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Foster: Don't expect 100 percent play at Pro Bowl

Foster: Don't expect 100 percent play at Pro Bowl

HONOLULU (AP) Houston running back Arian Foster says players are going to step up at the Pro Bowl this year, but don't expect 100 percent effort.

Foster said Friday after practicing with his AFC teammates that it's unrealistic to expect full effort from the NFL's top athletes when they're limited in the plays they're able to run.

``This isn't basketball - you can't go play a pickup game of football,'' Foster said.

Foster said if the NFL expects 100 percent effort from its stars and league officials are willing to cancel the game if they don't see that, then the game will likely be scrapped.

``I think it's an honor and a tradition, but for you to expect the best athletes in the NFL to come out and play a game 100 percent when you can't game plan, you can't blitz, you can't do all these things, it's not going to be competitive like everybody wants it to be,'' Foster said.

Effort has emerged as the top theme for this year's Pro Bowl as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made clear the all-star game won't be played going forward if it's second-rate football.

Denver quarterback Peyton Manning said that would be a shame, meaning players have to play better to keep it around.

Manning said the NFL will lose the value of players interacting if the Pro Bowl goes away, which helps to keep the league strong. The true value of the game over the years, he said, is for younger players to have interactions with older veterans, like Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson chatting with former Chargers great LaDainian Tomlinson.

``Don't tell me there's not great value in that conversation,'' Manning said.

``If they cancel this, then I think the NFL will lose that,'' Manning said. ``Is there monetary value in that conversation? I would argue yes. I would argue that's helping keep the NFL as great as it is. So I'd hate for it to be canceled.''

The AFC and NFC squads took team photos at a resort on Oahu's west side before practicing separately on a 50-yard field in front of family, friends and some fans.

AFC defenders played a little more defense than in two prior practices. During seven-on-seven drills, Kansas City safety Eric Berry picked off a Manning pass and Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie intercepted Houston quarterback Matt Schaub. On one play, Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck gave the ball to Foster, who looked downfield to throw a pass but didn't.

``Throw that,'' Colts linebacker Robert Mathis dared Foster.

``I want to make sure Ray Anderson's paying attention,'' a Denver coach shouted to the players after Jets safety LaRon Landry broke up a pass, referring to the NFL executive who earlier this week said the league would make a decision about the Pro Bowl by April. Anderson was at the practice.

Wide receivers A.J. Green and Victor Cruz said part of practice is about getting the timing and rhythm right between players.

``It's just getting comfortable with the plays, getting comfortable with the little nuances of the playbook really quickly and once you get acclimated, it's fairly easy,'' said Cruz, the New York Giants star.

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Oskar Garcia can be reached on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/oskargarcia .

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Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

St. John's athletic director out and source says football coach considering exit

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Matt Seal

St. John's athletic director out and source says football coach considering exit

Athletic director Brian Griffin has left St. John’s and accepted the position of Director of Football and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla).

On Griffins’ watch, the Cadets excelled in myriad athletic endeavors, becoming the region’s powerhouse in multiple sports.

“St. John’s is grateful for Brian Griffin’s leadership, passion, dedication and commitment to our students and the school community,” said Jeff Mancabelli, St. John’s president in a statement. 

“During the past six years, our student-athletes earned 29 WCAC championships, but more importantly, they learned important life lessons and what it means to support one another,”

According to those who worked with him, Griffin was dedicated to the development of the total student-athlete; investing in their lives both on and off of the playing fields.

“Under his leadership, St. John’s elevated its athletic programs to the highest standards,” said Mancabelli. “Building a foundation of support services and creating a culture of excellence that emphasized personal responsibility and what it means to be a part of a team.”

The St. John’s football program endured a grueling schedule last season. Seven of their opponents finished the year ranked nationally. They traveled as far as Texas and hosted the likes of Mater Dei (Ca) and IMG in consecutive weekends—at one point dropping four games in a row.

Griffin and head coach Joe Casamento received outside criticism for undertaking such a daunting task. According to sources, Casamento is considering stepping away from his position as coach of the Cadets, but Mancabelli insists Griffin’s move had little to do with football.

“This difficult career decision was truly about family,” said Mancabelli. “After being apart for the last two school years, Griff will be reunited with his family at IMG Academy, where his youngest child, Erin, is an eighth-grader. We wish him well as he moves on to the next chapter.”

Prior to his tenure at St. John’s, Griffin was a vice president at IMG. He could not be reached for comment but posted to Twitter:

“I am so excited to be back with my family @IMGA! I have nothing but love for St. John’s and the amazing student-athletes, coaches and community that have built such a strong ‘culture of excellence’.
 

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Bradley Beal on signing extension with Wizards last year: 'I'm the franchise here'

Bradley Beal on signing extension with Wizards last year: 'I'm the franchise here'

Just before the 2019-2020 NBA season began, Wizards guard Bradley Beal opted to extend his career in Washington with a two-year, $72 million maximum contract that keeps him in the nation’s capital through at least the end of 2022 -- with a player option for the following year.

Before the extension, other teams across the league were reportedly interested in acquiring the 26-year-old. But Beal never pushed for a trade, and opted to stay with the team that drafted him out of Florida in 2012.

In an appearance on Posted Up with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Beal explained his decision was deeper than money. Renewing his commitment to Washington, which he called his “second home,” was about the initial connection, his legacy and the chance for success with John Wall in the future.

“I respect the fact that they drafted me, that’s first and foremost,” Beal told Haynes. “Just being in one spot for your whole career, having your jersey in the rafter one day, being that important to an organization, those were all things that drew me.”

 

Last summer, Beal said he spoke with current and former NBA stars about his pending decision. He consulted Portland Trailblazers’ star guard Damian Lillard, who decided to stay with his original team with a supermax contract extension in June, and Ray Allen, who was loyal to the Milwaukee Bucks early in his career.

After those conversations, it was clear to him that staying in Washington was better than chasing rings through requesting a trade.

“Honestly, I thought that was kind of the easy way out,” Beal said. “It’ll feel more meaningful and powerful knowing that I grinded it out doing it in D.C. It’s pretty much my team, I’m the franchise here, so it was kind of destined for me to kind of mold it from here.”

Beal’s appearance on Haynes’ podcast comes one week after he expressed frustration following the Wizards’ 116-109 loss to the Chicago Bulls -- another defeat during a difficult season.

The guard addressed those comments that underscored his mounting frustration.

“I was mad that we lost. We lost a very winnable game. And granted, I’m a big part of it, the team’s a big part of it,” Beal said. “One thing I want everybody to understand is I’m not a guy that just shifts blame on his teammates.

“I want to win. And whatever that looks like, whatever it takes, let’s go out there and get it done.”

Washington’s losing season comes with Wall relegated to the role of a spectator, as the Wizards’ franchise point guard continues to recover from a ruptured achilles he suffered last February.

Without Wall on the floor this season, Beal has averaged 27.5 points and 6.3 assists in 36 games. But Beal knows his role will change whenever Wall returns.

“When he comes back, obviously, you know, the dynamic of our team chances. I won’t have the ball all the time,” Beal said. “He’s going to have the ball, he’s going to be able to make plays and, you know, create plays for us as he always does.”

As Beal looks forward to reuniting with his backcourt running mate, he also has an eye on how the duo can advance further than it did in the past.

“What can we do differently than we did in the past?” Beal pondered. “How can we grow from where we were a few years ago -- game seven against the Celtics -- to how can we take that next step?”

In discussing Beal’s legacy, Haynes asked the Wizards guard about maintaining loyalty versus winning a ring. Beal didn’t shy away from laying out his goals to win multiple rings, but he’s also cognizant that there’s no guarantee his legacy will include that.

“There’s plenty of guys who had great careers and didn’t get one. Granted, everybody wants one. I want one; I want multiple,” he said. “At the same time, you can’t live your life or I guess you can’t basically judge your career off of that because there’s no guarantee you’ll get one.”

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