Houston DL Oliver goes fast at pro day

Houston DL Oliver goes fast at pro day

Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who skipped some on-field drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, likely helped solidify his high draft stock at the Cougars’ pro day on Thursday.

Oliver is considered a potential top-five selection in the draft.

His official numbers were 4.73 seconds for the 40-yard dash, 4.22 seconds for the short shuttle and 7.15 seconds for the 3-cone drill.

For context, Oliver’s short shuttle was 0.02 seconds faster than the time posted at the 2018 combine by running back Saquan Barkley, who went on to become the second pick in the draft and rush for 1,307 yards as a rookie for the New York Giants.

Oliver’s 40 time would have been the third-fastest among defensive linemen at this year’s combine. His 1.63-second 10-yard split was faster than the combine number (1.69) of Alabama defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, another potential top-five pick.

Oliver checked in Thursday at 281 pounds, six pounds lighter than he was at the combine.

“Being light helps,” he said on NFL Network about his 40 time. “I felt like I could have went way faster than that, but it wasn’t about running a fast 40. It was about coming out here and competing and having fun.

“When I heard what I ran, I was cool with it. I’m not going to hurt myself running a 4.6 just because everyone wants to see a 4.6.”

Oliver, who is 6-foot-2, often played at Houston as an undersized nose tackle. He had 53 tackles for loss, including 13.5 sacks, in 28 career games. Oliver won the 2018 Outland Trophy, given the nation’s top interior lineman.

Given his athleticism, there has been speculation that Oliver could play linebacker in the NFL.

“Every coach has a different vision of where they see me playing,” Oliver said. “Wherever a coach feels comfortable with me playing, I’m more than comfortable playing that, whether it be outside ‘backer to tackle to end to nose guard.

“I can play the whole line. Wherever you want me to play in the front seven, I’m pretty sure I can play it. It’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m not worried about.”

–Field Level Media

Report: Romo seeking $10M a year from CBS

Report: Romo seeking $10M a year from CBS

Tony Romo could become the

Report: Romo seeking $10M a year from CBS

Tony Romo could become the first football analyst to earn $10 million per year.

Sources told the Sporting News that Romo’s team is seeking a contract of “eight figures” to stay as the No. 1 football analyst at CBS. He is under contract to the network through the 2019 season at $4 million annually.

Romo, the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback, retired after the 2016 season and joined Jim Nantz in the booth at CBS in 2017, replacing Phil Simms.

In the 2018 postseason, the 38-year-old Romo became a star for his ability to assess the game situation and predict the plays coaches would call right before they did.

The day after the AFC championship game in January, when Romo seemed to be reading the minds of coaches Bill Belichick and Andy Reid, the New York Post reported that CBS likely would give Romo a “substantial” raise

The Post said John Madden, who bounced around the networks, earned $8 million. Troy Aikman is under contract to Fox for $7.5 million, and Jon Gruden made $6.5 million at ESPN for his appearance on “Monday Night Football” and other platforms before leaving to coach the Raiders, the Sporting News said.

–Field Level Media

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Ex-Patriots LB Mayo returns as assistant

Ex-Patriots LB Mayo returns as assistant

Ex-Patriots LB Mayo returns as assistant

Jerod Mayo, who spent his entire NFL career as a linebacker with the New England Patriots, is returning to the team as an assistant coach.

Mayo, who made 808 tackles in eight seasons (2008-2015), announced the news on Instagram on Wednesday.

“It is with great excitement, passion, and sense of purpose to share with you that I have accepted Coach (Bill) Belichick’s offer to rejoin the New England Patriots as a Coach,” Mayo wrote. “I am eager to get started and work hard alongside so many of my former coaches and teammates, all who I know to be solely focused on maintaining the winning culture we have come to know as the Patriot Way.”

Mayo reportedly will coach linebackers for new defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.

Mayo’s playing career ended at 29 after a series of injuries. He started 93 of his 103 career games in New England, twice earning Pro Bowl honors and being selected first-team All-Pro in 2010, when he led the league with 175 tackles.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cowboys DB Jones had hip surgery

Report: Cowboys DB Jones had hip surgery

Report: Cowboys DB Jones had hip surgery

Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones underwent hip surgery on Wednesday, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.

Jones, who has not missed a game in his four-year career, is hopeful to be ready for training camp.

Jones, 26, is headed into the final year of his rookie contract, with his fifth-year option set to pay him $6.26 million.

The 27th overall pick in 2015, Jones played primarily cornerback as a rookie before spending the next two years at safety.

Jones moved back to corner full time in 2018 and had a strong season, earning a Pro Bowl nod and second-team All-Pro designation.

Jones has played in all 64 games through four NFL seasons, starting each of the past 58 games (59 starts total) for the Cowboys while collecting two interceptions, 37 passes defensed and 284 tackles.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger to face Rory after dramatic comeback

Tiger to face Rory after dramatic comeback

Tiger to face Rory after dramatic comeback

Tiger Woods reached deep to ignite a vintage Tiger charge on the back nine Friday, rallying to beat Patrick Cantlay and win Group 13 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

That sets up a dramatic showdown with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy in Saturday’s knockout rounds among the 16 players who advanced out of the round-robin group stage.

Needing to beat the 18th-seeded Cantlay and have No. 61 Aaron Wise at least tie with No. 44 Brandt Snedeker to force a playoff, Woods built a 1-up lead after the first hole. But Cantlay recovered to win three of the next seven holes and was still 1-up after the 10th.

That’s when Tiger began to make his charge, winning the next two holes with birdies to regain the lead.

“Patrick got a bad break there at (No.) 9. He drove it over the bunker, it rolled in the hazard, and I got a free hole,” Woods acknowledged to the Golf Channel. “I just basically tried to carry the momentum to the back nine. Made a big putt at 11 and got it rolling from there.”

That was an understatement, as Woods holed out for eagle from 81 yards on the 13th hole with Cantlay’s ball just right of the driveable par-4.

“I thought three was going to be the number to halve the hole with him there,” Woods told to Golf Channel. “Pretty much a guaranteed up-and-down from there (for Cantlay), so I just tried to get it up there close and make him earn it with a three of my own.

“And next thing you know, it falls in. I’ll take it.”

Woods put a vice-grip on the match with another lengthy birdie putt on No. 14 to take a 3-up lead.

He nearly closed the match out on No. 15, shortly after Snedeker conceded his 6 and 4 defeat to Wise, but Woods’ birdie putt settled just left of the cup.

He yanked his tee shot on No. 16 well right, but received a huge break when the ball ricocheted back into the fairway while Cantlay’s drive found a fairway bunker. With Woods needing only a two-putt from six feet to win the hole, Cantlay conceded the match 4 and 2.

Woods advanced out of the group with a 2-1-0 record, while Cantlay and Snedeker tied with 1 1/2 points and Wise claimed the one critical point Woods needed along with his victory.

The last time Woods reached the round of 16 in a Match Play event was 2008, which he went on to win.

“I needed to have two things to happen,” Woods said with McIlroy still working to close out his match. “The fact that Aaron won his match gave me an opportunity to advance, and potentially Rory tomorrow. I’ll be ready.”

Woods will need to maintain the form he found over the final six holes Friday. No. 4 McIlroy breezed through Group 4 with a 3-0-0 record, beating England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick (No. 32) 4 and 2 on Friday after dominating No. 64 Luke List 5 and 4 and No. 47 Justin Harding of South Africa 3 and 2 over the first two days.

He has yet to trail in a match this week.

Woods and McIlroy will square off for the first time in the event.

“Look, it’s exciting,” McIlroy told the Golf Channel shortly after beating Fitzpatrick. “It’s exciting for the tournament, I’m sure it’s going to be exciting for us. I feel good about my game. I’ve played well all year, I’ve continued to do that this week.

“It’s going to be exciting. It’s definitely going to be one of those where I need to go out there and stick to my game plan and not really look at what he does … until I maybe have to towards the end.”

–Field Level Media

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Former Pro Bowl OL Lang retires

Former Pro Bowl OL Lang retires

Two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman T.J. Lang announced his

Former Pro Bowl OL Lang retires

Two-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman T.J. Lang announced his retirement on Friday in a social media post.

The 31-year-old Lang was released by the Detroit Lions earlier this month.

“For the past 3,624 days I have woken up with one goal in mind-How can I be a better pro football player than I was yesterday?” Lang wrote in a note attached to his Twitter account. “Well, those days are over now. … I will forever cherish the great times that I had playing this game.”

Lang played 10 NFL seasons — eight with the Green Bay Packers (2009-16) and the last two with the Lions. He was a Pro Bowl selection in 2016 for Green Bay and again the following season for the Lions.

He was limited to just six games in 2018 due to a concussion and a neck injury.

Overall, he played in 138 regular-season games, starting 113.

Former Packers teammate Bryan Bulaga was among the players who congratulated Lang, who lined up at guard next to Bulaga during his Green Bay stint.

“Congrats on an amazing career @TJLang70!! It was an honor to share the field with you on Sundays and be the RT that played next to you. You were the epitome of a warrior on the field and even a better friend off of it! Hope you, Laura and the kids enjoy retirement.”

Lang thanked both the Packers and Lions in his retirement note.

“Whatever the next chapter holds, I hope to stay around the game in some capacity,” Lang said in his note. “It’s been an amazing ride. Thank you all for being a part of it.”

–Field Level Media

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Im in front at Corales Puntacana

Im in front at Corales Puntacana

Im in front at Corales Puntacana

Sungjae Im, shooting to earn a spot in the Masters, holds the lead at the midway point of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.

The South Korean shot a 5-under-par 67 on Friday to sit one stroke on top of the field at 10-under 134 after the second round at the Corales Golf Club.

George McNeill (7 under on Friday), Jonathan Byrd (5 under), Australia’s Aaron Baddeley (5 under) and Ireland’s Paul Dunne (3 under) share second place at 9 under. Sweden’s Jonas Blixt (7 under) is alone in sixth place at 8 under.

Im, who is the highest-ranked player in the field at No. 59, would make the Masters if he climbs into the top 50 after the tournament. He will celebrate his 21st birthday on Saturday.

His round started poorly with a double bogey on his second hole, the par-3 No. 11, but he responded with four birdies in the next five holes. On the front nine, he also bogeyed his second hole, the par-3 No. 2, before birdieing four of the next six holes.

Baddeley’s round included a stretch of five consecutive birdies.

“Everything’s calm, it’s relaxed here,” Baddeley said. “Very laid back. Also the wind, the conditions, I grew up playing in the wind in Australia, so to just be out there, using the wind, hitting different shots, holding it against the wind … things like that.”

Baddeley was 50/50 before deciding to play in the alternate-field event, which is running concurrently with the World Golf Championships-Dell Technology Match Play.

“With my status this year being 126-150 (in FedEx Cup from last season), my wife and I were talking about it, and it was just like, ‘Hey, I could have a month off after this,'” he said. “So it was like well, if I’m in, I’ve got to play. I heard great things about the event last year, a lot of guys really liked the golf course. I think it was a good decision.”

At the other end of the scoreboard, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current NFL broadcaster Tony Romo missed the cut after shooting 8-over 80 on Friday. He wound up 15 over par for two rounds, better than just one player who posted an official score for both days, George Riley of the Dominican Republic, who ended up at 18 over.

After a poor start Friday, Romo was just 1 over through his final 10 holes.

“Game came around on the back nine, started to feel comfortable really at the end of the front (nine) and then just kept it going,” he said, according to the PGA Tour’s website. “Then one of those things where I putted terrible throughout the week, and you feel like you can hit the ball for really good stretches but you get nothing out of it, and it cost me over two days.”

–Field Level Media

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Woods, McIlroy advance to Match Play showdown

Woods, McIlroy advance to Match Play showdown

Woods, McIlroy advance to Match Play showdown

AUSTIN, Texas — If there were a dream matchup in mind before the start of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play this week, having Tiger Woods, the greatest golfer of his generation, square off against Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland, the hottest player in the world over the past three months, had to be on the top of the list.

Woods and McIlroy both posted dominating victories on Friday and advanced to the knockout round at the demanding Austin Country Club. Those two will meet on Saturday in one of eight round-of-16 matches in a mega-watt showdown.

“We’re looking forward to it,” Woods said of his match with McIlroy. “We’ve played tournaments together, battled each other down the stretch at events, but never in a match-play situation, so this will be fun.”

And while there was plenty of fireworks on Friday and anticipation for the Woods-McIlroy match, 14 other golfers moved on, too, led by Sweden’s Henrik Stenson, Spain’s Sergio Garcia and Australia’s Marc Leishman.

The golfers who advanced from three rounds of pool play over the past three days will face off in the round of 16 on Saturday morning. The eight winners will then play in the quarterfinals on Saturday afternoon to cut the field to the final four.

Woods, playing in this event for the first time since 2013 and for the first time since the tournament moved to Austin Country Club in 2016, fell behind Patrick Cantlay after a bogey on the par-5 sixth and was 2 down after another bogey on the tough par-4 eighth.

But Woods responded by winning five of the next six holes, a stretch that included holing out for eagle from 81 yards on the short par-4 13th. He closed out Cantlay with birdie on the 16th, winning 4 and 2.

“I said, ‘Just keep plugging along, it’s going to turn,’ and eventually it really did turn, it turned pretty nicely,” Woods said of his charge. “I made three (birdie) putts and a hole-out in a four-hole stretch.”

When Aaron Wise defeated Brandt Snedeker 6 and 4, Woods captured Group 13 and earned a chance to continue on the chase for his fourth win in this event.

“This golf course is tricky because there’s so many moving parts out there,” Woods said. “Not only the wind comes from all over the place, but these mounds. But it’s match play and no one really cares what your score is at the end of the day in relation to par. As long as you move on, and I moved on.”

McIlroy roared into the knockout round via a 4-and-2 win over England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick, capping a sweep of his matches in pool play over the first three days.

“I’m comfortable with everything — confidence, comfortable — whatever the word is, I’m just really happy with my game,” said McIlroy, who won The Players Championship two weeks ago. “I’m happy with every aspect, off the tee, my irons, around the green. Hopefully I can just carry that into tomorrow.”

Stenson routed Jim Furyk 5 and 4 and never trailed in the match, losing just one hole before closing out the win at the 14th hole. Stenson also went undefeated in pool play and will play Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard in the round of 16.

“That’s the best round of golf I’ve played all year for certain,” Stenson said. “And very pleased to put it together. Today I had some beautiful iron shots. I think I hit it within a foot four times on my approaches, which is good on any day anywhere.”

Leishman rolled past Bryson DeChambeau 5 and 4 to complete three wins in three days in Group 6. He advances to face Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa, the Group 11 winner.

Garcia won Group 16 despite a 2-and-1 loss on Friday to Patrick Reed. He will play South Africa’s Branden Grace, the Group 1 winner with a perfect 3-0-0 mark.

Other Round of 16 matches include Matt Kuchar versus England’s Tyrrell Hatton; Paul Casey of England against Francesco Molinari of Italy; Kevin Kisner versus China’s HaoTong Li (who both had to go to extra holes to beat England’s Ian Poulter and Sweden’s Alex Noren, respectively); and, Kevin Na against Justin Rose of England.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders sign TE Willson

Raiders sign TE Willson

The Oakland Raiders signed free agent tight end Luke Willson, the

Raiders sign TE Willson

The Oakland Raiders signed free agent tight end Luke Willson, the team announced Friday.

Willson, 29, is entering his seventh NFL season. He spent his first five campaigns with the Seattle Seahawks (2013-17) before spending last season with the Detroit Lions.

Willson had 13 receptions for 87 yards in 14 games (eight starts) for the Lions.

Overall, Willson has 102 catches for 1,216 yards and 11 touchdowns in 86 games (45 starts). He set career highs of 22 receptions and 362 yards in 2014 and had a career-best four touchdown catches in 2017.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Month after hiring, Schiano quits as Pats’ DC

NFL notebook: Month after hiring, Schiano quits as Pats' DC

NFL notebook: Month after hiring, Schiano quits as Pats’ DC

Greg Schiano, hired last month as the New England Patriots defensive coordinator, stepped down Thursday, the team announced.

“This is not the result of any one event, but rather a realization that I need to spend more time on my faith and family,” Schiano said in a statement. “I don’t want to look back years from now and wish I had done things differently. Therefore, I am taking time away from the game to recalibrate my priorities.”

Schiano, a longtime ally of Belichick, was hired Feb. 6 to replace Brian Flores, the Patriots’ defensive play-caller who left to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

Schiano, 52, was most recently the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He was 11-21 in two seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach in 2012 and 2013 before being fired. Schiano was 68-67 in 11 seasons as the head coach at Rutgers (2001-2011). Belichick’s son, Steve Belichick, was a long snapper at Rutgers.

–The Philadelphia Eagles acquired running back Jordan Howard from the Chicago Bears for a sixth-round draft pick in 2020.

The pick could be upgraded to a fifth-rounder next season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who did not specify the parameters for the higher selection. The Eagles confirmed the deal on their website.

Howard, 24, rushed for 3,370 yards and 24 touchdowns in three seasons with Chicago. The former fifth-round pick out of Indiana also caught 72 passes for 568 yards and a score.

–The Oakland Raiders continued their offseason acquisitions, agreeing to deals with running back Isaiah Crowell and linebacker Brandon Marshall.

Crowell, who became the odd man out with the New York Jets when the team signed Le’Veon Bell, agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million deal with the Raiders, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said.

The Denver Broncos released Marshall earlier this month to cut $4.84 million from the salary cap. While the Raiders had not yet confirmed the signing, Marshall, 29, shared a photo of himself dressed in the silver and black on social media. His contract is for one year and worth as much as $4.1 million, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

–Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, considered a potential top-five selection in the draft, who skipped some on-field drills at the NFL Scouting Combine, likely helped solidify his high draft stock at the Cougars’ pro day.

His official numbers were 4.73 seconds for the 40-yard dash, 4.22 seconds for the short shuttle and 7.15 seconds for the 3-cone drill.

For context, Oliver’s short shuttle was 0.02 seconds faster than the time posted at the 2018 combine by running back Saquan Barkley, who went on to become the second pick in the draft and rush for 1,307 yards as a rookie for the New York Giants.

–Andy Dalton has started all but eight games at quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals in the past eight seasons, but the team is taking a wait-and-see approach about its future at the position.

Dalton did miss the final five games of last season because of torn thumb ligaments. Owner Mike Brown told the Cincinnati Enquirer that there will be no offseason talk of a contract extension with the 31-year-old Dalton, who is signed through 2020.

“I think it’s a good year for (Dalton) to show like he can, like we think he will. After he re-establishes himself, we would want to get together with him and see if we can extend it,” Brown said. Dalton is set to make $16 million this season in the second-to-last year of a six-year deal.

–The Dallas Cowboys finalized a long-rumored trade for defensive end Robert Quinn, sending a 2020 sixth-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys announced.

The Dolphins, seeking salary-cap relief, have been shopping Quinn for a trade, allowing him to visit other teams. He reportedly met with the Cowboys and New Orleans Saints.

–The Carolina Panthers and running back Cameron Artis-Payne agreed on a one-year deal to bring the 2015 draft pick back to Charlotte for the 2019 season.

Artis-Payne played just 48 offensive snaps last season, rushing for 69 yards and a score in nine games.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger upsets Rory to reach Match Play quarters

Tiger upsets Rory to reach Match Play quarters

Tiger upsets Rory to reach Match Play quarters

Tiger Woods beat Rory McIlroy 2 and 1 on Saturday morning to advance to the quarterfinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

Woods, the No. 13 seed in the event, will face Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard (50) in the quarterfinals Saturday afternoon for a place in the final four.

“I’m looking forward to the match,” Woods told PGA Tour radio. “I’m happy to be advancing. A quick bite to eat and get back out there.”

The fourth-seeded McIlroy was the favorite entering Saturday’s marquee matchup after blowing through group play with a 3-0-0 record, while Woods needed a victory on Friday and some help to reach the knockout rounds.

The heavyweight matchup did not always feature elite golf, but it was not short on drama.

After halving each of the first four holes, Woods gained his first lead with a birdie on the par-4 fifth hole and extended the margin to 2-up on the following hole.

“He hadn’t trailed in a match yet, so getting that lead was big,” Woods said.

McIlroy struggled to make many putts on the front nine, then missed the green on No. 10 to fall behind by three holes. The Northern Irishman fought back, with birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 before Woods got one back when McIlroy conceded the 16th hole.

Woods missed the green on No. 17, but McIlroy left the door open when he narrowly missed his birdie putt. Woods executed an excellent up and down, draining a 13-foot par putt to close out the match.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger survives rash of upsets at WGC-Match Play

Tiger survives rash of upsets at WGC-Match Play

Tiger survives rash of upsets at WGC-Match Play

Tiger Woods took advantage of the uneven play by the youngest competitor in the field to win his opening match Wednesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

Playing in his first match play event since 2013, Woods beat 22-year-old Aaron Wise in a match that featured few stellar shots but plenty of momentum swings. Woods build a 2-up lead after two holes, but was unable to keep his foot on the gas and found himself trailing by a hole after the 10th.

With neither player executing consistently, Woods was able to get back to all-square with a par on the next hole. He then won three of the next five to close out his record-extending 64th match play event 3 and 1. That keeps him in control of his own destiny in the round-robin format, but Woods knows he’ll have to play better over the next two days to advance out of Group 13.

“I’ve played a lot of matches over the years, and this is definitely one of the most emotional matches,” Woods told the Golf Channel after securing his win when Wise three-putted the 17th hole. “I was up early, then I’m down, then I’m up. There was just a lot of ebb and flow to this match. It wasn’t as though we were both playing great golf, but somehow I came out with the win.”

While Wise will need to win his final two matches and get some help in order to advance, Woods is still in the driver’s seat. He received another gift when Brandt Snedeker birdied the 18th hole to halve the other Group 13 match against Patrick Cantlay.

“We weren’t playing that great today, we were both struggling a little bit,” Woods acknowledged. “If it was a stroke play event, we’d be pretty far behind. But in stroke play it’s beating the guy in front of you, and that was about it and I was able to advance.”

Several other favored players would have loved to have squeaked out a win with less than their “A” games Wednesday.

No. 5 seed Justin Thomas was a 3 and 2 loser to Denmark’s Lucas Bjerregaard (No. 50), No. 9 Xander Schauffele escaped No. 62 Lee Westwood 1-up, No. 52 Jim Furyk came from behind to upset Australia’s Jason Day (No. 12) 2-up and defending champ Bubba Watson lost to No. 57 Kevin Na in a bizarre turn of events.

All square on the 18th tee box, Watson was a bad hop away from driving the green. Instead, he wound up in a green-side bunker while Na opted to hit iron off the tee. Na found the green with his approach, while Watson’s first attempt failed to get out of the bunker. With his second attempt heading for the same result, Watson picked the rolling ball up on his feet, conceding a match he appeared to have control of at 2-up through 12 holes.

“I wasn’t playing that bad, the putts just weren’t falling,” Na told the Golf Channel. “Anytime you beat a two-time match (play) champion it’s a great feeling. Bubba is the defending champion, he’s a great player, and we’re good buddies.”

Meanwhile, most of those who entered in strong form continued their momentum Wednesday.

Coming off his victory at The Players two weeks ago, fourth-seeded Rory McIlroy closed out American Luke List (64) 5 and 4. Spain’s Jon Rahm, the No. 2 seed, was even more convincing in his 7 and 5 win over South Korea’s Si Woo Kim (54).

“I think it was a combination of I rode my luck a little bit,” McIlroy told reporters after his match. “At times I hit some loose shots, but I somehow got away with most of them. Luke would admit he didn’t play his best stuff, but I played well. He let me away on a couple of holes, but to birdie 13 and 14 to close the match out was nice.”

No. 2 Justin Rose of England was a 2-and-1 winner over Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (53), American Bryson DeChambeau (6) handled Scotland’s Russell Knox (59) 3 and 1 and Italy’s seventh-seeded Francesco Molinari dominated Japan’s Satoshi Kodaira (63) 5 and 4.

Also continuing his strong play was England’s Paul Casey, the No. 10 seed, who saved some much-needed energy by beating Mexico’s Abraham Ancer (58) 5 and 3 just three days after winning the Valspar Championship.

“There’s a lot,” Casey said when asked by the Golf Channel about his confidence level. “We’re trying to manage the energy level as well. The victory was great on Sunday. But then that short window to try to get ready for this on Wednesday … we’ve been trying to manage the energy.

“I’ve been fatigued the past few days, so today was really, really good. Actually one of the better rounds of golf I’ve ever played around this golf course, so form and confidence are fine.”

Countryman Ian Poulter, seeded 30th, was able to exercise some demons with his 2-and-1 win over Kevin Kisner (48) of the United States. It was a loss to Kisner in this event last year that prevented Poulter from reaching the quarterfinals and securing a spot in the Masters. Meanwhile, Kisner went on to lose to Watson in the final match.

“It was painful, I wasn’t going to roll over like last year,” Poulter told the Golf Channel. “I knew that coming out this morning, and perhaps he wouldn’t he knew I wouldn’t be that easy as what the match turned out to be last year. I played very well today.

“I know winning your first match is really important, winning every match is really important. Today was really important to come out strong and do whatever you need to do.”

NOTES: Woods is playing his first tournament in Texas since the AT&T Byron Nelson in 2005, and his first WGC event since 2013. … The winners from each of the 16 groups will move on to the single-elimination weekend rounds. … American Rickie Fowler and Australia’s Adam Scott are the only eligible players who chose not to compete this week.

–Field Level Media

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Bears trade RB Howard to Eagles

Bears trade RB Howard to Eagles

Bears trade RB Howard to Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles acquired running back Jordan Howard from the Chicago Bears on Thursday for a sixth-round draft pick in 2020.

The pick could be upgraded to a fifth-rounder next season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, who did not specify the parameters for the higher selection. The Eagles confirmed the deal on their website.

Howard, 24, rushed for 3,370 yards and 24 touchdowns in three seasons with Chicago. The former fifth-round pick out of Indiana also caught 72 passes for 568 yards and a score.

The Bears leaned heavily on Howard in his first two seasons, but he did not fit as well into the offensive scheme of head coach Matt Nagy in 2018. The presence of running backs Tarik Cohen and free agent signee Mike Davis, coupled with the fact that Howard will be a free agent at the end of this season, prompted Chicago to shop him.

Bears offensive lineman Kyle Long expressed confusion upon hearing of the deal.

“Dude what,” Long tweeted.

Minutes later, Long shared a more positive reaction.

“(I am) happy Jordan went from one good team to another he deserves to win!” Long wrote. “Philly you’re gonna love him.”

Howard provides an immediate boost to the Eagles’ backfield. Rookie Josh Adams led the team with 511 rushing yards and three touchdowns in 2018.

–Field Level Media

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Schiano resigns after several weeks as Patriots’ DC

Schiano resigns after several weeks as Patriots' DC

Schiano resigns after several weeks as Patriots’ DC

Greg Schiano, hired last month as the New England Patriots defensive coordinator, stepped down Thursday, the team announced.

“This is not the result of any one event, but rather a realization that I need to spend more time on my faith and family,” Schiano said in a statement. “I don’t want to look back years from now and wish I had done things differently. Therefore, I am taking time away from the game to recalibrate my priorities.”

Schiano was hired Feb. 6 to replace Brian Flores, the Patriots’ defensive play-caller who left to become the head coach of the Miami Dolphins.

“I respect Coach Schiano greatly and appreciate his contributions to our staff and team,” coach Bill Belichick said in a statement. “He is a friend who we support completely.”

Schiano, 52, was most recently the defensive coordinator at Ohio State. He was 11-21 in two seasons as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach in 2012 and 2013 before being fired.

Schiano was 68-67 in 11 seasons as the head coach at Rutgers (2001-2011). He is a longtime ally of Belichick, whose son, Steve Belichick, was a long snapper at Rutgers.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger on brink of elimination at WGC-Match Play

Tiger on brink of elimination at WGC-Match Play

Tiger on brink of elimination at WGC-Match Play

Tiger Woods will need a win and some help on Friday to advance to the weekend at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Texas.

The same is true of top-ranked Dustin Johnson.

Woods never led in Thursday’s Group 13 match against Brandt Snedeker, who went on to a 2 and 1 victory. Snedeker and Patrick Cantlay lead the group with 1 1/2 points, followed by Woods with one point and Aaron Wise, who has been eliminated.

Woods must beat Cantlay on Friday and have Wise win or tie Snedeker to have a chance to advance to the knockout rounds.

“I need to go out and win, not to root against Patrick in any, way, shape or form,” Snedeker told the Golf Channel. “It’s the fun thing about this format, but it’s the tough thing about it sometimes also. All I can do is go out there and try to play as good as I can again tomorrow.”

South Africa’s Branden Grace, the event’s 40th seed, edged Johnson 1 up to improve to 2-0 in round-robin play. Johnson, now 1-1 in the competition, must defeat No. 24 Hideki Matsuyama and have Grace lose to No. 55 Chez Reavie to force a hole-by-hole playoff for a spot in the Round of 16.

Johnson led the back-and-forth match on three separate occasions before Grace evened the match again with a birdie at No. 15 and took the lead with a birdie at No. 17. Both players parred the final hole to seal Grace’s win.

The 13th-seeded Woods entered Thursday’s match favored over Snedeker (44), but coming off a shaky win over Wise the previous day. Woods halved one hole after chipping left-handed from his knees to save par and won another by knocking a 166-yard approach from a fairway bunker to within gimme range. However, his putter routinely let him down.

“(The fans) were all obviously pulling for Tiger, which I don’t blame ’em,” Snedeker said. “I am 100 percent of the time, too, except for today. It was a lot of fun out there.”

Group 13 is one of several with compelling showdowns set for Friday.

Second-seeded Justin Rose birdied three of his final four holes to scratch out a tie against fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperrell (34) in Group 2. Rose, who has failed to advance in two previous tries since the Match Play moved to a round-robin format, will place a winner-advances match against Gary Woodland, the No. 22 seed who is 2-0 after beating Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo (53).

“I’m excited about where I’m at,” Woodland, who finished second to Rory McIlroy in the event in 2015, told the Golf Channel. “Obviously, if I go out and play well I think I can beat anybody. So hopefully I come out and play like I did early in the round today and put a good round together.”

No. 52 Jim Furyk also continued to slay giants in the “group of death,” taking out No. 20 Phil Mickelson a day after upsetting Australia’s Jason Day (12) in Group 12. With Day and Mickelson eliminated, Furyk and Sweden’s Henrik Stenson will play an elimination match Friday.

“I think playing my own game,” Furyk said of what the key will be for him. “I’m playing against three guys who hit it a lot farther than I do. They play a different style of game than I do. This golf course lends itself to anyone, so I need to really just go out there and play my style.”

While defending champion Bubba Watson was eliminated from Group 15 with his second consecutive loss, he’ll play a key role in another group with multiple potential winners. Jordan Spieth (1-0-1) led by as many as six holes in beating Kevin Na (1-1-0) 3 & 2, with Billy Horschel (1-0-1) still alive.

Watson will play Spieth on Friday while Na takes on Horschel.

“When you have that kind of lead, it’s nice on a windy golf course to just be able to hit greens and just wear the guy out hitting greens,” said Spieth. “It’s tough, it’s difficult to get it close to the hole locations. And then tomorrow we have this same wind again, same conditions. I have to stay patient and play my game.”

Meanwhile, No. 4 Rory McIlroy continued his dominant form, beating South Africa’s Justin Harding (47) 3 & 2 to move to 2-0-0 in Group 4. The Northern Irishman can’t do any worse than a playoff against Harding or Luke List (64) even if he loses to England’s Matthew Fitzpatrick on Friday.

“I felt like over the last couple of days … I made the shot when I needed to. I made the putt when I needed to,” said McIlroy. “Once I get into that situation where I smell a little bit of blood, I’m taking advantage of my opportunities.

No. 3 Brooks Koepka (0-1-1) was eliminated from contention when took a 1-down loss to China’s HaoTong Li. Koepka had halved his first-day match against England’s Tom Lewis. Li (2-0-0) would advance if he wins or halves his Friday match against Lewis.

Other group notes

Group 5: No. 5 Justin Thomas (1-1-0) stayed alive with a win over England’s No. 33 Matt Wallace (1-1-0). All four players are still alive with No. 31 Keegan Bradley (0-1-1) halving with Denmark’s No. 50 Lucas Bjerregaard (1-0-1). Thomas will play Bradley and Wallace will face Bjerregaard on Friday.

Group 7: No. 7 Francesco Molinari (2-0-0) can advance with a victory over No. 21 Webb Simpson (0-1-1), who was eliminated with a halve against Japan’s No. 63 Satoshi Kodaira (0-1-1). At worst, Molinari can go to a playoff with a loss and a win by No. 45 Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark over Kodaira.

Group 10: England’s Paul Casey and Charles Howell III are both 1-0-1 after halving their match Thursday. Casey will play Australia’s No. 25 Cameron Smith (0-2-0) while Howell III plays Mexico’s No. 58 Abraham Ancer (1-1-0).

–Field Level Media

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Report: Cowboys close to acquiring DE Quinn

Report: Cowboys close to acquiring DE Quinn

Report: Cowboys close to acquiring DE Quinn

The Dallas Cowboys were finalizing a trade for Miami Dolphins’ defensive end Robert Quinn, according to NFL Network on Thursday.

“I’m told the trade parameters are done,” Ian Rapoport said on the “Up to the Minute” show.

The compensation is likely to be a future late-round pick, he said.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported that Quinn will sign a new one-year deal with the Cowboys.

The Dolphins, seeking salary cap relief, have been shopping Quinn for a trade, allowing him to visit other teams, reportedly meeting with the Cowboys and 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.

Quinn, a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time first-team All-Pro, hasn’t topped 8.5 sacks or 15 QB hits in a season since posting 10.5 and 20, respectively, in 2014. He had career highs of 19 sacks and 34 QB hits in 2013.

The Cowboys have been at an impasse 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 before the July 15 deadline.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys acquire DE Quinn

Cowboys acquire DE Quinn

The Dallas

Cowboys acquire DE Quinn

The Dallas Cowboys finalized a long-rumored trade for defensive end Robert Quinn on Thursday, sending a 2020 sixth-round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys announced.

The Dolphins, seeking salary cap relief, have been shopping Quinn for a trade, allowing him to visit other teams. He reportedly met with the Cowboys and 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.

The Cowboys and Quinn are expected to agree on a reworked one-year contract for the veteran.

The Rams took Quinn in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He since has been named to two Pro Bowl teams and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2013. However, he, hasn’t topped 8.5 sacks or 15 QB hits in a season since posting 10.5 and 20, respectively, in 2014. He had career highs of 19 sacks and 34 QB hits in 2013.

The Cowboys have been at an impasse 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 before the July 15 deadline. They also lost rusher Randy Gregory to an indefinite suspension for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

–Field Level Media

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Romo struggles early, steadies to break 80 in Dominican Republic

Romo struggles early, steadies to break 80 in Dominican Republic

Romo struggles early, steadies to break 80 in Dominican Republic

Tony Romo parred the 18th hole to card a 7-over-par 79 in the first round of the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic on Thursday.

Breaking 80 appeared to be a long shot after the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS Sports analyst triple-bogeyed the eighth hole and made the turn at 6-over 42. However, he steadied the ship with eight pars on the back nine, narrowly missing a birdie on the 17th and executing a spectacular shot from a green-side bunker on 18.

“I think it was somewhat nerves early on,” Romo told the Golf Channel. “I missed a few short putts that you feel like you’d normally make. And then just a bad swing on eight that cost me a triple-bogey. It’s hard to get birdies out here, just the wind — and the back nine is over 4,000 yards.

“You kinda want to stay around par, I think. You have to have a good short game on some of these holes, and I didn’t do that early. And then I kind of got comfortable, and the last 10 holes or so I was 1 over. I hit some good shots, so I just have to keep getting comfortable and play golf in these types of situations and then it gets easier.”

Romo is playing in the event for the second consecutive year after missing the cut in 2018. As he finished his opening round, he was 13 shots back of leader Matt Jones and ahead of only Troy Matteson (84, withdrew) from the morning wave.

“I think a lot of it, without having played as much on this stage … tournament golf in general, you work on stuff,” Romo said. “Then all of a sudden you have a different wind direction. … It’s just a little harder than what you see. The greens are a little firmer, the shots are a little tougher; all that adds up over time.

“I think you want to really compete with yourself a little bit and see how good you can get. I play with a lot of these guys back home, and when you play with them you see how talented they really are. The thing that stands out is their consistency.”

Jones shot a 6-under 66 in windy conditions at the Corales Golf Club, making seven birdies against a lone bogey.

Venezuela’s Jhonnatan Vegas was three shots off the pace. Playing in the event for the first time, the world’s 80th-ranked player finished third at The Players Championship two weeks ago. He managed to hit only three greens, but made several up-and-downs in his 3-under 69.

“I felt like it was good,” Vegas told the Golf Channel of his round. “I felt conditions were going to be a little bit better this morning, but the wind was blowing hard from the beginning. It was hard to control the ball. I managed to make some great up-and-downs, which here you have to do that.

“It was a positive start in this weather.”

NOTES: The winner will earn 300 FedEx Cup points, be fully exempt on the PGA Tour through the 2020-21 season and earn spots in this year’s PGA Championship and the Sentry Tournament of Champions, as well as The Players Championship in 2020. … Brice Garnett led wire-to-wire last year, winning by four shots over Keith Mitchell. … Tour rookie Sungjae Im is ranked No. 59 in the world and has a mathematical chance to rise into the Top 50 and earn a spot in the Masters.

–Field Level Media

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Bengals looking for Dalton to ‘re-establish’ himself

Bengals looking for Dalton to 're-establish' himself

Andy Dalton has started all but

Bengals looking for Dalton to ‘re-establish’ himself

Andy Dalton has started all but eight games at quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals in the past eight seasons, but the team is taking a wait-and-see approach about its future at the position.

Dalton did miss the final five games of last season because of torn thumb ligaments.

Owner Mike Brown told the Cincinnati Enquirer that there will be no offseason talk of a contract extension with the 31-year-old Dalton, who is signed through 2020.

“I think it’s a good year for (Dalton) to show like he can, like we think he will. After he re-establishes himself we would want to get together with him and see if we can extend it,” Brown said.

“I think Andy is a good player and that he will rebound off last year. He was hurt. We lost so many other pieces. It fell apart, but if he’s healthy and we stay healthy enough, I have confidence in him.”

Dalton, who has a record of 67-50-2 as a starter, will have to mesh with new head coach Zac Taylor. Dalton is 0-4 in the playoffs.

Dalton, a second-round pick in 2011, started 11 games in 2018, posting a 4-6 record. He completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 2,566 yards, with 21 interceptions and 11 touchdowns.

He is set to make $16 million this season in the second-to-last year of a six-year deal.

–Field Level Media

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Panthers bring back RB Artis-Payne on one-year deal

Panthers bring back RB Artis-Payne on one-year deal

The Carolina Panthers and

Panthers bring back RB Artis-Payne on one-year deal

The Carolina Panthers and running back Cameron Artis-Payne agreed on a one-year deal to bring the 2015 draft pick back to Charlotte for the 2019 season.

Artis-Payne played just 48 offensive snaps last season, rushing for 69 yards and a score in nine games.

However, the Panthers have said they want to reduce the workload of star Christian McCaffrey, who played more than 91 percent of the snaps last season.

The Panthers took Artis-Payne in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.

–Field Level Media

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Bengals’ Brown on opposing replay: ‘Just play the game’

Bengals' Brown on opposing replay: 'Just play the game'

The

Bengals’ Brown on opposing replay: ‘Just play the game’

The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t proponents of NFL instant replay, and they aren’t changing their stance even if it leaves them in a minority of one.

A day after casting the lone “nay” vote in the NFL owners’ 31-1 verdict on expanding replay to include pass-interference non-calls, Bengals owner Mike Brown explained his rationale Wednesday.

“The reason that we are against it is that it interrupts the game. It changes the character of the game, in my mind,” he told reporters. “I think it’s in some ways sort of odd to see people all sitting there waiting for somebody in New York to tell them it is or it isn’t. I’d rather just play the game.”

Brown, 83, added that he is following the team tradition set by his father, Bengals co-founder Paul Brown.

“The history of it is my father was against (replay),” Brown said. “If you go back to the very beginning, and I’d be curious to know when that was (1976), we have been against it for all these years since. …

“It is the fact that there’s going to be officiating error. But it’s also the fact that instant replay doesn’t always correct it. It just compounds the problem on occasion. There is no answer, at least there is no answer that we’re going to have instant replay and there won’t be any more bad pass interference calls. I don’t think so. … It may be that it works great. We’ll see. I have my doubts.”

The Bengals have missed the playoffs each of the past three seasons. They haven’t won a playoff game since a wild-card-round victory after the 1990 season, with the 28-year postseason winless drought currently the longest among NFL teams.

–Field Level Media

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