By Sam Page
February 25, 2016

Stephen Curry hangs out with a special fan

Before he lead his team to a 118–112 win over the Miami Heat last night, Stephen Curry met with a very special fan. Four-year-old Shawn Kennedy from Niagara Falls, New York is battling a rare form of brain cancer. His hero is Curry and a family friend who also knew Steve Kerr set it up for him to meet the reigning MVP. Curry signed his sneakers for Kennedy and showed him and his brother around the locker room.

Caption contest!

Go here to submit a caption for this photo. Your submission might just appear in the April issue of SI Kids!

He got his jersey!

Remember little Murtaza Ahmadi, who wore a Messi jersey made out of a plastic bag? Well he's got the real thing now, and signed by Messi too!

Try doing this in the back yard...

The combine is underway

The NFL scouting combine, where prospective draftees work out for teams, is underway in Indianapolis. That means a lot of weird stories about prospects not measuring up in one very specific way. Case in point: Jared Goff's hands being only nine inches could hurt his chances of being draft at No. 2 by the Browns.

Meanwhile, everyone wants to know what the Tennessee Titans will do with the first pick. Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil seems like an obvious fit, but the team is keeping its options open.

Another day, another car for Yoenis Cespedes

First the trike, then the Lambo, now...

Awkward...

Today's Peanuts

Free agent running back Chris Johnson admitted to SiriusXM NFL Radio on Tuesday that he hopes his 40-yard dash record of 4.24 seconds, which was set at the 2008 NFL combine, continues to stand up through this weekend. He also said he was surprised someone hadn’t broken it yet.

Is this the year an NFL hopeful snatches the crown away from CJ2K? As if prospects need any motivation to prove their worth, adidas is offering $1 million to any combine participant who can beat Johnson with a time of 4.23 seconds or less.

Last year, UAB wide receiver J.J. Nelson led all participants with a 4.28 40-yard dash. PointAfter runs down the top five contenders to end up atop the leaderboard this weekend in Indianapolis.

Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU

Fastest reported time: 4.36

NFLDraftScout overall ranking: No. 148

NFL
What direction are Titans going to take with No. 1 draft pick?

​Listenbee isn’t considered a top prospect, but he’s been anointed as the favorite to post the fastest 40 time this weekend by various analysts. The lanky 6' 1" wideout must test well to , because his statistical production at TCU wasn’t overly impressive.

Fellow Horned Frog Josh Doctson bested Listenbee in receiving yards in each of the last two seasons, and actually finished third on the team in 2015 with 597 yards on 30 catches in 11 games. That being said, Listenbee showcased his potential as a deep threat by averaging 41.4 yards on his five touchdown receptions last year.

This isn’t an especially strong class for wide receivers. If Listenbee can deliver on the hype and show he’s a cut above every other wideout when it comes to straight-line speed, he could very well jump up big boards across the league. We know from history that certain teams (ahem, Raiders) love taking fliers on speedy flankers, for better or worse. 

LeShaun Sims, CB, Southern Utah

Fastest reported time: mid-4.3s

NFLDraftScout overall ranking: No. 248

A four-year starter at Southern Utah, Sims reportedly clocked in the mid-4.3s in front of NFL scouts last spring, before his redshirt senior season. That earned him a surprise invite to the combine, where two of his Thunderbird teammates will also try to make an impression.

FCS prospects are under additional pressure to open eyes at the combine, since film exploits can be explained away by facing weaker opposition. The combine puts all players on an even scale, and Sims can show he belongs with a 40 time that stands out from his FBS peers.

A sub-4.3 time could boost Sims’s stock into the middle rounds, so you can bet he’s invested a lot of time into perfecting every portion of his form.

SI’s best photos from the NFL combine through the years

Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State

Fastest reported time: 4.32

NFLDraftScout overall ranking: No. 46

Miller took a break from destroying cornerbacks’ dreams at the Senior Bowl to tell reporters he wanted to run a 4.28 at the combine. That’s a lofty goal for the former quarterback and two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, but he might possess the athletic ability to do it. As a QB, Miller frequently outran defensive backs at Ohio State, and even after switching positions he often took handoffs in the backfield last season in an effort to get the ball in his hands by whatever means necessary.

After focusing on honing his passing for most of his collegiate career, a full season of training as a skill player and this winter’s pre-combine workouts could’ve unlocked another level in Miller’s speed. We’ll see on Saturday, when wide receivers run the 40.

Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame

Fastest reported time: 4.42

NFLDraftScout overall ranking: No. 43

Fuller couldn’t crack the first two rounds of Chris Burke’s latest mock draft, but the Notre Dame product could improve his stock by offsetting his mediocre size (6-foot, 184 pounds) with top-flight speed. A long strider for his height, Fuller took the top off of defenses for two years as the primary target in Notre Dame’s offense. 

He burned USC track star Adoree’ Jackson in their highly anticipated clash last season, then outran Ohio State’s secondary on an 81-yard catch-and-score in the Fiesta Bowl.

Whether or not Fuller’s 40 time this weekend reflects it, he clearly possesses the open-field speed to cut it in the NFL.

Jalen Ramsey, DB, Florida State

Fastest reported time: 4.54 (high school)

NFLDraftScout overall ranking: No. 3

Already pegged as the top defensive back in this year’s class, Ramsey would cement his status as a top-five pick if he can stun scouts and smash Johnson’s record. Don’t discount the possibility of that happening. Ramsey has matured into a world-class athlete during his time as a Seminole and should blow by the 4.54-second time he recorded in high school.

NFL
Vernon Adams out to prove lack of height won’t impede NFL future

Ramsey ran the leadoff leg in Florida State’s 4x100 relay team that captured the ACC championship in 2015, when the consensus All-America selection also won the conference’s indoor and outdoor long jump title.

He’ll have the chance to add the title of the draft’s fastest prospect to his impressive résumé on Monday, when defensive backs wrap up on-field workouts and the year’s 40-yard dash champion is crowned. 

The Chicago Cubs have re-signed outfielder Dexter Fowler to a one-year deal with a mutual option for the 2017 season, the team announced Thursday.

The deal is reportedly worth $8 million with a $5 million buyout on a $9 million option for next year, according to Jesse Rogers of ESPN.

As of Tuesday, the Orioles reportedly reached an agreement with Fowler on a three-year deal worth $35 million before talks fell through. Fowler insisted on an opt-out option after one year with Baltimore but the Orioles refused to make it happen, according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Baltimore did not want to lose a first-round pick for Fowler.

Later Thursday, Fowler’s agent Casey Close released a statement expressing frustration at the Orioles organization for “recklessly spreading rumors.”

“In my 25 years in this business, never before have I witnessed such irresponsible behavior on so many fronts. Both the Orioles front office and members of the media were so busy recklessly spreading rumors that they forgot or simply chose not to concern themselves with the truth. The Orioles’ willful disregard of colelctively bargained rules governing free agency and the media’s eager complicity in helping violate those rules are reprehensible. Dexter Fowler never reached agreement with the Orioles and did not come close to signing with the clob; any suggestion otherwise is only a continuation of an already disturbing trend.”

Fowler, 29, is coming off a season in which he hit a career-high 17 home runs and batted .270 with 46 RBIs last season. A switch-hitter, Fowler batted .326 with 13 home runs and a .399 OBP from the right side.

VERDUCCI: Maddon, Cubs embrace the pressure of being the favorites

The Cubs extended Fowler a qualifying offer of $15.8 million for one year in November before he started considering the Orioles and other teams.

Earlier in the day, the Cubs traded outfielder Chris Coghlan to the Athletics for pitcher Aaron Brooks.

You May Like