Details of Kobe's contract offer from Italy

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Details of Kobe's contract offer from Italy

From Comcast SportsNet Friday, September 23, 2011
ROME (AP) -- Kobe Bryant has been offered a 6.7 million, one-season contract to play for the Italian team Virtus Bologna, appealing to his childhood memories of growing up in the country. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar spent part of his youth in Italy while his father played there. He speaks Italian, prompting Bologna to hope he might return if there's an NBA lockout. Virtus Bologna general manager Massimo Faraoni tells The Associated Press he's been on conference calls between Bryant's agent, Rob Pelinka, Bologna president Claudio Sabatini and main sponsor Canadian Solar, which would provide the cash for such a deal. "I think the fact that he's lived in Italy makes this appealing to him," Faraoni said. Virtus has given Bryant four different contract options, stretching from the one-year deal to two-month and one-month options, and a per-game deal that would come out to 739,640 per home game. All of the offers are pretax and would allow Bryant to return to the Lakers immediately if the lockout ends. Turkish club Besiktas and at least one team in China have expressed interest in the 33-year-old Bryant, who has won five NBA championships and been an All-Star 13 times. Faraoni watched Bryant when he played in Pistoia's youth system in the late 1980s. "I saw him when he was a kid, and he already had a lot of passion for the game then," Faraoni said. Bryant's father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, played in Italy with Rieti, Reggio Calabria, Pistoia and Reggiana from 1984-1991. The elder Bryant now coaches the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA. Virtus also reached out to Manu Ginobili, who played with Bologna before joining the San Antonio Spurs in 2002. Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari rejoined his former Italian club Olimpia Milano on Tuesday. Other NBA players are committing to play in leagues outside the United States. Nuggets free agents Wilson Chandler and J.R. Smith plan to play in China, Denver's Ty Lawson will play in Lithuania and New Jersey Nets All-Star Deron Williams signed with Turkish club Besiktas. Virtus has won 15 Italian league titles but none since 2001, when it also won the Euroleague for the second time. Virtus has asked fans to send messages supporting the recruitment of Bryant to a "Bologna for Bryant" email address, which will be published on the team's website. Bologna opens the Italian league against Roma on Oct. 9. It did not qualify for this season's Euroleague, although the team has big ambitions after signing former Clemson point guard Terrell McIntyre, who led Siena to four consecutive Italian titles before transferring to Malaga in Spain last season. "I think we already have a competitive squad for Serie A, but Kobe is obviously a great champion and he would make a great addition to the team," Faraoni said. "I would put us just behind Milano and Siena." The NBA season usually begins in late October but owners and players have failed to agree on a new labor deal. The two sides are at odds over how to divide the league's revenue, a salary cap structure and the length of guaranteed contracts.

Bears' Leonard Floyd: 'Comfortable doing...anything' in 3-4 scheme

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Bears' Leonard Floyd: 'Comfortable doing...anything' in 3-4 scheme

Leonard Floyd was a jack of all trades as a defensive standout at Georgia. Those types of players too often don’t do any single thing well enough to make any mark at the NFL level. But the Bears, and Floyd, think he can in fact be a master of all.

“I played outside, played inside,” said Floyd on Thursday night. “And I also did a lot of three-point stance as well as two, so I’m pretty comfortable doing pretty much anything in the 3-4 scheme.”

The Bears plan to use him as an outside linebacker, rushing the passer for a team that had no rushman with more than Lamarr Houston’s eight sacks. What that bodes for Houston’s future in Chicago, as well as that of outside linebacker Willie Young, who playfully refused to use the “L” word (“linebacker”) when talking about himself, is cloudy at best.

[RELATED: How the Bears landed on Georgia's Leonard Floyd]

Neither Houston nor Young was particularly effective in pass defense but “I’m pretty good in coverage, did a lot in college, covered the tight end,” said Floyd, who was credited with three passes defensed, same as Young, in 2015. “I feel like I’ll be fine at the next level.”

The Bears have no plans to set a heavier weight target beyond the 240’s that Floyd checked in at during the NFL Scouting Combine.

“The last thing you want to do is bulk this guy up and then you’re taking away what he does best,” said Bears GM Ryan Pace. “You see some guys put on too much weight too fast and they look stiff and they lose some of that twitch that makes them a special player. We’ve got to do it the right way. I’ve got a lot of confidence in our strength and conditioning coaches, our sports science director Jen Gibson, to get Leonard at an optimal playing weight to maximize his talent.”

But “I definitely want to add more mass to my body,” Floyd said. “I know Chicago has some of the best coaches in the league, they’re going to coach me up hard, and I’m excited to learn...

“I want to add more power to my pass-rush to go with my speed. That’s a thing I need to learn and pick up in the league.”

Buckeyes nearly match NFL Draft record with five first-round selections

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Buckeyes nearly match NFL Draft record with five first-round selections

Many expected a record-breaking night for Ohio State on Thursday, but the Buckeyes will have to settle for only five first-round selections in this year's NFL Draft.

In what was a phenomenal showing for Urban Meyer's program, five Buckeyes heard their names called during the first 20 picks in Thursday night's first round.

Ohio State came one selection away from matching the NFL Draft record of six players from one school being chosen in the first round, a feat accomplished by Miami, which saw six players taken in the first round in 2004.

Defensive end Joey Bosa got things started when he was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the third pick.

Teammate Ezekiel Elliott immediately followed when the Dallas Cowboys used the No. 4 pick on the star running back.

Cornerback Eli Apple made it three Buckeyes selected in the top 10 when the New York Giants took him at No. 10, instantly earning the new nickname of Eli "Big" Apple.

Offensive lineman Taylor Decker was chosen by the Tennessee Titans six picks later at No. 16, and linebacker Darron Lee rounded it out at five in the top 20 when he was picked by the New York Jets at No. 20.

It was the fourth time Ohio State has had five players picked in the first round of the NFL Draft.

The Buckeyes still have a shot at a modern draft record. Ohio State actually holds the record for the most players chosen in a single draft, with 14 players picked in 2004. As Cleveland.com's Bill Landis explained earlier this month, the all-time record is 17, accomplished by the Texas Longhorns in 1984, though that draft had 12 rounds. The 14 players sent to the draft by Ohio State in 2004 is a record under the current seven-round format.

Days 2 and 3 still figure to feature a lot of big-name Buckeyes. Top Ohio State talent not picked in the first round includes Vonn Bell, Cardale Jones, Braxton Miller, Joshua Perry, Tyvis Powell, Michael Thomas and Adolphus Washington.

Big Ten still without first-round quarterback in NFL Draft since 1995

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Big Ten still without first-round quarterback in NFL Draft since 1995

The Big Ten’s long, regional nightmare marches on.

With no signal callers taken Thursday night, the Big Ten still hasn't seen a quarterback chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft since 1995.

The conference's drought extended to 21 years when the first round came and went with Michigan State's Connor Cook and Penn State's Christian Hackenberg, among others, still remaining on the board.

The last Big Ten quarterback to hear his name called in the first round was Kerry Collins, who was drafted out of Penn State way back in 1995.

Since, 26 Big Ten quarterbacks have been picked, just not in the first round. The skid came close to ending in 2001, when Purdue’s Drew Brees was the first pick of the second round at No. 32, a pick that would be in the first round today given there are now 32 NFL teams.

After Brees, though, the Big Ten went without a quarterback selected higher than the fourth round until 2007, the first of back-to-back years in which a conference quarterback was picked in the second round: Michigan State’s Drew Stanton in 2007 and Michigan’s Chad Henne in 2008.

Between 2009 and 2015, just six Big Ten quarterbacks were drafted: Purdue’s Curtis Painter (sixth round, 2009), Northwestern’s Mike Kafka (fourth round, 2010), Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi (fifth round, 2011), Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson (third round, 2012), Michigan State’s Kirk Cousins (fourth round, 2012) and Northwestern’s Trevor Siemian (seventh round, 2015).

Cook and Hackenberg could both be selected on Day 2, and Ohio State's Cardale Jones and Indiana's Nate Sudfeld could also be picked before this year's draft is over.

Here is the complete list of Big Ten quarterbacks selected from 1995 to the present.

— Kerry Collins, Penn State (first round, 1995)
— Tony Banks, Michigan State (second round, 1996)
— Bobby Hoying, Ohio State (third round, 1996)
— Wally Richardson, Penn State (seventh round, 1997)
— Brian Griese, Michigan (third round, 1998)
— Joe Germaine, Ohio State (fourth round, 1999)
— Tom Brady, Michigan (sixth round, 2000)
— Drew Brees, Purdue (second round, 2001)
— Kurt Kittner, Illinois (fifth round, 2002)
— Steve Bellisari, Ohio State (sixth round, 2002)
— Drew Henson, Michigan (sixth round, 2003)
— Brooks Bollinger, Wisconsin (sixth round, 2003)
— Gibran Hamdan, Indiana (seventh round, 2003)
— Craig Krenzel, Ohio State (fifth round, 2004)
— Jim Sorgi, Wisconsin (sixth round, 2004)
— Jeff Smoker, Michigan State (sixth round, 2004)
— John Navarre, Michigan (seventh round, 2004)
— Kyle Orton, Purdue (fourth round, 2005)
— Drew Stanton, Michigan State (second round, 2007)
— Troy Smith, Ohio State (fifth round, 2007)
— Chad Henne, Michigan (second round, 2008)
— Curtis Painter, Purdue (sixth round, 2009)
— Mike Kafka, Northwestern (fourth round, 2010)
— Ricky Stanzi, Iowa (fifth round, 2011)
— Russell Wilson, Wisconsin (third round, 2012)
— Kirk Cousins, Michigan State (fourth round, 2012)
— Trevor Siemian, Northwestern (seventh round, 2015)