Nats activate Adam Eaton (ankle) after two months on DL

jets_062Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton has been activated from the 60-day disabled list and will return to Washington’s lineup Saturday after missing two months with an ankle injury.

Henderson: If the question is whether Thomas should be a Hall of Famer if he retired now, my answer is yes. He has been arguably the most impactful player on a historically great defense. If the question is would he, I’d say probably. Looking at recent precedent, former Seahawks safety Kenny Easley — who had a similar career to Thomas’ — had to wait 25 years before he was elected last year.

Kimes: Yes, especially if he plays at a high level for two more years. Darrelle Revis once said this to me about Thomas: That guy has Hall of Fame written all over him.

Yates: Yes. Part of a player’s candidacy extends beyond his numbers, though Thomas’ statistical production is already Canton-esque. It’s about how that player impacts the league as a whole. Since early in his career, teams have often coveted a safety akin to Thomas, conceding that they rarely are available. That speaks to his unique ability.

Richard Sherman (No. 25) and Michael Bennett (No. 72) have left the Seahawks’ star-studded defense. Could Earl Thomas be next to go?

Vannett has some untapped receiving upside Schottenheimer will try to find. But in the quest to replace Graham’s double-digit touchdowns, it’s more about Marshall, who scored a career-high 14 times just a few seasons ago.

Struggling Twins third baseman Miguel Sano was moved to seventh in the batting order, the lowest starting spot of his major league career and only the second time this season he’s been lower than third. Since coming off the disabled list on May 25, Sano is hitting just .189 in 53 at-bats with four walks and 24 strikeouts.

He does have 12 RBI over those 13 games, including a high chopper to third baseman Luis Valbuena in the second inning that bounced over him to earn a double ruling from the official scorer and drive in Max Kepler from first base. Sano, though, is batting .088 with two strikes (7 for 80) this season.

With Ohtani out, Albert Pujols was the designated hitter and Jose Fernandez played first base in his major league debut at age 30. He singled in his first at-bat. Fernandez didn’t leave his native Cuba until 2015 and didn’t join a major league organization until 2017, when he played mostly in Double-A in the Los Angeles Dodgers system. He signed with the Angels in January and was promoted from Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday with infielder Nolan Fontana.

Hue Jackson to jump in a lake for charity

Hue Jackson is a man of his word, but his doctor still had a say.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Browns head coach is going to make good on his promise from after the 2016 season to jump in Lake Erie if his team went 1-15 again.

Of course, the Browns went 0-16, so there was technically a loophole. But a promise is a promise.

Nobody, including the media, is taking the Jaguars lightly anymore. That’s reason to celebrate.

Those who believe the Kansas City Chiefs had gone as far as they could with efficient but conservative quarterback Alex Smith have to be fired up: It’s the dawn of a new era.

Henderson was a sixth-round pick last year. He ran seven times for 13 yards and caught two passes for 36 yards and a touchdown in five games during his rookie season.

Smith was the league’s highest-rated passer last season, but the Chiefs were booted early in the playoffs—in excruciating fashion—for the fourth time in a five-year span. And so it was time to make a change. The veteran was traded to the Washington Redskins in March, paving the way for cannon-armed 2017 No. 10 pick Patrick Mahomes II to take the reins.

Mahomes has a lot to prove, and there’s always a chance a young quarterback will fall on his face. The floor is lower since he’ll be replacing Smith, but the ceiling is also a hell of a lot higher. And I think Chiefs fans will take that and run.

It seems like every year we find ourselves saying the Los Angeles Chargers were better than their record. Injuries and bad breaks always seem to get in the way for a franchise that often feels snake-bitten. But that dynamic also gives us a good reason to look forward to the 2018 Chargers season. cardinals_044

Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was a productive regular starter with the Tennessee Titans as a rookie in 2017, but a lot has changed over the past few months. 

After the Buffalo Bills traded him to the Kansas City Chiefs in late August, 2016 second-round pick Reggie Ragland took some time to recover from a knee injury and adjust to a new environment before eventually playing a significant role at linebacker in November and December.

He’ll now have a better opportunity to get acclimated to the Kansas City defense as he embarks on his first offseason program with the team. And the expectations are high.

Everything is different, Jackson said, per Wyatt. “But it’s cool. I’m learning a new playbook, learning a new style. But I am enjoying it.”

If Jackson is going to make a leap as a sophomore, we might get a feel for it when the Titans hold their first batch of OTAs next week.

As a sophomore with the Washington Redskins in 2017, cornerback Kendall Fuller broke out with four interceptions and 10 passes defensed while earning the fifth-highest qualified grade at the position from Pro Football Focus.

“Like many, I was reluctant about being the featured team on Hard Knocks but once we sat down and talked about it as an organization, I feel a lot better and understand why the time is right,” Dorsey said in a release. “Hue and I both feel like this team is in a good place and that we are in the process of building something that will lead to success. Being a part of Hard Knocks will give our fans the opportunity to see how passionate the people in our building are about winning and how excited we are about getting to work and preparing for the 2018 season.”

Dorsey deserves credit for helping the Browns make moves this offseason, but, likely to his chagrin, he couldn’t keep the team off the show. He’ll probably have to be on the series at some point, and when he does, maybe he’ll play ball. Or even better, maybe he’ll roll his eyes throughout.

I’ve been a part of Hard Knocks and when you experience it first hand, you come to appreciate the inside look it really gives fans, Jackson said in a statement. “We are excited about what we are building within our organization and feel good about the progress we have made this offseason. Being able to bring our fans in so they can get to know our players and our organization in a different way will be a huge positive for us. I want people to see how much our players and coaches care, how hard they work and how badly they want to win for Cleveland. This will be a great opportunity for our team.” cowboys_069

Texans place Karl Malone’s kid, K.J., on reserve/retired list

K.J. Malone, the son of basketball Hall of Fame member and NBA legend Karl Malone, has ended his football playing career.

The Golden Knights are Canada’s team because of Gerard Gallant, who is Canadian to the point where he’s from Prince Edward Island. This is a coach whose former non-traditional-market team fired him after a division championship and then made him call a Shame Cab from the arena. Like any true Canadian, Gallant kept his head high, until he lowered it to see the ridiculous check the Knights cut to hire him.

The Golden Knights are Canada’s team because of Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, who [checks notes] was born in Le Blanc-Mesnil, France, but really sort of sounds Canadian, right?

“We loved the opportunity to marry the history and heritage of the 49ers franchise with the modern innovation of our latest football chassis, the Nike Vapor Untouchable uniform,” Nike Art Director of NFL Uniforms Tom Andrich said, via the team’s website . “It was a way to honor the past while representing the future.”

The uniforms feature white jerseys and pants, the drop shadow number, three-stripe sleeve, black and red pant stripes, and a throwback decal on the side of the helmet.

The first pro sports stadium ever to achieve LEED Platinum Certification in the U.S., Mercedes-Benz Stadium touts itself as the most sustainable sports venue in the world. It can power up to 10 Falcons games with the renewable energy generated through its 4,000 solar panels, and it can store more than 2 million gallons of storm water on site to prevent flooding in the area. The stadium also uses 47 percent less water than baseline standards.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium was built next to the Georgia Dome, which was demolished in November. Super Bowl 53 will mark the third time Atlanta has hosted the game. The previous two (1994 and 2000) took place in the Georgia Dome.ravens_145

London tickets sell out fast, and UK NFL fans aren’t happy

The good news for the NFL is that its London fan base is big enough that games at Wembley Stadium sell out quickly. The bad news is there’s a growing perception among the UK fan base that the NFL is a greedy interloper fixated on maximizing profits while pricing out average fans.

“We love the fact we get games here in the UK, but if tickets are ending up on resale sites for £500 [$700] a ticket, fans will opt to save their money and head to America to see the real action,” Fox writes. “Genuine fans are being priced out by greedy individuals and businesses. If this continues, the NFL will see less fans being able to attend games, and in turn fans confidence will be lost when it comes to a franchise.”

The NFL has become popular enough that it can sell out a stadium in London. But it wants to become popular enough to generate big television ratings in the UK. And a perception that it’s catering only to the fans who can afford the expensive tickets at Wembley could hold the league back in the long run.

As one executive whose team was actively evaluating the quarterbacks in the 2018 draft explained it to PFT, if the draft had been held immediately after the college football season ended, Mayfield likely would have been a high second-round pick. It was the work that was done from the middle of January until the end of April that pushed Mayfield to the point where he became the must-have guy.

Browns V.P. of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith recently gushed about Mayfield’s intangibles, and Highsmith wasn’t alone. As the source explained it to PFT, Mayfield blew people away with his demeanor, his words, and his way, once the process of talking to him and interacting with him began.

Enhancing that assessment was the information obtained as scouts learned more about Mayfield from those who had dealt with him in he past. Most prospects kiss the butts of the people they should; Mayfield is among the minority who had a reputation for treating very well the people who couldn’t help him. And that’s a very big deal when it comes to how teams separate one player from another, especially when none of the prospects stand out clearly and obviously above the rest based on physical abilities.broncos_045_8f841d7282ae3bdf-180x180

Panthers waive tight end who failed PED test

The Panthers added tight end Kent Taylor to their practice squad last December, and he made news two weeks ago when he was suspended for failing a PED test.

He won’t get a chance to add to his Panthers legacy.

Per the league’s official transaction report, the Panthers waived the reserve tight end yesterday. He had signed a futures deal in January, but wasn’t expected to make the regular season roster or anything.

They filled his roster spot by signing tackle Korren Kirven, who had been recently released by the Jets and cleared waivers. The former undrafted free agent from Alabama has spent time with the Buccaneers and Browns as well.

Gase pushed back on the idea that he signed Osweiler — the jettisoned Texans and Browns starter — simply because of their time together in Denver, saying he probably took longer than everybody else to warm up to the idea of adding Brock.

Nacua played in every game for the Browns last season after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of BYU. He made three starts at safety, played 139 special teams snaps and finished the year with 14 tackles.

With Tony Jefferson and Eric Weddle still on hand at safety, Nacua will vie for a reserve/special teams role with Baltimore. Sixth-round pick DeShon Elliott will be among the players competing with Nacua for playing time.

It’s been more than six months since Bears tight end Zach Miller nearly lost his leg after he seemingly came down with an incredible touchdown catch against the Saints, only to have that touchdown overturned due to an official review that never really made complete sense. Six months later, Saints coach Sean Payton has admitted that Miller, now a free agent, did indeed catch that football and should’ve been rewarded with a touchdown.

Kim Pegula named Bills team president, expected to stay in role

When Bills president Russ Brandon stepped down/was pushed out yesterday after an investigation of inappropriate workplace relationships with women, a release said that Kim Pegula was taking over as team president of the Bills and Sabres.

She apparently intends to stay on the job.

On the right, the more reasonably clothed Northwestern University cheerleaders at an opening-week game in 2014 (the author of this article is fourth from the left).

More If NFL cheerleaders are no longer objectified, teams will have no reason to hold women to unhealthy body standards.

Both Davis and Ware say they were subjected to weekly weigh-ins to make sure they were at or below the weight they had auditioned at.

(Through counsel, the Saints said they have never required cheerleaders to submit to weekly weigh-ins.) Ware says many teams, like the Dolphins, had a three-pound leniency rule.

Given the stated importance of the new helmet rule, why wouldn’t the NFL allow missed ejections that would have been subject to replay review to be imposed via replay review? Thus, a de facto targeting rule will become the next logical step as the very broad lowering-the-helmet rule adopted secretly last month by the NFL’s owners becomes shaped and contoured by an even less transparent process that trades debate for mandate, and that risks fundamentally altering pro football as we know it.

This year was Ward’s first as a full-time starter at OSU (he played behind 2017 first-round picks Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley in 2016, and ’16 first-rounder Eli Apple, Conley and others in ’15), and he ascended through the season, which was key.

And while the NFL universally loved Chubb, he was never athletically seen like Myles Garrett was last year or Jadeveon Clowney was four years ago, part of why Ward was given a better shot to be truly elite at his position.broncos_128_f486199b8fb2f027-180x180

Tom Brady can admit to the high-rollers at some corporate powwow that, yes, sometimes he clashes with his longtime bosses.

But Roethlisberger and the other bruised berries aren’t really daring to be honest and open. They are being almost cowardly when they communicate through riddles, rumors, sly suggests and zingers. They have the power and job security to be blunt, but they would rather be coy and invite the kind of attention and speculation that they pretend to hate.

Rodgers can state, flat-out, that he wants to have a say in Packers personnel decisions. Flacco can acknowledge that he’s in professional peril and that his only recourse is to get to work. Roethlisberger can mark the territory around his locker without going out of his way to wreck a rookie’s first week in the NFL.

Le’Veon Bell never gets a guarantee that extends beyond the franchise tag, but Roethlisberger feels free to get territorial about a third-round pick. Brady makes cryptic remarks at events that sound like settings in Tom Wolfe novels while the Patriots trade away his backup, a potential franchise quarterback, and then pick the least-threatening quarterbacks on the draft board to assure him that he’s still their one and only.

Even among NFL royalty, these quarterbacks are more royal than most, which makes it really off-putting when they get petulant about the tiniest setback or slight.

Quarterbacks on the Roethlisberger-Brady-Rodgers tier are paid not just to win games, but also to represent our highest ideals of professionalism and leadership. That’s why team execs throw around phrases like face of the franchise, why Ryan’s very-good-but-not-great play is worth a $100 million guarantee (his extreme corporate blandness is considered an asset) and why independent-minded prospects like Josh Rosen give old-school football guys the willies. Teams don’t want their quarterbacks to be about anything except winning the next football game.sharks-026

Judge whiffed twice. So did Tyler Austin and Gleyber Torres.

Yankees righty Domingo German had a no hitter going through six innings against the Indians on Sunday at Yankee Stadium.

But manager Aaron Boone pulled him before the seventh inning, putting in reliever Dellin Betances with the score knotted at 0-0.

Lawmakers had been pushing last month for more access to a handful of cables and other CIA material that might shed more light on Haspel’s work. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said the more material she reads about Haspel’s role in the interrogation program, including the destruction of tapes, the more unsettled she has become.

Last month, the CIA declassified an internal disciplinary review that found no fault with the performance of Haspel in the destruction of the videotapes. Haspel drafted a cable approving the destruction that her boss ultimately sent to field officers, who fed the tapes into a shredding machine. But she believed that he would first get the approval of senior CIA leaders before sending it, according to people with knowledge of the episode.

The release of the disciplinary review may persuade some lawmakers who had been undecided to support Haspel, said congressional officials tracking the nomination process.

LAST APPEARANCE: Made his fth appearance of the season in Tuesday’s win at Houston, tossing 4.0 shutout innings (4H, 1BB, 4K)…matched his longest Major League outing (also 6/17/17 at Oakland)…was the longest relief appearance by the Yankees since Bryan Mitchell (4.0IP, 0R) on 8/8/17 at Toronto.

Amid the questioning in the West Wing on Friday afternoon, Haspel told White House aides she did not want her nomination to harm the CIA. She also feared unfair attacks on her own reputation, saying that she didn’t want to be the next Ronny Jackson, one official said. Jackson, Trump’s White House doctor, withdrew his nomination to become Veterans Affairs secretary following questions regarding alleged misconduct earlier in his career. tigers_050-115x115