Richie Incognito back home, training in hopes of playing in 2018

Richie Incognito spent three days in a mental health facility last month after an incident at a Florida gym that involved him throwing weights at another man and telling police that he was being tracked by government agencies.

That’s a result of hours of work, and the Patriots put in that work at this time of year too. Where a lot of staffs get to work in the wee hours and leave around 5 p.m. during OTAs, the New England staff often works late into the night. For 18 years, we’ve heard that that stuff matters. It can’t suddenly be irrelevant now, that New England’s two most important players missed seven weeks of the offseason program. So maybe that subtly costs them somewhere down the line. Four, the stuff about how much funNew England’s program sure is interesting, but also a little much. Consider the sources. Eagles linemen Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson never played in Foxboro.

He had a surgery, kind of an after surgery to correct a little something, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said, via Curtis Crabtree of 950 KJR and PFT. Everything went really well, and we’re hoping by camp time he’ll be ready to rip and all that. A little knee thing. He’s had some complications just over time and so it was worth it to go ahead and clean this thing up. It was a really small issue, but it was one that was going to sit him down for 6-8 weeks so we went ahead and did it.

Jordan, 28, has played only five games the past three seasons. Those came last season with the Seahawks when he made 18 tackles and four sacks.

The third overall pick in 2013 played only 26 games with the Dolphins and made three sacks.

He has undergone at least two previous surgeries, and the Dolphins waived him with a failed physical designation last year. He started last season with Seattle on PUP.

You think about how football coaches drill even the most unlikely situations, and you wonder about all that time they spend on it … and then you see what JR Smith did with the ball the other night and you remember why. I’m not saying, to be clear, that an NFL player wouldn’t forget the score during a game. It absolutely could happen. I am saying there are a number of teams that I believe it almost certainly wouldn’t happen to.

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Kaepernick went unsigned last season as a free agent, but players across the league continued to protest.

Kneeling during the anthem began during the 2016 preseason when then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick became the first to do so as a means of protesting racial injustice and police brutality.

The team sent down Ronald Torreyes to make room for Bird.

Was returned from rehab and reinstated from the 10-day disabled list prior to tonight’s game…was placed on the 10-day disabled list on 3/29 (retroactive to 3/26) recovering from right ankle surgery (missed the Yankees’ rst 47 games of the season)…combined with Single-A Tampa, Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to bat.205/.367/.436 (8-for-39) with 9R, 3HR, 8RBI and10BB in 12 rehab games.

Matthews was pitching in the charity softball game, which also included other Packers players, when a batted ball drilled him directly in the face, knocking him down. He got up and ran off the field, covering his face, and was taken to the emergency room.

Once he is, what will he do?

There continues to be no indication that the Giants and Beckham are closing in on a new contract. Beckham reportedly wants more than $20 million per year. The Giants apparently want to wait before making a commitment, primarily for reasons unrelated to Beckham’s skills and abilities. Beckham arguably should refuse to put himself at any degree of physical risk until he gets what he wants.

And if the Giants are willing to give Beckham what he wants, the Giants possibly should trade him to a team that will.

The good news for Owens is that he won’t have to worry about the Madden curse. Unless he does indeed get another shot to play in the NFL.

Given the current overall quality of the Cowboys’ receiving corps, maybe they could use him.

One former ambassador said then-head of business operations for the Redskins, Dennis Greene, would examine the women before games and choose two to accompany him while he visited suite-holders.

He would look each of us up and down and say, I want that one and that one, and everyone hated when you got selected for that, the former ambassador told the Times. It was humiliating, like we were cattle.

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DeMarcus Ware working with Broncos pass rushers

DeMarcus Ware said earlier this year that he’d like to work as a mentor to pass rushers and one of his former teams is giving him a chance to do that.

Mike Klis of KUSA reports that Ware will spend the final two weeks of the offseason helping the current Broncos edge rushers. Ware had 21.5 sacks for Denver over his final three NFL seasons.

Some of Ware’s charges have already spent time working with him as Von Miller, Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett were all with the Broncos before Ware retired as a player. Fifth overall pick Bradley Chubb did not play with Ware and getting him up to speed as soon as possible is likely to be a focus for the team over the rest of the offseason.

The Red Sox snagged Mookie Betts, plus Jackie Bradley Jr. and Travis Shaw. The Indians: Francisco Lindor, Cody Allen and Jason Kipnis plus Clint Frazier, who helped them get Andrew Miller from the Yankees. The Dodgers: Corey Seager, Cody Bellinger and the emerging Ross Stripling. The Nationals have not done great without a top pick, but they turned three of those high selections into Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon.

Charlton played behind DeMarcus Lawrence, who made 14.5 sacks. Lawrence played 67.1 percent of the defensive snaps, which was the most among Cowboys’ defensive linemen.

Both Lawrence and Charlton expect the 2017 first-round pick to play more — and do more — this season.

I feel like Taco had a pretty good rookie season, Lawrence said. You all take away the light that he was playing behind me so it wasn’t like he could get as many reps as he needed. This year I feel like he’s going to come along and take you all by storm.

Yeah, that’s a good question, Engram said. We definitely have a lot of talent. We’re going to utilize all of it as well. So it’s definitely interesting to think about. But I mean, in practice, we’ve got guys making plays all over the field. So the ball’s going to find the best player. We don’t really care where the ball goes, I just know we have a lot of talent.

Engram made it through 15 games and led the team with 65 receptions and six touchdowns. He was burdened with too heavy a load, asked to make plays down the field as the losses piled up. He sounds as if he will accept fewer catches for a whole lot more winning.

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Sam Darnold says not throwing at combine was best decision for me

Scouts may or may not learn something new about the quarterbacks who are throwing today. They will learn nothing new about Sam Darnold because he’s not throwing.

The USC quarterback, who drew criticism from NFL Network’s Mike Mayock for his decision, explained it as the best decision for him.

I just felt it was the best decision for me, Darnold said. Obviously I’m going to throw at my Pro Day. I think that’s a good opportunity for teams to be able to look at how I can spin it. I’m going to be throwing to guys I’ve played with. I think given all the information I had, I thought that was the best decision.

If that is indeed the case, it sounds like Bridgewater will field some calls from outside Minnesota. Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that a handful of teams showed interest in Bridgewater as a potential starting quarterback. Bridgewater said in January that he definitely thinks he can start in 2018.

The potential part of that equation suggests no one is going to hand Bridgewater a starting job, which makes sense given he’s spent two years (save a handful of snaps in garbage time last season) out of action after a serious knee injury.

The Cardinals, Jets and Broncos are reportedly the teams that have joined the Vikings in the running for Kirk Cousins and those that don’t land him could turn to Bridgewater, especially if they see him as a well-named bridge option until a rookie selected in this year’s draft is ready to start. With Case Keenum, Josh McCown, Sam Bradford and AJ McCarron also hitting the market, it should be a spirited game of musical chairs once teams are free to start making moves.

I think the important thing is Drew wants to be a New Orleans Saint, Loomis said, via Herbie Teope of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. We want him to be a New Orleans Saint, so he’s going to be a New Orleans Saint. That’s what my expectation is and we’ll see about the timing of that.

Loomis met with Brees’ agent Tom Condon Thursday night, but he didn’t want to discuss anything that was said.

I don’t want to talk about that because look, in part, if I talk about it then they’re going to feel like they need to talk about it, Loomis said. I don’t want to put them in that position.

If the 39-year-old Brees wanted to, he’d find an eager market for his services, but every indication through this process has been that a deal will get done.

Did teams ask Lamar Jackson to do receiver drills, or didn’t they?

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Yes, people are defending do you like men? as a useful interview question

It shouldn’t be a surprise, in our current red-blue-right-wrong-yell-scream climate, that people are defending the indefensible efforts by teams to question incoming players regarding their sexuality. Some defend the question based on the fact that the locker room consists of men who are in various states of undress. Some defend the question based on the notion that, if the goal is simply to elicit a reaction, anything goes.

So, under the theory offered by those defending the question based on its substance, the goal is to get gay players to voluntarily out themselves to strangers, which will allow sexuality to be added to the spreadsheet that includes height, weight, and 40-yard dash time, apparently resulting in a balancing test that has the G.M. weighing football factors along with propensity to establish a wide stance in a bathroom stall.

Under the theory that it’s all being done to get a reaction out of the players, the fact that the teams (and the players) would think that this is the kind of question that should prompt any reaction at all shows how outdated the NFL mentality really is.

Ben Volin of the Boston Globe reports that King’s deal has a total value of $2.6 million and includes a $400,000 signing bonus. He has base salaries of $775,000 and $925,000 with another $500,000 available in per-game roster bonuses.

King did not play any defensive snaps for the Patriots last season, but appeared on 52 percent of their special teams snaps and made eight tackles. One of those tackles came when he dropped Chargers punt returner Travis Benjamin in the end zone for a safety after Benjamin recovered a muffed punt.

Rudolph is an interesting guy. He’s more of a traditional quarterback in terms of his size and passing ability. He put up huge numbers in college. And I think that New England will indeed consider taking a quarterback in the early rounds. Will that be Rudolph? Will it be with 49ers pick? I can’t answer those and anyone who pretends they can is selling you a bill of goods.

Hello. Huge Patriots fan from China. I agree that coach BB is great, while I kind of believe he lost respect within the team since there was still no explanation on why he benched Butler in the SB. Yes, money talks on FA market, while I don’t really think Solder, Lewis and Amendola all left just looking for higher salary only.

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Jarvis Landry will sign franchise tender

The Dolphins were the first team to use the franchise tag this year. And receiver Jarvis Landry will be the first one to accept it.

Per multiple reports, Landry will be signing the one-year offer.

The outspoken leader of the Jacksonville defense, Ramsey played remarkably well for a rookie cornerback in 2016 and was part of the best cornerback duo in football last season. The only question about Ramsey coming into the NFL was whether he would be a playmaker after intercepting just three passes at FSU, but the 23-year-old racked up four picks in addition to his 17 pass deflections in 2017. Ramsey isn’t due for a new deal until 2019 at the earliest, but he’s the position’s best bet to garner a massive extension. Marcus Peters also might be in the running here.

Berry bet on himself before the 2016 season and subsequently produced the best season of his career, forcing the Chiefs into an enormous extension. The second-largest safety contract at the time Berry signed his deal called for Devin McCourty to receive $29.9 million over three seasons. Most big contracts go to free safeties, but Reshad Jones plays a mix of both safety spots and is in second with $33 million over three years, while pure strong safety Kam Chancellor is in third at $31 million.

The top quarterback prizes — Kirk Cousins (Vikings) and Case Keenum (Broncos) — and middle prizes — Teddy Bridgewater (Jets), Sam Bradford and Mike Glennon (both Cardinals) — are all signed or set up to be signed in the coming days. McCarron is still waiting for the right offer, but it’s unlikely to be a starting one, with the Bills the only team that would seem in the market for that and little interest being reported between the two sides.

The former Bengals signal-caller, who won his grievance against Cincinnati last month that allowed him to test the market, now may be back to square one.

On Wednesday, WEEI.com reported the Patriots had made McCarron, 27, an offer. Although New England signed 32-year-old journeyman Brian Hoyer to a three-year deal in November, closing in on a deal with McCarron could open the door for a (backup) quarterback competition come training camp. Bill Belichick also could keep two backups on his roster as insurance for Tom Brady, who will turn 41 before the start of the regular season.

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Eagles may need the draft picks a Nick Foles trade could bring

The Eagles wisely are playing coy about a possible trade of Nick Foles, treating it as something they’ll do only if they get the kind of windfall they want. The reality could be that they ultimately need to take the best possible offer they can get for Foles.

The trade that brings defensive end Michael Bennett to Philadelphia also brings into focus the depleted draft class the Eagles are scheduled to have in 2018. Jimmy Kempski of PhillyVoice.com lists the picks the Eagles have and explains the picks the Eagles have lost, via the Carson Wentz trade (second-round pick to Cleveland), the Ronald Darby trade (third-round pick to Buffalo), the Jay Ajayi trade (a fourth-round pick acquired in a trade that sent Eric Rowe to New England, to Miami), and the Bennett trade (a fifth-round pick acquired in a trade that sent Matt Tobin to Seattle, back to Seattle).

So, basically, the combination of the Eagles needing to replenish picks and Foles wanting a chance to strike while the Super Bowl MVP iron is hot and teams already making offers that the Eagles are summarily rejecting suggests that, at some point before the 2018 draft, the Eagles will realize that they should do the best deal possible for Foles, who otherwise will be able to walk away a year from now as a free agent.

That’s probably the extent of the actual football discussion during the 15 minutes or so with McAfee. Which made it a nice break from the 20-plus football interviews conducted throughout the week at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

For the full experience, check out the video.

Moving him to the left side would probably leave the Patriots worse off at two separate line spots. I’m not a huge fan of that idea. And I probably like the Clayborn addition the most. I think defensive end was the team’s biggest need before the Solder departure. The team had rotating bodies there last year and it didn’t work. Clayborn is a proven, starting-caliber veteran. New England lacked those types of guys last year. He’s far from an elite pass rusher but can be solid against the pass and the run. That’s a nice start to trying to solidify the front seven moving forward, but the work is far from done. And thanks foring!

Devera’s overall improvement was well-received by Ash and staff, and could lead to an offer in the near future.

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Jets are building toward a title with a young core, while Capitals try to keep Stanley Cup window open

Which teams have the best shot at locking up a playoff spot? Who’s earning a better shot at the No. 1 overall pick? Here are the latest projections for both, along with critical matchups to watch today and more. Read ?

Chris Peters, NHL prospects writer: That’s a good answer, Emily. But, for me, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks. The grave-dancing over their horrendous season and fall from elite status — the franchise is enduring its worst season of the Jonathan Toews/Patrick Kane era, which began in 2007-08 — has been rampant among fans outside of Chicago. The Blackhawks’ success is relatively recent and, compared with Duke’s scale of success, somewhat short-lived. But Chicago’s run has still been a pretty solid one, given that it came during the salary-cap era.

Chicago went from feel-good story of a franchise rising from the ashes — years of mismanagement and a tenuous relationship between the team’s owner and fans — to an oversaturation that left opposing fans nauseated.

Bucks: Middleton has reached double figures in 61 of 67 games this season and reached at least 20 points in 34 games. … Shot 56 percent for the first half, including 53 percent from 3-point range. . The Bucks had 33 assists on 47 made field goals.

Grizzlies: Hit nine of their first 10 shots. … Have lost seven straight at home. … Brooks entered the game averaging 21.3 points in the previous four games. … Used its 27th starting lineup of the season. … The 18-game losing streak is the longest during the Memphis era of the franchise. The Grizzlies moved from Vancouver in 2001.

Jennings said he expected to play 10, maybe 12 minutes. Instead, foul trouble had him on the floor for just under 24 minutes in his return. I was a little tired, he said. I kept telling (Bledsoe), `Don’t foul. Stop fouling. I’m tired.’ My nerves was running and everything like that. But it was good.

Memphis interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff on the 18-game losing streak: As professionals, our job is to show up every day and give our best effort. I don’t think they need to be reminded of that. Through and through, they haven’t laid down yet, and I don’t expect them to.

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Rockets’ James Harden sits out win vs. Mavericks with left knee soreness

Houston Rockets superstar guard James Harden sat out of his team’s 105-82 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday due to left knee soreness.

Coach Mike D’Antoni said that Harden, who is leading the NBA in scoring with 31.1 points per game and ranks third in assists (8.8 per game), will play in Monday’s home game against the San Antonio Spurs.

We don’t have the luxury of just taking nights off, he said. We’re not where we want to be. We’re not that good yet. So we have to go out there and approach every single game, no matter who we’re playing, like it’s a playoff game. We’re 15 games away, so it’s time to take it serious.

Harden scored 16 of his 28 points in the third quarter to allow the Rockets to build a huge lead and sail to a 109-93 victory Monday night.

The NBA’s leading scorer took a little while to get going a night after sitting out against Dallas with a sore left knee and had just 12 points at halftime.

Despite his slow start, the Rockets had a comfortable lead in the third and were still up by 13 after a basket by San Antonio’s Dejounte Murray with about eight minutes left in the quarter. It was then that Harden took over, scoring the next eight points to start a 16-4 run that extended the lead to 82-57 with about 3 1/2 minutes left in the third and had coach Gregg Popovich calling for a timeout.

The Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers and Rockets teams with D’Antoni on the sideline had a combined 6-20 record in playoff games against the Spurs. Then again, with all due respect to the Steve Nash-run Suns, none of those teams were nearly as dominant as these Rockets, who have won 19 of the past 20 games and are a ridiculous 35-2 when James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela all play.

And these Spurs — even with LaMarcus Aldridge (sore knee) and Manu Ginobili (rest), who both sat out against the Rockets — look nothing like the perennial contenders who have made the playoffs each of the previous 20 seasons, the third-longest postseason streak in NBA history. In fact, the Spurs find themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture this late in the season for the first time since Tim Duncan was drafted in 1997, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

It was a very solid game. He looked big to me tonight, Arizona coach Rick Tocchet said. A very solid play. It looked like when they shot nothing was going to go in.

Kuemper had 24 saves in the Coyotes’ 2-1 win at Vancouver on Wednesday in his Arizona debut.

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When LeBron James’ name was called when the Cleveland Cavaliers’ starting lineup was introduced, Los Angeles Lakers fans greeted the superstar with a warm applause.

While this wasn’t anything close to erecting billboards around the Los Angeles area trying to lure James as one longtime Lakers season-ticket holder did last week, the Staples Center crowd clearly wanted James to know that they’d love to see him here again next season and preferably in a purple and gold No. 23 jersey.

Patrik Laine, 19, has never played in the NHL postseason. Sure, they’ve both appeared in the same number of championship games, which is none. But the Jets are clearly a team building toward a title with a young core, while the Capitals are using an industrial-strength tire jack to keep their Stanley Cup window open.

Taylor Hall and Brad Marchand are among the guys who have significantly stepped up their game this season, from establishing themselves as impact players to morphing from stars into supernovas. Plus, the NHL has a China problem — and more Jersey Fouls.

An autopsy report released Tuesday by the El Paso County Coroner said that 53-year-old Jim Johannson’s death was natural and caused by heart disease.

According to USA Hockey, Johannson died in his sleep on Jan. 21 at his home in Colorado Springs.

Johannson worked for USA Hockey for decades; at the time of his death, he was general manager of the U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team. USA Hockey officials have said Johannson relished the chance to put together the men’s team that competed in South Korea.

Goran Dragic scored 23 points for the Heat, who were without two key players in starting center Hassan Whiteside and sixth man Dwyane Wade.

The Blazers closed the first quarter on a 14-4 run to take a 34-25 lead, capped by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from rookie Zach Collins that was accompanied with some guard-like dribbling.

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