– Redskins acquired the No. 2 overall pick in exchange for three 1st-round picks, including No. 6 overall this year, and a future 2nd-round selection. The Rams will get two more future 1st-rounders, expected to be in 2013 and 2014. The Redskins are now positioned to draft Baylor QB Robert Griffin, likely after Stanford QB Andrew Luck at No. 1. The Skins get their franchise quarterback as they continue to rebuild.
– The Jets have signed QB Mark Sanchez to 3-year extension through 2016. If Sanchez continues to slide, it’s a big mistake for the Jets. The extension is likely to scare away other QBs, as Sanchez now appears to be the starting quarterback regardless of what happens.
– Free agent QB Peyton Manning departed Broncos headquarters after visiting with club officials for 6 hours Friday evening. Broncos brass gave Manning a tour of the facility, and he was personally escorted by VP of Football Operations John Elway. The Cardinals are interested, while the Dolphins are “desperate,” according to SI.com’s Peter King. Manning and QB Tim Tebow are represented by the same agency, making the match unlikely.
Even Heat’ F LeBron James is lobbying for Manning to play in South Beach:
– The Giants have released RB Brandon Jacobs after seven seasons and two Super Bowls. The sides couldn’t agree to a restructured contract, and Jacobs was due $4.9M in salary and bonuses. Jacobs is turning 30 before the season, and was averaged 3.76 YPC last year.
– The Colts have released TE Dallas Clark, RB Joseph Addai, MLB Gary Brackett, and SS Melvin Bullitt. In addition, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Colts are “fielding telephone calls” from teams interested in trading for DE Dwight Freeney. Freeney is not happy with having to move to OLB in the new 3-4 defence, and comes with a $19.035M cap hit on top of that. Clark turns 33 before the season, but was a mess in all facets of the game last season. The Colts’ offseason purging continues.
– Saints’ QB Drew Brees says he has never participated in and was never aware of a “real” bounty program, and there would be no place for players being provided incentives to intentionally injure one another in any sport. The NFL has said former Saints defensive co-ordinator Gregg Williams ran an improper pay-for-performance pool, which offered bonuses for big plays as well as big hits that forced opposing players from games or left them needing help to leave the field. In a letter posted on his foundation’s website Friday night, the Saints’ star quarterback says fans should reserve judgment until more is known about the league’s bounty probe.
“I did not participate in any bounty program, nor did I have any knowledge relating to its real existence. I have spent the last several years as an Executive Committee Member of the NFLPA making health and safety a priority and I am proud of the advancements we’ve made and will continue to make.
“We are all working diligently to find the truth in this matter and if the facts prove there was improper behaviour, we will hold ourselves accountable. Until that time, we will stand together and remain united as an organization.”
“As a leader of our football team, I feel comfortable in stating that I know well the integrity of our organization from the ownership level, to management, our head coach, and the players on our team. We, as Saints players, pride ourselves on playing this game with honour and hold ourselves to a very high standard.”
– Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon ran his first unofficial forty in the 4.45-4.50 range at the team’s Friday Pro Day. His second forty was between 4.41 to 4.46. Blackmon declined to run at the Combine after a hamstring tweak. Blackmon was always known as a speedy wideout, but OK State’s offence was based on quick passes, so his talent was never truly on display.
– Free agent LG Carl Nicks confirmed to WWL-TV in New Orleans that he does not expect to be back with the Saints. ”In my mind, I pretty much am gone, to be honest.” The Saints still haven’t made a contract offer. The two-time Pro Bowler and 2011 first-team All Pro is the top guard on the market.
– The NFL has suspended Broncos’ WLB D.J. Williams 6 games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Broncos’ DT Ryan McBean was suspended for the same amount of time and same offense. Williams, 30 in July, has also been arrested twice for DUI during his NFL career. He recently tested positive for PEDs as well, per the Denver Post. He recorded 90 tackles, three forced fumbles, and five sacks in 13 starts last season. Depending on Denver’s bye, Williams will be eligible to return in either Week 7 or Week 8 of the 2012 regular season.
– The NY Daily News reports the Jets have been exploring the trade market for RT Wayne Hunter. The Jets discussed a trade with at least one NFC team, but nothing came of it. Hunter was exposed as a pass protection liability last season, though he could still improve under Tony Sparano.
– Georgia TE Orson Charles was arrested Friday morning and charged with DUI in Clarke County, GA. The first-team All-SEC tight end was the No. 1 prospect at his position, according to NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. Although underwhelming at Georgia’s Pro Day early this week, Charles was still expected to push Stanford’s Coby Fleener as the first tight end off the board next month.
– The Raiders have cut CB Chris Johnson and S Hiram Eugene in their latest moves to get under the salary cap before Tuesday’s deadline. The team announced the moves on Friday that shed about $6M from next season’s payroll.
– The Falcons have signed OG Vince Manuwai. Manuwai started 105 games over eight years with the Jaguars, who picked him in the third round of the 2003 draft. He spent his last four seasons in Jacksonville working under Dirk Koetter, who was hired as the Falcons offensive co-ordinator after Mike Mularkey took over as the Jaguars’ head coach. Manuwai was released by Jacksonville before last season.
– MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko recently acknowledged the UFC is the place to be for any MMA fighter hoping to face the sport’s best, and even teased a possible match-up with Cain Velasquez. Saying he was targeting June/July for his next fight in an interview with SportBox.ru, Emelianenko said, “Of course, I want to compete at home, in front of my countrymen. But at the moment, the strongest and most respected MMA organization is situated in America. It’s the UFC. Therefore, I have to go to the US in order to face the strongest opponents.” The 33-4 PRIDE legend also confirmed there have been discussions behind the scenes about meeting former UFC champion Velasquez later this year. Stay tuned.
– Penguins’ F Sidney Crosby (concussion/neck) says he’s been symptom-free since being cleared for contact, and could return as early as Sunday. Crosby will know a day in advance before returning. The 24-year-old captain hasn’t played since the symptoms resurfaced following a loss to Boston on December 5. Doctors allowed him to return to full practice on Tuesday and while Crosby is pleased with the way his body is responding he refuses to put on his return. Over the past 14 months, concussion and neck problems have limited Crosby to just eight games. During a brief healthy stretch from November 21 to December 5, Crosby was absolutely lights out, recording 12 points in eight games.
– The NHL has suspended Capitals’ D Mike Green 3 games for his hit on Lightning’ F Brett Connolly during Thursday’s game. Green will not be eligible to return until March 16 when Washington plays at Winnipeg.
– F Alexander Radulov’s KHL club has been eliminated from the playoffs, allowing an opportunity for him to re-join the Predators. Radulov had a contract with the Preds when he bolted for the KHL and it’s set to expire following the 2011-12 campaign. If he rejoins the team, he would be an RFA this summer. Radulov had 26 goals and 58 points in 81 games with Nashville in 2007-08 and hasn’t played in the NHL since. He scored 25 goals and registered 38 assists in 50 KHL contests this season.
– Canadiens’ F Erik Cole has been suspended $2,500 for his slew-footing on Oilers’ D Jeff Petry on Thursday night.
– Leafs’ F Mike Brown (thigh contusion) will miss the next week.
– Check out this truly bizarre video of Hulk Hogandressed up as Lady Gaga singing her hit song, “Born This Way.”
– Steve Austin confirmed in his latest blog that he and Shawn Michaels will be filming an episode of Shawn’s MacMillan River Adventures show at Austin’s Broken Skull Ranch in Texas soon. Both men are avid hunters and have been talking about working together in recent weeks. Austin also spoke about his professional rivalry with Shawn Michaels, dating back to their 1998 feud that culminated in their main event match at WrestleMania 14:
“Shawn and I ran in two different packs while we were in WWE, but have always maintained a friendship and respect for one another. It will be good to just hang out and hunt. The competitive nature and environment of putting everything on the line to be a top guy in WWE no longer exists for either one of us. It will be cool just to sit around and trade some war stories.”
– Ted DiBiase (ankle) was injured at Tuesday’s SmackDown tapings in a match with Jinder Mahal that was taped for Superstars. After initial reports that DiBiase had broken his ankle, the WWE website reported that DiBiase suffered a “Grade 2 tear [on a 3-tier scale] to his deltoid ligament, and he also sustained a calcaneal fracture, or a heel bone fracture.” The report stated that he will be out of action for several weeks. DiBiase underwent an MRI on Thursday to determine the severity of the fractured ankle and tweeted the following on Thursday evening:
“Update: torn ligament and small break, but NO torn tendon which means no surgery! Again, thank you all for your encouragement!!”
Despite that good news, DiBiase has decided to undergo surgery anyways, but no on his ankle. DiBiase tweeted on Friday:
“Well, looks like I’m going under the knife after all. It’s not my ankle, it’s my shoulder. I’ve been working through a lot of pain for the past year. Since I’m down with the ankle, I’m going going to go ahead and fix the shoulder. And I’m coming back #CountryStrong!!
– Dolph Ziggler recently had an interview with The Score. Check it out:
– Jim Ross responds to people in teh WWE locker room complaining about The Rock’s involvement at WrestleMania 28.
– According to the PWInsider, Sin Cara will be out of action until late-June or early-July, much later than WWE was originally hoping for.
– According to the PWInsider, here is currently no solid timeframe for Kharma to make a full time return.
– The Rock is in talks to return to the “Journey” movie franchise, according to TheWrap.com. Director Brad Peyton and writers Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn have already signed on. New Line Cinema is said to be targeting a 2014 release date for the film. As of this week, Journey 2 has grossed approximately $79 million domestically and $272M internationally.
- Speaking of The Rock, we reported earlier this week that he bought a $3.5M mansion last month located in Southwest Ranches, Florida. In a strange celebrity connection, The Rock’s new mansion is actually being fixed up by rapper Vanilla Ice as part of his “Vanilla Ice Project” show on the DIY Network show, where he and his team renovate houses.
– Zack Ryder is back with Episode 56 of his Z! True Long Island Story. Aside from the usual segments (Broski & Sign of the Week, etc.), Ryder talks about his kiss with Eve from RAW, which he called, “the most Zacktastic kiss ever.” Check it out:
– Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday that the Wolves fear that G Ricky Rubio (left knee) might have a torn ACL. ”Possible ACL. We’ll know more after the MRI. There’s a lot of worry right now.” Bad news is brewing in Minny. Stay tuned.
– Magic’ F Dwight Howard recently did impressions of TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. Enjoy:
– Heat’ F LeBron James pulled off a sweet 360 during a recent win over the Hawks. Check it out:
– Grizzlies’ F Zach Randolph (torn MCL) was extremely active on Friday and put in what is being called “easily his best contact practice” to date. Z-Bo was displaying second and third effort on the boards and although Randolph said he didn’t expect to play on this trip, he’s clearly getting into shape after three contact practices. His return should be just around the corner.
– Magic’ F Hedo Turkoglu has been suspended 1 game without pay for making contact with an official. The suspension was announced Friday, a day after the incident took place with 3:47 remaining in Orlando’s 99-94 victory at Chicago. Turkoglu, averaging 11.2 points and 3.7 rebounds, will miss the Magic’s game against Indiana on Sunday.
– The Clippers have signed F Bobby Simmons to a second 10-day contract. Simmons has averaged 4.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in six games for the team while shooting 44 per cent from 3-point range. He signed his first 10-day deal on Feb. 27.
– The Nets have signed F Gerald Green to a second 10-day contract. Green has averaged 5.6 points and 2.0 rebounds in five games since signing the first contract Feb. 27. He has averaged 18.6 minutes.
– Check out this video where Galaxy M David Beckham had a beer can thrown at him during a Galaxy/TFC game:
– According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals’ RHP Adam Wainwright (Tommy John surgery) is on track to start Opening Day “unless manager Mike Matheny further toggles the alignment.” Waino hasn’t had any issues in his recovery, but the Cards will still probably ease his workload early.
– A’s manager Bob Melvin said he’s not expecting LHP Dallas Braden (shoulder) to join the rotation until early-May. The A’s had originally been hoping to have Braden ready by mid-April when they needed a fifth starter for the first time. Coming back from shoulder surgery, Braden has been throwing fastballs from a mound with no issues and is expected to begin throwing breaking balls soon.
– A’s OF Yoenis Cespedes will make his debut Saturday against the Reds. He’ll start in center field and bat second. Cespedes arrived in A’s camp last weekend and received rave reviews for his power during simulated games this week. The 26-year-old is expected to open the season as the starting center fielder.
– Nationals’ manager Davey Johnson confirmed Friday that OF Bryce Harper (calf) will be out “at least three days.” Harper was held out of Thursday’s lineup after he woke up with tightness in his left calf. He’s expected to continue hitting while he’s out of the lineup.
– Mariners’ C Adam Moore (broken right wrist) has suffered a broken right wrist after blocking a ball in the dirt during a spring training game, and is out indefinitely. He’ll be placed in a cast, and will see a hand specialist. Moore blocked the pitch and remained in the game but arrived at the ballpark on Wednesday in pain. Moore missed most of last season after suffering a torn meniscus in his right knee.
– Longtime umpire Harry Wendelstedt, who worked five World Series and made a call involving Don Drysdale that became one of baseball’s most disputed plays in the late 1960s, died Friday. He was 73. Wendelstedt died at Florida Hospital Memorial Medical Center in Daytona Beach, Fla., near the umpiring school he ran for more than three decades in Ormond Beach. He had been diagnosed several years ago with a brain tumour. Wendelstedt called seven NL championship series and four All-Star games, and was behind the plate for five no-hitters. He was on the major league umpiring staff from 1966-98.
– Blue Jays’ prospect P Mitchell Taylor has been suspended 50 games for violations of baseball’s minor league drug program. The Associated Press reported Friday that it was Taylor’s second violation for a drug of abuse. Taylor is on the roster of Bluefield of the rookie-level Appalachian League. The 19-year-old Spring, Texas, native was drafted by the Jays in the seventh round (216th overall) in 2010. Last year he went 4-2 with a 4.23 ERA with 61 strikeouts in eight games started. Twenty players have been suspended this year under the minor league drug program, including seven for drugs of abuse.