If Terrell Owens wants to play, the Edmonton Eskimos are interested

Terrell Owens has been trying for years to get an NFL team to give him another chance, even posting this week that he can still run a 4.43-second 40-yard dash. But NFL teams have shown no interest.

The CFL, however, might be a different story.

On game days, Wilkins earned a flat rate of about $200. We had to show up hair- and makeup-ready . . . five to six hours before game time, she said. There were performances outside the stadium before the game, as well as some at halftime and, of course, throughout the game. Afterward, they would often meet with squad coaches. You’re looking at a 12-hour day, she said.

While filming the CMT show, the cheerleaders were paid by the Cowboys organization for practice hours as usual, but the clock stops as soon as we stop dancing, said Wilkins. She added that the ladies had to wait around and film one-on-one interviews while judges deliberated — unpaid. I’ve been there as late as 3 a.m., she said. (The network had no comment.)

There are women who quit their day jobs just for training camp because it is so strenuous and so draining, she said.

She not only made the cut, she was named to the elite 16-person show group.

Show group is coveted because that’s the group that gets to go on the USO tours, and also any performances that are outside of the game-day setting, Wilkins explained. Despite the prestige, cheerleaders were not always paid for the time spent prepping for those appearances.

Wilkins made her rent by working part-time as a technician at a cryotherapy spa — which, combined with her new DCC schedule, left her little time to see friends or date.

[Being on the squad] is expected to take priority over your job and your personal life, said Wilkins, who is currently single.

Practice officially starts at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. But you better be there by 6 or 6:30 at the latest, in the locker room practicing before practice. Sometimes we might have a Monday off if the game fell on the Sunday, she said.

Letting Calais Campbell go in 2017

You might have expected 2013 No. 7 overall pick Jonathan Cooper to land here, because if you’re going to swing and miss that early in the draft, at least do it on a player at a premium position. If you’re going to take a guard in the top 10, you’d better be damn sure he’ll pan out. And Cooper did not, starting just 11 games for the Cardinals over a two-year span.

What the Yankees need: Pitching. Specifically, they need starting pitching. Luis Severino is the unquestioned ace and maybe a top-five starter in baseball. Behind him? A million question marks. Injuries to Masahiro Tanaka (two strained hamstrings) and Jordan Montgomery (Tommy John surgery) have underscored the need for the team to at least add depth, if not just a high-quality arm.

What the Yankees have: Steinbrenner said money won’t be the issue, which is interesting, considering Steinbrenner’s stated goal to stay beneath the league’s $197 million luxury tax threshold. Refresher: The Yankees are getting hit with the harshest penalty the league doles out for spending over the threshold — 50 cents on every buck over the mark — because they have exceeded it for so many years in a row. By getting under $197 million this season, they would incur a significantly lower penalty if they were to spend over it next season. Back of the napkin math puts the Yankees’ current payroll at about $185 million. That would seem like a lot of wiggle room.

What the Yankees don’t want to give up: High-level prospects.

The 2014 first-round pick took over as a starter during his rookie year and has become a stalwart on the left side of Tennessee’s offensive line. He earned trips to the Pro Bowl in each of the last two seasons,

Current deal: The Titans picked up the fifth-year option on Lewan’s rookie contract, so he’s due to make $9.341 million in 2018.

What he’s looking for: The New York Giants set the market in March when they signed Nate Solder to a four-year, $62 million deal. Solder is three years older than Lewan and has never made the Pro Bowl, so there’s no reason Lewan shouldn’t get more than $15.5 million per year and become the new highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.

Hue Jackson: 2018 Browns must ‘earn’ helmet stripes

If you’re a Browns player assuming the equipment staff will compliantly paste the team’s traditional black-and-white stripe on your helmet this summer — think again, pal.

This offseason, the roster is toiling away with plain orange headgear — no stripe to be seen — after coach Hue Jackson had the team’s equipment staff strip all helmets clean.

Durant, who tilted this rivalry toward the West Coast when he signed with the Warriors as a free agent before last season, was brilliant from the start. He helped offset a rough night for Curry, who made a finals-record nine 3-pointers in Game 2, but was just 1 of 10 from behind the arc and didn’t score his second field goal until there were under three minutes left.

Curry’s scoop shot put the Warriors up 98-97 and defensive specialist Andre Iguodala, who didn’t play in Games 1 or 2 because of a knee injury, came up with a steal under the basket. Curry finally buried a 3 and after James matched him with a long shot, Iguodala drove the lane for a thundering dunk.

I think we’re in a good place because there’s guys who’ve been here before, defensive lineman Akiem Hicks said. You don’t really have to preach anything; we’ve already established our culture and what we want from ourselves, and everybody’s pushing toward that same goal.

Continuity breeds culture, with leaders emerging across the defense. Trevathan and Hicks are each entering their respective third years in Fangio’s scheme, while other leaders are popping up across the defense. The leadership from this unit won’t be like the Bears had under Lovie Smith a decade ago, when Brian Urlacher was the unquestioned leader of that bunch.

There will be a smattering of leaders on this defense, which is fitting – right now, there isn’t a true star of this bunch, but that doesn’t mean A) one can’t emerge and B) it’ll necessarily put a ceiling on how good this group can be. A common theme from talking to defensive players is that, because they don’t have to focus on installing larger concepts and plays – which is what the offense is doing – they’ve been able to focus on some of the smaller details during these non-padded OTA and minicamp practices. And it’s fixing some of those minor things that are why players on this defense believe they can indeed go from good to great this fall.

Giants’ Odell Beckham a no-show as OTAs begin Week 3

jets_051Odell Beckham might be finished volunteering his practice time.

Beckham did not show up Monday for the Giants ‘ seventh of 10 voluntary organized team activities, marking the fourth straight practice he has missed. He attended the first three OTAs as well as the three days of a voluntary pre-draft minicamp.

In a parallel universe, Cook’s knee doesn’t blow out last October, and he and Alvin Kamara are battling for Offensive Rookie Of The Year honors down the stretch. It didn’t work out that way, of course, but Cook was on pace for Kamara-like greatness before disaster struck. All reports are overwhelmingly positive about Cook’s rehab, and he enters 2018 as the clear No. 1 option in the backfield for a Vikings team that will rely plenty on the ground game, even after paying Kirk Cousins funny money to be the final piece on offense.

Even before Mark Ingram ‘s four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances, reports swirled that the Saints were prepared to make Kamara a bigger part of their offense after he won Offensive Rookie of the Year honors in 2017. Kamara — like Ingram — went over 1,500 total yards last season, piling up 728 rushing yards, 826 receiving yards (on 81 catches) and 14 total touchdowns. He also led the NFL with 6.1 yards per carry. Expect his touch count on carries to increase significantly this season. When Kamara thrives in Ingram’s absence in September, Ingram might find it difficult to work his way back into the mix.

That message hasn’t exactly remained consistent, especially as the league announced a new national anthem policy recently aimed at curbing the protests all together and giving teams the option to fine any players who wish to defy the new policy.

This is a time of optimism around the Bears, who might actually be — gasp! — fun to watch this season. Much of that has to do with an emerging young core on offense shepherded by first-year coach Matt Nagy, fresh off a stint building the Chiefs into a powerful attack under Andy Reid. Robinson was Chicago’s centerpiece signing in free agency, and the hope is that the wideout and second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky will be the town’s biggest power couple since Jay Cutler and Kristin Cavallari (OK, bad example).

Sources: Pats’ Edelman facing 4-game PED ban

jets_040Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is appealing a four-game ban that would cause him to sit out games against the Texans, Jaguars, Lions and Dolphins, league sources told ESPN.

Earl Thomas wants a new contract from the Seattle Seahawks, announcing Sunday that he’s skipping mandatory minicamp this week until my contract situation is resolved.

The 29-year-old safety, who has made three first-team All-Pro teams and six Pro Bowls and has 25 career interceptions, is entering the final year of a four-year, $40 million deal. He was the subject of trade speculation earlier this offseason, and the Dallas Cowboys have flirted with trying to acquire him. Seahawks general manager John Schneider never shot down the possibility of a Thomas trade, saying it’s his job to listen to all offers.

Chicago dominated the early-season matchups in this budding battle, but Milwaukee has shown no signs of backing down.

Seattle retained its Chancellor insurance, Bradley McDougald, in free agency. The problem is McDougald is a free safety-type, strong in coverage but weak where Chancellor excels in cleaning up against the run. Second-year players Delano Hill and Tedric Thompson are the only other players who got snaps at safety in 2017. Hill needs to emerge as a more valuable swing player this season.

Should Thomas and Chancellor stay together, the Seahawks will be OK, but a strength could become a liability sooner than expected.

Bryant had three hits and scored a run while batting leadoff for the first time in his career, Ian Happ made a spectacular diving catch near the left-field corner to end the game and the surging Chicago Cubs beat the slumping Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 on Friday.

Jitters aside, Bryant looked comfortable in an unfamiliar spot and helped the Cubs win for the 10th time in 12 games. He went 3 for 4 with singles in his first three at-bats and scored in a two-run first inning.

Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc (2-0) allowed two runs and four hits in five innings.

jets_041He loaded the bases in the fifth but struck out Justin Upton to escape unscathed.

(LeBlanc) gives you a different look every pitch. He moves the fastball around, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. Reminds me of the way Jamie Moyer used to pitch. He takes enough off and keeps guys off balance. We had some opportunities but he made some pitches.

Cruz homered leading off the fourth. Kyle Seager followed with a single and Healy launched a drive over the left-field fence to give the Mariners a 5-2 lead.

Trout cut the margin to two with his second homer of the game, but Edwin Diaz pitched a clean ninth for his major league-best 24th save in 27 chances.

Trout and Pujols homered in the first before Cruz tied it in the bottom half with a two-run shot to center.

Cubs: Maddon said RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) is scheduled to throw a bullpen in Milwaukee on Tuesday, as long as there wasn’t any kind of negativity while Darvish played catch Monday.

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (knee), limited to 13 plate appearances this season, worked out in the Camden Yards training room but has not yet resumed baseball activities. Cora offered no timetable for the return of the four-time All-Star. … LHP Drew Pomeranz (biceps) threw Sunday, but woke up with a stiff neck Monday that could perhaps delay his return from the DL. … RHP Tyler Thornburg (shoulder) felt great after pitching one scoreless inning for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday, Cora said. Thornburg will next pitch for Pawtucket on Thursday.

Orioles: All-Star closer Zach Britton was activated from the disabled list, six months after undergoing surgery on his torn right Achilles tendon. … Machado sat out with an illness that has been making its way around the Baltimore clubhouse. I could tell he was starting to get it yesterday, said Showalter, who has been battling the same malady. … With the return of Britton, Baltimore placed RHP Pedro Araujo on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow sprain and transferred OF Colby Rasmus to the 60-day DL.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (7-1, 3.68 ERA) started his professional career in the Orioles organization, and now he’s won a career-high four straight starts heading into Tuesday night’s game against his former team.

The Patriots are the greatest team in NFL history. We could go down the list of achievements, but you can use Google for that. 

jets_042However, it has become increasingly clear that the winning has come with a price.

Former Pats defensive end Cassius Marsh, who’s now with the 49ers, recently told Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle how glad he was to be in San Francisco because the Patriots don’t have fun.

That killed me, Peter said. That’s when I decided enough was enough.

That was 2007, a few years after he retired from an NFL career that began in a swirl of controversy when he signed as a free agent with the Giants in 1996. Originally a fifth-round draft pick of the Bill Parcells Patriots, Peter was waived before the start of training camp after New England received a flood of criticism for drafting someone with a troubled history.

Peter, who blames most of those problems on alcohol abuse, isn’t shy talking about his past, but adds, Some of it was true and some of it wasn’t.

Torres was frustrated enough that he said something to the ump, but then he immediately went back to focusing on the task at hand.

I think it’s a ball, but the umpire called a strike, Torres said. I don’t control that. I just take a breath and stay focused and try to do my job.

Torres worked the count to 2-2, then fouled off a 94-mph fastball that was in the same spot as the 1-0 strike.

And then this rising star showed his greatness once again by lining a base-hit to right field, Andujar raced home from second and the Yankees had a 6-5, 10-inning walk-off win over the reigning champs in a game in which they trailed by two heading to the bottom of the ninth.

You can feel (Torres) really just kind of slow it down and control the moment, and that’s something that’s stood out to me about him since he’s got here really, Boone said. And Peacock’s making pitches against him. Spoil, spoil, long at-bat where he’s on pitches where Peacock’s executing.

Panthers part ways with Russell Shepard

The Panthers have worked to remake their wide receiver position this offseason, which means offloading the leftovers from last year.

According to Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer, the Panthers are releasing veteran wideout Russell Shepard today, after he refused their offer of a pay cut.

After Justify and Good Magic, No. 1 Quip is third at 12-1. No. 2 Lone Sailor is 15-1, No. 6 Tenfold and No. 8 Bravazo are 20-1 and No. 3 Sporting Chance and No. 4 Diamond King are 30-1 on the morning line.

If Justify runs his best race, the rest of the field could be running for second place.

He’s the best horse, said D. Wayne Lukas, who trains Bravazo and Sporting Chance. “He looks terrific, he’s doing well. I watched him all week. He’s going to be very, very hard to handle.”

Harris played in 37 games over five years at the University of Florida, making 102 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, three pass breakups and two interceptions.

Harris made nine starts at UF, with eight of those coming in 2016 when he made 73 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions and three passes defensed.

Boston took a 2-0 series lead on the Bucks in the first round before dropping back-to-back games in Milwaukee. Smart came off the bench when the series swung back to Boston for Game 5. He finished that one with nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks to help the Celtics pull out a five-point victory.

Boston is 8-2 since Smart’s return and has the Cavaliers facing their first 2-0 series hole since 2008, when they lost 4-3 to the Celtics in the conference semifinals. Boston went on to win the NBA title that season. cardinals_016