Lions sign WR Robiskie and put WR Burleson on IR


Lions sign WR Robiskie and put WR Burleson on IR

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) The Detroit Lions are counting on three players to make up for the loss of receiver Nate Burleson.

Second-year pro Titus Young and rookie Ryan Broyles take a big step up the depth chart at receiver. And tight end Tony Scheffler should get more chances to catch passes from the slot.

``Anytime somebody goes down, someone has to step up and I just happen to be the one that has to step up for the team,'' Young said Wednesday.

Detroit added depth by signing former Cleveland Browns receiver Brian Robiskie when it placed Burleson on injured reserve with a broken right leg.

Young and Broyles made the most of their opportunities while the Bears - like all of Detroit's opponents - focused their efforts on preventing Calvin Johnson from making big plays after Burleson was hurt in the Monday night loss at Chicago.

Young had six receptions for 81 yards. Broyles made the first three catches of his career for 51 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford in the 13-7 loss to the Bears.

``Nate means a lot to us and will continue to in the future, but one of the few bright spots coming out of that game was the fact that Titus had a little bit of a breakout game and Broyles got his first catch, got his first touchdown,'' Detroit coach Jim Schwartz said. ``We'll spread that around. We're not just going to plug one guy into Nate's role. It's going to be Titus in some ways and Broyles in others. It's going to be Tony Scheffler in other ones.

``There will be increased opportunity for those guys.''

And a job for Robiskie.

He was cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars last month. He made 39 receptions for 441 yards and three touchdowns over three seasons in Cleveland. The Browns drafted him in the second round in 2009, 36th overall, and he had only one relatively productive season. The 6-foot-4, 212-pound receiver caught 29 passes for 310 yards and three scores in 2010, when he started 11 of 14 games.

``We've seen him for a couple of years, looked at him when he came out in the draft,'' Schwartz said. ``He's got good size, very good technique, got a little bit of experience.

``Hopefully we can get him up to speed right away.''

If all goes well with a trio of receiving options, the Lions shouldn't need Robiskie to do much Sunday at home against Seattle.

Young, drafted 44th overall last year, showed promise during his rookie season with 48 receptions for 607 yards and six TDs.

His most memorable moment from this year was behind the scenes, punching teammate Louis Delmas when the veteran safety wasn't looking during an offseason workout. Young apologized for his actions, but bouts with immaturity seem to slow him down. He has been held to only one catch in three games this season, two in another, to go along with two games in which he had six receptions. In all, 17 receptions for 204 yards and only one score after seven games isn't the kind of production he or his team expects.

``Titus will make plays, I know that,'' Johnson said. ``And, I think Broyles gained some confidence in the last game. That was good for him.''

Broyles was only targeted once in four games before catching three passes that gave the Lions first downs, including a TD with 30 seconds left against Chicago.

By design, the Lions have brought him along slowly. Broyles tore a ligament in his left knee last season as a senior at Oklahoma. That's why he was still available in the second round of the draft, going 54th overall despite breaking the NCAA for career receptions and ranking among leaders in career yards on punt returns. Broyles finished college with 349 catches for 4,586 yards and 45 touchdowns along with 1,194 yards and two more scores on punt returns.

Schwartz said the team hasn't considered him an injured player this month, letting him practice with occasional limitations.

``We just view him as one of the other guys,'' Schwartz said.

Scheffler has been the other guy at tight end for Detroit behind Brandon Pettigrew; he had more of a shot last season to make plays in the passing game. Scheffler hasn't scored on any of his 11 receptions after he had a career-high six TD catches last year and 71 catches in his first two years with the Lions.

The 6-5, 255-pound tight end is quick and fast enough to line up in the slot, giving Stafford another option when he drops back and doesn't see Burleson running a route for the rest of the year.

NOTES: Johnson (knee), DE Cliff Avril (back), CB Jacob Lacey (concussion), LB DeAndre Levy (hamstring), DE Ronnell Lewis (not injury related) and S Amari Spievey (concussion) did not participate in Detroit's walkthrough on Wednesday. Young (knee), Delmas (knee), CB Dwight Bentley (shoulder), TE Brandon Pettigrew (knee), LB Stephen Tulloch (knee) and DT Corey Williams (knee) were limited in a light workout Schwartz hopes will make the team fresh during a short week.


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Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game


Caps recall goalie Pheonix Copley after Braden Holtby 'tweaked something' in Dallas game

You thought the Caps had a goalie rotation before, but now they have added a third netminder in the mix.

Pheonix Copley has been recalled from the Hershey Bears and will backup Philipp Grubauer for Washington's game in Detroit, the team announced Thursday.

The move comes in response to an injury concern for Braden Holtby.


Dallas Stars forward Remi Elie collided with Holtby midway through the third period on Tuesday as Holtby was extending to make a save. Holtby reacted awkwardly to the collision and could be seen skating and flexing his leg during the next stoppage.

With only nine games remaining in the regular season, Holtby's injury is a major concern. Given his recent struggles, the final few weeks of the season offered a chance for Holtby to get his game back to form. Just where his game will be when he is 100-percent healthy again is certainly a storyline to watch.


The good news for Washington, however, is that Grubauer is perhaps more ready this season to lead the team than he ever has been and confidence in him around the team should be high.

Since Thanksgiving, Grubauer has played in 22 games with a 17-11-4 record, a .939 save percentage, 1.85 GAA and two shutouts. No goalie who has played in 20 games or more has registered a better save percentage or GAA. He will certainly be looked upon to carry the load until Holtby returns. Whether this means he now has the inside track on starting in the playoffs, however, remains to be seen. That will depend largely on just when Holtby is ready to return and how Grubauer plays down the stretch.

Copley, 26, has gone 14-16-6 with two shutouts, a .898 save percentage and 2.86 GAA in 38 games in Hershey this season. He was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by Washington in 2014. He was traded to the St. Louis Blues in the package that netted the Caps T.J. Oshie, but was reacquired by Washington in Feb. 2017 in a trade deadline deal that included Kevin Shattenkirk.

At the time, it was believed Copley would be the team's backup for the 2017-18 season with Grubauer likely headed to Vegas in the expansion draft. Vegas, however, took Nate Schmidt instead which led to Copley spending the season in Hershey. The Caps now will be happy for the extra goalie depth for as long as Holtby's health remains a concern.

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Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

Washington Wizards

Wizards to give fans Phil Chenier emoji signs and 1978 title shirts for special weekend

This weekend was already going to be special for Washington Wizards fans. Now they will get souvenirs to remember it.

As part of their celebration of Phil Chenier's legendary career and the 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA championship, the Wizards are handing out emoji signs on Friday night and commemorative t-shirts on Sunday. All fans in attendance will receive a giveaway.


The emoji sign has Chenier's face on it and will be handed out for the March 23 game against the Nuggets. Chenier will have his jersey retired at halftime during the game. 

The emoji sign is presented by NBC Sports Washington. You're welcome, Authentic Fans.


The shirts will be given out on Sunday when the Wizards host the New York Knicks. 

Here's the front...

And the back...

Let's take a closer look at that back...

As a reporter who has received many giveaways over the years at pro sports stadiums, these are uniquely awesome. Should be a great weekend for Wizards fans. See you at the arena.


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