Nationals

Chad Johnson lobbied to stay with the Dolphins

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Chad Johnson lobbied to stay with the Dolphins

From Comcast SportsNet
DAVIE, Fla. (AP) -- Chad Johnson briefly lobbied in vain to keep his job when he was cut by Miami Dolphins coach Joe Philbin. The six-time Pro Bowl receiver failed to make the case, and after bidding Philbin farewell with a handshake, he walked out of the Dolphins' complex for good. The scene was captured on the latest episode of HBO's "Hard Knocks," which is chronicling the Dolphins' preseason. They terminated Johnson's contract Sunday night, about 24 hours after he was arrested in a domestic battery case involving his wife, Evelyn Lozada. She subsequently announced plans to file for divorce, ending their marriage after barely a month. Johnson met with Philbin in the coach's office, and their conversation was brief. Johnson noted that he had been scolded earlier by the coach for a profanity-laced session with reporters, and had not done an interview since. "Coach, I've never been in trouble before. Ever," said Johnson, who signed with the Dolphins in June. "And I buy into your program, most definitely. Because after that talk we had, I was hushed from that point on. And I was going stay that way the entire year." Regarding his arrest, Johnson said: "I let you down a little bit. A lot. I apologize for embarrassing you, and our organization, my teammates." But Philbin's mind was made up. "It's not really just (Saturday) night," he said. "It's where we are as a program, and where you are, and where we're headed. I just don't see the mesh right now. ... "I just think it's best for both of us that we kind of part ways at this point in time. It's not like I'm trying to flex my muscle to say, I'm the head coach, and let's make an example of Chad Johnson.' It has nothing to do with that. "It's more about how you fit in, and how we fit in together, and where this thing is heading. I just don't see it being where I thought it would be, or what I hoped it would be. I'm sure it's not good news. It's not good news for us either. But I'm certain you can overcome this thing."

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Nationals the latest team to extend protective netting in stadium

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Nationals the latest team to extend protective netting in stadium

The Nationals return to the nation’s capital Monday night for their first homestand of the season’s second half. When they do, players and fans may notice a slight change at Nationals Park: extended netting.

The issue of extending protective netting down the lines of baseball stadiums has grown more and more prominent in recent years, especially with the rash of avoidable injuries fans are incurring on foul balls.

As hitters have grown stronger and exit velocities have skyrocketed, it’s become harder for fans in certain sections to protect themselves or their children from these dangerous shots into the crowd.

More and more teams have announced plans to extend the netting at their stadiums all the way down the lines, though it’s come with a little (misguided) controversy.

Monday night marks the debut of the Nationals’ extended netting.

“Throughout Major League Baseball there have been some tragic incidents this year,” Nationals VP of Public Safety and Security Scott Fear explained in a statement priovided by the team. “So we at the Washington Nationals decided to extend the netting to make sure our fans are safe.”

“And that’s what this is all about,” Fear continued. “We want to protect our fans, the children, the adults, everyone that comes to the game, to make sure they have a great time without worrying about being hurt.”

Perhaps in anticipation of some pushback from fans concerned about a diminished view, the Nats were quick to describe the new netting as being nearly see-through.

Plus, with the changes, the Nationals installed retractable netting, allowing it to come down prior to gametime. This will afford fans even more opportunities to interact with players and ask for pregame autographs and pictures.

“This is something we feel is going to be very positive, and our fans will feel safe being here watching the game,” Fear concluded.

Ultimately, safety should be the number one priority of any major franchise, the Nationals included. They are one of the first teams to embrace this change in the name of safety, and they certainly won’t be the last.

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Trent Williams will not report to Richmond to open training camp, per report

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USA Today Sports

Trent Williams will not report to Richmond to open training camp, per report

Trent Williams will not report to training camp this week when the Redskins head to Richmond to officially begin their 2019 season, according to NFL Network.

The news comes as no surprise, as Williams missed all of the Redskins voluntary offseason workouts and skipped the team's mandatory minicamp in June. Reports streamed out that Williams was upset about his contract and looking for a new deal -- not to mention reports that he was angry with the team's medical staff after a missed diagnosis with a growth on his scalp. 

Williams has made no official statements, and the Redskins organization offered very little in terms of a timeline for his return. Washington team president Bruce Allen said he knows "the truth" about Williams' situation, and head coach Jay Gruden said he hoped things would be resolved before Week 1 in Philadelphia. 

A seven-time Pro Bowler, Williams is arguably the best left tackle in the NFL. He's an immensely talented offensive lineman with two years remaining on his deal. Beyond the medical situation, Williams could be upset that in 2020, the final year of his deal, there is hardly any guaranteed cash. The team could release Williams with less than $2 million in salary cap penalty and save nearly $13 million against the cap. 

Without Williams, the Redskins could be in real trouble. Second-year pro Geron Christian did not seem capable of playing at a starting tackle level last fall, and that was before a knee injury landed him on IR. Morgan Moses should be locked in as the right tackle, but opposite him in Williams' spot will be dicey. 

Multiple sources with the Redskins and around the NFL suggested more cash could change Williams' mind before Week 1, and for now, it looks like the 31-year-old will be waiting for that increased payday. If Williams missed actual games, he would begin to lose money from this year's $14 million salary.

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