NFL players vote Keenan Allen Comeback Players of the Year for 2017

The downside of winning awards like Comeback Player of the Year is well, what one has to come back from. The NFL world saw in graphic detail how Keenan Allen qualified for 2017 honors on opening day of the 2016 season.

Allen also got better as the season went along, coinciding with the Chargers’ blistering turnaround from an 0-4 start to challenging for the AFC West title. Five of his seven 100-yard games and five of his six touchdown catches came in the final seven weeks; the Chargers went 6-1.

That included a performance on Thanksgiving in Dallas, in a 28-6 Chargers rout of the Cowboys, that alerted a turkey-sedated nation to the nature and magnitude of his comeback. He caught 11 passes for 172 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter in which he embarrassed five Cowboys defenders trying to tackle him. The knee, clearly, held up fine.

And if his exploits catching Rivers’ throws weren’t enough, Allen pulled off one of the more unconventional touchdowns of the season in the finale against the Raiders. When Gordon got the ball punched out at the end of a run, Allen caught it on the fly, almost as if by design, and ran 27 yards with it for a score.

A week after Washington State Cougars quarterback Tyler Hilinski committed suicide, more details surrounding his death continue to emerge.

On Tuesday, Pullman police announced that the .223 caliber rifle that Hilinski used belonged to a former teammate, and it was taken on or before Jan. 12 without the teammate’s knowledge. The owner of the rifle was not identified.

I felt like it’s what I needed to do, Falk told reporters Tuesday. He needs to be remembered. He was an amazing person, an amazing soul. This guy was one of the most outgoing, bubbly … just a guy you really want to be around. People need to know it.

I think all of us that were close to him just kind of go back and ask ourselves, ‘Were there signs? What could we have done?’ I think we all kind of feel a little bit of guilt. I wish I could give him one more hug, one more pat on the butt and let him know he’s loved.

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Bill Self takes blame for ‘bad decision’ in Jayhawks’ loss to Oklahoma

Kansas coach Bill Self called it a bad decision to leave Udoka Azubuike on the floor after the 7-foot center missed six free throws down the stretch of an 85-80 loss to Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Hopefully it doesn’t hurt him moving forward, Self said of Azubuike, who finished the game with nine points and six rebounds.

I’ve always been a big believer that you send a bad message to somebody when you don’t have confidence in him. Especially when you know he’s going to have to play every big minute late in the season against good competition.

The RedHawks made 11 of 23 3-pointers and had 17 assists on 25 made field goals in the road win, their fifth this season. Miami was 1-13 on the road last season.

Kevin McKay led Central Michigan (13-7, 2-5) with 17 points — all in the second half — and eight rebounds, Shawn Roundtree added 15 points and Cecil Williams 14. The Chippewas were 9 of 28 from behind the 3-point arc and shot 38 percent from the floor in all (23 of 61).

Luke Meyer, MAC West Player of the Week, was held to three points (1-of-3 shooting) in 20 minutes.

That sums this game up entirely. The Jaguars are young, brash, talented and confident. The Patriots are old, reserved, wily and don’t need to prove anything to anyone.

This is only the first of many Jimmy G stories to come over the next two months (and decades). Garoppolo’s status in San Francisco will be highly monitored, not only because it will set the course for the franchise, but because it might set the market for quarterbacks, many more prolific, in need of new deals — Cousins, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan.

Will the Niners treat Garoppolo like one of those league stalwarts and sign him through the next half-decade or get mired in contract details and end up tagging the young star? That’s for Lynch to work out.

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UMass Lowell gets first America East win, edges Binghamton

Matt Harris scored 24 points, Josh Gantz added 19 and UMass Lowell beat Binghamton 79-71 on Sunday for the River Hawks’ first America East Conference win this season.

At the beginning of the season, very few brave souls would have had the Jaguars one game away from the Super Bowl. Of course, there’s a major roadblock in facing the Patriots in Foxborough. Based on simulations, New England is the clear favorite with a 79-percent probability to win this game and return to the Super Bowl. When looking at the postseason history of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the Patriots have been very difficult to beat at home. Out of 21 home playoff games under this duo, they have lost only three. The last rare defeat came in 2012 against the Baltimore Ravens.

The Philadelphia Eagles defense stepped up and stopped the Atlanta Falcons’ high-flying offense in the divisional round. This time, they face a premium defense when the Minnesota Vikings come to play the NFC championship game outdoors in Philadelphia. The visitors are again favorites against the Eagles because QB Nick Foles has not exactly inspired confidence in bettors.

Isaiah Moss scored 15 points for the Hawkeyes (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten), who won for just the second time in seven games and for the first time at home in league play.

Wisconsin: The Badgers missed an opportunity for a rare road win in the league, and they’re now two games below .500 in conference play. Wisconsin plays six of its last nine Big Ten games at home — but that won’t matter if the Badgers perform as poorly as they did in Iowa City. Their bigs outworked our bigs, Gard said.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes played one of their worst games in recent memory their last time out, an 87-64 loss to No. 3 Purdue in which they trailed 51-20 at halftime. So to jump out to a big lead and keep it was an extraordinarily encouraging sign for an Iowa team that had gone largely backward since Big Ten play resumed. You can’t play like you did against (Purdue) and win in this league…if you play this way, you have a chance to win, McCaffery said.

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No. 23 Nevada trying to keep streak alive at Wyoming

Nevada and Wyoming have plenty of reasons to celebrate.

James, Wyoming’s junior guard, scored 30 points in the first meeting. Adams tossed in 23. Combined they went 22-for-27 from the foul line.

In Saturday’s win over the Aggies, James had a rare off game and scored just 11 points.

His struggles meant someone else had to step up and senior Hayden Dalton was more than happy to oblige. Dalton scored 16 first-half points as the Cowboys opened a 20-point lead.

Utah State rallied and took the lead with seven minutes left. But the Cowboys hung together and learned a valuable lesson.

We were moving the ball and not only that but playing as a team defensively, scrambling for each other, Dalton told the Casper Star-Tribune. And even if we did make a mistake, we kept playing hard. So (head coach Allen Edwards) was very positive … that’s definitely Wyoming Cowboy basketball, how we want to play.

They will need that same kind of effort against the Wolfpack; the Cowboys’ defense will have to be stellar. Nevada’s 81.6 points per game is ranked 31st in the nation and they average 16.7 assists per game, which is 35th.

Michigan State president Lou Anna Simon was given a vote of support amid heavy criticism for the way she and the university handled sexual abuse committed by Larry Nassar.

After the Spartans’ 85-57 victory over Indiana on Friday night, Izzo said he hoped the right person was convicted in expressing his support for school president Lou Anna K. Simon, saying that he has the utmost faith and respect for her leadership.

Izzo said Friday that as a father, it’s been a difficult week as he listened to the stories of those courageous women, and I look at the survivors who spoke, and in all honesty, Nassar permanently damaged and changed the lives of so many of those people. I feel like it’s changed the life of all of us at Michigan State in some way, shape or form. As a father, that’s difficult to even fathom.

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Newton has played without go-to tight end Greg Olsen for most of the season.

He had to deal with a midseason trade for his supposed top wideout, Kelvin Benjamin. The Panthers added a dynamic cog in Christian McCaffrey but stripped away outside deep threats beyond breakout wideout Devin Funchess.

I love this city. I love this organization, Thomas said. They’ve given me the opportunity to be who I always wanted to be and I can’t thank them enough. So there’s no hard feelings to anybody in this city or anybody in this organization. And I’m glad I’m back. Like I always said, it’s genuine love, and that’s — that’s for the rest of my life here.

The fans gave him a standing ovation when his face flashed on the jumbotron and the whole evening seemed like a nice bit of closure before the main event on Feb. 11 when he should be back to his old self for the rematch. Now that I’m back playing you all have something else to write about, he said.

The Steelers are forced to punt after they are backed up by a holding penalty and a false start. The Patriots will start their drive at their 29 with 7:38 remaining.

The Patriots come up short on a third-and-6 pass from Brady to James White. But, instead of kicking a field goal, New England elects to go for it. On the fourth-down play, Brady connects with Rob Gronkowski for a 10-yard gain to keep the drive alive. The Patriots now have it at the Steelers 6.

Touchdown, Steelers. Pittsburgh drives 78 yards and chews up over 8:30 of game action before Martavis Bryant pulls in a Roethlisberger one-handed for a 4-yard touchdown. The Steelers take a 17-10 lead with 25 seconds to play before halftime.

That balance is even more critical this year since Boston has so much young talent. Jaylen Brown has improved in giant strides, and Jayson Tatum has exceeded all reasonable expectations. The loss of Hayward thrust the two into larger roles, and they have delivered. That early success bodes well for the future.

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Will 2018 be the year Goodell’s domestic violence policy gains the credibility it has been lacking? Don’t count on it.

Perry Sutton, Clowney’s youth football coach: I know him. I said, He’s gonna do something to make a change. He’s gonna do something. I didn’t know he was going to do that, but I knew he was going to do something.

Tirico: South Carolina deserved the ball on measurement, so justice was served.

Damario Jeffery, South Carolina linebacker, 2009-12: That’s exactly what everybody was saying. Ball. Don’t. Lie.

Dylan Thompson, South Carolina quarterback, 2011-14: I remember in his first practice — literally his first practice in college — we didn’t have anyone who could block him. You knew then that the guy lived up to every bit of hype. Coming out, we literally didn’t have anyone who could block him, and he’s an 18-year-old kid who’s dominating his first day at practice.

Not only did James have a tough night, but Isaiah Thomas, Kevin Love, Jae Crowder, and J.R. Smith all combined for just 18 points on 6-of-30 shooting. Yikes! James was the only Cleveland starter to notch double-digit points.

Goodell handed Elliot a six-game suspension after the NFL concluded a 13-month-long investigation into domestic violence allegations raised by a former girlfriend. Elliott was never charged with a crime and has to this day denied the allegations. He appealed his punishment with the NFL, but the suspension was upheld by Harold Henderson, the league’s arbitrator. Elliott and the NFLPA then filed a federal lawsuit against the league, claiming the investigation and appeal were fundamentally unfair: The league didn’t make Elliott’s accuser available to testify at the appeal, and Goodell declined to explain the reasoning behind his decision.

Ultimately, after a prolonged legal battle, Elliot dropped his appeal, and sat out his suspension. But the end result was not praise for the NFL’s hard stance on domestic violence, but rather, the reverse �� the league once again exhibited to its female fan base how a one size fits all domestic violence policy does not always work in sports �� and certainly not when it is inconsistently enforced.

It’s win or go home, Jones said. I’m not a numbers guy. Whatever it takes to get the win.

Jones also got to do a bit of gloating this week after his alma mater won another national championship with a 26-23 overtime victory over Georgia.

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The integration of Thomas could give Cleveland the edge they need.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled through the end zone with 31 seconds to play, allowing the Cowboys to secure a 20-17 win Sunday night in Oakland, Calif.

Dallas (8-6) kicked a field goal with 1:44 remaining to take the lead before Oakland (6-8) drove downfield for a chance to win. Carr lost the ball while diving for the pylon, turning it over to the Cowboys, who held on for the victory.

Butler’s shot wasn’t dropping, so he got to the line, where he shot 16-of-18 that’s 89 percent for the students in the back. Butler’s shot wasn’t dropping, so he made critical play after critical play down the stretch of a tight game.

The Wolves were mounting a 12-point comeback and needed a stop to prevent the Nets from stealing the momentum back. Brooklyn was a fraction of a second away from DeMarre Carroll potentially hitting a three to extend the lead back to double-digits.

The global calls for gender equality across sport have not had much teeth. The international federations just like the Big Four must improve the percentage of female representation in the coming year.

Anyway without Durant, the Warriors look ridiculously good but also venerable. It’s a nice feeling for the team at the top of the league…and also short-lived. Ah well.

The Clippers’ international guard played only nine minutes on Thursday before leaving the game with plantar fasciitis, and it doesn’t really appear if that will make him healthy for future games. While the Los Angeles lead guard is one of the best ball-handlers and scorers in the league, he is not a natural point creator something that had him often at odds with the Warriors.

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He Said What?! The Best NFL quotes of Week 15

Seahawks safety Earl Thomas on whether injured linebacker Bobby Wagner should have played Sunday against the Rams: You’ve got to give your hats off to Wags and a couple guys that played, but my personal opinion, I don’t think they should have played. I think the backups would have did just as good.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning on noise made by Eagles fans at MetLife Stadium: You don’t think that would happen at home, but I guess when you only win two games you got a lot of Eagles fans and we couldn’t hear the cadence. That’s why we jumped offsides.

John’s agents pushed hard towards the $10 Million mark, to no avail. Much like the NBA’s restricted free agency window, there was a match clause on Wall’s shoe deal, meaning his agents at Relativity Sports had the summer of 2015 to take pitches from other brands, and adidas could fully match any new offer Wall agreed to.

The problem was that John Wall simply had no other brands making a concrete offer. No other brand was offering the coveted trio of pure cash, marketing push and a signature line. The offers just weren’t there.

With no offers on the table, Wall banked on himself as a free agent and had been waiting ever since. Now he’s returning to the brand after two seasons of testing the market.

If both teams move on, however, then where would they look next?

They would at least pitch Urban Meyer, the most popular coach in Ohio. The Buckeyes coach has the perfect setup in Columbus. He beats Michigan. He wins Big Ten championships. So what’s the pitch?

If Meyer were to go to either franchise and have success, he would be right up there with Paul Brown as the biggest coaching icon in the Buckeye State’s history. Remember, Brown won a national championship at Ohio State, three NFL championships with the Browns and played a role in founding the Bengals.

Meyer, however, still seems farfetched as an option given his lack of NFL coaching experience. He has shut down every NFL rumor in the past. His biggest rival, Jim Harbaugh, will be mentioned, too. We just don’t see Harbaugh leaving Ann Arbor for either Ohio franchise.

I think it was great, Wall told SB Nation. People hear and say what they might see about a shoe deal, but they never see the real breakdown of a contract and understand incentives and those type of things in there. It wasn’t beneficial to me at the time.

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2018 NFL Draft: Should Baker Mayfield be first QB selected?

Where will Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield be selected in the 2018 NFL Draft? Depending who you ask, the answer ranges from mid- to late-first round all the way to somewhere in the third round.

There are other complications, as well.

Coach Jack Del Rio had praise for Todd Downing despite having seen the Raiders’ production slip in Downing’s first season as offensive coordinator.

Del Rio’s agent, Bob LaMonte, also represents Gruden, leading to what one source described as a lot of sensitive situations. Plus, Gruden has been unpredictable before, and when some thought he could make the jump to the NFL, he didn’t.

One man, Jeff Fell, said Gurley won him the top prize in his Fantasy league this season, so he said it was only right for him to donate money to an organization Gurley supports, the Shriners Hospital for Children.

Gurley came off a fantastic week, becoming the third player in NFL history to have at least 2,000 scrimmage yards, 10 rushing touchdowns and more than five receiving TDs in a single season after the Rams’ Christmas Eve victory against the Titans.

Gurley’s 118 rushing yards, 158 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns were enough to boost Fantasy owners this week, prompting a cynical response from Gurley on Christmas.

The Sooners failed to salt away the lead in regulation before failing to score a touchdown in overtime.

There were a lot of mistakes, which happens in the good games and the bad games, Mayfield said. But I gave it everything I had. That’s what I’ve always been about.

And it’s how Mayfield figures to be remembered.

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Ravens safety Eric Weddle could earn $1M bonus if Baltimore makes playoffs

Eric Weddle could be in for a hefty payout if his team makes the playoffs.

According to an incentive in his contract, the Ravens safety could earn a $1 million bonus if he is named on the original Pro Bowl ballot and if Baltimore advances to the postseason.

The Cavs were unable to separate from the Blazers until Thomas and Dwyane Wade teamed up in the fourth.

Thomas knocked down a jumper and then fired a pass toward the baseline to a cutting Wade, who made a reverse layup. On Cleveland’s next possession, Thomas spotted up in the corner and buried a 3-pointer to give the Cavs a 100-91 lead.

This is obviously our first time playing together, but you can see moments where he added a dynamic that we need, especially if we want to get to where we want to be, Wade said. Happy that he’s back on the court and glad he’s on our side.

The Chiefs traded up to get Mahomes in the 2017 draft and and selected him with the 10th overall pick. The former Texas Tech quarterback has not thrown a pass yet this year, but he went 34 of 54 for 390 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions in the preseason.

Kansas City won the AFC West with a 9-6 record heading into their final game of the season. They are currently on a three-game winning streak.

In a surprising turn of events for a franchise that seemed destined to part ways with its longtime head coach, the Bengals signed Marvin Lewis to a two-year deal through the 2019 season, it was announced Tuesday.

Lewis’ return comes after days of discussions with Bengals owner Mike Brown. On Monday, Lewis repeatedly said the talks were all about getting on the same page, but did not elaborate as to what that meant.

Marvin Lewis has been an important member of the Cincinnati community and the Bengals family for the past 15 years, and we are happy to have reached this agreement, Brown said in a statement. Marvin has made significant contributions during his time here. While recently we have fallen short of our expectations, we have full confidence in Marvin to re-establish winning football in 2018.

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