The $15,000 they gave him was laughably small for Venezuelan free agents.

wings_1030When Ben Roethlisberger hit the locker room in October after a 30-9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, he sounded like a player contemplating retirement.

“Maybe I don’t have it anymore,” Roethlisberger told reporters. “I’m not playing well enough.”

It feels weird including the Saints here — especially after their Wild Card win over the Panthers relied heavily on a return to the team’s pass-heavy roots. While Case Keenum deserves a ton of respect for his MVP-campaign season in Minnesota, he’ll have to prove that newfound mastery can withstand the pressure of a postseason. The Jaguars are still quarterbacked by Blake Bortles, who had more rushing yards than passing yards last weekend. Their path to the Super Bowl is only lit by monster performances from defensive player of the year candidates Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey.

This is a compelling matchup of strength vs. strength, with both teams sporting top-tier pass defenses. Yards and points might be hard to come by here, so hopefully it doesn’t get labeled as “boring” by casual fans.

NFL Network’s Good Morning Football had some fun with the receiving corps behind Funchess, making Russell Shepard, Kaelin Clay, Brenton Bersin, and Mose Frazier sound like some guys you might want to call for legal advice.

Rivera also used his time at the podium to rock a T-shirt repping tight end Greg Olsen’s foundation, The HEARTest Yard, which supports families of children who have been diagnosed with congenital heart conditions.

Future Royals catcher Salvador Pérez, Altuve’s friend since they were seven years old, signed around the same time for $65,000. The Yankees gave another catcher, future big league bust Jesús Montero, $1.6 million.

Putting up with hecklers who rode him about his height, getting thick on American food, and insisting that he room with English-speaking teammates to learn the language, Altuve proved enough people wrong in the minors to reach the big leagues in 2011. He hit .276, .290 and .283 in those first three years, after which his father said, “I think you can hit .320.”

Ben Roethlisberger now uses pump fake as tactic instead of indecision

The pump fake is a major weapon in Ben Roethlisberger’s arsenal now, but when he was a young player he often used the maneuver to literally buy time because he didn’t know what to do.

The Steelers quarterback told Sports Illustrated when he was a younger, he often pump faked because he didn’t know where to go with the ball. He used the pump fake to buy time.

As one Twitter commenter put it quite well, defenses often had trouble figuring out what Roethlisberger was doing with the ball because he often didn’t know what he was going to do himself.

It just goes to show that even the best quarterbacks in the league have needed to develop into Pro Bowl players. In Roethlisberger’s development he learned how to use the pump fake as effectively as any QB in the league. It just took him a while to get to that point.

“Hosting the game is important to us, as Tampa Bay has been through a lot over the past few days,” Bucs chief operating officer Brian Ford said in a statement. “We look forward to providing our fans and the entire region an opportunity to come together this Sunday to kick off our 2017 season.”

Bucs players are starting to trickle back into town now that Tampa International Airport has reopened on a limited basis. Some players and coaches evacuated with the team to Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday; others left earlier in the week with their families for other states or rode out the storm.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy posted a video on Instagram of him driving to work Tuesday:avalanche-026_09101d8e739b57eb-180x180