Cubs

...while RG3 leaves with an ugly knee injury

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...while RG3 leaves with an ugly knee injury

From Comcast SportsNetLANDOVER, Md. (AP) -- Robert Griffin III reached too far for the football, his already injured right leg twisting gruesomely behind him.Just like that, Griffin was done. And so were the Washington Redskins.The Seattle Seahawks finally won a road playoff game, snapping an eight-game postseason skid away from home with a 24-14 NFC wild-card victory Sunday over the Redskins, who lost Griffin to another knee injury in the fourth quarter."I think I did put myself at more risk by being out there," Griffin said. "But every time you get on the field, you're putting yourself on the line."Griffin didn't know what the injury was, and coach Mike Shanahan said he was scheduled for an MRI to determine the extent of the injury.Washington won seven straight games to win the NFC East title and become the only team in the last 16 years to make the playoffs after a 3-6 start. But any hope for a late comeback win against the Seahawks ended once Griffin's heavily braced right knee buckled badly as he strained to field a bad shotgun snap in the fourth quarter. He lay on the ground, unable to recover the ball as the Seahawks pounced on it.Many fans in the stands stood in silence, their hands covering their faces as Griffin was being attended to. Several of Griffin's Redskins teammates also stood around the quarterback to see if he was OK.Though Griffin walked off the field under his own power after several minutes and saluted the fans, the Redskins (10-7) quickly announced he would not return."If you didn't pull him out then, you should get fired," Shanahan said.Griffin suffered a mild sprain of the lateral collateral ligament located on the outside of the knee against Baltimore on Dec. 9, caused when he was hit by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata at the end of a 13-yard scramble. He was limping earlier in this game, clearly still ailing from that injury."It was hard to watch RGIII tonight," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "It was hard on him. He was freaking gallant."Despite Griffin's struggles, Shanahan left him in the game. Not that Griffin would have accepted an early exit."I probably would been right back out there on the field," Griffin said. "You respect authority, and I respect coach Shanahan. But at the same time, you have to step up and be a man, sometimes. There was no way I was coming out of that game."Griffin went to the locker room to get checked out after going down in a heap in the fourth quarter, but walked back out a few minutes later and stood on the sideline as only a spectator for the rest of the game.Seattle's Steven Hauschka kicked his third field goal of the game, and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins couldn't pull off the late-game heroics he displayed a few weeks ago against the Ravens when Griffin was first injured. Griffin was playing in his third game since spraining his right knee against Baltimore, which also brought Cousins into that game.While setting a rookie quarterback record with 815 rushing yards this season, Griffin captivated the D.C. area -- and the football world -- with his dazzling ability to pass and run. After four straight last-place finishes in the NFC East, the Redskins appear to have a bright future with their No. 2 overall pick.As long as Griffin is healthy, of course.Sunday's game was only the second playoff contest in NFL history between rookie quarterbacks, and before his injury, Griffin looked more like a first-year player than he had during Washington's impressive run to end the regular season. He completed 10 of 19 passes for 84 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and ran for 21 yards on five carries."I don't feel like me being out there hurt the team in any way," Griffin said. "I'm the best option."Shanahan said he spoke with Griffin throughout the game about the quarterback's health."He said, Hey, trust me. I want to be in there, and I deserve to be in there,'" Shanahan said. "I couldn't disagree with him."Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch ran for 132 yards and a touchdown and Russell Wilson completed 15 of 26 passes for 187 yards and ran eight times for 67 yards for the Seahawks, who broke an eight-game postseason losing streak away from home.Wilson was among those who watched and worried after Griffin went down."He's a tremendous football player," Wilson said. "I just prayed he was all right."Seattle (12-5) will visit the top-seeded Atlanta Falcons next Sunday.Lynch's 27-yard run with 7:08 remaining gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game - and then Seattle held on for the win.Griffin tossed touchdown passes to Evan Royster and Logan Paulsen as Washington scored on its first two drives to take a 14-0 lead, but Seattle rallied to move on to the next round."We actually got a chance to sit at the dinner table and experience success," Griffin said. "It was a good meal, but now we want to go back and get dessert, and we'll be ready to get dessert next year."

Why Cubs core's desire to sign extensions might not matter anymore

Why Cubs core's desire to sign extensions might not matter anymore

The day after Kris Bryant suggested that first-time fatherhood and the dramatic reality of world events have changed how he looks at his future with the Cubs, general manager Jed Hoyer outlined why it might be all but moot.

Setting aside the fact that the Cubs aren’t focusing on contract extensions with anyone at this time of health and economic turmoil, the volatility and unpredictability of a raging COVID-19 pandemic in this country and its economic fallout have thrown even mid-range and long-term roster plans into chaos.

“This is without question the most difficult time we’ve ever had as far as projecting those things,” Hoyer said. “All season in projecting this year, you weren’t sure how many games we were going to get in. Projecting next season obviously has challenges, and who knows where the country’s going to be and the economy’s going to be.”

Bryant, a three-time All-Star and former MVP, is eligible for free agency after next season. He and the club have not engaged in extension talks for three years. And those gained little traction while it has looked increasingly likely since then that Bryant’s agent, Scott Boras, would eventually take his star client to market — making Bryant a widely circulated name in trade talks all winter.

MORE: Scott Boras: Why Kris Bryant's free agency won't be impacted by economic crisis

The Cubs instead focused last winter on talks with All-Star shortstop Javy Báez, making “good” or little progress depending on which side you talked to on a given day — until the pandemic shut down everything in March.

Báez, Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber are both also eligible for free agency after next season, with All-Star catcher Willson Contreras right behind them a year later.

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None has a multiyear contract, and exactly what the Cubs are willing to do about that even if MLB pulls off its 60-game plan this year is hard for even the team’s front office executives to know without knowing how hard the pandemic will continue to hammer America’s health and financial well-being into the winter and next year.

Even with a vaccine and treatments by then, what will job markets look like? The economy at large? The economy of sports? Will anyone want to gather with 40,000 others in a stadium to watch a game anytime soon?

And even if anyone could answer all those questions, who can be sure how the domino effect will impact salary markets for athletes?

“There’s no doubt that forecasting going forward is now much more challenging from a financial standpoint,” Hoyer said. “But that’s league-wide. Anyone that says they have a feel for where the nation’s economy and where the pandemic is come next April is lying.”

The Cubs front office already was in a tenuous place financially, its payroll budget stretched past its limit and a threat to exceed MLB’s luxury tax threshold for a second consecutive season.

And after a quick playoff exit in 2018 followed by the disappointment of missing the playoffs in 2019, every player on the roster was in play for a possible trade over the winter — and even more so at this season’s trade deadline without a strong start to the season.

Now what?

For starters, forget about dumping short-term assets or big contracts for anything of value from somebody’s farm system. Even if baseball can get to this year’s Aug. 31 trade deadline with a league intact and playing, nobody is predicting more than small level trades at that point — certainly not anything close to a blockbuster.

After that, it may not get any clearer for the sport in general, much less the Cubs with their roster and contract dilemmas.

“We have a lot of conversations about it internally, both within the baseball side and then with the business side as well,” Hoyer said. “But it’s going to take a long time and probably some sort of macro things happening for us to really have a good feel for where we’re going to be in ’21 and beyond.”

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Cubs' GM Jed Hoyer: Everyone in MLB has to take COVID-19 'equally' serious

Cubs' GM Jed Hoyer: Everyone in MLB has to take COVID-19 'equally' serious

Veteran umpire Joe West made waves Tuesday downplaying the severity of COVID-19 in an interview with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. 

“I don’t believe in my heart that all these deaths have been from the coronavirus," West said. "I believe it may have contributed to some of the deaths.”

As far as the Cubs are concerned, those comments don’t represent how to treat the virus. In fact, they’ve gone out of their way to ensure everyone treats it with equal severity.

“That’s one of the things we've really tried internally to instill in our players and our coaches,” Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer said Tuesday, “[that] everyone here has to take it equally [serious].”

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Hoyer noted like the world, MLB isn’t immune to people having different viewpoints on the virus — those who show concern and those who don’t. This echoes comments made by manager David Ross earlier on Tuesday, and Hoyer said those he’s talked to with the Cubs don’t feel the same way as West.

The Cubs had an up close and personal look at pitching coach Tommy Hottovy’s battle with COVID-19 during baseball’s shutdown. It took the 38-year-old former big leaguer 30 harrowing days to test negative, and in the past week many Cubs have said watching him go through that hit home. 

“When you get a 38-year-old guy in wonderful health and he talks about his challenges with it,” Hoyer said, “I think that it takes away some of those different viewpoints.”

To ensure everyone stays safe and puts the league in the best position to complete a season, MLB needs strict adherence to its protocols.

“I think that's one of our goals and one of the things that we feel is vital is that we have to make sure everyone views this the same way, because we can't have a subset of people within our group that don't view it with the same severity,” Hoyer said.

“That’s not gonna work. We're not gonna be successful."

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