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InläggPostat: 14 sep 2018, 10:49 
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NASHVILLE Joe Berger Jersey , Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel wanted his debut as Tennessee’s head coach to start on offense.

It was an impressive beginning in the Titans‘ preseason opener.

Marcus Mariota and the Titans wasted no time providing a glimpse of what they can do in this new offense, driving 71 yards for a touchdown on the first series even with four starters sidelined. Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker was a healthy scratch, starting wide receivers Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews were out with undisclosed injuries and right tackle Jack Conklin is recovering from a torn ACL.

“It was an efficient drive, it was a good drive and it was good to see that group go down there and kind of do what they did in an in the scrimmage, the one Friday night scrimmage that we had and then be able to carry that over know into this week,” Vrabel said Friday.

The Titans wound up losing 31-17 in Green Bay with the second-team offense settling for a field goal after Vrabel let new backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert throw on fourth-and-4 at the Packers 12.

But all the attention is on Mariota and the offense being installed by offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur. Putting the No. 2 overall pick in 2015 in a better scheme is why the Titans fired Mike Mularkey in January and replaced him with Vrabel.

Mariota looked sharp, even though he was caught running at the line for a sack. The quarterback who has been healthy all offseason for the first time since his rookie season later scrambled for 7 yards. He was 2 of 3 for 42 yards passing despite not having Davis or Matthews.

Davis dressed and warmed up but did not play. The No. 5 wide receiver overall last year has not practiced since leaving a session early last weekend with an undisclosed issue. Matthews is the lone veteran of the receiving corps, and he remains on the physically unable to perform list.

That left Mariota with Taywan Taylor, a third-round pick overall in 2017, and Darius Jennings, as his starting receivers. Jennings originally signed with Cleveland in 2015 as an undrafted free agent out of Virginia and started one of the four games he played that season with the Browns. The Titans released Jennings last November before bringing him back again.

“Overall, it is a young group, so it is exciting to see those guys get a chance to play Jermon Bushrod Jersey ,” Mariota said. “With that being said, these guys have an opportunity and they need to make the most of it. We are really going to have to count on some of those guys throughout the year and that is good to see that in live game action.”

Jennings capped that opening drive with a 4-yard TD catch as he tries to earn a roster spot.

Derrick Henry also had an 8-yard run on an outside zone play that will be a feature of this offense.

The Titans still have plenty to work on offensively before hosting Tampa Bay for two joint practices before their preseason game Aug. 18. Running back Dalyn Dawkins was flagged for one of three lowering the helmet penalties on the Titans, and they lost time of possession in the final three quarters with their worst the third holding the ball for only 2 minutes, 10 seconds.

“Always room for improvement,” Vrabel said.

NOTES: The Titans agreed to terms Friday with S Steven Terrell and waived as injured OLB Gimel President and DL Johnny Maxey. Terrell has played 42 career games in stops with Jacksonville, Houston, Seattle and Kansas City. … The Titans went 1-3 in the preseason a year ago under Mularkey. Whether it was Vrabel’s debut or the Titans playing their first game in their new uniforms, TV ratings in Nashville jumped 39 percent over the opener a year ago from 11.9 rating to 16.6.

Dwyane Wade’s first NBA game was in Philadelphia.

His last NBA game may have been there as well.

Retirement is a very – very – real option for Wade, who has been not-so-quietly saying for weeks that he isn’t sure if he’ll be back next season. The offseason is here now, after the Miami Heat were ousted by the 76ers on Tuesday night in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference first-round series, and the face of the franchise may have taken his jersey off for the final time.

He has not decided.

But some of his closest friends believe this could really be the end.

”I appreciate y’all concern,” Wade said in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. ”But we’ll worry about that later.”

Of course, his fans want him to come back. One prominent fan cast her vote before he even left the floor after Game 5.

”I hope this isn’t the end Karl Joseph Jersey , but my God,” his wife, Gabrielle Union, wrote on Twitter. ”Dwyane Wade has a career most people dream of. He is a damn legend. An icon. And he’s cute.”

No one, not even Wade, knows how long this process will take. He’s going to talk to his wife. He’s going to talk to his kids. He’s going to talk to the Heat, and he’s going to talk to the people within his inner circle that are trusted most.

Wade isn’t a starter, but it could be argued the three-time NBA champion is still Miami’s best player. Wade carried the Heat to victory in Game 2 and got them on the brink of a win in Game 4. He doesn’t run as fast or jump as high as the version of himself known as Flash did, but he’s still capable of delivering big moments.

If Wade is done, the last visions fans will have of his career will be with him in a Heat uniform, still doing his thing. That matters to him. He isn’t Michael Jordan going out in a Washington jersey, or Patrick Ewing playing his last game with Orlando, or Shaquille O’Neal limping away from his NBA finale in Boston colors.

He wouldn’t be going out on top Terence Newman Jersey , but he’d be going out in the right uniform and still playing at a high level.

One way or another, his career always was going to end in Heat colors anyway. He wasn’t going out in a Chicago jersey, nor a Cleveland jersey. He had to wear ”Heat” across his chest again, and when the Cavaliers traded him to Miami in February, it immediately became obvious that Wade was changing franchises for the final time.

Resume-wise, he’s more than good. He’s got three NBA championships. He’s got an Olympic gold medal. He’s going to the Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s going to go down as one of the best two or three shooting guards in the history of the game. The only guys with as many points, rebounds, assists and blocked shots in their regular season and playoff careers as Wade? Jordan is one, LeBron James is the other.

Here’s something else to consider: Wade has never wanted a farewell tour. He watched Kobe Bryant go through it, noted how much of a grind it was for the Lakers star, and doesn’t want to hear the same questions in every road stop next season.

What’s the motivation to return?

That’s the unknown.

Wade is set financially. So this decision won’t primarily be about money. Even after a brutal divorce and custody battle a few years ago, Wade will never worry about cash. He’s well-invested, has deals that will continue working for him well after his playing days end Michael Crabtree Jersey , and will make millions next year whether he’s wearing sneakers or suits.

The Heat have serious cap challenges and won’t have a bankbreaking deal to offer Wade this summer. He won’t play for the minimum. He won’t get anywhere near the maximum. For him to return, it’ll have to be worth his while. He spends a ton of money to keep his body right. And if Wade can make more off the court than on it next year, it might make sense for him to retire.

Plus, put simply, Wade wants more time with his family.

His oldest son, 16-year-old Zaire, is finishing his sophomore year of high school. Zaire can play. He gets attention because of his father’s name, but his game is real. The next couple years will be critical to his development as a ballplayer, and his dad wants to have the time to share as much wisdom as he can.

So clearly, there are good reasons for Wade to retire.

But he can still play. And that might be the reason to come back, one more time.



Tim Reynolds is a national basketball writer for The Associated Press. Write to him at treynolds(at)ap.org

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