Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Nobody can deny that Good Ol’ JR, Jim Ross is one of the all-time greatest commentators in professional wrestling history. His voice is recognizable and match-calling skills are unparalleled. He and Jerry “The King” Lawler formed an epic partnership every Monday Night Raw during the attitude era. As his time at the commentary booth in WWE began to dwindle, many fans started to feel that the WWE they grew up on was slowly slipping away. 

Today, JR is back where he belongs: calling all the in-ring action with such passion and grit that only he can deliver. This time, however, he isn’t in WWE. He’s a full-time play-by-play announcer for All Elite Wrestling. 

Ahead of Fight for the Fallen, JR sat down with entertainment reporter and wrestling fan Chris Van Vliet to discuss his time in WWE, and how AEW revived his love for commentating again.

“My WWE contract ended at the end of March of this year,” said Ross. “I knew I wasn’t going to renew it because I was inactive, and players want to play. I wasn’t being utilized. For example, in 2018, I worked twice. I went to Saudi Arabia for about eight hours. Then I went to New York City to do Raw 25. Apparently, some of the powers that be there perceived I was too old or I couldn’t get my job done any longer. So I knew that I didn’t have a home there in that respect. I’m not the kind of guy that would sit at home and take my money. That is not my style.”

Chris brought up the recounted stories of Vince McMahon being in the ear of commentators, yelling at them during live episodes of Raw and SmackDown. Ross said that there is nobody in his ear in AEW the way Vince was in WWE. He recalls an episode of Raw where such an instance took place.

“Lawler and I were out there broadcasting. Vince tells me to say something and it was ridiculous. He was telling me to say it and I was holding out on him. He was screaming like crazy. Bottom line is that I didn’t say it.”

Ross recounted that during a commercial break, Vince came onto his headset asking if Ross had heard what he wanted him to say. Ross said that he did, to which Vince replied: “Well it’s a !*$% good thing you didn’t because it would have been wrong.”

He also discussed suggestions that AEW will put WWE out of business.

“Are you crazy? That’s ludicrous! That’s not even remotely feasible,” said Ross. “That’s like saying the XFL is going to supplant the NFL as America’s football league. They’re not, but they don’t have to to make a profit. The AEW brand doesn’t have to do anything with WWE or be affected by it one way the other. All we have to worry about is ourselves. We have to get better.”

Ross also spoke about the origin of “Slobberknocker”, Chris Benoit, and how long he plans to continue his career as a commentator.

Click here to watch the full interview.

The Montreal Alouettes relieved Kavis Reed of his duties as general manager, on Sunday, the team announced.

Alouettes president and CEO Patrick Boivin said the reason behind the dismissal couldn’t be revealed because it could “potentially expose us at the legal level,” according to Stu Cowan of the Montreal Gazette.

Boivin also said the decision wasn’t related to the team’s on-field performance or the impending sale of the franchise.

“A number of things were brought to my attention over the course of the last number of weeks that made it such that we had to make this decision immediate, right now,” Boivin said. “It would be inappropriate to start getting into specifics of what that is.

“It has nothing to do with performance,” Boivin added. “We could have been 4-0 and the decision would have still been made.”

Day-to-day management duties will be split by assistant general manager of player personnel Joe Mack, head coach Khari Jones, and director of football operations Patrick Donovan.

“Joe Mack will now have oversight of all football operations, but the team will be jointly managed with Khari Jones,” Boivin said in a statement. “Specifically, coach Jones will now be responsible for our active roster on a daily basis, and Joe will oversee all player personnel and football operation matters, including salary cap, contracts, operations and logistics. Patrick Donovan remains Director of Football Operations. These are standout individuals and are steadfast on collaboratively doing what is best for this team to win.”

The Alouettes are 2-2 this season after beating the Ottawa Redblacks on Saturday. They sit second in the East Division.

Reed had been with the club since 2015, first as the special team coordinator before being anointed as GM in 2016. He previously served as the Edmonton Eskimos’ head coach from 2011 to 2013.

In June, Montreal parted ways with head coach Mike Sherman and promoted offensive coordinator Khari Jones on an interim basis.

Lonzo Ball knew his name was being floated around in trade discussions for Anthony Davis.

So when Ball learned that he was dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans, the former UCLA Star was more than prepared for the news.

“I was kind of excited, honestly,” Ball told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk. “I kind of figured someone was going to get moved soon enough. I knew Anthony Davis wanted to come bad. Anytime you can get a guy like that, you are going to have to do what you have to do to get him.

“So I was kind of already just waiting for it, honestly, and I was happy to go with two guys I am comfortable with in B.I. (Brandon Ingram) and JHart (Josh Hart). I am excited to see what we can do.”

California is virtually all that Ball has ever known. He was born in Anaheim, played his high school basketball at nearby Chino Hills, went to college at UCLA, and was drafted second overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2017.

But Ball isn’t upset that he’s leaving home and is thankful to have been traded a couple of years into his NBA career rather than earlier on.

“I tell people when I was a rookie, I probably would have been sad,” Ball said. “Just being from L.A., having my whole family here and wanting to be a Laker. But being in the league for two years, knowing it’s a business, as long you get to play, that’s a blessing in itself.”

Ball had an up-and-down two years with the Lakers, during which he averaged 10 points, 6.4 assists, 6.2 boards, and 1.6 steals per contest across 99 appearances.

Injuries have limited Ball’s ability to stay on the court and he’s struggled with his shot, connecting on 38 percent of attempts from the field – including a 31.5 percent mark from distance.

However, Ball is still just 21 and has shown promise defensively with his size and wingspan.

Houston Texans defensive end Jadeveon Clowney didn’t receive a long-term contract extension before the 4 p.m. ET franchise-tag deadline passed Monday.

Clowney was hit with the $15.98-million tag March 4 but has yet to sign it. He hasn’t attended any of the team’s offseason activities and is expected to miss a significant portion of training camp, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

No trade is apparently in the works for the star pass-rusher.

Clowney’s contract impasse is apparently complicated by an issue over his positional designation.

The NFL Players Association is expected to file a grievance against Houston due to the team tagging Clowney as a linebacker rather than a defensive end, league sources told Schefter. Clowney played the majority of last season’s snaps as a defensive end.

Tagging a defensive end costs $1.7 million more than the linebacker tender.

The Texans’ negotiations with Clowney were made more difficult by the recent firing of general manager Brian Gaine and the team’s decision not to hire a replacement for the 2019 season.

Gaine and head coach Bill O’Brien reportedly disagreed on Clowney. The former GM apparently wanted to make a long-term commitment to the 2014 No. 1 overall pick.

Clowney made three straight Pro Bowls and has racked up 18.5 sacks over the last two seasons. After struggling to stay healthy early in his career, he’s played in 45 games from 2016-2018.

He must now wait until after Houston’s final regular-season game in 2019 to sign an extension, or he can wait until the conclusion of the league year to test free agency.

The two other remaining franchise-tagged players – Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and San Francisco 49ers kicker Robbie Gould – both received contract extensions at the 11th hour.

Jarrett signed a four-year deal worth a reported $68 million to replace the $15.21-million tender he agreed to April 22. He stayed away from most of the Falcons’ offseason workouts but reported for mandatory minicamp in June.

Meanwhile, the 49ers ended their standoff with Gould – who requested a trade to be closer to his family in Chicago – by agreeing to a four-year extension.

The Colorado Avalanche signed restricted free-agent forward Andre Burakovsky to a one-year contract on Monday, the team announced.

It’s reportedly worth $3.25 million, a source told The Athletic’s Ryan Clark.

The Avalanche acquired Burakovsky in a trade with the Capitals on June 28. The 24-year-old recorded 12 goals and 25 points in 76 regular-season games with Washington last season and added two points across seven playoff contests.

Washington selected Burakovsky with the 23rd overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. He’s recorded 62 goals and 145 points in 328 career games and helped the Capitals capture their first Stanley Cup in 2017-18.

Ben Simmons is securing the bag.

The guard reached an agreement with the Philadelphia 76ers on a five-year, $170-million contract extension, his agent told The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

Simmons’ new max deal will kick in for the 2020-21 season. He’s currently set to earn $8.1 million this coming campaign – the final year on the rookie deal he signed in 2016.

Philadelphia was reported to have offered Simmons a max contract extension on July 2.

After missing what would have been his rookie year in 2016-17 due to a broken right foot, Simmons quickly cemented his star status the following season. The former No. 1 pick averaged 15.7 points, 8.2 assists, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 0.9 blocks in 81 games and was named Rookie of the Year. The 6-foot-10 ball-handler put up similar numbers in his sophomore campaign and earned his first All-Star nod.

Despite his well-rounded production, Simmons has received criticism for his lack of a 3-point shot. The 22-year-old has yet to hit from deep over his two seasons and only made six attempts last year.

The Atlanta Falcons and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett agreed to a four-year contract to replace his franchise tag, the team confirmed Monday.

The deal is worth $68 million, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. It contains $42.5 million in guarantees, a source told NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Jarrett would’ve made $15.2 million under the tag. His new deal averages $17 million annually, which trails only Aaron Donald and Fletcher Cox among interior linemen in the league.

The agreement was reported about an hour before the deadline for franchise-tagged players to ink new pacts. It marked a surprising turn of events, as a report Monday morning said the two sides were unlikely to strike a deal.

Jarrett collected 52 tackles in 2018 and posted career highs in sacks (six) and forced fumbles (three). He’s emerged as one of the game’s top defensive tackles over the last couple of seasons.

In June, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said he wanted Jarrett, wide receiver Julio Jones, and linebacker Deion Jones to be “Falcons for life.” So far, Jarrett is the lone member of that trio to get a new contract.

With Jarrett taken care of, Atlanta will turn its attention to Deion Jones, whose agent will meet with the team Wednesday, according to Schefter. Julio Jones, meanwhile, has already been promised a mega-extension.