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GM: Packers will have Rodgers 'for a while' – TSN

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The Green Bay Packers hope they have found a potential successor to Aaron Rodgers.

And they were willing to trade up in the first round and bypass more immediate needs to land him.

Green Bay continued its recent penchant for draft-day trades and moved up four spots to take Utah State quarterback Jordan Love with the 26th overall pick in the NFL draft Thursday night. The Miami Dolphins also got a fourth-round pick in the trade.

“We think a lot of him,” Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst said. “We think down the road, he certainly has all the ability to be a difference maker at that position, but these things take time, especially at that position.”

The move fortifies Green Bay’s quarterback depth and provides an heir apparent for Rodgers, a 36-year-old, two-time MVP. Green Bay’s current backup to Rodgers is 25-year-old Tim Boyle, a 2018 undrafted free agent who played at Connecticut and Eastern Kentucky.

But it doesn’t provide immediate help for a team that wants to take the next step after going 13-3 in the regular season last year before losing in the NFC championship game. The Packers have clear needs at wide receiver and inside linebacker that now will need to be addressed later in the draft.

Gutekunst said the Packers didn’t necessarily set out to take a quarterback this early but decided to strike when they had a chance to get Love. Gutekunst conceded it could be a while before Love is ready to contribute.

“We’ve got the best quarterback in the National Football League, and we’re going to have him for a while competing for championships,” Gutekunst said. “I can understand the fan base and people thinking kind of, ‘Why would you do this at this time,’ but I think the value of our board and the way it’s at, I think it was best for the Green Bay Packers. We’re really excited to get Jordan here and get him in our system.”

Love has earned raves for his arm strength and 6-foot-4 frame, though he had inconsistent production in college.

After delivering 32 touchdown passes and only six interceptions in 2018 while leading Utah State to an 11-2 season, Love threw for 20 touchdowns and 17 interceptions last season as the Aggies finished 7-6 under a new coaching staff.

“I was just trying to force balls and trying to do too much,” Love said.

The Packers can only hope this move works out nearly as well as the last time they used a first-round pick on a quarterback who wasn’t likely to have a featured role for a few years.

Green Bay took Rodgers with the 24th overall pick in 2005 after the former California star’s stock took a draft-day plunge. Rodgers waited behind Hall of Famer Brett Favre for three years before taking over as the starter and embarking on a career that should eventually land him in Canton as well.

“I haven’t connected with Aaron yet,’’ Gutekunst said late Thursday. “He’s obviously been through this. He’s a pro. I think certainly this is something that’s a long-term decision.”

Love said he looked forward to the opportunity to start his career behind Rodgers.

“I’ll be able to learn a lot from Aaron Rodgers,” Love said. “He’s one of the greats of the game, knows what he’s doing, knows a lot, has a lot of knowledge. I’ll be able to sit behind him, pick his brain and just grow as a player and develop my game and just learn as much as I can from him.”

This marks the first time the Packers have used a first-round pick on an offensive player since taking Mississippi State tackle Derek Sherrod at No. 32 overall in 2011. It’s the third straight year that Gutekunst has made at least one trade on the first day of the draft.

Mike Zimmer, coach of NFC North rival Minnesota, was asked about the Packers taking Love.

“I think Rodgers should retire,” he joked. “I don’t know what was going on in their minds. We just worry about us. We’re trying to get guys to beat ’em.”

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AP Pro Football Writer Dave Campbell contributed.

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More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Archer (shoulder) will miss 2020 season – TSN

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Right-hander Chris Archer has undergone thoracic outlet surgery in his throwing shoulder and will miss all of 2020, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Wednesday.

Archer, 31, was to head into the final season of his current deal with the Bucs holding an $11 million option for 2021 with a $250,000 buyout.

A native of Raleigh, NC, Archer made 23 starts last season, going 3-9 with a 5.19 earned run average and WHIP of 1.412 over 119.1 innings pitched.

Joining the Pirates in a trade midway through the 2018 season, Archer spent the first six seasons of his career with the Tampa Bay Rays with whom he was a two-time All-Star.

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Report: NBA presents players with 22-team restart plan – TSN

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The NBA has told the National Basketball Players Association that it will present a 22-team plan for restarting the season to the league’s board of governors on Thursday, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

The teams that will be going to the ESPN Wide World Of Sports complex on the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida would play eight games to determine playoff seeding starting around July 31 before the post-season begins, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Wednesday because the league has not released its proposal publicly.

The plan, once approved, would have 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams going to Disney and the cutoff being that teams must be within six games of a playoff spot at this point. Playoffs would start in August, and the NBA Finals will likely stretch into October, the person said.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics already have clinched playoff spots — and, if only eight games are left, that would mean the Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz, Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets would theoretically have clinched spots as well.

The Dallas Mavericks would be virtually assured of clinching a West spot, holding a seven-game lead over eighth-place Memphis. So that would mean the Grizzlies, Portland, New Orleans, Sacramento, San Antonio and Phoenix all would be in the running for the No. 8 seed out West. In the East, Washington is six games behind No. 7 Brooklyn and 5-1/2 games behind No. 8 Orlando — so within range of triggering a play-in series.

“I’m all in from the state’s perspective,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at a news conference in Central Florida on Wednesday. “I don’t think you could find a better place than Orlando to do this. I think it’s very exciting.”

DeSantis met by phone with NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum on Tuesday. The governor also said the state helped with the plans to make a golf match last month featuring Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning — one that raised $20 million for coronavirus relief — happen. And Major League Soccer announced Wednesday a plan to restart its season in Orlando.

“Orlando really could be the epicenter of the comeback of professional sports,” DeSantis said.

For an NBA play-in series to happen to determine the No. 8 seed on either playoff bracket, the ninth-place team would have to be within four games of eighth place once the eight-game schedule of lead-in games is completed. If a play-in series occurs, it would basically be a best-of-two — where the No. 9 seed would have to win two head-to-head matchups to take over the No. 8 spot.

There would also be some jostling for playoff positioning happening in the eight-game restart. In the East, Toronto and Boston are separated by three games for the No. 2 spot and Miami, Indiana and Philadelphia are separated by two games for the No. 4 spot. Out West, the Clippers, Denver, Utah, Oklahoma City and Houston are all within four games of one another in the race for the No. 2 seed on that bracket.

There are still some elements of the restart plan that could be changed, and other matters are still being negotiated — such as how much of a percentage of their salaries that players will lose because some regular season games will be cancelled. If 15% of the regular season is not played, which would be the current estimate based on the proposal, players would have to give up roughly $610 million in salary for this season.

It’s also unclear what will happen to the eight teams that would not be vying for a post-season berth under the proposed format — Charlotte, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Golden State. If the 2020-21 NBA season doesn’t start until December at the earliest, which would seem to be a very real possibility, those teams could go about nine months without playing games and some have expressed concerns over what that will mean for player development.

The NBA suspended its season March 11, becoming the first of the U.S. major pro leagues to do so after it became known that Utah’s All-Star centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. The list of NBA players who were known to test positive eventually grew to 10 — not all were identified — and Commissioner Adam Silver said that the actual total was even higher.

The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is a 255-acre campus with multiple arenas that could host games simultaneously and has been home to, among other things, the Jr. NBA World Championship in recent years. ESPN is primarily owned by Disney, one of the NBA’s broadcast partners.

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Sidney Crosby: ‘What happened to George Floyd cannot be ignored’ – Sportsnet.ca

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As the hockey world continues to move through a period of reflection in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has released a statement condemning racial injustice.

“What happened to George Floyd cannot be ignored,” Crosby said via a statement released by his Sidney Crosby Foundation.

“Racism that exists today in all forms is not acceptable. While I am not able to relate to the discrimination that Black and minority communities face daily, I will listen and educate myself on how I can help make a difference.

“Together, we will find solutions through necessary dialogue and a collective effort.”

The hockey world has seen a number of players speak up in the wake of Floyd’s death and the widespread protests against police brutality.

In late May, San Jose Sharks star Evander Kane called on prominent white NHLers to use their platforms to help bring about change, mentioning Crosby by name among those he hoped to see engage in the discussion.

“We’ve been outraged for hundreds of years and nothing’s changed. It’s time for guys like Tom Brady and Sidney Crosby, those type of figures, to speak up about what is right and, clearly in this case, what is unbelievably wrong,” Kane said on ESPN’s First Take at the time.

“Because that is the only way we’re going to actually create that unified anger to create that necessary change.”

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