confirmed his release on Instagram, where he posted “It was fun while it lasted.”

With his release, the Panthers now have an extra $2.1 million in cap space. He was signed to a three-year, $10 million deal in 2017, but Shepard didn’t move the needle much for the team.

Love them or loathe them, fans watch the Cowboys. They don’t completely give up their rooting interest, either for or against, when Dallas’ stars move into TV, according to ESPN commentator and native Texan Will Cain.

“Maybe it’s the star. Maybe it’s the blue and silver. Maybe it was Roger Staubach or Troy Aikman,” Cain told Sporting News in an interview. “But the Dallas Cowboys, in my estimation, symbolize what’s great about the state of Texas, and what’s great about the state of Texas symbolizes what’s great about the United States of America. They are America’s Team.”

“The problems posed by sports betting are much the same as they were 25 years ago,” Hatch said in a press release. “But the rapid rise of the Internet means that sports betting across state lines is now just a click away. We cannot allow this practice to proliferate amid uneven enforcement and a patchwork race to the regulatory bottom. At stake here is the very integrity of sports. That’s why I plan to introduce legislation in the coming weeks to help protect honesty and principle in the athletic arena. I invite stakeholders and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in addressing this important issue.”

The word “integrity” quickly has become a hot button in the gambling debate, because sports leagues hope to impose an “integrity fee” onto the betting framework, giving them ostensibly revenue for ensuring that their sports have a high degree of integrity but as a practical matter giving them money for nothing, because they already should be striving for the highest degree of integrity in an atmosphere of legal gambling in Nevada and widespread illegal gambling elsewhere. It will be much easier to get Congress to impose an “integrity fee” that would apply to all states than to negotiate the fee in 50 different jurisdictions.ravens_159

Eagles draft 346-pound Australian rugby player Jordan Mailata

It took a grand jury 11 minutes to end Khaseem Green’s NFL career.

The former Rutgers football star was indicted on a gun charge following a shooting outside an Elizabeth nightclub in 2016.

He didn’t fire the gun, but prosecutors claimed that he handed the weapon to the shooter. They said they had security camera footage of the handoff and the gunman, Jason Sanders, implicated Greene.

Okay, well you can recant at another time. Not tonight, one of the detectives tells Sanders. When the prosecutor’s office talks to you about your case you can say that wasn’t Khaseem…

After talking to a couple people on the cap side of the business, my feeling is Ryan’s contract has three elements to it that are worth paying attention. First, Cousins broke ground by getting a fully guaranteed three-year deal in March. Ryan didn’t pull that off. But he did get his first three years fully guaranteed, and he’s due a total of $94. 5 million over that time.

On Thursday morning, ESPN leaked to ESPN that Witten was indeed joining ESPN. And that news invites speculation as to the impetus of the following tweet from Warner, posted late Wednesday afternoon: “I remember the days growing up believing the BEST person for the job — not race, not gender, not age, not pedigree — led to gaining position… trying to figure out if it ever TRULY applied (thinking I was just a naive kid) but, if so, how did we get so backwards!?”

If Warner was the fallback choice to Witten and if ESPN was ready to leak to ESPN as of Thursday morning that Witten would be joining ESPN, it’s possible if not probable if not most likely that Witten made his decision and communicated it to ESPN on Wednesday at the latest, and that Warner would have gotten word that he has won silver in a gold-medal-only contest at some point on Wednesday as well. So if Warner knew ESPN was going with Witten before Warner posted his tweet (and it would be a surprise if Warner didn’t), it’s fair to think there was a connection between his sentiment and his situation.broncos_016_c87cfd1fa4367b1f-180x180

What differences did Red Sox see in Yankees’ Luis Severino?

The Boston Red Sox were the one team that got to Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino this season.

Kiero Small, FB, Arkansas GM John Schneider traded their first-rounder (pick 32) to Minnesota (Teddy Bridgewater) and picked up an extra second-rounder in the process.

After a second trade (the Lions moving up to get linebacker Kyle Van Noy at 40), that second-rounder eventually became Paul Richardson.

If Richardson delivers on the intrigue he has teased as a vertical threat, it will be in Washington, where he just signed for $16.5 million guaranteed as a free agent.

(The Seahawks are hoping that recently acquired ex-Cardinal Jaron Brown can fill Richardson’s perimeter deep threat role.) Justin Britt took a few years to get going but found his traction once he moved to center in 2016.

His skill set clearly fits best there, though in 2017 he didn’t quite build on the upside he showed at first blush.

“I don’t think I’m talking today,” Flacco said.

Now, it would be irresponsible to add more importance to those six words than they carry on their own. It would also be irresponsible to assume they mean nothing. They exist on their own. A newsworthy thing happened to the team Flacco’s a member of. He didn’t want to talk about it.

The reality is, when you use a first-round pick on a quarterback, the clock starts ticking on the incumbent.

Flacco has four years left on his contract, but all the guaranteed money is gone after this season. And as Florio mentioned yesterday, there’s a reasonable chance that they could part ways with him as soon as after this season and at least after two more years.

That’s plenty of time for an apprenticeship, and the 33-year-old Flacco has to know it. He might have thoughts on the subject, but we don’t know that.

He’s best outside but proficient in the slot.) Such versatility was supposed to describe Austin Seferian-Jenkins, but he was erratic and is now with the Jaguars, who hope his two or three tantalizing outings each year can turn into… four, maybe five?broncos_007_f2b3860642a09f78-180x180