Brady to be Denied!!?

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The NFL is going to reject Tom Brady’s appeal and uphold the four-game suspension he is facing for his alleged role in Deflategate, according to one report.

Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday morning that a source told him Roger Goodell will not reduce or overturn Brady’s suspension. Perhaps more shocking, Smith cited a separate source who told him Brady actually destroyed his own personal cell phone rather than just refusing to turn it over.

We have known all along that the bigger issue here is Brady’s lack of cooperation during the Ted Wells investigation. The NFL was furious that Brady wouldn’t give up “relevant” text messages and emails that might help clarify his level of involvement — or lack thereof — in Patriots equipment managers allegedly letting air out of game balls.

Smith clarified that he was told by one source that the NFL is going stand by its four-game suspension within the next 24-48 hours, whereas the information about Brady destroying his cell phone was just “something I heard.” It was almost as if he was downplaying the information knowing how much of a bombshell the rumor was.

Reports in recent weeks have been all over the place regarding Brady’s appeal. There has been some indication that the two sides are working toward a settlement, though reports like this one make that seem unlikely.

If the NFL upholds the suspension, no one would be stunned. If someone can prove that Brady destroyed his cell phone, that would be tough for the New England Patriots quarterback to explain.

 

Russell’s Contract Situation

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The Seahawks have offered quarterback Russell Wilson a contract offer worth $21 million per year, according to Pro Football

Wilson is entering the final year of his rookie contract, which would pay him $1.54 million this season. With his new deal, the 2012 third-round pick from Wisconsin would be the NFL’s third-highest paid quarterback behind Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers ($22 million per season) and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger ($21.85 million).

MORE: Highest-paid athletes | NFL’s richest players | Ranking the top 25 NFL quarterbacks

The Seahawks want to get a new deal in place before the team opens training camp on Thursday. Wilson has said he would play out the final year of his contract and has yet to agree to Seattle’s latest offer.

If the two sides cannot come to an agreement, Seattle does have the option of placing a franchise tag on Wilson next year, which would pay the quarterback who helped Seattle reach the last two Super Bowls more than $20 million for one season.

Over his three-year career, Wilson has thrown for 9,950 yards with 72 touchdowns and 26 interceptions while rushing for 14 touchdowns. If the report is true and Seattle is offering a pay raise of more than 2,000 percent more than his current salary, Wilson — and his agent Mark Rodgers — would be insane to not accept it.

 

Royals Add an Ace

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Days of speculation and anticipation and fretting about solving the Royals’ most glaring vulnerability ended Sunday afternoon with the acquisition of Cincinnati ace pitcher Johnny Cueto.

In one monumental burst arrived a harmonic convergence coinciding with a resurgence by Yordano Ventura that has ample potential to become the flashpoint we’ll look back at as when one of the best teams in baseball morphed into, in fact, the best.

It wasn’t just that the scoreboard in Kauffman Stadium’s center field trumpeted the trade for Cueto (in exchange for left-handed pitching prospects Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed).

The power of the moment also was in the mystery leading up to the timing.

Premature reports about the Cueto trade remained publicly unvalidated by the principals involved – and thus subject to change – into early Sunday afternoon.

Which in turn led to another cycle of anxiety, in the filter-free world of social media … and beyond.

“He was coming – then he wasn’t,” said manager Ned Yost, who repeated the point for emphasis.

As late as just before the 1:10 game against Houston at Kauffman Stadium, Yost was told by general manager Dayton Moore that he wasn’t sure the deal would happen. In turn, he tried to tamp down excitement in the clubhouse about the apparent inevitability.

From Moore’s perspective, even when it was being reported as official, “the deal was far from done” until about 1:50 p.m. Central time.

That’s when Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty finally called and said, “We’re prepared to move forward at this point in time if you are.”

It was worth the wait.

 

Seahawks -Dolphins in Superbowl??

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And to think … for years, we were taught that Harvard was a school for smart kids.

A student at the school has developed a model for predicting the odds for each NFL team to make the 2015 playoffs, and his picks for the top teams in each league are both expected and shocking.

Kurt Ballard had his findings published on the Harvard College Sports Analysis Collective webpage. Here is how he got to the numbers for each team:

The method that I came up with uses Pro Football Reference’s Approximate Value statistic, the site’s best measure of trying to tease out individual talent. Then, using ESPN’s NFL depth charts, I aggregated each team’s per game approximate value of what I considered to be the ‘core’ makeup of an NFL team: QB, RB, 2 WR, TE, Top 2 OL, the Top-4 ‘Front Seven’ defensive players, and the Top-2 players from the secondary.

And what do his numbers show?

In the NFC, the two time conference champion Seattle Seahawks are again predicted to head to the Super Bowl, with a 95% chance of making the playoffs. That’s followed by the Green Bay Packers at 93%.

And the AFC? You might want to sit down for this one.

The Miami Dolphins … yes, those Miami Dolphins … are the predicted best team in the conference this season, with a 77% chance of making the playoffs. That’s followed by the Kansas City Chiefs at 66% and the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots at 62%.

The complete numbers can be found here.

 

Mike Holmgren Speaks on Wilson

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Former Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren thinks Russell Wilson would be making a huge mistake to play out the 2015 NFL season under his current contract.

Wilson is set to earn just $1.5 million if he and the Seahawks don’t get a deal done before the start of training camp — a self-imposed deadline. Many have wondered if Seattle has been low-balling the young star quarterback — a notion Holmgren summarily dismissed in a recent appearance on The Erik Kuselias Show on NBC Sports Radio.

“I know this, without going into the numbers,” Holmgren said (h/t Pro Football Talk). “I know the Seahawks have not lowballed Russell Wilson … So I think it’s a fair deal, looking at it from an outsider looking in. I have no skin in the game but I just think — I think he should do this.”

Holmgren also hinted that the offer is likely in the five-year, $100 million range, and said Wilson turning down such an offer “doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Holmgren isn’t off his rocker.

If Wilson does play out the year under his current contract, and if he does suffer an unfortunate injury along the way, then he’ll undoubtedly lose out big time when it’s time to sit back down at the negotiating table next year.

No matter which team he’s speaking with.

Wilson is trying desperately to set a new precedent in the world of NFL contracts. He’s been reportedly trying to get paid like a free agent now, even though he is still under contract for another year. Unfortunately for him, he doesn’t have that kind of leverage.

The Seahawks technically can keep him under wraps for the next three years without giving him a long-term deal. Though it would be quite expensive by year three, Seattle can use the franchise tag to keep Wilson from signing with any other teams until the year 2018.

Wilson should listen to Holmgren.

He isn’t going to win this fight—not under the current CBA. Players don’t have the kind of power he’s trying to wield, and the Seahawks aren’t going to bat an eye calling him on his bluff.

Earl Thomas

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Earl Thomas won’t be ready for training camp and could miss Seattle’s Sept. 13 opener in St. Louis, according to ESPN.

Thomas underwent surgery in February to repair a torn labrum. The 26-year-old safety suffered the injury in the NFC Championship Game but still managed to play in the Super Bowl XLIX loss to the Patriots. 

Thomas has been selected to four Pro Bowls and named All-Pro three times through five NFL seasons.

Feds Dropped Case against Bonds

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday formally dropped its criminal prosecution of Barry Bonds, Major League Baseball’s career home run leader.

The decade-long investigation and prosecution of Bonds for obstruction of justice ended quietly with the DOJ’s one-paragraph court filing announcing it would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider a lower court’s reversal of his felony conviction.

A jury convicted Bonds in 2011 of obstruction of justice for giving a meandering answer to a federal grand jury when asked about injections. A federal appeals court overturned that conviction in April.

The DOJ could have asked the high court to take the case. Instead, the DOJ said the reversal of Bonds’ conviction would stand.

Bonds attorney Dennis Riordan decline comment early Tuesday, saying he needed to speak with his client before discussing the case publicly.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco didn’t respond immediately to a phone call seeking comment. The San Francisco office obtained an indictment of Bonds in 2007, charging him with lying to a federal grand jury about performance-enhancing drug use.

A jury convicted him of obstructing justice because of the answer he gave when he was asked if his personal trainer Greg Anderson ever injected him with steroids.

”That’s what keeps our friendship,” Bonds replied. ”I was a celebrity child, not just in baseball by my own instincts. I became a celebrity child with a famous father. I just don’t get into other people’s business because of my father’s situation, you see.”

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in April said that answer didn’t amount to obstruction. The court said the answer wasn’t ”material” to the sprawling federal investigation into sports doping centered in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A federal judge sentenced Bonds to 30 days of home confinement, two years of probation, 250 hours of community service in youth-related activities and a $4,000 fine after the 2011 trial and conviction. Bonds served the home confinement before his conviction was overturned.

Bonds ended his career after the 2007 season with 762 career home runs, surpassing Hank Aaron’s long-standing record of 755.