Leon Searcy named No. 14 on Jags All-25

Former OT Leon Searcy has been named No. 14 on the Jaguars All-25, the club announced today. Jaguars All-25 is a collection of the top 25 non-active players in franchise history, as voted on by members of the local Jacksonville media.

“I’d like to thank the Jacksonville Jaguars for including me in the All-25 as we celebrate 25 seasons of Jacksonville Jaguars football,” said Searcy. “I’m very humbled and I’m very appreciate of being on the list. I was here in Jacksonville for four years and they were outstanding years, the glory years, and I’m just glad to be a part of the Jacksonville Jaguars organization. I love the fans, I love the community and I’m glad to be back home, and DUUUVAL!”

Searcy, 6-4, 313, was originally selected with the 11th overall pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1992 NFL Draft. He played four seasons with the Steelers, appearing in 64 games, and started the final 48 games of his career in Pittsburgh at right tackle. Following the 1995 season, Searcy came to Jacksonville as one of the team’s best and biggest free agent signings in the franchise’s history and went on to start all 63 games at right tackle – opposite Tony Boselli — during his four-year tenure with the Jaguars. During the 1996 and 1997 seasons, Searcy was not flagged for a holding or false start penalty. In 1999, the Jaguars went 14-2 and Searcy was selected to his first career Pro Bowl, while also being honored as an Associated Press second-team All-Pro selection.

“His punch was so strong that the defensive guys didn’t want to practice against him,” said Frank Frangie, the Jaguars’ radio play-by-play announcer, a host on 1010XL and a member of the All-25 voting panel. “The perfect right tackle because he was tough and mean and physical… and remember, Mark Brunell was a left-handed quarterback, so you’re a right tackle and you have to do right tackle things, which is run-block and be physical, but you also have the quarterback’s back-side.”

Searcy signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001 and with the Miami Dolphins in 2002, before officially retiring from the NFL prior to the 2003 season. He went on to coach the offensive line at Florida International University from 2004-06, and now serves as a radio host and the Jaguars’ preseason television analyst.

He attended the University of Miami and was a three-time national champion (1987, 1989, 1991), and was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame in 2003. A native of Washington, D.C., Searcy played high school football in Orlando, Fla. at Maynard Evans High School.

The Jaguars’ silver celebration kicked off in mid-March with the start of the new league year and the unveiling of the team’s 25th season commemorative logo designed to embody the spirit of DUUUVAL.

                                                                    JAGUARS ALL-25:

14. RT Leon Searcy (1996-99)

15. LB Kevin Hardy (1996-2001)

16. SS Donovin Darius (1998-2006)

17. TE Kyle Brady (1999-2006)

18. G Vince Manuwai (2003-10)

19. LB Mike Peterson (2003-08)

20. CB Aaron Beasley (1996-2001)

21. K Josh Scobee (2004-14)

22. DT Gary Walker (1999-2001)

23. QB David Garrard (2002-10)

24. DE Joel Smeenge (1995-2000)

25. G Chris Naeole (2002-07)

Photo/courtesy: Jacksonville Jaguars

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NFL: Tyreek Hill did not violate Personal Conduct Policy

The NFL will not suspend Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill, the league announced today. Hill was investigated for child abuse on his 3-year-old son, but the Johnson County (Kansas) District Attorney’s Office recently announced that the investigation is no longer active.

Here is a statement from the NFL:

“Over the past four months, we have conducted a comprehensive investigation of allegations regarding Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill.  Throughout this investigation, the NFL’s primary concern has been the well-being of the child. Our understanding is that the child is safe and that the child’s ongoing care is being directed and monitored by the Johnson County District Court and the Johnson County Department for Children and Families.

“In conducting our investigation, we have taken great care to ensure that we do not interfere with the county’s proceedings or compromise the privacy or welfare of the child in any way.  The information developed in the court proceeding is confidential and has not been shared with us, and the court has sealed all law enforcement records.  Local law enforcement authorities have publicly advised that the available evidence does not permit them to determine who caused the child’s injuries.

“Similarly, based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy.  Accordingly, he may attend Kansas City’s training camp and participate in all club activities.  He has been and will continue to be subject to conditions set forth by the District Court, Commissioner Goodell, and the Chiefs, which include clinical evaluation and therapeutic intervention.

“If further information becomes available through law enforcement, the pending court proceeding, or other sources, we will promptly consider it and take all appropriate steps at that time.”

Morales, Barrera, Wright, Porter give their thoughts on Pacquiao-Thurman

All-time boxing greats Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and Winky Wright, plus WBC Welterweight World Champion Shawn Porter, previewed the Manny Pacquiao vs. Keith Thurman showdown for media on Thursday ahead the PBC on FOX Sports Pay-Per-View event taking place this Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

Two of the most popular Mexican fighters of their generation, Morales and Barrera both offered special insight into what it takes to match up against Pacquiao. A former four-division world champion, Morales faced Pacquiao three times, winning once, while Barrera, a three-division champion, battled Pacquiao twice, losing both contests.

A long-reigning 154-pound world champion during his career, Wright is from the same Tampa-area that Thurman hails from and has known Thurman since childhood. He was also trained by Thurman’s head coach Dan Birmingham. Porter and Thurman engaged in one of 2016’s most exciting fights, as Porter lost a narrow decision to Thurman before Porter went on to become a two-time welterweight champion last September. 

Here is what the legends had to say Thursday from MGM Grand:

ERIK MORALES

 “To win that fight I was very technical against Manny Pacquiao and that’s what Thurman needs to do and be prepared for, which I was on that night.

“You definitely have to have a good strategy against Manny Pacquiao, and you have to have your timing right against him because he will slip out. So you have to work on that, and if he gets out, you have to start again and pressure him. 

“I’m definitely surprised that Pacquiao is still fighting at this age, due to the fact that he’s been through so many wars. So it’s definitely interesting that he’s still fighting at this high of a level. Then again, I’m not surprised because mentally and physically he’s still training and still maintaining a great training regiment, which he has always maintained all throughout his career.”

 MARCO ANTONIO BARRERA

 “When you’re facing Manny Pacquiao, you know that he’s a strong, explosive, fast fighter. It’s very impactful when you see him there in front of you, but we have Morales here who was one of few men to beat him, so it is possible.

 “It’s very difficult to face Pacquiao. He’s a lefty and sometimes he jumps a meter away from you and then he’s right back in front of you. I’m a fighter that’s very technical so that made it even harder to hit Manny Pacquiao.

 “Pacquiao puts in a lot of pressure and is always on top of you. Psychologically it’s a tough fight to fight Manny Pacquiao at any time because you think that he is going to go back but then he switches it up. He maintains a constant pressure on you mentally. 

 “Pacquiao hits to the body a lot. When he hits that left right into the stomach, it’s devastating. That’s how he hit me in that first fight that we had. Now he’s fighting a younger guy, 10 years younger than him, he is really going to work the body on Saturday.

 “At the end of the day we all get nervous when we go into the ring especially with such a big event. But once you get into the ring and start fighting, you start adapting to it and then the plan of attack that you have been training for comes into play.”

 WINKY WRIGHT

 When I first met Keith Thurman it was clear the incredible power this young kid had as well as his will to win. I think Manny Pacquiao is a great fighter and he will come out throwing a lot of punches, but I think Keith Thurman’s jabs and movements are harder than Manny thinks.

“Every fighter bets on himself or believes in himself. When I fought I bet on myself because I believed I was going to win no matter what. Keith is a fighter that believes in his ability. He believes that he’s going to go out there and knock Manny Pacquiao out. How he does it is a different thing.

“Manny is a fighter that’s in and out. He has great movement and can throw quick punches. He’s tough but father time is undefeated. Father time will get everyone. We were all great at one point but as you get older you lose that step and that one tenth of a second that took us from being great to being normal.

 “That fight against Josesito Lopez allowed Keith to get his timing back and get back into the ring and remember what it feels like to get hit. Shawn put a lot of pressure on fighters. and most can’t see how much pressure he puts on. By seeing the fight with Shawn and seeing the fight with Lopez, Keith is showing you his diverse boxing game. A lot of people don’t understand that.

 “Manny can hurt you, he throws a lot of good body shots, a lot of good strong shots and he can hurt you. But, I just think Keith is on his game right now. If he dictates Manny’s ability to jump in and out, then he can win this fight.

 “Manny Pacquiao looks good hitting the mitts and the bags but the bags don’t hit back. Fighters will tell you that all the time. The mitts don’t hit back, but Keith Thurman hits back. Manny Pacquiao hits back. Whichever fighter can impose their will on the other fighter, that’s the fighter that’s going to win.”

 SHAWN PORTER

 “We all know what Manny has done. He’s a living legend and you cannot take that away from him. I think when the fight was announced everyone saw the young lion coming out and taking over, but I think that as people are started to look at this fight as a whole, they are starting to see that Manny Pacquiao is Manny Pacquiao. I think he’s the favorite to win this fight for a reason.

 “Keith is not out of character at all this promotion. One thing about Keith is he does not say anything that he does not mean. He believes in everything he says. The confidence that you see coming from him now is very real. The number one thing about Keith is that he has the will to win. With 29 wins and 0 losses, he figures out a way to do it and I think going into this fight he says the way he is going to beat Manny is by destroying him and making him retire. He believes that he can do that within three rounds. I’m not mad at him. I’m a firm believer that he’s going to go out there and try to put the gas to the pedal really quick and try to get Manny out of there. 

 “Traditionally these kind of generation vs. generation matchups happen. It hasn’t happened in a very long time in boxing, but this is a part of the tradition. There’s always a guy that comes and takes over by taking out the guy who’s considered to be the legend. Since Mayweather has made his exit, everyone is putting Manny Pacquiao in that position again.

 “The fact that this fight is happening is the best part about it. There’s so many different variables that add up in this fight. I think that that’s the best part about this matchup. It’s really interesting and exciting. I can pick Manny or he can pick Keith but at the end of the day, we all have to watch on Saturday night. I think it’s going to be a big explosion.”

Photo: Ryan Hafey/Premier Boxing Champions

Kovalev-Yarde set for 8/24 in Russia

Fighting in his own hometown for the first time in his professional boxing career, WBO World Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) takes on the WBO’s mandatory challenger, Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) of the UK, on Saturday, August 24th at the Traktor Arena in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The event will be presented by RCC Promotions, Main Events, Krusher Promotions and Queensberry Promotions. This will be Kovalev’s 16th consecutive world title bout. That is more than the three other light heavyweight champions combined.

The Three-Time World Light Heavyweight Champ, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, explained the significance of this fight. “I am thrilled to fight for the first time in my home town of Chelyabinsk. It is a dream to defend my WBO title in front of all my friends and family back home. Thank you to Igor Altushkin, Egis Klimas and Main Events for making this dream a reality and thank you to Anthony Yarde for agreeing to fight in my backyard.”

Challenger, Anthony Yarde, replied, “I am more than happy to achieve my goal in Russia and I think it is only right that a great world champion such as Kovalev is given the opportunity to defend in his home country. He has earned that right. What I know is that on Aug. 24 another World Title belt will be under British ownership and I will have done it the hard way-one that nobody will be able to question” He continued, “This is my time and I am going to show the world what I am all about. Everything has fallen perfectly into place for me. This will be my coronation as world champion and I am going to realize my dream by beating the most decorated of the current world title holders.”

The fight will be seen on Match TV in Russia, BT Sport in the UK and US distribution information will be released soon.

Photo Credit: David Spagnolo / Main Events

Thurman: ‘Manny(Pacquiao) isn’t going to do anything with the little ‘T-Rex’ arm’

WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman(29-0, 22 KOs) has talked, and talked, and talked some more for weeks as he prepared for his battle against Manny Pacquiao(61-7-2, 39 KOs), and on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, it will be his job to back up the talk.

The talking continued on Wednesday night at the final press conference, which will be the last time these two fighters go face-to-face until the weigh-in on Friday.

“Manny isn’t going to do anything with the little ‘T-Rex’ arm,” Thurman said. “He’s about to get beat up. I get to punch a Senator in the face, and he’s going to feel it. If he’s upset about it, he can do something about it Saturday night. It’s called swing, swing, swing baby.”

For Pacquiao, Thurman’s bluster goes in one ear and out the other.

“I’m just always smiling no matter what Keith says,” Pacquiao said. “It’s easy to say things, but it’s not easy to do it in the ring. I’ve been in this sport longer than Keith Thurman, so my experience will be the difference.”

The last time we saw the 30-year-old Thurman, back in January, rust was a factor, but he was able to overcome it to decision Josesito Lopez. In his 29 victories, Thurman has stopped 22 of his opponents, and on Saturday, he wants to showcase that power against Pacquiao.

“I say I’m going to put him to sleep because I’ve got power,” Thurman said. “I want to remind the world of something. Something very simple: I’m Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. I have the name for a reason — not a short season.

“I feel like I’ve made boxing history. When I beat Danny Garcia, we were two undefeated welterweight champions. In boxing history, there haven’t been many times when WBA and the WBC was unified with two undefeated welterweights. But, I don’t think it’s enough to really solidify a legacy. So, I do need the victory to further my own personal legacy come Saturday night.”

No matter what Thurman brings to the table, and no matter how much he talks, the 40-year-old Pacquiao feels he has done enough in camp to win this fight.

“We did our best in training, and I believe we are physically ready, as well as spiritually ready. I expect a good fight so tune-in Saturday. The way Thurman spoke today, I hope he will live up to it on Saturday.”

Photo: Frank Micelotta/FOX Sports 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lopez: ‘I’m a fighter, but I am also an entertainer’

Teofimo Lopez is on the fast track to a world title shot. Standing in his way is a fellow unbeaten fighter, Masayoshi Nakatani, the longtime OBPF lightweight king who represents the stiffest test of Lopez’s young career.

Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) and Nakatani (18-0, 12 KOs) will meet Friday at MGM National Harbor in an IBF world title eliminator, with the winner assured a shot at world champion Richard Commey later this year. The stakes are high, and Lopez, who has never gone past seven rounds as a pro, might have to go significant professional rounds for the first time. The consensus 2018 Prospect of the Year, Lopez has knocked out his last five opponents, most recently stopping Edis Tatli in five rounds April 20 on the Terence Crawford-Amir Khan pay-per-view undercard.

Lopez-Nakatani and the IBF junior welterweight world title eliminator between unbeatens Maxim Dadashev and Subriel Matias will stream live on ESPN+ — the industry-leading sports streaming service — starting at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.

The middleweight clash between Esquiva Falcao and Jesus Antonio Gutierrez will be the featured bout on the undercard stream live on ESPN+ beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. 

Two days before his first main event as a pro, at a media workout at Old School Boxing, this is what Lopez had to say.

On Friday’s fight

“I see myself as a performer in the ring, and I am coming to the MGM National Harbor to put on a show. I have respect for Nakatani because he is undefeated like me, but nobody is going to stand in my way.”

On the future

“This is what my father and I have worked for since I started training as a young kid. He envisioned this type of success for me, and here we are, headlining a card on ESPN+ one win away from a world title shot.”

“We all know what is at stake on Friday. But if you think too far ahead, you get careless. Nakatani is my only concern right now. After Friday night, we can talk about the future. Nakatani has been fighting 12-rounders since before I turned pro, so he has a lot of valuable experience. I believe my talent will outweigh his experience.”

“I say this before all of my fights — I go in there to take over the show. I’m a main event fighter now, and that won’t change. When people watch me fight, they put down their phones because they don’t want to miss anything. For the boxing fans living in the Northeast, come down and watch me fight. And if you can’t make it down, check out the best show of the weekend on ESPN+.”

On his role as an entertainer

“I do all of that stuff — the backflips and the Fortnite celebrations — because I want to entertain. I want people to remember my name. I’m a fighter, but I am also an entertainer. That’s been lost in today’s game. I’m unique in the sport of boxing.”

On his recent weight struggles

“The weight is not an issue. I’ve been working with a new nutrition team, Perfecting Athletes, and they have made all the difference. I’ll be able to make lightweight for a few more fights.”

Photo: Top Rank/Mikey Williams

Suns’ GM: ‘Frank(Kaminsky) is an exceptional shooter who will help us space the floor’

 The Phoenix Suns and forward/center Frank Kaminsky III have agreed to a multiyear contract, the team announced today. According to reports, it’s a two-year, $10 million deal.

“Frank is an exceptional shooter who will help us space the floor and give our guards more room to operate,” said General Manager James Jones. “His size and strong decision-making skills are also a great fit for the team we are building, so we are excited to welcome Frank to Phoenix.”

Kaminsky, 7-0, 240 pounds, is a four-year NBA veteran with career averages of 9.8 points and 4.0 rebounds in 282 games with the Charlotte Hornets. Over the last two seasons, Kaminsky has shot 37.3% from three-point range with 154 total makes, the second-best percentage of any qualified seven-footer over this stretch behind only Karl-Anthony Towns. In 2018-19, he shot a career-best 46.3% from the field and averaged 8.6 points in 16.1 minutes. In 21 games after the All-Star break this past season, Kaminsky averaged 12.8 points and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 45.4% from the field, 36.6% from long range and 79.2% from the stripe.

Selected ninth overall by Charlotte in the 2015 NBA Draft, Kaminsky entered the NBA following an outstanding four-year career at the University of Wisconsin. The unanimous National Player of the Year for 2014-15, he led the Badgers to a school-record 36 wins and national runner-up finish, averaging 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting 54.7% from the field, 41.6% from behind the arc and 78.0% from the line. A First Team All-Big Ten selection in each of his final two seasons, he helped Wisconsin to consecutive Final Four appearances for the first time in program history in 2014 and 2015. The Badgers retired his No. 44 in 2018. A native of Lisle, Illinois, Kaminsky played high school ball at Benet Academy.

Donovin Darius named No. 16 on Jags All-25

Former Jaguars S Donovin Darius has been named No. 16 on the Jaguars All-25, the club announced today. Jaguars All-25 is a collection of the top 25 non-active players in franchise history, as voted on by members of the Jacksonville media.

“I want to say, ‘Thank you’ to the Jaguars organization and everyone that selected me to be a part of the All-25 team,” said Darius“It was an honor and a privilege to play in front of such great fans in a great community. I had a great time in Jacksonville and go Jags!”

Darius, 6-1, 225, was selected 25th overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Jaguars. He started all 115 games he appeared in for Jacksonville from 1998-2006, including four seasons in which he started all 16 games. He totaled 858 career tackles, seven forced fumbles and six fumbles recovered with Jacksonville. Darius’ 858 tackles rank third in Jaguars history, while his 20 takeaways are the second-most in franchise history. He produced more than 100 tackles in each of his first seven seasons and he led the team with a career-high five INTs in 2004. The former Syracuse product signed a one-day contract in 2011 to retire as a Jaguar.

“The guy took great pride in his body and he built himself to be a battering ram,” said Brian Sexton, Jaguars senior correspondent and an All-25 voting member. “That’s what he was for most of his career. Battering rams don’t make the hall of fame, but battering rams make a huge impact in the game and he did.”

Currently, Darius lives in the Jacksonville area and serves as a transition leadership coach for corporations and teams where he speaks about how to work towards a championship mindset and develop peak performance. He is the founder and president of the Donovin Darius Foundation, a Jacksonville-based, nonprofit organization that hosts life camps and mentorship to people in the areas of personal leadership and life skills. In 2017, he wrote a book entitled “Next Level Motivation – Principles for Living Life to the Fullest.”

The Jaguars’ silver celebration kicked off in mid-March with the start of the new league year and the unveiling of the team’s 25th season commemorative logo designed to embody the spirit of DUUUVAL.

JAGUARS ALL-25:

16. SS Donovin Darius (1998-2006)

17. TE Kyle Brady (1999-2006)

18 G Vince Manuwai (2003-10)

19. LB Mike Peterson (2003-08)

20. CB Aaron Beasley (1996-2001)

21. K Josh Scobee (2004-14)

22. DT Gary Walker (1999-2001)

23. QB David Garrard (2002-10)

24. DE Joel Smeenge (1995-2000)

25. G Chris Naeole (2002-07)

Brand on Simmons: ‘He is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players’

The Philadelphia 76ers officially announced the extension for Ben Simmons on Tuesday, and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a five-year, $170M contract with no option in final year and a 15 percent trade kicker. Simmons’ contract extends through the 2024-25 campaign.

With the move, the 76ers have the following core players under contract until at least 2023:

Joel Embiid: 2023
Tobias Harris: 2024
Al Horford: 2023

This is the core that GM Elton Brand and the 76ers’ organization will go with in their quest for an NBA title, which will be led by Embiid and Simmons.

“Ben Simmons is an important piece of our core, and he is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players,” 76ers GM Elton Brand said. “It was a priority for our organization that we finalize a contract extension with Ben this summer. He was Rookie of the Year in his first season, an All-Star in his second and we expect him to continue to grow and succeed for seasons to come. Ben positively impacts the game in so many ways, and we look forward to continuing our championship pursuits with him as one of our leaders.”

Last season, Simmons, 22, averaged career highs in points (16.9) and rebounds (8.8) to go along with 7.7 (sixth in the NBA) assists and 1.4 steals per game en route to his first career All-Star Game selection. But he had his struggles in the playoffs, especially against the Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Simmons averaged 11.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, and 4.9 apg in that series. Those struggles are mainly because Simmons does not have a consistent jump shot.

If the 76ers want to take that next step, Simmons has to grow his game, which according to Tobias Harris, Simmons is working on this offseason.

“He’s made big improvements on his game; his jump shot is looking really good,” Harris said last week about Simmons. “He has the confidence to shoot it, and I just kept telling him there, ‘like, even in this workout when you are playing, have the confidence to shoot them and don’t get discouraged if you miss. This is where you build that type of confidence.’ So, it was a good sight to see how hard he has been working. He looks really good for a great year.”

If Simmons never develops a consistent jump shot, he will still have a lot of success in the NBA as evidenced by what we have seen thus far in his career.

However, if he grows his game, and develops a reliable perimeter game, he will be tough to guard, and Philadelphia should be able to take that next step as a team, which could be an NBA title.

Golden Boy Promotions: Canelo will not fight in September

Unified middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez will not fight in September, Golden Boy Promotions announced today.

There were talks he could go up to 175 to fight Sergey Kovalev or possibly a third fight with Gennady Golovkin, but in the end, Alvarez and his team have decided that fighting in September, during Mexican Independence Day weekend, is not best for Alvarez.

Here is a statement from Golden Boy Promotions:

“Golden Boy and Canelo Alvarez have made the strategic decision to postpone their typical September fight. The decision was made in an effort to secure the right opponent and to do justice to the level of promotion required for a boxing star of his magnitude.  Though Canelo typically fights in May and September, it is not without precedent to fight later in the year as Canelo did fight in December of 2018 in Madison Square Garden. Canelo’s next fight will now take place later in 2019.

“As a Mexican, it’s a responsibility and an honor to represent my country in both May and September,” said Canelo Alvarez. “Those are my dates. However, as a world champion in multiple weight classes, I also have the responsibility of delivering the most exciting and competitive fights possible. That’s why Golden Boy and my team have decided to postpone the date in order to do right by my fans by promoting the best fight possible and with the best opponent possible.”

Photo: Golden Boy Promotions