Rams make multiple moves to fill holes

The often-invoked cliche http://www.ramsshop.us.com/Chris_Long_Jersey ”next man up” is really getting put to the test for the sliding, injury-plagued St. Louis Rams.
They have so many holes to fill that safety Mark Barron, acquired from Tampa Bay on Tuesday, could play this week at San Francisco.

”I wouldn’t rule it out whatsoever,” coach Jeff Fisher said Wednesday after a walkthrough to allow bodies to heal instead of the standard practice. ”We’ll see how quickly things go this week.”

The Rams (2-5) are coming off a dispiriting 34-7 loss to the Chiefs, with six players sidelined during the game. Moving forward, Fisher said he wouldn’t be using injuries as an excuse.

”We’re going to bounce back this week,” the coach said. We’ll have some people come back as the week goes on.”

So far, Barron said it’s ”been a whirlwind, most definitely,” and was unaware he’d been on the trading block at Tampa Bay.

”I had no idea that any of it was going on,” Barron said. ”But I am excited about the situation.”
Barron entered the field midway through the one-hour walkthrough, which was followed by a private session on the indoor field. Fisher said there are 13 players on the injury report, an estimated list given everything was slowed down, and he’s trying to conserve bodies.

”I felt like we needed to back down,” Fisher said. ”Our focus is having them ready on Sunday.”

Fisher said it was a bit of a surprise Ziggy Hood Medium Jersey that Barron, a first-round pick in 2012, was available. He didn’t say how Barron would be used right away.

”Whatever the reasons are down there, we had an opportunity to take advantage of getting a good player,” Fisher said. ”I spoke with him last night after we put the deal together and obviously he was surprised and shocked, but excited about a new start.”

The Rams are more aggressive defensively than Tampa Bay, and said sitting back in Cover 2 ”honestly didn’t play to my strengths.”

”Yeah, it is passive,” Barron said. ”A lot of times I had to sit back and not be as aggressive as I wanted to in that system. I feel like I’m an athletic guy, I can do whatever I’m asked to do.”
Both Rams safeties, T.J. McDonald and Rodney McLeod, are healthy.

”Whenever and wherever he plays, I can’t answer that right now,” Fisher said. ”But we got a good player.”

The Rams have plenty of questions on offense, too.

”We’ll see who recovers and who doesn’t,” quarterback Austin Davis said. ”We’ll be ready to go by Sunday. We don’t have to be ready today.”

Quarterback Case Keenum, released a day earlier, was re-signed to the practice squad.

”Just took the day off,” Keenum said, joking.

They added depth at wide receiver by signing Damian Williams and elevated linebacker Korey Toomer and offensive lineman Brandon Washington to the active roster. Wide receiver Emory Blake, tight end Justice Cunningham and offensive linemen Travis Bond and Steven Baker were signed to the practice squad.

”That’s the business, and you’ve got to learn to adapt to it,” Toomer said.

Offensive tackle Jake Long (knee) and wide receiver Brian Quick (shoulder) were placed on injured reserve.

Rookie http://www.buccaneersshop.us.com quarterback Garrett Gilbert was released from the practice squad and the Panthers signed tackle Mike Remmers off St. Louis’ practice squad. Cornerback Jemea Thomas was released.

Two other offensive linemen, center Scott Wells and guard Rodger Saffold, were injured in the Chiefs loss. Washington has been with the team much of the last two seasons and appeared in one game last year.

Meet us back here every jersey

The San Antonio Spurs, in the words Zach Miller Youth Jersey of coach Gregg Popovich, didn’t “look very interested” during their month-long preparations for Tuesday night’s launch of the 2014-15 NBA season.

Yet I suspect you know the drill by now. The defending champions always grace the top spot in the first two editions of ESPN.com’s NBA Power Rankings, barring some sort of injury catastrophe during training camp.

The Spurs haven’t seen much of Kawhi Leonard this month thanks to a nasty eye infection, but that’s not enough to cost them their No. 1 status before a real game is played. Remember that Oklahoma City, San Antonio’s nearest rival in the West, has weathered its own slew of early injuries on top of the loss of Kevin Durant for at least a month because of a foot fracture.
Cleveland, Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers are undoubtedly threats to take their turns at the top in the next 24 weeks, but not yet — not when the Spurs’ status as the preseason favorite in the West has been only strengthened.

Meet us back here every Monday during the regular season as we take the pulse of the teams 1 to 30, courtesy of your trusty committee (of one) by weighing what we’re seeing in the present in equal measure with each team’s big-picture outlook, along with the standard dash of subjective whim.

You can comment below on the rankings, which are compiled with the usual helpful dishing from ESPN Stats & Info and the Elias Sports Bureau. More insight into this week’s order can be found on Stein Line Live.After ending a four-game winless streak, the Devils will try to keep their away success going Tuesday night in a visit with the Penguins.
The Devils (4-2-2) are winless in three home games but improved to 4-1-0 on the road with Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win in Ottawa. Jaromir Jagr scored the winner on the power play, giving the 42-year-old former Penguins star four points in four games after going pointless in his previous three. He had two goals and an assist in four games against the Penguins a season ago.

“The scoring doesn’t show, but I feel the best I’ve felt in probably the last 10 years,” Jagr told the team’s official website. “I don’t worry about it. I try to play hard every shift. I think I have more confidence. Hopefully my luck is going to turn the right way and it did today. Even if the scoring is not there, that’s OK.”
Rookie defenseman Damon Severson had a goal and an assist, giving the 20-year-old four goals and three assists through his first eight games. All of his goals have come in road environments.Just outstanding. He’s got poise, composure. He’s a special player,” coach Peter DeBoer said.

Winning in Pittsburgh has been considerably more difficult as the Penguins have won eight of 10 at home in the series while limiting the Devils to 1.50 goals per game. They split last season’s four-game series, with the home team winning every game.
The Penguins (4-2-1) got back in the win column with Saturday’s 3-0 victory in Nashville after dropping their previous two with nine goals allowed.

Jets backup Geno Smith limited by shoulder injury

Geno Smith could go from being benched Ziggy Hood Black Jersey to being inactive for the New York Jets.
The backup quarterback, sent to the sideline in favor of Michael Vick, has a shoulder injury that makes his availability uncertain for the team’s game at Kansas City on Sunday.

Smith was limited at practice Wednesday and did not throw any passes during the session.

”Very precautionary,” said Smith, adding that his right shoulder is sore. ”I just have to take it slow.”

Smith was hurt a few plays before throwing his third interception in the first quarter against Buffalo last Sunday, but said it didn’t affect his play. He tossed interceptions on three straight possessions, making a shoulder tackle of Aaron Williams to save a touchdown on the last of them.

”I took a hit early on and kind of had a stinger,” Smith said. ”And then, that last play really hurt me.”
Smith gave way to Vick after that last interception, but it was uncertain if he could have even continued on in the game because of the injury if he hadn’t been benched.

”I would have tried,” he said. ”I always try to push through those things. I’m not sure if I would have or not.”

Both Smith and coach Rex Ryan think the quarterback should be ready to play if needed against the Chiefs, but Matt Simms – currently on the practice squad – could be elevated to the active roster if Smith can’t go.

Smith will not be the starter for the first time in his NFL career, a span of 24 regular-season games in which he has thrown 31 interceptions against 19 touchdowns and lost six fumbles. The last time he didn’t start a game was in his freshman year at West Virginia, so the backup role http://www.buccaneersshop.us.com/Anthony_Collins_Jersey is not a familiar one for Smith.

”It is difficult, but at the same time I’m a professional athlete and I’ve been playing football my entire life,” Smith said. ”I’ve seen these things happen and it’s all about how you respond. I fully expect to respond well and come back from this and be stronger.”

Smith believes the organization still has faith in him to be the quarterback to lead the franchise. But he acknowledged that if Vick plays well, he could be stuck on the sideline the rest of the season.

”If he’s giving us the best chance to win games, then he should be the starter,” Smith said. ”And I’m going to fully support Mike, just the same way he did for me.”

NOTES: WR Jeremy Kerley (illness) and CB Darrin Walls (calf, knee) did not practice. RG Willie Colon (knee), LG Oday Aboushi (shoulder), LB David Harris (shoulder) and LB Trevor Reilly (knee) were all limited. … Ryan on the Jets being on pace to set an NFL record for fewest turnovers – they have three so far – in a season: ”I have been a part of a lot of record-setting http://www.ramsshop.us.com/Sam_Bradford_Jersey defenses, but I never thought I would set one in futility. Thank goodness the year isn’t over. I bet we won’t be there. I bet we won’t break that record before the year is over, but we can’t buy one.”

Texans look to build on win over Titans

The Houston Texans picked up http://www.buccaneersshop.us.com/Bobby_Rainey_Jersey their first win since Sept. 28 and got back to .500 by routing the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.
Now they’re focused on building on the win by correcting their mistakes as they prepare for the Eagles.

”There’s a lot of things we can improve on,” Ryan Fitzpatrick said.

The quarterback had a solid game in the 30-16 win, throwing for 227 yards and a touchdown and not turning the ball over for the first time since Week 2.

He still thinks the offense needs to be more consistent and is working on accuracy and getting the ball to the right players.

Fitzpatrick was sacked five times against the Titans, which tied a season high. The offensive line believes better communication is the key to getting that number down this week, but Fitzpatrick shouldered the blame for those hits, saying he needs to be smarter and get rid of the ball quicker.
”Everybody just has to continue to look at themselves and figure out what they can do,” he said. ”I’ve got a long list of things every week that I know I can get better at.”

The Texans are 4-4 at the halfway point and are looking for a victory against Philadelphia on Sunday to enter their bye week with a winning record.

A positive through the first half of the season has been the resurgence of Arian Foster. The running back finished with just 542 yards rushing in last year’s injury-abbreviated season.

He had back surgery after playing eight games, but looks to have returned to form in 2014 and is second in the NFL with 766 yards rushing, despite missing one game with a hamstring injury.
With 151 yards on Sunday he reached more than 100 yards rushing for a career-best Brian Quick Navy Blue Jersey fourth straight game to help the Texans finish with a season-high 212 yards rushing.

He had two rushing and one receiving touchdown on Sunday, highlighted by a 34-yard scamper where he ran inside before cutting back and outrunning three defenders on his way to the end zone.

”I told him when I saw him: ‘That’s the 23 I’m used to seeing’ – making plays like that, cutting it back side,” left tackle Duane Brown said of that run.

”I had no idea where he was and next thing you know – touchdown. That’s the type of stuff we’re used to seeing from him and it’s great to see it again.”

Foster, who had three straight 1,200-yard plus rushing seasons before last year, deflected attention from himself and instead focused on the team’s performance.

”We just have to strive to be more consistent as an offense,” Foster said. ”Our defense holds it down week in and week out, so as an offense we take that to heart … we have a lot of work to do.”

It’s a defense that got another big game from defensive end J.J. Watt, who had two sacks, swatted down a pass and forced a fumble on Sunday. The unit also got a boost from the return of top overall pick Jadeveon Clowney.

The outside linebacker finished with one tackle in limited action in his first game since having arthroscopic surgery after injuring his knee in the season opener.

Coach Bill O’Brien said Clowney did a good job, but that his conditioning will need to improve as his workload increases.

”I don’t think he’s ready to play 80 plays in a game, but we’ll continue to work him in there more,” O’Brien said.

The defense was without middle linebacker Brian Cushing, who is dealing with a problem with his left knee. Cushing tore a ligament in that knee in Week 7 last year and had season-ending surgery. He hopes to return this week, but doesn’t know if he’ll be able to.

”The first four games http://www.officialjaguarsnflstore.com I felt like I was progressing,” he said. ”Then there has obviously been a little bit of an issue.”

O’Brien said Cushing will be listed day to day this week and that they’ll know more about his status when they return to practice on Wednesday.

”He’s going to do everything he can to try to play on Sunday,” O’Brien said.

Patriots praise Manning’s neck surgery recovery

New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia didn’t hesitate Tuesday when asked about Peyton Manning’s Brian Quick Authentic Jersey arm strength three years after major neck surgery.
”I think Peyton Manning’s arm strength is just fine,” Patricia said on a conference call, as the Patriots began to prepare for a visit by Manning and the Denver Broncos Sunday. ”I think it’s pretty evident in his play that he makes all the throws necessary in order to score them a lot of points.”

Manning clearly had trouble throwing when he began his comeback and people have offered all kinds of opinions on him since.

”You can definitely see him push the ball downfield,” Patricia said. ”He has some extremely fast receivers and big receivers that can push the ball, push the routes vertically. Obviously (Emmanuel) Sanders – you can really see him take off downfield and the ball get down to those guys.”

Overall, the Patriots have had success against Manning in his days with both the Indianapolis Colts and Broncos.

Manning has gone 8-14 against New England – 6-12 in the regular season and 2-2 in the playoffs.

In 18 games, he has thrown 41 of his record 510 career regular season TD passes against New England, but has also had 24 of his 222 interceptions. In the postseason, he has three TDs and eight interceptions against the Patriots.

He lost his first two postseason http://www.officialjaguarsnflstore.com/Blake_Bortles_Jersey games against New England, but has gone 59 of 90 for 629 yards in winning the last two – 32 of 43 in last season’s AFC title game. But even in those wins, Manning has thrown just two touchdown passes and three interceptions against the Belichick teams.

Manning is having another great year as the Broncos come to New England 6-1 to face the 6-2 and streak Patriots.

”He’s good because he does everything good,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick. ”Really, I don’t think there are any weak points in his game. He’s very smart. He has a great understanding of concepts and timing, game management, clock management, situational football – third down, red area – great utilization of the field from sideline-to-sideline and attacking the deep part of the field, very accurate, great decision-maker, quick release.”

NOTES: The Patriots, who lost Jerod Mayo for the season to a knee injury, traded for their second linebacker in as many weeks when they picked up veteran Jonathan Casillas from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Terms were not disclosed. Last week, New England acquired Akeem Ayers from the Tennessee Titans and he debuted Sunday against the Chicago Bears, picking up a sack. New England also released offensive lineman Chris Barker.. The Patriots are bringing back 17 of the 22 players Sunday who played on all three title http://www.buccaneersshop.us.com/Mike_Glennon_Jersey teams back for a 10th anniversary celebration of the last one. Two – Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri – are still active while three – Mike Vrabel (Houston Texans), Larry Izzo (New York Giants) and Adrian Klemm (UCLA) are on coaching staffs and can’t make it.

Kelvin Benjamin needs to be accountable as well as spectacular

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Luke Kuechly Authentic Jersey Kelvin Benjamin had one of those catches in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 13-9 loss to Seattle that was jaw-dropping.
There he was, all 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds, going up against the best cornerback in the league in Richard Sherman and arguably the game’s best safety in Earl Thomas.
They had him sandwiched.
Sherman’s arms were draped over Benjamin’s helmet to the point visibility was limited. Thomas was grabbing at the rookie’s arms.
And Benjamin still came down with the 51-yard http://www.nhlshoponline.us.com/nhl-jerseys/edmonton-oilers_c-1708.html catch that ultimately led to a field goal.
“He’s a really good receiver,” Sherman said. “He’s huge and he has a huge catching radius. … We were in coverage and we were right on top of him. He’s going to grow and continue to evolve and do well in this league.”
Benjamin also is inconsistent. He dropped what appeared a routine touchdown catch in the back of the end zone in the first half that led to Carolina scoring only six points in three trips inside the red zone.
For every spectacular catch the former Florida State receiver makes, he occasionally lets one get away.
“He is a young guy who is learning,” Carolina coach Ron Rivera said. “He is not going to catch every one, though you wish he would. When he gets opportunities he is going to do the best he can to catch them.”
But inconsistency isn’t why Rivera didn’t start his rookie of the year candidate for the first time this season. He never gave a full explanation for the benching — which amounted to three plays — other than Benjamin has to show more accountability.
According to Benjamin, that is everything — from knowing the game plan, not taking off plays or simply making the routine catches.
It is clear that for Benjamin to become http://www.panthersshop.us.com/Luke_Kuechly_Jersey the special player Sherman and others believe he will be, he has to start taking care of the little things.
Rivera said the benching was done to send a message. Benjamin said the message was received.
“When I got my chance and got in, I just wanted to make my mark and get the offense going and help the team,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin led Carolina with 94 yards receiving on four catches. He was one of the few bright spots offensively on a day when the Seahawks held tight end Greg Olsen to one catch for 16 yards.
But afterwards, it was his not http://www.nhlshoponline.us.com/nhl-jerseys/minnesota-wild_c-1752.html starting and not his spectacular play teammates were being asked about.
“Everybody is accountable on this team,” veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said. “No one guy is bigger than the team. This is a grown-man business. We have to be on everything. He’s a guy that is going to make a lot of plays for us. You can’t minimize your role. You have to understand the responsibility you have to this team.
“He’s going to be OK.’”

Trustworthy folks for rest of 2014 season

At this point in their careers, Peyton Manning http://www.ramsshop.us.com/Zac_Stacy_Jersey and Tom Brady have earned the trust of everyone in the NFL: coaches, players, officials, fans and executives.
As they prepare for, what, their 1,000th head-to-head meeting next Sunday, it brings up the question of who else should people trust heading into the second half of this NFL season?

And not trust.

There are several places where the comfort level should be, well, comfortable. Certainly in Denver and New England – gee, why would that be?

Once again led by their record-setting quarterbacks, both of whom are looking every bit the Hall of Famers they surely will be, the Broncos and Patriots have the inside track for a Super Bowl run. Not that Broncos coach John Fox wants to hear it.

”I would remind you that a month ago, with how much stock we put into this, it was a completely different team. A month before that, guess what? It was a completely different team,” Fox says.
”People on the outside can’t figure out even when you narrow it down to 12 who the best one is. Right now, when they are trying to pick from 32, we don’t put much thought into it.”

Barring a slew of injuries, have faith, have trust, and start putting thought into another Manning-Brady showdown for the AFC championship.

Also worth believing in around the AFC: Colts QB Andrew Luck; Texans RB Arian Foster; Baltimore’s offensive line; Buffalo’s pass rush; Kansas City LB Justin Houston; Patriots CB Darrelle Revis; and pretty much any placekicker, missed field goals being so rare these days.

It’s difficult to look at the Bills and have confidence considering their 14-season playoff drought is the league’s longest. But that defense is formidable. The team says its 28 sacks through eight games are ahead of last year’s franchise-record Mike Glennon Kids Jersey pace and second most in team history; they had 30 through eight in 1997.

”The numbers don’t lie,” safety Aaron Williams says, adding ominously, ”We can be a lot better. There’s a lot of stuff we have to work on. And we push each and every week. We hold each other to a high standard. We’re never going to be complacent about the stats. We always want to improve.”
One team that is vastly improved and gathering well-earned support is Arizona. Sure, the Cardinals went 10-6 in 2013 and only missed the playoffs because they live in the brutal NFC West.

But those Cardinals never really were considered contenders, and these Cardinals, with possibly the best coaching staff in football, actually have a chance to not only host a Super Bowl, but represent in it.

The work Bruce Arians has done in 1 1-2 seasons in the Valley of the Sun makes you wonder why it took so long for him to get a head coaching gig. The 2012 NFL Coach of the Year as an interim for the then-ill Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis has been forced to go deep into his roster because of injuries. Yet Arizona is 6-1, balanced and confident.

”I can’t say enough about the resiliency of our football players,” Arians said Sunday after their late rally to beat another team worth watching, the Eagles. ”It’s a family, it’s a band of brothers that just will not quit.”

Yes, have faith in the Cardinals.
And while they have looked nothing like a defending Super Bowl champion since their demolition of the Packers in the opener, don’t stop believing in the Seahawks.

They still must face the Cardinals and the 49ers twice and while their air of invincibility at home is gone – and the ”Legion of Boom” has been bust far more often than anyone could expect – dismissing them would be a huge mistake.

Also worth your attention and optimism are Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray, on pace for a 2,000-yard season; Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin and Packers WR Jordy Nelson; Philly’s special teams; and San Francisco’s defense once the wounded return and Aldon Smith comes off suspension.

Not so trustworthy – forgetting those who have proven they belong among the dregs of the league – but in position to do something special are the Bills, Dolphins, Texans, Browns, and everyone in the NFC South.

History tells us to totally dismiss http://www.officialjaguarsnflstore.com/Bryan_Anger_Jersey the Bills and Browns, and possibly the Dolphins. Houston can’t handle the better teams and still must face Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Indianapolis and Baltimore.
As for the NFC South, it would be nice if someone showed some consistency and something to place your faith in.

Don’t count on it.

The money will be presented jersey

The team’s director of sales and Louis Nix Authentic Jersey public affairs, Jeff Berding, told Cincinnati television station WLWT earlier this week that they had exactly 14,945 sales of the jersey before ending the donation drive Monday — raising more than $1.25 million. The proceeds will go to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in hopes of helping fund research in pediatric cancers, and to help families who have children living with them.

The money will be presented to representatives from the hospital during a presentation at the end of the first quarter of the Bengals’ Thursday night game against the Cleveland Browns on Nov. 6.

The Bengals got involved with the fundraiser after Still, their former second-round pick, began dealing with his own daughter’s plight with a potentially deadly disease. On June 2, 4-year-old Leah was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. She has since undergone successful surgery to remove the cancerous tumor from her abdomen.
Almost a month removed from that surgery, she now is facing several weeks of chemotherapy and radiation treatments as doctors try to remove the remaining cancerous cells from her bone marrow. When they gave Still and his family their initial diagnosis on Leah, doctors gave her a 50-50 chance to live.

“We applaud Devon for his openness in sharing his daughter’s challenging story nationwide through media and social media,” Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn said in a news release last month. “We also applaud the response of our fans and many others to the jersey sales. The welfare of Devon and Leah are foremost in our minds, but we are proud and excited to be able to be a part of something that can help advance the cause of fighting childhood cancer.”

Still’s story became a national headline at the beginning of September when he was added to the practice squad after failing to make the 53-man Logan Paulsen Jersey roster. He wasn’t a bad player, but in the preseason he was dealing with injuries on top of his daughter’s medical situation. The concerns about his daughter alone had his mind drifting from football, and he admitted that he wasn’t 100 percent invested in the sport because he was thinking about her future.

Two weeks into the regular season, with Still physically healthy enough to play, the Bengals checked in on his mental health. He told head coach Marvin Lewis he was ready to play football again.

He has appeared in every game since, although his playing time may soon diminish with Brandon Thompson close to rejoining the team. Like Still, Thompson began the year as a reserve interior lineman, but he was more of a consistent contributor, called upon regularly in run-stopping situations. Thompson has been out since Week 2 with a knee injury, but he practiced Wednesday for the first time, giving a sign that he might be ready to relieve Still again soon.

Countless entertainers and athletes have purchased Still’s jerseys. ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt purchased 50 to donate to children in Cincinnati, and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton bought 100 to do the same.
Since Still’s story first started spreading, he has been interviewed on various ESPN platforms, including being part of a segment on “NFL Countdown.

Chauncey Billups enjoying retired life

These days, Mr. Big Shot has become Mr. Soccer Dad.
Retirement is definitely agreeing Mike Glennon Authentic Jersey with Chauncey Billups.

At 38 and struggling to stay healthy after 17 NBA seasons, Billups decided to step away from basketball this summer. More time for the family – he was a fixture at his oldest daughter’s high school soccer games this fall – and more time to talk hoops, where he will serve as an ESPN analyst this season.

And more time to heal up. The player with the slick nickname – Mr. Big Shot – is actually feeling no pain in his knees, Achilles or anywhere else for the first time in a long while.

Even with the season starting this week, Billups insisted he doesn’t miss hoops. Maybe come January, but not now.

No regrets, either. He was the 2004 NBA Final MVP after helping Detroit win a championship, scored 15,802 points and was a five-time All-Star.

”It’s funny, when I made the decision to shut it down, a lot of people said to me, ‘It must’ve been the hardest thing in the world to retire,”’ Billups said Monday. ”It wasn’t the hardest thing in the world for me, because I did and accomplished every single thing I set out to accomplish and more.

”I’ve done more than I ever imagined in the sport. When it was time for me to hang it up, I felt at peace. I felt at ease.”

Now, it’s on to his next endeavor, which still remains up in the air.

For now, he wants to hang out with his family. Down the road, he hopes to either become an entrepreneur or maybe work in an NBA front office.

Billups certainly has plenty of role models who’ve made a successful transition from playing career to team executive here in the Mile High City – John Elway with the Denver Broncos http://www.ramsshop.us.com/Brian_Quick_Jersey and Joe Sakic with the Colorado Avalanche.

”I’ve always kind of said that was one of my desires, to maybe be in a position to run a franchise at some point,” said Billups, the third pick in the 1997 draft by Boston. ”We’ll see if that happens one day.”

When Denver opens the season against Detroit on Wednesday night – two teams he spent a majority of his career with – he will definitely be in the crowd.

As for the Nuggets asking him to come on board, possibly as a team ambassador or some other role, Billups said he’s talked to Nuggets President Josh Kroenke, but ”now really wasn’t the time.”

No surprise, Billups is picking the Nuggets as the team to keep an eye on this season. He still likes San Antonio, Oklahoma City or another one of his former teams, the Los Angeles Clippers, to come out of the West. In the East, he’s casting his vote not with LeBron James and Cleveland, but Derrick Rose and Chicago.

”Chicago’s defense is better than anybody in the East,” Billups said.

And he’s always appreciated good defense. He has the aches and pains to show for it, too.

”My body was the key to letting me know, ‘OK, it’s over,’ because my mind is always willing,” said Billups, a standout at the University of Colorado, which retired his number. ”I feel like I can always play at a high level. That’s how I’m wired.

”However, getting out there is a different story. I probably could do a good job of playing right now. But I don’t know if I could sustain http://www.officialjaguarsnflstore.com/Allen_Robinson_Jersey that through the whole season. I haven’t been able to in a few years. That’s a good indication that maybe it’s probably time.”

Erik Cole finished the jersey

A pair of road victories started Russell Wilson Jersey the Dallas Stars on their prosperous stretch, and they’ll try to add another by keeping the New Jersey Devils winless at home.

The Stars go for their fourth win in five games overall as they look to send New Jersey to a fourth consecutive defeat Friday night.

Dallas (3-1-2) bounced back from dropping its first two games by winning at Columbus and Pittsburgh, then strung together two high-scoring home contests.

The Stars lost a two-goal lead after two periods and suffered a 6-5 overtime loss to Philadelphia on Saturday, then got off to a flying start in a 6-3 victory over Vancouver on Tuesday. Dallas scored five times in the first 21:17 and forced Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller out of the game while sending him to his first loss.

Erik Cole finished the onslaught with his second goal 4:44 into the second period, and Jamie Benn scored his fourth in as many contests. Dallas has 18 goals in the past four games.
Kari Lehtonen made a season-high 43 saves and has had to face 83 shots over the last two contests, a priority for the Stars to fix.

“We’ve been good offensively. We’ve created enough good opportunities. … I’d like to find a happy medium somewhere and clean up the defensive side, where we take care of that first before we start leaning on the offensive side,” coach Lindy Ruff told the team’s official website. “It cost us a point in the Philly game, where we were up two goals.”

Dallas has gone 3-0-1 in the last four against New Jersey, which is 0-2-1 in its past three. The Devils (3-2-1) have given up 14 goals in those three games after yielding six in their first three, and allowed the New York Rangers to rally from a two-goal deficit in the third period of a 4-3 overtime loss Tuesday.

The Devils (3-2-1) gave up the tying goal with 5:28 remaining in regulation before dropping to 0-1-1 at home. They scored three-power play goals but allowed two and have given up five in the last 12 times short-handed.

Dallas has four goals in its last 13 opportunities with the man advantage.
“We’ve got to clean up our special teams, our penalty killing for sure, to help us win,” coach Peter DeBoer said. “If we’re going to give up two power-play goals a night, it’s going to be hard to win. In our room, we have the confidence we can clean that up.