Harrison Butker Jersey

The Kansas City Chiefs signed their remaining unsigned exclusive rights and restricted free agents at the start of the offseason program.

Jordan Lucas, Justin Hamilton and Harrison Butker all signed one-year tenders on Monday as expected, per the NFL’s transaction report.

Butker is the most significant of these three signings. He’s been the starting kicker for the Chiefs during the past two seasons. As a former exclusive rights free agent, Butker is set to earn a salary of $645,000 in 2019, though he could still be signed to a long-term contract before mid-July.

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Lucas, appeared in all 16 games for the Chiefs last season. He’s been a favorite of Chiefs fans, and many thought he deserved more starting opportunities when the Chiefs struggled to find the right safety combination. He’ll have a chance to earn a more prominent role in 2019 with a new defensive coaching staff. Lucas’ tender is for significantly more because he was a restricted free agent. He was given a low-level tender based on his draft status and will earn just over $2 million on the 2019 season.

Hamilton is set to make the same salary as Butker. He is also an exclusive rights free agent. Hamilton appeared in just five NFL games with the Chiefs in 2018, but he did play a role in motivating Justin Houston during the final stretch of games to end the season. With the change to a 4-3 base defense, Hamilton’s role is unclear.

Another place that’s close to home for the Gould family: Green Bay. Could the Packers jettison Mason Crosby – who’s in the last year of his contract and has shown signs of decline the last few years – in favor of Gould? A few other teams close to Chicago either don’t need a kicker (the Colts have Adam Vinatieri, the Lions have Matt Prater, the Chiefs have Harrison Butker), don’t have the money to pull off a trade (the Vikings have just under $2 million in cap space) or don’t look ready to contend (the Bengals are…just kind of there).

The Browns could be a fit, given Gould’s proven ability to kick in poor weather and their designs on competing in 2019, though rookie Greg Joseph hit 85 percent of his kicks in 2018 and is inexpensive. So the question here: What would other teams offer for Gould? Better than a sixth-round pick? And how many teams would actually have interest?

Two generations of Kansas City Chiefs’ football collided at the Don Bosco Senior Center on Monday morning as kicker Harrison Butker and Hall of Fame kicker Jan Stenerud helped more than 180 local seniors ring in the new year.

It marked the sixth-consecutive year that the Chiefs visited the center during the holidays and the 18th consecutive year overall.

The visit came on the heels of Kansas City’s division-clinching victory over the Oakland Raiders a day prior, but the excitement from the night before didn’t hinder Butker’s desire to show up for those in his community.

“It’s important to give back. We’re given a great platform by playing in the NFL, and I love meeting people here in Kansas City,” Butker said. “[The senior center] is a special place to come hang out and meet some people that probably don’t get the attention that they deserve. It’s fun to get to know them and celebrate the new year.”

Butker shook hands, signed autographs and took pictures with the seniors before going on stage to read Bingo numbers, but the second-year kicker wasn’t the only one garnering a palpable level of fanfare at the center.

Stenerud, who played for the Chiefs from 1967-79 and was the first pure placekicker to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1991, was just as popular.

“As somebody who grew up in Kansas City as part of this generation and who has supported the Chiefs for a long time, it’s amazing to see a familiar face like Jan Stenerud,” said Anne Miller, the Senior Center Director. “Somebody even knew the answer when Jan asked what Lenny Dawson’s number was. They’re true supporters and they’re so excited for this young new group.”

Stenerud’s presence was also a welcome sight for the 23-year-old Butker, who connected on 24 of his 27 field goal attempts this season.

“I’ve met Jan a couple times. He’s obviously a Hall of Fame placekicker and just an amazing guy, both on and off the field,” Butker said. “I’m always glad to spend some time with him and to try and learn some things about kicking. The fact that he’s here made me want to be here even more.”

Sammy Watkins Jersey

When it comes to dynasty football leagues you know there is no offseason. Without the in-season worries of lineup setting and setting up waiver wire claims, dynasty league enthusiasts can focus their efforts on making trades to improve their teams and preparing for rookie drafts.

Today’s column will take a look at Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins. We will start off with an overview of the veteran and then take a look at analyzing his value in dynasty leagues. Then, to finish it off, we will propose some possible trades involving Watkins to give you some ideas for either buying or selling him.

For all discussions regarding Sammy Watkins’ dynasty value, let’s assume you are playing in a 12-team, one-quarterback dynasty league with PPR scoring. As always, player values can shift quickly in dynasty leagues so be sure to stay on top of the NFL news cycle when proposing trades.
Editor’s Note: Stay on top of our fantasy football analysis and NFL news all year round. Read our daily articles about risers and breakouts, 2019 redraft rankings, the NFL draft, dynasty leagues and much more. It’s always fantasy football season here.

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The Buffalo Bills traded up five spots in the 2014 NFL draft to take Sammy Watkins with the fourth overall pick. They paid a lot, sending the ninth overall pick and a future first and fourth to the Cleveland Browns to seal the deal. The trade looked good at first as Watkins played in 29 of 32 possible games in his first two seasons, catching 125 passes for 2,029 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played hurt for much of his third, and final, season in Buffalo. Watkins appeared in just eight games while playing through a foot issue.

The Bills then traded Watkins to the Rams after his third season instead of signing him to a contract extension when his rookie deal expired. Watkins was an afterthought in the Los Angeles offense, catching just 39 passes for 593 yards and eight touchdowns despite his 15 games played being the second-most of his career. Watkins was on the move again following the 2017 season, this time heading to the Kansas City Chiefs on a three-year deal. Watkins again struggled with injuries in 2018, playing in just 10 games. Despite the abbreviated season, Watkins almost matched his production from the year prior, catching 40 passes for 519 yards and three scores. He also showed the best efficiency of his career, hauling in 72.7% of his targets. That came after topping a 60% target conversion rate just once in the previous four seasons.

Watkins was on his way to another offseason as a low-end WR3 in dynasty until the unsettling Tyreek Hill news broke in mid-March. Now, with the possibility that Hill may face either legal action, punishment from the league, or both, Watkins has seen his dynasty ADP on Fantasy Football Calculator raise several rounds. While no one knows what, if anything, will happen to Hill, just the possibility is causing Watkins to gain some dynasty value. If Hill were to miss extended time with the Chiefs, Watkins would be elevated to the WR1 role in one of the top offenses in the league. On the other hand, Hill may very well be cleared of any wrongdoing, leaving Watkins where he was last season.

Let’s say Tyreek Hill is suspended by the NFL for being involved in whatever happened with his child — and as of now, we don’t know anything and it’s important to stress that — the Chiefs would be low on weapons. If the Chiefs did the same thing they did to Kareem Hunt to Hill — and Hill isn’t going to get the benefit of the doubt from his prior issues — then the Chiefs are running out of weapons. They’ll still have Travis Kelce, but there isn’t much after that.

Hunt is gone and they have permanently replaced him with Damien Williams. Williams played well in the playoffs, but he’s come into some season with high expectations before — during his time in Miami — and he didn’t do much. No one knows if he can translate his playoff success to a 16 game schedule. Carlos Hyde’s best days are behind him. The receiving corps would have Sammy Watkins as their top threat. Watkins can never stay healthy and it may be time to accept that he’s never going to play up to his expectations many people had for him when he was drafted. Sammie Coates or DeMarcus Robinson would be the No. 2 wide receiver.

Sure, the Chiefs scheme is great and Mahomes does things that we’ve never seen from the quarterback position, but even the greatest quarterbacks struggle with no-name wide receivers. Tom Brady is the exception since he dragged a Patriots teams with Reche Caldwell as their best-receiving threat, but the next year they revamped the entire offense. Look at what happened with Aaron Rodgers last year when he didn’t have any receiving threats. Mahomes can fling the ball around the field all he wants, but if his receivers don’t get open, that could lead to some turnovers. Turnovers are bad things.

For all of our sake, hopefully, Hill is not involved with anything that could get him suspended or cut. We got a year of seeing what Mahomes could do with weapons. There’s no reason to raise the degree of difficulty.

As Mayock himself might say, let’s look at the tape … or, at the very least, his previous mock drafts and accompanying thoughts on previous Raiders picks.

Almost as infamously as he gave Raiders 2009 second-rounder Mike Mitchell a seventh-round grade and apologized to him for it later, Mayock also famously said he would have taken Khalil Mack first overall in 2014 (he fell to the Raiders at No. 5 after, in order, Jadeveon Clowney, Greg Robinson, Blake Bortles and Sammy Watkins).

“You talk about a kid like Clowney, who’s just got superhuman abilities, versus this kid, and if I had a choice between the two, I think I’m taking Mack,” Mayock said at the time.

Anthony Hitchens Jersey

The Kansas City Chiefs lost more than just on-field talent when they decided to release linebacker Justin Houston and safety Eric Berry earlier this month. They also lost two leaders in the locker room whose presence could take some time to replace.

The answer to who will step up in a leadership role next season isn’t known quite yet, but Chiefs head coach Andy Reid thinks he’s got at least a few candidates available. Among them are recently-signed safety Tyrann Mathieu, defensive lineman Chris Jones, and linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Reggie Ragland.

“I think (Mathieu) coming in will help,” Reid said at this week’s NFL meetings in Phoenix, per Chiefs.com. “He’s got good leadership. As funny and all as Chris (Jones) is, he actually hustles and does those things in practice. He has a good way about him. He will do that. We will see how people develop. Both our inside linebackers (Hitchens, Ragland), both of those guys are good leaders. I’ve learned over time as guys leave, other guys step up. Sometimes it brings out a little different personality and you end up with good leadership from those guys.”

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Mathieu and Jones, as Reid mentioned, could be two players to watch. Both players have already shown willingness to take over the role — Jones via Twitter, and Mathieu during his introductory press conference on March 14 when he talked about stepping up in place of Berry.

“No doubt it will be huge shoes to fill, obviously,” Mathieu said. “Playing safety, coming from the SEC, I think Eric Berry was always a guy I admire. He gave me a ton of inspiration, especially all the adversity and things he’s dealt with. It would have been an honor to play with him. But ultimately I think anytime you can steer your own ship and get guys to believe in you and get guys to buy into you the way Eric did, I think that’s my plan.”

With the Chiefs undergoing a personnel and culture change on defense under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, players emerging as leaders could be an important step in turning around a unit that ranked second-to-last in the NFL last season. Mathieu is up for the task, both in terms of improving the defense and taking on the leadership void.

“That’s the challenge. I think that’s also part of the reason I’m here as well,” Mathieu said. “I think we all know what the offense can do. I think it’ll be my job to come in here, try to get some direction, try to give guys some motivation, some inspiration, and then be an everyday factor. I want to be the same guy I am in the weight room that I am in the football field. That’s what I’m really looking forward to bringing to this team, and like I said I’m going to try to do my best to do that every single day.”

“There will be really good football players that will be there at positions that you might kind of hope for,” promises COO Stephen Jones for the pick at 58.

Now it’s a matter of hitting, just as the Cowboys did with some of these guys: Connor Williams (50), Awuzie (60), Randy Gregory (60), DeMarco Murray (70), Tyrone Crawford (81), Maliek Collins (67) and Michael Gallup (81). And that’s looking back to just 2011.

In fact, let’s do this. Let’s look back at the last eight drafts. From those drafts, the Cowboys still have 27 players on their 90-man roster, and of those 27, 17 still are considered starters. In fact, the Cowboys did find 25 players from those eight drafts who started for a period of time, though some have moved on. Guys such as Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, Geoff Swaim, J.J. Wilcox, Morris Claiborne, Murray and though he didn’t start regularly, jack-of-all-trades Dwayne Harris.

Plus, those past eight drafts have produced nine Pro Bowl players: Leighton Vander Esch, Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Byron Jones, Martin, Lawrence, Frederick, Smith and Murray.

That means by adding significant draft input from head coach Jason Garrett and vice president of player personnel Will McClay to the Joneses’ over the past eight drafts, the Cowboys, through mostly the draft, have built a roster capable of stringing together four winning seasons in the past five years, three NFC East titles, only one losing season and an overall record of 72-56 and 2-3 in the playoffs – arguably seconds and a no-catch ruling away from becoming significantly better.

Go ahead, add me two potential starters next Friday. Not necessarily 2019 Day Oners, but get me another Collins or Gallup or Awuzie or Lawrence or Woods.

Guys to plug into key roles who just might … just might … grow into becoming a Murray or Jaylon Smith or Anthony Brown or Sean Lee if I may be allowed to go back to 2010 or, uh, for real, a Prescott.

The Players’ Tribune often tells some of the best behind-the-scenes stories in sports from the perspective of those that have lived it, and their recent profile on Kansas City Chiefs’ linebacker Anthony Hitchens is no different.

Hitchens’ path from suburban Cleveland to the NFL, which The Players’ Tribune detailed in a video feature, is a complicated one that likely wouldn’t have been possible without the compassion of a local family who agreed to take him in at a young age.

“Growing up before I met the Andersons, it was different,” Hitchens explained in the feature. “My family was in and out of jail, and I wanted something more in my life.”

The video explains how Hitchens met his soon-to-be best friend, Zach Anderson, in high school and not too long after, Hitchens spent an evening at the Anderson’s home.

“One night became two nights, and the next thing you know, I had clothes there,” Hitchens said.

The Andersons went on to adopt Hitchens and his brother, James, with the intent of raising the two boys as their own.

“When we look at James and Anthony, there is no difference between when I look at those two and when I look at [my biological sons] Chad and Zach,” said Brad Anderson, Hitchens’ adoptive father. “It’s always been that way.”

Kendall Fuller Jersey

It’s no secret that the Washington Redskins are in search of their future franchise quarterback. The Redskins front office have a handful of options within the 2019 draft class, including Kyler Murray, Drew Lock and Daniel Jones.

Even more notably, there’s Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins Jr., who is not only a projected Top 10 pick but started his journey to the NFL in the Redskins’ backyard.

Moving from New Jersey to the D.C. area to attend the Bullis School in Potomac, Md., if it wasn’t for former Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs, Haskins may not be where he is today.

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“He needed to play against better competition,” Springs said in NBC Sports Washington’s ‘I Am the Prospect’ feature after meeting Haskins at a young age at a passing camp in the Jersey area.

“So, one day I was just like, ‘Mr. Haskins you should come down to the Washington D.C. area and watch a football game,'” Springs said.

That football game between Good Council and Gilman included three players by the names of Stefon Diggs, who now plays for the Minnesota Vikings, Kendall Fuller, who plays for the Kansas City Chiefs, and Cyrus Jones, who plays for the Baltimore Ravens.

“I remember Dwayne just watching them, checking it out and he was just like,’is this college?,'”Springs said.

What built from there was a mentorship between Haskins Jr. and Springs that would last long past his days at the Bullis School.

Bunting presents an interesting player for the Chiefs because their positioning represents the bookends for his likely draft stock. Bunting is often considered one of the second-tier corners available in the draft—an unlikely first round prospect whose draft stock has soared in recent months. Consequently, Bunting could come off the board earlier in the second round. For the Chiefs, it means picking at or near the end of every round becomes problematic for a tweener value like Bunting.

The bottom line is that the Chiefs need to likely strike early if they really want Bunting. If Veach believes he’s going to provide some real talent and competition alongside Kendall Fuller, Bashaud Breeland, Tremon Smith and Charvarius Ward, then he needs to simply be decisive and take him. Then again this could be a good time to trade back and pick up an extra pick in the draft’s middle rounds, especially if it adds a pick on Day

“When Springs came into my life, I knew he was a person that can give me the keen insight of really giving Dwayne the opportunity to be in position to have a very effective role model and a mentor to steer us in the right direction if he had the ability to play at the next level,” Haskins Jr.’s father, Dwayne Haskins Sr. said.

Haskins would also follow in Springs’ footsteps playing at Ohio State, his dream school as a kid, after previously committing to the University of Maryland. In just one year as their starter, Haskins threw 50 touchdowns and claimed the school’s records for total offense in a single season (4,831), total passing yards in a game (470) and total offensive yards in a game (477) to name a few. That was enough for him to declare for the NFL Draft.

“I just shared my experience with him,” Springs said. “That was a decision that only he could make and that he could make with his family. I told him I would support him either way, I get it. And he was mature enough to make that decision.”

All of Haskins’ hard work will pay off in a little over a week when he receives a phone call from one of the 32 general managers around the league. Whether he lands back in the D.C. area or not, Springs is confident he’ll be able to contribute in the NFL for a very long time.

“Any team or organization that draft Dwayne will realize they got a franchise quarterback for the next 10 to 15 years,” Springs added.

The Kansas City Chiefs continue to host NFL Draft prospects in anticipation of the big event at the end of April. On Wednesday, the team hosted Central Michigan cornerback Sean Bunting at Arrowhead Stadium for a pre-draft visit.

The Chiefs have been linked to Bunting already this offseason, not only in mock drafts done by NFL analysts, but the team has also checked him out at CMU’s pro day as one of several teams on hand.

Eric Murray Jersey

The Browns announced Monday afternoon that defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah has been traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for safety Eric Murray. The Chiefs also announced the transaction.

Ogbah did not report Monday for the start of the Browns’ voluntary offseason workout program while the Browns actively pursued a trade partner, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported earlier.

With Ogbah, the Chiefs land an experienced player for a retooled defensive front as the team transitions from a 3-4 base defense to a 4-3 front under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. In three seasons with the Browns, Ogbah started 40 games and totaled 122 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 29 quarterback hits.

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The Chiefs previously signed defensive end Alex Okafor during free agency and the additions of Okafor and Ogbah come after Kansas City parted ways with outside linebackers Justin Houston, who later signed a free-agent deal with the Indianapolis Colts, and Dee Ford, whom the Chiefs traded to the San Francisco 49ers.

Meanwhile, Cleveland gets a player Dorsey knows well. Murray entered the league in 2016 as a fourth-round draft pick with the Chiefs while Dorsey served as the general manager.

The 25-year-old Murray, a converted college cornerback, provides versatility on the back end of coverage and replaces safety Derrick Kindred, who was released earlier Monday.

On his three-year career, Murray has appeared in 45 games with 11 starts, totaling 72 tackles, a sack, an interception and seven passes defensed.

Strong safety has been interesting for the Browns this off-season. They traded Jabrill Peppers to the New York Giants as part of the deal for wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. At that point, the starting job was believed to be in the hands of Derrick Kindred, who was released in the days to follow. General Manager John Dorsey acquired safety Eric Murray from the Kansas City Chiefs and signed veteran Morgan Burnett. Those additions do not preclude Cleveland from taking a long-term replacement early. Murray is best known for his special teams prowess.

The team also has pressing needs at outside linebacker and cornerback. There is potential to address the tight end, running back, defensive tackle and the offensive line positions. While there are capable starters on the roster at each of those positions, the team could benefit from building depth.

The Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs agreed to a trade on Monday afternoon, which will send safety Eric Murray to Cleveland and Emmanuel Ogbah to Kansas City.

This deal makes a decent amount of sense for both sides in terms of need, as the Browns recently traded starting safety Jabril Peppers to the New York Giants as a part of the Odell Beckham Jr. trade and also released Derrick Kindred earlier this week. The Browns were also the worst special teams unit in the NFL last season by quite a distance, and Murray has been terrific there in the past, earning an 86.4 special teams grade as a rookie in 2016 which was worth about a fifth of a win above replacement. While Murray has mostly struggled along with the Chiefs’ defense over the past two years, allowing a 103.6 passer rating into his coverage and committing nine penalties, he’s likely to offer value as a reserve if he doesn’t end up starting.

The Chiefs, fresh off of acquiring the multi-talented safety Tyrann Mathieu early in free agency after drafting Armani Watts in the fourth round a season ago, have been in the market for new (and different) edge players in new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s new scheme. They jettisoned franchise tag recipient Dee Ford last month while acquiring Alex Okafor in free agency, and while Okafor promises to be a more complete player than Ogbah, whose career has been in decline since a decent rookie year in 2016, he has had his moments during his first three years in Cleveland having mostly played on the left side of the defensive line the last two (Okafor has mostly played on the right side).

Ogbah has tallied 98 pressures and 62 stops since being selected at the top of the second round in 2016, and he will compete with two other second-rounders looking to improve on underwhelming starts to their career in Tanoh Kpassagnon and Breeland Speaks. With their biggest need being cornerback in the upcoming draft, the Chiefs have put themselves in a position where they don’t have to reach and draft for bodies along the defensive line later this month, only opting for edge talent should it offer substantial value relative to when they end up selecting.

While this move will not move the needle with respect to win totals or Super Bowl odds, it’s a sign that both teams are past the phase of developing their identity as a football team during the 2019 offseason, and are focused on fortifying their depth at positions of need.

Prisco regraded all 32 draft classes from 2016 for a feature posted to CBS Sports on Monday. The Chiefs drafted nine players in 2016, and only four of them are still on the team. But two of them — Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill — have developed into high-end players. The presence of Jones and Hill as well as the successful trade the Chiefs made out of Round 1 (pick 28, pick 249 to San Francisco for pick 37, pick 105, and pick 178) pushed Prisco to upgrade his original grade of B-minus to an A.

“They traded their first-round pick to the 49ers for three picks,” wrote Prisco. “That gave them nine picks in the draft. They hit big on two of them. Second-round defensive tackle Chris Jones is a rising star. Fifth-round receiver Tyreek Hill is already a star. Fourth-round safety Eric Murray has started at times and fifth-round receiver Demarus Robinson has been a contributor. They missed on third-round corner KeiVarae Russell.”

Terrance Smith Jersey

It didn’t take Saint Vincent long to find a new men’s basketball coach to replace D.P. Harris, who left March 7 to coach at NAIA St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens, Fla.

After receiving more than 100 applicants, Saint Vincent officials trimmed the list to six finalists and then to three before hiring an assistant coach from Harris’ staff.

Terrance Smith, a 2001 Saint Vincent graduate and a current faculty member, was named the program’s head coach Friday. He spent the past five seasons as an assistant.

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He was the school’s leading scorer until Tony Washam passed him in 2001.

“With Terrance Smith as head men’s basketball coach, we look forward to continue the winning ways of Bearcat basketball,” Saint Vincent President Br. Norman Hipps said.

Smith is a native of Raleigh, N.C. who grew up in Sharon and then played high school basketball in Westerville, Ohio.

At Saint Vincent, Smith was a two-time NAIA All-American for the Bearcats and still ranks as the team’s second-leading scorer of all time. He scored 1,819 points from 1997-2001. He played for the late Bernie Matthews.

“I am extremely excited about this opportunity,” Smith said. “This is my alma mater. This is where I played. I’m overwhelmed with the support that I’ve received, and I’m very appreciative of the opportunity. This is a successful program and a wonderful place.

“I learned a lot from Coach Matthews and Coach Harris. I observed how they handled things and will adopt some of that to my style. At the end of the day we’re a different coach and different personality.”

When it comes to recruiting, Smith won’t be changing a lot. He said what Saint Vincent has done over the years has worked.

“We’re looking for a hard worker, someone who is just as dedicated to academics and athletics,” Smith said. “Academics are first. We want someone committed to both.

“We’re going to look wherever. We’ll try to hit the local areas harder than we’ve done in the past, but not going to limit our areas. Florida is a good area for us, and we want keep that.”

Smith served as a member of the U.S. Army. He served in both Iraq and Afghanistan as part of a 12-year military career.

There he learned about discipline, something he will demand from his players.

During the course of his time in the military, he earned a number of medals and ribbons, including a Meritorious Service Medal, multiple Army Commendations and Army Achievement Medals and Iraq and Afghanistan Campaign Medals with Combat Stars.

Smith earned an master’s degree in project management from Grantham University, and his DBA in project management from Walden University.

Smith serves as an assistant professor for the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government, primarily in the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program. He is also the director of the Kennametal Center for Operational Excellence (KCOE) program on campus.

“Working at Saint Vincent and with our team for the past five years naturally helps with the familiarity with the players,” Smith said. “The relationships we’ve already built will be important in this process. The expectations remain the same as always, to win the conference and get to the NCAA Tournament.”

“We were a little too focused on them, whereas we should have been more focused on what we had been doing all season,” Paden admitted. “Defensively, we totally fell apart. Offensively, it was the most we’ve scored all season.”

Paden’s coaching staff includes former teammate Sharee Daniels, Sara Miller (who graduated last year) and Terrance Smith.

“They were all great, a perfect combination,” Paden said. “Sara Miller motivated the girls and helped out a lot during times of adversity. For her to have just played with these girls last year and now on the coaching staff it really showed her love and dedication to our program and is a great example of how we are so family oriented. Our alumni come back and not only visit, but help to contribute to the future of our program.

“Sharee Daniels being there really brought back a lot of memories for us and we were able to share stories from our own FDR experiences with the ladies. At times we would even have to calm ourselves down, because we would sometimes think we wanted it more than them. We had to redirect that energy and figure out ways for them to want it just as bad as us, if not more.

“Terrance brought somewhat of a militant vibe to our practices and games, but it was great. (It was) just what we needed, especially in the very beginning of the season. He did a great job with helping me whip these girls into shape in the weight room and in conditioning practices. He’s very animated and vocal, so his energy always automatically excites the girls and gets them going.”

The Presidents are excited at the prospects for next season. Eight players will return, include three starters. Roosevelt will get an added boost for next year with an invitation to the prestigious Nike Tournament of Champions Dec. 18-21 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“Next year, the potential is endless,” Paden said. “I want to continue to build the program and instill in these young ladies to just fight, stay focused, work hard in the classroom and on the court and go after their dreams. Anything is possible if we put the work in.”

Xavier Williams Jersey

Sean Lewis threw one last wrinkle at his Kent State football team before closing the 2019 spring practice season.

Two days after turning in an encouraging overall performance at their annual Spring Game, the Golden Flashes were back on the field for one last practice session Tuesday morning at Dix Stadium.

“After the Spring Game you have a natural tendency to relax because it’s typically the end (of spring drills),” said Lewis, Kent State’s second-year mentor. “We did some really good things on Saturday, had some areas that we were really pleased with. But now are you going to be complacent and not come to work (Tuesday), or are you going to be good with our work on Saturday but still know that day is done and now you’ve got to come out and perform today?”

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Lewis was content with the answer he received on Tuesday.

“It took us a little bit to get going, but I was really pleased with the overall effort and attitude,” said Lewis. “It was a solid work day — a good, tough Tuesday.”

Tuesday’s practice was heavy on situations, tempo and contact. No player enjoyed the latter more that Craig Elmore, a bruising 5-foot-9, 227-pound redshirt freshman running back who rambled for 96 yards on 16 carries in Saturday’s offense vs. defense scrimmage.

There’s nothing fancy about Elmore’s style. The Chicago native simply runs straight ahead as hard as he can until he encounters a defender, then keeps his massive legs pumping after contact until the pile of defenders he’s collected finally forces him to the ground.

“He runs with an edge,” Lewis smiled. “I’ve known his family for a very long time. I recruited his older brother (Chris, who played at Syracuse when Lewis was an assistant coach). Craig’s a lunchpail kind of guy, comes to work every day and does things the right way. And he’s hard to bring down.”

Lewis has surrounded junior quarterback Woody Barrett with a wide variety of weapons. The Flashes have a speedy back in Xavier Williams to complement physical runners Jo-El Shaw, Will Matthews and Elmore. They’ve also upgraded their size at wide receiver considerably, and now have four targets standing 6-3 or taller (6-5 Keenan Orr, 6-3 Javaughn Williams, 6-3 Isaiah McKoy, 6-4 LonKevious McFadden) along with veteran speedsters Mike Carrigan, Antwan Dixon and Kavious Price.

“I want to be a spice rack, so when it comes time to cook it’s not all just salt,” said Lewis. “We can do things in different ways, so based on the day we have — whether it’s a beautiful sunny day, a snowy day in Buffalo, or anything in between — we can still be productive.”

Barrett has been much more effective himself as the entrenched starter in his second spring under Lewis.

“I’ve grown a lot, making better reads, seeing the defense better,” said Barrett following Saturday’s Spring Game. “Just knowing what everybody’s doing pre-snap is helping me a lot. Everything’s clicking right now. Great things are going to happen this year.”

Lewis sees similar progress being made on the defensive side of the football.

“Last year guys didn’t really have an understanding of what their job and their role was, so there were times when they didn’t understand where they needed to be,” said Lewis. ”(Kent State defensive coordinator Tom) Kaufman and his staff have done a tremendous job of giving those guys a better understanding of what’s going on and how to execute the calls that are being made.”

The Flashes will now turn their attention to school for the next three weeks.

“We’ll still train, but the emphasis will be on making sure we finish out the (winter) semester strong,” said Lewis. “Then they’ll have a few weeks off before summer conditioning starts on June 10. We’ll roll through the summer, then they’ll report to training camp around July 31.”

Kent State opens the 2019 season Thursday, Aug. 29, at Arizona State.

As soon as the final post-spring accolades were divvied out, and talented freshman receiver John Metchie was handed the Dixie Howell Memorial MVP award, clusters of Alabama players gathered at midfield for some playful trash talk.

Quietly and without any pomp or circumstance, Tua Tagovailoa approached his younger brother and handed Taulia Tagovailoa the Sylvester Croom Commitment to Excellence Award he’d just received.

Whether it was a proverbial passing of the torch, a simple gesture of encouragement or some big brother-little brother rite of passage, the moment spoke far louder than any public declaration of support between either of the two competitive siblings from Hawaii.

In fact, the elder Tagovailoa — Alabama’s unquestioned starting quarterback and the Heisman Trophy runner-up from last season — has done his best to remove any perception of favoritism within the Crimson Tide quarterback room, where Taulia is one of two freshman early enrollees four months into their tenures in Tuscaloosa.

And following Saturday’s annual A-Day inter-squad spring game inside Bryant-Denny Stadium – a 31-17 win for the White team, which was quarterbacked by sophomore backup Mac Jones and the younger Tagovailoa – the gunslinging big brother again provided a little positive reinforcement and a critique when asked about Taulia’s lone touchdown pass in the game.

“I thought that was a nice ball, that was a good ball, on the run, it looked pretty natural, looked nice,” Tua said of Taulia’s 29-yard third-quarter scoring strike in which the right-handed Taulia was flushed to his left and threw across his body to sophomore receiver Jaylen Waddle, who caught the ball near his ankles in the far left corner of the end zone. “I thought that (Taulia) could’ve gotten it up and made the catch a lot easier, but I thought that it was a tremendous catch by Jaylen Waddle.”

While the first-team offense struggled with consistency Saturday, including the elder Tagovailoa completing 19-of-37 passes for 265 yards and a single touchdown – a 54-yard pass to Jerry Jeudy with 2:10 left in the scrimmage, the White team offense of Jones and Taulia proved efficient enough, combining to throw for 364 yards and three touchdowns on 25-of-32 passing with two interceptions.

Jones, the current favorite to backup Tua Tagovailoa next season just based on seniority, was particularly impressive after bouncing back from a first-quarter interception to complete 10 straight passes and 17 of his next 20 passes for 248 of his 271 yards and two second-quarter touchdowns of 29- and 22-yards to Kedrick James and Xavier Williams.

“I thought Mac did fine,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “The good news is that’s one of the biggest things that Mac has to learn to overcome is when he has a bad play he kind of hangs onto it for awhile and he doesn’t always go to the next play. And I think he did that well today.”

For his part, Taulia Tagovailoa was also efficient, completing 6-of-9 passes for 93 yards while working behind Jones, including his third-quarter touchdown to Waddle and a second-quarter interception to second-year safety Eddie Smith on his second pass of the game.

“Obviously there was some anxiety out there, … but I thought he did some things well,” Saban said of Taulia. “I think he’s sort of naturally instinctive, made some quick decisions. … But these guys have to learn, grow and develop, and we’ll just continue to work with them. We’re excited to have them all here and think that they can improve and become pretty good players for us.”

Meanwhile, the elder Tagovailoa was far more critical of his own performance Saturday, acknowledging it wasn’t anywhere close to the standard he’d set since overtaking now-former Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts as the starter prior to last season.

“Um, definitely not. There was a lot of miscommunication with me and the receivers, and got to get everybody set up as far as the O-line as well,” Tagovailoa said. “So sometimes we’re going to have miscommunications, but I’m glad we’re having it now than in the season.”

While admittedly handcuffed thanks to a watered-down playbook, Tua Tagovailoa was uncharacteristically off-the-mark on several of his throws Saturday and didn’t get much help with a handful of dropped passes plaguing the first-team offense throughout the scrimmage.

But while big brother Tagovailoa is safe in his place as the Crimson Tide’s starting quarterback, the performances by Jones and Taulia have opened up the debate regarding his backup next season, even if Saban did his best to downplay any potential overreactions to Saturday’s second-team performances.

“Look, these spring games, don’t read too much into them. The good guys played against the good guys,” Saban said. “So the coverage was tighter, the tackling was better — everything was better when the 1s were playing against the 1s. When the 2s were playing against the 2s, not quite so much. … Mac (Jones and Taulia Tagovailoa) played well, (they) took advantage of those situations, but I don’t think you can read too much into how guys did in the game.”

Jordan Lucas Jersey

Restricted free agent safety Jordan Lucas as well as exclusive rights free agent kicker Harrison Butker and defensive tackle Justin Hamilton are officially under contract with the Chiefs for another season after signing their tenders on Monday, according to Pro Football Talk.

Lucas, who played in all 16 games last season, was given an original round tender by the Chiefs in March. His decision to sign the tender puts him under contract at $2.025 million for 2019. Being a restricted free agent, Lucas had the ability to seek out offers from other teams, which the Chiefs would have had the option to match. If they chose not to match, they would have been sent a sixth-round draft pick from Lucas’ new team in return.

As exclusive rights free agents, Butker and Hamilton were not allowed to negotiate with other teams once the Chiefs extended a tender offer, which made their return all but a certainty. Refusal to sign the tender would have required Butker and Hamilton to sit out the season. Both players are due for salaries of $645,000 next season, according to OverTheCap.com.

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Lucas (6-0, 190) is in his fourth season after being selected by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Penn State. The Chiefs acquired him in a trade before the 2018 season in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in 2020, after which he was at first expected to fill primarily a special teams and reserve role. But injuries to other safeties presented him with the opportunity to play a more significant part than expected, as he wound up making his first four NFL starts and totaled 32 tackles in 16 regular season games with one sack and one interception. Lucas also was a starter in Kansas City’s Divisional Round playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts and was on the field the following week in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.

Butker (6-4, 205), who entered the league in 2017 as a seventh-round draft pick of the Carolina Panthers out of Georgia Tech, has been one of the best kickers in the AFC since the Chiefs signed him off the Panthers’ practice squad early in the 2017 season. Butker has connected on 62-of-69 field goal opportunities and 93-of-97 point after opportunities in his two seasons in Kansas City and was 2-for-2 on field goals and 8-for-8 on extra points during the 2018 postseason.

Hamilton (6-2, 315) has spent time with multiple NFL teams since joining the league as an undrafted signing of the Buffalo Bills in 2015. Hamilton, who played his college ball at Louisiana Tech, has seen stints with the Packers, Seahawks and Eagles in addition to the Bills before landing in Kansas City in 2017. He’s appeared in eight NFL games (five with Kansas City and three with Philadelphia) and has three tackles and 0.5 sacks.

It’s understandable to look for another name on the transaction wire. Given the level of defensive needs and the amount of talent that has already exited the team this offseason, it feels like the Kansas City Chiefs should be adding another name or two each passing week in free agency. That might be the case at other positions, but when it comes to safeties, Brett Veach’s work should be done—at least for now.

The Chiefs general manager should feel good about his base of safeties heading into the draft despite the brow-raising release of star safety Eric Berry. The reality is that the Chiefs have three holdovers who are well-known by the holdover coaching staff in Eric Murray, Dan Sorensen, and Jordan Lucas. That’s a nice core of backups with starting potential who was kept around for a reason.

Jordan Lucas was presented with an original round tender offer by the Kansas City Chiefs before the start of free agency on Wednesday, according to a tweet from NFL insider Adam Caplan.

Lucas, who played in all 16 games as a safety with the Chiefs last season, now has until April 19 to sign offer sheets. Signing the Chiefs’ tender would put him under contract at $2.025 million for the 2019 season. He’ll be able to receive offers from other teams in the meantime, which the Chiefs will have the right to match. If the Chiefs choose not to match an offer, they would receive a sixth-round pick in exchange.

Lucas (6-0, 190) is in his fourth season after being selected by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Penn State. The Chiefs acquired him in a trade before the 2018 season in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in 2020, after which he was at first expected to fill primarily a special teams and reserve role. But injuries to other safeties presented him with the opportunity to play a more significant part than expected, as he wound up making his first four NFL starts and totaled 32 tackles in 16 regular season games with one sack and one interception. Lucas also was a starter in Kansas City’s Divisional Round playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts and was on the field the following week in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.

Special teams is primarily where Lucas played during his days with the Dolphins. After playing 79 total snaps as a rookie in 2016 — all on special teams — Lucas totaled 182 special teams snaps and 29 defensive snaps in 2017. Lucas was listed as a third-teamer at strong safety before the trade, behind Pro Bowler Reshad Jones and Maurice Smith. Given the amount of talent the Dolphins have at the safety position (Jones, Minkah Fitzpatrick, T.J. McDonald, Walt Aikens), Lucas would have had a hard time making the 53-man roster in Miami had the trade not been made.

Lucas played four seasons at Penn State, totaling 181 tackles, three interceptions, 25 passes defensed, 11 tackles for loss, and four sacks. After making one tackle in 12 games as a true freshman for the Nittany Lions in 2012, Lucas made 65 tackles, 13 passes defensed, three interceptions, and two forced fumbles for the Nittany Lions as a sophomore. He followed it up with 59 tackles, two sacks, nine passes defensed, and four tackles for loss as a junior and 34 tackles, one sack and 2.5 tackles for loss as a senior, a season that was shortened due to injury.

If he returns to the Chiefs in 2019, Lucas will join a safety group that for now includes Tyrann Mathieu, Armani Watts, Daniel Sorensen, and Eric Murray. Mathieu is a lock to fill one starting spot, but the other could be up for grabs once training camp arrives. It’s also possible that the Chiefs decide to add more help at the safety position as the offseason proceeds.

Damien Williams Jersey

It is never too early to start planning for the next fantasy football draft. At this point, most free agents have signed with their new teams, and only minor changes in rankings will occur for players. Unlike the past few seasons, there are no top running backs projected in this year’s rookie draft class. That means it is the perfect time to start ranking out running backs to target for the next fantasy season.

This is part two of a four-part series that separates the running back class into four tiers and counts down to the top back.

Kansas City Chiefs running back Damien Williams could be one of the highest risk/reward backs this season. Coming into 2018, Williams was the number three back on the roster. However, after Kareem Hunt was cut by the Chiefs for an off-field incident, he moved up the depth chart quickly. Spencer Ware initially took over the starting job, starting weeks 13 and 14. However, he was injured in week 14, and Williams took over from there.

Williams performed much better than expectations. In two of three regular-season games he started, he had over 100 yards from scrimmage. In two postseason games, Williams put up 154 yards, and then 99 scrimmage yards. He certainly looks the part, but there are a few things that might hold him.

The most obvious question is Williams’ lack of playing time. Since he has only started five games, there are questions on how he will handle a full season workload. In fact, Williams might not even get a full workload, since the Chiefs also signed Carlos Hyde. Hyde looked good during his time with the San Francisco 49ers, but he was often injured.

Hyde signed with the Cleveland Browns in the last offseason but was traded the Jacksonville Jaguars midway through the season. He looked good during his time with the Browns but was ineffective with the Jaguars. A lot of Williams workload will depend on what version of Hyde shows up to the Chiefs. If he looks good, this could quickly become a running back by committee (RBBC), limiting Williams’ potential.

Midway through last season, Derrick Henry was starting to look like a bust for the Tennessee Titans. At week eight, Henry was ranked as the RB49 in standard scoring leagues, averaging a measly 5.5 points-per-game. However, Dion Lewis wasn’t doing much better. He was the RB35, and barely rosterable.

However, Henry had an awakening towards the end of the season. From weeks nine to 17, Henry shot up to the RB4 ranking. However, he really didn’t break out until week 14. Henry made the Jaguars defense look like a pop-warner team, bulldozing through them for 238 yards and four touchdowns.

Former Kansas City Chiefs running back Spencer Ware took a free agent visit to the Indianapolis Colts Tuesday, according to the list of visits mentioned on the league transaction report.

Ware (5-10, 229) is in the process of trying to find his next NFL contract after reaching free agency on March 13. If the Colts signed Ware, he’d add depth to a running back group that currently includes Marlon Mack, Nyheim Hines, Jordan Wilkins, and Jonathan Williams. Ware has familiarity with Colts general manager Chris Ballard, who was an executive with the Chiefs before coming to Indianapolis.

Ware, 27, is in his sixth NFL season after being selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of LSU. He lasted just one season with the Seahawks, in which he had three carries for 10 yards, then eventually caught on with the Chiefs in late 2014. Ware began to see playing time in 2015 and had 72 carries for 403 yards and six touchdowns in 11 games, then he took over the starting spot in 2016, rushing for 921 yards and three touchdowns while catching 33 passes for 447 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games.

Ware headed towards the 2017 season as the expected starter at running back, although Kareem Hunt was looming in the rear view mirror after the Chiefs traded up to select him in Round 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft. But Ware’s path took a significant detour during a preseason game against the Seahawks last August when he suffered a significant knee injury that ended his 2017 season and opened the door for Hunt to establish himself as the starter the Kansas City backfield.

Ware’s knee injury, which included damage to his PCL and LCL, was unusual and required an extensive amount of time for recovery, but he worked his way back to being in a position to play in the 2018 preseason and wound up being the number two back over Damien Williams and Darrel Williams.

“There was a question exactly whether he’d be able to come back from that injury,” Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of Ware on November 12. “That was a pretty tough injury to come back from. But you know the kid, you go, ‘Well, if anybody can do it, he can do this.’ He bared down, got after it, and Rick [Chiefs vice president of sports medicine and performance Rick Burkholder] and the trainers worked with him, and he was here every day doing his thing and very diligent with it. So when he goes out and plays, you go ‘whoa’ and he’s able to score a touchdown. That’s a great thing. The last couple weeks, he’s played good football. You see where he’s more confident here each week here that he’s playing.”

After the Chiefs decided to release Hunt due to off-field issues in November of 2018, Ware took over the starting role for a brief time before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the final three games of the regular season. He finished the 2018 season with 51 carries for 246 yards and two touchdowns, along with 224 receiving yards on 20 catches. There hasn’t been much hint of interest publicly on the Chiefs’ end in re-signing Ware, who if he stayed in Kansas City would be competing for a spot with Damien Williams, Darrel Williams and free agent signing Carlos Hyde.

Tyrann Mathieu Jersey

The Kansas City Chiefs announced on Thursday that the club has signed free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu.

“Tyrann’s a player we’ve had our eyes on for a while now, and we’re excited about him joining our team,” Chiefs General Manager Brett Veach said. “He’s versatile and tough, with a lot of playmaking ability. He’ll be a great addition to our secondary.”

“Brett and his staff did a tremendous job working to get Tyrann here in Kansas City,” Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid said. “He’s a talented player and very physical on the football field. We are excited to get started working with him this offseason.”

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Mathieu (5-9, 190) has played in 82 games (73 starts) in six NFL seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17) and Houston Texans (2018). His career numbers include 392 tackles (348 solo), 33 tackles for loss, 7.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He has tallied 13 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown and 49 passes defensed. Mathieu was named to the Pro Bowl and earned first-team all-pro honors following the 2015 season when he notched 89 tackles (80 solo), 1.0 sack, 17 passes defensed, one forced fumble and five interceptions.

Nicknamed “Honey Badger,” Mathieu originally entered the NFL as a third-round selection (69th overall) of the Arizona Cardinals in the 2013 NFL Draft. He played collegiately at LSU. The New Orleans, Louisiana, native, prepped at St. Augustine High School.

In a recent interview with Sirius XM radio, safety Tyrann Mathieu spoke about leaving the Houston Texans in free agency and joining the Kansas City Chiefs.

For Mathieu, the decision-making process came down to how he would be used on the field, and apparently the veteran liked what he heard from Andy Reid and his staff.

“When Kansas City called, it was a great deal,” said Mathieu. “I felt like it was one I really couldn’t turn down. Obviously they have a great program. Those guys were in the championship game last year. They got a lot of great pieces on our team, and so talking with Coach Reid and talking with Spags [about] their plan for me and how they’re going to use me really sold me on those guys.”

Spags refers to Steve Spagnuolo, the new defensive coordinator for the Chiefs hired this offseason to replace Bob Sutton, who had been in place for six seasons. Spagnuolo’s arrival signaled a complete overhaul for the defense, a plan that caused the Chiefs to release Justin Houston, trade Dee Ford, cut Eric Berry and sever ties with several other former defenders.

The team’s vision for Mathieu likely rivals their long-term hopes for Eric Berry these last two seasons as the dynamic, versatile playmaker in the secondary they’ve been missing. Unfortunately, Berry has dealt with numerous injuries and has missed the bulk of the last two years.

Earl Thomas signed with the Baltimore Ravens on a massive four-year deal for $55 million later on in free agency, which was widely considered a great move by the Ravens.

Fast forward a couple days, and news came out during Thomas’ introductory interview with that Baltimore Ravens that he had been expecting to sign with the Kansas City Chiefs on a one or two-year deal before the Ravens came in with the huge offer.

This led to conversations among Chiefs fans about when this deal was in place, and if Kansas City saw Thomas instead of Tyrann Mathieu or in addition to Tyrann Mathieu.

Then there was Peter King’s article, “Football Morning in America,” Monday morning, which had this nugget:

Earl Thomas was prepared, with regrets, to accept a one-year guaranteed contract worth $12 million, with $1 million in likely-to-be-earned incentives, with an undisclosed team Wednesday morning. That team, I am told, was sure it had Thomas, whose market had never materialized the way safety markets developed for Landon Collins, Tyrann Mathieu and Adrian Amos. Then the Ravens swooped in, knowing they had to overpay to break up the other deal. “The Ravens were never in the picture,” Thomas told me Thursday. “I was shocked. I was blessed.” In the span of two hours and 10 minutes, the Ravens and Thomas’ agents worked out a four-year, $55-million deal. Moral of the story: It only takes one. And it doesn’t take long.

Although it is not confirmed that the Kansas City Chiefs were that “undisclosed team” listed at the top, coming on the heels of Thomas claiming he thought he was going to be a Chief, it’s a short jump to make.

The Chiefs were apparently hours away from having both Tyrann Mathieu and Earl Thomas.

It’s a fairly sure thing that Tyrann Mathieu won’t be utilized in one specific role based upon how everyone in the organization has talked about him up to this point.

It’s also an easy dot to connect that there were plans to play him down in the box had a few more free agency moves fell into place.

Thinking about those happenings, past performance numbers and quotes that I am certainly reading far too into given this time of year, if I were to pick one position for Mathieu to play most of his snaps at, it would be as a box or strong safety.

Mathieu’s ability to see the hole field from up close, athleticism to cover sideline to sideline, and playmaking ability when near the LoS is too much to ignore. Mathieu is an aggressive player who sounds like he wants to play that way moving forward, and the Chiefs should ultimately allow him to do so.