Alabama chasing draft record Andre Johnson and Ed Reed helped set - Falls Short

The talent the Miami Hurricanes produced in their glory days is still unsurpassed.

This year, Alabama could inch closer to those teams.

Miami is the only college football program that has ever had at least four first-round draft picks in four consecutive years. Alabama has had four first-round picks the past two seasons. If they do it again this year, they’ll join the Canes as the only two college football programs ever to have at least four first-rounders in three straight years.

Alabama had defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, receiver Julio Jones, offensive tackle James Carpenter and running back Mark Ingram in 2011, then running back Trent Richardson, defensive back Mark Barron, defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick and linebacker Dont’a Hightower in 2012.

Miami did it from 2001 through 2004. Texans safety Ed Reed was part of that streak as the 24th overall selection in 2002 as was Andre Johnson, whom the Texans took third overall in 2003.

There’s a decent chance of this happening. Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner, guard Chance Warmack and offensie tackle D.J. Fluker are expected to be first-round picks. Alabama running back Eddie Lacy is the best running back in the draft, and in the past half century at least one running back has gone in every first round, though there’s always the chance that streak breaks.

UPDATED: Alabama only had THREE first round draft picks last night.

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Ray Lewis doesn't think Ravens can repeat

NEW YORK — Are the Baltimore Ravens in position to repeat as champions after winning a Super Bowl during Ray Lewis' final season in the NFL? Unlikely, the retired linebacker said.

"It's going to be very hard, after you lose that much chemistry," Lewis told USA TODAY Sports. "But who knows? It's unpredictable, as always. Hopefully, they try to pull enough together, use their youth and try to make a run. But it's hard to try that formula. That formula usually doesn't work."

Lewis is visiting the city during NFL draft week to promote his partnership with United Athletes Foundation and their charity efforts in America's "underserved communities."

Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron and basketball Hall of Famer Julius Erving are members of the organization, and Lewis said he was starstruck when the pair first called on him.

"I'm humbled to be a part of anything that they do, much less to look down on my phone and having them call me," he said. "I'm like, 'Oh, my God, it's Hank Aaron!' "

"This is my next phase, and I want to make people happy. I want to make real change in this world."

Lewis said he will begin his new job as an NFL analyst for ESPN in late July. He said he's more than ready for on-camera work, and he has no shortage of opinions — and he's not afraid of controversy.

For instance, don't expect Lewis to endorse the NFL's efforts to make the game safer, including a new rule that bans running backs from using the crown of the helmet to initiate contact.

"I don't think it's fair," he said. "I think the best way to take care of the game is to let the game take care of itself. All these rules won't take care of the game. In fact, they're going to confuse more people than anything."

In addition to broadcasting, the post-football opportunities for the 13-time Pro Bowler have been plenty, he said, but he is taking his time and not taking on too much.

"It was never like, 'What am I going to do?' It was more, 'What will I not do?' " he said. "I had all these opportunities coming from so many different directions. And I told my team, 'We're going to go slow, take our time, and get involved with the right people.' "

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No Miami Hurricanes players drafted in first round for fifth year in row

After Thursday night’s barren first round, the Miami Hurricanes have now gone five straight years without a premium pick in the NFL Draft.

In the five drafts prior to that, the Canes had 11 first-rounders, including six in 2004.

Thursday, though, was a long way from those Canes glory years.

Instead, three Alabama players were among the top 11 picks, showing the type of draft domination that used to belong to Miami. Cornerback Dee Milliner went ninth to the Jets, offensive guard Chance Warmack was selected 10th by the Titans, and offensive tackle D.J. Fluker was picked 11th by the Chargers.

Two of Miami’s Atlantic Coast Conference rivals – North Carolina and Florida State – also had players selected among the first 16 players. UNC offensive guard Jonathan Cooper went seventh to the Cardinals, and FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel was selected 16th by the Bills.

The second half of the first round saw four more ACC players get picked – two more from FSU, one more from UNC and one from Clemson.

Meanwhile, according to every available draft analyst, no Canes player will even be considered until somewhere in the middle rounds, when running back Mike James and cornerback Brandon McGee could be selected.

Opinions are mixed on McGee and James.

McGee’s speed has the attention of scouts, and it’s a big reason why projects him to go anywhere from Round 4 to Round 7. He ran a 4.4 at the NFL Combine, the 13th-fastest time recorded in this year’s testing at Indianapolis.

But McGee had an inconsistent career at Miami before finally emerging as a senior. Pro Football Weekly does not project McGee as getting drafted and opines that a lack of confidence is an issue.

Pro Football Weekly has a higher opinion of James, predicting he will get drafted in the sixth or seventh round as an undersized fullback at 5-11, 220 pounds.
James scores high on character and provides solid production. But he doesn’t have the breakaway speed scouts would love for a running back or the desired size of a blocking back.

Plus, fullback is a dying position in the NFL, with most teams opting for more three-receiver or two-tight end formations.

Perhaps future drafts will be kinder to the Canes, who in the next couple of years figure to be sending several talents to the NFL such as running back Duke Johnson, offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson, defensive end Anthony Chickillo and linebacker Denzel Perryman, among others.

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Is Miami's draft streak in jeopardy?

You know as well as I do that Miami has been an NFL draft factory.

In fact, the Canes have had at least one player selected in the NFL draft every year since 1974, a string of 39 consecutive seasons. That streak, however, could be in jeopardy this year. Cornerback Brandon McGee and running back Mike James are the only two prospects with a shot at getting drafted, but neither is a guaranteed lock to get picked.

If they do come off the board, it probably will not happen until Day 3 (Rounds 4-7). The latest seven-round mock draft has McGee going in the sixth round and James not drafted at all. projects McGee going in the fifth round and James going undrafted.

Miami had its streak in jeopardy back in 2009, but it was saved when Spencer Adkins went in the sixth round to Atlanta. He was the only Miami player chosen that year. That also happens to be the only time since 1987 that the Canes failed to have a player drafted in the first three rounds.

This also marks the fifth straight year without a first-round pick from Miami, a program that has had 60 first-round picks in its history -- tops among ACC schools.

Beyond Miami, the next longest draft streaks in the ACC belong to both Virginia and Florida State. Both schools have had at least one player chosen in each of the last 30 drafts, dating back to 1983. And both are expected to have at least one player picked this year -- tackle Oday Aboushi from the Hoos and 11 or more from Florida State.

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Jon Jay is searching

WASHINGTON • Center fielder Jon Jay appeared late in Wednesday’s game to deliver a pinch-hit single and end a personal zero-for-21 streak on this trip.

But for a second consecutive day, Jay was not in the starting lineup as manager Mike Matheny wanted to get him time away from the batter’s box to work out of an extended funk.

Jay’s timing is amuck at the plate. With a lot of moving parts to Jay’s swing, Matheny wanted the outfielder to refine his approach and find his timing without having to do it in games.

“I’m trying to get the timing back,” said Jay, who grounded into a double play in his final at-bat Wednesday to leave his average at .205. “Hitting is all timing with everyone. I’m trying to get that back. Obviously I’d like to be doing better, but I’m not. I know I’m going to come out of it.”

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Gaby Sanchez goes deep again

Gaby Sanchez launched a solo homer and had three RBI in Thursday's victory over the Phillies.

Sanchez tied things up in the sixth with a solo shot off of Cliff Lee, and he got to Lee again the next inning with an RBI single. The first baseman took Lee and Cole Hamels deep in the series win, and he now has a longball in each of his last three starts. He could continue to be a solid NL-only play.

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Warren Sapp rips Darrelle Revis: ‘He’s selfish and he’s never been a team player’

When you move past the fact that Darrelle Revis is coming off major knee surgery and will be making more money than any defensive back in NFL history, he looks like a steal for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you’re going to give up a first-round pick, you might as well do so for arguably the best cornerback in the league.

However, not all fans, players and former players are sold on Tampa’s new acquisition. Hall of Famer Warren Sapp doesn’t feel that Revis contributes to a championship formula.

“He’s selfish and he’s never been a team player,” Sapp told The Tampa Tribune on Sunday. “We didn’t win the championship that way. Derrick Brooks and I always cared more about the team than ourselves.”

Former Bucs safety John Lynch, who was also part of a championship-caliber defense in Tampa, offered a different opinion.

“I played with Champ Bailey in his prime and I know what a cornerback like Revis can do for a defense,” Lynch said. “Like Champ, Revis is a guy who can neutralize No. 1 receivers, so you don’t have to dedicate extra resources to stopping that guy. Darrelle Revis is a big-time football player. … He’s a game-changer.”

You could certainly make the argument that Revis has been overly concerned with his contract since coming into the league, but it was the Jets that wanted to get rid of him. He has performed like the best cornerback in the NFL over the past several years and New York did not want to pay him accordingly. That’s the team’s prerogative, but I don’t know if I’d label him “selfish” based solely on that. Then again, there a lot of things Sapp says that I don’t totally agree with.

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Michael Bay Thinks The Rock “Needs To Grow Up”

As we’ve been reporting, The Rock underwent surgery earlier this week because of injuries he suffered during his WrestleMania match with John Cena. Because he is recovering from surgery, The Rock had to miss the premiere of his new movie with Mark Wahlberg, “Pain and Gain.”

The director of “Pain and Gain” Michael Bay had some choice words for The Rock when asked about The Rock’s absence while on the red carpet:

“Dwayne’s hurt tonight. He was pushing it too hard. [He] needs to grow up and stop wrestling 300-pound men.”

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Greg Olsen Celebrity Bucket List Promo

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Ravens Still Talking With Bryant McKinnie

The Ravens' talks with free agent LT Bryant McKinnie remain "ongoing."

The sides aren't having a negotiation as much as a standoff. The Ravens are clearly only going to sign McKinnie at their price, while McKinnie is holding out hope for a better offer. With the Ravens picking 32nd, the draft shouldn't have a major effect on talks. If McKinnie re-signs, he'd man the blindside with Michael Oher sticking at right tackle, and Kelechi Osemele at left guard.

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Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson on the mend after surgery

(CNN) -- Last we checked, Henry Cavill's the new Superman, but Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is proving to be quite the man of steel.

The actor had to have an emergency hernia surgery on Monday, causing him to miss out on the Los Angeles premiere of his new movie, "Pain & Gain."

The day before, the star explained that he'd paid a visit to his doctor, "who had to push my intestines back thru the tear in my abdomen. Kinda romantic."

But The Rock appears to be recovering well after the operation, and posted evidence to his Twitter account on Tuesday:

"Surgery a success!" he tweeted, along with a photo of himself in his hospital bed, wearing a Superman T-shirt and flexing his major biceps. "Dr repaired 3 hernial tears (fun pain). Superman is on the mend ..."

Johnson, who turns 41 next week, is said to be at home resting, no doubt in preparation for a busy summer. In addition to starring in Michael Bay's "Pain & Gain," which arrives in theaters Friday, Johnson's also in the sixth "Fast & Furious" installment, which arrives on May 24.

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Blake Tekotte gets opportunity in center field

CHICAGO -- Blake Tekotte became the third outfielder to start in Dayan Viciedo's absence, with the left fielder going on the disabled list Saturday with a strained left oblique. Jordan Danks has made two starts, Dewayne Wise has made one and two games have been postponed.

"Just get him out there and see what he can do," Ventura said of Tekotte, adding that he doesn't like players to sit too long without playing after coming up from the Minors. "You just mix and match and if one of them gets hot, you probably run with it. It's like with Gordon [Beckham] out. You mix and match and you have the ability to do that unless somebody forces you not to."

Wise, 35, has been playing professionally since 1997 and has held a utility role for pretty much the entirety of 11 big league seasons. He knows how to get ready with limited at-bats, even though it's not an easy task.

"It's really tough, especially with the beginning of the season with the weather," Wise said. "I knew coming back over here this year that I probably wouldn't get the playing time I did last year. You know, I'm a veteran guy. I know how to prepare myself to stay ready when I get the opportunity.

"But it's tough. You have to go out and prepare every day so when you do get in there, you give it the best you can."

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Jon Jay gets another day to work on swing

WASHINGTON -- In an effort to give Jon Jay an extended opportunity to work on his swing, manager Mike Matheny kept the center fielder out of the lineup for a second straight day. Jay is utilizing the time off to spend extra time in the batting cage, where he is specifically focusing on the timing of his complicated swing, which includes a lot more movement than most players.

"If you have that much movement, you're going to be a streaky hitter," Matheny said. "When he's hot, I think he's as hot as anybody. And when he's cold, he could be the [opposite]."

To this point it has been the latter. Though Jay left Spring Training feeling good about his timing, he has found no consistent rhythm this month. In 18 games entering play Wednesday, Jay had batted .197 with 17 strikeouts and just three walks. It's hardly the start Jay raced out to last season, when he was hitting .400 at the end of April.

"Obviously, I wish I could be doing better, but I'm not," Jay said on Wednesday. "But at the same time, I know that this is a long season and you go through this as a player. I know I'm going to come out of it.

"I feel like this year, I've had games where I've been consistent and games where I haven't been. It's just a combination of things. When things are going bad, it's bad. I haven't lost confidence in what kind of player I am and what I can bring to the table. This happens to everyone. It's not fun when you're dealing with it in the beginning of the season."

Jay compared this current stretch to the one he endured last summer, shortly after returning from a shoulder injury. As he worked to get his timing back, Jay hit .197 over a 21-game stretch from June 24-July 20. He struck out 16 times and walked seven times in 72 plate appearances.

The struggles weren't so noticeable on the stat sheet because his early-season success masked the dip in batting average. And in the end, Jay finished the season with a .305 season average.

"Jon, you forget how young he still is in his career," Matheny said. "He's still trying to figure out those keys, those cues he has to have to get him back to where he needs to be. When he gets it, it'll be fun to have him back at the top of the order."

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Brett Romberg Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

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Ken Dorsey Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

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John Elway: Willis McGahee is Denver Broncos' big RB

It widely has been speculated that the Denver Broncos will take a running back at some point in this week's 2013 NFL Draft. If they invest early in the position, logic dictates someone currently on the depth chart must go.

As things stand, the Broncos' backfield consists of Willis McGahee, Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno. John Elway, the Broncos' executive vice president of football operations, discussed the running back position at a Monday news conference.

"With where we are right now, McGahee is that big back for us right now," Elway said, according to "Hillman is (a) change of pace guy."

Hillman was a third-round draft pick last year, who showed some explosiveness as a rookie, so he's likely safe. McGahee is turning 32 years old and coming back from a broken leg. His $2.5 million salary is the highest among Broncos rushers, but hardly is exorbitant. Moreno has injury concerns as well, coming off his second knee surgery in as many years.

Should we read into the fact that Elway didn't mention Moreno by name Monday? Time will tell if Elway tipped his hand.

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Numbers show Texans’ overdependence on Andre Johnson

Andre Johnson wants the Texans to draft a receiver.

They haven’t shied away from doing that at various points in recent drafts. What they haven’t found yet, though, is a player who has lightened Johnson’s load.

There isn’t an unquestionable star in the group of receivers available in this year’s draft, and even if there was, it would take some trading up to do it.

That doesn’t preclude the Texans from finding a solid compliment to Johnson in a player not exalted as a game-breaking receiver.

Baltimore found Torrey Smith in the second round of the 2011 draft. In fact, Smith was the second receiver to go in that round, after the wayward Titus Young. The Broncos took Eric Decker in the third round in 2010 and the Steelers got this guy named Mike Wallace in the third round in 2009. Pierre Garcon was a sixth-round pick for the Colts in 2008. None of those guys were studs entering the draft. All of them played important roles for the teams that drafted them.
Statistically, it’s easy to show why the Texans need this. ESPN’s AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky collected these numbers from ESPN Stats and Info:

• The Texans were one of four NFL teams that targeted one receiver more than all the rest combined, along with the Lions, Chiefs and Bears. 
• Johnson was targeted on 58.1 percent of the Texans’ pass attempts to receivers, the highest rate in the league.
• Quarterback Matt Schaub’s completion percentage was 70.9 to Johnson with 31.6 attempts per interception. Meanwhile, his completion percentage to every other receiver on his roster was 56.5 with 21.6 attempts per interception.

At times last season, it seemed as if Schaub was keying too heavily on Johnson. Having a star receiver can have that effect to some extent, but that last bullet point shows that Schaub’s dependence on Johnson was totally justified. And for the sake of the Texans’ offense, that needs to change.

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Don Soldinger Hall of Fame Acceptance Speech

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Willis McGahee Believes He’s Still a Part of Denver’s Plans, Says He’s Got Five Years Left in Him

In 2011, Willis McGahee posted one of his most productive rushing seasons during his career while playing his first season in Denver. He finished one yard shy of 1,200 yards. Last year didn’t quite go according to plan, as his production fell off to 731 yards while being hampered by injury. Still, McGahee says he’s got five years left in the league and believes he’ll be a part of Denver’s plans in 2013 — despite rumors that they’ll target a running back in the draft.

Willis McGahee joined 102.3 ESPN in Denver with C.J. and Kreckman to discuss his recovery from injury, if he’s confident he’s going to be the top back in Denver in 2013, the offense playing at a faster tempo, how many years he’s got left in the league, Kevin Ware’s injury and the possibility that the Broncos will draft a running back.

How do you feel as you bounce back from the MCL injury?:
“I feel pretty good. I had a lot of time recuperating and getting rest and getting my knee back strong. I’m good to go. … I could go out and play (right now). I’m good; I’m ready to go.”

How confident are you that the Broncos believe in you to be their go-to running back?:
“Every day you’ve got to reinvent yourself, they say. The older you get, the more of a step you lose, so regardless of the situation, I’m going to have to reinvent myself and go out there and show the world — not just the Broncos, but the world — that I can still play this game. I think that’s the mentality I have. I don’t think nobody’s going to tell me when I’m done playing. I’ll make that decision for myself.”

But do you still feel you’re a part of this team’s plans?:
“I’m still a part of the team’s plans, but at the end of the day anything can happen. Regardless if I’m healthy or not, I can’t control that. That’s something that the team has to evaluate. I’ve been in the business a long time and I’ve seen how it goes, so it’s nothing new.”

The Broncos are talking about wanting their offense to play at a faster tempo. What’s that going to look like?:
“I think a faster tempo means just doing a lot more than what we’ve normally been doing. I think we played at a slow pace — not a slow pace, but we give teams a chance to try to figure things out. I think they want to go out there and just play fast, don’t worry about things. The more you think, the slower you play, so I think that’s one of the bigger reasons we need to play fast.”

How many more years do you think you can play?:
“I’ve got five more, and that’s it for me. Five more. … I mean, everything happens for a reason, man. It probably wasn’t meant for me to go second pick or third pick or whatnot. At the end of the day, I got hurt, and it made me want it even more. … It’s nothing new to me because every year, at the end of the day, they keep saying, ‘He’s 30 years old. He lost a step. He got hurt in the national championship. He’s not the same anymore.’ … That’s my motivation, and at the end of the day, when I hear people say, ‘He’s turning 31, turning 32.’ Who cares? As long as you can play the game, that’s what counts.”

What was your reaction when you saw Kevin Ware’s injury in Louisville’s Elite Eight game?:
“I didn’t see it. … I don’t watch college basketball, so I didn’t know anything about it until you see it on social media about the knee injury. The injury can happen to anybody on any given day no matter who you are. … It’s all about how bad you want to come back from it.”

Would it bother you if the Broncos went after a running back in the draft?:
“No, it don’t matter to me, because, like I said, it’s a business. My position, running backs only last, they say, three or four years, so of course they’re going to bring somebody in. Whether it’s the first three rounds or the last three rounds or free agency, they’re going to bring a running back in. … At the end of the day, the position I play, you’re going to always have to fight for your spot.”

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DeQuan Jones TOP 10 HIghlights of 2012-13 Season

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Chris Perez converts third save

Chris Perez pitched a scoreless ninth inning Monday against the White Sox to convert his third save of the season.

Perez allowed a one-out single to Chris Perez and lucked out when a long Alexei Ramirez drive went about 10 feet foul, but he eventually got Ramirez to foul out and Tyler Flowers to ground out to end it. The bearded reliever blew a save earlier this month when he served up a solo homer to Jose Bautista, but it's the only run he's allowed in seven appearances this season.

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Ryan Braun Hits His 6th HR

SAN DIEGO — Ryan Braun and Yuniesky Betancourt gave Kyle Lohse all the support he needed before throwing a pitch. The right-hander didn’t get to finish his impressive outing either.

Lohse injured his left pinkie during an at-bat in the sixth inning of the Milwaukee Brewers’ 7-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Monday night for their eighth straight win. Braun hit a two-run home run and Betancourt had a three-run shot, both off Jason Marquis in the top of the first.

The homer for Braun was his sixth of the season. He also had an RBI single in the fifth and has 19 RBIs.

In his last visit to Petco Park, Braun became the first player to hit three home runs in one game at the ballpark. He also had a triple in his last at-bat here on April 30, 2012. He has five homers and 13 RBIs in 16 games at Petco.

“I just enjoy coming back to the West Coast,” Braun said. “It’s always rejuvenating for me. Obviously (Petco Park) is still a challenging ballpark to hit but I’ve enjoyed hitting here throughout the course of my career, and as a team I think we’ve enjoyed getting a chance to come here and play.”

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Jon Jay Struggling

Jon Jay went hitless in a fifth straight game Monday versus the Nationals, dropping his average to .197.
The Cardinals had their slumping center fielder bat seventh tonight. In spite of his struggles, Jay scored 14 runs in 15 games out of the leadoff spot. He'll probably move back up once he breaks out of this funk.

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LaRon Byrd Remembers Draft Day

LaronByrd 2
Cardinals WR LaRon Byrd: “The way my family does it on weekends, we just barbeque or have a cookout. Chill, watch TV on the weekends. I didn’t want a big party. (We had) lasagna, crawfish and bits, gumbo, BBQing, space walks for the kids outside. Just a typical weekend in the Byrd house.”

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Packers will retain Sam Shields

Restricted free agent cornerback Sam Shields will return to the Packers.

An NFL source said Shields did not sign any offer sheets from other teams. Today was the deadline for restricted free agents to do so.

Now, it's just a matter of whether he will play this season for the restricted free agent tender or a long-term contract. According to the source, Shields has not signed his tender with the Packers yet. Shields would prefer to return under a long-term deal, if possible.

The Packers put a second-round tender on him. That's worth $2.023 million this season. Had another team signed Shields to an offer sheet and the Packers declined to match it, they would have received a second-round pick as compensation.

Shields entered the league as an undrafted free agent. Had they put the low tender on him, they would have had to pay him only $1.323 million but would not have received any compensation if another team signed him.

Shields started 10 games last season, including both playoff games, and was their best cover corner. He allowed completions just 37.2 percent of the times he was targeted and gave up only one touchdown in the regular season, according to STATS.

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Indianapolis Colts' best draft picks: No. 3, RB Edgerrin James

Many thought the Indianapolis Colts should take RB Ricky Williams. Some actually groaned when they heard the name “Edgerrin James” called with the fourth overall selection in 1999.

Who was that? They would soon find out.

The Colts had traded RB Marshall Faulk, so choosing the University of Miami running back couldn’t have been more important. And president Bill Polian got the right guy.

“Edge,” as he would come to be known, could do it all. He was an elusive runner who could handle the pounding of being a workhorse. He caught passes out of the backfield. And perhaps most overlooked by others but not his teammates was James’ ability to pass protect. Nobody took on a blitzing LB like Edge.

“You know the thing about it, it’s the timing of everything,” James said in a March interview. “At the University of Miami, we never got the chance to carry the ball a lot. We had to split carries. We never got a chance to really show how good we are. Everybody always knew I was good. Everybody at Miami. If you ever came to a practice, people knew I was very good. But with TV and all the magazines, everybody wanted them to go off with somebody else.

“Mr. Polian and the rest of the Colts organization, they understood what they needed for that offense. I think it was just a matter of it’s not who’s the best runner. They needed somebody who could do both. And for me, because I had to block a lot and do other things, I don’t think Ricky had to do all of that stuff. The fans and everybody else, they see somebody run around all day but they don’t understand all of the other things you have to do. And the Colts offense, it’s not easy. I don’t know why people think it’s easy to run the Colts offense. It’s tough to be a running back in that offense. After I left, they put in so many different people. You have to be smart. You have to be tough. You’ve got to do a lot of blocking. Then you get to run the ball, but it kind of fits in after the passing.”

James won the NFL rushing title his first two seasons with 1,553 yards in 1999 and then a career-high 1,709 in 2000. He scored 13 rushing TDs each year. He caught 62 passes for 586 yards and four TDs as a rookie, then a career-high 63 passes for 594 yards and five TDs in his second season.

The only question about Edge is what kind of numbers he might have been able to put up if he didn’t suffer a knee injury six games into 2001. The torn ACL required surgery and it took him a while to recover.

He never put up those earlier numbers again, but was still a workhorse. The Colts ran him 277 times for 989 yards in 14 games in 2002, the year after his knee surgery. Those numbers climbed to 310 carries for 1,259 yards, 334 carries for 1,548 yards and 360 carries for 1,506 yards in 2005, his last season with the team.

Edge met with owner Jim Irsay before that final season and asked the team not place the franchise tag on him. The back sensed his time with the Colts was near an end. It would be too expensive for the team couldn’t use that tag again.

After 2005, James wasn’t re-signed. The Colts’ all-time leading rusher with 9,226 yards was allowed to leave via free agency. He had two decent years in Arizona, running 337 times for 1,159 yards, then 324 carries for 1,222 yards. His final year with the Cardinals, his numbers dropped off. After a limited six-game stint with Seattle in 2009, James retired.

Williams, the Heisman Trophy winner drafted by New Orleans with the next pick after James was taken, finished his career in 2011 with 10,009 rushing yards and 66 TDs. He also caught 342 passes for 2,606 yards and eight TDs. He made one Pro Bowl.

James amassed 12,246 yards on 3,028 carries (597 more attempts than Williams) with 80 TDs. He also caught 433 passes for 3,364 yards and 11 TDs. He was named to the Pro Bowl four times. While he didn’t play for the Colts on the Super Bowl XLI winner in 2006, Irsay gave James a ring anyway out of respect for the back’s contributions.

Edge was inducted into the Colts’ Ring of Honor on Sept. 23, 2012.

“I always loved the Colts fans,” he said, looking back on that day. “I knew they were the best fans in the world. I always had the funnest times. I grew up in the NFL and as a person, from the first day I stepped out as an Indianapolis Colt. Here in college, you’re kind of guarded. When I got to Indianapolis, the way everybody embraced me, I understand a lot of people didn’t know me but little bit by little bit, being in the community and being around and getting a grasp of what is going on around that city, you actually become a part of that city. When I got back there for the Ring of Honor, it was just a reminder.”

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Bradon McGee keeping it cool before NFL draft

CORAL GABLES — Less than a week before the NFL draft, it's starting to feel real for Brandon McGee. The former Miami cornerback is projected as a mid-to-late round pick in the three-day event starting Thursday in New York.

In the meantime, McGee is working out with personal trainer Tony Sands in Fort Lauderdale. He's just trying to comprehend the realization of his dream could be just days away.

"Oh, man, It's significant at this point," McGee said Friday. "I'm just sitting back, waiting on the phone call. It's a blessing just to be in this position. I know a lot of people have a projection and this and that, but at the end of the day, nobody really knows."

McGee said NFL scouts are telling him he could go as early as the mid rounds.

•Miami learned Friday when it would renew its football rivalry with Notre Dame. The ACC announced the next three years of the Fighting Irish's games in its new arrangement with the conference.

The Hurricanes will travel to South Bend in 2016. A return date would come sometime after that. They met last season in Chicago with the Irish crushing Miami, 41-3 in the first regular-season meeting since 1990.

•A few members of the Miami men's basketball team will throw out the first pitch of Saturday's UM baseball game. Coach Jim Larranaga and all members of the team were invited to participate before the 1 p.m. game with Clemson at Alex Rodriguez Park.Players will also sign autographs after the pitch.

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Andre Johnson asks the Texans to draft a wide receiver

When we posted our Houston Texans draft needs today, we started at wide receiver. Andre Johnson agrees with that assessment.

Johnson told John McClain of the Houston Chronicle that he’s been lobbying the front office to use the Texans’ first-round pick, No. 27 overall, on a wide receiver.

“I’d like to have another [receiver],” Johnson said. “I’m all for it. I’ve asked for it for awhile. The more weapons we have, the better it’ll be for the team.”

Johnson, who will turn 32 in July, is getting old by wide receiver standards. But he’s not showing many signs of age and is coming off a season in which he had a career-high 1,598 yards. But Johnson might become even more effective if he had another threat to draw some of the coverage away from him.

Of the top receivers in this year’s draft, Tavon Austin of West Virginia will surely be gone before the Texans are on the clock, and Cordarrelle Patterson of Tennessee probably will be, too. That leaves Justin Hunter of Tennessee, Keenan Allen of Cal, DeAndre Hopkins of Clemson and Robert Woods of USC as receivers the Texans could draft in the first round.

Johnson would love to work with any of them.

“If we draft a receiver, I’m going to help him as much as I can,” Johnson said. “I’ll answer any questions he has because I want him to perform well.”
A rookie receiver performing well on the opposite side of the field could be a great asset to Johnson.

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Devin Hester focused on producing, not retiring

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Despite comments indicating a possible desire to retire in the wake of the firing of former head coach Lovie Smith, veteran Bears return man Devin Hester admitted Thursday his remarks came as a result of overwhelming emotion, not his true intentions.

Upon hearing the news of Smith's firing back in December, Hester, clearly distraught, said, “I don't even know if I want to play again. That's been something on my mind for two years. It's not (much fun anymore). I've got my workers comp papers in my pocket. I'm going to go home and talk to my wife, and talk to my family and see where we go from there.”

Obviously, Hester determined a return to the football field was the best course of action.

“That was in the past,” Hester said. “At the same time, people were just emotional, upset. So I would say that (my remarks were) emotion and upset coming out of me. I really wasn't thinking about what I was saying. That's in the past. You say things you really don't mean when you're upset. That's how it was.”

Now, Hester is in a better state emotionally with the new regime limiting him strictly to duties on special teams, after spending the majority of his career also moonlighting at receiver. Hester holds the NFL record for career kick return touchdowns (17), and career punt return TDs (12) and needs one more return TD to tie Deion Sanders for the most overall.

A missed field goal returned for a touchdown gives Hester 18 total return TDs.

What sold Hester on his new stripped-down duties as a specialist was simply the new regime's desire to see him succeed.

“They want to see me do good,” Hester said. “Whatever it takes to bring the special teams back, the return game back to what we used to have, they really, really wanted that. They told me, ‘This is your passion. You know what you're good at. You know what you're great at. Let's get it back to what it was.'”

That's all Hester needed to hear. In his new role, Hester spends all of his times with the specialists and special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis. Hester no longer participates in meetings with the club's receivers. Asked if he missed it, Hester said, “Not at all.”

In Hester's role as solely a specialist, he'll also receive opportunities to contribute on kick coverage teams as a gunner.

“We'll see. It'll be fun," he said. "It's something I haven't done in a while, but at the same time, I'm a team ballplayer, and whatever these guys need me, that's where I'm gonna fit."

Hester hasn't burned a defense for a return touchdown since the 2011 season, when he scored two TDs on punt returns and another on a kickoff. Hester once endured a two-year drought without a return score (2008 and 2009).

He's not expecting another scoreless season on returns in 2013.

“It's not only me, but the special-teams unit as well (that needs to return to what it used to be),” Hester said. “These (new coaches) are putting together a great group of guys on the special teams unit from the assignments to the players, and that's what we've been missing.”

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Mike James, Brandon McGee tied together by more than NFL Draft

The lives of Mike James and Brandon McGee will be intertwined for at least another week.

Both played football together at the University of Miami, waited until after they graduated to pursue an NFL career and are mid- to late-round prospects in the NFL Draft that begins Thursday and runs through Saturday.

And both will be thinking of their departed moms when their dreams are realized, if, indeed they are realized, this weekend.

“Draft day is coming, and everybody asks me ‘Where are you going to be this weekend? Who are you going to be with?’ ” said James, 22, the running back whose mother died in a car accident in December 2010.

“It’s hard to give anyone a definitive answer because for 19 years I thought I was going to be with my mom, no matter what, on draft day.

“Brandon and I share a lot when it comes to that.”

McGee, the 22-year-old cornerback whose mother died of cancer when he was 13, said his mom “will be the first thing that comes to my mind” when he’s drafted. “Before she passed I promised I’d make her proud and get to the pros.

“That day is coming soon.”

Except for McGee and James — and even they are not shoo-ins to be picked — this is expected to be a meager weekend for the Canes, who were spoiled from 1995 to 2008 with at least one player chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft.

Each is humble, respectful and well-respected, and each thankful for what they do have — as opposed to bitter about what they don’t — McGee and James, in separate interviews, said they might not turn on the TV for the majority of the three days.

“I talked to some older guys — D.J. Williams, Antrel Rolle,” James said. “D.J. went in the first round and he told me it still felt like forever. He said, ‘Whatever you do, take your mind off it. It can be stressful sitting there watching people and thinking, ‘They’re going and I was better than him!’

“The best thing to do is try to take a step back from it.”

Said McGee: “I’ll be at home [in Plantation] with my immediate family. I thought about having a little party, but I might not even do that. I might not even watch it, which would be the first year I don’t.

“I’ll record it, but I don’t want to know until it happens.”

McGee, 5-11 and 193 pounds, had one of the fastest 40-yard times at the combine in February, a 4.40 — good for 13th overall. During his UM career, he was clocked as fast as 4.29.

He came into his senior season still waiting to fulfill the expectations he created with an outstanding high school career at Plantation, where he was a dominant quarterback and considered the nation’s 10th-best corner by

In 2012 he started all 12 games and tied for sixth on the team with 54 tackles, had two interceptions and seven pass breakups.

His strong performance during practice week for the East-West Shrine Game (including two interceptions) was noted across the nation.

The teams for which he worked out included the Dolphins, Philadelphia Eagles, Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears.

“I work hard, I’m coachable, I can learn just about any scheme in any defense,” McGee said.

“Regardless of what round you go in, what counts is how you perform once you’re in an NFL uniform. I tend not to focus on the negative. It’s a blessing to be in this position.”

UM coach Al Golden said McGee improved tremendously in 2012.

“He’s going to be an excellent pro,” Golden said. “If you look at his body of work, everything is trending so positively. His size, his strength, he’s always had length and long speed and now he’s married that with a tool box.

“He showed the ability to tackle and be physical on the edge. I see his peak coming as he enters the draft.”

James, whose career was held back by having former star Lamar Miller ahead of him, and then, this past season, sharing reps with Duke Johnson, more than doubled his output in 2012 from the previous season.

He rushed for a career-best 621 yards and six touchdowns on 147 carries for a 4.2-yard-per-carry average, and was UM’s third-leading receiver with 30 catches for 344 yards and three touchdowns.

Though some projections have McGee going sooner than the 5-11, 222-pound James, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. believes James is the better value as a Day 3 pick.

“I like Mike James,’’ Kiper said. “He was one of the guys you can get probably a little later in the draft. It’s a kid over 220 pounds [who] has better quickness than he does 40 time. He runs inside very effectively” but “can bounce it to the perimeter. He’s got some skills.

“You saw what Alfred Morris [of FAU] did last year as a sixth-round pick.”

James played fullback as a freshman and is regarded as the ultimate team player who is smart, loyal, has great hands and wears defenses down with considerable strength.

“Everybody wants 30 carries a game,” said James, who was timed at 4.53 in the 40 and did 28 reps in the 225-pound bench press. “But I trusted the judgment of my coaches. We did the best we could to try to make the team go as a team, not just to make Mike James go as an individual.

“I’m at peace.”

Golden said he’s confident James will flourish.

“Wherever you put him on your board, that’s what he’s worth,” Golden said. “There’s not much you don’t know about Mike James. He’s as pure as any draft pick you’ll ever get. I think he’s a mid-round player, and he’ll make somebody’s team and have a great career.”

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Ray Lewis still with team in spirit

When speaking with the media at the pre-draft press conference earlier this week, GM Ozzie Newsome said that Ray Lewis remains part of the Ravens despite having retired.

Newsome said there's so many ways that people in this area know that Lewis is a part of the Ravens even though is playing career is finished.

"I think Ray is still here in spirit," Newsome said when speaking at that press conference. "I was at a local restaurant deli on Sunday and they said, ‘Ray just was in here the other day.’ So, he is still in this community."

Lewis had been a huge leader on the Ravens in so many ways over the last several years, both on the field and in the locker room. And the lessons he taught the younger players are things they'll be able to use and grow with in the coming seasons. 

"Ray is still very much a part of this football team," Newsome said. "[Coach] John [Harbaugh] and I were talking about the number of players that were on the squad when he got here that have been here five years with John right now. Ray has impacted those kids, those guys in our locker room."

Newsome said the impact Lewis had on those young players will be felt even though future Hall of Famer won't be playing with the Ravens any more. 

"Ray has impacted Torrey [Smith]. Ray has impacted K.O. [Kelechi Osemele]," Newsome said. "So, his impact is going to be felt within this organization and in this locker room for a long time. We talked to [Mant'i] Te’o, and they know about this locker room and Ray Lewis, so his impact is lasting.”

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Calais Campbell thinks Cardinals will 'surprise'

The Arizona Cardinals may have a tough road ahead of them in 2013, drawing a daunting schedule next season. But that hasn't deterred one player's belief that this team could surprise a lot of people.

Defensive end Calais Campbell, a guest on NFL Network, discussed the Cardinals' challenging opponents for the 2013 season and explained why he feels they can answer the call.

"We got a new coaching staff in there that I think everybody loves so far," Campbell said. "Bruce Arians is just a great coach -- his motivation, his swagger, the way he talks to us -- everyone loves playing for him already."

Campbell also believes the Cardinals will showcase their talents on a primetime stage against the Seahawks in Week 7.

"It'll be a good chance for us to show the world how good we are against a team that is well-respected," Campbell said. "I think we are going to surprise."

NFL Network's Heath Evans has also come out and said he thinks the Cardinals are a sleeper team in the NFC West this season.

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Minneota Lynx Sign Shawnice "Pepper" Wilson

The Minnesota Lynx today announced the signing of center Shawnice “Pepper” Wilson from the University of Miami.

In 32 contests last season, Wilson, a 6-6 center from Pittsburgh, Pa., averaged career-highs in both points (10.0 ppg) and rebounds (8.6 rpg) as a senior with the Hurricanes. She finished the year ranking fourth in the ACC free throw percentage (.798), fifth in rebounding (8.6), sixth in offensive rebounds (3.2) and seventh in field goal percentage (.519). Wilson was named the ACC Player of the Week for the first time in her career on March 4, averaging 13.5 points and 10.0 rebounds during the regular season’s last week as the Hurricanes upset No. 4 ranked Duke.

The 15th season of professional women’s basketball in Minnesota kicks off Saturday, June 1 at 7 p.m. when the Lynx take on the Connecticut Sun. The first chance fans have to see the defending Western Conference champions is the team’s preseason contest at Target Center on Tuesday, May 21 at 12 p.m. Beginning as low as $18 per game or $187 for a full season package, fans can purchase tickets by calling the Lynx at 612-673-8400 or by visiting

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Blake Tekotte Recalled

Dayan Viciedo will be out at least the next 15 days and maybe longer after the White Sox placed the left fielder on the disabled list before Saturday's game against Minnesota.

The White Sox recalled outfielder Blake Tekotte from Triple-A Charlotte to take Viciedo's place.

Viciedo suffered the oblique injury during his eighth-inning at-bat Thursday in Toronto.

"Yesterday when he came in it wasn’t feeling that much better," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Saturday's game. "I think (trainer) Herm (Schneider) has seen it enough that you know it’s not going to be a two or three-day thing, so we’re actually hoping it’s just a two-week thing."

Viciedo said through a translator that he feels pain "a little bit with everything," but also said he doesn't think the injury is that bad.

Sox general manager Rich Hahn said Viciedo's rehab could take longer than the 15-day disabled list stint.

"We're going to have to play that one by ear," said Hahn, who addressed the media before the game. "With something like this it's so easy as you guys know to re-aggravate it if you don't give it the proper amount of time to heal. I think the plan at this point is for him to do essentially nothing for about a week and then slowly start ramping him up into baseball activities and then likely a rehab assignment. So it could take a little longer than the 15 days, but we'll see how quickly he gets back to normal in these first seven before we decide."

Vicideo takes healthy hacks at the plate, something that could factor into his rehab.

"He doesn’t necessarily have a patient or deliberate swing," Ventura said. "It’s a violent swing. That’s the other thing. You let him go back out there and swing and it will probably be worse. You see people down for a long time."

Taking Viciedo's roster spot is Tekotte, 25, who had been playing in extended spring training games after starting the season on Charlotte's disabled list.
Tekotte, who bats left-handed and throws right, was acquired by the Sox from San Diego on November 7, 2012, in exchange for pitcher Brandon Kloess. He hit 8-49 (.163) with one RBI in 30 games for the Padres through 2011-12. Tekotte will wear No. 18.

"(Tekotte) can run a little bit so he could be running late, going in defensively, getting a start here and there," Ventura said.

Tekotte said he felt good being around the team during spring training and is excited to play in Chicago.

"My family's from Chicago too so they're able to come up," he said. "This ballclub, I fell in love with all the guys during spring training. They're awesome. I feel like they have good chemistry, so I'm excited to be part of this team."

Tekotte started the season on the DL with a strained left hamstring.

"It feels pretty good," he said. "They gave me a little extra time just to make sure since it was kind of the beginning of the season. They didn't want me to relapse. I feel great. I'm just excited to finally get out of Arizona and play under some lights in the stadium."

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Yonder Alonso reluctantly gets break from lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- Let's get this straight: Yonder Alonso doesn't like getting a start off. Not in April and not in September. He wants to play. Period.

"I don't want a day off. There's no need at all to take a day off," Alonso said. "I hate days off."

Alonso wasn't in the starting lineup Sunday against the Giants, who started a left-handed pitcher -- Barry Zito -- as the right-handed-hitting Jesus Guzman got the start at first base. It's the second time in 2013 that Alonso hasn't started a game, though he entered in the sixth inning to replace Guzman, who moved to left field after Kyle Blanks was shaken up colliding with the outfield wall. Alonso has played in all 18 of the Padres' games this season.

"It's not even a day off, it's just not starting," said Padres manager Bud Black. "I thought it gave him an opportunity to exhale. He's going to play a lot and get a lot of at-bats."

Alonso said not to put much stock into his three-game funk that has seen him go 0-for-11 with seven strikeouts against some good pitchers -- Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers and, in this series, Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum.

"Sometimes, those guys are tough," Alonso said.

Prior to those three games, Alonso was hitting .419 in his eight previous games with at least one hit in all eight games.

"I think you have to put it in perspective," Alonso said Sunday. "We have faced a stretch of three or four guys who have thrown the ball well. You're going to go through a tough stretch of pitchers sometimes."

In 2012, Alonso appeared in 155 games in his first full Major League season. Only Chase Headley (161) played in more games for the Padres.

"I take care of myself in the offseason because I want to play in 162 games," he said.

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