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  1. The NFL released their 2016 Preseason schedule (without dates and times) which will probably awaken the die-hard fan for just a bit. And for the local folks, that means the Pittsburgh Steelers who will play 4 games this Preseason.
  2. The Steelers will host the Detroit Lions in Week 1 of the preseason, and the following week the team will host the Philadelphia Eagles. They will then travel to face the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers in Weeks 3 and 4 of the preseason.
  3. I chuckle at the Steelers playing the Panthers again because the defending NFC Champions are truly a mainstay in on their Preseason schedule. In fact, he Steelers-Panthers contest will mark the 14th consecutive year the two teams will meet in their preseason finale.
  4. My thoughts on the Preseason are still the same: It’s just a glorified scrimmage between two teams who’re getting ready for the regular season-which means more to rookies and players who’re trying to make the team, or get the attention of other teams if they get cut. It’s nothing more than that. Got that, fans? (Of course some of them won’t)
  5. As for the rest of the NFL, what in the world is going on between Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams and Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict?? They both are using Twitter to hurl insults at each other. And this isn’t the only time Williams hasn’t been quiet: He also hurled insults at retired QB Peyton Manning-before Steelers HC Mike Tomlin told him to ‘Cool it.’
  6. Come on now, are we still in high school? Grow up guys. Leave it on the field. And in Burfict’s case, leave it legally on the field-when you get off suspension, that is. And Williams just needs to shut his mouth.
  7. Apparently former Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is still making news-at least it’s legally-as he reportedly met with the SB Champion Denver Broncos and HC Gary Kubiak.
  8. To be honest, a meeting can just be a ‘meeting’ I can’t see the Broncos putting up with Manziel-especially since the NFL will probably dish out discipline on him after his domestic violence charges several weeks ago. The young man doesn’t seem like he’s serious about his personal life, never mind his NFL career.
  9. Speaking of the Broncos, apparently talks to acquire San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick have stalled-because of money, of course. Plus, it’s still not certain that the 49ers want to part ways with him, especially with $11 million guaranteed to him. So time will tell.
  10. The NFL Draft experts continue to have the Steelers selecting a CB in the first round-this time it’s University of Houston’s William Jackson III. The Steelers have the 25th pick, so that might be a good move.
  11. But to be honest, you really have to watch holding your breath with the Steelers and CBs. But apparently they’re pretty serious about improving-and upgrading the position now, so time will tell. The last time they drafted a CB in the first round? Chad Scott in 1997. the last time they drafted a good CB in the first round?? HOF Rod Woodson in 1987.
  12. In MLB news, I had a chance to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates play their first 3 games of the MLB season and I can say that I am impressed. Yes, it’s early, but you don’t start the season 3-0 by accident-especially against the defending NL Central Champions, who are the St. Louis Cardinals.
  13. Starters Francisco Liriano and Juan Nicaso were strikeout machines in getting their first wins in the season and even though the other pitcher (Jon Niese) struggled, the bullpen picked up the slack and the Pirates offense won as they swept the Cardinals.
  14. On offense, I really like that John Jaso at 1b. He truly has a lot of heart. And I also like the addition of David Freese. He’s been where the Pirates are trying to get to. If I were him, I would keep my 2011 World Series Champion ring to inspire the guys. Because they should be focused on one thing this year: A Division title.
  15. Speaking of championship rings, the World Series Champion KC Royals got theirs Tuesday and of course they’re nice. Silver with a blue KC in the middle surrounded by diamonds. Congrats to that organization. It’ll be interesting to see what the NL Champion Mets rings will look like.
  16. As for former Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez, he’s currently a DH with the Baltimore Orioles and he’s still getting adjusted as he’s yet to get his first hit. This is proof that it’s still early. Alvarez will come around and Camden Yards will witness some tape-measure HRs from him as well.
  17. As for College Basketball, congrats to the Villanova Wildcats who won the NCAA National Championship after their buzzer-beater beat North Carolina Monday. One of the best games that I’ve seen in a long time.
  18. It’s a shame that nobody ever sees the runner-up trophy in the National Championship. The winner gets a gold trophy; the Final Four teams get a silver regional trophy while the runner-up gets-you guessed it: A Silver trophy. The Tar Heels were truly a runner-up and not losers in that game.
  19. As for the NBA, not much has changed, with the Golden State Warriors still the NBA’s best at 69-9. At this pace, they can at least tie the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls and their 72-10 record. The San Antonio Spurs are at #2 with a 65-12. they can still win at least 70. In the east, Cleveland is 56-23, and can win at least 60.
  20. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers have won their 10th game, but with 68 losses are still the worst team in the league, but they will not threaten their 1972-73 record of 73 losses. And in the West, the LA Lakers are 16-62-still hard to believe they’re that bad.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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