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Raiders plan to play Carter against Falcons

Raiders plan to play Carter against Falcons

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland Raiders defensive end Andre Carter was always taught to do everything on the field at full speed. Recovering from a torn quadriceps injury required a bit more patience.

Nearly 10 months after being carted off the field in Denver, Carter plans to take the restraints off again in his 2012 regular season debut. Oakland coach Dennis Allen said Friday that Carter will be active for Oakland's game this week against the undefeated Atlanta Falcons.

How much the 12th-year pass rush specialist plays is uncertain, though Allen indicated he wouldn't put limitations on Carter.

``It gives us a little bit more veteran leadership,'' Allen said. ``He's a guy that understands how to do it and he's done it at a high level. He's come in and tried to help the whole group. He's been a good addition for us.''

Carter was signed on Sept. 26 to help a pass rush that has produced just three sacks in four games. The 33-year-old has 76 career sacks, including 10 last year with New England before he suffered the season-ending leg injury.

The quadriceps muscle in Carter's left leg was torn so badly that he required surgery, followed up by a grueling stretch of rehab.

While the injury scared away many potential suitors, Oakland showed an early interest in Carter and had him in for workouts twice before signing him following their Week 3 win over Pittsburgh.

That victory has been the lone bright spot in the Raiders' first season since Hall of Fame owner Al Davis died in October 2011.

Oakland is off to a 1-3 start for the sixth time in eight seasons, with most of the problems coming on the defensive side. The Raiders are 25th overall, 28th against the pass.

Part of that is due to injuries that have sidelined starting cornerbacks Ron Bartell and Shawntae Spencer. Michael Huff, the team's starting free safety since entering the NFL as a first-round pick in 2006, will make his third consecutive start at cornerback this week.

The Raiders pass rush has also been quiet. Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy leads the defense with 1 1/2 sacks, defensive tackle Richard Seymour has one while Dave Tollefson has 1/2 sack.

Carter, who began his NFL career across the bay with San Francisco, hopes to help change that. He spent two weeks learning Oakland's defense then joined the rest of the Raiders on Wednesday for his first padded practice since the injury.

``I knew the road to recovery was going to be a process,'' Carter said. ``It's something you definitely have to be very patient about. You don't want to rush anything. You don't want to have any major setbacks, so I did the necessary things as far as my recovery.''

Carter has been lining up primarily at right defensive end in practice, although he also worked on the left side Friday. The Raiders say they'll use him at both if need be to counter the Falcons' high-paced offense.

``He'll be a rotational player, and really that's how we've handled the defensive line anyway,'' Allen said. ``You have to try to limit the number of plays that they play, especially playing a team like Atlanta that throws the ball like they do. You want to make sure you keep some fresh rushers out there.''

Raiders wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey is also expected to play for the first time since suffering a concussion and neck strain after being knocked unconscious following a helmet-to-chin hit by Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy on Sept. 23.

Notes: DE Tommy Kelly returned to practice after injuring his foot Wednesday. Kelly is listed as questionable but is expected to play. ... TE Richard Gordon (hamstring) is out.

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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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