Giants’ Saquon Barkley is ‘most talented’ draft pick in years, Hall of Fame ex-Jets RB Curtis Martin says

Leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, Giants rookie Saquon Barkley struck up a friendship with Curtis Martin, and said that the Jets Hall of Famer was among the running backs he’s most admired.

Judging by Martin’s comments Tuesday, the feelings seem to be mutual.

In my opinion, Martin said Tuesday at the BTIG Charity Day. He’s the most talented, from an athletic standpoint, I don’t think there’s anyone who came out this year who is more talented. Maybe in the last few years.

Barkley’s film from his collegiate career at Penn State is a highlight-reel of plays where he hurdles defenders, stops and starts on a dime, and simply blows past speedy defenders such as former USC cornerback Adoree Jackson on the way to averaging 5.7 yards per carry and scoring 43 touchdowns.

I think his character is phenomenal, Martin said. I think he’s a phenomenal young-man. I think he’ll do good things in New York. I think he’s going to do great things in the NFL. He’s definitely one of the most talented guys that I’ve seen come out of college.

The Redskins currently have a few running backs on the roster that have shown that they can have a major impact in the game as a receiver out of the backfield with Chris Thompson at the forefront of that charge.

New Orleans Saints players are beginning to deal with the realization they won’t have the team’s leading rusher, Mark Ingram, for the first four games of the 2018 season.

Following his suspension, Ingram is set to miss tilts against the Buccaneers, Falcons, Browns and Giants.

If he does have to miss games, he will be missed, defensive end Alex Okafor told Josh Katzenstein of The Times-Picayune. You can’t replace anybody like that. He’s one of the best backs in the league. He’s dynamic, huge in the run and passing game. It’s going to be hard to cope with, but if anybody could find a way to do it, it’s going to be Sean Payton and Drew Brees. I’m sure we’ll be all right.colts_080

Mark Ingram statement suggests two possible defenses for banned substance

A statement released by Mark Ingram‘s agents suggests that he will claim his suspension for violating the league’s PED policy stemmed from a legitimate medication — and also will claim that the test showing he took the medication was invalid.

The second part of the defense, that Ingram “has vigorously challenged the test results,” would seem contradictory with the first defense. If Ingram is going to claim he was using the banned substance for a therapeutic reason, then there would be no need to challenge the test results because he would readily admit that the substance was in his body. If Ingram is claiming that the test was invalid and he didn’t use the substance, then what difference does it make if he could have used it with a proper use exemption?

The arbitrator who denied Ingram’s appeal is expected to produce a full written ruling within a week. Unless there’s more to Ingram’s case than his agents’ statement suggests, it’s hard to see what grounds he would have to fight the suspension. Ingram was the leading rusher for the Saints last season but is reportedly unhappy with his contract and not planning to participate in voluntary offseason work.

“I think you’re gonna see less offensive linemen on this unit,” Saints coach Sean Payton, a member of the Competition Committee, explained during a visit to PFT Live. “I think you’re gonna see a more athletic player on this unit. I think you’re gonna have less space in the collisions, which the goal was at the beginning.”

The changes in the positioning (and possibly the composition) on the kickoff also could lead to various other unforeseen, by maybe not unwelcome, consequences.

“I’m not so sure that you’re not gonna see a handful of unique returns now when you have eight [blockers] inside that initial 15-yard zone,” Payton said. “I think there’s space and I also think there’s also opportunities that present themselves for the kicking team. Whether it’s not an onside [kick] but you know placing the ball in certain areas of the field maybe with the idea of trying to recover it.”orioles_002

Here’s why Baker Mayfield hung up on Brett Favre’s agent

Baker Mayfield’s connection to Brett Favre may end with this Instagram photo:

Mayfield eventually signed with agent Tom Mills of Capital Sports Advisors — an agency with a less star-studded client list — for a more personal approach.

“We pitched the size of our firm as an advantage because we told him we’re not going to have any potential conflicts with another quarterback. You’re our guy. We’re all in with you.’ I think that was important to him.” Mills told The Coloradoan earlier this year. “We have a personal-service approach. We’re not the biggest group and we’re not trying to be the biggest group. But we’re going to devote a ton of attention to you and make sure you get the best result you can possibly have.’’

Mayfield is expected to be off the board early in the first round (possibly to the Browns at No. 1 overall) of Thursday’s NFL Draft.

The 61-year-old Childress, who also is working as a Bears offensive consultant, joins Orlando’s Steve Spurrier as the Alliance’s first two official head coaching hires in what will be an eight-team league. As first reported by Sporting News, Rick Neuheisel is expected to get named head coach of an AAF squad in Southern California.

“When I accepted the job and thought about what it would take to bring this city a championship, I knew that I needed to bring Michael Vick back to Atlanta,” Childress said in an AAF news release. “His connection with the city is undeniable and his 13 years of NFL experience will make him a tremendous asset to our team.

“I saw first-hand his innate ability to bring out the best in those around him, and I’m confident that together we’re going to build something special for the city of Atlanta.”

One of the most dynamic quarterbacks in NFL history, Vick led Atlanta to one NFC title game (2004 season) and another playoff appearance (2002) in seven seasons. But prior to the 2007 campaign, Vick was prosecuted for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring and sentenced to 23 months in prison.

The Falcons were red-faced from having made Vick the focus of their marketing efforts, as well as the quarterback’s cozy relationship with team owner Arthur Blank. After trade attempts proved fruitless, Atlanta cut Vick before his release from prison.steelers_049

Harden scores 44 points, Rockets beat Wolves 104-101

Trailing by 1 in the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Houston Rockets needed someone to step up.

No surprise that it was James Harden who came through.

Harden scored 44 points and powered a big fourth-quarter run that allowed the Rockets to outlast the Timberwolves 104-101 Sunday night in Game 1 of the first-round playoff series.

Harden got Capela in on the scoring after that, finding him for an alley-oop that pushed the lead to 101-93 with less than three minutes left.

Honestly I was just trying to be aggressive and make the right play, Harden said. I think if you have that aggressive mindset, good things will happen.

The top-seeded Rockets had their hands full with the No. 8 Timberwolves on a night where Houston made just 10 of 37 3-pointers. Harden shot 7 for 12 on 3-pointers, but Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker, Eric Gordon and Paul combined to make just 3 of their 22 tries.

We’ve had games like this throughout the season and the biggest thing that I’ve learned, that I think our teams knows is that we don’t stop shooting, Paul said. We still take the shots that we get and coming into Game 2 guess what? We’re going to shoot them again because we have that confidence.

It doesn’t have to be today or tomorrow, there is no deadline, Francesa told The Post during a very civil 10-minute conversation.

After retiring from WFAN in December, Francesa, 64, wasn’t contractually allowed to make his next move until April 1. The date has passed and Francesa is still trying to figure out all the logistics of his next stop. He said he is making progress, but no one will find out until he announces it.

Only three people know, Francesa said. And one is my wife.

When asked if he will join social media, Francesa didn’t say yes, but he didn’t say no.

Bernie & Sid is hosted by Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg, who replaced another radio legend, Don Imus, this week on 770 AM. While they did not get Francesa, later this week they are scheduled to have another newsmaker of near-equal importance.seahawks_127

One way or another, the Buffalo Bills will draft a quarterback.

Wyoming’s Josh Allen is the most divisive option because he’s a ball of untapped potential coupled with inconsistent performances. Either he’s viewed as a physical marvel with all of the tools to excel, or he’s belittled due to erratic accuracy, decision-making and failing to perform against top competition. Reality falls somewhere in between those two points. 

Most fantasy managers had checked out by then, of course, but Snell has long been of interest to the Rays and myriad statistical followers for his ability to miss bats, and that final day of last season was the first time in 43 career outings he pitched more than four innings in a game and escaped sans a free pass.

Cousins was in fact relocating to a new house in Las Vegas, a source told Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated on Monday. Cousins had been rehabilitating in Los Angeles after a season-ending Achilles injury he suffered in late January.

Adding to the confusion, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said before Saturday’s Game 1 win that Cousins had not been cleared to fly and would not be in attendance.

“We would love for him to be here because he’s been an integral part of this,” Gentry said, according to The Times-Picayune. “I feel really bad for him because he’s been great for us.”

Cousins is hoping to join the Pelicans at one of their games this postseason, but it will be tough with his rehab, the source told Spears.

Cousins and Anthony Davis were on pace to become the first teammates ever to each average 25 points and 10 rebounds per game for a season when Cousins went down Jan. 26.

Pressed if there was any chance he could return earlier than a potential first-round Game 7, Smart left open the possibility.

“Like I said, we’re optimistic, but we’re not going to rush anything,” he said. “We’re going to take it slow. So I think I have another doctor’s appointment, a checkup, in the next two weeks. We’ll see what [the doctor] says. If she clears us to be able to start a little bit earlier, then we might. But as of right now, Game 7 [or the] second round is the [goal].”steelers_015

Harvey off to strong start, Mets blank Phillies 2-0

For the first time in a long while, Matt Harvey was healthy and happy with his results on the mound.

Harvey allowed one hit over five spotless innings in his encouraging season debut , and the New York Mets beat the Philadelphia Phillies 2-0 on a rainy Tuesday night at Citi Field.

When it comes to making moves on the wire, I’m not overly active on hitters. I drafted Player X over Player Y for a reason, and a few weeks of cold-weather baseball isn’t going to sway my opinion. Having said that, I keep more of an open mind when it comes to evaluating pitching, as each start holds significant value. Kyle Gibson, for example, not only belongs to the elite-first-name club, but he also showed signs of figuring things out in the second half of last season by posting a 3.76 ERA and striking out nearly a batter per inning.

He was left undrafted in more than 90 percent of ESPN leagues but dominated the Orioles in his first start, and I would have no problem in stashing him over whatever upside pitcher you took in the latter rounds this spring. Be warned: He faces an underrated Mariners offense and the Astros during the next week, but his good form should extend beyond his first outing of 2018, and I’m cautiously optimistic that by the end of April, we could be looking at a player worth adding in most leagues.

Marcell Ozuna broke out of an 0-for-9 start with three hits, including an RBI double in the third and a run-scoring single in the fifth.Yadier Molina hit a leadoff homer in the fourth for the Cardinals, outscored 15-6 in the first two games.

After solid starts by Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom, Matz (0-1) tried to put behind an injury-decimated sophomore season in which the lefty slumped to a 2-7 record. He struggled with his control and was up to 51 pitches after two innings and 73 after three. He lasted five innings, giving up three runs and four hits, as the Mets kept up their terrible trend of last year, when they were 16-36 in series finales.

All three runs I gave up I had two strikes on the guys, Matz said. I was leaving the ball up a lot.

In the Cardinals clubhouse after the game, there was loud, thumping music. DeJong hasn’t grooved to classical music yet for batting practice.

I’ve thought about it. I just haven’t pulled the trigger. I don’t bring my headphones with me, usually, he said. I don’t like to get too far in my head with music. Sometimes that can happen.

Kirk Cousins deal has a no-trade, no-transition tag clause

The general money to be paid by the Vikings to quarterback Kirk Cousins has been known for two days: Three years, $84 million, fully guaranteed.

The actual contract has some other key terms. Per a source with knowledge of the deal, Cousins’ contract has a no-trade clause. The deal also includes a term that keeps the Vikings from using the transition tag in 2021.

Signed with Eagles on 1 10.It’s not often a second-string tight end can garner that much emotion from a fan base, but Ellison’s importance to the team is clear to all.He remembers the constant headaches — a little, squeezing head all day. Treating Colorado relievers Miller and Castro as if they were batting practice pitchers, the Yankees cranked out seven runs on eight hits the eighth inning.

Eifert caught five touchdowns in eight 2016 games and had 13 in 13 games during the 2015 season, so it’s easy to see why the Bengals would roll the dice on his ability to stay in the lineup this year. If he can’t, it may be hard to convince anyone else to take the same bet in the future.

Levitre posted this sweet picture of his baby daughter to his Instagram a few days ago.I use the term learning very loosely here since mastery of this complex topic involves much more than a single day of learning as evidenced by the years has spent refining his approach.Please enter your email address associated with the account we can help reset your password.BUCCANEERS 36, BEARS 10: Jameis threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns as Tampa Bay won at home against mistake-prone Chicago.

Glennon, 28, will join his third team in three years.

A shopping cart icon.He kept saying, `JT,, you gotta stay.’ He was one of his happy moods.Dpf and I we’re talking about this last night and it’s all going to depend on his off conditioning and health going into the. undersized, high-effort scrapper, Dismukes can only play center.

Just kind of been blown out of proportion because of the moment last year.Comes from a great program and understands how to work and what you have to do to be successful.There’s going to be some good players sitting out of the lineup and nobody’s beyond that, Hakstol said at Skate Zone.As continues to recover from his Achilles injury, Los need scoring out of the backcourt, and a rejuvenated Farmar be ready to jump and provide that offense.they could only put Jackson and Peerman on either IR or the roster.

Sometime before 2021, ESPN will face a decision with major implications for its short- and long-term future: whether or not to break the bank to renew Monday Night Football rights when the network’s NFL contract ends in 2021.

The Baltimore Ravens need to put a better supporting cast around Joe Flacco.

Baltimore chased this endeavor early in free agency by agreeing to sign wide receiver Ryan Grant to a four-year, $29 million contract with $14.5 million guaranteed, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network. Grant then failed his physical Thursday, which voided his contract and put him back on the market, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

But they also let quality linebacker Preston Brown slip to free agency. Linebackers who aren’t pass-rushers usually have a slow market, but Buffalo approached the danger zone here with a team leader and a guy with plenty of versatility after playing in multiple schemes. He wound up signing with the Cincinnati Bengals, according to Ryan Talbot of

The Brown mold isn’t hard to fill, though. With guys like Navorro Bowman and Brian Cushing on the market, bringing on a veteran to compete for playing time shouldn’t prove too difficult.

It appears the Lions finally have their man after a dramatic ordeal with running back Frank Gore, who left the club without a contract this week despite reportedly being close to a deal.

When healthy, Mathieu has been considered one of most dynamic defenders in the NFL.

He has a reputation for having a nose for the football and plays with a reckless abandon that helped shape who he was as a safety.

The 5-foot-9 Mathieu became known as one of the best nickel defenders in the league, preferring to play in the box, where he felt he could make an impact on every play, rather than roaming the secondary.

However, Mathieu’s promising career in Arizona was marred by injuries.

Mathieu, 25, finished three of his five seasons on injured reserve thanks to two major knee injuries — a torn ACL and LCL in 2013 and a torn ACL in 2015.

Mathieu’s 2015 knee injury derailed the best season of his career. patriots_125

Andre Roberson’s injury deals brutal blow to Thunder’s chances of shaking up West

With Roberson locking down the opposing team’s best perimeter threat, George was unleashed as a rover, free to wreak havoc all over the floor. He leads the league in deflections per game (4.4) and is tied for the lead in steals per game (2.2) with Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe. Now, OKC coach Billy Donovan might have to use George more frequently as the primary defender against backcourt stars and scoring forwards. But who takes Roberson’s spot?

Arizona got a bit of a break to get the game’s first goal 3 1/2 minutes into the first period when Demers’ passing attempt went off defender Kris Russell’s heel and caromed past Oilers goalie Cam Talbot.

Khaira’s short-handed goal tied it eight minutes into the game. He followed up a shot by Ryan Strome and tapped the rebound past Arizona goalie Darcy Kuemper.

The Oilers took the lead with 6:39 remaining in the first when Lucic scored on a slap shot for his 10th.

To be clear, the Big Baller Brand Challenge is a five-game showcase event with teams full of younger, less talented players than the LKL. LaMelo and LiAngelo both played limited minutes and were shut out in their official Lithuanian league debuts. It’s unlikely they’ll find success against a higher level of competition given that they are unaccustomed to facing experienced professional players.

Follow along with the Facebook Live video stream below to see how the Ball boys fared in their fifth Big Baller Brand Challenge game. (In case you’re looking for them, LaMelo is No. 1 and LiAngelo is No. 3 in the blue uniforms. LaVar is… well, you know who he is.)

“The team likes playing in front of him,” Columbus coach John Tortorella said. “There have been a few struggles here and there, but he was solid right from the get-go tonight.”

Korpisalo got some offensive help in a tight-checking game that reflected the urgency for the Blue Jackets, who are battling Florida and Carolina — both of which lost Tuesday — for the final wild card.lions_083

Dodgers glad to be back at work, away from World Series talk

We’ve got young guys who are only going to get better and veteran guys who are really performing at a high level, said Roberts, whose club plays its first spring game Friday against the Chicago White Sox. So, we’ve just got to continue to stay the course.

LHP Alex Wood worked through a scheduled bullpen Monday. A sprained right ankle, sustained Thursday, had limited him. X-rays were negative. Pitching prospect Walker Buehler, a 23-year-old right-hander, threw his first bullpen this spring on Monday.

He is the second high-profile client of agent Scott Boras to agree to a contract in the past few days. First baseman Eric Hosmer agreed to a contract with the San Diego Padres on Saturday.

So even though you may think he’s been a petulant jerk at so many stops along the way, it sucked not having him relevant for the past year or so. He was built to play in front of that tracer technology but we were getting D-grade Bubba, not the traditional Bubba, one of the greatest and most imaginative shotmakers in the history of game. This week we got Grade A Bubba, and even if you dislike the person, you had to love watching him play and perform at Riv. It was impossible not to. This has always been the Bubba paradox. Look at the cut on this one, which is pretty much standard Bubba.

In 460 career appearances, Moylan is 24-9 with four saves and a 3.00 ERA in 390? innings.

To make room for Moylan, the Braves designated right-hander Mauricio Cabrera for assignment.

Alderson has more than 30 years in the game. He knows a player who hit .226/.309/.347 as a 29-year-old in Class-A is not a major league player or a legitimate prospect. Is Tebow a conventional prospect? No, but the odds are slim to none that he improves enough to warrant a major league promotion.

Which doesn’t answer the question. If he gets called it up, it would be in September and nothing more than a publicity stunt to bring in some fans.

Miller: If not this year, probably never — how much of Tebow’s 30s is he really going to invest in being one of the worst players in the low minor leagues? So it probably has to be this year — let’s say September, if the Mets are out of contention.bears_018