From Comcast SportsNetFLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -- Rex Ryan doesn't mind his New York Jets players saying what's on their minds. Just as long as they put their names to their comments.An angry Ryan addressed his team Wednesday for some anonymous quotes by players and members of the organization ripping backup quarterback Tim Tebow in a newspaper report."If you're not going to put your name to it, I think that's about as cowardly of a thing there is," Ryan said. "I don't want to get into specifics of what I said, but I did address it with our football team. If you're searching for things to try to drive a wedge through the team, my thing is, I believe in this team."I believe this team is (together), will continue to be and maybe even become tighter. I'm confident that will be the case."A report in the Daily News on Wednesday said that more than a dozen players and members of the Jets organization believe there's no chance Tebow could overtake Mark Sanchez for the starting quarterback job -- with one saying of the backup: "He's terrible.""We never say that it always has to be a bed of roses," said Ryan, who encourages his players and coaches to "be yourself" in interviews. "But again, put your name to it. I think people would respect you a lot more for it."The story drew so much attention that not a single question about the Jets' next opponent, the St. Louis Rams, was asked during Ryan's 22-minute news conference.Tebow has remained unflappable all season despite constant questions about his role and how he's used by the Jets, but acknowledged this was a "unique" situation in his career and there was "some frustration and I guess some sadness" after hearing about the story."This is something I can't control," Tebow said, adding that the locker room is filled with "a bunch of awesome dudes.""I can control my attitude, my effort and my work ethic," he added. "Those are things that will never change based on what anybody says."Sanchez, who has taken his share of criticism during his nearly four seasons in New York, supported his teammate."I've been in those shoes," he said. "I feel for Tim. You wake up the next day and you keep playing."Left guard Matt Slauson was one player whose name was used in the report, saying that "it's not even close" in terms of who the Jets' best quarterback is and that he has "all the confidence in Mark," but adds: "We don't really have a choice." Slauson said his comments were made "long ago, months ago" and didn't even remember making them."I feel that Mark is our quarterback," Slauson said simply Wednesday. "That's how I feel."Tebow approached Slauson after hearing about his comments while they were in the trainers' room Wednesday morning, and smoothed things over."It was great," Tebow said. "He's an awesome guy and we have a great relationship. He's someone you love having on your football team."Tebow added that he has been knocked all his life on the football field, constantly told by others what he can't do and using it to try to motivate himself."I always find the good and the positive in every situation," Tebow said, "and the positive of this is to go and work a little harder and build better relationships with your teammates."Tebow was acquired from Denver in a stunning trade in March, with the Jets envisioning using the popular player in key spots on offense. Instead, he has had little impact through nine games, rushing 27 times for 92 yards and completing five of his six passes for 40 yards. Tebow also has not scored with the Jets, and the wildcat package he was supposed to be such a large part of has been inconsistent and mostly ineffective.Ryan and the Jets insist he has made a difference on special teams, though, as New York's personal punt protector because opponents have been forced to account for him since he has pulled off a handful of fakes."We asked him, a former Heisman Trophy winner, first-round pick, a quarterback who led his team to a playoffs that, You know what? We want you to be our personal protector,'" Ryan said. "Everything we've asked him to do, he's done."But with Sanchez mired in a dreadful slump in which he has thrown two touchdowns and three interceptions, lost three fumbles and been sacked 11 times in the Jets' last three games, Ryan remains committed to him as the starting quarterback. Many fans and media have been calling for Tebow to take over for Sanchez to, more than anything, provide a spark for the offense.For now, though, this remains Sanchez's team. And Tebow will remain on the sideline for most games, aside from the seven or eight plays he averages."He's a football player and I said that from Day 1," Ryan said of Tebow. "We never brought him in to be the starting quarterback. We already had a starting quarterback in Mark Sanchez. I thought I was clear on that from the day we brought Tim in here."Ryan did, in fact, insist since the offseason that Sanchez was his guy, and he has stuck to that. But the latest locker room chatter presents an issue that the Jets are all too familiar with. In-fighting helped sink New York's season a year ago, with Sanchez and Santonio Holmes at odds nearly throughout.After the season ended, several anonymous players were quoted in a media report saying they were uncertain of Sanchez's leadership abilities and called for the Jets to make a hard push for Peyton Manning."No question it can be harmful," safety Yeremiah Bell said of locker room turmoil. "I mean that's why the story's out there, just to try to break this locker room up and make us kind of go and turn against each other. But that's not what we're all about. We all think the source is not credible and we don't believe we have those types of guys in this locker room. It's just ridiculous to us."Ryan insists keeping his locker room together, something he thinks was a bit exaggerated last year, won't be a problem this time around."This team, in my opinion, is not going to be pulled apart by outside people," Ryan said. "Inside the walls, we're going to be (together), and that's what's going to give us an opportunity. If I'm wrong on that, obviously, that's going to be a different issue. I don't believe that."Some have speculated that the team's infrequent use of Tebow is a reflection of Ryan's true feelings about him, that perhaps he was never on board with bringing him to the Jets in the first place -- and it's owner Woody Johnson who pushed for the popular backup to be here and drum up ticket sales.General manager Mike Tannenbaum told The Associated Press during training camp that he and Ryan kicked around the idea while waiting for a flight, and the two -- along with Johnson and offensive coordinator Tony Sparano -- were excited about the prospect about bringing in Tebow."I absolutely wanted Tim here," Ryan said. "The reason I say that is for the things that we've talked about. I was very honest from Day 1, and I've never gotten off that."
Nothing is ever a sure thing when it comes to the Sacramento Kings. After digging deep into negotiations with DeMarcus Cousins on a new five-year, $219 million contract extension, a source has confirmed to CSN California that Sacramento has had discussions with the New Orleans Pelicans on a possible trade for the All-Star big man.
No deal is imminent, but according to a person with knowledge of the situation, talks between the Kings and the Pelicans took place over the weekend and there is a 50/50 chance that something will materialize before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
The Kings went to great lengths a few weeks back to ensure Cousins that rumors of a potential trade were false, even meeting with the 26-year-old big and his agents in Sacramento to crush published reports.
Sacramento's GM Vlade Divac even went as far as to tell ESPN’s Marc Stein, “We’re not trading DeMarcus.”
Cousins spoke glowingly of Sacramento in his media sessions at All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reiterating to reporters that he would love to finish his career in a Kings uniform.
The Pelicans are a strange trade partner. Anthony Davis is the only blue chip player on the roster, but there is no way New Orleans is giving up their superstar in a deal. There are other assets that Sacramento might be interested in.
According to sources, the Kings attempted to move up in the 2016 NBA Draft to select shooting guard Buddy Hield, and point guard Jrue Holiday has admirers in the organization. The Pelicans also own all of their first-round draft picks moving forward.
Any team trading for Cousins would likely want assurances from the center/forward that he intends to sign an extension during the summer. But they would be limited to a four-year deal, not the “designated player” five-year extension Cousins has been looking to sign in Sacramento.
Cousins is having his best season in Sacramento, averaging 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists under Dave Joerger.
Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first to report the potential deal.
MESA, Ariz. — Khris Davis enjoyed quite an offseason travel itinerary, checking out Toronto, taking in the beaches of Hawaii and dining on lobster in Belize.
However, it was the time spent in his adopted hometown of Oakland that most struck a chord with the A’s left fielder. After finishing his first season with the A’s, Davis followed through on his plan to make his offseason home in Oakland, and he was glad he did.
“I got to just feel the heart of the city,” he said upon arriving at camp Sunday. “That was basically the purpose of why I was there. … I wanted to feel Oakland. I love it, honestly. I love the city.”
He trained at Dogtown Athletic, a gym in West Oakland. He took part in the A’s holiday party for kids at the Oakland Zoo, joined by A’s Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, who grew up in the city.
“Just to feel these kids’ happiness,” Davis said. “They didn’t look at me as a baseball player. They just looked at me as a role model kind of.”
It should be music to the ears of A’s fans that the team’s most dangerous hitter has a love affair with the city he plays in. If the A’s ever entertained the idea of trying to sign Davis to a multi-year extension, and that’s purely hypothetical here, it would help that Davis feels comfortable in his surroundings.
Even when he described Oakland in edgy terms, such as when he said it “has its dark side,” he seemed to find it endearing.
In return, Davis felt the love from the fan base in 2016, hitting a career-high 42 homers with a team-best 102 RBI. That was despite the awful start he got off to, hitting .143 and mustering just one RBI over his first 12 games.
Obviously, any chances the A’s have of improving last year’s American League-worst offense rely on the 29-year-old Davis having another big year. But over-analysis is one thing he tries to avoid.
“I don’t want to get caught up in last year — the slow start and the strong finish, whatever,” he said. “However it was, I’m just ready to do this year.”
Davis decided to back out of his plan to play for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic, saying his main priority was preparing for his A’s season.
“My main focus is to perform for the organization,” he said. “I feel like I want to get off on the right foot this year.”
NOTEWORTHY: Heavy showers continued to pelt Mesa on Sunday, spoiling the A’s first full-squad workout. The hitters were relegated to swinging in the cages and playing catch, while pitchers were scheduled for a day off from throwing on the mound anyway.
“If ever there was a day, at least for the pitchers, that you don’t need to (work out), it’s today,” manager Bob Melvin said. “But when you have everybody there on the first day, you wanna get out on the field and do everything. Hopefully we can incorporate everything tomorrow.”
The A’s have a whopping 70 players in camp, more than in any other spring Melvin can remember as a big league manager. He addressed the full team in a meeting Sunday morning.
“We’re gonna have to outwork, out-hustle everybody like we have in the past,” he said, “and get back to playing the game with the same tenacity that we did a couple years ago.”
FAMILIAR FACE: Longtime A’s second baseman Mark Ellis is back for the second year in a row as a spring infield instructor. The plan is for Ellis to spend a week with the team now, then another week later in camp.
“I’ll take Mark Ellis as many days as I can have him,” Melvin said.
LIGHTER SIDE: Nursing his broken right foot, starting pitcher Daniel Mengden has been making his way through the clubhouse on a knee scooter in order to keep pressure off his foot.
Apparently, it looks more fun than it really is.
“I contribute to society Friday, when I can start walking again,” Mengden quipped.