SCarolina sackers face formidable Michigan front

SCarolina sackers face formidable Michigan front

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) With an All-American on each side, South Carolina's sack-happy defense faces Michigan's formidable offensive front in the Outback Bowl.

The 11th-ranked Gamecocks (10-2) topped the SEC with 40 sacks this year, including a school-record 13 by All-American defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

``We have a chemistry out there,'' Clowney said. ``Everybody watches each other out there. We all get to the ball. Everybody just wants the same goal ... we all want to win.''

The 19th-ranked Wolverines (8-4) allowed a Big Ten-low 15 sacks, due in part to an experienced line anchored by All-American left tackle Taylor Lewan.

Lewan could be playing in his last collegiate game on New Year's Day. He plans to announce after the Outback Bowl if he will enter the 2013 NFL draft.

``At the end of the day, it's not about me, it's not about Jadeveon Clowney, it's about the University of Michigan and USC,'' Lewan said. ``He's a great player. I have tremendous respect for him, but at the same time I'm an offensive lineman. I'm supposed to block. It's my job to block people.''

Lewan could be playing in his last collegiate game next week. He plans to announce after the Outback Bowl if he will enter the 2013 NFL draft.

``I have an idea of what I'm doing,'' Lewan said. ``I'm almost positive I know what I'm doing. I'll play football on Tuesday, January 1st, and then I'll make my decision. I'll talk to the coaches about it, and we'll go from there.''

Lewan, right guard Patrick Omameh and left guard Michael Schofield have made a combined 97 starts for Michigan.

``I trust my offensive line,'' Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson said. ``I know they'll lay it (all out) for me, so I've got to do the same for them.''

Robinson has been throwing the ball at practice. Nerve damage in his right elbow knocked him off the field Oct. 27 at Nebraska, keeping him out for the next two games and limiting his ability to throw in the final two games of the regular season.

Clowney won the Hendricks Award this year as the best defensive end in college football. The sophomore generated a buzz the past few weeks after saying a defensive player can win the Heisman Trophy next year and that it could be him.

``I'm going to play like I've been playing, and if it comes out that I win the Heisman, then I win the Heisman,'' Clowney said. ``But if I don't, I just don't.''

Clowney has been surprised by the interest generated by his Heisman comments.

``Somebody brought it up to me, and I was just like `it's out there for me.' All the awards out there are for pretty much for anybody who wants them,'' Clowney said. ``I didn't even bring the Heisman up. So, I just laughed. It's just something to get everybody talking about.''

Clowney finished sixth in this year's Heisman voting, which was won by Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

``He's a free-spirited young man,'' South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. ``He's definitely as good a pass rusher, I think, as I've coached. He pretty much does what we ask him to do all the time as far as being a good teammate and all of that. We'll worry about that (the Heisman) when then they start voting next year.''

Clowney also establish a South Carolina mark with 21 1/2 tackles for loss this season.

``He's a freak of nature,'' Gamecocks linebacker Damario Jeffery said. ``One of those guys that comes around every hundred years.

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Lars Eller intends to leave bubble for the birth of his second child

Lars Eller intends to leave bubble for the birth of his second child

The disruption to the NHL season because of the coronavirus has affected more than just the postseason. For Lars Eller, it will mean having to leave the team in order to be with his family for the birth of his second child.

The 2020 postseason is scheduled to begin Aug. 1. Eller's wife is due on Aug. 8, the same day as the Capitals' third round robin game. Obviously that means unless she delivers early, the baby will be born after Eller has left for Toronto.

Eller, however, expressed Tuesday that he intends to be with his family when the baby is born.

"We're working on making the necessary arrangements so I can be for the birth and come back to the bubble after that," Eller said.

When the whole point of the bubble is to isolate the players and limit their contact with the outside world in order to keep them from contracting the coronavirus, obviously this will present some challenges.


Eller, however, is hardly the only player who is facing this dilemma. The season pause means several players who thought they were going to have an offseason baby now will be having their new additions during the postseason. While the NHL and NHL Players' Association were negotiating the health and safety protocols for the league's return to play plan, family access became one of the major talking points. It's hard to maintain a bubble if you also allow family members in, but players did not want to be away from their families for several months. Certain rules were written in that would allow players to leave the bubble and return if necessary and those are the rules Eller is now trying to figure out so he can rejoin the team after his baby is born.

"You're going to have to take a lot of precautions for when you leave," Eller said. "Depending on how you travel and you travel back and forth and who you're going to be in contact with and so on, I'll have to serve some time inside the bubble and test a number of times before I can join my teammates again and play games. We're working on trying to figure out how we do that the best possible way."

Players did have the option of opting out of the playoffs, but Eller elected not to take that option. For him, trying to win a second Stanley Cup is still a priority, it's just not more important than his family.

"We're going to have a new addition to our family here in a couple weeks," Eller said. "I don't know when it's going to happen, but it's going to happen. But at the same time, I want to be with my team and also committed to that and want to win another Cup."


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There's an impressive list of names reportedly joining Bradley Beal in bid to buy the New York Mets

There's an impressive list of names reportedly joining Bradley Beal in bid to buy the New York Mets

Apparently, the New York Mets are popular.

In a group that looks more like some sort of ESPY's afterparty guest list, Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal is reportedly joined by names such as Super Bowl LIV champ Travis Kelce, NFL Hall of Famer Brian Urlacher, Tennessee Titans running back DeMarco Murray, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas, current Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee, oh, and some people named Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez in a bid to buy the Mets. 

That's quite an eclectic group. 

They've already submitted their initial bid of $1.7 billion, according to the New York Post. Hedge fund billionaire Steve Cohen has reportedly made a top bid so far of $2 billion. The report says Mets COO Jeff Wilpon would prefer to sell to the "J-Rod" led group if its offer is close to the best bid at the end of the auction. Both have apparently already put up $300 million of their own money towards the potential purchase.


According to ESPN, the group is awaiting word from MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on what will happen next. 

Really the more pressing question though has to be how they all came together. Who would've thought Mason Plumlee and J-Lo would go into business together. Or Beal and Kelce. 

Either way, it's a story that continues to gain traction, and clearly has the star power to make for an interesting future for the Mets organization should the deal go through.  

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