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I want to have a personal relationship with the players

.J. Allmendinger said Wednesday that he will participate in NASCARs substance-abuse recovery program, a sign that he wants to get back to racing as soon as possible and avoid a fight over the accuracy of his failed drug test. Robert Griffin III JerseyFrom the time Justin Schultz opted to make himself an unrestricted free agent and not sign with Anaheim, the team that drafted him, the Edmonton Oilers were always considered a prime potential landing spot.Larry Fitzgerald Jersey . Schultz is a talented offensive defenceman and, at age 22, is in the same new age wheelhouse as the other bright Oilers offensive stars – Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nail Yakupov – and having a chance to grow old together obviously appealed to Schultz. Boys on the Bus, part two if you will. And while many made note of ex-Oiler greats Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey lobbying Schultz on behalf of the Oilers, its believed the presence of new head coach Ralph Krueger and Taylor Hall at the Schultz meeting really helped to cement Edmonton as his choice. But as a prospect who hasnt played a game in the NHL, Schultz still has a lot to prove, as do the cellar-dwelling Oilers, for that matter, who really need to at least contend for a playoff spot this season. Many were miffed Schultz didnt just sign with Anaheim and hell obviously be public enemy No. 1 in Duck Country for rejecting them while exercising his rights within the CBA. But Oiler fans might say turnabout is fair play after Chris Pronger bolted out of Edmonton and Anaheim was the beneficiary of that in 2006. In any case, the focus will now shift to the big free-agent fish expected to be available on Sunday, the first official day of the 2012-13 season and Free Agency. Nashville defenceman Ryan Suter will be home in Wisconsin on Sunday while his Minnesota-based agent Neil Sheehy will be fielding offers. Sheehy said Suter will go to market but Nashville still hopes to be in the mix. New Jersey Devil captain Zach Parise flew into Toronto on Saturday and is expected to be camped out at his agents at Newport Sports in Mississauga. But New Jersey GM Lou Lamoriello was scheduled to meet with Parise Saturday night in hopes of perhaps signing him before he goes to market at 12 noon ET Sunday. New Jersey, what with its ownership and economic issues, may simply not be in a position to close a deal with Parise. In a year where quality greatly trumps quantity for this free-agent crop, all eyes will be on Suter and Parise. Jermichael Finley Jersey . Verlander beat out Boston first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and New York Yankees outfielder Curtis Granderson for the Players Choice Award, announced Thursday. The only other pitcher to win it was Bostons Pedro Martinez in 1999.Marshawn Lynch Jersey . Cincinnati starter Mat Latos threw an inside fastball to Lowe during the fifth inning of Cincinnatis 5-3 win on Wednesday night. Lowe gestured toward Baker, who shook his finger back at him. Jimmy Graham Jersey . Coach Mike Woodson repeated Wednesday that Lin will “absolutely” be back next season and will enter training camp as the starter at his position, even with the Knicks agreeing to a deal with veteran Jason Kidd. Marshawn Lynch Jersey . Tyler Johnson and Mike Kostka each scored two goals to lead Norfolk to its first AHL championship after a convincing 6-1 win and a series sweep over the Toronto Marlies on Saturday. Marshawn Lynch Jersey . — Jacksonville Jaguars first-round draft pick Justin Blackmon appeared in an Oklahoma courtroom Monday for the first time since his weekend arrest for suspicion of drunken driving.DUBLIN, Ohio — Phil Mickelson wants to be more than just a fan of the San Diego Padres. He wants to help buy the team. Mickelson said Monday he has a joined one of the five groups trying to buy the team from John Moores, the Padres majority owner for the last 18 years. Mickelson is part of the group that includes four grandchildren of former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Walter OMalley — Kevin and Brian OMalley, and their cousins Peter and Tom Seidler, the chief executive of Class A Visalia Rawhide. “Ive been talking to them about being involved with them, having an opportunity to invest in the team and being part of the ownership group,” Mickelson said. “I think its a very good investment opportunity. More than that, its opportunity to be involved in the community in San Diego, with something that gives the community a sense of pride. I feel like we can make the Padres a competitive team that can contend year in and year out, and we can do something for the community. “Its something Ive loved since I was a kid.” The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported the involvement of Mickelson, a four-time major champion who was inducted this month into the World Golf Hall of Fame. Mickelson brings the OMalley clan a local investor and of San Diegos greatest athletes. San Diegos biggest baseball star — another lefty — is involved in another group trying to buy the Padres. Tony Gwynn said last week he is joining the bid led by Thomas Tull, chairman and CEO of Legendary Entertainment. “When we met with Phil we were inspired by his commitment to San Diego and his passion for the Padres,” Kevin OMalley said in a statement to thhe Union-Tribune. Chris Long Jersey. “He is a world-class person, athlete and businessman with a strong history of charitable leadership and he will be an ideal partner for many years in San Diego.” Mickelson said he was asked to get involved in an ownership bid three years ago, but didnt feel it was a good fit. “I think the OMalley and Seidler family is the right group,” he said. “They want to enhance the community tie, and thats something Ive wanted to be part of, as well. The tie between the community and the team has not been as strong as it has been in the past. I think there are some things where we can increase that relationship, the emotional tie with the community and the players.” Moores proposed sale of the team to Jeff Moorad collapsed in March after baseball owners refused to approve Moorad as controlling owner. Moorad headed a group that in March 2009 agreed to a gradual takeover of the Padres. At the time, the deal was estimated to be worth around $500 million. The Padres could be worth a few hundred million more this time, in light of the Dodgers being sold for a record $2 billion and the Padres new TV deal with Fox. Moores owns 51 per cent while Moorads group owns 49 per cent. Asked about his proposed investment, Mickelson said only that it would be “a lot,” and that it would be a “significant investment opportunity.” As for his role? “Day-to-day operations, running a sports organization, thats not my forte,” Mickelson said. “I want to have a personal relationship with the players and find ways to get them tied to the community, things of that nature.” ‘ ‘ ‘