Nationals

Bills WR Johnson puts up big plays on losing team

Bills WR Johnson puts up big plays on losing team

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Stevie Johnson's season has gone much like the one-handed catch the Buffalo Bills receiver made last weekend.

It looked marvelous: Johnson leaping over the middle to snag the ball with one hand, bring it in and control it before he landed on the turf for a 25-yard gain. Trouble is, the drive stalled and Buffalo lost the game.

``It's a pretty cool catch,'' Johnson said Wednesday. ``I mean, it's just a guy trying to make a big play. But it didn't really lead to too much. So, it's just a play. That's it.''

The best receiver on a perennial loser is sick of the losing but hasn't been pouting or pointing fingers. On the verge of becoming the first Bills receiver to produce three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, the fifth-year pro is instead thinking about the best way to produce a winning culture in Buffalo.

``I don't think it's from maturity,'' Johnson said. ``I think it's just from me wanting to change things, me wanting to bring this team back.''

It wasn't that long ago that Johnson had to balance entertaining plays with embarrassing mistakes, exploding in social media after dropping a game-winning touchdown versus Pittsburgh in 2010 and being benched after a touchdown celebration penalty against the Jets in 2011.

He's learned from those errors and is already the first Bills player to get back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Andre Reed didn't do it. Elbert Dubenion didn't do it. Nor did Eric Moulds. Johnson is 109 yards away from doing it for the third time.

But it means very little to him without respect for the organization.

``I'm a crucial part of the team and there are other guys who are crucial parts of the team and we feel the same: We want to keep Buffalo relevant,'' Johnson said. ``And it's been 13 years since we've been relevant. We made some noise, but it led to nothing this year, pretty much.''

Johnson, a former seventh-round draft pick, isn't a stereotypical diva receiver. He's grateful to be producing anywhere.

``You never know what's going to happen from this year to the next,'' Johnson said. ``You've got to get the picture fast and I definitely did. I can't say I (immediately) did with the shenanigans that I had going on early in my career. I'm here now and I have to be able to hold it for as long as I can.''

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Former Astros RP Will Harris dons ‘District of Champions’ T-shirt for Nationals press conference

Former Astros RP Will Harris dons ‘District of Champions’ T-shirt for Nationals press conference

Will Harris may have been the pitcher who served up Howie Kendrick’s go-ahead home run in Game 7 of last fall’s World Series, but he apparently isn’t holding any grudges about the outcome.

Harris, who spent five years with the Houston Astros before signing a three-year deal with the Nationals over the winter, sat down for a Zoom press conference Tuesday in what his first chance to speak with the media since Summer Camp began. He wore a T-shirt that was a bit surprising for a player who was on the losing end of Washington’s title run.

The shirt reads “District of Champions,” a nod to D.C. winning titles in MLB, NHL and WNBA over the last three years. To his credit, Harris hasn’t shied away from talking about his performance in Game 7.

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“Look, I took the L in Game 7, that’s never gonna change,” Harris said on MLB Network in January. “But at the same time, I plan on winning my next Game 7 and I plan on winning more World Series, and I think Washington is a place I can do that.”

As if there was any doubt before, it appears that Harris has completely committed to his ballclub and D.C. as a sports town.

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Natasha Cloud rips WNBA's decision to decline Elena Delle Donne's opt-out request

Natasha Cloud rips WNBA's decision to decline Elena Delle Donne's opt-out request

Surprising news broke Monday evening when Washington Mystics forward Elena Delle Donne's request to opt-out of the 2020 WNBA season was declined. The two-time WNBA MVP suffers from Lyme disease, but her condition was not on the CDC's list of underlying conditions that puts someone at additional risk for COVID-19. 

Delle Donne's teammate, Mystics guard Natasha Cloud, was also stunned by the league's decision. On Monday evening, Cloud posted an Instagram story in support of Delle Donne, asking the WNBA: "how do you deny someone with Lyme disease?"

Cloud doubled-down on Tuesday, taking to Twitter to express her dismay of the WNBA's decision.

"It’s bull----," Cloud wrote. "@WNBA either play or risk her life...what do we stand for? Cause apparently it’s not the players."

If the league doesn't reverse its ruling, Delle Donne must play the 2020 season to receive her full salary. In her statement Monday, she said she wants to play but her personal physician advises against it.

"I love my team, and we had an unbelievable season last year, and I want to play! But the question is whether or not the WNBA bubble is safe for me," Delle Donne said. "My personal physician who has treated me for Lyme disease for years advised me that I'm at high risk for contracting and having complications from COVID-19."

Cloud, who had a career season for Washington last year, has already decided to opt-out of the 2020 season in order to continue her commitment to raising awareness of social justice issues and the fight for racial equality. The guard signed an endorsement deal with Converse earlier this offseason, and the brand will pay her entire salary this season.

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