WR Gonzalez puts injuries in the past

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WR Gonzalez puts injuries in the past

FOXBORO -- Anthony Gonzalez believes he's landed where he was meant to.

"This is my first time as a free agent; I didn't know what was going to happen, or how it worked," the 27-year old receiver said Tuesday at Gillette Stadium. "I've got some good friends who are very talented football players who still haven't signed on with anybody.

"It was somewhat surprising, but it was the one I was hoping to get, to be honest. When I evaluated free agency and different teams and how I thought I would fit culturally as well as from an offensive standpoint, this is one I targeted. To have the interest be mutual -- that worked out well."

A former first-round pick out of Ohio State, Gonzalez is entering his sixth season in the league. But what should have been a promising career has been ravaged by injury: a dislocated thumb; bruised foot; shoulder, hamstring, hip, knee, back, groin and "leg" ailments; a high ankle sprain; concussions. Consequently, Gonzalez has 99 catches for 1,307 yards and seven touchdowns in 40 games. He had zero receptions last season for the 2-14 Colts.

"Those seasons weren't how I would have hoped for them to go," he admitted. "I've learned a lot of things and going forward, that' s kind of in my past. It's a basic rule: I look forward as opposed to back. And that's the focus I'm putting on it these days."

Further prodding about his health -- from various angles -- produced little else. Gonzalez said he's one to outline his personal goals, and it seemed on Tuesday he'd already made up his mind to not discuss injury issues.

There's enough in the future to concern himself with anyway.

"I'm kind of sneaking around trying to learn as much as I can; there's kind of some goofy rules right now in terms of what you can and can't do," he smiled. "But that's kind of my focus right now with Tom, or Brian Hoyer, or anybody, is just to learn this offesne as quickly as humanly possible. I know just from watching that it's a pretty complex, pretty involved offense. The one in Indy was too so that part of it doesn't worry me.

"I want to make sure when it's time to go out on the field and do things there's no hesitancy mentally because I know if I don't know exactly what I'm doing, there's going to be problems for me. It's a lot harder to play when you don't know what you're doing."

Chad Ochocinco illustrated last season how unpreparedness plays out in New England: Badly. And what did the receiver say again and again, in the few times he talked? Patriots expectations are astronomical -- uniquely so -- and in the locker room it starts with quarterback Tom Brady.

The attitude of excellence is one Gonzalez had to have experienced playing with Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.

"I was joking with my friends I have a very strict "Hall of Famer only" policy and I have to stay within that group," Gonzalez laughed. "It's wonderful obviously. Quarterbacks make receivers look very good and hopefully I can get some opportunities with him."

It helps he knows Brady back-up Brian Hoyer very, very well; the pair played football together at Cleveland's St. Ignatius high school.

Though Gonzalez said it's "odd" to be reuinted with his high school quarterback, he's appreciates having a familiar face around Gillette. He described himself as a quiet guy who has appreciated getting to know his new teammates in the small waves currently are rolling into the facility.

And it's just the beginning, Gonzalez hopes.

"From my perspective, I have an opportunity with the best football program in the National Football League," he said. "I can't ask for anything more than that."

Report: Bulls tell teams they won't trade Jimmy Butler

Report: Bulls tell teams they won't trade Jimmy Butler

The Bulls reportedly weren’t making Jimmy Butler available for a trade last month.

As the trade deadline approaches, it seems that hasn’t changed.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

The teams that talked to the Chicago Bulls today were told, “Just about everybody on our roster is available, but Jimmy Butler is not.”

The Bulls are not obliged to stand by that, and there’s no indication they’ve assured Butler anything. If they’re offered a package more valuable than Butler, they’ll trade him.

But that’s a lot of value.

Click here for the complete story.

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

MLB may make rule changes for '18 season

PHOENIX - Major League Baseball intends to push forward with the process that could lead to possible rule changes involving the strike zone, installation of pitch clocks and limits on trips to the pitcher's mound. While baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred expressed hope the ongoing process would lead to an agreement, he said clubs would reserve the right to act unilaterally, consistent with the rule-change provision of the sport's labor contract.

Union head Tony Clark said last weekend he did not foresee players agreeing to proposed changes for 2017. Under baseball's collective bargaining agreement, management can alter playing rules only with agreement from the union - unless it gives one year notice. With the one year of notice, management can make changes on its own.

"Unfortunately it now appears that there really won't be any meaningful change for the 2017 season due to a lack of cooperation from the MLBPA," Manfred said Tuesday during a news conference. "I've tried to be clear that our game is fundamentally sound, that it does not need to be fixed as some people have suggested, and I think last season was the kind of demonstration of the potential of our league to captivate the nation and of the game's unique place in American culture."

Yet, he also added: "I believe it's a mistake to stick our head in the sand and ignore the fact that our game has changed and continues to change."

Manfred said while he prefers an agreement, "I'm also not willing to walk away." He said he will send a letter to the union in the coming days and plans to continue dialogue with Clark and others in hopes of reaching agreement.

Clark met with Cactus League teams last week, five at a time over Thursday, Friday and Saturday, before departing Monday for Florida to visit each Grapefruit League club - and proposed rules changes were a topic.

"I have great respect for the labor relations process, and I have a pretty good track record for getting things done with the MLBPA," Manfred said. "I have to admit, however, that I am disappointed that we could not even get the MLBPA to agree to modest rule changes like limits on trips to the mound that have little effect on the competitive character of the game."

Clark saw talks differently.

"Unless your definition of `cooperation' is blanket approval, I don't agree that we've failed to cooperate with the commissioner's office on these issues," he wrote in an email to The Associated Press. "Two years ago we negotiated pace of play protocols that had an immediate and positive impact. Last year we took a step backward in some ways, and this offseason we've been in regular contact with MLB and with our members to get a better handle on why that happened. I would be surprised if those discussions with MLB don't continue, notwithstanding today's comments about implementation. As I've said, fundamental changes to the game are going to be an uphill battle, but the lines of communication should remain open."

Clark added "my understanding is that MLB wants to continue with the replay changes (2-minute limit) and the no-pitch intentional walks and the pace of game warning/fine adjustments."

Manfred said he didn't want to share specifics of his priorities for alterations.

"There's a variety of changes that can be undertaken," Manfred said. "I'm committed to the idea that we have a set of proposals out there and we continue to discuss those proposals in private."

MLB has studied whether to restore the lower edge of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level - at the top of the kneecap. Management would like to install 20-second pitch clocks in an attempt to speed the pace of play - they have been used at Triple-A and Double-A for the past two seasons.

Players also have been against limiting mound meetings. The least controversial change appears to be allowing a team to call for an intentional walk without the pitcher having to throw pitches. In addition, MLB likely can alter some video review rules without the union's agreement- such as shortening the time a manager has to call for a review.

"Most of this stuff that they were talking about I don't think it would have been a major adjustment for us," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Manfred said starting runners on second base in extra innings sounds unlikely to be implemented in the majors. The change will be experimented with during the World Baseball Classic and perhaps at some short-season Class A leagues. Manfred said it was a special-purpose rule "beneficial in developmental leagues."

Manfred also said Tuesday that a renovated Wrigley Field would be a great choice to host an All-Star Game and Las Vegas could be a "viable market for us."

"I don't think that the presence of legalized gambling in Las Vegas should necessarily disqualify that market as a potential major league city," Manfred said.