Vikings CB Newman wants to play next season

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Terence Newman wants to continue his playing career next season.

Newman told KFAN radio on Thursday that the Vikings’ lopsided 38-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game is not the way he wants to end his NFL career.

“I want to play (next season), because we made it to an NFC Championship,” Newman said. “We fell short. We fell way short … I want to be able to have an opportunity to win a ring. It’s that simple.”

Newman is in line to become a free agent after recording 35 tackles and one interception in 16 games this season. The 39-year-old made four tackles against the Eagles in the NFC title game.

He collected 876 tackles, 42 interceptions, eight forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries in 221 career games with the Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and Vikings since being selected by Dallas with the fifth overall pick of the 2003 NFL Draft.

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Watch live: Trump speaks to GOP lawmakers at W.Va. retreat

Feb. 1 (UPI) — President Donald Trump traveled to West Virginia Thursday to deliver a speech to Republican lawmakers at a retreat there.

Trump is scheduled to begin speaking at 12:30 EST at the retreat in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

“The priorities of Republicans in Congress are the priorities of the American People. We believe in strong families and strong borders. We believe in the rule of law, and we support the men and women of law enforcement,” Trump is expected to say, according to prepared remarks from the White House Press Office. “We believe every American has the right to grow up in a safe home, to attend a good school, and to have access to a great job.”

The president is expected to speak about immigration — and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, of DACA, program, which protects from deportation undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children.

“Nearly 7 in 10 Americans support an immigration reform package that includes a permanent solution on DACA, secures the border, ends chain migration, and cancels the visa lottery,” Trump will say. “These are the Four Pillars of the White House Framework — a plan that will finally bring our immigration system into the 21st century.”

Trump tweeted Thursday that he would meet with “great members of the Republican Party” at the retreat.

Thursday’s speech will come a day after an Amtrak train carrying the GOP lawmakers to the retreat crashed into a garbage truck near Charlottesville, Va.

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Eagles coach Pederson takes long way to Super Bowl LII

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson is the very definition of a journeyman when the subject is his professional playing career.

Eagles quarterback Nick Foles wasn’t an NFL nomad like Pederson, but the latter sure understood what it’s like to come off the bench to replace the starter.

After playing at Northeast Louisiana (now Louisiana-Monroe), Pederson signed as an undrafted free agent with the Miami Dolphins in 1991. There were stints on the practice squad, and when Dan Marino was injured in 1993, Pederson was signed and played in the game that head coach Don Shula won his league-record 325th game. He played for the New York/New Jersey Knights in the World league of American Football in 1992 and also played with the Rhein Fire of the World League in 1995.

The latter happened after he was selected by the Carolina Panthers in the 1995 expansion draft only to be released in May.

He did last seven seasons with the Green Bay Packers, but not consecutively. He was with the Packers from 1996-1998 and 2001-2004, with the Eagles in 1999 and the Cleveland Browns in 2000.

In all, he played in 100 games with 17 starts: nine with Philadelphia and a 2-7 record and eight with the Browns (1-7 record). His forgettable numbers were a 54.8 completion percentage, 2,762 yards, 12 touchdown passes, 19 interceptions and a 62.3 passer rating.

He took the lessons he learned to his first coaching job (as head coach), which was the furthest thing from high-profile: Calvary Baptist Academy in Shreveport, La., a school that was in its second season playing football when Pederson arrived.

Reflected Pederson prior to the game against New England, “Those four years were special to me because, one, my family and my boys were right there in the school with me, being a private school. And just watching the kids grow over a four-year period and then having the chance to see some of them go on to play college football or have great careers after college. Not necessarily in athletics but just as students, as well. Those are special moments, and moments that I’ll remember.

“Obviously we’re on a much bigger stage now playing for the Super Bowl, but the journey is the same. The ride is the same. It’s just as special doing it at this level. You still have the same types of relationships with these guys now today that you would with a 16- or 17-year-old in high school.”

His teams were 33-7 and 8-3 in the state playoffs. From there came the springboard to the NFL when he joined Andy Reid‘s staff in 2009 as offensive quality control coach. His 1999 season as a player with the Eagles was Reid’s first as the team’s head coach.

Pederson became quarterbacks coach in 2011 and then went with Reid to Kansas City as offensive coordinator in 2013. He was hired by the Eagles as head coach in 2016 succeeding Chip Kelly and called offensive plays for the first time.

His relationship with Foles at Philadelphia previously and at Kansas City helped when the Eagles signed him in the offseason to back up Carson Wentz. Pederson scouted Foles before the 2012 draft and that also contributed to their relationship.

“I think it’s important,” Pederson said. “He reminded me again last night after the game (against Minnesota) that I was the only coach to go out and work him out as a player leading up to that draft. It goes a long way in his confidence and my confidence in him and understanding that dynamic. Even though we sort of separated and went a couple different ways. But to be able to come back together now and do the things that we’ve been able to do and he’s been able to do is not only a credit to him, but I think just the overall study that we did back in 2012.”

Also in the mix in creating confidence is offensive coordinator Frank Reich, who was also a backup during his NFL playing career.

Said Reich, “Knowing the pressure that’s on you, knowing how you liked it, how people treated you when you were in that situation and usually the answer is: let’s go to work. Let’s not make a bigger deal out of this than it is. We’ve got confidence and belief in each other. You’re here for a reason. We’re here for a reason. We all believe in each other, so let’s just go play ball.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has often used the term “emotional intelligence” to describe Pederson. Lurie explained, “I spent a lot of time with players at the end of that season and I thought what was really needed was a kind of leadership that leads with a genuineness, a real genuineness. And people laughed when I used the term emotional intelligence, but that’s probably a really good way to describe it and I think in sports today, there’s many styles of great coaches. Bill Belichick, Bill Walsh, Sean Payton – the list goes on and on and on – Tom Coughlin.

“There’s a lot of great coaches. They all have their different styles, but the one common ground amongst them all is absolute consistency and genuineness. And Doug Pederson is just himself. And at times, that’s very humble, and at times, it’s just very real. At times, that’s very bright. At times, it’s tough. But he does it in a true genuine way and I think players really respond to that in today’s world.”

When asked about emotional intelligence, Pederson said, “I think that having the connection, having been in the locker room, having an understanding of the dynamic of what a team needs, what a team should feel, how we should practice, how we should play, when to take the pads off, when to put the pads back on, I think all of that is part of that emotional intelligence that we all — and I — try to strive for and to have with the guys. I think that relationship has gone a long way this season.”

Pederson has faced some slings and arrows from some that questioned his hiring by the Eagles in Jan. 2016. With seven head coaches hired that year, one opinion had him ranked fifth. Early this past season, former club executive Mike Lombardi said Pederson “might be less qualified to coach a team than anyone I’ve ever seen in my 30-plus years in the NFL.”

Now, Pederson has the last laugh, and it’s notable to point out that Lombardi isn’t currently working in the NFL.

Asked about the criticisms, Pederson shrugged and said, “I don’t pay any attention to that quite honestly. I drive home at night knowing I put in a full day’s work. I get up in the morning to come in here, however I can serve this organization, serve these players. That’s all I know.

“I love football. I love coaching football. I love teaching it. I love being around these guys and I’m going to pour my life into these players and if it’s good enough, great. That’s all I know I can do and I know I’ve given it my best effort. I don’t care about what’s written. It’s kind of like the underdog thing. Our players don’t pay much attention to that and I’m kind of the same way. Except for the dog mask.”

Well, he can be forgiven if he’s now doing some woofing.

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Pending free agent RB Hill bids goodbye to Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals running back Jeremy Hill doesn’t expect to continue his playing career in the Queen City.

Hill, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March, appeared to offer a goodbye message to the city of Cincinnati over Twitter on Wednesday.

“Been one hell of a ride Cincinnati on to the next chapter,” Hill wrote above a video of highlights from his time with the Bengals.

Hill’s playing time significantly dipped after the Bengals selected fellow running back Joe Mixon in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. The 25-year-old Hill’s season came to an end after he elected to have ankle surgery in November.

“I’m not nervous at all,” Hill told The Cincinnati Enquirer of his future. “I think the chips will fall where they may, and I’m good with that going forward. I’m going to put the work in and when you do that you can sleep good at night knowing you did everything you could, and that’s what I’m going to do.”

Hill’s time with the Bengals began with promise, as he rushed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns during his rookie season after being selected in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Hill followed that up with 11 touchdowns in 2015, but was limited to just 37 rushes for 116 yards while playing in seven games this past season. All told, Hill carried the ball 704 times for 2,873 yards and 29 touchdowns during his time in Cincinnati.

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Packers changed QB coach without consulting Rodgers

The Green Bay Packers opted against retaining quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt, and the move apparently was made without consulting Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers said some of the Packers’ offseason coaching changes were “a little strange” when he appeared on ESPN Radio’s Golic & Wingo on Thursday.

“Well my quarterback coach didn’t get retained,” the 34-year-old Rodgers said. “I thought that was an interesting change, really without consulting me. There’s a close connection between quarterback and quarterback coach, and that was an interesting decision.”

The Packers made several changes after missing the playoffs for the first time in nine years. Team president Mark Murphy replaced general manager Ted Thompson with Brian Gutekunst, while coach Mike McCarthy fired defensive coordinator Dom Capers and offensive coordinator Edgar Bennett as well as several other assistants.

McCarthy indicated last month that Van Pelt opted to let his contract expire in order to pursue an offensive coordinator position — a move that would prevent the Packers from blocking him from other jobs.

Van Pelt, who has since been hired by the Cincinnati Bengals, spent the last four seasons as Green Bay’s quarterbacks coach.

The Packers, in turn, hired former New York Giants assistant Frank Cignetti Jr. as their new quarterbacks coach.

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Arctic lakes are emitting young carbon

Feb. 1 (UPI) — For now, the most ancient carbon remains locked up and frozen deep in the Arctic tundra. The latest investigation of the Arctic’s carbon cycle suggests Arctic lakes are emitting relatively young carbon.

Scientists at the University of California, Irvine used carbon-14 dating methods to identify the age of carbon molecules escaping lakes in northern Alaska. Researchers sampled a diverse array of lakes — during both summer and winter — spread across Alaska’s North Slope.

Their analysis — detailed this week in the journal Nature Climate Change — suggests the carbon being released was only recently deposited.

“These young carbon pools most likely include comparatively fresh photosynthetic products flushed into the lakes from their surrounding watersheds, organic material from aquatic plants and phytoplankton, or waterborne dissolved inorganic carbon,” lead study author Clayton Elder, now a research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a news release.

The research offered new insights into the relationship between geology and carbon storage patterns. Scientists found lakes surrounded by deposits of finer sediments were more efficient storers of carbon. Sandier deposits were less efficient. Conversely, the thawing of finer sediments can lead to a great increase in carbon emissions.

Researchers also determined that the majority of carbon emitted from Arctic lakes is in the form of carbon dioxide, or CO2, not methane, or CH4. Methane is less concentrated in Earth’s atmosphere, but it’s able to more efficiently trap heat.

“This implies that a large proportion of the CH4 produced in lake sediments is oxidized to CO2 in the water column before emission into the atmosphere,” said Elder, who conducted the research while earning his PhD at UCI. “Ice cover, which is sensitive to climate, is particularly important for converting would-be CH4 emissions into the less impactful CO2, because it impedes emissions and makes CH4 vulnerable for longer periods to oxidizing microbes living in the water column. If we lose more and more ice in the future because of warming, higher proportions of carbon could be emitted as CH4.”

Researchers characterized their study as a first-of-its-kind. They believe their work will serve as a baseline for future explorations of the carbon cycle of northern Alaska and the Arctic.

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Super Bowl: Tool lets fans chart TDs for Brady, Foles, other NFL QBs

Feb. 1 (UPI) — A new tool allows anyone to chart every touchdown throw and catch from the 2017 NFL season.

The team at Fanatics partnered with the NFL to allow fans to track the deep data. Users can choose the regular season week, game, team name, position and player to find out where the pass was thrown from, where it was caught, the yards traveled, player rankings and more.

The data showed that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady only completed four touchdown passes from outside of the hash marks this season.

Philadelphia Eagles defenders should be eyeing the right side of the field on Super Bowl Sunday when the Patriots get in the red zone. Six of Rob Gronkowski‘s eight touchdowns this season went to Tom Brady’s left side.

The date also revealed that Nick Foles’ touchdown passes traveled an average of 32 yards through the air. Carson Wentz‘s touchdown passes traveled an average of 35 yards through the air, before he tore his ACL and was lost for the season.

Brady’s touchdown passes traveled just 28 yards through the air on average.

It also showed that the Buffalo Bills were largely dependent on touchdown receptions in the corners of the end zone, with just two passing scores coming between the hash marks all season. The New York Jets on the other hand, scored 15 of their 17 passing touchdowns on the right side of the field.

While most passers in the league balanced out the field with their scoring production, the Indianapolis Colts were another team with odd results. Colts quarterbacks completed only three touchdown passes that landed in the end zone. The Baltimore Ravens scored 14 of their 20 passing touchdowns to the right side of the field.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson threw 22 of his 34 touchdown passes into the end zone, while the other dozen were throw to pass catchers who ran it in for six.

Fanatics researchers reviewed every 2017 touchdown pass from NFL Game Pass to compile the data and create the tool.

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New York theater invites movie-goers to bring dogs

Feb. 1 (UPI) — A theater in upstate New York is telling patrons to bring their dogs to four movies this month.

For its Dog Movie Week from Feb. 11 to Feb. 17, the Smith Opera House in Geneva, N.Y., will show dog-related films Best in Show, Must Love Dogs, The Artist and Bolt. The theatre will offer free treats to dogs, who can attend for free, as long as they are leashed and well-behaved.

Tickets for adults are $10.

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SM-3 interceptor fails to hit target in missile defense test

Feb. 1 (UPI) — The United States was unsuccessful in a missile defense test in Kauai, Hawaii, on Wednesday, as a Standard Missile-3 interceptor reportedly failed to hit a target launched from an aircraft.

Testing on the SM-3 Interceptor is a joint effort between the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency, the U.S. Navy, Japan and Raytheon, which manufactures the munition.

MDA spokesman Mark Wright told The New York Times that “a live-fire missile flight test” had occurred from Kauai, but did not confirm that the test had failed.

Wednesday’s test would be the second failure during the last year, following the failure of another SM-3 Block IIA to hit its target last June.

The new version of the missile, which is capable of traveling farther and has improved target tracking systems, is seen as a needed defense against adversaries such as North Korea with their development of ballistic missiles that have a range of more than 8,000 miles.

The Block IIA is launched and guided by the Lockheed Martin-produced Aegis Ashore Weapon System.

Japan and the United States have been collaborating on the Block IIA’s development, with the goal of integrating the missile into land-based defense systems. The upgraded missile has a larger rocket motor and a larger kinetic warhead that is supposed to aid in it’s search for incoming threats.

Pentagon officials told CNN they have been tight-lipped on the matter due to current tensions between the United States and North Korea and the upcoming Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

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Tia Mowry ’embraces’ baby bump in new bikini photo

Feb. 1 (UPI) — Pregnant actress Tia Mowry is “embracing” her burgeoning baby bump.

The 39-year-old Sister, Sister album showed off her growing belly in an Instagram post Wednesday after announcing she’s expecting her second child with husband Cory Hardrict.

The photo shows Mowry smiling as she strikes a pose in her kitchen. The expectant mom wears a red and blue floral top and bikini bottoms.

“Embracing these curves and loving every bit of it! #pregnancy Suit- #ofuure [photo by] @coryhardrict,” she captioned the picture.

Mowry already shares 6-year-old son Cree with Hardrict, and confirmed in November that she’s expecting again. She announced her unborn baby’s sex in a “gender reveal” video in January.

“We’re having a girl! Cree is going to have a baby sister,” the star said. “We are so excited.”

Mowry and her twin sister, Tamera Mowry, are known for playing Tia and Tamera Landry on Sister, Sister. Tamera was among those to congratulate Mowry after the actress shared her baby news in the fall.

“Yayyyyy! Couldn’t wait to tell the world. I’m going to be an auntie!!!!!” Tamera tweeted at the time.

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