Rockies' Tracy resigns after franchise-worst season

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Rockies' Tracy resigns after franchise-worst season

From Comcast SportsNetDENVER (AP) -- Colorado Rockies manager Jim Tracy resigned Sunday, stepping down after the team set a franchise record for losses.The Rockies said a search for Tracy's replacement would begin immediately but they have no time frame for making a hire. Colorado finished last in the NL West this year while going 64-98.Tracy was promoted from bench coach to manager in May 2009. He was voted the NL Manager of the Year that season after guiding Colorado into the playoffs.The Rockies went 294-308 under Tracy."I was surprised," Bill Geivett, the team's director of major league operations, told The Associated Press. "You know, Jim and I go back a long time. We worked together for three different clubs."Basically, Tracy called me and told me his intentions and we talked about a lot of different things, but he had already made up his mind," said Geivett, who also worked with Tracy in Montreal and Los Angeles.Energized by the young players and the challenge of fixing things, Tracy had said repeatedly the last several weeks that he wanted to fulfill the final year on his contract in 2013. But he changed his mind after meeting with Geivett for several hours on Friday and then mulling those discussions over the weekend.Asked why Tracy resigned, Geivett said: "I don't think there was any one thing in particular that seemed to stand out, but you'd have to ask him that."Tracy didn't return phone calls and texts from the AP.Geivett said he wanted Tracy to return next season."I mean, that's how I started our meeting on Friday, that he was the manager of the club," Geivett said. "Like I said, it was surprising."Geivett, however, didn't try to change Tracy's mind."His decision was made when he called me and I respected that," Geivett said.Geivett said he had no timetable for hiring a new manager: "All the focus has been on Jim Tracy the last few days here and I just got the call today, so we'll start to formulate a plan."The Rockies will be the fourth team to change managers this year. Boston fired Bobby Valentine, Cleveland dismissed Manny Acta and Houston let go Brad Mills.Things changed for Tracy on Aug. 1 when Geivett, the assistant general manager, was given an office in the clubhouse and began focusing on roster management, particularly as it related to the pitchers, and evaluating the coaching staff and the rest of the players. Tracy's responsibilities were narrowed to game management and meeting with the media."I thought we worked together fine," Geivett said. "I don't think at any time since Aug. 1 or even before that, we've had some type of difficulty working together."Geivett said that structure will remain in place next season but he said he didn't think that would be an issue in his search for a new manager, either.In addition to altering their front office, with general manager Dan O'Dowd focusing his attention on the minor leagues and player development, the Rockies last summer adopted a radical four-man rotation and a 75-pitch limit with several designated piggyback relievers, an experiment that lasted two months.Geivett said the Rockies will return to a traditional five-man rotation next season with pitch limits determined on a case-by-case basis, "although I don't think we'll ever go back to the days of 120 pitches.""I'm sure it'll come up" in the search for a new manager, Geivett said of the four-man, 75-pitch experiment. "But I mean, I don't see that being a major topic of conversation, to tell you the truth, because we're not doing it."Tracy, the fifth manager in club history, was given an indefinite contract extension last spring but it guaranteed only his 2013 salary of 1.4 million as field manager and really just represented the organization's desire to keep him in the organization in some capacity.Geivett said he hasn't met with members of Tracy's coaching staff to discuss their futures in Colorado."Any time you change the manager, things can change," Geivett said. "Right now, it's all undecided. But we do have coaches that it would be our intention to retain."

AFC North: Will Steelers RB Bell stay healthy this season?

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AFC North: Will Steelers RB Bell stay healthy this season?

Here’s a key AFC North question. Will Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell stay healthy?

Bell is without question one of the league’s most talented backs. However, knee injuries have ended his season the past two years, leaving the Steelers without him when they were eliminated from the playoffs.

De’Angelo Williams did a superb job in place of Bell last season, rushing for 907 yards and 11 touchdowns. But Bell is a better pass receiver and more elusive – capable of turning almost any play in to a big play. In 2014, Bell had over 2,000 yards combined from scrimmage – 1,316 yards rushing and 854 yards receiving.

Bell doesn’t want to be labeled as injury-prone, yet some people already view him that way. But at Steelers OTA’s, Bell showed up looking healthy, while vowing not to run cautiously next season.

“I’m going to be physical,” Bell told ESPN.com. “I’m out here with no knee brace or anything, didn’t wear a sleeve or anything. I’ve been training my knee for everything I’m about to go through, so when September gets here I’ll be even better than I am now. That’s even crazy to think about. But I’m excited.”

When Bell has been healthy, putting up numbers has not been a problem. The more Bell plays next season, the better the Steelers’ chances of making the playoffs.

Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

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Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

If the NFL had an All-Academic team, Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel would be on it.

In February, Urschel began the Ph.D program in mathematics at MIT. How’s he doing so far? Here’s a hint. When it comes to grades, Urschel is only familiar with one letter in the alphabet.

“My first semester in school in nearly three years,” Urschel wroter on Twitter. “Four PhD classes at MIT. Four A’s. The streak continues!!!”

Entering his third season with the Ravens, Urschel has found a way to juggle his love for football with his love for mathematics. He posted an interesting article on The Players Tribune this week in which he described training with the football team at MIT this spring.

“I probably had about 50 or 60 pounds on the biggest guy on MIT’s O-line,” Urschel wrote. “But when we ran, they put me to shame. They could outsprint me.

“What I found is that the team at MIT is no joke. It is a football team – in some ways, more of a football team than any I’d ever seen. These guys love football. They are playing the game because they want to. No one is making them come to practice, no one is checking up on them. They know as well as anyone about head injuries; they know that football is dangerous; they know the feeling of exhaustion and pain. They still play. They don’t do it for money, and they don’t do it for status.

“We talk about dedication and passion in the pros, but the truth is, sometimes the game feels like a job. You start to think of the paycheck. You feel the grind. But training with the team at MIT, I started thinking about what had drawn me to football as a kid. It felt like a game again. I had thought I might have something to teach the team. I never imagined they’d have so much to teach me.”

That guy in the Dos Equis beer commercials might be the most interesting man in the world. But Urschel has built a strong resume as the most interesting player on the Ravens.

RELATED: NFL ANNOUNCES LOCATIONS FOR 2019, 2020 AND 2021 SUPER BOWLS

NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

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NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

The NFL has decided on the locations of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls. The vote took place at the NFL owners meetings in Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Atlanta will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019, while South Florida (Miami) will get the event in 2020 and Los Angeles will host in 2021. 

The cities chosen each included new or upgraded stadiums in their pitches to the league. 

Atlanta will be home to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opening in 2017. 

Miami's stadium (Sun Life Stadium from 2010-2016) is undergoing a $400 million renovation that will include an open-air canopy to provide shade for 92 percent of seats, according to Sports Illustrated. Construction should be complete before the 2017 season. 

And Los Angeles will boast a new 300-acre, campus-style stadium housing the Rams and potentially a second team. The $2.6 billion project will be the most expensive sports arena in the world, reports CNN, and should be ready before the 2019 NFL season.