Review Category : National Sports

Browns’ QB Johnny Manziel Admits He Needs Take Job More Seriously

Elsa/Getty Images(BEREA, Ohio) — With Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel’s rookie season over, he admits that this year has taught him he needs to put in more time to become a successful player in the NFL.

Manziel struggled mightily in limited action this season, including his one and only start where he completed just 10 of 18 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s been a year of growing up for me,” Manziel said. “It’s a job for me now. I have to take it a lot more seriously than maybe I did at first.”

A hamstring injury in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers will keep him out this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Manziel came into the NFL with plenty of hype, but failed to live up to it. He seems to know the root of his struggles.

“I haven’t painted the greatest picture of me being in here and staying on top of my stuff,” Manziel said. “I’m sure the stuff off the field has negatively affected that. But I know, and what matters to me the most, is that guys in this locker room see that I’m working…This is my life and my job and I’m 100 percent committed to that.”

The Browns traded back into the first round of the draft to select Manziel 22nd overall.

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Giants’ Marco Scuatro’s Career in Jeopardy After Back Surgery

Justin Edmonds/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — After undergoing back surgery, San Francisco Giants second baseman Marco Scutaro’s career could be coming to an end.

The team announced that Scutaro underwent a fusion procedure performed by Dr. Michael Wang in Miami on Friday to alleviate the troublesome area at level L-2/L-3 of his spine.

It will be another four-to-six months before doctors can determine whether or not the 39-year-old can continue his baseball career.

“I don’t want to speak for the doctor or the procedure but you’d have to how he responds to the surgery and that’s months away,” Giants general manager Brian Sabean said.

During his 13-year career, Scutaro is a .277 hitter who has played for the Mets, Athletics, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Rockies, and Giants.

Back in December 2012, Scutaro signed a three-year contract with the Giants worth $20 million.

During the Giants World Series run in 2012, Scutaro batted .328 in 16 postseason games. He became the first player in major league history with six multi-hit games in an LCS.

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Braves Agree on Two Year-Deal with Reliever Jason Grilli

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — In need of some bullpen depth, the Atlanta Braves have decided to see if reliever Jason Grilli can regain his All-Star form as the two sides have agreed on a two-year contract.

Grilli’s deal with the Braves will be worth $8 million, and also includes a club option for 2017.

With the recent departure of Jordan Walden, Grilli is expected to serve as the team’s setup man behind All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel.

The 38-year-old Grilli has experienced many highs and lows during his career as he’s gone back and forth between the Majors and minors at times.

In 2011, he was called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates and became one of the better relievers in the National League. In 2013, Grilli made the All-Star team as he finished the season with 33 saves to go along with a 2.70 ERA.

This year was a different story however. In 22 appearances, Grilli blew four saves and posted a 4.87 ERA. He was ultimately traded to the Los Angeles Angels where he had a 3.48 ERA in 40 appearances.

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Lakers Stun Warriors 115-105

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(LOS ANGELES, Ca) — The Los Angeles Lakers took down the Golden State Warriors 115-105, Tuesday night in impressive fashion.

Most noteworthy was that the Lakers were dominating the Warriors while Kobe Bryant rested on the bench for a scheduled day of rest.

Seven players on the Lakers scored 11 points or more. Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Wayne Ellington, Jeremy Lin, Ronnie Prince, Wesley Johnson and Nick Young all reached double digits in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score would appear.

“I thought our guys came out really focused on what we had to do on both ends of the floor and we did a great job,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott.

“We’ve been saying this all along to our players, if we compete and can play with energy, we have that second and third effort every single night then we give ourselves a chance to win,” Scott added.

The Lakers led by as much as 22 points in the fourth quarter in what was certainly their most impressive win of the season.

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Marshall Tops Northern Illinois in Boca Raton Bowl

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(BOCA RATON, Fl.) — The Marshall Thundering Herd concluded the best season in university history with a 52-23 thumping of the Northern Illinois Huskies.

The Herd finished with a 13-1 record Tuesday behind a masterful effort from senior quarterback Rakeem Cato. Marshall’s signal caller completed 25 of 37 passes for 281 yards and three passing touchdowns. Cato also ran for two more.

Cato has been one of the most dynamic players in the history of the Marshall Football program. He has thrown for 131 touchdown passes and joins the rank of notable Thundering Herd quarterbacks such as Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich.

“That was my dream to bring the fun and excitement back to Marshall University,” Cato said. “I just tried my best and Coach [Doc] Holliday and this coaching staff put me in the best position where I could make plays.

According to the Charleston Daily Mail, Holliday and Marshall University have agreed in principle to a contract extension that will keep the 2014 Conference USA Coach of the Year around through the 2018 season.

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Florida State Signs Fisher to New Eight Year Contract

ThinkStock(TALLAHASSEE, Fl.) — The Florida State Seminoles are intent on keeping head coach Jimbo Fisher around for a long time.

On Tuesday, the University locked up Fisher through the 2022 season where he will earn $5.5 million per season, according to ESPN’s Chris Low.

“I am honored to be the head coach at Florida State University, which I’ve said many times before,” Fisher said in a statement. “I appreciate that FSU believes in what we are doing and supports our goal of maintaining one of the best programs in the country. It is a privilege to coach the young men in our program. It is truly a family.”

Last year, Florida State signed Fisher to an extension that ran through the 2018 season.

After winning a National Championship and repeating an undefeated regular season, Florida State felt they needed to lock up Fisher for the long term. The Seminoles head coach is 58-10 since taking over the program from Bobby Bowden in 2010.

Florida State’s next game is against Oregon in the Rose Bowl on January 1.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/23/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — NBA: Chicago Bulls 99 (19-9) – Washington Wizards 91 (19-8)

Indiana Pacers 96 (10-19) – New Orleans Pelicans 84 (14-14)

Orlando Magic 100 (11-20) – Boston Celtics 95 (10-16)

Cleveland Cavaliers 125 (17-10) – Minnesota Timberwolves 104 (5-22)

Brooklyn Nets 102 (12-15) – Denver Nuggets 96 (12-17)

Top 25 Men’s Basketball: (4) Louisville 80 (11-0) – CS Northridge 55 (3-10)

(7) Villanova 92 (12-0) – N.J.I.T. 67 (5-8)

Stanford 74 (7-3) – (9) Texas 71 (10-2)

NCAAF Bowl Games: Boca Rotan Bowl: Marshall 52 (13-1) – Northern Illinois 23 (11-3)

NHL: Montreal Canadiens 3 (22-11-2, 46pts) – New York Islanders 1 (23-11-0, 46pts)

New York Rangers 4 (18-10-4, 40pts) – Washington Capitals 2 (17-11-6, 40pts)

Toronto Maple Leafs 4 (20-12-3, 43pts) – Dallas Stars 0 (14-14-5, 33pts)

Boston Bruins 5 (18-14-3, 39pts) – Nashville Predators 3 (22-9-2, 46pts)

Philadelphia Flyers 5 (14-14-6, 34pts) – Minnesota Wild 2 (16-13-3, 35pts)

Carolina Hurricanes 2 (10-20-4, 24pts) – New Jersey Devils 1 (12-17-7, 31pts) – Shootout

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Mike McCarthy: ‘Byes are Valuable’

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(GREEN BAY) — The Green Bay Packers are determined to beat the Detroit Lions on Sunday for the NFC North crown.

Green Bay is 7-0 at home this year and would like to have a first round bye when the playoff start.

“Byes are valuable,” Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday. “That’s why you fight like crazy to be a No. 1 or a No. 2 seed.”

If the Packers lose, they’ll be playing on the road in the Wild-Card round; if they win, they’ll have a first round bye and a home playoff game in the divisional round.

“Anytime you have a chance to get that week off, I think it’s important,” McCarthy continued. “I know some people believe in ‘keep playing.’ We’ve done both. I think byes are very beneficial. It gives you a better chance to get your team ready. At the end of the day, the best preparation leads to better performance.”

The Lions are 4-3 on the road this year and 5-0 against the NFC North.

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Garrett: Play ‘Our Best Football Game’ Against Redskins

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) — The Dallas Cowboys locked up the NFC East this past weekend, but still would like to finish the season out strong on Sunday against the Redskins.

Dallas is one of fives teams in the NFC that have an 11-4 record and head coach Jason Garrett said on Monday that he wants his players to be as ready as they can for the postseason.

“Our plan is to practice as well as we can practice and go play our best football game with the guys who are available to us,” Garrett said when asked of if he’d rest certain players. “We’re excited about that opportunity. That’s what we do here.”

The Cowboys can still get a bye in the first round of the playoffs and possibly move up to the No. 2 spot with losses by the Cardinals and Seahawks.

“We play the early game up there, so all the scenarios everybody is talking about, no one will know what those are,” Garrett said. “So we’ve got to go play our best football. The way to do that is focus on cleaning up this game when the players come in tomorrow and getting ready for the next challenge. That’s what we’re going to do.”

Dallas has some players still recovering from injuries, but Garrett wants his team to be prepared for anything against Washington.

“I think you play. You play guys. You get 16 opportunities and you go play and go try and play your best football,” Garrett said.

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Pirates Win Negotiating Rights to Korean Shortstop Jung-Ho Kang

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) — Already having one of the best offenses in baseball, the Pittsburgh Pirates are taking a shot on an international player as they have won the negotiating rights to Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang.

The Pirates now have 30 days to negotiate a contract with the international star, or he’ll head back to Korea. If a deal is reached, the Pirates will pay the Nexen Heroes the posting fee of $5,002,015.

“The Pirates are pleased to have secured the opportunity to attempt to add Kang, Jung Ho to our system and look forward to commencing discussions with the player and his representative in an effort to make that happen,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said in a statement.

The 27-year-old Kang hit .354 with 39 home runs this past season for the Heroes, and was named the MVP of the Korean Baseball Organization.

The Pirates are hoping Kang can provide some infield depth for the club behind second baseman Neil Walker and shortstop Jordy Mercer.

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