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Baltimore Ravens

Robert Griffin Joins Baltimore Ravens

NFL team the Baltimore Ravens announced on Wednesday 4 that they have agreed to a one-year contract with quarterback Robert Griffin III. The contract will place Griffin in a back-up position to starter Joe Flacco.

The 28-year-old veteran player sat out the entire 2017 campaign, after being cut from Cleveland Browns’ slate in March 2017.

General manager of the Baltimore Ravens, Ozzie Newsome, said of the deal, “He came in last week, worked out. Had a real good workout and we were able to come to an agreement late yesterday. He will probably be here early next week to sign the deal.”

Ian Rapoport, an NFL Network Insider, has reported that Griffin’s base salary will sit at $1 million plus a small bonus upon signing of the contract.

Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, “He’s a very talented quarterback who’s had a lot of success in this league early on.

“So we’re excited about it. We felt like we needed a No. 2 quarterback. You look at the veteran quarterbacks out there… I mean, where we’re at right now, I’m pretty excited about this player. I’m really feeling like we got a steal.”

In 2017, Griffin had rejected contract offers from both the Baltimore Ravens and the Arizona Cardinals during his search for a new team. He reportedly felt that both teams were not the right fit, but has seemingly changed his mind.

Joining the Baltimore Ravens presents Griffin with a shining opportunity to resurrect a once massive career in the game—one that has been almost-lost since 2014.

The player took to Twitter shortly after the offer, tweeting a rather celebratory “#PlayLikeARaven”.

Alliance of American Football

The Alliance of American Football to Launch 2019

Charlie Ebersol has announced the launch of the The Alliance of American Football in 2019.

The league will comprise of eight 50-man teams playing a 10-game schedule that will begin February 9 2019, one week following next year’s Super Bowl.

Ebersol, the son of long-time NBC Sports Executive Dick Ebersol, said, “The Alliance of American Football represents a fundamental shift in the way we approach professional sports.

“We believe fans and players are what’s most important so our approach is simple—we’ve created an alliance where fans and players share in the success of their teams.”

The Alliance of American Football league is to be funded by an all-star roster of investors including the Founders Fund, Slow Ventures, The Chernin Group and Adrian Fenty, to name a few.

The league is to be built through regionally-based allocation in the fall; eight Alliance regions and their coaches will be announced within the next 12 weeks.

Bill Polian, co-founder of The Alliance of American Football has said “There is a significant amount of football talent looking to begin or extend their professional careers. The Alliance will provide those players with a new opportunity to compete at a high level.” He added, “Our players and fans are the lifeblood of The Alliance and we will treat them as such.”

In further support of the league, television network CBS are to air the games in their line-up throughout the season. “As The Alliance of American Football launches next February we are excited to become the official television partner, adding more football to our robust programming line-up with a great package that includes two primetime games on CBS, as well as a full slate of regular-season spring football on CBS Sports Network,” said chairman at CBS sports, Sean McManus.

Further reading: Allen Robinson Set to Join Chicago Bears

Lebron James

LeBron James in Limbo

Can the Cleveland Cavaliers’ deadline day trades save another NBA finals defeat for LeBron James?

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been particularly hard to watch this year. LeBron James is having one of his best years statistically and he seemingly can’t find any teammates to lessen the burden on his shoulders. Since Kyrie Irving demanded to be traded, they’ve looked one-dimensional and pedestrian, the only threat coming from Lebron driving to the paint. The reasons for this could be that head coach Ty Lue or Dan Gilbert made the trade swapping Irving for Isaiah Thomas, then scrapping that trade by February—even though Thomas had a 10-month hiatus as a result to a labral tear to his hip, so he needed more time to get used to basketball again. However, without knowing the atmosphere in the Cavalier’s dressing room before Thomas was shipped off to the Lakers, it’s very hard to pinpoint the cause of their decline: We question if the new look Cavaliers could still win it all this year.

Firstly, the new look Cavs have gone four and four, leaving most fans confused as to what the ownership saw in these players, which is completely unfair. There isn’t a team in the league that could introduce four players who are given significant minutes and win consistently, they’ve only been with the team a month as well as having the all-star break in between this.

One thing to be concerned about is that the Cavaliers have the busiest end of year schedule in the NBA, so getting the team training together is going to be challenge.

Cleveland acquired George Hill, a 6”3’-point guard from Sacramento. He’s an efficient player averaging 10 points per game and an impressive 45 percent from the three-point line. They brought in another good three-point shooter in Rodney Hood, a 6”8’ shooting guard from the Utah Jazz, averaging 15 points a game. They’re both athletic defenders that are very capable perimeter shooters, who LeBron James loves to play with. LeBron James uses these players whilst he drives to the paint causing the defenders to sink closer to the basket to try and protect the rim, making the perimeter shooters available for the pass.

The Cavaliers also traded for Larry Nance Jr, he stands at 6”9’, plays as a power forward and will primarily be used as a center by Lue. Nance is a good rim protector and can also spread out the floor because of the threat of an alley-oop pass to him. He can be a spark plug for the team, he’s a vicious dunker that has Kevin Durant amongst his posterized victims. Nance never had a true role in LA, so he will benefit from having a more defined role.

Lastly, Jordan Clarkson was brought in alongside Nance from the LA Lakers. Clarkson’s a 6”5’ point guard, averaging 15 points per game, can score from anywhere and doesn’t need other players to create for him. This is as opposed to Hill and Hood who can’t create off the dribble. The Cavs will look to use him as a player who can create for himself giving LeBron James a rest from ball handling duties.

In conclusion, the Cleveland Cavaliers added reliable role players to back up LeBron James and Kevin Love. Before the trade, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade and Isaiah Thomas just weren’t willing to be used as mostly off-the-ball players later in their careers, leading them to be disillusioned and not fight as hard as they once would have. The new additions will be sponges to the Cavaliers system and are young and fresh enough to run up and down court for the whole game. However, they will be relying on LeBron James and Love to get 60 points per game for them, then relying on the supporting cast to get around 10 points each.

All the focus is on the Golden State Warriors, who are still the heavy favorites to win the Championship since they have four perennial All-stars to the Cavaliers’ two. However, winning back to back Championships is difficult because mentally it’s so tough to keep the performance levels the same after achieving the ultimate goal the year before. My expectation is that they are good enough to win through to the finals, but may ultimately lose to the Warriors. These players are a good improvement, but the lack of consistent high volume shooters on the Cavs will be their downfall.

Further reading: NBA Star Derrick Rose to Sign With Timberwolves

NFL

NFL Teams Ask Prospect About his Sexuality

Prospect Derrius Guice claims that team officials at the NFL draft combine in Indianapolis asked him about his sexuality and whether his mother was a prostitute.

In an interview with SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday, Guice said that the team interviews were “pretty crazy… some people are really trying to get in your head and test your reaction.”

He continued, “I go in one room, and a team will ask me do I like men, just to see my reaction… I go in another room, they’ll try to bring up one of my family members or something and tell me, ‘Hey, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?’”

In response, executive director of the NFL Players Association DeMaurice Smith told PFT Live: “Find out what team did it and ban them from the combine.

“The question is inappropriate. Questions along these lines are always inappropriate.”

In a statement to the Washington Post, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said, “A question such as that is completely inappropriate and wholly contrary to league workplace policies. The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all employees in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, state and federal laws.

“The league annually reminds clubs of these workplace policies that prohibit personnel from seeking information concerning a player’s sexual orientation.”

The Human Rights Campaign’s director of public education and research, Ashland Johnson responded to the question as “absurd and inappropriate”. In reference to similar incidents in the past, he added “it’s clear that the NFL did not do enough to prevent it from happening again.”

The NFL seems likely to investigate the claims that team officials asked Guice about his sexual preferences. Jim Buzinski said that NFL officials “definitely have to identify the team and the coach… and they need some sort of punishment, at least a strong fine.”

NBA Star Derrick Rose

NBA Star Derrick Rose to Sign with Timberwolves

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, NBA star Derrick Rose has plans to sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the remainder of the season.

“Former NBA MVP Derrick Rose has agreed to a deal with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rest of the season, league sources told ESPN,” Wojnarowski said.

“The deal will reunite him with coach Tom Thibodeau and former Chicago Bulls teammates Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.”

The Athletic reported that NBA star Rose and his wife welcomed their new born child earlier this week, and any plans of signing with the Wolves had been postponed until then.

The player was waived by the Utah Jazz back in February after the team had acquired him in a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 8. As Rose was waived before March 1, he was eligible to join the Timberwolves.

Rose was side-lined because of injuries this season with the Cleveland Cavaliers and has played just 16 games.

The NBA star has had much bad luck with injuries throughout his career, having lost 2012 playoffs to injuries and the 2012-2013 and most of the 2013-2014 seasons for the same reason.

In November 2017, Rose took a sabbatical from the game to decide which next step he should take in his career; he returned shortly after.

Rose is highly revered in the NBA, having first been drafted in the 2008 NBA Draft and obtaining Rookie of the Year honors in 2009. He later won the NBA MVP Award in 2011.

San Diego Coach Arrest

Lamont Smith Resigns as San Diego Coach after Arrest

Lamont Smith resigns as San Diego Coach on Wednesday March 7, just shy of two weeks after his arrest following suspicion of domestic violence.

USA Today reported that the men’s basketball coach at the University of San Diego was placed on administrative leave by the school the day after the arrest.

“We appreciate Coach Smith’s contributions to Torero Athletics and to the men’s basketball program since he joined us three years ago.

“Coach Smith elevated the level of competitiveness of our program, recruited an outstanding group of student-athletes and established a strong foundation for future success.

“This situation has been difficult for all concerned and our prayers continue to remain with everyone,” said the school in a statement announcing Smith’s resignation.

Smith had been arrested just hours after the Toreros played against the University of San Francisco on 25 February. Police arrived at a hotel where a woman, whose identity remains anonymous, had visible marks of injury who said that Smith had caused the marks.

“As a result of the evidence obtained from the investigation, Mr Smith will not be charged at this time,” said Alex Bastian, a spokesperson for the San Francisco District Attorney’s office in an email to USA Today Sports.

A statement by Gail Shifman, Smith’s attorney, states: “After reviewing all the evidence and completing their investigation, the San Francisco District Attorney’s office has discharged the matter and has declined to file any charges against Coach Smith.

“An arrest in California is not the same as being charged with a crime. The San Francisco District Attorney’ Office has declined to file charges because there is insufficient evidence and there are no court proceedings.”

Smith had played for San Diego from 1995-1999. The 42-year-old was initially hired to coach the basketball team in 2015, and had two years remaining on his contract.

Sports

Amputee brawl

Don’t let a lack of limbs keep you down

Amputee brawl- well, now we’ve seen everything. Never claim that amputees aren’t like everyone else. They can lead full lives, play sports and become soccer hooligans in a free-for-all amputee brawl.

What was supposed to be a charity soccer match played by amputees (seemingly sweet and inspirational) quickly went south when one of the amputees tripped an opposing team member which led to an embarrassing amputee brawl that was soon joined by some able-bodied spectators. Punches were thrown, people were kicked (by artificial appendages, of course) and the referees were unable to restore order during the biggest (and possibly only) amputee brawl in history.

We knew British soccer firms were rough and tumble, but apparently they’ve got nothing on the German amputee league.