NFL executives meet to make plans for season


NFL executives meet to make plans for season

ATLANTA -- The NFL had hoped Friday's seminar for general managers and other team executives would be spent discussing a labor agreement ratified by both players and owners.

Instead, with players declining to vote on a proposed deal on Thursday night, the executives could only make sketchy plans.

The lockout continues.

"As far as I know," said Broncos chief of football operations John Elway. "We were told there's a lockout still in place as far as the way we handle it, the way we're supposed to handle it."

No deal. No football -- at least not yet.

"We're still in the same place we were," Elway said.

Executives from each team met for about four hours at an Atlanta airport hotel. The topic was the tentative 10-year agreement approved by owners on Thursday night.

Owners want the players to approve their proposal, which would lead to the end of the lockout. But general managers were leaving Atlanta without knowing when they can begin negotiations with free agents.

There also is no firm date for opening training camps.

"The nature of our business is there's always surprises and you have to be flexible," said Carolina general manager Marty Hurney. "I think that applies right now more than any."

The version of the labor agreement that owners approved Thursday called for club facilities to open their doors for voluntary training on Saturday. But an Atlanta Falcons official said the team now is not expecting any players on Saturday.

While awaiting the players' vote, GMs were bracing for an accelerated free agency period which could overlap the start of training camp.


"I don't know whether exciting is the right word," Hurney said.

"Obviously everybody has spent time preparing. That's what we do. Now it's just waiting. Be flexible and wait and see what happens."

When asked if he still hopes players could be at his facility this weekend, Hurney only shook his head.

"I don't know," he said. "I really don't know."

After watching Hurney and other executives agonize over the continued uncertainty, Elway said he realized he was fortunate to be in his first year running Denver's football operations.

"I guess it's a little easier for me than everybody else just from the fact everybody else is pretty used to a pretty unified offseason where everything is on a timeline," Elway said.

"For me, being in my first year and not knowing exactly what that is ... I guess I'm not as impatient as everybody else."

When asked if he is prepared for the hectic pace which would follow the players' approval of the labor agreement, Elway said "We're as ready as we can be.

"We've been getting ready for seven months, so as soon as they shoot the gun off, we'll be ready."

Hurney said his emphasis will be retaining the Panthers' free agents, which include defensive end Charles Johnson and running back DeAngelo Williams.

"I think we've said that all along," Hurney said. "That's been our philosophy and will continue to be our philosophy."

The four-month-old lockout wiped out normal offseason work, including mini-camps, which give rookies and newly signed free agents a chance to learn playbooks and schemes.

Already, one game has been lost. The league called off the Hall of Fame exhibition opener, set for Aug. 7 between Chicago and St. Louis.

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P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'


P.J. Carlesimo turns down Sixers' associate head coach job for 'family reasons'

Thirty-five years is more than enough time to get a sense of who a person is and how they do their job. That is how long Brett Brown has known P.J. Carlesimo, which made it easy for the Sixers' head coach to have interest in adding him to the staff. 

With Mike D’Antoni leaving to coach the Rockets, the Sixers had a vacancy at the associate head coach position. On Sunday, though, Carlesimo decided not to join the Sixers’ staff and remain a television analyst.

“He was a natural fit for me,” Brown said Monday following a pre-draft workout. “For family reasons, he just couldn’t do it. We talked a lot and it was an emotional thing from P.J.’s perspective. 

“P.J. is a very close friend of mine and he made that decision for family reasons and I understand it. The phone call really didn’t surprise me knowing what I know of him and how he views his family, having to travel across the country the whole time.”

Like D’Antoni, Carlesimo has a lengthy résumé on the NBA sidelines. He was a head coach for parts of nine seasons and worked five as an assistant coach. Brown called working with D’Antoni “a real learning experience,” and an ideal candidate would have similar experience to help both the staff and the young roster.

“That role will be filled with maybe that type of flavor,” Brown said. “I know this, we are still in a complete development mode. We still have a bunch of 20 year olds, guys that could be with us for a long time, but they’re not old, that we have to make sure that the city and me, we remember that. We still need people and teachers that can teach and coach and establish relationships. 

“So you tick boxes on relationships, teaching, development, those still rule the day. If you can do that with some veteran wisdom and some type of experiences like Mike’s, say, or P.J. had, well then you’re really knocking it out of the park.”

Coaching vacancies are coveted at this level. With the No. 1 pick in the draft, a revamped front office, and a 125,000-square foot training facility under construction, the Sixers have enhanced the appeal of the role. 

"My phone is very active, as you can imagine," Brown said. "I think it’s a highly attractive position. … Like our draft picks, I too spend a lot of time studying who will be the best fit for me and our program."

Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B


Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

So much for trimming Ryan Howard's playing time.

One day after Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he plans on giving 24-year-old Tommy Joseph more starts against right-handed pitchers, Mackanin flipped the switch Monday.

Howard is penciled in as the starting first baseman for the Phils' series-opener against the Nationals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park against Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71).

After the Phillies were clobbered by the MLB-best Chicago Cubs on Sunday — and the weekend, really — Mackanin said the Phils have to get a longer look at Joseph.

"We brought up Joseph up here for a reason, to get a look at him," the manager said after the Phillies' 7-2 on Sunday afternoon (see story). "I can't let him stagnate on the bench like (Darin) Ruf ended up doing, so he's going to face some right-handed pitchers to keep his timing."

Joseph will have to wait another day to get in the lineup. To be fair, Joseph did face five righties last week, but three of those came with the designated hitter in play.

For Howard, however, the club icon is in a major rut that has had many outsiders calling for him to retire or for the team to release him. He's hitting .154 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 136 at-bats and is 6 for 62 (.097) with 25 strikeouts in May.

Here's the silver lining, however. Howard is a career .333 hitter in 12 at-bats against Roark, who he's taken deep once and has six RBIs against.

The Phillies turn to Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97) to snap their three-game skid. He's faced the Nationals twice this season, allowing six — five earned — runs over 10⅓ innings.

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Jeremy Hellickson, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

For more on tonight's game, check out Steven Tyding's game notes.

MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL


MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York's captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

White Sox: Shuck called up with Jackson injured
NEW YORK -- With Austin Jackson bothered by turf toe, the Chicago White Sox recalled outfielder J.B. Shuck from Charlotte and optioned right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the Triple-A farm team.

Jackson left Sunday's game in the eighth inning because of his left foot.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Monday's series opener against the New York Mets that he doesn't think Jackson's injury at this point merits a move to the disabled list. He adds that the team does not "necessarily want to lose him for two weeks right away."

Shuck was batting fifth and playing center field Monday. He was 0 for 9 with the White Sox before he was sent down April 18 when Chicago needed to add a pitcher. He is hitting .299 at Charlotte with two homers and 17 RBIs.

Kahnle is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four games over three stints with Chicago this season.