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Notre Dame RB Wood leaving for NFL

Notre Dame RB Wood leaving for NFL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood announced Monday he is entering the NFL draft, deciding against returning for a final year of eligibility.

The 6-0, 215-pound senior, who did not play as a freshman, was second on the team this past season with 742 yards rushing on 114 carries, including 2 yards on four carries in a 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game. He sat out the first two games of the season after being suspended by coach Brian Kelly for violating team rules.

He rushed for 2,447 yards on 450 carries in three seasons as the Irish, finishing seventh on Notre Dame's all-time list. His 5.4 yards per carry is the most for any Irish back with that many carries. His best season was in 2011, when he led the Irish with 1,102 yards rushing on 217 carries. He rushed for a career-high 191 yards in a game against Purdue in 2011.

Wood, who has a 1-year-old daughter, said it wasn't an easy decision.

``I had to weigh many factors over the last month, but ultimately it came down to what I felt was the right decision that would most benefit my family,'' he said in a statement released by the school.

Kelly wished Wood well.

``Cierre has been an important member of our football team in my three years at Notre Dame and I appreciate all he did to help get our program back on top,'' he said.

The Irish also lose leading rusher Theo Riddick, who arrived at Notre Dame in the same recruiting class as Wood. Although Wood came in as a much higher rated recruit, Riddick got on the field immediately as a freshman while Wood struggled to learn blocking schemes and with homesickness. The two, who are close friends and lived in the same house, said there was never any rivalry between them.

The top returning rusher for the Irish is George Atkinson III, a speedy back who ran for 361 yards on 51 carries, an average of 7.1 yards a carry. The Irish will have Amir Carlisle, a transfer from Southern Cal who missed the 2012 season with a foot injury after missing much of his freshman season with the Trojans with injuries. The Irish also are expected to sign several high school backs on Feb. 6, including highly rated backs Greg Bryant from Delray Beach, Fla., and Tarean Folston from Cocoa, Fla.

The announcement comes two days after Kelly said he would return to the Fighting Irish in 2013 after talking with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles about their head coaching job.

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Get to know newest Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny

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Get to know newest Capitals defenseman Michal Kempny

On Monday, with the NHL trade deadline approaching, the Washington Capitals addressed a need for blue line depth by acquiring Michal Kempny from the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for a conditional third-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft.

But before you begin to analyze how the move impacts the Capitals' outlook heading forward, lets take some time to get to know the newest member of the Caps.

Who is Michal Kempny?

Michal Kempny is a 27-year-old defenseman from the Czech Republic. He was born on Sept. 8, 1990 in Hodonin, a small town in southwestern Czech Republic near the border of Austria and Slovakia. Kempny began his hockey career playing for SHK Hodonin. Kempny knew very little english upon arriving to the NHL, but credited his girlfriend Showtime shows to helping him become more comfortable speaking the language. 

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What International Experience Does Michal Kempny Have?

Michal Kempny played professionally for HC Kometa Brno of the Czech Extraliga and Avangard Omsk of the Kontinental Hockey League. Kempny was a standout player on the international stage, playing for the Czech Republic U18, U20 and Men's National teams.

MORE ON THE TRADE: WHERE DOES KEMPNY FIT IN THE CAPS ROSTER

When Did Michal Kempny Make His NHL Debut?

Michal Kempny was signed to a one-year contract as an undrafted free agent by the Chicago Blackhawks in May, 2016 and made his NHL debut in October, 2016. Kempny scored his first NHL goal on Dec. 30, 2016 against Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward. Kempny appeared in 50 games for the Blackhawks during the 2016-17 season, recording two goals and six assists. The Blackhawks re-signed Kempny to a one-year extension during the offseason. Kempny played in 31 games this season before being traded to the Capitals.

What Type of Hockey Player is Michal Kempny?

Kempny is a 6-0, 194-pound defenseman with a strong left-handed shot. Known for his play on the offensive end, Kempny was never able to gain the trust of Joel Quenneville on the defensive end. But Kempny has a good bit of offensive upside, thanks to his passing skills and strong shot, which is why the Blackhawks took a flier on him in the first place and why he was an ideal trade candidate for the Capitals. But again, Kempny's size is less than ideal for a top-tier blue-liner and while he doesn't shy away from contact, he is rarely much of a physical presence. 

What Does Michal Kempny's Contract Look Like?

Michael Kempny is set to become an unrestricted free agent the the end of the 2017-18 season and has a cap hit of just $900,000.

RELATED: TROTZ REACTS TO RACIAL COMMENTS MADE BY CHICAGO FANS

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Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

Its Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future

So if you have not heard, Bryce Harper is going to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2018 season.

All off-season talking heads, baseball aficionados, radio hosts, etc. were speculating on where the outfielder’s destination will be next year.

And we are still a year away from it actually happening.

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Reporting to spring training on Monday, Harper did not waste any time telling the media how his press conferences were going to play out this season.

“If guys do [ask], or talk anything about that, I will be walking right out the door.”

Entering his seventh season with the Washington Nationals, the 25-year-old is coming off the second-best season, statistically, of his career. The 2015 NL MVP has hit .285 in his career, with 150 home runs and 421 RBIs. Unquestionably he is the face of the Nationals’ organization, if not, the best player in the team’s history.

If he does end the season without a contract extension, he will join Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson, and Barry Bonds as the top sought out free agents in MLB history.

One thing is for certain in terms of Harper’s free agency; Harper has given no inclination on where his landing spot will be.  The top three cities are of course his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees; joining with one of his closest friends with the Chicago Cubs; or just staying with Washington.

Wherever he does land, it does appear that it will be the largest contract given to a free agent ever.

As for now we just wait and direct any of your calls to his agent Scott Boras.

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