There was a sign of change in the NFL this week, some might say a showing of maturity and evolution.
In MLB, the National League is approaching one of the greatest final week of a season in recent memory and another penalty flag was just thrown for roughing the passer.
This is what is going on in this week of U.S. Sports.
1. Reid signs with Panthers
Eric Reid is finally on an NFL roster.
The 2013 first-round pick went the first three games of the NFL season without a team as he remained a free agent until the Carolina Panthers signed him on Thursday.
The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) filed a grievance on Reid’s behalf during the offseason alleging teams were not signing him because he had kneeled alongside former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem.
While he may have had a point, the important thing is that now he has a team as the 2013 Pro Bowler probably never should have been without one.
2. National League chaos
There is only one thing for certain in MLB’s NL: The Atlanta Braves have won the Eastern Division. That’s it.
As of Thursday, the Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers had locked up playoff spots, but the central was still up for grabs. In the west, the Colorado Rockies and Los Angeles Dodgers were separated by one game at day’s end.
However, any of those four teams could still win their division.
With three games left to play nothing is decided. Add in the fact the Cubs play the St Louis Cardinals who are one game back of the Dodgers for the second wild-card spot and every single one of those games has playoff implications.
This is what MLB wanted when they added a second wildcard in 2011.
3. Ohtani officially has Tommy John surgery scheduled
We knew it was coming, but now it is official: Shohei Ohtani will have surgery after the season ends on Sunday. The Los Angeles Angels star will have the surgery at some point next week and will not pitch in 2019.
However, he may be available to hit, though there is no timetable on when he could do that.
Ohtani is the likely American League Rookie of the Year as he is fourth in home runs among rookies (22), fourth in RBIs (59) and third in batting average (.283). He has also struck out 63 batters in 51.6 innings while posting a 3.31 ERA. He has accumulated 4.0 WAR between the mound (1.3) and in the batter’s box (2.7).
The Angels will miss his pitching next season but keeping his bat in the line-up will pay dividends.
4. Where, oh where, will Butler go?
Jimmy Butler still has not been traded by the Minnesota Timberwolves and that is the most factual thing coming out of the saga surrounding the star guard this week.
The Timberwolves reportedly are experiencing infighting where head coach Tom Thibodeau does not want to trade Butler, but team owner Glen Taylor is telling other teams to come to him with offers.
Butler initially said he wanted to be dealt to either the Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks or Brooklyn Nets and preferred the former. Now he wants to be dealt to the Miami Heat, and the Houston Rockets and Phoenix Suns are pursuing the four-time All-Star.
No one knows if he will go or where he will be if he is dealt. The Timberwolves play games next week. This story is far from over.
5. NFL treating QBs with kid gloves and one still gets knocked out for the season
The NFL really does not want quarterbacks to get hurt. This is evident in the 34 roughing-the-passer penalties called through three weeks (the most since 2001) and four called Monday Night during the Pittsburgh Steelers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game (also the most in a while).
But despite all of their attempts to keep their QBs healthy, one still got hurt as 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament on a non-contact play during San Francisco’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
And also, while they tried to keep QBs from getting knocked out, they might have knocked out a player for the season who was attempting to protect a QB.
Miami Dolphins defensive lineman William Hayes tore his ACL on a sack of Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr and his head coach believes it is because he was trying not to put his bodyweight on the quarterback so he could avoid a penalty.
The NFL cannot win here.