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Aaron Rodgers wants to play until 40, preferably with Packers

Despite a pair of clavicle injuries which have shortened a pair of seasons, Aaron Rodgers is feeling good. And thus healthy, he’s going to get asked about how long he wants to play, because that’s just what we do with quarterbacks.

The 34-year-old Rodgers (who will hit 35 in December) told Peter King that the plan was to hit the next big round number.

But I think in my time there, I realize no one is above the team, he said. They can trade Brett Favre, Jordy Nelson. They can not re-sign a Charles Woodson or Julius Peppers. They make decisions that are in the best interest of the team. It could be me at some point. You have to be humble enough to realize that, and I do. I’d love to be able to . . . .

How many guys get to actually pick the way and the team how they go out? You know? Hardly anybody. You have to understand that’s a real possibility. But, yeah, my dream situation would be to stay in Green Bay.

Now all they have to do is make that happen, which will begin with the contract.

What improved? The Falcons replaced what they lost in the offseason, and the franchise improved at cornerback and at receiver. But thinking outside the box here—more than anything, Atlanta improved on its championship window by inking quarterback Matt Ryan to a five-year, $150 million contract extension. Ryan now has a cap hit of $17.7 million in 2018 and just $22.8 million next year before jumping to $31.8 million in ’20 (but by that time every top quarterback will cost a team at least $30 million per year).

Now look at Atlanta’s core group of defensive players. Desmond Trufant, Robert Alford, Keanu Neal, Vic Beasley, Deion Jones and De’Vondre Campbell are all signed through at least 201A manageable quarterback cap hit plus smart contracts from the front office in recent years means space for free agents when needed.

What needs work? The Falcons have a great mix of veterans and young players, deep at positions they need to be and filled holes where necessary this offseason. So I’ll go outside of the box again and say that Julio Jones’s relationship with the front office needs work. The star wideout—possibly the best receiver in the NFL and probably the most complete receiver in the NFL—wants a new contract even though he has three years left on a deal he signed in 2015 that made him the second-highest paid receiver at the time.

Janoris Jenkins on Roosevelt Rene’s Death: ‘It Truly Hurts My Heart’

In a statement about his good friend who was found dead in his New Jersey residence, Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins said he cannot answer any questions related to the investigation.

If I could line the stars up, it would be great if we—the Rams and Chargers—could play each other in the Super Bowl this year in Atlanta, he says. For this market, for sales, it would be exciting. You know, timing could be impeccably perfect. But if we can’t win the Super Bowl, I’d probably say I’d want the Rams to win because it just helps the [stadium] project. We are part of this, we have equity in this, we’re an equal partner in this thing. And I think [Kroenke], if he was sitting here, would say the same thing. We wish each other good luck except when we play each other. The better I do is going to help him and vice versa.

Though it’d be unimaginable in most markets, with Los Angeles, where fans have so many options for sports, as well as for pop culture entertainment and outdoor activities, one also must wonder what the team does in the event that it makes a deep playoff run but sees little rise in local popularity. Spanos doesn’t like looking away from the big picture. Our goal every year is to win the Super Bowl … even if we make a deep playoff run this year, it’s about sustained success.

What hangs in the air when talking with anyone from the Chargers is the city of San Diego. Spanos, his family and employees are quick to emphasize how much the city still matters to them. The Chargers have maintained all of their existing community programs in San Diego, and they realize that many fans there are still loyal. But they also realize that many are still hurt. As one staffer put it, emotions remain too raw to consider marketing the team to those citizens. Quick as Chargers employees are to laud San Diego, the conversation always quickly shifts back slightly north.

The obstacles may seem insurmountable for this Los Angeles team, but it’s nothing the team isn’t ready to face head-first. This team’s home is now Los Angeles.

To go where we want to go it might take ten years, Spanos says. We are the new kids on the block so, you know, we are fighting our way in one fan at a time. But whatever it is, we’ll get there.

Jets players during national anthem

The NFLPA on Tuesday said it has filed a grievance against the league, challenging the NFL’s new policy regarding players and the national anthem.

The league announced in late May that players and team personnel on the sideline when the national anthem is played before games would be required to stand. As an alternative under the new policy, players would be allowed to remain in their locker rooms while the anthem is played. However, under the policy, teams would be fined if players or other personnel on the field do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem.

Shortly after that announcement, the players union said its members weren’t consulted about the changes and it would review the new policy and challenge any aspect of it that is inconsistent with the collective bargaining agreement.

Nick Goody: He was pitching great until he abruptly got hit hard in four straight games, after which he went on the disabled list. Now he’s on the 60-day DL. There’s no timetable for his return.

You ever watch Spiderman? With great power comes great responsibility. I think I have that, and I think our players have that. I think a lot of them appreciate that.

On search for a team president to run the Panthers’ day-to-day operations:

Experience running a sports team is probably No. 1. Different types of experience like that. Obvious business things (like) marketing, development … there’s probably a lot of development here. (There are) a couple people I’ve kind of pinned down.

I just want to make sure the person will be able to build a good team here and also understand the philosophy I just outlined openness and a team environment and one family. We’re family here, and I want to make sure people understand that. That family includes the football side and the business side. The family feels safe inside this building.

That leads to NFL coaches having some time off to ponder how their team can become the next Super Bowl champion.

Maybe John Harbaugh is using this down time to think about how he can win a Super Bowl for Ozzie Newsome in his last year as the Ravens general manager. And maybe Texans head coach Bill O’Brien is sitting around praying that Deshaun Watson stays healthy. Thomas George pondered what every coach is thinking during their offseason break and his conclusions will offer some hilarity to your summer.

He said anytime a coach is fired in that manner that coach has to think about it. He said that coach must ask, How do I get better?

I took some time to myself and analyzed things, Bates said.

The philosophies in Seattle clearly did not match. Bates studied, developed, tinkered in the years afterward. Here is how he will influence the Jets offense:

Bates is an intellectual football coach. He has studied the game relentlessly and was a play-caller early in his NFL career in Denver. The Jets players are impressed with his array of intricate offensive detail.

But Belichick won’t wait. This mandatory camp serves an opportunity too ripe to miss on what Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan calls rigid coaching.

Actually, they already have, the Giants say.

I have the mic, Olgetree said of the fact that he will wear the in-game communication device that connects him to Bettcher. Olgetree will make the on-field calls and make sure the defense is aligned correctly.

I was shocked, Olgetree said of the Rams trading him. I think it’s their loss. It happened. Can’t look back.

The Rams went all-in on bolstering their cornerback play, adding Aquib Talib and Marcus Peters. Their new, elite cornerbacks are the anchors of their new defense. That helped to make Olgetree expendable.

Roster incentives are kind of a catch-all type of compensation in a contract.

The signing bonus, as the name suggests, is a large chunk of change given to the player once he puts his John Hancock on the dotted line, is spread out over the life of the contract up to five years.

In other words, if a player signs a six-year deal and gets $25 million to sign, the prorated amount of $5 million will hit just the first five years of the deal.

The main difference between LTBE and NLTBE is that a LTBE is an incentive the player is likely to earn and is one which will count against the current year’s cap.

The Bills drafting a quarterback wasn’t at all surprising, but Gates was extremely confident the team couldn’t possibly like Allen more than other quarterback prospects. Too confident.

With Rosen still available, Buffalo traded up to No. 7 overall where they took Allen. Mayfield was the No. 1 pick and Rosen went a few picks after Allen at No. 10 overall to the Cardinals.

On Monday, he tweeted that he’s following through with the promise and joining the corporate world.

To those wondering if we are playing some sort of long con about my future at WGR, we are not. Friday will be my last day as a producer for Schopp and the Bulldog. Thursday will be my last day as host of The Nightcap.

I will remain a part-time contributor to the station.

The Thunder have been in communication with George since the end of the season and remained in contact with him throughout the past week.

The signs and momentum for George staying had been building throughout the season, hinging largely on his trust of Thunder general manager Sam Presti and his strong relationship with Westbrook. George talked often about building with the Thunder, referencing his enjoyment of playing with Westbrook.

George was traded to OKC almost exactly a year ago after informing the Indiana Pacers that he would not re-sign with them, instead preferring to join his hometown Lakers in free agency. The Thunder spent the year recruiting George to sign up long-term, beginning with fans welcoming him at the airport and a welcome party organized a day after.

I haven’t been in a position to be a free agent or know what that is like and then to have the chance to go where you want to go. That’s always been, I feel with players, they want that option, George said at exit interviews after the season. But then you go into an organization where they kind of check the boxes on all the things that you want out of an organization, and then immediately they become a candidate to where you want to play long-term.

Anderson, Chicago’s shortstop, was ejected for the second time in his career in the 11th inning when he argued with umpire Gerry Davis after being caught stealing second. I kind of said some bad words, Anderson said.

Twins: RF Taylor Motter hit the wall hard trying to catch Yoan Moncada’s double in the sixth and will be re-evaluated for chest soreness. Motter stayed down on the warning track for a couple of minutes while being tended to by a team athletic trainer, but he remained in the game until Kepler pinch hit for him in the seventh. … SS Jorge Polanco, almost done with an 80-game suspension for testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug, was scheduled to DH in one game and play SS in the other in a doubleheader for Triple-A Rochester on Thursday. He can be reinstated on July 5.

White Sox: Sanchez left the game with a bruised left quadriceps in the 13th after tripping on first base when he ran out a grounder. He’s day-to-day. … Manager Rick Renteria said OF Nicky Delmonico (broken right middle finger) will start swinging a bat soon, but he isn’t close to beginning a rehab assignment.

Phoenix evidently wants to push for a playoff spot this season — that’s presumably the rationale for signing a 33-year-old free agent to a one-year deal.

Having drafted a small forward with the No. 4 pick of the 2017 draft (Josh Jackson), signed one to an extension last fall (T.J. Warren) and traded for the rights to one drafted No. 10 this year (Mikal Bridges), Phoenix now spent the vast majority of its cap space on another player who primarily plays the 3.

The good news is that if there’s one position where more is almost always better, it’s small forward, the most versatile spot on defense. I’m guessing Ariza will start at power forward, pushing the Suns’ developing bigs (Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss) out of the lineup after each started about half the games last season. But he could also start at shooting guard, pushing Devin Booker to the point.

On the plus side, Ariza should draw trade interest if Phoenix does fall out of the playoff race. Additionally, the one-year deal protects the Suns’ cap space in 2019, when they could get in the mix for a max free agent if they hold off on an extension for Booker to take advantage of his relatively low cap hold.

That said, I think Phoenix would probably have been better off using its cap space now to sign a younger player to a long-term deal that could have aged well as the cap increases.

Sabathia shut down the high-scoring Red Sox, Greg Bird hit two home runs and Aaron Judge connected off a college teammate as New York bopped Boston 8-1 on Friday evening to edge ahead in the AL East.

Not since the famed Bucky Dent playoff game in 1978 had the Yankees and Red Sox met so late in a season when they owned the two top marks in baseball, the Elias Sports Bureau said. Home runs decided this matchup, too, with Miguel Andujar also going deep for New York.

I mean, we’re a good club, New York manager Aaron Boone said. We’re a confident group, we know we can play with anyone.

The biggest crowd of the year at Yankee Stadium was in the spirit as lines formed outside the gates more than 3 1/2 hours before the start. The pro-Yankees chants began prior to the first pitch, the anti-Boston shouts soon followed.

Sabathia (5-3) helped end Boston’s four-game winning streak, less than a month from his 38th birthday. He gave up one run and six hits in seven innings, and improved to 6-0 in his last seven starts against the Red Sox.

Two-time NBA champion Kevin Durant to make brief visit to Manila

Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors is coming to Manila for the second time.

The two-time NBA champion will arrive in the Philippines on Sunday as part of a tour by Nike, the brand he endorses.

Durant averaged 26.4 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the 2017-18 season. He helped the Warriors sweep the Cleveland Cavaliers in the championship series, where he won the Finals MVP award for the second straight year.

Durant first visited the Philippines in 2011.

The $5 million savings this year offsets the $5.3 million midlevel tax if Golden State elects to use it. Durant would save the Warriors $20 million in projected luxury-tax costs.

The return of Durant, the winner of the past two Finals MVP awards, ensures that the Hamptons Five — which includes Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala — will be in Warriors uniforms for at least one more season.

Golden State has won three championships in four years and is well-equipped to secure more.

To enter free agency, the 7-foot small forward declined his 2018-19 player option worth $26.2 million. It was the last year of a two-year pact in which he took approximately $10 million less than his maximum salary in 2017 in order for the team to re-sign Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.

There was no true team incentive for Durant to take such a pay cut this offseason, and considering the fact that he will turn 30 in September, there was little belief that he would be willing to accept one.

After Durant led the team to an impressive sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, Golden State general manager Bob Myers said he was prepared to give Durant whatever he wanted in free agency.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and Michael Cooper all played in a pair of swept-out defeats in the finals with the Los Angeles Lakers.

James, most definitely, does not want to get swept in the NBA Finals for a second time.

But if it happens, at least he’ll be in elite company.

Should Cleveland lose Game 4 of this series Friday night and get swept by Golden State, James would be the fifth player to actually be on the floor for a pair of 4-0 defeats in the NBA Finals. James was on the Cleveland team that lost 4-0 to San Antonio in 2007 as well.

The other four guys to be twice-swept? They’re not bad.

It really depends on the coach, it depends on the team it depends on the player you’re talking to, she said. And we’ve learned over the years who are the good guys to have in the room. But don’t start tweeting at these reporters for that information, because you won’t get it. One of the jobs that we have is to keep all of this information to ourselves, she said. There’s a ton that goes into the job, and it isn’t just what you see on Sundays. However, it’s clearly an incredibly rewarding one, and it puts those that have it in a unique position.

Any time you get to go out and see the fellas, play with them, talk with them, be in the huddle and look at guys, and participate in drills, that’s what you play the game for ultimately, he said, via the Boston Globe. It was tough to watch it on the sidelines last year. To come out here and do little things, strap on the helmet, it put some perspective on how lucky you are to get to play the game. Last Friday, during Brady’s annual Best Buddies Football Challenge, Edelman could be seen hauling in a touchdown pass from the future Hall of Fame quarterback,

Whatever fate awaits Edelman, the Patriots bolstered their receiving corps this offseason, adding Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson and rookie sixth-round pick Braxton Berrios, who join a depth chart that includes Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett, Malcolm Mitchell and Kenny Britt.

While Steratore is done with the NFL, it isn’t clear yet if he’ll continue to officiate NCAA basketball like his brother and cousin, or if he’ll stick to just his CBS job. But he’s the fourth referee to leave the job this offseason:

For better or worse, Steratore was one of the most recognizable officials in the NFL. With yet another veteran official gone, the NFL’s referee corps will look very different in 2018 and beyond.

Christian McCaffrey might be the best receiver on the Carolina Panthers roster

Consistently productive tight end Delanie Walker has been a Pro Bowler in each of the last three seasons, while running back duo Derrick Henry (4.3 yards per carry in his first two seasons) and Dion Lewis (1,110 scrimmage yards and nine touchdowns last year in New England) could make up one of the best tandems in the league. 

But Tennessee’s top wide receiver last year was Rishard Matthews, who shouldn’t be a No. 1 guy out wide. Matthews, 2017 third-round pick Taywan Taylor and 2016 fifth-rounder Tajae Sharpe are better suited for complementary roles, but they’ll likely have to carry more of the load as the offense waits on Corey Davis. 

It’s fair to wonder if Funchess can ever be the guy considering he’s caught just 50 percent of the passes thrown his way in his first three seasons. Samuel doesn’t have that makeup and is still recovering from an ankle injury. Olsen might be fading as he prepares for his 12th season. Smith hasn’t put together a strong season in half a decade. And Moore might need some time. 

There’s enough talent at all of the offensive skill positions to keep the Panthers out of the bottom 10 here, but Newton could still use a lot more help.

But in terms of sheer talent and potential, this is one of the best skill-position groups in football. With an improved offensive line, the Giants could do a lot of damage in 2018. 

By the time that season came to an end, he had one of the league’s best skill-position quartets. 

That’s because his rockstar supporting cast (Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson to begin with) added two new members in tight end O.J. Howard and wide receiver Chris Godwin.

During his final five games as a rookie, Howard caught 70.6 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging a ridiculous 17.1 yards per attempt. The first-round pick out of Alabama also scored three touchdowns during that stretch before a mid-December ankle injury ended his campaign prematurely.

Meanwhile, Godwin caught 61.5 percent of the passes thrown his way while averaging an even more ridiculous 18.4 yards per catch during the final four weeks of his rookie campaign, with 209 of his 525 receiving yards coming in the final two games of the regular season.