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Redskins' RG3 crashes Shanahan's news conference

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Redskins' RG3 crashes Shanahan's news conference

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) Robert Griffin III crashed Mike Shanahan's news conference, slipping in the back door to take an aisle seat in the Washington Redskins auditorium. Soon, the franchise quarterback had a microphone in his right hand, ready to ask the next question.

Shanahan, who is hard to rattle, couldn't help but laugh.

``You got me by surprise there,'' the coach said. ``Who is this guy?''

``What did you do for New Year's?'' Griffin asked.

``I tried to put a good game plan together. I wasn't sure how healthy you were, so it was hard without you calling me,'' answered Shanahan, still chortling away. ``You got me good.''

Griffin has hardly behaved like a rookie all season, so there's no reason to think it'll start now as he prepares for his NFL playoff debut. He was as loose as anyone Wednesday, whether it was playfully shoving Jarvis Jenkins into the defensive lineman's locker or simply radiating the smile that has rarely been missing during his initial run through the NFL grind.

It was the first practice for Sunday's matchup against the Seattle Seahawks, the Redskins' first home postseason game in 13 years. If the excitement was getting to either half of Washington's rookie backfield - Griffin or running back Alfred Morris - it wasn't showing.

``I've been playing football since I was 5 years old. I just go out there and go have some fun. That's what I do. So I'm not going to think about, `It's the playoffs,''' said Morris, who added that he doesn't really care for the attention he's getting for a 1,613-yard regular season bettered only by Adrian Peterson.

The performances of Morris and Griffin has cornerback DeAngelo Hall proclaiming: ``These aren't ordinary rookies.''

``I haven't seen a moment this year where they've been caught up in the moment,'' defensive tackle Barry Cofield said, ``or they've seemed like the moment's been too big for them.''

To a man, the Redskins say the entire team shouldn't be caught up in playoff nerves because they've been playing win-or-else games for nearly two months. Every victory in the season-ending seven-game streak was necessary to get to 10-6 and win the NFC East. Notable stat: Washington is 7-0 since Griffin was selected as a team captain.

Also, it helps that the Redskins have a routine week to prepare for the Seahawks. Griffin will take that over the weekslong wait for college bowl games.

``For bowl games, most of the time you're doing way too much thinking,'' Griffin said. ``Trying to devise the perfect play for the perfect defense. And you get in a game and they do something totally different because they're doing the same thing for the past month. So (this is) like a regular-season game, but with a playoff-game atmosphere.''

Griffin gave the latest update on the sprained lateral ligament in his right knee, which caused him to miss one game and has limited his explosive running ability in the two games since he returned. He's still sporting a brace, which he adjusted while stretching at the start of practice.

``A lot of people talk about the limp with the brace,'' Griffin said. ``But any time you wear a brace like that, it's to protect you, so it's going to cause a natural limp. You're not going to be able to bend your knee. ... But at the same time you can still generate power.''

Griffin said he's ``pretty close'' to the point where he's being limited by the brace more so than the actual injury, but that the doctors won't let him go without the extra protection.

``So I try to do as much as I can without the brace,'' he said with a smile. ``And then whenever they find out that I don't have it on, I have to throw it on.''

The bum knee has prompted Griffin to refine his play without much of a drop-off. He had a 102.4 passer rating in his first game after the injury, and he ran for 63 yards on just six carries in the regular-season finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

``If anything, the injury's shown me a lot, just from a quarterback perspective,'' Griffin said. ``This game's not easy, but it did show me some things that I can do to make the game easier for myself, easier on my body. Ironically I've done a better job of protecting myself since the injury, sliding, getting down, getting all the possible yards I can and getting out of bounds.

``And sometimes things have to happen like that for you to really, really grasp that, and it's shown me a lot. I don't think I've ever rushed for 10 yards a carry in a game, and I did that in this past game, so that was kind of funny.''

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We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

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We're still amazed by Michael Jordan's historic scoring night vs. New Jersey, days after turning 40-years-old

Sixteen years ago Michael Jordan delivered one of the most memorable performances of his two-year stint with the Washington Wizards. 

On February 21, 2003, Jordan dropped 43 points four days after his 40th birthday. The mark made the Jordan the first player older than 40 to record 40 points or more in a contest. 

It was also the fifth-most points he ever scored in a Wizards uniform. 

The record was made against the then-New Jersey Nets. Throughout the entire game the two teams went back-and-forth with 13 ties and 17 lead changes. That was until the Hall of Famer put the game away for Washington with the final go-ahead basket with 34 seconds to go. 

The Wizards won 89-86. 

"We hadn't really been playing well and coach has been really disappointed in the way we play and I had to take the leadership. I had to do everything I had to do to get this team to understand what winning is all about," Jordan said.

The 43 points was scored on 18-for-30 shooting, all within the 3pt arc. In the third quarter alone he scored 14 of the team's 25 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds for the double-double in the contest with four steals, three assists and a block.

All 13 seasons of Jordan's career he had incredible feats. The season prior he recorded his final 50-point game at 38 years of age, which is also the oldest anyone's ever been to reach 50 points. And that came two months after he returned from retirement. 

The 2002-03 season was his last and this display was an attempt for Jordan to return to the postseason one final time. He had not been there since he was with the Chicago Bulls in 1998. 

"I've only got 28 games left in my career. I do whatever I've got to do to get into the playoffs."

Ultimately the Wizards did not make it to the playoffs with Jordan, but he sure left his mark on the organization. 

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America East Tournament Bracket 2019, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

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USA TODAY Sports

America East Tournament Bracket 2019, How to watch, Dates, Preview, Location

Last year's America East tournament allowed us to witness the greatest upset in NCAA Tournament history when the No. 16 UMBC Retrivers upset the No. 1 overall seed, the Virginia Cavaliers. 

The 2019 America East tournament will likely have more eyeballs on it as a result. 

Once again this conference likely remains a single-bid league. After several seasons of the Vermont Catatmounts running away with the league and having at-large bid potential, their resume this season is lacking a quality win. That is not to say that Vermont is not good. To the contrary they are still the class of the America East conference. 

They do have one conference loss though... to UMBC on their home court. 

The Retrivers are also good again. So are the Stony Brook Seawolves, who may even be in line for an NIT at-large bid if they cannot get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Unlike last season, there are question marks in Vermont's ability to make it to March Madness.

Oh and we're due for some fireworks. That memorable UMBC tournament upset would not have happened without another Retriver upset. Jarius Lyles nailed a miracle buzzer-beater to knock off the top seeded Vermont Catamounts for the 2018 championship and the automatic bid. 

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 INFORMATION:

When is the 2019 America East Tournament?

The America East Tournament is March 9, 12, and 16. The America East Championship game is on Saturday, March 16.

Where is the 2019 America East Tournament?
The America East Tournament is hosted at the higher seed of each match-up. The No. 1 seed has homecourt advantage throughout the tournament.

How to watch the 2019 America East Tournament?

The America East Tournament has not announced where there tournament will be broadcast or streamed. 

Who is the defending 2018 America East Champion?

The UMBC Retreivers won the 2018 America East Tournament championship. They advanced to the NCAA Tournament and upset No. 1 seed Virginia.

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 BRACKET:

America East Tournament Quarterfinals (3/9)
 - No. 1 seed vs. No. 8 seed
 - No. 2 seed vs. No. 7 seed
 - No. 3 seed vs. No. 6 seed
 - No. 4 seed vs. No. 5 seed

America East Tournament Semifinals (3/12)
 - Highest remaing seed vs. lowest remaining seed
 - Second highest remaining seed vs. second lowest remaining seed

America East Tournament Championship (3/16)
 - Semifinal winner vs. semifinal winner

AMERICA EAST TOURNAMENT 2019 PREVIEW:

Preview will be released upon the completion of the 2019 regular season.

PICK: TBD

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