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An imposing performance in Kansas City made Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell the first offensive tandem with 700 yards apiece through six games since individual stats were first recorded in 1933, according to Elias Sports Bureau.

That’s an insane stat, and a tangible reminder that those two are talented enough to push the Pittsburgh Steelers toward, into and possibly through the playoffs.

But coming out of Kansas City, the Steelers still need more help in the passing game to have a balanced attack, and Martavis Bryant’s trade request complicates matters.

Early indications are the Steelers do not plan to trade Bryant, according to sources. He still has value to them and is on an affordable rookie contract for two more years. And Bryant himself has quelled concerns with a tweet to Steelers faithful on Sunday night.

But the unhappiness with his role in the offense had been bubbling under the surface for a few weeks. It’s something the Steelers have to address by clearly defining his role.

Watching Bryant practice, he looks as explosive as he did two years ago, plus 10 pounds heavier. He is too valuable an asset to waste. But Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger have been just slightly off, and the emergence of JuJu Smith-Schuster has decreased Bryant’s snaps slightly.

Even so, Sunday’s game plan was a sound one: dominate the line of scrimmage with the running game, let Brown do his thing and spread the field with Bryant and Smith-Schuster, who had three targets apiece.

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“Third-and-short opens up the playbook,” Bell said.

Bryant’s talent merits more targets, and on the game’s first drive he got open deep, but Roethlisberger was sacked. The Steelers got Bryant going north-to-south with what Bell called “quick slants” and plays up the middle instead of go balls and screens.

Bryant might be most valuable when the Steelers are running the ball well because of his vertical presence.

“Martavis is such a deep ball guy in the threat of it,” Roethlisberger said. “He had a big catch there coming across the field. Really, we’ve got weapons we can kind of utilize and I liked what everybody did tonight.”
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Roethlisberger added that he wants to see Vance McDonald, who made a key third-down catch over the middle, get more involved in the passing game. The lineup appears set — Jesse James and McDonald splitting tight end work with Smith-Schuster as the inside-and-out, intermediate playmaker, Bryant the vertical option and Eli Rogers in relief.

A big theme with the Steelers’ season has been whether they can keep all their playmakers happy. Obviously, the answer is no. But losses to the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars showed the Steelers aren’t good enough to worry about such problems. They have to find creative ways to win each week.

The difference between a fringe playoff team and a real contender is having reliable playmakers outside of Bell and Brown. The Steelers still are counting on Bryant to help with that cause.

Men’s Houston Texans DeAndre Hopkins Nike Navy Vapor Untouchable Limited Player Jersey

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Houston Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins is already setting a lofty bar for quarterback Deshaun Watson.

“I saw him do it in college, but this is the NFL,” Hopkins told the Houston Chronicle. “So, of course I’m impressed. I haven’t seen a quarterback do that in a long time besides Michael Vick. Of course, everybody in this locker room is impressed.”

He added: “A lot of improvement. You guys authentic nfl jerseys seen last week’s game. It speaks for itself what he does out there on the field.”

There were moments in Watson’s performance against the New England Patriots last week that certainly brought Vick to mind. With the Texans (1-2) facing a second-and-22, Watson eluded a pass rusher, backed himself up near the Patriots’ sideline and fired a first-down strike to tight end Ryan Griffin on the complete opposite side of the field.

It was just two quarters after he tossed a go-ahead touchdown in the first, also a Vick-like bullet to Bruce Ellington between two defenders.

Throughout the preseason, we saw Watson leaning on his athletic ability — a common trait among rookie quarterbacks of nearly every style as they acclimate to the much faster pace of the NFL. But what has been enjoyable about regular-season Watson is the way he uses his mobility to put himself in position to make the better throw — almost a combination of a Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers-type mentality.

cheap pro jerseys from chinaI’m sure Watson would take any of these comparisons, as would quarterback-starved Texans coach Bill O’Brien. Heading into a crucial divisional matchup against the Tennessee Titans (2-1) this weekend, O’Brien will need all the help he can get under center to stay afloat in the AFC South.

Houston Texans’ wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins was one of the top players in the NFL from week four.

Pro Football Focus released their week four team of the week and Houston Texans’ wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins made the list.

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Hopkins finished last Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans with 10 receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown.

Here’s what PFF wrote:

PFF Grade: 90.6

Elite Stat: DeAndre Hopkins gained 2.97 yards per route run, second in the league this week.

With rookie QB Deshaun Watson suddenly playing excellent football, Hopkins is back to being one of the game’s best receiving threats. Hopkins was thrown at a dozen times against the Titans, catching ten of those passes for 107 yards and a touchdown. He beat five different Titans defenders for catches, including their top three corners over the course of the game.

Despite the fact that Texans’ rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson didn’t get the majority of the first-team reps during training camp and the preseason, it’s remarkable what kind of chemistry he has with Hopkins. What’s scary is that there is still room for improvement.

After  having to work with quarterback Brock Osweiler last season, Hopkins has to be on cloud nine in 2017 with Watson under center.

Hopkins will not have a problem gaining over 1,000 yards this season and could get around eight touchdowns due to the fact that Watson is targeting him around 12 times a game and opposing defenses haven’t been able to shut him down.

After a subpar year in 2016, many people were wondering whether or not Hopkins was still a true No. 1 receiver. So far he’s proving his naysayers wrong after Houston just gave him a lucrative contract extension.

Hopkins will have a big test this Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs who have one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL in Marcus Peters.

Comment below and tell us whether or not you think Hopkins will continue his stellar play this Sunday.

Men’s Tennessee Titans Marcus Mariota Nike Light Blue Alternate Game Jersey

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Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman helped awaken the Titans’ offense when he drilled quarterback Marcus Mariota late and out of bounds with about nine minutes remaining in the second quarter of what turned into Tennessee’s 33-27 victory Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

“He’s our quarterback,” Titans running back DeMarco Murray said. “He’s our leader of this team, and we don’t want anyone taking cheap shots at him. So I think that definitely fueled us up a little bit.”

Several Titans rushed to Mariota’s aid, including right tackle Jack Conklin and left guard Quinton Spain, as a scuffle broke out along the Tennessee sideline.

Sherman was called for unnecessary roughness, his second personal foul of the game. But penalties offset on the play, and he was not ejected.

“Totally unnecessary. The outcome of what happened was to have two penalties nullify each other,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said Monday. “Basically, he got a clean shot on our quarterback and there was no penalty. There was no negative ramifications for their team with that hit he put on our quarterback, which, we may bring that up to the competition committee about a rule change, because you can’t do that and then have no ramifications against your team.”

Mularkey addressed the penalties against his players after the game.

“I asked (the officials) how they thought we should react when they do something like that,” he said. “Do they think we’re going to take that? There’s no way we’re going to take that. We’ll never take that. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t retaliate when somebody does that.”

The Titans, who kicked a field goal to take a 3-0 lead on the drive preceding Sherman’s hit on Mariota, responded by scoring on six of the next seven possessions.

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Sherman, whose left foot was already out of bounds when he launched himself into Mariota at the end of a four-yard scramble to the Seattle 36-yard line, defended his actions after the game.

“He was still in bounds so I play until the blow of the whistle,” Sherman said. “If the quarterback slides or kind of gives himself up or does something like that, then you stop. But if there’s still yards that he’s gaining, you’re taught to play to the whistle.
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“It’s so crazy the way the game is nowadays. (Mariota) came up to me and said ‘good hit’ because he understood that I’m playing till the blow of the whistle. I’m not waiting until you took two steps out of bounds. It’s a game of inches and you can’t give up anything, and it’s just one of those plays. It’s football. It seems like the world is getting a lot softer in terms of the way it’s officiated and the way it’s seen, but it’s football and the end of the day.”

Sherman was called for three penalties on one play earlier in the game. Two were accepted, including holding and unsportsmanlike conduct.

Mariota said the late hit was “part of the game,” but appreciated his teammates rushing to his defense.

“Very humbled,” Mariota said. “That’s all I really strive to be, is the best teammate that I can be. I appreciate the fort of the guys. That means a lot.”

As for whether Sherman apologized to him after the game?


Women’s New York Giants Landon Collins Nike Royal Game Jersey

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Landon Collins isn’t letting the small victories in a winless season so far go unnoticed.

The Giants standout defenseman asserted his dominance on Twitter Wednesday after Lions tight end Eric Ebron called him a “little punk of a safety” after the two exchanged barbs during Monday night’s game.

“Be a bully…,” Collins wrote on Twitter in response to an article on Ebron’s comments. “Still zero catches on me between those lines (100 emoji).”

Collins and Ebron got in each other’s faces after Ebron caught a touchdown in the second quarter of the Lions’ 24-10 win and tossed the ball up high in celebration. The Newark, N.J. native, who was playing in front of friends and family at MetLife Stadium, admitted after the game he did it in retaliation for the way Collins gloated over tackling him a series earlier.

“I was pissed off,” Ebron told the Detroit News on Tuesday. “I was pissed off at that little punk of a safety they’ve got over there.”

In the heat of the game, tied at seven near the start of the second quarter, Collins drilled Ebron into the ground and stomped down the field in celebration after Ebron caught a tipped pass from Matthew Stafford.

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Getting the last laugh in the game — leading the Lions with five catches for 42 yards and taking home the ‘W’ — wasn’t enough for the 24-year-old Ebron, who responded to Collins’ tweet with another jab at the 2016 Pro Bowler.

cheap professional jerseysLol… twitter fingers,” Ebron wrote. “The honey badger was better,” he added, referring to the college nickname of the Cardinals’ Tyrann Mathieu, who was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy as a cornerback while at LSU before Arizona drafted him in the third round in 2013. Collins went to Alabama.

There doesn’t appear to be much reason behind Ebron’s Collins-Mathieu comparison besides the two sharing a career course as elite college defensive backs from the SEC who have each made it to the Pro Bowl in the NFL. But Collins wasn’t belaboring the semantics.

“I’m weak lol I’m a punk tho…cuz I hit you to hard now…,” Collins tweeted back. “This is football…#lockdown.”

Whatever Ebron’s underlying meaning behind the playful insult, the University of North Carolina product still thinks highly of the Giants star.

“Collins, he played a good game, that hit just pissed me off and I didn’t feel like celebrating,” Ebron told the newspaper. “I wasn’t in that kind of joyful mood. It was still a good game. He played his butt off trying to guard me. I commend him for that.”

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A good time was had by all at the third annual Stars and Strikes fundraiser event hosted by Detroit Lions wide-receiver Golden Tate and the Golden Future Foundation. The event was held at Lucky Strikes Novi bowling alley in metro Detroit and the NFL Pro Bowler’s teammates were on hand to support him in his fundraising efforts. Proceeds from the event will go to the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans Associaion (IAVA) and Pets for Veterans.

The venue was filled with Lions’ fans and players, including Detroit’s leading man Matthew Stafford, who just helped the team secure its first win of the 2017 season against the Arizona Cardinals, 35-23. Attendees had the chance to mix, mingle and bowl with their favorite players, as well as give back to a worthy cause. There was food, drinks and a silent auction where participants were able to bid on signed footballs, signed jerseys and more. There was also a photo booth where event goers were able to have a little fun and take home a small memento of the occasion.

Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate wore a splint on his left ring finger and a smile on his face as he boarded an elevator after Sunday’s 35-23 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

Tate said a few minutes earlier in the locker room that his injured finger felt “great,” and while he declined to further detail the injury, it certainly didn’t hold him back in the Lions’ season-opener.

“I haven’t seen the doctors,” Tate said when asked about the nature of his injury. “Just hurt it a little bit.”
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Tate, who’s led the Lions in receptions each of the last three seasons, caught a game-high 10 catches for 107 yards despite twice leaving the game to have his left hand looked at in the second half.

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Three times, Tate dug the Lions out of third-and-long situations with catch-and-run-type plays. He had a 19-yard catch on third-and-10 just before halftime to set up Matt Prater’s 58-yard field goal, and had a 14-yard gain on an end-around to start the Lions’ go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter.

“Golden does what Golden does,”‘ Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. “He’s an explosive guy when he gets his hands on the ball. He had 10 catches I think today, had to work through a couple little issues that he had, but he hung in there and played well. But Golden’s got a unique talent. I mean, there’s not many people that can start and stop like he does. He gets himself open, I think Matthew has a nice feel for him. It was his day today.”

While Tate was able to finish the game despite his injury, Lions punter Kasey Redfern suffered a first-quarter knee injury that Caldwell described as “significant.”

Redfern, playing in his first NFL game, was carted to the locker room and kicker Matt Prater handled punting the rest of the day.

With Sam Martin out at least five more weeks on the non-football injury list, the Lions are expected to sign a replacement for Redfern this week.

Flyers #28 Claude Giroux Orange Official 2012 Winter Classic Stitched NHL Jersey

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Former Flyer Jeremy Roenick provided some interesting insight into the psychology of Claude Giroux this summer.

On CSN’s July 14 edition of Philly Sports Talk, Roenick said, “The reason why Claude Giroux doesn’t get success is [because] he lets everything get into his mind and he looks for other things to blame it on.”

What those “other things” are Roenick didn’t elaborate, but Giroux has been resilient in his refusal to use injuries as an excuse. Roenick’s assessment came back in July at the American Century Celebrity Golf Championships in Lake Tahoe, and on Wednesday, Giroux agreed completely that he experiences this mental overload.

“Yeah, I did [agree],” Giroux said, “and I don’t think there was anything negative about that. It was just about me proving who I am. He’s been in that position before and he knows how it feels. He said what I think.

“I’m actually close with Jeremy. Jeremy’s a guy that when he played, he had a chip on his shoulder. He wanted to prove every game that he was better than everybody else. It’s about having that mentality.”

A mentality no one questioned during Giroux’s ascension as one of the best players in the world. A talent that has earned him four All-Star Game appearances and helped him finish top five in voting for the Hart Trophy award as the league’s MVP in 2011-12.

Since putting up 28 goals and 86 points in 2013-14, Giroux cheap authetnic nfl jerseys has seen his offensive production decline in each of the past three years, as he finished with just 14 goals and 58 points this past season.

Roenick referred to Giroux’s 2016-17 season as “a bad-luck situation,” one that can be remedied if he blocks out distractions.

“Put it back together,” Roenick said in July. “Show everybody why you’re one of the best competitors in the game and get back up into that top-scoring aspect. And don’t worry about slumps and don’t worry about what people think of you, just be Claude Giroux. And if he does that, this team is going to prosper.”

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When I spoke to Giroux on Wednesday for the first time regarding his offseason and Roenick’s comments, I could sense some tension, which led to this awkward exchange …

Me: Do you look at this season as proving some of the doubters and critics wrong that your game is in decline?

Giroux: “Yeah, I read your stuff, so it’s kind of motivation.”

My only mention of Giroux this summer was part of an “End-to-End” column in which the CSNPhilly staff takes a topic and breaks it down.

Me: “What did I say exactly?”

Giroux: “Not positive, that’s for sure. But that’s how the business is and for me, it’s to prove what kind of player I am and what I can do. The first thing I look at is that our team is looking very good right now. When the team goes well, individually, it’s a lot easier. You can see the mentality of guys coming to camp right now. It’s a different feel right now. I think guys just want more.”

Giroux’s response was a considerably different tone from the last time the media spoke with the captain, which came during the Flyers’ cleanout day in April.

“I’m probably the toughest person to judge myself,” Giroux said then. “I’m really hard on myself. What you guys write and say, it doesn’t really bother me.”

Clearly what bothers Giroux mentally seems to be a little tougher to analyze than what he has endured physically.

A year ago, Giroux was overcoming hip/abdominal surgery and he wasn’t able to prepare for the regular season like he normally would have, as he joined Team Canada at the World Cup of Hockey tournament.

“Every summer is about finding new ways to get better,” Giroux said Wednesday of his offseason training in his native Ottawa. “This summer, I didn’t have to rehab all summer, so I actually had a chance to work out and do what I used to do.
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“It was more getting back to explosive stuff, getting stronger, getting faster. I think it’s pretty much the same story for every player — find ways to get better. That’s what we did all summer.”

As he approaches his 30th birthday — he’ll turn 30 on Jan. 12 — it’s almost inconceivable to think Giroux and the Flyers haven’t advanced in the playoffs since beating the Penguins in 2012 when the captain was just 24 years old. Those are prime years of a career you can’t get back. Some will say those are wasted years, while others believe you’re wasting time just thinking about it in those terms.

With training camp officially beginning next Friday, Giroux offered up one piece of self-advice Wednesday that will likely serve him best — not only for this season but for the rest of his career.

“It’s about going out there and playing hockey,” Giroux said. “That’s what I know to do best is play hockey. Thinking about other things is not going to change anything how I play on the ice.”

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With recent news of Carmelo Anthony being left out of the upcoming season’s promotions, his role may be different from what some fans expected.

The New York Knicks for the first time in years actually have a balance of youth and depth on their roster. For now, Carmelo Anthony is still expected to suit up in orange and blue this season, but a trade remains the inescapable outcome for both parties.

Until said inevitable future trade occurs though, his role may be much different from what fans expected.

Many fans can agree that at this point, it’s reasonable to cut into Anthony’s minutes in order to focus on developing newer and younger players, while still having their best player play.

But in what way would this be exactly?

As crazy as it may seem, the best option would be having him coming off the bench as sixth man. It becomes a win-win down the stretch, as well as the beginning of the season.

In the long run, the Knicks will be able to see rookies Frank Ntilkina and Dameyan Dodson, whose abilities would be tested as they see fit.

In the short-term, the Knicks losing their early games only helps their draft prospects. Also, this would potentially force Anthony to explore his options, and somewhere that is not named Houston.

Last year, the Knicks’ starting five seemed decent on paper at least. Carmelo played 74 games, but the New York Knicks still only managed 31 wins.

Last season he was averaging 34 minutes a game in his 14th year in the league. Is it realistic to expect this amount of time on the court for much more than two or three seasons, at best?
Should Carmelo remain a starter or become a sixth man?


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The answer is maybe, but more than likely not in a Knicks uniform. For those who couldn’t tell, Anthony was flustered last year under Phil Jackson. Cutting his minutes down to somewhere between 20-25 per game surely will hurt his attitude. However, there is a fine line between punishment and just doing what makes sense. The Knicks are long shot playoff contenders, shooting for an eighth seed in the Eastern Conference at best.
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The question becomes what good does Carmelo serve the starting five if the Knicks are still losing games, as well as losing ample time to develop a younger player into his role whenever he does leave the Garden?

With that being said, if Carmelo is truly hungry for playing time elsewhere, this may be the most effective strategy for him to widen his destination wish list over the sole target of Houston.

The New York Knicks were 24th in the league last year in plus/minus at -3.7. This at times still deemed them watchable and kept many games close. As tough of a pill as it may be to swallow, some fans may be more excited to hear chants of “KUZ” if Mindaugas Kuzminskas saw more minutes over Melo.

If starting a younger player is too much of a risk, surely that is why the Knicks picked up Michael Beasley this summer as a likely insurance plan when Melo skips town.

That way, there is some type of veteran status at the 3- or 4-spot — much like the Knicks having veteran status with Joakim Noah and the young Willy Hernangomez under his wing, or even more recently, Tim Hardaway Jr. embracing a leadership role with Frank Ntilkina.

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The Oakland Raiders signing of Marshawn Lynch has drawn considerable hype, but is there substance to it? One Seahawks expert thinks so.

Few stories this offseason garnered as much attention as the return of Beast Mode to his hometown of Oakland. When the Oakland Raiders signed Marshawn Lynch out of retirement, NFL fans all over the country took notice and jersey sales went through the roof as the once-retired running back joined one of the NFL’s best young teams. If fans and analysts weren’t already excited by the Raiders’ offensive potential, Lynch sent them over the top.

But a closer look at the situation yields concerns that the hype might be overblown. Lynch has been out of the league for over a year, and even his final season for the Seattle Seahawks was quite forgettable. He rushed 111 times for 417 yards, good for a subpar 3.8 yards/carry average. Can a 31-year-old running back return to form after a full year out of the league and another below average season? One Seahawks expert thinks so.

We recently asked Lee Vowell, Seahawks expert and writer for 12th Man Rising, for his take on Lynch and the answers were surprising. For those counting out Lynch before the season even starts, you might be surprised to find out how much some others still believe.
The signing of Marshawn Lynch is a big reason for the hype surrounding the Oakland Raiders. Are you buying the hype having watched him with the Seahawks?cheap jerseys

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Lynch’s last season with the Seahawks in 2015 was not very good. He looked old and slow. He got injured and 12s were not used to seeing that. Mostly, he can’t really be blamed as the offensive line has been bad in Seattle for the last few years. Still, he is going to run behind a very good line in Oakland and he will be motivated. I think he is a good fit with the Raiders too. He might not rush for 1,000 yards but I can see 900. Though I would not rule out 1,000 or more.
Would you read a year off as a plus (a chance to rest) or a minus (another year out of game shape/readiness)?

Lynch was always in good shape and football-ready. I see this as a win-win for the Raiders and Marshawn. His Beast Mode label is based in Oakland and it’ll be good exposure for him. He’ll help the Raiders as some fans might jump ship as the Raiders will now have left Oakland twice. Plus, he’s a good running back. He’ll help the Raiders on the field as well as off it.
The stats say Lynch seriously struggled his final season. What did your eyes tell you?

That he ran behind a bad line. Sure, Thomas Rawls came in and was fantastic when Lynch was out. But what happened? Rawls got hurt too. The Seahawks line in 2015 and 2016 helped get everybody hurt. Lynch will be fine in 2017. Motivation is the biggest thing for him, and he will be ready to burst with Oakland.

If you had to make a final guess at Lynch’s stat line for 2017, it would be…?

I can see Lynch getting 900 yards or more and 10 touchdowns and around 4 to 4.5 yards per carry. Possibly he could get fewer yards if the Raiders rest him more and give reps to the backups. I think Lynch will be productive in the time he has. I know that running backs older than 30 historically trend downward quickly, but one or two seasons in Oakland? Lynch will be solid.

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Raiders quarterback Derek Carr placed his right hand on defensive end Khalil Mack’s left shoulder as a show of solidarity during the national anthem before the team’s 24-21 exhibition loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night.

Carr said the players were not “protesting” anything with the action.

“What we wanted to do was show all the kids that look up to me, look up to him, that white kids, blue kids, brown kids, blue, green, doesn’t matter, can all be loving to each other,” Carr said. “And that’s what me and Khalil are — we’re best friends and we love one another.

“The only reason we did that is to unify people, and to unify the people that look up to us because, obviously, we see what’s going on in the world and, obviously, everyone pays attention to the national anthem nowadays, and so we just said this was the best time to do it while still honoring our country. Because I love this country, more than anything. We’re free to live here and play this game, but we’re also free to show each other that we love one another. And I think that that’s the message, and that’s the only message we were trying to get out.”

Mack said he wanted to use his “platform” to get out his message.

“To show [that] different races can get along, white, black, whatever you are, get along and be friends and … just show unity,” Mack said. “Show togetherness. It’s discussed a lot. It’s one of the things I feel passionately about, but I just don’t like the attention, the attention that comes with it. But at the same time, just using my platform for positivity is what’s important for me.”

Carr, who grew up in Texas and California and played his college ball at Fresno State, said he and Mack, who grew up in South Florida and played collegiately at Buffalo, knew eyes would be on them as leaders of the team during the anthem.

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“We wanted to show them that it’s OK for a white kid and a black kid that come from two different neighborhoods [can] grow up and love one another and be best friends,” Carr said.

Still, Carr, the Raiders’ second-round draft pick in 2014 after Oakland selected Mack in the first round, said he was not a politician or a spokesperson. He just wanted love to be the message.

The gesture seemed to echo actions seen by other players around the league. Eagles defensive end Chris Long placed his hand on the shoulder of safety Malcolm Jenkins as he held a raised fist during the anthem in Philadelphia on Thursday night. Seattle Seahawks center Justin Britt put his arm on teammate Michael Bennett’s shoulder Friday night, days after Bennett had called for a white player to join the jersey wholesale

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, who sat on a cooler during the anthem last week in Arizona, again remained seated Saturday. He did not answer a question on why he sat last week and left the locker room without commenting Saturday night.

Raiders rookie safety Shalom Luani also took a knee at the beginning of the anthem and then stood before the song ended. He said he was merely praying and it was not meant as a protest.

“It never even crossed my mind,” Luani said. “There was nothing to it. Just praying.”

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The Washington Redskins and the city of Richmond have begun discussions about restructuring the eight-year contract that brings the Redskins to town each summer for training camp.

Under the current agreement, the Redskins are paid $500,000 per year, either in cash, sponsorships or in-kind services, to come to Richmond.

“The current deal is not the deal I would have negotiated with the Redskins,” Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said Tuesday.

But the Redskins have pushed back against the characterization of the deal as good for the team but not for the city. Now in Year 5, the team contends that the agreement has been a net winner for the city, cheap authetnic nfl jerseys releasing documents to the Richmond Times-Dispatch showing that the team has directly contributed more to the city in taxes and charitable donations than the city has paid the Redskins in cash.

For example, in 2015 Richmond owed $360,694 in cash — the portion of the city’s required $500,000 payment that remained after sponsorships and in-kind services such as volunteer time. The Redskins’ documents show the team provided $436,767 in direct support to the city through taxes paid, direct payments for things like parking spaces, and charity.

The team’s analysis omits the city and Richmond Economic Development Authority’s initial investment of $11 million in the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center, which was funded in part by giving the Westhampton School site to Bon Secours.

On Tuesday, the team announced a donation of $60,000 in sporting goods to city schools. The Redskins also are paying for a counselor to be in each of the five traditional neighborhood public high schools in the city.

“It’s tough to measure (the impact of the deal), and that’s unfortunately the challenge with economic development deals is how exactly do you get a measurement,” said Tommy Kranz, the interim schools superintendent. “But I think this has been significant for our students, I think it’s been significant for the Richmond public school system, and we really appreciate everything the Redskins have done.”football jersey cheap

The public relations blitz comes as the Redskins and the city are at the bargaining table discussing the future of their relationship.

“Every day, the Redskins and my team work to make the deal a little bit better,” Stoney said.

“In recent weeks we’ve discussed how we can make the deal better for Richmond. I’m optimistic about where those talks will take us.”

Redskins President Bruce Allen said reframing the deal is a matter of perception. He said the deal has been a success for all sides so far.

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“We know the economics,” Allen said. “Economically, it’s been very good for the city. It costs us more to be here as opposed to Redskins Park. It costs us a lot more to travel. It doesn’t take a CPA to figure that out.

“But I think it’s been great for the community. I can tell by the events — we’ve had more of them. They’ve benefited greatly from us being here.”

The deal has been a popular political punching bag, particularly the $500,000 annual contribution.

The hope was to cover the contribution through services and sponsorships, but the cash amount has been significant in every year of the deal. Last year, the Richmond Economic Development Authority paid the Redskins $138,519.

The team agreed to defer $92,000 of the owed money to the 2017 bill, as a gesture of good will to the new mayoral administration.

Starting in 2016, the team quit announcing daily attendance numbers at the camp, which have fallen well short of the first year. In the final year that attendance was announced, weekday crowds consisted of about 5,000 people — in 2017, the crowds have seemed slightly sparser, though the team has added a number of themed days to boost attendance.

Allen disputed the characterization of crowds as lower, and said he wants the focus of the deal to be on the community impact, not the financials.

“I think it’s been good for the team, and it’s been great for the kids in the community and Redskins fans from North Carolina and southern Virginia — it’s been a dream for them,” Allen said.

It’s not known how the renegotiation of the deal would affect the money owed or the terms of the deal.