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teams (and the players) would think that this is the kind of question that should prompt any reaction at all shows how outdated the NFL mentality really is.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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Stanley Cup Final 2017: One year later, Sidney Crosby and Penguins continue to ‘just play’

The day the Pittsburgh Penguins took their first shot at reaching their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final was an important anniversary in my relationship with the team. Unlike those involving my wife, which I remember with religious fervor, I forgot all about this one.

Yes, I wrote on May 23, 2016, with the Penguins trailing Tampa Bay in the Eastern Conference finals by a margin of three games to two, that Sidney Crosby was not an emphatic enough leader to push his teammates past the playoff petulance that had ruled their springs throughout this decade. When the Pens rallied to defeat the Lightning and reach the 2016 Stanley Cup Finals, I responded by tweeting I was fine with being proven wrong.

Lundqvist is 35 and his best years are clearly behind him. His main supporting cast members, in particular Dan Girardi, Marc Staal, Derek Stepan, Rick Nash and Ryan McDonagh, are still above-average contributors, but they aren’t getting younger.

Ultimately, we have some philosophical differences on how to build our team. Therefore, we mutually agreed that it is in everyone’s best interest to have a coaching change in order to move our franchise forward.

A couple suspect whistles (and non-whistles) irked both sides, including Predators superfan Carrie Underwood. The country music star and wife of Nashville captain Mike Fisher, already in hot water these playoffs for her social media thoughts on officiating, made it clear she felt the refs were out of line.

Suddenly all the pent-up anger went away when Kessel broke through with 6:55 remaining in the game.

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NHL free agency tracker: Kevin Shattenkirk’s move to Rangers headlines early moves

The NHL free agency signing period began Saturday (noon ET), and teams around the league are wasting no time going after players they hope can improve their rosters. Here’s a look at some of the big names around the league who are either changing places or staying put with a new deal with their existing team.

The high-scoring defenseman is headed to the New York Rangers, after agreeing to a four-year deal that will pay him $6.65 million per year. TSN’s Frank Seravalli was first to report the deal. The New York Post reports that Shattenkirk had offers for far more money on longer-term deals, but the 28-year-old New Rochelle, N.Y., native liked the Rangers’ situation. Shattenkirk finished fourth in scoring among NHL defensemen with 56 points last season. He began the season in St. Louis, but went over to the Capitals in a trade in late February. He scored 14 points in 19 regular season games with the Caps, and added six points in the postseason.

In his eighth game back, Crosby was on the receiving end of a big hit from the Bruins’ David Krejci, who was accused of elbowing. The Penguins originally announced Crosby would sit out two games as a precaution, but two games turned into an indefinite absence when concussion symptoms flared up again. The fear was it would turn into another lost season for Crosby, who at the time was 24 and just entering his prime. Worse, would recurring concussions prematurely end his career?

Crosby was diagnosed with his third known concussion Oct. 10 sustained during a preseason practice, costing him first six games of this past season. He otherwise stayed healthy and played 75 games, leading the NHL with 44 goals.

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The Bulls pick up a second-straight convincing win.

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Every time the Dolphins scored a touchdown during a home game, Citi donated enough for No Kid Hungry to provide 20 meals for kids need across Miami-Dade County and the United States.

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