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1 hour ago

Miami Heat's Bam Adebayo says 'I'm trying to change basketball'

Miami Heat All-Star center Bam Adebayo is not shying away from the lofty goals he has set for his career after recently signing a five-year extension that could be worth almost $200 million. "I definitely want to be, long time down the road when my career ends, whenever somebody mentions a top-five center or top-five power forward, they always got to mention my name," Adebayo said during a Friday video conference call with reporters. "That's how I want to be remembered. Keep changing basketball." The 23-year-old helped lead the Heat to an unexpected run to the 2020 NBA Finals and is confident he will continue growing his game over the next few years. In just his third NBA season, the Kentucky product averaged 15.9 points and 10.2 rebounds a game. Adebayo appreciates that even at his young age, players all over basketball are trying to emulate what he brings to the floor. "It just shows respect for my game," Adebayo said. "I feel like I'm trying to change...
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2 hours ago

Edinburg High School player facing assault charge for knocking over ref; team removed from Texas football playoffs

A Texas high school football team has been removed from the playoffs as one of its players faces an assault charge for running onto the field and knocking down a referee. On Thursday, Edinburg High School senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron slammed into referee Fred Gracia after Gracia announced Duron had been ejected from the game. According to The Monitor of McAllen, Duron was ejected after he received back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties when he shoved an opposing offensive lineman to the ground, attempted to tackle the quarterback after the whistle had blown the play dead and exchanged words with the 58-year-old Gracia. On Friday, Duron, who was escorted from the stadium by police officers, was charged with Class A assault. He is being held in county jail on a $10,000 bond. The incident occurred in the first half of Edinburg's 35-21 playoff victory. Despite the win, the team's season is over. "The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School...
2 hours ago
2 hours ago

Ben Simmons says Philadelphia 76ers had accountability issues last NBA season

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons said Friday that the Sixers didn't do a good enough job of holding themselves accountable last season, and it played a significant role in the team's disappointing 2019-20 campaign. "One hundred percent," Simmons said when asked whether former Sixer Josh Richardson's comments about the team's overall lack of accountability at the end of last season were accurate. "We didn't know when we were going to get a bucket, who was going to get us a bucket. From that to knowing what we needed to be in at all times, people being held accountable for certain things, whether it's a minor thing, it all plays a part. "He definitely was right. We weren't in a position to go into that bubble and win. I think our mindset was off, and accountability is a huge part of winning. So I think he was definitely right." In August, Richardson singled out former coach Brett Brown for criticism, saying he failed to keep the players accountable. Brown...
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Ohio State Buckeyes will play against Michigan State Spartans on Saturday after COVID-19 concerns

Ohio State on Friday confirmed it will play Saturday's game at Michigan State because COVID-19 issues within the program have improved. The fourth-ranked Buckeyes (4-0) are set to fly to East Lansing, Michigan, on Friday night. Ohio State canceled last week's game at  Illinois hours before the scheduled kickoff because of a rise in positive COVID-19 cases among players and staff. The team paused activities before resuming in-person practices Tuesday and continuing them throughout the week. Ohio State also implemented enhanced PCR testing to go along with the Big Ten's daily antigen testing. "We are very confident that we are heading to East Lansing with a team that can safely compete and whose health, safety and well-being has been our utmost concern," team physician Jim Borchers said in a statement. "We've tested, monitored and evaluated our results daily and have advised the student-athletes, coaches and performance staff accordingly. Our population positivity...
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3 hours ago

Edinburg High School removed from Texas football playoffs day after player slams into ref

A Texas high school football team has been removed from the playoffs a day after one of its players charged onto the field and knocked down a referee. Edinburg High School senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron slammed into referee Fred Gracia after Gracia announced Duron had been ejected from the game. According to The Monitor of McAllen, Duron was ejected after he received back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties when he shoved an opposing offensive lineman to the ground, attempted to tackle the quarterback after the whistle had blown the play dead and exchanged words with the 58-year-old Gracia. Duron was escorted from the stadium by police officers. The incident occurred in the first half of Edinburg's 35-21 playoff victory. Despite the win, the team's season is over. "The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3,...
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3 hours ago

NBA won't conduct random marijuana tests in 2020-21

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have agreed not to conduct randomized tests for marijuana during the 2020-21 season. "Due to the unusual circumstances in conjunction with the pandemic, we have agreed with the NBPA to suspend random testing for marijuana for the 2020-21 season and focus our random testing program on performance-enhancing products and drugs of abuse," NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said in a statement. The NBA enacted a similar policy during the league's bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, this past summer, where the league had 22 of its 30 teams reconvene to play eight seeding games and a full playoffs, which eventually crowned the Los Angeles Lakers as champions. Tuesday marked the beginning of training camp for teams around the league, although players can work out only individually for the first few days because of precautions being taken due to the coronavirus pandemic. Full-team practices are scheduled to...
3 hours ago
3 hours ago

Ben Simmons says Philadelphia 76ers had accountability issues last season

Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons said Friday that the team didn't do a good enough job of holding itself accountable last season, which played a significant role in a disappointing 2019-20 campaign. "One hundred percent," Simmons said when asked whether former Sixer Josh Richardson's comments about the team's overall lack of accountability at the end of last season were accurate. "We didn't know when we were going to get a bucket, who was going to get us a bucket. From that to knowing what we needed to be in at all times, people being held accountable for certain things, whether it's a minor thing, it all plays a part. "He definitely was right. We weren't in a position to go into that bubble and win. I think our mindset was off, and accountability is a huge part of winning. So I think he was definitely right." In August, Richardson singled out former coach Brett Brown for criticism, saying he failed to keep the players accountable. Brown was fired in...
3 hours ago
3 hours ago

Edinburg High School removed from Texas playoffs day after player slams into ref

A Texas high school football team has been removed from the playoffs a day after one of its players charged on to the field and knocked down a referee. Edinburg High School senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron slammed into referee Fred Gracia after Gracia announced Duron had been ejected from the game.  According to The Monitor of McAllen, Duron was ejected after he received back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties when he shoved an opposing offensive lineman to the ground, attempted to tackle the quarterback after the whistle had blown the play dead and exchanged words with Gracia. Duron was escorted from the stadium by police officers. The incident occurred in the first half of Edinburg's 35-21 playoff victory. Despite the win, the team's season is over. "The district has decided to remove the Edinburg High School football team from the playoffs after an unexpected incident involving a student that occurred during a football game on December 3, 2020," the...
3 hours ago
3 hours ago

Vanderbilt Commodores-Georgia Bulldogs game postponed to Dec. 19 due to coronavirus, injury issues

Georgia's scheduled game against Vanderbilt on Saturday has been postponed to Dec. 19 because of COVID-19 cases, contact tracing issues, injuries and opt-outs within the Commodores' football program. The game was scheduled for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The contest will be made up if Georgia does not qualify for the SEC championship game. The Bulldogs are one game behind Florida in the East division and lost to the Gators on Nov. 7. Earlier this week, Vanderbilt interim coach Todd Fitch said his team had at least 53 players, with two COVID-19 tests remaining this week. He also acknowledged that some players were considering opting out after coach Derek Mason was fired Sunday. "There's been a couple guys we've talked to," Fitch said Tuesday. "I don't have any specifics right now on where we're at with all that. But there's discussions that have been going on the last 24 hours or so with some of the players. Later in the week, we'll...
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Sources: Georgia Bulldogs-Vanderbilt Commodores game PPD due to COVID, injury issues

Georgia's scheduled game against Vanderbilt on Saturday has been postponed because of COVID-19 cases, contact tracing issues and injuries within the Commodores program, sources told ESPN on Friday. The game was scheduled for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The No. 8 Bulldogs don't currently have another regular-season game scheduled, although they are expected to make up a previously postponed road game at Missouri. Vanderbilt, which fired coach Derek Mason on Sunday, also doesn't have another regular-season game scheduled. The Commodores might make up a previously postponed game against Tennessee. The Commodores (0-8) have never finished a season with a winless record. Earlier this week, Vanderbilt interim coach Todd Fitch said his team had at least 53 players with two COVID-19 tests remaining this week. He also acknowledged that some players were considering opting out after Mason's firing. "There's been a couple...
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Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz takes accountability for his struggles

PHILADELPHIA -- Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz took accountability for his struggles during an address to the team this week, a gesture that is resonating well in the locker room as Philadelphia looks to snap its three-game losing streak Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. "The first step is admitting where you're bad at, and that's what I love that Carson did," veteran defensive end Brandon Graham said. "When we talked to the team, he knew he had to own some of the stuff that he's been doing, and he let us know that he's working his butt off to make sure that he starts doing a lot of stuff better. And that's all people want to hear is for you to take ownership of yours and we can move on. That's how you build relationships: taking ownership of what you do." Wentz is mired in the worst season of his career. He ranks first in interceptions (15) and sacks (46), 31st in completion percentage (58.1%) and 30th in yards per attempt (6.02). Another rocky...
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December 04

Sources: NHL aiming for mid-January start, 52- or 56-game schedule

The NHL is now aiming for a mid-January start date with a 52- or 56-game schedule at best, sources confirmed to ESPN. The NHL's initial target of Jan. 1 became unfeasible because of necessary time for training camp -- plus extra time promised to the seven teams that did not make this summer's expanded playoff field -- as well as quarantine protocols in some markets. As of Thursday, NHL players had yet to receive any official directive of when they are supposed to report back to their playing cities. Players are currently scattered at their offseason homes, including many still in Europe. TSN first reported on the mid-January start date. There have been regular conversations between the NHL and NHLPA about potential schedules, formats or protocols. But first, the sides must get past a financial stalemate: Owners, wanting additional cash flow to kick-start the season, have asked players to tweak their financial arrangement, including deferral of salary beyond the 10% they already...
December 04
December 04

Sources: NHL aiming for mid-January start, 52 or 56 game schedule

The NHL is now aiming for a mid-January start date with a 52 or 56-game schedule, at best, sources confirmed to ESPN. That NHL's initial target of Jan. 1 became unfeasible, because of necessary time for training camp -- plus extra time promised to the seven teams that did not make this summer's expanded playoff field -- as well as quarantine protocols in some markets. As of Thursday, NHL players have yet to receive any official directive of when they are supposed to report back to their playing cities, and players are currently scattered at their offseason homes, including many still in Europe. TSN first reported on the mid-January start date. As of Friday morning, there haven't been any meaningful conversations yet between the NHL and NHLPA about potential schedules, format or protocols. First, the sides must get past a financial stalemate: owners, wanting additional cash flow to kickstart the season, have asked players to tweak their financial arrangement, including deferral of...
December 04
December 04

Michigan legislators ask Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp to hire Robert Saleh

A group of Michigan state legislators have sent a letter to Detroit Lions owner Sheila Ford Hamp urging her to hire San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh as the team's next head coach. Saleh, a native of Dearborn, Michigan, grew up in the state and played college football in the state, and his family has long football ties to Michigan State and the state's football history. "We understand the difficulty of these upcoming decisions," the letter reads. "As passionate and loyal Lions fans, we are asking you to hire Robert Saleh as the head coach of our team. He is the best candidate for the job and measures as such across every metric. A head coach like Robert can bring tremendous energy and heart to the franchise and would help us reach peaks that have seemed unobtainable for so long. We have an exceptional opportunity here and we trust you to make the best decision. "To turn the corner and become a winning franchise, these next hiring...
December 04
December 04

Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas says he's giving disgruntled James Harden 'space'

First-year Houston Rockets coach Stephen Silas has not been in regular contact with James Harden, saying he is giving the disgruntled face of the franchise "space" as the season nears. Harden has informed the Rockets that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, according to sources, preferring a fresh start while forming a superteam with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, team sources say that Houston plans to enter the season with Harden on the roster, is confident the Rockets will be competitive and is hopeful that winning would ease the perennial All-Star's desire to be dealt. "When stuff like this kind of happens where there's a little indecision and stuff going on, I kind of take a step back and allow guys some space," Silas said in a virtual media availability Thursday, a day after the Rockets granted Russell Westbrook's wish to be traded by dealing him to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a...
December 04
December 04

Texas prep football player bowls over referee after ejection

A Texas high school football player charged onto the field and bowled over a referee Thursday night because he was angry after being ejected from the game. Senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron of Edinburg High School came running from the sideline area after referee Fred Garcia announced the ejection, slamming into the official during the first half of the zone play-in game against Pharr-San Juan-Alamo. Duron was escorted from the stadium by police officers. The Monitor of McAllen reported that Garcia was evaluated for a concussion and a potential shoulder injury by medical personnel at the stadium. In a statement Friday, the Texas Association of Sports Officials lamented Duron's "vicious and deliberate assault" on Garcia. "Unfortunately, this type of blind-sided assault on an official while working on the field is not new to Texas Football," the statement read. "Though this latest incident is only hours old, TASO has begun our investigation and started collaboration with the...
December 04
December 04

Texas prep football player body-slams referee after ejection

A Texas high school football player charged onto the field and bowled over a referee Thursday night because he was angry after being ejected from the game. Senior defensive lineman Emmanuel Duron of Edinburg High School came running from the sideline area after referee Fred Garcia announced the ejection, slamming into the official during the first half of the zone play-in game against Pharr-San Juan-Alamo. Duron was escorted from the stadium by police officers. The Monitor of McAllen reported that Garcia was evaluated for a concussion and a potential shoulder injury by medical personnel at the stadium. The game resumed after a delay, with Edinburg winning 35-21 to advance to the playoffs. "I can't release any information on that, and I apologize for that," Edinburg High coach JJ Lejia said of the incident, according to The Monitor. "I hope you understand. I want this [moment] to be about our program and all the other kids we had on the field tonight." The District 31-6A...
December 04
December 03

South Carolina's win streak halted at 29 as NC State women's basketball secures third-ever victory over a No. 1

The top-ranked South Carolina women's basketball team saw its 29-game winning streak end Thursday at home in Columbia, South Carolina, as the Gamecocks were upset 54-46 by No. 8 NC State. It was the first loss for the Gamecocks since Nov. 28, 2019, when they fell to Indiana 71-57 in the Virgin Islands. South Carolina didn't lose again last season and ended it ranked No. 1; the Gamecocks would have been a No. 1 seed had there been an NCAA tournament. The Gamecocks started this season at No. 1 and got off to a 3-0 start. But offensively, they struggled against NC State, shooting 27% from the field (20-of-74). This was a game in which the Gamecocks definitely seemed to miss point guard Tyasha Harris, who finished her career last season and moved on to the WNBA. "We just had no flow," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "In 21 years, I never felt what I felt during the game. Uncoachable, untamable, just not listening, just selfish play. It will open...
December 03
December 03

South Carolina's win streak halted at 29 as NC State secures third-ever victory over a No. 1

The top-ranked South Carolina women's basketball team saw their 29-game winning streak end Thursday at home in Columbia, South Carolina, as the Gamecocks were upset 54-46 by No. 8 NC State. It was the first loss for the Gamecocks since Nov. 28, 2019, when they fell to Indiana 71-57 in the Virgin Islands. South Carolina didn't lose again last season and ended it ranked No. 1; the Gamecocks would have been a No. 1 seed had there been an NCAA tournament. The Gamecocks started this season at No. 1, and got off to a 3-0 start. But offensively, they struggled against NC State, shooting just 27 percent from the field (20 of 74). This was a game where the Gamecocks definitely seemed to miss point guard Tyasha Harris, who finished her career last season and moved on to the WNBA. "We just had no flow," South Carolina coach Dawn Staley said. "In 21 years, I never felt what I felt during the game. Uncoachable, untameable, just not listening, just selfish play. It will open our...
December 03
December 03

Alabama's Nick Saban cleared to travel with team to LSU on Friday

Alabama football coach Nick Saban says he has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will travel with the team to LSU on Friday. "I'll be there," Saban said on his radio show Thursday night. "I'm good. I think my time is up. I'm ready to get back in the swing of things." Saban, 69, tested positive for COVID-19 on Nov. 24. SEC protocols call for a minimum 10-day quarantine, making Friday the earliest Saban could return to activity. Saban reported only minor symptoms of the virus, most notably a runny nose. He said he received an IV treatment last week that "worked wonders." "Whatever was in this plasma deal, it knocked it out in one day," he said. "From Thursday on, I've felt great and 100%. I would certainly recommend that treatment for anybody that could get it." No. 1 Alabama (8-0) will play LSU (3-4) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Saturday.
December 03
December 03

Houston Rockets' Stephen Silas says he's giving disgruntled James Harden 'space'

First-year Houston Rockets head coach Stephen Silas has not been in regular contact with James Harden, saying he is giving the disgruntled face of the franchise "space" as the season nears. Harden has informed the Rockets that he wants to be traded to the Brooklyn Nets, according to sources, preferring a fresh start while forming a super team with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. However, team sources say that Houston plans to enter the season with Harden on the roster, is confident the Rockets will be competitive and is hopeful that winning would ease the perennial All-Star's desire to be dealt. "When stuff like this kind of happens where there's a little indecision and stuff going on, I kind of take a step back and allow guys some space," Silas said in a virtual media availability Thursday, a day after the Rockets granted Russell Westbrook's wish to be traded by dealing him to the Washington Wizards for John Wall and a...
December 03
December 03

BYU needed quality football opponent, AD says, and Coastal Carolina fulfilled 'incredible opportunity'

After the College Football Playoff selection committee made it clear in each of its past two rankings that BYU's weak schedule was dragging it down, athletic director Tom Holmoe said Thursday that there was "no question" he felt a greater sense of urgency to try to quickly schedule another quality opponent for the No. 13 Cougars. The "incredible opportunity" arose this week, when BYU was able to replace Liberty as Coastal Carolina's opponent on Saturday after COVID-19 issues prevented the Flames from playing in the game. "You want to be able to put your team in a position to do the best they can," Holmoe said. "We were in a good spot being ranked, but you want to give your kids every chance they can get. "Earlier in the year, we kind of foresaw that something like this could happen, not really knowing what it would look like. The only reason we have open dates is we couldn't find games. We found 10 games and that was it, door was closed. ... Now, we've got...
December 03
December 03

Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon reinstated for last 2 weeks

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon has been conditionally reinstated for the final two weeks of the 2020 season, the NFL announced Thursday. Gordon will be allowed to begin COVID-19 testing Friday and might join the Seahawks on Dec. 9 if he tests negative for the coronavirus. He will be permitted to take part in meetings, individual workouts, and strength and conditioning but will not be permitted to practice, travel with the team or attend games until Dec. 21, after Seattle's Week 15 game. Gordon responded to the news of his conditional reinstatement with a tweet that he was "thankful." The NFL announced Gordon's suspension the day after the Seahawks' Week 15 game last season, so he will have effectively served a one-year ban. It was a mystery to the Seahawks and Gordon why the league was taking so long to deliver a decision, according to sources. Gordon's team applied for reinstatement in mid-June with the hope that he would be reinstated in time for training...
December 03
December 03

Knight Commission endorses FBS split from NCAA

A commission of college athletics leaders recommended Thursday that the best way to repair the NCAA's "broken governance model" is to remove the teams of the Football Bowl Subdivision from the association, forcing the top level of college football to govern itself as a separate entity. The Knight Commission, a reform-minded independent group of university presidents, former athletic directors and others, spent the past year studying the current state of college sports before making its recommendation. After surveying a wide swath of college sports stakeholders, the group said it discovered that many leaders in the industry believe the time has come for significant change. It decided that the most effective way to solve a variety of problems is to separate football -- an outlier of a sport because of the vast and quickly increasing difference in the revenue it generates. "Every other sport looks like a duck and walks like a duck and probably is a duck," Knight Commission co-chair...
December 03
December 03

New Houston Rockets guard John Wall says goodbye to D.C.

New Houston Rockets guard John Wall said farewell to his former NBA city in a tweet Thursday, writing that he will "always have love for DC." The Washington Wizards traded Wall to the Rockets on Wednesday along with a lottery-protected 2023 first-round pick for former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. "Where do I even begin?" Wall wrote in his tweet. "Ten years is a long time to think back on. I came to DC as a skinny 19 year old with big dreams and goals. You embraced me and my family with open arms. You rocked with me from day 1 until now." Later Thursday, Westbrook posted his own goodbye message to Houston and thanked "the Rockets organization for believing in my ability to make an impact and making my time in Houston a great experience." Both Wall and Westbrook had been seeking the trade. In Houston, Wall will partner with James Harden in the backcourt under new Rockets coach Stephen Silas. Wall, 30, hasn't played since Dec. 26, 2018,...
December 03
December 03

Anthony Davis agrees to five-year, $190 million maximum contract to stay with Los Angeles Lakers

All-NBA forward Anthony Davis has formally agreed to a five-year, $190 million maximum contract to stay with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, Klutch Sports CEO and founder Rich Paul told ESPN on Thursday. The deal includes an early-termination option prior to the fifth year of the deal in 2024-25, Paul said. Davis, a free agent, is expected to sign the contract as soon as Thursday. He considered several short- and long-term contract scenarios before accepting a full five-year, maximum offer, sources said. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, Davis would make $32,742,000 this season, $35,361,360 in 2021-22, $37,980,720 in 2022-23, $40,600,080 in 2023-24 and $43,219,440 in the fifth year of the deal. At 27 years old, Davis is the co-star of the Lakers with LeBron James -- and the centerpiece of the franchise's long-term future. Davis' arrival in a trade with New Orleans to join James elevated the Lakers out of six straight seasons in the draft lottery...
December 03
December 03

USADA suspends featherweight Yair Rodriguez 6 months

Yair Rodriguez is in hot water with the UFC's anti-doping partner, though he has not tested positive for any banned substance. The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has suspended Rodriguez, a popular featherweight fighter, for six months due to a whereabouts violation, USADA announced Thursday. Rodriguez is ineligible to compete until March 8, 2021, with his ineligibility beginning retroactively on Sept. 8, 2020. Rodriguez had been targeted for an August fight with fellow top featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov but withdrew because of an injury. The UFC was attempting to put together the anticipated Rodriguez vs. Magomedsharipov bout for next month, sources said, but had to scrap those plans because of Rodriguez's suspension. UFC fighters are required to fill out their location at all times in advance on a USADA smartphone app so that doping control officers know where to show up to administer random drug tests. If a fighter fails to fill out the whereabouts...
December 03
December 03

UCF Knights QB McKenzie Milton enters transfer portal two years after devastating knee injury

UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton entered the transfer portal on Thursday, ending a five-year career with the Knights in hopes of one final opportunity to earn a starting job. Milton has not played in two years, after dislocating his right knee and suffering ligament, nerve and artery damage during a game in November 2018. He has steadily worked his way back, and he ran the UCF scout team the past two months, eager for another chance to play. With Dillon Gabriel entrenched as the UCF quarterback, it became clear to Milton that in order to achieve his goal of being a starter again, he would have to leave. "I know my clock is ticking," Milton said in an exclusive interview with ESPN. "I've only got one more year to play, and the momentum Dillon has, I wouldn't want any controversy in the locker room. He's earned the right to be the starter here at UCF. I see that, and I feel it's best for both UCF and myself that I move on elsewhere. I'm trying to chase the dream of...
December 03
December 03

New York Jets' Adam Gase admits he hasn't helped Sam Darnold develop as NFL QB

New York Jets coach Adam Gase was hired nearly two years ago in large part to groom quarterback Sam Darnold for success. On Thursday, Gase admitted for the first time that he's failing. "I came here to help him, help him develop his career, and we haven't been able to do that," said Gase, who is 7-20 and has presided over the NFL's worst offense for the better part of two seasons. His comments might seem obvious, considering the team's profound struggles, but they're noteworthy because Gase always has spoken of Darnold's progress in an optimistic fashion. His assessment comes with five games left in the season, after which the coach likely will be fired. Gase said he hopes Darnold can finish on an upswing. "That's why every game is so important," he said. "Keep trying to help him grow, keep trying to help him develop and see things the way he needs to see them and play the way I've seen him play in certain games." Gase made it clear he's not blaming Darnold for the...
December 03
December 03

Torn ACL confirmed for Pittsburgh Steelers' Bud Dupree, source says

Tests on Bud Dupree's left knee have confirmed a torn ACL, ending the Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker's season, a source confirmed to ESPN. Asked about Dupree's injury Thursday, coach Mike Tomlin said: "You can characterize it as official that Bud is out for the year with a significant knee injury." Dupree appeared to injure his knee on a noncontact play in the second half of Wednesday's 19-14 victory over the Baltimore Ravens. Playing on the one-year franchise tag, Dupree will be a free agent after this season. He followed up his breakout 2019 campaign with another strong effort this season, recording eight sacks, two forced fumbles and 26 tackles. Along with T.J. Watt, Dupree was a foundational member of the Steelers' pass rush. Steelers tight end Eric Ebron tweeted well-wishes to Dupree on Thursday, writing that he was "heavy hearted, but I know u will attack rehab/treatment and be back 100x better." Replacing Dupree...
December 03
December 03

BYU Cougars replace Liberty Flames as Coastal Carolina Chanticleers' opponent

BYU will replace Liberty as Coastal Carolina's opponent on Saturday after COVID-19 issues prevented the Flames from playing in the game. The game will kick off at 5:30 p.m. ET and air on ESPNU. Several Liberty players and staff members, including star quarterback Malik Willis, tested positive or were quarantined this week because of COVID-19. The Flames (9-1) had still hoped to play in the game, but school medical officials would not allow it and paused all team-related activities after Wednesday's test results were returned Thursday morning. BYU (9-0) and Coastal Carolina (9-0) are both ranked this week in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Cougars are No. 13, and the Chanticleers are No. 18. BYU, which last played Nov. 21, had been looking for another opponent. The Cougars weren't scheduled to play again until Dec. 12 against San Diego State. "We're grateful that this game between our two teams could be put together in such a timely...
December 03
December 03

Anthony Davis finalizing five-year, $190 million maximum contract to stay with Los Angeles Lakers

All-NBA forward Anthony Davis is finalizing a five-year, $190 million maximum contract to stay with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, Klutch Sports CEO and founder Rich Paul told ESPN. The deal includes an early-termination option prior to the fifth year of the deal in 2024-25, Paul said. Davis, a free agent, is expected to sign the contract as soon as Thursday. He considered several short- and long-term contract scenarios before accepting a full five-year, maximum offer, sources said. According to ESPN's Bobby Marks, Davis would make $32,742,000 this season, $35,361,360 in 2021-22, $37,980,720 in 2022-23, $40,600,080 in 2023-24 and $43,219,440 in the fifth year of the deal. At 27 years old, Davis is the co-star of the Lakers with LeBron James -- and the centerpiece of the franchise's long-term future. Davis' arrival in a trade with New Orleans to join James elevated the Lakers out of six straight seasons in the draft lottery and hurtled them...
December 03
December 03

Sources: BYU Cougars to replace Liberty Flames as Coastal Carolina Chanticleers' opponent

An agreement has been reached for BYU to replace Liberty as Coastal Carolina's opponent on Saturday after COVID-19 issues prevented the Flames from playing in the game, sources told ESPN. Several Liberty players and staff members, including star quarterback Malik Willis, tested positive or were quarantined this week because of COVID-19. The Flames (9-1) had still hoped to play in the game, but school medical officials would not allow it and paused all team-related activities after Wednesday's test results were returned Thursday morning. BYU (9-0) and Coastal Carolina (9-0) are both ranked this week in the College Football Playoff rankings. The Cougars are No. 13 and the Chanticleers No. 18. BYU, which last played on Nov. 21, had been looking for another opponent. The Cougars weren't scheduled to play again until Dec. 12 when they face San Diego State. ESPN's College GameDay is set to broadcast Saturday from the Coastal Carolina campus.
December 03
December 03

LSU is biggest underdog for defending national champion in past 40 college football seasons

In the past 40 seasons, no defending college football national champion has been as big of an underdog as LSU is this week against top-ranked Alabama. LSU is a consensus 29.5-point home underdog to the Crimson Tide. The line had grown to -30 at William Hill sportsbooks in Mississippi. Auburn, in 2011, is the only other team to be a 20-plus-point underdog in a game the season after winning the national championship, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The Tigers failed to cover in three such instances that season, versus Alabama, LSU and Georgia. LSU put together one of the most dominant runs ever last season. Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, the Tigers beat seven top-10 teams and boasted an overall margin of victory of 27 points en route to capturing the national championship. It has been a precipitous fall for LSU this season, with Burrow and many of teammates from last year's squad now in the NFL. The Tigers are 3-4 with...
December 03
December 03

LSU is biggest underdog for defending national champion in last 40 college football seasons

In the past 40 seasons, no defending national champion has been as big of an underdog as LSU is this week against top-ranked Alabama. LSU is a consensus 29.5-point home underdog to the Crimson Tide. The line had grown to -30 at William Hill sportsbooks in Mississippi. Auburn, in 2011, is the only other team to be a 20-plus-point underdog in a game the season after winning the national championship, according to ESPN Stats and Information. The Tigers failed to cover in three such instances that season, versus Alabama, LSU and Georgia. LSU put together one of the most dominant runs ever last season. Led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow, the Tigers beat seven top-10 teams and boasted an overall margin of victory of 27 points en route to capturing the national championship. It has been a precipitous fall for LSU this season, with Burrow and many of teammates from last year's squad now in the NFL. The Tigers are 3-4 with losses to...
December 03
December 02

Robert Griffin III wonders if player 'safety is actually being taken into account' after gutsy matinee loss

Baltimore Ravens players expressed frustration Wednesday over what has become one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in professional sports. After their 19-14 road loss to the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore players questioned a lack of preparation as well as some of the NFL's decisions during a time when at least one Ravens player tested positive for 10 straight days. "It's not about whether or not guys want to play," quarterback Robert Griffin III said after filling in for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who tested positive last week. "It's about whether or not our safety is actually being taken into account. I can't say much more than that." The Ravens-Steelers game, which was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night, was played six days later after three postponements. Baltimore was limited to walk-throughs on Monday and Tuesday after being shut out of its facility for five days. Griffin described the socially distanced...
December 02
December 02

Robert Griffin III wonders if player 'safety is actually being taken into account' after gutsy, matinee loss

Some Baltimore Ravens players expressed frustration about what has become one of the largest COVID-19 outbreaks in professional sports. After Wednesday's 19-14 loss to the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore players questioned a lack of preparation as well as some of the NFL's decisions during a time when at least one Ravens player tested positive for 10 straight days. "It's not about whether or not guys want to play," quarterback Robert Griffin III said after filling in for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson, who tested positive last week. "It's about whether or not our safety is actually being taken into account. I can't say much more than that." The Ravens-Steelers game, which was originally scheduled for Thanksgiving night, was played six days later after three postponements. The last postponement came after Ravens players said in a Monday teleconference that they didn't want to play the game Tuesday because of safety concerns, a...
December 02
December 02

Chicago Cubs make Kyle Schwarber a free agent, tender contract to Kris Bryant and others

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs non-tendered 2016 World Series hero Kyle Schwarber on Wednesday, making him a free agent after six seasons with the team, while tendering a contract to 2016 National League MVP Kris Bryant as well as shortstop Javier Baez and catcher Willson Contreras. "He wasn't surprised," new Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said of Schwarber in a video call with reporters Wednesday night. "He was disappointed. Any competitor would be." Schwarber, 27, was in his final year of arbitration, but the team let him go rather than pay him around $8 million-$9 million next season. The Cubs have not ruled out bringing him back on a lesser deal, though. "We'll definitely keep the door open," Hoyer said. "We'll continue to talk about ways to bring him back. ... We had a good conversation. He's a Cubs legend. No question about that." Schwarber hit .230 with 121 home runs in 551 regular-season games, but he'll be remembered...
December 02
December 02

Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards agree to Russell Westbrook-John Wall trade

The Washington Wizards and Houston Rockets have agreed to trade two disgruntled star point guards, John Wall and Russell Westbrook, in a blockbuster deal, the teams announced Wednesday. The Wizards are sending Wall and a lottery-protected 2023 first-round NBA draft pick to the Rockets for Westbrook in a deal that both players wanted and had been simmering for weeks. The 2023 first-round pick is lottery protected for the Wizards. If it doesn't convey in that year, it has a succession of protections that include picks Nos. 1-12 in 2024, picks 1-10 in 2025 and picks 1-8 in 2026, sources said. If it hasn't conveyed as a first-round pick to Houston by 2026, it becomes a second-round pick in each of 2026 and 2027, sources told ESPN. Discussions had been stalled since mid-November, sources said, until the two general managers, Washington's Tommy Sheppard and Houston's Rafael Stone, decided to get on the phone Tuesday afternoon. They worked out a...
December 02
December 02

Los Angeles Rams' Jared Goff vows to do better after loss, criticism

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff appears to be taking in stride the rare public criticism coach Sean McVay delivered following a Week 12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. "If he was lying I'd feel differently about it -- he's absolutely right," Goff said Wednesday after practice. "I'm a big boy, I can handle it." In the immediate aftermath of a disappointing 23-20 loss to the Rams' NFC West rival, McVay said bluntly, "Our quarterback has got to take better care of the football." A day later, McVay acknowledged that his decision to call out Goff publicly -- a departure from his typical move of assuming any blame -- "was a little bit different," but the coach added that his QB had "broad shoulders to be able to handle it." "We have a great relationship and I'm accountable for myself," said Goff, who is in his fourth season with McVay. Goff was 19-of-31 for 198 yards against the 49ers, who beat the Rams for a fourth consecutive time. He also had three...
December 02
December 02

Snoop Dogg, Triller to start new boxing league The Fight Club

Snoop Dogg is coming to boxing on a more permanent basis. The legendary rapper announced Tuesday he is partnering with Triller, an entertainment and music platform that put on Saturday's Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. fight, to create a new boxing league called The Fight Club. The league will have multiple events per year, with Snoop Dogg as the host and announcer. The Fight Club will have five to eight events per year, according to a news release issued by Snoop Dogg and Triller, with a similar layout to how Saturday's Tyson-Jones card was produced by mixing boxing and musical acts. Snoop Dogg was a commentator on the pay-per-view event and also performed, along with Wiz Khalifa, Ne-Yo and others. Snoop Dogg and Triller are now trying to build on the Tyson-Jones fight with the creation of The Fight Club. According to the release, the league will be like the Tyson-Jones card, "connecting celebrities from various backgrounds, from breakout social media stars and professional...
December 02
December 02

LA Clippers' Paul George says team wasn't prepared enough in playoff collapse

Paul George said the LA Clippers failed to make any adjustments during their stunning NBA playoff meltdown last season when they blew a 3-1 second-round series lead to the Denver Nuggets. Appearing Wednesday on the "All The Smoke" podcast with Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, a candid George talked about the Clippers' failure to do anything to stop the bleeding once Denver began its comeback, saying they were "having the same s--- happen over and over again." As coach Doc Rivers oversaw a blown 3-1 series lead for the second time during his Clippers tenure, George said the team was not prepared enough. He also said that a lack of practice time due to injuries and circumstances during the season exacerbated the collapse as players were forced to try to iron out issues on the court during playoff games. "It was tough, because we were confident," George told Jackson and Barnes when asked about the Clippers' collapse. "We went up 3-1, we felt like, we're going to win...
December 02
December 02

Frustrated Mike Tomlin calls Pittsburgh Steelers' effort in matinee win 'really junior varsity'

PITTSBURGH -- Mike Tomlin's assessment of the Pittsburgh Steelers' performance in the Wednesday matinee win against the Baltimore Ravens was blunt. "It was really junior varsity, to be quite honest with you," Tomlin said after the Steelers'  19-14 victory. "It was in all three phases. We couldn't run the ball effectively when we needed to. We dropped too many significant passes, very catchable, makeable passes. We didn't make significant plays in the special-teams game. Our kickoff coverage unit wasn't good enough. We turned the ball over. We gave up big plays in critical moments on defense. Can't have it." Tomlin continued, excoriating his undefeated team. "[The Ravens] converted a long run on a possession down before the half," he said. "Unacceptable. They had a 70-yard touchdown late in the game. Unacceptable. We're fortunate tonight. It's good to proceed with the victory. I acknowledge that. But not a lot happened tonight to be proud of or to be excited...
December 02
December 02

Jalen Suggs returns for No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs following injury scare

Jalen Suggs, the electrifying Gonzaga freshman and projected first-round NBA draft pick, suffered what appeared to be a serious-looking left ankle injury in the first half of the team's matchup against No. 11 West Virginia at the Jimmy V Classic in Indianapolis on Wednesday night but was able to return to the game in the second half.  Suggs was running toward the rim after making a pass to teammate Joel Ayayi when he appeared to slip and stumble awkwardly late in the first half. The five-star recruit was holding the back of his left ankle as coach Mark Few ran onto the court. Few helped carry the 6-foot-4 wing off the floor to the sideline. Suggs was grimacing while he sat on a seat as athletic trainers talked to him. He eventually left and walked toward the locker room without assistance and could be seen later gingerly walking back and forth in the tunnel.  But Suggs rejoined the Bulldogs on the bench in the second half and then reentered...
December 02
December 02

Jalen Suggs exits game for No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs with injury

Jalen Suggs, the electrifying Gonzaga freshman and projected first-round NBA draft pick, suffered a left ankle injury and had to be carried off the floor late in the first half of the team's matchup against No. 11 West Virginia in the Jimmy V Classic in Indianapolis on Wednesday night. Suggs was running toward the rim after making a pass to teammate Joel Ayayi when he appeared to slip and stumble awkwardly. The five-star recruit was holding the back of his left ankle as coach Mark Few ran onto the court. Few helped carry the 6-foot-4 wing off the floor to the sideline. Suggs was grimacing while he sat on a seat as athletic trainers talked to him. He eventually left and walked toward the locker room without assistance and could be seen later gingerly walking back and forth in the tunnel.  Suggs has been one of the brightest young stars in college basketball's opening week. His debut for the top-ranked Bulldogs in last week's win over Kansas...
December 02
December 02

Sources: COVID-19 issues could jeopardize Liberty-Coastal Carolina game, with BYU an option to fill in

A bout of COVID-19 issues within Liberty's football program has put the AP Top 25 matchup between the Flames and Coastal Carolina on Saturday in jeopardy, sources told ESPN. Liberty officials expect to know by Thursday if the Flames will be able to play in the game after conferring with medical officials. If Liberty is unable to play, sources told ESPN that BYU and Coastal Carolina are nearing an agreement to play instead on Saturday at Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina. ESPN's College GameDay is set to broadcast from the Coastal Carolina campus on Saturday. BYU (9-0) has only one other game scheduled, against San Diego State on Dec. 12, and hasn't played since Nov. 21. BYU, ranked No. 13 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, has been seeking additional games during the layoff. Coastal Carolina (9-0) is No. 18 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings and off to its best start in school history. The...
December 02
December 02

NBA says 48 positive for COVID-19 in initial reentry testing

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association jointly announced Wednesday night that there were 48 positive tests for COVID-19 out of the 546 players tested from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30. This was the initial round of tests for players as they returned to their teams' markets ahead of the start of individual workouts Tuesday. The regular season is scheduled to start Dec. 22. The NBA will be testing all of its players daily throughout the season. While the league's positive test rate of 8.8% in its initial testing is lower than the national average of 10.2% over the same time frame, it also is significantly higher than the 5.3% rate (16 out of 302) during the same return-to-market period in late June before play at the bubble in Orlando, Florida.  In total, 46 players tested positive for the coronavirus in the weeks leading up to and upon initially arriving at the bubble. After the bubble was formed, the league had no positive tests through the end of the season in...
December 02
December 02

Gary Bettman says NHL not trying to back out of CBA

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman pushed back on the idea that owners have asked players to renegotiate the CBA that was signed five months ago, saying it is "unfortunate and inaccurate" how conversations with the NHL Players' Association have been portrayed in the media. Speaking Wednesday at the Sports Business Journal's "Dealmakers in Sport" panel, Bettman said: "We've been absolutely unequivocal with the players that we are not trying to renegotiate." Some NHLPA members, however, told ESPN last month that they were "blindsided" when owners asked them to consider new financial structures, including deferred compensation and changes to the escrow cap. A four-year extension to the CBA was agreed to in July, along with a "return to play" plan that allowed the 2019-20 season to finish. Now, however, the sides are trying to agree to a plan to begin the 2020-21 season. Talks have stalled since owners told players that they were looking for additional cash flow, knowing they are going to...
December 02
December 02

Chris Paul primed to be more than a mentor to young Suns, chose Phoenix 'to hoop'

Another season, another fresh start for point guard Chris Paul. And another young team to take under his wing. But as he was formally introduced by the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, the 15-year veteran made sure to point out he isn't looking at his job to just be a mentor. "Everyone always talks about what I can teach [ Devin Booker] or teach some of these other guys, but they're teaching me at the same time too," Paul said. "I'm not James Naismith by no means. First things first, I'm not just coming in here trying to teach everybody. I'm his teammate. We're here to hoop, we're here to compete and that's how I approach this." Paul's leadership qualities are well documented and played a critical factor last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder as he shepherded a young roster to the fifth seed in the Western Conference. The Suns view Paul's arrival presenting a similar type of opportunity, lifting them both on the floor and off it. "We added a...
December 02
December 02

Warriors-Nets, Clippers-Lakers to tip off NBA opening night on Dec. 22

The NBA announced its national TV schedule for the first three days of the season -- Dec. 22, 23 and 25 -- Wednesday, featuring nine games involving most of the league's biggest names. Opening night will see the Warriors open the season by traveling to Brooklyn to face the Nets, in what will be Durant's first game since suffering a torn Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals and the first game he will play against his former team since joining the Nets as a free agent that summer. Golden State, meanwhile, will not have Klay Thompson, who is out for the season with his own torn Achilles, but will have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green back in the lineup, as well as the No. 2 pick in this year's draft, center James Wiseman. The second game of the doubleheader will see the defending champion Lakers receive their rings, as is customary, before facing off with their cross-the-hall rivals, the Clippers, at Staples Center. What...
December 02

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