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27 minutes ago

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield: Loss makes 4-2 feel like 0-6

BEREA, Ohio -- Baker Mayfield admitted that even though the Browns still boast a winning record, it hasn't felt like it this week following a deflating 38-7 loss to the Steelers. "The feeling throughout [our] building after that loss -- 4-2 has never felt so much like 0-6 before," the Cleveland quarterback said Wednesday. "But that's because we have very high expectations for ourselves." The Browns last held a winning record in 2014. But an otherwise strong start has been marred by blowout losses to AFC North division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh, which combined to outscore Cleveland 76-13. Despite that, ESPN's Football Power Index gives the Browns a 56.6% chance to finally snap the NFL's longest playoff drought of 18 years. According to FPI, Cleveland also faces the easiest remaining schedule in the league. "We're eager to get back to work," Mayfield said. "Fix the problems we know are within our control." Mayfield has taken the brunt of the criticism...
27 minutes ago
37 minutes ago

Ex-Michigan football player Nico Collins: 'Felt like I was in no man's land'

Former Michigan star wide receiver Nico Collins said Tuesday that while it would be "bittersweet" to watch his former team open the season at Minnesota on Saturday, he was focused on getting ready for the NFL combine. On "The Adam Schefter Podcast" on Tuesday night, Collins talked about his decision to opt out when the Big Ten postponed the football season in August, after deciding to return for his senior season. "Everything was going smooth, just as planned, until this virus outbreak," said Collins, who is currently training in Pensacola, Florida. "They canceled the season and that was heartbreaking for me," he said on the podcast. "They were saying in the spring, Thanksgiving, it was too many unknown questions to be answering. Nobody really had an answer to it. "I sat down with my family, and I just made a business decision because I felt like I was in no man's land for a minute, because I came back to play my senior season and they canceled...
37 minutes ago
1 hour ago

Carolina Panthers put kicker Joey Slye and tackle Trent Scott on reserve/COVID-19 list

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers placed kicker Joey Slye and backup offensive tackle Trent Scott on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, the third and fourth Carolina players to be added to the list since Friday. Slye and Scott have been placed on the list because they came in close contact with someone with COVID-19, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. They could be available for Sunday's game if they go five days without a positive test since their last contact with the person that tested positive. They have not been at the facility since Sunday. The move came two days after guard Michael Schofield was placed on the list and the team asked players, coaches and staff members to work remotely on Monday and Tuesday. Backup guard/center Tyler Larsen was added to the list last Friday. A league source confirmed that he came back with a positive test. The facility was reopened to players, coaches and staff members Wednesday as Carolina (3-3)...
1 hour ago
1 hour ago

Carolina Panthers put kicker Joey Slye and guard Trent Scott on reserve/COVID-19 list

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers placed kicker Joey Slye and backup offensive tackle Trent Scott on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, the third and fourth Carolina players to be added to the list since Friday. The move came two days after guard Michael Schofield was placed on the list and the team asked players, coaches and staff members to work remotely on Monday and Tuesday. Backup guard-center Tyler Larsen was added to the list last Friday. A league source confirmed that he came back with a positive test. The facility was reopened to players, coaches and staff members on Wednesday as Carolina (3-3) continued preparation for Sunday's game at  New Orleans (3-2) under the NFL's intense protocol. The protocol requires virtual meetings but allows practices as long as players wear masks or shields in addition to gloves. Slye and Schofield were not at the facility the past two days. Being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list means a...
1 hour ago
1 hour ago

Minnesota Timberwolves don't see clear choice for No. 1 NBA draft pick

The 2020 NBA draft is less than a month away, but the Minnesota Timberwolves still don't see a can't-miss guy to take with the No. 1 pick. After months of planning to make the top pick for the second time in franchise history, Timberwolves president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas is confident that the team will identify that player by Nov. 18. "The analysis is fair," Rosas said during Wednesday's videoconference availability. "There's no guy that has separated himself from the pack from public or external view, but I'm very confident that as we go through this process, the talent will rise to the top and we'll be confident about identifying one guy as the best guy, the best talented player with the most upside and most ability for our organization. Rosas said that after studying players for six to seven months, the front office feels good about the talent at the top and the depth throughout the draft.  Minnesota (19-45) also holds the 17th and 33rd draft...
1 hour ago
3 hours ago

Ex-Michigan Wolverine Nico Collins: 'Felt like I was in no man's land'

Former Michigan star wide receiver Nico Collins said Tuesday that while it would be "bittersweet" to watch his former team open the season at Minnesota on Saturday, he was focused on getting ready for the NFL combine. On "The Adam Schefter Podcast" on Tuesday night, Collins talked about his decision to opt out when the Big Ten postponed the football season in August, after deciding to return for his senior season. "Everything was going smooth, just as planned, until this virus outbreak," said Collins, who is currently training in Pensacola, Florida. "They canceled the season and that was heartbreaking for me," he said on the podcast. "They were saying in the spring, Thanksgiving, it was too many unknown questions to be answering. Nobody really had an answer to it. "I sat down with my family, and I just made a business decision because I felt like I was in no man's land for a minute, because I came back to play my senior season and they canceled...
3 hours ago
4 hours ago

Ex-Michigan Wolverine Nico Collins: 'Felt like I was in no-man's land'

Former Michigan star wide receiver Nico Collins said Tuesday that while it would be "bittersweet" to watch his former team open the season at Minnesota on Saturday, he was focused on getting ready for the NFL combine. On "The Adam Schefter Podcast" on Tuesday night, Collins talked about his decision to opt out when the Big Ten postponed the football season in August, after deciding to return for his senior season. "Everything was going smooth, just as planned, until this virus outbreak," said Collins, who is currently training in Pensacola, Florida. "They canceled the season and that was heartbreaking for me," he said on the podcast. "They were saying in the spring, Thanksgiving, it was too many unknown questions to be answering. Nobody really had an answer to it. "I sat down with my family, and I just made a business decision because I felt like I was in no-man's land for a minute, because I came back to play my senior season and they canceled...
4 hours ago
4 hours ago

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores says starting Tua Tagovailoa is what's best for team

Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores confirmed Wednesday morning that the team will start quarterback Tua Tagovailoa against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 1, after the team's bye week. As reasons for the switch, Flores cited Tagovailoa's improvement in practice and readiness as well as an overall feeling within the organization that it was time. "We feel like through practice meetings and walk-throughs that he's ready, and that's how we're going moving forward," Flores said. "[ Ryan Fitzpatrick] has done a great job. He's been productive. His leadership has been great. It's not an easy decision for me or us as an organization, but we felt like for the team now and moving forward, this is the move we needed to make." The Dolphins discussed the move Monday night with coaches and front-office personnel before making the decision to start Tagovailoa. Flores said being on the bye week helped and that Tua making his NFL debut in garbage time against...
4 hours ago
October 21

Miami Dolphins naming Tua Tagovailoa starting quarterback

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will take over as the Miami Dolphins' starter beginning Week 8 against the Los Angeles Rams, coach Brian Flores announced Wednesday. With the Dolphins currently on their bye week, it will give Tagovailoa two weeks to prepare for the transition. Tagovailoa's first NFL start will come 351 days after he suffered a dislocated right hip and posterior wall fracture. It has been a remarkable recovery from an injury that some thought could derail his ability to play high-level football again. The move comes as a bit of a surprise because of the timing. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick had been playing well, leading the Dolphins to two consecutive wins by a combined score of 67-17. He also has the seventh-best QBR (79.6) in the NFL. For the Dolphins, this is the beginning of a new era. They believe Tagovailoa is their franchise quarterback -- the one to lead them to being a consistent championship contender. That's a standard the...
October 21
October 21

Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Tony Gonsolin will start World Series Game 2

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Dodgers will start right-hander Tony Gonsolin in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night, with first pitch set for 8:08 p.m. ET at Globe Life Field. Gonsolin, who will oppose Tampa Bay Rays lefty Blake Snell, faced 11 batters and threw 41 pitches in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, and he might not be able to provide much more than a couple of innings. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his other two young starters, Julio Urias and Dustin May, will also be available out of the bullpen in Game 2, though Urias and May combined to face 14 batters in Game 7. Walker Buehler will start Game 3 on Friday; whoever is freshest among Gonsolin, May and Urias will likely take the ball in Game 4 on Saturday. Clayton Kershaw, who pitched six innings of one-run ball in Monday's 8-3 victory in Game 1, lines up on normal rest for Game 5 on Sunday.
October 21
October 21

Los Angeles Dodgers rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin will start World Series Game 2

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Dodgers will start rookie right-hander Tony Gonsolin in Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night, with first pitch set for 8:08 p.m. ET at Globe Life Field. Gonsolin, who will oppose Tampa Bay Rays lefty Blake Snell, faced 11 batters and threw 41 pitches in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, and he might not be able to provide much more than a couple of innings. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said his other two young starters, Julio Urias and Dustin May, will also be available out of the bullpen in Game 2, though Urias and May combined to face 14 batters in Game 7. Walker Buehler will start Game 3 on Friday; whoever is freshest among Gonsolin, May and Urias will likely take the ball in Game 4 on Saturday. Clayton Kershaw, who pitched six innings of one-run ball in Monday's 8-3 victory in Game 1, lines up on normal rest for Game 5 on Sunday.
October 21
October 20

Los Angeles Dodgers ride Clayton Kershaw to Game 1 World Series win

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Forget the perception. Burn the narrative.  Clayton Kershaw can pitch just fine in October, thank you very much -- and after his performance in Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Dodgers are within three wins of their first championship in 32 years. Kershaw carved through the Tampa Bay Rays' lineup, retiring 17 of the final 18 batters he faced and leading the Dodgers to an 8-3 victory in Game 1 of the 116th World Series. Over six innings, Kershaw allowed two hits and one walk while striking out eight. His lone blemish was a Kevin Kiermaier home run that wound up being of little consequence, as the Dodgers' offense spent the middle innings tagging Rays pitchers with a complement of long balls and small ball.   "Kershaw was dealing," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You see why he's going to the Hall of Fame one day."  A crowd of 11,388 stuffed the concourses at Globe Life Field with Dodgers...
October 20
October 20

Manager: Vasiliy Lomachenko battled shoulder pain in lead-up to Teofimo Lopez fight

Recently dethroned lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko underwent right shoulder surgery on Monday, according to his manager, Egis Klimas. Lomachenko previously had surgery on his right shoulder in May 2018. Klimas said this surgery was the result of both a preexisting ailment and an injury Lomachenko suffered during the second round of his decision loss to Teofimo Lopez on Saturday.  Lomachenko was very cautious in the first half of the contest, when Lopez built a significant lead on the scorecards. His late-round rally fell short, and Lomachenko lost his WBC, WBO and WBA titles. He was examined Monday by Dr. Neal ElAttrache (who oversaw his operation in 2018) and was told he would need surgery that day. Lomachenko should be able to resume training by mid-January, according to Klimas. "When he arrived to the States to prepare for the fight, he said in the Ukraine he felt the sharp pain in his right shoulder," said Klimas, who noted that an MRI didn't reveal a significant...
October 20
October 20

'Pretty good chance' Washington Football Team remains in 2021, says team president

The Washington Football Team still might be going by its placeholder name this time next year. "There's a pretty good chance we will be the Washington Football Team next season," team president Jason Wright told Washington TV station WJLA on Tuesday. The team retired the name it had used for 87 years on July 13, after launching a thorough review 10 days earlier. The temporary name was announced July 23. "I think next year is fast because of how the brand has to come together through uniforms, through approval processes through the league," Wright said Tuesday. "We could get there quicker, it's actually pretty hard to get there that quickly because of all the steps that need to happen."  For years, Washington owner Dan Snyder had resisted changing the name; he told USA Today in 2013 to "put it in all caps" that he would never make such a move. Some who worked for Snyder said they believed then that he would rather sell the team than use a new name. The...
October 20
October 20

University of Michigan stay-in-place order won't impact Wolverines athletics

The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a stay-in-place order Tuesday for University of Michigan undergraduate students beginning immediately because of a rise in COVID-19 cases, but the order will not impact athletic activity at this time. The Michigan football team travels to Minnesota for its season opener Saturday. Despite the stay-in-place order running until Nov. 3, the health department said that any students who are associated with intercollegiate varsity sports may attend practices and competitions. The order says that athletic medical staff must be present during the entire process and that a staff member "actively supervises the team's COVID-19 mitigation activities during the practice, has the authority to suspend the practice if he or she believes COVID-19 mitigation practices require that result, and testing is conducted per governing athletic organizations' (i.e. Big 10) policies." As of Monday, Washtenaw County -- where the University of...
October 20
October 20

University of Michigan stay in place order won't impact Wolverines athletics

The Washtenaw County Health Department issued a stay in place order Tuesday for University of Michigan undergraduate students beginning immediately due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, but the order will not impact athletic activity at this time. The Michigan football team travels to Minnesota for its season opener Saturday. Despite the stay in place order running until Nov. 3, the health department stated that any students who are associated with intercollegiate varsity sports may attend practices and competitions. The order says that athletic medical staff must be present during the entire process and "Actively supervises the team's COVID-19 mitigation activities during the practice, has the authority to suspend the practice if he or she believes COVID-19 mitigation practices require that result, and testing is conducted per governing athletic organizations' (i.e. Big 10) policies." As of Monday, Washtenaw County -- where the University of Michigan is located -- has...
October 20
October 20

Khabib Nurmagomedov: Only want Georges St-Pierre bout after Justin Gaethje

UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov said Tuesday that Georges St-Pierre is the only person he'd be motivated to fight after Saturday's bout against interim champ Justin Gaethje. "I really become excited when I think about Georges St-Pierre," Nurmagomedov said on ESPN's First Take. "I don't know if he wants to fight with me or not, can he make weight -- 155 or not -- but this fight makes me excited, honestly. "And I think me vs. Georges is going to be very, very big fight. Like big fight for fans, big fight for pay-per-view, big fight for analytics, for everybody. This is only fight in UFC, after Gaethje, that makes me very excited." Nurmagomedov (28-0) will be favored when he puts his perfect record on the line against Gaethje (22-2) in the main event of UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi. There has been speculation that Nurmagomedov's next opponent would be the winner of the proposed bout between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier on Jan. 23....
October 20
October 20

Indiana Pacers hire Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as head coach

The Indiana Pacers have agreed to a multiyear deal to hire Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as their head coach, sources told ESPN. The Pacers officially named Bjorkgren as their new head coach Tuesday but did not disclose terms of his deal. Bjorkgren, a disciple of reigning NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse, sold the Pacers on his history of innovation, adaptability and winning in his time as an NBA assistant and G League head coach, according to sources. "We are very pleased and excited to have Nate as our new coach," Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement released by the team. "This was an extensive and thorough search, and when we reached the conclusion, we felt strongly Nate is the right coach for us at the right time. He comes from a winning background, has experienced championship success, is innovative and his communication skills along with his positivity are tremendous. We all look forward to a long,...
October 20
October 20

Sources: Indiana Pacers to hire Nate Bjorkgren as head coach

The Indiana Pacers have agreed to a multiyear deal to hire Toronto Raptors assistant Nate Bjorkgren as their head coach, sources told ESPN. Bjorkgren, a disciple of reigning NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse, sold the Pacers on his history of innovation, adaptability and winning in his time as an NBA assistant and G League head coach, according to sources. Bjorkgren worked with Nurse in two stops in the G League, winning a title with him in 2011 in Iowa. Bjorkgren reached the G League Finals as head coach of Santa Cruz in 2013 before arriving in the NBA in 2015 as an assistant with the Phoenix Suns. Bjorkgren, 45, reunited with Nurse in Toronto in July 2018 and was a part of his staff in the Raptors' championship season. The Pacers are replacing Nate McMillan, who was dismissed after four consecutive trips to the playoffs. McMillan had a 183-136 record in Indiana, including 3-16 in the postseason. The Pacers have made five consecutive postseason...
October 20
October 20

Jerry Jones 'not in feel-good mood' about Dallas Cowboys' 2-4 record despite NFC East lead

FRISCO, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys woke up Tuesday in first place in the NFC East, despite a 2-4 record following their 38-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. That is not enough to make even the eternal optimist, owner and general manager Jerry Jones, truly happy. "I'm not in a feel-good mood, frankly, that we've got manna from heaven being in the East," Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. "These things have a way of evening out as you go along. Certainly, the NFC East is having its challenges now. ... When you're not playing better than we are, it's hard for me to basically look at the end game, which is win the East, and get excited that we're better. [That] 'we may be slow, but we're ahead of you' syndrome. We've got to get better to have the kind of season that makes sense for us." Dallas remains ahead of the Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1), New York Giants (1-5) and Washington Football Team (1-5) in the woeful NFC East. The...
October 20
October 20

Source: Miami Dolphins naming Tua Tagovailoa starting quarterback

Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will take over as the Miami Dolphins' starter beginning Week 8 against the Los Angeles Rams, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. With the Dolphins currently on their bye week, it will give Tagovailoa two weeks to prepare for the transition. Tagovailoa's first NFL start will come 351 days after he suffered a dislocated right hip and posterior wall fracture. It has been a remarkable recovery from an injury that some thought could derail his ability to play high-level football again. The move comes as a bit of a surprise because of the timing. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick had been playing well, leading the Dolphins to two consecutive wins by a combined score of 67-17. He also has the seventh-best QBR (79.6) in the NFL. For the Dolphins, this is the beginning of a new era. They believe Tagovailoa is their franchise quarterback -- the one to lead them to being a consistent championship contender. That's a standard the...
October 20
October 20

Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott takes blame for blowout loss to Arizona Cardinals

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was not blaming any part of Monday night's 38-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals on quarterback Dak Prescott's absence. He was putting it all on himself. "I don't think we can use that as an excuse," Elliott said of not having Prescott, who suffered a season-ending compound fracture and dislocated right ankle in Week 5. "I'm just going to keep saying it over and over -- I started the game out with two fumbles, gave the ball away and gave them all the momentum they need to go take off. I want to say I'm sorry and this one is on me. I need to be better." Elliott finished with 49 yards on 12 carries and caught a team-high eight passes but for just 31 yards. However, it was fumbles on back-to-back drives in the first and second quarters that changed the game. The first fumble came after catching a short pass from Andy Dalton on second down, but safety Budda Baker...
October 20
October 20

Ex-Astros GM Jeff Luhnow again denies role in Houston Astros' sign-stealing scandal

Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, in an interview that aired on Monday, once again denied that he knew about the team's sign stealing in 2017 and '18, and said individuals who were involved with the scandal are still working for the club. Luhnow, in his first public comments since issuing a statement after being fired in January, told Houston TV station KPRC he got access to 22,000 text messages from Astros video room personnel after he was fired because of the scandal. He said the messages clearly show the scope of the cheating and exonerate him from wrongdoing. "It's pretty clear who was involved in the video-decoding scheme, when it started, how often it happened and basically when it ended. And it's also pretty clear who was not involved," Luhnow said. "And I don't know why that information, that evidence, wasn't discussed in the ruling, wasn't used. The people who were involved that didn't leave naturally to go to other teams are all...
October 20
October 19

Kyler Murray's run of success at Dallas' AT&T Stadium continues as Arizona Cardinals roll

All Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray does at AT&T Stadium is win. Murray improved to 7-0 all time at the stadium through high school, college and the NFL after leading the Cardinals to a 38-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Monday. AT&T Stadium is 41 miles from Murray's hometown of Allen, Texas. He went 5-0 in high school there, including three straight state championships in Texas' highest level of prep football; 1-0 in college, leading Oklahoma to a Big 12 championship; and 1-0 so far in the NFL. "It was fun," Murray said. "It brought back a lot of memories. It felt like I'd been playing there every Sunday, honestly. It was comfortable, felt good." Murray made another memory Monday. He threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns on 9-for-24 passing, including an 80-yard touchdown to wide receiver Christian Kirk, the second of two touchdown passes to Kirk, who had 164 yards and six touchdowns in three games at AT&T Stadium while at...
October 19
October 19

Dallas Cowboys right guard Zack Martin exits with concussion

ARLINGTON, Texas - The Dallas Cowboys have lost another starter on their offense with Pro Bowl right guard Zack Martin suffering a concussion with 5:07 left in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals. He was ruled out as the second half began with the Cowboys trailing, 21-3. Martin spent a considerable amount of time in the blue tent getting looked at by the medical staff. He headed to the locker room at the start of the second quarter. The Cowboys are playing their first game without quarterback Dak Prescott, who suffered a compound fracture and dislocated right ankle in last week's win against the New York Giants. The Cowboys placed Prescott on injured reserve on Monday and he faces a 4-6 month recovery period. A once-vaunted offensive line is now gutted. Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick retired in the offseason. Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith had season-ending neck surgery last week. Right tackle La'el Collins is on injured...
October 19
October 19

Josh Allen shoulders blame for Buffalo Bills' recent struggles, says team 'can't afford to have me play poorly'

After a 4-0 start to the season during which Josh Allen resembled a possible MVP candidate, the Buffalo Bills have now dropped two games in a row, with their struggling quarterback acknowledging, "This team can't afford to have me play poorly." Playing in his second consecutive prime-time game Monday night, Allen completed just 14 of 27 passes for 122 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs in a performance reminiscent of his 2018 and 2019 seasons. Although he threw two touchdown passes, he also recorded his fourth interception of the season and missed receivers throughout the game, culminating in a 26-17 loss in Orchard Park, New York. The third-year quarterback took responsibility for his performance, directly tying his team's success -- or lack thereof -- to his play. "We weren't good enough -- I was not good enough. I got to do a better job, it's plain and simple," Allen said. "I didn't play very good tonight. I know that. I understand that. This...
October 19
October 19

Kansas City Chiefs turn to ground game in win, RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushes for 161 vs. Buffalo Bills

When Patrick Mahomes saw how the Buffalo Bills were defending him and the Kansas City Chiefs in Monday night's 26-17 win, it caused him to flash back. "It takes me back to my college days at Texas Tech when we're getting [eight defenders in pass coverage] and the linebackers are 6, 7 yards deep,'' Mahomes said. "If teams are going to do that, we've got to run the football until they come up, and when they come up, we're going to throw the football again. "Once we saw how deep their linebackers and safeties and corners were playing, we knew that we had the run game. So we really just stayed with it, and if teams are going to play us like this, you're going to see us run the football, and we have the guys that can do it.'' The Chiefs (5-1) ran the ball more than they threw it for only the second time in Mahomes' 37 starts. They were rewarded for the strategy with a victory. Mahomes was still efficient as a passer, going 21-of-26 with two first-half...
October 19
October 19

Source -- Tennessee Titans face potential fine as NFL concludes COVID-19 review

The NFL has informed the Tennessee Titans that its review of how the team handled its coronavirus outbreak has concluded. The organization will face a potential fine, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Individuals will not be disciplined, and there was no discussion of forfeiture of draft picks, according to Schefter. The team was fully cooperative, as the league inspected the facility and found it to be in compliance. There were incidents of people not wearing masks, but there was insufficient communication regarding player workouts outside the facility.
October 19
October 19

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick says San Francisco 49ers TE George Kittle 'as good as anybody that I've coached'

SANTA CLARA, Calif. --  New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has coached against his share of elite tight ends in a professional career that began in 1975. But when Belichick looks at the  San Francisco 49ers'  George Kittle, he sees one who stands with -- or above -- the best of them. "Kittle is a great player," Belichick said. "He does everything well. I'd put him right at the top of the league there, period. His ability to run, catch, get open, after the catch, block, he does everything at a high level. He's as good as anybody that I've coached or as good as anybody that we've played against." That's high praise from Belichick, who has been the head coach of the Patriots since 2000 and spent most of the rest of his career as either a defensive coordinator or a defensive position coach. It's particularly notable since Belichick coached four-time All-Pro Rob Gronkowski in New England from 2010 to 2018. Gronkowski is regarded by many as the...
October 19
October 19

Source -- Tennessee Titans face potential fine as NFL concludes COVID review

The NFL has informed the Tennessee Titans that its review of how the team handled its coronavirus outbreak has concluded. The organization will face a potential fine, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Individuals will not be disciplined, and there was no discussion of forfeiture of draft picks, according to Schefter. The team was fully cooperative, as the league inspected the facility and found it to be in compliance. There were incidents of people not wearing masks, but there was insufficient communication regarding player workouts outside the facility.
October 19
October 19

Dallas Cowboys' Leighton Vander Esch cleared to play Monday night

FRISCO, Texas -- Leighton Vander Esch is back. The Dallas Cowboys activated the linebacker from injured reserve in time to play Monday against the Arizona Cardinals, five weeks after Vander Esch had surgery to repair a broken collarbone suffered in the season opener against the Los Angeles Rams. Vander Esch has practiced the past two weeks and went through three full workouts, including one full-padded session, leading into the Cardinals game. Vander Esch had four tackles before he was hurt in the first quarter against the Rams. Jaylon Smith took over as the defensive signal-caller in Vander Esch's absence, and Joe Thomas moved into his middle linebacker spot. On Saturday, coach Mike McCarthy said he was encouraged that Vander Esch would be able to return after he made it through two practices without any issue. Asked how Vander Esch looked following last Friday's practice, Smith said, "He looks like the Wolf Hunter himself. I'm...
October 19
October 19

Michigan Wolverines WR Nico Collins not with football team, coach Jim Harbaugh says

Michigan star wide receiver Nico Collins, who hasn't commented on his status since reportedly signing with an agent in September, is no longer with the team, coach Jim Harbaugh said Monday. "Nico is not participating in football right now," Harbaugh said. "I don't have a crystal ball as to if his mind would change on that. I know he's not currently on the team." Collins had 78 receptions for 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns over his three-year career and originally announced his intent to return for his senior season. He had 37 catches for 729 yards and seven scores last year but reportedly decided to opt out of this season before the Big Ten announced its plans to return. It's a significant loss for a team that also had to replace quarterback Shea Patterson, four starting offensive linemen and wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who decided to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Still, Harbaugh said his other receivers have been "really good" this...
October 19
October 19

Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez to start opener against Ohio State

Nebraska junior quarterback Adrian Martinez will start this week's opener against No. 5 Ohio State, coach Scott Frost said Monday. Martinez, who had a record-setting freshman season in 2018 for Nebraska but struggled at times in 2019, will take the first snaps after competing with redshirt freshman Luke McCaffrey in the preseason. Frost repeatedly praised McCaffrey on Monday, saying Nebraska feels like it has "two first-string quarterbacks" entering the season. Martinez's experience, with 21 career starts and 5,817 yards of total offense, made the difference in the decision. "If Luke had already been playing and we had the same camp, it probably would have been Luke," Frost said. "We feel we have the luxury of two starters." Martinez on Sunday was named a team captain for the second straight year. His passing numbers dropped from 2018 to 2019, when he had 1,956 yards with 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while his rushing production remained steady...
October 19
October 19

Carolina Panthers working virtually on Monday, Tuesday after unconfirmed positive test

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have instructed players, coaches and other staff to work virtually from home on Monday and Tuesday after receiving an unconfirmed positive test result for COVID-19. The training room at Bank of America Stadium was open to essential personnel and players such as running back Christian McCaffrey (high ankle sprain) who are going through treatment. The person with the unconfirmed test was retested on Monday. Results of that test aren't expected until Tuesday, so at this time nobody has been added to the NFL's COVID-19 list. The team currently plans to have players, coaches and staff return to the facility on Wednesday. Team spokesperson Steven Drummond said the decision to have other personnel work remotely was made out of an "abundance of caution.'' He said the team remained under the intense protocol it entered Wednesday after playing an Atlanta team that had a player test positive for coronavirus after the teams met on Oct. 11. On...
October 19
October 19

Michigan Wolverines WR Nico Collins not with football team, Jim Harbaugh says

Michigan star wide receiver Nico Collins, who hasn't commented on his status since reportedly signing with an agent in September, is no longer with the team, coach Jim Harbaugh said on Monday. "Nico is not participating in football right now," Harbaugh said. "I don't have a crystal ball as to if his mind would change on that. I know he's not currently on the team." No. 18 Michigan opens its season on Saturday at No. 21 Minnesota. Collins had 78 receptions for 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns over his three-year career, and originally announced his intent to return for his senior season. He had 37 catches for 729 yards and seven scores last year but reportedly decided to opt out this season before the Big Ten announced its plans to return. It's a significant loss for a team that also had to replace quarterback Shea Patterson, four starting offensive linemen, and receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who decided to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft....
October 19
October 19

Michigan Wolverines WR Nico Collins not with team, Jim Harbaugh says

Michigan star receiver Nico Collins, who hasn't commented on his status since reportedly signing with an agent in September, is no longer with the team, coach Jim Harbaugh said on Monday. "Nico is not participating in football right now," Harbaugh said. "I don't have a crystal ball as to if his mind would change on that. I know he's not currently on the team." No. 18 Michigan opens its season on Saturday at No. 21 Minnesota. Collins had 78 receptions for 1,388 yards and 13 touchdowns over his three-year career, and originally announced his intent to return for his senior season. He had 37 catches for 729 yards and seven scores last year, but reportedly decided to opt out this season before the Big Ten announced its plans to return. It's a significant loss for a team that also had to replace quarterback Shea Patterson, four starting offensive linemen, and receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones, who decided to skip his senior season and enter the NFL draft. Still, Harbaugh...
October 19
October 19

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz expected out 3-4 weeks; RB Miles Sanders likely out vs. Giants

Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is expected to miss three to four weeks with an ankle injury, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen on Monday. A source told ESPN's Adam Schefter that Ertz suffered a high ankle sprain. Sources told Mortensen that the Eagles are also expected to be without running back Miles Sanders for Thursday's game against the New York Giants because of a knee injury. Both players were injured during Sunday's 30-28 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Ertz tried to reenter the game after initially injuring his ankle and having it taped, but he pulled up while running a route in the fourth quarter and was unable to finish. Sanders was hurt on his 74-yard run in the third quarter when he was tackled from behind by DeShon Elliott. He left the game and did not return. During his media availability Monday, coach Doug Pederson said he did not have any update on Ertz or Sanders but that he expected to have more...
October 19
October 19

Charles Barkley, Stephen Curry replace Tiger Woods, Tom Brady for latest charity golf match

Phil Mickelson will take part in another high-profile charity golf match, but this time Tiger Woods will not be part of it. Charles Barkley will partner with Mickelson in a match against Stephen Curry and Peyton Manning on Nov. 27 at Stone Canyon Golf Club in Arizona. Called Capital One's The Match: Champions for Change, the format will be modified alternate shot and will begin at 3 p.m. ET the day after Thanksgiving. The event will be televised by Turner Sports on TNT. Mickelson and Woods staged a high-profile match two years ago in Las Vegas, with Mickelson emerging as a $9 million winner. They joined forces again in May with Manning and Tom Brady in a match that raised more than $10 million for coronavirus relief efforts. Proceeds for this November's match will go to historically Black colleges and universities. "While we may need a handicap for Chuck, I'm looking forward to playing with Peyton and Stephen and to help raise money for another...
October 19
October 19

Tennessee Titans LT Taylor Lewan confirms he suffered torn ACL

Tennessee Titans star left tackle Taylor Lewan confirmed Monday that he has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Lewan tweeted that an MRI taken Monday confirmed the ACL tear, adding: "Don't feel sorry for me, I'm going to handle this rehab like a Pro and come back better than ever." Lewan suffered the injury in the third quarter of Sunday's overtime victory over the Houston Texans. Tennessee rallied without the three-time Pro Bowler to improve to 5-0. "Disappointed for Taylor," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Monday. "He worked extremely hard. We're confident that he'll be back. But that's kinda what we've done; that's all we really know. That's how we try to operate is that we'll get the next guy in there, and we'll see what's best and try to move forward with the next guy in there." Lewan played 226 offensive snaps for the Titans this season. He played 40 snaps before suffering the injury Sunday. The Titans gained an average of 3.9 yards per rushing...
October 19
October 19

Tennessee Titans LT Tyler Lewan confirms he suffered torn ACL

Tennessee Titans star left tackle Taylor Lewan confirmed Monday that he has a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Lewan tweeted that and MRI taken Monday confirmed the ACL tear and added: "Don't feel sorry for me, I'm going to handle this rehab like a Pro and come back better than ever." Lewan suffered the injury in the third quarter of Sunday's overtime victory over the Houston Texans. Tennessee rallied without the three-time Pro Bowler to improve to 5-0. "I can't wait to watch my guys crush it," Lewan said Monday in a follow-up tweet. "I'm going to be the biggest titans fan each and every Sunday. We are doing something special here and this small set back doesn't change a thing!" Now in his seventh season, the 29-year-old Lewan has been selected to three Pro Bowls. Also, Titans tight end Jonnu Smith is dealing with a "minor" ankle sprain and is expected to be considered questionable for Sunday's game against the Steelers, a source told...
October 19
October 19

Source: New Orleans Saints still playing at Superdome for now

METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints will remain at home in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers, a source confirmed to ESPN. Although the Saints and the NFL have talked with officials in Baton Rouge about the idea of moving games to LSU's Tiger Stadium so fans can be in attendance, that would require ample preparation time. The earliest it could happen is November -- and likely not until Week 11 against the Atlanta Falcons on Nov. 22. The Saints' next home game after Carolina is Week 10 on Nov. 15 against the San Francisco 49ers. But LSU is hosting Alabama the day before, and it would be difficult to host both games in Tiger Stadium on back-to-back days. The Athletic was first to report that Sunday's game will remain in New Orleans. The Saints have not made any official announcements. The Saints would like a limited number of fans to be allowed in the Superdome. But so far New Orleans...
October 19
October 19

New England Patriots QB Cam Newton says 'no need to press the panic button' after loss to Denver Broncos

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- After the New England Patriots slipped under .500 for the first time this deep into a season since 2002, quarterback Cam Newton expressed confidence in a turnaround. "There's no need to press the panic button. There's no need to start reinventing the wheel. We have the answers in that locker room," Newton said Monday morning in his weekly interview on sports radio WEEI. The Patriots' 18-12 loss to the visiting Denver Broncos on Sunday came after the team had just two practices over a two-week span because of positive COVID-19 tests. Newton noted that the lack of practice showed in the passing game but added that there are no excuses. Newton was 17-of-25 for 157 yards with two interceptions in the loss. He noted that his timing was off, which resulted in his holding the ball too long at times. He was sacked four times. "I just have to be better, and I can't stress that enough moving forward. The anticipation was off. I think...
October 19
October 19

Los Angeles Dodgers favored over Tampa Bay Rays to win World Series

Sportsbooks have installed the Los Angeles Dodgers as the favorites over the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series. After the Dodgers finished off the Atlanta Braves on Sunday, sportsbook operator William Hill U.S. made the Dodgers -210 favorites to beat the Rays in the series, which begins Tuesday. By Monday morning, the consensus price to bet the Dodgers had settled at -195, with the underdog Rays fetching +165 odds. When the revised season was announced in June, the Dodgers were listed as co-favorites with the New York Yankees to win the World Series. The Dodgers remained at the top of oddsboards throughout the abbreviated regular season and have been the betting favorite in every game, including in the postseason. They became the eighth team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a league championship series and are now headed to the franchise's 21st World Series. While the Dodgers have been wire-to-wire favorites, the Rays have been underdogs...
October 19
October 19

Mike 'Doc' Emrick retiring as hockey play-by-play broadcaster

Longtime NHL announcer Mike "Doc" Emrick is retiring as a broadcaster Monday. "I hope I can handle retirement OK, especially since I've never done it before," Emrick told the New York Post. "But I've just been extremely lucky for 50 years. And NBC has been so good to me, especially since the pandemic, when I was allowed to work from home in a studio NBC created. "Now, into my golden years, this just seemed to be the time that was right." Affectionately known as "Doc" for his doctorate in communications, Emrick, 74, has been the preeminent voice for NHL games on NBC and NBC Sports for 15 years. He served as the play-by-play announcer for the New Jersey Devils for 21 seasons. Emrick's résumé includes calling 22 Stanley Cup Finals and winning eight Sports Emmy Awards for play-by-play, including seven straight from 2014 to 2020. He had stints at ESPN and ABC as well as Fox and CBS and at six Olympic Winter Games. In 2008, Emrick was inducted to the Hockey Hall of...
October 19
October 19

Cody Bellinger's go-ahead HR in Game 7 completes Los Angeles Dodgers' comeback to reach World Series

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Comebacks complete, crises averted, the Los Angeles Dodgers are back in the World Series, determined to do what they couldn't the past two times they tried: end a championship drought of more than three decades. Cody Bellinger's mammoth, seventh-inning home run unknotted a tense, tied game, and Julio Urias vanquished the vaunted Atlanta Braves lineup for the final nine outs in the Dodgers' 4-3 win in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series on Sunday night. Once trailing 3-1 in the series -- and down for the first five innings of Game 7 -- the Dodgers clawed back with their not-so-secret weapon: the home run. Los Angeles hit 16 in the series, tying an LCS record, and rode  Kiké Hernandez's pinch-hit shot in the sixth, followed by Bellinger's an inning later, to hand Atlanta its latest sporting gut punch. Urias, typically a starter but pitching in a fireman role, was dynamic over the final three innings...
October 19
October 18

New York Jets' Adam Gase: 'I wasn't happy' about defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' veiled shot at offense

New York Jets coach Adam Gase, trying to keep his winless team from fracturing, wasn't pleased that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams took a veiled shot at the offense when speaking to reporters Friday. Gase addressed Williams' comments Sunday night after a 24-0 loss to the Miami Dolphins, which dropped the Jets to 0-6. "I wasn't happy about it, but we talked about it," Gase said. "Right now, our players are doing such a good job as far as trying to get things righted. It's just that everything we say, it matters. He understood that we have to set the right example." With the season spiraling, the coaches have emphasized to players the importance of not pointing fingers. Williams seemed to do just that with a cryptic remark about the struggling offense, which is run by Gase. On Friday, Williams was prompted by a reporter who noted the Jets were allowing 32 points per game. The fiery defensive coordinator replied, "It's not a very good number -- and a...
October 18
October 18

Joe Thornton got advice from Joe Montana about leaving Bay Area

While considering a move to the Toronto Maple Leafs as a free agent, center Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks sought as much advice as possible. He spoke with family and friends. He spoke with Joe Pavelski and Patrick Marleau, former San Jose teammates who left the team via free agency. But Thornton said the most memorable guidance he received was from another Bay Area sports legend. "I actually talked to Joe Montana. I think Joe gave me some good advice. He just talked about leaving San Francisco and going to Kansas City," said Thornton, who signed a one-year deal with the Leafs on Friday. In 1993, Montana requested a trade from the 49ers, who shipped the 37-year-old quarterback to Kansas City, where he finished his career with the Chiefs. "I had so many people I talked to over the last week. I'm just blessed I had a chance to talk to some great people. He was one guy who offered me some good advice," Thornton said.   ...
October 18
October 18

Tua Tagovailoa makes NFL debut in Miami Dolphins' blowout win

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Dolphins crowd rose to its feet, making more noise than it had at any point during a  24-0 victory over the Jets as rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa jogged onto the field for his first NFL action. Ryan Fitzpatrick waved his arms up and down in hopes of pumping up the crowd even louder. Other teammates clapped and hugged the sideline in anticipation. Nearly a year since Tagovailoa suffered a scary, potentially career-ending hip injury at Alabama on Nov. 16, 2019, it was Tua Time. In the final minutes of the game, Dolphins coach Brian Flores told Tagovailoa to warm up, and with a little over two minutes left, Tagovailoa entered the game, throwing his first two NFL passes, both completions. Chants of "Tua" rang out as he ran onto the field. "I know there was some excitement when he went in. I'm happy for Tua," Flores said. Fitzpatrick added: "That was just a cool moment for him, just the reception from the crowd...
October 18
October 18

Tua Tagovailoa makes NFL debut in Miami Dolphins' blowout

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins crowd rose to its feet making more noise than it had at any point during a 24-0 victory over the New York Jets as rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa jogged onto the field for his first NFL action. Ryan Fitzpatrick waved his arms up and down in hopes of pumping up the crowd even louder. Other teammates clapped and hugged the sideline in anticipation. Nearly a year since Tagovailoa suffered a scary potentially career-ending hip injury at Alabama on Nov. 16, 2019, it was Tua Time. In the final minutes of the game, Dolphins coach Brian Flores told Tagovailoa to warm up and with a little over two minutes left, Tagovailoa entered the game, throwing his first two NFL passes, both completions. Chants of "Tua" rang out as he ran onto the field. "I know there was some excitement when he went in. I'm happy for Tua," Flores said. Fitzpatrick added: "That was just a cool moment for him, just the reception from the...
October 18
October 18

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers no match for Tampa Bay Buccaneers' defense, picked off twice in loss

Don't tell Aaron Rodgers that Super Bowl LV is at Raymond James Stadium. That hasn't been the Green Bay Packers quarterback's happy place. Twice he has left Tampa, Florida, injured: a shoulder in 2008 and a calf in 2014. He showed up there Sunday hoping for something different, saying last week: "I'm hoping the third time is the charm." There was nothing charming about Sunday. Rodgers threw a pair of interceptions, including a rare pick-six, and the Packers (4-1) lost for the first time this season, 38-10 to Tom Brady and the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2). "You don't ever want to lose like this," Rodgers said. "I felt like we needed a little bit of a wake-up call at some point this season because things have been so good and there's been so much talk maybe outside the building about the ease with which we're moving the ball on offense and scoring. I think we needed kind of a kick in the ass a little bit. "There's a little bit of wake-up to...
October 18

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