NATIONAL HIGH SCHOOL LICENSING PROGRAM

Worked with LRG Prep, LLC and The National Federation of High School Associations on a brand refresh of the National Licensing Program. The refresh included a new site, in-store signage, advertisements and other marketing collateral. The new site includes video, social media integration, online licensing contract and individual state sites. The new state sites allow fans and schools from each respective state the ability to search for local retailers, download state branded materials, and learn about the program.

Twins demote All-Star Miguel Sano to minors

The Twins couldn’t let Miguel Sano labor anymore.

According to the Star Tribune, Minnesota has demoted the 2017 All-Star to Class A Fort Myers.

He’s an important part of what we feel we will be eventually, manager Paul Molitor told reporters, via MLB.com. He’s not there right now. We have to take a step backwards here & determine the steps moving forward. We like our coaches and facility there with a lot of things we can control more there.

Sano was batting .203 with 66 strikeouts in 148 at-bats before his demotion. He had seven home runs and 27 RBIs, but he had a career-low .405 slugging percentage. Sano has never, at any level, had a slugging percentage lower than .460.

Asked, as a highly touted and top draft pick in the locker room, how he’s gotten along with his teammates, Darnold said, I’m always going to just be myself. That’s the safe way to do things — have fun with all my teammates and be straightforward with them.

Raye was most recently the assistant G.M. in Houston and interviewed to replace Rick Smith in the top job before the Texans hired Brian Gaine. Raye was also among the executives interviewed by the Panthers for their General Manager job before they made Marty Hurney the permanent choice by stripping the interim tag he had in 2017.

Raye was the vice president of football operations for the Colts from 2013-2016 and spent more than 15 years with the Chargers before heading to Indianapolis.

That Sunday afternoon games are sold as family-day promotions only to be switched to 8:10 p.m. have consistently left thousands holding expensive empty bags. There has been no team, MLB or media pressure to reverse that or at least make good on such a persistent con.

Excited children, their parents and grandparents, with tickets purchased and plans made months ahead of Sunday afternoon games, church, Scouts and community bus trip games sold weeks in advance, have all had the rug pulled from beneath them with late word that they’ve been had. And fans of large TV-market teams are the most frequent mugging victims — until they learn that Sundays, of all days, are for suckers.

Lions Lowdown: Breaking down Patricia’s offense

Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers of The Detroit News talk about coach Matt Patricia’s offense after the Lions’ concluded offseason practices this week.

A room filled with some heroes Dan Hanzus, Gregg Rosenthal & Chris Wesseling recap the latest news from around the league, including the Bengals saying Tyler Eifert will be ready for camp (7:00), a potential Chargers- Antonio Gates reunion? (9:30), Marvin Jones defends Matt Patricia making the team *run(11:30), Christian Hackenberg visiting the Patriots after Raiders coach Jon Gruden says the system failed the QB (14:00) and the Eagles unveil their Super Bowl LII championship ring (18:30). The heroes then take part in Trope Season Overview 2018 (25:00) and in honor of Father’s Day this weekend, they give fatherly advice to NFL’s young bucks (34:00).

It’s easy to think about a football team as a collection of 53 players and a group of coaches, but there are a lot of other people who work hard to help an organization succeed. Congratulations to Carol Wilson on a deserved Super Bowl ring, and kudos to the Eagles for making sure she wasn’t forgotten.

But that momentum collapsed as quickly as it had been built, with four bogeys – on Nos. 9, 11, 12 and 18 – completely killing his pursuit.

For his part, Reed said he wasn’t thinking about the Grand Slam entering the final round at Shinnecock Hills.

But that doesn’t mean he wasn’t aware of it.

I had a chance, Reed said. I definitely had a chance. Just too many missed putts, and at the end of the day, just needed to hit the ball a little closer.

Given how Reed had put himself into contention, it was a maddening finish.

After all, he was the lone survivor of Saturday’s chaos, posting the best score of any player to tee off after noon at 1-over.

That pushed him well up the leaderboard and gave him a shot on a vastly different Sunday

Giants exec hoping to add Triple Crown to his Super Bowl rings

Chris Mara has been around winners.

Saturday, he hopes to be able to be able to translate his football success to the track.

McCaskey said he’s met with team president Ted Phillips and Bears union rep Sam Acho about the matter, and they’ve still discussing potential discipline (or whether they’d discipline) for violating the policy.

I think we continue the dialogue, McCaskey said, and listen to each other.

While it’s a little late now, it’s at least a good start.

Reed played six games with one start in 2016 with the Chargers, making 14 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups.

We urge Governor Murphy and legislators to fix the legislation so the state can have a first-class betting market, while preserving the integrity of sports for New Jersey’s passionate fans, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, and the Professional Golfers Association said in a joint statement.

Lawmakers ignored pleas from the leagues to include an integrity fee — 0.25 of the state’s total sports betting revenue — to help cover what it will cost to prevent cheating and game-fixing.

Sponsors on Thursday also removed a provision that would have blocked any facility in New Jersey from opening a sports book if its owners had a 10 percent stake or greater in a professional sports team. That would have affected the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City, which is owned by Tilman Fertitta, who also owns the Houston Rockets of the NBA.

Kanell thinks his absence is a bit different, which makes sense.

All along, it’s been assumed and reported that Gronk is looking for an updated contract. I don’t think Gronk wants any part of that,Kanell said. He’s probably trying to play both sides of the coin here, saying ‘Brady is my guy, but I also know who pays my bills.

The poll has a margin of error of three percentage points. In a followup question, the survey phrased approval differently, asking respondents if it is fair or unfair for teams to be fined when players kneel: 55% said it is fair, while 42% said unfair.

That’s why Patterson, in my opinion, is the most intriguing new player in New England’s camp, even with the presence of promising first-round running back Sony Michel. Patterson, who remained on the field with Brady, Julian Edelman and a couple others to get extra work for about 10 minutes after Wednesday’s practice, still has tremendous upside bolstered by raw talent.

My film don’t lie, Patterson teased. I can do whatever I put my mind to. That’s something I’ve been blessed with from the man above since I’ve been born.

Whether he maximizes his talent will largely depend on learning the unforgiving playbook and gaining Brady’s trust, which in turn would force Belichick to find ways to deploy him. 

Patterson sounds willing to go with the flow, saying: You’ve got to know your role and embrace it.

But is he poised to raise the bar on that?

You’ve got to ask Belichick about that, he said. I hold myself accountable for everything. Each day, I give it my best.

Quarterbacks with the best chance to break out in 2018

We all saw what Jimmy Garoppolo did in 2017 after the midseason trade from New England to San Francisco. Five straight wins to close out the year. A league-leading QBR of 79.9 from Weeks 13 to 17. And 82.78 total fantasy points, good for QB8 during that stretch. But the sample size is still small on Jimmy G., and he can be even better in 2018.

I believe there are other ways you can go out and operate and make things hurt when something like that happens … I think we certainly did what we needed to do to retaliate in the cleanest, purest way possible.

Watt, a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, suffered a broken leg in Week 5. Watson was off to an MVP-caliber start in his rookie season before suffering a torn ACL in late October. The dual-threat quarterback passed for almost 1,700 yards and 19 touchdowns in seven games.

This news correlates with recent updates on both players. Texans coach Bill O’Brien said at the NFL meetings in late March that Watson was ahead of schedule, but there’s still a lot of work to put in.

The Texans have also expected Watt to be ready for camp. The 29-year-old defensive end has played only eight games the past two seasons because of injuries.

J.J.’s doing really well, O’Brien said (via the Houston Chronicle). J.J. has a great attitude. He’s a very positive guy. He’s been in a great mood the whole offseason about where he’s at.

It was Boston’s first 1-0 loss at Fenway Park since Sept. 14, 2016 against Baltimore.

This kind of stuff happens. This isn’t who we are and this doesn’t define us in any way, Sale said.

Paul Goldschmidt sends the ball flying deep to left-center field, knocking in a pair of runs as he legs out a triple.

A weekend trip to hitter-friendly Coors Field has sparked Arizona’s offense.

Paul Goldschmidt doubled and tripled and had two RBI to finish off a dominating series and the Diamondbacks earned an 8-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.

Rockies: RF Carlos Gonzalez was a late scratch from the lineup with back spasms. He was replaced in right field by Noel Cuevas and in the cleanup spot by Story, who came close to hitting his third homer of the night when he flied out to the wall in right in the eighth. Black said Gonzalez is doubtful for Sunday.

Like minicamp, those are mandatory, unless they want to pay the fines attached to such absences.

For years, the NFL season has ended abruptly and suddenly, forcing football fans to wait for more of the game they love until September. Charlie Ebersol, the son of legendary TV executive Dick Ebersol, realized the untapped potential that could flow from having more football.

And that led directly to the birth of the Alliance of American Football, a new league that will debut one week after the next Super Bowl.

About two and a half years ago I was reading, because I’m a nerd and I was reading ratings, Ebersol said. And I called my dad and I said, ‘Is it possible that I’m reading this right that there are 78 million to 80 million fewer people watching sports starting the weekend after the Super Bowl for six months?’ And he said, ‘No you’re reading the exactly right.’

Clay Matthews to have surgery after line drive to the face in Packers’ charity baseball game

This isn’t going to make NFL teams any more comfortable when their players participate in other sports no matter how much fun they’re having or how worthy the cause they may be supporting.

Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, pitching in the team’s annual softball game, took a line drive to the face Saturday afternoon on the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers’ field in Appleton, Wis. The sound was frightening and so was the sight as Matthews immediately went to the ground, then quickly left the field with his glove covering his face.

Matthews headed straight for a hospital and later tweeted, I busted my nose pretty good and will have surgery once the swelling subsides.

The week begins with Lewis walking into a bar off Peachtree Road exasperated and congested and, for the love of God, someone please pour the man a beer. The Tavern at Phipps’ bartender cannot slide a Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale to Lewis fast enough.

Before uttering a word about anything else, Lewis points to his nose and explains that polyps have been clogging the lining of his nasal passages for six months.

People don’t know how much they breathe out of their nose!

So any time he’s speaking and eating, Lewis literally cannot breathe. Sleeping is nearly impossible, and Lewis already snored like a freight train.

The man who once resembled Mike Tyson from scowl to six-pack now can’t work out and is more Butterbean. He figures all of the pollen in the Georgia air created these polyps, but his deviated septum sure can’t help. When a doctor asked if Lewis took a hit to the face at some point, he chuckled. Uh. Yeah. You could say that. At some point over his nine NFL seasons, his nose shifted.

Lewis traces a finger from the very top of his nose to the bottom. Where a CT scan here should show all white, his is all black.

Saints sign two undrafted rookies, waive four players

The Saints confirmed Monday that they signed a couple of veteran players — tackle Michael Ola and defensive tackle Jay Bromley — after tryouts at their rookie minicamp and also announced the addition of a pair of undrafted rookies.

Linebacker KeShun Freeman comes to New Orleans after spending the last four years at Georgia Tech. He made 45 starts over those four seasons and left school with 159 tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

Although Eli Manning is by all accounts a great guy who does great things in the community (his work on behalf of children fighting cancer is beyond admirable), any plausible claim that any player has committed fraud in connection with the sale of items used during NFL games should give the NFL concern. If there’s a “good guy” or a “favored team” exception for memorabilia fraud, will similar exceptions be made when questions emerge in future years regarding whether a player is accused of betting on NFL games, shaving points, and/or throwing games?

Despite the fact that Tyrod Taylor was the Buffalo Bills quarterback when they made the playoffs for the first time this century, they clearly did not believe he was the long-term answer. Taylor kept his interception totals low, but he averaged fewer than 7.0 yards per attempt the last two seasons and his passer rating dropped in each of those campaigns.

So kudos to the Bills for getting a third-round pick in exchange for Taylor in March before moving on to a pair of intriguing young passing options. They got good value later that month for AJ McCarron. And then they craftily moved up in the draft to add physical marvel Josh Allen with the No. 7 overall pick.

McCarron’s making just $5 million a year, and Allen is considered a long-term project, so there isn’t much pressure on either signal-caller right now. The Bills would surely love to get back to the playoffs, but this isn’t a Super Bowl-caliber team at the moment. The silver lining is that the Bills and their fans will get to spend this season assessing two high-potential fresh faces at the game’s most important position. 

Rising NFL Stars to Keep an Eye in OTAs

With the 2018 NFL draft and the bulk of free agency in the rearview mirror, it’s time for the next chapter of the offseason.

At this point next week, all 32 NFL franchises will have started their organized team activities for 2018. There’ll be a lot to keep an eye on between now and the middle of June, when professional football takes a real vacation for the first and only time all year.

Between now and then, we’ve highlighted a dozen promising young players who are worth paying close attention to as OTAs get underway. Some are coming back from injuries, while others are learning new systems or preparing to play bigger roles, but they’re all looking to prove they’re ready to take the next step toward stardom.

That’s great news for Vikings fans who are anxious to see how Cook looks in his first full offseason as a pro, especially after the team lost versatile back Jerick McKinnon in free agency.

Two seasons into his career, Derrick Henry has scored 11 touchdowns on only 310 touches while averaging a solid 4.3 yards per carry. That might explain why the Tennessee Titans released veteran back DeMarco Murray in March, paving the way for Henry to serve in a much larger role in 2018.

I’ve been a part of Hard Knocks and when you experience it first hand, you come to appreciate the inside look it really gives fans, Browns coach Hue Jackson said in a statement. “I want people to see how much our players and coaches care, how hard they work and how badly they want to win for Cleveland.”

Beyond the presence of Mayfield, the brash Heisman Trophy winner, the Browns should provide a fair dose of other intriguing storylines — from Jackson, who is 1-31 in two seasons in Cleveland, to the additions of quarterback Tyrod Taylor and wide receiver Jarvis Landry.

The Browns also have a largely-reworked front office, now led by first-year general manager John Dorsey.

The storylines in Cleveland are compelling, which make the Browns an ideal partner on Hard Knocks, said Ross Ketover of NFL Films, which partners with HBO Sports on the series. “We’re looking forward to showing NFL fans around the world what the Haslams, John Dorsey, Hue Jackson and the coaching staff are doing to rebuild the team and reboot one of the most iconic franchises in sports.”

MORE: NFL worst-to-first candidates: Which teams could make big leaps in 2018?

NFL sets Super Bowl host cities for 2023, 2024

Boston has done well against the Hill-LeBron two-man game, but Cleveland hasn’t used it enough. For the playoffs, the Cavs have scored 1.14 points per possession when Hill screens for LeBron, and 1.17 the other way around — elite marks, per Second Spectrum.

Super Bowl 57 will be the third at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, which also hosted in 2008 and 2015. Arizona also hosted the Super Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium in 1996.

“All parties are grateful to have the matter, which began in 2014, concluded and are now focused on football, the fans and the future.”

It’s undeniable that something has been different about these Capitals through three rounds of the playoffs, from a mental toughness perspective. When adversity struck in the first two rounds against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Pittsburgh Penguins, Washington pushed through it.

“This group has been resilient as hell all year,” said coach Barry Trotz, as the Capitals attempt to rally again in the Eastern Conference finals, down 3-2 to the Tampa Bay Lightning heading into Game 6 on Monday.

He will receive another $250,000 per game if he plays 33 percent of the snaps and the team wins for a max payout of $8 million.

The $250,000 per game doubles to $500,000 in the playoffs with a win worth $1 million if plays a third of the game. That amount could go up to $1.5 million if Foles plays more than half the snaps and the Eagles win the game. He will also earn $500,000 if he makes the Pro Bowl on the original ballot.

Foles’ payday is the result of a restructured contract after he lead the Eagles to last season’s Super Bowl victory and was named MVP.

Technically, this is true. Chandler Stephenson, Travis Boyd and Nathan Walker are 24. Christian Djoos and Madison Bowey are 23. Jakub Vrana is 22. Shane Gersich is 21. All of them are old enough to buy their own ticket for “Deadpool 2.” If they’re kids, it’s only in hockey parlance. Like the fact that none of them had played a game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs before this postseason.

So we’ll call them “young players who contributed mightily to this deepest Washington Capitals playoff run in 20 years,” thanks to their skill, their speed and their good fortune of not having marinated in the disappointment of prior postseason failures.