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Calvin Johnson will always be big fan of former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell

Former Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell was one of the biggest influences on Calvin Johnson’s NFL career, and that won’t change after the team made a coaching change.

“It’s the nature of the league. You can’t get upset about it because those things happen,” Johnson said after his coach for his final three seasons was fired. “Hate it for Caldwell because Caldwell is a great guy.”

Johnson, who spoke before the Economic Club of Grand Rapids on Monday, didn’t know much about new coach Matt Patricia, who was officially hired last week.

“They got a good pedigree with him,” Johnson said. “Don’t know much beyond that. But he comes from a championship-level team, and hopefully that will translate.”

The arrival of Patricia meant the exit of one of the most important coaches in Johnson’s career. He called Caldwell “a father figure” and a “role model” in his praises before some 700 guests at JW Marriott.

“In all the years I was there, he spoke to everyone and treated everyone on the team like a man,” Johnson said. “That’s what you like to see in a head coach. You can’t have someone who treats some guys one way and treat others another way.”

Part of the respect between the two came when Johnson went into Caldwell’s office and told him his retirement plans after the 2016 season at age 30.

“I’m not a big crier. But the day I told him I wasn’t coming back, I did cry that day,” Johnson said. “It was tough to tell somebody who you felt was invested in you as a person … It was hard to tell him.”

Perhaps most illuminating in Johnson’s comments was about Matt Stafford, his quarterback for seven of his nine seasons, and his instinctual knowledge of the receiver’s retirement thoughts.

“It was funny, after the last game in Chicago, leaving the field, I hugged him up and he was like ‘I already know,'” Johnson said. “He already knew, and it was funny how he knew before I even told him.”

Johnson concluded his career with 731 receptions, 11,619 receiving yards and 83 touchdowns and a likely place in the hall of fame.

Johnson is just 32 but has already repeatedly said he does not plan to come out of retirement. Instead, he is involved in residential real estate around the Detroit area with former teammate Rob Sims; development of the Calvin Johnson Jr. Foundation that empowers youngsters to build self-esteem and positive thinking, and speaking to NFL players to create a retirement plan and prepare for life after football.

As for his relationship with the Lions, Johnson, when asked after his talk, wouldn’t say either way.

“No comment,” he said with a chuckle before adding: “Every time I comment on them it becomes a big story and I don’t want that. I’m just living my life and having a good time.”

But, of course, he was asked a couple questions in a couple different way about why he retired. His simplest explanation? The state of the Lions and the condition of his body told him.

“Unfortunately, we were never able to get to where we wanted to be,” he said about a Super Bowl. “But, at the time you feel a change in guys leaving the team and you could sense from being there so long where you are as team and how far you can make it.

“For myself, with all the things my body was doing and the way things were going, it was just my time.”

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8 years after the birth of the Calvin Johnson Rule, Roger Goodell wants to start over

Eight years after the birth of the Calvin Johnson rule, Roger Goodell wants to go back to the drawing board and redefine the catch.

The NFL commissioner held his annual state of the union press conference Wednesday in a plush ballroom at the Hilton here in downtown Minneapolis. He broached several topics during his half-hour behind the mic, but the first question posed to him was about was officiating, and Goodell wasted no time using the opportunity to pivot to the catch rule.

“I would like to start back, instead of adding to the rule, subtracting the rule. Start over again and look at the rule fundamentally from the start,” Goodell said. “Because I think when you add or subtract things, you can still lead to confusion. These rules are very complex — you have to look at what the unintended consequences are of making a change, which is what the competition committee, in my view, does so well and with so much thought.”

Goodell said the league hosted several coaches and a group of Hall of Fame players two weeks ago to watch film of about 150 plays where the catch rule came into play. The goal was to reach a consensus on what makes a catch, and then generate ideas about how to codify that into the rulebook clearly enough to be understood and correctly enforced.

“I think we have some very good ideas we’re going to submit to the competition committee,” Goodell said. “I think there will be a lot of focus on going to the ground, which I think has been part of the confusion with respect to that rule. And I think we’ve got a great opportunity to get this rule right so everyone understands it.”

That latter point was an allusion to the so-called complete the process rule, better known around the league — and especially in Detroit — as the Calvin Johnson Rule. It states a player must maintain control of the football through the entire act of the catch. Which means simply having possession when a player is downed is not enough.

Johnson found that out the hard way after catching — or at least appearing to catch — a game-winning TD in the 2010 season opener against Chicago. He caught the ball with two hands, moved it into one hand and maintained control as he went to the ground. But then he lost control of the ball as he planted his hand to the turf.

To the naked eye, it looked like a catch. But by the letter of the law, it was not. The play was overturned, much to Johnson’s chagrin, and the Lions lost the game. Matter of fact, they didn’t win a game until Week 5.

And a rule was born.

There has been a lot of talk over the years about the rule, but attempts to clarify it have failed. The push to review the rule has intensified this year after another batch of controversial calls. Perhaps the most famous example involved Pittsburgh’s Jesse James, who was ruled to have caught the ball with 28 seconds left in a game against the hated Patriots. He reached the ball over the goal line with full possession, but the ball wiggled as he hit the ground.

By the letter of the law, that’s a no catch, even if the eyes said otherwise. And the Steelers lost the game. Now Goodell wants to start over. Again.

“I can’t promise you there won’t be controversy,” he said, “but we can get to a much better place.”

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Here are some other quick hits from the press conference:

— The Raiders seemed intent on hiring Jon Gruden from the moment they fired Jack Del Rio, and some might even say before the firing. That sure seems like a violation of the Rooney Rule, which stipulates teams must interview minority candidates, although Goodell disputed that notion. Oakland “was actually in compliance with the Rooney Rule,” he said. “I think we have a disagreement in the facts.” Yes, Roger, I think we do.

— The Mexico City game will feature the Rams and Chiefs on a date that is yet to be determined.

— Despite a prevailing notion among players that they feel more injury prone on Thursday nights, Goodell said the league’s data suggests injuries have held steady on Thursdays. There was only a “slight uptick” this year that wasn’t even statistically significant. And Goodell also noted players and teams love the extra rest that comes after a Thursday game, which is almost like getting a second bye. Sure sounds like those games aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

— Goodell said he wants fewer stoppages of play, and quicker stoppages when they do occur. “We did have more replay interruptions this year,” he said. “I think that’s something we have to look at, we can improve on. … We spent a great deal of time in the offseason on game presentation. How do we make our game more attractive? Less stoppages, shorter stoppages when they do occur whether they’re commercial or otherwise. I think that’s one of the things we’re going to focus on how do we do the replay in a way that will ensure correcting an obvious mistake but make sure it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the game.”

— After years of handling controversies that spanned everything from domestic violence to Deflategate, this Goodell press conference was as drama-free as any I’ve seen in years. In fact, Patriots beat writer Ben Volin of the Boston Globe quipped that he was all out of Deflategate questions, so he’d let Goodell off the hook. “That’s a shocker,” Goodell responded. Indeed.

Wholesale Mens Cincinnati Bengals Andy Dalton Nike Orange Alternate Game Jersey

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Andy Dalton has the best team-friendly contract of any NFL quarterback

The Cincinnati Bengals continue to have one of the NFL’s most stable quarterback situations.

That’s in large part because of Andy Dalton, who has grown into a franchise quarterback during the course of his seven-year career. He’s shown he can play at a Pro Bowl-level and lead the Bengals to the playoffs, even if he has yet to win a postseason game.

Making Dalton’s deal even more special is he’s one of the best value quarterbacks in the NFL in terms of veterans who have signed deals following their rookie contracts. Dalton’s contract pays him an average of just $16 million per year, the 16th-highest of any quarterback, per Spotrac.

That’s after Jimmy Garoppolo just signed a massive deal with the 49ers, paying him an annual salary of $27.5 million. That number isn’t far from being twice as much as what Dalton makes, despite the fact that Dalton has 102 more regular-season starts than Garoppolo.

And that’s before impending free agents Kirk Cousins and Drew Brees sign new deals, which are guaranteed to be bigger than Dalton, who will likely enter the 2018 season with the 19th-highest average among quarterbacks.

It will also be one of, if not the lowest average among starting quarterbacks on non-rookie deals. That kind of team-friendly deal only strengthens the fact that Cincinnati has one of the best quarterback situations in the NFL.

Additionally, should the Bengals cut Dalton this offseason, they would be on the hook for only $2.4 million. But if they cut Dalton in 2019, there is no dead cap hit.

That’s right. The Bengals could cut Dalton next year and not owe him a penny. If the Bengals keep Dalton around as expected, he’ll continue getting paid between $16.3-$17.7 million per year for the 2018-2020 seasons before becoming a free agent in 2021.

It’s likely that Dalton will sign an extension sometime within the next two seasons before being allowed to become a free agent. Still, it’s great to see the Bengals have so much flexibility with his deal while also not being hamstrung by it.

Now, it’s time for the Bengals to start taking advantage of it and re-signing their best players while acquiring some quality outside free agents as well. Despite having Dalton signed to such a good deal, the Bengals have let Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Kevin Zeitler and Andrew Whitworth leave in free agency over the last two offseasons, so they’ve really done a poor job at taking advantage of Dalton’s sweetheart deal.

Let’s hope that changes in a big way this year.

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Andy Dalton would ‘be a king’ if the Buffalo Bills traded for QB, says Preston Brown

Preston Brown is set to hit free agency in March, but that is not stopping the linebacker from playing Buffalo Bills general manager.

Brown recently spoke with Jeremy Rauch of Cincinnati’s FOX 19 about a wide variety of subjects. Perhaps the most interesting comment made by Brown, a Cincinnati native, was that the Bengals should trade Andy Dalton to the Bills if they’re not happy with the quarterback.

Dalton played a big role in ending the Bills’ 17-year playoff drought. The Bengals quarterback threw a late-game touchdown pass to Tyler Boyd in the regular season finale against the Baltimore Ravens. Shortly after Dalton ended the Ravens’ season, Bills fans donated generously to the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation.

Buffalo is expected to move on from Tyrod Taylor this offseason and the team could find his replacement in the draft, free agency or via trade. The Bills will keep all of their options open, but is Dalton a realistic possibility?

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Anything can happen in the NFL, but there is no indication that the Bengals would move Dalton despite Brown saying “everybody talkin’ about go trade for him.” Bleacher Report’s Chris Simms predicted that A.J. McCarron, the Bengals’ No. 2 quarterback, would start for the Bengals at some point in 2018, but he never predicted the quarterback would exit Cincinnati this offseason.

Dalton probably won’t be the Bills’ starting quarterback in 2018, but Brown was correct about one thing. The quarterback would be treated like a king in Buffalo.

Buyer’s Remorse wholesale sports jerseys? Five New Additions Off To Regrettable Starts

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Thanksgiving week is upon us, which means the first month wholesale sports jerseys of the 2016-17 NBA season is nearly in the books. Given that 10 teams are entering Monday’s action within one game of .500, it’s best to hold back from making any damning judgments. Still, the sample size has grown large enough that problematic areas and weak links have begun to show.

With that in mind, here’s a look at five notable players off to rocky starts after changing teams this summer.

(All stats and records through Nov. 20.)
Evan Turner, Trail Blazers

Well, let’s go ahead and start at the bottom. Evan Turner’s four-year, $70 million contract has probably incited more second-guessing than any other deal from the record-setting summer of 2016, and it’s easy to see why. Turner ranks 407th out of 407 eligible players by ESPN’s Real Plus-Minus metric (-5.97), he ranks dead last in raw plus-minus (-131), and he’s shooting an anemic 35.2%. Portland tapped Turner as the leader of its revamped second unit with the hope that his playmaking might consistently alleviate pressure on Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Instead, the Blazers (8-7) have a bottom-five bench in terms of scoring and efficiency differential, per HoopsStats.com, creating wild swings in night-to-night performance and contributing to an unimpressive -5.7 point differential.

The fit concerns that arose immediately after Turner’s signing this summer have largely played out to the worst-case scenario. While Turner’s lack of perimeter shooting has been a major issue, perhaps the larger concern is his preferred pace of play. Blazermaniacs have become accustomed to the “Flow” style under coach Terry Stotts, where bodies move off the ball and the ball in turn moves to find them once they’re open. Turner is a “groove” player, most comfortable when he’s rocking defenders with the dribble and looking for openings in one-on-one situations. There might come a time when the flow and groove meet to produce magic, but so far they have rubbed like sandpaper. This friction, no doubt china wholesale jerseys, is exacerbated by a lack of familiarity with his new teammates. Cue up tape of Turner’s turnovers, and there are passes to cutters who never cut and kick outs to teammates who aren’t there. Not to mention the clips of guys standing around confused as Turner over-dribbles through defensive traffic without a clear exit strategy.

Portland’s blowout win over Brooklyn on Sunday provided a blueprint for a more functional Turner, as he found his shooting stroke from the mid-range (an absolute necessity) and struck a better balance as a playmaker. Even if Turner gets going offensively, though, a larger question will remain: Shouldn’t his money have been spent elsewhere addressing other areas of concern? Given that Portland currently ranks dead last in defensive efficiency and rebound rate and that defensive-minded center Festus Ezeli remained sidelined due to injury, the answer to that question looks like a resounding yes. Al-Farouq Aminu’s absence has submarined the Blazers’ defensive numbers, but even at full strength this group has been overmatched inside. It’s still (very) early, but the Blazers’ hopes of making a repeat trip to the second round might very well hinge on the front office’s ability to make a roster-balancing trade before the February deadline.

Rajon Rondo, Bulls wholesale authentic jerseys

After the Bulls spent Fred Hoiberg’s rookie season badly underperforming, Year Two is off to a fairly promising start. Jimmy Butler deserves first crack at the credit, as he ranks third overall in Real Plus Minus and has easily outperformed fellow East All-Star wings like Paul George and DeMar DeRozan when it comes to all-around impact. Then comes Dwyane Wade, whose smooth assimilation has given Butler a legitimate running mate and the Bulls a savviness they were lacking. From there, dumping both Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah have proven to be strong addition by subtraction plays. Throw in Robin Lopez’s trademark gumption and Chicago (9-5) is on to something.

However, there is one unresolved hiccup: Rajon Rondo. If there was one move during Chicago’s busy summer that truly raised doubts about the franchise’s direction, it was giving Rondo another chance”after thoroughly unimpressive exits in Boston, Dallas and Sacramento. The polarizing point guard is off to a rinse-repeat start: Despite gaudy assist numbers, his offensive impact is minimal, his defensive impact is atrocious, and his lack of shooting is inescapable.

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As the Bulls blew a 19-point lead to the Clippers in L.A. on Saturday, Rondo’s shortcomings were on full display: He zipped a pass into the courtside seats on a critical late possession, he lost track of his defensive assignment too many times to count, and his space-killing presence made Chicago’s offense significantly easier to stop. Unfortunately for Chicago, the damage isn’t merely anecdotal. Rondo ranks dead last among starting guards with a 40.6 True Shooting Percentage, his 108.2 defensive rating is easily a team-worst, and his Real Plus Minus (-2.99) ranks 29th among starting point guards. Fittingly, only Rose (-4.06) is worse.

For what it’s worth, Chicago’s loss in L.A. was an especially competitive game for November, one that ended in controversy and saw Hoiberg earn his first career ejection. While it might be going too far to call any game this early a “playoff preview,” the loss was a reminder of how costly Rondo’s presence will be on the postseason stage, once defenses are scheming to completely neglect him and his lapses in awareness go under the microscope.

The most intriguing aspect of this situation is that Hoiberg has Rondo-free options at his disposal. Butler and Wade can function as initiators, and their shared ability to collapse defenses sets up Chicago’s complementary options just as well as a laser from Rondo. Meanwhile, Jerian Grant, a throw-in to the Rose deal, showed flashes when Rondo was sidelined last week and Michael Carter-Williams, acquired from the Bucks in an October trade, is expected to return from a knee injury in the near future. Isaiah Canaan has chipped in minutes wholesale jerseys free shipping too.

After one month, and with years of Rondo evidence as a guide, it’s probably safe to pack the “Three Alphas” talk away in the attic for good and start thinking of this as “The Butler and Wade Show.” For Rondo, marginalization has historically been a pill too bitter to swallow without a fight. For the Bulls, then, it might already be time to contemplate and explore the best alternatives for filling his minutes.

Pau Gasol, Spurs

A pair of NBA scouts chuckled in unison at Staples Center during the closing minute of the Spurs’ road win over the Lakers on Friday. They had seen this movie before. Up four and seeking a dagger, San Antonio kept it simple, using Pau Gasol to set a high screen for Tony Parker to force a quick switch. At 34, Parker might have lost a step, but he still had no problem whatsoever skating free from Larry Nance Jr. with a crossover to step smoothly into a beautiful mid-range jumper. The shot swished home; if it hadn’t, Gasol was waiting on the weakside, mismatched on a guard, for what would have been an easy putback. That shot delivered a fifth straight win and moved the Spurs to 10-3. With the cloud of Tim Duncan’s retirement still hovering over San Antonio, Parker’s shot provided a dose of comforting nostalgia and kept the Spurs atop the Southwest Division.

Offensively, Gasol’s comfort factor near the elbow and his passing ability have predictably made him a quick study, even though his minutes and numbers have come down after back-to-back All-Star seasons in Chicago. “Pop’s system just continues,” Gasol said after the win over the Lakers. “It feels good to be a part of it, to add to it. It’s still pretty early, but I’m enjoying being on this team with high IQ players [who play with] unselfishness. We got 30 assists tonight. When we move the ball, we’re really hard to stop.”

Questions about San Antonio’s defense, however, have arrived right on schedule. Last season, the Spurs sent Duncan off with a once-a-decade level of defensive mastery. So far this season, they’ve slipped to 9th, with the 36-year-old Gasol dragging his team’s defensive rating down nearly seven points when he’s on the court. The Gasol/LaMarcus Aldridge pairing has posted a 106.6 defensive rating in 239 minutes together this season; by comparison, Duncan/Aldridge boasted a killer 95.4 defensive rating in 1,150 minutes last year. For comparison’s sake, Duncan/Aldridge’s rating is better than the NBA’s best overall defense this season, while Gasol/Aldridge ranks 22nd, behind the Rockets and barely better than the Sixers. Dewayne Dedmon has stepped up as a designated interior stopper, but A-list opponents like the Warriors and Clippers are likely to treat him as a non-threat. The 7-footer has also never appeared in a postseason game.

Over the years, San Antonio has run a very narrow gamut from “They’re really good and will cream any team that doesn’t have their stuff together” to “They’re undeniable and will cream everyone, including LeBron James in his prime.” Now that the rush of their season-opening beatdown of Golden State has worn off, this year’s group looks more “very good” than “undeniable.” If the Gasol/Aldridge duo can’t play elite defensive together and if San Antonio’s other frontline options all require compromises, the endgame here probably doesn’t involve champagne.

Boris Diaw, Jazz

Let it always be said that Boris Diaw’s promotion to the Spurs’ starting lineup midway through the 2014 NBA Finals produced some of the most beautiful and demoralizing basketball the world has known. Sadly, that Diaw looks long gone.

The good news for the Jazz is that they gave the Spurs virtually nothing to acquire Diaw in a July trade. The bad news for the Jazz is that they have received virtually nothing from Diaw since that trade. The ugly news for the Jazz is that they really, really needed something from Diaw, whose passing ability, basketball intelligence and positional versatility made his arrival something to get excited about, at least on paper.

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Instead of opening up Utah’s offense, Diaw has missed shot after shot. Instead of helping Utah break out of stagnant habits, he’s committed more turnovers than assists. Instead of filling in minutes as a stopgap for the injured Derrick Favors, he’s been “banged up,” according to coach Quin Snyder, and struggled to make an impact on the nights he does play. Favors’s injury issues, Diaw’s total ineffectiveness and a revolving door of other health concerns have combined to leave Utah at 7-8 and on a four-game skid, saddled again with an underwhelming offense that continues to bog down late. In other words, déjà vu all over again.

Absent a stunning turnaround from Diaw, Utah is left to shift its focus to intriguing second-year forward Trey Lyles. The 21-year-old Canadian is a willing three-point shooter who can cover ground, but he’s still inexperienced and inconsistent. While it’s hardly panic time for the Jazz—who boast a top-10 point differential and a top-10 defense despite an unfavorable early schedule—reaching their ceiling depends on finding significantly better minutes at the four. And soon. (Getting George Hill back from a thumb injury ASAP would be great too.)

Al Jefferson, Pacers

To be clear, Indiana has bigger problems than Big Al Jefferson: Paul George has missed time with nagging injuries, Jeff Teague took three weeks to get going, and the defensive effort has been hit or miss, leading to awful losses to the Suns, Sixers and Bucks, among others. Considering the circumstances, the Pacers should view their .500 start as a success, although it may be short-lived given a tough upcoming slate that includes an extended road trip.

Much like in Portland, defense, rebounding (27th) and bench production (28th) have all been problem areas. The difference wholesale jerseys online? Jefferson was signed to a three-year, $30 million contract in hopes that he could be a second-unit scoring lynchpin and mismatch-exploiting bully on the block. The Pacers are still waiting for a return on that investment: Jefferson is averaging 6.3 PPG and 4.4 RPG while ranking 61st among 65 centers in Real Plus Minus. Never a truly imposing defensive force, Jefferson is struggling to make an impact as a scorer too.

Take Indiana’s overtime win over Oklahoma City on Sunday: With multiple starters out and Indiana needing all hands on deck, Jefferson made just one of his five shot attempts and finished –14 in 14 minutes. When he was on the court, he struggled to run the floor with Oklahoma City’s bigs, couldn’t effectively establish deep post position on his defender, and was stymied in one-on-one situations. Coach Nate McMillan wisely moved on rather than let the game get away from his second unit, but that meant running up big minute totals for his starters. Given the other available bench options, it’s hard to see how the Pacers stay in the mix if Jefferson remains an afterthought.

Conventional wisdom has long warned that small point guards are in for a sharp decline after the age of 30. Perhaps the 31-year-old Jefferson will wind up being viewed as part of a similar trend: slower big men who tail off into obscurity more quickly than expected. Without the quickness to cover ground defensively or the shooting range to operate from the elbow and beyond, players like Jefferson are at risk of being bypassed for all sorts of alternatives, whether they be younger, cheaper, stretchier or more versatile.

wholesale jerseys: David Johnson is probably best receiving back I’ve seen

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It took most of his rookie season wholesale jerseys before David Johnson got a chance to be the lead back in Arizona’s offense, but he proved to be well worth the wait.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson (31) runs in the open field as he gets past Oakland Raiders’ Ben Heeney (50) during the first half of an NFL preseason football game Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz.

Johnson ran for 442 yards wholesale jerseys supply and four touchdowns in five starts to close out the year and build excitement about what will come now that he’s running with the first team from the start. Running is just part of the package, however.

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Johnson had 17 of his 36 catches during that five-game run and General Manager Steve Keim called him “probably the best receiving back I’ve seen” before comparing him to the best receiving wholesale jerseys online back that a lot of other people have ever seen.

“A lot of people have compared him to Marshall Faulk, and our coaches had Marshall Faulk in Indy,” Keim said, via ESPN.com. “I think he’s very similar in some ways athletically and in terms of ball-catching skills to Marshall.”

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With Chris Johnson back from injury and Andre Ellington still on the roster, the Cardinals don’t have to use Johnson on every down in his second NFL season. Keim’s comments suggest that he’s not going to be coming off the field much in what the Cardinals expect will unfold a lot like those final five games of 2015 wholesale jerseys free shipping.
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