<![CDATA[NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth - Dallas-Fort Worth Sports News, Analysis, and Scores for the Giants, Jets. Patriots, Huskies, Knicks and More]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC+5-KXAS+Logo+for+Google+News.png NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth http://www.nbcdfw.com en-us Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:12:16 -0500 Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:12:16 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Crawford, Cowboys Welcome Higher Expectations]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:00:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/tyrone-crawford-2014.jpg

In 2014, the Dallas Cowboys exceeded all expectations when they went 12-4, won the NFC East for the first time under Jason Garrett and won a playoff game for the first time since 2009.

It was no great mystery why expectations were low going into the season. Tony Romo was coming off of back surgery, the second procedure on his back in an eight-month span, and no one seemed to know how the defense wouldn’t give up 150 points a game.

This year, the expectations are much, much higher, and defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford says the Cowboys are welcoming the challenge.

Last year, I do feel we exceeded expectations,” Crawford said after the team arrived in Oxnard, CA for camp on Tuesday, per the Dallas Morning News. “I hope we do the same this year, even though I know people have higher expectations than last year. I still hope we exceed the expectations. That’s what we aim for in ourselves, to do the best that we can and hopefully the best is good enough.”

<![CDATA[Cowboys Not Considering Ray Rice or Chris Johnson at the Moment]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:38:28 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/453706642.jpg

The Dallas Cowboys’ release of Ryan Williams this week reignited discussions of the running back position, specifically if the Cowboys will consider adding a veteran to the mix--someone like Chris Johnson or Ray Rice.

For now, anyway, it’s not looking like it.

Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Cowboys are not looking to add anyone to a stable that consists of Darren McFadden, Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar, Lache Seastrunk and the recently signed undrafted free agent out of Stephen F. Austin, Gus Johnson.

According to a source, the team wants to see how the guys on the roster do in training camp before considering bringing in anyone new.

That said, the source added, "Never know what will happen in a couple weeks."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Who's On, Who's Not?: July 29]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:27:42 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/481602024.jpg

In a weekly staple, we'll discuss who's in a groove and who's in a rut for the Texas Rangers.

Who's On?

Elvis Andrus — He's still kind of a butcher in the field, but at least he's swinging a good bat right now. Over his past six games, he's batting .320 and is tied for the team lead in RBIs in that span with six with fellow infield butcher Rougned Odor.

Ryan Rua — In three games this week, Rua has drawn an assignment, and he's actually performing when given a chance. He has 10 plate appearances in those three games and has a walk and three hits to show for it. He's driven in three runs with the help of two doubles.

Colby Lewis — The veteran righty, who pitched Wednesday night against the Yankees, worked 7 2/3 innings his last time out and allowed two earned runs while striking out nine and walking just one. There's an outside chance he could be dealt before Friday's trade deadline, but here's to hoping that doesn't happen.

Who's Off?

Shin-Soo Choo — He's shown his hot streak last week was thanks solely to the Coors Field factor and not an actual uptick in play. In his last five games, he's hitting .158 and has seven strikeouts.

Prince Fielder — He's hitting just .176 in his last six games, but he does have an on-base percentage of .391 in that time with five walks and has added four RBIs, so for him, it's an off week.

Pitching — Other than Sam Freeman, Shawn Tolleson, Lewis and Phil Klein, there isn't a Rangers pitcher — reliever or starter — with an ERA under 7.20 (Nick Martinez's mark) over the last week. That's just awful.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Mara Confirms Eli's Extension Likely Coming Soon]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:17:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/457518422.jpg

Last week reports surfaced that the New York Giants would try to get Eli Manning his a contract extension in the coming weeks. Giants co-owner John Mara has now confirmed as much, saying while he doubts any deal will get done this week, the extension will very likely be done before the season opener against the Cowboys in Arlington on September 13.

“I would doubt that that would happen in that quick a time frame (this week),” Mara told the New York Post. “We would hope to have it done at some point before the season. But if not, it’ll hopefully get done at some point after that.”

Mara made clear that the team still believes the man who’s brought them two Super Bowls has a lot left in the tank.

“Well, we still believe that he can play at a very high level and win a championship for us,” Mara said. “He looked like a new man in the spring, his arm was very live, and he’s moving around very well. His play in 2014 was significantly better than it was in 2013, so I think the arrow is still up for him.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Martin Good Fit for NL Team]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:54:29 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476281310.jpg

Leonys Martin is having far and away his worst season at the plate as a big-league regular, struggling to get his on-base percentage up to a respectable number — for a batting average.

On the other hand, with each passing game he gets to play — which is few and far between these days — he continues to show he has perhaps gotten better than ever in the field.

Martin made Mark Teixeira his latest victim on Monday night when he gunned down the former Ranger, who went on to blame his third-base coach for his being thrown out, and he also managed to rob a home run. He did that again on Tuesday night.

Martin is basically nothing but a late-game defensive replacement for the Rangers. He could be a pinch-running candidate, but he's suddenly forgotten how to steal bases after swiping 67 bags in the past two seasons.

Martin could be appealing for an NL team looking for a fourth outfielder, mainly because the NL style of play uses more pinch-hitters and more defensive replacements. He has stolen 14 bases this year and put in the right situation could be used as a late-game pinch-runner.

He won't get the Rangers much in return, but don't be shocked if he's moved soon.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga]]>
<![CDATA[Potential Target: Tyson Ross]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:37:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/176*120/465613864.jpg

In an ongoing series, we'll take a look at possible trade targets for the Texas Rangers this summer with the MLB trade deadline approaching on Friday.

Target: Tyson Ross, RHP

2015 stats: 6-8 record, 3.45 ERA, 2.76 FIP, 132 strikeouts, 57 walks, 3 home runs allowed, 122 2/3 innings pitched

While the Rangers have been at the center of the potential Cole Hamels deal with the Phillies, they've also been looking to old friend A.J. Preller and his San Diego Padres. Ross is a 28-year-old righty who is still under club control through the 2017 season (arbitration in 2016 and 2017), so he'd come cheap — much cheaper than Hamels.

Granted, Ross isn't Hamels, but he's pretty dang good in his own right and would be a nice Plan B for future rotation consideration if Hamels doesn't happen.

Ross' 57 walks lead the National League, which is a bit concerning given that he'd cut down on his walks in recent years, but he's exactly what the Rangers want in a pitcher — a high strikeout guy who doesn't give up home runs. In fact, Ross leads the league with 0.2 home runs allowed per nine innings. Over his near 600 career innings, Ross has allowed just 36 home runs.

Due to his low price and years of control remaining, Ross would cost a lot in prospects, but it just might be what the Rangers want given their financial handcuffing thanks to bad contracts with Elvis Andrus and Shin-Soo Choo, and to some extent, Prince Fielder.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Must Make Pitching Move After Demolition]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:18:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/469220954.jpg

Newly demoted long reliever Wandy Rodriguez threw 54 pitches to get three outs in Tuesday night's 21-5 loss to the New York Yankees.

Newly promoted long reliever Phil Klein threw 49 pitches to get nine outs -- more efficient than Rodriguez, but still debilitating as far as pitching again on Wednesday, if needed. Spencer Patton threw 36 pitches of his own.

All of this means you can expect to see a roster move made on Wednesday before the Rangers take on the Yankees in Game 3 of their four-game series in Arlington.

The logical move would be to recall Anthony Bass, who was optioned following Sunday's poor outing against the Angels because he'd worked on consecutive days and thrown a lot of pitches and wouldn't be available on Monday with the unstable Matt Harrison on the mound. That move brought Klein up.

Now, you can expect see Bass and Klein simply switch places.

While Klein appears to be safe on the 40-man roster, you'd have to think the next time an addition needs to be made, it'll be at the expense of Rodriguez, who will almost certainly be designated for assignment at some point this season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Harrison-Perez Combination is Killing Bullpen]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 11:09:13 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/harrison-perez.jpg

Over the last two nights, Matt Harrison and Martin Perez worked a combined seven innings, with the latter getting through only three outs before being yanked as the Yankees put up 21 runs on the Rangers on Tuesday night.

Harrison pitched six innings on Monday night, but they weren't particularly effective and the lefty was teetering on the ledge of being removed before he got through those six innings.

It's becoming a trend that is killing the Rangers' already overworked bullpen, and not only are they overworked, they just aren't that good.

The Rangers used seven pitchers on Tuesday night, including position player Adam Rosales, but they burned through both of their long men (Wandy Rodriguez and Phil Klein) after they optioned their long man, Anthony Bass, after he worked on consecutive days over the weekend.

The bullpen, which struggles as is, is really struggling when you talk about tiring guys out and having to bring guys up from the minors because your big-league guys simply need a day or two off.

It's to be expected that Harrison and Perez won't be at full strength right now, and probably won't be for the remainder of the season, but the Rangers need to do something — make a spot start, use an off-day, etc. — to get Harrison and Perez away from pitching on back-to-back days in the team's rotation. Otherwise, their bullpen is going to die a slow, painful death.

<![CDATA[Wait, Mark Cuban and Donald Trump Are Playing Nice?! ]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:59:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/cuban-trump-side-by-side.jpg

In the latest round of “Never Say Never”, I present as evidence:

Mark Cuban may vote for Donald Trump. And the Republican presidential candidate is becoming a Mavs fan.

Indeed, sweaty souls are breaking out the ice skates in Hades.

The Mavs owner and The Donald have waged a public, petty feud for almost a decade. Trump eye-rolling at Cuban’s failed Benefactor reality show. Cuban firing back that Trump couldn’t afford to buy the Buffalo Bills. Trump calling Cuban a “lightweight.” Celebrity Apprentice vs. Shark Tank. And on and on and on …

Entertaining stuff, from two of America’s most successful and boastful entrepreneurs.

But suddenly the icy relationship may be thawing.

Just a week after calling Trump a “paper tiger” and disparaging his net worth as a “play number,” Cuban actually flooded him with praise via his Cyber Dust app.

“I have to honestly say he is probably the best thing to happen to politics in a long, long time,” Cuban wrote. “I don’t care what his actual positions are. I don’t care if he says the wrong thing. He says what’s on his mind. He gives honest answers rather than prepared answers. This is more important than anything any candidate has done in years.”

Yeah, I was waiting for the “But … “ zinger, too. It has yet too arrive. Instead, more flattery from Cuban toward his (former?) rival.

“We need new ideas,” Cuban continued on Cyber Dust. “We need candor. That only comes when the candidate getting all the attention is candid and open. I don’t have to agree with everything any candidate says. I don’t have to decide who to vote for now. What I do like is that we finally have a candidate that says what is on his or her mind and is leading the polls. That could change the way things are done and I’m a huge fan of Trump for getting that ball rolling.”

These two are nothing if not savvy and conniving and, well, brilliant.

Bottom line: Cuban’s Cyber Dust app is getting tons of play in the national media. Trump’s welcoming of the support from one of his harshest critics. And, about to embark on what should be a lousy season, the Mavs may have won another fan.

Tweeted Trump in response to Cuban’s praise:

Never. Say. Never.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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<![CDATA[Gallardo Most Likely Ranger to be Traded]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:48:19 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-481339834.jpg

The talk this week surrounding the Texas Rangers and Friday's 3 p.m. MLB trade deadline has been their quest to acquire ace pitcher Cole Hamels to stick atop their rotation for the next three seasons.

But the Rangers are trending more and more toward selling off some of their assets at the big-league level and not just concentrating on flipping prospects for big-league talent. The most likely candidate to be moved from the Rangers' roster in Arlington is scheduled to make a start on Thursday night to conclude the Rangers' four-game series with the Yankees.

Yovani Gallardo had a tremendous run through June and early July, racking up a scoreless inning streak of more than 30 innings of work. But since then, he's tailed off and see his trade value die to some extent. He's a rental, as he's free at the end of this year, and his last two outings have failed to see him record an out in the fifth inning. Over those two starts, he's seen his ERA climb from 2.62 to 3.19.

The decision the Rangers have to make is whether the return they get in a Gallardo deal would be enough to compensate for the No. 1 draft pick they'd lose for not being compensated for losing Gallardo to free agency this winter.

It'd be a gamble, however, to hold on to Gallardo. To get that pick, they'd have to extend him a qualifying offer for 2016 and hope he rejects it, which players always do. The return won't be great for Gallardo, moreso because he's a rental than because of his recent run of bad starts, but the Rangers will have to judge it in the next 48 hours.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Surrender Epic Inning]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:28:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/482224960.jpg

You’ll see a 21-0 run in football. Maybe even a bizarre basketball game.

But in baseball?

It’s rare, but it only told a smidge of the story Tuesday night in Arlington. Simply put, it was one of the weirdest games I’ve seen since I started regularly watching baseball in 1972.

Yankees 21, Rangers 5. And to think, Texas jumped to a 5-0 lead.

A spirited two-out rally in the bottom of the 1st produced five runs and chased Yankees’ starter Chris Capuano. Teams don’t normally lose five-run leads. Especially at home. But, then again, these are the Rangers, who found a unique way to lose for the 12th time in 13 home games.

The historic flood gates were pried open on, of all things, a double-play ball that AL Player of the Week Rougned Odor misjudged into a two-run double. With the bases loaded and the Rangers leading, 5-1, Odor simply misread Brendan Ryan’s grounder. The 2nd baseman inexplicably broke to his right, and by the time he saw the bounding ball it was too late as it rolled into right field. So instead of a 5-2 game with two outs and no one on base, the Yankees were given the gift of a 5-3 game and runners and 2nd and 3rd.

Hello, 11-run innings. Yes, 11.

By the time Martin Perez struck out Jacoby Ellsbury to end the 2nd inning, the Yankees sent 15 batters to the plate and produced five singles, four doubles and a triple. Yep, to add to the quirkiness of the inning New York scored 11 runs without a homer, and with three strikeouts.

The 21 total runs and the 11-run inning were both 2nd-most ever allowed by the Rangers. It was also the second time in baseball history a team had two pitchers – Perez and Wandy Rodriguez – surrender seven runs in less than an inning of work.

Add to it the fact that after the Rangers put up five runs in the 1st they went hitless for 8.1 innings, and there’s no doubt it was one of the strangest, sorriest games in franchise history.

“Strange,” said Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi. “I don't know if I've been a part of that where you give up five in the first and you don't give up another hit the rest of the game, and you score 21 runs. I don't know if I'll ever see that again.”

Here's hoping the next 21-0 run we see is by the Cowboys' offense, not the Rangers' defense.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mincey's Holdout Makes Zero Sense]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:16:11 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461340944.jpg

The Cowboys got some good news as they boarded the plane for training camp in Oxnard: Tom Brady’s suspension was upheld meaning they get to face the defending Super Bowl-champion Patriots on Oct. 11 without the Hall-of-Fame quarterback.

But when they landed in California they received some bad news: Desiring a re-worked contract, defensive end Jeremy Mincey is not with the team.

Mincey, whose role could be diminished this season if and when Greg Hardy and Randy Gregory flourish, will be a free agent following this season after signing a two-year deal worth $3 million in the spring of 2014. He’s not asking for a trade. He’s not contemplating retirement. And he’s been in discussions with the Cowboys about a new contract since February.

But, unless I’m missing something, the 31-year-old Mincey has zero leverage here. He’s got a fair contract that he signed last year and he needs to honor it. If he proves a better player than Hardy and Gregory and the team’s other pass-rushers, he’ll be rewarded handsomely. But that payday comes after the fact, not before it.

After all, Mincey was good last year. But not that good.

He led the team, but with only six sacks in 2014. He started every game on an improved defense that helped Dallas win 12 games, a division championship and a playoff game. In the post-season win over the Lions he had two sacks, a deflected pass, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Again, he was good. But if he was good enough, the Cowboys wouldn’t have felt the need to improve the position by signing Hardy and drafting Gregory.

If he doesn’t report to camp by Wednesday, Mincey will begin being fined $30,000 for each missed day. The Cowboys have the salary-cap room to re-work Mincey’s contract. But I’m just not sure they feel the motivation to do so.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Angels Land Former Ranger Fan Favorite]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 10:10:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/rangers080114.jpg

David Murphy is now one of the bad guys, something that might be difficult for lots of Rangers fans to accept.

It was one thing when Murphy left Texas via free agency to sign a deal with the Cleveland Indians. That was the Indians. Who cares about the Indians? Not many folks around here.

Now, he's an enemy. Murphy was traded to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday, giving the Halos a platoon option in left field with newly acquired Shane Victorino. The Angels had the worst production from left field in the American League, which is really saying something given the Rangers' struggles in left field this year.

Murphy isn't a blockbuster acquisition, but he's a solid one for the Angels and one that a contending team can make to be put over the edge. He's batting .296 this season with five homers and 27 RBIs.

Former Rangers who head off to Anaheim don't have a good history of fan reception in Arlington upon their return, but Murphy's might be different, at least initially.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Loss Provided Unprecedented Rangers Rollercoaster]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 09:54:17 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TLMD-yankees-gana-st.jpg

The Texas Rangers jumped out to an early lead on Monday before giving it back quickly and then eventually losing the game.

Compared to Tuesday's game, that was fun to watch.

Didn't get a chance to see the Rangers' 21-5 loss to the Yankees on Tuesday night? It's OK, that's why we're here. Here's a quick rundown of the unbelievable rollercoaster the Rangers took us on in what was one of their worst losses in club history.

The Rangers batted around in the bottom of the first inning, taking advantage of a wild Chris Capuano and chasing him after just 2/3 of an inning. They scored five runs on three hits and gave Martin Perez a healthy lead to work with. All is good, right?

Turns out, it wasn't.

Perez and newly demoted long man Wandy Rodriguez teamed up to give up a staggering 11 runs in the top of the second inning, and the Yankees just kept piling on for the remainder of the night. On the flip side, the Rangers were no-hit from the time Capuano left the game by some guy named Diego Moreno and Adam Warren, who combined for 8 1/3 no-hit innings with just one walk.

We've seen blowout losses, but nothing like what we saw on Tuesday night. 

<![CDATA[Patriots Owner on Brady Decision]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 12:50:50 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-461747308.jpg

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick addressed the media Wednesday morning as the team officially kicked off training camp. 

The media availability came a day after the NFL's decision to uphold Tom Brady's four-game suspension for his role in using underinflated footballs during the AFC championship game.

"The decision handed down by the league is unfathomable," Kraft said. He added: "I was wrong to put my faith in the league." 

Belichick dodged questions about the Deflategate controversy, saying there's "nothing really to talk about there." He said the team will continue to get ready for the 2015 season. 

Kraft said that "Tom Brady is a person of great integrity and a great ambassador of the game." 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Tuesday the New England quarterback told an assistant to destroy Brady's cellphone on or just before March 6. Brady met with independent investigator Ted Wells on that day.

Brady released a counter-statement Wednesday morning saying, "I have never written, texted, emailed to anybody at anytime, anything related to football air pressure before this issue was raised at the AFC Championship game in January."

Calling the appeal process "a sham," Brady's agent, Don Yee, said Goodell "failed to ensure a fair process" in upholding the quarterback's four-game suspension.

The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks. 

Kraft said he regrets not appealing the NFL penalties against the team. 

Devin McCourty says Robert Kraft speaks for the Patriots. They all support Tom Brady. Wide receiver Matthew Slater says the Patriots are a family and stand behind each other, including Tom Brady.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said "I think the NFL needs to get their priorities straight."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Social Media Reacts to Tom Brady's Suspension]]> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 01:49:51 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_258466475816.jpg

Patriots fans are steamed after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell upheld Tom Brady's four-game suspension Tuesday for his role in the Deflategate controversy.

The league, in a 20-page ruling, said the four-time Super Bowl champion “willingly obstructed the investigation” and also “participated in a scheme to tamper with evidence by destroying his cell phone.” The text messages were critical to Wells' investigation because they may have shown key information and communication between Brady and the equipment managers blamed for deflating footballs.

New England fans took to social media to defend their team and its star quarterback, while others hailed Goodell's decision.

The players' union has said it expects to challenge the decision in court. The Patriots were fined $1 million and docked a pair of draft picks after the team used underinflated footballs during their romp over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game in January. The have yet to appeal that penalty.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[The Newest Sensation To Hit Golf Courses In DFW]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 21:35:38 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Golf_Boarding_Web_1200x675_493093443644.jpg It's the latest sensation, and you could see it at a DFW golf course near you.]]> <![CDATA[Report: Cowboys Have Been in Contact with Chris Johnson's Agent]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:08:48 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Chris-Johnson-Tennessee-Tit.jpg

Even though the release of running back Ryan Williams was followed pretty much immediately by the signing of Gus Johnson, an undrafted running back out of Stephen F. Austin, the mere mention of shuffling at the running back position has some wondering if the Cowboys won’t look to sign a league veteran at some point.

This wondering has gone on throughout the offseason. For a good long while, the rumors involved Adrian Peterson. Now they involve Chris Johnson, the former 2,000-yard rusher who publicly invited the Cowboys to give him a call this offseason and still doesn’t have a team.

Cowboys executive vice president and C.O.O. Stephen Jones responded at the time by saying the team was happy with their current stable of running backs but that the man they used to call CJ2K is on the team’s short list should that change.

That hasn’t changed to this point, that we know of anyway, but NFL Media’s Rand Getlin reported Monday that the Cowboys have been in contact with Johnson’s agent--and they’re the only team who have been in contact with the former rushing champ's agent.

There’s a good chance that this means nothing, of course. But it’s worth keeping in mind as the Cowboys head to Southern California for camp.

Photo Credit: Getty Images ]]>
<![CDATA[Now's the Time for Rangers to Strike on Hamels]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 13:00:25 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/193*120/ap-cole-hamels-no-hitter-phillies-larry-bowa+%281%29.jpg

Chances are, the Texas Rangers aren't going to be playing meaningful October baseball this year.

They aren't completely out of the postseason hunt, but it's going to be a big uphill climb for them.

But this isn't about October 2015. This is about October 2016, October 2017 and hopefully beyond.

This is about Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish, and Derek Holland and Martin Perez behind them. This is about what could be the best rotation in the American League if all the cards fall right, and that begins with the Rangers acquiring Hamels in a trade deadline deal for which they're currently considered the frontrunners, ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Dodgers have a ton of money to spend, much more than the Rangers do, but the Rangers hold the edge in prospects, and in baseball, prospects are gold.

Stopping short of trading Joey Gallo, who appears to have a long career ahead of him as a preeminent slugger in baseball, the Rangers should back up the truck for Hamels for 2016, 2017, 2018 and possibly 2019 if a vesting option kicks in.

Hamels at $23 million a year is pretty reasonable, by baseball ace standards. You know what isn't reasonable? To assume guys like Nomar Mazara, Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Chi Chi Gonzalez, etc. all pan out and become superstars.

Let's look at a few names traded in recent big deals by the Rangers: Justin Smoak, Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Blake Beavan, Neil Ramirez. See a theme here? Chris Davis is the only prospect the Rangers have traded in recent years who has had a superstar impact, and it's been inconsistent.

Prospects fail more than they pan out, on average. Hamels is established, and he's the real deal.

Make your move, Rangers. Now is the time.

<![CDATA[National Writer Looks at Rangers Prospects for Hamels]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:43:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP_590804499757.jpg

We're about 72 hours from the MLB trade deadline, which comes down at 3 p.m. CDT on Friday, and your Texas Rangers are still considered the frontrunner for Phillies ace Cole Hamels, who tossed a no-hitter on Saturday.

The Rangers have the league's third-best farm system, according to a recent ranking from ESPN's Keith Law, so they have plenty of pieces to dangle to the Phillies for their staff ace, who would be paired with Yu Darvish atop the rotation for the next two years, and beyond that if they can re-sign Darvish, who is free after 2017.

From what we've all been told, there is one guy, and one guy only, who the Rangers wouldn't consider dealing for three-plus years of Hamels atop the rotation and that's Joey Gallo, who will slide into Adrian Beltre's spot as the Rangers' third baseman after next season.

Although recent reports from Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal say the Rangers are also unwilling to include left-handed hitting corner outfielder Nomar Mazara in any deal. On that note, take a quick glance at Rosenthal's Twitter account from Monday evening to see who the Rangers have thrown on the table, and it's a pretty nice list.

So there you go, folks.

If you want Hamels, you're looking at Wiliams, Alfaro and Gonzalez to start with, and you know what? It just might be worth it.

<![CDATA[Garrett: We Have to "Define Ourselves" Again in 2015]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:43:03 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461347208.jpg

Cowboys veteran tight end Jason Witten has been outspoken this offseason in his belief that there is no building on the success of 2014--not really. It’s a new team, a new season, and while the idea of building on what they did last year is nice, the fact is those games don’t count toward a thing this year.

The Cowboys, like every other team in the league, have to start over from square one.

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett agrees with this assessment, apparently, declaring this week that the team has to prove themselves this year, just as they had to prove themselves last year--when most preseason rankings had them near if not in the cellar in the NFC East.

“I think any coach or player or staff member in the National Football League, if you don’t have your goal of winning the Super Bowl, you’re really in the wrong profession,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “So everyone has that goal. I go back to we define ourselves by what we do. We did that last year. We have to do that again this year. I think everybody will understand that really well.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[NFC East Watch: Umenyiora in Talks to Retire as a Giant]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:26:52 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/osi-umenyiora-second-half.jpg

A longtime member of the New York Giants’ vaunted defensive front will reportedly retire soon, but he wants to do so as a Giant.

According to Adam Caplan and Dan Graziano of ESPN, Osi Umenyiora is in talks with the Giants to sign a ceremonial one-day contract that would allow him to retire with the team that drafted him in the second round of the 2003 draft out of Troy.

Umenyiora spent the past two seasons with the Atlanta Falcons after 10 years and two Super Bowl wins with the Giants. If this is indeed the end of his career, he finishes with 85 career sacks, all but 10 of which came with the Giants.

He played in 17 career games against the Cowboys and recorded seven sacks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Garrett Looking to Help Dez Bryant "Get His Feet Underneath Him"]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:08:31 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/156051246.jpg

Echoing the sentiments of Cowboys executive vice president and C.O.O. Stephen Jones, head coach Jason Garrett stated this week that the Cowboys plan to ease Dez Bryant back into action to some degree, after he missed all offseason workouts as a means of lobbying for that new contract.

Dez has worked very hard,” Garrett said, per the Dallas Morning News. “We know that. He looks great. But at the same time we want to make sure he gets his feet underneath him. ... So we’ll catch Dez up. We’ll make sure we have our eyes on him and make sure we come up with the appropriate plan.”

Garrett made clear that there’s no acrimony between the two sides, after the contract negotiations got at least mildly acrimonious there toward the deadline, before the deal got done. That’s all in the business, Garrett says, and the team’s just glad to have Bryant back.

“You don’t want the business of the NFL to creep in as you get closer to the season,” Garrett said. “The business is real. Different teams deal with it really throughout the process of getting your team ready to play in the regular season. You have to take the emotion out of it. You have to understand it is a business and stay focused on what you want to be focused on. But it’s fun to have him back. It’s fun to have him in the fold and excited to see him out there on the practice field.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Holland Set for Rehab Assignment, Return]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 12:03:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/214*120/rangers090214.jpg

It's been a rough 18 months or so for Rangers lefty Derek Holland.

If you recall, Holland took a tumble down his stairs after tripping over his dog in January 2014 that required microfracture surgery. He made his 2014 debut in September and lit up the competition in his limited action. That caused all sorts of excitement about Holland for 2015, and that lasted nine pitches.

Holland left after allowing one run in the first inning of the Rangers' home debut — his season debut — and hasn't pitched since due to a subscapular shoulder strain that could only be healed by extensive rest.

On Thursday, that rest will come to an end as Holland will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock before coming back and pitching a game for Double-A Frisco. After that, he'll make one more start for Round Rock and then, if all is well, will return to the Rangers presumably on the weekend of Aug. 14-16 against Tampa Bay.

The 28-year-old threw 37 innings in six September appearances last year (five starts) and compiled a 1.46 ERA with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 5:1. He was projected as the Rangers' No. 2 starter in 2015 and then the No. 1 after Yu Darvish went down with Tommy John surgery in spring training.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kela, Tolleson Collide in BP]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:48:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-476127704.jpg

Shawn Tolleson has been one of the Rangers' best stories this year since taking over the closer's role from Neftali Feliz in mid-May.

Keone Kela has shown a lot of good, mixed in with some expected bad, in his rookie campaign with the Rangers.

On Monday afternoon, the Rangers averted what could've been a major disaster in their outfield during batting practice leading up to their loss to the Yankees.

While shagging fly balls in the outfield — a customary practice for relief pitchers — Kela and Tolleson collided, leaving Tolleson woozy on the ground for a few minutes before both were deemed to be OK. Both pitchers were available for Monday's game, though neither pitched.

The practice of relievers shagging batting practice balls has gone issue-free more often than not, but if you remember, a couple of years ago the Yankees lost Mariano Rivera for the season on Opening Day due to a shagging injury.

Luckily for the Rangers, they didn't have anything like that to announce on Monday.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys Waive RB Ryan Williams]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:48:43 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/4537124122.jpg

After about a year, the Dallas Cowboys have decided to part ways with running back Ryan Williams.

Williams was waived by the team on Tuesday before they got on a charter plane to go to Oxnard, CA for the beginning of training camp, along with linebacker Cameron Lawrence and offensive lineman Ryan Miller. The team added undrafted running back Gus Johnson out of Stephen F. Austin, linebacker Justin Anderson and offensive lineman Ronald Patrick.

Drafted by the Cardinals in the second round of the draft in 2011, Williams’ career to this point has been plagued by injuries. He had appeared in only five games in the NFL when the Cowboys signed him last May, and he never added to that total with Dallas, spending last year on the practice squad. He did lead the team in rushing last year in the preseason.

According to Todd Archer of ESPN Dallas, Williams underwent knee surgery last month after the final minicamp of the offseason, making it all the more unlikely that he would have made the team out of camp.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Odor Wins AL Player of Week Award]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:41:08 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/193*120/Screen+Shot+2015-06-16+at+7.57.16+PM.png

Rougned Odor continues to give the Rangers hope for what is shaping up to be a bright future for their young second baseman.

Odor, who has seemingly lapped Jurickson Profar as the Rangers' middle infield prospect du jour, has been on fire since returning from a demotion to Triple-A after a horrible first month of the season. In a little more than a month back in the bigs, Odor is a vastly different player and has been one of the best hitters in baseball during that time.

On Monday, he picked up his first AL Player of the Week honor after a monster week that saw him hit .385 with three doubles, a triple and three homers to go with eight RBIs and nine runs scored over a six-game span.

The hot streak has lasted more than just the past week. In fact, he put together a road trip for the ages on the team's most recent trip when he batted .400 with 11 runs scored to go with three doubles, three triples and four homers. He drove in 10 runs in those nine games and almost hit for the cycle a couple of times.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Deep in the Heart of Texas, He'll Always Be A-Fraud]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:28:24 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/482161624.jpg

I’m not real big on the concept of "let it go."

Grudges? Revenge? Harboring ill will? Yes, please. Go ahead and make it a double.

To that end, I’ll never forgive DeAndre Jordan or DeMarco Murray or, to some extent, even Josh Hamilton. And, nope, I sure haven’t forgotten Alex Rodriguez.

Forever and always, to me he’ll be A-Fraud.

He showed up in Arlington last night and hit a homer on his 40th birthday, helping the Yankees beat the Rangers. He now has 678 career homers but – because he’ll smile to your face and lie behind your back, and vice-versa – we’ll never know exactly how many of them are legit.

Back in 2000 the Rangers made their biggest free-agent splash ever, with owner Tom Hicks signing A-Fraud to an unprecedented 10-year, $252 million contract. It was the richest deal in American sports history. It was $2 million more than Hicks paid for the entire franchise two years earlier.

The Rangers made a huge commitment to A-Fraud, and how did he repay them? In typical fashion, with “me” before “team”. With eye-poppng individual achievements, and eye-rolling egotism. With a nauseating imbalance of being one of baseball's all-time greatest talents and all-time most disingenuous personalities.

He performed on the field, winning the AL MVP in 2003. But then, poof, he was gone. And not a second too soon.

He used steroids while with the Rangers. He alienated teammates. He isolated himself from employees. And as he left town he scorched DFW and lit all the bridges ablaze.

Said Rodriguez in an April 2004 interviews with ESPN The Magazine: “I would’ve never signed in Texas if they had told me, ‘Alex, it’s going to be you and 24 kids.”

Really, A-Fraud? During his three years in Arlington with the likes of Pudge Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Mark Teixeira, Rafael Palmeiro, Michael Young, Ruben Sierra, Rusty Greer, Andres Galarraga, Kenny Rogers and Rick Helling.


Bottom line: A-Fraud never wanted to come here and Hicks never could afford him. And, most glaring, the Rangers were better off without him.

During A-Fraud’s three years with the Rangers they went 216-270. The year after he left? 89-73.

And I’m not the only one who remembers. Last night I heard A-Fraud booed during every at-bat. Somehow, it warmed my cold heart.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jerry Undergoes Hip Replacement Surgery Ahead of Camp]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:23:56 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/AP666561932430.jpg

The Cowboys’ rallying cry for 2015: Win one for the … hipper?

Joining Mavs owner Mark Cuban as DFW sports bosses mimicking The Six Million Dollar Man, Jerry Jones will arrive at training camp in Oxnard with an artificial hip.

In fact, Jones will speak at the team’s annual “state of the union” kickoff press conference tomorrow afternoon, just eight days after hip replacement surgery.

Jones, 72, downplayed a noticeable limp last season but decided on the surgery two months ago. He underwent the procedure on his left hip July 21 in Dallas and isn’t expected to miss any days or work during camp in California.

In other words, we’re reminded again that he’s a tough, old coot. Before camp in 2010 he underwent rotator cuff surgery to repair an old football injury.

Jones isn’t expected to need a cane or hovercraft to whiz around camp. Somehow it’ll be comforting to see him in his trademark golf cart.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Mavs Sign Two Forwards With Eye Toward Future]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:21:12 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/179*120/MDxw_bHWbuaA_DTSYUMr-2-1245515201000.jpg

The Mavs on Monday signed two forwards that, with any luck, will play next season in … Frisco.

Dallas took a respite from filling its DeAndre Jordan void to stockpile young talent for its Developmental League team, the Texas Legends.

Free-agent forwards Jamil Wilson and Brandon Ashley are talented, but are likely long-shots to make the team’s regular-season roster.

Wilson, from Marquette, is a 6-foot-7, 230-pounder who last year started for the D-League’s Bakersfield outfit. Ashley, 6-9 and 230, starred at the University of Arizona and helped the Wildcats to consecutive Elite Eight appearances. But he went undrafted in June and averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds for the Hawks’ Las Vegas Summer League team to catch the Mavs’ eye.

With injury possibilities and Dirk Nowitzki’s advancing age, the forwards could at some point make an appearance at American Airlines Center next season.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

Photo Credit: Becky Stickney]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Send Ohlendorf On His Way]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:30:33 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/474157590.jpg

Ross Ohlendorf was one of the key figures in the big bullpen shakeup by Jeff Banister following Neftali Feliz's final blown save of his Rangers career back in May.

Banister came out after that game against Cleveland on May 16 and said there were no more roles in the bullpen. Quickly thereafter, Shawn Tolleson locked down the closer's role, and early on in his tenure there were several nights when he was set up in the eighth inning by Ohlendorf, a veteran who was actually competing for a rotation spot in spring training before dealing with a groin issue.

After a handful of games in a high leverage bullpen role, Ohlendorf's groin issue came back into the picture and he was put on the disabled list.

On Monday, his 30-day rehab assignment came to an end, meaning he either had to be put back on the big-league roster or designated for assignment. After allowing 14 hits in 14 2/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock, the Rangers opted for the latter.

Banister told the Dallas Morning News he hopes Ohlendorf will accept an outright assignment to the minors if he clears through waivers, which he likely will.

“We like Ross,” Banister said. “It’s unfortunate that Ross has been nicked up and injured for most part of the year.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Harrison's Battle With Consistency Continues]]> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 10:18:36 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/210*120/GettyImages-479974908.jpg

It's been a battle for Texas Rangers starting pitcher Matt Harrison.

It was a 14-month battle to get back to a big-league mound after an unprecedented spinal fusion procedure, and when he returned from that the only good thing about his season debut was the fact he was making it.

His second start told a different story, as he went to hitter-friendly Coors Field, saw his velocity hit the low 90s and worked six shutout innings against a good Rockies lineup. That stirred up all kinds of good vibes of where Harrison might be in his quest for a big-league comeback.

Then, Monday happened.

Harrison wasn't as bad as he was in his season debut, but he wasn't a whole lot better.

The big lefty pitched into the seventh inning, but didn't record an out in that frame. In the end, he was charged with six runs in six innings after being spotted an early 2-0 lead.

"I feel like I didn't get loose until about the fifth inning," Harrison told Fox Sports. "The third inning I made some bad pitches to start that inning off and got some trouble there. After us scoring the two runs I went and gave it back to them, gave the momentum right back to them."

Harrison, who can't be optioned to the minors unless he agrees to it, will likely get the remainder of this season to prove to the Rangers he can be a viable rotation piece moving forward. So far, it's been a battle of consistency — expected given his surgery and subsequent recovery — and it's one he'll have to win if he wants to pitch for the Rangers, or any MLB team, beyond this season.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Half-Court Shot Wins $10K]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:58:26 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/219*120/willie+cole+shot.jpg

A recent high school graduate from Chicago made an epic half-court shot during a youth basketball tournament over the weekend to win a $10,000 prize.

Willie Cole, 18, sunk the shot with ease during Nike’s Chi League All-Star at Whitney Young High School on Sunday.

Despite having a $10,000 prize on the line, Cole appears calm as he steps toward the line and shoots, as seen in video provided by Nike. A swoosh is heard as the ball falls through the net and the crowd erupts with excitement. Players rush the court to congratulate Cole.

The Chi League All-Star event spotlighted some of the best youth, pro-am and high school basketball players in Chicago.

It’s not clear what Cole, a graduate from TF South High School, will do with his winnings.

Photo Credit: Nike, Inc. ]]>
<![CDATA[Rangers Recall Righty Klein, Send Bass to Minors]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 17:24:59 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/474146840.jpg

The Texas Rangers have recalled right-hander Phil Klein from Triple-A Round Rock.

Texas brought back Klein before its series opener Monday against the AL East-leading New York Yankees. In two previous stints with the Rangers, Klein had an 8.25 ERA in eight games.

Right-hander Anthony Bass, whose 51 2/3 relief innings were third-most in the majors, was sent to Round Rock after back-to-back appearances Saturday and Sunday.

Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf was designated for assignment after 10 relief appearances during an injury rehab assignment at Round Rock.

He was 1-0 with a save and a 3.52 ERA in eight games for Texas before going on the disabled list June 7 with a right groin strain.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tom Brady, NFL in Deflategate Settlement Talks: Source]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:32:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461977230.jpg

Tom Brady is engaged in settlement talks with the NFL, a source familiar with the talks tells NBC News' Peter Alexander.

Last week, there were reports that the NFL Players' Union had pitched to Commissioner Roger Goodell a possible settlement between Brady and the League.

All of this is playing out as the NFL mulls Brady's four-game suspension, which the quarterback appealed. The NFL determined he was aware of team staffers deflating footballs in the AFC Championship game.

Goodell and Brady last met on June 23 during a suspension appeal hearing.

The Patriots paid a record $1 million fine and were stripped of two draft picks, including a No. 1 selection next year.

The Patriots did not challenge their punishments.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Report: Dez Bryant Was in "Financial Distress" Before New Deal]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:33:16 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/459496698.jpg

In the weeks leading up to the franchise tag deadline, when it was looking like the Dallas Cowboys would be unable to get a long-term deal done with Dez Bryant, it was reported that the team’s confidence going forward without a new deal came from a belief that, mad about the tag or not, Bryant needed the money--and as such, would report to training camp (and not, as other reports suggested, hold out through camp and into the regular season).

Of course, a long-term agreement was struck at the deadline, making all those mid-holdout whispers forgettable. For awhile anyway.

We’re reminded of them now because a new report has at least that part of what was a cloudy story being true. In an interesting piece about the nuances of Bryant’s new deal on Monday, Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole cites four sources who say Bryant was in “financial distress” before signing the new contract on July 15.

As the report goes, this financial peril might have helped the Cowboys sign Bryant to a more team-friendly deal than he would have ever signed otherwise.

"What the Cowboys did is brilliant," a source familiar with the deal says in the piece. "They gave Dez an extra [$3.2 million] to get the long-term deal now and make him show up. But if something goes wrong and he defaults on the contract, they still have it. They don't have to go after him. He has to go after them, and that's a lot harder to do if you have other legal problems."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Witten Still Among Best Tight Ends in NFL, According to Madden 16]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:00:02 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460756556.jpg

Going into his 13th season in the NFL, Jason Witten is still among the best tight ends in football.

Just look at the ratings in Madden Football 16.

Witten is the third highest-rated tight end, behind only the New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski, who is apparently unstoppable in the game, with a 99 overall rating; and the Seattle Seahawks’ Jimmy Graham, with a 95. Witten is given a 93 rating, just ahead of Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers (4, 92) and Travis Kelce of the Kansas City Chiefs (5, 91).

Here’s what the official EA Sports website says of their third-ranked tight end: “Witten does not dazzle with speed and quickness, but still features skills like 95 Catching, 92 Catch in Traffic, 88 Route Running, 85 Release, and 79 Spectacular Catch.”

No word as of yet if Witten is unhappy with any of his video game attributes, as Dez Bryant was when it was revealed he had a modest 89 speed rating in the game. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cowboys VP: We Still Got Some Work to Do on Catch Rules]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 13:09:30 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/461346220.jpg

Last week executive vice president and COO Stephen Jones became the first member of the Dallas Cowboys organization to come out and say that officials made the right call on Dez Bryant’s now-infamous non-catch in the Divisional Round of the playoffs in Green Bay last year.

Not long after that statement, though, Jones told the Talk of Fame Network that the Competition Committe, of which he is a member, has more work to do where that particular section of the rulebook is concerned. The league changed the language of the rule this offseason in response to Dez’s non-catch, but kept the basic substance--the part that keeps common sense far away from determinations of what is and isn’t a catch in the NFL, and relies instead on a series of insufferably detailed checkpoints from the time a player touches the ball to the time he hits the ground.

I think the same fury will be there,” Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. “You can say they clarified it somewhat. Until we figure out as a committee how to write it; especially these really special athletes like Calvin Johnson, a player like Dez Bryant that can make these super human type of acrobatic catches, until we account for that, we’re going to continue to have these issues. ... The bottom line: if a receiver is in the air and he is going to the ground, then it’s not a catch. I think they ruled in Dez’s case, even though he took two or three steps, got a hand down, and, what I thought was a football move when he reached for the goal line; until you’re really able to clarify the difference in that and a player going in there high and catching it then landing on the ground and the ball coming out we’re going to continue to have people discuss this.

“[They’ll] have furor, have emotion until we get it right. In my mind, we still got some work to do.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Kelly Optimistic About Sam Bradford's Recovery]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:39:35 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/460476376.jpg

Eagles head coach Chip Kelly isn’t terribly worried about Sam Bradford’s lengthy history of injuries.

Maybe that’s not all that surprising, considering Kelly traded for Bradford after two ACL tears in two years. The injuries are just a part of the game, Kelly says, and even if Bradford is an extreme case, he reasons that everyone at the quarterback position eventually gets hurt.

Everybody gets hurt in this game,” Kelly said, per CSN Philly. “I don’t know any quarterback who hasn’t missed time. Tom Brady missed a year. Peyton Manning missed a year. Drew Brees has missed time. Nick Foles missed half a season. I mean, Aaron Rogers has been hurt. I don’t know if there’s any quarterback in this league that hasn’t been hurt.

“And if you haven’t, you’re probably young. That’s the deal. You’re going to get hurt in this game.”

Bradford’s history goes beyond the ACL tears, of course--he’s dealt with shoulder issues, a concussion in college and a high-ankle sprain early in his NFL career--but where those latest, most pressing injuries are concerned, Kelly likes Bradford’s chances of bouncing back completely.

“Our research in terms of dealing with guys with two ACLs, there’s a 10-to-12 percent chance of re-injury,” Kelly said. “So that’s an 88-to-90 percent chance that they’re going to be successful.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why Peter King Doesn't See Cowboys Pursuing Junior Galette]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:22:20 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/Junior-Galette-New-Orleans-Saints.jpg

Less than a year ago, the New Orleans Saints signed outside linebacker Junior Galette to a new four-year, $41.5 million deal and made him a defensive captain. Last Friday, after the relationship between the pass rusher and the team soured to the point of no return, the Saints cut ties with Galette.

So could the Cowboys be interested?

Probably not, according to Peter King of Sports Illustrated.

Galette has 22 sacks over the past two seasons, but it’s worth noting that even after that outpouring, the Saints were willing to take a financial hit just to get rid of him this summer. He was charged with domestic violence stemming from an incident early this year, but the charges were eventually dismissed. He was also the alleged subject of a YouTube video that purportedly shows him hitting a woman with a belt at Miami Beach in 2013. No charges have ever been filed in that case, but the NFL is reportedly still investigating.

When King was asked about the possibility of the Cowboys pursuing Galette on Twitter recently, he responded, “I think Jerry has reached his turd quota.” This is presumably in reference to the biggest free agent signing of the Cowboys’ offseason, Greg Hardy, who, as you’ve probably heard, has a less than sterling off-field history himself.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Boston's Olympic Loss Could Spell Win for L.A.]]> Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:21:47 -0500 http://media.nbcdfw.com/images/213*120/TLMD-boston-olympics-2024-render.jpg

Now that the U.S. Olympic Committee has dropped Boston’s bid for the 2024 Summer Games, Los Angeles is emerging as the back-up city.

“Los Angeles could bid with a couple of years notice,” said Andrew Zimbalist, a professor of economics at Smith College and the author of “Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup.” “They don’t need seven years notice. They have almost all their venues already intact.”

In a statement Monday the committee's CEO, Scott Blackmun, said the federation was still interested in mounting a bid for the Summer Games. He did not mention a specific city.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that his office had not had recent conversations with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"I continue to believe that Los Angeles is the ideal Olympic city and we have always supported the USOC in their effort to return the Games to the United States," he said in a statement. "I would be happy to engage in discussions with the USOC about how to present the strongest and most fiscally responsible bid on behalf of our city and nation."

The U.S. Olympic Commitee ended Boston's bid after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said at a Monday morning press conference that he was not ready to sign a host city document that would force taxpayers to cover any cost overruns. The U.S. Olympic Committee had wanted him to sign the contract as soon as possible, he said. But he said he would not without more financial information about the Games and was willing to let the committee choose another city over Boston.

The host city contract, which does not need to be signed until 2017, guarantees that the International Olympic Committee will not be held responsible for any cost overruns.

The U.S. Olympic Committee’s board members had also wanted to know whether Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker supported Boston’s bid. Baker spoke to committee officials on Monday but said beforehand that he would have no answer for them because he was waiting to see a full report from a consultant commissioned to analyze the bid.

The deadline to officially submit bids to the International Olympic Committee is Sept. 15. San Francisco and Washington D.C. also competed to be the U.S. selection. A source told NBC Bay Area that it was now too late for San Francisco to submit a bid that could win. Jack Evans, a D.C. council member, said that the city was still vying to be chosen.

“We in the District would still be very interested," Evans said.

Officials from the U.S. Olympic Committee could not immediately be reached for comment.

Earlier Alan Abrahamson, a sportswriter, said that the U.S. Olympic Committee ought to kill Boston’s bid, Abrahamson, a journalism professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, called it the most dismal effort he had seen in 16 years of covering the Olympics.

“Los Angeles is America’s Olympic city,” said Abrahamson, who wrote a column on the topic on his website, 3 Wire Sports. “It hosted the Games twice in 1932 and 1984. The Games are a part of the fabric of civic life in Los Angeles.”

Politicians, businesses and the people of California are behind the Olympics, he said. And like Zimbalist, he said Los Angeles could be ready with little notice.

“Los Angeles could host the Games on maybe two years notice and do a fantastic job,” he said.

Before Boston's bid derailed, Zimbalist said that Baker’s position was key because the state not Boston would have to be the Games’ guarantor.

“Nobody ever expected Boston to actually provide a guarantee,” he said. “They don’t have the resources to do it. Their budget is much too small.”

Zimbalist said that he thought Walsh, who had been closely affiliated with the pro-Olympics group, was trying to cover himself should the U.S. Olympic Committee reject Boston.

“I think that he’s trying to step out in front of that train and say, ‘I was first, I never wanted to put the Boston’s taxpayers at risk,’” Zimbalist said.

Boston’s bid had been expected to go to a statewide referendum next year. The organizers had said that if the majority of voters in Massachusetts and Boston did not vote in favor of it they would pull the bid. A group, No Boston Olympics, had formed in opposition to hosting the Games.

Photo Credit: Boston2024.org]]>