Valentine on Robinson: Baseball needed him

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Valentine on Robinson: Baseball needed him

BOSTON -- Major League Baseball will pay tribute to the late Jackie Robinson Sunday, with players on every team wearing uniform No. 42 in honor of the player who broke the color barrier in baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers 65 years ago.

"Obviously, Jackie Robinson did what was needed for the game of baseball and did what was needed for America,'' said manager Bobby Valentine. "He was exactly the right guy to do the exact right thing. (Former Dodgers executive) Branch Rickey chose him and he took a big step forward for mankind.''

Valentine has more of a connection to Robinson than most. Robinson lived in Stamford, Conn., Valentine's hometown, after his retirement and Valentine met him on several occasions.

After Robinson passed away, Valentine came to know Robinson's widow Rachel and his daughter Sharon in several charitable endeavors.

Further, Valentine's father-in-law, former Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca, was a teammate of Robinson's.

"Ralph's the last living member of the 1947 Dodger team,'' said Valentine. "Ralph was one of those guys that welcomed him . . . Ralph's talked about those experiences as much as anything he's talked about in his life. It was obviously traumatic. Ralph takes great pride in being part of what was going on then and understanding the difference between right and wrong.''

Valentine has heard lots of stories from Robinson's first few seasons and "most of them were ugly. Most of the things that Ralph related were things that I'm anything but proud to have heard. But he endured. It's really amazing. There are books and movies and legend but I think what Jackie did is beyond all of that.''

Valentine was manager of the New York Mets when MLB officially retired Robinson's No. 42 and remembers that as "one of the great days for baseball.''

A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

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A Pierce-Doc-Garnett reunion with Clippers - if only for a day

Less than a week after announcing his retirement on Instagram, Kevin Garnett was back in the gym with old friends Paul Pierce and Doc Rivers.

Cue the comeback rumors? "Anything is possible!"

The tweet from the Clippers called Garnett a “special guest” at the team’s practice on Thursday. 

Rivers, the current Clippers and ex-Celtics coach, told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan last week he was willing to bring Garnett, who has a home in Malibu, to Los Angeles for one last season but KG, 40, chose to retire. So, apparently, the reunion Thursday with Doc, Pierce and Garnett was only temporary.

The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, a former Celtics assistant under Rivers, wants Garnett to join his staff. 

 

 

Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice report: Garoppolo, Brissett practice again

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Thursday's Patriots-Bills practice report: Garoppolo, Brissett practice again

FOXBORO -- The Patriots held a walkthrough on the field behind Gillette Stadium one day after both Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder) and Jacoby Brissett (thumb) tested their arms during the team's practice in full pads n Wednesday.

Both quarterbacks were back on the field, but for the second consecutive day they were limited, according to the injury report. That injury report was, in fact, unchanged from Wednesday's, meaning tight end Rob Gronkowski (hamstring) and linebacker Dont'a Hightower (knee) were also limited. 

There was one significant alteration to the Bills practice report, however, as tight end Charles Clay (knee) was back on the field Thursday. Receiver Sammy Watkins (foot) remained out. 

Patriots coach Bill Belichick described Watkins' explosive abilities in Buffalo's passing game earlier this week. 

"Watkins is big, he is good after the catch, he’s obviously good on the deep balls," Belichick said. "But he is good on catch-and-run plays. He can take those intermediate routes or crossing routes and turn a 10, 15-yard catch into 40. So, a hard guy to tackle, big, fast, very athletic."

If he can't go, the Bills will have to find other ways to try to manufacture yardage. 

Here's Thursday's practice participation report for the Patriots and Bills.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
QB Jacoby Brissett (right thumb)
OT Marcus Cannon (calf)
G Jonathan Cooper (foot)
LB Jonathan Freeny (shoulder)
QB Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder)
TE Rob Gronkowski (hamstring)
LB Dont'a Hightower (knee)
CB Eric Rowe (ankle)

BUFFALO BILLS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
OL Cyrus Kouandjio (ankle)
OL Patrick Lewis (knee)
DB Jonathan Meeks (foot)
WR Greg Salas (groin)
WR Sammy Watkins (foot)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
DB Colt Anderson (foot)
TE Charles Clay (knee)
DB Ronald Darby (hamstring)
OL Cordy Glenn (ankle)
QB Cardale Jones (right shoulder)
DB Aaron Williams (ankle)