Tampa Bay Rays welcome more than a dozen players, manager to first workout at home field

As Major League Baseball begins its most crucial week yet in hopes of salvaging a 2020 season, a quiet but not insignificant gathering took place in Florida.

Some 14 Tampa Bay Rays entered Tropicana Field in pairs, stayed away from the batting cage and weight room, but nonetheless got in a workout Monday afternoon under the watchful eye of their manager — perhaps the most formal gathering of big leaguers in their home ballpark since the COVID-19 pandemic cast the season in doubt.

The group included All-Star outfielder Austin Meadows, shortstop Willy Adames and new outfielder Manuel Margot, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The players had their temperatures checked upon entry and wore masks into the stadium, but could remove them during their workout. The team improvised a number of free weights and plyometric stations for the players, who are among a group that remained in the Tampa area after their spring training site in Port Charlotte, Florida was closed more than two months ago.

It’s good to be back. pic.twitter.com/7jx0HTN8na

“It felt good, but it was still odd,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said on a Zoom call with Tampa media, per The Athletic. “I didn’t go up and handshake anybody or give anybody a hug. When you haven’t seen someone in that long, you’re probably doing that, so that was odd.

"But we certainly respect the situation and what’s at stake. We’re going to do what we’re asked. It was a step in the right direction and it was good to see smiling faces.”

WILL YOUR MLB TEAM PLAY AT HOME?: A team-by-team look

Tuesday, MLB is expected to extend an economic proposal to players in hopes of beginning the season in early July. The sides have already reviewed a 67-page document regarding health protocols, with players expected to respond to that soon.

With a second spring training expected to commence by mid-June, some teams have opened spring facilities and home ballparks, subject to social-distancing guidelines in their areas. While an agreement on player pay and health may not be hammered out immediately, players and teams must ramp up in earnest with the anticipation that they’ll need to be ready soon.

“If those dates are actuality,” Cash told reporters, “e probably need to get going a little bit and starting some more aggressive type of routine. I think this was a really good start for a first day and a first week."

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Olney: Why many in baseball need reminder of their love for the game

  • Senior writer ESPN Magazine/ESPN.com
  • Analyst/reporter ESPN television
  • Author of “The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty”

The working theory is that the return of baseball could help the nation heal, or at least distract it, in the way that the sport did during World War II and after 9/11. The working theory is that the resumption of Major League Baseball, even in empty ballparks, could feel like a step toward normalcy.

If the owners and MLB Players Association can agree on compensation, perhaps settling on a percentage payment of the players’ prorated salary, and the safety protocols prove to be effective, there could be great moments — those shards of time when we might briefly set aside the current daily turmoil. Mookie Betts stepping into the box for his first at-bat with the Dodgers. The joy of any Max Scherzer inning. The promise inherent in a Nate Pearson fastball. A Nolan Arenado throw. A Pete Alonso home run. A Francisco Lindor smile.

Generations of baseball fans need all that.

But you know who else could use a baseball reminder of all that once was good, and that could be again (to borrow the words uttered by James Earl Jones in “Field of Dreams”)?

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47 things to know about Bartolo Colon on his 47th birthday

  • Senior writer of SweetSpot baseball blog
  • Former deputy editor of Page 2
  • Been with ESPN.com since 1995

Bartolo Colon turns 47 on Sunday. In honor of his birthday, here are 47 things you need to know about one of the most improbable careers in recent history.

(Editor’s note: This story originally ran for Colon’s 45th birthday, but two years later Bartolo is still amazing us all)

1. He pitched in the majors at 45! You can probably guess that it’s pretty unusual for a 45-year-old to be pitching in the majors. Colon became just the 16th MLB pitcher since 1900 age 45 or older. How old is he? Gleyber Torres of the Yankees homered twice off him in 2018. Torres was 3 months old when Colon made his major league debut in 1997.

2. Colon has 247 wins. That’s a lot of wins! That puts him 50th on the all-time list. He passed Juan Marichal for the most by a Dominican pitcher and Dennis Martinez for the most by a Latin American pitcher.

3. He didn’t play organized baseball until he was 14. In a 2015 profile in the New York Times, Colon said he learned his work ethic from his pet donkey, Pancho, whom he used to ride to the baseball field. Colon later built a training complex for young players in his hometown of El Copey and memorialized Pancho with an illustration on a wall of the complex.

4. Colon signed with the Indians in 1993 for $3,000 — only after he was sent home three times after tryouts with the Indians and told he was too short. The Dodgers and Royals told him the same thing. (So says one profile of Colon; others make no mention of the initial rejections.) When he first signed, the Indians insisted Colon was 18, not 20. His real age was exposed in 2002.

5. With his blazing fastball, Colon rose quickly through the minors, and Baseball America ranked him as the No. 14 prospect heading into his rookie season in 1997. He was squeezed between Scott Rolen (final major league season: 2012) and Derrek Lee (final season: 2011) and was the fourth-best pitching prospect. Ahead of him: Kerry Wood (No. 3), Matt White (No. 4) and Kris Benson (No. 8).

6. The home run:

Bartolo Colon’s first home run was a historic one

On May 7, 2016, Bartolo Colon turned on an inside fastball from James Shields and launched a home run that was as improbable as it was historic. Colon became the oldest player to hit his first major league home run.

7. “Anytime I see a fastball I swing hard because I’m not a curveball hitter.” — Colon after hitting his home run off the Padres’ James Shields in 2016

8. “We all kind of said, ‘What would we do if Bartolo hit a home run?’ That made everyone’s career to witness that.” — Mets second baseman Neil Walker

9. It took 19 seasons before Colon connected for that home run. It was entertaining not just because it was a robust human being smashing a leather sphere over a fence but also because Colon is one of the worst hitters in major league history, with an .085 career average, 163 strikeouts and one walk (shame on you, Robbie Ray). The home run was completely unexpected, and that made it even more wonderful.

10. The player with the most home runs off Bartolo: Alex Rodriguez, with eight. He hit .411 and slugged 1.000 against Colon.

11. The player Colon faced the most: Ichiro Suzuki. In 118 plate appearances, Ichiro hit .299 with three home runs.

12. The biggest of those hits came in Game 4 of the 2001 division series. With the Indians leading the series and the score tied 1-1 in the seventh, Ichiro’s two-out single gave the Mariners a 2-1 lead. Seattle won that game and took Game 5 as well.

13. Of course, we joke about Colon’s weight. But check out a relatively skinny Bartolo from his first career shutout in 1998:

14. His weight, however, became a concern early in his career. When he signed a four-year extension with the Indians in 1999, the club included an incentive clause giving him $12,500 each time he weighed 225 pounds or less during four weigh-ins each season.

15. When Colon signed with the Angels in 2004, a Los Angeles Times writer asked his former GM in Cleveland about Colon’s work ethic. “Among his strengths are his mental consistency, his ability to be poised, to not get rattled or carried away, and still rise to handle the big moments,” Mark Shapiro said. “That was an evasive answer, huh?”

16. Colon’s career high in strikeouts came on May 29, 1998, when he fanned 14 in a 7-3 complete-game victory over the Blue Jays at SkyDome. Jose Canseco was in the lineup (he fanned twice), and the Toronto starter was Roger Clemens.

17. The best game of Colon’s career was a one-hit, 13-strikeout shutout of the Yankees on Sept. 18, 2000 — with Clemens again the opposing starter. That produced a Game Score of 97, the only time Colon topped 90 in his career. The only hit was Luis Polonia’s one-out single up the middle in the eighth inning. “When Polonia got that hit, I felt like I’d gotten punched in the chest,” Colon said.

18. Earlier in that game, Kenny Lofton made an iconic catch when he robbed Jorge Posada of a home run:

(OK, this item doesn’t have much to do with Colon, but it’s a proper excuse to run a Kenny Lofton highlight.)

19. After the game, Indians pitching coach Dick Pole called it one of the best pitched games he’d ever seen. “The most impressive part was his control,” Pole said. “To be throwing that hard and hitting spots the way he was, that was amazing.”

20. Colon won the Cy Young Award in 2005, when he went 21-8 with a 3.48 ERA for the Angels. It was not a good choice. Johan Santana, who finished third in the voting (also behind Mariano Rivera) should have won and would win today, as voters pay more attention to the overall picture. Santana went 16-7 with a 2.87 ERA, led Colon 238-157 in strikeouts and allowed 16 fewer runs while pitching nine more innings. He had 7.2 WAR to Colon’s 4.0.

21. Cy Young trophies fly forever, however, and in that New York Times profile, Colon said the best moment of his career was giving his Cy Young trophy to his father.

22. After his Cy Young season, Colon ran into a long string of injuries. From 2006 to 2010, he started just 47 games and went 14-21 with a 5.18 ERA. When he missed the entire 2010 season due to rotator cuff damage and a sore elbow, it appeared that his career might be over. Instead, he has won 89 games since returning with the Yankees in 2011 and making two All-Star teams (giving him four All-Star trips in his career).

23. Colon’s first All-Star appearance came in 1998. He was credited with the win, even though Barry Bonds crushed a three-run homer off him. And we have the video!

24. Other All-Stars that year included Ben Grieve, Dean Palmer, Andy Ashby, Rick Reed, Aaron Sele and Fernando Vina. When’s the last time you heard any of those names mentioned? Colon has been around forever.

25. In March 2010, he received a controversial stem cell transplant to help damaged tissues. Doctors had used human growth hormone in similar surgeries, but those who performed the surgery for Colon said they did not use it on him. MLB investigated the surgery and eventually cleared Colon.

26. Alas, in August 2012, then with the A’s, Colon received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for testosterone. As a reminder, the A’s won the AL West that year. Colon was still under suspension when the team lost to the Tigers in five games in the AL Division Series.

27. In 2016, the New York Post broke the news of Colon’s “double life” with his “secret family.” A New York woman filed a claim that Colon had failed to pay child support for the two elementary-school-age kids she had with Colon, who has been married since 1996. The two sides eventually signed a confidentiality agreement.

28. When a guy has lasted this long, I like to check out the box score for his first career game and see who played in that game. Colon debuted on April 4, 1997, for the Indians in Anaheim. One of Colon’s teammates was Julio Franco, who had debuted in 1982 with the Phillies as a teammate of Pete Rose, who had debuted in 1963. Playing for the Angels that day, however, was Eddie Murray, who was Rookie of the Year in 1977. Playing a few games for the Orioles in ’77 was Brooks Robinson, who made his debut on Sept. 17, 1955, a time when three teams had yet to integrate their first black players.

29. Who says the big guy can’t run?

30. Alas, Colon has never stolen a base. That won’t surprise you. It also probably won’t surprise you that Colon has never taken the extra base as a baserunner, such as going first to third or second to home on a single. Granted, he has had only 16 such opportunities, but he’s 0-for-16.

31. Colon’s career record at Safeco Field is an amazing 14-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 16 starts. As was pointed out on Twitter at the time of his last start there, Colon is so old that he pitched at Safeco in a playoff game (the joke being that the Mariners have the longest playoff drought in the majors, and that playoff game came in 2001).

32. Which begs the question: Colon pitched for 11 teams, but why not the Mariners?

33. Back in 2012, Colon threw 38 consecutive strikes in a start for the A’s. Here are all 38:

34. That’s what made late-career Colon so amazing. He pounded the strike zone and did it almost exclusively with fastballs. He had one of the highest rates of fastballs of any starter in the majors, at 81.4% for his career. He lost velocity over the years, but his ability to manipulate the pitch, to cut it and sink it and hit the corners, is something all young pitchers could learn from.

35. “He is the master pitcher,” Mets announcer Ron Darling once said.

36. Colon once described his key to success like this: “I stopped being a village boy, thinking I can throw any stone, any rock, through a wall, and started thinking I could be a guy who could last longer by taking something off my fastball and not depending on only throwing hard.”

37. Colon was involved in one of the best trades in Indians history. With the Indians dismantling the great team that won six division titles in seven seasons from 1995 to 2001, Colon was traded (with Tim Drew) to the Expos for Cliff Lee, Brandon Phillips and Grady Sizemore (and Lee Stevens). Those three minor leaguers went on to produce 101.4 WAR … yet Colon has somehow outlasted all three.

38. In a sense, Colon is the last Expo ever. He was the last active player who played with the Expos.

39. Who says the big guy can’t field his position?

40. Just for fun, a comparison to Hall of Famer Jack Morris:

Colon: 247-188 (.568), 4.12 ERA, 106 ERA+, 47.8 WAR
Morris: 254-186 (.577), 3.90 ERA, 105 ERA+, 44.0 WAR

41. Of course, Morris was a starter for three World Series champions (’84 Tigers, ’87 Twins, ’92 Blue Jays), and he pitched for the ’93 Blue Jays, though not in the postseason. Colon appeared in seven postseasons but just one World Series, with the Mets in 2015. He’s 3-5 with a 3.49 ERA in his postseason career.

42. Colon was the losing pitcher in relief in Game 1 of that World Series, coming on in the 12th inning and losing on an unearned run in the bottom of the 14th.

43. Yes, he’s a professional athlete:

44. In that game against the Mariners, he took a 102 mph line drive from Jean Segura off his gut and still recorded the out. His comment after the game? “I have a lot of big belly, so I can take it.”

45. In September 2017, he showed no mercy … against 12-year-olds.

46. He’s an author! His book, “Big Sexy: In His Own Words,” came out this month. Watch out, Hemingway.

47. He’s making a comeback! In February, he signed a contract to pitch for the Monclova Acereros for 2020 and yearns for one more season in the majors. Keep pitching, Bartolo, keep pitching.

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Source: RB Hyde agrees to deal with Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks and running back Carlos Hyde have reached an agreement on a one-year deal, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday.

Hyde, who turns 30 in September, scored six touchdowns and ran for a career-best 1,070 yards on 245 carries for the Houston Texans last season and played in all 16 games for the second time in his career.

However, he and fellow back Lamar Miller both hit free agency and the Texans went on to acquire David Johnson from the Arizona Cardinals in a blockbuster trade for wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

The Texans acquired Hyde from the Kansas City Chiefs last year in a trade on cutdown day in exchange for offensive lineman Martinas Rankin. Houston made the move a week after Miller tore his ACL in Houston’s third preseason game.

Over the past three seasons, Hyde has played for the San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars and Texans.

He has 5,079 total yards and 35 total touchdowns in six seasons.

ESPN’s Sarah Barshop contributed to this report.

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Why the Jets gave Joe Flacco a new team before Cam Newton signed with one

Another veteran QB found a new home in 2020 NFL free agency who isn’t named Cam Newton. The Jets signed Joe Flacco to a one-year deal, a move announced by his agent. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the contract for the former Ravens and Broncos starter has a base worth of only $1.5 million with incentives maxing out at $4.5 million.

Flacco, 35, is recovering from neck surgery to correct an ailment that cut short his lone season in Denver. The 2007 first-rounder and Super Bowl 47 MVP for Baltimore didn’t want to retire and now can get to stick around in the league for at least another season, if he proves to be healthy enough.

Meanwhile, 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton, released by the Panthers in March, remains a free agent and still the best veteran QB on the market. So why did the Jets take a flyer on Flacco instead, given that he also carries a level of recent injury history mystery?

DECOURCY: NFL should boot proposed onside kick change right off the planet

First, Flacco, who has made plenty of money in his career and once was the highest-paid QB in the NFL, settled for relative little money to keep playing for someone. Second, after his time with the Broncos proved, pre-injury, that he no longer could be counted on as a starter, Flacco clearly settled on being a willing backup behind 2018 No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold in New York.

Flacco’s deal is similar to the last QB of first-round note to sign. Jameis Winston, the 2015 No. 1 overall pick, went from Buccaneers five-season starter to settling for a $1.1 million base salary plus incentives to back up Drew Brees with the Saints late last month.

For Newton, as the 2015 NFL MVP, reports are it’s been difficult for him to accept both a lesser deal and one that doesn’t come with a real chance to compete for a starting job. So far, the Patriots and Jaguars have held firm on rolling with second-year third-day picks Jarrett Stidham and Gardner Minshew, respectively, instead of wanting to bring Newton or another viable veteran alternative into the mix.

The Redskins (Ron Rivera and Scott Turner) and Broncos (Mike Shula) are Newton’s best remaining coaching staff fits. But Washington has Dwayne Haskins and already traded for former Panther Kyle Allen to compete with him, while Denver is gung-ho on Drew Lock, far removed from Flacco, to the point that it doesn’t want him looking over his shoulder.

Adam Gase and Dowell Loggains, who oversee the Jets’ offense as coach and coordinator, needed more of a regular pocket passing type behind Darnold. Before Flacco, the Jets’ best No. 2 option was David Fales. When Darnold had mononucleosis early last season, their backup situation was badly exposed.

Newton as a unknown quantity to teams because of his durability was never really a fit for New York. Jets general manager Joe Douglas also is vary familiar with Flacco’s makeup and skill set. Douglas started as a longtime scout with the Ravens from 2000 to 2014, and Flacco was drafted by Ozzie Newsome in the middle of that tenure.

Is it shocking that Newton hasn’t found a fit with any team, even at the lowest price? Yes. Is it surprising that the Jets would roll the dice with Flacco as a No. 2 instead of considering Newton? In their current situation, not at all.

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Joe Flacco signs with New York Jets as Sam Darnold’s backup at QB

Joe Flacco is getting another shot in the NFL.

The former Baltimore Ravens and Denver Broncos quarterback and Super Bowl XLVII MVP signed a one-year deal with the New York Jets on Friday, his representation announced. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the contract is worth $1.5 million but could reach $4.5 million with incentives.

Flacco, 35, was released by the Broncos in March with a failed physical designation. He played in just eight games before he landed on injured reserve with a herniated disc. Denver opted to move on from Flacco and head into 2020 with Drew Lock, who went 4-1 in the final five games, as the team's starter.

Flacco underwent neck surgery last month but could be cleared before the start of the regular season in September, according to multiple reports. The 12-year veteran has not played in more than nine games since 2017.

In New York, Flacco will be reunited with general manager Joe Douglas, who was a scout for the Ravens in 2008, when the team drafted the quarterback out of Delaware in the first round.

The Jets now will have a veteran with extensive starting experience to serve behind starter Sam Darnold. New York drafted quarterback James Morgan in the fourth round of April's NFL draft and also re-signed David Fales.

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Reid: Mahomes gives edge on 4th-and-15 idea

  • Covered Chiefs for 20 seasons for Kansas City Star
  • Joined ESPN in 2013

Andy Reid isn’t necessarily a fan of the NFL’s proposed rule that would allow teams to retain possession after a score by converting a 4th-and-15 instead of recovering an onside kick, but the Kansas City Chiefs coach wouldn’t be afraid to use the new option if it passes because of quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

“We’ve got a guy that can do 4th-and-15s,” Reid said Friday. “He’d give us an opportunity to do that.”

Under the proposed rule, put forth by the Philadelphia Eagles, a team would have the option for one offensive play from its 25-yard line rather than kicking off after a score. The team would need to gain at least 15 yards to retain possession.

Team owners will be asked to vote on rule proposals during a virtual meeting May 28. Owners rejected a similar proposal to this last year from the Denver Broncos, but the league did try it out during the 2019 Pro Bowl.

The Chiefs didn’t attempt to convert any fourth-down plays of 15 or more yards last season. But on third-down plays of 15 yards or longer, Mahomes was 12-of-16 for 255 yards and three touchdowns. On a third-and-15 during the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV, Mahomes completed a 44-yard pass to Tyreek Hill.

Mahomes tweeted about the proposed rule this week and included a couple of smiley faced emojis, though each had a bead of sweat on its face.

Otherwise, Reid said he had mixed feelings about the rule, saying he wasn’t a fan of taking away from the special-teams component of the game.

“To keep the integrity of the game, you like that part of it,” Reid said. “Being an old guy, I’d probably stick with the integrity of the game as it sits right now, but I can also see where the other part can be exciting too.”

Information from ESPN’s Kevin Seifert was used in this report.

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You make the call: Fans can script Browns’ plays

  • Covers the Big 12
  • Joined ESPN.com in 2011
  • Graduate of Washington & Lee University

For all those times Cleveland Browns fans have complained that they could call better plays than the coach, now’s your chance.

As part of the All In Challenge, the Browns are offering the opportunity for two people to help script the first 15 offensive plays of a preseason game.

One winner will be determined via auction and the other from a raffle. Proceeds raise money for Meals on Wheels, No Kid Hungry, America’s Food Fund, World Central Kitchen and Feeding America during the coronavirus pandemic.

Browns coach Kevin Stefanski will invite both winners to help him and offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt script the 15 plays to open a preseason game. The winners, as well as a guest of the auction winner, will also be invited to a team dinner and team meeting the night before the game, run through the tunnel with the players and receive pregame sideline passes.

“Giving back is a core component of who we are as an organization,” Stefanski said in a statement. “With the global pandemic, it’s really important we step up when there are others in need. Just look around at the frontline workers, the health care workers. They’re stepping up right now, they’re working tirelessly, they’re working courageously and it’s really inspired our organization to join the All In Challenge.”

In addition, former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar will be auctioning the chance for the winner and three guests to watch a regular-season game alongside him and celebrity chef Michael Symon in a private suite at FirstEnergy Stadium. Afterward, Symon will cook a customized meal for the group.

As of Friday afternoon, the All In Challenge had raised $45.7 million, according to its website.

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More Jamal Adams trade rumors put safety’s Jets tenure in another down cycle

Have you lost count of the mood swings in the relationship between Jamal Adams and the Jets’ front office(s)? If yes, just know that whole thing is veering back toward Splitsville, based on what was reported Thursday.

Talks on a contract extension have stalled, and GM Joe Douglas is doing more than just listening to trade offers, someone (or someones) leaked to veteran NFL scribe Gary Myers and ESPN’s Rich Cimini. More than half the league has expressed interest in a deal, according to Cimini, although Douglas supposedly isn’t intent on moving his All-Pro defender.

Fans remember the drama at last year’s NFL trade deadline when it looked possible that Adams was on his way to his hometown Cowboys. Dallas speculation bubbled up again Thursday along with the leaks, of course. They also remember Adams saying he wants to play in New Jersey for a long time despite that.

It’s understandable that Douglas wouldn’t be interested in an extension right now; he has Adams under team control through 2021 after picking up his fifth-year option at $9.86 million, and he can franchise him for the 2022 season. Adams, naturally, wants to avoid all of that and have a deal done before the start of this season. 

So the sides reportedly aren’t getting along and a trade is once more an option. It’s another “down” following an “up” in the history between player and team.

August 2018

Adams was riding high as the “President” of New Jack City, the nickname given to the Jets’ young, ultraconfident secondary. Adams was entering his second NFL season following a decent rookie campaign. He was seen as the unit’s emotional leader.

“You definitely have to have that swagger out there, that energy,” Adams told SN. “Running to the ball, playing with that nasty mentality. Since . . . I got here, that’s always been the mentality. It’s never a different mentality, in the last year or the previous year. We always have to keep that mentality.”

The unit’s bravado faded. Adams made the Pro Bowl for the first time, but the Jets finished 4-12. Free safety Marcus Maye played in just six games because of injuries, and the pass defense was in the middle of the pack in net yards allowed per attempt. The Jets fired coach Todd Bowles after the season and replaced him with Adam Gase.

Oct. 30, 2019

Douglas abruptly replaced Mike Maccagnan as GM last June; by mid-autumn, the former Eagles exec was doing his due diligence in pursuit of improving the roster. Adams understood Douglas had a job to do, but he was nonetheless “hurt” that the front office would have entertained the thought of a trade.

“I hold myself at a high level. The Rams don’t take calls on Aaron Donald. The Patriots don’t take calls on Tom Brady,” he said post-deadline. 

But Douglas took calls on Adams, and it seems he’s on the phone again.

Nov. 13, 2019

Two weeks after the deadline, there came the “Jet for life” riff. Adams responded to team CEO Christopher Johnson stating his desire to keep Adams in green forever. Adams also vaguely expressed his belief that some larger forces were at play.
 
“It’s a bigger purpose, know what I mean?” he said. “People might not know why right now,  but I fully see it’s a bigger purpose, it’s bigger than me and I want to be a part of it.”

Adams helped spark the Jets to a 6-2 record in the second half of the season after a horrendous 1-7 start. He wound up with a second Pro Bowl nod and his first All-Pro selection. Surely, that effort was worth some money and long-term security.

Jan. 29, 2020

Adams told reporters that negotiations on a new contract had begun. He later clarified on Twitter that the discussions were “small” and the sides weren’t “in detailed talks yet.” Still, “Prez” was looking forward to getting paid.

“I fully expect to be extended this offseason. I want to be in New York!” he wrote.

Pretty good spot for a 24-year-old to be in.

May 20, 2020

Adams is more a “Jet for right now” than a “Jet for life” after Thursday’s leaks. Douglas said at his predraft media availability last month that he had let it be known “the plan would be for Jamal to be here long term,” but he also said he would listen if a team called about a possible trade.

Well, plans often change, and now Douglas may be doing some more talking on those calls that are supposedly coming in.

Was all this leakage an attempt to pull the relationship back to some middle or push it closer to the cliff? Could go either way.

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Nick Saban takes Alabama mascot to task in PSA to fight coronavirus

Alabama football coach Nick Saban is doing his part to promote social distancing and proper hygiene during the COVID-19 pandemic, even if that means he has to chew out a big fella who isn’t complying.

The unfortunate target of Saban’s “wrath”? Crimson Tide mascot Big AL.

Saban got his message across to the pachyderm in a public service announcement the football program posted Thursday on Twitter. Saban was joined in the spot by Jeff Allen, Alabama’s associate athletic director for sports medicine.

“All of us want to make sure we play football this fall,” a masked Saban said into a camera at the end of the PSA, “and to make that happen, we must be sure we stay at home if we have symptoms, wash our hands often, follow all social distancing guidelines, and please wear a mask anytime you’re around other people.”

Looking at how Saban delivered his line to Big AL, you best believe that mascot (and maybe a few humans, too) will heed the coach for the remainder of the pandemic.

The 2020 NCAA football season is still scheduled to begin Aug. 29, and Alabama is set to open Sept. 5 against USC in Arlington, Texas. There were reports, however, that Alabama may be exploring an alternate opponent, such as TCU, if the Trojans are unable to play because of the pandemic.

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