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Suspended star re-enrolls at LSU

Suspended star re-enrolls at LSU

From Comcast SportsNetBATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Tyrann Mathieu has opened a new chapter at LSU.Whether the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist known as the Honey Badger ever plays football for the Tigers again remains to be seen.As Mathieu was enrolling in school for the fall semester on Tuesday, LSU coach Les Miles was maintaining his stance that the time is not right to speculate on the former star cornerback's future with the program.All that is certain at this point is that Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team Aug. 10 for failed drug tests, won't be playing this season, which continues Saturday night with the Washington Huskies' visit to Tiger Stadium."I think he's making some quality decisions for himself," Miles said of Mathieu's efforts to address personal matters and his return to school exclusively as a student. "My focus is about my team and preparing game week. ... We certainly wish (Mathieu) the very best."When Mathieu was dismissed, Miles and LSU athletic officials said the move was required by school policies. They assumed Mathieu's departure was permanent, for practical purposes, because he was immediately eligible to transfer to a football program in the FCS, the second tier of Division I, and also will have the option of entering the 2013 NFL draft.However, Mathieu instead went to Houston to check himself into the Right Step recovery center run by former NBA player and coach John Lucas, who battled drug and alcohol problems during his career and now counsels others."(Returning) was a pretty easy decision for me," Mathieu told WVUE-TV. "I had to come back and finish what I started. The team means a lot to me, the staff, the athletic department, the teachers I formed a relationship with. All of that played a role in my decision to come back and do it the right way this time."With Mathieu back on campus, Miles said he was not aware of any school policies that would prevent the popular ex-Tiger from rejoining the team in 2013. That means it would be up to Miles and top athletic administrators to decide if Mathieu can be trusted to avoid further trouble. However, Miles and athletic director Joe Alleva are declining to comment on the matter at this time.LSU safety Eric Reid said he ran into his old teammate on a quad at the center of campus, walking to class."He was very positive, smiling. He knows this is something he has to do and it's going to be better for him in the long run," said Reid. "He knows he made a mistake, and he's moving on from that. He's just looking forward to the future and doing things right from now on."Tigers players who had spoken with Mathieu recently said they were not entirely sure if Mathieu would try to rejoin the Tigers in 2013."I guess we'll just have to wait and see," Reid said. "I'd support any decision that he makes. He's my friend, he's my brother, he's a Tiger, so we're just happy he's back here on campus and we get to see him."Reid, a junior, who also will be eligible for the 2013 NFL draft, said he would not be surprised if Mathieu hoped to delay pro football another year and return to the Tigers."He's from Louisiana. His family's here. We're his family and we're here for him," Reid said. "He has a great support system here, so I don't see why he'd leave."This is college. This is a fun time," Reid continued. "You build relationships that you have the rest of your life."The 20-year-old Mathieu won the Bednarik Award as national defensive player of the year last season and was a big-play machine at cornerback and on special teams. The All-American scored four touchdowns -- two on punt returns and two on fumble returns -- intercepted two passes, caused six fumbles and recovered four.He has two years of college eligibility remaining."I'm still going to train and work out really hard, but it's not going to be my focus right now," said Mathieu. "Instead, I'm going to stay humble, stay grounded and view football from a different angle this time around so I can appreciate it more when I do get the chance to play it again."Freshman Jalen Mills is now starting in Mathieu's old cornerback spot and moving to nickel back on passing downs, when redshirt freshman Jalen Collins comes in.Punt return duties have been taken over by sophomore Odell Beckham Jr., spectacularly so far. Beckham returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in LSU's season-opening 41-14 victory over North Texas last Saturday. He would have had a 76-yard return for a score had it not been nullified by an illegal block.Still, Beckham was quick to say he would welcome Mathieu back to the team."I would love it, not just the things he does on defense or punt returns," Beckham said. "Just the vibe that he brings to this team is something that is unmatched."

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Braden Holtby saved his best performance of the season for when the Caps needed it most

Braden Holtby saved his best performance of the season for when the Caps needed it most

Braden Holtby has been largely overshadowed in the headlines of the Eastern Conference Final by Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy.

After two games, Vasilevskiy was one of the bigger storylines for how poorly he played in giving up 10 goals in just five periods. The next three games after that, the storyline changed to how well he was suddenly playing and how he had helped the Lightning steal two wins in Washington and take a 3-2 series lead after Game 5.

Holtby was not mentioned much. His play was not the reason the Caps went up 2-0 or the reason they went down 3-2.

But if the Caps hoped to force a Game 7, they needed him to at least be a reason why they won Game 6.

Holtby responded in a big way. With his team facing elimination, Holtby registered his first shutout of both the regular season and the playoffs.

"It's a perfect time," Devante Smith-Pelly said after the game. "He's been great all year. Obviously an up-and-down year for him personally, but the way he's bounced back, he's been amazing all throughout the playoffs."

Holtby is now just the seventh goalie in NHL history to record his first shutout of the season in a game in which his team faced elimination.

Holtby, however, was not concerned with the stats or the shutout.

"The only reason it’s good is we won," Holtby said of his shutout performance. "Aside from that, it’s just good for [the media], I guess you can write about it. But for us it’s just that W."

Vasilevskiy made a number of jaw-dropping saves, especially in the first period, but Holtby matched him save for save as both teams battled for the first goal. With the score knotted at zero, Holtby made a toe save on Anthony Cirelli on a 2-on-1 opportunity to keep the Lightning off the board. He really upped his game in the third period as Tampa Bay made a late push to tie it. He turned aside 10 shots that frame including a nifty snag on Nikita Kucherov and a glorious glove save on Ondrej Palat.

Holtby's performance ensured the Caps would live to fight another day...for now.

As the series shifts back to Tampa Bay, Washington will again be facing elimination. This time, however, so will their opponents.

Anything can happen in a Game 7. In a winner-take-all game, it may come down to who has the better goalie on Wednesday and Holtby seems to be picking a good time to up his game.

"Braden has been the backbone of our hockey club," Barry Trotz said. "You can’t go anywhere without goaltending and he’s been solid. ... Braden is a true pro, he works on his game, he finds ways to make a difference and he does."

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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, defense

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Need to Know: Redskins player one-liners, defense

Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, May 22, 66 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

Redskins player one-liners, defense

A few weeks ago, I did an early projection of the Redskins’ 53-man roster on offense and defense. As the team gets ready for OTAs here is a comment on each player expected to make the team on defense; the offense was up yesterday

Defensive line

—Even though he played just 159 snaps last year before getting injured, the experience that Jonathan Allen gained in the offseason and training camp last year will help him get off to a strong start this season. 

—​Daron Payne will improve as the season goes on but he should be of some help stopping the run, the team’s most glaring weakness, right off the bat. 

—​Matt Ioannidis could play his way into an early contract extension a year from now, something nobody saw coming a year ago. 

—Last year Anthony Lanier played a little over half a season’s worth of snaps and got 5.0 sacks so I’ll put his over/under for this year at 7.5. 

—I think many fans see “Redskins veteran free agent D-lineman” and associate “bust” but Stacy McGee played pretty well last year. 

—Will Tim Settle be in at nose tackle for the first snap in Week 1?

—The coaches would like to be able to keep Ziggy Hood on the roster, but injuries and other issues could make him a victim of the roster numbers game. 

Inside linebackers

—​Zach Brown struggled a bit before injuries forced him out of the last three games, but he still finished in the top 10 in the NFL in tackles. 

—The team re-signing Mason Foster in late January was a low-key but potentially very impactful move. 

—After getting cut and then returning in November last year, Zach Vigil probably will be employed with the Redskins for all of the 2018 season. 

—It will be interesting to see how much the Redskins try to get out of converted safety Josh Harvey-Clemons as a nickel linebacker this year. 

—The Redskins moved up in the sixth round to draft Shaun Dion Hamilton, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he has a regular role on defense before the season is out. 

Outside linebackers

—All Preston Smith needs to do to hit it big in free agency is add a few sacks to his 2017 total and get a few more takeaways. 

—​Ryan Kerrigan already got paid, he’s a few more good years away from making the Redskins Ring of Fame. 

—I predict that Ryan Anderson gets his first NFL sack in Week 2 against the Colts. 

—You usually think of outside linebackers rotating in when it’s the nickel defense, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Pernell McPhee be a regular in short-yardage situations. 

Cornerbacks

—I think Josh Norman will the dancing in the end zone at some point this season; he is long overdue to get a pick six (or a pick of any sort for that matter).

—The first time I noticed Quinton Dunbar playing cornerback was when he lined up against Odell Beckham in 2015. 

—The success of the Redskins’ decisions to trade Kendall Fuller and to let Bashaud Breeland leave as a free agent will hinge mostly on how well Fabian Moreau plays in his second year in the NFL.

—Realistically, the Redskins can hope to get 10 or 12 good games out of Orlando Scandrick

—And because Scandrick is unlikely to be healthy for 16 games, the ability of Josh Holsey to step in when needed will be critical. 

—If the Redskins can get a few good punt returns and 75 snaps at nickel corner from Greg Stroman he will be worth the seventh-round pick they used to draft him. 

Safeties

—With a year in the defense under his belt, D.J. Swearinger is a candidate to make his first Pro Bowl. 

—After Jay Gruden compared him to Jordan Reed, there is a lot of pressure on Montae Nicholson to stay on the field and perform well when he is out there. 

—Even though he started eight games last year I think the coaches view Deshazor Everett as more of a special teams guy and situational defender than a safety they want playing 70 snaps a game. 

—​Troy Apke has a lot to learn and it remains to be seen if he can go from being a fast guy to being a fast NFL football player.

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCSand follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCSand on Instagram @RichTandler

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Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 21
—Training camp starts (7/26) 66
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 80

The Redskins last played a game 142 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 110 days. 

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