Nobody's going to challenge James Harrison to a game of "Who's Crazier?" The Steelers linebacker, famed for his brutal hits and a general willingness to turn his body into a battering ram, is taking his offseason training seriously.

But Harrison's recent workouts take the phrase, "Can you take the heat?" to a whole new level. According to video posted to his Instagram page, the linebacker recently treated himself to a workout in Arizona amid 136-degree air temperature.

Even more shocking, a reading of the artificial turf's temperature registered it at a blistering 189.5 degrees Fahrenheit.


Field temp 189.5, temp 6ft above the field 136...... Grooving on Sunday Arizona heat

A video posted by James Harrison (@jhharrison92) on

Crazy numbers, indeed. And the 37-year-old did the workout while wearing sweats and possibly a weight vest underneath. Those numbers seem far too extreme for a human to be safely working out, and that might have been the case, but some context is needed.

First of all, the artificial turf temperature reading was likely accurate -- it's very possible for turf to reach a temperature well above the air temperature, according to Turfgrass Producers International.

That's one of the downsides of playing on artificial turfs in high heat. But the rubber and synthetic materials in the turf are also poor conductors of heat, so that 189 degrees isn't radiating from the ground and reaching Harrison.

Even so, 136 degrees is an extreme temperature itself -- too extreme for exercise, many would say. The true effect of that heat depends on a number of factors, including wind speed and humidity -- drier air doesn't conduct heat as well as humid air, so in an Arizona climate, that high temperature isn't quite the problem it would be in, say, Florida.

So it's very possible Harrison was working out in the conditions he presents. How long that workout lasted is a different manner. And as for whether it was safe? Well, James Harrison hasn't made a career out of living cautiously.

Brett Favre was never known for his humility, nor has he been very graceful about accepting the effects of middle age. Even though he's been long-retired and has generally stayed away from the game, the future Hall of Famer isn't shy about discussing his own physical talents.

Let's make one thing clear: Favre hasn't suggested he could come in and quarterback a playoff team. But at the shallowest position in the NFL, where there aren't even enough competent starters to go around to every team in the league, Favre thinks he could contribute something.

He discussed this scenario in an interview with Sports Illustrated for its upcoming "Where are they now?" issue.

"I think I could play," Favre said. "As far as throwing. Of course, we're not trying to start some he's-coming-out-of-retirement deal.

"Do I think I could play and lead a team? Look, no. But I could play. I could make all the throws I made before, I just couldn't throw it near as far, but that never matters anyway."

Favre is 45 now, and he hasn't played in the NFL for more than four years. His final season, in 2011, was injury-plagued and sub-par, serving as strong evidence that his playing days were over.

At the same time, he was never Blaine Gabbert bad. He just was bad by Favre's standards. And when you come to associate someone with greatness, it's hard to see them when that shine of greatness wears off.

Marcus Allen knows he was fortunate to have such a long, healthy NFL career. Running backs are notorious for having short careers, and even stars see productivity that drops off sharply at 30 years of age. But if you ask Allen, the secret to extending your NFL career isn't some magic potion or little-known exercise -- it's a combination of smart habits and a mindful approach to the game.

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China has spent years hoping for a crack at the U.S. women's soccer team. That opportunity comes Friday, when the two teams face off in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals.

The match comes with the U.S. limping: Its best player, Alex Morgan, is coming off an injury. Its most famous name, Abby Wambach, is battling fatigue and the reality of playing at 35. And regular starters Megan Rapinoe and Lauren Holiday are suspended from the match after yellow cards.

So is the stage set for China's long-sought upset of the U.S.?

Julie Foudy says no.

"I think they'll be fine," says Foudy, a former U.S. star now working as an analyst for espnW. "It's a blessing [to be facing] China given all the other teams they could have gotten. China is nothing like it was in the 1990s."

In other words, the U.S. looks vulnerable -- but China shouldn't pose an obstacle. The bigger challenges lie ahead, such as a potential semifinal matchup with the winner of Germany-France.

Despite some criticisms that this iteration of the U.S. Women's National Team simply isn't on-par with talented teams of the past, Foudy said expectations are as high as ever -- because, despite the on-field results, she thinks there's never been a better top-to-bottom U.S. women's roster.

"It's deeper than we've ever had," Foudy tells ThePostGame, "which is probably part of the problem. They're trying a lot of different people [in different roles. ... They really haven't found that chemistry yet because [head coach Jill Ellis] has so many options.

"That's why you hear some of the frustration from the past players, because we know what they can do. The expectations are really high."

Despite the talent, the pieces have yet to coalesce into a fluid, potent offensive attack. Morgan was limited in group play and didn't score a goal in this year's World Cup until the team's Round of 16 match against Columbia.

Wambach has whiffed on several strong opportunities deep in the box, and she has looked exhausted at various points in the tournament. But even those great looks have been few and far between, as the U.S. attack has struggled to create.

Foudy believes the those problems are the product of riding Wambach and Morgan too hard.

"I think it's a formation issue myself," Foudy says. "I think that Abby and Alex as the two in front, in [the 2011 World Cup] it was good. But Abby at 35, and Morgan coming off injury, it's too much.

"Those are issues that are just [related to] formation, If you switch it up to 4-3-3 and they're still playing poorly, then you can say, 'Maybe it's other [problems], too."

The positive for the USWNT is that, having ruled out talent and chemistry as challenges to their offense, the current drought of goals is one that could be easily corrected.

Foudy is hopeful that Ellis can make tactical changes that alleviate the workload for the team's biggest stars while flexing the strength of the team's depth.

China should be no problem to overcome. After that, though, the U.S. will be tested -- and it's yet found the answers that will lift them to a championship.

The 19-year-old clears his throat. He wants to politely explain his complicated college major.

"Kinesiology is the study of the kinetic movement of the body," he says, "I've had a lot of fun pursuing that career choice and learning more about the human anatomy. I continue to keep learning and be the best human being I can be."

Movement is fitting subject for Kentucky center Karl-Anthony Towns. He is projected to go to the Minnesota Timberwolves as the first overall pick in Thursday's NBA draft, and he is staying busy with other activities.

"Yesterday, I went bowling and hit some golf balls, so I'm extremely stressed," Towns jokes.

Towns would be the sixth consecutive one-and-done player to be the top pick. But the New Jersey native says he will continue his studies. In addition to kinesiology, he says he is interested in getting a business degree and possibly becoming a doctor after his basketball career.

"I'm looking forward to enrolling in classes as soon as I can for this summer and also this fall," says Towns, who had a 3.96 GPA at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, N.J., where he won three state titles in three years.

At St. Joseph he flirted with the idea of joining the baseball team where he could have teamed with Duke-bound pitcher James Ziemba to form a "Twin Towers" duo.

"I think I'm pretty good at golf," Towns says. "I was much better at baseball. I loved baseball. Soccer, I was OK. But you know what, it didn't matter. Soccer really helped me with my footwork and my pacing."

At 6-11 and 248 pounds, Towns has an obvious basketball frame but the decision to stop playing baseball was tough because his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, is Dominican-born.

"It's like embedded in our blood growing up," he says. "My mom loved the game of baseball. My grandmother adores the game of baseball. My grandmother was extremely happy when I really was thinking about pursuing baseball. I know she was a little disappointed when I quit baseball, but I think she'd say I made the right career choice."

Once upon a time, Towns was a star first baseman and pitcher on the summer travel baseball circuit.

"He could've been a dominant pitcher like Randy Johnson," Towns' father, Karl Towns, told ESPN. "When he wound up and lifted that size-20 foot up, he could intimidate a hitter."

Towns' basketball blood came from his father. Karl Towns played at nearby Monmouth University, then coached Piscataway Technical High School, his alma mater, for 15 years. Karl-Anthony practiced with the junior varsity team as a fifth grader.

Karl-Anthony attributes his fundamentals to his father, thanks to his knowledge of the game as a player and a coach. Once Karl-Anthony showed he was committed to pursuing basketball competitively, his father showed him the way.

"He really never pushed me in basketball," Karl-Anthony says. "I really played a lot of sports. My love of basketball came more naturally. I came more in tune with basketball because I wanted to play basketball. The way he pushed me was he let me know I had to have a certain work ethic if I wanted to be good."

Although he ultimately chose basketball over baseball (and piano, another hobby), Towns kept his ties to the Dominican. At 16, Towns was selected to play for the Dominican national team in the 2012 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

"What really made me pick that decision was the opportunity," Towns says. "You have an opportunity to play with the best players of a country -- professionals -- who already have an All-Star power forward in Al Horford. The most important thing was that I was able to represent my mother's country and wear her country on my chest and every game go out there and know my mother's on my side."

Towns' Dominican national team experience also served as his first go-around with an important figure in his life: John Calipari. The Kentucky head coach manned the sidelines for the Dominican team in 2011 and 2012. Towns says Calipari balanced his abilities on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, with an especial influence on Towns' pick-and-roll defense. By the time Towns arrived in Lexington, he fixed his holes to build his résumé.

But it was more than just Calipari. The whole experience let him test his high school freshman-level game against some of the NBA's best.

"I think the first moment it sunk in was when we played Team USA my freshman year and Anthony Davis had just been drafted," Towns says.

Davis played for the U.S. Olympic Team just after winning a national title for the Wildcats.

"I felt very comfortable on the court," Towns says. "I felt very comfortable with myself and I was having a lot of fun. I thought wow, you're playing against the team that they call better than the Dream Team and you're very comfortable. If you're not nervous and scared to play on the same court as those guys, you'll never be afraid of anyone on the court."

That's a mindset that served him well at St. Joseph.

"If you could win in New Jersey, you can win anywhere," Towns says.

At Kentucky, Towns won every game until the Final Four. Regardless of which NBA team selects him -- the Lakers, 76ers and Knicks follow Minnesota in the order -- he already has a trip booked to Los Angeles. Towns will help Gatorade announce the winner of its high school Athlete of the Year award. He won it in 2014 for his accomplishments at St. Joseph and takes some pride that the award recognizes a balance of sports and schoolwork.

"Academics came into play and that's huge because you can really tell the character of somebody if they have the discipline to do well in school and put in the effort off the court," he says.

Towns says he grew up a Knicks fan, but that will change as soon as he gets picked.

"I'm blessed for this opportunity," he says. "For any team I go to, I can't wait to start and possibly win a championship with."

No one saw Andre Iguodala serving as star of Golden State's NBA Finals squad. As younger stars Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green battle their way through shooting slumps, back injuries and gripes with the officials, Iguodala has emerged from the bench to serve as the team's most important player.

After starting Game 4 on Thursday night -- his first start of the entire year, by the way -- Iguodala set the tone for the night, pushing the ball forward in transition to get the offense going. He continued to be the primary defender for LeBron James, anchoring the team to a blowout win in Cleveland.

Iguodala left a strong impression on everyone, Vegas included. This morning, Vegas revised its NBA Finals MVP prop bets, and a new name was listed at the top of the board.

After coming into the Finals as a 125-to-1 shot to win MVP, Iguodala is now the favorite.

That's a pretty remarkable jump for a guy who had 14 names ahead of him at the start of the Finals. To offer some perspective, the Oakland Raiders are twice as likely to win the Super Bowl this season than Iggy was considered to win NBA Finals MVP, per ForTheWin.

The jump speaks both to how well Iguodala has risen to the occasion, as well as how doomed the Warriors would be without him. Keep in mind that Curry, Thompson and Green still combined for an underwhelming night.

Just how good was Iggy? Good enough that he had some spare time to troll LeBron by whining about an injury he was faking:

Iggy was so good that when Cleveland's James Jones blocked his shot, he tried to give Jones a high-five:

So, yeah. Iggy was real good. Polish up that trophy, please.

Peyton Manning's pre-snap audibles have become a hot topic of interest, starting with his rampant use of "Omaha!" in the seconds before snapping the ball.

After the Broncos quarterback was counted using the phrase 44 times during a single game, plenty of theories have been spun to try and make sense of the command's meaning.

People have even checked with his brother Eli Manning who has been coy about its meaning in the past -- last year, he wrote it off as a vague term that could mean different things depending on the play call and the circumstances of the game.

But now we know that may not be the case.

According to Giants.com, little brother Eli finally shed some light on the "Omaha" audible to an event for Giants season-ticket holders.

His story is a simple one: Omaha was just a part of the playbook, and the Giants use it as well.

"There was actually a sheet that said 'Omaha' at the top, and basically 'Omaha' was maybe we change the play, or maybe when I was changing protection ... and [the setup] was taking forever and the play clock's running down," Manning says. "And 'Omaha' just told everybody to put their hand in the ground, shut up, and the ball's about to be snapped."

In other words, it was a warning to everyone: Get ready, because this is about to happen.

"So I would say 'Omaha' and I would say it again and then say 'set hut' and do whatever you think you need to be doing and let's go play football."

Does that explain things? Yes, it sure sounds like it. Was it as exciting as everyone had hoped? Not at all.

Dondre Harris is, by almost any measure, a giant. At 7 feet tall and 375 pounds, he's got a body that can go toe-to-toe with Shaq. When his high school's football coach saw him walk out of a cornfield while working a summer job, the sales pitch was almost immediate.

How about you apply that huge body to football?

Harris gave it a try, but it wasn't the natural fit you might expect. Size is a valued asset in football, but so is speed. After trying out on the offensive line, he proved too slow-footed to stop defensive players. On defense, he had a little more success, proving to be a bulldozer with raw skills but tons of potential.

Even so, colleges weren't tripping over themselves to make Harris an offer. With such a massive body and so little football experience, Harris seems like a classic recruiting gamble: If he doesn't work, you're out a scholarship slot. If he does work out, you've got a near-unstoppable menace.

In the end, all he earned was a scholarship to a Division II university. Which begs the question: Is Harris really too big for football?

As those around Harris explain in a feature from Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer, coaching ears did perk up when word of a giant football prospect came up. Some coaches called, others requested tape. The tape itself wasn't too impressive, his high school coach admits, but eyewitness accounts insisted that his true impact was hard to see on a screen.

Even so, the initial buzz surrounding the behemoth wasn't supported by convincing on-field performances.

"After a while," Harris tells Bleacher Report, "they just started losing interest."

The prevailing concern from coaches was that, despite his size, the foot speed he displayed was just too slow -- he wasn't fast enough to break past blockers and put real pressure on the backfield, and he didn't have the closing speed to chase down ball carriers.

Harris had done a good job bringing his weight down to 375 from an original 450 pounds, but it wasn't enough to increase his speed. In a way, his massive size proved to be his strength as well as his weakness.

That doesn't mean football was a lost cause. Harris did show improvements and become a respectable contributor for his high school team. He did receive offers to play at the college level, and he signed with Fairmont State in Virginia.

For Harris, football's rewards don't require attending a powerhouse program or working toward an NFL career.

"He's just happy," says his high school coach. "And his mother is happy that he's going to school in the fall."

Harris has a lot of work ahead if he wants to be competitive in Division II, but with the help of strength coaches and additional on-field experience, he might be able to refine his game. But football remains a secondary pursuit.

"My main focus is school," Harris said. "I'm going to get my education. That comes before everything."


They ain't ready #trojan4life #trojan_nation #77 #61 #67

A photo posted by Dondre (@drdre_selfmade) on

On the bus ride, all I could think about was last year. My range of emotions had placed me on the precipice of insanity. My legs were sore for days after, and mentally I was taxed beyond belief. However, it had pushed me to be better. Pushed me to run when I wanted to stop and pushed me to trust the process. Sadly, during the past year, I let some of those lessons fall by the wayside. I still run, but not as much or as far as I should. Between life and laziness, I had lost the flame that was ignited at Nike Zoom Camp.

This year, I prepped for the camp by running a few miles to get back into running "shape." My mile time had fallen to more than 8 minutes, 30 seconds, and my personal ego was badly bruised. I wanted to be better; just not bad enough to motivate myself.

After the two-plus-hour bus trip, we finally made it to Zoom Camp. The set-up was beautiful. A small pond surrounded by trees served as a backdrop to our tents that were actually more like luxury teepees. We wouldn't be able to enjoy it much as we were expected to be ready for yoga at 5:30 a.m. Considering it was already past 11 p.m., I took the opportunity to gain a few hours of sleep before the next day's festivities.

Waking to the sounds of birds is a refreshing experience, even when it is 5 a.m. When you're in L.A., you don't often get to renew your relationship with the outdoors unless it involves smog, honking horns and desert dry air. This was different. The air was clean, the grass was green, the dew was fresh and the birds were alive and chirping in the woods. After some light stretching (I'd missed yoga) we were ushered off to Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.

Coach Blue Benadum's job was to make us faster, and he wasn't hesitant to let us know we had to work for it. Jordan McNamara, a mile specialist, ran us through a series of quick exercises to work on everything from building stamina to how to approach getting faster mentally. Left in the hands of Coach Blue, things were turned up a notch as we ran through more drills to put theories into motion. At this point, I am starting to feel it and the burn is starting to creep up into my thighs. It hurts, but I expected it. I wanted to get faster and that wasn't going to happen if I didn't push myself.

In my head, there was no reason to look nice and pretty in all of my Nike Running gear if I wasn't going to actually perform at my best. Yes, I was fresh off ankle surgery, but if I listen to my body I should be fine. I had to get rid of self-doubt and focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. I had to allow the chirp of Coach Blue's whistle to mark a moment to be better and not a moment of pain. Armed with a new frame of mind, the turn-arounds started to resonate in a different way. They still hurt and were tough, but they also allowed me to work on my mechanics, breathing and technique.

We were given the Nike Zoom Pegasus 32 to try out. I've had experience in the Pegasus 31, and the 32 didn't feel drastically different than the previous model. Flywire, engineered mesh and Zoom all return for this model, though they have been moved around or readdressed in an effort to make you look and feel faster.

Later, we took to the streets and woods of Eugene and headed to Autzen Stadium for another workout. I may or may not have made a few wrong turns on my way to the stadium, which resulted in me running a little more than I should have. Then came the absoluteworst part of the workout: STAIRS! I have always hated stairs and the next workout wanted us to build up speed by using the stairs. It was a nightmare.

I ran the first set like a champ and things slowly got worse from there. Running up stairs, jumping up stairs, double-stepping stairs, coming down stairs, going back up stairs, it was grueling. At one point, I had to yell at my legs to jump because they were so out of it. They felt like Jell-O and jumping was the last thing they wanted to do. It is a strange feeling when you legs start to shake uncontrollably, but if you want to get faster, you have to fight through it. I couldn't wait for it to be over. It was great for my legs, but it was probably the hardest part of the weekend.

Back at camp, I took quick dip in the ice bath, received a full-body massage and got ready to head back to Hayward Field. Nike wanted us to see what faster looked like and escorted us to the Pre Classic. It is inspiring to see people like Mo Farah run in real life. We often see these distance runners on TV, but there is something special about seeing them perform right in front of your eyes. Galen Rupp, who broke the U.S. record at the Pre-Classic last year, took his talents to the track to show us what world-class athletes look like in motion.

Whether intentional or not, seeing those guys push through pain and pick up the pace when things went down to the wire provided the boost of energy needed to prep for my mile run the next day. I just needed to beat my personal time and watching these guys run just might have been the fuel I needed.

In my tent that night, I had a hard time going to sleep. I was thinking about the next day and what it would take for me to say I accomplished something during this trip. Running a time faster than my current time wasn't really saying much. I had been faster before and my current mile was a result of being out of shape. Would beating my current time be a goal? Yes, absolutely. However, I needed to do more than that to feel like I had made the most of this trip. Settling in to sleep, realized it would take me doing more. It would take me feeling like I had no regrets. That I had given 100 percent.

Back at Hayward Field, it was time to run the mile. No more pep talks, drills or mechanics to practice. As we all lined up, I locked it. It was time to shine. Bang! We were off.

I took the first lap like a champ. Stride was great, pace was great, I was feeling great. About half way through the second, things started to fall apart. The stride slowed down a bit and I wasn't running in proper form. Unfortunately, it took a good hundred meters before I realized this and had time to correct things. The pace was still slow, but the form was right. passing the starting line for the third lap, Coach Blue shouted out my split and it hit like a brick in the face.

The last lap was a full 15 seconds slower than the first. My first instinct was to get down on myself and fight through the rest of it knowing I had already failed, but the encouragement of the coaches and staff on the field took over and allowed me to get out of my own head. For the third lap, I pushed a little harder and came in just above my original time. I was improving. With the confidence of the third lap and the encouragement of the coaches, I pushed even harder for the start of the fourth, which in retrospect wasn't a good idea. I got about 150 past the line and slowed down dramatically. This time I knew it. It was over. I had pushed myself too hard and now I needed to stop.

During the weekend, Coach Blue had mentioned to us that 50 percent of running is mental. As a runner you get into your own head and it often results in you not doing your best because you are talking yourself out of it. You tell yourself to stop, you body doesn't do it. More often than not, your body has the energy and the will to go, but it can only do what you tell it to do. Yes, it may hurt and you are tired as ever, but your body won't stop until you tell it to. You may want to, but you don't have to stop.

As I struggled for the next 50 meters, I questioned whether I should stop. I had pushed to hard to try and do more and now I was paying for it. And then it happened. Coach Blue popped into my head, "It is mental. You may want to stop, but you don't have to." As if that was the push I needed, I started to drive even harder. I focused on fixing my form, picking up the pace, and doing what I said I would to the nigh before, give it 100 percent. Rounding the Bowerman Curve, I was giving it all I had. The sounds of the cowbell at the finish line ringing in the distance became a siren's call I was inextricably drawn to. Seventy-five meters to go. "Push, Jacques, push," is all I was saying. "Go hard, go hard, go hard."

Striding past the finish line, I hear coach blue yell out my time. I had improved my mile time by 30 seconds. I was proud. I had done it. Not only did I beat my time, but I had pushed through it in way in which I can be proud. Yes, I struggled and almost stopped, but more than that, I gave it all I had and did better than I would have expected. It is a small victory, but a victory nonetheless. I have a long way to go. I want to be even better. I want to beat the new time by at least another minute and a half, but you have to start somewhere. This weekend was my start.

Thank you to Nike Running and all of the coaches for their help and hospitality. The Nike Zoom Pegasus 32 is available now on Nike.com and at select Nike Running retailers.

Water hazards are called hazards for a reason. Most golfers agonize over seeing their ball drop into the pond, which most of the team warrants a stroke penalty to get it back on dry land.

James Nicholas was not about to give up so easily. The Scarsdale High School senior was playing with the New York state championship on the line, and when he was able to locate his ball at the edge of a lake, he resolved to play the ball from its lie.

Nicholas stepped into the water, which was a respectable effort on his own. But all of that paled to the quality of his actual shot:


It's hard to overstate how tough that shot was -- standing with one foot in lake mud and accounting for the water's optical distortion as you line up for a very sensitive chip shot with a high-risk of error. Yet Nicholas clears the water hazard mostly unfazed, and he went on to win the state title.


What's next for this kid? Just a golf scholarship to Yale, where he's attending this fall. According to his Twitter account, Nicholas will also be playing football. Pretty interesting combo for a two-sport college star.

Smart kid, good golfer. Go Bulldogs.

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