Appendectomy puts LT Michael Roos' streak at risk


Appendectomy puts LT Michael Roos' streak at risk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Michael Roos has started every single game for the Tennessee Titans since being drafted in the second round back in 2005, a streak now in peril of ending at 119 straight - even NFL players have to heal after emergency appendectomies.

On Monday the left tackle had his appendix removed.

He played through discomfort in last week's 35-34 win at Buffalo. When Roos returned home, he couldn't sleep and finally headed to the hospital at 4 a.m. where he met a team doctor. Roos watched practice Wednesday and Thursday and is being checked daily by a doctor before the Titans (3-4) play the Colts (3-3) on Sunday.

Roos said his streak, which is second among active offensive tackles to Jeff Backus of Detroit (181), is a source of pride.

``Always want to keep something like that going, but can't do anything too disastrous to my health going forward,'' Roos said. ``If it means sitting out a week or two to be ready for the rest of the season, that's something I'll have to do. We'll just see each day.''

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Roos is believed to be the first NFL player born in Estonia, and he stepped right into the starting lineup for Tennessee after coming out of Eastern Washington in 2005. He played his first game at right tackle before switching to the left side where he's been ever since. He's a key reason why the Titans rank second only Indianapolis and New Orleans giving up 168 sacks since 2005.

But Roos hasn't been challenged with having surgery on a Monday and trying to play that Sunday. Looking at how other NFL players have recovered from appendectomies before returning to play is no guide either.

``We'll see,'' Roos said. ``Obviously, I've never done it before. It's been different amounts of time for different people. All I can do is take it day by day and see how it goes ...''

Titans coach Mike Munchak, who coached Roos before being promoted to head coach in February 2011, knows the tackle has a high tolerance for pain. For now, the Titans are planning on Mike Otto, a lineman in his fifth NFL season, starting at left tackle in his first action in a game this season.

``If something changes with Mike, great,'' Munchak said of Roos.

Matt Hasselbeck said he would never count out Roos from what he's seen of the left tackle, though nobody is pressuring him. Hasselbeck did joke that no one cared when Otto went down in practice last week and it was big news when the lineman went down Wednesday. The veteran quarterback said the Titans re-signed Otto for a reason for just these situations.

``He's a tough player, a smart player and obviously just like all of us who are in a backup job at a point, your whole job is to be ready when called upon,'' said Hasselbeck, making his fourth start with Jake Locker recovering from a shoulder injury. ``If he's called upon, which it looks like he might be, he's got to be ready. And he will.''

The 6-5, 310-pound Otto was a seventh-round draft pick by Tennessee out of Purdue in 2007, and he has played mostly on special teams in 41 games. Otto has two starts to his credit. He was an extra tight end Nov. 21, 200, against Washington to open the game, and he started at right tackle when David Stewart was hurt Nov. 27, 2011 against Tampa Bay.

Otto hasn't played yet this season after having knee surgery then, surgery to fix his right ring finger this preseason. Munchak said they likely will help Otto out with an extra blocker to get him comfortable.

``That's the role, the reserve, the backup, that he's got to step into,'' Munchak said. ``Unfortunately, it's a game where he'd be going against Dwight Freeney, which is another tough draw. To me, he's one of the best defensive ends in football, has been for a long time. So that's another issue on top of just playing, you're playing against a guy that's pretty darn good in a game that we have to win.''

Otto grew up in Kokomo, Ind., rooting for the Colts and watched plenty of Freeney harassing quarterbacks.

``If I get the chance to go out and play against him, that's what I'll do,'' Otto said.

Notes: TE Craig Stevens (concussion) practiced for a second day along with Chris Johnson (ankle). S Jordan Babineaux (wrist) also practiced fully with WR Kenny Britt (knee). Locker was limited again. LB Colin McCarthy (right ankle) did not work after practicing Wednesday, and Munchak said they expect him to play Sunday.


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These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

These hidden factors could make Brandon Scherff less interested in an extension with the Redskins

In Brandon Scherff, the Redskins have a 27-year-old guard who has delivered on his first-round status, a lineman who has become one of the best in the league at his position and should have many more years of production and defender-mauling left.

Therefore, it's in the Redskins' best interest to extend Scherff this offseason, and the veteran confirmed on Monday there have been talks about getting that done

But during a discussion on the Redskins Talk podcast, J.I. Halsell, a salary cap expert and former agent, laid out something that could force those negotiations to stall.

"There are some things you have to take into consideration because 2020 is the final year of the collective bargaining agreement, so there are some things you have to work around when structuring the deal," Halsell said.

Not only is that deadline approaching, but another one is, too. In 2021 and 2022, the NFL's TV deals with Monday Night Football, FOX, CBS and NBC expire as well.

So, there's a very real possibility the league's salary cap could look much, much different in a few seasons. And that, according to Halsell, may make Scherff much less willing to accept an extension now.

"If you're Brandon Scherff, in 2021, with a new collective bargaining agreement, the salary cap might be $250 million or something crazy like that, with all the new revenue coming into the league," he explained. "And so why would I take a deal today and preclude myself of taking advantage of a very lucrative and larger revenue pie?"

Essentially, it comes down to whether Scherff wants to take a present risk that could pay off down the line (kind of like how Kirk Cousins did a few years back with the Burgundy and Gold). He could probably lock something in over the next few months — Halsell's projection was an agreement for five years, including $45 million guaranteed and a $14.5 million average per year — or step away from talks now and try to cash in later.

Haslell told Redskins Talk he'd probably advise the lineman to take the second route.

"You would say, 'Look, you're a former first-round pick. You've made a decent amount of money in your career thus far,'" he said. "You have the financial wherewithal to not take the bird in hand today that may not be as lucrative as what is out there in 2021. So, bet on yourself and play out the last year of your rookie deal, force them to tag you in 2020 and then see what this new NFL salary cap world looks like in 2021."

Now, who knows truly how much these factors will play into Scherff's back-and-forth with the 'Skins. Nevertheless, you can see why the Pro Bowler's next contract may not be as much of a no-brainer as previously thought.

"If the kid is willing to bet on himself," Haslell said, "then it could be very lucrative on the back end."


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Seven reasons you need to root for the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final

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Seven reasons you need to root for the Blues in the Stanley Cup Final

The St. Louis Blues defeated the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night to advance to the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final. The champions of the Western Conference will take on the Boston Bruins, the champions of the Eastern Conference, having swept the Carolina Hurricanes in four games.

With the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins squaring off in a rematch of the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, we've dug up the seven reasons why Capitals fans, and -- well -- all NHL fans should be rooting for the Blues to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup.

1: The Blues are like the Capitals of the West

A lot of fans think that the San Jose Sharks hold that title, but the Blues present an even stronger case.

The Blues Stanley Cup drought is currently at 51 seasons. And although they made the Stanley Cup Final three consecutive seasons from 1968-1970, they have yet to win a game in the Stanley Cup Final.

That should sound familiar to Caps fans. Before they won it all in 2018, Washington's Cup drought was 42 years, and when they made the Cup Final in 1998 they were swept by the dominant Detroit Red Wings.

The similarities don't stop there. Each team has a Russian sniper, a crop of promising rookies on offense and defense, and acquired depth pieces in free agency to build a consistent contender.

In the Blues case before this season, they couldn't make it past the Conference Finals, similar to how the Caps couldn't make it out of the second round.

Call it coincidence or fate, but the Blues are looking eerily similar to the Caps that won the Stanley Cup last year.

2: No More Boston Championships

The New England Patriots just won the Super Bowl. The Red Sox just won another World Series. The city of Boston has celebrated six major professional championships since 2010 and 12 since 2000, with each parade more frustrating to watch than the last.

Does Boston really need another championship after a drought since February?

3: Brad Marchand is the worst

A lot of people will complain about Tom Wilson's play. But Brad Marchand is the king of the subtle and overtly dirty play, especially in the playoffs where the rules relax.

In last year's playoffs, Marchand was told by the league to stop licking players after he brushed his tongue across Leo Komarov's face.

This postseason, he's punched players in the back of the head after a play's been blown dead.

He also baited Justin Williams into penalty minutes when he high-sticked him across the face. No penalty was given to Marchand on the play.

Marchand's put up 18 points through three rounds in addition to his antics.

4: TJ Oshie's old stomping grounds

The Caps acquired Oshie from the Blues in 2015 in exchange for Troy Brouwer, Pheonix Copley and Washington's third-round pick in 2016, and he's now a mainstay in the Caps top six. 

Oshie played over 400 games for the Blues, recording over 300 points for the organization that drafted him. Not only did he put up stellar numbers, but he was an alternate captain for the Blues and was beloved by fans in the area.

Who better to root for than for Oshbabe's old team?

5: Vladimir Tarasenko is tearing it up

If you've got Alex Ovechkin's endorsement as a game-changer, that's a good place to start.

Ovechkin took note of Tarasenko's skill in a 2014 game the Blues played against the Rangers and told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch "He just make great jump in his career and he’s carrying the team right now.”

In these playoffs, the Russian sniper has eight goals and five assists, including points in every game of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks.

6: Pam and Jim are facing off in an Office matchup

Actor John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert in The Office,  is a Bruins fan. 

Jenna Fischer, who played Pam Beesly, Jim's love interest, is a Blues fan.

We have a house divided.

We tend to lean to Team Pam because if you take a closer look, Jim was a pretty awful colleague and despite his charm and boyish looks, he was kinda a bad person.

7: Washington helped St. Louis ascend the standings

On Jan. 2 the Blues were last in the league and posted a 15-18-4 record with 34 points.

But their fortunes started to turn on Jan. 3, when they faced the Caps at Enterprise Center in St. Louis. They beat the Caps 5-2, and turned their season around from that game going forward, including an 11 game winning streak.

So really, St. Louis has Washington to thank for transforming their season from one marred by losses to one where they made the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970.