Gronk Announces Retirement From NFL: ‘Its Time to Move Forward’

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Three-time Super Bowl champion Rob Gronkowski is heading to the locker room, hanging up his cleats and retiring from the NFL.

“It’s time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life,” Patriots’ tight end announced on Instagram Sunday.

Gronk, who was drafted by the Pats in the second round (42nd overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft, has set a number of NFL records, including consecutive seasons with 10+ touchdowns by a tight end, most seasons of 1,000+ yards receiving by a tight end, and only tight end with 1,000+ career postseason receiving yards.

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“It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far,” Gronk posted on Instagram. “I will be retiring from the game of football today.”

He went on to express his gratitude to team owner Robert Kraft and Coach Belichick, for “drafting my silliness in 2010,” and, of course, he thanked the dedicated fans and his teammates.

“To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of,” Gronk wrote. “I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.”

Read his entire statement below.

View this post on Instagram

It all started at 20 years old on stage at the NFL draft when my dream came true, and now here I am about to turn 30 in a few months with a decision I feel is the biggest of my life so far. I will be retiring from the game of football today. I am so grateful for the opportunity that Mr. Kraft and Coach Belichick gave to me when drafting my silliness in 2010. My life experiences over the last 9 years have been amazing both on and off the field. The people I have meet, the relationships I have built, the championships I have been apart of, I just want to thank the whole New England Patriots organization for every opportunity I have been giving and learning the great values of life that I can apply to mine. Thank you to all of Pats Nation around the world for the incredible support since I have been apart of this 1st class organization. Thank you for everyone accepting who I am and the dedication I have put into my work to be the best player I could be. But now its time to move forward and move forward with a big smile knowing that the New England Patriots Organization, Pats Nation, and all my fans will be truly a big part of my heart for rest of my life. It was truly an incredible honor to play for such a great established organization and able to come in to continue and contribute to keep building success. To all my current and past teammates, thank you for making each team every year special to be apart of. I will truly miss you guys. Cheers to all who have been part of this journey, cheers to the past for the incredible memories, and a HUGE cheers to the uncertain of whats next.

A post shared by Rob Gronkowski (@gronk) on

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Friday Ratings: NCAA Basketball And Zion Williamson Win The Night And Game

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Shaquille O’Neal Becomes Papa John’s First African American Board Member

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Shaquille O’Neal is expanding his business portfolio by joining the Papa John’s team, the company announced on Friday.

The Basketball Hall of Famer and TNT analyst signed an $8.25 million three-year endorsement deal with the scandal-plagued pizza chain, according to Reuters.

O’Neal also joined Papa John’s board of directors and is the first African American to do so. Last year, founder John Schnatter was accused of using a racial slur during a role-playing call between Papa John’s executives and marketing agency Laundry Service.

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The move had an immediate impact on Wall Street, with the company’s shares rising nearly 6 percent in early morning trading, Reuters reported.

“This is a triple threat opportunity for me. I am excited to join the Board and to help lead from the top, while also investing in nine stores in my home town of Atlanta and being an ambassador for the brand,” O’Neal said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Schnattner agreed to step down from the company’s board of directors and drop two outstanding lawsuits against the company he started in 1984. Schnattner will resign from the board if the independent director is named by the end of April when Papa John’s annual stockholder meeting is scheduled.

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Schnatter, who still owns about 30 percent of the company, has been locked in a bitter legal battle with Papa John’s since he stepped down as chief executive in 2017 after months of turmoil following his criticism of the NFL over the player protests, blaming them for low pizza sales.

Shaq will be an investor in nine Papa John’s restaurants in Atlanta. He currently owns a Krispy Kreme Doughnuts franchise in Atlanta and previously owned 27 Five Guys Burgers and Fries franchises.

He also recently opened his self-named restaurant Shaquille’s at L.A. Live in Los Angeles,  across the street from where he used to play for the Lakers at Staples Center.

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NFL Settlement With Colin Kaepernick On Collusion May Be Less Than $10M – Report

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AJ Styles Signs New WWE Contract – and Gets a Puppy (Photo)

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AJ Styles has signed a new WWE contract, he tweeted on Monday. Oh, and he got a new puppy to boot. (Not literally to boot, of course, that would be cruel.)

“This is the newest member of my family,” Styles just posted on Twitter. “Also, I’ve signed a new contract with the WWE. What a cute little guy.”

This is the newest member of my family. Also, I’ve signed a new contract with the WWE. What a cute little guy.

— AJStyles.Org (@AJStylesOrg) March 18, 2019

Talk about burying the lede.

Puppy is presumably not part of the pro-wrestling deal. But look at that face!

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In November, Styles lost his WWE Championship to Daniel Bryan.

Before that night, Styles had held the belt for 371 days — that’s the longest anyone on “SmackDown” has ever been WWE Champion. The previous record-holder was John Bradshaw Layfield, who made a big belt buckle out of the company’s iconic belt for 280-straight days.

Styles became WWE Champion back on Nov. 7, 2017, when he bested Jinder Mahal in Manchester, England.

“SmackDown Live” airs Tuesday nights from 8 to 10 p.m. ET on USA Network.

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NBC and CBS to Swap Their Next Super Bowls, Moving CBS Up a Year

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NBC and CBS have made their own NFL trade, as the two networks have swapped their upcoming Super Bowls, CBS confirmed.

CBS, which just aired Super Bowl LIII last month, will now air its next Super Bowl on February 2021, a year earlier than scheduled. That means NBC moves back a year to February 2022. There was no monetary compensation between the two networks for the swap.

The switch means that NBC can align its next Super Bowl air-date with its coverage of the 2022 Winter Olympics from Beijing. Those Olympics are scheduled to start on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, two days before Super Bowl LVI from Los Angeles. Each network gets something out of this: CBS won’t have to air its next Super Bowl against the Winter Olympics, while NBC gets to sell its advertising in one batch for the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics.

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NBC had a similar arrangement the last time it aired the Super Bowl. Last year, NBC aired Super Bowl LII four days before its coverage of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. That allowed the advertising sales teams to sell across two high-profile TV events at the same time, which resulted in $1.6 billion in ad revenue.

Super Bowl LIII received 98.2 million viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen, marking the first time since 2009 that the big game hasn’t surpassed 100 million viewers. That TV-only total was down 5 percent from last year’s comparable measurement. When you add in data from multiple streaming platforms, last night’s underwhelming game tallied 100.7 million viewers. That is still down 5 percent from 2018’s comparable figures.

Super Bowl LIV is still scheduled to air on Fox on Feb. 2, 2020, from Miami.

Here’s how the next few years shake out now (the NFL’s current TV rights agreements expire in 2023):

  • Super Bowl LIV — Feb. 2, 2020 on Fox
  • Super Bowl LV — Feb. 7, 2021 on CBS
  • Super Bowl LVI — Feb. 6, 2022 on NBC
  • Super Bowl LVII — Feb. 5, 2023 on Fox

The New York Post first reported on the ate swap.

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‘Finest Hours’ Author Casey Sherman Dropping Puck On Biopic Of Boston Bruins Great Derek Sanderson

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David Beckham Is Way Too Polite When James Corden Pranks Him With Fake LA Galaxy Statue (Video)

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James Corden’s epic prank of David Beckham is tough to watch and impossible to not crack up at.

On Monday, the CBS “Late Late Show” host rolled video of a killer practical joke he played on his buddy Beckham, who in the footage was presented with an awful-looking fake statue meant to permanently adorn the outside of the L.A. Galaxy stadium.

In addition, the Galaxy legend had to sit through a preview of a less-than flattering faux highlight reel, and mingle with some trying fans. Oh, they were fakes too — Corden employed all actors for this all-star setup.

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Through it all — or at least, through it most — Beckham remained perfectly polite. Some American pro athletes can certainly learn a thing or two about decorum here.

Here’s the background: Beckham, a Manchester United icon, came to the states as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy. There, he became one of the most successful and celebrated Major League Soccer (MLS) players in history. As tribute, the Galaxy commissioned a full-body bronze statue in his likeness. Corden’s version was neither a tribute, nor a likeness.

Watch the video above. Yes, you may do so through very slightly spread fingers if you must.

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Dailymotion to Stream Footage From More Than 1,300 NBA G League Games

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