Thursday, May 24, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Around the NFL

Power rankings

1. texans 2. falcons

3. ravens 4. 49ers

5. chargers

Best bet

Steelers (1-2) over Eagles (3-1)

The Steelers, at home and in danger of falling to 1-3, will be boosted by the return of two defensive stars, S Troy Polamalu and LB James Harrison.

Milestone watch

History likely will be made at the Superdome today. The Saints' Drew Brees seeks to throw a touchdown for the 48th consecutive regular-season game, breaking the record set by Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas from 1957-60.

It's amazing the record has stood for this long considering how pass-happy the league has become. Unitas was certainly ahead of his time. SI.com's Peter King pointed out the best offense in the Western Conference in 1960 (Green Bay) completed 137 passes all season.

Unitas' son Joe wrote Brees a letter last week congratulating him and wishing him luck: "My father always said that records were meant to be broken. I know that if he was still with us, he would wish you the best as well."

Quote of the week

"I love anonymity. I tell my kids all the time when they say, 'Daddy, we don't ever see you on TV.' (I say) 'You don't ever want to see me on TV. That's a good thing.' "

Danny Crossman, Lions special teams coordinator on coming under scrutiny after his unit became the first team since 1940 to allow a kickoff return for a touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown in the same game in consecutive weeks

Times wires, USA Today and the Detroit Free Press contributed to this report.

Tom Brady remembers the first time he went head to head with Peyton Manning. It was 2001. Brady, then an overlooked sixth-round pick a year earlier out of Michigan, made his first NFL start in place of the injured Drew Bledsoe. Brady walked up to Manning during warmups.

"He said, 'Hey, I'm Peyton Manning,' " the Patriots quarterback recalled last week. "I was like, 'Of course, I know that.' "

There's no longer any introduction needed between the good friends — and future Hall of Famers — who have had several unforgettable battles among their 12 previous meetings. (Brady has won eight.)

Today in Foxborough, Manning, 36, will continue his career comeback with the Broncos for what potentially could be the final showdown with Brady, 35. Barring a playoff rematch or the teams finishing in the same place in the standings, they aren't set to play again until 2015. So savor this one.

"Manning and Brady are the quarterbacks that have defined a generation," wrote Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post: " They made 300-yard passing games and 65 percent completion rates the gold standard rather than rare feats. Their rivalry in classic games between Indianapolis and New England could fill a chapter of storied NFL history."

Manning admits they've turned into the "elder statesmen." After all, his younger brother, Eli, has two Super Bowl rings, and RG3 is all the rage.

But Manning and Brady aren't slowing down, each completing more than 64 percent of his passes with a rating of at least 96. The gunslingers are not what they used to be, but if history is an indicator, one thing is for certain about today, Patriots DT Vince Wilfork said: "It's going to be a pretty good show."

Relevant Rams

In beating the previously undefeated Cardinals on Thursday, the Rams (3-2) are over .500 for the first time in 93 games, since 4-3 Nov. 4, 2006. They've done so under new coach Jeff Fisher buoyed by a defensive front that racked up nine sacks against Arizona.

Make no mistake, the Rams aren't world-beaters.

But as NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal points out, "They're relevant again. … Getting to the playoffs may even be a stretch, but Fisher has the Rams fighting again. They compete each week. Considering where this franchise is coming from, that's an enormous amount of progress in five weeks."

Time for Tebow?

We knew this was coming. Ever since the Jets traded for Gators legend Tim Tebow in the offseason, it was just a matter of time before the Big Apple called for the world's most famous backup quarterback.

Jets coach Rex Ryan said they're sticking with the struggling Mark Sanchez, even coming off a 34-0 home loss to San Francisco. But Foxsports.com's Jen Floyd Engel believes Tebow Time is now.

"Not because of God or faith or any intangibles attributed to him," she wrote. "Not for any reason except the New York Jets are drowning and need a kick in the butt. This is not about belief at all. This is about doubt — doubt about whether the Mark Sanchez who helped the Jets to back-to-back AFC championship games is ever coming back or if he really ever existed at all."

 
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Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

Bucs union rep Ali Marpet questions legality of the NFL’s new anthem policy

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NFL’s new anthem policy requires players to stand on sideline or remain in locker room

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Bucs bring back Lakewood’s Bernard Reedy to compete for WR/KR job

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NFL policy: Players can stay inside during anthem if they won’t stand

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NFL owners passed a new policy Wednesday with the hopes of moving on from boycotts and political turmoil related to some players protesting by not standing during the national anthem before games.Under the new policy, NFL players are not required to ...
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New Super Bowls: Arizona in 2023, New Orleans in 2024

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And you thought our headline would be "Mariota hosts NFL draft before Winston."The NFL owners are meeting in Atlanta this week, and that means a new batch of future Super Bowls getting announced for their homes.A year ago, Tampa got the huge news, an...
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Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

Winston: Bucs’ Ryan Jensen ‘one of the toughest, meanest, baddest centers’

It's hard to miss new Bucs center Ryan Jensen at OTA workouts this week, with his long red hair visible from across the field even when he's wearing a helmet."Any recommendations for anti frizz shampoo and conditioner?" Jensen wrote on Twitter with a...
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Gerald McCoy appreciates help on D-line, but knows it will take more than names on paper

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TAMPA — He's 30."I know. I'm getting old," Gerald McCoy said Tuesday, shaking his head.He's still a young man, of course. But in football years, McCoy has finally reached a black balloon birthday. This is his ninth season with the Bucs, which i...
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HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

HBO: Ex-Buc Scot Brantley battling Alzheimer’s, claim denied by NFL

Former Gators and Bucs linebacker Scot Brantley, also once a popular sports radio host in Tampa, is battling Alzheimer's Disease and has been rejected from the NFL's concussion settlement, according to tonight's episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bry...
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