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Raiders keeping an eye on running backs market, deep draft class

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USATSI

Raiders keeping an eye on running backs market, deep draft class

Every incumbent Raiders running back remains under contract. That includes Marshawn Lynch, who is due roughly $6 million in salary and bonuses if he plays all year.

Head coach Jon Gruden said last week he’s counting on Lynch to contribute in 2018. Notice the wiggle room in there. There’s no firm commitment of a return despite the fact Gruden’s kind words last week (which you can read here).

Offensive line coach Tom Cable, especially, wants Lynch playing in silver and black next season.

Lynch is enigmatic, so uncertainty remains without a proclamation from team or player of a return. Some clarity could come soon. Lynch is due a $1 million roster bonus on March 18.

In addition to Lynch, The Raiders also have fullback Jamize Olawale in the mix. Young rushers DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard are coming off down years.

Gruden could certainly look for upgrades at the top or bottom of the depth chart. That’s why the Raiders will monitor the running back market in free agency and a deep draft class.

That’s why, according to NFL Network, Gruden met with former Tampa Bay running back Doug Martin. As a note, teams can meet and negotiate with players that get cut.

Teams can negotiate with pending free agents on Monday. Free agency formally opens Wednesday afternoon.

It’s uncertain whether Martin, who averaged 2.9 yards per carry the last two seasons, is a priority or a backup plan. Meeting with Martin and being associated with others could double as due diligence and leverage in a possible request to restructure Lynch’s contract. There are layers to all these associations. Some are real. Others are taken from the smallest scrap of information, used by agents to create a competitive market for their client. 

The Raiders are primarily focused on defense in free agency, but will explore upgrades at offensive skill positions. That includes running back, receiver and tight ends of various skill sets.

Wilkerson remains on McKenzie’s radar

General manager Reggie McKenzie has long been intrigued by defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. Immense talent kept the New York Jets interested and the Temple grad handsomely paid over the years, but that time has passed. Wilkerson was released this week, and has started his free agent tour.

He has reportedly visited the Packers, Saints and Chiefs. ESPN reports the Raiders have interest, and could meet with Oakland in time. CBS Sports reports that Washington is next on his free-agent tour.

Wilkerson has had some dominant years, but his production has waned in recent seasons. He would be the three-down inside presence the Raiders need if he can find old form.

Raiders have “preliminary interest” in Sherman

The 49ers are putting effort into acquiring Richard Sherman, who was released Friday by Seattle. The Stanford product dined with Kyle Shanahan Friday night, the 49ers head coach told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, and he’ll reportedly visit the team’s Santa Clara complex on Saturday. If he leaves without a deal – it sure seems like the 49ers are pushing hard to land Sherman -- the Raiders could be a next stop.

Sherman, who represents himself, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson that he received preliminary interest from the 49ers, Raiders, Titans, Lions, Texans, Buccaneers and Packers. NFL Network reported Saturday afternoon that he'll visit the Lions next week if, of course, he leaves Santa Clara without a contract. 

Contract value (and health) could be an issue here. The Raiders don’t currently have tons of cap space, though it could be easily created with veteran cuts.

The Raiders are expected to address the cornerback position in free agency, either in the first or, more likely, second tier of the market.

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

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USATSI

How to watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento: Live stream, start time, TV info

A pair of hometown heroes headline UFC Fight Night Sacramento on Saturday at Golden 1 Center. 

Urijah Faber (34-10-0) will fight for the first time since Dec. 17, 2016, coming out of retirement to fight Ricky Simon (15-1-0) about 15 miles from Faber's collegiate alma mater of University of California, Davis. Faber isn't lacking motivation coming out of retirement, and can give the crowd in Sacramento something to cheer about.

So, too, can Folsom native Aspen Ladd (8-0-0). She is undefeated in her pro career, but will face a more difficult opponent in Germaine de Randaime than at any point so far in her career. 

Here's the full card, which gets underway at 5 p.m. PT:

Undercard: Marvin Vettori (12-4-1) vs. Cezar Ferreira (13-7-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Karl Roberson (7-2-0) vs. Wellington Turman (15-2-0) [men's middleweight]
Undercard: Josh Emmett (14-2-0) vs. Mirsad Bektić (13-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Co-main: Urijah Faber (34-10-0) vs. Ricky Simon (15-1-0) [men's bantamweight]
Main event: Germaine de Randamie (8-3-0) vs. Aspen Ladd (8-0-0) [women's bantamweight]

Here are the preliminary bouts, which begin at 2 p.m. PT:

Mike Rodriguez (9-3-0) vs. John Allan (13-5-0) [men's light heavyweight]
Andre Fili (19-6-0) vs. Sheymon Moraes (11-3-0) [men's featherweight]
Julianna Peña (8-3-0) vs. Nicco Montaño (4-2-0) [women's bantamweight]
Darren Elkins (24-7-0) vs. Ryan Hall (7-1-0) [men's featherweight]
Pingyuan Liu (13-5-0) vs. Jonathan Martinez (10-2-0) [men's bantamweight]
Lívia Renata Souza (13-1-0) vs. Brianna van Buren (8-2-0) [women's strawweight]
Benito Lopez (9-1-0) vs. Vince Morales (9-3-0) [men's bantamweight]

[RELATED: Predictions for UFC Fight Night Sacramento]

Here's how you can watch UFC Fight Night Sacramento on TV and online. 

Date: Saturday, July 13 at 2 p.m. PT (prelims) and 5 p.m. PT (main event)
TV: ESPN (prelims)
Live Stream: ESPN+ (main event)

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest results: Joey Chestnut wins 12th title

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AP

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest results: Joey Chestnut wins 12th title

He has done it again, folks.

Joey Chestnut took home the belt by eating 71 hot dogs -- or sandwiches -- in 10 minutes Thursday at the 2019 Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island. The Bay Area native, who lives in San Jose, now has a whopping 12 titles at the event. 

He's been crowned the champion in four straight years now. Thursday's count of 71 hot dogs was three off his record of 74. 

Here are some, uhh, stats from Chestnut's feat. 

[RELATED: Is a hot dog a sandwich?]

Prior to Chestnut's victory, Miko Sudo won the women's division by eating 31 hot dogs. Sudo has taken home the crown in six straight years now.