“Ever since I stopped drinking, it’s been a transformation,” Seferian-Jenkins said. “It really has changed my life. I just try to win one day at a time. … Knowing you need help and you don’t go get it, that’s the worst thing.”Between injuries and disciplinary issues, Seferian-Jenkins played only 43 games in five seasons since being drafted in the second round by Tampa Bay in 2014. He has 116 career receptions for 1,160 yards and 11 touchdowns. Patrick Peterson surprises Cardinals by attending OTAs despite suspension The tight end position in New England remains in flux as the team announced Tuesday it has released Austin Seferian-Jenkins shortly after multiple reports that he planned to step away from the game for a month to deal with personal issues.Seferian-Jenkins signed a one-year deal with the Patriots in April after a five-game stint in Jacksonville that ended when he aggravated a core injury and landed on injured reserve. Browns’ Duke Johnson says team put him on trade block before he asked to be dealt Titans’ Adam Humphries explains decision to pass on Patriots It’s unclear what personal issues Seferian-Jenkins is dealing with, but he admitted to seeking help for a drinking problem in 2017 — less than a year after a DUI arrest that resulted in him being cut by the Buccaneers.Seferian-Jenkins told ESPN at the time he had stopped drinking. Related News With Seferian-Jenkins now off the depth chart, New England is left with Stephen Anderson (36 career receptions), Matt LaCosse (27), Ryan Izzo (0) and Andrew Beck (0) as options at tight end … a tough reminder of the stability it enjoyed at the position before Rob Gronkowski retired this offseason.Benjamin Watson was signed out of retirement last month but will serve a four-game suspension to start the season after testing positive for PEDs.New England has been linked to trade talks for Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, who is entering the final year of his contract and has been adamant about not taking a pay cut to remain in Minnesota.
Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano throws during the first inning of a spring exhibition baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles in Bradenton, Fla., Thursday, March 20, 2014. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)PITTSBURGH (AP) – The family reunion will be short. Whether it will be sweet hardly matters. At last, the wounds of 21 years of futility have finally started to heal.One magical summer took care of all that.When the Pittsburgh Pirates take the field for Monday’s opener against the rebuilding Chicago Cubs, they’ll do it without the burden of two decades of losing. They’ll do it with the momentum that comes after the best season in a generation, and something just as valuable as they try to prove their breakout 2013 was no fluke: legitimate optimism.“I feel very confident about the hunger in the room, the focus on getting better,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “These guys work hard and they have a lot of fun. It’s a unique combination to be a part of.”One last bit of housekeeping awaits for the Pirates before 2014 begins. In a nod to the club’s storied past and its promising present, two familiar faces will provide some closure on a breathtaking season when Barry Bonds and Jim Leyland present their current-day counterparts with a little hardware.Bonds will hand star center fielder Andrew McCutchen the 2013 NL MVP Award. Leyland will do the same for Hurdle, the 2013 NL Manager of the Year.Leyland remains a beloved figure 18 years after his departure. Bonds, whose decision to leave Pittsburgh for San Francisco following the 1992 season marked the start of the darkest era in Pirates history, does not.Though their reception might be mixed, their presence will serve as a symbolic closing of one of the most ignominious chapters in the history of professional sports.Finally, baseball is back in Pittsburgh. And the current group of Pirates plans to keep it that way.“This is a group that has come together,” Hurdle said. “They know what they want, they know the sacrifice they have to make to get there. They don’t overcook things mentally and they’re pretty good at moving on from minor disappointments or setbacks.”Perhaps it’s fitting then, that the player who exemplified Pittsburgh’s resurgence in 2013 will take the mound in the opener. Last spring, left-hander Francisco Liriano was rehabilitating a broken right arm and wondering if the mechanical changes to his delivery would ever pay off.He ended the season with 16 wins, had two more solid starts in the playoffs and begins 2014 elevated to the role of ace after veteran A.J. Burnett bolted for Philadelphia in free agency.It’s a position Liriano does not take for granted after spending five years trying to regain the form he flashed before Tommy John surgery derailed his career in 2007.“It’s an honor,” Liriano said. “I just want to stay calm and try to go as deep in the game as I can.”While most preseason predictions have the Pirates still in the mix in the highly competitive NL Central, the Cubs have replaced Pittsburgh as the team moored at the bottom of the standings. Chicago hasn’t finished above .500 in five years, the club’s longest streak of futility since 1985-88.Though President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein’s project remains very much a work in progress, the Cubs have some building blocks, including opening day starter Jeff Samardzija. The right-hander pitched eight innings of two-hit ball while beating Pittsburgh in the opener last year, though it did little to prevent Chicago from a miserable April that doomed it to another also-ran finish.Although the Cubs allow they have some catching up to do, they’re not exactly planning on playing down to diminished expectations.“We’re going to stick with the positive mentality,” pitcher Jason Hammel said. “It’s a big year for everybody. We’re not going to pay attention to what everybody else says. We know what we have in this clubhouse and we’re just going to keep pushing each other and picking each other up. We have very high expectations for ourselves and that’s just the way it is. If we get off on a good roll, who knows what can happen?” read more
Facebook275Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Thurston CountyBeach remains open, but advisory signs posted Thurston County health officials are posting swimming advisory signs at the beach at the Burfoot Park as a precaution after recent testing showed elevated levels of bacteria in the water. The beach is not closed, but health officials are recommending that people and pets stay out of the water.“We want park visitors to be aware of the situation and use their best judgment about whether they go in the water or stay dry,” said Art Starry, Director of the county’s Environmental Health Division. “The health risk at Burfoot Beach is relatively low for most people, but there is a slightly higher risk of illness for young children and people with compromised immune systems, so we’re reaching out to make sure people can make informed decisions.”Health officials also recommend that nearby beachfront property owners avoid contact with the water until tests show that bacteria levels have dropped.All other facilities and areas at Burfoot Park are unaffected and are open to the public, including the trails, picnic areas and playground.For more information on protecting yourself, your family and your pets from common swimming and water-borne illnesses, visit the county health department’s web page at http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehadm/swimming/illness_hazards.html.For more information about wastewater treatment and how the Washington State Department of Ecology protects and monitors Washington’s waterways, visit www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/wastewater/index.html. You can also get updates from the Washington State Department of Ecology blog called “ECOconnect” at http://ecologywa.blogspot.com. read more