Giants GM Dave Gettleman — I’m not doing good enough


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman pointed to the “progress” the team has made on and off the field that has set the foundation for the future as justification for being retained for a third year, despite the firing of coach Pat Shurmur.

His list of reasons include:

  • Finding a franchise quarterback. “I really believe we’ve done that,” Gettleman said after leading the selection of Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall in the draft earlier this year.

  • Redoing the team’s scouting system, at both the college and pro levels. The Giants have installed a new grading system for prospects since Gettleman’s arrival.

  • Hiring “four computer folks” who are assisting in the overhaul of the back end of their college and pro systems.

  • Hiring a full-time staff psychologist to help players.

  • Ramping up the “analytic and technology piece.”

Gettleman, 68, even mentioned meeting recently with a “big-time analytics guy” in his quest to learn and be open-minded.

This is what Gettleman seems to have presented to ownership during substantive discussions over the past few weeks. It earned him some more time.

“We’re doing a lot of things behind the scenes. … That is where we are going,” Gettleman said. “I know sometimes it’s difficult with the instant gratification piece. That is where we are going. I feel good about the direction we’re in.”

The Giants went 4-12 this season and were 9-23 in two years under Shurmur and Gettleman. Shurmur was fired Monday on what co-owner John Mara described as being as much a gut instinct as anything. Mara said he felt the Giants should have won more games, even given the admittedly flawed roster that Gettleman assembled.

Gettleman said they were “fine” with bringing back Eli Manning at $23 million against the salary cap this season for three starts. He said nobody will know for another two years whether the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns was the right move.

He said he understands that scrutiny comes with the job and that he is interviewing for his position every day and needs to do better.

“Not good enough,” Gettleman said, assessing his own performance. “It will get better.”

Mara noted during his news conference Monday that Gettleman needs to increase his batting average on personnel decisions. There were also some hints that the Giants could make changes in personnel or to the way they do things.

“We’re all on notice,” Gettleman said.

He added that if a new head coach persuaded ownership to increase the coach’s personnel power, Gettleman would be willing to do whatever is in the best interest of the Giants.

Gettleman will try to get it right working alongside the new head coach. He has no choice.

He was complimentary of Shurmur, calling him “as fine a man as I’ve ever worked with” and saying decisions over the past two years were collaborative.

One decision that Gettleman was forced to defend was the midseason trade for defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The Giants sent a third-round pick in 2020 and a fifth-round pick in 2021 to the Jets. The fifth-rounder can become a fourth-rounder if Williams re-signs before the league year.

That was a head-scratcher with the Giants 2-6 at the time of the trade and Williams being an impending free agent. Gettleman defended the move, saying essentially that the team paid for eight games of information on Williams with draft capital.

Worst case, Gettleman said he assumes they can get a third-round compensatory pick the following year if Williams leaves as a free agent. That would be possible only if the Giants, who are expected to be more than $70 million under the salary cap heading into free agency, aren’t big spenders.

“Bottom line is we felt it was worth the deal,” said Gettleman, adding that Williams told him Monday he wants to return.

Gettleman made the point that Williams is only 25 and that the Giants’ rookies played the most snaps in the NFL this season — just another reason he feels good about the direction in which the team is headed and that success is in its future.

But in Gettleman’s mind, it “depends on how quickly the puppies come along.” Beginning with Jones and his two draft classes.



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Veteran analyst MonteCristo announces departure from Overwatch League


Veteran esports analyst Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles will depart his role at the Overwatch League ahead of the 2020 season, he announced Tuesday.

MonteCristo has commentated for the league since its debut in late 2017. In a series of tweets, the caster cited “creative and philosophical differences” between him and current league executive management following the departure of league commissioner Nate Nanzer for Epic Games in May.

“All parties will be better served by parting ways,” MonteCristo said on Twitter. “Unfortunately, my departure from [Overwatch League] means that I will be suspending production of OverSight with my co-host [Duncan “Thorin” Shields] and will cease creating Overwatch-focused analysis and power rankings on my personal channel.”

MonteCristo will also no longer cast with Erik “DoA” Lonnquist, his longtime commentary partner across games like League of Legends, Overwatch and others. MonteCristo and DoA became a high-profile commentary duo during their time in South Korea, where they starred on the English-language broadcast for League of Legends Champions Korea.

MonteCristo said he will continue to work as an on-air talent, as well as expand his role into creative director and producer behind the camera. In September, MonteCristo, alongside esports-focused attorney Bryce Blum and former Hollywood agency staffer Lauren Gaba Flanagan, launched Theorycraft, a consulting and client services firm catered toward esports teams and other businesses in the space.

As a freelancer, MonteCristo has also expanded his profile outside of Overwatch in the past few months. In November, he and DoA commentated the Twitch Rivals League of Legends event. Since June, he has worked with esports team Cloud9 to co-host a show called “The 9s” focused on the organization, as well as another based off of his and Thorin’s popular League of Legends talk show “Summoning Insight.”

His departure comes at a pivotal time for the Overwatch League, which will move to a home-and-away game format in the 2020 season. The league will travel to 20 cities around the world — ranging from North America, Europe and Asia — running two events simultaneously in front of a live audience. That league model marks one of the most ambitious tasks in esports history and comes at the same time league operator Activision Blizzard will also launch a geolocated Call of Duty League.



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Source — J.J. Watt returning to Texans’ active roster


Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will return to the active roster for Saturday’s wild-card game against the Buffalo Bills, a team source told ESPN’s Stefano Fusaro on Tuesday.

Watt has been out since tearing a pectoral muscle Oct. 27.

“When I got hurt I just assumed I was done [for the season],” Watt said after returning to practice on Dec. 24. “I didn’t even know there was a possibility. And then literally a couple days after the surgery, I was feeling so good that … I just started asking questions. I said, ‘Is it remotely possible?’

“We left the door open for a possibility. And from there, it was just literally, day by day, just … doing whatever I can do. And we arrived here.”

Watt said he understands there is an increased risk of tearing the muscle again, but it is worth it to have the chance to play again this season. He played in all 16 regular-season games in 2018, finishing the season with 16 sacks, which ranked second in the NFL.

In addition, Texans wide receiver Will Fuller will be available against the Bills, a team source told Fusaro.

Fuller has been dealing with a groin injury he suffered Dec. 21 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Officially, coach Bill O’Brien said Fuller “is progressing” and is “heading in a positive direction to be available,” but did not commit to Fuller playing Saturday.

The Texans could use Fuller’s speed against the Bills’ secondary, combining him with wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who will return after missing last Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans with an illness.

The Texans play host to the Bills at 4:35 p.m. ET Saturday (TV: ABC/ESPN).



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I’m not doing good enough


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman justified being retained for a third year despite head coach Pat Shumur being fired by pointing to the “progress” the team has made on and off the field that has set the foundation for the future.

His list of reasons include:

  • Finding a franchise quarterback. “I really believe we’ve done that,” Gettleman said after leading the selection of Daniel Jones No. 6 overall in the draft earlier this year.

  • Redoing the team’s scouting system, both college and pro personnel. The Giants installed a new grading system for prospects since Gettleman’s arrival.

  • The hiring of “four computer folks” for software who are assisting in the overhaul of the backend of their college and pro systems.

  • Hiring of a full-time staff psychologist to help players.

  • Ramping up the “analytic and technology piece.”

The 68-year-old Gettleman even mentioned meeting recently with a “big time analytics guy” in his quest to learn and be open-minded.

This is what Gettleman seems to have presented to ownership during substantive discussions over the past few weeks. It earned him some more time.

“We’re doing a lot of things behind the scenes. … That is where we are going,” Gettleman said. “I know sometimes it’s difficult with the instant gratification piece. That is where we are going. I feel good about the direction we’re in.”

The Giants went 4-12 this season and were 9-23 in two years under Shurmur and Gettleman. Shurmur was fired Monday on what co-owner John Mara described as being as much a gut instinct as anything else. Mara said he felt the Giants should have won more games, even given the admittedly flawed roster that Gettleman assembled.

Gettleman said they were “fine” with bringing back Eli Manning at $23 million against the salary cap this season for three starts. And that nobody will know if the trade of Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns was the right move for another two years.

Gettleman said he understands that scrutiny is part of his position, and that he’s interviewing for his job every day and needs to do better.

“Not good enough,” he said of his own job review. “It will get better.”

Mara noted during his news conference Monday that Gettleman needed to increase his batting average on personnel decisions. There were also some hints that the Giants could make changes in personnel or the way they do things.

“We’re all on notice,” was Gettleman’s response.

Gettleman said that if a new head coach convinced ownership to increase the coach’s personnel power, Gettleman would be willing to do whatever is in the best interest of the New York Giants.

Gettleman will try to get it all right moving forward working alongside the new head coach. He has no choice.

He was complimentary of Shurmur, calling him “as fine a man as I’ve ever worked with.” He made the point that everything over the past two years was a collaborative decision.

One decision that Gettleman was forced to defend was the midseason trade for defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The Giants sent a third-round pick in 2020 and fifth-round pick in 2021 to the Jets that can become a fourth-round selection if Williams re-signs before the start of the league year.

That was a headscratcher with the Giants at 2-6 at the time of the trade. Williams is an impending free agent. Gettleman defended the move, saying essentially that they paid for eight games of information on Williams with draft capital.

Worst case, Gettleman said he assumes they can get a third-round compensatory pick the following year if Williams leaves as a free agent. That would only be possible if the Giants, who are expected to be more than $70 million under the salary cap heading into free agency, aren’t big spenders.

“Bottom line is we felt it was worth the deal,” said Gettleman, adding that Williams told him Monday he wants to return.

Gettleman made the point that Williams is only 25 years old, and that the Giants rookies played the most snaps in the NFL this season.

Just another reason he feels good about the direction in which the Giants are headed, and that success is in their future.

But in Gettleman’s mind, it all “depends on how quickly the puppies come along.” Beginning with Jones and his two draft classes.



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Sources believe John Dorsey out as Browns general manager


Multiple sources around the NFL tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter that they believe John Dorsey will be out as Cleveland Browns general manager Tuesday.

Dorsey was meeting Tuesday with Browns owner Jimmy Haslam to finalize details.

Dorsey, 59, was the Chiefs GM from 2013 to ’16. He became the Browns general manager in December 2017 as Cleveland was on its way to an 0-16 season.

He has overseen the past two drafts and free agency in 2018 and 2019.

He selected Baker Mayfield No. 1 overall in the 2018 draft and picked star running back Nick Chubb with the team’s second-round pick that year. He also made trades for starting wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, and signed troubled running back Kareem Hunt as a free agent.

The Browns improved to 7-8-1 last season but regressed to 6-10 this year, costing first-year coach Freddie Kitchens his job.



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Veteran caster MonteCristo announces departure from Overwatch League


Veteran esports caster Christopher “MonteCristo” Mykles will depart his role at the Overwatch League ahead of the 2020 season, he announced Tuesday.

MonteCristo has commentated for the league since its debut in late 2017. In a series of tweets, the caster cited “creative and philosophical differences” between him and current league executive management following the departure of league commissioner Nate Nanzer for Epic Games in May.

“All parties will be better served by parting ways,” MonteCristo said on Twitter. “Unfortunately, my departure from [Overwatch League] means that I will be suspending production of OverSight with my co-host [Duncan “Thorin” Shields] and will cease creating Overwatch-focused analysis and power rankings on my personal channel.”

MonteCristo will also no longer cast with Erik “DoA” Lonnquist, his longtime commentary partner across games like League of Legends, Overwatch and others. MonteCristo and DoA became a high-profile commentary duo during their time in South Korea, where they starred on the English-language broadcast for League of Legends Champions Korea.

MonteCristo said he will continue to work as an on-air talent, as well as expand his role into creative director and producer behind the camera. In September he, alongside esports-focused attorney Bryce Blum and former Hollywood agency staffer Lauren Gaba Flanagan, launched Theorycraft, a consulting and client services firm catered toward esports teams and other businesses in the space.

As a freelancer, MonteCristo has also expanded his profile outside of Overwatch in the past few months. In November, he and DoA commentated the Twitch Rivals League of Legends event. Since June, he has worked with esports team Cloud9 to co-host a show called “The 9s” focused on the organization, as well as another based off of his and Thorin’s popular League of Legends talk show Summoning Insight.

His departure comes at a pivotal time for the Overwatch League which will move to a home-and-away game format in the 2020 season. The league will travel to 20 cities around the world — ranging from North America, Europe and Asia — running two events simultaneously in front of a live audience. That league model marks one of the most ambitious tasks in esports history and comes at the same time league operator Activision Blizzard will also launch a geolocated Call of Duty League.



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Sources believe John Dorsey out as Browns general manager


Multiple sources around the NFL tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter that they believe John Dorsey will be out as Cleveland Browns general manager Tuesday.

Dorsey was meeting Tuesday with Browns’ owner Jimmy Haslam to finalize details.

Dorsey, 59, has been the Browns general manager since 2017 after serving in the same capacity with the Chiefs from 2013-16.

The Browns didn’t win a game in Dorsey’s first season, which secured the team the first pick in the 2018 draft. Cleveland took Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The team improved to 7-8-1 last season and then went out and acquired Odell Beckham Jr., Kareem Hunt, Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon. But the Browns actually stumbled to a 6-10 record. That result cost head coach Freddie Kitchens his job.



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LSU LB Michael Divinity reinstated, to play in title game


LSU linebacker Michael Divinity will return for the College Football Playoff national title game against the Clemson on Jan. 13 after missing the team’s last six games.

Coach Ed Orgeron said Divinity was reinstated Tuesday morning. The senior left the team on Nov. 4 — before the Tigers’ game against Alabama — for personal reasons, although Orgeron also has referenced eligibility during Divinity’s absence from the field.

“Obviously, Mike has been a tremendous pass rusher for us,” Orgeron said during a conference call with reporters. “I know we’re definitely going to use him. He’ll be back in a role, what he’s doing, and we’ll see what fits best. He’s definitely going to play for us, and we’ll definitely use him in the best situations we can.”

Divinity, who returned to practice on Nov. 18, also missed two of LSU’s first three games for what Orgeron called “coach’s decisions.”

He has three sacks, a forced fumble and 22 total tackles in five games this season.

Divinity started 11 games in 2018, recording 54 tackles, including 9.5 tackles for loss and five sacks, to go with eight quarterback hurries, an interception, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

On Saturday, Divinity tweeted “I’m back. See y’all back in my city on January 13th” after LSU’s win against Oklahoma in the CFP semifinal.

Orgeron on Tuesday also expressed confidence that passing game coordinator Joe Brady would return to LSU in 2020 with an enhanced contract. Brady, who won the Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach, has been mentioned as a potential coordinator candidate in the NFL, where he spent time with the New Orleans Saints before joining LSU earlier this year.

“I do feel that Joe is going to be a Tiger,” Orgeron said. “I feel like everything is just about wrapped up, and I feel good about where we are. You know football, you never can tell what’s going to happen, but I feel confident saying Joe is going to be here with us at LSU. … We’re very close.”

Oregon also confirmed he received a phone call from President Donald Trump on Monday morning. Trump complimented LSU on its season and how the team has rallied the state in recent months.

“They told me the president’s office called, and I thought it was the president of the university,” Orgeron said. “He said, ‘No, the White House.’ I said, ‘OK, here we go.'”



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Antonio Brown calls Saints workout a publicity stunt


METAIRIE, La. – Antonio Brown said he thinks his workout with the New Orleans Saints was a “publicity stunt” during an Instagram video he posted on Monday night.

The Saints brought in Brown for a workout last Friday – his first visit with a team since he was released by the New England Patriots on Sept. 20.

It’s unclear when Brown will be eligible to play again since he is still being investigated by the NFL under its personal conduct policy for allegations of sexual assault and misconduct.

“I really am at peace. I just don’t like the lack of respect in the world,” Brown said in the video, which he filmed while working out on an exercise machine. “Everyone has deadlines. But I guess the NFL don’t have a deadline for me. So I appreciate [Saints coach] Sean Payton and them guys for supporting me to bring me out to work out. But I think it was a publicity stunt for them. Sean Payton knows the film that’s being left behind.

“But it is what it is. … I’m not gonna make excuses. I’m just gonna keep competing to be the difference, ‘cuz I know I’m the difference.”

Brown has continued to take shots at the NFL and various teams and players via social media this season, including recent jabs at former Steelers teammates JuJu Smith-Schuster and Derek Carr.

Saints sources both on and off the record described the Brown workout as “due diligence” and updating their “ready list” in case a need arises at the wide receiver position. Brown was one of six receivers to work out for the Saints on Friday, and they wound up signing former Baltimore Ravens receiver Tim White to their practice squad.

“We’re doing our homework,” Payton said after the workout, adding that it was the first chance he ever really got to meet Brown. “Obviously there’s a little bit more attention drawn to [Brown] because of his career. But right now, it was more or less us having a chance to get to know these guys and seeing what kind of shape they’re all in.

“There would be a number of players that we’ve signed or drafted over the years past — some that have worked out, some that haven’t. The process is something that we take seriously and it’s important relative to the makeup of the team.”

Brown brought a handful of associates with him to his Saints workout – including someone who was documenting his visit with a video camera. And he posted clips of his visit on social media throughout the day, including a picture of the waiver the Saints made him sign.

It’s unclear if that affected New Orleans’ decision on whether or not to sign Brown.

Brown, 31, is being investigated by the NFL after a lawsuit was filed by his former trainer, Britney Taylor, that alleges she was sexually assaulted by Brown on multiple occasions. Brown also was accused of sexual misconduct at his home by an artist who was working there in 2017.

Brown, who has denied the allegations, met with the NFL for eight hours last month in Florida as part of the investigation, according to ESPN’s Josina Anderson.

The NFL has not concluded that investigation and it is uncertain when it will. Even after it wraps, Brown still could face additional league-imposed discipline.

On Sept. 20, the NFL released a statement that said Brown would not be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list while he is a free agent, but it warned, “If he is signed by a club, such placement may become appropriate at any time depending on the status of the investigation. … Upon the conclusion of the investigation, he may also be subject to discipline if the investigation finds that he has violated the law or league policies.”

Brown has been with three different teams in 2019. He was traded from the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Oakland Raiders in March. Then he was released by both the Raiders and Patriots in September. He has played in only one game this season – Week 2 for the Patriots. The Patriots released Brown after it was made known that he sent text messages to the artist who had accused him of misconduct.

Two days later, Brown called out Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, comparing their legal issues to his own.

Brown has filed eight grievances against the Raiders and Patriots, a source told ESPN’s Dan Graziano. Brown is seeking $39.775 million in lost salary, bonuses and guaranteed money.





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Twins bolster rotation with veterans Rich Hill, Homer Bailey


The Minnesota Twins have added two veteran arms to their starting rotation, signing free agents Rich Hill and Homer Bailey to one-year deals, the team announced Tuesday.

Sources told ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bailey’s deal is for $7 million, while Hill gets $3 million.

Hill, who will turn 40 on March 11, is not expected back until midseason after having what’s called primary repair surgery, which has a recovery time of six months.

He is returning for his 16th season in the major leagues. He worked his way back three times from an arm injury and two knee injuries to finish the 2019 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 33-year-old Bailey finished last season with a combined 13-9 record, 4.57 ERA and 149 strikeouts for the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals, who acquired him for minor league infielder Kevin Merrell before the July trade deadline.

Hill’s career has taken him on a winding path in which he suffered a torn labrum, underwent Tommy John surgery, temporarily converted into a reliever, pitched in the independent league and shuffled through eight different major league organizations.

He did not establish himself as a major league starter until he was 27 years old, and he didn’t necessarily blossom until the age of 36, when the crafty left-hander won 35 games, pitched 378 2/3 innings and posted a 3.09 ERA from 2016 to 2018. The Dodgers acquired Hill from the Oakland Athletics in August 2016, then signed him to a three-year, $48 million extension four months later.

The Dodgers valued Hill for his devastating curveball, his competitive spirit and his clubhouse presence. Hill was slowed coming out of spring training in 2019, then carried a 2.55 ERA through about eight weeks until suffering a flexor tendon strain in his left elbow on June 19.

Upon returning on Sept. 12, Hill re-aggravated a knee injury he suffered earlier in the season. It was thought that his season — perhaps his career — was over. But Hill fought to make it onto the Dodgers’ postseason roster, recorded eight outs in Game 4 of the National League Division Series, and then, upon elimination, stated his intentions of continuing to pitch.

Hill received the Tony Conigliaro Award, which goes to a major leaguer “who has overcome adversity through the attributes of spirit, determination and courage” of the award’s namesake.

Hill and his wife were arrested and fined over an altercation with police at a New England Patriots game on Dec. 23. Hill was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after he tried to stop police from putting Caitlin Hill into a police vehicle after she was arrested on disorderly conduct and trespassing charges for repeatedly trying to enter Gillette Stadium with an oversized bag and refusing to leave the area when ordered by police.

Bailey struggled through the first six weeks of the 2019 season, but his split-fastball became more dominant as the season went on. He had a 2.28 ERA and 21 strikeouts over four starts in September, giving the A’s some additional help as they made a late run to a wild card berth in the second half.

The veteran right-hander made 31 starts last season, his most since 2013, to show that various health issues that have plagued him in the past — he started the season on the disabled list each year from 2015-17 — are firmly behind him.

Bailey spent his first 12 seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, making 212 starts and going 67-77 with a 4.56 ERA. He was traded from the Reds to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a seven-player deal that included Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp in December 2018, which meant Los Angeles paid the majority of the $23 million that remained on the $105 million, six-year contract signed with the Reds in 2014.

Bailey, who was released after the 2018 season, signed a minor-league deal with the Royals in February.

He has thrown a pair of no-hitters, the first against Pittsburgh in September 2012 and the other against San Francisco the following July. He won 24 games over those two seasons.

ESPN’s Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report.



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