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Notre Dame RB Wood leaving for NFL

Notre Dame RB Wood leaving for NFL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood announced Monday he is entering the NFL draft, deciding against returning for a final year of eligibility.

The 6-0, 215-pound senior, who did not play as a freshman, was second on the team this past season with 742 yards rushing on 114 carries, including 2 yards on four carries in a 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game. He sat out the first two games of the season after being suspended by coach Brian Kelly for violating team rules.

He rushed for 2,447 yards on 450 carries in three seasons as the Irish, finishing seventh on Notre Dame's all-time list. His 5.4 yards per carry is the most for any Irish back with that many carries. His best season was in 2011, when he led the Irish with 1,102 yards rushing on 217 carries. He rushed for a career-high 191 yards in a game against Purdue in 2011.

Wood, who has a 1-year-old daughter, said it wasn't an easy decision.

``I had to weigh many factors over the last month, but ultimately it came down to what I felt was the right decision that would most benefit my family,'' he said in a statement released by the school.

Kelly wished Wood well.

``Cierre has been an important member of our football team in my three years at Notre Dame and I appreciate all he did to help get our program back on top,'' he said.

The Irish also lose leading rusher Theo Riddick, who arrived at Notre Dame in the same recruiting class as Wood. Although Wood came in as a much higher rated recruit, Riddick got on the field immediately as a freshman while Wood struggled to learn blocking schemes and with homesickness. The two, who are close friends and lived in the same house, said there was never any rivalry between them.

The top returning rusher for the Irish is George Atkinson III, a speedy back who ran for 361 yards on 51 carries, an average of 7.1 yards a carry. The Irish will have Amir Carlisle, a transfer from Southern Cal who missed the 2012 season with a foot injury after missing much of his freshman season with the Trojans with injuries. The Irish also are expected to sign several high school backs on Feb. 6, including highly rated backs Greg Bryant from Delray Beach, Fla., and Tarean Folston from Cocoa, Fla.

The announcement comes two days after Kelly said he would return to the Fighting Irish in 2013 after talking with the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles about their head coaching job.

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

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NBA offseason grades: Thunder stood out in Northwest Division

Here is a look at how the 2018 NBA offseason went for teams in the Northwest Division...

Portland Trail Blazers, C+

2017-18 finish: 49-33, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Seth Curry, G Nik Stauskas, G Anfernee Simons, G Gary Trent, Jr.
Out: F Ed Davis, G Pat Connaughton, G Shabazz Napier

The Blazers are about as cash-strapped as anyone out there, so they had very little room to work with in free agency. They made some minor moves but nothing of real note. They had a solid draft, but picked Simons who is a long-term project. And they had to let some decent players go in free agency. The best thing that happened to the Blazers this summer was re-signing Jusuf Nurkic. Other than that, it was a pretty mediocre offseason for Portland.

Oklahoma City Thunder, A

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 1st round of playoffs
In: G Dennis Schroeder, C Nerlens Noel, G Hamidou Diallo
Out: F Carmelo Anthony

GM Sam Presti deserves high praise for another strong offseason. Most of the acclaim comes from the Thunder re-signing Paul George despite the assumption of many he would leave in free agency. But OKC also snagged Noel on a cheap deal, adding more athleticism and depth behind center Steven Adams. And they got Schroeder back in the deal for Anthony when they could have shed his salary for nothing in return. They also added three second round picks, including Diallo who looked good in the Summer League. It's hard to imagine the Thunder doing better than they did, given the financial resources they were working with.

Utah Jazz, B

2017-18 finish: 48-34, 2nd round of playoffs
In: G Grayson Allen, F Tyler Cavanaugh
Out: F Jonas Jerebko

The Jazz get most of their points from re-signing players like Dante Exum, Raul Neto and Derrick Favors. Though the price tag for Favors is a little high, they did a nice job of bringing the band back together, knowing they have an opportunity to get better this season simply by having Rudy Gobert stay healthy. The Allen pick has potential to work out very well for them. He looked good in the Summer League and should complement Donovan Mitchell and Ricky Rubio well at the guard position. All in all, there was nothing flashy for the Jazz but they made some solid, smart decisions.

Minnesota Timberwolves, C

2017-18 finish: 47-35, 1st round of playoffs
In: F Anthony Tolliver, G Josh Okogie, F Keita Bates-Diop
Out: F Nemanja Bjelica

The Wolves have enough salary committed to where they could only do so much this summer. Tolliver is a nice pickup and should add shooting to their frontcourt. Bates-Diop gives them nice value as a second round pick. It would have been nice to see the Wolves change something via trade, but they have reason to believe they can get better if Karl-Anthony Towns continues to ascend and Andrew Wiggins reclaims his form as a scorer.

Denver Nuggets, B+

2017-18 finish: 46-36, missed playoffs
In: G Isaiah Thomas, F Michael Porter, Jr. 
Out: F Wilson Chandler, G Devin Harris

The Nuggets had a solid offseason just as they get ready to make a big leap forward as a franchise. They re-signed Nikola Jokic to a long-term deal, added Thomas on a low-risk contract and took a chance on Porter in the draft. They lost Chandler in a salary dump, but have the tools to win 50-plus games next season. Thomas could be a big difference maker if healthy and Porter gives them another building block for the future. If he can get past his back injury, he will fit in nicely with their young core.

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Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Contract makes Adrian Peterson a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins

Adrian Peterson is truly a no-risk acquisition for the Redskins. 

The 33-year-old running back signed with the Redskins for one year at the NFL minimum salary of $1.015 million according to Field Yates of ESPN

The contract structure means that the Redskins can have him practice for the next week and a half, play in the two remaining preseason games, and then let him go prior to Week 1 and walk away owing him nothing. 

If they do keep him for Week 1, his salary for the season will become guaranteed. But if they decide to let him go at some point in the season the payout of the remainder of his salary will be a drop in the bucket of a $176 million salary cap. There is no signing bonus, roster bonus, or other guaranteed salary. 

One more team friendly aspect of this deal is that Peterson will cost less against the cap than the Redskins are paying him. The NFL has something called the veteran minimum benefit, designed to encourage teams to keep older players rather than the younger and cheaper one. Under this benefit, Peterson will count just $630,000 in cap space. That is the same cap charge as Byron Marshall carries. So, if it comes down to choosing between the Marshall and Peterson for a roster spot, the salary cap will not be a factor. 

Apparently, Peterson is anxious to play football and after spending the entire offseason as a free agent who wasn’t drawing much interest, a player who received $11 million guaranteed from the Vikings two years ago will go to work for a fraction of that. 

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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