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Pryor to get 1st start at QB for Raiders

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Pryor to get 1st start at QB for Raiders

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders are ready to get a long look at Terrelle Pryor to see if he can be their quarterback of the future.

Pryor got the nod to start Sunday's season finale in San Diego in place of the injured Carson Palmer. After being deemed not ready to be the backup when Palmer got hurt last week in Carolina, Pryor now gets the chance to make his first career start.

``We know what his strengths are, we know what his weaknesses are,'' coach Dennis Allen said Friday. ``But really, to give him an opportunity to go out in a game, against a division opponent, at their place, and give him a chance to play, it gives us a view into the future.''

Allen said he told Pryor and Matt Leinart early in the week that he was leaning to Pryor but wanted to see how practice developed. He said he thought Pryor responded well and now wants to see what his athleticism can bring to a team that has failed to score a touchdown the past two weeks.

Pryor said he's confident he is ready to start his first game since the Sugar Bowl for Ohio State against Arkansas on Jan. 4, 2011, but admitted to having some anxiety.

``I'm nervous. Until the first play I'm going to be nervous,'' he said. ``I'm human like you guys. I'm human like everybody. I just happen to play one of the best sports in the world. I'll be nervous until the first snap.''

Pryor was taken in the third round of the supplemental draft in August 2011 by late Raiders owner Al Davis. Pryor missed almost all of training camp and then served a five-game suspension before he could be activated. He got on the field just once as a rookie - committing a false start before his only play - as he needed to work on his footwork and mechanics.

Pryor got a few chances to shine in the preseason but was then inactive the first 11 games of this year. He played briefly the past two weeks in specialty packages. He completed one of two passes for 5 yards, ran the ball once for 2 yards and caught a 22-yard pass.

Pryor said he guarantees he will have no problems with the logistics of quarterback, calling the play in the huddle, getting to the line of scrimmage on time and recognizing defenses.

``I'm confident,'' he said. ``I'm sure my teammates have confidence in me as well. Like I said, you can't put everything on my shoulders, can't try to do everything. Just go out and let the players make plays and let myself make plays.''

Pryor will be the 15th player to start at quarterback for the Raiders since the start of the 2003 season.

``Of course he brings the running ability, but he's trying to be a leader out there, have command of the huddle and doing the job that a starting quarterback should do,'' receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said.

Leinart had hoped to be able to make his third start since 2007 but thought the Raiders might give the nod to Pryor to see what he can do in a real game.

``The competitor in me wants to play, wants to start, but I do understand that they need to evaluate him, and I get that,'' Leinart said. ``Obviously, you're not happy by any means, but at the same time I'm a team player. I've learned a lot this year, and I'm happy to help.''

The Raiders also could have a new starter on the offensive line as starting right guard Mike Brisiel missed his third straight practice as he recovers from an ankle injury and concussion.

Brisiel, one of Oakland's biggest free-agent signings this past offseason, has struggled in his first season with the Raiders. He has committed a team-high 10 penalties and been part of a running game that has struggled to generate any consistency.

Brisiel is listed as questionable and will be a game-time decision. If he can't start, rookie Tony Bergstrom would get the nod. Bergstrom was Oakland's top draft pick in April at 95th overall but has struggled to get on the field. He has played eight games this season and gotten 75 snaps on offense, with most coming as a tight end in Oakland's six-linemen alignment.

``He's going to go through some growing pains like any new player would,'' offensive coordinator Greg Knapp said. ``I feel good about him. I like what I've seen in practice. I also have seen the rookie mistakes that I know this might show up in a game. But I'm looking forward to get him some reps to see him play live.''

NOTES: CB Phillip Adams will be placed on IR with a groin injury and be replaced in the lineup by Brandian Ross, who has played well as a reserve in recent weeks. ... DB Cory Nelms and DL Brandon Bair will be activated from the practice squad for Sunday's game. S Tyvon Branch (neck, ankle) returned to practice Friday and is listed as questionable.

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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