<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Capital Games]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/blogs/capital-games http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usThu, 27 Jul 2017 13:05:26 -0400Thu, 27 Jul 2017 13:05:26 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Redskins Ready for Training Camp]]> Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:55:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Redskins_Ready_for_Training_Camp.jpg

Training camp starts Thursday, and some Redskins participated in some conditioning Wednesday. Carol Maloney reports.

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<![CDATA[MLB Unveils Logo for 2018 All-Star Game to Be Played in DC]]> Wed, 26 Jul 2017 19:06:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2018+All-Star+Game+Logo.jpg

The logo for the 2018 Major League Baseball All Star Game was unveiled Wednesday. It will be the fifth All-Star Game hosted by D.C. News4's Sherree Burruss reports.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Projections for Redskins Upcoming 2017 Roster]]> Mon, 24 Jul 2017 12:29:13 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170724+Jay+Gruden.jpg

The Washington Redskins open training camp on Thursday in Richmond and the regular season Sept. 10 against Philadelphia. In between there will be several practices and four preseason games, at the end of which head coach Jay Gruden must finalize a 53-man roster.

Here’s our first projection of that Week 1 roster.

Quarterbacks (3) – Kirk Cousins, Colt McCoy, Nate Sudfeld

• There’s not much going on here in terms of roster competition. Yet all eyes on Cousins after yet another round of failed contract talks. Plus McCoy and Sudfeld could leave a lasting impression, with 2018 in mind, with their preseason work.

Running backs (4) – Robert Kelley, Samaje Perine, Chris Thompson, Mack Brown

• Kelley and Perine, the first of two fourth-round picks, battle for lead back duties while Thompson aims for another productive and healthy campaign as Washington’s change-of-pace option. Brown’s work on special teams and his impressive 2016 preseason likely put him on the roster barring a drop in play. Matt Jones will be traded or cut along the way unless injuries elsewhere change the plan.

Wide receivers (6) – Jamison Crowder, Terrelle Pryor, Josh Doctson, Ryan Grant, Maurice Harris, Robert Davis

• The top three are locks. Now let’s see how Doctson performs following a lost rookie season and if Pryor has folks dreaming of a Pro Bowl run during in his first year with the Redskins. Perhaps Grant joins the lock list based on head coach Jay Gruden’s constant praise. His run-blocking might keep him on the field more than expected. Harris worked his way from undrafted to practice squad to 53-man roster last season. Good bet either Davis, a sixth-round pick, or 2016 special teams member Kendal Thompson outduel veteran addition Brian Quick for the final slot.

Tight ends (4) – Jordan Reed, Vernon Davis, Niles Paul, Jeremy Sprinkle

• Reed’s battle with concussions is what matters most. The Pro Bowl-caliber TE turns the offense from good to wow. Injuries could shape the final slots. Paul’s versatility in offensive formations and special teams makes him valuable. Derek Carrier, a quality receiver and blocker, faces a stiff challenge from Sprinkle. Selected in the fifth round, Sprinkle is the biggest of Washington’s tight ends. If Reed, Davis and Paul avoid injuries and the rookie looks the part, Carrier might be in trouble.

Offensive line (8) -- Center (2) – Spencer Long, Chase Rouiller; Guard (3) – Brandon Scherff, Shawn Lauvao, Arie Kouandjio; Tackle (3) – Trent Williams, Morgan Moses, Ty Nsheke

• Not much change here other than Rouiller taking over as the backup center. Ideally, there would be a spot for a ninth lineman, but decisions and needs elsewhere don’t allow. Lauvao could face a challenge from Kouandjio for the starting left guard job. Key word is could.

Defensive line (6) - Terrell McClain, Stacy McGee, Jonathan Allen, Ziggy Hood, Anthony Lanier, Matt Ioannidis

• If the Redskins defense improves dramatically from last season’s rankings – 28th in yards allowed, 19th in points per game – changes with this unit will likely be why. McClain, McGee and Allen, Washington’s first round pick, are the newcomers. In this scenario, Phil Taylor, Joey Mbu and A.J. Francis are on the outside. Taylor, a former 1st round selection who hasn’t played in the NFL since 2014 due to injuries, could emerge as a nose tackle option.

Linebackers (9) – Ryan Kerrigan, Zach Brown, Will Compton, Mason Foster, Preston Smith, Ryan Anderson, Junior Galette, Chris Carter

• Astute observers will note only eight names listed above. Trent Murphy gets the final slot, but he’ll miss the first four weeks due to suspension. Martrell Spaight is the obvious answer, though Zach Vigil has a chance because of special teams play. Those first four games will provide something of a tryout for whoever takes Murphy’s place as well Galette who missed the last two seasons with Achilles injuries.

Cornerbacks (5) – Josh Norman, Baushaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, Quinton Dunbar, Joshua Holsey,

• Norman is one of the best in the business even if his Washington debut didn’t completely meet the hype. Fuller appears healthier now more than a full year removed from microfracture knee surgery. Third-round pick Fabian Moreau is recovering from a torn pectoral muscle. Let’s guess he isn’t ready for Week 1, let alone the bulk of preseason. That would mean opening the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. It would open a slot for Holsey, who looks like a potential find in the seventh round.

Safety (5) – D.J. Swearinger, Su’a Cravens, Will Blackmon, Deshazor Everett, Montae Nicholson

• DeAngelo Hall is the missing name. If the Redskins have their druthers, the respected locker room leader makes the roster. The thing is Hall missed the 31 games over the last three years with injuries, including a torn ACL in Week 3 that ended his 2016 campaign. There’s certainly a chance for reprieve – Hall is a noted playmaker and would still count for $812,000 on the salary cap even if waived. Nicholson, Washington’s other fourth-round pick, is another PUP candidate. This unit hasn’t been helpful for years, but the aggressive combination of Swearinger and Cravens has promise.

Specialists (3) – Dustin Hopkins, Tress Way, Nick Sundberg

• Nothing to see here barring injury or the unforeseen.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Politeness and Politics: Kirk Cousins and the Redskins]]> Thu, 20 Jul 2017 12:10:59 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170720+Kirk+Cousins.jpg

It’s clear that destiny brought Kirk Cousins to the nation’s capital. In his first interview since not agreeing on a long-term contract with the Washington Redskins by Monday’s deadline, the quarterback reminded all those listening that he’s very, very good at politics.

Redskins team president Bruce Allen issued/read a statement on Monday seemingly designed for dual purposes: Explain the organization’s negotiating stance and get ahead of the public relations game with fans. For the second consecutive year, Cousins would play on a one-year franchise tag. The money -- $23.94 million -- is strong. The lack of long-term stability is not.

The tone from Allen, whose family members include a former U.S. senator and head coach of the Washington Redskins, read stern and frustrated while making it clear the organization did all it could.

"Our team and fans ... they deserve to know where things stand. Our goal was to sign Kirk to a long-term contract with the final objective of having him finish his career with the Redskins."

The structured offer, as explained by Allen, while mentioning the type of money most fans can only dream of, was knocked by many in the NFL community. The primary issue for some is the lack of guaranteed dollars relative to the amount Cousins, who is coming off back-to-back impressive statistical seasons, could likely receive without committing to the Redskins long-term.

Despite the topic teed up nice and high, Cousins didn’t take a full swing.

The 28-year-old, who can amplify his “aw shucks” quality as needed while remaining incredibly savvy with every word uttered, shared his thoughts Tuesday during a lengthy interview on 106.7 The Fan with hosts Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier.

"My take would be different than public perception," he said of Allen’s statement. "In his position you have to do that." Cousins added, "It was a great starting point. I think it was a fair offer."

Allen said in his statement that on May 2, "We made Kirk an offer that included the highest fully guaranteed amount upon signing for a quarterback in NFL history ($53 million). ... But despite our repeated attempts, we have not received any offer from Kirk’s agent this year."

Cousins: "It was closer than people would think. Even up to a week ago, I was still praying over whether we should send an offer ... but ultimately I just felt peace on not making an offer and leaving it up to the team."

During the exclusive interview -- the station pays Cousins for weekly appearances during the season -- Cousins said he needed more time to gauge whether he wanted to sign an extension. That’s a tough circle to square considering he’s been with the organization since Washington drafted him in 2012 and served as starter since 2015.

The talk of needing more time feeds into the constant buzz over a Cousins escape plan in 2018. While Washington could go offer a third franchise tag, the cost -- $34 million -- would be onerous. There’s the transition tag with a $28 million price point and the right-of-first-refusal for Washington.

However, that option allows other teams in the bidding process. Half the league could use a QB upgrade. Former Redskins offensive coordinators are now head coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Cousins came across cold or lukewarm at best over the past year with the vast majority of his public comments on returning to the Redskins. On Tuesday, the Michigan native turned up the politeness.

"It has always been my first choice to be with the Redskins, Cousins said. "When you look around the league and you see great quarterbacks, they've nearly all played for one team. ... I would love to be with the Redskins long-term. ... While the ball is in my court during the season to play football well, the ball certainly goes back to the Redskins' court to continue this process. So while there was a deadline this summer, the real deadline to make a decision of next year is next year."

He added, "If I'm getting tagged a third time, that means this season went really, really well and that would be a beautiful thing."

This second tag scenario turned ugly after Monday’s deadline came and went. It could have gone savage depending on Cousins’s comments. The quarterback punted on harsh rhetoric and turned toward hope. He explained faith drives his decisions. He laughed off Allen constantly calling him "Kurt."

None of that means anything automatically changes going forward. It also doesn’t mean Cousins, like those on Capitol Hill, wasn’t simply going for the best spin.

We probably won’t know for sure what the Redskins or Cousins thinks about a long-term deal until after the 2017 season. Former U.S. president Franklin Roosevelt once said, “In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.” Both sides in this never-ending contract battle now have several more months for planning. If nothing changes, you can bet it’s not by accident.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Frances Tiafoe Returns Home for Washington Kastles]]> Tue, 18 Jul 2017 19:14:12 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Frances_Tiafoe_Returns_Home_for_Washington_Kastles.jpg

Frances Tiafoe of Prince George's County returns home to play for the Washington Kastles Tuesday night after a first-round win at Wimbledon. The rising star talks about his rise in the tennis world and goals for the future. Jim Handly reports.

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<![CDATA[Washington Kastles Find Success at Wimbledon]]> Fri, 14 Jul 2017 18:27:39 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Wimbledon_Updates.jpg

Wimbledon is entering its final round, and members of the Washington Kastles have made headlines. Sam Querry was knocked out in the semifinals. Venus Williams prepares for the finals against Garbine Muguruza. Leon Harris spoke with Kastles owner Mark Ein about his players' success.

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<![CDATA[DC United Helps to Unify Soccer]]> Thu, 13 Jul 2017 20:25:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DC_United_Helps_To_Unify_Soccer.jpg

DC United and Special Olympics DC team up for a Unified Soccer Team. Carol Maloney was there for the Unified team's signing day.

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<![CDATA[Ledecky, Frese, Dixon Among D.C. Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2017]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 15:06:24 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/D.C._Sports_Hall_of_Fame_2017_Class.jpg

News4 catches up with the newest class of the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame. News4's Carol Maloney reports.

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<![CDATA[Zimmerman Returns to All-Star Game After 8 Years]]> Mon, 10 Jul 2017 13:48:42 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000019414762_1200x675_991336515761.jpg

News4's Carol Maloney talks with All-Star Ryan Zimmerman about the ups and downs of eight years in between appearances in the Midsummer Classic.

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<![CDATA[4 Things to Know About the Wizards and the NBA Summer League]]> Fri, 07 Jul 2017 18:58:04 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-624258366.jpg

The NBA’s annual Las Vegas Summer League tips off Friday and the Washington Wizards are among the 24 NBA teams with an entry. No, not the John Wall-Bradley Beal Wizards, but rather a group of unproven youngsters and unknown hopefuls. Some from the team will join the NBA version, though most are there to impress all 30 franchises league-wide and others around the globe.

From the Wizards’ perspective, 1-2 spots on the main roster are potentially up for grabs, though technically the team will have the maximum 15 players under contract. That’s assuming, as has been wildly reported, that Washington matches the four-year, $106 million offer sheet forward Otto Porter signed with the Brooklyn Nets. Here’s an NBA Summer League primer with the four things you need to know.

The basics: Starting with Saturday’s 4:00 p.m. ET game against Memphis, Washington will play at least five games in one of the two gyms on the University of Las Vegas campus. The next two games are scheduled; Monday vs. Miami (4:30 p.m.) and Tuesday against Chicago (6:00 p.m.). After that, all teams are seeded for the SL playoffs with each squad guaranteed at least two contests. The Wizards are conducting a mini-camp in Las Vegas with 19 players – including a member of their staff -- before paring the roster down. The rules of SL hoops are largely the norm, though each game is four, 10-minute quarters.

The familiar faces: Four players on the Summer League roster were part of Washington’s regular season squad last season. Sheldon Mac, a wing guard with a bulldog streak and a favorite of the organization, received minutes early while John Wall and Bradley Beal recovered from injuries. Center Daniel Ochefu, a member of Villanova’s 2016 National Championship, was kept around all season as a seldom-used backup. Forward Chris McCullough, a 2015 first round pick, probably ends up as the only remaining piece for Washington from the Bojan Bogdanovic-Andrew Nicholson. Danuel House, part of the Wizards’ 2016 Summer League team along with Mac and Ochefu, played one game before the Wizards waived him in March to sign Brandon Jennings.

McCullough is the only roster lock of the bunch due to his contract. After playing just eight minutes following the trade, the 6-foot-11 forward now gets a chance to flash. Mac and Ochefu are also under contract, but with small guarantees. Washington was content to let the kids learn while active last season. Ideally, at one of them emerges into a rotational piece seeing as the Wizards didn’t have a draft pick for a second consecutive year.

The de facto draft pick: Washington added several undrafted free agents to the Summer League roster. So far, they’ve only handed out one two-way contract. Congrats, Mike Young, a 6-foot-9 forward who finished his college career at Pittsburgh as the program’s seventh all-time leading scorer. The two-way option is new. Teams can keep two players in the G-League -- previously known as the D-League -- throughout the season with the option to promote for upwards of 45 days. The Wizards don’t have their own minor league team yet, so we’ll see where Young lands. For now, he’s at least the one incoming rookie we know will be sticking around beyond Las Vegas.

Worth tracking: Florida forward Devin Robinson is all kinds of athletic -- and slender. Draft Express, one of the leading NBA Draft websites, ranked the 6-foot-9, 190-pounder 49th among the 2017 Draft class. … Kris Jenkins joins his former college teammate Ochefu in Las Vegas. As you may recall, the D.C. area native hit jackpot once before. … Marcus Keene, all 5-foot-9 of him, led all D1 scorers last season with 30.0 points per game. … 7-foot-0 center Isaac Humphries played the last two seasons for Kentucky. … Among the veterans, wing guard Jared Cunningham played 84 games over four NBA seasons. One of his teammates last season in China, Ike Diogu, joins him with the Wizards. Diogu defines the hopeful nature and misfit toys quality of Summer League; the 33-year-old, an NBA lottery pick in 2005, hasn’t played in the league since 2011-12.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Michael Reaves / Stringer]]>
<![CDATA[John Wall, Offered a Fortune, Is Practicing Patience ]]> Sun, 02 Jul 2017 00:00:00 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170701+John+Wall.jpg

The most interesting part of 2017 free agency for the Washington Wizards? How 2019 free agent John Wall reacts.

The four-time All-star will earn over $37 million during the next two seasons. The Wizards are ready to lock up the face of the franchise for more right now. Washington reportedly offered Wall a four-year, $168 million extension on Friday, according to ESPN.

The "supermax" offer, part of the league collective bargaining agreement, became an option after Wall made one of the All-NBA teams this past season. Only the Wizards can offer their leading man that lucrative deal based on having his rights.

Forget no-brainer. Seems like the only question is how quickly the NBA’s fastest player with the ball can put pen to paper, right?

Yet Wall didn’t rush. He’s practicing patience. The Wizards, who came up one game shy of reaching the Eastern Conference finals, have a good thing going. Wall knows this -- but he wants to see what’s next.

He wants to see what Washington does with current restricted free agent Otto Porter among other roster decisions before inking a deal that locks him with the franchise until 2023. If Wall and his agent, Rich Paul, keep on waiting days, weeks and months, fear rises. That’s especially true after what just unfolded with Paul George.

The Indiana Pacers traded George to Oklahoma City Friday. They traded their All-Star days after George informed the organization he would leave in free agency when his contract expires in the summer of 2018.

The gut punch news essentially forced Indiana into trade mode immediately rather than let George exit for zero compensation next year. With George viewed as a one-year rental, Indiana faced a depressed trade market. All factors essentially forced Indiana not to reload with one of the NBA's top players, but to rebuild without him.

If the Wizards don’t ink Wall to that extension, they could be the 2018 version of the 2017 Pacers.

Now, the situations are not identical. Washington won 49 games last season, the most for the franchise in nearly four decades. Indiana, an East Finals mainstay earlier this decade, barely snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed.

Wall, who turns 27 in September, has an All-Star-level running mate in Bradley Beal. The Pacers lacked a proven second or third star. That George is expected to sign with one of the two teams based in his native Los Angeles in 2018 further limited Indiana's options.

Beal received a massive extension last year. Projections for Porter’s new salary projection are four years, $100 million. Other teams can make a run at the NBA’s fourth leading 3-pointer shooter in 2016, but the Wizards can and almost assuredly will match any offer.

Keep Porter and the Wizards would have their top draft picks from 2010, 2012 and 2013 signed for the next two seasons along with power forward Markieff Morris. All four starters enter the 2017-18 season 28 or younger. In the weak East, a Conference Finals appearance is within reach. Perhaps more if LeBron James ever ages.

Seems like Wall should be excited to re-up, right?

We’ll see. Last month Wall told ESPN he tried recruiting George to join Washington and in doing so inferred that Porter, while helpful, might not be enough. "We are one piece away," Wall said. "You got to add another star. You got to add another piece. You got to have three guys. And that's what it's looking like."

Whether you think Wall threw Porter under the bus or not, the larger point is his NBA worldview. Keep Porter and Washington’s financial wiggle room for adding another major star in the near future evaporates. Does Wall think Porter, a strong role player without massive upside, is worthy of Big 3 status?

Yet if Porter walks, Washington doesn’t have the adequate salary cap space to replace him now, meaning a standings dip is likely. Would Wall balk if the Wizards take a step back?

Washington must also bolster its woeful bench, but in the NBA, stars win rings. The Wizards were THIS CLOSE to reaching the East finals last season. John Wall views himself as a star. He wants that stage. Does he view this team with the same core returning good enough for contention or not?

That’s the intrigue and, depending on Wall’s view, the fear. Odds are he eventually takes the money and stays with the only NBA team he’s ever known.

Folks in Indiana probably thought the same with George two years away from free agency as well.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Military Service Honored at Quicken Loans National Pro-Am]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:26:29 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Military_Service_Honored_at_Star-Studded_Quicken_Loans_Natio.jpg

The Quicken Loans National Pro-Am Wednesday was star studded. But a highlight of the tournament was support and appreciation for military service members. Carol Maloney reports on a special military surprise.

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<![CDATA[Surprise Family Reunion for Military Family at Quicken Loans National]]> Wed, 28 Jun 2017 20:08:48 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000019288989_1200x675_978447427595.jpg

For the Greene family, the Quicken Loans National is a tournament they'll never forget. And Rickie Fowler is a golfer they'll never forget. News4's Carol Maloney reports on the surprise reunion thanks to the PGA star and a caddie with a secret identity.

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<![CDATA[Billy Hurley on His 2016 Quicken Loans National Win]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:57:57 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Hurley4.jpg

News4's Carol Maloney goes 1-on-1 with defending Quicken Loans National Champion and Leesburg native Billy Hurley III. The Naval Academy grad is the only military veteran on the PGA Tour. He shares what that means to him and how last year's win changed his life. This year's Quicken Loans National runs from June 27 to July 2 at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm in Potomac, Maryland.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Skins Kendall Fuller Is 'Better, Stronger, Faster' This Season]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:11:21 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170627+Fuller.jpg

Competitive athletes don't love discussing their injuries. The discomfort rises if the malady isn’t severe enough to keep them from playing.

Good enough to put on the uniform means good enough to play and produce. That's the general mantra. It’s the tale Redskins cornerback Kendall Fuller tells when asked about his rookie season.

It’s just not the whole story.

The Baltimore native received some first-round NFL draft projections while at Virginia Tech, but that was before microfracture surgery on his right knee wiped out his junior season. The Redskins liked his potential and selected Fuller in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft. He missed chunks of rookie camp and other offseason workouts, but participated in training camp and gamely played in 13 regular season games.

Though he flashed his sincere potential at times, Fuller’s overall first campaign involved as many struggles as positives. Pro Football Focus, a leading NFL analytics site, graded Fuller 90th out of 111 cornerbacks last season. Quarterbacks throwing at Washington’s primary slot defender succeeded at a high rate.

They might not find things so easy in 2017. That’s because Fuller is feeling fine physically heading into his second season -- the opposite of this time last year.

"I think his confidence in his body, number one," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of the changes in Fuller at the team’s mini-camp practice earlier this month. "Just talking to him … I think he feels a lot better with where he is physically and that’s important obviously for a DB. We probably pushed him a little bit too hard. He felt good, but I don’t think he was really quite his 100 percent self.

"He was good enough to play, he’s a tough guy, he’ll fight through anything, but I think this year he feels like the strength is back. He’s got a little bit more speed and quickness and I think you’ll see a better player."

Fuller offered a similar synopsis during a conversation with NBCWashington.com following the first day of minicamp. Nearly all of responses during the brief interview included some mention of feeling physically adequate. Those mentions were not about justifying his rookie performance, but simply stating matter-of-fact reality.

"I don’t get into whether I was 100 percent. This year I’m just feeling better, stronger, faster," said the no-excuses defender. "If I’m out there, I’m expected to make plays. At the end of the day, that’s what I’ve got to do."

The most tangible aspect of feeling better for Fuller is "moving at a faster pace," he said. "I was able to do the same things last year, but now do it at a faster pace."

Improving isn’t just about the physical, but the mental. That’s where a familiar face helps.

Washington changed defensive back coaches this offseason. Torrian Gray served in that same capacity at Virginia Tech during Fuller’s time in the college ranks. The old/new coach brought a recognizable message for his former/current player.

"He’s teaching us the fundamentals. That’s what he’s about," Fuller said. "He wants us to learn football. Know everything about the game. That’s what he’s all about."

Keeping up with playmaking slot receivers in the NFC East alone – New York’s Sterling Shepard, Cole Beasley, Jordan Matthews -- represents a challenge for able-bodied defensive back.

Fuller is ready to show what he’s all about in his second season. Because of his college injury, he couldn’t quite during that during his rookie year. That’s the reality whether Fuller wants to admit that or not – and he doesn’t.

"Really just being out there and getting some reps," he said of his initial goals during practices. "My main focus is just getting healthy and going out there and playing ball."

Starting in late July when the Redskins gather for training camp in Richmond, Fuller can do just that and feel good about it.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[9-Year-Old Girl's Pacemaker Beats 4 Jayson Werth]]> Mon, 26 Jun 2017 19:33:35 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Werth+My+Pacemaker+Beats+for+You.jpg

A 9-year-old girl with a rare heart condition got a special visit from her favorite baseball player, Jayson Werth.

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<![CDATA[GOP Shooting Victim Out of ICU; Nationals Player Visits]]> Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:40:52 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Mika+Condition+Improves.jpg

The congressman who was shot and wounded at a GOP baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, last week has been moved out of an intensive care unit, hospital officials say. 

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is now listed in fair condition and continues to make progress.

Lobbyist Matt Mika has been released from the hospital Friday, according to his family. He was upgraded to good condition earlier in the day.

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth paid Mika a visit on Thursday. A photo shows Mika smiling and holding up a Werth jersey, with Werth at his hospital bed.

U2 lead singer Bono met with members of Scalise's staff Wednesday and signed a card wishing the congressman a speedy recovery.

Mika is expected to make a full recovery, his family said in a statement last week. Mika is a lobbyist for Tyson Foods and had previously served as an aide to U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Michigan.



Photo Credit: George Washington University Hospital]]>
<![CDATA[Watching the NBA Draft, With Wizards' Future in Mind]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:14:16 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170619+John+Wall+Bradley+Beal.jpg

The two-round 2017 NBA Draft tips off Thursday night. Now that their blockbuster trade with the Boston Celtics was officially announced Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers are on the clock. Barring a shocking development, University of Washington point guard and DeMatha product Markelle Fultz will be the number-one overall selection.

Unless the Wizards pull of a major move, they won’t be picking until a couple of hours after Fultz’s moment of a lifetime. For the third time in four years, Washington doesn’t have a first-round selection.

Regardless, there is still plenty worth watching Thursday night with the Wizards’ future in mind.

Pack Your Patience

The 2017 first-round pick went bye-bye in February when the Wizards acquired forward Bojan Bogdanovic from the Nets. Washington only owns the 52nd overall selection. That’s not nothing -- Washington didn’t have any picks in the 2016 draft -- but it’s not exactly where teams regularly land building blocks or rotation options.

Yet the Wizards have roster space available, especially for a young and cheap talent. Three undrafted rookies made the opening-day roster last season, showing the organization’s patience while seeking help. 

Help is a Phone Call Away

For the Wizards this season, the draft is a mere appetizer ahead of free agency, which begins in earnest after July 1. However, teams can trade players now. Indiana’s Paul George and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler are the primary targets.

The George trade market hit turbo over the weekend when a report from The Vertical had the All-Star forward telling the Pacers he intends to leave during free agency next summer. That means Indiana likely moves George sooner than later in the hopes of maximizing their return. There won’t be nearly the interest in the sleek forward as expected because of fears he’ll sign with the Los Angeles Lakers regardless next summer. Teams willing to risk trading for a one-year rental are those believing they’re one piece away from contending. The Wizards should be one of those teams. Problem: They likely don’t have the assets Indiana would covet unless Bradley Beal is involved. He won’t be.

Butler, Chicago’s leading scorer, comes with a multi-year deal. If either wing threat lands with NBA finalist Cleveland or another East team, the odds of Washington advancing beyond the Conference semi-finals decrease. Unless the Wizards get creative with their own trade, that is.

Needy

If the Wizards publicly revealed an offseason wish list, it would look something like this:

1) Guards: There's so much focus on a backup for John Wall that everyone overlooks the fact that the Wizards truly didn't have a viable option behind Beal last season. Ideally, they find a third guard in free agency capable of playing both spots while using the draft pick for depth.

2) Shooting: Beal and Otto Porter rock from deep. So does Bogdanovic, but he might depart in free agency. That would leave a major deep threat void off the bench.

3) Athletic big: Markieff Morris can play all over the court on both ends. That's great because he's the only current power forward or center capable of such tasks. He's also the only big of those in the primary rotation last season under 30.

4) Center: If they, as expected, trade Marcin Gortat, more depth is needed behind Ian Mahinmi.

Expectations

Nobody should anticipate the 52nd pick solely solving any of Washington’s needs. It's a best available situation regardless. Don’t forget the Wizards could send the player selected overseas, thus maintaining his rights without holding up a roster spot. For example, 2015 second-round pick Aaron White will play his third professional season overseas during the 2017-18 campaign.

Yet with next season in mind, the Wizards can consider several experienced upperclassmen. That specific faction includes Villanova swingman Josh Hart and a trio of point guards, Monte Morris (Iowa State), Frank Morris (Kansas) and Melo Trimble (Maryland).

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Redskins' Matt Jones Weighs His Options]]> Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:13:40 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170619+Matt+Jones.jpg

Jordan Reed, Trent Williams and Matt Jones all showed Tuesday for the start of the Redskins’ mandatory two-day mini-camp. So did the other 87 players on the roster, but that was also the case for the previous three weeks worth of voluntary practices. The tight end, left tackle and running back did not.

Reed, Washington’s top receiving playmaker, and Williams, arguably the best at his position league-wide, were working out elsewhere and without controversy. They are 2017 focal points. Jones, the Week 1 starting running back last season, isn’t anymore. That’s why he stayed away and why he and his agent spent time working out an escape plan.

In two seasons Jones went from a third-round draft pick by former general manager Scot McCloughan to starter to a fumbling back-bencher for the final games of the regular season. No playing time is brutal. Not having a job is next level disaster. That’s the reality Jones faces in Washington heading into 2017. That’s why he made a stand by not showing.

"We put a plan together, me and my agent," Jones told reporters Tuesday when asked about the decision for skipping Organized Team Activities (OTA). "Just trying to weigh my options."

In reality, his options are limited. Holding out further would send a message – and lead to fines for missing the mandatory practices.

"Even though it was mandatory, I was going to show up just to be out here with the boys, part of the team," Jones said about why he returned.

Jones and his agent can try pressuring the Redskins for his outright release. Ideally, he’d be with another team before training camps kick off in late July. Good luck with that.

There’s no incentive from the Redskins end. Robert Kelley, Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine likely form the RB trio next season, but injuries happen. Mack Brown has the inside track if they keep four because of his work on special teams, an area where Jones is a true novice. “That’s something I’ve got to get into,” he admitted.

Jones is the backup to the backup plan.

"It’s not a secret anymore," Jones said of his odd-man-out status.

Coach Jay Gruden heaped praise on the other running backs, including Keith Marshall, when discussing where Jones fits.

“It’s really a tough position to crack, but I wouldn’t put anything past Matt,” Gruden said with ample skepticism.

The 6-foot-2, 232-pounder entered 2016 as the lead back. Alfred Morris was in Dallas. No clear competition existed. Sure, Jones revealed a penchant for fumbling as a rookie, but the job was his. Through seven games he averaged 4.6 yards on 99 carries. Jones also coughed the ball up three times including during as Week 7 loss at Detroit.

“Ball security is job security,” Jones quipped. “That’s something I’ve got to correct. That’s something I must correct if I want to play for a long time and stay in this league.”

By Week 8 Kelley assumed lead back duties.

“A good start to the season and then it kind of went south,” Jones said.

The Florida native worked out in his home state while he stayed away from Redskins Park. Jones also spent a chunk of the offseason with former Redskins running back Earnest Byner. Those tutoring sessions included motivational talks, pad level focus for the bigger than average runner and holding onto to that football.

“It’s football, it’s life,” Jones said when presented with his role reversal over the last year. “You’ve got to deal with it. You take the good with the bad. That’s what I’m doing. Keeping my head high still and keep grinding.”

For now, Jones is holding that head high in Ashburn. Barring a trade or release, he’ll be expected in Richmond when the Redskins open training camp on July 27. Barring the unforeseen, he isn’t likely on the Week 1 roster.

My, have things changed. They’re just not changing quick enough now for Jones and his agent. That’s not a secret anymore.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Redskins Promote Doug Williams to VP of Player Personnel]]> Wed, 14 Jun 2017 05:42:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/220*120/2017-06-13_0915.png

The Washington Redskins have promoted former quarterback Doug Williams to a new position in the front office. 

The Redskins announced Tuesday that the quarterback who led the team to the Super Bowl championship in the 1987 season will serve as senior vice president of player personnel. 

"I'm here now until the end," Williams said a news conference Tuesday. 

In his new role, Williams' "job is to pick the (players), not coach them." Williams said Tuesday he doesn't think the roster needs changes, adding the team has the "best roster we've had."

Williams played for the Redskins from 1986-89, becoming the first African-American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl and earning MVP honors after passing for 340 yards and four touchdowns in Washington's 42-10 victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXII.




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<![CDATA[Fear The Beer: The Christos FC Story]]> Mon, 12 Jun 2017 20:28:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Fear_The_Beer_The_Christos_FC_Story.jpg

Christos FC is a soccer team that's sponsored by a liquor store, doesn't practice and drinks beer, but they're hoping to shock the world. The last amateur team left in the U.S. Open Cup will play DC United in a David vs. Goliath matchup. Carol Maloney has the story.

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<![CDATA[Bicyclist Races Across America to Benefit Kids With Cancer]]> Mon, 12 Jun 2017 20:45:26 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Len+Forkas.jpg

A northern Virginia man begins a 12-day cross country bike ride Tuesday to benefit children with cancer.

Len Forkas, 57, of Vienna is competing in his second Race Across America to raise money for his non-profit Hopecam, which he started after his son, Matt, was diagnosed with Leukemia.

“When we were walking across the sky bridge to the hospital on the very first day, when Matt looked at me and asked me if he was going to die,” Len said. “And that was the lowest point of my life.”

“Am I going to die? I just didn’t know if anything was going to happen,” Matt said. “Everything was very unclear.”

Hopecam virtually connects children with cancer to their friends and classmates.

“It definitely helped me because if made me feel like nothing was wrong,” Matt said. “It made me feel like everything was normal and they could see me, and I’m sure it helped them understand what I was going through.”

“I saw how lonely it was for him to be isolated from his friends, and working with the school, we came up with the idea of putting a web camera in his classroom and one in our home, and you should have been there when the cameras clicked on and my son could see his friends,” Len said. “It was magical.”

Len dedicates each day of the race to a child with cancer, and many of them reach out to him with letters. When he raced in 2012, his team read him a letter every a night, which they will do again this year.

“They inspire me, because their courage and bravery as they go through treatment,” Len said. “I mean, I’m just trying to get to Annapolis, Maryland. These kids are fighting their own mortality.”

Matt will join his father on the race this year as part of the crew, doing a video blog throughout the Race Across America.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington
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<![CDATA[New Redskins Safety: It's All About the Fear in Their Eyes]]> Thu, 08 Jun 2017 15:54:30 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170607+DJ+Swearinger.jpg

D.J. Swearinger idolized Sean Taylor while growing up in Greenwood, South Carolina. That’s not the only reason Josh Norman’s high school teammate is aware of the Redskins’ safety woes ever since Taylor’s tragic death in 2007.

The Arizona Cardinals played the Redskins last season. Swearinger and fellow safety Tony Jefferson didn’t just focus on Washington’s offense. The free-agents-to-be studied their counterparts.

"Last year, me and my guy Tony Jefferson was looking at this roster like, 'For sure one of us is going to the Washington Redskins.' It just happened to be me," Swearinger said after Wednesday’s OTA session. "I told [Jefferson] I wanted to come here. But for sure last year we were watching it on film like one of us is going to Washington for sure."

Here's another easily drawn conclusion, even though the regular season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field is not until Sept. 10: Once you look past the likes of quarterback Kirk Cousins, Norman and Pro Bowl left tackle Trent Williams, Swearinger is one of the truly key players on this roster.

Not saying best, but key. That’s because the soon-to-be 26-year-old might finally help solve Washington's safety issues. Those issues were on full display last season with a hodgepodge of ill-fitting pieces struggling.

That's because the four-year veteran will play alongside Su'a Cravens as the 2016 second-round pick transitions from linebacker to strong safety.

That's the Redskins need to reclaim the middle of their defense. The selection of defensive lineman Jonathan Allen and the signing of inside linebacker Zach Brown are nods to that desire. Same goes for adding the assertive and solidly-built Swearinger.

"In football, you've got to protect the middle," the 5-foot-10, 205-pounder said. "You have to have the safety in the middle that puts fears in quarterbacks and wide receiver’s eyes."

Nobody feared last year's safety group. Just a little film work revealed that.

"Just from watching it from where we were in Arizona and just how we played ball at safety, you could just tell they needed help at safety," Swearinger said. "Whether it was a missed tackle, a guy not making a play on the ball, there were just a lot of inconsistent plays that we seen on film just from watching one or two games here or there."

Originally drafted by Houston in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the University of South Carolina product signed a three-year, $13.5 million contract -- $6 million paid out in 2017 – with the Redskins in March.

The Texans reportedly tried trading Swearinger before eventually releasing him in 2015. Some suggested poor play. Discussion of attitude concerns was mentioned. Whatever happened then isn't a thing in May of 2017 with the Redskins.

"No concerns whatsoever. D.J. has been great," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said. "He’s been to every meeting, every practice and practices hard. He's got a great attitude for the position. You can tell he's got a mindset to play safety. He can do a little bit of everything. … I have no questions about his character."

Though capable of playing free safety, the Texans used Swearinger closer to the line of scrimmage. With the Cardinals, his third team in four seasons, Swearinger moved back into a centerfield role and matched his career total with three interceptions.

"(With) Houston I never got a chance to play in the middle. Last year I got the opportunity to play free safety, something that I was comfortable with and I was able to show my range," he said.

Soon enough those who watch the Redskins will grasp that the new free safety wearing Taylor’s No. 36 could be a long-awaited answer. Even if he’s not a Pro Bowl-level safety, simply upgrading the position in 2017 while putting fear into quarterbacks and receivers will be just fine.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Wake-Robin Golf Club Celebrates 80th Anniversary]]> Mon, 05 Jun 2017 19:42:18 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000019018824_1200x675_960751683522.jpg

In the 1930s, most public golf courses were off-limits to people of color. But a group of African-American women -- wives of an all-black men’s club -- decided they were tired of being “golf widows." They fought to play and they won. Today, 80 years after the Wake Robin Golf Club was established, the legacy lives on. News4's Carol Maloney spoke to some of the oldest and newest members.

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<![CDATA[3 Distinct DC United Fan Clubs Bring the Noise to RFK]]> Mon, 05 Jun 2017 12:07:45 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/3_Distinct_DC_United_Fan_Clubs_Bring_the_Noise_to_RFK.jpg

DC United boasts three fan clubs that create an unmatched atmosphere at RFK Stadium. Sherree Burruss reports each contributes in its own way.

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<![CDATA['Fat Rob' Slims Down to Compete for Starting Running Back]]> Wed, 31 May 2017 20:14:50 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/ap-robert-kelley-redskins-eagles.jpg

Robert Kelley still embraces the “Fat Rob” nickname despite a trimmer physique entering his second season with the Redskins. Soon we’ll see if the running back can hold onto his starting job.

Based on many depth chart projections following the NFL Draft in April, Kelley’s grip won’t be tight enough. Washington selected Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine in the fourth round. The NCAA single-game rushing record holder is the odds-on favorite to take over the starting job.

Who says? They said. Is Redskins coach Jay Gruden among the “they?” No, no he is not. For now, that’s all that matters. Well, that and Kelley putting himself in the best position possible.

The 24-year-old took a mature approach to his diet during the off-season. Favorite snacks like potato chips and granola bars, not to mention processed foods and sugar, were replaced with watermelon, bananas and cut-up apples. His body fat, around 18 percent at points last season, is now at 13 percent, Kelley said. “Fat Rob” is growing up, not out.

"Got to if you want to keep this job," Kelley said.

Simply battling for the starting job is a reminder how much has changed in one year.

“I joked around [Wednesday] and said, ‘Last year at this time you were the ninth-string running back for God’s sakes,’ and now he’s the guy,” Gruden said. “So, it’s exciting to see how far he’s come in a short period of time”

The New Orleans native took over the starting job from Matt Jones in Week 8 and ended the season with a team-high 704 rushing yards. In that role, the start was better than the finish.

Kelley rushed for 321 yards in his first three starts, averaging 4.79 yards per carry average. Over the final six games, he rushed for only 280 yards and just 3.3 yards per rush.

What impressed observers initially was Kelley’s vision and ability to avoid would-be tacklers in the backfield. The 228-pounder often turned a potential loss into a modest gain. That helpful style perhaps played a role in the statistical dip.

"Sometimes I found myself not trusting my linemen and going off-schedule," Kelley said. "This year it'll be in my best interest to trust my line. You can go back and see a lot of runs where I cut up too early and the hole is outside. So just maturing as a runner and believing those certain cutback lanes will be there for me."

Gruden’s continued belief in Kelley remains despite the late-season struggles and the arrival of the powerful Perine. Yet Kelley isn’t blind to the situation.

"It's hard not to say you don't feel some type [of pressure] when they bring another back in," Kelley said. "But it's the [NFL], someone comes in every year to try and take your job. Coach told me it’s my job to lose. If Samaje comes in here and does what he has to do, it's not his fault if he's playing better. I have to play better than him, so I don't feel no type of way. It's all on me."

Diet and fitness aren’t the only changes. Kelley, a viable receiving threat at Tulane, struggled in the passing game as a rookie. He worked on catching passes during the off-season, one he spent almost exclusively in Ashburn, but also remaining calm when the ball is headed his way.

When it comes to the running back battle, calm and mature describes Kelley’s approach. Perine will indeed be a factor in the offense. If the outsiders want to look past Kelley and back another runner, rock on. Sounds like the head coach is rolling with “Fat Rob.” When recalling just how far Kelley rose in the ranks last season, bet against a steady diet of carries at your own risk.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Reuben Frank | CSNPhilly.com]]>
<![CDATA[Melo Trimble and the Wizards: Sure Would Be Interesting If...]]> Tue, 30 May 2017 20:27:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170530+Melo+Trimble.jpg

Anybody who watched the Wizards over the entire 2016-17 season knows they need a backup solution behind John Wall. Badly.

And one look at the NBA’s attendance rankings reveals Washington could use a boost putting bodies in seats.

Neither reality means the Wizards should or will use their second round selection in the 2017 NBA Draft on former Maryland star Melo Trimble.

But for both of those angles, it sure would be interesting if they did.

The All-Big Ten performer participated in the Wizards’ first formal pre-draft workout Tuesday afternoon. Several media members from D.C. and Baltimore, the kind rarely at a generic pre-draft workout, joined the usual contingent of Wizards reporters at Verizon Center. The larger-than-normal group of reporters weren’t there for the five other prospects. They wanted a look at the former All-Met Player of the Year.

The intrigue from Washington’s perspective is clear as well.

The Wizards acquired another former Big Ten standout, Trey Burke, last July with the idea he’d serve as Wall’s primary backup. That plan never worked, to the point Wizards head coach Scott Brooks during the season said Burke isn’t really a point guard.

Washington later signed free agent Brandon Jennings after the NBA trade deadline. Some productive moments couldn't hide defensive and shooting struggles.

Brooks played Wall and Bradley Beal heavy minutes all season, but especially in the decisive Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Boston Celtics. The star guards filled the stat sheet, but wore down late in the season-ending loss.

The Wizards, who traded their first-round pick last February for Bojan Bogdanovic, put Trimble and the other prospects through a workout designed in part to gauge their basketball fitness.

"It went well. A lot of running, which you expect at workouts," said Trimble following his third NBA pre-draft workout. "They made it tough on us to see if we were in shape. During the game, you have to make shots when you’re tired. We did a lot of that … it was just a good workout for me from start to finish."

Trimble said he’s spent the past several weeks working on his perimeter shot with other prospects in Las Vegas. Just a 32 percent 3-point shooter last season, Trimble hopes growth in that area shows during his workouts.

Tuesday’s workout had a truly local feel. Along with Trimble, the group included Kethan Savage (Episcopal H.S., George Washington), Daniel Dixon (William & Mary), D.J. Fenner (Gonzaga) and Jamel Artis (Baltimore).

The most likely draft pick from that group is Trimble, who tested the NBA Draft waters following his sophomore season before returning to Maryland. He made his decision this time with clarity and conviction.

The Wizards don’t have a clear backup point guard plan, though holdover Tomas Satoransky might be the solution in his second NBA season. Armed with professional experience after several years playing overseas, the 6-foot-7 guard impressed at times with his passing and focus. Deficiencies with ball handling and 3-point shooting limited his role. Even with Satoransky’s ample potential, adding another point guard option is wise.

Perhaps that backup becomes Trimble. Washington owns the 52nd overall selection in the June 22 draft. DraftExpress.com, a prominent NBA Draft website, projects Trimble outside the 60 selections in the two-round draft. Even if they pass on the passer in round two, realize the Wizards had three undrafted rookies on their roster much of last season.

Also, realize the Upper Marlboro native and former Bishop O’Connell standout stated he wouldn’t shy away from the extra pressure of playing professionally in his hometown.

"I would love to play for the local team to represent where I’m from," Trimble said.

Here’s the truth. It’s unlikely the presence of the local star brings in hordes of fans, even those College Park backers who fell hard for Trimble from the moment he arrived on campus. Don’t count on an incoming rookie, even one with three years of collegiate experience, immediately helping an NBA team with playoff aspirations.

But there are also reasons why this potential marriage has appeal. There is certainly interest in the two sides tying the knot.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[GW Sailing Riding a Wonderful Wave]]> Tue, 30 May 2017 19:35:05 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GWU+Sailing.jpg

After just becoming a varisty program five years ago, George Washington University sailing has risen to the top of the sport. Both the co-ed and women's squads have been ranked in the Top 10 this season, and the co-ed squad is going for a national title this week. News4's Carol Maloney reports.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Former U.Md. Star Melo Trimble Works Out for Wizards]]> Tue, 30 May 2017 20:28:49 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018948072_1200x675_956277315774.jpg

A familiar face at the Wizards' pre-draft workouts Tuesday: Former Terp Melo Trimble. News4's Sherree Burruss caught up with Trimble, who shared his feelings on working out for the hometown team and revealed he knew since the beginning of the 2016-2017 season that it would be his last at the University of Maryland.

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<![CDATA[Redskins Sign Final Draft Pick, Injured CB Fabian Moreau]]> Fri, 26 May 2017 14:18:55 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20161227+Jay+Gruden.jpg

The Washington Redskins have signed the final member of their 10-player draft class, third-round pick Fabian Moreau.

The team announced the deal Friday.

The cornerback out of UCLA tore a pectoral muscle at his pro day in March. He was projected to be a first- or second-round pick before the injury and went 81st overall to the Redskins.

Moreau says doctors told him it was a five-month recovery, putting him on track to be ready by late in the preseason. The 23-year-old was at Washington's practice facility for rookie minicamp and the first sessions of organized team activities.

Coach Jay Gruden says the team is playing by ear the injury situations of Moreau and fourth-round pick Montae Nicholson and hopes they learn the schemes for the secondary as they rehab.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[What I Want to Know From the 'Skins' OTAs This Week]]> Tue, 23 May 2017 17:42:27 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170523+Kirk+Cousons.jpg

We plan and plan and plan, yet sometimes scheduling isn’t ideal. That’s the case this week as other life factors are keeping me away from Redskins Park on Wednesday where the Washington Redskins will be participating in the first of three weeks of Organized Team Activities* (OTAs).

Other opportunities will follow, but here are four questions for four specific folks -- including quarterback Kirk Cousins -- I would hope to ask if there.

(* Each OTA week runs Tuesday-Thursday, but Wednesdays are media days.)

For: Redskins coach Jay Gruden

Question: In light of general manager Scot McCloughan’s exit, were you more involved with the various off-season matters, namely free agency and the NFL draft?

The matter might be different going forward as the Redskins ponder help for the front office and this isn’t a new question, but it’s worth asking. Why? Because when one gains power, one rarely gives it up easily. Washington didn’t replace McCloughan after firing the GM just as free agency kicked off. By that point, McCloughan’s days appeared numbered, but the business of football moved on. Team President Bruce Allen shepherded the process and again during April’s NFL draft. Yet it would be only natural for Gruden, who signed a two-year extension a few days before McCloughan’s official departure, to exert more control or input after directing Washington to back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 20 years. Does that mean he pushed for towering wide receiver Terrelle Pryor in free agency? What about drafting Alabama linebacker Ryan Anderson in the second round or letting veteran defensive lineman Chris Baker walk? Let’s ask and find out.

For: Redskins cornerback Josh Norman

Question: Josh, how are things?

There are some players, nay humans, who don’t need much direction when it comes to sharing their opinion or expressing thought. No. 24 for the Burgundy and Gold, the self-proclaimed “best cornerback on Earth,” is one of them. Sure, we could get into specific topics like his older brother working out for the Redskins during rookie camp, his latest overseas soccer excursion, his rivalries with NFC East receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Dez Bryant or what he thinks of the defense following several changes on all three levels. No doubt, some or all of those matters will come up. Start with a simple question and see where the cover corner’s mind goes. That’s the good stuff.

For: Redskins receiver Josh Doctson

Question: How's that injured Achilles?

Sure, Washington signed Pryor and Brian Quick in free agency. Yes, Jamison Crowder returns as a havoc-causing force from the slot. Yet the most interesting aspect of the Redskins’ receiving corps involves the 2016 first round pick. Doctson appeared in only two games last season after an Achilles injury suffered during offseason workouts impeded his campaign. Gruden told reporters Monday that the 6-foot, 2-inch target is “full for everything” including individual and unit drills during the upcoming practices. Good news. Let’s see Doctson say as much and note his level of confidence when doing so. We essentially never dealt with an upbeat version of Doctson last season seeing as questions about the injury started quickly. If he’s truly good to go, Gruden and Cousins will be upbeat over having the red-zone threat at their disposal.

For: Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins

Question: I don’t really want to ask about your contract situation because you’re probably not going to say anything of note. So is there a topic we can discuss instead, where you’ll provide an interesting response that will make my readers and boss happy?

Fine, that phrasing wouldn’t come out of my mouth, but the thought lives in my brain. We all know the deal: Washington slapped the franchise tag on the starting quarterback back in March for the second straight year. That means Cousins is set to earn just shy of $24 million for the 2017 season if a long-term deal isn’t reached before the NFL’s July 15 deadline. Without a multi-year contract, Cousins once again becomes a free agent next season. The Redskins can go for the franchise tag hat trick, but the cost – no less than $28 million – becomes unwieldy. If Cousins signs with another team and the Redskins let him go, they’ll receive squat in compensation.

The thing is, none of this is breaking news but rather information discussed at great length in various forms all over town and the NFL. The team remains hopeful. Cousins typically says squat. Holding your breath for a positive resolution seems unwise. So, rather than bring up contract talk for the umpteenth time, how about another topic? Kirk, you pick.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mystics, Valor Offer Free Tickets for Military Appreciation ]]> Tue, 23 May 2017 17:30:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WNBA-Washington-AP_16167074634650.jpg

A couple of Washington, D.C., sports teams are offering free tickets to veterans and members of the armed forces for Military Appreciation Day.

They can get up to four free tickets to the Washington Mystics Friday game against the Chicago Sky at the Verizon Center at 7 p.m. They must be requested by 5 p.m. Wednesday here.

To nominate someone you believe deserves recognition for their service, follow @washmystics on Twitter and Instagram to submit their for them to receive complimentary tickets. There will be a video tribute during the game and veterans will be encourage to participate in contests held during timeouts and quarter breaks.

The Washington Valor is giving away tickets for Saturday's 1 p.m. game against the Philadelphia Soul, also at the Verizon Center. Same deadline as the Mystics: Request tickets here by 5 p.m. Wednesday.

To nominate someone to receive complimentary tickets, follow @washingtonvalor on Twitter and Instagram. The Valor also will have veterans participate in contests and a video tribute. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Projected No. 1 Pick Fultz Praises His No. 1 Supporter]]> Tue, 23 May 2017 12:53:33 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000018867314_1200x675_950684739635.jpg

DeMatha Catholic High School alum Markelle Fultz is projected as the first pick in this year's NBA Draft, but he told News4's Carol Maloney he wouldn't be anywhere without his mother, Ebony.

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<![CDATA[World Champion Blind Golfer Leads Local Clinic]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 16:58:25 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Phil+Blackwell.jpg

At Woodmont Country Club, world champion blind golfer Phil Blackwell is teaching other visually impaired golfers they don’t need to see to succeed. Blackwell’s clinic is part of the fifth annual Shot in the Dark Golf and Dinner Classic hosted by the Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. News4’s Sherree Burruss reports.



Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[DeMatha's Markelle Fultz Projects as Top Pick in NBA Draft]]> Mon, 22 May 2017 14:35:47 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Markelle+Fultz+GettyImages-633133574.jpg

Prince George's County, Maryland, native Markelle Fultz talks with Carol Maloney about his rise to the projected top pick in the NBA Draft at his alma mater, DeMatha Catholic High School.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Otto Porter Jr. Ready for Game 7]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 16:18:08 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Wizards+Celtics+Game4.jpg

News4's Carol Maloney catches up with Wizards Forward Otto Porter Jr. before Monday night's big game seven in Boston.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Schedule Set for Washington Redskins Training Camp]]> Mon, 15 May 2017 14:50:34 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-453831984.jpg

Fans who want to check on the Washington Redskins' progress this summer can start making plans. The team announced the schedule for training camp in Richmond, Virginia.

Training camp begins July 27 and runs through Aug. 13. Fan Appreciation Day will be Saturday, Aug. 5.

Between practices, fans can meet cheerleaders and former players. After practices, coaches and players will sign autographs and take pictures as their schedules allow. The team also will schedule theme days.

All sessions are free and open to the public. Online registration opens in early June.

Fans can bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on, as there are no bleachers available.

Richmond will announce parking options closer to the beginning of camp.

Alcohol, illegal drugs, weapons, firearms, glass bottles, video cameras and animals (except for certified guide dogs assisting disabled guests) are prohibited. Food and drinks can be bought at the site. All fans and their bags are subject to search.

Thursday, July 27
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Friday, July 28
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Saturday, July 29
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Monday, July 31
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Tuesday, Aug. 1
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Wednesday, Aug. 2
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Special Teams Practice

Thursday, Aug. 3
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Saturday, Aug. 5
Fan Appreciation Day
1:30 p.m. Practice

Sunday, Aug. 6
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Monday, Aug. 7
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Tuesday, Aug. 8
1:35 p.m. Practice

Saturday, Aug. 12
1:35 p.m. Practice

Sunday, Aug. 13
10:35 a.m. Walkthrough
3 p.m. Practice

Learn more about the Bon Secours Washington Redskins Training Center here.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Why the Wizards Are Here]]> Sun, 14 May 2017 16:54:22 -0400 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Wizards+Wall+Beal.jpg

There will be no Game 7 predictions here. This is about how the Wizards reached this point beyond John Wall’s season-saving 3-pointer with 3.5 seconds left in Washington’s 92-91 win over the Boston Celtics Friday night

These teams are level – give me Washington at a neutral site – but Boston has the home-court advantage. In 10 games this season including six in their best-of-7 series, the road team remains winless. Bad odds, but who imagined the Wizards one win from reaching the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 1979 when they started the season 2-8.

There are role players to appreciate and stats worth discussing, just not now. We’re looking at the faces of the franchise and on the Ben’s Chili Bowl mural, Wall and Bradley Beal. We’re looking at their never-rattled head coach, Scott Brooks.

Pointing out the contributions of the two best players and the man in charge on the sideline is as obvious as a bad toupee. Together, they bailed Washington out of that hairy start to a point where growing a playoff beard might be more than a one month endeavor. That happened for two precise reasons: Wall and Beal were healthy in the same season and Brooks added calm in his first campaign with Washington.

Wall played through pain in previous seasons and had surgery on both knees just over a year ago. Beal missed 81 games over his first four seasons. Washington missed the playoffs last season. The duo played 78 and 77 games respectively this season, marking the second time both played at least 70 games in the same year.

Fewer trips to various knee and leg specialists alone doesn’t equal success. You need the goods.

Wall finished second in the NBA in assists this season. The four-time All-Star’s 2017 playoff averages of 27.9 points and 10.9 assists top his regular season numbers. The signature play of his career came after he missed 12 of his first 13 shots. Despite those clanks or uniformed shots from critics during his 7-year career, the confidence never vanished.

Beal set career-highs in virtually every category this season. His Game 6 performance – 13 of his 33 points came in the fourth quarter – was absurd for the production and high degree of difficulty. With his textbook jump shot absent until a clutch 3-pointer during the closing stanza, Beal relied mostly on a dribble-drive game honed during offseason workouts. He rocked the top-seed Celtics with one twisty layup in traffic after another.

If you watch games and check stats, there’s a decent chance you knew those various factoids involving Washington’s cornerstone pieces. The key to grasping Brooks’ help is far more subtle.

At his press conference 90 minutes before Friday’s potential elimination game, the 51-year-old Northern California native cracked jokes and answered questions without any trace of nervous energy. If the coach isn’t frantic, good bet the players follow. That’s largely been the case for 94 games.

That poise also comes with the game plan. No-lurching, no rash decisions with strategy or lineups, certainly not based on any short-term results. Brooks sharpened his philosophy during his year away from the game after Oklahoma City fired him in 2015. He discussed the mindset during the season and again several hours after Washington’s thrilling win, which came two days after a 21-point loss.

“That’s what we’ve been talking about all season, especially in the playoffs,” Brooks said Saturday following practice at Verizon Center. “You’re going through a playoff series. … It’s the first to four (wins) and you can’t go crazy after a big win you can’t get to down after a tough loss. Basically we had both situations the last two games. A tough loss in Game 5, but it was one game and we didn’t lose the series. An incredible win in Game 6, but we didn’t win the series. We just have to stay focused on what we have to do. It’s going to be a tough challenge ahead of us Monday night, but our guys are excited about it We’ve put ourselves in this position to go seven (games) against one of the best teams in the East.”

That response comes across as pure coachspeak unless you have watched Brooks remain composed in the storm and under clear skies.

The Wizards are one win away from facing LeBron James and the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers. They’re one win away from becoming the first of the four major professional teams in town to reach a conference finals since 1998. They’re a win away from any and all of these things because their star guards played and roared, and their poised coach stuck with the plan.

The D.C. area is one win away from a severe case of Wizards Fever. Now you know why.

Ben Standig talks Wizards daily on the Locked on Wizards podcast, covers the Redskins for BreakingBurgundy.com and tweets way too much via @benstandig.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>