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Braves agree to terms with RF Nick Markakis




Nick Markakis rounding bases 2015 photo By Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, https


The Atlanta Braves agreed to terms with OF Nick Markakis on a one-year contract for the 2019 season worth $4 million on Tuesday. The deal also includes a club option for 2020 worth $6 million. The Braves’ 40-man roster is now full.

Markakis, 35, joined OF Dale Murphy (1982-1985) and OF Andruw Jones (2005) as the only players in franchise history to earn a Gold Glove award and a Silver Slugger award in the same year, winning both honors last season after going to his first All-Star Game and hitting .297 with 14 home runs, 43 doubles, 93 RBI and a .806 OPS in 162 games. The right fielder was one of two players in the majors to start all 162 games in 2018, and just the fifth Braves player since the National League went to a 162-game schedule in 1962 to accomplish the feat. Markakis’ 43 doubles ranked as third most in the National League, and he became the first Braves player in franchise history (since 1876) to collect at least 35 doubles in four straight seasons.

Markakis became a free agent following the conclusion of last season, finishing a four-year contract he signed with Atlanta on December 5, 2014. He hit .284 (690-for-2,427) over the length of the deal, with 38 home runs and a .759 OPS in 636 games. His 636 games played since 2015 rank second in the majors, one off the lead of Manny Machado, while Markakis’ 690 hits are ninth.

Originally drafted seventh overall by Baltimore in 2003, Markakis made his major league debut with the Orioles in 2006. He spent nine seasons with Baltimore, earning two Gold Glove awards and hitting .290 (1,547-for-5,331) in 1,365 games. For his career, Markakis has hit .288 (2,237-for-7,758) with 474 doubles, 179 home runs and a .782 OPS in 2,001 games.

Read more: Atlanta Braves


Friday, February 1, 2019 Almanac: Day 32 of the Year



February Amethyst birthstone (courtesy American Gem Society)

Every Year



















NFL Network announces Super Bowl Sunday coverage





Special 8.5-Hour Edition Kicks Off at 9:00 AM ET

Interviews Include:

Willie McGinest with New England Patriots QB Tom Brady

Melissa Stark with New England Patriots HC Bill Belichick

Michael Silver with Los Angeles Rams QB Jared Goff

Peter Schrager with Los Angeles Rams HC Sean McVay

Jeffri Chadiha with Los Angeles Rams DC Wade Phillips, DTs Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh & CB Aqib Talib

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald, Denver Broncos WR Emmanuel Sanders & New Orleans Saints DE Cam Jordan Join On-Set

Rich Eisen Takes on Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt in the 40-Yard Dash

‘NFL GameDay Prime’ Following Super Bowl LIII

On Super Bowl Sunday February 3, NFL Network provides more than 11 hours of live pregame and postgame coverage, starting at 9:00 AM ET with a special 8.5-hour edition of NFL GameDay Morning. Utilizing 28 on-air talent members, NFL GameDay Morning offers comprehensive analysis before kickoff of Super Bowl LIII. Following the game, NFL GameDay Prime is live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium with postgame interviews with players and coaches, in-depth analysis and complete game highlights.

NFL GameDay Morning – 9:00 AM ET

  • Rich EisenKurt WarnerMichael Irvin Steve Mariucci – Mercedes-Benz Stadium Field Set
  • Willie McGinest Maurice Jones-Drew – Mercedes-Benz Stadium Field Set
  • Colleen WolfeSteve Smith Sr.Michael Robinson Mike Garafolo – Mercedes-Benz Stadium Outside Set
  • Chris RoseRod Woodson James Jones – Super Bowl Experience
  • Brian Billick, Shaun O’HaraIan Rapoport Cynthia Frelund – Mercedes-Benz Stadium
  • Mike Giardi Aditi Kinkhabwala – New England Patriots Hotel
  • Tom Pelissero Omar Ruiz – Los Angeles Rams Hotel
  • Steve Wyche James Palmer – Reports from Mercedes-Benz Stadium Field
  • Jane Slater – Tailgate Party Reports
  • Amber Theoharis – Walter Payton Man of the Year Nominee Interviews
  • Andrea KremerJeffri ChadihaMichael Silver – Mercedes-Benz Stadium Field Set

NFL GameDay Prime – Postgame

  • Charissa ThompsonDeion SandersLaDainian Tomlinson – Mercedes-Benz Stadium

Featured on the Super Bowl Sunday edition of NFL GameDay Morning by hour:

9:00 AM ET Hour

  • Kurt Warner visits with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff for a film session
  • The NFL GameDay Morning analysts give their Super Bowl memories
  • Kurt Warner discusses how this current Los Angeles Rams team compares to The Greatest Show on Turf
  • NFL GameDay Morning discusses the new Pro Football Hall of Fame class
  • This is Atlanta – This is Atlanta takes viewers on a journey towards Super Bowl LIII through sights, sounds and voices that are uniquely Atlanta. Headlined by musician/producer Jermaine DupriThis is Atlanta features Atlanta icons Big BoiLil JonChilliKiller MikeChipper JonesDominique WilkinsAndrew YoungJohn LewisRyan Seacrest and Jeff Foxworthy​

10:00 AM ET Hour

  • Jeffri Chadiha sits down with Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, defensive tackles Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh, and cornerback Aqib Talib
  • Mark Kriegel looks back at Joe Namath’s Super Bowl III “Guarantee” and its impact on the NFL 50 years later
  • The NFL GameDay Morning crew give their Super Bowl LIII guarantees
  • Who is the most important player on the New England Patriots not named Tom Brady?
  • Mooch’s Minute – Steve Mariucci examines Ndamukong Suh and the Los Angeles Rams’ defensive line
  • Kurt Warner and Michael Irvin remember their Super Bowl wins in Atlanta


11:00 AM ET Hour

  • Andrea Kremer tells the story of New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, and his father’s influence on his life and football career
  • What is the biggest concern for the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII?
  • Rod Woodson and James Jones discuss who will be New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s go-to guy
  • King Willie – Steve MariucciMichael IrvinKurt Warner and Maurice Jones-Drew bow to King Willie and apologize for doubting the New England Patriots dynasty
  • Shaun O’Hara and Brian Billick break down the New England Patriots pass protection and how they have kept Tom Brady clean in the playoffs
  • Kurt Warner and Willie McGinest reminisce about Super Bowl XXXVI
  • Which former University of Georgia running back will have a bigger day: Sony Michel or Todd Gurley?

12 Noon ET Hour

  • Peter Schrager sits down with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay to discuss coaching in his first Super Bowl
  • The Belichick Way – Andrea Kremer sits down with several New England Patriots players to discuss what it’s like playing for head coach Bill Belichick
  • Andrea Kremer speaks with Willie McGinest about playing for New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick
  • Is this Tom Brady and Belichick’s most impressive run to the Super Bowl?
  • How will Super Bowl experience impact the game?
  • Rod Woodson and James Jones discuss how Sean McVay’s offense will attack the New England Patriots defense?
  • How do the Los Angeles Rams pull off the upset?
  • XO Showdown – Willie McGinest and Kurt Warner take on Steve Mariucci and Maurice Jones-Drew in a Super Bowl LIII XO Showdown with Michael Irvin as referee

1:00 PM ET Hour

  • Michael Silver visits with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff to discuss playing in his first Super Bowl
  • Willie McGinest sits down with his former teammate, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, to discuss his mindset as he prepares for his ninth Super Bowl
  • What is the matchup to watch in Super Bowl LIII?
  • Receiving Attention – Michael Irvin and Steve Smith Sr. discuss the impact of Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Brandin Cooks facing his former team, and who will be New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s most important playmaker
  • Warner’s Corner – Kurt Warner breaks down Tom Brady in 2001 compared to Tom Brady now
  • Players Only – Kurt WarnerMichael IrvinWillie McGinestSteve Smith Sr. and Michael Robinson discuss what it’s like playing in your first Super Bowl
  • Who will be MVP of Super Bowl LIII?
  • Maurice Jones-Drew discusses what to expect from Los Angeles Rams running back Todd Gurley
  • Shaun O’Hara and Brian Billick break down Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff

2:00 PM ET Hour

  • Rich Eisen takes on nine-time Olympic Gold Medalist Usain Bolt in the 40-yard dash
  • What are the keys to victory in Super Bowl LIII?
  • Which Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff will we see in Super Bowl LIII?
  • Rod Woodson and James Jones discuss which defense has the advantage and which wide receiver will have the biggest game
  • NFL GameDay Morning gives Bold Predictions for Super Bowl LIII

3:00 PM ET Hour

  • Super Bowl Ticket Giveaway – Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn surprises Falcons fan Kameron White – who recovered from brain surgery to continue his high school football career this season – with tickets to Super Bowl LIII
  • Steve Mariucci and Michael Irvin head into the recording studio to get a taste of the Atlanta music scene and record a song of their own
  • Game Theory – Cynthia Frelund gives her projections for Super Bowl LIII
  • Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders join on-set to discuss what it’s like to arrive at the stadium on Super Bowl Sunday, and if getting to this year’s Super Bowl is Tom Brady’s most impressive accomplishment to date
  • New Orleans Saints defensive end Cam Jordan joins on-set


4:00 PM ET Hour & Remaining Half Hour

  • Melissa Stark sits down with New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick about coaching in his ninth Super Bowl
  • Boston-Los Angeles Rivalry – Larry BirdKareem Abdul-JabbarJames Worthy and Danny Ainge discuss what it’s like to be a part of the Boston – Los Angeles rivalry
  • Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Denver Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders discuss how the New England Patriots avoid getting upset
  • Which Los Angeles Rams player will New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick try to take away?
  • Super Bowl LIII game picks ​

Following the game, NFL GameDay Prime is live from Mercedes-Benz Stadium with postgame interviews with players and coaches, in-depth analysis and complete game highlights, hosted by Deion SandersLaDainian Tomlinson and Charissa Thompson.



NFL Media is comprised of NFL Network, NFL Films,, the NFL app and NFL RedZone.

Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, fans turn to NFL Network to receive information and insight straight from the field, team headquarters, league offices and everywhere the NFL is making news. Launched in 2003, NFL Network gives fans unprecedented year-round inside access to all NFL events, including the Super Bowl, Playoffs, regular season, preseason, Pro Bowl, Pro Football Hall of Fame induction weekend, NFL Draft, NFL Scouting Combine, Senior Bowl, league meetings, minicamps and training camps.

For fans on the go, all NFL Network programming can be streamed live through the NFL app and via Watch NFL Network on smartphones, tablets, PCs and connected TV devices (Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, PlayStation 4 and Roku). Access is available for NFL Network subscribers of participating TV providers. For more information, go to




FedEx NFL Player of the Year goes to Chiefs’ Mahomes, Giants’ Barkley



Patrick Mahomes on field 2017 photo By Jeffrey Beall - Own work, CC BY 4.0, https


Saquon Barkely turning corner 2018 photo By Keith Allison, CC BY-SA 2.0, https




FedEx Supports United Service Organizations (USO) with more than $100,000 in Donations


Kansas City quarterback PATRICK MAHOMES and New York Giants running back SAQUON BARKLEY were named the 2018 FEDEX AIR & GROUND NFL PLAYERS OF THE YEAR. FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and the National Football League made the announcement today, February 2, in advance of NFL Honors – a two-hour primetime special airing nationally on CBS the night before Super Bowl LIII.

The FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year awards are a culmination of weekly awards presented by FedEx throughout the NFL season. The awards give football fans the ability to honor stand-out quarterback and running back performances each week, which in turn, direct charitable donations to the USO in the name of the winning players. This is the 16th season FedEx has presented the awards.

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes led the NFL with 50 touchdown passes and joined Peyton Manning (55 touchdown passes in 2013) and Tom Brady (50 in 2007) as the only quarterbacks with at least 50 touchdown passes in a single season in NFL history. A 2019 Pro Bowl selection, he ranked second in the NFL with a franchise-record 5,097 passing yards and became the seventh different player in NFL history with 5,000+ pass yards in a single season. In total, Mahomes had seven games with at least four touchdown passes in 2018, the second-most in a single season in league annals.

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley led the NFL with 2,028 scrimmage yards and joined Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,212 scrimmage yards in 1983) and Edgerrin James (2,139 in 1999) as the only rookies with at least 2,000 scrimmage yards in NFL history. A 2019 Pro Bowl selection, Barkley ranked second in the league with 1,307 rushing yards and had 91 receptions in 2018, the most by a rookie running back in NFL history.

Mahomes and Barkley were selected from a panel of three finalists in their respective Air and Ground categories. The other FedEx Air NFL Players of the Year finalists were Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers, while the FedEx Ground NFL Players of the Year finalists included Ezekiel Elliott of the Dallas Cowboys and Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams.

As part of the FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year program, FedEx will donate $40,000 to the USO – $20,000 in each winning player’s name – through FedEx Cares. The donation will be used to support the USO, a military support organization dedicated to connecting service members and their families to family, home and country throughout their service to the nation.

Throughout the 2018-19 season, FedEx supported its commitment to serving the community by making weekly $2,000 donations to the USO in each of the weekly winning players’ names. The total contribution will amount to $108,000 this season.

As the Official Delivery Service Sponsor of the NFL, Super Bowl and Pro Bowl, FedEx is proud to sponsor the 16th annual FedEx Air & Ground NFL Players of the Year awards. The awards highlight the league’s leaders at the quarterback and running back positions, recognizing the players that consistently delivered the best results throughout the season.

The $108,000 donation is part of the company’s FedEx Cares global giving platform, in which FedEx is continuing to invest $200 million in more than 200 communities by 2020 to create opportunities and deliver solutions around the world.

2017 Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams
2016 Matt Ryan, Atlanta Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas
2015 Carson Palmer, Arizona Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
2014 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Le’Veon Bell, Pittsburgh
2013 Peyton Manning, Denver LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia
2012 Peyton Manning, Denver Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
2011 Drew Brees, New Orleans LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia
2010 Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Jamaal Charles, Kansas City
2009 Drew Brees, New Orleans Chris Johnson, Tennessee
2008 Drew Brees, New Orleans Adrian Peterson, Minnesota
2007 Brett Favre, Green Bay Fred Taylor, Jacksonville
2006 Drew Brees, New Orleans LaDainian Tomlinson, San Diego
2005 Carson Palmer, Cincinnati Shaun Alexander, Seattle
2004 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Curtis Martin, New York Jets
2003 Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Ahman Green, Green Bay


About FedEx Corp.

FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) provides customers and businesses worldwide with a broad portfolio of transportation, e-commerce and business services. With annual revenues of $69 billion, the company offers integrated business applications through operating companies competing collectively and managed collaboratively, under the respected FedEx brand. Consistently ranked among the world’s most admired and trusted employers, FedEx inspires its more than 450,000 team members to remain focused on safety, the highest ethical and professional standards and the needs of their customers and communities. To learn more about how FedEx connects people and possibilities around the world, please visit


About the USO

The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs, services and entertainment tours are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit


# # #




Los Angeles Rams Friday Super Bowl Pool Report

PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN By Charean Williams Pro Football Writers of America; COURTESY



Friday Pool Report
Los Angeles Rams Practice
February 1, 2019
By Charean Williams
Pro Football Writers of America

FLOWERY BRANCH, Georgia – Greg Zuerlein was last but certainly not least in the Rams’ last full practice before Super Bowl LIII. The kicker closed practice with seven field goal attempts and four kickoffs as the Rams ended their week at the Falcons’ training facility.

Coach Sean McVay called both Zuerlein’s practice and the team’s on Friday a success.

“It was a great day today, getting Greg and [safety] Blake [Countess] full,” McVay said. “We’re going into this game as healthy as you could hope for. Now, really it’s about just tightening things up, making sure we clean up any of the last little details, a little bit over 48 hours out. But there’s a confidence that I think has been earned. Certainly, we respect the Patriots, but we’re coming here with the expectation of winning a game.”

Zuerlein, who injured his left foot while warming up at halftime of the NFC Championship Game, has returned to full health. He was a full participant Friday and does not have an injury designation.

“He felt good,” McVay said. “He hit the ball well. He hit the kickoffs and his field goals really well. That’s kind of what we expected; that’s what we hoped, and he’ll be ready to go.”

Countess (foot) also was removed from the report and is available for the Rams on Sunday.

“Blake was good, too,” McVay said. “He was full. His foot felt good. He responded well, and he ended up having a good day today, moving around. Both those guys look like they’re going to be ready to go for the game.

“We expect to have everybody ready to roll.”

The Rams haven’t listed running back Todd Gurley on their injury report in three weeks – since the week before the divisional-round game against the Cowboys – and McVay deemed Gurley’s left knee at 100 percent.

“He’s feeling good, a hundred percent,” McVay said. “We expect him to play a big role in this game.”

After five touches for 13 yards in 32 snaps during the NFC Championship Game, Gurley is fresh and ready.

“He didn’t have that many touches, but he still played a good amount of snaps [against the Saints],” McVay said. “We just weren’t able to run it as much as we’d like to, because New Orleans did a nice job stopping us. Then, we were in some two-minute situations at the end of the game and the end of the half where you’re more inclined to throw it. He should be good. But I think really our team, as a whole, is feeling really good just having two weeks since our last game and looking forward to the challenge and competing to the best of our ability.”

For the second consecutive day, the Rams practiced outside at the Falcons’ training facility. It allowed them to work on grass instead of indoors on the turf.

As a bonus, it turned out a chamber of commerce day at 55 degrees and under a cloudless sky.

The Rams alternated the first-team defense’s work against the scout team with the first-team offense practicing against the scout team for an hour with two special teams periods.

They worked with music for the first time this week, though it was on as background noise and not used to simulate crowd noise.

“Typically what we do is we’ll really blare it depending on if we’re at home or away,” McVay said. “If we’re on the road, it’ll be blaring during offensive periods. If we’re at home, it’ll be during defensive periods. Now, in a static environment, we just kind of had it in the background. Hopefully there will be more Rams fans than Patriots, but you never know.”

The Rams do know it won’t be as loud as in New Orleans.

“I hope not,” McVay said. “If so, then that’s going to be trouble.”

Now 48 hours from kickoff, most of the Rams’ work is done. They will not return to Flowery Branch.

“Tomorrow, really will be exclusively meetings, have a little bit of a walk-through,” McVay said. “We’ll go over to the stadium and allow the families and friends who are here to come over and enjoy that. That will be more of an appreciation with all the people that are here to share in this journey with our players and our coaches. Then, we’ll have quick, little meetings tomorrow night. We’ll get up on Sunday and have some walk-throughs and meetings and anxiously await that kickoff at 6:30 or whatever it is.”

McVay does not expect to have anybody talk to the team before the game. The Rams had no special guests at their practices this week other than the required media, including the CBS crew on Thursday.

“We’ve been consistent where we try to stick to our message,” McVay said. “I just think this group is so tightknit. We kind of know what we stand for. We know what we need to do here. I don’t know that there’s any motivating words that I could say or anything else other than let’s just continue to do the little things the right way, one day at a time, have a belief and confidence in one another, play for each other and we trust that good things will happen.”


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