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Protesting Lobo football players supported by coach

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – University of <a href=""></a> New Mexico Football Coach Bob Davie held a press conference Tuesday with the five players who took a knee during the national anthem. Due to a rain delay, the national anthem at the Lobos homecoming game against Air Force this past Saturday was postponed to halftime. The story made national headlines and Coach Bob Davie wanted to clear the air on the situation.

He also made it very clear where he stood on his players protesting injustice.

“They had every right to do that, legally, morally, ethically,” said Davie. “I support them 100 percent.”

Lobos defensive lineman Garrett Hughes was one of the five players taking a knee. He said it never was meant to be something negative.

“We took a knee for something that we believe in,” said Hughes. “We took a knee to stand with Kaepernick against injustice. We didn’t do it to disrespect the flag. Honestly, there was no negative connotation with the kneel.”

The players took full responsibility for their actions while answering questions.

“I don’t regret it,” said Lobos corner back Elijah Lilly. “It is what I believe in and I do believe there needs to be a change.”

Throughout the course of the news conference, Lilly expressed his thoughts.

“No one should ever feel like they have to watch their back as they are walking down the street because of the color of their skin,” said Lilly.

Coach Davie hopes change will come out of what turned into a firestorm of criticism shortly after the story went national and said he expected a strong <a href=""></a> reaction. Some of that reaction was worse than he thought.

“I am disappointed in the narrative going so quickly to, they did this out of disrespect for the military, they did this out of disrespect for the Air Force Academy, they should be taken off scholarship. I will never come to another game if these players play in a game. That narrative is divisive,” Davie said.

The Lobos are currently on a bye week. They will return to Mountain West Conference play at Fresno State on October 14.

Packers again send tackle Bryan Bulaga home due to illness

GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers are <a href=""></a> not going to know right tackle Bryan Bulaga’s status until at least Friday but it doesn't look promising that he will play Sunday against Atlanta.

Bulaga was sent home for a second straight day due to illness and will not be able to test his injured ankle, which caused him to miss the season opener against Seattle.

“Bryan Bulaga was actually in here this morning,” coach Mike McCarthy said Thursday. “They sent him home again. He has an illness, flu-type symptoms. So, we care about Bryan, but we don’t want to get the other guys sick. So, we sent him home.”

The Packers’ only practice in pads is Thursday, so Bulaga will miss a key day of preparation.

But even if his ankle turns out to be ready, the flu bug could sideline him.

“I don't really have a feel for Bryan because we haven’t worked him since I think Tuesday, or Monday, on his ankle,” McCarthy said. “So we’ve got to hopefully see where he is tomorrow and, but just speaking with Bryan this morning when he came in, you know, he was dehydrated and things like that.

“So, we’ll just take the week.”

Kyle Murphy would start again for Bulaga, but there are other issues on the line as well.

The same three players sat out practice Thursday: Bulaga, linebacker Ahmad Brooks (concussion) and tackle Jason Spriggs (hamstring). Defensive tackle Mike Daniels wore a wrap on his hand but it was for protection purposes and he isn't expected to wear it Sunday.

Here are some of McCarthy’s remarks from his Thursday news conference:

(On overall concern with the offensive line) “If you watched practice yesterday our defense really practiced extremely well, flew all over the place, really felt good about the practice coming off the field, particularly even watching the video. But offense, we were sluggish all the way through. So, we need to practice better today and I think some of it’s just a reflection of Week 1, playing 80-plus plays. We’ve just got to work through it.”

(Was the offensive line taxed the most in the Seattle game?) “Well, they’ll never admit it. But there’s no substitution there. But, I tell <a href=""></a> you, and I talked about this a little bit in the team meeting today, as a head coach you’re into scheduling how practice looks, the length of it, reps. And what’s refreshing with the GPS technology for however many years we’ve been involved in it, now you have it on game day, it really confirms a lot of your opinions and the direction that you go with it. To sit on there and go through that player by player Monday night with (strength coach) Mark Lovat, it’s really impressive to see the workload that these men put out in the course of one game. Whether it’s the short area, the long distance, just confirms that the fact that the training and everything leading up to it each and every week is so critical.”

(Does it matter to you if the roof in the Falcons' new stadium is open Sunday?) “I don’t think so. It’s a new environment either way. It’s important for our players to get out on the field early, make sure their shoes are right, check out the lighting. If it’s open or closed, it’s going to be the first time for us. We’ve just got to get out there and make sure we catch a lot of footballs and move around and make sure we’re ready.”

(How important is running back Ty Montgomery’s versatility?) “It’s unique to have a receiver now playing halfback. I always like to think that we’ve used a lot of those formations and schemes, whether it was Randall Cobb <a href="">Davonte Lambert Kids Jersey</a> doing those assignments. I’ve been blessed. I’ve had some really good running backs that I was blessed and fortunate enough to coach over the years when I go back through the history. I would think, if you look at the skill set, you’d like to do that a bunch.”

Kneeling for anthem, 1 year later: N.J. football coach on intense year, what's next

It was a scorching hot Saturday last Sept. 10 <a href=""></a> and Woodrow Wilson and Highland were ready to face off in what figured to be a key football game in the West Jersey Football League Royal Division.

Moments before kickoff there was no indication a national and International story was going to occur, nothing to dictate that the spotlight was going to shine as bright as that September sun on Woodrow Wilson coach Preston Brown and his coaches and players in the coming days, weeks and months.

But as the national anthem started to play, Brown took a knee. His coaches and players – all except two – joined him.

Brown had decided a few days before he was going to take a knee as a way to speak out against economic disparities and social injustices. He had been inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick making a similar gesture before a preseason game – and starting what would become a national controversy over his actions.

Brown told his team his plans so they wouldn’t be surprised, and unbeknownst to him, the majority decided to do so with him. They repeated the act for every anthem the rest of the season, changing course after Brown said they would only do it for two weeks because of how many calls and e-mails he received supporting their stance.

It’s been nearly a year since that opening game of the 2016 season – which Highland went on to win, 13-7, in what became something of a footnote of the day’s events.

The teams will meet again this Friday night in what is expected to be another closely-contested, important game. Brown said on Wednesday night he hadn’t discussed with the team whether he would kneel for this game or what their plans were and had the mindset that everyone should make their own decisions.

Stories on about the decision last September drew hundreds of comments. A 45-second video of the team kneeling has 91,000 views.

National and even International news <a href=""></a> agencies – the BBC did a piece the following week – talked to Brown and the players and followed up on their stance. Brown admitted the attention was nothing he expected and even this week – perhaps through the power of Google – the school fielded 8-10 phone calls on the issue as if it just happened.

Brown noted 70 percent of the responses he has seen throughout the year have been positive, though there are plenty of commenters who have called for his firing and were further enraged when the school district and superintendent supported him.

Brown said this week he suspects some officials who don’t agree with the Tigers’ decision have let it affect their impartiality.

"I was told by my AD that some refs didn’t want to ref our games," said Brown. “We got a penalty for too many men on the field when we didn’t have enough. One game they went to explain a call to the other coach and when I asked for an explanation I got a sideline warning. Against Moorestown, we were called off-sides when we weren’t even rushing in. We were told not to rush in during the final couple minutes of the Delsea game because they were going to take a knee, even though I said what if they fumble the snap? We got a penalty on an extra point for not enough people on the line that didn’t make any sense.

“In a lot of games there were some interesting calls and usually you just deal with it, but in close games that can cost you. And I still saw some questionable calls in one of our scrimmages this year.”

Brown said he continued to sit or kneel as he assisted with the basketball program this past winter and some players did the same.

“I don’t regret decisions we made,” said Brown, a Wilson graduate who is also the school’s Dean of Culture and Climate. “I still feel strongly about it. There’s been some improvements in some issues, but we still have issues. There’s questionable things happening.

"You see the (NFL player) Michael Bennett (involved in a racial profiling incident) in Las Vegas. You look at who the President is and how <a href="">Marshal Yanda Womens Jersey</a> many people are unhappy he is representing our nation and the things he has said publicly. You see what’s happening with (President) Trump now with DACA, which is going to affect some kids in our school if it goes through. There’s a great social economic divide and racial divide.


Didi Gregorius reveals Yankees' best-dressed players

Didi Gregorius plays with style — from his <a href=""></a> sweet lefty swing to his slick glovework to his rocket throwing arm.

He’s got plenty of style off the field, too.

In fact, there's little doubt in the Yankees shortstop's mind that he's one of the best-dressed players on the team.

“(It’s) me and Castro," Gregorius told the Daily News, referring to his double-play partner, second baseman Starlin Castro. "It’s not flashy stuff, but we like matching. That’s the best part — matching colors. It’s just something different.”

He’s something of an authority on the matter, considering he’s one of the newest faces of Banana Republic. Gregorius, 27, recently launched a partnership with the clothing company and joined its first Men’s Style Council of fashion ambassadors, which also includes Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, Portland Trailblazers guard C.J. McCollum and Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love.

It’s Gregorius’ most-involved sponsorship to date, and the first real advertisement campaign he’s been a part of with a brand. It’s also the latest <a href=""></a> proof of Gregorius emerging as one of Major League Baseball’s brightest young stars.

The Netherlands-born infielder is batting a robust .302 with 19 home runs — one shy of his career-high — and 60 RBI this season, all while regularly hitting in the middle of the Yankees order. His number 18 jersey has become a staple within the Yankee Stadium crowd.


Fantasy football strategy: Here are some undervalued options

In the last of a six-part fantasy football <a href=""></a> draft preview series, The Post identifies undervalued draft-day bargains. Next week: Fantasy Insanity moves to Saturday for the regular season.

There are some questions you get asked over and over to the point of annoyance: Are we there yet? Did you do the dishes? Why is there a charge from the adult toy store on your credit card?

You hear them so often, they echo in your mind like the chorus to a Rick Astley song, slowly driving you mad. Come fantasy draft season, there is a question that serves as the constant background noise throughout the weeks leading up to the season’s kickoff: Who are your sleepers?

Sleepers used to be those players available deep in drafts who others weren’t familiar with or had forgotten. Now, fantasy advice and information available in abundance from online to radio and TV to your uncle’s weekly Facebook status <a href=""></a> update. Every player is someone’s sleeper, making no player a true sleeper.

It is an outdated moniker the Madman no longer embraces. Instead, we prefer “undervalued.” These are the high-upside guys who could make a splash and cost virtually nothing in draft capital. Same principle, but without insinuation of exclusivity.

Let’s start with running backs. …

Now that we’re done there …

Wait, we didn’t mention anyone, you say? Well, that’s because RBs are in such limited supply, the undervalued guys get eaten up quickly. All you’re left with a backups dependent primarily on an injury to the starter, and forecasting injuries makes predicting the weather look like a sunny proposition. Nope, we skip right to wide receivers.

Curtis Samuel is a receiver by name, but owns a skillset similar to running back and fellow Panthers rookie Christian McCaffrey, though Samuel gets none of the love. Samuel has an immediate role to fill after the offseason departure of Ted Ginn. McCaffrey’s role, for fantasy purposes, requires either an injury to starter <a href="">Randy Johnson Youth Jersey</a> Jonathan Stewart or a dramatic new shift in an offense that hasn’t utilized RBs heavily in the passing game. McCaffrey is being overvalued, but Samuel quite the opposite. A late-round flyer in leagues of 12 or more teams is not a bad idea.


Terrelle Pryor's catching struggles

Redskins' Terrelle Pryor struggling in preseason

Terrelle Pryor made a surprising <a href=""></a> move in the offseason, leaving the Browns to sign a one-year deal with the Redskins.

But three preseason games into his career in Washington, Pryor has just two catches for 28 yards. He also has three drops.

Preseason stats mean almost nothing. But he is expected to be a go-to target for Kirk Cousins. Washington’s QB blamed himself for Pryor’s drops after Sunday’s 23-17 win vs. the Bengals.

Pryor has made some impressive plays in training camp, including the one above.

Although he didn’t catch the pass in bounds.

Panthers' Curtis Samuel makes long-awaited preseason debut

Panthers’ rookie Curtis Samuel has had problems staying healthy during training camp. But he finally got to step onto an NFL field for the first time on Thursday.

He caught four passes for 15 yards as he transitions to being a full-time receiver.

Having Samuel in the lineup gives Cam Newton, if <a href=""></a> healthy, a speedy playmaker to complement tall receivers Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess.

Samuel did admit after the game that he has work to do to get his conditioning up to NFL level.

Steelers' Ryan Shazier gets a pick in 2017 preseason debut

Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier has been battling hamstring issues throughout training camp.

But he came back to the field on Saturday vs. the Colts and made an immediate impact with an interception early in the second quarter.

Kirtland vs. Columbia football: Hornets crush Raiders with prototypical display

If you arrive too close to kickoff at Kirtland, from <a href=""></a> a parking standpoint there’s only so much you can do.

The same logic applies to those who dare venture to the heart of Lake County to stare down the juggernaut that occupies Rogers Field.

When the Hornets shift into drive, there really is only so much you can do — and there is still so much left to accomplish.

Kirtland accumulated 300 yards on the ground by the end of the third quarter as the three-time state champions this decade crushed the visitors, 49-14.

“I thought the guys up front did a better job than they did last week,” Hornets coach Tiger LaVerde said.

“Chagrin had a part in that (in Kirtland’s 14-13 win) — they played really well defensively and made it hard on us. But this week, we had a good week of practice. I thought we executed a little bit better, a little bit cleaner. We completed some balls when we threw them — I think last week we were 2-for-8. I think we were a little bit better tonight.

“When they put guys up, we’ve got to make them pay, and tonight, we did. We hit some big ones down the field, and the defense did a nice job except for one play in the first half. That’s a quality team. I wanted our kids to rise to the challenge, and they did.”

There was a lot to like: Jake Neibecker had 149 yards on eight carries, including touchdown runs of 51 and 62 yards. Joey Torok recorded 134 yards from scrimmage and three TDs.

Mike Zeuli, coming in at quarterback for injured starter Dylan Fulco, ran for a 31-yard TD, threw a pretty 64-yard scoring strike to Torok and also contributed an interception.

The Hornets (2-0) were eyeing a sharper performance after the Chagrin win and seemingly found it.

“I think we had a really good night,” Neibecker said. “Coming out of Week 1, we had a ton of mental errors. We played well and dominated Chagrin, but there were so many errors we made we knew we had to clean up if we want to be the team we want to be.

“And I think we did a really good job of that. We got <a href=""></a> to work this week in practice, and it paid dividends.”

Kirtland enjoyed a 35-0 lead with a little more than four minutes left in the first half. Its first two scoring drives in the opening six minutes each took a little more than a minute, capped by Neibecker’s 51-yard TD scamper and Torok’s 5-yard scoring jaunt, respectively.

Zeuli came in for Fulco and impressed, as the senior bounced out to the left side for a 31-yard run to paydirt and then hit Torok beautifully in stride for a 64-yard TD pass.

“He played fantastic,” LaVerde said of Zeuli. “He is just a great kid — a hard-working kid. Wherever we put him, he excels. He’s a great athlete, a good runner, threw the ball well.

“He came in and had control of the offense, and he hasn’t even had any reps. Tommy Powers has been our backup, and he’s hurt, so Zeuli — what a luxury to have him on our team.”

In stark contrast as the Hornets pulled away, Columbia (1-1) went punt, punt, interception, fumble and turnover on downs.

The Raiders got on the board with 4:06 left in the first half when their outstanding workhorse and junior running back Brandon Coleman broke free for a 65-yard TD run. Columbia had 71 yards before that carry.

As the Raiders can attest, on a trip to Kirtland, there is only so much you can do.

“I thought our guys fought hard, I do,” Columbia coach Jason Ward said. “It’s humbling to come out here — it really is. With all of the success that they’ve had — and I give that program all the respect in the world. We had <a href="">Coby Fleener Kids Jersey</a> an opportunity to drive an hour and see what the best in the state looks like, and we saw it firsthand tonight.

“It’s toughness. It’s physicality. But it’s also execution and the way they execute what they do is phenomenal. I give them all the credit in the world, and we’ll take what we can from it and get better.”

Legendary Reds scout Gene Bennett dies

Longtime Cincinnati Reds scout Gene <a href=""></a> Bennett, a Portsmouth, Ohio, native, died in his hometown at the age of 89 on Wednesday.

The Reds sent out a release on Wednesday evening, offering their condolences and many Cincinnati Reds executive and former players chimed in on his impact.

Reds President and Chief Executive Officer Bob Castellini said, "Gene was one of the game's great scouts. He loved baseball, loved his team and forever changed the way we looked for talented players. He will be missed."

"Gene has been part of the Reds' family for more than 60 years," said Reds President of Baseball Operations, General Manager Dick Williams. "His legacy touches not only our organization but also the baseball scouting fraternity. He made countless contributions to the success of our proud franchise."

Bennett was a senior special assistant to the Reds' general managers from October 1992 until he retired in January 2011. After signing as a player in 1952, he began scouting in 1958 and was promoted to scouting supervisor in 1975. His <a href=""></a> notable signings include Reds Hall of Famers Don Gullett, Barry Larkin and Chris Sabo along with Jeff Russell, Charlie Leibrandt and Paul O'Neill.

"Gene had a major influence on me not only in baseball, but in life in general," said Vice President, Assistant General Manager Nick Krall, who has worked in the Reds' front office since 2003. "We talked about baseball, giving back to the community and family. I can't begin to describe how much I appreciate him for taking that time for me."

Bennett received the Topps Scout of the Month Award 12 times and in 1988 received the Topps All-Star Scout Award. In 1996 he was elected to the Middle Atlantic Major League Baseball Scouts Hall of Fame. In January 2009 Bennett received the Legends In Scouting Award from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation and at the December 2009 Winter Meetings he received the Midwest Scout of the Year Award.

Cooperstown Hall of Famer Larkin, a 12-time All-Star and the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1995, said in January 2011 when Bennett retired, "Gene not only is a great scout, as anyone in baseball will tell you, but he also is such a <a href="">Graham Gano Authentic Jersey</a> wonderful person. He will be missed by everyone in the game."

Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Loretta. They have a son, David, a daughter, Cathy, and four grandchildren.

Arizona Cardinals Buy or Sell: Troy Niklas becomes a starter in 2017

Tight end Troy Niklas has had an underwhelming career thus far. Can the fourth-year Notre Dame alumn become the player the Arizona <a href=""></a> Cardinals want in 2017?

The day of the tight end has changed. Actually, it’s been changing ever since Tony Gonzalez and Shannon Sharpe gave the position a new outlook in the NFL. One player on the wrong side of the ever-changing game is fourth-year Arizona Cardinals player Troy Niklas — on the wrong side if you consider a big paycheck as the main goal which for some players is the main goal.

Niklas isn’t the same kind of tight end we’re used to watching. A millenial myself, I’m used to the tight ends that can outrun a linebacker and out-jump a cornerback. Something like what Gonzalez and Sharpe did in their day and what Antonio Gates and Rob Gronkowski have done in theirs.

You’re not going to get those types of plays out of Niklas, at least not on a week-to-week basis. He has yet to prove he can be a deep threat at the top level. In his three years as a pro, he has just eight receptions for 71 yards and two touchdowns. His longest reception went for just 17 yards which came in his rookie season.

People knew coming out of Notre Dame that Niklas wasn’t going to be a Gates or Gronkowski. He was recruited to play outside linebacker, but made the change to tight end after a year in school. Being that he declared after his junior season, he didn’t have much time at the position coming in. And he only caught 37 balls for 573 yards and six touchdowns in college.

Niklas was drafted in the second round of <a href=""></a> the 2014 NFL Draft. The lack of production and time at the position didn’t scare away the Arizona Cardinals front office. Head coach Bruce Arians had just come off his first season at the helm, leading the team to their first winning record since the 2009 season. They had a need at tight end even, though Rob Housler had a respectable season in his own catching 39 passes for 454 yards.

It was the hopes and dreams that Niklas hadn’t just grown into the position yet (and maybe he still hasn’t) from a receiving perception. What he was looked at, though, was as a run blocker. One that could very well become the best run blocking tight end in the game.

After that same 2013 season, Arizona only averaged 3.6 yards per carry. The group as a whole averaged less than 97 yards on the ground a game. In Niklas’ rookie season it was worse as the running backs group averaged only 3.3 yards per carry and 82 yards per game. That year he received a -8.6 run-block rating from Pro Football Focus. All-in-all, the entire line struggled blocking for an inexperienced group consisting of Andre Ellington, Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams.

2015 was a different story for Arizona’s ground <a href="">Ty Hilton Authentic Jersey</a> game. With rookie David Johnson in town and the addition of Chris Johnson, Niklas appeared in 16 games (starting three) as the Cardinals averaged almost 120 rushing yards per game. Niklas, however, continued to struggle.

Last season was much like the first two. While he escaped the injury bug in his sophomore campaign in the league, Niklas appeared in just three games in 2016 before he went down with a season-ending wrist injury.

Quick Hits: Khalil Mack Recaps First Day Of Training Camp Practice

The Oakland Raiders completed their <a href=""></a> first official practice of Training Camp 2017 Saturday afternoon, and reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack seemed thrilled to be back on the field. Mack is entering his fourth season in the NFL, and is looking to continue his progression as one of the best pass-rushers in the league. Following practice, he took the podium to speak with reporters about a productive first day.

Here are the quick hits from his media session:

Mack spoke briefly about what it’s like seeing alumni of the team come out to Napa Valley for training camp.

“It’s always great to see those guys, and be amongst them, and learn from them. Glad to see them every time they’re here.”

Hall of Famer Howie Long said Mack has yet to reach his full potential, but as good as he already is, No. 52 feels like he needs to accomplish more.

“It speaks volumes when you hear from a guy like that, but just the mindset I have in general I’m not even on… What’d he say? Level four? Level three? Yeah, I’m not even that close yet. I’m just out here trying to get better every day.”

After recently attending Denver Broncos <a href=""></a> linebacker Von Miller’s summit in San Francisco, Mack reflected on what it was like to be there.

“It was dope, man. I thought at first it was going to be something for the kids out this way in San Francisco, but when I got there it was only NFL guys, and I was like, ‘what’s going on?’ And he was like, ‘bro, we came here to get some work.’ Luckily I had my cleats and I was like, ‘alright, cool.’ It was good though, man. Got a lot of great information from Demarcus Ware and all the other guys that were there, and it was something that helped me.”

With the rookies now in the fold, he’s taken notice of former Wake Forest linebacker Marquel Lee, and is anxious to see him play.

“I mean, I wouldn’t say in regards to me, because it’s a whole different kind of perspective, and whole different kind of position. But at the same time he’s a hell of a player, I can see it already. He has that juice in him, you know what I’m saying? It’s something that I kind of talk to him here and there just to see where his mind’s at, but it’s something we’ll figure out throughout the camp. When we put the pads on, that’s when you can really figure out what type of player you’re dealing with.”

Mack touched on what’s next for the Raiders defense in the coming weeks.

“The next step is what you see now: training <a href=""> Matt Asiata Youth Jersey</a> camp, coming out here, getting the camaraderie right, getting the cohesiveness together, getting everybody on the same page. You got everybody believing in one thing, and focusing on one thing, and trying to achieve one thing, and focusing on that, it’ll be sky’s the limit.”

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