The Yankees are back, plus how close was Aaron Rodgers to retiring this offseason?

Happy Thursday, newsletter readers! It’s Shanna McCarriston, back to give you all the sports news. But first, let me vent…

I’ve been quite disappointed in the Red Sox lately, losing three times to the Yankees and getting passed by them in the standings. Losing is bad enough, but when it’s to a rival? Makes it more brutal. I hope your team is faring better than mine currently is.

Today we will be discussing college football, just how close Aaron Rodgers was to retiring this offseason and (ugh) the Yankees’ unsung heroes. More Yankees talk, sorry Red Sox fans.

Let’s get to it.

📰 What you need to know

1. Breaking down the CBS Sports Preseason All-America team 🏈

The 2021 college football season is fast approaching and we have a treat for you. Our highly anticipated 2021 CBS Sports / 247Sports Preseason All-America teams are here.

Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler was chosen as the Preseason Player of the Year and Sooners coach Lincoln Riley was selected as the Preseason Coach of the Year. OU heads into the season at No. 2 in the AP Top 25, so it’s no shock their players and coach made it at the top of the list.

Looking deeper at the list:

  • Of the 54 selections, 29 programs are represented
  • Ohio State and Iowa State each have three first-teamers
  • Alabama has six All-America players overall

There are also three unanimous All-American selections. Those honors were given to Iowa State running back Breece Hall, Oregon defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux and LSU cornerback Derek Stingley Jr.

Here’s a look at more of the top players selected:

  • Quarterback: Spencer Rattler, Oklahoma
  • Running back: Breece Hall, Iowa State
  • Running back: Bijan Robinson, Texas
  • Wide receiver: Chris Olave, Ohio State
  • Wide receiver: Justyn Ross, Clemson
  • Tight end: Charlie Kolar, Iowa State
  • Defensive lineman: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon
  • Linebacker: Nik Bonitto
  • Kicker: Cade York

For the full list of players, click here.

2. Aaron Rodgers actually was close to retiring this offseason 🏈

Remember the Aaron Rodgers drama? Of course you do. Who could forget? The uncertainty is behind us, but it was not long ago that we were all wondering if Rodgers would leave the Green Bay Packers or possibly even retire

The defending MVP instead worked out his contract with the Packers, so we know he’ll stay in Wisconsin this season. However, it does turn out he did seriously consider retiring. Rodgers said so much on the Dan Le Batard & Friends Podcast this week. 

  • Rodgers: “I mean, I felt going into the weekend before camp that I was 50/50. I don’t care if people don’t believe that. That’s true. There were some things that got me to 50/50 for sure, and you know I spent a couple of days in silence and meditation and contemplation and really felt like that I should come back. There’s a lot of opportunities for growth and exciting things in Green Bay and that felt like the right thing to do.”

50/50! Since the drama, he has shown up to practice on time and it seems like everything is OK… for now.

If the future Hall of Famer did retire, Green Bay’s second-year quarterback and former first-round pick Jordan Love would’ve taken over. Instead, it remains to be seen when Love will get his first crack at the job. It sure won’t be while Rodgers is still in Wisconsin, though.

3. How the Yankees turned their season around ⚾

The New York Yankees have had a weird season. They’ve been through some serious rough patches. But after numerous heartbreaking losses and losing streaks, the Bombers are back in postseason position.

They swept the Red Sox in Tuesday’s doubleheader and completed a series sweep of Boston with a 5-2 win last night.

They are now ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East and AL Wild Card standings. It’s been a stunning turnaround for New York:

  • On July 6, the Yankees were 10.5 games behind the Sox
  • Since then they have gone 26-11
  • This is the third largest deficit in the standings either team has erased in the history of the rivalry

How has New York pulled this off? There have been some key names helping the team’s revival. Having Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole on your roster means they usually play major roles in wins. Acquiring Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo at the deadline has helped a lot too.

But what about the role players and lesser known names? Here are five unsung heroes that have led the Yankees’ resurgence:

These teams only see each other for one more three-game series before the regular season ends, so there will be a lot of scoreboard watching down the stretch.

4. Previewing tight ends ahead of the fantasy football season 🏈

I keep saying I’m going to retire from Fantasy Football, because who needs the stress of managing a team while also having the stress of watching teams I like lose. But the thing about fantasy football is, it always pulls you back in.

Football season coming up means fantasy season is also coming up … which means we have to all start thinking about who we want to draft. Lucky for you, CBS Sports has you covered. Yesterday, we went over QBs. Today, we will look at the tight ends. Tight ends are kind of tricky when it comes to fantasy football and last year was no different. 

Logan Thomas, Robert Tonyan, and T.J. Hockenson were all in the top five in their position, but had fewer than 180 PPR Fantasy points. That goes to show the state of the position and how that impacts the fantasy football world. 

Here’s a look at the sleepers, breakouts and busts at the position, according to our fantasy football expert Heath Cummings:

  • Sleeper: Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team
  • Sleeper: O.J. Howard, Buccaneers
  • Breakout: Noah Fant, Broncos
  • Breakout: Irv Smith, Vikings
  • Bust: Kyle Pitts, Falcons
  • Bust: Robert Tonyan, Packers

And one more tidbit for you — here are the top tier tight ends:

  • Tier 1: Travis Kelce, Chiefs
  • Tier 2: George Kittle, 49ers
  • Tier 2: Darren Waller, Raiders
  • Tier 2: Mark Andrews, Ravens

For full commentary on the sleepers, breakouts and busts, as well as the full picture of where each tight end compares to the competition, click here.

📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch tonight

⚾ Athletics vs. White Sox, 2:10 p.m. | CHW -169 | TV: MLB.TV

Brewers vs. Cardinals, 7:45 p.m. | STL +183 | TV: MLB.TV

Mets vs. Dodgers, 10:10 p.m. | LAD -165 | TV: MLB.TV

Best thing I saw on the internet 🏅

Polish javelin thrower Maria Andrejczyk auctioned off her silver 2020 Olympic medal to help an infant receive heart surgery and the company that won the bid returned the medal to the Olympian. Andrejczyk saw on Facebook that the family of an eight-month old named Miloszek Malysa, who has a heart defect, was looking for financial help and wanted to step in. In the end, she was able to raise $125,000 and still have her Olympic medal.

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