From Comcast SportsNetHONOLULU (AP) -- At least one key NFL executive thinks play improved at the Pro Bowl this year: Commissioner Roger Goodell.Goodell said Monday during a one-hour question and answer session on the social network Reddit that he thought the game improved from last year, when players were clearly not trying and were booed by fans in Hawaii."I watched the game and noticed the improved quality of the game," Goodell said.The NFC dominated the AFC 62-35 on Sunday in a game that had some highlight-quality plays but that quickly became lopsided.Goodell said he appreciates the commitment from players to make the game better."We need to continually work to make our game better for the fans," Goodell said. "I look forward to getting detailed player comment and input over the next few weeks."Goodell interacted with fans during an "Ask Me Anything" session on Reddit, a popular message-board style website that allows users to vote posts and comments up or down. Goodell's session drew hundreds of questions and thousands of responses; the commissioner answered 14 questions.The league has said it plans to decide on the future of the Pro Bowl by April, when next season's schedule is expected to be released.Pro Bowl players immediately defended their play after the game, saying they tried hard and hoped the festivities would continue for future Pro Bowlers."I think he got what he asked for," said Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, who set a Pro Bowl record with 10 catches."I think guys were intense, I think we understood exactly what he wanted, guys were making plays all over the field," Cruz said.The game had its share of shenanigans, as well. Green Bay center Jeff Saturday lined up for one play on the AFC side even though he was a captain on the NFC team. That allowed him to snap one last ball to Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, his longtime teammate in Indianapolis before this season.Houston defensive end J.J. Watt also lined up at wide receiver, getting two targets but recording no catches.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Je-Vaughn Watson scored on a header in the 85th minute and the New England Revolution beat the Chicago Fire 1-0 on Saturday night.
The Revolution (6-7-8) had a flurry of attempts leading up to the goal and Fire (4-10-5) goalkeeper Sean Johnson made three saves in the 2 minutes prior.
But Johnson came off his line to defend Chris Tierney's corner and failed to clear it with his outstretched hand while Watson connected and sent the header into the empty net.
Bobby Shuttleworth earned his fifth shutout of the season for New England.
Chris Sale -- this year’s American league starting pitcher in the All-Star game -- was a late scratch and sent home before his scheduled Saturday start.
This of course comes after the White Sox have begun to listen to offers for their bonafide ace -- including the Red Sox.
Preceding the game, the White Sox released a statement from senior vice president/general manager Rick Hahn explaining that Sale’s removal was “due to a clubhouse incident before the game.”
After ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported the altercation was with staff from the front office and had nothing to do with his teammates, there was another report that the issue pertained to the throwback uniforms the White Sox planned to wear for Saturday’s game.
Not a joke: Source says Sale blowup was because he didn't want to wear throwbacks, so he cut the jerseys up so no one could wear them.— Tommy Stokke (@StokkeTommy) July 23, 2016
Fox’s Ken Rosenthal has additionally been told the issue “was bigger than that.”
Sources say: Sale cut up throwbacks during batting practice. Upset that, in his view, PR and jersey sales were more important than winning.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 24, 2016
Sale is a huge addition to any starting rotation -- never mind the Red Sox staff.
His stats are without a doubt impressive. An All-Star every season since 2012 thanks to his career 2.95 ERA and 10.1 K/9 -- this year posting a 3.18 ERA and 8.7 K/9.
But numbers can be deceiving -- especially with players playing for a small market club. That’s not the case with Sale though. While the White Sox haven’t contended in the postseason with the lefty, there’s no denying that Chicago isn’t a small market by any means.
The jump from Chicago to Boston is nothing compared to players coming from places like Miami or Atlanta -- or San Diego. So Sale presents a good fit in terms of approach -- in addition to having good stuff.
The incident makes Sale come across as a prima donna, the fact that the issue went past the uniforms shows there could be a deeper issue at hand -- and not so much an indictment of his mental make-up.
Additionally, this altercation could open the door to get Sale at a lower value. If it was that bad that he was sent home, it could take a lot more than a stern talk and hand shakes to resolve the issue, giving interested teams a much better chance to obtain the Cy Young candidate.
However, if the Red Sox do manage to strike a deal with the White Sox, they’d be wise to throw someone else on throwback nights.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar
BOSTON -- After leaving Friday night’s game with right knee soreness, structural damage has been ruled out regarding Mookie Betts, but he could still be out for a bit.
Testing was done on Betts’ knee, removing any doubt of a deeper issue, revealing it was just build-up of fluid, causing swelling in his knee.
“Day-to-day is the status. It may take a couple for him before he’s back to us.” John Farrell said. “Everything points to this being a short-term situation.”
Betts explained that his condition had improved from Friday night, but -- much like Farrell -- doesn’t know how quickly he can bounce back. He wouldn’t make a definitive statement on whether or not he’d be available Sunday.
“It feels pretty good now,” Betts said. “We’re going to do some treatment on it, make sure everything is good and hopefully get back out there.”
Betts joins the list of pivotal players unavailable in Saturday’s game, including Craig Kimbrel and Koji Uehara who are both on the DL.
Farrell couldn’t commit to a timetable for when he expects Uehara should be back, but hopes he’ll be available during the regular season.
“We’re hopeful of that,” Farrell said when asked if he thought Uehara would be back before the postseason. “There’s no number of day’s that says Koji’s going to put a ball back in his hand . . . To give you a time frame, it’s too early to tell.”
Kimbrel, on the other hand, has bounced back well, and is expected to throw his first bullpen Sunday or Monday. The hope is that he’ll throw twice off the mound before the trip to the West, which would set him up for a simulated game.
“We need to get some PFP involved -- just some change in direction, fielding the position,” Farrell said on Kimbrel. “But in terms of amount of time missed, and that fact that he’s able to as get aggressive right now in long toss. I would think it would be on the shorter end of appearances if it’s even more than one. He feels very good. If he wasn’t making the ultimate decision medically [he’d] probably say ‘Give me the ball tonight.’ That’s how good he feels -- that’s encouraging.”