Durant injury opens door for Russ

OKLAHOMA CITY — The buzzer had sounded in http://www.officialushockey.com/bryan-bickell-jersey Game 5, and for the first time in their brief Oklahoma City history, the Oklahoma City Thunder had won a playoff series, advancing past the Denver Nuggets in 2011.

Kevin Durant, who had dropped 41 points, including 14 in the final five minutes, stalked along the baseline, right in front of where owners Clay Bennett and Aubrey McLendon sat. With his teammates hanging on his shoulders, Durant popped his jersey and bellowed, “This is my motherf—ing team!”

Without question Thunder have been Durant’s, despite plenty of conspiracy and assumption that Russell Westbrook has been not-so-subtly attempting a coup. All of that noise has always been unfounded and unfair as Westbrook is simply an overwhelming, enigmatic talent that sometimes bursts at the seams. Still, Durant is the face of the franchise, the alpha dog, the top man. Westbrook isn’t necessarily the Robin to his Batman, but in terms of defining metaphoric ownership, the Thunder are no doubt Durant’s.

But not for at least the next six to eight weeks. Because of a stress fracture in Durant’s right foot, the reigning league MVP will be sidelined for the first 20 or so games of the season, meaning Westbrook will finally get to play the role so many have assumed he’s always so desperately wanted. He’s the captain now.

As Thunder Jim Rice Red Sox Jersey general manager Sam Presti said on Sunday, the Thunder can’t replace Durant. The Thunder scored 109.7 points per 100 possessions with Durant on the floor last season and 101.7 per 100 with him sitting. You don’t just pick up the slack of a guy who averaged 32 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists. It has to be a collective effort, with the group combining to cobble together the production they’re going to be missing. That begins with Westbrook, who many have seen as a potential MVP-caliber player if only he wasn’t ceding to Durant.

Westbrook had a front-row seat last season watching Durant pick up his team during his extended absence stemming from complications in recovery from a 2013 meniscus tear in the playoffs. Westbrook missed 36 games, and from January to the All-Star break, Durant unleashed a fury on the league unlike many we’ve ever seen before. The Thunder went 20-7 as Durant averaged 35 points and 6.3 assists. In a stretch from Jan. 7-27, Durant topped 30 points in 12 consecutive games, averaging 38.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 5.9 assists. The run was so outrageous it even spawned it’s own awesome nickname — “The Slim Reaper.”

Durant played completely unfettered, finding that offensive voice so many have known he was capable of. Without Westbrook using possessions — Durant’s usage rate spiked from 29.5 to 35.3 — Durant was able to entirely commandeer the offense. It wasn’t so much that he played significantly better than he had been, he just saw more of the offense. It led to the seemingly previously resolved question of whether the Thunder were better off without Westbrook, which was and still is, definitively, no. Durant, individually, though? He probably is better, at least statistically, as a solo act.

Now it’s http://www.officialanaheimducks.com/Black+Dustin+Penner+Jersey Westbrook’s turn. The Thunder’s experience with Westbrook running the show solo is limited, so it’s hard to get any kind of feel as to how they’ll look. Thunder coach Scott Brooks rarely staggered his star duo’s playing time last season as Westbrook spent only 41 minutes on the floor without Durant. In those 41 minutes Westbrook attempted 35 shots and scored 46 points, posting a volcanic usage rate of 47.5 percent. Without Durant on the floor, Westbrook took 45.5 percent of the team’s shots and scored 41.8 percent of their points. Does Westbrook adjust, or does he just embrace the role and try to go full supernova every night? It’s kind of an amazing thing when a team loses the MVP and somehow becomes more interesting.

The Thunder have spent the offseason remodeling their offense so that it doesn’t rely as heavily on Durant and Westbrook for production. The Thunder are attempting to add more space and movement to the offense, which in theory will create better passing and balance. Thunder general manager Sam Presti envisions Durant returning to a better, more refined team.

“I think we also have to recognize the opportunity here is to build a better brand of basketball so that when he comes back, he’s a part of that. We have an opportunity to get better in the interim,” Presti said. “Use that opportunity, maximize that opportunity. We know we’re a better basketball team with Kevin Durant on the floor. But we can have some influence on how good we are in the meantime. We’re certainly not going to be looking at the calendar waiting for him to get back. I don’t think he’d want us to do that.”

It does present the opportunity for the Thunder to flex a bit of their developing depth, with players like Serge Ibaka, Reggie Jackson, Anthony Morrow, Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones set to be called upon more. Westbrook is a much better passer than he often gets credit for, but he’s also not always all that keen about doing it. And with Durant removed from the equation for the near future, if those other pieces sputter, will Westbrook continue to trust the schematic changes, or just hijack the offense?

Westbrook is as http://www.officialbluejaysshop.com/WOMENS-COLBY-RASMUS-JERSEY.html polarizing a player as there is in the NBA, with some critiquing literally every shot he takes while others subscribe to the #LETWESTBROOKBEWESTBROOK cult. Westbrook isn’t the selfish ball-hogging chucker so many still label him as, but he’s also not even remotely close to the polished, poised player he needs to be. He’s a physical freak, probably the most dynamic, athletic point guard the league has ever seen.

Perhaps both Westbrook’s best and worst quality is his brash bullheadedness, his stubborn resistance to common sense and control. Nobody believes in Russell Westbrook more than Russell Westbrook. It leads to wild, reckless quarters, but it also manifests dynastic, explosive takeovers that only he can produce. Westbrook is a relentless ball of atomic energy, waiting to detonate each and every possession. If Durant was the Slim Reaper when handed the totality of the Thunder offense, then Westbrook will be the devil himself. Whether that means he’s haunting the Thunder or their opponents, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Marcus Johansson scored Womens Jersey

That’s a goalie’s opportunity to Louis Nix Womens Jersey change some momentum in a game and … that’s what I didn’t do last game and needed to do this game,” Holtby said. “That’s my job description.”

With the score tied 2-2 late in the first, and the Devils on a power play, Holtby made a sliding save to rob Jaromir Jagr.

“Holts stood on his head for us,” Washington’s Chris Brown said. “That first period — I don’t think we would have won the game without him in (goal).”

Marcus Johansson scored the go-ahead goal early in the second period for the Capitals (2-0-2).

Brown, Nicklas Backstrom, Joel Ward and Andre Burakovsky also scored for Washington, and Troy Brouwer, Mike Green, Brooks Orpik and Matt Niskanen each had two assists.
“I thought we got stronger as the game went on,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “We were a little bit slow coming out.”

Rookie defenseman Damon Severson scored twice for the Devils (3-1-0), who were seeking their first 4-0 start since 1995-96.

“I think we would have taken 3-1 to start on the road,” Devils coach Pete DeBoers said. “Still doesn’t sit well because I thought tonight was a winnable game for us.”
Cory Schneider had 21 saves before being lifted at 3:25 of the third after Ward’s shot from the blue line caromed off the end boards, hit Schneider and went in, making it 5-2 on the Capitals second goal in a span of 2:29.

“We felt good about our chances going into the third period (down 3-2) and then they got a good break on the fourth one, and then obviously the fifth one,” Schneider said. “It’s all on me and it just really took the wind out of our sails.”

Mike Cammalleri had an assist, giving him points in each of his first four games with the Devils.
Burakovsky, Washington’s first-round draft choice in 2013, has points in each of his first four games.

Cairo Santos’ late FG helps Chiefs snap Chargers’ winning streak

SAN DIEGO — Alex Smith knows http://www.chargers.us.com/Philip_Rivers_Jersey Qualcomm Stadium well, from teaming with Reggie Bush to lead Helix High to consecutive San Diego Section championships to throwing five touchdown passes against San Diego State for Utah in its BCS-busting season of 2004.

Smith earned his first NFL victory at the aging concrete bowl in Mission Valley on Sunday, leading the Kansas City Chiefs to a 23-20 victory against San Diego that snapped the Chargers’ five-game winning streak.

“There might be something to it. I’m definitely comfortable here,” Smith said. “I’ve played a lot here — high school, college and as a professional. I think it had more to do with executing out there for sure.”

That, he did. Smith completed three straight passes for 43 yards on the drive capped by rookie Cairo Santos’s winning 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds left.

Just like that, the Chiefs made the AFC West a three-team race.

Coming off Packers Jarrett Bush Jersey their bye, the Chiefs (3-3) pulled within 1 1/2 games of San Diego (5-2). The Denver Broncos (4-1) hosted San Francisco on Sunday night. Had the Chiefs lost, they would have dropped three games behind San Diego.

“I think this team is in a good place mentally,” Smith said. “We took this challenge on, and we had two weeks to get ready with the bye week. We took it on as a challenge with no one giving us a chance. We felt like coming into this game, we were a couple plays away from being 4-1. This was an opportunity for us to kind of show what we’re made of, show the country. I feel like we’re in a good place and we’ll keep going.”

Coach Andy Reid, in his second season with the Chiefs, improved his career record in games following a bye week to 14-2 (.875), the most victories of any NFL head coach in games following a bye week.

“I don’t think there’s a secret to it,” said Reid, who compiled most of that post-bye magic while coaching Philadelphia. “When we have good players and good coaches, good things happen. I’ve been lucky enough to be in those situations.”

The Chargers flunked their sternest test in a month and lost for the first time since a defeat at Arizona in the season opener.

Jamaal Charles scored once and gained 95 yards to give him 6,113 for his career, moving him to the top of Kansas City’s career list. He passed Priest Holmes, who had 6,070.

“That http://www.chiefs.us.com/Husain_Abdullah_Jersey was my first time winning here,” Charles said. “That was big, it was a big win. That’s a good team, they have a great defense, great quarterback on their side. That was an amazing game to pull off today. The team fought with will and we went out there to play a great game.”

Charles weaved in and out of traffic to score on a 16-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. Former teammate Brandon Flowers leveled him a yard into the end zone, too late to keep the Chiefs from tying it at 7.

Flowers later left the game with a concussion.

“Flowers put a big hit on me, but I’m thankful that I got up healthy,” Charles said.

The Chargers, facing an established quarterback for the first time in four games, allowed Smith to complete 19 of 28 passes for 221 yards.

Now they travel to face the Broncos.

“When you win five in http://www.brownsshop.us.com/Gary_Barnidge_Jersey a row, losing stinks,” San Diego’s Philip Rivers said. “We have to handle it right and get ready to go to Denver on Thursday night and not let this thing go to two in a row.”

Rivers was 17 of 31 for 205 yards and two touchdowns. After setting an NFL record with five straight games with a passer rating of 120 or better, he tumbled to 83.4.

Smith had given the Chiefs a 20-14 lead with an 11-yard touchdown pass to fullback Anthony Sherman with 14:50 left.

Sherman broke a tackle inside the 10 and scored to cap an 11-play, 70-yard drive. On the previous play, a holding call against Chargers cornerback Richard Marshall nullified a sack of Smith and gave the Chiefs a first down at the 11.

The Chargers got to the Kansas City 6 before Rivers threw two straight incompletions and San Diego had to settle for Nick Novak’s 24-yard field goal to close to 20-17.

Novak kicked a 48-yarder to tie the game with 1:57 left.

Novak Dolphins Dannell Ellerbe Elite Jersey has 31 straight field goal conversions, breaking John Carney’s team record of 29 set in 1992-93.

Antonio Gates caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Rivers just before halftime. It was the 67th career TD pass from Rivers to Gates, the most in NFL history from a quarterback to a tight end.

Mountain Hiking and How jersey

Many hikers who are bored of the normal http://www.officialwarriors.com/Authentic-Stephen-Curry-Jersey marked trails, and discovered wilderness areas have come to a new adrenaline rush: mountain hiking. Hiking several hundred feet above sea level gives those with a taste for the extreme the rush they are looking for. If you are that kind of hiker, then mountain hiking is for you.

But wait, before you start day dreaming about the top of the summit, you first need to know how to get there. Mountain hiking isn’t much different than simple hiking. The only major difference is the endurance needed and the terrain you are hiking on. Over all the same gear is needed and the idea is much the same.

The three layer system that is often used in hiking also applies in mountain hiking. Let’s do this real quick: the layering system offers three different layers of clothing that a hiker should follow.
First is the base layer, which is responsible for keeping a dry and comfortable microclimate next to your skin. For mountain hiking, you can wear two pairs of long johns, top and bottom. The clothes should be made from synthetic fiber but not from cotton.

The second layer you need in mountain hiking is the insulation layer. This layer provides more warmth if the base layer and the shell layer do not provide enough insulation on their own. And last is the shell layer, providing you protection from Bernard Pierce Womens Jersey wind, rain, sleet, snow, etc.

Shirts for mountain hiking during good weather
Wool or fleece sweater or synthetic insulated jacket
Wool shirt or sweater, second fleece/pile jacket, vest, etc.
Fleece pants – side zips are nice as they come in handy if you are getting too hot

While in a typical hiking trip, no more than three layers of clothing is needed, this is not so in mountain hiking, where the conditions can be harsher and more extreme. That is why a fourth layer of clothing is usually added, the ‘super’ insulation layer.
You might need to wear eye protection, depending on where you are hiking. In snowy conditions, blindness is common due to the glare, even on overcast days blindness can be a concern. Also in sunny conditions it is important to wear eye protection to protect your eyes.

Percy Harvin became more trouble than he was worth

All of Seattle is asking Charles Johnson Jersey the same question: Why?
In what has to be one of the most shocking in-season trades in Seattle Seahawks history, star wide receiver Percy Harvin was traded to the New York Jets for future draft considerations, sources confirmed Friday afternoon.
The reasons are two-fold. The obvious one is to make salary-cap space for the future big-money deal coming for quarterback Russell Wilson at the end of this season, a deal that likely will be way north of $100 million for four to five years.
Even so, why do it now? Why trade your http://www.nhlshoponline.us.com/nhl-jerseys/carolina-hurricanes_c-1727.html most explosive offensive weapon, the man a large part of the offense is built around, five games into a season in which you hope to return to the Super Bowl?
The answer is the Seahawks were tired of Harvin’s act, several sources have confirmed. The bottom line: He was more trouble than he’s worth.
Harvin played in only one regular-season game last year after undergoing hip surgery. He has played in every game this year but continues to have nagging injury issues that cause him to miss or skip practice.
One team source also said Harvin had confrontations with teammates and dealt with anger issues.
It’s not like the Seahawks didn’t know http://www.panthersshop.us.com/Deangelo_Williams_Jersey Harvin had issues. One confrontation he had while playing for the Minnesota Vikings happened in a game in Seattle on Nov. 4, 2012. Harvin had a heated argument on the sidelines with Vikings coach Leslie Frazier that was shown on television.
That was the last game Harvin played for the Vikings, as he was placed on injured reserve afterward with an ankle problem. Four months later he was traded to Seattle for first- and seventh-round draft picks in 2013 and a third-round pick in 2014. So the Seahawks paid him $18.3 million the last two seasons and gave up three draft picks — for a guy who played eight games for them.
Seahawks radio broadcaster and http://www.nhlshoponline.us.com/nhl-jerseys/minnesota-wild_c-1752.html former quarterback Warren Moon talked about Harvin on 1090-AM radio in Seattle on Friday.
“Chemistry on any team is very important,” Moon said. “I think in some ways Percy upset that chemistry.”
So despite his enormous talent, the Seahawks believe they are better served to move on without him and move up young players they want to give a shot.

Cardinals’ Peterson says he expects to play better

The Arizona Cardinals made Patrick Peterson the highest-paid Calais Campbell Nike Jerseys cornerback in the NFL. Now his coach and general manager are criticizing his recent play
Peterson acknowledged on Thursday there is room for improvement.

”I do believe I’m not playing to the best of my ability right now,” he said, ”but that’s definitely going to change.”

The spate of criticism came after DeSean Jackson beat Peterson on a 64-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins in Arizona’s 30-20 victory over Washington last Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians said the game ”was not good for him.”

”Got beat on an inside route when he was supposed to have inside technique – can’t happen,” Arians said. ”When you’re playing inside man-to-man, you have to force your guy outside. It was not his best game.”

General manager Steve Keim talked in a radio interview about Peterson’s ”tendency not to focus and lack of intensity for 60 minutes.”

It was not the first touchdown Peterson has allowed this season after he signed a five-year, $70 million contract – $47 million guaranteed.

A Pro Bowl player in each of his three seasons, Peterson has proclaimed Morgan Moses Authentic Jersey himself the best cornerback in the NFL, and the Cardinals paid him as if he was.

He knows he is ripe for criticism anytime he makes a mistake, and when a cornerback makes a mistake, it’s there for all to see.

”It comes with the territory by being the highest-paid cornerback and being recognized as one of the top cornerbacks in the league,” he said. ”Is that something that I might shy away from? Not at all. Is it something I’m scared of? Am I worried about the concerns or criticisms I’m getting thus far in the season? Not at all, because we have 11 games to go. I have a lot of games to improve.”

Peterson disagreed with Keim’s assessment, sort of.

”As far as lack of concentration or lack of focus, that’s not an issue at all,” he said, but later added, ”It’s not a lack of focus, just being more aware that any given time the ball can come your way.”

Peterson and cornerback Antonio Cromartie are often in 1-on-1 matchups as defensive coordinator Todd Bowles designs an array of blitz schemes to pressure the passer.

”Patrick’s one of the reasons we do a lot of the things we do inside,” Bowles said. ”So for him to give up a pass or two here and there doesn’t mean he struggles. It just means that we left him out of there too long. We have to do a little more things to help him.”

Good friend Tyrann Mathieu knows Peterson is a big target for criticism, because of who he is.

”You hear things and obviously you see things,” Mathieu said. ”I think he’s handling everything well. Can he get better? Absolutely. I think we all can. But he’s on that level where he can’t have a bad game. People can’t go for a 60-yard touchdown on him.

”I mean, he holds himself accountable. Obviously our coaches hold him accountable. I hold him accountable as a little brother to him, and he doesn’t want it to happen again.”

The last three years, Peterson shifted from one side of the defense to the other to take on the opponent’s best receiver. This year he’s responsible for only one side with Cromartie http://www.raidersauthenticofficial.com/RAIDERS-JUSTIN-ELLIS-JERSEY on the other.

It changed the way he has to study for a game, but it’s still a 1-on-1 challenge, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

”I’m a man-to-man guy,” he said. ”I want to be in your face. I want the best receiver. That’s how I was brought up and that’s how I’m going to continue playing.”

The team said Tuesday jersey

Tony Meola has agreed to a contract Dri Archer Jersey with the expansion New Jersey Ironmen of the Major Indoor Soccer League.

The team said Tuesday the 2000 MVP of Major League Soccer will join the club when it opens its preseason Sept. 16.

“The name itself gives us a lot of credibility,” Ironmen coach Omid Namazi said. “Tony is a great goalkeeper that performed well for his country on the national team, and now he has returned to play back in his home state.”

The MISL season is to start in October. The Ironmen will join Baltimore, California, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, La Raza de Monterrey, Orlando and Philadelphia.
The 38-year-old Meola played every minute for the national team in both the 1990 and 1994 World Cup, including a 2-1 victory over Columbia to advance to the second round in 1994.

“I feel better than I have in three or four years,” Meola said at a news conference. “I have been working hard to stay in shape, and my personal goal is to be the best goalkeeper in the league.”

Meola, who is from New Jersey, was a member of the New York-New Jersey MetroStars from the inception of the MLS in 1996 until 1999. He was traded to Deone Bucannon Autentic Jersey Kansas City in 1999 and had a league-record 16 shutouts the following year in leading the team to the league championship. He was the MVP of the MLS Cup.

Meola remained in Kansas City until 2004 before returning to the MetroStars in 2005 and 2006, the year the team named changed to the New York Red Bulls. He was released by the Red Bulls after the season.

“I look forward to not only playing soccer again, but I am also excited about moving back to New Jersey full time,” Meola said. “This is where I am supposed to be.”

Ironmen coach Omid Namazi said. “Tony is a great goalkeeper that performed well for his country on the national team, and now he has returned to play back in his home state.” The MISL season is to start in October. The Ironmen will join Baltimore, California, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, La Raza de Monterrey, Orlando and Philadelphia.
The 38-year-old Meola played every minute for the national team in both the 1990 and 1994 World Cup, including a 2-1 victory over Colombia to advance to the second round in 1994.

Jets QB Geno Smith curses at fan

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Embattled http://www.packersshop.us.com/Ray_Nitschke_Jersey quarterback Geno Smith lost his cool after the New York Jets’ third straight loss, shouting an obscenity at a heckler as he walked off the field Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

“F— you!” Smith yelled at the fan moments after the Jets’ 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions.

Footage of the incident, caught on camera by WCBS 2 New York, shows Smith — with his helmet off — glaring into a crowd before spewing the profane response. The heckler isn’t seen on camera, and there is no audio of the fan yelling at Smith.

Smith opened his postgame news conference by apologizing for the outburst. He declined to specify what the fan said to set him off, saying only that it came from “one guy,” and it wasn’t a Michael Vick-related comment.

Nevertheless, the fan was sitting in a section behind the Jets’ bench that chanted “We Want Vick!” during the game. Smith suffered another poor performance — an interception and two lost fumbles — resulting in a few Vick chants throughout the game.

Smith received a vote of confidence from Jets coach Rex Ryan, who said the second-year quarterback will remain the starter for next week’s game at the San Diego Chargers. But the pressure is mounting on Smith, and his outburst showed that it could be affecting him.

“I want to apologize if Packers Morgan Burnett Elite Jersey any kid saw me saying any negative remarks walking off the field,” Smith said. “I kind of let my temper get the best of me in that situation. It’s part of my learning process. I have to get better with that. I have to let that stuff roll off my back, but today I didn’t do well with that.”

The incident brought back memories of a similar outburst by Ryan, who was fined $75,000 by the NFL for yelling a profanity at a fan as he walked off the field at halftime of a game in 2011.

The league didn’t immediately respond to a question on whether Smith is subject to a fine.

Smith received public support from his teammates, at least one of whom lashed out at the fans.

Asked how he’d respond to the angry fans, defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson said, “Shut up. If that’s the case, produce a child to make it to the NFL, we’ll see what he’s got. Other than that, just shut up. We’ve got coaches to do that.”

Smith said he had no reaction to the fans chanting for Vick. The fan base is frustrated because Smith has eight turnovers in four games, coming off a rookie season in which he committed 25 turnovers.

“The important thing is that I get my guys rallied up and get them ready to go next week because next week is the most important game for us,” said Smith, who completed only 17 or 33 passes for 209 yards and one touchdown.

“We can’t dwell on this,” he added. “Whatever it is, I have to make sure I right the ship and get this thing going.”

Ryan was unequivocal in his support.

“I’m not going to replace him,” he said. “I feel good about Geno.”

Smith is known for http://www.packersshop.us.com/Brett_Favre_Jersey his even-keeled demeanor, so his exchange with the heckler was out of character. Veteran guard Willie Colon said it’s a no-win situation when players get into it with fans.

“He’s a frustrated quarterback,” Colon said. “I cuss a lot, too. I’m trying not to cuss right now. There’s a lot put on his shoulders — a lot, day to day. He hears it. I feel bad for the kid, but I’ll stand up for him.”

Jaguars receiver Shorts makes ‘risky’ return

Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts III admittedly hurried back from his latest injury.
It seemed like an odd decision for a fourth-year player who had missed so much time recently with hamstring issues. Even Shorts called it ”risky.”

The move might pay off, though – literally.

Shorts caught a career-high 10 passes for 103 yards in a 16-14 loss at Tennessee on Sunday. Although he also fumbled in the fourth quarter of a close game, his return gave quarterback Blake Bortles a reliable receiver and showed Shorts could be a viable free-agent option – for the Jaguars (0-6) or another NFL team.

”I can see where people on the outside would question it,” said Shorts, who is in the final year of his rookie contract. ”I get that. But considering my situation, it was a chance I wanted to take.”

Shorts missed most of training camp because of a strained right hamstring. He returned for the final two preseason games, but then tweaked his left hamstring just days before the regular-season opener. He sat out the first two games and then re-injured his left hamstring Geno Smith Authentic Jersey at San Diego on Sept. 28.

He sat out Jacksonville’s following game against Pittsburgh, but was surprisingly back on the field for practice a few days later.

”It’s the obvious: It’s my last year of the contract, there’s so much stuff going on, the fact that the team’s depending on me to step up, improve and make plays,” Shorts said. ”To not be out there, it was tough. I think I learned from it. I think I grew as a man from it. And I think I’m a better person from this. But I’ve got to continue to be healthy.”
Shorts has missed four games in three-plus seasons, hardly the kind of availability that will get him the kind of money he’s looking for in a second contract.

But if he can stay on the field – and keep making plays – his market value surely will improve.

”It felt good to go out there and contribute and be a help to the team,” he said. ”I’d be lying if I didn’t say that. … The next step would be to stack them up. You never know when opportunities may come. You’ve just got to make the play when it comes your way.”

The Jaguars need him, too.

Playing alongside as many as seven rookies on offense, including quarterback Blake Bortles, Shorts provides a stabilizing calmness to a unit that has struggled in every game this season.

”I do think there’s a comfort level there,” offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said. ”Blake only starting a couple of games now and kind of saying, ‘I know Cecil has got a good feel for what we’re trying to get done,’ and we put him in certain spots where we feel if maybe he might be a primary read on a certain play or two.”

Shorts was targeted a team-high 16 times.

”He has a great feel for it, really smart, intelligent,” Bortles said.

Although rookies Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns have exceeded early season expectations, Shorts knows the offense better than either of them, runs more precise routes and is usually sure-handed.

His fumble Sunday initially appeared costly, but the Jaguars recovered and got in position to win the game. Josh Scobee’s 55-yard field goal in the waning seconds was blocked.

The Jaguars became the fourth team in NFL history to lose their first six games in consecutive seasons, joining Tampa Bay (1976-77), Houston (1983-84) and Cincinnati (1993-94).

They will try to end a nine-game losing streak Sunday against Cleveland – Shorts’ hometown team.

”Yeah, growing up in Cleveland, all I know is Cleveland,” he said. ”I love the Browns, the Indians, the Cavs. It’s always fun to play against them. It just brings a little more excitement to play against the hometown team.”

Between his suspension jersey

Yeah, I’m itching,” Browner said as he http://www.seahawks.us.com/Byron_Maxwell_Jersey addressed the media for the first time since returning from his suspension. “Just like anybody else who has been held out or is hurt. I’m itching to get out there but I’m taking it a day at a time trying to get better as best as I can.” Browner was activated on Oct. 6 after serving a four-game suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy and being inactive against Cincinnati. Due to the conditions of his suspension, Browner was able to remain at team facilities, though he could not practice with the team.

“I was able to stay here during the terms of my suspension — it wasn’t PED, it was substance abuse — so I was able to stay here for the meetings, work out, do everything except practicing and play,” Browner said. “So I have been a part of this [team] this whole time.”

Despite Browner’s activation, he was unable to play on Sunday against the Bills as he has been battling an ankle injury. Browner remains a limited participant at practice, but assured reporters that his ankle injury is a non-issue.

“It’s a lot better,” Browner said. “I feel like I am good to go.”

Between his suspension, inactive status against Cincinnati and missing the game against Buffalo with his ankle injury, Browner has now missed six weeks of the NFL season. But he has tried to make use of the extra time by studying and slowing things down so he is best prepared for his first game with the Patriots.
“That’s kind of what I tried to do,” Browner said. “But, it’s hard to get ready for a game other than being out there. But I watch it as much as I can and try to take as much information as I can, that way when I get out there I can play faster.

“You never can prepare for those live bullets until you are out there. Playbook and film, you can do that all you want until you get out there, and conditioning and you get hit and all those things that are added into the game once you get out there,” he said. Sometimes it gets tough, but this is our job,” Browner said. “You love what you do. You get up and look forward to going to work.”

Browner said he isn’t looking to do too much right way. As a veteran, he carries himself with confidence and is using his experience to play as a part of the defense.

“You just play the defense and let the chips fall where they may, and I think we have a good enough team that if we just play the defense, things should play out how you want them to,” he said.
“I’m excited to get back out there. I’m fortunate to be able to go play against a divisional opponent.”