Smith has missed six total starts the past two seasons.

“I’m feeling great now,” Smith said. “Actually, I feel like I’m in the best shape I’ve been in a while. I’ve taken this offseason to get back into it a little early and try to take care of my body a little more. I’m just doing the little small [rehab] things and I just feel awesome right now.”

Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dez Bryant tend to grab the headlines when the Cowboys win and lose, but it’s their star left tackle who’s quietly the key cog in determining Dallas’ success. The Cowboys are 3-3 in those contests. In his 26 starts, the Cowboys are 19-7.

In talking with the team’s website at teammate Tyrone Crawford’s annual football camp in Windsor, Ontario, Smith said his problematic back, and the other injuries that caused him to miss three games and portions of two others this past season, are feeling better than ever.

In 2013, Adam Scott made a 25 footer on No. 18 as the 72nd hole of the tournament, then made a 15-foot putt on No. 18 in a playoff to beat Angel Cabrera:

In 2012, Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen parred the first playoff hole at No. 18, before Watson hit his tee shot into the trees on No. 10. Watson hooked his second shot onto the green, setting up the first of his two Masters victories.

“There’s no reason to make a bunch of crazy speeches in April,” Gruden told the Bay Area News Group on Sunday. “We’re going to try and get ’em organized and start to build some relationships with each other and start to teach.”

The former Super Bowl Champion coach has lamented the current offseason schedule, which changed under the collective bargaining agreement since he last patrolled the sideline, but is ready to ease his new players into the routine.

Broncos expected to select quarterback Baker Mayfield at No. 5

In the weeks leading up to the 2018 NFL Draft, there has been growing speculation that the Denver Broncos are leaning toward the possibility of taking a quarterback with the fifth overall pick. General manager John Elway has been open to the idea despite already having a starter in place with Case Keenum on a two-year, $36 million deal via free agency last month.

Landry, Sweat, and Avery all fall into this category, making them players to watch. Another option, a bit closer to home, nearly hit that mark. Central Michigan’s Joe Ostman (8.11 RAS) posted a 7.02 time in the cone drill. He met with Lions linebacker coach Al Golden at CMU’s pro day.

Unlike previous years, there aren’t any pass rushers with below-average athleticism still being talked about as possible early-round picks. The closest, LSU’s Arden Key, currently has an unofficial RAS of 6.70. That’s not elite, but is still acceptable.

The Lions have a lot of needs, but it would be troubling to see them miss out on a pass rusher who can provide an early impact. With options in each of the first four rounds, who meet or exceed athletic benchmarks, it’s up to the team to weigh that potential with the countless hours of film study both general manager Bob Quinn and coach Matt Patricia have built their reputations. Nothing is ever certain, but you have to like the Lions’ odds of coming out of this draft with a playmaker on the edge.

He thinks he’s going to a star.

You’ll believe it when you see it?

Here’s Bird’s message to people who think he’ll never pan out because he can’t stay healthy.

“I’m sure there are people that have doubts, but that doesn’t matter,” Bird said. “I don’t.”

Bird has hit like a rising star when he’s been healthy… during his short rookie season in 2015, again last spring and late last season. And when he’s struggled, he’s usually been hurting… early last season when he started 6-for-60 before going on the DL and this spring when he hit.163 in 18 games before alerting the Yankees that he’d secretly been hurting for weeks.

Free agency roundup: Jets sign WR Charles Johnson

The Jets are aiming for depth with their wide receiving corps, adding another journeyman with potential on Monday.

New York signed former Vikings receiver Charles Johnson on Monday, the team announced.

Johnson signed with Carolina a year ago, but was waived/injured three months later after undergoing knee surgery. Prior to his brief pairing with the Panthers , Johnson found his greatest success in Minnesota, catching 60 passes over three seasons for 834 yards and two touchdowns. His best season came in 2014, when he logged 31 receptions for 475 yards and those two scores.

4. The Pittsburgh Steelers signed tackles Joseph Cheek and Larson Graham , and center Parker Collins to one-year contracts, the team announced.

5. Though not a free agent, Giants tackle Ereck Flowers was not present at the team’s voluntary offseason program. New York signed tackle Nate Solder last month, who will presumably fill the left tackle role once owned by Flowers.

6. The Washington Redskins , who recently acquired former Browns and Chiefs backup quarterback Kevin Hogan via trade, waived QB Stephen Morris. The team announced the move Monday.

7. The Oakland Raiders re-signed five exclusive-rights free agents: linebacker Shilique Calhoun , linebacker/defensive end James Cowser , safety Erik Harris , offensive lineman Denver Kirkland and kicker Giorgio Tavecchio , the team announced. Oakland also released long snapper Andrew East.

The safety market has been stunningly slow in free agency this offseason. In Reid’s case, there also was concern that his decision to not stand during the national anthem before games might have affected his market.

The 26-year-old remains one of the top free agents left on the market, with the versatility to play deep or near the line of scrimmage. Last season, the 49ers experimented with Reid in a hybrid linebacker role, but he’s meeting with Cincinnati as a safety. If he lands with Marvin Lewis, the veteran would offer flexibility on the back end of the defense.

Yes, we believe the Kings have a decent shot at beating the Vegas Golden Knights, despite the latter squad’s dreamy season and higher position in the standings. Fantasy managers who agree should be all over L.A.’s forward duo of Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown — who hasn’t shown any sign of letting up in his impressive Renaissance campaign — along with red-hot center Jeff Carter, 60-point defenseman Drew Doughty and Stanley Cup-winning netminder Jonathan Quick.

Top stars and bargains for Monday’s NBA DFS slate

Each day, we provide you with the best players to use in your daily fantasy hoops leagues, from high-priced stars to solid midrange values to cheaper, riskier players who carry upside.

In general, you want to use safer options in your cash games and rely on some riskier, high-upside options in your bigger tournaments. If you can average at least five points per $1,000 of salary, you’ll typically end up with at least some cash in your pocket.

Yankees: After a day off, New York opens a three-game series at Boston. RHP Luis Severino (2-0, 1.38) faces LHP Chris Sale (0-0, 0.82). Boone faces the Red Sox for the first time with the Yankees since hitting an 11th-inning home run to win Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS at Yankee Stadium. “I hear about it all the time. I heard about it on the ride into the park today from our Uber driver. He had a story involved,” Boone said. The man remembered getting so excited, he jumped over something and cut his arm, Boone relayed.

“Every time it’s a little different but generally it’s the same thing,” Rizzo said Sunday of his occasional back ailments. “This is something that just grabbed. It’s usually upper [back]; this is lower.”

“I don’t think I have been more proud of a group, maybe ever, than I have been of this group,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, who has been forced by injuries to field 35 starting lineups. “We have asked a lot of guys to do a lot of stuff they should not have had to do and yet they did it.”

On Saturday, the Clippers simply could not keep up with the Nuggets as they had 36 assists on 53 field goals.

“The stat that jumps out at me was the fact that we had 36 assists, and eight turnovers,” Malone said. “We actually had more assists than rebounds. I’ve never seen that before.”

Fox wants to put Joe Buck, Troy Aikman on Thursday NFL games, report says

Now that Peyton Manning is out of the broadcast booth, Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are in.

According to the New York Post, which cited unidentified sources, Fox has begun negotiations to use Buck and Aikman for “Thursday Night Football” in 2018 with the goal of reaching an agreement by May.

The report noted that Buck and Aikman will still work their usual Sunday games and have “no desire to split up” after working together for 17 years.

The undermanned Mavs were no match for the Sixers, who won their sixth in a row without injured All-Star Joel Embiid, who is out until at least the start of the playoffs with an eye injury. They moved a game ahead of idle Cleveland for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with two games left.

Two days after an emotional win over the Cavaliers, the Sixers missed five of their first six shots. But Simmons keyed a 17-3 second-quarter run by assisting on Covington’s consecutive 3-pointers before his twisting layup in traffic that made it 50-34.

The Sixers led by 19 before Smith helped get the Mavs within four points late in the third quarter. But the Sixers quickly got the lead back to double figures.

He signed a four-year, $72 million deal in 2016 to be the Texans’ starter but was traded to the Browns after only one season in a salary dump. Unable to win the starting job in Cleveland, he wound up back with the Broncos in 2017.

He has completed 584 of 987 passes (59 percent) for 6,171 yards and 31 touchdowns with 27 interceptions.

Osweiler will likely serve as Ryan Tannehill’s primary backup in Miami.

Bucks: G Malcolm Brogdon (left quad) returned following a 30-game absence. The 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year scored two and played 13 minutes, all in the first half.

A game that had the feel of a Milwaukee blowout turned tight after a cold-shooting second quarter for the Bucks. They missed their first 12 shots in the period, with a Bledsoe-to-Middleton layup finally ending the scoreless streak with 5:07 left.

Bundle up! Indians playing coldest game in ballpark history

The temperature was 32 degrees, the lowest for the start of a game in the 25-year history of Progressive Field, when Indians starter Mike Clevinger threw the first pitch to Kansas City’s Jon Jay on Sunday.

Indians outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall was placed on the disabled list Sunday with a right calf strain. Outfielder Tyler Naquin was recalled from Triple-A to fill his roster spot.

The previous record was 33 degrees for games against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 5 and April 7, 1996.

White Sox: Manager Rick Renteria said reliever Nate Jones has experienced “no issues so far” after having season-ending surgery on his pitching arm last July. The right-hander has made three appearances. “We’re going to continue to monitor him and listen to him,” Renteria said. “His body tells him what he’s capable of doing. We’re going to continue to ask plenty of questions and make sure he’s OK.”

Tigers: Fiers makes his Tigers debut after going 8-10 with a 5.22 ERA for Houston last season.

White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (0-0, 1.50 ERA) looks to build on a strong first start. He went six innings, allowing one run and two hits, in a 4-2 loss at Toronto on Monday.

It became clear to Scandrick toward the end of last season that his value to the team was marginal, hence his request to be let go. As he dealt with a back and hand injuries, rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis occupied the outside cornerback positions, and safety Xavier Woods moved to the slot. Also, for the 2018 season, the team plans to move Byron Jones from safety back to his natural position of cornerback.

As for a logical landing spot for the 31-year-old Scandrick, ESPN notes the Saints, who were in discussions with the Cowboys at last year’s draft about a potential trade for him, still have a need at cornerback.

Warriors: Iguodala, who had been uncertain to play with a sore left knee, received a second-quarter technical. … Golden State will go with a center by committee for now, with Kevon Looney earning the start Saturday. … Shaun Livingston was out to rest his sore right knee. The Warriors had won their previous five regular-season home finales. … Golden State dropped to 10-4 in the first game of back-to-backs. … Warriors President and COO Rick Welts was honored for his induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Lions’ Quinn: Ebron’s release was only about money

The decision to release Eric Ebron was strictly a financial decision, according to Detroit Lions general manager Bob Quinn.

The Lions let Ebron go earlier this month, hours before the start of the new league year, when the tight end’s $8.25 million contract would become guaranteed.

You know, the salary that came along with the fifth-year option was something that we weighed, you know, really up until the last minute, Quinn said. It was just one of those things that we knew was coming down the pike. We obviously had some trade conversations with a few teams that didn’t work out, and so it came down to about the last hour or so before that 4 o’clock deadline.

Luke’s a guy that we did a lot of work on, Quinn said. Think he’s got versatility to catch the ball, I think he has versatility to block on the line of scrimmage, off the line of scrimmage as a move blocker.

In Seattle, he’s had a bunch of tight ends kind of above him on the totem pole out there, including Jimmy Graham this year, so he’s a guy that we went back and watched film a couple years ago when he had more production, Quinn said. I think he’s more than capable of catching the ball, I think that’s one of his strengths, and he can run. So we’ll add him to the mix and kind of see how that goes.

Willson has caught 15 passes each of the past two seasons. His best year as a receiver was 2014, when he hauled in 22 balls for 362 yards and three scores.

Another guy in the mix will be Michael Roberts, who returns for his second season. A prolific scoring option at the University of Toledo, he was primarily used as a blocker in Detroit last season. The team is expecting more in 2019.

Mike’s a very unique talent in terms of his size, Quinn said. He’s got versatility to contribute in the passing game as a receiver, in protection, as well as his role last year was really probably one of our better blockers on the line of scrimmage.

Mike has a lot of work to do in the offseason, Quinn continued. We talked when the season was over. He knows kind of the things that he needed to work on. So, we’re excited about his future, but I think it’s really up to him to kind of take the next step because the talent’s there. He’s just going to kind of work to kind of take that next step.

On Wednesday, 49ers owner Jed York made it clear that Foster’s position with the club is tenuous, at best.

Odell Beckham has managed to steal the spotlight at an Annual League Meeting which features a long-awaited change to the NFL’s vexing catch rule.

The Giants aren’t shopping their superstar receiver, but they are keeping the phone lines open.

What would it take to land one of the sport’s most dynamic talents when the general manager in question doesn’t believe in quitting on such obvious talent

Robert Kraft on Drafting a QB:’Obviously at Some Point We Have To’

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft knows the team will have to figure out a long-term answer at quarterback with Tom Brady turning 41 in August.

Per ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Kraft acknowledged during the NFL’s owners meetings that drafting a quarterback is something the Patriots need to consider:

The Patriots dealt Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts prior to the start of last season, and Garoppolo was traded to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 30.

New England’s current quarterback depth chart features Brady and Brian Hoyer. There’s no indication Brady, even at the age of 40, is slowing down. He was named the NFL MVP last season after leading the league with 4,577 passing yards.

But for as much as Manziel needs to demonstrate to NFL teams that he’s improved as a football player, he also needs to show them that he’s a changed person. After all, Manziel didn’t just flame out of the NFL after two disastrous seasons because of his poor quality of play, though that certainly played a role. He primarily lost his job because of excessive partying and an alleged assault of his then-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley, in January 2016 (the charges were ultimately dismissed after he reached a plea deal).

As he rehabs his image, Manziel’s agreed to numerous interviews during which he’s opened up about his demons. In February, he revealed that he’s getting treated for bipolar disorder and that he’s now sober. On Wednesday, as Manziel partakes in the spring league to continue his audition, Manziel continued to open up about just how low his life got during his downward spiral.

In a conversation with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt, Manziel said that he questioned at one point if his life was worth living and revealed how a tearful plea from his mom helped him turn his life around.

Paxton Lynch working with Tom Brady’s trainer

When the Denver Broncos drafted quarterback Paxton Lynch in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, they expected that he would serve as the successor to Peyton Manning. Instead, Lynch has struggled immensely in his two-year NFL career and now has the Broncos looking elsewhere. But in the face of losing his place in the Mile High City, Lynch is looking to fight for his place as an NFL quarterback.

According to a report by Tom Pelissero on NFL Network, Lynch has begun working with body coach Alex Guerrero, most notable for his work with New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady on alternative medicine and Brady’s TB12 brand.

But I had to keep that vacancy open until the Otani situation declared itself, and once Otani declared himself as everything east of the Mississippi wasn’t in play, then we pivoted and engaged further. I’ve been keeping Hal Steinbrenner abreast of the dialogue, and how interested he would or wouldn’t be in this circumstance and under the circumstances that we are dealing with, especially for 2018 and where our payroll needs to be, it was going to be potentially a challenge, but something that if we could thread that needle he would be all in.

Raiders announce re-signing of FS Reggie Nelson More Mere minutes after announcing the release of punter Marquette King, the Raiders officially announced the re-signing of free safety Reggie Nelson Friday. Though Nelson will be 35 years old in 2018, he isn’t guaranteed a roster spot without earning it and part of that process should be how much value he brings in helping young players understand new defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s scheme. Apart from Nelson, Oakland has also added two other players for 2018 with Guenther connections in linebacker Emmanuel Lamur and cornerback Leon Hall. Below is the team’s official news release on the re-signing of Nelson.

Mark Rypien, the MVP of Super Bowl XXVI, revealed that he once attempted suicide as a result of mental health issues he believes originated from his days of playing football. I suffer from a complex stew of mental health conditions, Rypien told Spokane, Wash., TV station KHQ. Dark places, depression, anxiety, addictions, poor choices, poor decisions, brought about from dozens of concussions and thousands of subconcussive injuries from playing this sport. Rypien opened up on his mental health with both KHQ-TV and The Spokesman-Review in the hopes that sharing his story would help urge others to share theirs.

Seahawks GM:’Trust the process’ during team’reset’

The Seattle Seahawks have more or less taken a sledgehammer to their roster in an effort to restore their past luster in this post-Legion of Boom era.

Quarterback Jared Goff took a major leap in his sophomore season, and running back Todd Gurley earned Offensive Player of the Year honors with a league-high 2,093 scrimmage yards and 19 touchdowns. Both are just 23 years old, and with Suh teaming up with reigning Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, Goff and Gurley aren’t even the most feared duo on the stacked Rams roster.

With the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals going through transitions and the San Francisco 49ers still rebuilding (albeit quickly), a Rams team that won 11 games last year should make a run at 13 or 14 wins in the NFC West.

The Redskins certainly aren’t in the market for a quarterback in the early rounds, but things could open up on Day 3, especially if there is a prospect the front office particularly likes.

NFL.com has Lauletta projected to be selected in the fifth round, while NFLDraftScout.com places him in the third round. The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder put up athletic numbers at the NFL combine and threw for 3,737 yards and 28 touchdowns with 12 interceptions and a 64.9 completion percentage in 2017. The yardage ranked No. 5 in FCS, and the completion percentage was No. 10.

So what will Shelton be doing Again, another Patriot-patented reply.

I’m just going to go with whatever Coach [Bill Belichick] wants me to do, Shelton said. My best feature is stopping the run, so if he wants me to at a specific position I’ll do it, and I’ll make sure I do my job for the team’s success.