This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs

ST. LOUIS — Kolten Wong have experienced a little déjà vu while rounding the bases the bottom of the 14th against the Pirates on Sunday. Wong’s second home run of the, a 421-foot blast deep into the right-field bleachers over the bullpen, gave the Cardinals their third consecutive walk-off win against the Pirates — the latest by a. It was Wong’s second career walk-off the regular, and Antti Raanta Jersey both have come against the Bucs. I was sitting there waiting for something I knew I could drive, Wong said. I wasn’t trying to bloop something, I was trying to drive something and either score myself or get scoring position. The capped a 3-for-4 day for Wong, who came off the bench for Matt Carpenter after he left the game with dizziness. Driving the ball, almost got it the gap the previous at-bat, he’s exciting, impressive kid, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. We just want to keep working with him to the point where he’s getting that consistency.

But he can do some pretty impressive things. Wong’s Brian Leetch Jersey blast ended another back-and-forth contest between two of the Central Division’s frontrunners. Carpenter’s home run the fourth gave the Cardinals a 1 lead and ended a streak of 95 consecutive innings without a home run given up by Pirates pitchers. That at-bat have been overlooked, because it didn’t get past third base, but he got into a tough spot, and he gets a 3 slider, which is one he swung through a couple of times, and Harrison makes a great play to save that game from being over, Matheny said. Just incredible at-bat from Bourjos right there. It is the first time the Cardinals had three extra-inning walk-off wins a row since winning four consecutive July 7, 1987. It also prolongs a walk-off trend against the Pirates. Since the start of the 2013, the Cardinals have had 15 walk-off wins, with eight of those coming at the expense of the Bucs. Any time you can get a walk-off home run, it’s special, but to do it the fashion that we did three a row, it’s something big for us, especially against a team like the Pirates, Wong said. Joe is a contributor to. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Fla. — Reggie said Sunday he wanted to stay with the Detroit Pistons, and the team responded kind by reaching a five-year agreement worth $80 million to retain the restricted free agent and give him the highest-value contract team history. The contract was something of a formality. did not seek external offers and the Pistons made re-signing him their highest-priority piece of offseason business. came to Orlando this weekend specifically to meet with Pistons president of basketball operations and head coach Gundy about his new contract, which does not include any options. can not sign the deal until Thursday and the Pistons might like to delay it even longer while they pursue another free-agent big man. They then could exceed the salary cap to retain. was acquired a February trade which the Pistons sent Singler and D.J. Augustin to Oklahoma City. Though received the largest contract team history, the Pistons are expected to sign center Drummond to a long-term extension, either this or next, which exceed it. not be the highest-paid Piston for a single, a distinction that still belongs to Iverson, who made $20 million 2008., 25, is entering his fifth NBA. He played 27 games with the Pistons after the trade and averaged 17 points, 9 assists and 4 rebounds with them. last year turned down a four-year, $48 million extension offer to remain as Oklahoma City’s backup, which prompted the Thunder to seek trade opportunities.

Bipolar disorder is usually a life- battle

They start to feel normal and ‘t think they need meds and situations like this occur. Bipolar disorder is usually a life- battle, noted, adding that episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time, even without medication. Maybe that’s what happened here, he said, referring West’s bizarre behavior.

West is no stranger to Chris Watt Jersey negative media coverage. 2009 he was pulled over near his home while driving his three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder motorcycle and carrying several guns, including one a guitar case, shotgun shells and a bowie knife. He would later claim that he was transporting the weapons from his mother’s house to another one of his properties, and avoid jail by pleading guilty to two misdemeanor weapons charges and a traffic charge. There were also several stints while with the Cavaliers where West, now 32, was noticeably absent which were well-documented the press.

He was excused from training camp one while seeking treatment for what he then-called a mood disorder. After a Corey Liuget Jersey disappointing 2010 playoff collapse, rumors about West having a relationship with the mother of then-teammate LeBron James began to circulate. Cavs fans pointed to LeBron’s poor play and a lack of team chemistry, as reason to believe there was a rift, keeping West’s name the headlines. While he denied the relationship for years afterward, a 2014 interview with Vice Sports, West inserted himself back the news and said the reason he didn’t name his Delonte West, Jr. was because of that rumor. His middle name is Delonte but I didn’t want to name him Delonte West, Jr. just because of that, he said.

I ‘t want going to school and people making fun of him for something his daddy did. He going to school and ‘didn’t your daddy have with LeBron’s mamma?’ I ‘t want him to deal with all that, man. total, West’s professional career spanned eight seasons, earning him $16 million which he reportedly no longer has. He was last given a chance with the Mavericks 2012, but was waived after being suspended twice for conduct detrimental to the team. West’s meltdowns the past have been well-documented, including a Twitter post of his Home Depot application during the 2011 lockout, and a winter spent with his second wife house with no heat. He told the Washington Post 2015 that as a child, small incidents would send him into a tailspin. Shortly before his diagnosis 2008, he was experiencing the same symptoms. These guys are just as prone to depression, anxiety and substance abuse as anybody, Dr. Justin, a sport psychologist with Premier Sports Psychology who treats athletes, coaches and teams but has not treated West, told. When you you can he’s spinning a direction that’s probably not helping his cause, he said.

Texans QB Brock Osweiler: No extra pressure on offense in Watt’s absence

Even though the Houston Texans invested heavily in the offense during the offseason, the identity of the team was still J.J. Watt and the defense.

And through three games, the defense has outplayed the offense. But even though Houston placed Watt on injured reserve on Wednesday, quarterback Brock Osweiler doesn’t think the three-time Defensive Player of the Year’s absence puts any more pressure on the offense.

“I don’t think there are any givens, and that’s not an indictment on anybody,” Fox said.

Cutler is in the middle of a seven-year, $126.7 million contract he signed in 2014. The Bears haven’t had a winning record since 2012. Fox and general manager Ryan Pace stuck with Cutler after taking over the Bears in 2015, in part because of a $10 million guarantee in his contract.

Working with offensive coordinator Adam Gase last season, Cutler responded well, cut down his interceptions, showed better leadership and had one of his best years statistically. But Gase is now in Miami, and Cutler looked back to his old self in the two games he started. His completion percentage is down and, most important, the Bears haven’t won.

Cutting Cutler is no longer a money issue, either. He’s signed through 2020, but his contract doesn’t have any guaranteed money after this season. He could be cut in the offseason and count only $2 million under the 2017 cap.

“I don’t think anything changes offensively now that the news of J.J. going on IR has come out,” Osweiler said. “Bottom line, we need to score points. We need to score a lot of them. We knew that whether he was put on IR or not.”

In the first three games of the season, Osweiler has completed 59.6 percent of his passes for 695 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions. His worst game came Thursday in Houston’s 27-0 loss to the New England Patriots, during which he never established an offensive rhythm and the Texans didn’t cross midfield until less than two minutes left in the third quarter.

“So I went to the bank and got $3,900 in coins. It was pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters … everything. I didn’t care one bit. I took a truck load of it and put it right there where he wanted it, and got my truck towed back to my buddy’s shop.”

This he said-he said battle first was reported by Jalopnik.

Tolbert claimed Monday in an Instagram post that he was quoted a price and a 10-day completion time, and that more than two months later the work had not been completed. He also claimed the price from the original quote had gone up.

Danny Woodhead out for season with torn ACL

The Chargers continue to lose weapons on offense.

After wide receiver Keenan Allen was lost to a torn ACL in a Week 1 loss to the Chiefs, running back Danny Woodhead went down with the same injury in a blowout win over the Jaguars, forcing the Charges to place him on injured reserve, the team announced. The 31-year-old dual threat back has been a fine addition to San Diego’s offense over the past three years, although this will be the second time since 2013 he couldn’t make it past Week 3. Woodhead broke his fibula early in the 2014 season.

In a Monday appearance with WJFK-FM in Washington, Cousins said it’s “understandable” that teammates would grouse about their slow start to the season.

“I think people respond with emotion like you said. 0-2 is 0-2,” Cousins said. “It’s tough. No one wants to be there. I think we all feel like we’re too good to be 0-2. We have too many players, too much talent. In a lot of ways, (we) aren’t playing at the level we’re capable of.”

To Cousins’ credit, he is neither fanning the flames of discontent nor backing away from the criticism.

“You take ownership, you step to the forefront and you lead and you challenge guys and you say what you need to do better,” Cousins continued. “I think together, we can do that. That’s what I’m going to do. That’s what I’ve done my whole life, my whole life as a football player. This is no different. This is not new territory for me. I’ve faced challenges before, adversity before on the football field. We’re going to find a way to move forward and play better. We’re going to do it together.”

Colin Kaepernick biding time to grasp ‘next opportunity’ as starter

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been a backup before and now that he’s No. 2 on the depth chart again, he’s biding his time for the next chance to play.

After that game in San Diego, Kaepernick pledged to donate the first $1 million he makes this season toward helping organizations he believes can make a difference. He said Wednesday that he’ll also donate the proceeds from the sales of his jersey to those same causes.

As Panthers tight end Greg Olsen said, “This is not the Super Bowl.” The Panthers aren’t approaching this as a game for revenge or redemption for their 24-10 loss in Super Bowl 50. They have moved on.

Much of the credit for that goes to coach Ron Rivera, who spent the offseason preparing his team to avoid a “Super Bowl hangover.” In case you’ve missed it, since the 1992-93 Buffalo Bills, no team that lost the title game has returned the following year. Rivera has talked to everyone from John Madden to a retired admiral for advice. The message has been received loud and clear by his players.

The focus, as cliché as it sounds, is to win the next game. This is the next game, and minus Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman, Carolina has back most of the team that went 15-1 in the 2015 regular season.

Kelvin Benjamin. As good as the Panthers were offensively last season, they didn’t have their No. 1 receiver. Benjamin, a 6-foot-5, 245-pound target, will help bail Cam Newton out of trouble when he needs to complete tough passes over the middle to keep the chains moving. As Denver linebacker Von Miller said, Benjamin is Newton’s “safety blanket.” Benjamin’s presence will make it tougher for the Broncos to take Olsen out of the game, as they did in the Super Bowl. He’ll also create opportunities for second-year wide receiver Devin Funchess, who is light years ahead of where he was a season ago.

Norman has been a focal point ever since he signed with Washington in the spring, following Carolina’s decision to rescind the franchise tag it had placed on him. Part of it stems from his contract, worth $15 million a year, the highest for a corner. He has been in headlines for his matchup with Odell Beckham Jr., based on what happened last year and because they play twice this season.

“I’m ready to leave that all behind me,” he said. “I really don’t want to talk about it much. I tried to block it out and try to focus on football — what’s important. I know I didn’t do anything wrong.

“We were very confident since Day 1. I wasn’t really worried that much. I was really focused on ball and let my lawyers and representatives handle the rest.”

Union: Santa Clara police might boycott 49ers games over Colin Kaepernick’s stance

The Santa Clara police union has sent a letter to the San Francisco 49ers, warning that police might stop working the team’s home games due to Colin Kaepernick’s statements on police brutality and his wearing of socks during a practice that showed cartoon pigs dressed as police officers.

Sanchez is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end under his current contract, which would be nullified if he were released and make him a free agent immediately. There is also the business side, beyond Sanchez’ salary, that the Broncos would not have to surrender a draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles if Sanchez is not on the roster after Saturday.

Earlier this week Sanchez said he was determined to handle things in a “professional way,’’ and he promised to help Siemian and Lynch as much as possible.

“Few things are more important to me than my name and reputation. This might call that into question for some, which has me heartbroken,” Ninkovich said. “I don’t want to cut any corners. I want to do things the right way, with high integrity, and that’s what I have always wanted to stand for.”

Ninkovich, 32, has played in 116 consecutive games (including playoffs) for the Patriots since signing with the team as a free agent on Aug. 2, 2009.

“Any supplement I’ve ever used was bought at a store. I was unaware something I bought had a substance in it that would give me a positive test because it wasn’t listed [as an ingredient],” Ninkovich told ESPN.

“One thing I have learned is that if a supplement is not NSF certified, there are no regulations that ensure that what is on the label is 100 percent accurate. That is a hard lesson for me to learn at this stage in my career, but I take responsibility for it. It’s a mistake I made and it hurts that I won’t be there for my teammates.”

A team captain in 2015, Ninkovich tore his triceps during a training camp practice with the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 9 and was in jeopardy of missing the start of the season because of the injury.

He is valued for his pass-rush ability (47 career sacks, including playoffs) and toughness to set the edge against the run. Coach Bill Belichick has annually lauded Ninkovich’s toughness, versatility and intelligence.

NFC position battles: QBs under pressure in West

We projected the 20 most intriguing position battles in NFC one month ago. With the regular season approaching, let’s check in to see which players have earned starting gigs.

Linebacker is more clear. It would be a surprise if suspended middle linebacker Rolando McClain ever plays for the team again. Anthony Hitchens has taken over in the middle, with Kyle Wilber a starter on the outside. Translation: Tony Romo and friends might need to score 35 points each week to win.

At running back, Alfred Morris has run all month like he wanted to make the Redskins regret letting him go. He’s on his way. With Lance Dunbar on the mend and rookie Darius Jackson looking like he belongs, Jerry Jones could potentially attempt to trade Darren McFadden.

And before I do get into the sleepers, you know how much I love to say that Aaron Rodgers is going to be motivated this season because his brother aired their family’s dirty laundry on “The Bachelorette” this summer. I’m still convinced this is the case, even though a lot of the football types in the building kind of bristle at the idea. But I did get a pretty good endorsement of this theory a few weeks ago. Forgive me, I did share this story with you on my Facebook page. However, it’s too good not to share in case you missed it. (ICYMI for all of you hipsters.)

Latavius Murray’s fantasy stock: Coach Jack Del Rio said that Murray’s limited playing time against Tennessee was only because the Raiders know Murray and need to find his backup. That argument only works if Murray is clearly better than the players behind him.

Both DeAndre Washington and camp surprise Jalen Richard run with serious juice. Washington is great on passing downs and Richard has vision. Throw in underrated fullback Jamize Olawale’s carries with the starters and Murray is staring at a diminished workload. Del Rio refused to guarantee Murray would be the team’s No. 1 back early in the offseason, and Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie promised to get help. The team was hoping to reduce Murray’s role and just so happened to find the right guys with a fifth-round pick and an undrafted free agent.

A good week for …
Dallas Cowboys rookies: This has nothing to do with the broken bone in Tony Romo’s back. That injury will keep Dak Prescott in the spotlight longer than expected, but his performance against Seattle on Thursday night showed how the Cowboys can survive. Prescott showed he can stand tall against pressure, even if heat is rare behind the boffo Cowboys line. Prescott avoided big mistakes, ran the hurry-up like a veteran and got the Cowboys starters to halftime tied against a stout defense.

More importantly, Prescott will have the support of a strong running game. Ezekiel Elliott put more skills on tape (power, burst, vision, blocking, toughness) in 14 snaps than some NFL starters show their whole career. Even the Jones family couldn’t overhype this kid enough.

Andre Johnson, WR, Tennessee Titans: Signed without a guaranteed roster spot, Johnson now looks slated for a starting role. Dorial Green-Beckham is gone and Justin Hunter could be soon behind. Johnson actually played more with Tennessee’s first-team offense on Saturday than big free-agent pickup Rishard Matthews, catching three passes for 65 yards. Time will tell what he has left, but A.J. is getting a legitimate final chance to burnish his Hall of Fame numbers alongside a promising young quarterback.

Bengals tell Andy Dalton to cut down on the tackles in 2016

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joked Thursday that he probably wouldn’t be making many tackles this year.

If it’s up to the team, he won’t be making any at all. Dalton broke his thumb last season trying to make a tackle after throwing an interception in the first quarter of a game against the Steelers on Dec. 18. The Bengals went 2-2 without him, but weren’t able to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.

“Oh yeah. We’ve made that clear here,” Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said on Pro Football Talk Live Thursday morning. “Whatever happens, he needs to run his ass back to the sidelines.”

In the ESPN story, Norman said of Thomas: “I don’t know what he was out there for. He was supposed to be an all-world guy and I shut him down.”

Bell will inevitably have the shortest leash. Get him a few carries, then see you in Week 4. Bell can’t return to practices until Sept. 26 after serving a three-game suspension for missed drug tests.

The 22-year-old superstar is gearing up for another teaser on Saturday, when the Rams travel to Denver to play the reigning-champion Broncos at 6 p.m. PT. Gurley is expected to play. But while the rest of the starters go deep into the second quarter in the third preseason game, Rams coach Jeff Fisher will probably restrict Gurley to only one drive, just like he did last week.

“It’s whatever,” Gurley said. “Whatever Coach Jeff gives me, I’ll be happy with it. Obviously I want to be out there with my boys, running the ball, protecting, whatever it is. Just a couple more weeks until the real games.”

And with Gurley, that’s all the Rams are even thinking about. During Tuesday’s airing of “Hard Knocks,” Fisher was seen telling his defensive coaches that Gurley should be treated “like a freaking quarterback” and need not be tackled. On Wednesday, Fisher watched Gurley end up near the bottom of a pile during a scuffle with his own teammates and said, “We all need to be smarter than that.”

The Rams are being uber-cautious with Gurley, because he will carry a heavy load in the offense and because he showed last year that he doesn’t necessarily need to play in preseason games. Many have wondered if Gurley should simply not play at all until the regular season, which is probably something Fisher has thought about himself.

Josh Norman embraces new status as target, says he ‘can take it’

ASHBURN, Va. — When Washington Redskins corner Josh Norman signed his new contract in April, he knew life would change. He went from scrappy underdog to a moving target.

A year ago at this time he was an improving corner on a very good Carolina defense. Now he’s a target.

“I think it’s crazy,” Norman said. “I would never dream that in a million years.”

“I’m part Native American on both my mom’s and my dad’s side. It’s kind of a funny thing, though. A redskin playing for the Redskins,” he said, in a story written by senior writer Kevin Van Valkenburg.

Norman also said he’s the “best cornerback on Earth” and asked when New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. would “grow up.”

The issue, which has Norman on the cover, will be available on newsstands Thursday.

Norman’s franchise tag was rescinded by the Carolina Panthers this past offseason, and he then signed a five-year, $75 million deal with Washington in April. He told The Magazine that he felt constrained in Carolina, that he was asked to cut down on his trash talk but wouldn’t because “I’m not a fake.”

He said the team’s conservative nature made him expendable.

“They kind of shunned me,” he said. “They turned down a lot of stuff for me, interviews, sponsorship deals, stuff I didn’t even know about. They wanted it to be about the two main guys, Cam [Newton] and Luke [Kuechly].”

In Washington, he said he thinks he can “grow.”

“…[I]t feels like everybody can say whatever they want,” he said. “It’s a free-flowing kind of place. It’s like going from a dictatorship to freedom.”

“He’s skilled and talented. I won’t take that away from him. But he’s never been through any adversity in his life. It’s like, when are you ever going to grow up?”

Ever since Norman signed a five-year, $15 million-a-year deal with the Redskins, he has been knocked by other players — New York Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and Arizona Cardinals corner Patrick Peterson — and roasted by fans anytime video of him getting beat in practice surfaces. And his comments now are turned into headlines.

While blocking out the noise, Matt Ryan still focused on that elusive Super Bowl

“I believe Matt is an elite quarterback,” offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said. “Matt was the third pick in the draft [in 2008]. He’s played a lot of good football. But being an elite quarterback also has to do with the people around you. Nobody is elite on their own.”

Ryan, 31, isn’t consumed with outside perception. It’s been his motto to block out the noise. However, he’s not totally immune to it. It annoys him, to a degree.

“I think a lot of times, maybe it affects some of the people around you more than it affects you, and that part of it isn’t fun,” the typically reserved Ryan said. “Obviously, when your wife is pissed off about something, that part of it isn’t fun.”

Criticism has mounted, in large part, as a result of Ryan’s financial status. He enters the 2016 season as one of 11 quarterbacks averaging $20 million-plus per season. Eight of the 11 — Cam Newton, Joe Flacco, Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, Rodgers and Roethlisberger — have made it to the Super Bowl, with the latter seven winning titles. And two of the others — Philip Rivers and Andrew Luck — have four and three playoffs wins, respectively, so more than Ryan.

When a quarterback is set to make more than $100 million over a five-year period and eats up more than $20 million in cap space each of the next three seasons, the standards are raised.

“It’s kind of the going rate,” Ryan said of the $100 million plateau. “That’s not to be funny or anything. As you see now, we play our position and we go out and compete, and this is what I’ve done since 13 — played quarterback. It’s never been about [money]. I’m not complaining. [Money] is just one of the things that come along with it. With that comes added criticism, and there’s a certain expectation.

“What I need to do is do my job as best I can and not worry about what everyone else thinks about what you’re getting paid. This is something that comes up for every quarterback. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t affect the outcome of games. For me, the things that are important are the things that affect the outcome of games. That’s what I focus on.”

Ryan signed his contract in July 2013, well before the Falcons experienced a dramatic freefall. They’ve missed the playoffs the past three seasons while compiling an 18-30 mark. Ryan surpassing 4,500 passing yards in each of those seasons didn’t really matter in the grand scheme.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The San Francisco 49ers are two weeks and one game into their preseason, and the quarterback competition between Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick still doesn’t have much in the way of clarity.

Gabbert started and had an up-and-down performance in Sunday’s 24-13 loss to the Houston Texans, while Kaepernick still is recovering from the right shoulder fatigue that kept him from throwing in two practices and the preseason opener.

But as training camp practices melt away, the best chances for one quarterback to gain separation do too. Which makes this week perhaps the most critical of the entire training camp when it comes to figuring out who will be playing the most important position in the game for the Niners in 2016.

49ers coach Chip Kelly often has pointed to the preseason games as integral milestones in the competition, and the same is true of the team’s three scheduled joint practices with opponents. While the day-to-day work in practice matters, it only goes up a notch when there’s another team on the other side.

This week brings two practices against the Broncos in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday, followed by Saturday’s preseason contest between the teams. One of the primary reasons the 49ers held Kaepernick out of Sunday’s game was to give him a chance to be ready to play this week in Denver.

“Colin isn’t 100 percent and it wouldn’t have been fair to put him in and judge him in a competition,” Kelly said. “We’re just trying to get him healthy and see if we can get him ready for this week against Denver.”