Peyton Manning likely to decide this week if he’ll call ‘Thursday Night Football’ for Fox: report

Peyton Manning is at a crossroads. The legendary QB is stuck between deciding on a jump to the broadcast booth or the owner’s suite, according to Sporting News. Manning is likely to decide this week if he will call “Thursday Night Football” games for Fox Sports, or if he will continue to wait for a chance to either own or run a team, the report said. Manning reportedly had a soft deadline last Friday to decide on the TV gig, so a decision could be imminent. According to reports, Manning already turned down Jon Gruden’s old job gabbing on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football.” Sources told Sporting News that Manning could be leaning toward Thursday nights because of the shorter, 11-week schedule of games. ESPN, FOX willing to pay Peyton Manning $10 million a year Manning is reportedly in line to make $10 million or more a year doing TV, a path common among popular NFL quarterbacks. Manning has always been good on TV, appearing in a pile of memorable commercials (“Chicken parm, you taste so good”), "Saturday Night Live," and always seemed a natural to jump on screen, similar to guys like Phil Simms, Boomer Esiason, Troy Aikman, and most recently, Tony Romo. "Peyton is worth every penny. Advertisers love him — and the league wants this to happen," a source told Sporting News. Because of his popularity, Manning is seen as a guy who can not only bring eyeballs to sagging Thursday night games, but he may be able to prop up declining football ratings, too. If Manning turns down the Fox job, Sporting News reports the gig could go to veteran Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, just-retired Browns tackle Joe Thomas or Panthers tight end Greg Olsen. Sign up for BREAKING NEWS Emails privacy policy Thanks for subscribing! Tags: nfl peyton manning media Send a Letter to the Editor Continue Reading

JuJu Smith Schuster says Vontaze Burfict ‘can’t be serious’ with his PED excuse

JuJu Smith-Schuster is not buying Vontaze Burfict's excuse for a positive PED test. Burfict is appealing his four-game suspension with the NFL by arguing his positive PED test was the result of medications he was prescribed following a concussion and shoulder injury he sustained after being hit by Smith-Schuster in a game against the Steelers on Dec. 4. The Steelers wide receiver — who was suspended for the hit — responded to Burfict's argument on Saturday via Twitter. "Lol you can't be serious," Smith-Schuster tweeted above a story with the headline, "Vontaze Burfict is blaming his suspension on JuJu Smith-Schuster." He also added, "That dude Burfict been on too much Slurp Juice and now tryna blame me" with a crying, laughing emoji and then posted a video of the hit. Lol you can’t be serious 😂😴— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) March 17, 2018 The NFL will ultimately make a decision on Burfict's appeal but a date has not been set. This is the third time Burfict has been suspended by the league for the start of a season but the first time for a PED violation. He was suspended for the first three games of the 2017 season for an illegal hit on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman and the first three games of 2016 for an illegal hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown during the playoffs. Sign up for BREAKING NEWS Emails privacy policy Thanks for subscribing! Send a Letter to the Editor Join the Conversation: facebook Tweet Continue Reading

Darron Gibson suspended by Sunderland after drink driving charge

Sunderland have suspended midfielder Darron Gibson after he was charged with drink driving following a multi-car crash on a pedestrian street in the city. Pictures emerged over the weekend of damage to several cars, including the former Manchester United and Everton player’s own £75,000 Mercedes, as well as shots of Gibson speaking to police officers. Sunderland, who are bottom of the Championship and facing a second successive relegation after dropping out of the top flight last year, decided to order the player to stay away from the training ground because of the seriousness of the offence. Gibson is currently injured and would not have played in the Black Cats’ 2-0 home defeat to Preston North End, even if he had not been arrested just three hours before kick-off. The club said in a statement on Sunday morning:  “Sunderland AFC has suspended Darron Gibson with immediate effect, after the player was charged with driving with excess alcohol on Saturday 17 March. The football club has commenced a full investigation into the matter. Sunderland’s chief executive, Martin Bain added: “We expect the highest standard of behaviour from our players and should any individual fall short of those standards then robust action must be taken." Gibson was taken away by police after his luxury 4×4 clipped a Nissan Note as he drove down a quiet street in the city. He then collided with other parked cars, including a white Seat Ibiza, which was propelled 40 feet down the road by the force. Police were called to Dovedale Road, Sunderland, shortly before noon on Saturday and Gibson was arrested on suspicion of drink driving. In September 2015, the Republic of Ireland international admitted drink driving after he crashed his £125,000 Nissan Skyline GT-R Nismo into three cyclists at a petrol station close to his home in Bowdon, Cheshire. He was banned from driving for 20 Continue Reading

Liverpool players love watching Mohamed Salah as much as the fans, says Joe Gomez

Defender Joe Gomez admits Liverpool's players enjoy watching forward Mohamed Salah in full flow as much as their fans do. The Egypt international became the first Reds player since Luis Suarez in December 2013 against Norwich to score four times in a game as Watford were demolished 5-0 at Anfield. Salah is close to recreating the magic effect the Uruguayan had over the team when they almost won the league in 2013-14 and he is just three away from Suarez's total of 31 league goals in a single season, having already taken his tally in all competitions to 36. The first and third goals of his first Reds hat-trick had a Lionel Messi-like quality to them; dumping Miguel Britos on his backside for the opener before sneaking in a shot through a crowd of players while falling over for the third. Asked what effect Salah, who also provided the assist for Roberto Firmino's audacious backheel through his legs for Liverpool's third on the night, has on the team Gomez said: "It is indescribable. "The goals he brings are invaluable and he is just so good to play with. It was a pleasure to be out there," he told LFCTV. "He's a special player; he is special to watch and I think we on the pitch enjoy it as much as the fans do. "The fact he has so many assists (nine in the Premier League) shows he is bringing more than just his goals. "He's a positive person and a great guy to be around. He just gets on the ball and does what he does. "He complements the team so well with Bobby (Firmino) and Sadio (Mane) and the front three anyone in the world would fear them. They all showed their quality in different ways." Firmino's 23rd of the season marked the best goalscoring campaign of his career, beating the 22 he managed in 2013-14, and while Mane did not get on the scoresheet it was another performance which showed he is starting to rediscover the form of last year. Liverpool have now scored 206 goals in 99 Premier League matches under Jurgen Klopp but Salah's hat-trick was the Continue Reading

Jose Mourinho accuses Man Utd players of lack of personality and class after reaching FA Cup semis

First came the Champions League defeat to Sevilla that stung Jose Mourinho and then came the passionate defence of his achievements that it provoked, but this was not the sort of victory that was ever going to do anything to improve his mood. Having kept his facial expressions hidden on the touchline during the game with a snood that covered half his face, as United made tough work of knocking Brighton out of the FA Cup, Mourinho did not try to mask his thoughts after it. Even after his name had been sung by United supporters throughout, Mourinho went on the attack, criticising the quality of the performance, as well as the mentality of his players. He knows he is taking a risk doing so, calling out players in public always takes you on to uncertain ground, but the Portuguese seems determined to challenge them. He is testing them, probing for a response, poking and prodding egos, watching for the reaction.   This was another insipid, timid display. They may be in the semi-final, their third in less than two years under him, but United will not win either that or the final playing like this. So, Mourinho did not mince his words. [email protected]: "Was you happy with that response?"— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) March 17, 2018 “A few of guys I saw them scared to play,” he said after singling out Nemanja Matic for praise. “I cannot say much more. It is a relation with personality, is a relation to trust, is a relation to class. “When the sun is shining and everything goes well, you win matches, you score goals, everything goes in your direction, every player is a good player and wants to play and wants the ball and looks amazing and is confident. “When it is dark and cold and in football that means a period of bad results or a bad result, not everybody has the confidence and personality to play. To be on the pitch and touch the ball every five minutes, everyone can do Continue Reading

Rangers’ Alfredo Morelos backed to regain confidence after being dropped to bench after Celtic miss

Rangers forward Alfredo Morelos paid the price for his notorious miss against Celtic last week when he was relegated to the bench for the visit of Kilmarnock on Saturday. However, the 21-year-old Colombian, who was the subject of an £8 million bid by Beijing Renhe, which Rangers rejected during the January transfer window, will regain his confidence, according to the Ibrox assistant coach, Jonatan Johansson. The Finn was speaking both from the point of view of a former Rangers striker – he played for the club between 1997 and 2000 – and as the man whose assessment of Morelos was crucial in persuading ex-Ibrox manager Pedro Caixinha to bring him to Glasgow from HJK Helsinki last summer. “People forget sometimes how young Alfredo is because he plays such a physical game,” Johansson said. “In the last two or three years he has moved countries and had to learn new languages, so these have been big changes for him. Moving from Finland to Rangers is a huge step up. Missing chances will make him angry. “No one at this club doubts what Alfredo can do. The fans seem to love the way he plays. Every career has highs and lows, so that is something that will make him stronger. He is such an important player for us. “Alfredo is very strong in what he gives to the team. His movement is good, he is a goalscorer and he creates chances for others. “In every game he gets into three or four positions to score and that’s what you want from your striker. As long as he keeps making those chances his goals will keep coming.” One unavoidable assessment passed on all Rangers forwards is their effectiveness against Celtic. Last weekend, aside from missing an open goal from close range, Morelos failed to beat the stand-in Hoops goalkeeper, Scott Bain, with another gift chance. He also had three excellent chances in the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park in December, none of which he converted. “You want to score Continue Reading

Another chance for Bridgewater

The injury was so devastating that Mike Zimmer, as hardened as they come, ended practice early. He barely could get the words out when talking with reporters. His quarterback was done for the season. It was Aug. 30, 2016 when an ambulance was called to the practice fields in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where the Vikings train. Teddy Bridgewater suffered a horrific injury to his left leg: a torn ACL, a dislocated left knee cap along with some ligament damage. It left Zimmer so stunned that he called his mentor, Bill Parcells, for advice. Keep moving, Parcells told him. Fight for your team. “You need to figure out what works, what recipe works,” Parcells told Sports Illustrated about his conversation with Zimmer. “And tomorrow morning, once the shock wears off, nobody’s going to give a [expletive]. It’s his problem. He’s gotta figure out how to win now.” Zimmer did and last season he coached his team in the NFC Championship Game. And now Zimmer will coach the best quarterback of the 2018 free-agent class, Kirk Cousins, who recently signed a historic three-year, $84-million contract that is fully guaranteed. Move on Zimmer did. But what about the quarterback who was supposed to be the face of the franchise? Bridgewater has moved on, too. Last week the free agent signed a one-year deal with the Jets that could be worth $15 million with incentives. Bridgewater had to overcome so much just to get to this point. He missed nearly two years of his NFL life before getting this chance. A chance to compete again for a starting job. To play in the NFL. To be a professional. “I was a few feet away from Teddy when he suffered his injury,” said Giants coach Pat Shurmur, who was an assistant coach with the Vikings when Bridgewater got hurt. “Watching all year how hard he trained to get back on the field, I’m thrilled that he has gotten an opportunity to continue his career. Teddy is one of my favorite people in this Continue Reading

Why the Jets’ trade up benefits the Giants

The blockbuster trade between the Jets and Colts on Saturday could wind up being a win-win. Or, when you consider the Giants, a win-win-win. Big Blue made no maneuvers at all but the value of their No. 2 overall selection in the upcoming draft — right after the Browns are almost certain to take a quarterback first overall and right before the Jets will almost undoubtedly do the same at No. 3 — rose dramatically because of the Jets-Colts swap. If a team, say the Bills or the Broncos, wants to move up to their choice of the top three quarterbacks in the draft, they’ll have to call the Giants. With no other options in the top three picks, of course, the Giants can practically name their price. At the Combine last month, general manager Dave Gettleman said he didn’t want to get “too cute” with shopping the No. 2 pick. But he also said that he wants to use it on a player he projects as a future Hall of Famer. He reiterated that “gold jacket” potential in an interview with NFL Network on Friday. If the Giants do trade back, depending on how far they go, they’ll likely have a stockpile of players in the first few rounds and still be able to select an impact starter in the first round. It could be Quenton Nelson, the guard many project as a surefire Pro Bowler. It could be NC State pass-rusher Bradley Chubb. It could even be hybrid safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (a nice consolation to defensive coordinator James Bettcher for missing out on Tyrann Mathieu, the free agent who signed with the Texans). And if no one wants to buy what the Giants are selling? The fallback if the Giants don’t get a package of picks or players that blows them away enough to let go of that No. 2 pick isn’t so bad, either. They can then select either a quarterback of their own to groom behind Eli Manning for the time being or they can simply take running back Saquon Barkley and solidify their running back position for the next seven to 10 Continue Reading

NFL draft profile — No. 40: Maryland WR D.J. Moore

Each day leading up to the 2018 NFL draft, I’ll break down one of my top 50 prospects. In some cases, we had to make tough omissions because of injuries, poor pre-draft workouts or incomplete information. For more complete scouting reports on all the prospects, check out the Pro Football Weekly 2018 Draft Guide, which is available for order now. Maryland WR D.J. Moore6-foot, 210 poundsKey stats: Moore caught passes from eight different quarterbacks in his three seasons, including four different passers in 2017 alone. Ended career with 33-game streak of at least one reception. Totaled 75 yards receiving or more in 10-of-12 games.The skinny: Four-star prep and all-state selection out of Philadelphia area ended up at Maryland. Under the tutelage of former Terrapins WR coach Keenan McCardell (now with the Jacksonville Jaguars), Moore started 10-of-12 games as a true freshman, catching 25 passes for 357 yards with three touchdowns. As a sophomore, Moore led the Terps in receiving (41 receptions, 637 yards, six touchdowns) and took over primary kick-return duties by the end of the season.Named Big Ten Receiver of the Year and first-team all-Big Ten as junior in 2017, catching a school-record 80 passes for 1,033 yards with eight TDs. Despite receiving neither a first- nor second-round grade from the underclassman advisory board, Moore declared early for the 2018 NFL draft.Upside: Steadily improved production each season and showed tangible growth despite poor QB play. Played with a whopping eight quarterbacks (whose completion percentages hovered in the mid-50s) over three seasons and was the focus of opposing defenses. Well-regarded by teammates and coaches. Never showed obvious frustration despite inaccurate passers trying to get him the ball but played with positive passion and fire.Lined up all over the field — in slot, out wide, in motion and even in the backfield. Returned kicks and punts effectively. Continue Reading

Man Utd 2 Brighton 0: United reach semi-final but fail to impress

17 March 2018 • 9:47pm Jose Mourinho looked frozen on the touchline, his facial expressions masked by the snood covering half his face as snow swirled on the arctic wind around him, but he must have felt the warmth from those whose judgment really matters at Manchester United. It feels as though everyone has had their say about Mourinho in the wake of United’s Champions League defeat to Seville, from his tactics, to his personality, to the strength of the argument he made in his defence – but in singing his name throughout this FA Cup quarter-final victory over Brighton, the club’s supporters had theirs. For all the venom hammered out on keyboards, for all the vitriol that poured in his direction from high-profile pundits, Mourinho has not lost the club’s supporters. More importantly he did not lose the game. His team did enough. It was neither spectacular or particularly convincing, but United are into another cup semi-final, their third in less than two years under his leadership. Their rich heritage in domestic cup competitions continues. For the first time since he became United manager, this was a game Mourinho simply could not lose. There could be no excuses offered, no defence for a defeat, no hope of shifting the blame. When a manager publicly challenges his players in a bid to defend their own reputation, it is their reaction that decides whether it was a blunder or not. If United had been knocked out the FA Cup here, Mourinho’s second season would have lay in ruins. For now, having fired back at his critics last week, Mourinho is able to slip the safety catch on and holster his weapon. United’s season remains alive. Mourinho’s favoured form of self-defence, when cornered by his critics, is always to attack. This, though, was a wild one. Shots were certainly fired, but it was more machine gun than sniper rifle. His targets were various, the argument scattered. Mourinho was not Continue Reading