NFL and College Football Articles

NFL and College Football Articles

Rams, QB Bortles agree to one-year deal

Rams, QB Bortles agree to one-year deal

The Los Angeles Rams added

Rams, QB Bortles agree to one-year deal

The Los Angeles Rams added an experienced backup quarterback Monday, agreeing with former Jacksonville Jaguars starter Blake Bortles on a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not announced by the team.

Bortles, 26, gives the defending NFC champions an experienced starter behind Jared Goff as the team moves on from former backup Sean Mannion, who is an unrestricted free agent.

Bortles spent the first five seasons of his NFL career in Jacksonville, starting 73 of his 75 games and leading the Jaguars to the AFC Championship Game after the 2017 season. The New England Patriots won 24-20.

The Jaguars gave Bortles a three-year, $54 million contract last year, but he went 3-9 and was benched for Cody Kessler. Jacksonville signed free agent Nick Foles last week and released Bortles.

Bortles, the third overall pick in the 2014 draft, has completed 59.3 percent of his career passes for 17,646 yards with 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. The Jaguars made the playoffs once in his five seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Manziel confident he can still play ‘at any level’

Manziel confident he can still play 'at any level'

As he

Manziel confident he can still play ‘at any level’

As he prepares to launch his latest comeback attempt, Johnny Manziel remains confident that he can still play quarterback “at any level anywhere.”

“My confidence level is high,” Manziel said Tuesday in Memphis at an introductory press conference with his newest employer, the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football. “I believe I still have a unique skill set and still have the ability to play at any level anywhere.”

Rejected by the NFL and banned by the Canadian Football League for his on-field struggles and off-field issues, the 26-year-old signed a standard player contract with the upstart AAF last weekend and was claimed off waivers by last-place Memphis.

Express coach Mike Singletary said he is eager to work with the former Texas A&M star, who earned the nickname “Johnny Football” while winning the 2012 Heisman Trophy.

“Our guys are excited, our team is excited, and I feel that many of the people here in Memphis are excited,” said Singletary, a Hall of Fame linebacker who is known as a strict, by-the-book boss.

Manziel, who sought treatment for alcohol abuse and anger management in the past, might be an interesting match with Singletary’s authoritarian style.

“I’ve done a lot of soul searching and a lot of looking at myself in the mirror and coming to the realization that when I’m on a football field and on a team, my life is substantially better,” Manziel said.

Manziel could see his first AAF action on Sunday when Memphis hosts the Birmingham Iron. The Express lost starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger to an ankle injury last weekend.

“In my eyes and in my mind, I believe I’m here for a reason,” Manziel said. “This is a great fit for me.”

–Field Level Media

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Martellus Bennett won’t join brother on Patriots

Martellus Bennett won't join brother on Patriots

Martellus Bennett won’t join brother on Patriots

Tempted to play with his brother for the New England Patriots, tight end Michael Bennett said that he will instead remain retired to focus on his creative work.

Michael Bennett was acquired by the Patriots from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month, sparking speculation the defensive lineman might soon be joined by his 32-year-old brother, who retired after being released by New England last offseason.

Martellus Bennett has since focused his creative efforts on his “life’s work” for The Imagination Agency.

“This is why I can’t come out of retirement,” he wrote in an Instagram post Monday. “I would love to play ball with my brother it would truly be a dream come true. But my biggest dream is to change lives with my creativity and that is what I am currently doing @theimaginationagency

“these kids don’t need another athlete to look up to or to aspire to be there’s plenty of inspiration out there for that. I want to inspire the next wave of creatives. The storytellers. The engineers. The designers. The doctors. The filmmakers. The composers. Tech moguls. And maybe a few athletes who like me never felt like they belonged in a locker room.

“I was never one of the guys guys most of my teammates would tell that. I’ve always been a creative who enjoyed competing. I’m playing the game that I was made to play and it’s the most fun I’ve ever had. Scoring touchdowns winning a super bowl has never made me feel the way seeing kids/families/people enjoying things I have created. I’m doing my life’s work fulfilling what I believe to be my life’s purpose. I hope everyone finds something that makes them as happy and as fulfilled as I have with my work @theimaginationagency I appreciate all of the love but this is waaaaayyy bigger than the game of football.”

Martellus Bennett has 30 career touchdowns and played 16 games for the Patriots in 2016, posting 55 receptions and seven scores.

Michael Bennett, 33, has played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Seattle Seahawks and Eagles.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cowboys, Dolphins talk Quinn trade

Report: Cowboys, Dolphins talk Quinn trade

Defensive

Report: Cowboys, Dolphins talk Quinn trade

Defensive end Robert Quinn visited the Dallas Cowboys on Tuesday as a precursor to a potential swap with the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins are willing to pay part of Quinn’s 2019 salary, according to NFL Network, to help facilitate a trade of the pass rusher. The Cowboys have six draft picks in 2019 and are without a first-rounder, which went to Oakland in October as part of the trade for wide receiver Amari Cooper.

The Cowboys also met with recently released Chiefs safety Eric Berry, who missed the majority of last season with a heel issue. His current health status is unclear.

Both Quinn and Berry ended their Dallas visits without any deals pending, according to multiple reports. The Athletic said Quinn and the Cowboys were “not close to a deal.” Quinn also planned to meet with the New Orleans Saints.

Quinn was acquired by the Dolphins in 2018 from the Los Angeles Rams, and he started all 16 games with 6.5 sacks last season. He turns 29 in May, and has a $12.93 million salary cap number for the upcoming season.

To facilitate a trade of quarterback Ryan Tannehill to the Tennessee Titans, the Dolphins agreed to pay $5 million of his $7 million guaranteed salary for 2019.

The Cowboys are locked in a staredown with free agent defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, who counts more than $20 million against the 2019 salary cap as a two-time franchise tag recipient. Lawrence is hopeful for a long-term deal.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Kentucky

Ex-Kentucky TE Conrad (heart) cleared for Pro Day

Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has been cleared for pre-draft workouts after he had to leave the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month when a heart issue was found during his physical.

He wrote on Twitter on Monday: “My prayers have been answered! After getting further testing done, today I was finally CLEARED. I plan on having a pro day April 8. Thank you all that have encouraged and prayed for me through this tough time. I’m back!”

Conrad was medically cleared by cardiologists at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, his agent Joe Linta, told Adam Schefter of ESPN on Tuesday.

NFL Network reported at the combine that Conrad had an irregular heartbeat due to an issue with a heart valve. He was not able to participate in on-field testing in Indianapolis but will do so at Kentucky’s Pro Day in Lexington on April 8.

Conrad caught 80 passes for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns in 35 career games at Kentucky. Prior to the combine, most outlets had pegged him as a late-round prospect.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the

Report: Prosecutors conditionally offer to drop Kraft charges

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the solicitation of prostitution charges in Florida against him dropped, but there’s a catch.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that prosecutors have offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, the defendant must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, according to the Journal.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money.

Jupiter police have said Kraft was caught on surveillance video on both occasions, Jan. 19 and Jan. 20.

More than two dozen people were charged in February in a police sting that law enforcement said was aimed at stopping human trafficking through massage parlors in Florida.

Kraft is scheduled to be arraigned March 28 in Palm Beach County, Fla.

If Kraft chooses to go to trial and is convicted, he could receive one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and 100 hours of community service.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cardinals’ brass meets with Murray

Report: Cardinals' brass meets with Murray

Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray

Report: Cardinals’ brass meets with Murray

Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray met with Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury near the Oklahoma campus on Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Cardinals own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and the Oklahoma product is under heavy consideration as he is viewed as a solid fit for Kingsbury’s offense. Kingsbury is entering his first season as coach after a college stint at Texas Tech.

Arizona took quarterback Josh Rosen in the first round of last year’s draft but the team’s actions involving Murray display a willingness to move on from the 10th overall selection.

Murray is expected to meet individually with other teams during the process leading up to next month’s draft. He worked out last Wednesday at Oklahoma’s Pro Day.

Kingsbury’s infatuation with Murray is rooted in Texas football tradition. Murray went 43-0 as a starter in high school (Allen), was the 2014 Gatorade National Player of the Year and was recruited by Kingsbury before choosing to sign with Texas A&M.

But Murray ultimately transferred and wound up following Baker Mayfield at Oklahoma. With the Sooners, he went 12-2 as a starter and led the team into the College Football Playoff while winning the Heisman Trophy.

Murray passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns and added 1,001 yards and 12 scores on the ground.

His NFL stock soared higher after he spurned the Oakland Athletics, who drafted Murray in the first round of the 2018 MLB draft.

The familiarity between coach and NFL prospect is a two-way street.

“I know what type of offense he runs,” Murray recently said of Kingsbury.

“Obviously he recruited me out of high school; I have a great relationship with him. If I were to play under him, I think it’d be a great deal. But again, like I said, I don’t get to pick the players. All I can do is show up where I’m supposed to be, work hard and get after it.”

Murray said he would covet the opportunity to follow Mayfield as the first players from the same program to win the Heisman, then be chosen first overall in the draft.

“To be the No. 1 pick, that’s a kid’s dream come true,” Murray said. “If my name was called No. 1, I’d be ready to go for sure.”

–Field Level Media

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Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

The Carolina

Panthers sign DE Irvin to one-year deal

The Carolina Panthers signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year contract Tuesday in an effort to boost their pass rush after the retirement of Julius Peppers.

The contract is worth $4 million, but Irvin can earn up to $5 million through incentives, a source told the Charlotte Observer.

Irvin is an seven-year pro who has 43.5 sacks, 277 tackles, 15 forced fumbles and three interceptions.

“Our primary focus coming into the offseason was to add talent to our offensive line and our front on defense, primarily in the area of rushing the passer,” general manager Marty Hurney said in a statement. “Bruce has a knack for sacking and disrupting the quarterback. We are very pleased to have him as a member of the Carolina Panthers.”

Irvin (6-3, 250) recorded a career-high eight sacks in 2017 with Oakland but fell out of favor last season under new coach Jon Gruden and was waived in early November. He was picked up by Atlanta, posting 3.5 sacks in eight games (three starts) for the Falcons.

Irvin, the 15th overall selection in the 2012 draft by Seattle, had 22 sacks in four seasons with the Seahawks before signing a four-year, $37 million contract with the Raiders.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cowboys sign WR Cobb for 1 year, $5M

Report: Cowboys sign WR Cobb for 1 year, $5M

Report: Cowboys sign WR Cobb for 1 year, $5M

The Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Randall Cobb agreed to terms Tuesday on a one-year deal, the team announced Tuesday.

The deal is worth $5 million, according to the NFL Network.

Cobb, 28, has been with the Green Bay Packers since they drafted him in the second round in 2011. He missed seven games last season due to concussion and hamstring injuries and caught just 38 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns.

Cobb could replace the recently departed Cole Beasley and will give quarterback Dak Prescott another veteran target to pair with Amari Cooper, acquired midway through last season.

In 105 games with Green Bay, Cobb caught 470 passes for 5,524 yards and 41 touchdowns. Those totals rank sixth, 11th and 11th, respectively, in franchise history.

He made the Pro Bowl in 2014 with career highs in catches (91), receiving yards (1,287) and touchdowns (12).

Cobb helped the Packers knock the Cowboys out of the playoffs following the 2014 and 2016 seasons, catching a combined 15 passes for 178 yards in those two Green Bay wins.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Prosecutors reportedly make Kraft an offer

NFL notebook: Prosecutors reportedly make Kraft an offer

NFL notebook: Prosecutors reportedly make Kraft an offer

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft can have the solicitation of prostitution charges in Florida against him dropped, but there’s a catch.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that prosecutors have offered to defer prosecution for Kraft and the two dozen other men arrested in the case, but any defendant who accepts the offer must admit that there is enough evidence to lead to a conviction at trial.

Additionally, the defendant must complete an education course about prostitution, perform 100 hours of community service, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and pay court costs, per the report.

Kraft entered a not guilty plea in late February after being charged with two misdemeanor counts of soliciting prostitution at a day spa in Jupiter, Fla. The 77-year-old billionaire is alleged to have twice visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in January and received sex acts in exchange for money both times.

–In an interview with Sports Illustrated, running back Le’Veon Bell said he never intended to sit out the entire 2018 season.

Bell, who recently signed with the New York Jets as a free agent, told the outlet that his original plan was to miss only Week 1 of last season. But the running back had a change of mind as events played out with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Once he realized the Steelers could again put the franchise tag on him following the season, Bell continued to sit out, and never joined the team. He became a free agent after the season and received a four-year, $52.5 million deal from the Jets.

–Coveted quarterback Kyler Murray met with Arizona Cardinals general manager Steve Keim and coach Kliff Kingsbury near the Oklahoma campus, the Houston Chronicle reported.

The Cardinals own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft and the Oklahoma product and Heisman Trophy winner is under heavy consideration as he is viewed as a solid fit for first-year coach Kingsbury’s offense.

Arizona took quarterback Josh Rosen 10th overall in last year’s draft but the team’s actions involving Murray may display a willingness to move on from Rosen.

–Tempted to join his brother with the Patriots, tight end Martellus Bennett said he will instead remain retired to focus on his creative work.

Michael Bennett was acquired by the Patriots from the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month, sparking speculation the defensive lineman might soon be joined by his 32-year-old brother, who retired after being released by New England last offseason.

–The Carolina Panthers signed defensive end Bruce Irvin to a one-year contract reportedly worth up to $5 million in an effort to boost their pass rush after the retirement of Julius Peppers. The seven-year pro has 43.5 sacks, 277 tackles, 15 forced fumbles and three interceptions.

–The Dallas Cowboys and wide receiver Randall Cobb agreed to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced. The deal is worth $5 million, according to the NFL Network. Cobb, 28, has been with the Green Bay Packers since they drafted him in the second round in 2011. He missed seven games last season due to concussion and hamstring injuries and caught just 38 passes for 383 yards and two touchdowns.

–Defensive end Robert Quinn visited the Cowboys as a precursor to a potential swap with the Miami Dolphins, but reportedly left town without a deal pending. The Dolphins are willing to pay part of Quinn’s 2019 salary to help facilitate a trade of the pass rusher, according to NFL Network.

–Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has been cleared for pre-draft workouts after he had to leave the NFL Scouting Combine earlier this month when a heart issue was found during his physical. Prior to the combine, most outlets had pegged him as a late-round prospect.

–Kicker Dan Bailey re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings, agreeing to a one-year deal with a base value of $1 million, per reports. … The Patriots have reportedly re-signed punter Ryan Allen to a one-year deal. … The Detroit Lions have signed restricted free agent running back Malcolm Brown to an offer sheet, which the Los Angeles Rams have until Monday to match, according to multiple reports.

–Field Level Media

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Bell planned to report to Steelers after Week 1

Bell planned to report to Steelers after Week 1

Bell planned to report to Steelers after Week 1

Le’Veon Bell says he never intended to sit out the entire 2018 season.

Bell, who recently signed with the New York Jets as a free agent, told Sports Illustrated that his original plan was to miss only Week 1 of last season. But the running back had a change of mind as events played out with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“I was not going to come until Week 1, that was my original goal, original plan in my head,” Bell told SI. “At first I was literally thinking like, ‘I don’t want to play (training) camp and OTAs’ because of the hurt in my body and I’m like, ‘I’m not playing.’

“When Week 1 comes, I’m going to come, but the things that kind of led up to Week 1, I started thinking, ‘I’m not going to play Week 1.’ After even Week 1, it started to build up and it’s not making me feel comfortable.”

Bell doesn’t indicate what made him uncomfortable but he was criticized sharply by his teammates just days before the season opener against the Cleveland Browns.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, left guard Ramon Foster and center Maurkice Pouncey all strongly voiced concern about Bell’s refusal to sign his $14.5 million franchise tag and join the club

“What do you do?” Foster said to reporters. “Here’s a guy who doesn’t give a damn, so I guess we’ll treat it as such. I just hate it came to this.

“… He’s making seven times what I make, twice as much as (left tackle) Al (Villanueva) is making and we’re the guys who do it for him.”

Regardless, Bell reassessed his plan and continued to sit out week after week, game after game before again deciding he was going to return after Game 6.

“Then it got to a point, regardless of what they say, I am going to bite the bullet and come back at the bye week,” Bell said.

But the 27-year-old again changed the plan and didn’t return when he realized the Steelers could again slap the franchise tag on him after the season.

He became a free agent after the season and received a four-year, $52.5 million deal from the Jets.

Bell rushed for 5,336 yards and 35 touchdowns and caught 312 passes for 2,660 yards and seven scores in 62 games over five seasons with Pittsburgh.

–Field Level Media

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Vikings bring back PK Bailey

Vikings bring back PK Bailey

Dan Bailey re-signed with the

Vikings bring back PK Bailey

Dan Bailey re-signed with the Minnesota Vikings, agreeing to a one-year deal with a base value of $1 million, per reports.

Bailey must fight for his roster spot — and the kicking job — with only $250,000 guaranteed, NFL Network reports. If he’s not on the final 53-man roster, Bailey will not be paid the remainder of his salary.

The deal includes an additional $1 million in incentives.

Bailey, 31, joined the Vikings after he was released by the Dallas Cowboys at final cuts last September. Bailey spent seven seasons in Dallas.

He played the final 14 games of last season with the Vikings but made only 21 of his 28 field-goal attempts. His 75 percent conversion rate matched his uncharacteristically poor 2017 campaign in Dallas.

–Field Level Media

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NFL to enforce ban on certain helmets, including Brady’s

NFL to enforce ban on certain helmets, including Brady's

NFL to enforce ban on certain helmets, including Brady’s

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be wearing a different helmet for the 2019 season, although it will have nothing to do with finding a new team.

Brady’s model of helmet was banned from the NFL because it did not meet necessary safety standards in laboratory testing, according to ESPN. In total, 32 players from 2018 were wearing a helmet that no longer met NFL standards, the league announced Friday.

Brady’s model was actually deemed inadequate before last season, but players using substandard models were given a one-year grace period to make a change.

The NFL and the NFL players Association announced 11 new helmets that were added to the approved equipment list. There were no additions to the banned list this time around.

Team equipment managers will be subject to discipline if they facilitate the use of a banned helmet, or know of a player using one, according to ESPN.

The NFL and the NFL Players Association have been putting helmets through new testing standards since 2015. The tests, conducted in Canada, include crash test dummies outfitted with helmets that are subjected to various impacts to record how much force is transferred.

–Field Level Media

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Molinari, Day share early second-round Masters lead

Molinari, Day share early second-round Masters lead

Molinari, Day share early second-round Masters lead

Italy’s Francesco Molinari shot a bogey-free round and is tied for first place with Australia’s Jason Day midway through the second round of the Masters on Friday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

Molinari posted a 5-under-par 67 to rise to 7-under 137 for the tournament. Day shot the same score.

Dustin Johnson is at 6-under after Friday’s 2-under 70 as play continued into the late afternoon.

England’s Ian Poulter had grabbed the lead at 4-under early in the day, but he stalled with nine straight pars. Poulter shot 1-under Friday to go to 5-under for the tournament after briefly reaching 6-under.

Phil Mickelson stayed within range as he was even-par for the round (and 5-under for the tournament) through 16 holes.

First-round co-leaders Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka struggled at times.

Koepka was 2-over through six holes in the second round, with a double-bogey, two bogeys and two birdies. His errant tee shot on the second hole led to the double-bogey.

Koepka later recovered with five consecutive pars heading into the final stretch. He was even-par through 16 holes.

DeChambeau finished at 3-over for the day.

Patton Kizzire was among the early finishers, notching a 70 for the second day in a row. His 4-under total made him the leader in the clubhouse before some golfers even teed off for the second round.

Matt Kuchar shot 3-under for the round to join Kizzire among 4-under finishers.

Tiger Woods, who shot 70 on Thursday, had an afternoon tee time.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger’s agent weighs in on future televised specials

Tiger's agent weighs in on future televised specials

Tiger’s agent weighs in on future televised specials

The agent for Tiger Woods said talks are ongoing for future televised appearances and hinted that the first is likely to be in Japan this fall, according to ESPN.

“We are in pretty deep discussions about doing that and Japan would be ideal to do the first one,” Steinberg said, per the report. “It might not be a traditional head-to-head match. It might be something more unique.”

Woods is currently playing in the Masters, where he is trying for his fifth green jacket and first since 2005.

“We haven’t put together what the field will look like,” Steinberg added. “How big would the field be? What type of format would they play? The exact date? We’d like to do it around the first-ever PGA Tour event in Japan.”

The Zozo Championship, the first official PGA Tour event in Japan, will be held in Tokyo Oct. 24-27. That is followed on the PGA Tour schedule by events in South Korea and China.

It was revealed in early April that Woods would take his match-play prowess on the road — again — in a series of matches set to stream on GolfTV’s over-the-top (OTT) platforms, according to Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav.

Zaslav announced the news while speaking at the CAA World Congress of Sports at Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif., and said one match is already planned for Tokyo and most of them will take place outside of the United States.

GolfTV was announced last year as part of a long-term partnership between Discovery and the PGA Tour. In November 2018, Discovery secured a multi-year deal with Woods to provide exclusive content for the international streaming service, which launched in January.

Zaslav cited Woods’ made-for-TV spectacle, “The Match,” with Phil Mickelson last Thanksgiving weekend as inspiration for the GolfTV series. The event, hosted by Turner Sports as a pay-per-view event on its B/R Live platform, logged 750,000 unique users.

–Field Level Media

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Former Patriots WR Hogan signs with Panthers

Former Patriots WR Hogan signs with Panthers

The Carolina Panthers

Former Patriots WR Hogan signs with Panthers

The Carolina Panthers have signed wide receiver Chris Hogan to a one-year deal, the team announced on Friday.

Hogan spent the past three seasons with the New England Patriots, winning two titles. He finished last season with 35 catches for 532 yards and three touchdowns.

In three seasons with New England, Hogan had 107 catches for 1,651 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Undrafted out of Monmoth in 2011, Hogan eventually latched on with the Buffalo Bills and made his NFL debut in 2013.

Hogan set the Patriots record for most receiving yards in a single playoff game (180) during the team’s Super Bowl run after the 2016 season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Woods, McIlroy set for skins game in Japan

Report: Woods, McIlroy set for skins game in Japan

Report: Woods, McIlroy set for skins game in Japan

Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will headline a skins game event on Oct. 21 in Japan, a source told ESPN on Sunday.

The skins game will also include Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in a one-day competition to be held at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club in Japan, three days before the start of the inaugural Zozo Championship that will be played outside of Tokyo. Woods is expected to compete in that tournament, the first official PGA Tour event in Japan.

The PGA Tour-sanctioned skins game will offer “lucrative prize money,” according to ESPN, although the amount and the structure of the event are still being finalized.

The Skins Game was once an offseason golf staple, held from 1983 to 2008, often around Thanksgiving weekend. The event fizzled from a lack of star power in its final few events.

In a typical skins competition, each hole is assigned a dollar amount, with the prize money rolling over to the next hole if there is no winner.

Woods was a runner-up in the Skins Game in 2001, 2004 and 2005, but he did not play in the competition after that.

–Field Level Media

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Na withdraws from Open due to neck injury

Na withdraws from Open due to neck injury

Na withdraws from Open due to neck injury

Kevin Na withdrew from next week’s Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland due to a neck injury, with Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini named as Na’s replacement.

Na withdrew from last week’s inaugural 3M Open due to the ongoing issue with his neck. He is currently ranked 34th in the world, having reached No. 31 after winning the Charles Schwab Challenge in May. Na missed the cut at the U.S. Open and finished sixth at the Korea Open before the neck injury forced him out last week.

Sabbatini is the second alternate to get into the Open field this week. Kevin Streelman received an invite after John Daly withdrew from the tournament because his request for a medical exemption to use a cart was denied. Sabbatini is currently ranked No. 86.

No. 88 Kevin Harman is now the first alternate, followed by former world No. 1 Martin Kaymer of Germany, who is currently ranked No. 90 after a T9 at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open last week. No. 93 Kevin Tway is the third alternate.

–Field Level Media

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New York Jets training camp primer

New York Jets training camp primer

New York Jets training camp primer

New faces: RB Le’Veon Bell, LB C.J. Mosley, DT Quinnen Williams, WR Jamison Crowder, OG Kelechi Osemele, CB Brian Poole, QB Trevor Siemian, WR Josh Bellamy, WR Deonte Thompson, K Chandler Catanzaro, OLB Jachai Polite

They’re gone: OG James Carpenter, C Spencer Long, CB Buster Skrine, DL Mike Pennel, WR Andre Roberts, K Jason Myers, S Terrence Brooks, WR Jermaine Kearse, RB Isaiah Crowell

2019 snapshot: Few teams in the league had a more complicated offseason than the Jets, who apparently disliked their own moves from this spring so much that the man who made them is now gone. Former GM Mike Maccagnan was fired in May, with Joe Douglas hired in June.

That came after Maccagnan hired Adam Gase as head coach, led a free agent spending spree for Bell, Mosely and Crowder, and ran the draft room as normal in April. Did the team finally get it right by hiring Douglas? Or does that bizarre sequence of events simply show a dysfunctional organization?

Maccagnan’s moves certainly raised a few eyebrows. He made outlandish investments at two of the league’s least valuable positions in running back (Bell; four years, $52 million) and inside linebacker (Mosley; five years, $85 million), then added an expensive slot wideout (Crowder; three years, $28.5 million) just a few months after extending Quincy Enunwa, who predominantly plays the slot.

The draft was more encouraging, as Williams was clearly the best player available, even at a crowded position with Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon and newly re-signed Henry Anderson. Third-round picks Polite and OT Chuma Edoga each bring some upside (albeit amid character concerns), and TE Trevon Wesco (fourth round) should be a nice Swiss-army knife as a tight end/H-back.

Worth the investment?

–The Jets managed just four wins a year ago, but with several major talent upgrades, they could reasonably flirt with the postseason. It’s not hard to see them topping their 7-win over/under.

–As far as MVP longshots go, you could do far worse than Sam Darnold (+7500), who came on strong to finish his rookie season and now has Adam Gase as his head coach.

Bottom line: It was probably the right move to fire Maccagnan, but it’s hard to justify the process that led up to it or the timing. Still, if Williams stars like expected — he’ll need to sign his contract and report to camp first — this team looks much more talented.

–Field Level Media

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Schauffele vents about beef with R&A over driver issue

Schauffele vents about beef with R&A over driver issue

Schauffele vents about beef with R&A over driver issue

Xander Schauffele accused The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of spreading the word that his driver failed random testing this week, leading him to ridicule from his fellow players.

Schauffele disclosed Friday that his Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero driver was non-conforming when it was tested before The Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland. At that point, the development still was news to the media and fans. But after he shot a third-round 69 on Saturday, Schauffele took The R&A to task, accusing them of leaking the information to his opponents.

“So The R&A, they pissed me off because they attempted to ruin my image by not keeping this matter private,” he said. “This is me coming out and treating them the exact way they treated me.”

He said he heard heckling, in jest, from a fellow player

“It is an unsettling topic,” Schauffele, 25, said. “I’ve been called a cheater by my fellow opponents. It’s all joking, but when someone yells ‘cheater’ in front of 200 people, to me it’s not going to go down very well.”

Schauffele, a Californian ranked No. 11 in the world, said his was not the only driver to fail random testing, which involved 30 players.

“Other drivers failed,” he said. “… This matter should be private.”

Schauffele said he had no idea his driver was non-conforming when he put it in his bag before heading to Royal Portrush.

“I don’t sit at home and test my driver, you know. To my best belief, I was playing a conforming driver. I think The R&A’s job … well, the PGA Tour takes it up with the manufacturer. Our job as players is to show up to tournaments, put on a show for The R&A and for the Tour and to handle our business. It’s not to make sure our stuff is conforming.”

–Field Level Media

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Lowry cruises to first major win at Open

Lowry cruises to first major win at Open

Lowry cruises to first major win at Open

Shane Lowry recovered from a mid-round stumble to shoot 1-over 72 and finish with a 15-under 269, claiming his first major title at The Open Championship at Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush.

Lowry, from Ireland, entered the day at 16-under par and with a four-shot lead over England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

“Wow. What can I say?,” said a triumphant Lowry afterward. “I just have so many people to thank, really. First of all, the R&A for such a great event. To have an Open Championship here in Northern Ireland at Royal Portrush Golf Club is just amazing. I love this place; it’s one of my favorite places in Ireland. To be able to come up here and play an Open Championship is great.”

Playing in blustery weather, Lowry stretched the lead to six strokes early. Three bogeys in four holes around the turn dropped his lead back to four.

“I did quite well, to be honest, because I got off to a very shaky start,” he said. “But the crowds were just unbelievable. I didn’t feel great out there. It was probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever felt on a golf course. You’re trying to win an Open in your home country, and it’s incredibly difficult.”

Fleetwood’s bid to catch Lowry hit a snag on the 14th hole, when Lowry bogeyed and Fleetwood double-bogeyed. Lowry then birdied No. 15, while Fleetwood shot par, to push his lead back to six with three holes to go.

The pair both shot par over the final three holes to seal Lowry’s victory by six strokes.

“This feels like an out-of-body experience,” said Lowry to Sky Sports while holding the Claret Jug. “I was so calm coming down the last! I couldn’t believe it. What a day. It was difficult out there, the weather was so hard.”

He continued: “Around the middle of the round, when I started to struggle, made a couple of bogeys, I had a look at the leaderboard and seen that most people were doing that. It was unbelievably difficult out there today. I kept on saying to myself, ‘Bogeys are not going to hurt me, so let’s just keep the ball in play.’ Turned into a two-horse race between me and Tommy at the end, which was quite nice because I felt like I could keep an eye on what he was doing and put some pressure on him also.”

Lowry, 32, held a four-shot lead after 54 holes of the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont, but settled for a tie for second after imploding with a final-round 76.

Fleetwood took the loss in stride.

“First three, four, five holes, I think the way I played I could have built some momentum,” Fleetwood said. “Hit some great shots and didn’t really convert the putts. Just hole those putts and just build a start, which I didn’t really do. It was tough from there. I never really got close enough and Shane played great. The conditions were horrendous for like two or three holes. All in all, it was Shane’s time, Shane’s tournament. And he did great. Congratulations to him. It’s a little bit sore right now, but overall it’s been a great week.”

J.B. Holmes, who entered the day alone in third place at 10-under, finished a disastrous 16-over 87 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 67th — ahead of just three players.

American Tony Finau finished third overall at 7-under after shooting even par on Sunday.

Four-time major champion and world No. 1 Brooks Koepka had a chance to finish in the top three, but he failed to birdie No. 18 and finished in a tie for fourth place with England’s Lee Westwood, who shot a 2-over par 73.

Koepka had top-three finishes in the other three majors this season (T2 Masters, won PGA Championship, and second in the U.S. Open) and was vying to become the first player in the modern era to finish in the top three in all four.

He joins Rickie Fowler, Jack Nicklaus, Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods as the only players to finish in the top five at all four majors in a calender year in the modern era.

Fowler, who shot 3-over, finished in a four-way tie for sixth at 5-under with Englishmen Tyrrell Hatton and Danny Willett and with Scot Robert MacIntyre.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari had the round of the day with a 5-under 66, which boosted him 43 spots into a tie for 11th.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Rams’ Gurley unsure how knee will hold up

NFL notebook: Rams' Gurley unsure how knee will hold up

NFL notebook: Rams’ Gurley unsure how knee will hold up

Todd Gurley, the Los Angeles Rams’ primary ballcarrier, said he isn’t certain how his arthritic knee will hold up over the long haul. An “arthritic component” in his knee became problematic in the playoffs last season, when the team attempted to manage his workload on the fly.

“I’m just like, hey, we’re going to find out in training camp, you know? Once training camp comes, you’ve got the preseason, but you don’t have a lot in preseason,” Gurley told NFL Network.

Gurley said the lingering issue won’t cause him to change his playing style. However, NFL Network’s Terrell Davis, who retired in his prime because of knee issues, said the joint will eventually wear out.

The Rams drafted Darrell Henderson in the third round and matched an offer sheet to retain restricted free agent Malcolm Brown. Both will get more use as Gurley eases into the season.

–The Houston Texans will not hire a general manager for the 2019 season, instead opting to divide responsibilities among current front-office members, ESPN reported.

Going without a GM was reported as a possibility in mid-June, after the team stopped pursuing New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. The Texans are widely expected to renew their pursuit of Caserio when his contract expires next offseason, an endeavor that would be more difficult if the team hired a GM in the interim.

According to ESPN, Houston will divide the duties of fired GM Brian Gaine among several people for the 2019 season, including director of player personnel Matt Bazirgan, director of college scouting James Liipfert, senior vice president of football administration Chris Olsen and newly hired executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby.

–The Arizona Cardinals selected Washington State safety Jalen Thompson in the fifth round of the NFL supplemental draft, giving up their fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft.

Thompson was ruled ineligible for his senior season at Washington State due to a violation of NCAA rules, the school announced late last month.

Thompson had 191 career tackles (11.5 for loss) and six interceptions in 39 games with the Cougars. He earned second-team All-Pac-12 honors in 2017 and was an honorable mention all-conference pick last season. He worked out in front of NFL scouts on Monday in Los Angeles, with reported times of 4.47 and 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

–Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Ryan Smith has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.

Smith, 25, made 38 tackles, one interception and six pass breakups for Tampa Bay last season, when he had six starts among his 16 games played. Smith started 10 of 15 games in 2017, when he posted 62 tackles and five pass breakups. He was a fourth-round pick of the Bucs in 2016.

Smith can participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games. He will be eligible to play in Tampa Bay’s game at the New Orleans Saints on Oct. 6.

–Monday’s deadline for franchise-tagged placekicker Robbie Gould to sign a new contract with the San Francisco 49ers appears unlikely to produce a deal.

Gould told the San Jose Mercury News that he remains uncertain if he’ll report to the team for training camp or even the regular season, let alone come to terms on a long-term agreement by Monday.

Gould, a former Bears kicker, still lives in Chicago, and the Bears are stuck in the process of finding a reliable kicker, a tailspin that began late last season and continued into the last-second playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

–Field Level Media

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RB Gordon tells Chargers: Pay me or trade me

RB Gordon tells Chargers: Pay me or trade me

Los Angeles Chargers

RB Gordon tells Chargers: Pay me or trade me

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon will not report to training camp without a new contract, ESPN reported Thursday.

Gordon also reportedly told the Chargers that failure to reach agreement on a contract would result in a trade demand. Gordon’s agent, Fletcher Smith, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter of the holdout and trade scenarios on Thursday.

The Chargers are scheduled to open training camp July 25.

Gordon signed a four-year, $10.67 million deal as a first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, and in April, the Chargers exercised their fifth-year option for $5.61 million for 2019.

The 26-year-old has 38 touchdowns over the past three seasons.

Gordon did not attend voluntary workouts with the Chargers but did report to minicamp in June.

At that time, he said he was trying to avoid contract conversations, but he noted fellow 2015 first-round Todd Gurley already had received a long-term deal from the Rams.

“I’m just trying not to talk about it. If it’s going to happen, it’ll happen. When it does, I’m pretty sure you guys will know,” Gordon told ESPN in June.

Gurley signed a four-year, $60 million extension with $45 million guaranteed in 2018.

“It’s an issue with everybody else,” Gordon said. “But I know my value. I know what I bring to this team, and I’m sticking with that. Todd’s paid, so Todd don’t care what anybody says right now – him or David Johnson – they can say what they want to say. They signed the dotted line. But unfortunately I haven’t yet, so I’ve got to take the heat for some of the stuff that they’re going through. But I’m not them, and like I said, I know my value.”

–Field Level Media

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Former DT Haynesworth needs kidney transplant

Former DT Haynesworth needs kidney transplant

Former Tennessee

Former DT Haynesworth needs kidney transplant

Former Tennessee Titans star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth announced Wednesday on Instagram he is “in dire need” of a kidney transplant and is looking for a donor.

Haynesworth, 38, posted a picture of himself in a hospital bed with a long message reading, “Well, this is hard for me to say, but my doctors said I should reach out to my family, friends and fans.

“Some of you may know I’ve been battling kidney disease for a few years… now the time has come family, friends and fans, I’m in dire need of a kidney… mine have finally failed me on July 7 2019. It’s hard to believe from being a professional athlete to only 8 season(s) in retirement that my body has taken another major blow.

“First with the brain aneurysm 3 seasons out of the NFL to now my kidneys failing me. But the bright side of this latest ordeal I can ask for help by asking for someone to generously donate a kidney. If you are interested in giving this precious gift please call Vanderbilt at 615-936-0695 and hit option 2. GOD BLESS thank you for your prayers and thanks for sharing this message.”

Haynesworth revealed in a 2016 Nashville radio appearance that he’d had a brain aneurysm two years earlier.

The 15th overall pick in the 2002 draft, Haynesworth spent the first seven years of his career with the Titans, earning Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors in his final two seasons. He parlayed those campaigns into a record-setting, seven-year, $100 million deal with the Washington Redskins in March of 2009.

Haynesworth played just three seasons after that, appearing in 20 games with Washington, six with New England and seven with Tampa Bay before retiring after the 2011 season. He finished with 30.5 sacks in 123 games (92 starts).

–Field Level Media

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Ravens S Jefferson tears ACL, season over

Ravens S Jefferson tears ACL, season over

Baltimore

Ravens S Jefferson tears ACL, season over

Baltimore Ravens safety Tony Jefferson tore the ACL in his left knee on Sunday and will miss the rest of the season, head coach John Harbaugh told reporters after Sunday’s win in Pittsburgh.

Harbaugh said there is “probably more” damage in the knee in addition to the ACL.

Jefferson was carted off the field in the fourth quarter after getting hurt while bringing down Pittsburgh tight end Nick Vannett. The team ruled him doubtful, and he did not return.

Jefferson, 27, is in his third season with the Ravens after signing a four-year, $34 million contract as a free agent in March of 2017. He had 20 tackles and two passes defensed in four games entering Sunday’s win, in which he had one tackle and a pass defensed.

In seven career seasons with Baltimore and the Arizona Cardinals, Jefferson has 451 tackles, four interceptions and 22 pass breakups.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins LB Foster won’t face suspension

Redskins LB Foster won't face suspension

Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster will

Redskins LB Foster won’t face suspension

Washington Redskins linebacker Reuben Foster will be fined but not suspended for his involvement in an incident that led to misdemeanor domestic violence battery charges that ultimately were dropped, the NFL announced Friday.

The league said Foster would be fined two game checks. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.29 million in the 2019 season.

The charges stemmed from an incident in Tampa on Nov. 24 when Foster was a member of the San Francisco 49ers. His former girlfriend, Elissa Ennis, said Foster pushed her in the chest area and slapped her with an open hand on the left side of her face at a Tampa hotel on the eve of the 49ers’ game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 49ers released Foster the next day and the Redskins claimed him two days later. The NFL placed Foster on the commissioner’s exempt list, and he did not play the rest of the season.

“Following a thorough investigation, the evidence did not support a finding that Foster violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy in connection with the Tampa incident in November 2018. The NFL has returned Foster to the active roster from the Commissioner Exempt list. He may fully participate in all team activities,” the NFL said in a statement issued Friday.

Washington team president Bruce Allen said the team has told Foster it will not tolerate any further off-field incidents.

“The Redskins have put in place a comprehensive responsibility and accountability plan to help Reuben be successful on and off the field,” Allen said in a statement. “Elements of this plan include individual counseling, a structured living arrangement, weekly meetings with the club player engagement director, weekly meetings with our team chaplain, and targeted community service engagements.

“We have been very clear with Reuben that his past does not have to determine his future – but the responsibility is squarely on him to change. Reuben must fully adhere to the plan we have developed for him. Reuben knows that we simply will not tolerate any future conduct that is detrimental to the Washington Redskins organization or to the NFL.”

In a statement issued by the team, Foster said he understood the conditions.

“I accept the NFL’s decision and want to say that I am truly sorry for my past actions and the people who may have been hurt by them,” Foster said. “Going forward, I will follow the plan outlined for me and work hard to earn back the trust of my teammates, the NFL, NFL fans, and the community. I know that my success is all up to me, and I am committed to not letting you down.”

A first-round draft pick in 2017, the 31st player selected overall, Foster had 29 tackles but no sacks, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries or interceptions in the six games he played last season.

–Field Level Media

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WR Thielen agrees to four-year extension with Vikings

WR Thielen agrees to four-year extension with Vikings

WR Thielen agrees to four-year extension with Vikings

Wide receiver Adam Thielen and the Minnesota Vikings have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Friday.

Terms were not announced, but his agent, Blake Baratz, announced on social media that the deal was for four years and $64 million, and could go as high as $73 million with incentives.

Read More 34 Words

Molinari moves atop Masters leaderboard; Tiger lurking

Molinari moves atop Masters leaderboard; Tiger lurking

Molinari moves atop Masters leaderboard; Tiger lurking

Tiger Woods made a move and that garnered much of the attention during the second round of the Masters.

However, others did their parts to stake a claim to the top spot at Augusta National Golf Club.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari shot a bogey-free, 5-under-par 67 on Friday to share first place going into the weekend in Augusta, Ga.

Brooks Koepka, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Australia’s Jason Day and Adam Scott are level with Molinari at 7-under-par 137. Ooosthuizen posted a 66 for one of the best scores of the round.

However, a big stir occurred late in the day when Woods pulled within one of the leaders. His 68 left him at 6 under in a four-way tie for sixth behind the top group.

Woods had pars on the final three holes with chance to make an even bigger splash.

He used 30 putts on his round. Through two rounds, he has drained five putts of 20 or more feet — more than any other golfer in the field.

It all could be coming together for Woods.

“I feel like my body is good and my game is good, it’s sharp,” he said. “So just got to go out there and execute and I got to do the proper things, and if I do miss, I miss in a proper spot.”

Scott surged to the front with an eagle on No. 15 before giving back a stroke with a bogey on the next hole. He ended up with a 68.

“I know where and when my game is coming into really good shape, and I can see it coming back,” Scott said. “I think I got some good confirmation.”

Day carded five birdies overall, including birdies on all four of the par-5 holes. His only two bogeys came on the back nine en route to a 67.

“The whole goal is to try and take advantage of the par 5s here this week,” Day said.

Day dealt with a sore back that limited some of his flexibility. His wife told him that he couldn’t use it as an excuse while at a major.

“You need to suck it up,” Day said was the message from his wife, Ellie.

Others weren’t surprised that Day pulled it together.

“He seems to have a bad back all the time and plays great,” Scott said, “so I’m sure he knows what he’s doing.”

Koepka, a first-round co-leader, had a slow start to the second round but finished at 71.

Koepka was 2 over on the day through six holes, with a double bogey, two bogeys and two birdies. His errant tee shot on the second hole led to the double bogey. He recovered to produce nine pars and three birdies over his last 12 holes.

“Understanding where to miss it,” Koepka said. “I think sometimes maybe I was a little bit too aggressive. I’m super aggressive at a normal event, and that kind of backfires sometimes. But at a major, just know there’s 72 holes, so I kind of let things brush off my back a little bit easier.”

Dustin Johnson (70), Xander Schauffele (65) South Africa’s Justin Harding (69) are even with Woods at 6 under.

Harding made four consecutive birdies (Nos. 12-15) and added another on No. 17 before finishing with a bogey.

Play was suspended for about a half-hour shortly after 5 p.m. EDT because of thunderstorms in the area.

Woods made a putt of about 40 feet on No. 9, then added a birdie on No. 11 before play was stopped.

Spain’s Jon Rahm was at 5 under for the tournament after 11 holes but never made another move and was stuck two strokes behind the leaders following a 70.

England’s Ian Poulter had grabbed the lead at 4 under early in the day, but he stalled with nine straight pars. Poulter shot 1 under on Friday to go to 5 under for the tournament after briefly reaching 6 under.

Phil Mickelson remained within range as he was 1 over for the round and at 4 under for the tournament.

Patton Kizzire was among the early finishers, notching a 70 for the second day in a row. His 4-under total made him the leader in the clubhouse before some golfers teed off for the second round.

Matt Kuchar shot 3 under for the round to join Kizzire and Mickelson among 4-under finishers.

First-round co-leader Bryson DeChambeau dipped to 3 under after notching a 75.

Defending champion Patrick Reed shot 70 to reach 1 under for the tournament and make the cut.

–Field Level Media

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Molinari moves atop Masters leaderboard

Molinari moves atop Masters leaderboard

Italy's Francesco

Molinari moves atop Masters leaderboard

Italy’s Francesco Molinari shot a bogey-free, 5-under-par 67 on Friday to share first place after the second round of the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

Brooks Koepka, South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen and Australia’s Jason Day and Adam Scott are level with Molinari at 7-under-par 137. Ooosthuizen posted a 66 for one of the best scores of the round.

However, a big stir occurred late in the day when Tiger Woods pulled within one of the leaders. His 68 left him at 6 under in a four-way tie for sixth behind the top group.

Woods had pars on the final three holes with chance to make an even bigger splash.

Scott surged to the front with an eagle on No. 15 before giving back a stroke with a bogey on the next hole. He ended up with 68.

Day carded five birdies overall, including birdies on all four of the par-5 holes. His only two bogeys came on the back nine en route to a 67.

“The whole goal is to try and take advantage of the par 5s here this week,” Day said.

Day dealt with a sore back that limited some of his flexibility. His wife told him that he couldn’t use it as an excuse while at a major.

“You need to suck it up,” Day said was the message from his wife, Ellie.

Koepka, a first-round co-leader, had a slow start to the second round but finished with 71.

Koepka was 2 over on the day through six holes, with a double bogey, two bogeys and two birdies. His errant tee shot on the second hole led to the double bogey. He recovered to produce nine pars and three birdies over his last 12 holes.

Dustin Johnson (70), Xander Schauffele (65) South Africa’s Justin Harding (69) are level with Woods at 6 under.

Harding made four consecutive birdies (Nos. 12-15) and added another on No. 17 before finishing with a bogey.

Play was suspended for about a half-hour shortly after 5 p.m. EDT because of thunderstorms in the area.

Woods made a putt of about 40 feet on No. 9, then added a birdie on No. 11 before play was stopped.

Spain’s Jon Rahm was at 5 under for the tournament after 11 holes but never made another move and was stuck two strokes behind the leaders following a 70.

England’s Ian Poulter had grabbed the lead at 4 under early in the day, but he stalled with nine straight pars. Poulter shot 1 under on Friday to go to 5 under for the tournament after briefly reaching 6 under.

Phil Mickelson remained within range as he was 1 over for the round and at 4 under for the tournament.

Patton Kizzire was among the early finishers, notching a 70 for the second day in a row. His 4-under total made him the leader in the clubhouse before some golfers teed off for the second round.

Matt Kuchar shot 3 under for the round to join Kizzire and Mickelson among 4-under finishers.

First-round co-leader Bryson DeChambeau dipped to 3 under after notching a 75.

Defending champion Patrick Reed shot 70 to reach 1 under for the tournament to make the cut.

–Field Level Media

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Security official falls into Woods, gives golf world major scare

Security official falls into Woods, gives golf world major scare

Security official falls into Woods, gives golf world major scare

Sitting just one shot off the lead after two rounds, Tiger Woods is looking to put a scare into the field at the Masters in Augusta, Ga. But that’s nothing compared to the scare an overzealous security official gave Woods — and the rest of the golf world — during Friday’s Round 2.

Less than an hour after players returned the course following a weather delay lasting more than half an hour, Woods hit his tee shot on the par-4 14th into the trees, left of the fairway. His approach from 168 yards was vintage Woods, the ball making its way to within 30 feet of the hole.

What was also vintage Woods was the gallery’s reaction. With the crowd standing only a few feet behind Woods, as soon as he hit his approach, the gallery closed in on him, cheering as he walked toward the fairway to watch his shot.

Though no spectators appeared to get particularly close to the golfer, with a member of the security staff quickly getting between Woods and the closest spectators, a second member of security sprinted in from behind Woods to help form a barrier. But as he was getting behind Woods, the security member slipped on the wet grass, slid to the ground and clipped the back of Woods’ right leg as the 43-year-old, four-time Masters winner walked toward the fairway.

Woods immediately jumped up and began hurriedly limping toward the fairway. He also leaned on his club like a cane multiple times as he limped off. While he could be seen flexing his ankle later on the hole, he drained the subsequent birdie putt to get to 5-under par at the time.

He birdied 15 as well, then finished with back-to-back pars to finish at 6-under par after 36 holes, tied with three other golfers in a group trailing five golfers at 7 under.

In the immediate aftermath, social media zeroed in on the security official, making note of the potential calamity he nearly caused. But Woods shrugged it off following his round.

“No, it’s all good. Accidents happen,” Woods told reporters of the incident. “I’ve had galleries run over me. It’s just, you know, when you play in front of a lot of people, things happen.”

–Field Level Media

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Former Packers great Gregg dies at 85

Former Packers great Gregg dies at 85

Green Bay Packers great Forrest Gregg died on Friday at the age of 85, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced.

Gregg, a favorite of legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, was a standout offensive tackle during Green Bay's dynasty in the 1960s. He

Former Packers great Gregg dies at 85

Green Bay Packers great Forrest Gregg died on Friday at the age of 85, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced.

Gregg, a favorite of legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi, was a standout offensive tackle during Green Bay’s dynasty in the 1960s. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1977.

Despite being undersized, Gregg played in 188 consecutive games between 1956 and 1971, winning five championships with the Packers along the way.

He spent his final season in Dallas, winning his sixth title in Super Bowl VI.

“The game lost a giant today,” a statement from Hall of Fame President David Baker begins. “Forrest Gregg exemplified greatness during a legendary career that earned him a Bronzed Bust in Canton. He was the type of player who led by example and, in doing so, raised the level of play of all those around him. Forrest symbolized many great traits and virtues that can be learned from this Game to inspire people from all walks of life.”

Gregg went into coaching after his playing days ended, guiding the Cleveland Browns, Cincinnati Bengals and Packers over 11 seasons.

While no cause of death was released, Gregg was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Patriots agree to extension with S Chung

Reports: Patriots agree to extension with S Chung

Reports: Patriots agree to extension with S Chung

The New England Patriots have agreed to a one-year contract extension through the 2021 season with safety Patrick Chung, according to multiple reports.

Chung, 31, has been a stalwart in the Patriots’ defense for much of the past decade. He has played nine of his 10 NFL seasons in New England, appearing in 128 games (100 starts) with 660 tackles, 11 interceptions and 51 pass breakups for the franchise.

He has been a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams and was a team captain for the Patriots’ title-winning squad last season. Chung spent the 2013 season with the Philadelphia Eagles before returning to New England.

Chung was scheduled to earn a base salary of $1.9 million in 2019, with bonuses potentially taking him to around $3 million. He also was due $1.9 million in base salary in 2020.

The new deal includes a $4 million signing bonus and will be worth up to $12.9 million including bonuses over three years, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.

–Field Level Media

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Molinari holds third-round Masters lead, Tiger lurking

Molinari holds third-round Masters lead, Tiger lurking

Italy's

Molinari holds third-round Masters lead, Tiger lurking

Italy’s Francesco Molinari shot 6-under 66 to hold first place after the third round of the Masters on a day that Tiger Woods moved to a share of the lead briefly Saturday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

Despite three pars to end his round, Molinari sits at 13-under 203 and holds a two-shot lead on Woods and Tony Finau going to Sunday’s final round.

Woods surged into a tie for the lead with three birdies in a four-hole stretch, capped by a 5-foot putt on the 16th hole. He finished the round with 67.

Shortly after Woods reached 11 under, Molinari moved alone to the top with his third straight birdie when he rolled in a putt on No. 14.

Finau posted 64 to rise to 11 under. He didn’t convert on the final three holes with pars.

Brooks Koepka shot 69 and is alone in fourth place at 10 under.

Webb Simpson shot 64 to move to 9 under. He’s joined by England’s Ian Poulter, who posted 68.

Sunday’s final round has been revamped because of weather concerns, creating some unprecedented moves by tournament officials. Two tees will be used and there will be threesomes, with leaders beginning before 9:30 a.m. and a goal of completing the round by mid-afternoon.

Finau played the round’s first eight holes in 6 under, capped by an eagle 3 on the par-5 eighth hole. He birdied the hole the first two rounds.

“I know it’s a golf course I can score on,” Finau said.

For Finau, it required some patience the first couple of rounds. He said he sensed he had a low number in him.

“I like how I’ve played thus far,” he said. “I’m draining it really good.”

Xander Schauffele (70) is among five players at 8 under. Schauffele said he has developed a comfort level considering what’s at stake and roars from the galleries coming from around the course.

“There’s so much noise around just trying to play golf,” Schauffele said. “And this year I felt I did a better job sort of hushing it down and sticking to ready golf.”

Matt Kuchar (68) moved to 8 under to stay in contention. As a Georgia Tech golfer, he was the tournament’s low amateur in 1998.

“I feel good about the way I’ve been playing this year,” Kuchar said. “And certainly coming into this week. So hoping to continue the good play.”

Saturday had become an historic day in the Masters with the third round beginning with five golfers tied for the top spot and four others a stroke back. The tournament’s leader board had never been so crowded at that stage.

There was an early buzz created by Patrick Cantlay, whose 64 was the best score of the Masters this year although the mark was later matched.

Cantlay was tied for 50th after two rounds, but he exited the course just one shot out of the lead and enters the final round tied for 14th and seven shot backs.

He didn’t have a bogey in the round. His previous best mark in the Masters was a 71.

–Field Level Media

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Masters’ final round moved up due to weather concerns

Masters' final round moved up due to weather concerns

Masters’ final round moved up due to weather concerns

The potential for severe weather in Augusta, Ga., has led to Sunday’s final round of the Masters being moved up.

Two tees will be used and players will be grouped into threesomes as officials hope to complete the round at Augusta National Golf Club by mid-afternoon ET.

Play will begin at 7:30 a.m. ET off the No. 1 and No. 10 tees. The leaders are expected to tee off around 9:20 a.m. CBS is scheduled to begin its telecast at 9 a.m. ET.

Rain is forecast with thunderstorms and high winds likely around 4 p.m. ET.

“The safety of everyone on our grounds is paramount,” Fred Ridley, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said in a statement. “We also believe the earlier start will give us the best opportunity to complete the Masters on Sunday. This decision should benefit everyone — the players, our patrons and our fans watching around the world.

“Given the competitiveness and drama of this year’s tournament, we look forward to an exciting conclusion tomorrow.”

Italy’s Francesco Molinari (13 under) holds a two-stroke lead over Tiger Woods and Tony Finau entering the final round. The trio will play together, with Brooks Koepka (10 under), Webb Simpson (9 under) and England’s Ian Poulter (9 under) in the penultimate group.

–Field Level Media

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Woods wins fifth Masters

Woods wins fifth Masters

Tiger Woods won his

Woods wins fifth Masters

Tiger Woods won his fifth Masters on Sunday in Augusta, Ga., and his first major tournament since the 2008 U.S. Open.

It was his 15th victory in a major tournament in his career, three off the record 18 held by Jack Nicklaus.

Woods finished the tournament at 13-under 275. He shot a final-round 70, closing out the victory with a bogey putt.

The 43-year-old Woods is the oldest Masters champ since Nicklaus won at age 46 in 1986.

“A big well done from me to Tiger,” Nicklaus said in a message read by Jim Nantz of CBS. “i am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic.”

Woods won his first major in the Masters in Augusta, Ga., in 1997.

It was his first major win after four back surgeries and a well-publicized personal scandal.

Xander Schauffele (68), Dustin Johnson(68), Brooks Koepka (70) finished one shot back.

–Field Level Media

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Augusta’s green jacket ceremony nixed over weather concerns

Augusta's green jacket ceremony nixed over weather concerns

Sunday's green jacket

Augusta’s green jacket ceremony nixed over weather concerns

Sunday’s green jacket ceremony at the Masters, an iconic part of the tradition that’s unlike any other, has been canceled due to weather concerns in Augusta, Ga.

Augusta National Golf Club officials made the decision so that patrons and workers will be safely off the course before the inclement weather arrives. Strong winds and thunderstorms are in the forecast for the afternoon.

“There will not be a Green Jacket Ceremony on the terrace putting green this afternoon in order to expedite gate closures,” a club official wrote in an email. “Weather permitting, we will have photos with the champion on the putting green following the Butler Cabin Green Jacket presentation.”

The presentation traditionally features the previous year’s winner slipping the iconic green jacket onto the new champion. Patrick Reed won the 2018 Masters.

Forecasts of impending storms led the club to push up Sunday’s final round tee times, with threesomes starting on split tees at 7:30 a.m. ET.

If the weather forces early stoppage on Sunday, the Masters would have its first Monday finish since 1983 when Spain’s Seve Ballesteros won his second green jacket.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger tames Masters for fifth time

Tiger tames Masters for fifth time

With an achievement already

Tiger tames Masters for fifth time

With an achievement already called one of the greatest comebacks in sports, Tiger Woods is on top of the golf world again.

It came because of something he has done before — he won the Masters.

But it had been awhile, making it perhaps rating as more remarkable for one of the greatest competitors in all of sports.

“One of the hardest I’ve ever had to win,” Woods said of winning his fifth green jacket.

Woods notched three birdies down the stretch and claimed his first Masters championship since 2005 on Sunday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

Woods shot 2-under-par 70 to finish at 13 under, a one-shot victory.

Woods had a bogey on the last hole, but his short putt for the victory was followed by a small fist pump before thrusting his arms in the air.

Then he was greeted by his mother and children.

“To have my kids here, it has come full circle,” Woods said. “My dad was there (when I won my first Masters) in ’97, and now I’m the dad.”

He won its 15th major, the second-most all-time behind Jack Nicklaus’ 18. Woods had been without a major title since the 2008 U.S. Open.

The 43-year-old Woods is the oldest Masters champ since Nicklaus won at age 46 in 1986.

When Woods put on the green jacket presented by 2018 champion Patrick Reed, he responded, “It fits.”

The 11-year gap between majors is the longest for any golfer to win multiple such championships. Woods endured personal trauma and family controversies and an array of injuries, most notably his back, making this championship something that many observers deemed impossible.

This one came with all sorts of back-nine drama and contenders until Woods grabbed control.

His victory came at the end of an eventful week. Two days earlier, he was tripped by a well-meaning security guard after hitting a shot, marking one of the endearing memories of his latest championship quest.

Woods was two shots behind Italy’s Francesco Molinari when the final round began.

Xander Schauffele (68), Dustin Johnson (68) and Brooks Koepka (70) shared second place at 12 under.

Molinari (74), Webb Simpson (70), Australia’s Jason Day (67) and Tony Finau (72), who was tied with Woods at the start of the round, tied for fifth at 11 under.

Woods had birdies on Nos. 13, 14 and 16 — the latter after putting his tee shot on the par-3 layout just a couple of feet from the pin.

Other golfers were in awe of Woods’ latest accomplishment.

“It’s awesome,” Schauffele said. “I think that it’s clear to say or easy to say that everyone out here wants him to play well.”

Koepka said: “He’s just good, man. What else can I say?”

Earlier, despite back-to-back bogeys on the fourth and fifth holes, Woods recovered with birdies on Nos. 7 and 8.

Molinari had gone more than 2 1/2 rounds without a bogey until he posted a 5 on No. 7. It was only his second bogey of the tournament.

At about the time Woods was recovering from a wayward tee shot on No. 11 to save par, Koepka took a double-bogey on the 12th hole to fall from a share of second place to eighth.

Then Molinari’s tee shot on No. 12 went into the Rae’s Creek, resulting in a double-bogey and he was out of the lead for the first time all day. A double-bogey on No. 15 doomed him.

There was a five-way tie for the leader at 12 under before Woods drained a birdie putt on No. 15 for his first solo lead of the tournament.

It already was an unprecedented day for this storied tournament. Because of stormy weather approaching, a decision was made Saturday for Sunday’s round to be played in threesomes and for golfers to start on the first and 10th holes.

That meant all the golfers began their rounds by 9:30 a.m. rather than mid-afternoon tee times for the leaders.

Patrick Cantlay continued his torrid weekend play. After Saturday’s 64 catapulted him into contention, he was 4-under in the final round through 11 holes and in a share of the lead briefly after an eagle on No. 15. He had bogeys on the next two holes and ended up with 68 — and 10 under for the tournament.

Bryson DeChambeau, who was a first-round co-leader but had since fallen off the pace, had a Sunday highlight with his first hole-in-one as a professional. Starting on the backside, he aced the par-3 16th hole. DeChambeau (70) finished tied for 29th at 4 under.

Justin Thomas also had a hole-in-one on No. 16 in the last round. He had a 70 and tied for 12th at 2 under.

Reed, the defending champion, had his best round of this year’s tournament with a 69, but he ended up tied for 36th at 2 under.

–Field Level Media

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Molinari holds third-round Masters lead, Tiger two back

Molinari holds third-round Masters lead, Tiger two back

Molinari holds third-round Masters lead, Tiger two back

Tiger Woods gave everyone something to talk about, and he’ll be in the final threesome for Sunday’s final round of the Masters.

Italy’s Francesco Molinari shot 6-under 66 to hold the lead through 54 holes, on a day in which Woods moved to a share of the lead briefly Saturday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

Despite three pars to end his round, Molinari sits at 13-under 203 and holds a two-shot lead on Woods and Tony Finau going to Sunday’s final round.

“This is now three straight majors that I’ve been in the mix and so it’s good stuff,” Woods said.

Woods surged into a tie for the lead with three birdies in a four-hole stretch, capped by a 5-foot putt on the 16th hole. He finished the round with 67.

Shortly after Woods reached 11 under, Molinari moved alone to the top with his third straight birdie when he rolled in a putt on No. 14. He added a two-putt birdie at the par-5 15th to make it four in a row.

“Today we did very well strategy-wise, hit the ball a little less well than yesterday, but holed some very good putts,” Molinari said afterward. “Obviously, I can only be happy about today, and it’s going to be an exciting day tomorrow.”

Finau posted 64 to rise to 11 under, the third player on the day to shoot 8 under, one stroke off the course record. He managed two more birdies on the back nine, finishing with three straight pars.

Brooks Koepka shot 69 and is alone in fourth place at 10 under.

“You’re going to be tested in a major championship one way or another,” Koepka said. “I’ve just got to deal with whatever comes.”

Webb Simpson shot 64 to move to 9 under. He’s joined by England’s Ian Poulter, who posted 68.

Poulter said he has become a fan of Molinari’s and expects him to be in the mix until the end.

“It’s pretty darn good,” Poulter said of Molinari’s game. “He hits it straight, he’s now got a fantastic short game and he holes lots of putts. So I mean that’s the reason why he’s got the [Claret] Jug (from the 2018 British Open) and he’s good, he’s really good.”

Sunday’s final round has been revamped because of weather concerns, creating some unprecedented moves by tournament officials. Two tees will be used, and players will be grouped into threesomes, with leaders set to tee off at 9:20 a.m. and a goal of completing the round by mid-afternoon.

Woods, who will be in the final threesome with Molinari and Finau, said he plans to wake up by 4 a.m. to prepare his body for the final round.

Finau played the round’s first eight holes in 6 under, capped by an eagle 3 on the par-5 eighth hole. He birdied the hole the first two rounds.

“I know it’s a golf course I can score on,” said Finau, who just missed a birdie putt to set a new Masters front-nine low of 29, settling for 30 instead.

For Finau, it required some patience the first couple of rounds. He said he sensed he had a low number in him.

“I like how I’ve played thus far,” he said. “I’m draining it really good.”

Xander Schauffele (70) is among five players at 8 under. Schauffele said he has developed a comfort level considering what’s at stake and roars from the galleries coming from around the course.

“There’s so much noise around just trying to play golf,” Schauffele said. “And this year I felt I did a better job sort of hushing it down and sticking to ready golf.”

Matt Kuchar (68) moved to 8 under to stay in contention. As a Georgia Tech golfer, he was the tournament’s low amateur in 1998.

“I feel good about the way I’ve been playing this year,” Kuchar said. “And certainly coming into this week. So hoping to continue the good play.”

Saturday had become an historic day in the Masters with the third round beginning with five golfers tied for the top spot and four others a stroke back. The tournament’s leaderboard had never been so crowded at that stage.

There was an early buzz created by Patrick Cantlay, who authored the first 64 of the day.

Cantlay was tied for 50th after two rounds, but he exited the course just one shot out of the lead and enters the final round tied for 14th and seven shots back.

He didn’t have a bogey in the round. His previous best mark in the Masters was a 71.

Phil Mickelson (70) is among a group of five others tied with Cantlay at 6 under.

–Field Level Media

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Mayock aims not to ‘mess up’ Raiders’ draft chances

Mayock aims not to 'mess up' Raiders' draft chances

New Oakland Raiders general manager

Mayock aims not to ‘mess up’ Raiders’ draft chances

New Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock spoke to the local media on Thursday ahead of the team kicking off its first series of organized team training activities of the spring.

It’s safe to say the first-year GM knows what he’s getting himself into.

“At the end of the day, here’s the deal — if we win, everything will be fine,” Mayock said. “And if we lose, I’ll get fired. And I’m perfectly fine with that.”

Winning has not come easy for the organization that has preached a commitment to excellence for decades but has not lived up to its storied lineage in recent years. Since last reaching the Super Bowl in the 2002 season — and losing to current Raiders coach Jon Gruden, who returned in 2018 for a second stint with the team — the Raiders have the second-worst record in football with a winning percentage (.332) better only than that of the Cleveland Browns.

Oakland has just one winning season in the past 16 seasons, which is why Gruden and Mayock are teaming up for one of the NFL’s ultimate challenges: Restore the Raiders.

Despite coming off a 4-12 season and another last-place finish in the AFC West, the Raiders have hope in that they are armed and ready to rebuild via the NFL draft later this month. Oakland has a league-best three first-round picks (Nos. 4, 24 and 27 overall), adding a pair of them last year by shipping out veteran stars Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper in controversial trades.

That draft arsenal has Mayock excited for what’s to come.

“Between 24, 27 and 35 (Raiders’ second-round pick) we have three awesome opportunities,” Mayock said. “I happen to like 20 through 60. Always have. I think there are a lot of guys that love the game and are safer picks, sometimes, than top-10 picks.

“I’d love to get a couple more picks in there. We’ve got a lot of holes that need to be filled and I think that’s a really good place to go fishing.”

The team has been among the busiest in free agency this offseason in attacking some of those holes. The Raiders’ most prominent move was to trade for four-time All-Pro wideout Antonio Brown, who turned a self-made controversy in Pittsburgh into a new team and contract extension. Oakland also bulked up its offensive line, signing away massive 6-foot-8, 380-pound offensive tackle Trent Brown from the New England Patriots.

As much as the offense and quarterback Derek Carr (4,049 pass yards, 19 TD, 10 INT in 2018) could use more help, major holes exist on defense. They finished with the NFL’s worst scoring defense for the second time in the past five seasons, and only recorded 13 sacks for the entire regular season — a franchise-record low by far and a mere half-sack more than Mack himself (with the Chicago Bears after being traded away) in 2018.

With all of those needs on both sides of the ball, Mayock’s biggest challenge may be trying to keep Gruden satisfied in regards to incoming talent.

“I’m a son of a coach and I know how coaches think, and coaches think need,” Mayock said. “And we’re a coach-driven building, our coaches are highly involved. That’s good. I embrace that.

“The flip side is, you can’t reach (in the draft). You’ve got to use some common sense. And that’s what I preach.”

Mayock shrugged off any perceived pressures coming from his animated head coach and from the outside world, especially considering this marks his first official front office job for any of the 32 NFL teams after being a well-respected draft analyst for years with NFL Network.

“The way I look at this thing from a how-do-people-perceive-me perspective is a lot of people doubted that anybody could come out of the media and go and be a GM for any team,” Mayock said. “I know that. I get that.”

Still, with all the optimism, Mayock knows the pressure is on to hit it big with his top picks in two weeks.

“Don’t mess it up, dude,” Mayock says Gruden told him. “I (Gruden) took a lot of slings to get you three first-round picks.”

–Field Level Media

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Jets sign ex-Packers, Ravens RB Montgomery

Jets sign ex-Packers, Ravens RB Montgomery

The New

Jets sign ex-Packers, Ravens RB Montgomery

The New York Jets signed former Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens running back Ty Montgomery on Thursday, the team announced.

Terms were not disclosed, but multiple outlets reported the deal is for one year.

Montgomery, 26, will compete for a role behind Le’Veon Bell, who joined the Jets on a four-year, $52.5 million deal in March. A converted wideout, Montgomery spent his first three-plus seasons with Green Bay before being traded to Baltimore for a 2020 seventh-round pick in October, two days after he lost a fumble on a kick return in the closing minutes of a two-point loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

A third-round pick in 2015, Montgomery has 192 carries for 932 yards and seven scores, plus 107 catches for 892 yards and three touchdowns through 42 career games (14 starts).

He finished last season with 423 total yards and a career-low one touchdown on 66 touches (41 carries, 25 catches).

–Field Level Media

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Koepka, DeChambeau share Round 1 lead at Masters

Koepka, DeChambeau share Round 1 lead at Masters

Koepka, DeChambeau share Round 1 lead at Masters

There was a throwback element to the first round of the Masters on Thursday at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga.

But for Brooks Koepka, just being back in the tournament worked out well.

Koepka, who missed the Masters last year due to a wrist injury, notched birdies on five of the first six holes on the back nine on the way to shooting 6-under-par 66 for a share of the lead with Bryson DeChambeau.

DeChambeau registered birdies on six of his last seven holes to make a late-day climb.

Phil Mickelson is a shot back at 5 under after his own scorching finish, with five birdies in the last seven holes.

Dustin Johnson and England’s Ian Poulter each shot 4 under to sit in a tie for fourth place, ahead of a five-player cluster at 3 under.

Former champion Adam Scott of Australia spent time atop the leaderboard, while Tiger Woods held a share of the lead for a stretch as well. Scott, who won the 2013 Masters, finished at 3 under with Kevin Kisner, South Africa’s Justin Harding, Spain’s Jon Rahm, and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Koepka, who has won three of the past six majors in which he’s competed, finished without a bogey on the day. He said even after sitting out last year’s Masters, he is comfortable at the venue.

“I feel like once you play it a handful of times, you really know a lot of the knowledge and the little nuances of this place,” Koepka said. “A lot of the times, you’re just trying to find the uphill putt out here.”

Despite a bogey on No. 14, DeChambeau was razor sharp down the stretch. He nearly aced the par-3 16th, settling for a tap-in birdie from inches away, and his approach shot on the 18th hole rolled squarely into the pin before bouncing backward and settling an inch or two short.

“I guess I should have pulled the flag stick,” joked DeChambeau, who usually putts with the flag stick in, under the PGA Tour’s new rule. “I should have had (caddie) Tim (Tucker) go up there and pull it or tend it for me, but that’s all right.”

Mickelson also came inches from an ace at No. 16. He then managed an unlikely par from the trees off to the left of the 17th fairway, and he dropped his approach at No. 18 to 7 feet for a final birdie.

“You never know how it’s going to play out, how the weather is going to play out and so forth,” Mickelson said. “You need some good breaks. … I’ve been fortunate to play a lot of rounds here, and I cherish and love every one of them.”

Johnson, who birdied three of his last eight holes, was in DeChambeau’s group, putting two of the six top-ranked golfers in the same pairing.

“It all feels pretty good,” Johnson said. “For me, the biggest part of my game is going to be short game. If my short game is really good, especially around here, (things work out).”

Woods shared the lead with birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 and would have exited the round — at the time, late in the afternoon — with a share of the top spot if not for a bogey on No. 17. He wound up at 2 under, tied for 11th.

Woods is a four-time winner at Augusta, but his last Green Jacket came in 2005.

“I felt like I played well and did all the things I needed to do to post a good number,” Woods said.

Optimism abounds regarding Woods, who shot 74 in the first round 14 years ago and ended up with the title.

“We still have a long way to go,” Woods said.

Harding birdied Nos. 15 and 17 to claim the early lead. But Harding took a bogey on the final hole, checking in at 3 under early in the afternoon.

“You’re going to make some mistakes out here,” Harding said. “Nobody really goes bogey-free. It’s just a matter of making more birdies than bogeys and seeing what happens.”

Harding, who played college golf for Lamar, had three birdies and a bogey on the first six holes.

Rahm, who was fourth last year in the Masters, played with Woods and overcame a couple of rough patches.

“I never lost patience,” Rahm said. “I kept my cool.”

Patton Kizzire was a 3 under through nine holes but ended up at 2 under. He had the tournament’s first eagle with a chip-in on the second hole.

Canadian Corey Conners became one of the stories in the first round, posting 2 under. Conners has ridden a recent wave, as he was the final Masters entrant, grabbing a spot when he won last week’s Texas Open for his first PGA Tour victory. He had been a Monday qualifier for that event.

Then Thursday, Conners was atop the leaderboard for a stretch early in the afternoon. He had birdies on Nos. 13 and 14 and then eagled the par-5 15th. He gave a stroke back with a bogey on the final hole.

Among other interesting rounds was the even-par posted by Kevin Tway. He had an active round, with only three pars on the first 11 holes before seven straight pars to cap the round.

Defending champion Patrick Reed sits at 1 over, while the world No. 1, Justin Rose of England, is at 3 over.

Golfers were greeted with what were described as ideal conditions after recent rain softened the greens, but difficult flag positions kept anyone in the field from besting 69 until late in the day.

–Field Level Media

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Man cited for aiming laser at Brady in AFC title game

Man cited for aiming laser at Brady in AFC title game

Man cited for aiming laser at Brady in AFC title game

A 64-year-old Missouri man was cited for allegedly aiming a laser pointer at New England quarterback Tom Brady’s face during the AFC Championship game at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium.

Dwyan Morgan of Lee’s Summit was ticketed for disturbing the peace and faces up to a year in jail or a fine up to $1,000, Jackson County prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said Tuesday in a news release.

The incident happened in the fourth quarter of the Patriots’ 37-31 overtime win against the Chiefs on Jan. 20.

A photographer for KMBC in Kansas City recorded evidence of a green laser shining in Brady’s face. Prosecutors did not say how investigators were able to determine that Morgan was allegedly involved.

Morgan has already been banned for life from the stadium, ESPN reported in February.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: QB Murray, 22 others to attend draft

NFL notebook: QB Murray, 22 others to attend draft

NFL notebook: QB Murray, 22 others to attend draft

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray will be in Nashville on April 25 for the first round of the NFL draft. Where he goes from there remains to be seen.

Murray is one of 23 prospects who plan to attend the draft later this month, the NFL announced Tuesday. He stands a chance to be one of the top picks, if not the No. 1 overall selection, after passing for 4,361 yards, 42 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2018.

Quarterbacks Daniel Jones of Duke and Drew Lock of Missouri also plan to be at the draft, while another top quarterback, Dwayne Haskins of Ohio State, will not be there. The other 20 players include six defensive linemen, four offensive linemen, three linebackers, two defensive backs, two wide receivers, two tight ends and a running back.

Murray reportedly headed to Phoenix on Tuesday for another meeting with the Arizona Cardinals, who hold the No. 1 overall draft pick.

–The NFL and NFL Players Association announced they will take part in regularly scheduled meetings to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL and NFLPA issued the following statement: “Today, the members of the NFL’s Management Council and the NFLPA’s Executive Committee met to discuss negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. The League and the Union have committed to meet regularly in the coming months, which will involve staff, NFL leadership, members of the NFLPA Executive Committee and Player Representation.”

The league and its players most recently agreed upon a collective bargaining agreement in 2011. The deal, which was reached after a player lockout, runs through the end of the 2020 season. Both sides hope that starting negotiations early may help to avoid a work stoppage after the end of next season.

–The New England Patriots and kicker Stephen Gostkowski agreed to a two-year contract, ESPN reported.

Gostkowski, 35, has been the club’s kicker since 2006. He replaced Adam Vinatieri, who had departed to the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent.

Gostkowski, a four-time Pro Bowl selection, has made 367 of 420 field-goal attempts during 13 seasons with New England. He was 27 of 32 last season.

–The NFL released the 65-game 2019 preseason schedule, kicking off with the Hall of Fame game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons on Aug. 1 in Canton, Ohio.

Other highlights include the Dallas Cowboys facing the Los Angeles Rams in Honolulu on Aug. 17, the NFL’s first preseason contest at Aloha Stadium since 1976.

The Super Bowl LIII champion New England Patriots will square off against the New York Giants in the preseason finale for the 15th straight season.

–The Atlanta Falcons signed veteran defensive end Adrian Clayborn to a one-year deal, the team announced. Official terms were not disclosed, but multiple outlets reported that he could earn up to $4 million with incentives.

Clayborn, who played for the Falcons from 2015-17, appeared in 14 games for the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots last season and tallied 2.5 sacks.

Clayborn, 30, has registered 32.5 career sacks and 90 quarterback hits in 95 games (51 starts) with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Falcons and Patriots.

–Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said in an interview with ESPN Milwaukee that he “lost vision” after sustaining a concussion in the final game of last season.

Rodgers also went into detail about the knee injury he sustained in Week 1 and then aggravated in Week 5. Rodgers left the Week 1 game against the Chicago Bears but returned to engineer the 20-point comeback victory.

“I had a tibial plateau fracture and obviously an MCL sprain,” Rodgers told ESPN, “so that was very painful. If you watch the hit back, just my two bones here that come together on the outside just kind of made an indent fracture. Very painful.”

–The Philadelphia Eagles announced the signing of three former Alliance of American Football players to one-year contracts.

Quarterback Luis Perez and wide receivers Charles Johnson and Greg Ward became available when the AAF ceased operations last week, just eight weeks into its inaugural season.

–Field Level Media

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NFL, NFLPA commit to regular meetings on new CBA

NFL, NFLPA commit to regular meetings on new CBA

NFL, NFLPA commit to regular meetings on new CBA

The NFL and NFL Players Association announced Tuesday that they will take part in regularly scheduled meetings to discuss a new collective bargaining agreement.

The NFL and NFLPA issued the following statement: “Today, the members of the NFL’s Management Council and the NFLPA’s Executive Committee met to discuss negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement. The League and the Union have committed to meet regularly in the coming months, which will involve staff, NFL leadership, members of the NFLPA Executive Committee and Player Representation.”

The league and its players most recently agreed upon a collective bargaining agreement in 2011. The deal, which was reached after a player lockout, runs through the end of the 2020 season.

Both sides hope that starting negotiations early may help to avoid a work stoppage after the end of next season.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was among those in attendance for Tuesday’s meeting, according to NFL.com.

–Field Level Media

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New York Jets 2019 Preview Capsule

New York Jets 2019 Preview Capsule

New faces:

New York Jets 2019 Preview Capsule

New faces: RB Le’Veon Bell, LB C.J. Mosley, DT Quinnen Williams, WR Jamison Crowder, C Ryan Kalil, OG Kelechi Osemele, RB/WR Ty Montgomery, CB Brian Poole, QB Trevor Siemian, K Chandler Catanzaro, OLB Jachai Polite

They’re gone: OG James Carpenter, C Spencer Long, CB Buster Skrine, DL Mike Pennel, WR Andre Roberts, K Jason Myers, S Terrence Brooks, WR Jermaine Kearse, RB Isaiah Crowell

2019 snapshot: Few teams in the league had a more complicated offseason than the Jets, who apparently disliked their own moves from this spring so much that the man who made them is now gone. Former GM Mike Maccagnan was fired in May, with Joe Douglas hired in June.

That came after Maccagnan hired Adam Gase as head coach, led a free agent spending spree for Bell, Mosely and Crowder, and ran the draft room as normal in April. Did the team finally get it right by hiring Douglas? Or does that bizarre sequence of events simply show a dysfunctional organization?

Maccagnan’s moves certainly raised a few eyebrows. He made outlandish investments at two of the league’s least valuable positions in running back (Bell; four years, $52 million) and inside linebacker (Mosley; five years, $85 million), then added an expensive slot wideout (Crowder; three years, $28.5 million) just a few months after extending Quincy Enunwa, who predominantly plays the slot.

The draft was more encouraging, as Williams was clearly the best player available, even at a crowded position with Leonard Williams, Steve McLendon and newly re-signed Henry Anderson. Third-round picks Polite and OT Chuma Edoga each bring some upside (albeit amid character concerns), and TE Trevon Wesco (fourth round) should be a nice Swiss-army knife as a tight end/H-back.

Even if you disagree with how they got there, the Jets are certainly more talented. Douglas added a nice cherry on top by coaxing Ryan Kalil out of retirement to fill the hole at center, though the O-line chemistry could take time to build.

Get to know… RB/WR Ty Montgomery

Cast aside by the Packers after a critical fumble last year, Montgomery finished the year with the Ravens and then remained a free agent until April. But by all accounts, he’s been a star at training camp, giving Gase another toy to play with.

Worth the investment?

–The Jets managed just four wins a year ago, but with several major talent upgrades, they could reasonably flirt with the postseason. It’s not hard to see them topping their 7.5-win over/under.

–As far as MVP longshots go, you could do far worse than Sam Darnold (+6600), who came on strong to finish his rookie season and now has Gase as his head coach.

Bottom line: Now with enough infrastructure to support him, the Jets’ trajectory will be tied directly to the development of Darnold in Year 2.

–Field Level Media

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Herman fires 62 to maintain 1-shot Barbasol lead

Herman fires 62 to maintain 1-shot Barbasol lead

Herman fires 62 to maintain 1-shot Barbasol lead

Jim Herman needed to shoot a 10-under-par 62 Saturday to maintain a one-stroke lead after three rounds of the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky.

That’s because his lead at 24-under 192, which tied the low opening 54-hole score of the season, was threatened by Kelly Kraft, the native of Denton, Texas, who broke the Keene Trace Golf Club course record Saturday with an 11-under 61.

The 30-year-old Kraft, whose runner-up effort at The Greenbrier in 2018 has been his best finish on the PGA Tour, had a bogey-free round Saturday that included six birdies on the front nine and three back-nine birdies, along with an eagle on the par-5 15th hole thank to a 64-foot putt.

Herman, a 41-year-old Cincinnati native who is looking for his first top-10 finish of the season, also set the Barbasol Championship’s 54-hole scoring mark. He eagled the par-5 eighth hole and also the 15th to go along with six birdies in a bogey-free round.

He is crediting some of his success to none other than President Donald Trump, his former employer at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J. According to an article Friday at PGATour.com, Herman and Trump played recently, and the pro received some advice from the president.

“He gave me a good talking to and told me to use a different style if it’s not working,” said Herman, who decided to change his grip and style of putter. “… He gave me a little quick tip and get some conventional putting going and see what happens.”

After a terrible week of putting at the John Deere Classic last week, Herman said, “I had nothing else to lose. I had to change something up. That was his main advice: If it’s not working, change it. Put a lot of time in on the putting green this last week with the new style and new grip. It’s just rolling the ball nicely.”

The last time Herman led going into the final round of a PGA tournament, he went on to win the Houston Open in 2016, his only tour victory so far.

Tied for third are Austin Cook (63 on Saturday) and Bill Haas (65) at 20 under. Haas, a six-time winner on the PGA Tour, has made only one bogey through the first three rounds.

Cook, seeking his second PGA Tour victory, made five consecutive birdies on the back nine (Nos. 13-17) Saturday, and has four eagles this week, a personal best. The 90 eagles made by the players this week are the most in a PGA Tour event this season.

Three players are tied for fifth at 17 under.

With inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday afternoon, the finish time has been moved from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m.

–Field Level Media

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Clay, Nkemdiche among 6 Cardinals put on PUP list

Clay, Nkemdiche among 6 Cardinals put on PUP list

The Arizona Cardinals placed six players

Clay, Nkemdiche among 6 Cardinals put on PUP list

The Arizona Cardinals placed six players on the physically unable to perform list on Saturday.

Tight end Charles Clay (knee), defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (knee), linebacker Brooks Reed (hip), offensive lineman Max Garcia (knee), cornerback Brandon Williams (back) and linebacker Dante Booker (knee) were moved to the list. The PUP players are eligible to come off the list at any time but cannot participate in any on-field team work until they are off the list.

Nkemdiche and Garcia are recovering from torn anterior cruciate ligament injuries, so they will continue to rehab when training camp opens.

The Cardinals report to camp on July 24 and will hold their first practice July 25.

Also Saturday, the team signed defensive lineman Sterling Bailey, who has played for the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers since joining the league in 2016.

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NFL notebook: Shanahan returns to Broncos — as spectator

NFL notebook: Shanahan returns to Broncos -- as spectator

NFL notebook: Shanahan returns to Broncos — as spectator

Former Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan was back at team headquarters on Saturday — his first visit to a practice session there since his firing in 2008 by then-owner Pat Bowlen.

The winningest coach in franchise history, with a 146-91 record that included playoff competition capped by two Super Bowl titles in 14 seasons with Denver, checked out the Broncos’ morning practice at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colo.

“I was glad to have Mike here,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “I invited him. I’m glad he could come. I invited him for the spring work, and the schedules never matched up, but I was glad he was here. I think it was good he was here. Mike’s got a big part in the rich history of this franchise. He’s welcome to come here any time he wants.”

Shanahan also met during practice with his former quarterback John Elway, who is now the team’s general manager and helped arrange the visit with offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello.

–The Broncos should be able to hear every whistle, every instruction, every hit during training camp.

That’s because Fangio has banned music during everything from the pre-practice stretch until the day’s final whistle.

“Anybody’s who has been a position coach, or assistant coach, they don’t like the music,” said Fangio, a former defensive coordinator who turns 61 next month. “It makes it hard to talk to your guys. I don’t see the benefit of having music out there. I was an assistant coach and I don’t want to drum out the noise to talk to my players. And there’s no music in games.”

–The Tampa Bay Buccaneers agreed to a contract with first-round linebacker Devin White, the day before the team’s rookies report to training camp. The Bucs’ veterans report to camp on Thursday.

White was drafted fifth overall in April, slotting his contract value around $29 million over four years, all fully guaranteed, with a signing bonus around $19 million. Like all first-round picks, his deal included a fifth-year team option.

Touted as one of the top off-ball linebacker prospects in recent years, the 21-year-old White is expected to start from Day 1 next to Lavonte David in the middle of new coordinator Todd Bowles’ 3-4 defense. White was a consensus All-American while winning the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker in 2018 at LSU, totaling 123 tackles (12 for loss) three sacks and six pass breakups.

–The Arizona Cardinals placed six players on the physically unable to perform list on Saturday.

Tight end Charles Clay (knee), defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche (knee), linebacker Brooks Reed (hip), offensive lineman Max Garcia (knee), cornerback Brandon Williams (back) and linebacker Dante Booker (knee) were moved to the list. The PUP players are eligible to come off the list at any time but cannot participate in any on-field team work until they are off the list.

The team also signed defensive lineman Sterling Bailey, who has played for the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers since joining the league in 2016.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Ex-NFL LB Merriman sued for wrongful death

Report: Ex-NFL LB Merriman sued for wrongful death

The parents of a woman who

Report: Ex-NFL LB Merriman sued for wrongful death

The parents of a woman who died of a drug overdose in 2017 have filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman, TMZ reported Saturday.

According to TMZ, the suit alleges Merriman drugged and possibly assaulted Kimberly Fattorini, who was a Playboy employee, on the night of a party at the Playboy mansion in Los Angeles. Fattorini’s death was ruled accidental and attributed to a combination of alcohol, cocaine and GHB — commonly labeled a date-rape drug — in her system.

Per the report, the suit claims a text message from Fattorini indicates Merriman gave her GHB. The suit goes on to allege that Merriman was with Fattorini, and did not want it known that he was with her, when 911 was called from a friend’s house, where Fattorini was found by first responders “half-naked with her jeans unzipped and unbuttoned.”

The suit also references two alleged text messages, with one of Fattorini’s friends saying, “(sic) Shawn killed her ass, what a [expletive] idiot,” and a promoter from the party replying, “That dumbass been drugging girls for years.”

A representative for Merriman denied the allegations to TMZ, saying neither Merriman nor his attorney “have any knowledge of him being named in any lawsuit.”

“This alleged lawsuit is baseless,” the representative added. “Shawne attended an after party more than two years ago where a young woman unfortunately overdosed.

“…The police thoroughly investigated and found no wrongdoing whatsoever by Shawne. The fact that they are raising this now, two years after the fact, demonstrates the baseless nature of these allegations.”

Merriman, 35, played eight years in the NFL, earning three Pro Bowl selections and one first-team All-Pro selection during six years with the San Diego Chargers. He played two years for the Buffalo Bills from 2011-12 before retiring.

–Field Level Media

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Steelers QB Rudolph exits with head injury

Steelers QB Rudolph exits with head injury

Steelers QB Rudolph exits with head injury

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph was helped off the field during Sunday’s game against the visiting Baltimore Ravens after being knocked unconscious following a throw.

At 7:26 of the third quarter at Heinz Field, Rudolph scrambled to his left and completed a pass to James Washington, then was sandwiched by Ravens defenders Brandon Carr from behind and Earl Thomas from the front. It appeared Thomas hit Rudolph high, in his chin or head area.

Thomas received a penalty for roughing the passer.

Rudolph appeared to lose consciousness from the hit, falling to the turf without bracing himself and hitting his head on the ground. He remained motionless for several moments on the ground as teammates and then the training staff crowded around him. Trainers removed the facemask of Rudolph’s helmet and brought out a cart and stretcher, but neither was used, as he walked off the field with a good deal of assistance.

The Steelers reported Rudolph had a concussion and would not return to the game. He was initially evaluated at Heinz Field, then moved to a Pittsburgh-area hospital.

Rudolph, who has been playing because Ben Roethlisberger had season-ending elbow surgery, was replaced by Devlin Hodges.

Meanwhile, the Ravens lost a pair of key starters to injury in the fourth quarter. Safety Tony Jefferson was taken off the field on a cart because of a left knee injury, and tight end Mark Andrews left after being tackled near his own goal line.

Jefferson got hurt while bringing down Pittsburgh tight end Nick Vannett. He was ruled doubtful to return.

Andrews’ injury was unclear, though he has been battling a foot injury the past few weeks.

–Field Level Media

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