Clinton Portis got pulled over for speeding while he was live on a radio show

Clinton Portis called into his old teammate Fred Smoot’s radio show on DC radio station 106.7 The Fan and sometime during his chat about training camps of past, got pulled over for speeding.

The interview was going well until Smoot and co-host Kevin Shafer bid him goodbye and he said: “Hey y’all no problem, you all just got me a speeding ticket.”
Apparently the trooper was not impressed with Portis’ NFL credentials. While it was never established what team the trooper rooted for, the radio hosts did express concern he was a Ravens fan.

“I shouldn’t have gave him my license, I should have just hit it,” Portis joked as he waited for the police officer to run his license.

The hosts then asked if he’d gotten a ticket before.

“This is probably my 30th one,” he said, later adding he was going 45 in a 30 mph zone.

Portis ended up with two tickets, he said.

He then tried to get the trooper to talk to the radio station. “I’ve got some friends that want to talk to you,” he said to the trooper, who he addressed as “Mr. Trooper.”

The officer declined. Portis, of course, isn’t the first football player to get pulled over while on The Fan. Chris Cooley was pulled over in 2010.

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LeGarrette Blount says Ray Lewis gave him permission to do his dance

As if it wasn’t bad enough to be on the wrong end of a blowout for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16, they had to watch New England Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount mock them by doing Ray Lewis‘ famed dance.

But Blount says he didn’t pull the dance out of his hat, stating that Lewis gave him permission to break out the moves:

“Out of respect for him … I talked to him one of the last times I played him, and I had his phone number still from doing a couple of appearances with him, so I asked him a while ago,” Blount said.

Now, I don’t really think it’s outlandish to assume Lewis gave Blount the ‘okay’ to use his dance, but against his old team? Yeah, that’s difficult to believe.

In fairness to Blount, he didn’t say that he asked him to use it against the Ravens, just that he asked if he could use it – a while ago. Pretty sure if the former Ravens linebacker knew Blount was going to bust it out against his former team, let alone with a playoff birth on the line, he’d have objected.

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Ed Reed, Kellen Winslow absent at Jets practice

Three Jets did not participate in practice Thursday. Ed Reed, the safety who has received Thursdays off the past two weeks, had the day off and was not present.

Neither was Kellen Winslow, who was sent home with an illness. The tight end also did not practice Wednesday to rest his right knee.

Ellis Lankster, a cornerback who did not participate in practice Tuesday or Wednesday, was on the field during position drills but not wearing a helmet. Lankster did not officially participate in practice. He missed last Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns with a jaw injury, which Rex Ryan explained is a complication from getting a tooth pulled.

The players listed as limited on Wednesday's injury report -- Quinton Coples, Sheldon Richardson, Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie -- were all on the field as the Jets practiced indoors but their status on the injury report did not change.

Ryan is not worried about those players failing to participate in Sunday's season finale in Miami against the Dolphins.

"I think we're good," the Jets coach said.

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Andre Johnson a bright spot for terrible Texans

HOUSTON (AP) - Andre Johnson is having another great season for the Houston Texans.

The star receiver certainly isn’t celebrating it with the Texans mired in a franchise-record 13-game skid.

He told The Associated Press this week that dealing with another terrible season after already suffering through the lean times early in franchise history has taken the joy out of playing the game he loves.

”You don’t expect to go back through it,” said. “You think you’re past that stage as a team ... it is no fun at all.”

Despite his frustration with this year, Johnson has remained Houston’s most reliable leader.

”It’s amazing. Andre is just the consummate pro. He’s always positive,” interim coach Wade Phillips said. “He’s always making plays. It’s tremendous the number of plays he’s made ... that just says so much about him. And if you know him as a person, he’s even better.”

This has been the most painful season for Johnson because the Texans were coming off consecutive playoff appearances and were expected to contend for a Super Bowl. Instead, they need a win at Tennessee on Sunday to avoid matching their franchise-worst record of 2-14 from 2005.

If the Texans lose on Sunday, they will be guaranteed the top overall pick in April’s draft.

Johnson is the only player remaining on the team from the 2005 season. He has been with the Texans since their second season after being drafted third overall in the 2003 draft.

He went through four losing seasons with David Carr at quarterback before the Texans picked up Matt Schaub and the franchise began to turn around. The Texans won back-to-back AFC South titles and looked to take the next step this season.

But Schaub had the worst stretch of his career and was benched after six games in favor of Case Keenum.

But the losing continued with the undrafted, record-setting University of Houston quarterback running the offense. Now it looks like Johnson is likely to be catching passes from another quarterback next season.

Johnson isn’t spending time worrying about Houston’s quarterback situation, especially because the Texans don’t know who their coach will be in 2014 after Gary Kubiak’s recent firing.

”You just have to wait and see what happens,” he said. “You don’t necessarily know if it’s going to be a rookie quarterback or a veteran guy. We don’t even have a coach yet.”

Johnson is second in the NFL with 103 receptions in 2013 and his 1,358 yards receiving are fifth in the league. He tied an NFL record for most seasons with at least 100 receptions on Sunday, reaching the mark for the fifth time in his career.

This Sunday he has a shot at setting another NFL mark. Johnson needs 142 yards to become the first player in NFL history to have at least 100 receptions and 1,500 yards receiving in four seasons. This is Johnson’s seventh season with at least 1,000 yards receiving and he surpassed 12,000 yards for his career earlier this year.

”I think the ultimate goal is to win and win the championship,” Johnson said. “So I think the records and stuff like that is something you’ll look at once your career is over to see what you’ve accomplished since you’ve been in the league.”

Johnson will turn 33 this summer, raising the question how much longer he’ll be able to play at this level, and if time is running out for him to reach his goal of winning the Super Bowl. But this tough season hasn’t dampened his optimism that Houston will turn things around next year.

”You can make moves and put yourself into contention,” he said. “There are going to be some decisions made this offseason with the new coach and everything like that. Hopefully, as an organization, we’ll make some moves to put us in contention where we can go out and compete to hopefully win that Super Bowl.”

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Antrel Rolle making run for Pro Bowl honors

Barring a late run on the ballot box, it appears that safety Antrel Rolle and possibly defensive end Justin Tuck are the only two Giants players who have a shot at earning Pro Bowl honors this season.

Thursday was the final day for voting. The Pro Bowl roster will be announced on Friday at 9 p.m. on the NFL Network. The game will be in Hawaii.

Rolle, who was voted to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010, ranked third behind Kam Chancellor (Seattle) and Eric Berry (Kansas City) in the latest fan voting released last week.

Both Chancellor and Berry are deserving. Each is having a fine season and their teams are in the playoffs. Rolle, who has 90 tackles, two sacks and is tied for second in the NFL with a career-high six interceptions, is likely to make it. His chief competition is from the Bears’ Major Wright and the Steelers’ Troy Polamala, both of whom are having subpar seasons.

“It’s always a great accomplishment,” Rolle said on Thursday. “But more importantly, I think my main goal and focus has always been how we produce as a team. It doesn’t take anything away from the Pro Bowl or my own personal accolades, but at the same time, I would give my left arm to be playing in the postseason right now.”

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Greg Olsen is Carolina's 'Good Guy'

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen might win bigger awards this season, but this still is a "good" one.

Olsen was selected as the winner of the Pro Football Writers of America 2013 Tom Berry Good Guy Award.

Given annually to the player who is most cooperative with the media, the award is named after former High Point Enterprise Panthers beat writer Tom Berry, who passed away in 2009.

The award is voted on by the members of the local media that cover the team on a regular basis. Previous winners were James Anderson, Captain Munnerlyn, Jordan Gross and Brad Hoover.

Those that knew Berry will attest that the name of the award is fitting.

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Raptors' Salmons bringing 'old-school toughness'

NEW YORK - In the summer of 2006 John Salmons nixed a sign-and-trade deal that would have made him a Raptor heading into the prime of his career.

He was 26 years old at the time and coming off his best season in Philadelphia. But his faith had led him in a different direction, it led him to Sacramento.

Over seven years later, his career has come around full circle. He starred for playoff teams in Chicago and Milwaukee, ended up back with the Kings and now, fate - in the form of a seven-player swap - has finally steered him to Toronto.

The 34-year-old swingman was supposed to be a spare part in the salary dump of Rudy Gay, a contract that could be bought out at an affordable price in the offseason or moved at the deadline. He still may end up being those things but two weeks into his ironic tenure in Toronto, he has brought something no one expected him to, something the Raptors have been without for years. As head coach Dwane Casey has put it, Salmons brings "old-school toughness."

"He has a settling effect when he's in the game and it helps us," Casey said of Salmons, who is averaging 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds, playing just under 26 minutes per game in six contests with the Raptors. "He doesn't get rattled."

A versatile defender, Salmons has been used to frustrate the opponent's best wing player, most notably Monta Ellis and Kevin Durant in a pair of surprising road victories last week. He's been one of the first players off Casey's bench, a facilitator in the offence down the stretch but most importantly, he's been a calming presence in the face of adversity and that's rubbing off on his new teammates.

After engineering a 19-point comeback in Dallas and withstanding a run from the league's best team in Oklahoma City, the team pointed to Salmons and his understated brand of leadership.

"I'm not a rah-rah guy at all," the even-keeled Salmons admitted after Sunday's win over the Thunder. "But I've been around for a long time, I've experienced a lot so I just try to give my advice when I can."

"Being in the league as long as I've been I've seen a lot of things and I just try to show poise on the court and lead like that."

If you didn't know any better you could easily mistake Salmons' unflappable persona for indifference but that, as his new coach has learned, is not the case.

"He's very quiet, [a] quiet leader," Casey said. "He does more [with] his actions than his words but he's a solid man. You engage him in conversation and he has a lot to say. People take that quietness for, whatever but he has a lot to say once you sit down and talk with him.

"I like his demeanour. I like his approach. He's an old-school pro."

It's been some time since the Raptors have rostered a vet able and willing to make that type of impact on the team's younger players. You may have to go all the way back to the days of Charles Oakley, Kevin Willis, Doug Christie and the veteran-laden teams that helped turn Vince Carter into an overnight superstar.

"I remember walking in [on] day two," Carter reminisced before facing the Raptors in Dallas last week. "And Oak grabbed me by the shoulder and said, hey, I'm going to take care of you and show you how to be a professional and be a pro in this league.

"And I think of those days and I think of coming to practice when they used to kick the ball in the stands and what do you say? Nothing, you've just got to go get it. You learn a lot from that."

Salmons is not Oakley - few are - but his experience and know-how could go a long way in the continued development of sophomores Terrence Ross and Jonas Valanciunas. Then there's DeMar DeRozan, another willing student who, in his fifth NBA season has been forced to learn on the fly without the benefit of a mentor. Veteran players have come and gone - DeRozan credited Reggie Evans and Jarrett Jack - but the roster has mostly been in flux since the 24-year-old was drafted. No one has been around long enough to truly take DeRozan under their wing. Salmons may not be a long-term fixture either, but for now DeRozan is taking in what he can.

"He's played in the playoffs, he's been a leader a long time, played with a lot of great guys," DeRozan said of his new teammates. "He knows how to play the game.

"We're definitely paying attention to it, I'm even paying more attention to it. I always look at it like, I could always learn more and that's what we're doing."

Salmons is due to make $7 million next season but the Raptors will only owe him $1 million should they waive him prior to June 30. For that reason, he could become a valuable trade chip and thanks to Masai Ujiri's timely acquisition of the four Kings players, he can be repackaged before the February deadline.

His time in Toronto may end up being short-lived but even as a temporary player, he could have a long-lasting impact on the future of the Raptors franchise.

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Bryant McKinnie: Bills knew cadence

DAVIE, Fla. -- Miami Dolphins veteran left tackle Bryant McKinnie has a theory that the Buffalo Bills' defense was onto Miami's snap count most of the game. In fact, McKinnie's hunch is so strong that he approached his team's coaching staff about it this week.

According to McKinnie, the Bills' knowledge of Miami's snap count contributed to Buffalo's 19-0 shutout win over the Dolphins that included seven sacks by the Bills.

"They were getting [a jump]. I feel like they were getting a rhythm with our cadence," McKinnie said after practice Tuesday. "Me being around, I knew some things that we can do to help counter that. So I definitely brought that to my offensive line coach."

There have been discussions among media and fans in South Florida for several weeks about the Dolphins' predictable cadence. However, Miami's coaching staff recently denied there was a snap-count issue when asked about it.

Tuesday was the first time a Dolphins player mentioned that a predictable snap count could have contributed to the Dolphins' offensive struggles. The Dolphins set a new franchise record this year with 58 sacks allowed.

McKinnie said he didn't mention his suggestions to Dolphins offensive line coach Jim Turner until after Sunday's game. But the 12-year veteran said the coaching staff appeared open to changes.

"Oh definitely, because it will work," McKinnie said. "It will keep the defenders honest. It was something that's worked for me before, so it will work here."
The Dolphins (8-7) will host the New York Jets (7-8) in a game with playoff implications. The Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens (8-7), San Diego Chargers (8-7) and Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) are fighting for the final wild card in the AFC.

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Chase Ford making most of his time on active roster

Vikings tight end Chase Ford grew up in a small southeast Texas town. His favorite Christmas present shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The Corrigan native received a .410 shotgun when he was 6 years old. Ford spent the day shooting cans. Later in his life, he downed his first deer with that gun.

“Brings back memories,” Ford said with a chuckle.

He rarely finds enough time to enjoy one of his favorite hobbies lately, which has actually been a good thing. Ford bounced around on three practice squads before making his first appearance on an active roster this season, and he is hoping Sunday’s season finale against the Lions won’t be his last.

Ford hasn’t started, but he has appeared in eight games, making six receptions for 90 yards. With Rhett Ellison injured in Week 8, Ford was signed to the active roster and activated against the Packers. He didn’t play, got cut and was signed back to the practice squad.

An eventful first taste of an NFL Sunday in pads.

“They always say you got to be prepared to leave when you come into this game,” Ford said. “That’s just the mindset I hold.”

Ellison was scratched again, so Ford was brought back up the next week. This time he would get a chance to play against his favorite childhood team, the Cowboys. He spent a week on Dallas’ practice squad after he was dropped from the Eagles’ practice squad.

The Vikings trailed Dallas 20-17 with less than six minutes in the fourth when Adrian Peterson scored a go-ahead touchdown on an 11-yard run. He had four defenders surrounding him after picking up a first down on fourth and inches and nearly stumbled short of the goal line, but Ford kept Peterson on his feet and pushed him in.

“I blocked my guy but he kind of got off,” said Ford, who was initially brought in as a pass-receiving tight end but has improved his blocking during the season. “I was running to try and make sure he didn’t make the play and it fell in my lap, literally.”

Two of Ford’s six catches came two weeks ago in a victory over the Eagles, with one changing the outcome of the game — a 37-yard connection from Matt Cassel on third-and-14 early in the fourth quarter after the Eagles had pulled to within 27-22.

“Just to think, we came out of training camp and we weren’t even sure that he would make our football team and ends up on the practice squad,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. “… He is a hard-working guy and he has come up with some big plays for us. Evidenced by the third-and-14 we had [against the Eagles], Hard work does pay off.”

He made his previous catch on the team’s first drive and said he felt before the play he was ready to grab another pass and move the sticks. Ford eluded a tackle and stiff-armed a defender before he was wrestled 5 yards short of his first career touchdown.

“I got to finish that, right?” Ford said. “I came pretty close to scoring. But we scored a touchdown. If we didn’t score a touchdown my feelings probably would’ve been hurt.”

On Sunday, Ford will have one final chance this season to grab his first career touchdown pass. The franchise will say goodbye to the Metrodome, in one of three games Sunday without any playoff implications. But for Ford, who is signed through 2014, he is not sure what will happen to him in the offseason.

The Vikings have three tight ends, with Kyle Rudolph (foot) and John Carlson (concussion) on injured reserve, along with Ellison. Carlson’s health concerns could open up a roster spot for Ford, but he is content with whatever outcome occurs.

“If Minnesota feels that they’re good with the three tight ends they’ve got now and say they don’t want to keep me on the active roster, that’s fine because I’ve got tape for other teams to see that so other teams can pick me up,” Ford said.

Ford plans to make a trip back home in the offseason to pick up his hobby again. While he chases ducks and deer with his father and uncle, Ford hopes he won’t have to hunt for a job in the spring. He is prepared to return for organized team activities and build off the work he has put in just to make the active roster.

“You grow up playing football in the back yard and being from a small Texas town, you don’t make it out of there,” Ford said. “You’re living out your childhood dream. It really motivates you to not give up, and play hard every game.

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Santana Moss won't reflect on Redskins career

ASHBURN, Va. -- He was here for three magical playoff runs and two horrendous finishes. He’s survived two coaching changes. He became an instant hero early in his first season here, catching two touchdown passes to win at Dallas.

He’s also experienced the lowest of the lows: the death of teammate, and friend, Sean Taylor.

But this could be it for Santana Moss in Washington. After nine seasons, Moss will become a free agent after the season and, considering he turns 35 in June, the end is near.

At one point this season the Redskins viewed Leonard Hankerson as a future slot receiver, making Moss expendable. Hankerson’s torn ACL complicates that, as does the fact that head coach Mike Shanahan might not be here in 2014. Would a new coach want to re-sign an aging wideout?

If this is the end for Moss, he’ll go down as one of the best wideouts in franchise history. Moss ranks third in catches with 569 and fourth in receiving yards with 7,738. His 48 touchdowns are tied for 10th best with former running back Stephen Davis. Moss did this during a pass-heavy league; he also did it with constant change at quarterback and in various schemes.

But the one thing you learn with Moss: He doesn’t like to reflect; he doesn’t like to address the future. He only likes to talk about what’s going on right now. So this might be his last game in a Redskins uniform after nine seasons?

“I don’t even talk about it,” he said. “It’s nothing I can control. All I got to do is control what I control, and that is to go out and play ball come Sunday. Why sit back and try to be the superior on something that’s going to be either given or not. I can’t do nothing about it.”

It’s an attitude that helped Moss endure rough seasons or even games where he’s not being targeted. He’s always been about what he can control. He’s always been consistent. In fact, and this is rare, I don’t recall him ever turning down an interview or being rude with reporters. Even when seasons are going bad, as this one has, Moss still sits at his locker, listening to his music. If a reporter happens over, he’ll take off his earphones and answer every question. I remember when the Redskins traded for Moss in 2005 (safe to say they liked giving up Lavaraneus Coles to get him; worked out well) and hearing that he could be up-and-down with the media. That hasn't been the case here; it's all been up.

Moss survived in part because he’s smart, fast, quick and a good route runner. As his speed decreased -- he had back-to-back seasons averaging better than 17.7 yards per catch in 2004 with New York and ’05 his first in Washington -- he became a clutch receiver on underneath routes.

Moss might not scare defenses anymore, but his production isn’t much different than two years ago when he caught 46 passes (a 47-pass drop-off from the previous year). He has 40 now.

If Moss doesn’t return to Washington, he’s shown he can still help. Even last week, he returned three punts for 35 yards. He started taking better care of his body two offseasons ago, when he was in danger of being cut. Earlier in his career the knock on him was he wore down late in the season.

As his career winds down, it’s natural to wonder what’s next for him. Not that Moss wants to do so. He shook his head at whether or not he’s weighed retirement, saying he’s only thinking about Sunday’s road game against the New York Giants.

And he did say this about his nine seasons here:

“It’s been a beautiful experience. It’s nothing I can ask for more. But I’m not trying to have that conversation now, about how much fun and all that. That’s something we’ll do down the road. I enjoy every day regardless of what day it is or what year it is. Even my four years before these nine years, I enjoyed those also. Every year it’s going to be something different.”

But, for the past nine years, one constant was Moss.

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Jimmy Graham played on just 44 snaps

Jimmy Graham played on just 44-of-81 (54.3 percent) snaps in the Week 16 loss to the Panthers.
It's strange as Graham played on 83.7 percent of the snaps in Week 15. Perhaps his foot was bothering him more this week, or maybe the Saints wanted Ben Watson (47 snaps) on the field more to help hide LT Terron Armstead. Either way, Graham has been playing at less than 100 percent for more than two months now and still has an 81/1144/15 line. He's an obvious first-round pick in 2014 fantasy drafts.

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Frank Gore Calls His Own Number in 49ers Victory

When he’s not on the field, Frank Gore can often be seen on the sideline during 49ers games chatting up his coaches and teammates. Gore doesn't have a headset on, but it's clear he wouldn't mind calling the plays.

San Francisco's all-time leading called his own number for a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown during his 21-carry, 97-yard performance in San Francisco’s 34-24 victory over the visiting Atlanta Falcons.

With the 49ers nursing a 20-17 lead that would prove precarious, quarterback Colin Kaepernick had been patched through a call for 2nd-and-goal at the one-yard line, and Gore didn’t like it.

The frustration of his one-yard rush from the two-yard line on first down was apparent.

“The scoring play was called by the players,” Jim Harbaugh said. “Frank wanted the repeat of the call we had on first down.”

Kaepernick confirmed: “Frank said he wanted the same thing, and I wasn’t about to argue with him. I don’t think Coach was too mad because we scored.”
Gore smelled the 60th touchdown of his nine-year career, and he wasn't about to let it get away.

“I saw the defense, how they were playing, and we were at what, the inch-line?" Gore asked. "And the ‘backers were playing five yards back. I knew it was a quick hit, and I know I quick-hitted it. I barreled through.

"But I'm happy he listened to me. That’s one thing I love about ‘Kap,’ he listens to his players, his teamamtes.”

How often does Gore ask Kaepernick to change the play in the huddle?

“It's rarely,” Gore said. “But I just know when they called another play."

With Gore’s production, plus 51 yards each from reserve Kendall Hunter (three carries, one for a 45-yarder that preceded Gore’s score) and Kaepernick, the 49ers rushed for 199 as a unit.

Gore (9,953) passed Clinton Portis (9,923) to move into 29th on the NFL's all-time rushing rankings. He'll be within striking distance of 10,000 yards for his career come Week 17 in Arizona.

“He looked good. He broke some runs in the first half and the second half as well,” Harbaugh said, turning away a reporter’s question about Gore’s sore ankles. “Thought the line really asserted itself, especially on the scoring drive.”

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Kellen Winslow shows added fire against his first team

Tight end Kellen Winslow put together another solid performance for the Jets in Sunday’s 24-13 win over the Browns. If he seemed extra motivated, the proof was not just in his stat line.

Winslow spent the first five years of his NFL career with the Browns as a first-round pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. A game against his old team surely meant a little something extra to him and on Sunday, he was named by head coach Rex Ryan as a team captain. It is a frequent move by Ryan to fuel a player against his former team. The tight end was traded from the Browns to the Buccaneers following the 2009 season.

When he walked out to the middle of the field for the coin flip, Winslow quickly shook hands with the Browns captains. But after the flip, when the players again shook hands, Winslow turned his back and ran to the Jets’ sideline. It was a move that raised an eyebrow or two.

“We shook hands once. Enough with the shaking of hands. I’m good. Let’s go play ball,” Winslow told Metro. “That’s all, I’m just a little different. Nothing into it.”
In the game, Winslow had three catches for 35 yards. But it was the way he played that left an impression.

In the middle of the third quarter, Winslow made a reception over the middle and turned upfield. It looked like a routine short gain until he hurdled a Browns defender and kneed another opponent before he was brought down. It was a 16-yard reception with plenty of inner fire.

“I got the catch and turned and saw white jerseys around me and usually when it is a corner they go low on you,” Winslow said. “It finally worked, you know?
“It was a good feeling. It really is another team for me — just going out and doing my job. It was just another game.”

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Ed Reed's playing time dips in Jets' win over Browns

In the week leading into Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Browns, Jets coaches said the game would offer a showcase for some seldom-used players. With the playoffs no longer within reach, the Jets would present those players a chance to experience increased snaps in practice and the game.

Two players cited by Jets defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman were Josh Bush and Jaiquawn Jarrett. Both safeties have played sparingly this season on defense, mostly as a part of substitution packages. Official snap counts released Monday, though, show that Bush played on eight defensive snaps and Jarrett two.

Instead, Antonio Allen was the young safety who received a majority of increased plays against the Browns.

Allen's playing time has dipped, since Ed Reed's arrival during Week 11. After Reed was signed Nov. 14, the most participation Allen had seen prior to Sunday was two weeks ago against the Oakland Raiders, when he played on 36 percent of the defense's snaps.

Against the Browns, Reed's playing time plunged while Allen's shot up. Reed was on the field for 30 plays Sunday, or 46 percent of the Jets' 65 defensive snaps. The total was Reed's lowest since joining the team, and for the first time he did not start.

That designation fell to Allen, who lined up alongside Dawan Landry for the first two plays of the game. Allen participated in 69 percent of the defense's plays, 45 in total.

Last week, Thurman noted that rotation on defense -- particularly among the Jets' defensive backs -- is more a reaction to a particular week's opponent than a player's form.

"We try to take advantage of what our guys do (well) and what they do best," Thurman said last Thursday. "A lot of it is match-up driven."

It is possible, then, that Jets coaches felt Allen simply offered a better foil to the Browns' offense compared to Reed, who declined to speak after the game.

Rex Ryan addressed criticism of Reed last week, saying the 35-year-old safety has lost mobility. However, the Jets coach said that the team considers Reed a high-caliber player.

"This is still a good football player, he’s an outstanding player," Ryan said Friday. "Is he as good as he once was? No."

Reed made the most of his diminished playing time, though. On his 30th and final snap, he tracked a Jason Campbell throw, slipped in front of it and intercepted the ball, clinching the Jets' win. On the sideline, Ryan walked over and hugged Reed.

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Andre Johnson matches record w/100th catch

Andre Johnson joined Wes Welker in a two-man club on Sunday afternoon. The Texans' wide receiver caught his 100th pass of 2013, and it's the fifth season in which he's accomplished that feat. He and Welker are the only two players to ever do so in NFL history.

With 3:57 remaining in the first quarter, Johnson pulled in Matt Schaub's deep pass down the left sideline and gained 33 yards on the play. Johnson caught more than 100 passes last year, as well as in 2006, 2008 and 2009. His career-best in the category was 115 catches in 2008.

"It's all fine and dandy, but I only play the game for one reason: that's to win," Johnson said. "It's a great thing to have happen, but under these circumstances it really doesn't matter."

The 11-year veteran finished with four catches for 63 yards. Entering the final week of the season, Johnson has 103 receptions for 1,358 yards. He needs 142 yards crack the 1,500-yard milestone.

If Johnson were to eclipse that mark in 2013, it would be the fourth time for him to do so. He and Marvin Harrison are the only players to ever do it three times in a career. He had 1,598 receiving yards in 2012, and had 1,500 yards or more in 2008 and 2009.

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John Salmons making huge impact on Raptors

SAN ANTONIO -  Prior to his arrival in Toronto, John Salmons was best known in these parts for being the guy who famously said God told him not to go to Toronto after verbally agreeing to a deal.

Two weeks into his tenure in Raptors colours, Salmons is changing many of those now 7-year-old first impressions.

In the one he’s leaving now, Salmons is a fearless scorer, defender and all-around pain in the rear to play against.

He’s the type of player Dwane Casey has been clamouring for behind closed doors when the conversation turns to what this team is lacking.

He’s a veteran of 12 years in the league who knows how to and is willing to fight through screens and whatever defensive obstacle an opponent puts in his way to get to the basket.

He does not wilt in crunch time or when the physicality gets amped up. He takes it to another level.

Anyone in Sacramento reading this might have fallen off their stool by now. For whatever reason the Salmons we are seeing in Toronto is not the one who left the California capital. Sometimes it’s just time to move on. Opportunity also plays into it. Salmons brought with him an on-court demeanour that was not in abundance on the Toronto roster and because of that has an opportunity in Toronto he didn’t have in Sacramento.

And he’s making the most of it.

Sunday night in Oklahoma City with the Thunder having wrested a first half lead the Raptors had built with a dominant third quarter, the Toronto loss was already being written.

A remarkably solid first half appeared to have been their best shot after the Thunder came out in the third and won the quarter 28-13.

Even coming off a surprising comeback win over a veteran-heavy team in Dallas two nights earlier, it was just too much to think the Raptors could do it again.
Salmons, who doesn’t know the history of the Raptors in these situations basically put the team on his back over the final 12 minutes and took them to victory.

As Kyle Lowry, who is as astute as any player on the Raptors roster when it comes to breaking down a game would say afterwards: “John Salmons?,” Lowry said. “I mean give him the game ball, offensively and defensively. Just, here, take the ball. He was a big-time player tonight.”

Salmons’ night started out rather badly as his first three touches of the night ended up in turnovers. Things got exponentially better after that.

Salmons was one of three Raptors — Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan the other two — who played all 12 minutes of the fourth quarter. Salmons and Johnson shared defensive duties on the current NBA scoring leader in Kevin Durant and limited him to three points on 1-of-6 shooting.

On the offensive end Salmons was a demon. Those turnover blues from the first half were out of his system and Salmons attacked the basket like it contained the answer to all his prayers.

He would score nine of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, masterminding the second comeback of this now unlikely 2-0 road trip.

The Raptors have now beaten the Mavs, who owned an 11-2 record at their home, and the Thunder who had not lost at home in 13 games this season.

Salmons, with his fourth-quarter brilliance on Sunday and his defensive shutdown of Monta Ellis on Friday, was pivotal in both. It’s no coincidence that Salmons was on the floor for all 12 minutes of both fourth quarters and the entire five minutes of the overtime period in Dallas.

It’s clear that Casey will lean on Salmons and his experience and his knowledge of what it takes to win in the NBA as much as he possibly can.

“He is used to it and our guys are going to learn from it,” Casey said. “You see guys like Terrence Ross over there cheering for him and he is going to learn from it. (Jonas Valanciunas) will learn from it. John is out there talking to JV and telling him what to do, how to do things, where he likes his screen and that’s huge.”

It’s quite likely that few saw the impact Salmons would have on the Raptors coming. But it’s also clear that Casey has zeroed in on it and will ride it for all its worth.

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Chris Perez getting $2.5M base from Dodgers

Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports that Chris Perez will receive a $2.25 million base salary in his one-year contract with the Dodgers.
There are also incentives that can bump the deal up to $6 million or possibly even $8 million if Perez winds up closing some games. Of course, with Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson already at the back end of the bullpen, there will need to be some injuries before he sees time in the ninth inning.

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Law student who sued Ryan Braun tries to save case in court

Ryan Braun's  former childhood and college friend, who is now suing the Milwaukee Brewers slugger for defamation, appeared in a Milwaukee courtroom Friday to argue why his lawsuit shouldn't be dismissed.

Ralph Sasson, a law student, appeared pro se -- acting as his own attorney -- against attorneys for Braun and and Creative Arts Agency, which represented Braun in business and contract deals,  who have asked that Circuit Judge Paul Van Grunsven dismiss Sasson's complaint.

The aspiring lawyer dressed and sounded the part, but it remains to be seen if his the substance of his efforts work hold up to more experienced attack.

"Mr. Sasson has pleaded himself out of court," said Stephen Kravit, attorney for CCA. He called Sasson's complaint confusing, and questioned how it could possibly find the agency liable for something Sasson concedes its employee had no authority to do -- pay Sasson for work he did on Braun's behalf while he was under investigation for using performance enhancing drugs, then sign a release.

Sasson, dressed in a dark suit and a yellow tie, argued that Onesimo Balelo acted in the "course and scope" of his employment, and that CAA should be liable under a theory of "respondeat superior."

"He's just plain wrong," Kravit said.

Van Grunsven questioned Sasson why a key document -- the signed release - suggests he and Balelo signed it together before a notary in June, when it was actually signed in two different states before different notaries. Sasson tried to explain how documents were signed and sent between Milwaukee and California.

Sasson claims that after he and Balelo signed a release that neither side would speak poorly of the other, Sasson destroyed documents potentially damaging to Braun, but Braun then spoke ill of him to mutual friends and acquaintances.

Kravit asked that if Van Grunsven does not dismiss the complaint, he at least make Sasson re-plead his case with more particularity. "We need to plead to something, and this is a big mess," Kravit said.

Braun's California attorney, Jeremiah Reynolds, said Sasson engaged in the unlicensed practice of law in drawing up the settlement agreement and release.  "His attempt to enforce the non-disparagement clause is unenforceable," Reynolds said.

Reynolds also said Sasson's claims that Braun's supposedly defamatory statements - that Sasson had been rude to staff at Miller Park, and was crazy -- were not actionable and did not fit into the exceptions Sasson claims.

Sasson called Reynolds' unlicensed practice argument "a shining example of frivolousness,"  and explained why what he did would not run afoul of Wisconsin's unlicensed legal practice law.

Toward the end of the hearing, Van Grunsven asked Sasson to explain "in three sentences or less," his additional claim of action under "quantum meruit," a theory of recovery for services under an implied contract.

Sasson said he added the claim because if the contract is found not to be valid, he has no other recourse to seek compensation for destroying documents worth more than $1 million.

Sasson "humbly and respectfully" asked for yet another chance to amend his complaint, but Van Grunsen said the record on the motions to dismiss was closed, and that he would issue a decision next month.

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Andre Johnson ties NFL record with 5th 100-catch-season

HOUSTON (AP) Houston receiver Andre Johnson has reached 100 catches for the fifth time in his career, tying an NFL record for most seasons with at least that many receptions.

Johnson entered the game needing one catch to reach the mark held by Denver's Wes Welker. He did it on a 33-yard reception in the first quarter Sunday against the Broncos.

Johnson also had more than 100 receptions in 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012.

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Chase Ford has given Vikings (and Adrian Peterson) a lift

On Dec. 26, 2012, it made little news when the Vikings signed tight end Chase Ford to the practice squad.

Almost a year later, it looks like a smart move.

Ford was elevated to the 53-man roster for good in early November. Lately, with injuries to tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson, he has made an impact.

The second-year man from the University of Miami has all of his six career catches for 90 yards in the second half of the season. That includes two catches for 55 yards in last Sunday's 48-30 win over Philadelphia.

"Just think, we came out of training camp not even sure that he would make our football team, and he ends up on the practice squad,'' Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "And now he's making big contributions to our team. ... Boy, I'm glad we kept him around, because he's really helped us a lot down the stretch.''

The Vikings looked at Ford throughout the past offseason and ended up waiving him at the end of training camp. But he was signed to the practice squad to start the season. Ford was brought up to the 53-man roster Oct. 26, waived Oct. 29, signed back to the practice squad Oct. 31 and elevated again to the 53-man Nov. 2.

In a Nov. 3 game at Dallas, Ford picked up Adrian Peterson and carried him into the end zone during a touchdown run. That was the game Rudolph suffered a season-ending fractured foot.

Rudolph's replacement, Carlson, is expected to miss his second straight game Sunday at Cincinnati because of a concussion. Frazier has not ruled out Carlson being placed on the injured list.

Rhett Ellison and Ford Carlson have replaced Carlson. While Ellison is more of a blocker, Ford caught passes of 18 and 37 yards against the Eagles, the second one coming on third and 14 early in the fourth quarter after Minnesota's lead had been cut to 27-22.

"Coach Frazier always talks about the next man up,'' Ford said. "When you get your opportunities to make a play, you have to make it.''

On the practice squad, Ford wasn't exactly the next man in line to play. But Frazier said hard work got him on the 53-man roster, and he's now taken advantage of his opportunity.

"When we signed him, we saw him as a pass-receiving tight end,'' Frazier said. "And he's improved as a blocker, as well. So he's hard-working guy. And he's come up with some big plays for us.''

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Lamar Miller falls way behind Daniel Thomas

Lamar Miller rushed three times for eight yards and caught no passes in Sunday's Week 16 loss at Buffalo.
Miller appears to have hit absolute rock bottom. The Dolphins announced no injury, so it looks like he simply got demoted behind Daniel Thomas (10 touches) early on and stayed there. It's the seventh time this season Miller has been held to 20 rushing yards or fewer, a result of both play-calling and ineffective play. Perhaps he's simply not physical enough to be an NFL feature back. Miller will wrap his wildly disappointing second season against the Jets in Week 17.

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Jimmy Graham drops 5/73/1 on Panthers

Jimmy Graham caught five passes for 73 yards and a touchdown in New Orleans' Week 16 loss to the Panthers.
Most of Graham's production came on the Saints' lone touchdown-scoring drive, where he shed tight coverage from CB Drayton Florence to create a 46-yard gain, catching a jump-ball TD moments later. Graham displayed awe-inspiring physicality on both the long gain and the score. Heading into the last week of the regular season, Graham has 81 catches for 1,144 yards and 15 touchdowns.

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Vince Wilfork sheds walking boot

Vince Wilfork is again with the team here on a road trip, and he has shed the walking boot that he's been wearing since Achilles surgery.

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Sam Shields fined for play against Dallas

GREEN BAY - Packers cornerback Sam Shields was fined for throwing the ball into the stands after his late-game interception against the Dallas Cowboys. Shields was fined $5,250, an NFL spokesman told FOX 11.

Players are fined for throwing the ball into the stands because of concerns over fan safety. Shields' third interception of the season gave the Packers the ball in good position to score the go-ahead touchdown, putting them in front of the Cowboys. Green Bay beat Dallas 37-36.

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Ed Reed slams critics, admits rough season

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Ed Reed slammed critics who argue he hasn’t played as well this year as in the past, saying anyone who watched the tapes would realize he isn't responsible for the Jets' losses.

“This is football, man,” said the Jets safety. “We in this locker room been playing football for a long time. Nobody’s perfect out here on the football field. You guys’ job is to critique, be critics; that’s what you do. That’s why you ask the controversial question, try to make it controversial. Then you trash people in the media. I could care less about that. Missed tackles happen.”

The 35-year-old defensive back said he’s seen some of the stories that say he is slower, that he can’t make the plays he once did.

“Even reading you guys' blogs, reading your comments, knowing half [of you] don’t know as much about football as you think, unless you come in the film room,” Reed said. “Don’t even know the schematic part, you can ask the question, but that don’t mean you’re an expert at what we do.

"It’s funny to me, reading it. Smile at it, laugh at it. But that’s your job. Some of your jobs you take it and tear people down, try to tear the team down. [You don’t] understand that it’s a team, and you’d rather point the finger at one individual.“

Reed is defensive as the curtain closes over a long, challenging season. After offseason hip surgery, Reed left his longtime home in Baltimore and signed a three-year, $15 million deal with a Houston team on which he never seemed to get traction.

“Been a long year, definitely not what I expected,” Reed said. “Expectations were high, regardless of surgery. You leave a great organization thinking that you’re going somewhere else to build something, thinking they had something, turns out different.”

Reed said he came to New York with a bag, two pairs of jeans and a shirt and reunited with coach Rex Ryan, his former defensive coordinator. But he didn’t change the narrative, continuing to struggle with the Jets after starting immediately.

“Ed is a prideful guy,” Ryan said, “and he’s probably never faced criticism in his life because of the player he is.”

Ryan said Reed is the player in the locker room that he expected to get and that he mentors younger players as well. But in terms of production, like tackles and picks? “Nah, not yet.”

“He’s not the Ed Reed of 10 years ago, but I’m happy we have him,” Ryan said. “Ed’s still pretty darn good, and he’s helped this football team more than just maybe what you see on the field.”

Reed, who is on a one-year deal in New York, said he would like to remain a Jet next season but said that would probably change if embattled coach Ryan isn’t with the team.

“Probably,” Reed said, “because it’s his scheme that stays. I don’t see why he shouldn’t be [here]. Great coach.”

Ryan clearly has his player's back as well. He explained that he sees the media as having a job to do, just like the players and coaches, but that it can be hard for players not to bristle when they see negative stories.

“This is a first-ballot Hall of Fame player,” Ryan said. “There’s some negative criticism. What do you expect? Twenty-five-year-old or 26-year-old Ed Reed back there? Well that’s not it, but this is still a good football player. Is he as good as he once was? No, but that list is really short.”

Reed doesn’t have the job security he enjoyed when he was at the top of Everest, as Ryan put it.

“Always been around free agents and wondered how they did it,” Reed said. “Definitely commend those guys for going through it because it’s challenging.”

Reed’s security expires in two weeks.

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Chiefs sign Richard Gordon

The Kansas City Chiefs signed veteran tight end Richard Gordon and placed tight end Dominique Jones on the reserve-non-football illness list.

The Chiefs signed wide receiver Fred Williams and tight end Jake Byrne to the practice squad roster. The Chiefs cut wide receiver Jheranie Boyd from the practice squad and placed tight end Demetrius Harris on the practice squad-injured reserve list.

Gordon has played in 27 games in two NFL seasons with the Oakland Raiders. He has three receptions for 11 yards with one touchdown. Gordon was released by Oakland prior to the start of the season and then signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was released by the Steelers this month.

Jones has played in 12 games in two NFL seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Chiefs. He has three receptions for 42 yards.

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Patriots' Vince Wilfork: 'No question' I'll play in 2014

The New England Patriots sit in the driver's seat for the AFC's second seed, but their playoff hopes have dimmed because of a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball.

The loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski is crushing, turning Tom Brady's passing game into a dink-and-dunk operation that struggled to dial up explosive plays in Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins. The real concern, however, comes on defense, where the Patriots have allowed an average of 417 yards over their past four games.

The early-season loss of linebacker Jerod Mayo and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork battered this unit. Neither will play again this season, but the 32-year-old Wilfork promised he'd return better than ever from his torn Achilles in 2014.

"I'll be back," Wilfork said Tuesday night, per the Boston Herald. "There's no question in my mind. That's not even a question. People can worry about it. But not me. I'll be back."

Realistic concerns over Wilfork's comeback, if there are any, center around the difficult rehab attached to Achilles injuries, especially for a 30-something behemoth -- albeit a spry behemoth -- weighing in at 325 pounds.

"It's always frustrating," Wilfork said. " ... The only thing I can do is prepare each day and try and get better with the rehab, and that's what I've been doing. Take it day by day and, hopefully, I'll get healthy soon."

Before Wilfork was lost in late September, New England had held opponents to fewer than 100 yards on the ground in two of the first four games. With him out of the lineup, the Patriots have done that just once in 10 outings. Outside of Brady, Wilfork means as much to this team as anyone, and his absence has proven that in 2013.

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Greg Olsen growing his own playoff beard

The Boston Red Sox tugged, pulled and rode their scraggly beards all the way to a World Series championship in the fall.

If it worked for the Sox, maybe putting the razors away will be good for the Panthers, as well.

Carolina has won nine of 10 games since tight end Greg Olsen began letting his beard grow out in early October, following a 22-6 loss to Arizona in Week 5.
“I started growing a beard, and the next thing you know we’d rallied off three, then four, then five (wins). I said, ‘Hey, I’m riding this thing out for the rest of the year,’ ” Olsen said Thursday.

“Ever since I haven’t shaved, our fortunes have turned. We were 1-3 the last time I shaved. So I’ve just been letting it roll. Every once in a while I give it a little trim so I don’t look completely ridiculous.”

Several other players, including receiver Steve Smith and a few offensive linemen, also have been letting their 5 o’clock shadows turn into beards – some with more success than others.

Left tackle Jordan Gross trimmed his beard because “it looks so bad long.”

But Gross added, “I haven’t cut my hair in a long time.”

Center Ryan Kalil said the Panthers are not trying to follow Boston’s hirsute lead.

“I think I talked (Olsen) into it just because I wanted him to have a sweet beard,” Kalil said. “We’re not the Red Sox. It’s more just a line you tell the wives so they let you grow it.”

With his shaggy hair and bushy beard, Olsen is starting to look a bit like Tom Hanks’ character in “Castaway.” Olsen said some teammates have called him a lumberjack.

“You see a lot of the other guys have kind of started growing (beards). It’s kind of a fun thing to do,” Olsen said. “You always have the playoff beards every year. We just started a little early.”

Despite his new shaggy style and the Panthers’ success, Olsen said he doesn’t plan to keep the beard during the offseason.

“I’m not a good beard (guy). This will be off the day after the season,” Olsen said. “This isn’t really my look, but I’m going with it for the better of the team. I’m more of a clean-kept guy.”

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Willis McGahee wants 4 more years

BEREA, Ohio - The odds are probably not in running back Willis McGahee's favor when it comes to his future with the Cleveland Browns.

McGahee was not on an NFL roster when he signed with the Browns prior to Week 3 of the season. McGahee, in his 11th season, was brought in since Trent Richardson was traded to the Indianapolis Colts.

So it's likely Sunday's game against the Jets, and next week's season final against the Pittsburgh Steelers is it for McGahee in a Browns uniform. It could also mean the end of his career, but not if McGahee has something to say about it.

And he does.

"I want to play four more years," said McGahee, who's averaging 2.7 yards per carry. "That would give me 15 years. This would come from a guy who was never supposed to play again. My back has always been against the wall."

In a well chronicled play, McGahee's left knee was shattered in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl National Championship Game between Miami and Ohio State. McGahee suffered tears of the ACL, PCL, and MCL. The gruesome injury required several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. At the time, it was believed McGahee would never play again, or come close to the same player before the injury.

McGahee defied all odds. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first two NFL seasons. He's also a two-time Pro Bowler.

McGahee's history and leadership impresses running back Chris Ogbonnaya, as well as McGahee's longevity goals.

"I was still in high school when he was hurt, and I'd never seen an injury like that," Ogbonnaya said. "For him to come back and have the type of career he's had has been impressive. To play as long as he has, injury or not, is a blessing."

In a word, McGahee said four more years would mean determination.

"No one's going to tell me that I'm not going to play anymore," McGahee said. "I want to determine on my own."

And his future with the Browns?

"I'd love to be back here next year, but that's up to the coaches and the organization," McGahee said. "

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Rick Carlisle steadily increasing rookie Shane Larkin’s minutes

Rookie Shane Larkin entered Wednesday’s game with 1:40 left in the first quarter and played solidly, contributing a first-half assist, drawing a charge and, more important, committing no turnovers in five minutes.

After two straight games in which he didn’t play, Larkin has earned playing time in the last three games because, according to Carlisle, he’s practiced well and provided energy when he enters games.

After fracturing his right ankle in the summer, Larkin didn’t play in his first game until Nov. 18. News that Devin Harris’ return from a foot injury has been delayed, it puts the onus on backup point guards Larkin and Gal Mekel to contribute quality minutes.

“He’s behind the curve because he got such a late start,” Carlisle said of Larkin. “He’s cramming for an exam. It’s kind of like that.”

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John Salmons scores 14 points in 31 minutes

Raptors coach Dwane Casey stuck with John Salmons down the stretch in Sunday's tough win in OKC, and Salmons finished with 14 points, three boards, two assists and two steals.
He knocked down one 3-pointer in 31 minutes and would be worth owning if he routinely saw this much playing time, but that's far from guaranteed. Before you think about picking him up, note that he's shooting just 35.2 percent from the field in 22 games with the Kings and Raptors this season.

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Royals Acquire Danny Valencia

The Orioles announced that they have acquired outfielder David Lough from the Royals in exchange for infielder Danny Valencia.

Valencia, 29, split 117 games between Baltimore and Triple-A Norfolk last season, being recalled to the Major Leagues on May 19.  In 170 plate appearances last year for the O's, he had a .304/.330/.553 slash line to go with eight homers.  The 29-year-old has seen scattered MLB action since a mediocre stint as the Twins' everyday third bagger in 2011, however.  Valencia has spent parts of four seasons in the Major Leagues with Minnesota (2010-12), Boston (2012) and Baltimore (2013). 

Lough, 27, hit .286/.311/.413 in 96 games for Kansas City in 2013, playing all three outfield positions. He finished eighth in the AL Rookie of the Year balloting and led all rookies in WAR, as noted by the O's press release.  The outfielder also finished the season with a stellar 27.3 UZR/150 rating, good for sixth amongst all outfielders in baseball.

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Padres acquire INF Ryan Jackson from Astros in exchange for INF/OF Jesus Guzman

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Padres today announced that they have acquired infielder Ryan Jackson from the Houston Astros in exchange for infielder/outfielder Jesus Guzman. Executive Vice President/General Manager Josh Byrnes made the announcement. 

Jackson, 25, was recently acquired off outright waivers by the Astros from the St. Louis Cardinals on November 20. The right-handed hitter posted a .278 (123-for-442) batting average with 19 doubles, one triple, three home runs, 34 RBI, 49 runs scored and a .352 on-base percentage over 121 games for Triple-A Memphis in the Cardinals organization this past season, spending a majority of his time at shortstop. A native of Miami, Fla., he made his Major League debut for the Cardinals in 2012 and has played in parts of two seasons (2012-13) for St. Louis, hitting .083 (2-for-24) in 20 games played. Originally signed by the Cardinals as a fifth-round selection in the 2009 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Miami, Jackson has hit .270 (570-for-2115) with 103 doubles, nine triples, 27 home runs, 203 RBI, 264 runs scored and a .339 on-base percentage in 565 games played over parts of five minor league seasons (2009-13) in the Cardinals organization. 

Guzman, 29, hit .226 (65-for-288) with 17 doubles, nine home runs, 35 RBI and 33 runs scored in 126 games for the Padres this past season. The Venezuelan native was signed by the Padres as a minor league free agent on November 20, 2010. Originally signed by the Seattle Mariners as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2000, Guzman has hit .259 (218-for-842) with 57 doubles, four triples, 23 home runs, 127 RBI and 98 runs scored in 334 games over parts of four Major League seasons with the San Francisco Giants (2009) and Padres (2011-13).

With today's transaction, the Padres currently have a full 40-man roster.  

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Yasmani Grandal likely to open year on DL

Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Yasmani Grandal (knee) will "likely" open next season on the disabled list.
Grandal stated after ACL surgery in August that he expected to be ready for spring training, but that was always an overly optimistic outlook. We'll have a better idea as to Grandal's timetable once spring training begins, but for now count on seeing Nick Hundley behind the plate on Opening Day.

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Dodgers to sign Chris Perez

A source told Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times that the Dodgers and Chris Perez are close to a one-year deal.
It looks like Perez will take the guaranteed money rather than hoping that a team like the Astros or Orioles will step up with an offer that would keep him in the closer's role. On the Dodgers, he'll certainly be behind Kenley Jansen and Brian Wilson in line for saves, and he's probably a worse bet than Chris Withrow.

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