'Honey Badger' in rehab following LSU dismissal

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'Honey Badger' in rehab following LSU dismissal

From Comcast SportsNetNEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu has entered a drug rehabilitation program in Houston since being dismissed from the Tigers, according to a television report.
Fox 8 reports that Mathieu's adoptive father, Tryone Mathieu, says that the 20-year-old star cornerback and punt returner known as the "Honey Badger" has been at the Right Step recovery center and is being counseled by former NBA player John Lucas.
Tyrone Mathieu says his son is committed to restoring his health and won't play football until he is confident that his rehab is complete. That may rule out the possibility of Mathieu transferring to a school at the FCS level and playing this season, after which he would be eligible for the NFL draft.
No one from Mathieu's family appeared on camera in the New Orleans television report. Lucas has not returned a phone message left by The Associated Press.
LSU has said that about 20 college football programs have asked for permission to speak with Mathieu about transferring. Mathieu has visited McNeese State in Lake Charles, La., where classes began Wednesday.
Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La., also has been granted permission to speak with Mathieu but has not met with him yet. Classes at Nicholls begin Aug. 22.
It remains unclear what Mathieu's future may hold if he sits out this season entirely. LSU coach Les Miles has declined to close the door entirely on the possibility, however remote, that Mathieu could play for LSU again in 2013. Miles said last Friday, when he announced Mathieu's dismissal, it would make more sense for Mathieu to transfer. Since then, he has said he can only guarantee Mathieu won't be playing for LSU in 2012 and declined to speculate beyond that.
Miles and LSU officials have also said that they've offered Mathieu whatever help he needs to transfer.
The only public statements Mathieu has made since his dismissal consist of a few posts on the social network website Twitter, where he has also changed his avatar from a photo of himself in an LSU uniform to a motto displayed in white letters on a black background, reading: "Be yourself. There is something that you can do better than any other. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that."
One of his recent posted messages says: "Patience.... Sometimes you have to stop doing what is easy and begin to do the things that are hard."
Mathieu emerged as one of college football's biggest stars in 2011, his sophomore season, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist.
He also won the Bednarik Award as national defensive player of the year last season. He scored four touchdowns -- two on punt returns and two on fumble returns -- intercepted two passes, caused six fumbles and recovered four.
He was expected to play a leading role in LSU's effort to return to a second consecutive national title game.
Last season, LSU's only defeat was a 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game.

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LB Za'Darius Smith among those not playing Saturday

LB Za'Darius Smith among those not playing Saturday

OWINGS MILLS – Add outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith to the list of Ravens not expected to play Saturday night. Head coach John Harbaugh said Smith had an ankle issue that would keep him out against the Lions. Smith was not at practice Thursday.

Others not expected to play against the Lions include outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman, left guard John Urschel, tight ends Dennis Pitta and Maxx Williams, safety Kendrick Lewis, cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Jerraud Powers, and defensive tackle Brandon Williams. All of them are at various stages of dealing with injuries.

RELATED: FLACCO LOOKS FORWARD TO PLAYING, BUT NOT GETTING HIT

Perriman returned to practice this week, but head coach John Harbaugh did not commit to playing Perriman after Thursday’s walkthrough practice.

“We’ll see, it’s up to the doctors,” Harbaugh said of Perriman. “He hasn’t gone full speed in practice yet. Today was not a full speed practice for anybody.”

Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil is not expected to play either, because he just returned to practice this week after offseason foot surgery. With Suggs, Dumervil, and Smith out of the lineup, Saturday should present an opportunity for pass rushers like Matt Judon, Chris Carter, and Victor Ochi to get extra reps.

MORE RAVENS: PERRIMAN HOPES TO IMPRESS WITH SPEED AND HANDS

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Max Scherzer starts as Nats hope to avoid sweep vs. Orioles

Max Scherzer starts as Nats hope to avoid sweep vs. Orioles

Nats (73-53) at Orioles (70-56) at Nationals Park

The Nationals' series against the Orioles has been quite lopsided so far through three games, with Baltimore taking each of them in relatively convincing fashion. The Nats mounted a comeback in the ninth inning on Wednesday night, but fell just short. Now they will aim to avoid a four-game sweep on Thursday night.

Max Scherzer (13-7, 3.05) will get the ball for Washington in his 27th start of the season. He's looking to bounce back from a four-run outing against the Braves his last time out. Scherzer last faced the Orioles on July 12 of 2015 when he tossed 8 2/3 innings of two-run ball at Camden Yards.

Pitching for Baltimore will be right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez (5-10, 6.94). He has had a horrendous season, but he's got a very good history against the Nats with a 2.32 ERA through eight starts. Last season he threw six innings with zero earned runs allowed on Sept. 22 of last year.

First pitch: 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN
Radio: 106.7 The Fan
Starting pitchers: Nats - Max Scherzer vs. Orioles - Ubaldo Jimenez

NATS

CF Trea Turner
LF Jayson Werth
2B Daniel Murphy
RF Bryce Harper
3B Anthony Rendon
1B Ryan Zimmerman
SS Danny Espinosa
C Jose Lobaton
RHP Max Scherzer

ORIOLES

TBA
RHP Ubaldo Jimenez

CLICK HERE FOR LIVE STATS AND SCORES

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Flacco looks forward to playing. Getting hit? Not so much

Flacco looks forward to playing. Getting hit? Not so much

OWINGS MILLS – Joe Flacco is looking forward to playing Saturday night, but not looking forward to getting hit.

That’s always the case, but Flacco will be watched closely than usual when he plays for the first time since his knee injury last November. Will he stand calmly in the pocket against the Lions’ pass rush? Will he step into his throws with confidence? Will he look rusty, or in sync? If Flacco’s left knee is hit, how will it react?

Flacco has felt good about the answers to all of those questions for months, and he has looked terrific in practice. But returning to game action was the last hurdle Flacco wanted to clear before the regular-season opener Sept. 11 against the Bills.

“I really don’t feel like I need to play in games to be ready to play Game 1, but I want to put myself through that whole process,” Flacco said following Thursday’s practice. “I don’t need to, but I want to. I think I’ll be better for it.”

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Flacco said it was hard for him to sit out the first two preseason games, but he understood the logic.

“I could’ve played the first two games,” Flacco said. “Was it really worth it? Probably not. You’re (only) going to get a couple of series anyway.”

Flacco said he expected to play about a half Saturday night, which might give him a chance to build chemistry with new targets like tight end Ben Watson, and wide receivers Mike Wallace and Chris Moore, who are all expected to play.

Asked if he wanted to get hit, Flacco smiled and said, “It’d be great not to get hit. I don’t need to get hit, no.”

But at some point, Flacco wanted to test his knee in live action before the regular season began. Flacco is not expected to play the preseason finale, Sept. 1 against the Saints.

MORE RAVENS: WHO WILL GRAB HOLD OF RAVENS KICK RETURN JOB