Jets place OLB Josh Martin on IR with another concussion

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets have placed outside linebacker Josh Martin on injured reserve after he suffered a second concussion in just over five weeks.

Martin was projected as a starter this season on defense, but sat out the first three games after injuring his head during the Jets’ third preseason game against the Giants on Aug. 24. He made his regular-season debut Sunday at Jacksonville, but left with a concussion.

Coach Todd Bowles says it’s “definitely alarming” for Martin, also a special teams standout, to have two concussions in such a short time.

Defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi was promoted from the practice squad to take Martin’s place. He was a third-round pick of Baltimore in 2016 out of BYU and was among the Ravens’ final cuts last month.

The Jets also signed former Patriots linebacker Harvey Langi to the practice squad. Langi was an undrafted free agent out of BYU last year. He played in one game for New England before being placed on the reserve/non-football injury list with serious injuries after he and his wife were among five people hurt when their vehicle was hit by another car.

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Texans’ Watt, Hopkins placed on PUP list

Texans' Watt, Hopkins placed on PUP list

Texans’ Watt, Hopkins placed on PUP list

The Houston Texans placed defensive end J.J. Watt and wideout DeAndre Hopkins on the active/physically unable to perform list on Sunday, indicating both players will sit out practice when training camp begins later this week.

Texans veterans report on Wednesday and begin practicing Thursday. Rookies reported Sunday.

Watt had cleanup surgery on his knee in January after Houston lost in the wild-card playoffs, but there’s no indication his recovery will threaten his regular-season availability.

Hopkins battled a shoulder injury late last season, saying after the playoff loss he tore ligaments “completely off the bone,” but reports at the time said he would not need surgery. He also fought a foot injury, but said in June he expected to be ready for training camp.

Either player can be activated anytime to facilitate a return to practice.

The Texans also placed rookie tight end Kahale Warring on the active/non-football-injury list. Warring’s injury is unknown.

A third-round pick in April, Warring is expected to compete to start for the Texans after promising work in the offseason.

The team did not announce any move regarding wideout Will Fuller, which could be good news. If Fuller is not placed on the PUP list, he would be able to practice immediately after missing all of the team’s offseason work during his recovery from a torn ACL.

–Field Level Media

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Dolphins waive DT Norton, will pay salary

Dolphins waive DT Norton, will pay salary

The Miami Dolphins placed defensive tackle Kendrick

Dolphins waive DT Norton, will pay salary

The Miami Dolphins placed defensive tackle Kendrick Norton — whose left arm was amputated following a car crash earlier this month — on the reserve/non-football-injury list on Sunday, effectively waiving him.

Norton will not count against the 90-man roster, but the team will still pay his $495,000 salary, and his medical bills will be covered by insurance through the NFL and the Dolphins.

The 22-year-old’s NFL career is over after his July 4 accident. He had six surgeries over a two-week span before being discharged from the hospital on Thursday.

Norton, who played at the University of Miami, said several Dolphins teammates and coaches came to see him in the hospital often, and cited first-year head coach Brian Flores as a daily guest to his hospital room.

Norton spent most of the 2018 season on the Panthers’ practice squad after Carolina selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 draft. The Dolphins signed him in December.

Norton was cited with making an improper lane change, per a Florida Highway Patrol report. He suddenly pulled his F-250 truck in front of a Maserati and clipped it, sending his car into a concrete barrier. The other driver was not injured, and the report said drugs or alcohol were not believed to be a factor.

Also on Sunday, the Dolphins placed tight end Dwayne Allen, linebacker Mike Hull and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley on the physically unable to perform list. None of the three can partake in on-field activities at training camp, which starts Thursday, until activated from the PUP list.

The Dolphins also claimed offensive lineman Will Holden off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals and waived cornerback Jamar Summers.

–Field Level Media

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Herman claims Barbasol Championship after Kraft stumbles

Herman claims Barbasol Championship after Kraft stumbles

Jim Herman made two back-nine

Herman claims Barbasol Championship after Kraft stumbles

Jim Herman made two back-nine birdies after a rain delay on Sunday and was rewarded when Kelly Kraft stumbled late, claiming his second career PGA Tour title at the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky.

Herman shot 2-under 70 to finish at 26-under 262 at Keene Trace Golf Club, one stroke ahead of Kraft, who bogeyed the par-3 16th and par-4 17th right after taking the solo lead with birdies at 14 and 15.

After a three-putt from 48 feet on 17, Kraft’s 41-foot birdie try at 18 missed. Herman then two-putted from 23 feet, finishing with a tap-in to clinch the victory.

Herman, 41, was limited to nine events in 2018 by a foot injury and missed the cut in 16 of his previous 19 events this year, with no finishes higher than 43rd before Sunday’s victory.

“Obviously the last couple years have been a little lean,” he said afterward on Golf Channel. “A lot of missed cuts, and I never lost hope, but what are you gonna say? This was a great week. I always wanted to win a second one.”

Herman’s previous title came at the Houston Open in 2016. Coincidentally, both of his victories have come two weeks after he played a round with current U.S. President Donald Trump, who Herman said gave him putting advice two weeks ago that helped him this week.

“He’s a busy man, but I think I need to see him again here sometime soon,” Herman said of Trump with a smile. “… He motivates me and puts me in a good spot.”

Both players in the final pairing cooled off after a scorching Saturday, in which Herman shot a 62 and Kraft broke the course record with 61.

Herman was 1 under on the seventh hole when play was stopped due to weather. He then bogeyed No. 9 to fall level with Kraft, who had eagled at the par-5 fifth to get to 1 under on the day. Both players birdied the 11th before Kraft took the outright lead at 14, and both birdied 15 before Kraft’s back-to-back bogeys.

Austria’s Sepp Straka shot a 66 to claim third alone at 23 under, while Australia’s Matt Jones tied the low round of the day with a 63 to tie Austin Cook (70) for fourth.

Scotland’s Martin Laird, who also shot 63, was among three tied for sixth at 21 under.

–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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Reports: Pats’ Michel, Thomas open on PUP

Reports: Pats' Michel, Thomas open on PUP

Reports: Pats’ Michel, Thomas open on PUP

Running back Sony Michel and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas are among six New England Patriots who will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list later this week, multiple outlets reported Sunday.

Michel had a knee scope this offseason but is expected to be ready in time for the regular season. Thomas tore his Achilles on Dec. 23, putting him at risk of missing regular-season games. If he is not activated from the PUP list before Week 1, he would have to miss at least six games.

Avoiding the PUP list is 2018 first-round offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, a good sign as he recovers from a torn Achilles sustained last August. Wynn is the leading candidate to start at left tackle after the departure of Trent Brown via free agency and the retirement of free agent signee Jared Veldheer.

Joining Michel and Thomas on the PUP list, per reports, will be defensive end Deatrich Wise, special-teams ace Nate Ebner, offensive tackle Cole Croston and defensive back Ken Webster.

Rookie offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, taken in the third round in April, will be placed on the active/non-football-injury list as he continues to recover from pre-draft quad surgery.

Michel, 24, was the Patriots’ second first-round pick in 2018, eight picks after Wynn (23rd overall). He rushed for 931 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie, scoring the only touchdown in the Super Bowl LIII victory.

Thomas, 31, caught 59 passes for 677 yards and five touchdowns between the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans last year, joining Houston via a deal before the trade deadline. He has four Pro Bowl appearances in nine NFL seasons.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Texans place Watt, Hopkins on PUP list

NFL notebook: Texans place Watt, Hopkins on PUP list

NFL notebook: Texans place Watt, Hopkins on PUP list

The Houston Texans placed defensive end J.J. Watt and wideout DeAndre Hopkins on the active/physically unable to perform list on Sunday, indicating both players will sit out practice when training camp begins later this week.

Texans veterans report on Wednesday and begin practicing Thursday. Rookies reported Sunday.

Watt had cleanup surgery on his knee in January after Houston lost in the wild-card playoffs, but there’s no indication his recovery will threaten his regular-season availability.

Hopkins battled a shoulder injury late last season, saying after the playoff loss he tore ligaments “completely off the bone,” but reports at the time said he would not need surgery. He also fought a foot injury, but said in June he expected to be ready for training camp.

–Running back Sony Michel and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas are among six New England Patriots who will begin training camp on the physically unable to perform list later this week, multiple outlets reported.

Michel had a knee scope this offseason but is expected to be ready in time for the regular season. Thomas tore his Achilles on Dec. 23, putting him at risk of missing regular-season games. If he is not activated from the PUP list before Week 1, he would have to miss at least six games.

Avoiding the PUP list is 2018 first-round offensive tackle Isaiah Wynn, a good sign as he recovers from a torn Achilles sustained last August. Wynn is the leading candidate to start at left tackle after the departure of Trent Brown via free agency and the retirement of free agent signee Jared Veldheer.

–The Miami Dolphins placed defensive tackle Kendrick Norton — whose left arm was amputated following a car crash earlier this month — on the reserve/non-football-injury list, effectively waiving him.

Norton will not count against the 90-man roster, but the team will still pay his $495,000 salary, and his medical bills will be covered by insurance through the NFL and the Dolphins.

The 22-year-old’s NFL career is over after his July 4 accident. He had six surgeries over a two-week span before being discharged from the hospital on Thursday.

–Tight end Trey Burton and wide receiver Anthony Miller are expected to be ready for the start of Chicago Bears training camp this week after both players underwent offseason surgeries, general manager Ryan Pace told reporters.

Burton had sports hernia surgery after missing the Bears’ playoff game against the Philadelphia Eagles because of a groin injury.

Miller had surgery on his shoulder after his rookie campaign, during which he hauled in 33 catches for 423 yards and seven touchdowns.

–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.

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.

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.

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.

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 failed to birdie No. 18 and finished in a tie for fourth place with Britain’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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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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Bucs agree to contract with 1st-round LB White

Bucs agree to contract with 1st-round LB White

The Tampa Bay

Bucs agree to contract with 1st-round LB White

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

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.

The Bucs’ veterans report to camp on Thursday.

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.

White’s agreement leaves just seven draft picks unsigned across the league, including four first-rounders: defensive end Nick Bosa (No. 2 overall, San Francisco 49ers), defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (No. 3, New York Jets), quarterback Daniel Jones (No. 6, New York Giants) and defensive end Brian Burns (No. 16, Carolina Panthers).

The other three are 49ers’ second-round wide receiver Deebo Samuel, Giants’ third-round outside linebacker Oshane Ximines and Minnesota Vikings’ seventh-round long-snapper Austin Cutting.

–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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Shanahan at Broncos practice for 1st time since 2008

Shanahan at Broncos practice for 1st time since 2008

Shanahan at Broncos practice for 1st time since 2008

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.”

According to Fangio, he and Shanahan have been familiar with each other, but more “as competitors. … We’ve gotten to know each other the last five, eight years.”

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.

Scangarello had previously worked with Shanahan’s son Kyle when they were with the Atlanta Falcons and San Francisco 49ers.

Afterward, he went inside the team’s facility to reunite with staff members such as defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and assistant offensive line coach Chris Kuper (drafted by the Broncos in 2006), who were there during his coaching reign.

The Denver connections have remained since Shanahan departed, and he has attended several functions and ceremonies honoring the team. Now 66, he also had NFL stints as a head coach with the Oakland Raiders (1988-89) and Washington Redskins (2010-13).

Shanahan nearly had a chance to return to the Broncos as head coach when Elway considered firing head coach Vance Joseph in January 2018.

However, Elway’s idea to bring back Shanahan was not supported by Broncos CEO Joe Ellis, who wanted a full coaching search conducted if the team were to move on from Joseph, who was hired in January 2017. Elway considered that option before deciding to keep Joseph.

Joseph remained one more season, finishing 6-10 in 2018, before he was fired and replaced on Jan. 10 by Fangio.

–Field Level Media

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Ireland’s Lowry shoots 63, leads The Open by 4

Ireland's Lowry shoots 63, leads The Open by 4

Ireland’s Lowry shoots 63, leads The Open by 4

Shane Lowry said he was not pleased with the state of his game as he made the 180-mile drive north from his home town of Clara, Ireland, for this week’s Open Championship.

He changed his mind set after a conversation with his caddie at a local pub, and now is 18 holes away from claiming not only his first major title, but the first Open Championship held at Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush in 68 years.

Lowry tied the second-lowest score in major championship history with his 8-under-par 63 on Saturday, narrowly missing a fourth consecutive birdie putt on the 18th hole to tie Branden Grace’s 62 at Royal Birkdale two years ago.

As it stands, Lowry is 16-under par and will enter the final round with a four-shot lead over England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

“My mind’s a bit fuzzy at the minute,” Lowry told NBC after completing his bogey-free round. “Obviously, I just had an incredible day on the golf course. I’m looking forward to sitting down a little later on and just kind of reflect on it.”

Lowry leads the field with 19 birdies this week. The world’s 33rd-ranked player also leads in greens in regulation and his 197 is the lowest 54-hole score in Open Championship history. The only lower 54-hole score in any major was David Toms’ 196 at the PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club in 2001.

While his game is certainly in excellent shape, the 32-year-old knows the mental part will be the biggest factor on Sunday.

Lowry 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.

“Look, I’m very excited for tomorrow,” he said. “Four ahead for an Open Championship in Ireland … I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to say.”

J.B. Holmes birdied the 18th hole to get to 10-under par and sits alone in third place.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is tied for fourth along with England’s Justin Rose at 9 under. They are seven shots behind Lowry but still in contention with wind and rain in Sunday’s forecast.

“It’s going to be an advantage for me, with the fact that I feel like I’m striking the ball well and I’m so far back,” Koepka told NBC Sports. “If you’re going to have difficult conditions, it’s going to be windy, maybe a little bit of rain, that’s kind of what I need. I need a chance, and hopefully that will be to my benefit.”

Koepka shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday despite struggling with his putter to post his 18th sub-par round in his last 20 rounds in majors. He is a combined 56 under in those rounds. Koepka has 26 major rounds in the 60s since 2017 — five better than anyone else (Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth).

“Just relying on ball striking, that’s it,” Koepka said. “I don’t think anybody in the field has hit it better than me. I’ve just probably putted the worst in the entire field, which is quite frustrating. I feel like I haven’t made anything outside 4 feet.”

Fowler posted a 66 on Saturday and is another shot off the pace, tied for sixth place with England’s Lee Westwood at 8 under.

Making up eight shots on Lowry figures to be difficult. Lowry said he was aware of Sunday’s forecast as he made a final push to reel off three consecutive birdies on No. 15-17 to increase his cushion over Fleetwood.

“I know it’s a bad weather forecast, so I said to myself if I can make one or two coming in I’ll really help myself,” Lowry said. “And that’s what I did, which is nice.”

With the partisan crowd heartily cheering his name, Lowry was quick to acknowledge that he will need to stay mentally sharp on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a difficult 24 hours,” he said. “But … God, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. Hopefully I can stick to my game plan and stick to my mental process over the next 24 hours and see where it leaves me this time tomorrow.”

–Field Level Media

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McDowell relishes home crowd, thinks of McIlroy

McDowell relishes home crowd, thinks of McIlroy

McDowell relishes home crowd, thinks of McIlroy

Graeme McDowell, who grew up in the shadows of Royal Portrush, ended Saturday’s round at The Open Championship at 2-under par 211 and in a tie for 29th place, well off the leaders.

And while McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion, realistically won’t hoist the Claret Jug on Sunday, he was the feel-good story of the day, giving the home crowd a local hero.

Fellow Northern Irishmen Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy missed the cut on Friday.

“They were 10 deep down the first and second fairways. It was incredible,” he said after Saturday’s round. “Obviously without Rory and Darren here people really focused on me.”

With their encouragement, McDowell shot a 3-under 68 on the day. He started the day nine shots behind overnight leaders Shane Lowry and J.B. Holmes, meaning he had no pressure on him when he took the course.

“It was fun to have that Saturday looseness and kind of aggressiveness going on, but to be able to feed off this amazing crowd and to be able to enjoy it, frankly,” the 39-year-old said. “It didn’t have that Thursday, Friday tightness to it, that three-shots-off-the-lead tightness. I was relaxed and enjoying it and really taking it all in. It was a lot of fun. Massive crowds and great support.”

He had family support. His brother, Gary, works at Royal Portrush as a groundskeeper.

And he also was thinking of McIlroy, who was at Royal Portrush in spirit after making a late charge on Friday. He fell just short of making the cut and was emotional when he didn’t.

“I think Rory probably won himself a lot of fans last night. To show that raw emotion, to see how much it means to him, to see how much it means to all of us being out here and to bring this great tournament to Portrush, and for him obviously to not play the way he wants to play, the way he battled coming down the stretch says a lot about him as a person,” he said. “Sometimes these guys look like robots out here. We’re not robots; we hurt, and we hurt a lot sometimes. It’s a tough sport.

“He was coming in with the pressure of a nation on his shoulders and he was always going to feel a lot more than we did. So it obviously meant a huge amount to him.”

–Field Level Media

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Lowry shoots 63, leads The Open by 4

Lowry shoots 63, leads The Open by 4

Lowry shoots 63, leads The Open by 4

Ireland’s Shane Lowry shot the low round of the week with an 8-under-par 63 on Saturday to build a four-shot lead entering the final round of The Open Championship at Royal Portrush.

Lowry, who drove 180 miles north from his home to compete in Northern Ireland this week, posted the 13th round of 63 or better in major championship history. Only South Africa’s Branden Grace, who shot a 62 at Royal Birkdale in 2017, has posted a lower round.

Lowry’s 63 is the low round by two shots through 54 holes, and he is at 16-under for the tournament. England’s Tommy Fleetwood trailed Lowry by one shot entering Saturday. He posted a bogey-free 66 and still lost three shots to the leader and is at 12-under.

They will be paired together on Sunday as both players seek their first major titles.

J.B. Holmes birdied the 18th hole to get to 10-under par and sits alone in third place.

Four-time major champion Brooks Koepka is tied for fourth along with England’s Justin Rose at 9 under. They are seven shots behind Lowry but still in contention with wind and rain in Sunday’s forecast.

“It’s going to be an advantage for me, with the fact that I feel like I’m striking the ball well and I’m so far back,” Koepka told NBC Sports. “If you’re going to have difficult conditions, it’s going to be windy, maybe a little bit of rain, that’s kind of what I need. I need a chance, and hopefully that will be to my benefit.”

Koepka shot a 4-under 67 on Saturday despite struggling with his putter to post his 18th sub-par round in his last 20 rounds in majors. He is a combined 56 under in those rounds. Koepka has 26 major rounds in the 60s since 2017 — five better than anyone else (Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth).

“Just relying on ball striking, that’s it,” Koepka said. “I don’t think anybody in the field has hit it better than me. I’ve just probably putted the worst in the entire field, which is quite frustrating. I feel like I haven’t made anything outside 4 feet.”

Fowler posted a 66 on Saturday is another shot off the pace, tied for sixth place with England’s Lee Westwood at 8 under.

–Field Level Media

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Stanley unapologetic for not yelling ‘Fore!’

Stanley unapologetic for not yelling 'Fore!'

Stanley unapologetic for not yelling ‘Fore!’

A day after he failed to yell “Fore!” when he hit an errant shot, Kyle Stanley revisited the issue on Saturday and refused to be remorseful about it.

“To me, it’s kind of a non-issue,” he said.

On hole 17 during Friday’s second round at The Open Championship at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland, Stanley’s hit off the tee hit the mother of the caddie of his playing partner, Robert MacIntyre.

MacIntyre criticized Stanley for his inaction.

“I said I wasn’t happy,” MacIntyre, a 22-year-old Scot, said. “He didn’t really like my response. He’s the only one I’ve seen do that. It was straight into the crowd. It was into the crowd from the word go. And we’re expecting him to shout ‘Fore.'”

Stanley said plenty of others did, though.

“Five or six people yelled ‘Fore.’ My caddie did, my two playing partners, a couple of the marshals. So I thought that was enough,” he said.

The 31-year-old Stanley, who has two PGA Tour wins to his credit, added: “He made the argument that since I hit the ball, it maybe should’ve come out of my mouth first.

“It certainly wasn’t my intention to put anyone in harm’s way. I had my wife in the gallery, and my coaches.”

The woman reportedly was not injured by the golf ball.

–Field Level Media

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Broncos coach Fangio bans music during practices

Broncos coach Fangio bans music during practices

The Denver Broncos should be able to hear every whistle, every instruction,

Broncos coach Fangio bans music during practices

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

That’s because new head coach Vic 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, 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,” he said, “there’s no music in games.”

The longtime NFL assistant coach is in his first head coaching role. He was hired in January to replace Vance Joseph, who was fired after two losing seasons.

“When it goes to the point where we need to simulate crowd noise in practice, which we will do, it will be noise,” Fangio said Friday. “It won’t be music. It will be noise. That’s what it is in the game. Noise by definition sounds annoying. Music sounds nice so if we have to deal with noise let’s deal with noise.”

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Chiefs WR Hill avoids discipline

NFL notebook: Chiefs WR Hill avoids discipline

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver

NFL notebook: Chiefs WR Hill avoids discipline

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill will not be punished under the personal conduct policy as the NFL closed its formal investigation into multiple alleged physical altercations.

Hill pleaded guilty to an assault and battery charge in 2015 but a full version of an audio recording aired recently revealed Hill denying assaulting his fiancée.

“Based on the evidence presently available, the NFL cannot conclude that Mr. Hill violated the Personal Conduct Policy,” the statement reads.

The Chiefs released a statement on Friday welcoming Hill back to the team for the start of training camp next week. The team’s fifth-round draft choice out of West Alabama in 2016 has amassed 223 catches for 3,255 yards and 25 touchdowns.

–The Philadelphia Eagles agreed to terms on a one-year contract with 36-year-old running back Darren Sproles, the team announced.

“My heart is in Philly. That’s where I want to end my career,” Sproles said on the team’s website. “That team, the city is like a family.”

Sproles, who ranks sixth all-time in the NFL in all-purpose yards (19,520), needs 163 yards to pass Tim Brown for fifth place. The three-time Pro Bowler will begin his sixth season with the Eagles after spending the first six years of his career with the San Diego Chargers and then playing three years with the New Orleans Saints.

–Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock found out what the school of hard knocks will be like under new head coach Vic Fangio.

“He’s not a quarterback yet,” Fangio told reporters on the second day of training camp. “He’s a hard-throwing pitcher that doesn’t know how to pitch yet. The faster he gets that, the better off he’ll be and we’ll be.”

Lock, who failed to get selected in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft before the Broncos grabbed him the 42nd overall pick, isn’t expected to unseat new addition Joe Flacco as the starter in 2019.

–The Buffalo Bills signed journeyman safety Kurt Coleman to replace Rafael Bush, who is retiring after nine seasons.

Coleman, 31, is entering his 10th season and received a one-year contract that is reportedly worth just over $1 million.

He played all 16 regular-season games last season for the New Orleans Saints, making nine starts. Coleman finished with 32 tackles.

–Running back David Williams, who was originally drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2018, rejoined the team.

Williams wound up playing last season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who signed him off the Broncos’ practice squad.

He rushed eight times for 36 yards in six games with the Jaguars. Williams was released May 10.

–The high stakes for building an NFL stadium for the Raiders in Las Vegas continues to rise with the latest cost estimate now coming in at $1.9 billion, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

A report indicated $40 million was being added to the cost in order to give the venue 20 more additional suites and a new club area near the north end zone.

The Raiders are expected to move into the stadium for the 2020 season, playing on a natural grass field under a translucent roof. Stadium plans call for it to have sliding doors that will open to give a view of the nearby Las Vegas Strip. The UNLV football program is also expected to use the facility.

–Field Level Media

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