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Saints praise Colston's consistency, reliability

Saints praise Colston's consistency, reliability

METAIRIE, La. (AP) Marques Colston never goes out of his way to be noticed.

He became the New Orleans Saints' all-time leader in touchdowns scored this season with 56, yet does not have a touchdown dance. He seldom appears in commercials, and is often hard to find when the locker room at team headquarters is open to reporters.

At Dallas last Sunday, Colston's 10 catches for 153 yards put him over the 1,000-yard mark for the sixth time in his seven seasons. Yet he has never been to a Pro Bowl, which disappoints teammates such as quarterback Drew Brees.

``He is Mr. Dependable, Mr. Steady. When you need a play, I know I can always count on him,'' Brees said Wednesday. ``He's a quiet guy, but when he comes to work, he's ready to work.''

Brees said he loves Colston the way he is and would not want him to change, but figures the slender, 6-foot-4 receiver's introverted nature probably works against him when it comes to getting the recognition he deserves.

``How do guys get noticed for the (Pro Bowl's) fan vote and for everything else?'' Brees asked rhetorically. ``If you're not saying something that's getting you on TV or what have you, then a lot of times people don't notice you if you keep the helmet on and just work. You don't have a touchdown dance, but there's no guy that's been steadier than him at the receiver position.''

The only season in which Colston compiled fewer than 1,000 yards receiving was 2008, when a hand injury limited him to 11 games and he finished with 760.

Since Colston entered the league as a seventh-round draft choice out of Hofstra in 2006, only three players in the NFL have caught more touchdown passes. Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald has the most at 59, just three more than Colston, while San Francisco's Randy Moss has 58 and San Diego's Antonio Gates has 57.

In addition to Colston's numbers, the Saints talk about his toughness - the way he makes difficult catches in traffic over the middle, routinely absorbing big hits. Colston owns an oxygen-rich hyperbaric chamber, and often sleeps in it during the season in hopes of hastening his recovery from injuries or the general pounding he takes.

``No matter how battered or bruised he is, he's in practice,'' Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt said. ``He doesn't take time off. He doesn't miss games. All he does is he takes it to heart the accountability he has to his teammates and he takes it to heart the accountability he has to this game, and he's special.''

Colston was not available for comment Wednesday when Pro Bowl rosters were released.

When he did speak to reporters after last Sunday's victory at Dallas, he talked not about his pivotal role in the win, but berated himself for a dropped pass and a fumble in overtime, even though the play on which he lost the ball still set up the Saints' winning field goal after tight end Jimmy Graham recovered it.

``Even with the win, it's personally going to leave a sour taste in my mouth because I can't do that,'' Colston said. ``It's one of those things where I know that can't happen. It's been an issue where I've had a couple this year. It just doesn't sit well with me.''

Such a reaction was classic Colston, Brees said.

``That's what I love about him. He had 10 (catches) for (more than) 150 (yards) and he's mad about one drop and a fumble,'' Brees said. ``That's where his head's at. He's such a prideful guy. He wants people to be able to count on him.

``You love having guys like that because you don't have to police them. They police themselves.''

Colston has never been one to complain about not getting the ball enough or not getting paid enough. In fact, he could have tested the open market last winter, but instead chose to sign a five-year extension worth about $36 million before free agency even started.

That should keep Colston around long enough to break Eric Martin's all-time Saints marks for catches and yards receiving. Colston is second all-time with 527 receptions and 7,342 yards, putting him five catches and 512 yards behind Martin in both categories.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera, whose team visits New Orleans this Sunday, said players of Colston's caliber deserve better than to have their legacies defined by Pro Bowl appearances.

``The thing about the Pro Bowl is ... it's not necessarily about who the best player is,'' Rivera said. ``We're talking about a guy that was on a Super Bowl championship team, too, now. So you'd like to think that somewhere along the line he'd be recognized for what he does.''

Notes: Two Saints were selected for the Pro Bowl: RG Jahri Evans and P Thomas Morstead. ... FB Jed Collins, DT Akiem Hicks and RB Pierre Thomas missed Wednesday's practice with various knee injuries, while CB Jabari Greer sat out because of his concussion from Sunday's game at Dallas. ... Chris Ivory (hamstring) and TE Jimmy Graham (left wrist, right ring finger) were limited in practice.

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Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

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Associated Press

Bradley Beal makes most of his opportunity in first All-Star Game

Bradley Beal may have had a slow start in the three-point contest on Saturday night, but in Sunday's All-Star Game he worked quickly to make the most of his relatively small window of playing time.

Beal checked in for the first time with 5:45 left in the first quarter and less than 25 seconds later had his first points on a two-handed dunk assisted by LeBron James.

In his All-Star debut, Beal helped lead Team LeBron to a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen as the league utilizied a new format for the annual showcase.

RELATED: BEAL BOUNCED EARLY IN THREE-POINT CONTEST

Beal finished with 14 points and a steal in a productive night. He shot 5-for-10 from the field and an impressive 4-for-8 from long range. 

Beal also tried to get a travelling call from the refs on Karl-Anthony Towns. Yeah, that's not likely to happen in an All-Star Game:

Beal more than held his own and only played 16 minutes, which was good considering he has logged the fifth-most minutes of any player so far this season. A realistic best-case scenario was a strong showing and a short night and that's exactly what he got.

Not only does Beal play a lot of minutes, the Wizards need him now more than ever with John Wall's injury. He needs whatever rest he can get during this All-Star break.

Speaking of Wall, he was in the house despite being in the middle of his rehab from left knee surgery. Per usual, Wall was shining bright:

RELATED: BEST WIZARDS/BULLETS MOMENTS ON ALL-STAR SATURDAY NIGHT

The All-Star Game wasn't all about Beal, of course. Here are some other things that stood out...

*The new format and increased financial incentive were intended to make the game more competitive and that's what happened late in the fourth quarter. Usually, that's how these things go where the players will start trying at the end. But this time it seemed to be up a few levels and it was fun to watch. 

Both teams scored in the 140s, so it wasn't exactly a defensive battle. No matter what the league does, the players will only try so hard for so long. The main goal of everyone's is to not get injured in a game that ultimately doesn't count for anything. Still, this was different and appears to have been a success.

*While everyone was focusing on the reunion of LeBron and Kyrie Irving the best beef was Joel Embiid vs. Russell Westbrook. Those two have traded waves to taunt each other at the end of wins in head-to-head matchups and it was clear on Sunday they still don't like each other. Westbrook tried to dunk all over Embiid in the first half, only to get blocked at the rim.

Westbrook's determination to dunk on Embiid was out of the ordinary for an All-Star Game. It was obvious what was on his mind:

*Irving's handles are simply ridiculous. Check out this fake behind-the-back move he pulled with Giannis Antetkounmpo guarding him. Yes, it didn't fool the defender but it was impressive nonetheless:

*LeBron is 33 years old, yet he was still running up and down the court faster than anyone and leaping above the rim to thrown down alley-oop after alley-oop. It is truly amazing and everyone should enjoy watching him while they can, regardless of whether they like the guy or not.

This was one of his dunks:

LeBron took home MVP with a game-high 29 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and a steal.

*The pregame show was quite bad. It was anchored by comedians Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle and, though they had some funny jokes, it lasted nearly 30 minutes. The whole thing was pretty much universally panned on social media. Fergie's national anthem was also roasted by the masses.

*The halftime show was much better. It began with N.E.R.D taking it back to their older days with 'Lapdance,' went to Migos performing 'Stir Fry' and swung back to N.E.R.D. who did their latest hit 'Lemon.' 

RELATED: LATEST 2018 NBA MOCK DRAFT

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The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

The NBA All-Star pregame introductions were, uh, something

Whoever put together the NBA All-Star Game player introductions has some 'splainin to do. 

The NBA introduced a kinda-full Staples Center to their 2018 All-Stars about an hour ago, and boy was it weird. There were a lot of dancers in different themed costumes. Kevin Hart was screaming. Rob Riggle was screaming. Ludacris showed up? Hey! Did you know that the Barenaked Ladies are still a band? The NBA would like you to know they're still around.  The whole thing was like when you're at an art museum and you're told that abstract piece in the corner is actually really meaningful but you gotta be honest, you don't get it. 

Anyways, the internet hated it. Here are some highlights from the internet hating it:

The lesson here is that you never need Kevin Hart and Rob Riggle. One will do.