Ravens

Ex-NBA player Van Exel's son convicted of murder

Ex-NBA player Van Exel's son convicted of murder

DALLAS (AP) A North Texas jury has found the 22-year-old son of former NBA player Nick Van Exel guilty of murder in the shooting death of a longtime friend.

A Dallas County jury deliberated about 2 1/2 hours before returning its guilty verdict Thursday against Nickey Maxwell Van Exel. The penalty phase begins Friday.

Prosecutors had sought a capital murder conviction. They say Van Exel fatally shot Bradley Bassey Eyo in December 2010 and dumped his body at Lake Ray Hubbard on the eastern outskirts of Dallas.

Van Exel's attorney had said the two were playing with a shotgun at Van Exel's Garland home, and that Van Exel didn't know the gun was loaded.

His father played 13 seasons in the NBA and is now a player development instructor for the Atlanta Hawks.

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There are plenty of interesting reunions in store for the Ravens this season

There are plenty of interesting reunions in store for the Ravens this season

With short contracts and shorter shelf lives, NFL players find themselves jumping between franchise quite often over the course of an average career. As a result, almost every matchup between teams any given Sunday could be construed as a reunion between player and organization.

The Ravens are no exception. If anything, 2019 sets up to have more compelling meetings than usual. Let’s highlight some of the most intriguing.

Week 2 vs. Arizona Cardinals, LB Terrell Suggs

It won’t take long for the Ravens to see a familiar (if no longer friendly) face on the opposing sideline.

“Sizzle” is one of the most beloved Ravens in franchise history, and is on the short list of most impactful players in Baltimore football history. He spent his entire career in Baltimore after being drafted in 2003, but now will finish back home in Arizona. 

Fans will have just one week to get used to seeing Suggs in red before having to face him on the field.

Week 7 at Seattle Seahawks, FS Earl Thomas

This one is the reverse of the rest of the list, but still should be mentioned. Thomas is an iconic athlete in Seattle sports history, and led them to a Super Bowl victory as the main figure among the Legion of Boom.

His return to Seattle will be the biggest talking point in the NFL that week, and it’s not something the Ravens will be able to ignore. You can be sure they’ll want to win one for their new defensive leader.

Week 12 at Los Angeles Rams, FS Eric Weddle

Speaking of free safeties, the man Thomas replaces in Baltimore found himself a new home out west. Weddle returns to the West Coast after spending three seasons in Baltimore, where he carved out a role as a prominent leader in the secondary and one of the most respected veteran voices in the locker room.

Weddle is credited with much of the Ravens’ defensive success in recent year, and while they did a nice job replacing him with Thomas, it will still be strange seeing him wear something other than purple.

Week 14 at Buffalo Bills, WR John Brown

Brown only played one season in Baltimore, but he fit in well with the team and was a nice deep threat on the field. He looked to be having a career year receiving passes from Joe Flacco, but once the offense switched to a run-heavy approach behind Lamar Jackson, Brown saw his usage drop off a cliff.

Week 15 vs. New York Jets, LB C.J. Mosley 

Mosley, was the best homegrown linebacker in Baltimore since Ray Lewis hung up his cleats. He wasn’t as fiery as #52 was, but his smarts and leadership were above question during his time with the Ravens. Alongside Weddle, Mosley was the on-field key to the team’s historic defense in 2018, and his loss will be felt in a major way.

It’s hard to blame the Ravens for passing on the contract he ultimately received from the Jets, but it will still be bittersweet to see him wearing green and not purple, especially if the Ravens fail to address inside linebacker in the draft.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

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Daunting early run in Redskins 2019 schedule reveals that survival requires a fast start

Daunting early run in Redskins 2019 schedule reveals that survival requires a fast start

The Redskins face four 2018 playoff teams in their first five games of 2019.

If that sounds hard, that’s because it is.

Washington opens in Philadelphia before hosting the Cowboys. Then the Bears come to FedEx Field. All three of those teams made the playoffs last year, and will be considered contenders for the NFC championship this season.

<<CHECK OUT THE REDSKINS FULL 2019 SCHEDULE HERE>>

In Week 4, the Redskins travel to New York to take on the Giants. While that might look like a win for Washington, historically it’s been tough to get victories in the Meadowlands.

After that, the Patriots come to town. Tom Brady. Bill Belichick. A bunch of Super Bowl trophies. Yep, those Patriots.

Add it all up and the early season looks very tough for Jay Gruden’s team. After three straight non-playoff seasons, surely the pressure is on to make the playoffs in 2019.

With those first five games, Washington must win two simply to stay alive for the long run.

It’s overly naive and simplistic to make schedule assumptions, especially in April.

The NFL is hard enough to predict week to week, when injuries and starters are known quantities, let alone five months away from real game action.

With that noted, still, the Redskins' opening stretch is hard. NFC East games are always hard, and the Burgundy and Gold will play three division contests by Week 4.

The Patriots are the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport. To say the least, that’s a tough game.

The Bears won 12 games last season and their defense gave up fewer than 18 points-per-game.

If the Redskins can survive the early portion of 2019, things look more forgiving later.

But survival is key.

The Redskins have never been a fast starting team under Gruden, although he did notch his first Week 1 win last year.

2019 won’t be about Week 1. It won’t be about Week 5. But it will be about not getting into a large hole between Weeks 1 and 5.

The Redskins, even with a litany of questions, cannot afford a 1-4 start. They certainly cant afford a start worse than that.

In the NFL, the pressure is always on.

In Washington, it just doesn’t relent.

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