Lindsey Vonn Crashes as Mikaela Shiffrin Takes Gold at Skiing World Championships

ARE, Sweden — As Mikaela Shiffrin hopped atop the podium to celebrate another gold medal, Lindsey Vonn was nearby on the sidelines of the finish area, stretching her ailing knees and explaining how she wound up entangled in a safety net halfway down the course.

Definitive proof, not that it was really needed, of a passing of the baton in American — and world — ski racing.

With a daring and often wild run, Shiffrin won the super-G by two one-hundredths of a second at the skiing world championships on Tuesday for her first medal in a speed event at a major championship. She has now won a gold medal at four straight worlds.

For Vonn, the afternoon made her question her decision to return to make one last bid for a title before retirement.

Racing straight after Shiffrin, Vonn was already eight one-hundredths of a second behind her compatriot at the first checkpoint when, off balance after misreading the roll on the crown of a hill, she straddled a gate midair, landed heavily on her right side, crashed her head against her left arm, and ended up sliding face first.

There were audible gasps from the grandstand at the bottom of the course as fans watched on the big screen. Shiffrin looked away, seemingly in horror, and later said Vonn had been “on the edge of disaster.” Sofia Goggia, who won silver, clutched her helmet with both hands.

Medical personnel tended to Vonn for a few minutes before the world’s most famous ski racer got to her feet, put on her skis, and went down the hill unaided. She looked groggy and in pain as she performed a slew of post-race interviews, but seemed better a few hours later.

“I’ve got a bit of a shiner,” Vonn said, showing the right side of her face. “I feel like I’ve been hit by an 18-wheeler.”

Her immediate thought, she added, was: “Why am I in the fence again?’ It was like, ‘Why am I here? I’m too old for this.’”

A positive sign was the way Vonn, 34, spoke about still being a contender in the downhill on Sunday, in what will be the final race of her storied career.

“Don’t count me out,” said Vonn, the winner of 82 World Cup races, a record for female skiers. “I’ve got one more chance. Maybe I’ll pull off a miracle, maybe I won’t.”

On a course that was shortened because of strong winds on Tuesday, Vonn was typically aggressive from the start, despite the persistent pain in both of her knees that is forcing her into retirement.

Shiffrin, a more technical racer, also took risks that yielded complications. She veered off line on the lower section of the course, flailed her arms midair to slow down and narrowly cleared the next gate, clipping it with her side.

The mistake occurred right in front of the head coach of the United States team, Paul Kristofic.

“She flew far and slightly off to the left and had to make a fairly significant correction,” Kristofic told The Associated Press. “Not many people can do that, but she showed the world that she can — and not only just to recover from the mistake but to carry as much speed out of it and keep your head in the game.”

Perhaps it explained Shiffrin’s reaction after seeing her time. She crouched over and held her hands to her face in disbelief.

“This is crazy,” Shiffrin said. “I really wasn’t expecting this.”

Shiffrin, a two-time Olympic champion, is now a four-time world champion and a five-time medalist at the worlds. She also has 56 World Cup victories, which put her 26 behind Vonn on the career list and 30 behind the men’s record-holder, Ingemar Stenmark.

“I think she’s going to break all the records,” Vonn said of the 23-year-old Shiffrin.

Goggia, the Olympic downhill champion from Italy, managed a runner-up finish despite delaying the start of her season because of a right ankle injury.

Corinne Suter of Switzerland was third, five one-hundredths of a second behind — a remarkable result for a racer who nearly needed to have her right foot amputated last year after blood poisoning that almost went untreated.

Vonn’s legs are so battered that she will have knee surgery for the seventh time soon after she retires — to repair the left knee ligament she tore during training in November.

“I need complete reconstruction,” Vonn said. “That will be fun — hopefully, my last surgery.”

Vonn was planning on retiring at the end of this year but moved up her last race upon realizing last month, after failing to finish a super-G in Italy, that her knees couldn’t handle any more pounding.

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Cubs Owners Reel After Emails of Family Patriarch Come Out

Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs moved to distance themselves from one of their own Tuesday, after the news outlet Splinter published a cache of racist emails sent and received by Joe Ricketts, the billionaire whose family owns the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field.

Many of the published emails, sent between 2009 to 2013, focused on a fear of Muslims and contained conspiracy theories about former President Barack Obama. The false assertion that Obama, who identifies as Protestant, was Muslim and born outside the United States were prevalent in right-wing politics during his presidency.

In one email, Ricketts wrote to somebody identified only as S.V. that “Christians and Jews can have a mutual respect for each other to create a civil society,” but “Islam cannot do that.” He went on to write that, “we cannot ever let Islam become a large part of our society,” and that “Muslims are naturally my (our) enemy.”

Major League Baseball released a statement condemning the emails but seemingly tried to absolve Ricketts of some responsibility.

“While many of the emails were not written by Mr. Ricketts, the content is extremely offensive and completely at odds with the values and principles of Major League Baseball,” the statement said.

In a statement on his website, Ricketts apologized for his emails. “I deeply regret and apologize for some of the exchanges I had in my emails,” he wrote. “Sometimes I received emails that I should have condemned. Other times I’ve said things that don’t reflect my value system. I strongly believe that bigoted ideas are wrong.”

Tom Ricketts, chairman of the Cubs, denounced his father’s emails in a statement and tried to distance the Cubs from him.

“We are aware of the racially insensitive emails in my father’s account that were published by an online media outlet,” the statement read. “Let me be clear: The language and views expressed in those emails have no place in our society.”

Tom Ricketts continued: “My father is not involved with the operation of the Chicago Cubs in any way.”

The Cubs are owned through a trust the Ricketts family controls.

Joe Ricketts, who earned his fortune as the founder and chairman of brokerage TD Ameritrade, and his wife Marlene, sold $403 million of stock to finance the purchase.

Ricketts’s four children run the Cubs day to day. Tom Ricketts is the chairman; on the board of directors are Pete Ricketts, the Republican governor of Nebraska; Todd Ricketts, finance chairman of the Republican National Committee; and Laura Ricketts, who was a major bundler for the presidential campaigns of Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The Ricketts family purchased a 95 percent stake in the Cubs and Wrigley Field from the Tribune Company in 2009.

In other sports leagues, offensive behavior has led to owners selling their franchises. Donald Sterling was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers of the N.B.A. after a tape of him making racist comments became public. Sterling was banned from the league for life.

Jerry Richardson, the owner of the N.F.L.’s Carolina Panthers, announced he would sell his team shortly after a report came out that revealed he had been accused of sexually harassing employees and making racist comments.

In September, the N.B.A. fined Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, for the way he and team officials handled sexual harassment complaints.

For Joe Ricketts, this is not the first time his political activities have harmed the Cubs. He is a major funder of conservative causes and gave $1 million to a political action committee supporting Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.

In 2012, The New York Times reported that Joe Ricketts was considering spending $10 million on a campaign that would attack Obama’s connection to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, a former spiritual adviser who Obama denounced during the 2008 presidential campaign. At the same time, the Cubs were asking Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for $300 million in public money, as part of a $500 million renovation of Wrigley Field and the surrounding area.

Emanuel, who served in the White House as Obama’s chief of staff, was reportedly “livid” over the proposed campaign, and stopped talking to Cubs officials about the renovation shortly thereafter. The Ricketts family ultimately financed the renovations privately. Those renovations are ongoing.

In a statement Tuesday, Emanuel condemned the emails. “Joe Ricketts once said that I do not share his values. Truer words were never spoken,” he said. “The ignorance and intolerance he has espoused are not welcome in Chicago. I am proud not to share his bigoted opinions. Hate has no home in Chicago.”

Email Kevin Draper at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter: @kevinmdraper.

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Gymnastics Doesn't Need A Safety Valve

This weekend, UCLA women’s gymnastics defeated their Pac-12 rival Oregon State in Corvallis, which was hardly an unexpected result given that the Bruins were ranked third heading into the competition and the Beavers were 20th. En route to this victory, the Bruins scored 197.9, a season high for them. But despite this high team total, Saturday’s competition was hardly a perfect outing, despite 2012 Olympic gold medalist Kyla Ross scoring another Perfect 10 on bars. During the meet, junior Felicia Hano fell on her first collegiate outing on that apparatus and scored a 9.2 after a half-point penalty for falling was applied. This score was dropped from the team total.

After the bars rotation was done, the commentator said, “UCLA survived the fall. They didn’t have to count it.” That’s because the rules in college gymnastics state that six gymnasts go up on each event but only the top five count towards the team total. Basically, you’re allowed to throw out the first—or third or sixth—pancake every event.

I know this might sound radical, but in an athletic contest, every moment you’re on the field of play should matter. You shouldn’t be able to literally erase a mistake!

It should be noted that this rule isn’t exclusive to women’s college gymnastics. Some version of it exists at the elite level too. In qualifications for finals, teams put up four gymnasts on each apparatus and the top five count towards the qualification score. This serves to determine which team makes it into finals. But in the medal round, the rules are different—three gymnasts go up on each event, and all three scores count. In men’s college gymnastics, they sort of split the baby—up until Week 8 of the season, the low score gets dropped. After that, all scores count. This gives teams the opportunity to test people out, take some risks and then eventually settle their lineups for the latter part of the season.

But in women’s college gymnastics, they throw out the low score from the very first meet of the season til the very end of national championships. “In 1977, college gymnastics went from three of six scores to counting four of six. In 1983, they went to counting five of six,” Greg Marsden, the former head coach of the University of Utah women’s gymnastics team, told me. Marsden helped start the program in 1976 and stayed at the helm for 40 years until he retired at the end of the 2015 season.

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“I have always been in favor [of] counting five of five but would also support counting six of six, which may require additional scholarships,” he added. (Right now, Division I gymnastics programs are capped at 12 scholarships per team. Compare that to another highly injurious college sport—football—with its 85 scholarships.)

Last year, the University of Georgia was dealing with several injuries to members of their team and at times could only put up five (relatively) healthy athletes on each event, which meant they had no low score to drop. Every gymnast who went up had to hit.

But typically it’s like this: if one of the gymnasts falls during a rotation, the next one, two, or three gymnasts have to rally and hit to keep that score from counting towards the overall team total. “The pressure situation that tests each team is how they respond after a fall in the line-up.” Kathy Johnson Clarke, 1984 Olympic medalist and regular commentator for the SEC Network’s Friday Night Heights gymnastics coverage, wrote in an email.

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When the rest of the team hits cleanly in order to nullify the fall, it’s often discussed in terms of teamwork, of having each other’s back. It is that, but it would be the same thing if the next three gymnasts after a fall all hit the best sets of their life in order to stop the point hemorrhage. It’s not like it’s part of any team’s strategy to make a mistake and rely on dropping a score in order to maintain a respectable team total; the goal for each gymnast is to hit, with or without the possibility of dropping a score.

The strategy that most teams use goes something like: Start with a consistent performer in the first spot to get the ball rolling and set a high baseline score and then build from there. The idea is that you’re supposed to build in scores as move down your lineup. If all gymnasts hit, the lowest score should be the first and the highest should be the last. As commentators frequently remind viewers, the judges tend to “leave room” for a better performance further down the lineup.

According to this thinking, a fall disrupts the building of scoring momentum, so even if you drop that low mark, the penalty is that your last gymnast might not get as high a mark as they would otherwise earn had all five athletes who preceded them hit.

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This suggests that judges, rather than evaluating each routine on its own merits, are concerned with the strategy of each individual team—that a stellar gymnast who is put up early in the lineup might be “underscored” and a mediocre gymnast who follows a stronger one might experience a scoring bump if she hits on the strength of her teammate’s earlier performance. The judges shouldn’t be leaving “room” for better routines further down the lineup. Nor should they be reacting to the previous routine while judging the next gymnast. The only thing the judges should be doing is evaluating the routine placed in front of them with no regard for what came before or what is to come later.

If you can no longer drop the low score, Johnson Clarke worries that you might end up seeing less daring routines. “I have had conversations with college coaches about determining line-ups, particularly on beam. Do you put someone in who actually has the most beautiful or interesting beam routine or do you just put in someone who is going to hit even though it’s not a particularly great routine?”

“I would like them to be able to take a risk sometimes because it’s worth it. For the athlete. For the sport. For life,” she continued. And, as she noted, the rules already have no way to reward a lot of the difficulty on display from the top gymnasts. If those athletes didn’t have the “safety valve” of dropping a low score, would they bring out their more daring tricks when easier ones would possibly garner a higher score?

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She is right. Eliminating the dropped score could lead to some athletes and coaches choosing a more conservative approach. That certainly is a potential downside to changing the rule in the way I suggested.—and it could, as she noted, lead to the lowest score determining the outcome of competitions.

“Who had the highest low scores? I’m not sure that is the best way to determine the winner of a team event either,” Johnson Clarke pointed out.

Counting all routines, hit or miss, might serve to increase the margins of victory, which tend to be quite minuscule in women’s college gymnastics. Last year’s NCAA championships were decided by a fraction of a point—.0375 to be exact—with UCLA barely edging defending champion Oklahoma on the strength of senior Peng Peng Lee’s Perfect 10 on balance beam. (She also recorded a 10 on the uneven bars that night.)

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But what you don’t see in the 198+ score the Bruins recorded was that they had two falls—one from Ross on floor and one from 2016 Olympic gold medalist Madison Kocian on beam. Both those marks were dropped, per the rules, and they clearly didn’t impact the rest of the scores in the lineup based on the result. If your falls are spread out over more than one event, they’re not going to have the same impact on your team total than if two happen on the same apparatus. Something about that seems plain wrong—a fall is a fall is a fall.

I’m not arguing that UCLA shouldn’t have won the championships last year. They won by the rules in place at the time, and they perhaps would’ve gone with a different strategy and lineup had they been in a situation where all scores counted and still could’ve won. Also, second-place Oklahoma had a fall from Nicole Lehrmann on beam that didn’t find its way into the final tally either. LSU, which placed fourth, was the most consistent in the final. “I saw that LSU would have won had all six scores counted at [the] Super Six [Final] last year,” Johnson Clarke noted. “They were a really good team, but I’m not sure I thought of them as the best team that night.

Over the last five years, LSU has been one of the highest-ranked teams in the country. It is the defending SEC champion. (In college gymnastics, the SEC is the most competitive conference, so winning that title means a lot.) But in all of its program history, it has yet to win an NCAA title. Head coach D-D Breaux has been at the helm for more than 40 years and is clearly holding on until LSU finally wins the big title. Since 1982 when women’s gymnastics became an NCAA sport, only six teams have won the national championship. (And up until 2013, that number was just four.) Given that there are so many good teams at the top and it can be hard to distinguish between them at times, eliminating the dropped score, if only for the postseason, has the potential to result in upsets and new teams sneaking in.

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“It would make meets less predictable and therefore more exciting for a greater number of teams, especially in the postseason,” Marsden said.

But Johnson Clarke would like to see other changes. “In my opinion, there are other ‘fixes’ that need to come first and those would enough stress since it would expose weaknesses that exist in the system.”

For example? “Deduct for flaws,” Johnson-Clarke said.

If you catch a glimpse of gymnastics twitter over the weekend during NCAA season, you’ll see regular complaining about scores, especially overscoring of obviously flawed routines from gymnasts who compete for top teams. Those gymnasts don’t seem to receive the same deductions as athletes who compete on lower ranked teams.

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For instance, this beam routine from Bre Showers, a member of Oklahoma’s team that placed second to UCLA last season, somehow scored a 9.575 despite the fact that she clearly fell on the apparatus, which is a mandatory .5 deduction. (It’s the same as a fall from the apparatus.)

The score she received simply isn’t possible if she was properly deducted for the error.

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While I wholeheartedly agree with with Johnson Clarke that the judging at the collegiate level really needs to be cleaned up, I don’t see how this is an either/or proposition. The judging does need to be improved and we need to start thinking about eliminating the “safety valve” of dropping a missed routine.

“There is no perfect way in a subjectively scored sport to satisfy everyone’s idea of what a real competition is. It’s the beauty of and to many, the frustrating part of the sport,” Johnson Clarke said. “With the mental, emotional, and physical health of these athletes at stake, my gut tells me to keep the safety valve in place.”

So much of the recent media attention that’s been showered on women’s college gymnastics has been about the spectacle of it—the joyous floor routines, the big personalities of the athletes, the fun of it all. And that’s all wonderful. I spent most my childhood and adolescence trying to get people to appreciate the sport and I’m thrilled that more people are getting on board without me having to badger them repeatedly.

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I do think that with the focus on spectacle of it all, however, what is lost is this sense that this is an athletic competition with high stakes for everyone involved. While it’s good that NCAA gymnastics is less intense than the once in an athlete’s lifetime sports-a-palooza better known as the Olympics, the dropping of scores at times gives the impression that competition is almost besides the point.

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The NFL just shrugs at having a doper for poster boy

Julian Edelman was the perfect candidate to be named Most Valuable Player in the New England Patriots' 13-3 Super Bowl victory against the Los Angeles Rams, not just for his individual performance but for filling the against-the-odds narrative so beloved by the American public.

Like his celebrated teammate, quarterback Tom Brady, Edelman was drafted in the later rounds by the Patriots (Brady was the 199th overall pick; Edelman the 232nd). For years, the wide receiver played just a bit-part role for the Patriots, often filling in on specials team and even defence.

Julian Edelman holds up the Patriots’ trophy during a victory parade through Boston.Credit:AP

In his first four seasons, he caught only 69 passes for four touchdowns. But the more opportunities he received, the better he performed as he slowly morphed into Brady's favourite target. That was perfectly demonstrated against the Rams as Edelman hauled in 10 catches, eight of which resulted in first downs, for 141 yards, which swung a defence-dominated contest the Patriots way.

As wide receivers go, Edelman is not the biggest, fastest or most skilful, but has risen to the top through perseverance, hard work – and, it appears, with a helping hand from performance-enhancing drugs.

Understandably, the NFL was less keen to promote that part of the back story as its commissioner Roger Goodell presented the MVP trophy to Edelman.

"Well deserved. Extraordinary performance, and not just last night, but his performance in post-season has been simply off the charts," Goodell said on stage. "Julian, congratulations. Come on up and get your trophy."

Last summer, it was announced that Edelman had failed the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Under the World Anti-Doping Code, to which the NFL is not a signatory, any Olympic athlete caught deliberately cheating faces a minimum four-year ban while even those guilty of "inadvertent doping" will receive a two-year ban. Edelman's punishment? A four-game ban, served at the start of the season, which is a less a slap on the wrist than an admonishing wag of the finger. Rather than being a pariah, Edelman was integrated straight back into the Patriots locker room, the incident forgotten like a speeding ticket. Remember quarterback Colin Kaepernick still cannot get a contract having protested against racial injustice.

Roger Goodel poses with Edelman and the MVP trophy.Credit:AP

What drug that Edelman had in his system and in what quantities has never been disclosed, although he was just returning from a season out with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. At the time of the ban, Edelman issued one of those classic non-apologies, claiming it was a mistake while also saying sorry for his absence. For this he was praised for "taking responsibility". Since then the incident has been referred to as a "dark time," as if he was going through a bereavement.

As Nancy Armour, writing in USA Today, points out in baseball, a performance-enhancing-drug ban automatically includes all post-season fixtures, while Barry Bonds, the sport's greatest player on paper, remains banned from its hall of fame for past doping offences.

Instead, the NFL's reaction has been to shrug its shoulders at the sight of a doper being its poster boy. Nor is this the first time that this scenario has occurred. Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, who was crowned the 2016 Super Bowl MVP, was previously suspended for six games after being caught trying to switch urine samples.

If you frame the decision to dope as a straight up risk-reward scenario then it may appear that the rewards far outweigh the risks. From PED to MVP. If you were a young player straight out of college, why would you not take a shortcut to being stronger, faster and fitter if the punishments are so lightweight and the stigma nonexistent?

There is no doubt that Edelman's performance merited the MVP award, but when Goodell passed the trophy to Edelman, he was also holding up a mirror to his own appalling failings to tackle doping.

The Telegraph, London

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‘My integrity is absolutely fine’: Perkins unconcerned despite Russia switch

Track cycling star Shane Perkins has defended his integrity and backed Russian cycling as controversy continues about the country's anti-doping regime.

After winning two world titles and riding at the 2012 Olympics for Australia, Perkins switched allegiances to Russia when he was left out of the Rio Games squad.

Shane Perkins in 2016 after winning the Australian keirin title.Credit:John Veage

He will make his world championships debut as a Russian rider later this month in Poland.

The Six Day track event at Melbourne Arena, which runs from Thursday to Saturday, will be his last event before the worlds.

"My integrity is absolutely fine, I sleep well at night," Perkins said.

"A lot of people know the sort of person I am … people should know that just because I'm riding for another team, it doesn't mean I'm going to change my ethics.

"I'm not going to tarnish that reputation that I've built up."

Perkins also backed his new teammates as controversy continues to rage about doping in the Russian sports system.

"When I say to people 'I'm riding for Russia' they automatically look at me and think 'why have you done that – they're drug cheats,'" he said.

"The point is, it [doping] happens everywhere.

"Now I'm part of Russia and I know the athletes … I have confidence in the team that I'm in."

This week's Six Day will be the first time he has ridden at Melbourne Arena since the 2012 world championships, where he was a member of the Australian trio that won the team sprint gold medal.

He will ride in the team sprint again this month, his first world championships since 2015.

"Going to these worlds, it's going to show me basically what the level is now because it has been a while since I've been there," he said.

"I'm not expecting to be straight back up there again, but I'm not saying that I won't be, either … I have to be realistic too.

"Once I get there and get a bit of a sniff of it, I'm always good like that – it will be a good couple of years after these worlds."

Perkins said the Six Day, which is part of an international series, is as much about entertainment as it is competition.

"It's an awesome atmosphere … there will be a lot of fun. The sprinters are there to put up a good show."

AAP

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Defender Eric Bailly told he has bright Man Utd future and to prep for huge PSG clash in Champions League

The Ivory Coast centre-back, 24, has started just one Premier League game under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer since his straight red against Bournemouth last month.

But the pair held talks after Bailly’s suspension when it was made clear he is in the caretaker boss’ plans for the big games coming up.

The £30million signing from Villarreal two-and-a-half years ago returned to the starting line-up in the win over Leicester at the weekend.

And Solskjaer is considering using him and Victor Lindelof to cope with Kylian Mbappe’s pace in the Champions League tie against PSG starting on Tuesday.

PSG are among the team who are monitoring Bailly’s situation and whether he becomes available.


Arsenal were also keen on a loan but United ruled out a short-term switch to one of their rivals.

United's win at the King Power saw them replace the Gunners in fifth place, who were beaten at Manchester City.

The Red Devils are now just two points behind Chelsea who occupy the final Champions League spot.

Next up for Solskjaer's men is a trip to Craven Cottage to face strugglers Fulham on Saturday.

 

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Tiger-Cats add former running back D.J. Harper to coaching staff

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have added D.J. Harper to their coaching staff as the running backs coach.

The 29-year-old former CFL and NFL running back replaces Corey Grant, who is now the offensive coordinator at McMaster University.

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Harper spent the last two seasons (2017-18) as an offensive graduate assistant at Fresno State University, working with current Ticats head coach Orlondo Steinauer on the Bulldogs’ coaching staff in 2017. Harper also has experience as a player at the NCAA, National Football League and Canadian Football League levels where his career was cut short due to multiple knee injuries.

Current Hamilton Tiger-Cats Coaching Staff

Orlondo Steinauer, head coach
June Jones, associate head coach and offensive coordinator
Mark Washington, defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach
Jeff Reinebold, special teams coordinator
Tommy Condell, wide receivers coach
Dennis McKnight, offensive line coach
Robin Ross, linebackers coach
Randy Melvin, defensive line coach
Craig Butler, defensive backs special teams assistant
D.J. Harper, running backs coach
Jarryd Baines, assistant wide receivers coach and offensive quality control

Harper retired from professional football as a player after spending the 2014 season in the CFL with the Ottawa Redblacks. The Cypress, Texas, native played eight games with the Redblacks, starting once, and registered nine carries for 58 rushing yards, two receptions for 23 yards, and returned four kickoffs for 58 yards. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers in 2013 and played in the preseason before being waived.

Prior to turning pro, Harper spent parts of six seasons (2007-12) at Boise State University, suiting up in 54 career games. He clocked a personal best 4.34-second 40-yard dash prior to his junior season. Overall, Harper posted 547 carries for 2,779 rushing yards with 39 touchdowns, while adding 54 receptions for 396 yards and two receiving touchdowns during his tenure with the Broncos.

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats open their pre-season schedule in Ottawa against the Redblacks on June 1, before kicking off the regular season at Tim Hortons Field against Saskatchewan on June 13.

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Patriots Super Bowl LIII victory parade: Time and TV info

The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions yet again, and on Tuesday, they will be celebrating Super Bowl LIII with a parade in Boston.

Thanks to star quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots have won six championships since 2001 and three over the past five years. They defeated the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday 13-3.

TIME: 11 a.m. ET on Tuesday

TV: NFL Network

ROUTE: Begins at Hynes Convention Center. 

Continues on Boylston Street past the Public Garden and Boston Common.

Turns left and continues up Tremont.

Turns onto Cambridge Street.

Finishes on Cambridge Street in front of City Hall.

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Ivan Rakitic's agent reveals Chelsea transfer from Barcelona 'impossible' this summer

Recent reports claim Maurizio Sarri wants to bring the Croatian to Stamford Bridge after losing playmaker Cesc Fabregas to Monaco last month.

Chelsea missed out on Leandro Paredes to Paris Saint-Germain and ended up bringing nobody in as Fabregas’ replacement.

Blues chiefs apparently reckon they can tempt Rakitic to the Premier League with a tempting offer at the end of the season.

But the player’s agent is adamant he will remain at Barcelona, despite the impending arrival of Ajax’s Frenkie de Jong in a £75million deal.

Inter Milan have also been linked, but Arturo Canales warned: “Ivan wants to leave Spain in the summer? That’s impossible.”

However, it appears there is a glimmer of hope for Chelsea in their search of a new playmaker.

And it turns out he was at Stamford Bridge all along.

Real Madrid loanee Mateo Kovacic has impressed when asked to fill in for Jorginho recently.

And boss Sarri feels Rakitic’s compatriot is proving to be very adept at controlling the play from deep.

Sarri said: “I don’t know [if we will suffer for not signing a midfielder] but I have to try with our own players. So, I think Kovacic could be a very good option. A very good option, then we need to recover completely Loftus-Cheek after his back problem.

“Then, we can play sometimes with Kovacic as a central midfielder and then Jorginho will be able to rest. We are trying in training with two players.

“The first is Ampadu and the second is Kovacic. It may be that for the characteristics, Kovacic is more suitable for this team.

“As you know, Ampadu is more defensive. Kovacic is really close to Jorginho in moving the ball really fast at one-touch. In the future, I think he will be able to do this position well.”

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Mets’ Jacob deGrom contract talks are about to get serious

Jacob deGrom’s representatives conferred with Mets officials at the winter meetings in the second week of December and left believing signing their client long term was a priority for the franchise.

Eight weeks later and without any substantive talks since has left the deGrom camp, at minimum, disappointed, especially because the public comments of Mets executives matched what the agents were told privately — that reaching an agreement to avoid deGrom becoming a free agent after the 2020 season was vital to the organization.

Thus, this becomes the next litmus test in the tenure of general manager Brodie Van Wagenen. Job 1 was to convince his bosses to be more daring in action and finances to try to contend in 2019. Now — with this year’s opening roster pretty much established — Van Wagenen can pivot to the most important big-picture item on his agenda: Locking up deGrom beyond 2020.

First as deGrom’s agent while working at CAA and now as the Mets’ GM, Van Wagenen has wanted deGrom secured long term. But deGrom will pitch at age 31 this season, already has had Tommy John surgery and the nine-figure contract he’s seeking generally has not worked out well for the Mets, making the ever-hesitant Wilpons even more so. Nevertheless, the Mets plan to sit with deGrom’s representatives during spring training and see if multi-year talks can be accelerated.

“Jacob is an important part of the franchise, one of the best players in baseball and he is a priority of this franchise going forward,” Van Wagenen said by phone. “It is our hope that he is part of the championship efforts in the future. I would hope Jacob deGrom is a lifelong Met.”

Jeff Berry, deGrom’s agent, declined comment.

Berry and Matt Ricatto met in Las Vegas with Jeff Wilpon and John Ricco, then the Mets’ assistant GM. Van Wagenen, because he had been deGrom’s agent, was recused from negotiating the NL Cy Young winner’s one-year arbitration contract. The Players Association told The Post that there is no restriction on Van Wagenen negotiating a long-term deal for deGrom with his former partners at CAA.

DeGrom’s 2019 contract is for $17 million, which represented a record raise of $9.6 million for an arbitration-eligible player. His last season of arbitration eligibility would be next year with his salary potentially soaring to $25 million or more.

At the All-Star Game last July — while still serving as deGrom’s agent — Van Wagenen had said the Mets should either sign the righty long term or trade him. The Mets did neither and they simply could go year to year through 2020, then decide afterward if they want to make a strong effort to keep deGrom. That would enable the Mets to avoid long-term risk over the next two seasons and keep options such as signing him beyond 2020 or trading him viable.

But there also is risk in that strategy. DeGrom could leave as a free agent. In addition, Van Wagenen has tried to make a more player-friendly leadership central to an improved culture. And deGrom generally represents the kind of player an organization would want to take care of as a symbol to the clubhouse and faithful — homegrown, low maintenance, high performance, a fan favorite and thriving in an area that has dwindling supply: the ace starter.

Also, in a memo sent to players last summer, Berry argued for a series of unified actions to counter management’s current negotiating stances that, among other items, has led to a slowdown in free-agent signings. Among them was that if organizations were going to use analytic results to stymie player pay then players should use the analytics to create guidelines for usage.

So, for example, a player such as deGrom would run physical risks to continue to throw 200-plus innings the next two years and then hear that pitching those innings makes him less desirable as a free-agent commodity. Thus, if these player-issued guidelines were established, deGrom would protect himself by refusing to pitch beyond prescribed pitches and innings.

DeGrom, to date, has been a good soldier, expressing his desire to be a Met long term while not causing problems. But this is a potentially divisive issue if the Mets do not match with action their expressed intention to get a multi-year deal done.

Pitchers are due in Port St. Lucie to open spring training next week and eyes will be on Van Wagenen and his bosses to see from the outset how they navigate this issue, especially because they also want to see if there is common ground for a long-term deal with Zack Wheeler, who can be a free agent after this season.

The most important pitch of spring will be the one the Mets make — or don’t make — to sign their best player long term.

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