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Kentucky Overcomes Late Deficit to KO Notre Dame, Advance to Final Four

Kentucky Overcomes Late Deficit to KO Notre Dame, Advance to Final Four

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- The luck of the Irish ran out.Leading most of the second half, No. 3 Notre Dame slowly watched top-ranked Kentucky come back and eventually take the lead for good when Andrew Harrison made two free throws with six seconds remaining, as the Wildcats edge the Fighting Irish 68-66 to advance to the Final Four of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament.Kentucky (38-0) gets to continue its undefeated season with large thanks to the Harrison twins. Aaron Harrison made an NBA range 3-pointer with 3:18 remaining to give Kentucky its first lead since the 15:06 mark of the second half. Notre Dame's Jerian Grant answered Harrison's three with one of his own with 2:36 remaining to put Notre Dame up by two. Karl-Anthony Towns then scored two of his game-high 25 points to tie the contest before the other Harrison hit his free throws to seal the game.Notre Dame (32-6), which had a decided size disadvantage with the Cats, was only outrebounded by one in the loss. It also doubled Kentucky 16-8 in assists.Zach Auguste scored 20 while Steve Vasturia and Grant added 16 and 15 points respectively in a losing effort. Kentucky advances to the National Semifinal in Indianapolis next weekend where it will meet Wisconsin.

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Bruins Ruin Lundqvist’s Return

Bruins Ruin Lundqvist’s Return

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Milan Lucic scored twice to help the Boston Bruins upend the New York Rangers 4-2 Saturday, spoiling goalie Henrik Lundqvist's return to the ice.

Lundqvist, who missed the past seven weeks with a vascular injury, was instantly challenged. Lucic scored just 1:41 into the game when a puck went off his skate and past the former Vezina Trophy winner. Lucic scored again just over seven minutes later when Torey Krug dished the puck to the B's hulking winger, who slapped it between Lunqvist's legs for a 2-0 lead.

"It seemed like everything kind of kept rolling after we got that break on the first goal," Lucic said. "It's good to see us step up and play the way we can play. Right now it's just continuing to recapture what we had here tonight."

The Bruins did receive a scare early in the second period when goalie Tuukka Rask left the game for the locker room. He didn't return to the bench but Bruins head coach Claude Julien said after the game that it appeared Rask was just dehydrated.

"He's scheduled to travel with us, he's scheduled to be with us and he should be fine for (Sunday against Carolina)," Julien said. "We just found out at the beginning of the second (period). I said, `Are you still having those symptoms?' He said, `Yep.' So I said, `Let's get you out of here."

Rick Nash scored his 40th goal of the season for the Rangers (47-20-7, 101pts) in the loss.

With the win the Bruins (37-25-13, 87pts) snap a six-game losing streak and take over sole possession of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

 

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Scoreboard Roundup – 3/28/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 3/28/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NHL: Boston Bruins 4 (37-25-13, 87 pts) - New York Rangers 2 (47-20-7, 101 pts)

Detroit Red Wings 4 (40-22-12, 92 pts) - Tampa Bay Lightning 0 (46-23-7, 99 pts)

Nashville Predators 4 (47-21-8, 102 pts) - Washington Capitals 3 (40-25-10, 90 pts)

Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (41-23-11, 93 pts) - Arizona Coyotes 2 (23-45-8, 54 pts)

San Jose Sharks 3 (37-30-8, 82 pts) - Philadelphia Flyers 2 (30-29-17, 77 pts)(F/SO)

Anahiem Ducks 3 (48-22-7, 103 pts) - New York Islanders 2 (44-27-5, 93 pts)

NCAAM: (1) Wisconsin 85 - (2) Arizona 78

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Longhorns Fire Rick Barnes

Longhorns Fire Rick Barnes

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(AUSTIN, Tx) -- After seventeen seasons, the Texas Longhorns will be seeking a new leader for their men's basketball program.

The University informed Rick Barnes Saturday that he will be relieved of his duties, according to ESPN.

The Longhorns suffered a first-round exit in this season's NCAA tournament when they were knocked out by Butler 56-48. Texas finished the regular season 20-14 with an 8-10 record in the Big 12.

The 60 year-old Barnes amassed a 402-108 record in his tenure, overseeing the growth of future NBA stars such as T.J. Ford, Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge.

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Cubs Phenom Kris Bryant and Theo Epstein at Odds Over Major League Call-Up

Cubs Phenom Kris Bryant and Theo Epstein at Odds Over Major League Call-Up

Brian D. Kersey(MESA, Ariz.) -- Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has arguably been the best player in the Major Leagues during spring training. Despite the dominance he's shown at the plate, he's still expected to start the season in the minors.

Bryant is leading all Major League players this season with nine home runs while also hitting .406 and has 15 RBIs.

"I look at it as 'Why not me?' " Bryant said Friday morning. "I think I'm the type of guy that can go out there and do it. I've made it a point of mine to come out here and show them that I can."

This has not come at of nowhere as Bryant is regarded as one of the best minor league prospects in all of baseball. Which could be why the team could ultimately decide to keep him in the minors, for now.

If Bryant makes the Cubs' Opening Day roster, he'll be a free agent after the 2020 season. If the Cubs keep him in the minors till at least mid-April, he won't be eligible for free agency till after the 2021 season.

"I've never put a guy on an Opening Day roster who hadn't played in the big leagues previously. In 13 years, I've never done it," Epstein told ESPN. "I'm not saying I'd never do it, but the general rule, the presumption, is to allow those guys to go out, play, get comfortable, get in rhythm, and come up when you handpick just the right moment for them to have success."

In AA and AAA combined in 2014, Bryant hit .325 with 43 home runs and 110 RBIs.

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Panthers Claim Offensive Lineman Jonathan Martin Off Waivers

Panthers Claim Offensive Lineman Jonathan Martin Off Waivers

National Football League(CHARLOTTE, N.C.) -- Former San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Jonathan Martin has a new home as the Carolina Panthers have claimed him off waivers.

Martin was released by the 49ers this past Thursday. He spent just one season with the team, appearing in 15 games, starting nine at right tackle. 

"Our goal is to build the strongest roster possible and add competition at every position," Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman said in a team release. "Jonathan brings quality experience to our offensive line, having started 32 games in his career at both tackle spots.''

Martin was infamously the center of a bullying scandal when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins in 2013 by now Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito.

Because of the incident involving Incognito and other Dolphins players, Martin lef the Dolphins in October 2013 and never played them again.

As a result of claiming him off waivers, the Panthers are now on the hook for Martin's cap hit which will count around $1 million against the 2015 salary cap.

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Former Utah Jazz Center Enes Kanter Rips the Organization

Former Utah Jazz Center Enes Kanter Rips the Organization

Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) -- After spending the first 3 1/2 seasons with the Utah Jazz, center Enes Kanter is playing some of the best basketball of his career since being traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Kanter is thoroughly enjoying playing for a new team.

"I love it," Kanter said of his change of scenery. "It's a team I've never experienced before and I actually like playing basketball there. I'm just so comfortable and everything is in the right place. I'm just really happy to be there."

The number two overall pick by the Jazz back in 2011, Kanter played solid basketball, but never quite lived up to expectations. But with the Thunder, he's averaging a career-high 17.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, also a career-high.

"I think the difference is, I like playing basketball there," Kanter said. "I think that's the most important thing. I never liked playing basketball before in my NBA career and this is the first time I felt like playing basketball there, for my team, for the fans, for my teammates for my coaches, for everybody. So, that's the first time."

Kanter will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

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Verlander Leaves Game with Triceps Injury

Verlander Leaves Game with Triceps Injury

Robert Rogers/MLB Photos via Getty Images (DUNEDIN, Fla.) -- Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander left his spring training start against the Toronto Blue Jays Friday, with cramping in his right triceps.Despite leaving the game in the third inning, the former American League MVP doesn't seem too concerned about the injury. He cites not drinking enough water and a tweak in his mechanics as being possible reasons for the cramping."I don't think I'm injured," Verlander said. "The only concern I have is if it would linger. Just felt crampy."Verlander pitched 2 2/3 innings of one-hit ball before exiting."Not overly concerned," Tigers skipper Brad Ausmus said. "He said it felt like more of a cramp than a strain. It doesn't mean we're out of the woods. It's not as concerning of an area."

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Rozier Leads Louisville Past NC State, Into Elite 8

Rozier Leads Louisville Past NC State, Into Elite 8

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(SYRACUSE, N.Y.) -- Terry Rozier had 17 points and 14 rebounds to help No. 4 Louisville down No. 8 North Carolina State 75-65 in the East Regional semifinals of the Men's NCAA Tournament, Friday.Louisville and NC State traded punches throughout the game. After a Ralston Turner 3-pointer put the Wolfpack down one with 4:35 remaining in the game, the Cardinals went on a 9-0 run. NC State could never recover as Louisville heads to the Elite 8 for the third time in four years.Montrezl Harrell had 24 points for the Cardinals (27-8) in the win.Trevor Lacey put up 18 points for NC State (22-14) in the loss.Louisville advances to take on Michigan State on Sunday.

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Gonzaga Stomps Over UCLA and into Elite 8

Gonzaga Stomps Over UCLA and into Elite 8

Mitchell Layton/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Przemek Karnowski had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead No. 2 Gonzaga to its first Elite 8 appearance since 1999 by beating No. 11 UCLA 74-62 in the Men's NCAA Tournament, Friday.Gonzaga (35-2) was dominant, never trailing after the 17:14 mark of the first half.UCLA (22-14) went on a 6-0 run to open the second half and cut the Zags lead to one, but the Bulldogs countered by scoring 12 straight points, blowing the game open for good.The win marks the first time Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has reached the round of eight. He took over the team the year after it last made the regional final.Tony Parker had 16 points and 11 rebounds for UCLA in the loss.Gonzaga will take on Duke Sunday with the winner headed to the Final Four.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 3/27/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 3/27/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NCAA Sweet 16: (2) Gonzaga 74 - (11) UCLA 62

(4) Louisville 75 - (8) North Carolina State 65

 NBA: Detroit Pistons 111 (28-44) - Orlando Magic 97 (22-52)

Los Angeles Clippers 119 (48-25) - 76ers 98 (18-55)

Atlanta Hawks 99 (55-17) - Miami Heat 86 (33-39)

Toronto Raptors 94 (42-30) - Los Angeles Lakers 83 (19-51)

Brooklyne Nets 106 (47-26) - Cleveland Cavaliers 98 (30-40)

Boston Celtics 96 (32-40) - New York Knicks 92 (14-59)

New Orleans Pelicans 102 (38-34) - Sacramento Kings 88 (26-46)

Washington Wizards 110 (41-32) - Charlotte Hornets 107 (30-41) (F/2OT)

Golden State Warriors 107 (59-13) - Vancouver Grizzlies 84 (50-23)

Houston Rockets 120 (49-23) - Minnesota Timberwolves 110 (16-56)

 

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Volunteers Fire Donnie Tyndall

Volunteers Fire Donnie Tyndall

G Fiume/Getty Images(KNOXVILLE, Tn.) -- After one season on the job, Donnie Tyndall has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers men's basketball team.

The university fired Tyndall Friday after they learned of his unethical behavior while coach at Southern Mississippi from an NCAA investigation. 

"I apologize to my players, assistant coaches, and the entire UT community that past occurrences led to today's result.," Tyndall said in a statement. "I have truly loved my time at Tennessee and appreciated the effort of our players and staff."

The statement acknowledged that Tyndall is "highly likely" to have committed Level I and Level II infractions against NCAA rules. Tyndall will be accused by the NCAA under the new coach control policy, of financial and academic violations, according to ESPN's Andy Katz.

The Volunteers will now be seeking their fourth head coach in four seasons for their men's basketball team.

 

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David Ortiz Dismisses Steroid Suspicion, Says He Belongs in Hall of Fame

David Ortiz Dismisses Steroid Suspicion, Says He Belongs in Hall of Fame

G. Fiume/Getty Images(FORT MYERS, Fla.) -- Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz still believes he is a future Hall of Famer, despite testing positive for a banned substance by the MLB.

"Let me tell you something. Say whatever you want about me -- love me, hate me. But I'm no bulls------. I never knowingly took any steroids," Ortiz wrote on The Players' Tribune website. "If I tested positive for anything, it was for something in pills I bought at the damn mall. If you think that ruins everything I have done in this game, there is nothing I can say to convince you different.''

"In some people's minds, I will always be considered a cheater," Ortiz continued. "And that's bulls---. Mark my words: Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me. You know how many times I've been tested since 2004? More than 80."

"They say these tests are random. If it's really random, I should start playing the damn lottery. Some people still think the testing is a joke. It's no joke," he clarified. "Ten times a season these guys come into the clubhouse or my home with their briefcases. I have never failed a single one of those tests and I never will.'"

Ortiz was one of the players listed in the Mitchell report that was released in 2007 and has been under the microscope since then.

"Some people still look at me like I'm a cheater because my name was on a list of players who got flagged for PEDs in 2003," Ortiz wrote. "Let me tell you something about that test. Most guys were taking over-the-counter supplements then. Most guys are still taking over-the-counter supplements. If it's legal, ballplayers take it. Why? Because if you make it to the World Series, you play 180 games. Really think about that for a second. One-hundred-and-eighty games."

"Your kids could be sick, your wife could be yelling at you, your dad could be dying -- nobody cares. Nobody cares if you have a bone bruise in your wrist or if you have a pulled groin. You're an entertainer. The people want to see you hit a 95-mile-an-hour fastball over a damn 37-foot wall,'' he explained.

The nine-time All-Star has .285 batting average with 466 career home runs in his career and believes he belongs in the Hall of Fame.

"Hell yes I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame," Ortiz wrote. "I've won three World Series since MLB introduced comprehensive drug testing. I've performed year after year after year. But if a bunch of writers who have never swung a bat want to tell me it's all for nothing, OK. Why do they write my legacy?"

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Michael Sam: ‘I Am Not the Only Gay Person in the NFL’

Michael Sam: ‘I Am Not the Only Gay Person in the NFL’

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft, said on Thursday that there are more gay players currently playing in the NFL.

In a Q&A session in Dallas Thursday, Sam said that other players have reached out to him to thank him for having the courage to be open about his sexuality.

"I am not the only gay person in the NFL," Sam said, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram. "I'm just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL."

"Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn't going to be a big deal," Sam continued. "Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there's gay NFL players. There's gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal."

"The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I'm just saying there's some famous people, and I'm not the only one," he added.

Sam failed to make the St. Louis Rams last year after being drafted by them and then played on the Dallas Cowboys practice team squad before being released on Oct. 21.

"Hopefully I'm not being discriminated [against] because I'm gay," Sam said Thursday, according to the paper. "I don't believe that I'm being discriminated [against] because I'm gay. I just want to know if I'm truly not in the NFL, it's because of talent. Let it be because of my talents. But you've got to prove that I can't play this game. If you look at the film, clearly I can. So, I'll leave it at that."

Sam participated in the first-ever veteran combine last weekend and ran the 40 in 4.99 seconds.

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Notre Dame Cruises into Elite 8

Notre Dame Cruises into Elite 8

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(CLEVELAND) -- Demetrius Jackson scored 20 points, and Pat Connaughton added 16 while grabbing 10 rebounds, to lift No. 3 Notre Dame over No. 7 Wichita State 81-70 Thursday. The Irish have advanced to the Elite 8 of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament.Notre Dame (32-5) had its offense going from tip off to the final buzzer. The Fighting Irish shot 55.6 percent from the field, while connecting on 9 of 19 from 3-point land.Notre Dame led or was tied with Wichita State for all but 36 seconds of the game.Wichita State (30-5) had a rough time shooting the three, hitting 3 of 18 from long distance. Fred Van Vleet led the Shockers with 25 points in the loss.Notre Dame advances to take on top-seeded Kentucky Saturday.

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Wisconsin Battles Back; Upends UNC, Reaches Elite 8

Wisconsin Battles Back; Upends UNC, Reaches Elite 8

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Trailing by seven with 10:25 remaining, Wisconsin went on a 19-6 run, finished off by a Sam Decker layup, which gave the top-seeded Badgers the lead for good; they moved on to the Elite 8 of the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament by knocking off the Tar Heels 79-72 Thursday.Decker finished the game with a career high 23 points, and Frank Kaminsky added 19 in the win. Wisconsin (34-3) is headed to its second straight Elite 8 and ends North Carolina's 11-game win-streak in the Sweet 16.In a game where who could rebound more was thought to be key, the Badgers won the matchup 35-28. Kennedy Meeks, whose status was uncertain after spraining his knee last weekend, played 14 minutes and scored four points for North Carolina (26-12) in the loss.Wisconsin will take on Arizona Saturday in Los Angeles.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 3/26/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 3/26/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NCAA Men's Tournament: 

Midwest Region: (1) Kentucky 78 (37-0) - (5) West Virginia 39 (25-10)

 (3) Notre Dame 81 (32-5) - (7) Wichita St 70 (30-5)

West Region: (1) Wisconsin 79 (34-3) - (4) North Carolina 72 (26-12)

(2) Arizona 68 (34-3) - (6) Xavier 60 (23-14)

 

NHL: Carolina Hurricanes 5 (27-36-10, 64 pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 2  (40-23-11, 91 pts)

Los Angeles Kings 3 (37-23-14, 88 pts) - New York Islanders 2 (44-26-5, 93 pts)

Washington Capitals 3 (40-24-10, 90 pts) - New Jersey Devils 2 (31-31-12, 74 pts) *F/OT

Arizona Coyotes 4 (23-44-8, 54 pts) - Buffalo Sabres 3 (20-46-8, 48 pts) *F/OT

Anaheim Ducks 3 (47-22-7, 101 pts) - Boston Bruins 2 (36-25-13, 85 pts) *F/OT

New York Rangers 5 (47-19-7, 101 pts) - Ottawa Senators 1 (37-25-11, 85 pts)

San Jose Sharks 6 (36-30-8, 80 pts) - Detroit Red Wings 4 (39-22-12, 90 pts)

Nashville Predators 3 (46-21-8, 100 pts) - Tampa Bay Lightning 2 (46-22-7, 99 pts)

Florida Panthers 4 (34-26-14, 82 pts) - Toronto Maple Leafs 1 (27-42-6, 60 pts)

Winnipeg Jets 5 (39-24-12, 90 pts) - Montreal Canadiens 2 (46-21-8, 100 pts)

Colorado Avalanche 4 (33-28-12, 78pts) - Vancouver Canucks 1 (43-26-4, 90pts)

NBA: Milwaukee Bucks 111 (36-36) - Indiana Pacers 107 (31-41)

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49ers Waive OL Jonathan Martin

49ers Waive OL Jonathan Martin

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The San Francisco 49ers released offensive lineman Jonathan Martin on Thursday, the team announced.

Martin spent one season in San Francisco, appearing in 15 games (nine starts) at right tackle.

Martin played at Stanford and was a 2012 second-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, where he started all 16 games as a rookie.

In Martin's second season with Miami, he left the team after a bullying controversy involving former teammate Richie Incognito. Martin played the first seven games but sat out the rest of the 2013 season, and then in the offseason the Dolphins traded him to the 49ers for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

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49ers Waive OL Jonathan Martin

49ers Waive OL Jonathan Martin

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The San Francisco 49ers released offensive lineman Jonathan Martin on Thursday, the team announced.

Martin spent one season in San Francisco, appearing in 15 games (nine starts) at right tackle.

Martin played at Stanford and was a 2012 second-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins, where he started all 16 games as a rookie.

In Martin's second season with Miami, he left the team after a bullying controversy involving former teammate Richie Incognito. Martin played the first seven games but sat out the rest of the 2013 season, and then in the offseason the Dolphins traded him to the 49ers for a conditional seventh-round draft pick.

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Jason Garrett Backs Greg Hardy Signing

Jason Garrett Backs Greg Hardy Signing

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett backed the signing of defensive end Greg Hardy on Wednesday at the NFL meetings.

Garrett said that the Cowboys in no way support domestic abuse, but after meeting with Hardy and speaking with him for over three hours, they feel they made the right choice.

"We brought him in and spent a couple days with him, so we felt like understanding who he is as a person was a critical piece to this, evaluating who he is a player was a critical piece to it, the structure of the contract was critical to it," he explained. "At the end of the day, if we didn't believe he could become the right kind of guy for our football team, we wouldn't have signed him."

Hardy could be suspended for violating the league's personal conduct policy after being arrested and charged with assaulting and threatening to kill his ex-girlfriend, but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would not say when that ruling would happen.

"They understood that we were reviewing his case for potential discipline," Goodell said on Wednesday. "That continues. We are trying to get as many facts as we possibly can to make the most informed decision we can so that we can uphold the standards that we put forth in our personal conduct policy. And so I expect that will conclude sometime in the near future and we’ll make a decision shortly after."

Garrett believes that Hardy's issues are in the past and that he can play well for Dallas.

"It's our job to bring the best out in all these guys, as players and as people," Garrett said. "So I think everyone understands we're trying to build the right kind of football team with the talent level, with also who they are. It's our job to create the environment, and it's the player's job to respond, and it's our job to hold the player accountable."

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