The players will also receive paid tuition and books at local community colleges

A new pro football league announced Wednesday it plans to begin hiring players in winter 2017 and staging games in summer 2018.
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The Pacific Pro Football League is for players who have graduated from high school but aren’t in college and haven’t been out for three years in order to make themselves eligible for the NFL. The four-team league, based in Southern California, says it will pay players an average salary of $50,000 and play eight games “under professional football rules, protocols and style,” according to a statement sent out by the league.

Each team will have 50 players, according to the league, with coaches coming from the professional and college ranks. The players will also receive paid tuition and books at local community colleges.

With the NFL appealing the ruling, the official end of the DeflateGate saga is still far on the horizon, but for now, the Patriots will have their star quarterback at the helm when the team plays host to the Steelers on Thursday night.
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That represents a big challenge for Pittsburgh, a team that was among the NFL’s worst at slowing opposing passers in 2014. Only three teams allowed more passing touchdowns and only five allowed more passing yardage, while the Patriots finished in the top 10 in both categories offensively.

After losing starters like Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor and Jason Worilds to retirement, and cornerback Brice McCain in free agency, the Steelers looked to add some young talent in the draft, taking pass rusher Bud Dupree in the first round and cornerback Senquez Golson in the second. Unfortunately for Pittsburgh, Dupree has looked like a raw player with a lot of growing to do and Golson is done for the year with a shoulder injury.

So instead, Pittsburgh will likely have to rely on its high-powered offense to lead the way while the Steelers defense hopes young players improve as the year goes on.

Marcell Dareus agrees to new $108 million deal with Bills

Defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and the Buffalo Bills have come to terms on a six-year, $108 million contract extension, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The deal includes $60 million guaranteed. Dareus also gets a $25 million signing bonus, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.

Mens Dak Prescott Jersey “Marcell Dareus is a tremendous player and we feel he has a great opportunity to reach his potential as a player and leader here with the Buffalo Bills,” general manager Doug Whaley said in a statement released by the team. “Throughout this process, we wanted Marcell to remain a Buffalo Bill for the long-term and he made it clear to us that he wanted to continue his career in Buffalo.”

Dareus, who was set to play this season on his fifth-year option, is coming off the best season of his career. He earned first-team All-Pro honors and totaled 10 sacks to help give Buffalo one of the top defenses in the NFL.

Even for a sport criticized for its money-grubbing, soulless ways, the NFL has room for all types, from the endlessly hyped stars to the no-named role players.

Mens Clark Gillies Jersey And that’s why we held out hope that the fringe players we had grown attached to over the course of this five-week program would be able to make the Texans’ 53-man roster. What they may have lacked in size or skill, Charles James, Kourtnei Brown and EZ Nwachukwu made up for with heart and hard work.

But the NFL is a business, not a fairy tale. And if you’re the sort who seeks out spoilers, you found out the gut-punching news on Friday and Saturday while feverishly refreshing Aaron Wilson’s Twitter page: All three Hard Knocks favorites were cut.

Chris Bosh pondering NBA future, searching ‘for what I’m looking for’

Chris Bosh still is unclear about what his future holds, and while mentioning how he’s getting a “taste of retirement” stopped short of saying he will no longer pursue an NBA career.

Bosh has been sidelined since February because of complications related to blood clots. He’s still technically a member of the Miami Heat, though has not been around the team in any official capacity since he failed a physical in September and was not permitted to resume on-court activities.

Bosh, speaking at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, was asked how he’s spent time away from the court.

Between Matthews, Harrison Barnes, Dorian Finney-Smith and (maybe) Justin Anderson, the Mavs have a bunch of interesting wings waiting for better players at other spots — especially point guard. Related: Have you seen the point guards in this draft class?

Game Womens Troy Brouwer Jersey So, umm, when do we start getting worried about this? Now? Next month? Yesterday? Because right now, this is uncomfortable. Parsons hasn’t cracked 20 minutes in a game since November, and no one with the Grizz knows when the team might finally clear him to play in back-to-backs.
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When Parsons is on the floor, he looks like he needs a few squirts of WD-40 around his knees. He’s upright and stiff, slower both with and without the ball, and he requires a Dirk-level deep knee bend to load his jumper. His shot has always been on the flat side, but it’s a clothesline right now. So far, the fears Dallas and Portland had about Parsons’ knee issues look to have been on point.

The pro of these multiple games was that a few non-traditional markets got to play

Elite Youth Mitch Williams Jersey The pro of these multiple games was that a few non-traditional markets got to play. A con was that people didn¡¯t tune into the Winter Classic like they used to. The 2015 Winter Classic suffered from both outdoor game fatigue and ¡°these guys again¡± fatigue. The game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals – two teams with minimal history between them but with star power and national fanbases – plunged in the ratings. The 2014 Winter Classic pulled a 2.5 share; the 2015 Classic was at just a 1.9 share. The league continued the Stadium Series with a game between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks that packed Levi¡¯s Stadium.

As a reminder, the Bulls, who are built around superstar Jimmy Butler, added Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo in the offseason. Both are career 29 percent three-point shooters.

Elite Youth Teemu Selanne Jersey As another reminder, coach Fred Hoiberg was hired in 2015 to bring his spread 4-out offense to the stodgy Bulls.

Getting back to Martinez though: it looks like on average, he¡¯ll cost about $27M through the arbitration process. Lance and many of the other deals shown above show that guaranteeing them in advance should result in a discount from that number. That¡¯s an important consideration when trying to find a price the Cardinals should offer him for an extension.

Pete Carroll celebrated Seattle’s win by dancing around on top of lockers like a madman

Pete Carroll is known for his enthusiasm. So much so that the fact he climbed on top of lockers in Baltimore to celebrate a win doesn’t even seem all that surprising.

Never change, Pete. The only question left is how he got up there. Did he scale the lockers himself? Did some linemen hoist him up there? Our money is on Pete just climbing up there like some sort of NFL coaching spider monkey.

There are some exceptions to every rule and here is the one for teams that prefer to keep the guards inside. There are times, when you’re uncovered and you look for work inside, but there’s nothing there. Then you have free reign to go find someone to hit. These are awesome blocks. Here’s T.J. Lang delivering a huge shot looking for work.

The second way to block up slide protection is to scheme which side the center is going to block no matter the call linebacker. The call linebacker is who we are tasked with blocking.

Game Youth Will Rackley Jersey This way of blocking slide protection is rare and is used for two reasons: to help against an outstanding defensive player or to help an offensive lineman. However, you’d be surprised at the amount of times we never altered our pass protection concepts for a great rusher.

Here’s an example of the Titans doing such a thing against the Chiefs.

The declared linebacker is on the left. Both the center and quarterback make that clear. The center should be setting left or in the middle to help either of the guards. Instead, he quickly makes sure no one is coming, then turns to the right to hammer the rusher over the guard. This would allow the guard to make his way to the tackle. The Titans do this often. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s unique to their scheme.
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So look, there are different ways to skin a cat and each team tries to allocate help to certain spots on the offensive line. I can’t tell you which one is better. All I can tell you is what the goals of the schemes are. Hope y’all enjoyed.

Dee Ford bullied the Broncos out of the playoff chase

In my estimation, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the top defensive front performers this past weekend, so I decided to go just go with my gut for Hoss this time around. There were several teams playing for their playoff lives and the guy I ultimately chose showed up big time in one of those games to help make sure his team made it to the postseason.

The Denver/Kansas City game was effectively a loser-leave-town match. The stat sheet may not have shown it, but Chiefs outside linebacker Dee Ford’s performance was a big part of why the Broncos won’t get a chance to defend their Super Bowl crown this season.

It’s funny because just last week I brought up how well Ford had played the first half of this season filling in for an injured Justin Houston and how he had fallen off a tad bit since Houston’s return. With Houston out again on Sunday, Ford again found his inner Beast Mode and went to town on the Broncos. He didn’t record a sack during the game and he technically only had two tackles, but Ford’s impact on the outcome was much greater than that when you watch the film.

Dalton, 28, is having a career-best season for the Bengals with 25 touchdowns, six interceptions and an NFL-leading 107.4 passer rating entering Week 14. Against the Steelers, he threw just five passes, completing three for 59 yards with an interception (his seventh of the season) before leaving with the injury.

Dalton appeared to suffer the injury while making a tackle after throwing the interception, jamming his right hand in the process.

The backup for the Bengals is former Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron, who was selected in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He never played as a rookie and has appeared only in clean-up duty for the Bengals in 2015, completing 3 of 4 passes for 22 yards. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu is their emergency backup quarterback.

Cincinnati leads the AFC North with a 10-2 record and can clinch the division with a win against the 7-5 Steelers.

Russell Westbrook doesn’t waste time for triple-double No. 15

Another night, another stat sheet stuffed. Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook continued to show off his versatility on the court, recording his 15th triple-double of the season — 29 points, 17 rebounds, 11 assists — in a 106-94 win over the Miami Heat.
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His most recent one gave him 30 triple-doubles in this calendar year, second most by any player in NBA history behind, you guessed it, Oscar Robertson in 1961. The Thunder improved to 12-3 when Westbrook records a triple-double.

Westbrook accounted for 51 percent of the Thunder offense on Tuesday (29 points scored, 26 points from 11 assists). It was the 11th time that he reached that mark in a triple-double this season. Steven Adams continued to be the main beneficiary of Westbrook’s passes. Adams was on the receiving end of four of Westbrook’s assists and for the season is shooting 66.7 percent off of his passes, highest on the team.

Elite Mens Mika Zibanejad Jersey What made this triple-double more special than most was the short amount of time it took for Westbrook to hit the magic number.

We’re truly sorry. We’d like to oblige. But how do we break the habit when he goes to Boston and savages the Celtics for 45, 11 and 11? Or when he follows that up by hitting poor Minnesota with just the third 30-point, 15-assist game in Christmas Day history?

Only Oscar Robertson (22) and Wilt Chamberlain (seven) have more career triple-doubles featuring 40-plus points than Angry Russ’ six. Only Robertson and Tiny Archibald, meanwhile, had previously managed 30-and-15 games on Christmas.

Washington vs. Eagles 2015 final score: Washington clinches NFC East with dominant win

Mens Connor McDavid Jersey 1. Your new NFC East champions

If nothing else, Washington guaranteed that the NFC East winner will finish the season at .500, saving the league some embarrassment from its most-hyped division having a losing record. Washington was far from perfect this season, but it’s done enough to rise up the scrap heap and secure a home playoff game. Now it can rest and prepare for its Wild Card opponent, which would currently be the Seattle Seahawks.

2. Jordan Reed is the real deal

Reed always had talent, but injuries and poor quarterback play have prevented him from reaching his true ceiling. He looks to have reached it this year. Cousins-to-Reed is gaining the same kind of supernatural chemistry that we see with Ben Roethlisberger-to-Antonio Brown, Tom Brady-to-Julian Edelman and Philip Rivers-to-Antonio Gates.

3. Philadelphia has some serious questions to answer this offseason

What, exactly, is the Eagles’ identity right now? For all the bluster and hot takes about Chip Kelly’s methods, nobody expected his offense to be this boring and directionless.

Neither the Saints nor the Texans present challenges that the Jaguars shouldn’t have a strong chance against, but Jacksonville has also proven capable of losing any matchup, dropping games to the Chargers, Titans and Falcons in the last four weeks.
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For the Saints, the game could be the last in New Orleans for Sean Payton, who has been the subject of plenty of rumors, although he has denied he has any intention of leaving the team. It could also round out Drew Brees’ time with the Saints, although the quarterback is dealing with a plantar fascia tear that had him questionable for action against the Jaguars.

The Patriots didn’t want to lose Brissett

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Jones is the most complete wide receiver in the game, a rare combination of speed, size and route-running ability at all three levels of the field. This season, Jones has produced 1,253 yards receiving (despite missing the past two games) and is averaging a ridiculous 17.4 yards per catch, but it’s the tape that would scare me more than the raw numbers as an opposing defensive coordinator because of his ability to take over games with Matt Ryan throwing him the ball.

The Patriots didn’t want to lose Brissett, in part for the insurance he provides behind Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo, and also because practicing aids his development. Perhaps Brady’s recent injury history was part of the consideration; the 39-year-old MVP candidate previously managed a knee injury that had him missing extended practice time, and now has the thigh injury.
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To make room for Brissett, the Patriots waived rookie defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton.

Brissett earned the respect of many in the Patriots organization for stepping in for the injured Garoppolo late in the second quarter of the team’s Week 2 win over the Miami Dolphins. He then started and played well in a 27-0 win over the Houston Texans in Week 3, before starting again in a 16-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 4.

Brees is once again covering for a brutally bad defense, but he can do only so much. None of the other 508 teams in ESPN’s data warehouse dating back to 2001 has allowed as many points in its victories as the 29.5 figure for the Saints this season. That is an exceptionally high bar for the Brees-led offense to clear. It shows how much the Saints ask from their quarterback in relation to what others ask from theirs.

Green Bay’s Ty Montgomery finished with 28 fantasy points in Week 15, double his previous career high

As we do each Sunday right here, we recap the week’s winners and losers from a fantasy perspective, complete with applicable game and historical data. Check back after the conclusion of the 1 and 4 p.m. ET (and, when applicable, Sunday Night Football) games for our picks of the week’s best and worst.

Ty Montgomery, WR/RB, Green Bay Packers: He’ll likely go down as the lesser-heralded hero of the fantasy football semifinals — assuming your league plays them in Week 15 (either single- or multiweek matchups), as most do — as Montgomery’s 28 fantasy points obliterated his previous career high of 14, set just one week ago (Week 14), and ranked among the week’s highest individual scores.

Luckily for Ryan, the Bills defeated the Browns 33-13, and the coach’s parking spot at One Bills Drive should be safe for at least another week. Even though the Bills can still be eliminated from the playoffs later Sunday if the Denver Broncos beat the New England Patriots, a 20-point Bills win would be an odd event to precede Ryan’s firing in the coming hours or days.

How long Ryan will remain the Bills’ coach is still in question. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported Sunday that Ryan is probably approaching his final games at the helm in Buffalo, and that Ryan is aware of what’s likely to come. Despite the Bills’ win Sunday, it remains unlikely that Ryan returns as coach next season. Defeating the Browns is hardly an accomplishment worthy of changing ownership’s mind about Ryan’s fate.

Game Youth Ted Karras Jersey If Ryan has any hope of remaining coach next season, his team will need an emphatic, convincing win Saturday over the surprising Miami Dolphins, now 9-5 after their win over the New York Jets. Ryan will also need to take care of business at MetLife Stadium in the regular-season finale against the Jets, and even then, Ryan’s past failures could still bury him as coach.

Game Youth Teemu Selanne Jersey File this Bills win over the Browns as nice to have for Buffalo, but not much more.