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DeCOURCY: Rising Stars highlight major flaw with NBA’s draft age gameBeilein left the University of Michigan, where he had been highly successful, for the Cavs last summer, but his coaching principles have not translated to the pro game. Cleveland is last in the Eastern Conference at 14-40 and players reportedly have been frustrated with his style. Cleveland star Kevin Love has shown his frustration on the court at times.There was also the matter of Beilein referring to his players as “thugs” during a film session. He later apologized and said he meant to say “slugs.”Cleveland signed Beilein to a five-year contract last May to replace interim coach Larry Drew, who replaced the fired Tyronn Lue. During his introductory press conference, Beilein said he saw a high ceiling with the Cleveland organization, similar to what he saw when he came to Michigan.“I love the young roster. I love the draft picks and the potential we have for flexibility now and in the future,” Beilein said. Cleveland features young building blocks Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr.That future, it appears, will not include Beilein. John Beilein’s NBA adventure may not last a full season. Multiple reports during Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game said that Beilein may resign as coach of the Cavaliers, with each characterizing the timeline for his departure differently.The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Kelsey Russo reported that Beilein may leave after the end of the season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski and Brian Windhorst followed by reporting that Beilein may resign as coach of the Cavaliers during the All-Star break, which for the Cavaliers runs through Thursday.
If you’re watching the start of the XFL season, you may be wondering why Johnny Manziel, the talented but troubled former first-round NFL Draft pick, isn’t on a roster.Manziel has bounced around some other football leagues after he was released by the Browns, including the CFL and the now-defunct AAF. Manziel ended up playing for the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football league before suffering a concussion. The league folded three days after his second game appearance. It doesn’t appear so. When the XFL held its player draft, Manziel wasn’t even a player that was given a commissioner’s invite. At least, we can safely assume that’s the case. We at least know he didn’t accept an invite, but he mentioned in the past he was interested in the league, so it seems if he was given an invite he would have accepted it.And XFL commissioner Oliver Luck said the league doesn’t really need Manziel. He was asked by the Tampa Bay Times why Manziel and Trent Richardson weren’t drafted. Richardson did receive a commissioner’s invite and was eligible to be drafted.”I would argue that the players we have are better than those guys, to be honest with you. Johnny has his own history, and we have coaches from the CFL (Canadian Football League) who have seen him close up. I watched Trent when he was with the Colts, and I watched him when he was with the AAF. He was in the draft pool. Coaches and scouts looked at him and didn’t think he was going to help their team. I think the guys we have on our teams are the best 560 that aren’t playing in the National Football League.”Luck was asked several months ahead of the XFL Draft by USA Today about Manziel and his answer basically explains why the quarterback was never put in the draft pool.”If eight [coaches] say, ‘we’d like that guy in the league,’ we’ll put him in the league, or put him in the draft pool.” Luck said. “Whether teams draft him, that’s up to the individual head coaches.”In other words, there wasn’t enough interest from other coaches in the XFL to send an invite to Manziel.Daryl Johnston, director of player personnel for the Dallas Renegades, told the Dallas Morning News why he had no interest in signing Manziel.”For me the chemistry in the locker room is critical, and especially the quarterback position. He kind of sets the tone, especially for the offensive side of the ball, but really for the whole team. There is so much added responsibility that goes with the face, goes with the voice of the franchise. And I haven’t seen that from Johnny on a consistent basis that I would feel comfortable committing to him.”Is Johnny Manziel interested in the XFL?This was several months ago (June, 2019), but Manziel did express interest in the XFL.”It would be very cool (to reunite),” Manziel told KRIV-TV, referring to June Jones, coach of the Houston Roughnecks. “Coach Jones is a great guy. Enjoyed him from an offensive standpoint, from a personal standpoint. He’s been there for me, especially when I was in Hamilton, getting to a new place, a different country. I enjoyed my time with him very thoroughly, and I think it would be a great opportunity. … I leave a lot of that stuff up to my agent. We’ll just let those things play out, you know? I think I’m in a good place personally. I’ve been doing the right things. When the opportunity presents itself moving forward, we’ll see how things go.”Also, during Vince McMahon’s announcement of the new football league, Manziel tweeted about the XFL.#XFL2020 @VinceMcMahon— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) January 25, 2018But the night before the start of the XFL season, Manziel sounded bitter about not being in the league. One of his followers asked if Manziel planned to play in the XFL, and he referred back to Luck’s quote about not being good enough to play in the league.I’m not good enough, remember? https://t.co/iAXNar29nh— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) February 8, 2020He then continued to tweet by mocking the XFL, saying the league was going to fold like the AAF did. So naturally, with a new football league on the horizon, many expected Manziel to be a player worth considering in the XFL. But he was facing an uphill battle as it appears the XFL was not interested in having Manziel.MORE XFL: Rules | Schedule | Uniforms | RostersIs the XFL interested in Johnny Manziel? (Getty Images) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/f8/a3/johnny-manziel-aaf-ftr_m7zz5908ch2m1475nfbp9tjlo.png?t=377140768&w=500&quality=80 ComebackSZN still alive if y’all ain’t know. Just not playing for another league that’s going to fold on you midway through the season— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) February 8, 2020If I never pick up a ball again it’s all love. I was the most lit, most relatable college football player to ever do it. Did things my way and made it way further than I ever could of imagined. The game gave me life and I’ll forever be grateful— Johnny Manziel (@JManziel2) February 8, 2020UPDATE: The night before the start of Week 3, Manziel expressed interest in the XFL. He tweeted, “Oliver Luck. If ya wanna boost your ratings to another level just send me the contract tomorrow and we’re in there. Like I said YEARS ago… XFL2020 give the people what they want.”This is a complete 180 from the tweets he sent just earlier in the month when he said he wasn’t going to play for a league that’s going to fold. But maybe Manziel saw the ratings from the XFL and realized that this league isn’t on the verge of folding like the AAF was.Oddly, Manziel ended up deleting his entire Twitter account after sending that tweet. As we mentioned in this article, the XFL has expressed no interest in signing Manziel so far. We doubt his back-and-forth tweets on the matter will impact whether Luck ultimately invites him to play.
The life of an NFL GM can be difficult. Every decision scrutinized, every contract criticized and every trade placed under a microscope.Sometimes, though, a deal is so clearly a win you can’t help but marvel at it. Such is the case with Ravens GM Eric DeCosta trading a fifth-round pick for Jaguars defensive lineman Calais Campbell. If you go further into the deal, you’ll remember the Ravens got that pick via the Minnesota Vikings, who parted ways with it in exchange for kicker Kaare Vedvik. So the Ravens essentially traded a kicker for Campbell — not a bad deal for Baltimore, all things considered.NFL FREE AGENTS: Ranking the top 50 available players, best by positionin Baltimore’s first preseason game in 2019, Vedvik connected on 4-of-4 field-goal attempts, including a 55-yarder. He also converted two PATs and added two punts that averaged 55.5 yards. The Ravens, who were set at kicker with All-Pro Justin Tucker, traded Vedvick to the Vikings two days later for the fifth-rounder. Vedvik went 5-for-8 in the 2019 preseason for Minnesota. The Vikings waived him three weeks later after he lost the job to Dan Bailey. The Jets signed him the next day, but he was waived again after he missed an extra point and 45-yard field goal in New York’s Sept. 8 game against Buffalo — a 17-16 loss. He ended up joining the Bengals practice squad before signing a reserve/futures contract with Buffalo on Jan. 7.Conversely, Campbell tallied 195 tackles, 31 sacks and six forced fumbles in three full regular seasons in Jacksonville. He led the team in sacks in his first two seasons and finished second in 2019, earning Pro Bowl honors each season. The Ravens reportedly restructured Campbell’s deal to make it worth $27 million over two years, though it is still a significant cap hit for them. But if he can help improve their pass-rush (they ranked 21st in the NFL with 37 sacks in 2019) then it should be worth it.(1/6) Like anything in life, they say great things only last for so long. My time in Jacksonville has been a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with love, support and pure joy from the Duval community. pic.twitter.com/jzfcSxZzSX— Calais Campbell (@CalaisCampbell) March 15, 2020The deal will relieve Jacksonville of $15 million in cap space, but if the Jags succeed in trading lineman Yannick Ngakoue (37.5 sacks over four seasons), then it stands to reason “Sacksonville” will look a lot different heading into the 2020 season.
ALBERT LEA — A St. Paul Minnesota man has been arrested after a pursuit that started in Albert Lea and ended in Worth County. Albert Lea police say they responded at about 4 o’clock Wednesday afternoon to 1619 Main Street West for a report of a man passed out in a vehicle. On arrival, they found a lone male driver passed out, with the man shutting off the vehicle when asked to by the officers. After a short discussion, the man started the vehicle and drove across a landscape barrier, striking a vehicle, and then fled through the Skyline Mall parking lot and onto US Highway 69. The suspect continued northbound onto Minnesota Highway 13 at speeds over 100 miles per hour. The pursuit later continued southbound into Iowa on US 69 through Lake Mills and eastbound on Worth County Road 105 towards Interstate 35, where the suspect displayed a handgun from the vehicle. About a mile from Wheelerwood Road, the suspect vehicle pulled alongside a vehicle that had pulled over on the opposite shoulder, with the suspect leaving his vehicle and attempting to carjack the other vehicle. A Freeborn County deputy fired three rounds from his vehicle to stop the carjacking. The suspect was not struck, but went to the ground and was taken into custody. 30-year-old Ryan Amabile was transported to the Worth County Jail and found to have several felony warrants from Minnesota. Albert Lea police say he’ll face numerous charges in both Iowa and Minnesota.
DES MOINES — The Associated Press is reporting an Iowa-based aide to Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign has been offering local candidates campaign contributions in exchange for an endorsement of Steyer.The AP reports it confirmed through multiple sources that person who made the offers was former Iowa House Speaker Pat Murphy of Dubuque, an unsuccessful candidate for congress in 2014 who is now working for Steyer.Steyer’s campaign has issued a written statement, saying Steyer has not written any checks to Iowa candidates this year and will not be doing so. Murphy issued a written statement which described the endorsement process in Iowa as “tricky” and referred to “miscommunication” with his former colleagues in the legislature.Steyer is a California billionaire who has spent more than $46 million on advertising since he entered the presidential race this summer. So far, Steyer has been endorsed by one Iowan, Roger Thomas of Elkader, a former member of the Iowa House.It’s not illegal for a candidate to make a campaign contribution to another candidate, but one former Iowa lawmaker who was approached told the AP Murphy’s actions “left a bad taste in my mouth.”
“Our hearts are heavy with the first loss of an Iowan to COVID-19. The thoughts and prayers of our state are with the family during this difficult time,” said Gov. Reynolds. “I continue to urge all Iowans to protect their health and the health of others, especially older individuals and those with chronic health conditions who are most at risk. We all have a role to play in limiting the spread of this virus.” A status report of monitoring and testing of COVID19 in Iowa is provided by IDPH, updated each morning, and can be found here. In addition, a public hotline has been established for Iowans with questions about COVID-19. The line is available 24/7 by calling 2-1-1 or 1-800-244-7431. The state of Iowa has started sharing the number of negative tests conducted at outside labs, and is providing additional information on the conditions of those infected with COVID-19. OFFICE OF THE GOVERNORGovernor Kim Reynolds ★ Lt. Governor Adam GreggFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, Mar. 24, 2020First COVID-19 Death Confirmed in Iowa DES MOINES – The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) learned late today of the first death associated with novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was an older adult, 61-80 years of age, and a resident of Dubuque County.
Governor Kim Reynolds has taken action on a host of bills, including three that deal with marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes.When bars and restaurants were closed this spring due to the pandemic, Governor Reynolds issued a proclamation allowing the sale of carry-out cocktails in addition to take-out food. Now, Iowa has become the first state to permanently allow bars and restaurants to sell mixed drinks to go.The governor has also signed a bill into law that changes the state’s medical marijuana program. The new 90-day dosage maximum is four-and-a-half grams of T-H-C — the active ingredient in cannabis and physicians assistants, nurse practitioners and podiatrists may now sign the paperwork so Iowans can legally buy cannabis products at state-licensed dispensaries. Post-traumatic stress and severe intractable autism are now on the list of conditions for which medical professionals may recommend cannabis as a treatment.Reynolds has also signed the bill that raises the legal age for buying tobacco products from 18 to 21. It mirrors a recent federal change, lets local officials start ticketing violators and ensures Iowa doesn’t lose $3.2 million in federal funding for substance abuse programs.Penalties for animal abuse will be increased by another bill the governor signed. She’s also approved creation of a “blue alert” similar to “amber alerts” for suspected of child kidnapping. A blue alert will go out statewide if someone in law enforcement has been seriously injured or killed and there’s a threat to the public from a suspect or suspects who haven’t been arrested.
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DES MOINES — Officials are asking Iowans who’ve gotten a mysterious package from overseas to call the Iowa Department of Agriculture. The packages are coming from China and other countries and often indicate the contents are jewelry, but small packets of seeds are inside.“There are no labels, so we don’t know what the seed is,” Robin Pruisner, the seed control official at the Iowa Department of Agriculture, told Radio Iowa “…We don’t know if they have any potential to transmit any seed-borne diseases and, in some cases, it appears they’ve been treated with a pesticide. But again, it’s unlabeled and so treated with exactly what?”Pruisner and plant health officials in other states are waiting for USDA guidance on how to properly dispose of these seeds.“Do not plant them. Don’t open them. Just kind of hang onto them, but do give us a call and let us know you have them so we can put you on our list,” Pruisner said, “and then once we have direction from USDA, we can make contact and pick up those seeds.”The goal is to ensure some plant disease, unwanted genetic trait or noxious weed doesn’t get introduced in the United States. Pruisner said she’s hearing from a lot of home gardeners as well as people who have never ordered seeds before who’ve gotten these packets. Investigators suspect this could be something called a “brushing” scheme.“You have people who will gather just enough personal identification on you to develop an account for you on a website and then they will send something to you,” Pruisner said. “…With that fake account, they’ve got you down as a verified buyer.”The scammers then use your name on positive reviews posted online to tout the sale of other products.