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AAF, XFL explore putting team in St. Louis

The other city that lost an NFL team to L.A. could be getting a team in a new league.

Via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, both the Alliance of American Football and the XFL have contacted the Rams’ former home to explore availability and interest.

Per the report, a third, yet-unnamed league has approached St. Louis. It’s a group of former NFL players hoping to build ownership groups in various different markets.

I’m pumped to see it unfold, but I know that most of you want to know what will happen with the Monday column itself. The truth is, we’re still working through the details. What we know is that you’ll still have a destination on Mondays, during the season and in the offseason, to devour all kinds of NFL news and information. So here’s hoping you’ll still steal some time out of your Monday, whether at work, at school, at home or wherever, to dive into the column.

I reacted by saying fine could be taken in several different ways, and then I asked how surprised Oliver Luck is that Andrew hasn’t been able to play in the 17 months since supposedly routine shoulder surgery. Oliver made it clear that he’s not willing or able to discuss the situation.

He addressed one last topic before the interview ended. I asked Oliver if he has been working out with Andrew, because Andrew suddenly looks like a beast.

Said Oliver Luck: I’ve been called many things . . . but ‘beast’ isn’t one of them.

Molina’s eight career Gold Gloves ranks third among catchers. Last year, Molina had one of his more productive seasons with the bat. His 82 RBIs were a career high, and his 18 home runs were his most since he finished fourth in the MVP race in 2012. — Mackenzie Kraemer, ESPN Stats & Information

Few shortstops produce with the bat the way Bogaerts does. From 2015 to 2017, Bogaerts posted a 12.8 offensive WAR (oWAR). The only regular shortstop with a higher oWAR in that span was Carlos Correa. Bogaerts hit.296 with a.352 OBP in that time (note — on the DL with an ankle injury). — McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

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DeMarcus Ware doesn’t know why Dez Bryant remains without a job

Fifty-four days after the Cowboys released him, Dez Bryant remains without a new home. A recent report said the receiver is content to wait until the start of training camp to find the right fit.

But the Ravens are the only team known to have made an offer to Bryant.

This most unusual of Patriots offseasons hits another checkpoint this week with the team’s first mandatory activity, which is expected to coincide with the arrival of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to New England’s offseason program. After turning over a few rocks, here are five points I’d make on where the team stands: One, the biggest question right now is how much the absence of Brady and Gronk has affected the first seven weeks of the program. And the answer I’ve gotten is that it really hasn’t.

Belichick was also asked if he had any concerns about the two players being all in for the 2018 season. He said it’s always been that way ever since they’ve been on the team while again directing questions about the players’ feelings to the players themselves.

Only three players hit 20 home runs, stole 20 bases and hit.300 last season: two-time MVP Mike Trout, 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve and Pham. Prior to Pham in 2017, no Cardinal had ever posted a 20-20-.300 season. — McTigue, ESPN Stats & Information

Sanó was an All-Star for the first time last season, becoming the youngest Twins third baseman to make the All-Star team since Rich Rollins in 1962. Sanó also had a 92.3 mph average exit velocity in 2017, the fourth highest of any player with at least 100 batted ball results. — Harrison Marder, ESPN Stats & Information

Last season, Gregorius posted career highs in home runs (25), RBIs (87), OPS (.796), and runs (73). Gregorius also came up big in October, when he became the first player in MLB history with three home runs in winner-take-all games during the same postseason. — Marder, ESPN Stats & Information

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Frank Ragnow working at left guard for Lions

After the Lions selected Frank Ragnow in the first round of last month’s draft, they said they had not decided whether he would start his NFL career at guard or center.

Said Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk, I think whenever you come into a group it is just best to come in kind of softly, and get the lay of the land. Every year it has gotten a little more comfortable for me, and with winning, it makes everything easier, all the way around.

The injury will force Fox to miss the entire 2018 season.

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Paul Worrilow and Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry also sustained torn ACLs this week during the first week of OTAs.

There’s a few guys who are experiencing things for the first time, the same way I am. And if anything, it’s just made it easier for guys to assimilate, Omameh said. Everybody’s on even footing and everybody’s helping everybody else out. So, I guess all the guys really feel like we’re all in this together. There’s nobody who’s like an outsider trying to phase in. Everybody’s jumping in this head-first together and trying to put the work in to get the product we want on the field.

The Giants tried to land guard Andrew Norwell in free agency, but he opted to sign with the Jaguars, with the Giants immediately pivoting to Solder. Norwell’s arrival made Omameh, 28, expendable in Jacksonville. He was undrafted out of Michigan and has started NFL games for the Buccaneers, Bears and Jaguars. He looks the part at 6-foot-4 and 327 pounds, and he should be athletic enough to get down the field on screen passes, which figures to be a hefty part of Pat Shurmur’s offensive approach with rookie Saquon Barkley at running back.

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Thompson outlined just what the group hopes to prove.

I’m excited to be in a group of guys who are hungry and want to prove the world wrong, Thompson said, via the Dallas Morning News. I don’t really have too much social media stuff, so I barely hear it, but we know what they say. But we’ll be having this discussion in November, and it will be totally different.

I’m clear to play football, so whatever that entails I can do it, he said. Honestly, at this point it’s just, ‘Let it rip.’

Tannehill said his left knee is feeling so good that he doesn’t even give it any thought as he’s doing his offseason work. The Dolphins hope the same can be said when that knee is braced and he’s playing for real.

They’re basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people, Kerr said, via Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business. I’m proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech, peacefully protesting.

I think our leadership in the NBA understands that the NFL players were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality. They weren’t disrespecting the flag or the military. Our President decided to make it about that and the NFL followed suit and pandered to their fan base.

That created this hysterical, . . . It’s kind of what’s wrong with our country right now. People in high places are trying to divide us, divide loyalties and make this about the flag, as if the flag is something other than what it really is.

It’s a representation of what we’re about — diversity, peaceful protest, right to free speech. It’s really ironic, actually, what the NFL is doing.

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NFL admits there was no formal vote on new anthem policy

The NFL claimed that its owners unanimously voted to adopt a new anthem policy. And, as it turns out, the vote wasn’t unanimous. Also, there wasn’t a vote.

After ESPN’s Seth Wickersham reported that no actual vote was taken, the NFL admitted that, indeed, no formal vote was taken. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN that the league called for a show of hands to test support for the revised anthem policy.

That was considered a vote, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said. He added that this unofficial process is often used.

Jackson also used a comment made by James following Cleveland’s win in Boston on Sunday as a teaching tool for the Browns.

Just the other day, I was able to show them LeBron’s message to the media in Game 7 when he talked about team, he said.

I thought it was tremendous. I thought what he said about his other teammates and how they are a huge part of it and how people who have not played the game or wore shorts or been in a locker room understand what it takes to win. I thought that was sensational. I said that to our football team.

Director of player personnel Chisom Opara and director of college scouting Bobby Vega are being replaced.

Neil Stratton of Inside the League reports that former Saints national scout Steve Malin will replace Vega as college scouting director, and that four other scouts were leaving: Area scouts Patrick Moore, Scott Levin, and Zac Bocian, along with scouting assistant Keegan Leyrer.

Competing with Ryan Tannehill helped Raekwon McMillan recover from torn ACL

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s return to the field has been a major storyline for the Dolphins this offseason, but he’s not the only player on the road back from a season-ending knee injury.

Linebacker Raekwon McMillan tore his ACL on his first snap of his first NFL preseason game and the 2017 second-round pick went from prospective starter to the operating room. McMillan went to rehab the injury from there and found himself working alongside Tannehill.

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Sterling Shepard wants to be more than a slot receiver

Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard had 59 catches and two touchdowns in 11 games last season and most of that productivity came while he was lining up in the slot.

Shepard had 51 of his catches and both touchdowns while lined up in the slot and all 10 of his touchdowns over the last two seasons have come from that spot in the formation. While he saw 25 percent of his snaps on the outside last year, those other numbers suggest that using Shepard out of the slot would make the biggest use of his abilities.

In real life, Roseanne is a crass and vulgar provocateur. If you followed her career with even the slightest attention to detail, you could have predicted it was only a matter of time before she sparked fresh controversy.

Hollywood hasn’t been serving a great big chunk of this country for a long time.

Her tweet last week likening black former Obama aide Valerie Jarrett to an ape was disgraceful and was punished immediately — rightly so. Unfortunately, moments after she was fired, Trump haters went for their usual target — Trump supporters — using their favorite weapon: the race card.

It became a Twitter moment, trending around the world, and wasn’t even ruined by the fact she was wearing a Chicago Bears t-shirt.

He said, ‘No, I like the Bears, the Bears are cool,’ Cassidy said.

And so is Jermaine Gresham, for being a human being and making someone else’s potential bad day a good one.

The Jets won’t get fined because their players haven’t kneeled, but it continues to create an all-for-one atmosphere they’ve already adopted for 2018. None of this guarantees the Jets will go from 5-11 to 11-5, but at least they start this season with a solid core of leaders who can set a proper tone during OTAs.

Whether it social issues, whether it’s on the field, in the meeting room, it starts from the get-go, Kearse said. In order for us to be successful on the field, we have to get to a unified locker room. I feel like we’re heading in the right direction.

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While the Devils struggle mightily on the power as the game progressed, they took advantage of their first one for their earliest lead of the series.

They converted a 4-on-3 advantage for the second straight game, with Kyle Palmieri one timing a shot from the left circle at 8:23.

The lead was shortlived, and the Lightning scored two straight to close the period for a 2-1 lead going into intermission.

J.T. Miller tied the game when his high shot finished a 3-on-2 rush for the Lightning at 11:30 of the first period.

FOX Sports and NFL Network will simulcast Thursday Night Football games this season. ESPN will continue to broadcast Monday Night Football and NBC will carry Sunday Night Football broadcasts.

Nick Mangold took a page out of the Michael Scott playbook to make a special declaration. The Jets center on Tuesday took to Twitter to announce his retirement from the NFL after 11 seasons with New York. Mangold released a lengthy statement summarizing his thoughts on his decision and thanking those who have supported him throughout his career. Although he was released by New York in February 2017, he’ll sign a one-day contract next week to retire a Jet.

Everything that happened from pee-wee football to high school football to having the good fortune to play at The Ohio State University molded me for my opportunity to play for the New York Jets, Mangold wrote, in part. My biggest regret is not bringing the Lombardi Trophy to New York but, as I retire, I will continue my efforts to bring the Trophy home in a different capacity. I have no idea what that capacity is but I’m sure I will figure something out in the future. Mangold, 34, was selected out of Ohio State by the Jets in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He made 164 starts and only missed 12 games, including eight in his final season after suffering an ankle injury in 2016 that landed him on injured reserve.

Thursday the Maple Leafs’ Zach Hyman scored to tie Game 1 of Toronto-Boston. Soon, NBCSN cut to a quick show-and-tell that Emrick, if it wasn’t his idea, was well prepared to narrate.

Hyman, he said, at 25 is the best-selling author of kids’ books. NBCSN had three of the book covers ready for viewing. Special stuff.

Yet another commercial — this one starring David Ortiz — in which a golf bag is being carried backward. The clubs are carried forward — for balance and comfort — not from behind, as that would wreck one’s back.

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Aaron Rodgers insists he doesn’t want to meddle in the Green Bay Packers ‘ decision-making process.

A report on Tuesday from Yahoo! Sports’ Charles Robinson suggested that Rodgers wants more input into some of the Packers ‘ major personnel decisions. The report specifically mentioned that Rodgers was frustrated and emotional about being cut out of the process that led Green Bay to move on from receiver Jordy Nelson and quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt.

Later in the day, Rodgers was asked about the report, and he said he understands his job is to play quarterback, not meddle in management decisions.

I’m under contract for the next two years, he said, per Wood. Obviously we’d like to lock something in, I think, at some point. The team has made that public knowledge that they’d love to do that. I’ve said many times I’d love to finish my career here. So there’s more than mutual interest on both sides.

As for the surgically repaired collarbone injury that wiped out most of his 2017 campaign, Rodgers said he feels great as the Packers start offseason conditioning.

Meanwhile, Marshall shouldn’t have much trouble latching on elsewhere as a No. 2 or 3 receiver as long as his medical check comes back clean after the failed Giants physical.

We think he has great upside, Carroll said after McDowell was drafted. He had a fantastic sophomore season that we weighed heavily and we think we have a really special player and we’re really happy to get him. Had a good visit when he came in, all that, and it paid off.

But by July, the goodwill was starting to wear thin following the ATV accident and it was further damaged when McDowell was arrested in December outside a night club in Atlanta because of a dispute over a $600 bill.

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Analysis: In the not-so-distant past, the Lions had the league’s most dominant defensive interior. But long gone are the days of former first-round picks Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley wreaking havoc on the inside.

The current collective is led by A’Shawn Robinson, a foundational piece who still is scratching the surface of his potential. In his second season, he led the group with 53 tackles, while defending six passes at the line of scrimmage, including his first career interception, which he returned for a touchdown against New Orleans.

The final piece to the Lions’ interior is 2017 sixth-round pick Jeremiah Ledbetter. He had minimal production as a rookie after bulking up to take on the role, but his athletic profile suggests intriguing potential if can develop in this second offseason.

Overall, it’s a group capable of holding its own, but likely to hover around or just below league average both against the run and rushing the passer without further upgrades. Fortunately, this draft offers plenty of potential throughout.

Shazier stood up to lead the crowd in a Let’s Go Pens! chant, and he was given a microphone and told the fans, It’s a hockey night in Pittsburgh.

Shazier looked steady and comfortable standing, an improvement over previous images that have shown him needing help to get out of his wheelchair.

The 25-year-old Shazier suffered the injury last year in a game against the Bengals. The Steelers have already announced that Shazier will not be able to play in 2018.

Report: Rams punter Johnny Hekker restructures contract

Rams General Manager Les Snead conceded that they are about to make defensive tackle Aaron Donald the highest paid defensive player in league history.

With that in mind, the Rams appear to be checking the couch cushions for whatever change they can find.

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While the full schedule release is set to be announced Thursday night, at least one game of the NFL calendar was announced late Wednesday. The Kansas City Chiefs will face the Los Angeles Rams in Mexico City on Monday Night Football on November 19. Kickoff will be at 8:15 p.m. ET. It had been known since January that the two teams would meet at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City at some point during the season. The game will mark the second time the Chiefs have played a game in Mexico. They played the Dallas Cowboys in a preseason game in Monterrey in 1996. It will be the fourth regular season NFL game played in Mexico City and third straight season the league has ventured south of the border.

Thursday on YES, Boston’s Rick Porcello was pitching a no-hitter in the fourth, two out. The Red Sox had a 6-0 lead and it was beginning to rain hard. Porcello’s mission was then as clear to us as it was to him: Pitch fast, no deep counts, get this game in as an official one, don’t waste any time.

But Kay saw it the other way: The Yankees aren’t wasting any time. They’re not working the count. They’re jumping on Porcello, who’s throwing strikes.

The Yanks were stuck. They could either swing at the first pitch — almost a guaranteed strike — or allow the count to go against them.

In the fifth, Kay again seemed blind to the circumstances heavy rain had created: You know the Yankees are not working the count because they figure Porcello’s going to be ahead, 0-2. O’Neill added Porcello is a guy who throws a lot of strikes.

In 2017, the Packers started 4-1 before Rodgers got hurt. They finished the year 7-9 and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008. It’s easy to make the argument that Rodgers single-handedly makes the Packers a playoff contender, and he does so on a salary that is relatively cheap at the position.

So there really isn’t too much urgency for the Packers to force a deal when they can keep the quarterback for two more seasons at that reasonable price. Then, he could be franchised in 2020, and possibly 2021 as well, before Green Bay would likely have no choice but to lose him in 2022, months after his 39th birthday.

That leaves plenty of time for a contract to get done, but now is when an extension needs to happen. If it doesn’t, the leverage will tilt decidedly in Rodgers’ favor and his age will only make the Packers more hesitant to commit significantly.

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