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The XFL has its new Commissioner, and he was Tuesday’s guest on the #PFTPM podcast.

Oliver Luck, the former West Virginia A.D. who will leave the NCAA to join the XFL, chatted for roughly 20 minutes regarding a variety of topics. The full interview appears below.

Among 2017-18 All-Stars, no one gets back in transition faster than Minnesota’s Jimmy Butler.

It’s hard to believe a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 14 years could make the postseason and still have its season considered unsuccessful, but that is the tightrope the Timberwolves are walking. After so much optimism early in the season, Towns, Wiggins & Co. were not able to pick up the slack when Butler went down. The only way the Wolves’ season can be considered a success is if they claw their way into the second round.

That might seem like a bad look for a player who was acquired in a trade that sent a third-round draft pick to the Giants, not to mention for a player who’s costing the Buccaneers $12.5 million this season. But Bucs coach Dirk Koetter didn’t sound particularly concerned about Pierre-Paul deciding not to participate in voluntary work.

We’d love to have everybody here. That’s a perfect world, and we don’t live in a perfect world, unfortunately, said Koetter.

The 29-year-old Pierre-Paul had 8.5 sacks last season for the Giants, and the Bucs are hoping to get similar or even more production out of him in Tampa. Even if he’s not in Tampa just yet.

The NFL is trying to top last year’s fantastic draft experience in Philadelphia by getting more than 400,000 people out this week in Dallas.

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Garcia had a strange Twitter exchange with Tampa Bay Times writer Greg Auman, who correctly pointed out that if Garcia wanted to announce Tampa Bay’s third-round pick, the team would first need to acquire one.

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The Colts waived wide receiver Kolby Listenbee from injured reserve Thursday.

The team waived him with an injury designation May 18. After passing through waivers, Listenbee was placed on Indianapolis’ injured reserve list.

The Colts signed Listenbee to their practice squad December 13. He spent nine weeks on the Dolphins’ practice squad.

He originally entered the NFL as a sixth-round pick of the Bills. Listenbee has not played in an NFL game.

Gesicki is a pass-catching athlete. His 57 receptions and nine touchdowns in 2017 were both single-season school records for a tight end. He was the New Jersey prep football player of the year as a senior, finished as his school’s all-time leading scorer in basketball (1,867 points) and won the state slam dunk contest.

Wilcox, 27, was actually signed by the Buccaneers last spring, but traded to the Steelers before the start of the regular season. He’s a solid special teamer if nothing else.

The 49ers are looking at Jimmie Ward at cornerback, and have Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert working with the ones at safety at the moment.

Kirk shows the suddenness scouts want to allow separation in route running. He should contribute in the slot quickly and averaged a double-take-worthy 22 yards per punt return in his career with seven return touchdowns (six punt return, one kickoff return).

Wynn had shoulder surgery following the Senior Bowl, so his pre-draft work has been limited. He started at both left tackle and guard for the Bulldogs. He understands hand placement and has the athleticism and ability to finish blocks.

He was a 1,000-yard receiver in 2017 — 1,033 yards, 12.9 yards per catch and eight touchdowns — despite catching passes from four different quarterbacks. Moore has some rough edges, but his desire to win every battle for the ball and run-after-catch ability are a good start.

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As Memorial Day weekend approaches, the NFL has had a week to forget.

Things started to go off the rails on Tuesday, when some fans reacted strongly to a revised kickoff rule that could be a precursor to getting rid of the kickoff altogether. Later that day, NFL V.P. of officiating Al Riveron made it clear that the new helmet rule applies in the trenches, enhancing concerns that the prohibition against lowering the helmet and initiating contact will change the game dramatically.

The sooner the NFL hires a new Lockhart, the better off the NFL will be. But the asking price may be going up, and the extra money could be justified by regarding it as hazard pay.

Sam Hinkie was the 76ers General Manager when they dismantled their roster and pinned their hopes on coming up with stars in the draft that would provide the foundation for a winning team. Hinkie left the team in April 2016, so he wasn’t around when the plan started bearing fruit this season.

Hinkie put the pieces in place, though, so the Broncos picked his brain this week, however. Nicki Jhabvala of The Athletic reports Hinkie spoke to members of the scouting, analytics, football administration and conditioning departments about how to best use the influx of data that teams collect in order to see benefits in all areas of the organization.

The Sixers spent five years out of the playoffs as they put their trust in a process that ultimately yielded phenoms Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and this season’s 52-30 record. The Broncos would surely prefer it doesn’t take that long to get back on the right track.

He just told us where he stood at, said tackle Kelvin Beachum, who is part of the Players Coalition that has talked to the league about this issue.

Beachum said he wished the players had been more involved before the league’s decision was made.

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The turbulent offseason of Zay Jones has hit another bump.

Via Vic Carruci of the Buffalo News, Bills coach Sean McDermott said Jones had undergone knee surgery, and would miss the rest of their offseason workouts.

The 33-year-old Miller was playing in the final year of a contract last season, so as a free agent, he could not collect injury protection.

Giants defensive end Avery Moss fell victim to a cyber attack on Monday, as many revealing pictures and videos were published of the 2017 fifth-round pick.

Several of Moss’ accounts were hacked, ESPN confirmed, including his Twitter, where nude photos and videos were published. After NFL security got involved, the posts were deleted less than 30 minutes after the hacking.

Moss’ Venmo account was also hacked, according to ESPN.

One of the common arguments raised regarding on-the-job NFL anthem protests relates to the notion that, for most people, this kind of behavior would not be tolerated in their workplaces, and that the First Amendment rights the players hope to exercise on the sidelines don’t restrict private employers from establishing workplace rules that prohibit it. Regardless of whether those arguments have any real merit (especially when the anthem is being played in stadiums built in whole or in part by public money), the President’s latest words on the subject apply far more broadly than to the players at an NFL game.

You have to stand proudly for the national anthem, or . . . you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.

This applies to anyone and everyone who is attending the game. All 70,000-plus people. Every last one of them. It applies to the fans in the stands who aren’t taking off their hats and aren’t standing at attention and aren’t ignoring their cellphones and aren’t not eating hot dogs and aren’t not screaming profanities and other insults at players from the visiting team.

It applies to the fans who are in the rest room or in line to get there. It applies to fans in concession lines. It applies to the concession workers.

It applies to everyone in the press box. It applies to everyone in the luxury suites. It particularly applies to the owners and their family members, friends, sponsors, and other assorted muckety-mucks who are schmoozing in the back of the box while the anthem is playing. (This year, there could be some interesting fan-made videos of what actually is happening in the owners’ suites during the anthem.)

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The broad insistence on respect for the national anthem by the NFL, coupled with the President’s suggestion that anyone who fails to stand proudly for the anthem maybe . . . shouldn’t be in the country, fairly should bring unprecedented attention to the behavior of everyone attending an NFL game, including the fans.

Crews specifically declined to address the question of whether drowning out the last word of the song with a word that isn’t part of the song constitutes respect for the anthem. At some point, however, the Chiefs likely will have to cross that bridge, because the NFL’s latest effort to close the door on the anthem issue has opened plenty of others, as fan behavior during the anthem becomes a belated focal point in the effort to determine whether the respect that the league and the President demand from the players is being demonstrated by anyone and everyone who is in the venue.

The team announced on Wednesday that they have signed undrafted rookie tight end Austin Roberts. Roberts left UCLA after playing in 24 games and catching 35 passes for 500 yards and three touchdowns over the last three seasons.

Roberts joins Virgil Green, Braedon Bowman and Sean Culkin at tight end for the Chargers. Long snapper Anthony Kukwa was waived in a corresponding move.

It seems like Smith will probably live freed from the burden of feeling too devastated by his brain-lock moment the other night, when he clearly thought the Cavaliers were ahead after he snared a key late-game rebound (though he foolishly insisted otherwise later, after a nation of lip-readers had already seen him indict himself).

In truth, it’s probably the best way to be, because being able to laugh at yourself is one way to walk out of such an embarrassing moment with your self-esteem somewhat intact.

Take Garo Yepremian, the Dolphins kicker who made the ill-fated attempt to throw a pass after he had a field goal blocked late in Super Bowl XII, saw his wounded duck intercepted and brought back for a touchdown by Washington’s Mike Bass, and briefly imperiled Miami’s perfect 1972 season.

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School shootings have become an all too common occurrence in our country and Noblesville, Indiana was the site of one last week.

Thanks to middle school teacher and former Southern Illinois defensive lineman Jason Seaman, the shooting ended with a limited number of casualties. Seaman tackled the shooter while the attack was in progress and before anyone could be killed. Seaman and 13-year-old Ella Whistler were injured and the Colts have helped in the effort to raise money for their medical care.

In the statement, the Trust said it had communicated this with her.

Although Beth has declined our invitations to discuss her qualifications for the last two years, we will continue to proactively engage and meet with any of the Bowlen children who express a desire to earn the right to succeed their father, the statement said. We will vigorously defend Pat’s plan in responding to these and any statements that are contrary to Pat’s words and intentions.

Although Clowney played in all 16 games for the first time in his career last season, he had arthroscopic knee surgery after the season. Clowney has been at the Texans’ facility, but he’s focusing on rehabbing his knee, not doing practice drills.

Clowney is heading into the final year of his rookie contract and set to make $12.3 million this season. The Texans have indicated that they’re hoping to get a long-term extension done with him this year, which would suggest that they’re confident he’s going to be able to get healthy and stay healthy. Even if he’s not ready to go just yet.

Johnny Manziel was content with his first time in a game in more than two years.

Manziel was 9-of-12 passing for 80 yards in his CFL debut as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats lost 36-18 to the Toronto Argonauts in an exhibition game Friday night.

I felt like I was able to get in there and handle the situation well, get some completions and get the guys some balls, Manziel said. I really wasn’t nervous going into it, I was just kind of going out and letting the ball rip.

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NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks predict how Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, LSU running back Derrius Guice, Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne, Michigan DT Maurice Hurst, Georgia RB Sony Michel and USC RB Ronald Jones will fare in the NFL.

Bailey Davis had been a cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints football team for three years before she was fired in January. Her former team, the Saintsations, claims the 22-year-old violated their rules about social media usage.

The Dallas Cowboys’ decision to release Dez Bryant last week was expected by many, but it caught one franchise legend by surprise. Emmitt Smith said on Tuesday that he was a little surprised by Bryant’s release, via the Dallas Morning News’ Jon Machota. There was some thought that locker room issues were part of the reason for Bryant’s release. Jason Witten dismissed that talk and says there are no locker room issues. One Cowboys receiver hinted at a potential reason for Bryant’s release, implying that being outspoken was not a good thing.

Peeking over the tips of a full house in a draft class that features four coveted quarterbacks in addition to alleged can’t-miss prospects such as running back Saquon Barkley, guard Quenton Nelson and pass rusher Bradley Chubb, Gettleman is thrilled to keep the football world guessing.

With the second pick, Gettleman quipped, I’m sitting at Ben and Jerry’s and I have a lot of different flavors to look at.

A week before the draft, he’s perched in the proverbial catbird seat with plenty of intrigue but no firm idea of his intentions.

Like it? I love it, Gettleman beamed. You kidding me?

The Giants are this draft’s great mystery. Will they choose Barkley with the intention of breathing life into Manning’s stalled career? Will they opt for Chubb to rebuild a once-dominant defense? Or is Gettleman playing coy at quarterback, waiting to pounce if his man slips past Cleveland?

You can’t close your mind, Gettleman emphasized. You don’t know what’s going to happen. Listen, we’ll know when we know. I’m not making any decisions before that.

Who can quibble with that approach? So much can happen in the next seven days. The quarterback-needy Bills or another club could knock his socks off with an overwhelming trade offer, rendering his war-room plans obsolete.

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NFL schedule 2018: Steelers, 49ers lead six contenders with most favorable schedules More The 2018 NFL schedule was surprisingly kind to many of the best teams from 2017. Four of the league’s playoff powers don’t face anything that would suggest they won’t return to the tournament. In addition, the week-by-week setup played most favorably into the hands of two non-playoff teams who performed at a high level to close last season. Here are the six contenders with the least difficult schedules in 2018: The combined winning percentage of the Steelers’ opponents last season was.477, tied with the Jaguars (see below) for 25th in the league. That weakness is evident each month of this season’s schedule.

Bryant was a touchdown machine in the first half of his career with the Cowboys, hauling in 41 scoring passes in a three-season span, capped by a career-high 16 in 2014. He was named a First-Team All-Pro selection that year. During that spectacular run from 2012-14, Bryant also averaged 91 receptions and put up at least 1,233 receiving yards in each of those seasons. For his career, Bryant appeared in 113 games (99 starts) and amassed 7,459 total yards while registering a franchise-record 73 receiving touchdowns.

A versatile player who can return punts (and even play offense, like Jackson did in 2017), Alexander has great ball skills. Appearing last month on PFT Live, he addressed concerns about his size by saying, Turn on the tape.

I want to keep playing. But what was more important for me was I didn’t want to go back on the field and be a step too slow or miss a play. If I’m out on the field with Telvin and Myles (Jack) and they expect me to do something and I miss that play because I held on a year too long, I don’t know how I look at them.

The NFL for the first time is prohibiting certain helmets from being worn by players.

In notifying the 32 teams Monday, the league has sought to have players stop using 10 helmet varieties. Some, particularly those manufactured by Rawlings, no longer are being made and don’t have support from the company. Others were found to be inferior to many of the 34 helmets the NFL and the players’ union examined.

Previously, NFL players could choose any helmet as long as it passed certification standards. Six of the substandard helmets are prohibited immediately, while the other four may be worn by players who used them in 2017 but not by new players.

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NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported Wednesday that the franchise quarterback is seeking a new contract before the upcoming season.

It’s not a pressing issue, Garafolo emphasized on Wednesday’s edition of NFL Up to the Minute . It’s not anything that is contentious right now. But Brady would absolutely be interested in revisiting this contract.

The Patriots have a history of extending Brady’s deal with two years remaining on the standing contract. In which case, it’s not unreasonable for Brady to expect a renegotiation with an annual average of $14 million due in the final two years of his current agreement.

They don’t get two wins, three wins for this. It’s one win, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said after the game.

Redick says Philly crowd gave him ‘goosebumps’JJ Redick describes the impact the home crowd made in Philadelphia’s first game of the NBA playoffs.

Somehow the Heat have to find a way to get more out of center Hassan Whiteside, who played only 12 minutes and scored two points. Spoelstra explained it as a decision because of matchups. But as the highest-paid player on the team, it’s hard to see the Heat winning a series without a more significant contribution from him.

I think we’re going to be multiple. I think we’re going to do what we have to do to win and get the best possible matchups.

Lazor replaced Ken Zampese after the Bengals were shut out in their first two games, so he inherited the offense. Now, he gets an opportunity to put his stamp on it.

The Bengals’ offense is expected to be aggressive.

I think you need to be aggressive, Dalton said. That’s offensive football. You want to be on the offense and make the defense react. I feel like that. I would think that would be part of what we do. We’ve been so similar for so long, it’s good to test yourself a little bit.

Marlins reliever Brad Ziegler thought the fan reaction was unwarranted.

I don’t like booing as a sign of displeasure for poor play, he said. The only time I ever think booing should be acceptable is when there’s a lack of effort.

Second baseman Starlin Castro, traded to Miami as part of the Stanton deal, was 0 for 3.

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Nathan MacKinnon and the Colorado Avalanche leaned on their speed to get off to another flying start.

For a third straight game in the series, Colorado scored first. But the Avs were able to make it stand in this one. MacKinnon and his teammates have been a different bunch at home this year. Their 28 home wins in the regular season was tied for the most in franchise history with the 2000-01 squad that hoisted the Stanley Cup.

They gained a lot of momentum, used their atmosphere to their advantage and we weren’t able to respond in that first period, Predators forward Ryan Johansen said. That can’t happen.

MacKinnon’s goal at 4:25 of the second period gave Colorado a 4-0 lead and prompted the Predators to pull Rinne in favor of backup Juuse Saros. Rinne allowed four goals on 15 shots.

We weren’t very good in front of him, Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. I didn’t think we were giving him the support he needed.

Advice: While coach Hue Jackson says the team is still eyeing four quarterbacks, Southern California’s Sam Darnold and Wyoming’s Josh Allen are commanding the most buzz for the first pick. Allen represents too much of a gamble, and his struggles with accuracy and touch seem to make him a poor fit with new wide receiver Jarvis Landry, who thrives in the short area. Darnold has to iron out his turnovers and footwork, but he brings the playmaking ability and poise that the Browns need from this position.

2. Cleveland owns five of the top 64 picks, including the No. 4 overall selection via a previous trade with the Texans. A potential early run on quarterbacks could leave them with their pick of the best non-passer in the class at that slot.

Advice: If Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is available, the Browns should take him to lock down their backfield of the future. Carlos Hyde was signed this offseason, but Barkley is the kind of transformative figure who can take on an Ezekiel Elliott or Leonard Fournette role as an offense’s centerpiece. If Barkley isn’t the choice, a Day 2 running back should be on the agenda. Georgia’s Sony Michel or Southern California’s Ronald Jones would be dynamic additions who could ease a rookie QB’s burden, though likely not to the degree that Barkley can.

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