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Wisconsin Badgers QB Graham Mertz revels in bowl victory against Wake Forest regardless of rocky season



After his final snap, a basic bow down to end a strange 2020 season, Graham Mertz raised his arms and rushed to the sidelines to celebrate with his University of Wisconsin football colleagues.

It was a here and there first mission as a starter for the redshirt green bean regarding his creation, yet one thing that never faltered was Mertz’s energy for the game. Also, to hear his partners advise it, the one thing that was moving upward even as his details did a plunge during the season was Mertz’s authority aptitudes.

Along these lines, no doubt, Mertz planned to delight in the Duke Mayo’s Bowl title the Badgers acquired with a 42-28 triumph over Wake Forest on Wednesday evening at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“Obviously, it’s not a national championship, but it’s a bowl game and it’s a way to end as a champion,” Mertz said of his enthusiastic reaction to the win. “I think the guys accepted that and truly had that edge going out there, that we can’t control the past but we can truly control that we we’re going to win and we’re going to dominate this game. I’m proud of the guys for that response.”

As it ended up, Mertz may have praised excessively a lot. Pictures arose via online media after the round of a heap of broke glass — what was before a football at the highest point of the Mayo Bowl prize — in the UW storage space. That was followed presently of recordings that indicated Mertz hitting the dance floor with the prize and the football tumbling to the floor and breaking as his partners viewed.

Mertz was donning a wrap to his left side, non-throwing hand and he dismissed the bobble toward the beginning of his postgame Zoom news meeting.

“It’ll be the last prize I actually drop,” he stated, “I ensure that.”

Mertz completed 11 of 17 for 130 yards and a score and furthermore ran for two scores against the Demon Deacons (4-5). He was a long way from awesome while playing with a supporting cast that was again missing a few central participants, however Mertz was adequately strong to help the Badgers (4-3) end the season with a triumphant record and on a positive note heading into 2021.

A little more than two months sooner, Mertz had stunned in his first vocation start, finishing 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and five scores in a success over Illinois. The following day, he tried positive for COVID-19 and stayed away forever to the structure he appeared on that great Friday night back in October at Camp Randall Stadium.

Mertz turned the ball more than eight times — five capture attempts, three lost bungles — during a three-game losing streak and found the middle value of 165 ignoring yards his last six beginnings.

His solitary turnover Wednesday was the postgame prize drop. Then, his 14-yard strike to fullback Mason Stokke late in the second from last quarter was Mertz’s first score pass since hitting Chimere Dike on a profound toss late in the principal quarter of UW’s misfortune to Northwestern on Nov. 21.

Mertz even managed some misfortune during the game Wednesday. He endured a big cheese late in the primary half, had the breeze taken out of him and needed to leave the game for a couple of plays. Reinforcement Chase Wolf took over for the last arrangement of the second quarter for Mertz, who conceded after the game coaches were additional careful on the grounds that he was falling off a “little blackout” that happened when he made an effort late in the customary season finale against Minnesota on Dec. 19.

“He did go through a lot, a lot of the ups and downs, and I think that can be a natural part of anytime you’re competing,” UW coach Paul Chryst said. “It’ll be a great offseason to learn, a great offseason for him to be able to grow from the experiences he’s had. I believe he’s the type of guy who will do that.”

Mertz’s colleagues concur with their mentor’s appraisal. Numerous UW players said after the game that they respected the manner in which Mertz was responsible for his missteps and consistently sure in the storage space.

“His future is bright,” UW tailback Garrett Groshek said. “Out of any year being your first year to start and the inconsistency that came with it, he never dropped his head once. He kept fighting, he kept swinging.”

Mertz said thereafter that there’s a lot of things from a wacky 2020 season, great and terrible, that will assist him with growing a player. His colleagues and mentors accept that will be the situation too.

“He’s young,” UW safety Scott Nelson said. “I think a lot of people wanted him to come in and be Patrick Mahomes or be somebody (else) and he just has to be Graham Mertz. I think that’s the biggest thing is he’s a young player learning and playing in the Big Ten, it’s not as easy as a lot of people think it is. The sky’s the limit for him.”


Brooklyn Nets sign Alize Johnson to a multiyear, $4.1M contract



Forward Alize Johnson has consented to a multiyear deal the Brooklyn Nets worth up to $4.1 million, his agent, George Langberg, revealed to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Johnson’s productivity permitted him to parlay two consecutive 10-day contracts into his new deal with the Nets.

Johnson had his choice of a bit more guaranteed money elsewhere, however needed to stay the course with the Nets, where he has averaged 7.8 points and 5.8 rebounds on 65.7% shooting in six appearances.

Prior to joining the Nets, Johnson played 31 games with the Indiana Pacers over the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.

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Los Angeles Angels’ Dexter Fowler with torn ACL injury, out for season



Los Angeles Angels starting right fielder Dexter Fowler has a torn left ACL that will require season-ending surgery, the group declared Sunday.

Fowler, 35, injured himself while sprinting into a second base on an attempted forceout in Friday’s down against the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin, Florida. Fowler beat the throw from Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette and didn’t slide, inciting him to show up gracelessly and crumple to the ground in pain.

The Angels at first diagnosed Fowler to have a sprained left knee, however a follow-up MRI revealed that it was far more serious. The team said Fowler is expected to need six to nine months to recover after surgery.

“Comeback season has commenced,” Fowler said Sunday. “The cards I’ve been dealt, so you’ve got to deal with them and go at it like that.”

Fowler, who is set to be a free specialist after the season, doesn’t think the injury is career-ending.

“I want to continue to play,” he said. “I think I’ve still got a lot left in the tank. Right now I just want to get the knee back right and get going again.”

Heavenly messengers director Joe Maddon said he replace Fowler with Juan Lagares and Jose Rojas, the last of whom is right now serving in as a utility infielder. Before Sunday’s down against the Blue Jays was delayed because of downpour, Rojas had been scheduled to begin at third base instead of Anthony Rendon, who was managing irritation in his left crotch that came about because of a throw Saturday.

Fowler, acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals in early February, was 5-for-20 with six strikeouts to start the 2021 season and has batted .218/.320/.370 in the course of recent years. Be that as it may, Maddon, who recently oversaw Fowler with the Chicago Cubs, said he accepted the outfielder was simply beginning to get moving obnoxiously and will miss his essence in the team.

“He’s one of those glue guys, man,” Maddon said. “He really makes a difference. He does. You talk about it all the time with clubhouse guys, but this guy really is one.”

Fowler’s injury creates an immediate opening for the Angels’ two most encouraging youthful players, Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh, both of whom are working out at the group’s substitute site in Tempe, Arizona, before the small time season starts. Adell battled as a new kid on the block a year ago, and Marsh presently can’t seem to play above Double-An in the wake of expenditure the Covid abbreviated 2020 season playing mostly intrasquad games.

Maddon said he would concede to the Angels’ minor league development staff on when Adell and Marsh are major league ready.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that they’ve tightened up their game [from spring training] to the point where you want to bring them up yet,” Maddon said.

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Bengals release RB Giovani Bernard after eight seasons



The Cincinnati Bengals have released veteran running back Giovani Bernard, the team declared on Wednesday.

Bernard, 29, has played all of his eight NFL seasons with the franchise that drafted him in the second round in 2013. He has showed up in 115 games and rushed for 3,697 yards and 22 touchdowns. He likewise had 342 receptions for 2,867 yards and 11 touchdowns.

The former North Carolina player was entering the last year of a two-year extension he endorsed in September 2019. The Bengals will acquire $4.1 million in salary-cap savings with Bernard’s release and incur just $666,667 in dead money against the cap, as indicated by Roster Management System.

Bernard began a career-high 10 games in 2020 in light of the fact that Joe Mixon was out with a foot injury. His best rushing performance was a 83-yard exertion in a win over Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football, the Bengals’ first victory over the Steelers since 2015. It was Bernard’s most elevated hurrying absolute since Week 16 of the 2017 season.

Mixon, who marked a four-year, $48 million extension a year ago, tweeted Wednesday that he “can’t thank him enough for all he has meant to my career.”

The Bengals have parted ways with several notable veterans who were essential for the group’s season playoff runs from 2011 to 2015. The team released former All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins prior this offseason and didn’t re-sign former Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green.

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