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

Sam Darnold highlights: Jets rookie minicamp

Namath would be plenty happy to see Darnold start in Week 1 — if he earns it.

And win a championship, yes, Namath said of his hopes for Darnold. All of that, yeah. But I know Sam at this point is not prepared as much as Josh or even Teddy. They’re going to decide in preseason camp who gives the team the best chance to win — not to just develop a guy.

What was Namath’s reaction to the Jets drafting Darnold?

Not surprised, glad, happy, hoping that he can pan out, he said. I don’t know that anybody can completely handle New York. I think Sam will be all right with the tutoring that he’s getting.

Rodgers will get more, another executive predicted to Yahoo Sports. It’s all about the guaranteed [money]. Carson Wentz is recovering from a season-ending knee injury that he suffered in December. (AP) More Former agent and salary-cap analyst J.I. Halsell sees Rodgers’ potential deal as a measuring stick for Philadelphia Eagles star Carson Wentz, whose MVP-caliber sophomore campaign ended prematurely last fall due to a season-ending ACL injury. Provided Wentz recaptures his 2017 form, Corry says the Eagles could give Wentz big money after this season, as opposed to executing his fifth-year option for 2020 and franchising him in 2021 and 2022.

Beachum, who turns 29 next month and is entering Year 2 with the Jets, hasn’t even met Darnold. And while Beachum has heard positive feedback from others in the organization, he is maintaining some healthy skepticism about Darnold — for good reason.

I’ve heard that he is a great person, Beachum said Tuesday. I’m excited to get him in that room.

What if the player’s team lost guys at supporting positions? How do we grade the pick of a running back whose offensive line gets hurt or decimated by cap-saving moves in his second season? If a player busts, how do we know it’s because he was a bad pick? What if he had bad coaching? What if someone else at his position overachieved and stole his practice reps? What if the coaching staff changed and the new staff’s scheme didn’t fit the player? What if the player all the sudden stopped working hard once he got rich—how much responsibility does the GM hold for that? Some, sure (the GM should have done his homework, right?). But certainly not all the responsibility.

He remains the franchise’s all-time leader in tackles by a safety with 912. Griffin also had 25 interceptions, seven sacks, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recovers with his best season in 2008 with seven interceptions. Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk thanked Griffin for his nine seasons with the Titans and wished him the best in retirement.sharks-010

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 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

Zunino homers to back Hernandez, Mariners beat White Sox 4-3

Mike Zunino knew the ball hit the sweet spot. He just wasn’t sure at first if it would clear the wall.

Zunino homered and scored twice to back Felix Hernandez in the Seattle Mariners’ 4-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday.

Jarrod Dyson, Nick Ahmed and David Peralta homered and the Arizona Diamondbacks earned an 8-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday.

The Diamondbacks have won their first eight series of the season, becoming the first National League club to do so since the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977. The Seattle Mariners won each of their first nine series of the season in 2001 on their way to 116 wins.

“I get lucky every now and then,” Dyson said. “I don’t go up there to hit bombs. I want to hit more line drives. Sometimes, you get a good pitch.”

Arizona added five runs in the third inning on Ahmed’s three-run homer and Peralta’s two-run shot. Peralta’s shot was off reliever Drew Hutchinson.

Lively allowed seven runs and seven hits in 2 1/3 innings.

The Seahawks are without a second-round pick as it stands now. That would lessen their chances of emerging from this draft with a cornerback capable of stepping in and playing immediately the way Maxwell could.

The 30-year-old Maxwell finished an up-and-down 2017 season for the Seattle Seahawks on a high note by performing well as a fill-in for Richard Sherman.

Seattle cut Sherman and nickelback Jeremy Lane earlier this offseason while another former starter, DeShawn Shead, left in free agency. Before Maxwell, the only cornerback Seattle had added in free agency was former 49ers starter Dontae Johnson on a one-year deal.

Released by the Miami Dolphins in October after losing his starting job, Maxwell returned to the Seahawks in November after Sherman suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. He played the majority of his first game back after rookie right cornerback Shaquill Griffin suffered a concussion on the opening possession, and Maxwell remained in the starting lineup for the final six games, eventually replacing Jeremy Lane on the left side.sl_cardinals_010

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

Patriots spin off 2nd-round picks in trades with Lions and Bears

In a flurry of trade activity on Friday night, the New England Patriots made two deals that turned the second-round draft choice they received for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo into a 2019 second-round pick and two 2018 fourth-round selections, before using one of the fourth-round picks in a different swap that landed them Florida cornerback Duke Dawson.

Here’s how it unfolded:

“You guys will parse that tomorrow. That’s not our job. We’re just looking at the picks, looking at the numbers, and when the trades come into play, we’ll take it as it comes,” he said.

The Patriots have now made 64 draft-day trades in coach Bill Belichick’s 19 drafts with the franchise. The only year the Patriots haven’t made at least one draft-day trade in his tenure was 2004.

Martinez put Boston in front for the first time with a two-out blast to right off Marco Estrada (2-2) in the fifth, his fifth.

“It seems like lately we’ve been just scuffling a little bit at the plate, trying to find ways to put up runs,” Martinez said. “To get it done was huge.”

Martinez’s past three homers have gone to the opposite field.

“He has that ability to stay back and hit line drives out of the ballpark,” Cora said. “That’s impressive.”

Sale was impressed, too.

“He can do some pretty incredible things with that bat,” Sale said of Martinez. “I’m appreciative of it tonight.”

“He made one from Barrie,” said Raptors coach Dwane Casey, referring to a Canadian city that sits on the shore of Lake Simcoe some 68 miles north of the Air Canada Centre. “I thought that was a big shot for him. Again, we took the shots that we normally take, and there’s nothing abnormal about it.”

Wright was one of a brigade of Toronto heroes in the Raptors’ 108-98 win in Game 5 over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, but he might have been the most emblematic. The Raptors have spent a full season refashioning their offense into a system more predicated on movement and playmaking. But this new enterprise works only if those being trusted, such as Wright and others in the supporting cast, reciprocate that trust by maximizing opportunities.jets_097

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