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Cam Newton looks finished as starting QB in NFL – Yahoo Canada Sports

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The Canadian Press

Sidelined stars fill out roster for NFL’s All-Absent Team

NEW YORK — Big names with huge impacts — by not playing.The NFL could put together a talent-packed all-star team of players who missed most or all of this season because of significant injuries or coronavirus opt-outs.From Dak Prescott to Christian McCaffrey to Saquon Barkley to Odell Beckham Jr., this All-Absent Team has enough star power and playmakers that it might beat some actual NFL squads — the Jets and Jaguars? — right now.Bad shoulders, knees and all.Here’s a position-by-position look at this year’s star-studded squad, which includes players who have participated in half of their team’s games or less this season — while also likely ruining some fantasy owners’ fortunes in the process:QUARTERBACK— Dak Prescott, Cowboys. He was off to a fast start, becoming the first player in NFL history to pass for at least 450 yards in three straight games. But he suffered a compound fracture and dislocated right ankle in Week 5 against the Giants and missed the rest of the season. Prescott signed a $31.4 million franchise tag before the season, and the Cowboys can do so again this off-season if they don’t agree to a long-term deal.— Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers. A year ago, Jimmy G was leading San Francisco on a Super Bowl run. Now, there are questions about his future with the 49ers. Garoppolo played just six games because of two high ankle sprains, and wasn’t playing particularly well when he was healthy. He’s scheduled to count $26.9 million against San Francisco’s salary cap next season and $27 million in 2022.RUNNING BACK— Christian McCaffrey, Panthers. The 2019 All-Pro was a popular No. 1 overall pick among fantasy owners, and for good reason. He was the third player to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season and it earned him a four-year, $64 million contract extension that made him the highest-paid running back in NFL history. But he was limited to six games, first because of a high ankle sprain, then a shoulder sprain and then a hip ailment.— Saquon Barkley, Giants. His season lasted just six quarters as he tore the ACL in his right knee in Week 2 against Chicago and had the meniscus repaired, too. His loss was a big blow to first-year coach Joe Judge and quarterback Daniel Jones — and those who drafted him high in their fantasy leagues.— Joe Mixon, Bengals. Cincinnati was excited about teaming the running back with No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow. But both got hurt and ended the season on IR. Mixon played only six games because of a foot injury.WIDE RECEIVER— Odell Beckham Jr., Browns. Cleveland has a chance to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002, and could do it without one of the league’s most dynamic receivers. Beckham played in only seven games before a torn ACL put him on the sideline for the rest of the season.— Julian Edelman, Patriots. The 2019 Super Bowl MVP had 13 catches for 236 yards in his first two games before slowing considerably with just eight receptions in his next four games. Edelman was placed on IR with a knee injury on Oct. 31 and won’t be back this season — and maybe not again for New England. The 34-year-old receiver could be an off-season cap casualty.— Courtland Sutton, Broncos. He had a breakout second season last year with 72 receptions for 1,112 yards and six touchdowns. But Sutton missed the season opener with a shoulder injury, returned in Week 2 and had three catches before tearing an ACL.TIGHT END— George Kittle, 49ers. He returned last week and had four catches for 92 yards after missing six games with a broken foot. He also sat out the first two games with a knee injury, so it has been a bit of a lost season for the league’s highest-paid tight end.OFFENSIVE LINE— Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, guard, Chiefs. The first NFL player to opt out for the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Coming off a Super Bowl win, Duvernay-Tardiff — who has a doctorate in medicine — worked at a long-term care facility during the pandemic.— Larry Warford, guard, Free Agent. He was one of the most sought-after offensive linemen after being released by New Orleans in the off-season, but decided instead to opt out over COVID-19 concerns.—Mike Pouncey, centre, Chargers. The four-time Pro Bowl selection missed the entire season after having hip surgery in September.— Tyron Smith, offensive tackle, Cowboys. The two-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl pick played in only two games before having season-ending surgery on his neck.— Nate Solder, offensive tackle, Giants. Another O-lineman who opted out due to family concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.— Taylor Lewan, offensive tackle, Titans. The three-time Pro Bowl selection was lost for the season when he tore an ACL in Week 6.DEFENSIVE LINE— Nick Bosa, 49ers. Last season’s AP Defensive Rookie of the Year played in only three games before tearing his ACL and being sidelined for the rest of the season. Linemate Solomon Thomas also was lost for the season with the same injury, two plays after Bosa was hurt in Week 3.— Jadeveon Clowney, Titans. Where he’d end up was an ongoing storyline throughout the off-season and training camp before he finally signed with Tennessee right before the season. He played just eight games because of a knee injury with no sacks, and will be a free agent again this off-season.— Danielle Hunter, Vikings. One of the league’s most consistently productive pass rushers — he had 48 1/2 sacks the last four seasons — missed all of this year after having surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck before the opener.— Jurrell Casey, Broncos. His first season in Denver after nine in Tennessee was limited to three games because of a torn biceps.— Josh Allen, Jaguars. An impressive rookie season was capped by a Pro Bowl appearance. But his second season ended after just eight games — and only 2 1/2 sacks — because of a knee injury.LINEBACKER— Von Miller, Broncos. The three-time All-Pro dealt with COVID-19 in the off-season, then dislocated an ankle tendon a week before the opener and has missed the entire season. His 10-year run in Denver could be over, too, since the Broncos could save $18 million on the cap by releasing him.— C.J. Mosley, Jets. The middle linebacker opted out of this season, citing family concerns about the coronavirus. Since signing a five-year, $85 million deal with New York in March 2019, Mosley has played in just two games.— Dont’a Hightower, Patriots. Like Mosley, Hightower was an opt-out for the season, and New England’s defence sorely missed him.— Chandler Jones, Cardinals. After a career-high 19 sacks last season, Jones had just one in five games before suffering a torn biceps.CORNERBACK— Richard Sherman, 49ers. The three-time All-Pro missed nine games after injuring his calf in the season opener, and played in four more games before dealing with calf soreness that will keep him out of the final two games. He’s due to become a free agent in the off-season.— Trae Waynes, Bengals. He signed a three-year, $42 million contract with Cincinnati, but tore a pectoral muscle early in training camp and missed the entire season.SAFETY— Earl Thomas, Free Agent. The three-time All-Pro and seven-time Pro Bowl selection hasn’t played this season after being released by Baltimore in training camp for behaviour that “adversely affected” the team — including punching then-teammate Chuck Clark during practice.— Patrick Chung, Patriots. One of Bill Belichick’s most consistent and productive performers on defence was one of New England’s NFL-high eight players to opt out for the season because of the pandemic.— Landon Collins, Washington. The playmaking safety played in seven games before tearing his Achilles.KICKER— Josh Lambo, Jaguars. He injured his hip in Week 2 and missed five games before returning in October. Lambo kicked a career-best 59-yard field goal, tying the Jacksonville record, but later re-injured his hip on an onside kick attempt and was lost for the season.— Adam Vinatieri, Free Agent. Sure, the NFL’s all-time leading scorer with 2,673 points is 48 and had his lowest field-goal percentage of his career (68%) last year with Indianapolis, but it seemed as though he’d kick forever.PUNTER— Chris Jones, Cowboys. A core muscle injury that required surgery limited the longtime Dallas punter to just eight games.___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLDennis Waszak Jr., The Associated Press

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Dana White hates Chandler’s UFC 257 celebratory backflip: ‘Somebody’s going to get f—king hurt’ – Bloody Elbow

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Michael Chandler’s promotional debut at UFC 257 couldn’t have gone any better after knocking out Michael Chandler in the first round, but Dana White was not a fan of the newcomer’s celebration.

Chandler (22-5) stopped Hooker (20-10) in the co-main event of UFC 257 this past Saturday, winning a $50,000 bonus to make his victory even sweeter. After the fight ended, Chandler celebrated by doing a backflip off the top of the octagon.

Talking at the post-fight press conference, White said he hates this celebration and feels one day someone will get seriously hurt from it.

“Do you guys hate the backflips as much as I hate the backflips? It’s just f—king, it’s just — the kid gets his fight in the UFC then does a backflip that looks like it’s going to blow out both f—king ankles, knees, and his spine,” White said. “I just — I don’t get the backflip thing and I don’t like it. Somebody’s going to get f—king hurt doing that.”

It’s not the first time we’ve seen fighters in the UFC do this, with fellow lightweight Justin Gaethje also usually flipping off the cage after a win. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) has taken action to the celebration, banning fighters from backflipping off the cage when fighting in Vegas.

The unranked Chandler, 34, will likely take Hooker’s #6 spot when the new UFC lightweight rankings are published.

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UFC 257 Aftermath: Dustin Poirier proves that pressure makes Diamonds – MMA Fighting

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Heading into UFC 257, one of the pervasive questions surrounding the main event fight between Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor was who had improved more since their first fight back in 2014.

Well, now we know. In the second round of the pay-per-view headliner on Saturday night, Poirier answered any such questions definitively, viciously knocking out McGregor with a series of punches against the fence.

McGregor has lost before – a lot, in fact, over the last few years. But this one felt different. Aside from the fact that this is McGregor’s most meme-able loss, it’s also his least explainable one. Nate Diaz? He had little time to prepare for a different stylistic matchup and he blew his gas tank. He then came back and won the rematch. Khabib Nurmagomedov? It’s Khabib. No one beats Khabib.

But Poirier? McGregor already had a knockout win over Poirier, and he was predicting a finish inside of 60 seconds. He spent much of the build up for this fight talking about how prepared he was and that this was the best version of himself. And he got knocked out in 8 minutes.

That’s not an accident. Poirier didn’t finish McGregor because he “had attributes” or because he is a bad stylistic matchup for him. He did it because for the last seven years, Poirier has been steadily improving. Because, in essence, Poirier took to heart the mantra of McGregor’s own team, “win or learn.”

In many ways, Saturday night was the culmination of that journey. McGregor is not just the biggest star in the sport, one who lifts others into the realm of wider public perception. For Poirier specifically, he was the archetypal villain, the man who handed Poirier his worst loss and forced him to reconsider his career in a fundamental way. After their first fight, Poirier moved up to lightweight and reinvented himself. He became a very good defensive fighter who boxed instead of brawled. He put together wins. In his own words, he became mentally stronger by learning to “stop caring about the noise”. He steadily kept improving. He won an interim title. He lost in his title shot. He bounced back with one of the best fights of the year. And then, finally, he conquered the man who set him down that path to begin with. It’s the plot of a Disney movie. The only thing missing was the championship, and that shouldn’t be far off.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently the UFC lightweight champion. But Poirier will not fight him next. No one will. Khabib retired after his win at UFC 254, and since then, he has made his thoughts on returning pretty clear: he’s not going to do it.

Now that the prospect of a pay-per-view shattering rematch between Khabib and McGregor is off the table (such that it ever was on the table in the first place), the UFC can move on to crowning a new champion, and Poirier will be one half of that fight. He certainly deserves it. Poirier now has wins over numbers 1, 4, 6, and 9 in the current UFC rankings (and the top-ranked featherweight). That’s more wins over ranked opponents than anyone in the division, other than Khabib.

If Poirier goes on to win the undisputed title and finally get “paid in full,” it would be the perfect conclusion to his career. There is literally not another person in MMA who would deserve it more. Poirier is universally respected by the MMA world, and the reason this fight even came about was Poirier and McGregor began publicly negotiating for a fight to benefit Poirier’s charity, The Good Fight Foundation. But even if Poirier loses in his next fight and never does end up capturing the undisputed UFC lightweight champion, that won’t take away from what he accomplished on Saturday night. He vanquished his demons and ascended to a rarified level of stardom. As the saying goes, pressure makes diamonds, and on Saturday night, none shown brighter than Dustin Poirier.


“Khabib reiterates he doesn’t want to fight any more – dude, I’m the champ. I’m not going to fight, some – and like I said, respect to Chandler – a new guy to the UFC who just beat a guy that’s coming off a loss that I just beat for the belt. That’s not exciting to me.” – Dustin Poirier on possibly fighting Michael Chandler for the UFC lightweight title.

“Just because he’s never had the opportunity. Gaethje just came out here and got beat, as I did. Not a knock on Gaethje, but he lost. I think Oliviera, probably, or let them fight to see who gets it.” – Dustin Poirier on why he thinks Charles Oliveira deserves the title shot.

“If he wants to have his disrespectful comments, come back and let’s go again, my man. I’m here for it. That’s fighting talk. If you’re coming back, come back. You try and do it. That’s that.” – Conor McGregor on Khabib.

“I did talk to Khabib. He said to me, ‘Dana, be honest with yourself. I’m so many levels above these guys. I beat these guys.’ I don’t know. I don’t know what he’s—it doesn’t sound very positive, so we’ll see.” Dana White giving up that Khabib is ever going to fight again.

“I’m by no means a perfect man inside that octagon, but I promise you I can beat that man. I promise you I can beat Khabib, so I told him… I didn’t tell him personally, but I told him through the camera lens. You’ve earned every right to be able to sail off into the sunset and continue living your life and making your impact because you’ve done it thus far. But, man, if you ever do come back, there’s a man over here waiting for you from High Ridge, Missouri.” – Michael Chandler on Khabib.


Stock up

Dustin Poirier: For all the reasons listed above. Poirier not only got back his worst loss, he did so on the biggest platform of his career. Poirier is set to receive the Conor McGregor bump in a huge way, and maybe even the lightweight title to go along with it.

Michael Chandler: Chandler had doubters coming into the UFC. Many of them. He has substantially fewer now. Chandler ran through Dan Hooker in a way no one else really has an immediately put himself in the lightweight title conversation.

Marina Rodriguez: Rodriguez came into this fight having had two subpar performances against grapplers. Well, third time is the charm, I guess. Rodriguez still got taken down, but when she got up she made it count.

Julianna Peña: Five years ago, Peña seemed destined for a bantamweight title shot, but then she lost to Valentina Shevchenko and hasn’t been able to build any momentum since. Finishing former title challenger Sara McMann is a good start and puts her right back in the mix at 135.

Neutral

Joanne Calderwood: Calderwood was supposed to fight for the title last year until an injury to Shevchenko prevented it. Instead, “Jojo” took a fight against Jennifer Maia and lost. This win over Jessica Eye probably doesn’t get her back to a title shot, but it does at least keep her in the conversation.

Brad Tavares: Tavares continues to be one of the most consistent fighters in the middleweight division, racking up wins against all but the very best fighters in the world. Another workmanlike performance against Antonio Carlos Junior just affirms his place in the 185 ranks.

Stock down

Conor McGregor: For all the talk of “win or learn,” McGregor hasn’t been doing a lot of either lately. McGregor has not beaten an elite fighter since the Obama administration, and now the book appears to be out on how to fight him. “Notorious” needs to make some changes.

Dan Hooker: Hooker had a big opportunity to make a name for himself on Saturday, and instead, he got folded up like a lawn chair by a UFC debutant. On top of that, Hooker just looked bad in the fight. He seemed overly concerned about Chandler’s wrestling and presented very little in the way of offense before getting clobbered.

Sara McMann: McMann is a former Olympic silver medalist and widely-respected MMA fighter, but she has a way of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and she did so again on Saturday. A win might have gotten McMann a title shot. Instead, at 40 years old she can’t have much time left in the cage.

Khalil Rountree Jr.: Rountree was one of the biggest favorites on the card and ended up losing a decision to Marcin Prachnio. He’s now 1-3 in his last 4 and in danger of being cut from the UFC.


Nik Lentz winning Eric Colón’s scorecard is not a great look. But at this point, it’s expected that there will be at least one weird decision happening on any given UFC card. Much more troubling, though, is the continued decline of Herb Dean. For many years, Dean was one of the best referees in the sport, but those years are pretty far removed at this point. Lately, he has been plagued by indecision or poor decisions with his choices in stopping fights (and last weekend stood idly by as Max Holloway may have taken years off the life of Calvin Kattar) and that problem reared its ugly head again on Saturday.

In the main card opener, Marina Rodriguez dropped Amanda Ribas with a right hand that had Ribas in all sorts of trouble. Rodriguez followed her to the floor and started rifling punches into Ribas who was holding onto a leg in desperation. Dean hovered by the two, preparing for his moment to jump in. He then appeared to do so, but changed his mind while stepping in. The result was that Rodriguez felt Dean make contact with her and walked away triumphantly, only for Ribas to stand up and for Dean to tell them to keep fighting. Rodriguez obliged and then cracked Ribas with a few more shots before Dean stepped in to waive things off.

There are two things here that make this so bad. First, is that Dean basically changed his mind about a stoppage. Had Ribas recovered and then gone on to win the fight, Rodriguez would have a very strong case that Dean negatively impacted the outcome of the fight, which is a core responsibility of the referee – to remain neutral. Secondly, he should have stopped the fight! Ribas was conscious, but clearly done, and instead of protecting her from taking more unnecessary punishment, Dean created a situation where Ribas stood back up and got lit up again. Overall, it was a terrible performance by Dean, and we’re lucky he didn’t do something similar in the main event.


Dustin Poirier vs. Charles Oliveira: Poirier deserves to fight for the title, and Oliveira is the man most deserving of the next one. This should be straightforward.

Conor McGregor vs. Rafael dos Anjos: The Nate Diaz trilogy is what everyone is thinking and probably what will actually happen next, but the RDA fight makes more sense. McGregor wants to stay active and he wants to remain in the lightweight title hunt, and with RDA once again a going concern at 155, there is plenty of backstory here to build on.

Michael Chandler vs. Justin Gaethje: For years this was the dream non-UFC fight and now it can happen in the octagon, with a title shot on the line. A no-brainer.

Dan Hooker vs. Tony Ferguson: There will be violence.

Joanne Calderwood vs. Lauren Murphy: Both women need another win to put a stamp on their title claims, and with things trending toward Jessica Andrade getting the next crack at Valentina Shechenko, this seems like the only true option.

Makhmud Muradov vs. Brad Tavares: No need to overcomplicate this. Muradov is on a 14-fight win streak and deserves a crack at the middleweight elite. That is practically Tavares’ job at this point.

Marina Rodriguez vs. Claudia Gadelha: It would be nice to give Rodriguez a break from people who are going to try and take her down but the strawweight division is not very accommodating in that regard. Gadelha would be a huge scalp for Rodriguez and put her on the path to true contention.

Julianna Peña vs. Raquel Pennington: It’s kind of surprising these two haven’t fought already. Both women are coming off wins, so now is the time.

Movsar Evloev vs. Shane Burgos. Burgos was supposed to fight at UFC 257, but an injury to his opponent forced him off the card. If Evloev is prepared to make a quick turnaround, this would be a good introduction for him to the top-15 of the division.

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LaFleur regrets decision to kick late FG in NFC title game – theScore

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Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur expressed his regret over how his team’s last possession transpired in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.

With 2:15 left in the contest and the ball on the Buccaneers’ 8-yard line, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw an incomplete pass on third down, though it appeared he could have run the ball in for a touchdown.

On the following play, the Packers kicked a field goal rather than take a fourth attempt at a touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game.

The Packers wouldn’t get the ball back and lost 31-26.

“Anytime it doesn’t work out, you always regret it, right?” LaFleur said, according to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky. “Having three shots and coming away with no yards and knowing not only (we) need the touchdown but the 2-point … anytime something doesn’t work out, do you regret it? Sure.”

Rodgers both defended and expressed surprise at the call from the sideline.

“It wasn’t my decision. I understand the thinking,” Rodgers said, per Bill Huber of Sports Illustrated.

“I thought maybe we were gonna have four chances to go,” he added, according to Matt Schneidman of The Athletic.

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