Ranking the 2017 NCAA Tournament’s 8 new Twitter hashtag emojis

Twitter loves to create handy hashtags for sports fans to discuss big events to their hearts’ desires, and the NCAA Tournament is no exception. This year we have been graced with no less than EIGHT hashtags to express our numerous feelings about the whirlwind that is March.

The reports coming out about the nature of the injury sadly don’t sound good whatsoever.

Getting a bunch of texts from scouts at UW & it sounds like Sidney Jones suffered a significant lower leg injury. Feel terrible for him.

Jones, who started his UW career as a true freshman in 2014, emerged over the last couple of years as a talented cornerback prospect in the NFL Draft. He finished his UW career with 105 total tackles, and 8.5 tackles for loss. Various mock drafts project Jones to be taken in the first round, and CBS Sports projected him going 22nd overall to the Miami Dolphins following his NFL Combine last week.

You hate to see a talented prospect like this go down with an injury, especially after finishing the combine healthy. Hopefully, this injury doesn’t affect where he lands too much.

He spent three years with the Patriots and became a fan favorite thanks to his ability to produce in every facet of the game as a running back. Though he never developed into a surefire top runner, his versatility led him to a pair of contracts worth $9 million in total with the Chargers.

Woodhead’s tenure in San Diego has been marred by unfortunate injuries. Two of his last three seasons have ended in September thanks to lower body issues, including a broken ankle in 2014. Though his absence last fall was mitigated by Melvin Gordon’s breakout year, his talent was missed. The Chargers went 4-9 in games decided by eight points or fewer in 2016.

Now, he’ll be in Baltimore trying to help Joe Flacco make the Ravens’ offense elite.1

Nowitzki has 5,383 points to his name when the 2002 postseason begins.

For a decade, his status was unquestioned in Dallas. Even when he suffered a broken clavicle in 2010, he was replaced by Jon Kitna for the remainder of the season and there was no doubt that Romo would assume his role as the Cowboys’ leader in 2011.

The same could be said during his injury-filled 2015 season, but when Dak Prescott took over in 2016, the rookie never gave the job back.

Now it’s Prescott who’s assured the starting job for the Cowboys in 2017, and it’s Romo’s $24.7 million cap hit on the schedule that virtually guarantees he won’t be on the team unless he receives a significant pay cut.

Nowitzki has 5,383 points to his name when the 2002 postseason begins. Cuban says the first-round series, a three-game sweep of the Kevin Garnett-led Timberwolves, is when he realized how good Nowitzki could be.

“He just took over,” Cuban remembered recently. “He had the talent, he had the physical skills, but he had to have that killer instinct, and he had it.”

In three games, Nowitzki averages 33 points and 16 rebounds on 53 percent shooting. He is coming off his first All-Star appearance that year, too, and falls victim to a prank from Cuban and Nash.

“We told him to have a backpack and a toothbrush and everything, because it was an All-Star tradition to road trip somewhere,” Cuban says.

Nowitzki carries it with him for an entire day before he realized.

The extent of prescription drug use in the NFL may be even greater than reported if teams logs were improperly maintained as the lawsuit alleges. Teams may have gone to other lengths to conceal their activities, too. The lawsuit claims that NFL teams were tipped off in 2014 to a DEA raid that turned up no controlled substances.

The implications of the Post’s report is that NFL team doctors appear to have been participants in a cover up. Not only did they administer prescription drugs outside of their indications, the lawsuit alleges, but they kept NFL players in the dark.


Dirk Nowitzki scored his 20,000th and 30,000th points the same way — over a Laker in a No. 7 jersey

Dirk Nowitzki recorded point No. 30,000 in similar fashion to the way he scored No. 20,000: With a fadeaway jump shot over a Lakers No. 7.

Little did he know his prediction wasn’t lofty enough.

Nowitzki became just one of six players in NBA history to score 30,000 regular-season points, joining Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabaar. It’s a feat so impressive, even LeBron James stopped what he was doing to congratulate him.

And if he keeps on chugging along, Nowitzki can pass Chamberlain on the all-time scoring list next season. Talk about a career.

The Buffalo Bills have to decide whether they’ll pick up the option on Tyrod Taylor’s contract. If they do, Taylor will be owed a guaranteed $30.75 million, or they could let him hit the market as an unrestricted free agent.

Taylor provided stability at the position over the past few seasons, and the dual-threat QB is one of the team’s most versatile weapons. But he has been criticized for not adding enough in the passing game to justify such a large contract. He has barely surpassed 3,000 yards in both of his seasons, and many believe that the Bills need a better pocket passing QB to complement LeSean McCoy in the run game.

Losing Taylor, though, means that Cardale Jones will most likely take over as starter, and there are many doubts to his NFL readiness. Although Taylor’s play may not justify a payout of that size, the Bills letting him walk would mean more question marks at the position for a team that is trying to take the next step in 2017.

That lack of talent is exacerbated by the struggle to develop tackles in the NFL.

There is an offensive tackle epidemic plaguing the NFL. Practically half of the teams in the league are looking for help, and there are precious few quality options available in this year’s draft.

“The last three years it was pretty strong. Not so strong this year,” Panthers GM Dave Gettleman said about this year’s tackle prospects.

That lack of talent is exacerbated by the struggle to develop tackles in the NFL. Plenty of ink has been spilled about the difficulty in converting spread quarterbacks to pro-style offenses, but it is just as jarring a transition for offensive tackles. Bruce Arians explained the dilemma well this week.

Building a road-grading offensive line can be a sure-fire path to NFL success — so why aren’t more teams doing it? Judy Battista investigates a crucial (if overlooked) position group in crisis.

Is he a running back? Is he a wide receiver? Regardless, Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel is fast, and his 4.31 40-yard dash backed that up. Forced to follow Ross and his record-breaking 4.22 40-yard dash, Samuel’s impressive time went overlooked by many, but it will almost certainly rank among the top-three times at this year’s combine regardless of position. Samuel is a playmaker and chess piece on offense to stress the defense with his versatility.

Three tight ends haven’t cracked the first round since 2002, when Jeremy Shockey (Giants), Daniel Graham (Patriots) and Jerramy Stevens (Seahawks) headlined one of the greatest classes at the position in league history.

Buss brothers deny trying to remove Jeanie Buss as controlling owner

1Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss has thwarted a legal attempt by her older brothers, Johnny and Jim Buss, to strip her of her seat on the Lakers’ board of directors, and potentially her controlling ownership of the NBA team.

On Feb. 24, the elder Buss brothers sent a notice to the Lakers’ shareholders to hold a meeting next Tuesday to elect a new board of directors, because it had been more than 15 months since the annual shareholders meeting had been convened, documents filed by Jim and Johnny Buss’ attorneys say.

If you can come up with someone better than Diaw, particularly someone from before the year 2000, let me know via email or Twitter.

“Have the details of the actual trade package Boston proposed to Charlotte ever been revealed? What were the four first-round picks and where did they land? Were the Brooklyn picks involved?” – Emmanuel Mpagi

They also set the record without Kevin Love, their second-most productive 3-point shooter this season in terms of total makes, and J.R. Smith, their fourth-most productive 3-point shooter in terms of made 3s per game, as both starters are recovering from injuries.

“Well, we got a lot of great shooters, and it’s definitely something that’s a part of our team, part of our DNA, and when you have Swish [Smith], when you have Kev, it makes us even more dynamic, but you don’t need to talk about it,” James said. “We don’t talk about it like, ‘Let’s go set a 3-point record.’ It just happens in the flow, and it happened tonight.”

Every team is still playing. The games are meaningful enough to plan your night around a Nationals/Mets game or some nonsense, unless you’re a Nationals or Mets fan, in which case you’re planning your night around a Giants/Dodgers game (assuming your team is off or just finished a day game.)

The bad teams get to watch fresh rookies and prospects. The good teams are knifing each other. This is easily the best baseball month.

Meet the woman who wants to make the NFL pay its taxes

It happens every year, briefly and usually around Super Bowl time. That’s when the matter of the NFL’s tax-exempt status percolates to the surface, generally as a result of all the outrageous things that the NFL demands from whatever city is lucky enough to host the Super Bowl that year, and which kind of idly enrage those so-inclined. Most states exempt 501(c)6 non-profit organizations — trade groups, ordinarily, like the Chamber of Commerce or National Beef Council — from state income and sales tax, and the NFL is classified as such. The NFL also pays no federal corporate taxes.

This tends to offend, especially given the NFL’s notable dedication to profit and power above just about everything else; it also violates the spirit of the law, as Slate’s Jordan Weissmann points out, because the NFL is more like a closed cartel than an industry organization. And offend it does, generally for that one week in January. And then things roll on for another 50 or so weeks, more or less as it has since Congress first granted the NFL 501(c)6 status back in 1966.

With 20 returning starters, per Steele, Syracuse leads the country. Basically the entire defense is coming back, with 93 percent of the unit’s production returning. You should trust Dino Babers to coach up the offense, so not having to replace cogs on defense is huge.

NC State and Florida State rank highly as well, Clemson only needs to effectively replace Deshaun Watson to again be considered a contender, and Louisville returns the Heisman Trophy winner, so the ACC Atlantic again looks stacked.

The fourth-time head coach doesn’t inherit an especially talented Conference USA roster, but he does have experience to work with. The Owls rank in the top four in both Steele’s and Connelly’s numbers, and they just brought in their top-ranked recruiting class ever, the best in C-USA. It includes five three-star JUCOs, meaning lots of potential for instant impact.

Oct 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady smiles from the bench during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 18, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady smiles from the bench during the NFL game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran defensive end Jared Allen joined the Bears this offseason from the Minnesota Vikings.

However, Bowles brings an all out Cover-0 blitz (no safeties over the top), rushing two defensive backs from the offensive left side. This rush attack from the outside is quick enough and deadly enough in combination with the rush from the right that Kaepernick has no time to look to his receivers. He quickly throws the ball away.

Watch how the mechanics of this blitz work below in the All-22 footage. It looks like Anquan Boldin’s quick out route is open, but the blitz happens so quickly Kaepernick thinks twice about making the throw.

Below, you see another cornerback blitz out of the slot. When Kaepernick sees pressure coming from this spot, his first reaction will be to throw quickly to the player the blitzer just abandoned. In this case, it’s Michael Crabtree.

The Broncos were so convinced that the concept itself was money, they ran the same exact thing on the next play from scrimmage. The Broncos caught a break that time, because I believe the Seahawks were playing zone.

As far as the current arrest and potential charge is concerned, the investigation by the San Jose Police Department is still ongoing four weeks later. The Santa Clara District Attorney will hear the case from investigators once said investigation has concluded, but nobody is quite sure when that’s going to happen.

Veteran defensive end Jared Allen joined the Bears this offseason from the Minnesota Vikings. Allen figured things out quickly.

“Not everyone has to be a vocal guy,” Allen said. “To me, it’s the commitment of his work. He puts in his time. The biggest thing is the games and putting out on the field. He plays the game in angles. In escapes. Off balance sometimes. I played with Brett Favre. He takes chances like him. That’s his game. But like with Brett, you expect it to go more in your favor than not.”1

Sandoval decided to enlist the strength and conditioning specialist to oversee his workouts

Having watched Ferrer help Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez overcome a 2015 shoulder injury and revive his career last season, Sandoval decided to enlist the strength and conditioning specialist to oversee his workouts.

The days began at 7:30 a.m., Ferrer said, with an hourlong “turf workout” to improve Sandoval’s agility. After a series of core-strengthening exercises, they moved to the weight room, alternating upper- and lower-body lifts every other day.

“If you looked at him before, if you didn’t know who he was, you wouldn’t think he’s an athlete. But if you see him now, you know he’s an athlete.”
Ray Echevarria, Pablo Sandoval’s boxing instructor
The Red Sox received frequent progress reports — “Panda watch,” if you will — because Ferrer is close with Boston strength and conditioning coach Kiyoshi Momose.

Meanwhile, Sandoval put his new wife, Yulimar, in charge of his diet. She worked with a nutritionist to come up with healthier meals for Sandoval and cooked for him throughout the offseason.

“For me, we want every September and October to be meaningful,” Henry said. “We can’t always win a ring. That’s obviously what every player and every executive in baseball is shooting for. But from my perspective, a season is a success if you’re playing meaningful games in September and October.”

Henry and Werner appear to still be committed to giving the Red Sox the resources to achieve that goal.

“I think if I [told] you, ‘Chris Sale is on the market,’ you’d say, ‘Well, what young player of the Red Sox who’s in the major leagues would have to be traded for him?'” Werner said. “We did keep the core of our team together.”

Steelers’ Chris Boswell sets an NFL record with his 6th field goal against the Chiefs

Chris Boswell did something on Sunday that no other player in NFL history has ever done before. The Steelers kicker booted a league-record six field goals in a single playoff game, surpassing players like Adam Vinatieri and Matt Bahr.

Boswell has been the source of all 18 of Pittsburgh’s points in its divisional showdown with the Chiefs. He tied a long list of standout kickers that included Matt Bahr, Steve Christie, John Kasay, and Adam Vinatieri when his fifth kick of the day — a 43-yard attempt — sailed through the uprights. He passed them early in the fourth quarter with another 43-yard kick that gave his team an 18-10 advantage.

He didn’t make New York’s active roster and was eventually cut, but made enough of an impression in the preseason to earn the Steelers’ attention. This is his second season with Pittsburgh — and based on Sunday’s performance, he’ll be wearing black and yellow for years to come.

The Steelers’ Director of Communications, Burt Lauten, gave a statement Sunday night on Porter’s arrest to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

“We are aware of an incident tonight involving Joey Porter,” the statement read. “We are still gathering information as it pertains to the situation, and we will have no further comment until we get more details.”

Porter said in a team statement via ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, “I regret that I was involved in an incident that could have been a distraction to our team,” Porter said. “Most importantly, I regret that I touched the police officer and I sincerely apologize for that action. Thankfully, no one was injured.

335-pound DT Brandon Williams does a flawless Carlton dance

Most football players get hyped up before a big game by getting angry and focusing on their opponent. Ravens defensive tackle Brandon Williams, however, doesn’t. Instead, the 26-year old out of Missouri Southern channels his inner Carlton.

Here’s what Williams had to say on Instagram:

This week has been superb for dancing big men. First, the Arizona Rattlers showed off their lineman-sized dancer, and now Williams is bringing back the Carlton. Let’s hope Williams showcases this dance outside of his home and does it on the field after sacking a quarterback this upcoming season.

“There is competition here, especially in our room,” Barner said of the Eagles running backs who include Murray, shifty veteran Darren Sproles and newcomer Ryan Mathews, in from the San Diego Chargers. “Sproles has the great experience, Murray led the league in rushing last year and Mathews was a first-round pick in San Diego. You have to find a way to fit in. It’s stacked. But I believe if you perform and you fit in here, you have a chance.

What Kelly cares about is the Eagles playing in his image, in his style and in him controlling every inch of everything he can control to point his team toward championships. Anyone can argue with the methods but no one can argue with his conviction.

One of the most watched players in Philadelphia this offseason is linebacker Kiko Alonso, a former Oregon player who was acquired in exchange for LeSean McCoy. Alonso was sidelined with a concussion two weeks ago in practice and missed the team’s first preseason game against Indianapolis. He suited up for Tuesday’s practice and participated in position drills. According to Bleeding Green Nation, Alonso will be eased back into practices but it is unknown yet if he will play against the Ravens on Saturday.