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Beckham says MLS Cup is his final game with Galaxy

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Beckham says MLS Cup is his final game with Galaxy

LOS ANGELES (AP) David Beckham will play his final game for the Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS Cup next month.

Beckham and the Galaxy announced the English midfielder's decision Monday, a day after the defending MLS champions advanced to their second straight league final. Los Angeles faces Houston for the MLS title on Dec. 1.

The 37-year-old Beckham isn't retiring, but the superstar he gave no hint of his next move.

``I've had an incredibly special time playing for the L.A. Galaxy,'' Beckham said in a statement. ``However, I wanted to experience one last challenge before the end of my playing career. I don't see this as the end of my relationship with the league, as my ambition is to be part of the ownership structure in the future.''

Beckham has played in Los Angeles for six seasons since his groundbreaking move from Real Madrid, reaching three league finals and winning one MLS title last year during his best stateside campaign.

He agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Galaxy in January after playing out his initial five-year deal, turning down potential moves to wealthy Paris Saint-Germain and other clubs - including at least one Premiership team, according to Beckham.

Beckham hadn't given any overt indications he was planning to leave the Galaxy after this season with a year left on his deal. Last week, the longtime England captain pointedly denied rumors linking him to a short-term stint in Australia.

Beckham has been the star player for MLS' highest-profile franchise during his tenure, which began with a handful of rocky seasons before the Galaxy became a power under coach Bruce Arena in recent years. As Beckham indicated in his news release, his MLS contract includes the option to purchase a league franchise when his playing career ends, and Beckham has long been keen on an ownership move.

``In my time here I have seen the popularity of the game grow every year,'' Beckham said. ``I've been fortunate to win trophies, but more important to me has been the fantastic reception I've had from fans in L.A. and across the States. Soccer's potential has no limits in this wonderful country, and I want to always be part of growing it.''

Beckham's announcement indicated the MLS Cup will be his final ``competitive'' match with the Galaxy, which means he might participate in lucrative overseas friendlies often played by the Galaxy in recent years. But Los Angeles has no overseas exhibitions currently scheduled, so the championship game might be his final bow.

``Seldom does an athlete redefine a sport,'' said Tim Leiweke, the president of Galaxy owners AEG. ``David not only took our franchise to another level, but he took our sport to another level It has been an honor and privilege to be a part of his world, and more importantly, to have him be a part of ours.''

Beckham has been among MLS' top players when healthy throughout his contract, and the gifted playmaker has meshed well with fellow international stars Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan during the Galaxy's past two seasons. Los Angeles got off to a slow start this year, but has played splendidly down the stretch and into the postseason, rolling to a first-round elimination of the Supporters' Shield-winning San Jose Earthquakes and a two-game victory over the Seattle Sounders in the Western Conference finals.

MLS has grown exponentially during Beckham's tenure as the league's face, expanding to 19 North American teams with record attendance and much-improved broadcast deals. The Galaxy reached the most lucrative television deal in MLS history last year with Time Warner Cable Sports.

``There is no doubt that MLS is far more popular and important here and abroad than it was when he arrived,'' MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. ``David has achieved great things on and off the field during his time with the Galaxy, and he will always be an important part of our history. We look forward to his continued involvement with the L.A. Galaxy and the league.''

Beckham began his pro career with 12 years at Manchester United before his move to Real Madrid. He left for the Galaxy in 2007, building on a worldwide fame that reportedly produces more than $40 million per year in endorsement income.

Beckham played in three World Cups and made a record 115 appearances for England, but wasn't chosen for the Olympic team at the London Games last summer. Beckham still played a role in the Olympic festivities, including a prominent part in the lighting of the Olympic flame in his native east London during the opening ceremonies.

Beckham and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria, seem comfortable in Los Angeles, where their three sons - Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz - attend school. Beckham is a fixture in the Los Angeles Lakers' courtside seats, attending his most recent game with his three sons last Friday.

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Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

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USA Today Sports Images

Comparing the 2015 playoff Redskins to this year's team

We don’t know if there will be major changes on the Redskins if they don’t make the playoffs this year but getting into the postseason and getting a win when they get there would make a decision to keep going in this direction very easy.

Yes, a lot of the pressure lies on the shoulders of Jay Gruden but winning games usually comes down to the players on the field. How do the players the Redskins have today compare to those on the last team that made the playoffs?

Here are the players who started in the last playoff game that involved the Redskins, a 35-20 Wild Card round home loss to the Packers, side-by-side with the anticipated starting lineup for the 2018 season with some unscientific comparison of the quality of the two teams.

Offensive line

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
LT—Trent Williams, Williams
LG—Spencer Long, Shawn Lauvao
C—Kory Lichtensteiger, Chase Roullier
RG—Brandon Scherff, Scherff
RT—Morgan Moses, Moses

How do the 2018 versions of Williams, Moses, and Scherff compare to the ones who started the playoff game? They’ll be about three years older but they have gained valuable experience. Remember that Lichtensteiger was activated off of injured reserve the week before the playoff game after missing 11 games with a neck injury so he was not close to 100 percent against the Packers. Josh LeRibeus was center for most of the year. Roullier is at least a good as he was. Long is no All-Pro but he is better than Lauvao. Comparison: Even

Offensive backs and receivers

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
QB—Kirk Cousins, Alex Smith
RB—Alfred Morris, Derrius Guice
WR—Jamison Crowder, Crowder
WR—Pierre Garçon, Josh Doctson
WR—DeSean Jackson, Paul Richardson
TE—Jordan Reed, Jordan Reed

We can debate Smith vs. Cousins all day but we really won’t know until they start playing games. Guice has the potential to be better than the 2015 version of Morris, who averaged 3.7 yards per carry while gaining 751 yards. Reed has his best season in 2015 with 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns. He was arguably the best tight end in the game in 2015. Reed has to demonstrate that he can be that guy again. Crowder will be better than he was as a rookie but there are clear downgrades at the wide receiver positions. Comparison: Edge to 2015

Defensive front

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
DE—Chris Baker, Matt Ioannidis
NT—Terrance Knighton, Daron Payne
DE—Jason Hatcher, Jonathan Allen
ILB—Mason Foster, Foster
ILB—Will Compton, Zach Brown
OLB—Ryan Kerrigan, Kerrigan
OLB—Trent Murphy, Preston Smith

I don’t think we need to go into much discussion here to sort out which team has the better front seven. The interior line plus Brown makes this year’s front clearly superior. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

Secondary

Position—2015 starter, 2018 starter
CB—Will Blackmon, Josh Norman
CB—Bashaud Breeland, Quinton Dunbar
SS—DeAngelo Hall, Montae Nicholson
FS—Dashon Goldson, D.J. Swearinger

Breeland was very good in 2015, tallying two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and two recoveries. Dunbar could be a downgrade but I don’t think he’ll be a significant one. This year’s team is clearly better off at the other three positions. Comparison: Solid edge to 2018

If defense wins championships then you have to give the overall edge to this year’s team. But the offense will be important and Smith, Guice, and the wide receivers will need to come through if the Redskins are going to play a game in January of 2019.

More 2018 Redskins

- The secondary: What's the outlook in the secondary?
- Tandler’s Take: The pressure's on Gruden and he knows it

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler.

 

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Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

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Associated Press

Wizards' assistant Sidney Lowe leaves to join Dwane Casey's staff with Detroit Pistons

The Washington Wizards have an opening on their coaching staff, as assistant Sidney Lowe has left the team to join the Detroit Pistons.

Lowe, according to ESPN, will be the top assistant on new Pistons coach Dwane Casey's staff. 

Lowe spent two seasons under head coach Scott Brooks in Washington. A D.C. native, Lowe starred at DeMatha High School before playing at NC State and then in the NBA.

Lowe was the head coach at his alma mater for five years from 2006 through 2011, but has otherwise been an NBA lifer. He served as head coach of the Timberwolves in 1993-94 and head coach of the Grizzlies from 2000 to 2002.

The Wizards have several coaching hires to make now. They have a new G-League team set to take the court in the fall and will need to hire a staff sometime this summer. 

With Lowe gone, they could choose to promote from within or go outside the organization.

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