– Giants’ DE Osi Umenyiora is suddenly willing to “give up his demand for the Giants to redo his contract or trade him,” a source tells the NY Daily News. He’s meeting with a specialist in Atlanta about his knee today and is tentatively expected to be cleared to return to practice Monday. The package offered to him by the Giants remains on the table, and Umenyiora will likely now accept.
– Eagles’ WR Jeremy Maclin (undisclosed) has returned to his hometown of St. Louis for further testing. He’s going back to St. Louis to try to identify the mysterious illness that has apparently bothered him since last spring. At this point, Maclin is iffy for Week 1–Maclin hasn’t even practiced yet.
– The Eagles do not expect WR Steve Smith (knee) to start the season on the PUP list, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Chris Mortensen reported last night that Eagles doctors believe Smith could be ready by mid-October, and if true, a PUP move would be likely. Now, Schefter says that the Eagles “expect Smith to contribute early.”
– Steelers rookie RB Baron Batch (torn ACL) confirmed on his personal blog Wednesday night that he’s done for the year. He was a potential third-down back this season. Batch will undergo reconstructive surgery.
– Bears’ WR Johnny Knox may push for a trade out of Chicago if he doesn’t win back his starting job, a source tells the Chicago Tribune. Knox has been demoted to No. 4 receiver, and OC Mike Martz says he made a mistake by handing the “X” receiver spot to Knox last season. He showed difference-making speed and upside a year ago, so he should generate plenty of interest.
– The Jaguars have signed OLB/DE Matt Roth to a 1-year/$3M contract. The Jags have just 40 sacks over their last 32 games, good for dead last in the league.
– Free agent WR Mark Clayton (knee surgery) is expected to re-sign with the Rams, according to ESPN’s John Clayton. Clayton, who is coming off a patellar tendon tear, worked out for the Rams on Wednesday. He’ll likely start the season on the PUP list.
– The Kings and D Drew Doughty have not held new discussions on a contract for the past two weeks, but still have a long-term offer on the table for the talented defender. GM Dean Lombardi said, “I think it’s fair to say that in the last conversation, we set the parameters, as to where we feel his contract should be. We talked about a number of scenarios, and I guess now it’s their move. They never really responded.” Negotiations could extend into late August and into September.
– Yankees’ 3B Alex Rodriguez (knee) will likely begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday. It’s not yet clear if he will play for High-A Tampa or the Gulf Coast League Yankees. Manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday that A-Rod will “probably” serve as the DH Friday before playing the field on Saturday. Girardi doesn’t believe A-Rod will be ready by next Monday, but he will likely rejoin the Yankees at some point during next week’s road trip.
– Grizzlies’ F Rudy Gay (shoulder) has been cleared to shoot for the first time sine undergoing surgery. Gay had a partially dislocated left shoulder that ended his season. Gay hasn’t participated in a game since February 15. He was averaging a nice 19.8 ppg, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game before the injury.
– Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer reported that the reason TNA has yet to bring the Matt and Jeff Hardy is because the company wanted both of them to enter rehab treatment – and both refused. The Meltzer report led many Hardy fans to ask Matt and Jeff on Twitter what the real story is. Matt Hardy responded to the reports on Wednesday night, tweeting:
“Not the case..at all.”
Matt also noted that his own wrestling school is in the works. Matt was reportedly suspended by TNA back in June after showing up late several times to live TNA events. He tweeted last week that he currently has everything “on hold” and is not yet taking independent bookings.
As for Jeff, he is still making court appearances related to his September 2009 arrest, after police raided his home in Cameron, North Carolina and uncovered a jackpot stash of drugs – including 262 Vicodin prescription pills, 180 Soma prescription pills, 555 milliliters of anabolic steroids, a residual amount of powder cocaine and items of drug paraphernalia. Jeff has been charged with felony trafficking in opium, two counts of felony possession with intent to sell or deliver a Schedule III controlled substance, felony maintaining a dwelling to keep controlled substance, felony possession of cocaine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. If convicted of all charges (which is unlikely), Jeff Hardy faces upto 14 years in prison.
– WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross is back with another blog update, which you can read in its entirety over at JRsBarBQ.com. Here are some highlights of what JR wrote about:
John Cena vs. CM Punk at SummerSlam: “What are my thoughts on the Cena/Punk issue? I’ve enjoyed it and feel it has legs beyond Summer Slam. I also know that we’ve gotten tons of feedback from many older fans who have reinvested their TV time into Raw since this matter has begun. Personally, I love reality TV in general and this issue feels extremely reality based to me and, apparently, to many others as well. Throw HHH into the mix as the special referee and one has the ingredients of an unpredictable Summer Slam main event that likely will have many twists and turns. I fully expect a wide variety of emotions to come out of this show.”
WWE’s Tag Team Division: “Can the tag team division in WWE be revived? Absolutely and it could be done in a matter of months. Plus, the tag division doesn’t need a dozen teams but half that number would arguably fit the bill. The duos just have to be made to be relevant and get ample TV time both in the ring and on the mic. For many WWE fans, viable, tag team wrestling would be something new.”
Being Back On The Road With WWE: “How do I like my new travel schedule? No worries whatsoever. I now leave a little earlier for my destination and have ceased taking the ‘first flight’ out’ when returning home. Being around all the WWE personnel on the day of a live show is a blast.”
Michael Cole As A Manager? “Do I think that Michael Cole would make a good manager? He probably would if WWE decided to go that direction with Cole. Cole’s TV persona is easy to dislike and he would likely garner plenty of antagonist attention to whoever he mentored/managed, etc.”