The Mike Kelly era, as short-lived as it was, kicked off a troubling five-year period for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Dick Irvin Jersey . Save for the season after their Swaggerville run to the Grey Cup – one that ultimately didnt pan out – Bombers fans have been subjected to the same hope-filled off-season rhetoric; what makes this the year they turn it around when the same pre-season confidence a year ago led to just more troubling results? And in a lot of ways this year could be similar. New general manager Kyle Walters was part of the old guard and new starting quarterback Drew Willy, he of just 147 career CFL passing attempts, cannot be considered the for-sure answer at quarterback. That isnt to say these things wont turn around this season, but old GM Joe Macks hiring got a lot of people excited in 2010, returning to the city where he won a Grey Cup before gaining extensive experience in NFL front offices; and Stefan LeFors, Buck Pierce, and Alex Brink all had failed tenures as quarterback of the future. But there is some tangible evidence the team could be breaking out of their five-year fog. Mike OShea leads the list of smart moves the team made in the off-season to quietly start a foundation that could lead to success. Its been a while since the Bombers landed a coveted candidate at head coach. OShea has been ticketed as someone to watch for years now after following up a very impressive playing career with a promising stint as special teams coordinator in Toronto. The Canadian football lifer oozes leadership and has the opportunity to set the standard for the Bombers roster as he helped to do with some strong Argonauts rosters the past couple years. Keeping Marcel Bellefeuille around as OSheas offensive coordinator gives the team a play caller with both head coaching and successful coordinator experience on his resume. And adding Danny McManus, by all accounts an up-and-comer in the player evaluation world, should be of benefit to Walters in the front office. And aside from losing out on the Zach Collaros sweepstakes – Willy was a decent consolation prize – the team added some important free agents to help in the culture change Winnipeg is undertaking. Nick Moore, who some had tabbed for the NFL after his breakout season, should be a fine replacement for Terrence Edwards as the go-to option in the receiving corps. And Korey Banks, who was added after a contract squabble with the BC Lions, still has a lot of game left to go along with his leadership and winning mentality. Maybe this year wont be any different than ones previous, theres really no way of knowing if the new regime fits together to make a winner or not. And there likely wont be an easy team to pick off in the East Division. But aside from bringing with them a fresh air and new way of thinking, OShea and company have a winning attitude that could finally reverse the fortunes in Winnipeg. If youre apt to believe a change of culture is a noticeable step on the way to respectability, the Bombers could finally be making the first moves towards contending this season. Notes West Division The Blue Bombers are returning to where many CFL fans feel they belong, the West Division. With the Ottawa Redblacks joining the league and East Division, Winnipeg will jump back to the West, alongside the Lions, Stampeders, and Eskimos, and of course their longtime rivals in Saskatchewan. Terrence Edwards Retires Blue Bombers fans havent had a lot to cheer about the past couple years but one constant was Terrence Edwards tremendous play at receiver. Edwards spent seven of his nine CFL seasons in Winnipeg, five of which he surpassed 1,000 yards receiving, scoring a combined 46 touchdowns. Expansion Draft The Redblacks used the first two rounds of the expansion draft to nab from Winnipeg a promising young receiver in Wallace Miles, and a strong special teams player in FB James Green. The Bombers didnt suffer a loss in the third round however as the Redblacks selected impending free agent Rory Kohlert, a non-import receiver. Ottawa never signed Kohlert to a contract extension and he returned to Winnipeg just months later as a free agent. Free Agency Winnipeg should be relatively pleased with their off-season haul. They locked up some solid players on their own roster and landed a star receiver to replace Edwards in former BC Lion Nick Moore, and a quarterback they hope can lead the team now and in the future in former Saskatchewan Roughrider Drew Willy. CFL Draft With the second overall pick the Blue Bombers landed a solid offensive line prospect in Matthias Goossen, who they hope will be a mainstay for years to come. Winnipeg also selected McGill LB Jesse Briggs in the second round, Simon Fraser DB Derek Jones in the fourth round, Mount Allison DL Quinn Everett in the sixth round, and McMaster LB Aram Eisho in the seventh round. Jack Stewart Jersey . The 20-year-old Inoue landed a series of combinations and the bout was stopped 2 minutes, 54 seconds into the sixth round. Inoue, the first Japanese boxer to claim a world title in just his sixth professional fight, improved to 6-0 with five knockouts. Martin Havlat Jersey .A. Dickey earned an American League Gold Glove on Tuesday to become the first Toronto Blue Jays pitcher to win the award.ASHBURN, Va. -- The Washington Redskins have re-signed defensive lineman Chris Baker to a three-year contract with $12 million. The deal announced Thursday includes $4 million of guaranteed money. Baker has spent two seasons with the Redskins, playing in 29 games. He started the final three games last season after Stephen Bowen was sidelined with a knee injury. Baker has played booth tackle and end on the defensive line, and hell be a possible contender for a regular starting job at end in the teams 3-4 alignment under new coach Jay Gruden, especially with both Bowen and Adam Carriker recovering from major injuries. Zack Smith Jersey. The 26-year-old Baker was undrafted out of Hampton. He played with Denver and Miami before joining the Redskins in 2012. ' ' '
MANCHESTER, England - Mario Balotelli sparked a dramatic fightback by Liverpool and Chelsea needed a late own goal to edge past plucky fourth-tier opposition as the two Premier League giants squeezed into the League Cup quarterfinals. Blazers Jerseys 2021 .Late goals settled four of the five last-16 matches on Tuesday — and two were scored at Anfield as Liverpool came from behind to beat Swansea 2-1.Balotelli, criticized in recent weeks for a string of below-par displays, inspired the comeback by coming off the bench to score an 86th-minute equalizer before Dejan Lovren headed in the winner in the fifth minute of stoppage time.Finally! Balotelli said on Twitter after scoring his first goal in six weeks and only his second for Liverpool since joining from AC Milan in August.A patched-up Chelsea lineup looked like being taken to extra time by Shrewsbury, a team 71 places below it in English footballs pyramid, only for Jermaine Grandison to head into his own net after 81 minutes to seal a 2-1 win for the Premier League leaders.Didier Drogba had given Chelsea the lead in the 48th, with the 36-year-old striker scoring for the third straight game and just two days after netting at Manchester United in the Premier League.It was a difficult pitch and difficult weather, said Drogba, one of four Chelsea starters who also began the 1-1 draw against United. They were a fantastic team and opponent — they showed why they deserve to be here tonight.West Bromwich Albions decision to field a virtual reserve team against second-tier Bournemouth backfired in a 2-1 loss for the upset of the round.Derby and Sheffield United, who play in the second and third tiers respectively, also advanced on Tuesday.Manchester City and Tottenham are among those looking to reach the last eight on Wednesday.Balotelli started on the bench against Swansea but was thrown on by Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in the 79th minute after Marvin Emnes volleyed the visitors into the lead. Within seven minutes, Balotelli guided home a cross from Fabio Borini to equalize.Swansea defender Federico Fernandez was shown a red card in the second minute of injury time for a foul on Philippe Coutinho, who provided the cross from a free kick that Lovren headed in at the back post for a last-gasp winner.Chelsea remained unbeaten in all competitions this season — and reached the last eight of the League Cup for the fourth straight season — but only after surviving a scare against the lowest-ranked team left in the competition.Drogba has starred in the absence of injured fellow strikers Loic Remy and Diego Costa, scoring against Maribor in the Champions League last week, at Old Trafford on Sunday and again against Shrewsbury when he swept home a left-footed finish from Mohamed Salahs pass.Shrewsbury equalized in the 77th minute through Andy Mangan but was on level terms for just four minutes, as substitute Willians teasing cross was diverted in by Grandison.I was ready for extra time, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said.There was late drama, too, at Bournemouth, which reached the quarterfinals for the first time thanks to Callum Wilsons 86th-minute strike. West Brom had equalized just a minute earlier from an own goal.By scoring five times in 20 minutes, Derby came from 2-0 down to beat Fulham 5-2 away in a match between two League Championship teams. Sheffield United beat fellow third-tier side MK Dons 2-1. Rod Strickland Jersey .A. Happ capped a challenging season with one of his best efforts of the year. Cliff Robinson Jersey . -- Having already fallen behind because of the NFL lockout, Blaine Gabbert couldnt afford a lengthy holdout.HOUSTON -- Jadeveon Clowney was on the field with the Houston Texans as they opened camp on Saturday. But the No. 1 overall pick in this years draft was limited as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a sports hernia. Clowney, who had surgery on June 12, participated in the majority of the drills as Houston started camp with a 2 1/2-hour practice on Saturday morning. But he was held out of 11 on 11 drills late in the workout. The first workout was open to the public and fans cheered as Clowney trotted onto the field for the start of practice. Others squealed and yelled his name as he walked off of it and he flashed a big smile before first taking a second to pull his flowing dreadlocks, which were drenched in sweat from the workout, away from his face. He said hes feeling better, but isnt 100 per cent yet. Despite that Clowney didnt appear to be slowed by the injury and moved around well during practice. He said its up to the trainers if hell be able to take part in drills when the Texans move from shorts and shells to full pads in a few days. "Im just taking it one day at a time," Clowney said. "Im just letting the trainers take it one day at a time and try to come back and get back for the first game." The Texans open the preseason on Aug. 9 at Arizona. Coach Bill OBrien said hell let the trainers decide how much Clowney will do and when. "Weve got the best when it comes to that," OBrien said. "We do that and these guys are edgy, they want to get going, but its a long season. So we bring them back at their pace. When theyre ready to go, theyll go." The 6-foot-5, 266-pound former South Carolina standout is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker in defensive co-ordinator Romeo Crennels systemm and believes the transition is going well. Gary Trent Jersey . "Im feeling very comfortable, but Ive still got a lot of work to do," Clowney said. "Just keep getting better and better each day." Hell pair with 2012 Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt to beef up Houstons already solid pass rush. Clowney had 130 tackles, 24 sacks, 47 tackles for losses and 20 quarterback pressures in a three-year career at South Carolina. He also caused a school-record nine fumbles and deflected seven passes. The 21-year-old also set a South Carolina record with 13 sacks in 2012. Watt said hes eager to see how Clowney and the rest of Houstons rookies perform in camp. "Training camp is a good time for rookies to get their feet wet," Watt said. "Once we finally put the pads on, it will be a good opportunity to see how they perform in a situation like that. So it will be exciting." Clowneys still soaking in the fact that he now gets to play with people he watched over the past several years. "Its very exciting," he said. "It was exciting the first time I got out here with the guys I looked up to coming into the NFL -- J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph, D.J. (Swearinger), guys like that on my team I just I looked up to before I got here. So now that Im here with them, its even better." Clowney missed Houstons three-day minicamp because of his surgery, but got going early by participating in Houstons off-season workouts leading up to that camp. He feels as if that helped him improve since he was drafted in May. "Im a lot better than where I was," he said. "Ive learned a lot of the playbook already. Coach already said that we look good out there, so weve just got to keep pushing." ' ' '