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1 hour ago

Carolina Panthers 'very open' to moving back from No. 8 spot in NFL draft

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Carolina Panthers have talked to "at least five teams" about trading back from the No. 8 pick in Thursday's NFL draft. "We're very open to moving back," general manager Scott Fitterer said Friday in a pre-draft Zoom call with coach Matt Rhule. "It just depends on how the first seven picks go." Fitterer has been consistent since arriving at Carolina in January after 20 seasons with Seattle in saying that there's usually a drop-off in the level of talent after the top 15 to 19 picks. He says it's no different this year, adding that he has 16 players with first-round grades on them. Fitterer also has talked consistently about the value in building a championship team as Seattle did by trading back to pick up additional picks. The best-case scenario for Carolina trading back would be if one or more of the top five quarterbacks falls to No. 8 because then there would be more value for that pick. For example, if Ohio State quarterback  ...
1 hour ago
1 hour ago

Former Chicago Bears Super Bowl champion Steve McMichael reveals ALS diagnosis

CHICAGO -- Steve McMichael, the charismatic former  Chicago Bears Super Bowl champion defensive lineman and ex-WCW professional wrestler, revealed in an interview with the Chicago Tribune that doctors diagnosed him with ALS three months ago. "I promise you, this epitaph that I'm going to have on me now? This ain't ever how I envisioned this was going to end," McMichael told the newspaper. McMichael, 63, now uses a specialized wheelchair -- that Bears ownership volunteered to pay for -- after the disease left him unable to use his arms and his legs significantly weakened. "What I used to be is the antithesis of what I am now," said McMichael, nicknamed "Mongo" in tribute to Alex Karras' character in Mel Brooks' 1974 comedy, "Blazing Saddles." "This is a humbling thing, brother." The five-time All-Pro was drafted in the third round by the New England Patriots in 1980 but became a legend in Chicago, where he started 191 consecutive games and starred on...
1 hour ago
2 hours ago

NFL draft night hugs: Goodell fully vaccinated, given OK for hands-on congratulations

After an all-virtual 2020 NFL draft, commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are ready to embrace a return to normal. Goodell has been vaccinated and given the go-ahead to hug, high-five, shake hands and dap up players selected in next week's draft. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced players to celebrate the draft at their own individual setups, while Goodell announced picks from his own basement. Vaccination efforts and a relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow this year's draft to look more like the ones of years past. Cleveland will host the 2021 draft, with the first round of the three-day event beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday and aired live on ESPN and the ESPN App.
2 hours ago
2 hours ago

NFL draft night hugs: Goodell fully vaccinated, given OK for hands-on approach

After an all-virtual 2020 NFL draft, commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are ready to embrace a return to normal. Goodell has been vaccinated and given the go-ahead to hug, high-five, shake hands and dap up players selected in next week's draft. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced players to celebrate the draft at their own individual setups, while Goodell announced picks from his own basement. Vaccination efforts and a relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow this year's draft to look more like the ones of years past. Cleveland will host the 2021 draft, with the first round of the three-day event beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday and aired live on ESPN and the ESPN App.
2 hours ago
2 hours ago

Commissioner Roger Goodell fully vaccinated, given OK to hug players on NFL draft night

After an all-virtual 2020 NFL draft, commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are ready to embrace a return to normal. Goodell has been vaccinated and given the go-ahead to hug, high-five, shake hands and dap up players selected in next week's draft. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced players to celebrate the draft at their own individual setups, while Goodell announced picks from his own basement. Vaccination efforts and a relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow this year's draft to look more like the ones of years past. Cleveland will host the 2021 draft, with the first round of the three-day event beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday and aired live on ESPN and the ESPN App.
2 hours ago
3 hours ago

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fully vaccinated, given OK to hug players on draft night

After an all-virtual 2020 NFL draft, commissioner Roger Goodell and the league are ready to embrace a return to normal. Goodell has been vaccinated and given the go-ahead to hug, high-five, shake hands and dap up players selected in next week's draft. Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced players to celebrate the draft at their own individual set-ups, while Goodell announced picks from his own basement. Vaccination efforts and a relaxing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow this year's draft to look more like the ones of years past. Cleveland will host the 2021 draft, with the first round of the three-day event beginning at 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 29 and aired live on ESPN and the ESPN App.
3 hours ago
4 hours ago

Simone Biles leaving Nike to partner with Athleta

Simone Biles is leaving Nike to join Athleta, which will help sponsor a post-Olympics tour that she's organizing herself, rather than one that's usually run by USA Gymnastics. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Biles said that she hopes the partnership will allow her to participate in "honest conversations" with women and girls, and felt Athleta was a better avenue to continue to drive home the message of causes she believes in. "I felt like it wasn't just about my achievements, it's what I stood for and how they were going to help me use my voice and also be a voice for females and kids," Biles told the Journal. "I feel like they also support me, not just as an athlete, but just as an individual outside of the gym and the change that I want to create, which is so refreshing." The deal, announced Friday, includes a line of active wear, plus other sponsorship considerations. Athleta was founded in 1998 and is owned by Gap Inc. Biles noted that she felt like she...
4 hours ago
April 23

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Justin Layne arrested, faces felony gun charge

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Justin Layne was arrested Friday morning. Layne was arrested on suspicion of felony transportation of a firearm inside of a vehicle, according to jail records in Lake County, Ohio. He was also charged with two misdemeanors -- driving with a suspended license and exceeding speed limits. Layne was booked just after 3 a.m. Friday. Police said they initially stopped Layne for going 89 mph in a 60 mph zone. "We are aware of the incident but still gathering information," the Steelers said in a statement. "We will have no further comment at this time." Pittsburgh drafted Layne in the third round of the 2019 draft out of Michigan State. The 23-year-old appeared in 16 games last season and had 22 total tackles. Layne's arrest occurred less than 20 miles northeast of Cleveland, where he went to high school. Layne was granted release on a personal bond. His next court date is scheduled for May 5, according to court records.
April 23
April 23

Source: Cleveland Browns exercise Baker Mayfield's fifth-year option

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns have exercised the fifth-year option on the contract of quarterback Baker Mayfield, a source told ESPN. The move extends Mayfield's contract in Cleveland through 2022, when he'll make $18.86 million. Last season, Mayfield -- the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL draft -- quarterbacked the Browns to their first playoff victory in 26 years. In that 48-37 win over the Steelers, Mayfield passed for 263 yards and three touchdowns as the Browns snapped a 17-game losing streak in Pittsburgh during their first playoff appearance since 2002. Mayfield finished last season ranked 10th in the league in QBR, with 26 touchdown passes and only eight interceptions. From Week 7 to Week 15, he was actually third in QBR, trailing only last season's MVP ( Aaron Rodgers) and the 2019 MVP ( Patrick Mahomes). Coming off a season in which he broke an NFL rookie record with 27 touchdown passes, Mayfield struggled at times in 2019, as...
April 23
April 23

Kamaru Usman, Jorge Masvidal make weight for UFC 261 main event

A blockbuster welterweight championship rematch is now official. Champion Kamaru Usman and challenger Jorge Masvidal both successfully weighed in Friday morning for their title clash. Usman weighed 169.5 pounds, and Masvidal hit the mark at 170. Usman will defend his UFC welterweight title against Masvidal in the main event of UFC 261 on Saturday in Jacksonville, Florida. The card will be the first the UFC has held with a capacity crowd since before the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. ESPN has Usman ranked No. 2 in the world on its pound-for-pound MMA fighters list. Usman (18-1) beat Masvidal via unanimous decision at UFC 251 last July in Abu Dhabi. But Masvidal came into that fight on just six days' notice after Usman's original opponent, Gilbert Burns, tested positive for the coronavirus. Usman, 33, is looking for his fourth straight title defense and his 14th straight UFC victory. If Usman, a Nigeria native who trains in Colorado, were to win...
April 23
April 23

Fielder hits 25th homer as Brewers strike out Nationals

MILWAUKEE -- Mike Cameron knew the ball had beaten him to the plate. "You still have to make the tag. I was safe," he said. Cameron slid under catcher Wil Nieves for the go-ahead run in the seventh and Yovani Gallardo showed a flash of emotion striking out 11 in seven innings, lifting the Brewers to a 7-3 victory over the Washington Nationals on Thursday. Cameron's play helped Milwaukee salvage a split and win consecutive games for the first time this month after a miserable 8-16 start to July. "I was pretty shocked," Nationals starter J.D. Martin said. "I know the ball beat him there so I just kind of figured he was out." But plate umpire Joe West, working his 4,000th game, called Cameron safe because Nieves' tag wasn't low enough. Nieves didn't like the call, jumping around in disbelief, but said after the game that West was correct. "I just tagged him too high. I should've blocked the plate," he said. "It's one of those plays you've...
April 23
April 23

Denver Broncos GM George Paton confident in Drew Lock but looking to add another QB

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --  Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said he wants to add "competition" at quarterback for Drew Lock, but he also said he still believes in exercising patience. In his pre-draft remarks Thursday, Paton again said he likes Lock's potential as a quarterback but wouldn't commit to him being the team's Week 1 starter. Paton said he is still actively looking to add a quarterback, whether it be with a first-round pick or via free agency or a trade. That includes using the team's No. 9 pick in next week's draft or trading up in the first round. Asked specifically whether not adding a quarterback to the depth chart during free agency meant he was confident Lock would be the Week 1 starter, Paton said, "I don't know about Week 1. We're really high on Drew. I like seeing Drew here every morning when I come in. He's working hard. He's trending in the right direction. "As you know, he has a lot of talent. I think he's becoming a better pro, but...
April 23
April 23

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis: Didn't think about injury one time in return

There were 67 days, 30 missed games and five missed shots for Anthony Davis before he could finally stamp his return from injury with a bucket Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks. After the Los Angeles Lakers star's 19-foot step-back jump shot fell through the net with 4 minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter to put L.A. up by one, Davis furrowed his brow and shook his head as if to say, "About time." Davis, playing for the first time since Feb. 14 after needing nearly nine weeks to recover from a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in his right leg, started for the visiting Lakers and was finished by halftime of L.A.'s 115-110 loss. "I didn't think about it one time tonight," Davis said of his injury afterward. "Honestly, I just went out there and played. I think it can limit what you do if you're out there thinking about your injury, so I just went out and played and not think about it. Just go out there and have fun and be excited...
April 23
April 22

Anthony Davis returns for Los Angeles Lakers with 4 points, 4 rebounds 'while getting his legs back under him'

There were 67 days, 30 missed games and five missed shots for Anthony Davis before he could finally officially stamp his return from injury with a bucket Thursday against the Dallas Mavericks. After the Los Angeles Lakers star's 19-foot step-back jump shot fell through the net with 4 minutes, 51 seconds remaining in the first quarter to put L.A. up by one, Davis furrowed his brow and shook his head as if to say, "About time." Davis, playing for the first time since Feb. 14 after needing nearly nine weeks to recover from a calf strain and Achilles tendinosis in his right leg, started for the visiting Lakers and was finished by halftime of L.A.'s 115-110 loss. Lakers coach Frank Vogel had told reporters before the game that Davis would play only in the first half and his playing time would be restricted to the 15-minute range. Davis finished with four points on 2-for-10 shooting, four rebounds, one assist, one block and one steal. He also missed...
April 22
April 22

Former Kentucky Wildcats guard Terrence Clarke, 19, dies following car accident

Terrence Clarke, a freshman guard for the Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team this past season, died following a car accident in the Los Angeles area on Thursday, it was announced. Clarke was 19 years old. Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. John Matassa, who works in the Valley Traffic Division, told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne that Clarke was a solo occupant in a vehicle that ran a red light going "at a very high rate of speed" in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles at approximately 2:10 p.m. PT. "The incident was captured on surveillance video. He collided with another vehicle that was preparing to make a left-hand turn. He struck the vehicle, hit a street light pole and ultimately hit a block wall," Matassa said. "He was transported to Northridge Hospital and was later pronounced deceased as a result of the collision." Matassa said the driver of the other vehicle, who was in a truck, did not claim any injuries. Clarke was driving a 2021 Hyundai Genesis, and he...
April 22
April 22

Former Kentucky Wildcats guard Terrence Clarke, 19, killed in car accident

Terrence Clarke, a freshman guard for the Kentucky Wildcats this past season, died following a car accident in the Los Angeles-area on Thursday afternoon, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Clarke's mother was at his side when he died. He was 19 years old. "We are saddened and devastated by the tragic loss of Terrence Clarke," Paul told ESPN in a statement. "Terrence was an incredible, hard-working young man. He was excited for what was ahead of him and ready to fulfill his dreams. Our prayers go out to Terrence and his family, who ask for privacy during this difficult time." Clarke announced last month that he was entering this year's NBA draft and he had signed with Klutch Sports. This past season, Clarke played in the first seven games for the Wildcats but was sidelined with an ankle injury that kept him out until the season finale against South Carolina. He finished the year averaging 9.6 points. "As an adolescent, having the...
April 22
April 22

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young diagnosed with lateral left ankle sprain

Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young was diagnosed with a Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain and is expected to return once swelling and discomfort are gone, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday. Young was injured Wednesday night in a 137-127 overtime loss at the New York Knicks. He had 20 points and 14 assists against the Knicks before turning the ankle when he landed after shooting a short floater with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter. Young left the game and did not return. An MRI on Thursday revealed a lateral left ankle sprain, the Hawks announced. Young has already been ruled out of Atlanta's next two games. Young, 22, is averaging 25.3 points and 9.6 assists for the Hawks, who entered Thursday's games at the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
April 22
April 22

Source: Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young has Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain

Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young was diagnosed with a Grade 2 lateral ankle sprain and is expected to return once swelling and discomfort are gone, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Thursday. Young exited Wednesday's loss to the New York Knicks after spraining his left ankle and is already ruled out for Friday's game against the Miami Heat. An MRI on Thursday revealed the Grade 2 sprain. Young, 22, is averaging 25.3 points and 9.6 assists for the Hawks, who entered Thursday's games at the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
April 22
April 22

Denver Broncos GM George Paton confident in Drew Lock, but looking to add another QB

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --  Denver Broncos general manager George Paton said he wants to add "competition" at quarterback for Drew Lock, but he also said he still believes in exercising patience. In his pre-draft remarks Thursday, Paton again said he likes Lock's potential as a quarterback but wouldn't commit to him being the team's Week 1 starter. Paton said he is still actively looking to add a quarterback, whether it be with a first-round pick or via free agency or a trade. That includes using the team's No. 9 pick in next week's draft or trading up in the first round. Asked specifically whether not adding a quarterback to the depth chart during free agency meant he was confident Lock would be the Week 1 starter, Paton said, "I don't know about Week 1. We're really high on Drew. I like seeing Drew here every morning when I come in. He's working hard. He's trending in the right direction. "As you know, he has a lot of talent. I think he's becoming a better pro, but...
April 22
April 22

Denver Broncos GM George Paton confident in Drew Lock, but looking at add another QB

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --  Denver Broncos general manager George Paton wants to add "competition'' at quarterback for Drew Lock, but he also still believes in exercising patience. In his pre-draft remarks Thursday, Paton once again said he likes Lock's potential as a quarterback, but wouldn't commit to Lock being the team's Week 1 starter. Paton said he is still actively looking to add a quarterback, whether it be with a first-round pick, free agency or via a trade. That includes using the team's No. 9 pick in next week's draft or trading up in the first round. Asked specifically if not adding a quarterback to the depth chart during free agency meant he was confident Lock would be the Week 1 starter, Paton said, "I don't know about Week 1. We're really high on Drew. I like seeing Drew here every morning when I come in. He's working hard. He's trending in the right direction. "As you know he has a lot of talent. I think he's becoming a better pro, but we're still going to...
April 22
April 22

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso 'all-in' to defend Home Run Derby title at Coors Field

CHICAGO -- Count New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso in for this year's Home Run Derby at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Alonso won the contest the last time it was held, in 2019, edging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at Cleveland's Progressive Field for his first derby title. "I'm all-in," Alonso said Thursday afternoon from Wrigley Field, where the Mets finish up a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. "I'm ready. If I get invited, I'd love to do it. I'd love to defend my title." Last year's Home Run Derby was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 edition will take place July 12 at Colorado's Coors Field after Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game and related festivities from Atlanta. Alonso committed to the derby the day after hitting a monster home run that landed on the street beyond the left-center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was measured at 429 feet. "I'm very happy that ball went far," Alonso said....
April 22
April 22

New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso 'all in' to defend Home Run Derby title at Coors Field

CHICAGO - Count New York Mets slugger Pete Alonso in for this year's Home Run Derby at hitter-friendly Coors Field. Alonso won the contest the last time it was held, in 2019, edging fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at Cleveland's Progressive Field for his first derby title. "I'm all in," Alonso said Thursday afternoon from Wrigley Field, where the Mets finish up a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs. "I'm ready. If I get invited, I'd love to do it. I'd love to defend my title." Last year's Home Run Derby was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. The 2021 edition will take place on July 12 at Colorado's Coors Field after Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game and related festivities from Atlanta. Alonso committed to the derby the day after hitting a monster home run that landed on the street beyond the left-center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. It was measured at 429 feet. "I'm very happy that ball went far," Alonso said. "I...
April 22
April 22

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Tom Brady blasts 'dumb' new NFL uniform number rule

TAMPA, Fla. -- While several NFL players expressed excitement this week over a newly adopted rule that allows more flexibility when it comes to the numbers worn on players' jerseys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady is not at all a fan. Brady took to Instagram on Thursday to express his dissatisfaction with the rule change, believing it will cause safety issues for the offense, such as identifying blitzers or who's the middle linebacker of the defense. "Good luck trying to block the right people now!" Brady posted on his Instagram story, with an image of the new numbers permitted. "Going to make for a lot of bad football!" Brady then posted a screen capture of a story about the rule and directed it to the NFL and NFL Players Association, with the words "DUMB" and "Why not let the Lineman wear whatever they want too? Why have numbers? Just have colored jerseys...why not wear the same number?...DUMB." The NFL's new rule, adopted Wednesday with a...
April 22
April 22

New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman calls it an 'urban myth' he won't trade back in NFL draft

Dave Gettleman insists he would trade back in the NFL draft and called it an "urban myth" that he's unwilling, despite never having done so in his eight years as a general manager with the New York Giants and Carolina Panthers. Gettleman, the current general manager of the Giants, has the 11th pick in next Thursday's first round and six selections overall to work with this year. "I've tried in the past. Honest, I've tried to trade back," Gettleman insisted with a laugh when asked about his track record. "But it's got to be value. I'm not getting fleeced. I refuse to do it. If someone wants to make a bad trade back, God bless them." Gettleman has made 54 total selections as a general manager. He's traded up a few times (most recently back into the first round for Georgia cornerback DeAndre Baker in 2019), but never back. It has almost become an annual running joke. NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said earlier this week that he thinks...
April 22
April 22

Ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Florida State Seminoles LB Geno Hayes, 33, in hospice care

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida State linebacker Geno Hayes, 33, has been moved to hospice care at his parents' home in Georgia two years after being diagnosed with liver disease. Hayes told ESPN before entering the hospital last month that he had been placed on a waiting list for a transplant at the Mayo Clinic and Northwestern Medicine in December after being hospitalized over 20 times in the past year. "The first diagnosis they gave me was alcoholic cirrhosis," Hayes said. "But when we dug in deeper, it became just chronic liver disease, because I don't drink like that. If I did drink, it was just like wine or something like that. But my body is made different. And that's what [my doctor] said -- 'Everybody's made different.'" "I went from 220 [pounds] to 150," Hayes said. "That was when I was first diagnosed." While alcoholic liver cirrhosis is on the rise in people ages 25-34, according to a 2018 University of Michigan study, Hayes said he suspects...
April 22
April 22

Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball assistant Joel Justus leaves for top assistant job at Arizona State, source says

In what could be one of several changes to the Kentucky coaching staff after the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2013, assistant coach Joel Justus has elected to take the top assistant post under Bobby Hurley at Arizona State, a source told ESPN on Thursday. In addition, assistant Tony Barbee, who has been on Kentucky's staff since 2014, will be hired as head coach at Central Michigan, sources told ESPN's Jeff Borzello on Thursday. Justus, who arrived in Kentucky in 2014 as director of analytics and then became a special assistant to the head coach, was the lead recruiter of many of the top prospects to go through Kentucky -- including  Bam Adebayo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Johnny Juzang, Brandon Boston and others -- since he was elevated to an assistant coaching role in 2016. He will be replacing Rashon Burno, who left the Sun Devils to become...
April 22
April 22

PRCA news and notes: July 30, 2009

Straight Talk with the Commissioner now available Commissioner Karl Stressman will be doing regular video reports on Prorodeo.com, called Straight Talk with the Commissioner, as part of his ongoing effort to improve communication with members and fans. The video is accessible on the PRCA's home page, and each report will be saved and remain readily available on RodeoUp.Com – the official video site of ProRodeo. The reports are being produced by PRCA Properties. The first report, which went online today, features video of the new Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Exhibit in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame, the July 11 induction ceremony, the new Mobile Merchandise initiative, the ProRodeo FanZone and much more. Straight Talk with the Commissioner is soliciting questions from members, media and fans through a new e-mail address dedicated to this project: TalktoKarl@prorodeo.com Chapman, Walls recovering from shoulder surgeries Texas tie-down ropers...
April 22
April 22

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry goes cold as 30-point streak ends at 11 games

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry's 11-game streak of scoring at least 30 points ended Wednesday night during a 118-114 loss to the Washington Wizards. Curry shot 7-for-25 from the field, including a season-worst 2-for-14 from beyond the arc, and finished with 18 points. Despite the loss and the poor performance in Washington, Curry said he was proud of what he accomplished over the past month. "It was a great run," Curry said after the game. "It was something that hadn't been done before. It was going to end at some point. Now you got to start another one. So it's just a matter of the next-play mentality. Just try to get rejuvenated when we go home -- to do it home, road, some big games, put a streak together. It was a special ride, for sure. And never really get too hyped up on individual streaks or accolades like that. There were some historical names that I was able to pass. And doing something at this age was pretty special." Curry became the...
April 22
April 21

Source: Washington Wizards rookie Deni Avdija has hairline fracture in right ankle, ending season

Washington Wizards rookie forward Deni Avdija suffered a season-ending hairline fracture in his right ankle during Wednesday night's game, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Avdija landed awkwardly after missing a layup late in the second quarter against the visiting  Golden State Warriors and was taken off the court in a wheelchair. Avdija underwent X-rays on the ankle that revealed the hairline fracture, which will not require surgery and has a recovery time of two to three months, the source told Wojnarowski. An MRI is set for Thursday to check for ligament damage. Avdija lay on the floor for several minutes following the injury, as teammates covered his lower right leg with a pair of warm-up pants from the bench as the training staff arrived. "Seeing a guy go down like that is real scary," Wizards center Daniel Gafford said. "You never know what is going to happen. Seeing him down on the floor as long as that, I felt his pain. I understand it's...
April 21
April 21

Source: X-rays show Washington Wizards rookie Deni Avdija has hairline fracture in right ankle, ending season

WASHINGTON -- Washington Wizards rookie Deni Avdija suffered a season-ending hairline fracture in his right ankle during Wednesday night's game, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. An MRI is set for Thursday to check for ligament damage. Avdija underwent X-rays on the ankle that revealed the hairline fracture, which would not require surgery and has a recovery time of two to three months, the source said. Avdija landed awkwardly after missing a layup late in the second quarter against Golden State. He lay on the floor for several minutes and teammate Jordan Bell came off the bench to cover his lower leg with a jersey. Wizards employees carefully helped Avdija into a wheelchair and he was taken off the court while rubbing his head with a towel. Washington selected the 20-year-old Avdija out of his native Israel with the ninth pick in last year's draft. The 6-foot-9 small forward is averaging 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds this season. The Associated...
April 21
April 21

LeBron James explains why he deleted tweet on police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James posted and later deleted a tweet on Wednesday about the fatal police shooting of Ma'Khia Bryant, a 16-year-old Black girl in Columbus, Ohio. In a series of tweets, James explained why he deleted the post. The since-deleted tweet by James showed a photo of officer Nicholas Reardon, who is white, with an accompanying caption, "YOU'RE NEXT #ACCOUNTABILITY," along with an hourglass emoji, on Wednesday. Body camera footage released by the Columbus Division of Police showed the officer, identified Wednesday as Reardon, getting out of his car at a house where police had been dispatched after someone had called 911 saying they were being physically threatened. As the officer walks toward a group of people on the driveway, Bryant can be seen swinging a knife wildly at another girl or woman, who falls backward. The officer shouts several times to get down. Bryant then charges at another girl or woman, who is pinned against a car. From a few...
April 21
April 21

Sources: Houston Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr. violated NBA's health and safety protocols with strip club visit

Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. will miss time because of a violation of the NBA's health and safety protocols stemming from visiting a Miami strip club with teammate Sterling Brown that resulted in Brown being assaulted, sources told ESPN. Porter likely will be out until at least Sunday, Rockets coach Stephen Silas said prior to Wednesday's game against the  Utah Jazz. The NBA's health and safety protocols limit where players can go while on the road. Miami-Dade police said Brown had "multiple lacerations throughout his body" when they arrived at the strip club at 6:53 a.m. Monday in response to a fight. Brown, who has been sidelined by a knee injury, was transported to a local hospital. The Rockets announced before Monday's loss to the Miami Heat that Brown suffered facial lacerations from an assault by assailants whom he "had no prior knowledge of or interaction with" and would make a full recovery. Brown is back in Houston...
April 21
April 21

Sources: Houston Rockets' Kevin Porter Jr. violated NBA's health and safety protocol with strip club visit

Houston Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. will miss time due to a violation of the NBA's health and safety protocols stemming from visiting a Miami strip club with teammate Sterling Brown that resulted in Brown being assaulted, sources told ESPN. Porter will likely be out until at least Sunday, Rockets coach Stephen Silas said prior to Wednesday's game against the  Utah Jazz. The NBA's health and safety protocols limit where players can go while on the road. Miami-Dade police said Brown had "multiple lacerations throughout his body" when they arrived at the strip club at 6:53 a.m. Monday in response to a fight. Brown, who has been sidelined by a knee injury, was transported to a local hospital. The Rockets announced before Monday's loss to the Miami Heat that Brown suffered facial lacerations from an assault by assailants whom he "had no prior knowledge of or interaction with" and would make a full recovery. Brown is back in Houston recovering. "He...
April 21
April 21

NHL rebuts Vegas Golden Knights' Robin Lehner's claim that league promised to loosen protocols after vaccination

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner said that NHL players were lied to by the NHL and NHLPA representatives about loosening restrictions after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, a claim that has been disputed by the league. "They told me yesterday that they're surveying all the teams to see who has taken the vaccine, and who has not taken the vaccines, and they're not going to change the rules for us as players until all the players have the vaccine at the same time so it's not a competitive edge," Lehner said in an impassioned news conference Wednesday. "That made me go crazy, to be honest. This is human lives and people are struggling with this stuff a lot in society, and we are humans as everyone else." Shortly after his remarks, Lehner tweeted: "As I'm frustrated like a lot of people in the world right now everything didn't come out of today's press in the right way. Main point is that we need to start take the mental health important as well in this situation. It...
April 21
April 21

NHL refutes Vegas Golden Knights' Robin Lehner's claim that league promised to loosen protocols after vaccination

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner said that NHL players were lied to by the NHL and NHLPA about loosening restrictions after receiving the COVID vaccine, a claim that has been refuted by the league. "They told me yesterday that they're surveying all the teams to see who has taken the vaccine, and who has not taken the vaccines, and they're not going to change the rules for us as players until all the players have the vaccine at the same time so it's not a competitive edge," Lehner said in an impassioned press conference on Wednesday. "That made me go crazy to be honest. This is human lives and people are struggling with this stuff a lot in society, and we are humans as everyone else." Shortly after his remarks, Lehner tweeted: "As I'm frustrated like a lot of people in the world right now everything didn't come out of today's press in the right way. Main point is that we need to start take the mental health important as well in this situation. It has a huge...
April 21
April 21

Florida Gators' Keyontae Johnson waiting for medical clearance, won't enter NBA draft

Florida Gators forward Keyontae Johnson, who was hospitalized after collapsing during a game in December, on Wednesday said he will not enter the 2021 NBA draft and is waiting for medical clearance to return to the team for next season. "I am progressing & steadily making progress daily in my health," Johnson said in a post on Twitter. "I am patiently waiting on medical clearance.  "... I plan to keep working to prepare for the upcoming season. My story continues to be written & driven by God! Go Gators!" Johnson was rushed to a local hospital on Dec. 12 after falling face-first onto the court following a timeout in the first half of a game against Florida State in Tallahassee. He was listed in critical but stable condition before being airlifted to a hospital in Gainesville days later with his mother by his side, and he slowly recovered and started to communicate with his family and friends in the days that followed. The cause of his collapse has yet to...
April 21
April 21

NFL owners OK replay change, other new rules for 2021 season

NFL owners approved a series of new rules Wednesday for the 2021 season, including one that will expand the influence of replay officials amid ongoing demands from coaches for more oversight of game-day officials. Owners rejected more robust proposals for a full-time sky judge, including one from the Baltimore Ravens that would have created a booth umpire. Instead, owners took the more modest step of giving the existing replay officials -- who sit in the press box of each stadium -- the authority to consult with referees on certain "specific, objective aspects of a play when clear and obvious video evidence is present," according to the language of the rule. Replay officials will not be able to throw flags or reverse calls on their own. But they can now offer referees advice based on what they've seen on broadcast replays in the areas of possession, completed or intercepted passes, the location of the ball relative to the boundary or end line, and whether a player is down...
April 21
April 21

NFL to announce full 2021 season schedule on May 12

The NFL will announce its 2021 schedule on May 12, the league announced. For the first time, each team will play a 17-game schedule in 2021. Each team will receive just one bye week, even with the expanded schedule. The NFL previously announced that the season will begin on Thursday night, Sept. 9, and will end on Jan. 9, 2022. The Pro Bowl will be played on Feb. 6, 2022, at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, and Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles will take place on Feb. 13, 2022.
April 21
April 21

George Floyd's brother supports Las Vegas Raiders after tweet uproar

Philonise Floyd issued a statement of support Wednesday for the Las Vegas Raiders after the organization received backlash for a tweet following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for murdering his brother George Floyd. "On behalf of our family, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Las Vegas Raiders organization and its leadership for their support of our family and for our nation's ongoing pursuit of justice and equality for all. Now, more than ever, we must come together as one and continue on in this fight. For the first time in almost a year, our family has taken a breath. And I know that goes for so many across the nation and globe, as well. Let's take this breath together in honor of my big brother who couldn't. Let's do it for George," Philonise Floyd said. The Raiders' tweet, sent late Tuesday afternoon, read: "I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21." Floyd told officers, "I can't breathe," more than 20 times before he died when...
April 21
April 21

Sources: Ex-Pittsburgh Steelers WR Hines Ward to join Florida Atlantic staff

Former Pittsburgh Steelers and Georgia wide receiver Hines Ward is set to join Florida Atlantic's coaching staff, sources told ESPN. Ward, a four-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion with the Steelers, entered coaching with the New York Jets in 2019 and remained there in 2020. Florida Atlantic does not have any full-time assistant jobs available, but The Owl's Nest, which first reported the move, noted that Ward is expected to work alongside new FAU wide receivers coach Joey Thomas, a former NFL and CFL player. Ward, 45, had 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns in 217 career games for the Steelers between 1998 and 2011. He was a third-round draft pick out of Georgia, where he twice earned All-SEC honors. While at Georgia, Ward played for a coaching staff that included David Kelly, now Florida Atlantic's coordinator of player personnel. After retiring from the Steelers, Ward worked as an NFL analyst with NBC, and has been a contributor...
April 21
April 21

Seattle Seahawks' Aldon Smith booked on battery charge in Louisiana

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Aldon Smith turned himself in Tuesday night after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with an alleged battery in the New Orleans area, according to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office. Smith turned himself in at St. Bernard Parish Prison shortly before 8 p.m. ET. He was booked and released Wednesday on $25,000 bond. Smith is scheduled to be arraigned July 14. An arrest warrant was issued for Smith on Monday for an alleged second-degree battery that occurred Saturday evening. St. Bernard Parish District Attorney Perry Nicosia told ESPN that Smith allegedly choked a victim unconscious during a confrontation that began inside a coffee shop in Chalmette, Louisiana. The alleged incident rises to a second-degree battery charge because the victim was rendered unconscious, according to Nicosia. He said the victim was taken to a hospital but did not have to stay overnight. In a news release, the St. Bernard Parish District...
April 21
April 21

Seattle Seahawks' Aldon Smith booked on battery in Louisiana

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Aldon Smith turned himself in Tuesday night after a warrant was issued for his arrest in connection with an alleged battery in the New Orleans area, according to the St. Bernard Parish Sheriff's Office. Smith turned himself in at St. Bernard Parish Prison shortly before 8 p.m. ET. He was booked and released Wednesday on $25,000 bond. Smith is scheduled to be arraigned July 14. An arrest warrant was issued for Smith on Monday for an alleged second-degree battery that occurred Saturday evening. St. Bernard Parish District Attorney Perry Nicosia told ESPN that Smith allegedly choked a victim unconscious during a confrontation that began inside a coffee shop in Chalmette, Louisiana. The alleged incident rises to a second-degree battery charge because the victim was rendered unconscious, according to Nicosia. He said the victim was taken to a hospital but did not have to stay overnight. In a news release, the St. Bernard Parish District...
April 21
April 21

Antonio Brown settles dispute with ex-trainer, who accused him of sexual assault

Antonio Brown has resolved a civil dispute with former trainer Britney Taylor, who in a 2019 lawsuit had accused the wide receiver of sexually assaulting her. A settlement was reached, but per the agreement, no terms can be disclosed, a source told ESPN's Jenna Laine. "Antonio and Britney have been friends for over a decade. Several years ago they almost became business partners. Recently, they were involved in aggressive litigation. Having reflected on their relationship, both feel that the time has come to move on. Antonio is grateful for Britney's excellent training assistance. They are pleased that Antonio is doing so well with the Bucs and has a ring. Their dispute is resolved and they wish each other great continued success," Taylor's attorney, David Haas, said in a statement. Brown is currently a free agent after playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last season. General manager Jason Licht said Wednesday that the Buccaneers will continue to discuss a possible return...
April 21
April 21

Minnesota Timberwolves dedicate game ball to George Floyd's family

The Minnesota Timberwolves dedicated their game ball to George Floyd's family after defeating the Kings 134-120 on Tuesday night in Sacramento. The win came hours after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the murder of Floyd in Minneapolis last May. "I think for all of us, we all felt that this game was bigger than basketball," Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns said after the game. "This was a moment that wasn't meant for us, this was meant for our city and for George Floyd's family. I think everyone in America right now is grieving with them and sending our prayers, blessings and love towards them. "They need it for countless days. They've been reminded of the tragedy that has taken place in their family and never truly got a chance to grieve and recover in any sort of way. So I think for us we were just trying to do our part to...
April 21
April 20

Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis 'meant no disrespect' with widely criticized tweet

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis, reacting to widespread criticism of a tweet sent from the team's Twitter account after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, told ESPN on Tuesday night that the post was his idea, and he does not plan to delete it. The tweet, sent late Tuesday afternoon, read: "I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21." Floyd told officers, "I can't breathe," more than 20 times before he was killed when Chauvin pressed his knee into the back of Floyd's neck for about nine minutes last May.  Davis told ESPN that he "meant no disrespect" to Floyd's family with the tweet, and that he "took the lead" from Floyd's brother, Philonise, who said following the verdict, "Today, we are able to breathe again."  "I felt that was a powerful statement," Davis said. "Today was a day where I can breathe, and we can all breathe again because justice was served. But we have a lot of work to do still on...
April 20
April 20

Stan Van Gundy on Derek Chauvin verdict: Justice done, but 'hard to celebrate'

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy called Tuesday's guilty verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin "an important day for our country" but said it was hard to find reasons to celebrate and recognized there is more work to do. Van Gundy spoke to reporters ahead of Tuesday night's 134-129 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, shortly after Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury for his role in the murder of George Floyd last May outside of a local convenience store. "We had somebody needlessly killed right in front of us," Van Gundy said. "Right in front of all of us because we can see it on video. And no verdict was going to change that. And while it's just, it's hard to celebrate. It's also hard to celebrate because we've had other incidents just like it since the time George Floyd got killed. "I guess what you wonder out of all this is,...
April 20
April 20

MLB, players' union meet for 1st CBA talks, sources say

Leaders from Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association met Tuesday for their first official negotiating session a little more than six months before the sport's collective bargaining agreement lapses, sources told ESPN. The long-anticipated meeting between the sides marked the first foray into what many in the sport fear could be a contentious and protracted negotiation, with the possibility of a work stoppage upon the Dec. 1 expiration of the current deal. Relations between the league and players have grown combative in recent years, with both sides accusing the other of operating in bad faith amid multiple failed efforts to reach deals. The league and union declined to comment on the discussions. At the same time, baseball has found unprecedented economic success amid more than a quarter-century of labor peace, and players and officials likewise continue to express hope that the differences between the sides can be bridged during the next half-year of discussions....
April 20
April 20

PGA Tour bonus program will pay players based on impact metrics rather than performance

The PGA Tour put in place this year a $40 million bonus plan that will pay the top 10 players based on how much they "move the needle" rather than their performance on the course. In theory, players such as Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth could be among those to benefit. The idea is to reward players who drive engagement with sponsors and fans. It had been studied in the wake of an effort by a rival entity known as the Premier Golf League that over the past several years has attempted to lure players to a new circuit that would set up a worldwide schedule with guaranteed payments. Known as the Player Impact Program, the plan was first reported by Golfweek. The PGA Tour confirmed several of the details to ESPN, including the $40 million bonus pool that will pay $8 million to the player in the No. 1 position, with amounts decreasing down to the 10th spot. The rankings will be determined by...
April 20
April 20

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden suffers setback in hamstring rehab, out indefinitely

James Harden experienced what the Brooklyn Nets are calling a "setback" in his hamstring rehabilitation and is now out indefinitely. "Back to square one," Nets coach Steve Nash said Tuesday. "We'll rehabilitate him and get him back whenever we can, and who knows when that will be. We'll support James and our performance team in getting him back in as best condition as possible. And hopefully that comes sooner than later, but there's no guarantee." Harden experienced the setback Monday during an "on-court rehab session" and had an MRI on Tuesday, according to the team's statement. Nash said that Harden didn't fall or execute a specific maneuver that caused him discomfort. "He just felt it," Nash said. "He didn't fall or stumble or anything out of the ordinary; he just felt something maybe in the ballpark of a strain. Then the scan revealed he did suffer a setback. So not much more to it other than just disappointment and that we have to rebuild and get him going...
April 20
April 20

Buffalo Bills GM: 'No rush' on extension for QB Josh Allen despite mutual interest

BUFFALO, N.Y. --  Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane isn't rushing to get a deal done with quarterback Josh Allen -- although he said he's confident a deal will eventually get done. Speaking with reporters Tuesday, Beane said he had spoken with the NFL's MVP runner-up from a season ago about extending his contract, which is entering the fourth year of Allen's rookie deal. However, Beane said he doesn't expect a deal to get done until at least after next week's NFL draft, and perhaps well into the spring or summer. "There's no rush, we'll have some kind of conversation," Beane said. "Listen, we would love to get Josh extended. No doubt. It has to be a number that works for him and works for us. That's been my conversation with them and they know the same. We're all on the same page. Josh wants to be here." Allen emerged as one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks last season, passing for 4,544 yards and 37 touchdowns in 2020, adding eight rushing...
April 20

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