Cowboys’ 1978 halfback pass opens NFL’s Super Bowl trick-play TD video

Cowboys’ 1978 halfback pass opens NFL’s Super Bowl trick-play TD video More Want even more evidence the NFL is a league that is hesitant to try things out of the norm? On the biggest stage with everything on the line, trick plays that break conventional wisdom rarely go down. Coaches often exist in a perpetual state of second-guess fear.

And yet there was Cleveland with a chance to steal Game 1 on Thursday night, thanks to Smith’s rebound four feet from the rim and a shot at a game-winning putback in the final seconds.

You’ve seen the replay of what Smith did instead by now: He dribbled the clock out like a fool. Golden State won the game in overtime. America collectively shook its head.

Just how badly did Smith screw up? Let’s put it in context with other championship-round gaffes, starting at least severe and careening to most cringe-worthy.

His voice trails off. He gazes down at the court. At one end, the 14-year-old (Javen) launches jumpers. At the other, Jazz is now throwing his Royals hat at the rim.

No, it never got to the point of plotting his own death. Suicidal thoughtsremained only that. Thoughts. But do not think for a second he’s in the end zone celebrating.

As the three kids begin to pinball back up the bleachers, I suggest to Lewis that he got to the other side. He cuts in. 

It’s not over, he says. I have to keep moving.

I have always been an upstanding citizen and handled the situation the best way I know how, Williams said. I apologize if I should have handled it a little bit differently.

The 28-year-old Williams was expected to miss all the offseason workouts after breaking his right foot in January and having surgery. The Cowboys released cowboys_070 in a cost-cutting move while signing two free agents and drafting two more receivers.

John Dorsey failing to hide his disdain for being on Hard Knocks

Not many teams actually want to be on Hard Knocks. New Browns general manager John Dorsey made it clear earlier in May that he was no exception.

“I don’t think there’s anything good that comes out of Hard Knocks, but we’ll see,” he said on ESPN Cleveland 850.

When the announcement was made, Dorsey tried his best to play nice.

In addition to drafting Mayfield first overall and trading for Taylor, the Browns acquired a slew of new pieces this offseason, including fourth overall pick Denzel Ward, wide receiver Jarvis Landry, cornerback Damarious Randall, running back Carlos Hyde and second-round runner Nick Chubb.

I think we’re all excited about him, and we think he can be a star, general manager Brett Veach said of Ragland last month, per the team’s official website. “We were very fortunate to be able to execute that trade.”

Ragland is a high-instinct sure-tackler who was the 2015 SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Alabama. He has the ability to make a major impact, but he’s rarely been healthy thus far in his career.

He is now, though, and we should see plenty of him in May and June.

Jackson claims to have “a different build” after spending time working on his size and strength this offseason, according to Jim Wyatt of the team’s official website. That could help as he fights for reps with new arrival Malcolm Butler and returning veteran Logan Ryan, both of whom are getting paid big bucks.

What’s more, all three of the team’s top corners will be adjusting to a new defense under incoming defensive coordinator Dean Pees.

Even with that looming cloud, there has yet to be an overwhelming urgency that galvanizes owners into some kind of decision. They failed to find common ground in meetings in November. They kicked the entire conversation down the road in March.cowboys_042

Baker Mayfield will start third on Browns’ depth chart

Baker Mayfield was the No. 1 overall draft choice, but the Oklahoma quarterback will start his career No. 3 on the depth chart.

Coach Hue Jackson told reporters in Cleveland that the Browns will list Tyrod Taylor and Drew Stanton ahead of Mayfield, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Jackson reiterated that Taylor is the starter for 2018, adding the Browns will resist the temptation to throw Mayfield into the fire “too soon.”

Bills GM has looked at Dez Bryant’s tape, “but I wouldn’t take it any further”

Bills General Manager Brandon Beane doesn’t sound overly interested after taking a look at tape of free agent wide receiver Dez Bryant.

Asked about Bryant after the draft, Beane acknowledged looking at Bryant’s tape but then seemed to indicate that the Bills would go elsewhere if they add any more wide receivers.

“We’ll look at everything,” said Beane. “We have looked at Dez on tape, but I wouldn’t take it any further and I don’t know where that would go. We’re looking to get better at all positions and receiver is one, so if we thought that was the right fit for us we would potentially pursue it.”

“I want to emphasize again how we like our tight ends that we’ve got on the roster that would be on the roster if we don’t have Witten, but certainly Dalton was noted as what we thought was the best blocker of the tight ends,” Jones said. “That was impactful because that’s the area that probably would prevent a tight end from getting as much play time as rookie while he learns the ropes. What was important was that they didn’t throw it as much to him, but you had a lot of evidence that showed him having real good hands.broncos_058_15fd19fc0d9f1fb4-180x180

NFL referee Walt Anderson resigns post as Big-12 officiating supervisor

Big-12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Wednesday that Walt Anderson has resigned his position as Coordinator of Football Officials for the conference to focus on his full-time role with the NFL, via George Schroeder of USA Today.

Anderson become one of 21 full-time officiating hires by the league last year but continued to serve in his role overseeing the Big 12 as well through last season. It was a post he’d held with the conference since 2006.

The Cowboys have the best bargain in football this season, paying Dak Prescott only a $630,000 base salary. Prescott’s per year average of $680,000 ranks only 74th among NFL quarterbacks. Seventy-fourth?

His wait ended in the fifth round when the Raiders made him the 140th overall pick. Hurst’s productivity at Michigan — 32 tackles for loss, 13.5 sacks — makes him look like a useful addition to the defensive front in Oakland as long as he’s healthy enough to be on the field.

Hurst isn’t the first player the Raiders have picked up after a slide fueled by things other than their on-field ability. They picked defensive end Arden Key at the end of the third round following a 2017 that featured a trip to rehab and a shoulder injury.

Former Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam will reportedly try out for the New Orleans Saints at their rookie minicamp this weekend, according to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe.

Baltimore selected Matt Elam with the No. 32 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft out of Florida.

The Ravens didn’t pick up the option in Elam’s contract for 2017, and he did not play last season.broncos_118_d9d9e24193f4aa8e-180x180

Golden Knights make efforts to connect with fans around the world

When the Vegas Golden Knights were in Los Angeles for the franchise’s first ever road playoff game on April 15, they sent a tweet asking their fans: “Where’s everyone watching the game from tonight?”

Over 1,500 responses rolled in, and the team was stunned to discover how far the support for this expansion franchise reached.

He said the global approach to Golden Knights fandom mirrors the melting pot of the expansion team and the international popularity of the city.

“Everybody looks at Vegas and the 42 million people that come to this city every year, and this franchise reflects that. It was put together by [GM] George McPhee as a collection of players from all across the country. So we had some fun with the design,” said Killingsworth. “They see the story about this team as something that transcends sports. It’s really powerful. We see the impact that it’s had locally, but it’s really humbling to see how it’s impacted people all over the world.”

LaVar Ball, the brothers’ father, told 15min.lt that LaMelo would not return to the team next season.

Oldest brother Lonzo Ball, who just finished his rookie season with the Los Angeles Lakers, was in Lithuania to visit his siblings, and now the three will join their father and return to California.

LiAngelo has been sidelined recently with an ankle injury, and the early departure will give him time to prepare for the NBA draft. He is expected to work out for some teams and will participate at the Professional Basketball Combine in May at IMG Academy in Florida.

In their time with BC Vytautas, LiAngelo averaged 12.6 points and 22 minutes per game, and LaMelo averaged 6.5 points and 12 minutes.

LiAngelo started the season with UCLA but was embroiled in a shoplifting scandal in China while on a preseason trip with the Bruins. Upon his return to the United States, he was suspended indefinitely by UCLA, and he left the program without having played a game.

Lithuanian basketball journalist Donatas Urbonas was the first to report the Ball brothers’ exit from the team.dolphins_011

Salvador Perez (knee), Alex Gordon (hip) back from DL trips

Salvador Perez carried his own suitcase up the stairs when he arrived home from a stint at Triple-A Omaha, never once thinking about how perilous the trek was the last time he tried it.

Last month, the Royals’ All-Star catcher was toting his bags up the stairs after returning from spring training when he slipped awkwardly on a step. He wound up straining ligaments in his left knee and has spent nearly a month on the disabled list.

“It was good to get out there [at Triple-A] and test it in a game situation,” he said. “Now I’m just going to try to grind it out and finish the year healthy.”

Gordon said it’s possible he’ll need another injection, but “I’m not planning on it.”

Gallagher was hitting .208 and Orlando was hitting .191 when they were sent to Omaha. Grimm was 0-2 with a 21.86 ERA in 10 appearances while dealing with his ailing back.

“I think he felt it for a while,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He wouldn’t admit it. But we knew something wasn’t right. He came clean that he wasn’t firing off his backside very well.”

Yost said he’d been trying to find the right opportunity to give Stout a look after the young reliever impressed him in spring training a year ago. Stout was 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA in five appearances at Omaha this season, though his numbers were inflated by one bad outing.

“We’ll see what he has,” Yost said.

Mel Kiper projects the first round of the draft Thursday night, based on what he’s hearing. What will the Browns do with the first pick?

A family member told ESPN’s Jake Trotter that the Mayfields knew of the now-famous Favre photo taken in his bedroom at his parents’ home in Mississippi on the night of the 1991 draft, an image taken by a local newspaper photographer that eventually spread to national magazines and television.

Baker Mayfield and his family thought it would be fun, in the days leading up to this year’s draft, to recreate the shot with family members and friends.

So they hashed out the specifics with Mayfield’s marketing team. The QB’s mother bought wallpaper that looked like the wood paneling shown in Favre’s bedroom. Baker already owned jeans shorts similar to those worn by Favre following his playing days at Southern Mississippi. They selected photos of Baker in his youth sports days to decorate the wall.

It took three hours to assemble the “set,” a family member told Trotter.

The image, though, likely will be remembered for far longer than that.sl_cardinals_063

Williamson homers again, Giants top Nationals 4-3

Mac Williamson had to dust himself off after crashing into a low padded wall near the stands in left field while chasing a foul ball.

More frustrated than hurt, Williamson took it out on Nationals pitcher Tanner Roark a few moments later after undergoing a series of concussion tests in the dugout.

Williamson homered for the second straight night and third in five games, hitting a tiebreaking shot in the sixth inning to lead San Francisco to a 4-3 victory over Washington on Tuesday night.

“I tried to roll my neck a little bit and my head down a little bit when I started going down,” Williamson said. “I think that helped break my fall. I was just a little frustrated I didn’t come up with the play. I had it in my glove and it came out.”

Belt hit a two-run shot off Roark (1-2) in the third.

“The practice field has always been a laboratory for a coach,” Gruden said. “That’s where we earn our pay. We have to develop this team. We have to learn a lot about them quickly. We have a lot of things to teach, a lot of things to improve. It was fun to be out there. I don’t want to be too deep or philosophical or I might start crying.”

While only the first 30 minutes of practice were open to the media, there was a different vibe than in previous years with Gruden’s loud voice replacing music as the soundtrack on the field.

There were even large video boards on the field, allowing players to watch replays of practice plays immediately after they happened to make corrections more quickly. Gruden said that was something he first saw watching Jim Harbaugh’s practices at Michigan and adopted it himself.

Gruden viewed this minicamp as an examination to see how well the players have learned the plays and system in meeting rooms the past two weeks. Gruden said he tried to throw a few extra wrinkles at quarterback Derek Carr and was pleased with how he responded.

“When Nova puts the ball on the ground, guys are going to stay engaged and ready to make plays,” Hurdle said.

“Oh man, it was an amazing experience, just to get out there on a big league mound in a big league game,” Venters said. “To be able to get an out and help this team win, it was a special thing that I’ll never forget the rest of my life.”

It was lefty vs. lefty, and Venters got the better of Baltimore’s slugger.jets_041

Verlander, Astros beat Angels 5-2; Pujols HR for 2,994th hit

Justin Verlander, Jose Altuve and the Houston Astros did enough to deny the Los Angeles Angels a three-game sweep.

Verlander pitched seven sharp innings, Altuve hit his first home run of the season and the Astros won 5-2 Wednesday, ending the Angels’ road winning streak at a team record-tying 11 in a row.

“We are tough to sweep because of our pitching matchups and our rotation,” Verlander said. “The old adage, `You’re only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher’ — I think we like our chances every day.”

“It was a tough-fought series. You can’t expect to win every series, especially against a team like that because they’re very talented, he said.

With two outs in the fourth, Tropeano walked Carlos Correa and Josh Reddick and hit Yuli Gurriel to load the bases. Bregman cleared them for a 3-0 lead.

“When you take two of three from a division opponent, that’s still a morale boost,” Tropeano said. “Obviously, we want to sweep. We all want to win every game.”

Altuve’s sixth-inning homer came on a 79 mph hanging slider. The AL MVP hit 24 homers in each of the past two seasons.

After Altuve’s homer, he gleefully skipped off the field into a cold dugout full of players, coaches and staff who were intent on completely ignoring him. He pretended to high-five teammates in the air, laughing and put his helmet down before his teammates finally cracked and celebrated with him.

“It was win or go home,” Westbrook said. “Regardless of what is going on in the game, you have to give yourself a chance to win, and I thought our guys did a good job of that tonight. They did an amazing job of sticking together.”

Westbrook got sidetracked during Monday’s Game 4 by a one-on-one matchup with Ricky Rubio. He was in foul trouble for much of Oklahoma City’s loss and was later fined $10,000 and assessed a technical for an altercation late in that game.

With Oklahoma City trailing 3-1 in the series, he focused up in Game 5 and helped keep the season alive. He made 5 of 16 shots in the first half, then 12 of 23 in the second.

Westbrook also had 15 rebounds and seven assists. Paul George added 34 points and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who forced a Game 6 in Salt Lake City on Friday.

“We stopped playing defense,” Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell said. “We stopped getting back. Our offense got stagnant. They made adjustments and we didn’t make the right adjustments back. We will watch the film and figure out what went wrong, but from my analysis right after the game, we just stopped getting back in transition and they just fed off of that.”

Jae Crowder scored a career playoff-high 27 points, Mitchell had 23 and Joe Ingles added 16 for the Jazz, who still have a 3-2 lead in the series.

They realize it probably should already be over.jets_134

Mariners’ Ryon Healy on 10-day disabled list with sprained ankle

First baseman Ryon Healy on Monday became the latest starting position player placed on the disabled list by the Seattle Mariners.

Healy, who sprained his ankle during a postgame workout on Saturday, was placed on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to April 8. Right-handed reliever Chasen Bradford was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma in a corresponding move.

Healy opened the season with a 1-for-21 slump before hitting a three-run double in the eighth inning Saturday.

Seattle could have Daniel Vogelbach, Andrew Romine or Taylor Motter handle first base in Healy’s absence.

Besides Healy, designated hitter Nelson Cruz (ankle sprain), catcher Mike Zunino and outfielder Ben Gamel (both with oblique injuries) are already on the 10-day disabled list.

Athletics: Kendall Graveman (0-1, 8.10 ERA) has given up four homers in two starts this season. He gave up five runs in five innings against the Angels on opening day in Oakland.

Angels: Ohtani (1-0, 4.50 ERA) faces the A’s for the second time this season. The right-hander pitched six innings of three-hit ball in Oakland in his strong big-league debut, although Matt Chapman connected for a three-run homer.

Israel’s top basketball team has cut its star player, Glen Rice Jr., after he punched a teammate in the face.

Hapoel Holon said it released Rice after the team’s Monday night loss because of a “severe disciplinary infraction.” It said Rice punched teammate Guy Pnini in the face in the locker room. Pnini was hospitalized with a suspected facial fracture.

The 27-year-old Rice is the Israeli league’s top scorer, averaging more than 24 points a game, and has led Holon to the top of the standings.

He also won a state cup thanks to a last-second shot against powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv. Rice, who briefly played in the NBA, was previously arrested in the United States on battery and robbery charges. His father is three-time NBA All-Star Glen Rice.buccaneers_082

Preds are favorites, but sportsbooks worry about Vegas

The Vegas Golden Knights are the team that Las Vegas bookmakers are most worried about entering the Stanley Cup playoffs, but despite an amazing inaugural season, the Golden Knights aren’t the favorite.

That distinction belongs to the Nashville Predators, who led the NHL in regular-season points with an impressive 117. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened them at 4-1 to hoist the trophy on Monday.

The Tampa Bay Lightning (5-1) and Pittsburgh Penguins (7-1) have the next-best odds, followed by the Boston Bruins and Winnipeg Jets at 8-1. The Penguins opened the season with the best odds (7-1) at Westgate.

The New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche are the biggest long shots at 40-1.

Slugger Chris Davis, who’s off to a miserable start, cracked the bat over his knee after striking out in the sixth. He later was thrown out trying to bunt against the shift during an 0-for-4 performance that lowered his batting average to .088.

Blue Jays: 1B Kendrys Morales strained his right hamstring running out a single and was removed for a pinch runner in the second inning. Gibbons did not expect Morales to land on the disabled list. … OF Anthony Alford (hamstring) has started his rehab in Florida, where he is expected to remain for a few days before likely heading to Triple-A Buffalo, Gibbons said.

Witten’s contract runs through 2021.

The Morning News noted that the team also added a few free-agent pieces this week, signing wide receivers Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

It’s unclear whether the Cowboys will continue to try and create space, but linebacker Sean Lee’s contract could be another target and offensive tackle Tyron Smith’s could be a “last resort,” The Morning News reported earlier in the offseason.

The shooting touch was missing Monday, when Orlando was just 5 of 24 from behind the arc.

The Magic couldn’t make up for the misses on the defensive end, especially in the third quarter.buccaneers_011