Peyton Manning to visit the Titans


Peyton Manning to visit the Titans

From Comcast SportsNet
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A person familiar with the situation says the Tennessee Titans will be visiting with four-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning in his search for a new team. first reported Titans coach Mike Munchak will meet with Manning after a session with Miami coach Joe Philbin. The person spoke to The Associated Press Monday about Manning's meeting with the Titans on the condition of anonymity because the location and time of that meeting remains confidential. Titans owner Bud Adams made it known Sunday he will do whatever it takes to sign Manning to get back to the playoffs and win his team's first Super Bowl. Adams told The Tennessean he had talked to Manning's agent, Tom Condon, asking for a visit with the quarterback. Manning has plenty of connections to Tennessee. He starred at the University of Tennessee, leading to his first name becoming a popular choice for newborns in this state. His wife is from Memphis, and Manning already knows the Titans' facility a bit, having practiced against Tennessee a few years ago when the Colts came to town for some joint practices. Munchak also was a teammate of Archie Manning in 1982 and briefly in 1983 with the then-Houston Oilers. Munchak just hired Dennis Polian -- son of former Colts general manager Bill Polian -- as his assistant. But the biggest key is Adams, the 89-year-old billionaire who wants back in the playoffs. His Titans have been only twice since 2004 with both trips in 2007 and 2008 lasting only one game each. A meeting with Manning could come in Houston where Adams still lives after relocating his Oilers to Tennessee in 1997. "I want Manning," Adams told The Tennessean. "I'd love to see him in Titan blue after watching him so many years with the Colts. ... I want him. I am ready to do what it takes to get him aboard, and I think he'd be the guy to get us into the playoffs." The Titans already have veteran Matt Hasselbeck, signed to a three-year contract last July, and Jake Locker picked with the No. 8 overall selection in the 2011 draft. But Hasselbeck is due 5.5 million in salary this year after getting a chunk of his deal last season. So far, Manning has met only with the Denver Broncos and Arizona Cardinals. He was expected to be heading back to Florida, but did not show at the Dolphins' headquarters Monday despite reports he would meet with the team. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross arrived at the team complex at midmorning, and several players -- including quarterback Chad Henne -- showed up around the same time to work out. Henne is a free agent and not expected back this season. A media stakeout at the complex began when a local TV station camera crew arrived at 4 a.m. Half a dozen TV cameras and a handful of reporters eventually gathered across the street. They weren't allowed on the team's property, but a Dolphins official brought out water, pizza and napkins. Curious motorists occasionally pulled up to ask for an update. Manning spent nearly 6 hours at the Arizona Cardinals' headquarters and training facility on Sunday in meetings designed to lure the superstar to the desert. The session followed a meeting of nearly six hours Manning had at the Broncos' facility in Denver on Friday night. The two sessions were evidence that, for the time being at least, Arizona and Denver appear to be the top two contenders.

Veljko Paunovic: 'We conceded too many innocent mistakes' in New York


Veljko Paunovic: 'We conceded too many innocent mistakes' in New York

Major League Soccer is very forgiving when it comes to the playoff race. Even now, with less than a month left in the season, every team is mathematically still alive.

However, the Chicago Fire are in last place in the league and are falling out of contact with the teams just above them in the standings. The Fire have 27 points and are five points behind the closest teams, Houston and Columbus, which have both won two games in a row.

With that in mind, coach Veljko Paunovic seems to have slightly changed his tone regarding the team and the season in general. After the 4-1 loss to New York City FC on Friday, Paunovic said the team “had a really bad game” defensively. He also talked about the Fire “coming back” next year, something he has previously avoided doing while keeping his focus squarely on the next game ahead.

Paunovic reiterated some of those thoughts in Monday’s conference call with media.

“Of course we are not happy with our defensive performance (in New York),” Paunovic said. “I think for us the maturity is still something we have to do. It’s our main task this year I think. I think in this game we conceded too many innocent mistakes and opportunities to our opponent who was very motivated.”

[SHOP: Get your own Fire home jersey here]

The Fire set a club-record for consecutive minutes without conceding a goal earlier this season (411 minutes), but have given up 18 goals in the past eight MLS matches. The 18th goal the Fire allowed in MLS play came in the 14th match of the season. This is currently the worst defensive stretch, purely in goals allowed, of the season.

The rise in goals allowed has coincided with an improvement from the Fire’s attack. The Fire have scored in 10 straight matches, which is a notable accomplishment considering the team was shutout in four of its first 10 matches in 2016. Despite the offensive improvement, the defensive downturn is concerning for Paunovic.

“I think in some points of the season we were very strong,” Paunovic said of the Fire’s defense. “These last couple of games I’m not happy with the performance, but we are working on that to fix it.”

The Fire have five games left to “fix” these mistakes. The team is not realistically in the playoff race anymore and a tough pair of games are coming up. The Fire visit Seattle on Wednesday and will fly straight to Columbus for a game three days later. Both teams have won two straight and are surging towards the playoff race.

It won't be easy for the Fire to end the season with some positive results. Paunovic said part of his job is keeping the team motivated, but also said there is extra pressure that goes with being in last place in the standings.

“The team is fighting for not being last on the standings in the league,” Paunovic said. “That pressure sometimes is too big.

“We have to mature. Fortunately we had to commit too many mistakes to pay that price and I believe that the team is getting better, but we still have to work on that.”

Stevenson senior Justin Smith commits to Indiana


Stevenson senior Justin Smith commits to Indiana

Stevenson senior and Mr. Basketball candidate Justin Smith ended his recruitment on Monday night by committing to Indiana on Twitter.

The 6-foot-6 Smith averaged 17 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game on 52.2 percent shooting last season as the high-flying wing was a third-team CSN All-Area selection.

Regarded as the No. 105 overall prospect in the Rivals national Class of 2017 rankings, Smith is going to be one of the main players to watch in the area this season as he's already helped the Patriots win a state championship as a sophomore while producing big numbers as a junior.

Smith joins three-star point guard Al Durham in Indiana's recruiting Class of 2017.

Now that Smith has ended his recruitment, Evanston's Nojel Eastern and Thornton's Alonzo Verge are the two best uncommitted prospects in the area as all three players are major candidates to win Player of the Year honors.