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Virginia QB Rocco gets release to go elsewhere

Virginia QB Rocco gets release to go elsewhere

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) Virginia's Michael Rocco will transfer, removing himself from the revolving door at quarterback.

Coach Mike London says he met Friday with the junior quarterback, who started 21 games in the past two seasons, and granted Rocco's request to be released from his scholarship. Rocco plans to complete the current semester at Virginia.

The Cavaliers finished 4-8 this season, and Rocco shared time at quarterback with Alabama transfer Phillip Sims. Last season, Rocco started all 13 games as a sophomore and led Virginia to an 8-5 record and its first bowl game since the 2007 season.

Rocco has not responded to messages seeking comment, but his uncle, Richmond head coach Danny Rocco, said he believes his nephew is going to test the waters in the coming weeks hoping to find a BCS-level school to join.

Rocco will have to sit out the 2013 season, per NCAA rules regarding transfers, but ``To have a guy show up on your roster in two years that started 21 games in the ACC isn't a bad thing to have,'' Danny Rocco said by telephone Sunday.

He said he believes his nephew planned to release a statement about his decision by Monday.

In his career, Rocco threw for 4,731 yards, 27 touchdowns and 24 interceptions. His 2,671 passing yards in 2011 ranks as the fourth best single-season total in Virginia history. He's eighth all-time at Virginia with 4,731 passing yards.

``After meeting with Michael and discussing his future with our program and his personal goals and interests I understand his desire to complete his college football career elsewhere,'' London said in a statement released Sunday. ``Michael has been an outstanding member of our program on the field, in the classroom and in the community. I appreciate the competitive nature, work ethic and leadership he brought to our program and I wish him the best in his future endeavors.''

In announcing that Rocco had won the job on the Monday before Virginia's opener against Richmond, London was effusive in his praise of the quarterback's knowledge of offensive coordinator Bill Lazor's system and his execution.

But after victories against the Spiders and Penn State to start the season, the latter by a 17-16 score and only because the Nittany Lions converted only one of five makeable field goal attempts, the Cavaliers started a six-game slide.

After Sims nearly engineered a dramatic comeback with two fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a 44-38 loss to against Louisiana Tech, he was elevated to starter and took the first snaps for the next four games. Virginia lost the first three, and when the Cavaliers ended their victory drought with a 33-6 victory at N.C. State, Rocco played most of the game.

He regained the starting job and threw for 300 yards, including a 10-yard touchdown pass with six seconds left the following week to beat Miami 41-40, and then shared the job with Sims in the season-ending, 17-14 loss at Virginia Tech.

Antone Exum intercepted Rocco's pass with 3:21 to play, one Rocco later acknowledged was poorly thrown. It set Virginia Tech up for a game-winning, 29-yard field goal with 4 seconds left.

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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USA TODAY Sports

Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

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NBC Sports Washington

Need to Know: The Redskins week that was—OTA report, fans excited about young D-line

Here is what you need to know on this Friday, May 25, 62 days before the Washington Redskins start training camp.  

The Redskins week that was

A look at some of the most popular posts and hottest topics of the week on Real Redskins and NBC Sports Washington

Trades, misses and mistakes explain Redskins' dead cap—This post does a good job of outlining where the Redskins’ dead cap came from. It should be noted that dead cap is a part of the cost of doing business in the NFL and the Redskins have done fairly well managing it this year. Only about a dozen teams have less dead cap on the books than the Redskins $5.2 million. 

Tandler's Take—The best- and worst-case scenarios for the 2018 Redskins—I received some comments saying that my worst-case scenario, a 6-10 finish, is not low enough. Since we’re talking about events that won’t begin to happen for about three and a half months, I can’t really argue with them. But it’s just hard for me to see them dropping more than a game from last year when they were hit harder with injuries than any other team in the NFL. 

Pre-OTAs Redskins player one-liners, defense—An extension for Matt Ioannidis seemed preposterous a year ago, now it seems like a good idea. How many sacks for Lanier? When will Ryan Anderson get his first sack? Plus offensive player one-liners here

Redskins OTA practice report—QB Alex Smith sharp—You can’t tell everything from OTAs, but you can tell some things. Taking another look at this post, I gave a good, detailed look at the session, but I didn’t really mention the overall feel, which was fun and energetic. 

Tweet of the week

Certainly, Derrius Guice is the fan favorite of the rookie class. But the great reaction to this tweet shows that there is plenty of love for Daron Payne and Jonathan Allen, last year’s top pick. 

In 2016, the starting defensive line consisted of Ricky Jean Francois, Chris Baker, and  Ziggy Hood. The top reserve was Cullen Jenkins. They all had their good qualities and made some plays. But Baker was the youngster of the group and he turned 30 during the season. It clearly was a group on the decline. 

Two years later, the picture is quite different. Payne and Allen lead a younger group that will get better over the next few years. Matt Ioannidis, Anthony Lanier, Tim Settle, and Stacy McGee should round out the group. McGee is by far the senior member of the group at age 28. None of the others have celebrated his 25thbirthday yet. 

Fans should perhaps temper their optimism with the knowledge that potential doesn’t always develop into performance. But unlike years past there is something to look forward to. 

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

Timeline  

Days until:

—Minicamp (6/12) 18
—Training camp starts (7/26) 62
—Preseason opener @ Patriots (8/9) 76

The Redskins last played a game 145 days ago. They will open the 2018 NFL season at the Cardinals in 107 days. 

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