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POSTED BY: liny195 on 12/10/2018 02:47:58


BEREA Authentic Royce Freeman Jersey , Ohio (AP) — Months ago, Desmond Harrison was confident he’d replace Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas.

The Browns only realized it in the past few days.

An undrafted rookie with a checkered past, Harrison will open the season as Cleveland’s starting left tackle — a position held down by Thomas, a future Hall of Famer, for more than a decade — on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I’m replacing Joe, so I know how big it is,” Harrison said.

It’s a remarkable jump for Harrison, who last season was pile-driving players at Division II Georgia State after not playing for three years following his dismissal at Texas.

To Harrison, it’s just football on a larger stage.

“It’s a big leap,” Harrison said Friday after coach Hue Jackson announced yet another transformation to his offensive line. “Kind of more people at the game, stuff like that. So that’s probably like the only difference.”

Well, there’s also blocking Cam Heyward and the other Steelers, who led the NFL with 57 sacks a season.

But you gotta admire the rookie’s swagger.

Harrison’s ascension up the depth chart is the latest wrinkle up front for the Browns, who have been tinkering with the left side of their offensive line for weeks. The team recently slid left guard Joel Bitonio to tackle and plugged rookie Austin Corbett in at guard.

However, after four preseason games, Jackson and his coaching staff didn’t like the line’s makeup. Determined to put the “best five guys on the field,” the Browns decided to go with the 6-foot-6, 305-pound Harrison who looks like he was engineered in a laboratory for left tackles.

“He looks like a left tackle in this league,” Bitonio said.

Jackson said the 24-year-old Harrison has played like one.

“He is very talented,” Jackson said. “He has earned it. He competed. When you put all of the different variables out there of what we could have done or would have done, and you look at it and you watch the practice tape and the game, he is the best left tackle for us to play right now.

“Obviously, Joel is the best left guard. We feel like we are heading in the right direction by far. I agonized over this decision because it is a huge decision. At the same time, I have confidence one, in our coaches, and in the player. He has worked hard. He wants this opportunity. He has demonstrated that.”

Harrison took a unique, unorthodox path to the NFL.

A big-time high school recruit, Harrison committed to Auburn but didn’t have the grades and started at Contra Costa (Calif.) Community College. He played two seasons of JUCO ball before transferring to Texas, where he played in seven games in 2013. But after reportedly failing multiple drug tests, he was suspended several times and eventually left.

He didn’t play in 2015 and 2016, explaining he “was just getting myself right mentally.”

Harrison started nine games last season at West Georgia Youth Dante Pettis Jersey , compiling a dominant highlight tape that looks like excerpts pulled from the movie “Blindside.” He missed the Senior Bowl because of a sprained knee and failed a drug test at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

He admitted the drug test probably cost him being drafted, but the Browns signed him as a free agent in May.

From the moment he arrived at rookie mini-camp, Harrison said he knew he would take over for Thomas, the 10-time Pro Bowler who retired in March following a remarkable career that included never missing a snap — 10,363 straight — until an injury ended his 2017 season.

How did Harrison know?

“Just how confident I am in myself,” he said.

Bitonio likes everything about Harrison.

“It’s obviously going to be a big jump Sunday when you’re playing in front of 60,000 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, a vaunted defense, but I think he’s ready,” Bitonio said. “I think the coaches and upper management have made that decision and they trust him and they know he’s going to get better every rep that he’s out there to improve. He’s a confident, kid, though.

“I know he feels like he belongs out there.”

Patrick Reed is leading a major championship for the first time, and his confidence is so high that he can only see what’s ahead of him.

Reed started and finished the front nine with three straight birdies. He answered Marc Leishman’s bold shot for an eagle by polishing off another run of three straight birdies. It added to a 6-under 66 and a two-shot lead over Leishman going into the weekend at Augusta National.

Right behind them are five major champions – Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Henrik Stenson.

Nowhere near him are Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the two names that generated so much of the buzz for a Masters that otherwise is living up to expectations.

BASEBALL

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani is making himself at home in the Big A.

Ohtani hit a home run for the third straight game, Justin Upton hit a tiebreaking three-run homer in the seventh inning and the Los Angeles Angels rallied from an early six-run deficit to beat the Oakland Athletics 13-9.

Ohtani, the two-way star from Japan, connected for a long, solo drive in the second inning against Daniel Gossett. The ball landed in the rocks beyond the center field wall after traveling 449 feet and was measured with a 112.3 mph exit velocity according to Statcast, the hardest-hit and longest of Ohtani’s three major league homers.

NEW YORK (AP) – Pedro Alvarez hit a grand slam in the 14th inning, Manny Machado homered twice and the Baltimore Orioles beat the Yankees 7-3 after New York saw four players forced to make early exits.

Yankees starter CC Sabathia left with hip soreness, star catcher Gary Sanchez limped off with a leg cramp right before Alvarez struck, third baseman Brandon Drury was lifted for migraines and second baseman Tyler Wade was removed because of flu-like symptoms. New York had to use 20 players in all – reliever Adam Warren was the only non-starting pitcher left.

Alvarez connected after midnight, deciding a game that took 5 hours, 20 minutes and included 14 pitchers, a couple of wild misadventures on the basepaths and an admitted missed call by umpires.

MMA

NEW YORK (AP) – Conor McGregor was arraigned on charges of felony criminal mischief charges and misdemeanor assault, menacing and reckless endangerment charges following a backstage melee he sparked at a UFC event in New York City the previous day.

He spoke only to acknowledge that he understood the conditions of his release, saying Will Richardson Jersey , ”Yes, your honor.”

McGregor was released on $50,000 bond – pocket change for a fighter who was guaranteed $30 million last year in his ballyhooed boxing match against Floyd Mayweather Jr. McGregor is due back in court June 14.

In the underbelly of Brooklyn’s Barclays Center on Thursday, McGregor went wild, using a dolly, chairs and guard rails as weapons, not his fists. Fueled by revenge and running with a pack of his ”hoodlums,” McGregor’s antics landed him in jail – and injured two fighters on Saturday’s UFC 223 card.

NBA

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Ben Simmons topped LeBron James in a triple-double battle to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to their 13th straight win in their biggest game in six years, 132-130 over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

With a buzz in the city over the Sixers that hasn’t been felt since the pre-Process days, they romped toward a 30-point lead over the Cavs in the first half and scored 78 points at the break.

Simmons had 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists. James had 44 points (17-of-29 shooting), 11 assists and 11 rebounds, bringing the Cavaliers to the brink of an epic comeback.

The Sixers (49-30) moved into third place in the Eastern Conference over the Cavaliers (49-31).

LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Lakers unveiled a statue of Elgin Baylor before their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Baylor’s statue became the sixth that decorates the front of Staples Center, joining Shaquille O’Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Jerry West and Chick Hearn. The Lakers selected Baylor first overall in the 1958 NBA draft. He averaged 27.4 points and 13.5 rebounds in 14 seasons for the franchise, including the first two when it played in Minneapolis.

Various Lakers alumni spoke during Baylor’s ceremony, including O’Neal, Johnson, West and Abdul-Jabbar. Johnson said Baylor put entertainment into the NBA, and will always remember that Baylor set the Finals record for single-game points against the Boston Celtics on the road.

NHL

PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Pittsburgh Penguins will start their bid for a Stanley Cup three-peat home.

Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel banked in goals off Craig Anderson minutes apart in the second period, Casey DeSmith stopped 34 shots and the Penguins beat the Ottawa Senators 4-0 to clinch second place in the Metropolitan Division and home-ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs.

Phil Kessel collected his 34th goal of the season and Patric Hornqvist pushed his career-high to 29 when he beat Anderson late in the third period for the Penguins, who will host Columbus, New Jersey or Philadelphia next week.

AUTO RACING

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Kurt Busch got a little more aggressive in the first round of qualifying, and it paid off with a pole at Texas Motor Speedway.

Busch and his Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer will start in the top three spots in Texas after a weather-shortened qualifying session.

With his top lap of 197.368 mph, Busch earned his first pole this season and the 32nd in his career.

There was initially a delay because of lightning in the area




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