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Pete Carroll on criticism from ex-players: ‘Sometimes guys can’t hang with what’s expected’

Meanwhile, Seahawks All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner told Seattle’s KJR-AM Monday he doesn’t blame Thomas for holding out.

You’ve got to do what’s right for you, Wagner said (via the NewsTribune). Because at the end of the day, whenever you are done they don’t care about you. You’ve got to get what you’ve got to get while you can. Because as soon as you can’t play. … As soon as you can’t play and they don’t want you no more, it’s over. So you’ve got to make the best of your opportunity.

Bidwill was subjected to backlash on social media after he vocalized his support for President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court in an open letter on the team’s website, though Bidwill insisted it isn’t about politics and said he thinks Kavanaugh is just a great person.

The NFL announced a new national anthem policy in May, stating it will allow players to remain in the locker room while the anthem plays. However, teams will be fined if players and other personnel on the field do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.

Could a trade be the ultimate outcome? DallasCowboys.com writer Bryan Broaddus, speaking on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan, said the draft day trade rumor that had Thomas going to the Cowboys still is in play.

The Cowboys have to look at their situation at safety and figure out, is this going to be good enough? Are we able to compete for a division? To get in the playoffs? Could Earl Thomas be a guy, could he be a difference maker? Broaddus said (via the Dallas Morning-News). I feel like that the Earl Thomas situation still is in play. It’s just a matter of where Seattle is going to be.

I think that Seattle is going to have to figure out something. The Cowboys are going to have to figure out something. And maybe they do work something out there.

Thomas, 29, is in the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal, but wants a new contract. He noted on Twitter last month that I will not be attending the upcoming mini camp or any team activities until my contract situation is resolved.

We saw this in 2017 when the Philadelphia Eagles leapt from last place in the NFC East to Super Bowl champions behind a rock-solid defense

Thanks to a restrictive salary cap and the litany of injuries that mar every season, the NFL is a bastion of parity. While a handful of teams have carved out their niche as annual contenders, the league’s ability to cultivate Cinderella worst-to-first stories every year makes the gridiron host to some of the most compelling stories in major sports.

In Carolina, that means Cam Newton will have to rely on a second-year leap from Christian McCaffrey and a big debut from first-round pick D.J. Moore to upgrade a middle-of-the-road offense. Atlanta will have its own big name rookie wideout to turn to — Calvin Ridley — and will have to hope its defense can carry on without the contributions of Dontari Poe and Adrian Clayborn up front.

The Saints will be a difficult Goliath to topple. The reigning offensive and defensive rookies of the year, Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore, respectively, will flank established stars like Drew Brees and Cameron Jordan. After getting bounced out of the playoffs on the wrong end of a miracle, New Orleans will have a chip on its shoulder in its quest to repeat as NFC South champs.

That doesn’t mean it’ll be easy for the Saints to repeat, either. The strength of this division is the biggest reason it’s the one most likely to see a new champion.

And never forget: The Cavs won a title, and gave Cleveland one of the seminal moments in recent sports history. They might have repeated had that same cap spike not allowed the Warriors to add Durant. Last year’s Cavaliers, when fully engaged, were a championship-level team with an all-time great offense. Greatness comes at a cost.

The Irving and Bennett moves are exceptions. It still matters. The consequences of getting literally zero from the single most valuable asset in the sport ripple over years.

That pick could have been another bust. That draft was full of them. It could have been Otto Porter Jr. or Victor Oladipo.

Hit that pick, or even get 75 percent of the expected value of it, and it would at least be something today — the player selected, or some trade return netted in exchange for that player.

The Chiefs now have an inside linebackers coach and an outside linebackers coach.

It’ll be interesting to see if more teams follow their lead.

The Ravens are being punished, AGAIN, for failing to follow the CBA’s rules regarding offseason practices. You’d think John Harbaugh would know the rules by now …

Reuben Foster’s legal issues are now resolved. But the NFL could still suspend the 49ers linebacker. Foster has been taking first team reps during OTAs.

Epstein and Else were part of a coalition created to address a mounting domestic violence problem in the league. The group was convened following former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice’s 2014 arrest for assaulting his then-fiancee (now wife) Janay Rice in an Atlantic City elevator. According to Epstein, the NFLPA has been slow to implement any of the group’s recommendations, fueling frustration and leading to two high-profile departures this week.

In her op-ed, Epstein pointed to the league’s continued signing of players facing allegations of physical violence or sexual assault against women as evidence of an unchanging culture. She singled out the Bengals 2017 drafting of Joe Mixon nearly three years after punching a woman and the Browns drafting of Antonio Callaway, who had faced accusations of sexual assault at Florida, in 2018 as indicators of the league’s unwillingness to embrace actual reform.

Toomer also remembers the 2004 season, quarterback Eli Manning’s rookie season, and how I was in my ninth year and I was disappointed we were starting over with a rookie — it was not ideal. Toomer said that Owens approached him on the field after a game that season and told him he knew he was frustrated, to hang in there. Toomer said it surprised him that Owens was so aware and that considerate. It was another side of Owens people don’t see, he said.

Dawkins, a former Owens teammate, said there is an Owens persona he wishes the world could see at the Hall of Fame ceremonies.

I concentrate on the T.O. I know and his heart, that’s the thing, Dawkins said. The one I see is when he is around my family and kids. A loving man. That is the individual I want people to see and am praying they will see.

Owens is peeved he had to wait three classes to enter the hall.

He is upset the writers who held his induction hostage rubbed his nose in the wait. A cancer to coaches, teammates and franchises, they labeled him, ignoring his sterling NFL production.

But that should not keep Owens away from the ceremonies, longtime NFL defensive expert Dom Capers said.

Janoris Jenkins puts out statement about death at his house

Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins was in Florida when authorities found a dead body in his New Jersey home, and his brother was subsequently charged with aggravated manslaughter.

And while it wasn’t much, Jenkins did put out a brief statement on social media Thursday regarding the death of Roosevelt Rene.

Arledge: Lehner is the most intriguing option for me — if and only if Capitals goalie coach Mitch Korn does follow Trotz to the Islanders as has been rumored. There’s no question Lehner has talent, but he needs the right coach and team to reach his potential. Korn could certainly be the guy to get him there. The Islanders just need a filler as they wait for Sorokin and Soderstrom to come into the fold, so why not take a shot with the big Swede?

Wyshynski: While they might not want to hand out the term he’s looking for, I’d love to see The Real Deal James Neal reunited with the team that tossed him into the expansion draft pool, the Nashville Predators. They could use a 20- to 25-goal scorer on right wing, with a little playoff truculence. Plus, it’d be nice to see both player and team finish what they started.

Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander, a member of the NFLPA’s executive committee, is ready for that.

Alexander spoke to SiriusXM NFL Radio on Thursday, agreeing with Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung that the NFLPA does need to make guaranteed contracts a priority when it negotiates a new collective bargaining agreement. (The current one expires after the 2020 season.)

I think we’ve always tried to make those strides and gains, and tried to get as much money in guys’ pockets as possible, Alexander said on the SiriusXM Blitz Thursday. I mean, obviously, when you are negotiating with an opposing side that’s also fighting for those dollars and that power and control, they want something totally different. So, obviously, we are with Russ and what he’s saying and the tone of the tweets that he was putting out [Wednesday].

As players, of course, you want some guarantees and some type of certainty when you sign a deal. They have it, from their perspective, as the ownership, but players would also like to add that same type of comfort level, knowing that I’m going to make x-amount of dollars over the next two or three years, even if that means that our deals are [shorter].

Jonathan Loaisiga will make his fourth start since being inserted into the rotation for Masahiro Tanaka (hamstrings).

Loaisiga is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in his first three starts.

Two of those starts were scoreless outings as he threw a combined 10 1/ 3 scoreless innings, allowed four hits and fanned 14 in wins over Tampa Bay on June 15 and at Philadelphia last Monday. His other start was June 20 when he allowed three runs and six hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 7-5 win over the Seattle Mariners decided on a walk-off homer by Stanton.

No matter where LeBron James chooses to take his talents next season, the 2018-19 NBA title odds will be greatly affected.

The first transaction for the new-look Detroit front office led by senior adviser Ed Stefanski looks like a good one. In a market short on 3-and-D role players who can defend small forwards, Robinson figured to be highly coveted. So for the Pistons to get him without using the entirety of their taxpayer midlevel exception is a win — particularly so with a team option for 2019-20.

After dealing Avery Bradley and Tobias Harris to the Clippers in the Blake Griffin deal, the Pistons were short on wings. They filled that hole temporarily at the deadline by acquiring James Ennis from the Memphis Grizzlies. Ennis is now an unrestricted free agent, and I’d prefer to have Robinson of the two players. Robinson is more than three years younger, a superior 3-point shooter (38 percent career to Ennis’ 36 percent) and better equipped to defend power wings because of his strength.

This is still an excellent payday for Robinson, who played the previous four seasons at the minimum for his experience level. Robinson should have the opportunity compete for a starting spot on the wing with incumbents Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson.

NBA free agency rumors: Jabari Parker drawing interest from Bulls

Jabari Parker is drawing interest from his hometown team.

The Bulls have reportedly discussed offering the 23-year-old forward a contract, according to a report from USA Today’s HoopsHype. Parker, a Chicago native, is a restricted free agent and the Bucks can match any contract he signs.

The Cowboys’ need for a safety has been obvious since the start of the offseason they used former undrafted free agent Jeff Heath and former sixth-round pick Xavier Woods as starters during organized team activities. The Dallas front office had discussions with the Seahawks about Thomas that never seemed to go far before and during the draft, and the Seahawks even approached the Cowboys at the combine and asked for their first-round pick.

The 33-year-old forward was rumored to be looking for a deal in the four-year, $50 to $60 million range, but it would appear he is going to sign a short term contract with the Suns.

If things go great this year, then he has the option of signing a longer deal next season in free agency.

The Suns added Arizona center Deandre Ayton with the first-overall pick in the draft and acquired two-time national champion Mikal Bridges in a trade with the 76ers.

With those two players in addition to one of the best young scoring guards in the NBA in Devin Booker, the 2017 No. 4 overall pick in Josh Jackson, and underrated scorer T.J. Warren, they may have the pieces in place to make a significant improvement on one of the NBA’s worst records this season.

NBA free agency rumors: Rockets forward Trevor Ariza looking for $50-$60 million contract

What Mets’ Todd Frazier hopes to get out of facing Yankees

The Mets need some kind of a spark. Something. Anything.

Todd Frazier hopes it comes from whooping on the Yankees, his former team, this weekend.

I played with both teams now and I know how exciting it can be for both sides, Frazier said before Friday’s Subway Series game at Citi Field on Friday. Hopefully it kind of renews us here and we get that excitement back and the crowd brings it.

The Mets have lost their last six games. They started the day 27-32 7 1/2 games back of the first-place Nationals and in fourth place in the National League East.

Said Sharpe, voted in during his third year of eligibility: I don’t care if it’s first ballot, secret ballot or absentee ballot, I’m in.

And proud of it.

The Jets have Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell ahead of McGuire on the depth chart, so he probably will have to settle for being a third-down back.

On the surface, the Tomlinson-McGuire comparison seems absurd, but Mitchell does see more of his running backs than anybody else does. Still, this is quite a bit of pressure on Mitchell.

We understand the Yankees can’t use a designated hitter for this road interleague series, and thus will sit one of their four outfielders every game, but this Friday benching is surprising only because it’s two in a row for Hicks, who also didn’t start Wednesday night in Toronto.

Hicks, who is hitting.253 with six homers and 26 RBIs in 44 games, didn’t start Game 2 of the Yankees’ day-night doubleheader in Detroit on Monday, either. Counting two rainouts last week in Baltimore and Thursday’s day off, he had just four starts in nine days through Friday.

The other day in Toronto, it was another tough call, said Boone, who that night sat Hicks while starting Giancarlo Stanton in left, Brett Gardner in center and Gary Sanchez at DH. But in the three out of four, one of those the doubleheader, so he was going to sit (a game there).

I think it’s just a spot in the schedule that it kind of got caught like that. He’s fine. It’s a really good player sitting over there (Friday night) for us. After this series when we get back to the DH, he’ll probably be in the next 10 in a row.

The stadium for motor racing would be an incredibly loud, disruptive, traffic-jam causing land use that is totally at odds with the peaceful, passive nature of the park, Remaud said.

Drew Brees is the only quarterback in the NFC who will go to work this season with three skill-position players who were Pro Bowlers in 2017.

Top receiver Michael Thomas made it after catching 104 passes for 1,245 yards and five touchdowns as a sophomore second-round pick, while running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara also did so after combining for 3,094 scrimmage yards and 25 touchdowns. 

No reason to think any of those guys will be less effective in 2018, and a four-game early-season suspension for Ingram shouldn’t be enough to drastically slow down an offense that also got a 787-yard, age-32 season from speedy veteran Ted Ginn Jr. (who somehow caught 76 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging nearly 15 yards per reception). 

But the Saints also went out in the offseason and added receiver Cameron Meredith, who is coming off a knee injury but had 888 receiving yards and strong rate-based numbers with the Bears two years ago.

And would anyone be surprised if rookie third-round pick Tre’Quan Smith put together a big season in that friendly offense after averaging 16.4 yards per catch at UCF? 

Of course, it’s easy to find those wideouts when you’ve got Devonta Freeman and/or Tevin Coleman in the backfield. And while those two weren’t as effective in 2017 as they were in 2016, that probably had to do with the offense experiencing growing pains while transitioning to Steve Sarkisian’s system. 

If both of those guys can pick up where they left off in support of Evans (a four-year vet with four 1,000-yard seasons under his belt and the second-highest paid wideout in the NFL) and Jackson (a three-time Pro Bowler a year removed from a 1,000-yard season in Washington), Winston will be in damn good shape in 2018. 

Of course, that’s no guarantee. Sophomore slumps happen, and the Bucs also need to hope that Evans and Jackson can improve their reception rates (they combined to catch just 54 percent of the passes thrown their way in 2017). The 31-year-old Jackson is also trying to fight off Father Time, and they’re holding auditions for a starting running back role.

Davis is the wild card here. The 2017 No. 5 overall pick caught just 34 passes and failed to score a touchdown during an injury-derailed rookie season. And while he has impressed this offseason, you can’t call him a strong supporting cast member until he delivers consistently in actual games. 

Things could change quickly if Davis emerges, but for now Mariota’s arsenal is below average because of a lack of established weapons out wide.

Robert Kraft calls Gronkowski trade rumor hogwash

On Friday, rumors became rampant of a potential trade that would have sent Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski to the 49ers or the Titans or, really, anywhere but New England. On Tuesday, to the extent that the widely-debunked rumor needed another coat of debunking, the man who reportedly blocked the deal went on the record.

When you’re team is good, people are looking for things, team owner Robert Kraft said Tuesday at the annual Myra Kraft Community MVP. I’ll just tell you it’s a bunch of hogwash that I vetoed some trade [involving Gronkowski]. That was never in the works. It’s just completely made up . . . and I think we have to be careful in society, people just can’t come out and say things. This bit about us trading Gronk to the 49ers or Tennessee, there’s no basis to it and it gets a life of its own. I just want to go on record to make sure you all understand there’s no truth to that.

If it was up to Quincy Enunwa, he would be practicing fully this week. Instead, he will have to settle for a small step in the right direction.

For the first time this spring, Enunwa took part in positional drills, progress for the wide receiver who missed all of last season after undergoing surgery to repair herniated disks in his neck.

My baseball career started when I was 4 years old at Wellswood Youth Baseball in Tampa, Fla. Ever since I was a youngin’ I’ve had a huge passion for baseball. But 4 was the youngest I could start. So, when I was 3, my dad signed me up to play baseball for the first time. I was a bigger kid so I could pass as a 4-year-old. When it was time to go play, my dad leaned down and told me that I was 4.

Why? I asked him. I’m 3.

Of course, 3-year-old me didn’t understand what was going on. My dad responded, Do you want to play? Of course I wanted to play. After I said yes, he responded, OK, then you’re 4.

Growing up, I was super spoiled because Yankees spring training was 10 minutes from my house, the Tampa Bay Rays are 35 minutes away, and there was a huge baseball culture in Tampa. People ask all the time who I rooted for as a kid. The answer: no one. I had no true loyalty to a specific team. I just loved baseball. I loved watching it just as much as I did playing it. I guess you could call me a baseball junky.

Supplemental draft prospect has a visit lined up after pro day

Visits to team headquarters are part of the norm before the regular NFL Draft. When they happen before the supplemental draft, it’s more unique. Also, it’s June.

According to Mike Garafolo of the NFL Network, Virginia Tech cornerback Adonis Alexander will meet with seven teams after his pro day tomorrow, and will then visit at least one team. A reported 26 teams will attend his pro day.

There’s no mention of the team in question, which makes this perhaps the first ever appearance of free agency favorite #MysteryTeam in conjunction with the supplemental draft.

Knox Sr., whose quarterback at Florida State was ex-Knick Charlie Ward, said he spoke to Perry for about 20 minutes.

You never know, but I was thinking why would management call again to chat it up for 20 minutes about a potential client? Knox Sr. said. We talked about the roster and what a perfect fit he could be. That’s what Scott and I talked out. Scott said he seems mature for his age.

The Lions announced McGrath’s signing on Thursday. They waived Wes Saxton, who joined the team 10 days ago and obviously didn’t make much of an impression in that brief run.

McGrath comes to Detroit after spending the last two seasons with the Chargers. He played 31 games, started 11 times and caught six passes for 71 yards. McGrath had 26 catches for 302 yards in 16 games for the Chiefs in 2013 and also spent time with the Seahawks.

The Lions will have a new look at tight end this year with Eric Ebron off the roster. McGrath joins Michael Roberts, Luke Willson and Levine Toilolo as competitors for playing time.

During the 2014-2015 NFL season, ­Erica Wilkins had a banner rookie year as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader [DCC]. Then 22, the Friendswood, Texas, native was one of just 16 women to make the team’s show group, an elite squad made up of the best technical dancers on the team. She appeared solo on the cover of the group’s swimsuit calendar, was deemed a star on a reality show about the team, and performed onstage with Blake Shelton and Usher.

Her total annual earnings? About $4,700 after taxes.