Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 6:00 AM EST Dec 23, 2018 EAST LANSING — LJ Scott used his hands and a drink bottle to exorcise some pent-up energy, twirling it in circles behind his back and around his waist over and over. That is what happens when a season of lofty expectations gets stuck in neutral from virtually the start. Michigan State’s senior running back, who earlier this month announced his plans to enter the NFL draft and not return for a fifth year, hopes to give a farewell performance to erase the frustration when the Spartans take on Oregon in the Redbox Bowl on Dec. 31. And in an era when players are sitting out bowl games to protect themselves from injury, Scott is taking the opposite approach — to showcase himself to NFL scouts one final time. “My motivation is pretty high to be honest,” Scott said after practice Thursday. “Once I kind of made that decision in talking to my coaches and my family, to make that … [Read more...] about Michigan State’s LJ Scott motivated for bowl game vs. Oregon
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Chris Solari Detroit Free Press Published 8:09 PM EST Dec 20, 2018 EAST LANSING — Mark Dantonio on Wednesday said he and Justin Layne experienced “a difference of philosophy” about his cornerback's decision to turn pro and not play in Michigan State’s bowl game. A day later, a handful of Spartans — some of whom have their own NFL decisions to make — said they understood their teammate’s choice. “That was the best decision for him and his family,” defensive tackle Raequan Williams said after practice Thursday. “I respect everything everyone does on this team. It’s a brotherhood on this team. Everybody loves J-Layne, everybody respects his decision. There’s no hard feelings.” The junior cornerback announced his decision to enter the NFL draft via Twitter on Friday. Dantonio said Wednesday that Layne has left the program, leaving the Spartans without their starting cornerback for the Redbox Bowl against … [Read more...] about Michigan State juniors support Justin Layne’s decision
Dave Birkett Detroit Free Press Published 1:49 PM EST Dec 15, 2018 Romeo Okwara should be celebrating right now. It was just three months ago that Okwara was cut by the New York Giants and on his way to being unemployed after two nondescript NFL seasons when the Detroit Lions claimed him off waivers to help their anemic pass rush. Okwara has been one of the season’s most pleasant surprises with a team-leading 6.5 sacks in 12 games, and is on his way to the biggest payday of his career. A restricted free agent after the season, Okwara, who went undrafted out of Notre Dame in 2016, stands to make at least $3 million next year on an RFA tender, and potentially much more if he and the Lions can work out a long-term deal. But as satisfying as his breakout season has been, there’s one thing Okwara can’t get out of his head. More: Lions vs. Bills predictions: Points will be at a premium “I see a lot of missed sacks,” Okwara said. “I see a lot of … [Read more...] about Detroit Lions’ Romeo Okwara making most of chance to play
Vince Ellis Detroit Free Press Published 10:37 AM EST Dec 13, 2018 CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Detroit Pistons were kicking themselves for blowing a 10-point lead in Wednesday night’s 108-107 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. But reporters afterward were left wondering if Jeremy Lamb’s winning jumper with .3 second left should have counted because there were more than five members of the Charlotte Hornets (14-13) on the floor. The Pistons brushed off questions of the officials possibly missing a crucial call as they lost their sixth straight. The proper response considering these facts. After Jose Calderon’s midrange jumper gave the Pistons a 101-91 lead with 6:24 remaining, the Pistons could only manage one more basket — an Andre Drummond 3-point play with 35.3 seconds left that tied the game at 104. Blake Griffin, who was excellent with 26 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, missed two free throws with 23.6 seconds left that would have given … [Read more...] about Detroit Pistons: Should Hornets’ game-winner have counted?
Helene St. James Detroit Free Press Published 12:18 AM EST Nov 10, 2018 As the Detroit Red Wings seek to regain competitiveness, two of their key building blocks are earning reputations as game-changers. Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou pack a unique skill set because of their speed. They are delivering big plays for the Wings on a regular basis this season, scoring clutch goals and leading the charge for the 25-and-under core. “Just by using their speed alone, it can create havoc for other teams and create opportunities for us,” Jimmy Howard said after Friday’s 3-2 overtime victory over the New York Rangers at Little Caesars Arena. The game saw the Wings trail 2-0 in the third period. Athanasiou scored the tying goal with 2:02 to play in regulation, and then fed Larkin for the winner. “Both of them want to be that difference-maker type player, and you have to make big plays at big moments,” coach Jeff Blashill said. … [Read more...] about Detroit Red Wings’ Larkin, Athanasiou are game changers