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Why Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields aren’t at the 2021 NFL Draft



NFL Mock Drafts 2021: Compare Mel Kiper, Daniel Jeremiah, Todd McShay & other experts

NFL players: Just like us!

Well, kind of.

Several of the NFL Draft’s top quarterback prospects won’t be in attendance in Cleveland for the 2021 NFL Draft, with Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State’s Justin Fields both sitting out — and at home — this year. Meaning, Lawrence and Fields, like the rest of us, will be watching from the comfort of their own homes (or draft setup).

This year, just 13 players are attending the NFL Draft in Cleveland, which is still 13 more than we had in 2020 (coronavirus), with 58 players participating in the festivities overall.

Still, two of the league’s top draft targets won’t be in attendance. Here’s why:

Is Trevor Lawrence at the 2021 NFL Draft?

While the Clemson passer is the presumptive No. 1 overall pick, he won’t be in attendance for the 2021 NFL Draft. Instead, Lawrence will be at Clemson, watching the draft on TV like everyone else, with family and friends.

Lawrence’s absence from the draft is not abnormal, though: It will be the fifth time since 2015 that the No. 1 overall pick won’t be in attendance at the NFL Draft. 

The prior four: Jameis Winston (2015), Myles Garrett (2017), Baker Mayfield (2018) and Joe Burrow (2020). Burrow was the only one who didn’t have a choice, with the in-person event axed due to the coronavirus.

Is Justin Fields at the 2021 NFL Draft?

While there’s no indication where the Ohio State product may be on draft night, there’s one place he won’t be: Cleveland, Ohio.

The NFL’s official listing of draft attendees omits Fields’ name, meaning he will not be crossing the stage when he is selected on April 29 during the first round. He’s widely expected to be a top-five selection and the second- or third-ranked passer in the draft.

Expect Fields to take in the draft virtually with family and friends at his side, as is custom for NFL Draft attendees on the virtual side of things.

NFL Draft 2021 attendees

While there are 58 players participating virtually for the 2021 NFL Draft, 13 players will be on-site in Cleveland:

Player School
Christian Barmore Alabama
Caleb Farley Virginia Tech
Mac Jones Alabama
Trey Lance North Dakota State
Micah Parson Penn State
Kyle Pitts Florida
Gregory Rousseau Miami
Rashawn Slater Northwestern
DeVonta Smith Alabama
Patrick Surtain II Alabama
Jaylen Waddle Alabama
Zach Wilson BYU

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Clippers’ Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns



Clippers' Paul George misses crucial free throws in stunning Game 2 loss to Suns

The box score from Tuesday’s Suns-Clippers game — a pivotal Game 2 win for Phoenix in the Western Conference finals — will show Paul George had a decent game.

Twenty-six points, on 10-of-23 shooting; six assists; six rebounds; and 5-of-10 shooting from the free throw line. He also scored his team’s last six points, all within the last minute, to help the Clippers to a 103-102 lead with just 8.2 seconds remaining.

The only stats that ultimately mattered in the Clippers’ 104-103 loss, however, were the final two free throws George — a career 84.7-percent free throw shooter — missed. They ultimately allowed Phoenix a chance at an unbelievable comeback victory, which may prove costly even as the series heads back to LA.

NBA MOCK DRAFT 2021: Who will Pistons, Rockets take with top picks?

Had George sunk both of those shots, the Suns would have needed a 3-pointer just to send the game to overtime. Had he sunk even one shot, they would have needed a 2-pointer. But he missed both, allowing the Suns to win on an inbound dunk with less than a second remaining:

Credit to Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder and the Suns. That play will go down as one of the top plays in NBA playoffs history. But every heartbreaking loss needs a goat, and no one fits the bill better than “Playoff P,” who could have secured a win for his team with the simplest of basketball scoring plays.

Here’s the bright side for the Clippers, if there is one: They have already overcome 2-0 deficits in each of their first two series against the Mavericks and Jazz, respectively. That’s likely a cold comfort as George and Co. head back to LA, however. The scathing Twitter comments aimed at George likely won’t do anything to help, either:

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Athletics’ Sergio Romo pulls down pants during substance check



Athletics' Sergio Romo pulls down pants during substance check

MLB pitchers aren’t taking kindly to the league’s new foreign substance rules.

Athletics pitcher Sergio Romo seemed particularly annoyed that the umpires performed a substance check on him Tuesday night.

After working a one-run seventh inning for Oakland, the umpire beckoned for Romo to come over for the check. Romo responded to the moment by tossing his hat and glove to the ground and whipping his belt off.

MORE: Rays’ Wander Franco homers in first MLB game

Then came Romo’s final act. He pulled his pants halfway down to prove that he wasn’t harboring any illegal substances.

Romo certainly made his point, but Dan Iassogna, the umpire checking him, didn’t seem too bothered by his high jinks. In fact, the umpire flashed a smile at Romo, who the broadcast described as “heated.”

Romo wasn’t alone in being bothered by the substance check on Tuesday. Max Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three times in the first four innings of the Nationals-Phillies game and became increasingly irritable with each examination. He directed his rage at Phillies manager Joe Girardi, who was later ejected for jawing at Scherzer. The checks didn’t seem to faze the three-time Cy Young winner too much; he earned the win, pitching five innings while giving up just a run and striking out eight.

Needless to say, these antics will be fairly common as MLB attempts to implement these rule changes on the fly.

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Nationals’ Max Scherzer feuds with Phillies’ Joe Girardi over substance checks



Nationals' Max Scherzer feuds with Phillies' Joe Girardi over substance checks

MLB’s new sticky substance rules are already causing havoc, and resulted in a feud between Nationals ace Max Scherzer and Phillies manager Joe Girardi on just their second day since being implemented.

Scherzer was checked for foreign substances three times in his first four innings against Philadelphia. He came up clean each time. The Washington starter didn’t look happy about his first check of the game after the opening frame.

That said, all starters will be checked for foreign substances under MLB’s new protocols, so that was expected.

MORE: Wander Franco cranks three-run homer in first career game

What wasn’t expected was that Scherzer would be checked after the third inning as well. He finally drew the line when Girardi requested that Scherzer be checked in the middle of the fourth inning.

The feud between Scherzer and Girardi reached its boiling point in the fifth inning. Scherzer stared at Girardi on his walk back to the dugout after retiring the Phillies in order, and Girardi took exception to it. He came running out of the dugout yelling at Scherzer and was ejected while the pitcher mocked him from a distance.

Be prepared to see more of these mini squabbles and frequent substance checks. Managers have the right to have the opposing pitchers checked, so they will likely take advantage of this as baseball implements this major rule change on the fly.

Though the Scherzer-Girardi feud was amusing, it’s certainly not a feather in MLB’s cap. If anything, it’s a bad omen that the league’s hastily made protocol changes could result in more conflicts, slowdowns and controversies as umpires figure out how to properly deal with them.

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