Giants’ Judge talks Xavier McKinney’s injury

Two weeks after their initial training camp practice, the Giants today announced for the first time this summer that injuries will sideline a potential starter. And to compound the issue, the injury bug struck not one, but two players.

Rookie safety Xavier McKinney has a fractured left foot and inside linebacker David Mayo has a torn meniscus in his left knee. Both injuries will be repaired surgically, McKinney today and Mayo tomorrow. They are the team’s first front-line players forced off the field due to injury. Coach Joe Judge said he won’t have a timetable for their return until after he receives a post-surgery report.

“Any injury to our roster is a hit to us because we care about every player on our roster,” Judge said. “But it’s our responsibility to have everyone developed and make sure the next man is ready to go.”

McKinney underwent surgery performed by foot specialist Dr. Martin O’Malley this afternoon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

A 6-foot, 201-pounder who was the 36th overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft. McKinney was first-team All-SEC standout last season for the Crimson Tide and was competing to start alongside Jabrill Peppers at the back of the Giants’ defense. McKinney’s injury creates an opportunity for second-year pro Julian Love to claim that spot when the season opens.

“You don’t want to see any player get hurt,” Judge said. “It’s a part of the game. Injuries do happen. These guys play a collision sport, there’s a lot of wear and tear on their bodies. Xavier is a guy for us who’s making a tremendous amount of improvement. Look, we’re still looking forward to getting him back out there on the field. I’m not a doctor, I don’t have that timetable. I’m going to let those guys handle that. My only concern at this point is that he continues to work as hard as he can to get back on the field, and that we continue to develop him as a coaching staff, mentally, that he makes progress within the situational awareness and overall understanding of our schemes and the league tendencies in his time off the field.”

Mayo joined the Giants six days prior to 2019 season and played in all 16 games, including starts in each of the last 13 contests. He tied for second on the team with a career-best 80 tackles (50 solo), including his first two career sacks.

“Very much like Zay, we have to wait and see what the doctors say after they go in,” Judge said. “I was told today by Ronnie (Barnes, the team’s senior vice president for medical services) that he had been looking at his knee. There wasn’t anything that we thought was an issue, I guess it flared up on him yesterday. Ronnie came into my office this morning and let me know where he’s at. They are taking a look at him, they should have more news for me tomorrow and we will see where that’s at. He’s a guy that we respect a lot and we’re counting on for a lot production this year. Get him healthy and back out there as soon as possible.”

*The Giants today practiced in an empty MetLife Stadium – where they’ve held several walk-throughs during camp and which will be similarly empty when the season begins on Sept. 14 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The no-contact workout was assignment-oriented; the players wore helmets and no pads.

On Friday, the Giants will hold a blue/white scrimmage in the stadium.

“This is really leading into our intrasquad game this Friday,” Judge said. “But we wanted to take the time today to really let the guys get their legs back under them. Kind of have a good flow to our weeks right now for as far as how we’re training their bodies. We kept on a normal pattern today as a Wednesday, give them a little bit of a down day for the team, which means we keep the same mental energy and focus within the situations.”

Judge and his assistant coaches today wore headsets for the first time.

“We’re building in opportunities to talk to each other on the headsets to start creating the communication we’re going to have in a game situation,” Judge said. “It’s important for me to be able to go up to the offense and defense at different times and echoing what I’m looking for in a certain drive or a certain situation. Obviously, we had a lot of two-minute drives today. We had a four-minute drive simulated. At that point, we’re talking to each other. ‘Okay, how much time do we have left? How many timeouts? I’m looking to call timeout here.’ Whatever the call may be, we’re communicating the entire time.

“The exercise today was to really build the communication from the booth down to the field, from me to the coordinators to the position coaches, to make sure we just have a feel for talking to each other. That’s something that we can’t take for granted. If we had done this on a game day for the first day, we’d find out the hard way that there are certain levels of communication that we have to really practice as a coaching staff.”


Bills’ Allen: ‘I’ve got to lead this team’

   The Buffalo Bills(10-6) are back in the playoffs, and the man that led the way is QB Josh Allen. The second-year quarterback and the Bills will travel to Houston on Saturday to face DeShaun Watson and the Texans(10-6).

The Bills are in the playoffs for the second time in three years, but for Allen, who led all quarterbacks with nine rushing touchdowns in 2019, this will be his first taste of playoff action.

“I think everybody knows what we’re playing for, both sides included, it’s win or go home,” Allen said on Tuesday. “It’s the playoffs, it’s what we wanted, what we worked for.  Now we gotta go out there and play a game on Saturday.”

The last time Allen played the Texans in Houston, he left the game early with an elbow injury. Allen, who was a rookie at the time, felt that situation helped him grow as a player.

“Obviously going through that game there’s not great memories,” Allen explained.  “No one likes getting hurt, but having the opportunity to have Derek [Anderson] and Matt [Barkley] come in, learning from those two guys, it was a blessing in disguise. But having that experience of playing there, seeing a familiar stadium — the crowd’s going to be hyped up a little more being a playoff game, but kind of having a feel for that is experience we can take into that game.”

Fortunately for Allen, he will be backed by an outstanding Bills’ defense. Buffalo ranked second in total defense and second in points allowed, so Allen does not have to do it all for the Bills to be successful against Houston. However, Allen, who set career-highs in passing yards(3089), touchdown passes(20), completion percentage(58.8), and passer rating(85.3) this season, believes he has to lead the way for the Bills.

“I don’t have to be the best quarterback out there, I have to be the best quarterback for this team to help us win a football game,” Allen said. “Regardless of the circumstances that may go on during the game, I’ve got to lead this team and be able to find a way.”

Allen believes the Bills, as a team, will do everything in their power to move onto the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

“I can tell you this, we have a bunch of guys that play for each other,” he said. “We want to win, we don’t want to go home, and we’ve got a bunch of guys that are willing to fight for each other. I love this team, I love this squad, and we’re going to try and do everything in our power to extend our season.”

Porter: ‘I’m going to do things you’ve never seen anyone do against Spence’

Not many are giving WBC welterweight champion Shawn Porter(30-2-1, 17 KOs) much of a chance in his unification fight against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.(25-0, 21 KOs) on September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, but say what you will about Porter, he is a tough night for any fighter, including the undefeated Spence.

“I’m expecting there to be adversity for Errol,” Porter said at a media workout on Wednesday. “There’s going to be a moment where he realizes he’s losing this fight. He has to be solid psychologically. I don’t know if he’s going to be in the ring. I believe I have the advantage there and that I know how to get into his head.

 “I think Errol’s confidence is natural like mine. But I think that he’s fed his confidence to the point where some arrogance has come out. I think he’s going to show that in the fight early on. He’s going to have to adjust. Once he recognizes that, I expect the arrogance to go out the window and that he’ll have to figure it out.”

 Porter, who has two losses, believes Spence has more to lose in this fight.

 “I think Errol has a lot more to lose in this fight,” Porter said. “He’s never had to deal with a loss, and most people aren’t expecting him to lose. He’s in the perfect position being considered a top welterweight. But from my perspective, I just have absolutely no intention on losing.”

 In the end, Porter expects to walk out the ring with all the belts on September 28.

“Shawn Porter is going to leave the ring with two belts,” he said. “I’m going to hit him. I’m going to hit him hard and I’m going to do things you’ve never seen anyone do against Errol Spence.”

Photo:Leo Wilson/Premier Boxing Champions

ESPN and Top Rank announce new fight series

ESPN and Top Rank today announced a vast and exclusive, multimedia agreement to make ESPN the home of Top Rank in the U.S. and Canada.  Under the agreement, ESPN will televise live fights on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream them on the ESPN App, will stream fights and other Top Rank content on the recently announced ESPN-branded direct-to-consumer streaming service via BAMTech and deliver select pay-per-view (PPV) fight events.  It will also air all Top Rank content in English and in French on Canadian sister networks TSN and RDS.  The nextTop Rank on ESPN fight card, scheduled for September 22 in Tucson, Arizona, features two WBO World Title Fights with Oscar Valdez (22-0, 19 KOs, Featherweight) and Gilberto Ramirez (35-0, 24 KOs, Super Middleweight) title defenses.


“ESPN is excited to announce this new relationship with Top Rank, the most comprehensive and innovative media agreement in the history of the sport,” Burke Magnus, executive vice president of programming & scheduling, ESPN said.  “We believe in a new vision for boxing that will super-serve existing boxing fans and create legions of new fans through the highest quality boxing content across multiple ESPN platforms – 365 days a year.  Together, ESPN and Top Rank will build the superstars of tomorrow through unrivaled exposure, original content and cutting edge technology.”


In the first year of the deal, ESPN will showcase 18 main events in the U.S. on multiple platforms, including television networks, the ESPN App, the direct-to-consumer service and PPV events, in both English and Spanish, and on Canada’s TSN in English and RDS in French. Top Rank on ESPN content will be widely accessible across multiple platforms, including the ESPN-branded multi-sport direct-to-consumer streaming service, and will feature all undercards, select main events, re-airs of all ESPN and PPV events, Top Rank archival fights and more.


“Top Rank is thrilled to enter into this relationship with ESPN, the top sports media brand in the world,” said Todd duBoef, President of Top Rank.  “This unprecedented partnership offers a 360 approach to the entire boxing vertical, including live world class events, unparalleled coverage as well as access to historical moments in the sport.”


Creative Artists Agency (CAA) served as the media advisor to Top Rank on the landmark agreement with ESPN.  Furthering its relationship with the leading sports and entertainment agency, Top Rank has retained CAA Sports to manage its official sponsorship sales efforts, working closely with ESPN.


“The deal puts Top Rank and its best-in-class stable of global fighters at the core of ESPN’s combat sports offering across television, PPV and OTT,” said Alan Gold, Head of CAA’s Sports Media Advisory practice.  “Top Rank has consistently and successfully built many of their fighters into global brands, and now will benefit significantly from ESPN’s broad distribution, sales and marketing support and outstanding storytelling.”


The ESPN-branded multi-sport direct-to-consumer streaming service (being developed with BAMTech and debuting in early 2018) will be a key part of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN multi-platform distribution.The service was announced earlier this month as part of The Walt Disney Company’s acquisition of majority ownership of BAMTech. It will join a wide array of sports programming on service, including approximately 10,000 live regional, national, and international games and events, including Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, Grand Slam tennis, college sports and more.


The new ESPN service will be accessed through an enhanced version of the current ESPN app and from authorized MVPDs.  In addition to the multi-sport service, the ESPN app will continue to include the news, highlights and scores that fans enjoy today, and consumers who are pay TV subscribers will also be able to access the ESPN television networks in the same app on an authenticated basis.


“Top Rank will be a great partner with high-quality live content, perfectly fit for the new ESPN-branded streaming service we’re building,” said Michael Paull, Chief Executive Officer of BAMTech. “It’s another exciting opportunity for our direct-to-consumer platform to bring sports fans widespread access to their favorite sporting events.

Lonzo Ball to his dad: ‘Over the years, you’ve spoken so many things into reality’

You can question many things about LaVar Ball, but one thing you can’t question is what he is doing as a father. Unfortunately, many African-American boys don’t know what it’s like to have a male in the home. So, consider Lonzo Ball one of the lucky ones. Ball, who recently shot a funny Foot Locker commercial “trolling” his father, decided to write a letter of appreciation to his dad via “The Players’ Tribune” titled: “To the Loudest Guy in the Gym.”

In the letter, Lonzo talked about some of the many things his dad has done for him and his family. Also, Ball discussed how his dad speaks things into existence. Lonzo tells a great story about the night of the NBA Draft Lottery:

“What they don’t realize is all of the stuff that you’ve said about me in public is the same stuff you’ve been telling me privately my whole life. And a lot of the time, you’ve been right. Over the years, you’ve spoken so many things into reality that otherwise seemed impossible. Even on the night of the draft lottery, when the Lakers ended up in the top three, you started running around the house screaming, “I TOLD EVERYBODY! I TOLD THEM IT WOULD HAPPEN!” That was hilarious,” said Lonzo Ball.

Kudos to LaVar for being a father to his children!

Oh, I forgot, Happy Father’s Day LaVar!


Marshawn Lynch should stay away from football

According to reports, the Oakland Raiders are thinking about trying to acquire retired RB Marshawn Lynch. Lynch, 30, who retired after the 2015 season, is the property of the Seattle Seahawks.  The Seahawks could either release Lynch and let him negotiate with the Raiders, or the Raiders and Seahawks can work out a trade.  

Lynch will be 31 in April; he has not played in over a year. Lynch took a pounding throughout his nine-year career. “Beast Mode” played in only seven games in 2015.  If Lynch is interested, and the Raiders can get him at a good price tag, why not give him a chance. For Lynch, who is from Oakland, it would be an opportunity to play in front of his hometown fans.  

If I was Lynch, and I don’t know his financial situation, I would stay far away from football. I think his body was telling him enough is enough in 2015, and when your body speaks, you better listen!

Don’t do it Marshawn!!

‘The Quad’s’ Jake Allyn learning HBCU life

Actor Jake Allyn is from Texas, and so is the character he plays on “The Quad” BoJohn Folsom. Like his character BoJohn, Allyn did not know much about HBCU life before joining the hit BET show. Allyn joined Go4it’s Paul Gant and talked about his knowledge of HBCUs before getting the role of BoJohn.

 “I remember getting the script, and on the title page, it kind of had a little description of HBCUs, and it had how many African Americans had attended them, and kind of the history about them all,” said Allyn. “I knew about predominantly black schools and things like that. I knew they existed, but I didn’t know the history behind it all and didn’t know what I learned now, which is kind of HBCU culture. For me, it was amazing, especially playing a character who is in the exact same boat as me. 

Fortunately for Allyn, one of his castmates taught him a bit about HBCU culture. “My roommate on the show Miles Stroter actually went to Morehouse, so he got to take me around a little bit, and I like to say he guided me through HBCU culture.”

 Make sure you check out Jake Allyn on “The Quad” Wednesdays at 10pmet/9pmct on BET. 

Its official: Myles Garrett is a beast!!

Cleveland you are on the clock, but maybe not for long. Myles Garrett did his thing at the NFL combine. He ran the 40 in 4.64, had 33 reps of 225 and unofficially a 41 inch vertical. Those type of numbers will probably make him the number one pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Here are some reaction:

Thurman decisions Garcia to unify

Keith Thurman started fast and coasted to a split decision victory(116-112, 115-113 ,113-115) over Danny Garcia at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. The fight started fast and furious with Thurman getting the better of Garcia.  As the fight progressed, Garcia became the aggressor as Thurman started to retreat. Goforitgantsports scored the fight 114-114.

Now Thurman has the WBA and WBC belts. Should be interesting to see what is next for Thurman. Maybe the winner of Spence-Brook? Possibly the winner of Porter-Berto?

We shall see!