NFL will not reinstate Raiders OLB Aldon Smith during 2016 season

Former All-Pro Aldon Smith will not be reinstated as an active player during the 2016 season. This, despite completing a one-year suspension stemming from a hit-and-run incident that also brought DUI and vandalism charges for the outside linebacker.

Smith applied for reinstatement, but will not be available to the Raiders. His case will be revisited by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in March, according to Pro Football Talk.

The Oakland Raiders earned their first playoff berth since 2001, but the team’s defense certainly could’ve used the help. Oakland gave up more than 400 yards in five of its first six games in 2016, although it has settled in and played better in the latter half of the season.

Still, with Derek Carr lost to a fractured leg, more pressure will be on the Raiders defense to perform in Week 17 and the playoffs with Matt McGloin at quarterback.

Smith is a talented player, but he’s made more headlines with his actions off the field than on it. He was a first-team All-Pro in 2013 after recording 19.5 sacks for the San Francisco 49ers. In the four seasons since, a smattering of arrests and suspensions resulted in him playing only 27 of a possible 58 games.

The New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs both strengthened their grips on a wild card berth with wins on Sunday, as well.

On Sunday Night Football, the Patriots clinched a spot in the playoffs with a win over the Texans. They had a chance to clinch the AFC East as well, but that required a Jets loss and that didn’t happen. For the Texans, are battling to get into the playoffs either with a wild card spot or by winning the AFC South. They fell back to No. 2 in the division after falling to the Pats.

Below is an updated look at the playoff picture following the morning and afternoon games on Sunday.

Chopra said he noticed a real change after Kobe’s shoulder injury in 2015

Growing up, Kobe followed his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, everywhere. He’d sleep with his basketball clothes on so Joe couldn’t say no when he’d ask to go to practice with him. But as Kobe grew older, and learned of the disappointments of his father’s NBA career, it was harder to relate. Joe was a 6-foot-9 forward with the skill set of a guard.
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That would be en vogue in today’s NBA, but in the Eastern Conference of the late 1970s, he was miscast as a defensive specialist. According to Joe, his whole career would’ve been different if he’d been in a different system and able to play on the perimeter like Magic Johnson.

“When I hear those things,” Kobe says. “I don’t really understand them.”
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Why should the whims of fate — which system he played in — determine the success of a man’s career? How could his father accept that? There is always a way to bend things the way you want them.

He became obsessed with the legend of Achilles, the warrior from Greek mythology who chose a short life that would be remembered for eternity over a long life of little consequence.

Chopra said he noticed a real change after Kobe’s shoulder injury in 2015. It was his third straight season-ending injury.

“We were sitting in that exam room, and I think Kobe probably still thought he could will himself through anything,” Chopra said. “But the doctor was like, ‘This is about picking up your children and grandchildren for the rest of your life.’ I don’t know if he’d ever thought in those terms.

“He’d never thought beyond the next game or that the playoffs were coming.”

Vanessa and his daughters were too important to him. If basketball was over for him, he had to think of them now.

David Johnson has another record-breaking game in Cardinals’ win

Another week, another record-setting game for David Johnson.

Authentic Youth Antti Raanta Jersey Johnson’s record-breaking season continued as he etched his name into the Arizona Cardinals’ record books three times. And he didn’t know about two of them.

He tied Hall of Famer Barry Sanders for the all-time record with a 15th straight game with 100 yards from scrimmage on the Cardinals’ winning drive. He had a pair of catches — 13 and 29 yards — that helped lead the Cardinals down the field for a 43-yard winning field goal by Chandler Catanzaro as Arizona upset the Seahawks 34-31 on Saturday. The 13-yard catch put Johnson over 100 total yards for the game.

His first of three touchdowns, which came on a 2-yard run in the first quarter, gave Johnson 18 total touchdowns on the season and broke the Cardinals’ franchise record in that category. John David Crow scored 17 in 1962. On that score, Johnson also tied Crow for the most rushing touchdowns in a season with 14 — also set 54 years ago.

Johnson broke that record early in the fourth quarter. A 1-yard run to put Arizona ahead 21-10 was Johnson’s 15th rushing touchdown of the season.

Youth Chaz Green Jersey After the game Johnson was unaware that he broke either record.

“Did not know that,” he said. “Means a lot. Did not know that one. It does really mean a lot especially since all the success is due and a tribute to the guys up front, and Carson believing in me and throwing me the ball and B.A. [coach Bruce Arians] putting me in those situations where I can help out the team.”

Calvin Johnson makes it clear: ‘I’m not coming back, man’

Calvin Johnson made it very clear Tuesday evening. He’s done playing professional football.
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When he was asked about the possibility, the former Detroit Lions receiver laughed hard and even glanced down at one of his mangled fingers before answering.
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“I’m not coming back, man,” Johnson told ESPN. “Look, man. I got stuff that’s going to hurt for the rest of my life. I got a finger that’s literally bone-on-bone. This bad boy, it gets smaller. The more and more I do, it grinds bone-on-bone.

“Literally from last year, I went this year to get another X-ray and this is after I retired, I knew it was messed up but I didn’t know to what degree because it was hurt.”

“I’m going to prepare like I’m playing. I’m going to make sure I can be ready to go, but we’ll see what happens moving forward with it.”

“I have said it a million times, I want to play and I want to be out there with the guys,” Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly said.

If told he won’t play the final two games, Kuechly said he “reluctantly” will accept it.

“I have said it a million times, I want to play and I want to be out there with the guys,” Kuechly said. “I want to play, but they’re the boss, and I’ve got to listen to what the boss says. So whatever they decide is going to be the plan.”

This is the second straight year Kuechly has missed multiple games with a concussion. He sat out three games last season after suffering a concussion in the opener at Jacksonville.

He then played 22 regular-season games and three playoff games before suffering another concussion.

Kuechly said he hasn’t considered retirement, even though some pundits and players have suggested he should.

Scary thought for playoff teams: Giants winning with defense

It’s not supposed to work. Every bit of NFL front-office history has taught us that you can’t go out and fix your problems with one big free-agent offseason. Build through the draft, that’s the way to go. Free agency is for augmentation, not foundation building.

The Giants finished the regular season 7-1 at home. Their home dominance has them on the brink of qualifying for the postseason.
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Ryan Mathews, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: For only the second time all season, Mathews reached the 20-point fantasy threshold, scoring exactly that number on 21 total touches. That made him only the third running back all season to score 15 or more fantasy points against the Baltimore Ravens, joining Matt Forte (25, Week 7) and Isaiah Crowell (20, Week 2). Most remarkably, Mathews, who was started in 27.4 percent of ESPN leagues, actually played fewer snaps (36) than fellow Eagles running back Byron Marshall (39), per Pro Football Focus’ Nathan Jahnke.

Jimmer Fredette Elite Jersey Robert Turbin, RB, Indianapolis Colts: Were you one of the lucky Turbin owners in 0.17 percent of ESPN leagues who actually started him? If so, congratulations on what was a rather fortunate outcome, 17 fantasy points, fueled mostly by his pair of goal-to-go touchdowns in the game’s first half. It set a new personal best for Turbin, whose previous best was 11 fantasy points, set in 2015 Week 14.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans: For the third time in his past six games, Henry managed double-digit fantasy points, scoring a career-high 17 on Sunday. As with Turbin, much of Henry’s performance was fueled by his scoring a pair of goal-to-go touchdowns, though he was started in slightly more ESPN leagues (2.4 percent).

Henry’s productivity didn’t hamper starter DeMarco Murray’s fantasy prospects, however, as he managed 13 points, giving him a 14th consecutive game finishing within the position’s top 25 scorers to begin his season.

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s abrupt firing of Jeff Fisher this week will trigger some interesting speculation

More recently, neon tones have been adopted by a wide range of teams and individual athletes, so Seattle’s move to go full-neon seems like the logical conclusion of this trend.

Assuming the Color Rush program is retained for next season, the Seahawks will presumably keep this uniform in their wardrobe. Would they ever consider re-designating the green jersey as their primary look? That seems highly unlikely — their solid-navy “scuba suit” has become an institution. But with the popularity of neon tones still on the upswing, don’t be surprised if the Seahawks find new ways to expand the role of green in their color scheme.

The Steelers are expected to use the franchise tag on Le’Veon Bell before working out a long-term extension in the offseason. AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar
Reach for the stars? Not hard to do in Hollywood

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s abrupt firing of Jeff Fisher this week will trigger some interesting speculation.

Almost all names will be fair game, especially in Hollywood, where an owner with deep pockets is searching for a new leading man.
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“Glamour jobs in the NFL are like glamour jobs in college,” said Ernie Accorsi, the retired New York Giants general manager. “If you are searching for that guy, you probably wouldn’t sleep at night if you at least didn’t try.”

History shows that owners occasionally will reach for the stars.

Accorsi was the Baltimore Colts’ public relations director in 1970, when Miami Dolphins owner Joe Robbie signed Colts head coach Don Shula to an historic deal. Then-NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle awarded Baltimore a first-round draft pick when he determined Robbie was guilty of tampering.

Authentic Kids Le’Veon Bell Jersey Turns out, it was a small price to pay for success. Shula coached the Dolphins to the NFL’s only perfect season in 1972 and won the Super Bowl again the next season.

The Steelers are one of the NFLs hottest team down the stretch

Cincy is getting hot again with Andy Daltons wrist on the mend. If I’m the Bengals traner by the way Im installing parental control on Andys TV and netnany on his laptop just to make sure that thing heals fully for the second round. In the mean time there new leader under center AJ McCarron has been playing decentley enough. McCarrons the winningest QB of all time at Alabama depsite the fact that he’s not very good, so you know his intangbles are off the charts.

The Steelers are one of the NFLs hottest team down the stretch and now that Todd Haley and Big Ben are back on grunting terms, that offense can do some real damage. Plus Antonio Browns 2015 haristyle is making the Steelers great again:

On the other hand sitting out a game because your hamstring is a little tight makes me think you’ve been hanging out to much with Darren McFadden. In a perfect world, Sean would of offered to play that game for free instead of milking a injury but I guess given Lee’s track record, missing time for a injury and not getting paid for it is as good as you can hope for.

In the December meeting between the two teams, linebackers Vontaze Burfict and James Harrison met in the middle of the field before the game even began, prompting a pregame shoving match between the two squads.
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During the game, Andy Dalton broke his thumb and was replaced by AJ McCarron. The second-year quarterback threw two touchdowns and two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown by William Gay and celebrated forever, in the 33-20 win for the Steelers.

Elite Mens Menelik Watson Jersey A little more than a month earlier, it was a tackle by Burfict that ended the season of Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell. After the game, Bell’s teammates took exception to Burfict’s celebration of the tackle, causing the bad blood between the two teams to continue its downward spiral.

After Wade Davis deal, Cubs’ offseason plan comes into focus

Authentic Womens Kevin Faulk Jersey With a new closer in hand, the Chicago Cubs’ front office has checked off the biggest box of its offseason. Now the Cubs can go about fortifying the rest of the bullpen as well as the starting staff. They aren’t far off from fielding another World Series contender.

¡°We¡¯re going to try and build up a ton of depth,¡± team president Theo Epstein told reporters Wednesday afternoon. ¡°We¡¯re going to try and build a really talented and deep bullpen with a lot of different options we can use in close games. Instead of three late-game options, you have five or six, then you can always like who you¡¯re turning to in the bullpen and not feel the need to use a Hector Rondon four out of five times.¡±

Limited Womens Morgan Burnett Jersey Rondon will return to his setup role, but not before getting an apology from Joe Maddon. The Cubs manager called him after the team acquired Wade Davis to let the right-hander know where he stands. Maddon then admitted some culpability in Rondon¡¯s late-season triceps injury.

There are some reasonable explanations, most notably the Rule of 10 — the ballot limit that has increasingly created a crunch of candidates as the logjam of steroid-era players has graduated through the process. Maybe one or more of the writers who didn¡¯t vote for Griffey believed that he or she should apply some seniority, and opted for candidates who had been on the ballot longer, like Alan Trammell and Lee Smith. Or maybe a voter decided that given Griffey was going to be an overwhelming choice, he or she preferred to cast a ballot for someone whose candidacy needed help.

Either way, we still don¡¯t know who didn¡¯t vote for Griffey or why. Those voters have chosen to remain in the shadows, and starting next year, that will not be an option, thanks to the suggestion of Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The change is important. That a union of journalists would legitimize secrecy over transparency was nothing less than institutional hypocrisy, a terrible look for the writers. The vote for this alteration in the process was completely one-sided, not surprisingly.

Here’s a look at his closest competition:

You could make the case that Belichick should win this award every year, based on the latter qualification cited a couple sentences back. You could also make the case that the award should be named for Belichick, who may be the greatest NFL coach of all time. He went 3-1 during Tom Brady’s suspension, has traded away two of his best defensive players since the end of last season and has had to play a decent chunk of the season without an injured Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots are 10-2. It seems his teams are always 10-2 at this point in the season.

Womens Brandon Thompson Jersey Again, he’s 8-4 somehow with a team that trailed in the fourth quarter of every game until Sunday’s win at New Orleans. If the Lions win three or four more the rest of the way, he has to be in the conversation.

Carroll and assistant head coach/offensive line coach Tom Cable both praised the blocking of Seahawks wide receivers against the Panthers.

“We’re really fortunate here. We don’t have divas,” Cable said. “We have tough guys. They love catching it and making all those flashy plays, but they’re more than willing to block for us, and we really appreciate that.”

Kids John Wall Jersey On the Seahawks’ second offensive drive, Baldwin lined up tight to the line of scrimmage and did an excellent job of pinning the Panthers defensive back inside. Rawls cut back and hugged Baldwin’s block as he turned upfield. He spun forward for an 8-yard gain.

In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks went back to the exact same look. Only this time, Baldwin acted like he was going to block before running a deep corner route.

Wilson executed the play-fake and the right cornerback bit badly. Baldwin found himself wide open downfield for another explosive play.

2016 NFL playoff schedule and bracket: Steelers advance to face Broncos after wild game in Cincinnati

The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Cincinnati Bengals in a rainy, ugly Wild Card game in Cincinnati. The game nearly spiraled out of control late in the third quarter after Ryan Shazier laid a helmet-to-helmet hit on Giovani Bernard that knocked the running back out of the game with a possible concussion. The Steelers held on, 18-16, after a pair of Bengals personal fouls set them up for an easy field goal.

They’ll play the Denver Broncos next. As the No. 3 seed, the Bengals were fated to play the New England Patriots in the Divisional round if they won. As a result of the late game, the No. 5 seed Kansas City Chiefs will travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.

Youth Brian McCann Jersey The Seattle Seahawks beat the Minnesota Vikings by a final score of 10-9. Vikings kicker Blair Walsh missed a 27-yard field goal that kept Seattle’s lead in tact. All they had to do after that was wait out the dwindling seconds of the clock.

All in all, Hoyer had five turnovers in this one — the first player with at least four since Eli Manning did it in the 2005 Wild Card round (per ESPN Stats and Info). On the plus side, he did not set the all time record for interceptions in a postseason game — that’s still owned by Brett Favre, who threw six picks back in 2002 against the Rams (per Pro Football Reference).

However, when Ben Roethlisberger was sacked on the final play of the 3rd quarter and headed into the locker room on a cart with a shoulder injury, the Bengals regained some of the momentum. A Jeremy Hill touchdown run with 14:00 left cut the lead to 15-7, a Mike Nugent field goal with 5:17 left cut it to 15-10, and then an AJ McCarron to A.J. Green touchdown connection with 1:56 to go finally gave the Bengals the lead for the first time all day.
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But after losing four of their first five games, the Texans started to put together a decent win streak. They won four consecutive games before dropping a pair against the Buffalo Bills and Patriots, and then finished the season with three consecutive wins, all over AFC South opponents. They dominated the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Titans in those games.