The Locker Room

Conor McGregor Retires from Mixed Martial Arts

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Yup, the Irishman took to Twitter Wednesday night to break the news to his fans, that he is hanging up the gloves retiring from the sport of mixed martial arts. Famously known out of the ring for his biting wit, abhorrent alcoholism, and debaucherous temper tantrums, McGregor has been the most controversial fighter since Muhammad Ali. The former feather/light-weight belt holder finishes out his career with a 21-4 record, losing his last two blockbuster fights.

Though not having one a fight since 2016, McGregor has remained the poster child of the UFC well up until his unexpected retirement. Seeing how the fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov turned out back in October, it’s no surprise why people will scrounge up whatever loose cash they can muster to watch him on pay-per-view.

McGregor has been public about him wanting to negotiate with league owner Dana White about potentially seeking a stake in the league, and many in the community speculate that White’s refusal is what might have led McGregor to quit, considering that he’s recently expressed his desire to get in the ring with Nate Diaz, and even have a rematch against the still undefeated Khabib.

In a business sense however, walking away from the octagon might not be too inconceivable a move. Conor McGregor has recently launched his Proper 12 Whiskey, and has been on a pretty heavily promotional campaigns on his social media platforms. As of now Proper 12 remains on UFC 229 canvas of official sponsors. It seems that McGregor has moved on from his days fighting, and is now in a committed relationship with one true love, Irish whiskey.

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Especially if you consider his recent arrests of this year, which include an assault charge for drunkenly throwing a chair through the window of Khabib’s bus during an event, and smashing a fans phone when they tried taking a picture. They charged him with felony strong-arm and criminal mischief with that last one.

Still, as a fellow smartass myself, I thought it would only be fitting to share a 20-montage of McGregor’s iconic shit-talking. Because I’ll say as a journalist, this man does his research, even going as far as claiming that Khabib’s training team is funded by a Chechnian dictatorship. Now the whether claim sticks or not is pretty beside the point for him, but he sure knows how to rouse up emotion out of his opponent.

1 Duke Narrowly Squeezes By Central Florida in March Madness Thriller

Duke, the favorite for most of the nation’s 2019 March Madness bracket, barely slipped by in the Round of 32 in a thrilling game against 9th UCF 77-76 that’ll probably be played sometime soon on ESPN classic. RJ Barret was the one for the Bluedevils who hit the game winning shot, off a put back on a Zion Williams free throw that would’ve tied the game. Williamson finished the game with 32pt and 11reb, and Jarret with 16pt and 8reb.

Aubrey Dawkins led the way for the Knights, scoring 32pt as well, and nabbing 3 steals on the defensive end. Tacko Fall and B.J. Taylor both contributed 15pt each. Fall, the 7’6′ pillar for Central Florida had fouled out prior  to the last play of the game, on the and-1 attempt which sent Williamson to the line.

Duke is set to play against 4th ranked Virginia Tech Thursday in the Sweet 16, who won their game against the 12th seed Liberty 67-58.

New England Patriots Tight End Rob Gronkowski Announces Retirement from NFL, With a Financially Savvy Retirement Plan

After nine record-breaking seasons in the NFL for the New England Patriots, tight end Rob Gronkowski has announced on Instagram today of his retirement. Despite battling numerous injuries throughout his career, and retiring before the age of 30, the 6’6′ freak of nature has broken NFL records for the tight end position in receptions (521) and  receiving yards (7,861), playoffs included (81 receptions for a 1,163 yards, and 12 touchdowns. Also a tight end record.)

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Retiring with 3 rings in a relatively brief stint of 115 total games, it’s safe to say that Gronkowski probably doesn’t have many regrets left on the field, as he’s stamped himself as arguably the greatest tight end in NFL history. Especially when you think of the life this man has managed to pave for himself upon retirement. Pasily the most charismatic personality currently in football, Gronkowski has stated in an interview for Chase (below) that he’s saved every paycheck he’s earned in the NFL (roughly $9 million, annually), rather opting to fund his wild lifestyle strictly through endorsements deals.

Looks like the 2nd-round pick out of the University of Arizona has done pretty well for himself, and seeing that built a reputation for himself as a showman off the field, we’ll likely still see him on our TV screens gunning for Peyton Manning’s endorsement record (I don’t think there’s a recorded record for this, but I’m sure he’s got it.)

Zion Williamson Brilliant in Return Against Syracuse

Zion Williamson made his return back to the court this Thursday for the Duke Blue Devils, since famously blowing through the soles of his Nike’s earlier in the season, in a game against the Tar Heels. Still sporting a pair of Nike’s (the Kyrie 4s, over the PG 2.5s from that night), Zion didn’t look like he missed a step. Or a shot.

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Beating Syracuse 84-72 in the ACC quarterfinals, the consensus future first-overall NBA draft pick went 13-13 for the floor, and broke the school and ACC tournament record for most shots attempted without a miss. He finished the game with 29 points, 14 rebounds, and 5 steals on the defensive end.

He had been sidelined for six games prior with a sprained knee, and many feared that he’d sit out the remainder of the season, including the March Madness tournament. Duke dropped from the 1st to the 5th spot in the nation while Zion was out, but with him returning in the nick of time before the big dance, Zion and his co-superstar R.J. Barret look to waltz their way through the ACC tournament, before the big tournament begins on March 19th.

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers Trade Wide Receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders

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On Wednesday the Pittsburgh Steelers announced that they’ve traded star wideout Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders in exchange for their 3rd and 5th round draft picks from this year’s draft.

Brown has made it very clear throughout this offseason that he’s wanted out, publicly voicing his complaints on his social media platforms. With the prolonged torment of Le’veon Ball’s season-long holdout, the owners are aware that morale on the team is sparsely low, and that letting these two loose and starting anew is the only direction this organization could take.

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Brown on the other hand, is looking like he could be getting a pay raise. His three year contract is expected to bump from $38.925 million to $50.125 million, with a gauranteed $30.125 million. He had no such guarantee before in Pittsburgh.

Since coming into the league in 2010, the 30-year old veteran has led the league in receptions (837), receiving yards (11,207), and receiving touchdowns (74). Last year he has 1,297 yards on a 104 catches, and took it to the end zone 15 times.

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Antonio Bryant posted this picture on his Instagram account (@AB) prior to breaking news of his trade.

AB is arguably the best in his position, and Oakland hopes he could fill their void at wide receiver, after trading away their number one wideout Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys midway through last season. Jordy Nelson would be the receiver lining up on the other end of the field for the Raiders, but his inconsistent play throughout last season only amounted to Oakland ranking 18th among the NFL in passing yards.

Although he’ll be 31 come the start of the 2019 NFL season, Bryant gives daily accounts of his strict workout regiments on his Instagram and Snapchat accounts. It looks like he’s be ready to resume business once the season commences, and with a once in a blue moon talent like his, this would be the perfect opportunity for Head Coach Jon Gruden to prove his offensive expertise on the gridiron.

 

Redskins Sign Safety Landon Collins

The Washington Redskins have signed safety Landon Collins for a whopping 6-year/$84 million ($45 million guaranteed) deal, making him the highest paid safety in the league. He would essentially be paid $14 million a year, and the Redskins have the option to restructure the contract after 3 years, or part ways with the guaranteed money.

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The 25-year old totaled 428-total tackles in his four seasons with the Giants, and is easily considered among the best tacklers among the position. Idolizing the late Redskins safety Sean Taylor growing up, Collins’s game has come to specializing in a down hill presence, who can make critical tackles in the box and keep the opponent’s running game in check. With the 17-ranked run defense in the league last year, this is an upgrade to the defense where it clearly lacked.

Talks of overpaying Collins begin to emerge, however, when examining the holes in his mediocre coverage abilities. Ranked dead in the middle at 15th on pass defense, this leads to some interesting possibilities on how things may play out for defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, who took the reins of heading the defense only just last year.

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One interesting point of note is the influx of players on the defensive end who’ve played football under coach Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. Along with the addition of Ha Ha Clinton-Dix last year from the Packers, Collins will be rejoining Crimson Tide teammates Jonathan Allen, Da’ron Payne, and Ryan Anderson on the defensive roster. Hopefully all the defensive schemes they studied together back in college will translate to the same domineering chemistry that won them BCS title after title.

With the surprise move of cutting safety D.J. Swearinger earlier in the offseason, who had unequivocally been the Redskin’s vocal team leader on-and-off the field last year, it’s obvious that they desperately need someone to fill that role. Collins has palpable heart on the field, and has played that role in the Giants locker room during his time their, but those are extremely big cleats to fill, as Swearinger had been the only consistent bright spot on an otherwise crumbling defense. Collins is sure to make an impact, but now it’s about if it’s worth the money.

 

Redskins Trade for Quarterback Case Keenum

Image result for case keenumOn Wednesday the Washington Redskins had announced they had traded for the Denver Broncos quarterback Case Keenum. Starting every game for the 6-10 Broncos last year, Keenum threw for 18 touchdowns, ran for two more, and threw 15 picks. Throwing for a total of 3,890 yards. Starting 14 games with the Minnesota Vikings the year before, he threw for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns, with only 7 interceptions.

Throughout his collegiate tenure with the University of Houston, Keenum is the all-time NCAA leader in passing completions (1,546), passing yards (19,217), and passing touchdowns (155). Despite this, the 6’1″ quarterback went undrafted back in 2012, signing with the Houston Texans. Since then, starting nearly two complete seasons, he’s proven himself a more than capable second-option quarterback.

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Keenum will look to battle out veteran Colt McCoy for that slot. McCoy, who’s been on the Redskin roster since the 2014, went 0-2 subbing in for the injured Alex Smith as a starter. He threw 3 touchdowns, along with 3 coinciding interceptions, before also being sidelined for the season with an injury. After that the Redskins season went downhill, signing free agent quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson midway through the season, who have once again found themselves as free agents. There is no timetable yet on the starter Alex Smith’s return, who broke both his tibia and fibula against the Houston Texans back in November of last year. Although a gruesome injury, ending the career of Hall of Fame Redskin Joe Theisman, his position as the starter seems to be secure for now.

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Keenum however, seems to be pleased with the coaches and coordinators he now has to work with, stating ““I’ve never played for a head coach, offensive coordinator, and quarterbacks coach that all played quarterback. So, somebody that understands what we’re looking at, someone that has been in our shoes, to be in a quarterback friendly system, I’m really excited.”

Historically, it’s never really been the coaching staff that’s run players out of Washington, but the front office. As with the case of Kirk Cousins. We’ll see how that plays out, but with a depleted roster that saw itself struggle to put someone competent behind center, trading for Keenum looks to be the organization learning from the past.

No further details have been disclosed as of yet, in regards to the trade, and what the Redskins would be giving up to acquire Keenum.