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NFL seems to dominate all year these days

A GRIP ON SPORTS

Let me check the calendar. It is April, right? Seems like there is a heck of a lot of NFL news for April. Read on.

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• The draft is next month, right? That's become a big occasion. The summer workouts, those seem to be important too. And the opening of training camps? That's a huge deal I guess. But the day the schedule is announced? That seems to be the league's version of the Academy Awards these days. "The winner of the season-opening game is ... the Green Bay Packers." Woo-hoo. The Packers are coming to town. Is there any way the officials could walk out that week? Just kidding. No one wants that. And no one seemed to be clamoring for a lot of ink being spilled concerning next season's games, but it happened. The only two games that interested me were against San Francisco and we have to wait until Thanksgiving night for the first one of those. Turkey and Harbaugh. Now that's redundant. Anyhow, you knew the 49ers would be part of the final three weeks of the schedule – the NFL has gotten that right, having teams finish with divisional foes – but the smart money had been on the teams meeting in the opening week. Didn't happen. It's the Packers instead. Also on the home schedule early are the Broncos and the Cowboys. That's pretty good. The toughest road games, outside the division? At Carolina, Chiefs and Eagles. Of course, that's all predicated on last year's results. And, as we all know, the NFL changes more year-to-year than any other pro league. Heck, the Oct. 6 game at the Redskins could turn out to be the toughest test of the first two months. Who knows?

• The schedule wasn't the only NFL news yesterday. Former WSU star Marcus Trufant signed with the Hawks so he could retire with them today. The Hawks lost a key front-office player you may never have heard of. And – spoiler alert – Russell Wilson and his wife Ashton (pictured) are getting a divorce. Now that's news we didn't see coming. And not welcome news for any 20-something male in the Puget Sound region who will now have to compete with the possibility of Wilson as a dating option. OK, it's not something to joke about but it is interesting the Hawks decided to send out a press release on a personal event in their quarterback's life. There are good reasons for it, including, in this day and age of social media, controlling the message so it doesn't leak out on Twitter or Facebook. Confront it now, on a day when there is more important news, and then it's done.

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• WSU: The last full week of spring football continues on the Palouse, with today's workout probably going to be held in another steady rain or drizzle. Jacob Thorpe has some thoughts on today in his morning post plus he has some thoughts on the future, the really distant future, in this post on Washington State and Eastern Washington agreeing to play again in 2018. Jacob also has a story on that news. ... ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has a piece on Vince Mayle and another on the Pac-12's veteran quarterbacks. ... Oregon's offensive line returns intact because Hroniss Grasu returned for a fifth year. I spent many a day on the Cougar sidelines talking with his older brother Nico.

• EWU: Jim Allen is standing by, ready to answer all your Eastern questions. He'll hold a live chat here on the blog beginning at noon.

• Idaho: Spring practice is almost over and Paul Petrino is happy how far the Vandals have progressed. Josh Wright has the coach's thoughts in this blog post.

• Chiefs: Ex-Chief Tyler Johnson is one of two finalists for the NHL's top rookie award. ... Portland took a 3-1 lead in the WHL's Western Conference Finals last night with a 5-1 win over Kelowna.

• Preps: It's Thursday and the prep plate is full, mainly with track and field. Greg Lee has a feature on Mead's quartet of state-caliber pole vaulters (pictured) as well as a track notebook leading with Ferris' triple-jumping duo. ... Greg also has a column on a local football player who is reaching for the brass ring and the area's top track marks. ... One more story from Greg: There are some openings for basketball coaches in the area.

• Seahawks: Yes there was a lot of NFL news yesterday. The saddest, quite possibly, is the Trufant news. It seems as if Marcus has been around forever, from his days in Pullman to his long days in Seattle. Everyone has to call it a career some day, right? ... Do the networks not want the Hawks in prime time from Seattle because they tend to blow out people? ... Richard Sherman and other NFL players got together at Harvard yesterday and talked about race.

• Mariners: Truth be told, I rarely watch the Root replays of day Mariner games. But last night I had to watch the final two innings. I had to see Kyle Seager's home runs. I listened to much of the game live on the radio, but Seager's first bomb was something that had to be seen. What an at-bat. It was the type of at-bat that can kickstart a hot streak. A 10-pitch battle in which Seager fouled off three or four excellent strike out pitches. And then, when the mistake came, he didn't miss it. Nor did he miss Josh Field's high fastball in the ninth, ending the M's eight-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over Houston. As an aside, after Seager's game winner, his wife tweeted that she had to admit she cried a little after his home run. Slumps are hell – I know ­– and are hell on everyone connected to the slumping player. ... It looks as if Nick Franklin is headed back to Tacoma, along with Erasmo Ramirez, as the M's try to get their offense going. ... Former Mariner Michael Pineda got in a lot of trouble last night. ... Maybe the A's will finally leave that pit of a stadium they play in.

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• I still need a haircut. That is all. Until later ... 




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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for spokesman.com. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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