Mexicans disappointed with NFL decision to move Chiefs-Rams

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The NFL*s decision to move the regular-season game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Rams due to the poor condition of the turf at Azteca Stadium has left many Mexicans disappointed, angered and wondering how it will affect the relationship with the league for the future.

After consulting with the players association and local officials, the NFL determined the conditions of the historic venue did not meet the standards for playability and moved the game back to the Los Angeles Coliseum. The Rams (9-1) and the Chiefs (9-1) will face off Monday night in a much-anticipated game between the top two teams in each conference.

Based solely on the teams’ records, the game was going to be the best matchup ever played outside the United States.

But Mexico blew it.

“Colossal shame”, was the headline of the sports newspaper Record. “The league takes away the best game of the season due to the lousy state of the field that Estadio Azteca was not able to fix. The NFL has left, and its return is in jeopardy.”

Azteca officials changed the playing surface from natural grass to a hybrid in May, but the turf hasn’t been ideal for several months due to its intense use. Since July 21, America and Cruz Azul, the two Liga MX teams that share the stadium, have played 23 games between them in the stadium, and the women*s professional team from America has played another seven games there.

The stadium also hosted two concerts by Colombian singer Shakira on Oct. 11 and 12, and another one from music channel Telehit on Nov. 7 that left the field in its worst condition in years.

“I feel devastated, angered and ashamed, all of that together,” said former NFL kicker Raul Allegre, who is Mexican and works as an analyst for ESPN Deportes. “I*m still trying to figure out how small minds were so irresponsible in the preparations for a game of this magnitude. I know that the world does not revolve around the NFL, but this is a great event not only for the sport but for the country, and it is inconceivable how it was taken so lightly.”

According to an NFL study released last year, the game between the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans played in 2016 generated a $45 million impact on the local economy. The Mexican government said that last year*s game between the Raiders and the New England Patriots topped that number.

The game is usually scheduled on the third weekend of November, when Mexicans celebrate the Revolution*s anniversary, and the authorities organize additional activities in order to entice fans to spend the whole weekend in the capital. For this year*s game, the fanfest that drew more than 300,000 fans in Chapultepec Park was moved to the Zocalo, the country*s main square located in downtown Mexico City, in an attempt to draw even more fans. The NFL office in Mexico and the Sports Institute of Mexico City also scheduled a 5k and 10k race for Sunday.

Local authorities have not said whether both events will continue.

“We have to learn from this experience so it won*t happen again in the future”, said Horacio De la Vega, director of the sports institute in Mexico City. “Everyone needs to assume their own responsibility in this. I think that the crew that takes care of the field in Azteca should have put more attention in such a big issue as the playing field is, and that did not happen.”

Many fans are also angered because they already paid airfares and hotel fees that are probably lost.

“I*m very upset because I already purchased my plane tickets and they canceled the game at the last minute. They promised to reimburse my money for the game ticket, but what about the other expenses, who is going to be held accountable for that?” said Víctor Reynoso, a Rams fan who was planning to come to the capital from the northern city of Monterrey.

Reynoso is probably not alone, according to Mexico*s Tourism Secretary; around 30,000 fans come to the city for the weekend of the game.

The federal government, through the Tourism Secretary, pays the NFL $14.5 million for each game. Last year, the NFL and Televisa, which owns Estadio Azteca, announced that they signed an extension to bring back games until the 2021 season.

But it*s uncertain what is going to happen after Televisa failed to present a field up to the standards for an NFL game. Several NFL owners are wary of further games at Azteca because of this situation, and the league is still keen on playing games in Mexico, but might be ready to consider other venues there. Monterrey and Guadalajara have stadiums capable of hosting NFL games, and both cities will be hosting games in the 2026 World Cup.

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AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed.

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Reports: Chiefs WR Hill under investigation for battery on juvenile

Reports: Chiefs WR Hill under investigation for battery on juvenile

Reports: Chiefs WR Hill under investigation for battery on juvenile

Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill is under investigation for an alleged battery incident involving a juvenile, according to multiple published reports.

The Kansas City Star reported that Hill’s 3-year-old son suffered a broken arm in the incident.

Police responded to a home in Overland Park, Kan., according to a police report by the Overland Park (Kan.) Police Department.

The report is dated March 14. It is unclear if the incident occurred that day.

The Chiefs know about a situation involving Hill.

“The club is aware of the investigation involving Tyreek Hill,” the Chiefs said in a statement to The Kansas City Star. “We’re in the process of gathering information and have been in contact with the league and local authorities. We’ll have no further comment at this time.”

KCTV said it contacted Hill’s agent, who “would also not comment on the matter and hung up the phone on KCTV5’s investigative reporters.”

Overland Park police also responded to the same address on March 5 to investigate a report of child abuse or neglect. Hill’s name is listed on the report.

Hill’s fiance, Crystal Espinal, is listed on the March 14 report under others involved. The Star reports that Espinal is pregnant with twins. Espinal is the mother of the 3-year-old son whose arm was broken.

Hill reportedly choked and punched Espinal when she was pregnant in December 2014. Hill was arrested and dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team.

Hill later pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery by strangulation, and received three years probation.

The conviction was dismissed last August after Hill completed probation requirements.

Hill was a fifth-round draft pick in 2016 and has blossomed into a major star for the Chiefs.

He has 223 catches for 3,255 yards and 25 touchdowns in his first three seasons, and is in line to receive a big-money deal from Kansas City. He also has returned four kickoffs and one punt for scores.

News about Hill broke on the same day that former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt was handed an eight-game suspension. Hunt was released by the Chiefs on Nov. 30 when a video was released showing him kicking a woman.

Hunt was recently signed by the Cleveland Browns.

–Field Level Media

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McIlroy closes strong to pull even with Fleetwood at The Players

McIlroy closes strong to pull even with Fleetwood at The Players

McIlroy closes strong to pull even with Fleetwood at The Players

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy rolled in a 21-foot birdie putt on the famed 17th hole on the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass on Friday to grab a share of the lead with England’s Tommy Fleetwood at 12 under halfway through The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

Fleetwood sat in the clubhouse leading by as many as three shots after posting his 5-under 67 on Friday, only to watch McIlroy eagle the 16th hole en route to posting 5-under 31 on the back nine alone.

Fleetwood, who birdied his final three holes on Thursday, opened with a birdie in the second round. He then holed out for eagle from a green-side bunker on the par-5 second hole and rolled in another birdie on No. 3.

He mixed three more birdies against a pair of bogeys over the final 15 holes to reach the clubhouse at 12-under-par 132 through 36 holes.

“It was a bit tougher (Friday), the greens got a bit crustier there at the end,” Fleetwood told the Golf Channel. “And the course is just firming out a bit now. All in all, very happy.”

McIlroy had a chance to shoot 64 — which would have equaled Jim Furyk for the low round of the tournament — and take the outright lead, but left his birdie attempt on the 18th hole short.

Furyk, who played in the morning wave and had eight birdies and no bogeys, is tied for third place at 9 under along with Brian Harman, England’s Ian Poulter and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer.

“I’ve rolled a couple of nice putts in today,” said Poulter, who chipped in from off the green twice on Friday and has made an average of 100 feet, 11 inches of putts through the first two rounds. “Hit a few decent shots in, where I could take advantage.”

Another shot back at 8 under are Kevin Kisner, Keith Mitchell, Australia’s Jason Day and Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini.

Luke List was in the first group to tee off on No. 1 at 7:40 a.m., and he took advantage of the soft conditions and mild winds. He posted a 5-under 68 in reaching the weekend for the first time in three attempts at The Players, and is part of a group at 7 under that includes top-ranked Dustin Johnson.

“It was pretty benign early, and then the wind began picking up like it does here,” Lust told the Golf Channel. “I think the weekend they can do whatever they want, make it as hard as they want it and make it a challenge for us.

“If you’re playing really well, you can score. But if you get out of position, that’s where you have to be really cautious. If I can just kind of do the same things, I think I can be there on Sunday.”

Tiger Woods also took advantage of the early conditions, teeing off on the back nine and arriving at the 17th hole with three birdies on his card. However, his tee shot rolled off the back left into the water, and Woods put his next shot in the water as well.

Woods wound up carding the first quadruple bogey of his career on the hole. The last player to win a PGA Tour event with a quadruple bogey during the week was Adam Scott at the 2016 Honda Classic.

“I was pretty ticked, no doubt about that,” Woods told reporters. “I was bound and determined to get it all back and get it back to 5 under.”

Woods did finish the day with five birdies in posting a 1-under 71 and is nine shots off the lead at 3 under for the tournament.

“I ended up getting back to 3 (under),” Woods said. “It was a good fight to get it back to that point.”

Fleetwood and McIlroy might prove difficult men to catch over the weekend, although both are chasing something elusive.

McIlroy has finished in the top six in all five of his events this year, but he has not posted a victory since the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Meanwhile, Fleetwood has made a point of playing more big events in the United States, which includes posting six consecutive rounds under par on the Stadium Course.

However, Fleetwood has yet to claim his first victory on U.S. soil.

“It’s tough,” he said of trying to close out a victory. “Late in the afternoon on Saturday you get into the very, very final part of how the golf course is playing.

“It’s tough. I’ve yet to win, but hopefully that’s coming.”

NOTES: Jordan Spieth (1 over) and Phil Mickelson (4 over) were among those to miss the cut. … Rookie Cameron Champ withdrew after two holes Friday due to a back injury. He was 2 over through eight holes after opening with a 78. … “Disappointingly, I had to WD from my first @thePlayersChamp,” Champ tweeted. “I’ve been dealing with some tightness in my back throughout the week and it spasmed up pretty good today. My team and I decided it was best not to take any unnecessary risks. Good luck to the guys this weekend!” … South Korea’s Sungjae Im hit the second hole-in-one of the week, acing the par-3 13th hole from 152 yards. Ryan Moore aced the 17th hole on Thursday. Im would later hit his tee shot on 17 into the water and take a double bogey, ultimately missing the cut. … Wyndam Clark was disqualified after shooting an 80 in Thursday’s opening round but signing for a 79. He was the last player into the field, landing a spot after Pat Perez withdrew due to an Achilles injury.

–Field Level Media

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CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald

CB Darby agrees to remain with Eagles

Cornerback Ronald Darby will remain with the Philadelphia Eagles after agreeing to a one-year deal on Friday, the team announced.

According to spotrac.com, the deal is worth $8.5 million.

Darby had one interception in nine games last season before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee in a game against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 11. It hasn’t yet been determined if he will be healthy by the start of the 2019 season.

Darby totaled four interceptions in 17 games over two seasons with the Eagles after being acquired from the Buffalo Bills. He played in just eight games in 2017 after suffering a dislocated ankle in September.

Darby was a second-round pick in 2015 by the Bills. He had two interceptions in 29 games with Buffalo.

–Field Level Media

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Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

Kaepernick ‘ready to play,’ shows interest in Dolphins

The Ryan Tannehill trade by the Miami Dolphins to the Tennessee Titans on Friday apparently gave Colin Kaepernick some ideas.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback expressed interest in replacing Tannehill as the starting quarterback in Miami, according to a CBS Sports report.

Kaepernick is “training hard and ready to play,” a source close to the onetime star told CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora. The source indicated that the Miami job interests Kaepernick.

Kaepernick has not been an active player in the NFL since the 2016 season, having gone unsigned in free agency during the past two seasons after opting out of a contract with the 49ers.

In February, he settled a collusion grievance with the NFL. Kaepernick filed his grievance in October 2017, alleging collusion by NFL owners to keep him out of the league.

A number of owners, executives, coaches and other figures were deposed as part of the grievance, and a motion by the NFL to have the grievance dismissed was denied in August.

Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racial injustice created controversy throughout the country in 2016.

While compiling a 28-30 record as the 49ers starting quarterback from 2012-16, he led them to a Super Bowl XLVII appearance after the 2012 season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Rams’ strength coach charged with sexual battery

Report: Rams' strength coach charged with sexual battery

Los Angeles Rams strength

Report: Rams’ strength coach charged with sexual battery

Los Angeles Rams strength and conditioning coach Ted Rath reportedly entered a not guilty plea Friday to charges of misdemeanor sexual battery in Ventura County, Calif.

KNX 1070 Newsradio reported that Rath’s attorney, Vicki Podberesky, entered the plea on his behalf and said her client would go to trial to fight the charges if necessary.

The alleged incident took place last June, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department. Rath was not arrested until Jan. 15.

Deputy District Attorney Erik Nasarenko asked the sheriff’s department to conduct an additional investigation before deciding to charge Rath with three counts of misdemeanor sexual battery, per KNX 1070.

The Rams issued a statement: “We are aware of the charges. We take allegations very seriously. Once the charges were filed, we decided Ted would take a leave of absence from the team as the matter works its way through the justice system.”

Rath is perhaps best known as the Rams’ “get-back” coach, because he helps to keep head coach Sean McVay out of harm’s way on the sidelines.

When Rath was not with the team during the playoffs, including Super Bowl LIII, the Rams told NFL.com he was recovering from a medical procedure.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Dolphins trade QB Tannehill to Titans

Reports: Dolphins trade QB Tannehill to Titans

The

Reports: Dolphins trade QB Tannehill to Titans

The Miami Dolphins reportedly have traded quarterback Ryan Tannehill to Tennessee, where he will back up Titans starter Marcus Mariota.

The Dolphins will receive a seventh-round pick in 2019 and a fourth-rounder in 2020, with the Titans also receiving Miami’s sixth-round pick in 2019, according to NFL Network.

Tannehill restructured his existing contract and will have a fully guaranteed one-year, $7 million deal with the Titans, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported. The value could climb to $12 million with performance incentives.

He would have been due a base salary of $18.75 million. Schefter said Miami will save $33 million in cap space over the next two years.

Tannehill, 30, started 11 games in 2018 and completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,979 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He missed five games with an injured throwing shoulder.

The Dolphins made the move without a proven quarterback on the roster to replace him, having failed to sign free agents Teddy Bridgewater (Saints) or Tyrod Taylor (Chargers). Luke Falk and Jake Rudock are the only QBs on the Miami roster. Falk has never played in an NFL game and Rudock has thrown five passes in three games, including one interception.

Miami made Tannehill the eighth overall pick in 2012, but the Dolphins reached the playoffs only one time in his six seasons.

Tannehill leaves the Dolphins with a 42-46 record. He ranks third in franchise history in passing yards (20,434) and touchdown passes (123).

The Titans now have an insurance policy for Mariota. The 25-year-old former Heisman Trophy winner missed two starts last season because of a nerve injury that affected his throwing shoulder.

Mariota has a 27-28 record in four seasons since Tennessee picked him second overall in the 2015 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

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Redskins sign CB Rodgers-Cromartie

Redskins sign CB Rodgers-Cromartie

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has come out of retirement

Redskins sign CB Rodgers-Cromartie

Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has come out of retirement to sign with the Washington Redskins, the team announced Friday.

Contract terms were not announced.

The No. 16 overall pick by the Arizona Cardinals in the 2008 NFL Draft, Rodgers-Cromartie has played in 160 regular-season games (121 starts).

Following his stint with the Cardinals (2008-10), he played for Philadelphia (2011-12), Denver (2013), the New York Giants (2014-17) and Oakland (2018).

Rodgers-Cromartie played in seven games with the Raiders, then abruptly retired in October, announcing it on Instagram. But earlier this month, he said he wanted to return to football.

He turns 33 next month.

A two-time Pro Bowl selection, Rodgers-Cromartie has 451 tackles to go with 30 interceptions for 535 yards.

In Washington, he’ll be reunited for his former Giants teammate, safety Landon Collins, who signed a six-year, $84 million contract this week.

–Field Level Media

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Raiders will play in Oakland in 2019

Raiders will play in Oakland in 2019

The

Raiders will play in Oakland in 2019

The Raiders will remain in Oakland for the 2019 season.

The Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority voted unanimously Friday to approve a new stadium lease with the Raiders, who are scheduled to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020.

The Raiders will pay $7.5 million to play at the Coliseum in 2019 and have a $10.5 million option to remain there in 2020, an insurance plan in case of construction delays in Nevada.

The team’s $1.8 billion, 65,000-seat facility in Las Vegas is scheduled to be finished by July 31, 2020.

The Oakland City Council and Alameda County Board of Supervisors still need to approve the deal, but that is considered a formality.

Team owner Mark Davis had explored other locations in the Bay Area, including the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium and the San Francisco Giants’ Oracle Park.

The Raiders will play seven games in Oakland in 2019, with an eighth “home” game scheduled against the Chicago Bears in London.

–Field Level Media

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QB Mayfield: ‘It’s an exciting time in Cleveland’

QB Mayfield: 'It's an exciting time in Cleveland'

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said Friday he can't wait to show the fans what

QB Mayfield: ‘It’s an exciting time in Cleveland’

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield said Friday he can’t wait to show the fans what the team can do in 2019.

“It’s an exciting time in Cleveland, absolutely,” Mayfield said. “The fans there, after having a decent year, nothing that we were too happy about (7-8-1), were unbelievably satisfied. But now, I can’t even imagine.

Mayfield made his first public comments since the Browns acquired Pro Bowl wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from the New York Giants on Tuesday. He spoke to the media from the Milwaukee Brewers spring training locker room in Phoenix, where he spent the day as a guest of his close friend, Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich.

The Browns have spent the offseason surrounding the second-year quarterback with offensive weapons, most notably Beckham and running back Kareem Hunt, who must serve an eight-game NFL suspension before he can take the field. Beckham is reunited in Cleveland with wide receiver Jarvis Landry, his teammate at LSU and training partner in the NFL.

He called the offense “a thing where you pick your poison.”

When a reporter asked Mayfield about the oversized personalities of Landry and Beckham, he said he has no intention of trying to change anything about the receivers.

“You could say the same thing about me; you don’t want to tame it,” Mayfield said. “You just let them be themselves and make plays. That’s who they are, and when it comes down to it, the guys in that locker room, you’re going to love playing with them.”

–Field Level Media

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Woods’ 7 at island green has him nearing The Players cut line

Woods' 7 at island green has him nearing The Players cut line

Woods’ 7 at island green has him nearing The Players cut line

The 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., claimed another victim in Friday’s second round of The Players Championship: Tiger Woods.

Cruising along in a tie for eighth place when he teed off on the famed hole, Woods took a quadruple-bogey 7 on the picturesque par-3 with the island green, his eighth hole of the day after starting on the back nine. His tee shot from 146 yards was long and left over the island green and his next shot from the drop zone was also long.

After never scoring higher than a double-bogey 5 on No. 17, Woods plummeted to 57th place before he even moved on to the next tee.

Instead of planning his attack for victory on the weekend, Woods was left hovering around the cut line in the PGA Tour’s premier event.

“I was pretty ticked, no doubt about that,” Woods told reporters after the round. “I was bound and determined to get it all back and get it back to 5 under.”

After starting the day with birdies at Nos. 12, 13 and 16, Woods was at 5-under par. But his rough hole moved him to 1 under for the tournament. He rallied back with a 1-under 71 for the day, closing with a birdie on the par-5 second hole and another on the par-4 seventh. He is at 3-under par for the tournament through 36 holes.

“I ended up getting back to 3 (under),” Woods said. “It was a good fight to get it back to that point.”

Immediately after his round, Woods was six strokes off the lead but still feeling confident, even though the leaders had started to widen the gap.

“I just need to go out and put it together, because right now literally anybody who makes the cut has got a chance to win this tournament,” Woods said of his approach to the weekend.

–Field Level Media

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Titans releasing veteran G Kline

Titans releasing veteran G Kline

The Tennessee Titans are releasing right guard Josh Kline, one

Titans releasing veteran G Kline

The Tennessee Titans are releasing right guard Josh Kline, one year after signing him to a four-year, $26 million contract extension.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport said the 29-year-old veteran declined to take a pay cut. Releasing him leaves a $3.5 million dead cap hit this season.

Kline started all 16 games last season and 46 of the Titans’ 48 games from 2016-18. He spent his first three seasons with the New England Patriots.

–Field Level Media

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Browns RB Hunt suspended eight games

Browns RB Hunt suspended eight games

Cleveland

Browns RB Hunt suspended eight games

Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was suspended for the first eight games of the 2018 season.

Hunt was on the commissioner’s exempt list since Nov. 30 during the NFL’s investigation into a physical altercation captured by an Ohio hotel surveillance system in which Hunt shoved to the ground and kicked a woman.

Hunt’s agent, Dan Saffron, said there will be no appeal in a released statement in response to the announcement of the discipline.

“PFS Agency stands behind our client, Kareem Hunt, in his decision to accept the suspension handed down by the NFL today,” Saffron said.

The NFL said in a statement Hunt’s ban is the result of two separate incidents.

“Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns was notified today that he has been suspended without pay for the Browns’ first eight regular season games for violations of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in connection with physical altercations at his residence in Cleveland last February and at a resort in Ohio last June. Hunt was placed on the Commissioner Exempt list on November 30 and was released by his former club, the Kansas City Chiefs, that same day. The findings followed a detailed investigation by the NFL, which included reviewing available law enforcement records, video and electronic communications, interviews with numerous witnesses, and multiple interviews with Hunt.

“Hunt has advised the league office that he accepts responsibility for his conduct and the discipline that has been imposed. He has committed to take advantage of available resources to help him grow personally and as a member of the Cleveland community, and to live up to his obligations as an NFL player. The eight-game suspension will take effect as of the final roster reduction on August 31. Hunt will be eligible to play in the Browns’ ninth regular season game.”

When the video surfaced, Hunt was released by the Chiefs. The Browns signed Hunt to a one-year contract in February after general manager John Dorsey — who drafted Hunt as GM of the Chiefs — and owner Jimmy Haslam reviewed the situation and discussed appropriate steps toward contrition with Hunt.

“We had done our research,” Dorsey said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We thought at the appropriate time with all the information we did have, how truly remorseful he was and … knowing when he comes here there are no guarantees, he’s going to earn your respect with his actions. Right now, I feel very comfortable with the signing.

“Deep down, if you really sit down and engage with him, he has a really good heart. The act he did last year — it was egregious. We all know that. … He’s showing through his actions, not his words, how remorseful he is.”

Hunt is not permitted to be with the Browns during the suspension, but can participate in training camp and preseason games.

ESPN reported Hunt will forfeit $303,529 of his $645,000 base salary. He is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in March 2019.

“He’s got a lot of work to do,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said in Indianapolis, “between now and when that second chance comes. Right now, our job is to support Kareem and help him grow as a person.”

–Field Level Media

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Pats to release DE Clayborn, clear $4M in cap space

Pats to release DE Clayborn, clear $4M in cap space

Pats to release DE Clayborn, clear $4M in cap space

New England is releasing defensive end Adrian Clayborn, a move that clears about $4 million in cap space for the defending champion Patriots.

Clayborn, 30, broke the news Friday morning on Twitter and thanked the Patriots for granting his release.

“I’m ready for this next chapter,” he said.

Clayborn was due to count $5.94 million against the cap and New England will have $2 million in dead money with this move.

Clayborn, who signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the Patriots last March, tallied 11 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble in 14 games in 2018.

Tampa Bay’s first-round pick in 2011, Clayborn played four seasons with the Buccaneers and three with the Atlanta Falcons before joining New England.

In 95 career games, he has 32.5 sacks, 178 tackles and eight forced fumbles.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Bengals signing G Miller for 3 years, $16.5M

Reports: Bengals signing G Miller for 3 years, $16.5M

The

Reports: Bengals signing G Miller for 3 years, $16.5M

The Cincinnati Bengals are signing free agent guard John Miller to a three-year, $16.5 million contract, according to multiple reports Friday.

Miller, 25, was Buffalo’s third-round pick in 2015 and started 47 games at right guard for the Bills over the past four seasons.

Miller ranked fourth on the Bills with 883 offensive snaps in 15 starts last season.

Miller visited Thursday with the Bengals. He will be reunited on the offensive line with former Buffalo teammate Cordy Glenn, a tackle who joined Cincinnati in a trade last March.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia, WR White

Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia, WR White

The

Reports: Cardinals to sign OL Garcia, WR White

The Arizona Cardinals continue to revamp their offensive line, coming to terms with free agent offensive lineman Max Garcia, according to multiple media reports.

Arizona is also expected to sign former Chicago Bears first-round wideout Kevin White, according to NFL Network.

Garcia was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fourth round of the 2015 draft and played in 57 games for the team, starting 41. Garcia is primarily a left guard but has played some on the right side. He is coming off an ACL tear suffered in mid-November.

The Cardinals, beset with injuries and poor play in the trenches last year, have already traded for former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert and come to terms with former Seattle Seahawks guard J.R. Sweezy.

White, 26, was drafted seventh overall in 2015 but has played in just 14 games (five starts) through four seasons due to a variety of injuries. After surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg wiped out his rookie season, he broke the fibula in the same leg in 2016 and then fractured his left shoulder blade in 2017, finishing all three years on injured reserve.

Last year, White had four catches for 92 yards in nine games (no starts), including a 54-yarder on a Hail Mary attempt that came up just short of the goal line. He was a healthy scratch in several games during the final few weeks of the season.

–Field Level Media

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Saints re-sign Bridgewater, add DT Brown

Saints re-sign Bridgewater, add DT Brown

Quarterback

Saints re-sign Bridgewater, add DT Brown

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has agreed to re-sign with the New Orleans Saints rather than join the Miami Dolphins, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Bridgewater acknowledged the decision on Twitter, posting a photo of himself in his Saints uniform with the caption, “Run it back Turbo.”

According to multiple reports, Bridgewater will sign a one-year deal worth $7.25 million, with incentives that can push the value as high as $12.5 million.

Bridgewater, 26, visited with the Dolphins on Wednesday evening but did not come away with a contract.

NFL Network reported after Monday’s free agent negotiating window opened that Bridgewater would return to New Orleans, but multiple reports on Wednesday said the decision was not final, and that the Miami native could opt for his hometown Dolphins if they offered more money. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Wednesday that speculation linking Saints head coach Sean Payton to the Dallas Cowboys’ job in 2020 was factoring into Bridgewater’s decision.

After flirting with Miami, Bridgewater will remain the Saints’ backup and potential heir apparent to 40-year-old Drew Brees, whose contract was restructured Thursday to create more cap room. Brees is under contract through 2019, though he has said he would like to play further into his 40s.

Bridgewater went 14 for 23 for 118 yards, a touchdown and an interception in limited action last season, but he impressed in the preseason for the New York Jets, prompting the Saints to trade a third-round pick for him in August. The former first-round pick has started just one game since suffering a devastating knee injury just before the 2016 season opener.

The Saints also signed former New England Patriots defensive tackle Malcom Brown to a three-year contract on Thursday.

According to multiple reports, the deal is worth $5 million annually.

Brown, 25, was the Patriots’ first-round pick in 2015 and started 51 of 60 games over four seasons while shining in run defense, but his fifth-year option was declined. He had no sacks and just one QB hit last year while making a career-low 39 tackles, but he has 8.5 sacks, 16 QB hits and 186 tackles in his career.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

Chiefs agree to deal with DE Okafor

The Kansas City Chiefs continued to rework their defense as they signed defensive end Alex Okafor, the team announced on Thursday.

Contract terms were not disclosed, but multiple reports said the deal was for three years and $24 million.

A six-year veteran who played the last two seasons in New Orleans, Okafor arrives on the heels of the Chiefs also adding safety Tyrann Mathieu, whose deal was officially signed Thursday.

Kansas City opened up cap space recently with the release of linebacker Justin Houston and defensive back Eric Berry. The Chiefs also traded franchise-tagged pass rusher Dee Ford to the San Francisco 49ers, citing a poor fit in new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s 4-3 defense.

Okafor, 28, had four sacks, nine QB hits and 36 tackles last season for the Saints, who advanced to the NFC championship game. He started all 16 games in 2018, the first time in his career he has played a full season.

In 68 career NFL games with the Arizona Cardinals and Saints, the former 2013 fourth-round pick out of Texas has 22 sacks, 48 QB hits, 156 tackles and nine passes defensed. He had career highs of eight sacks and 13 QB hits in 2014 with the Arizona Cardinals.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Giants add WR Tate, DE Golden

Reports: Giants add WR Tate, DE Golden

Reports: Giants add WR Tate, DE Golden

The New York Giants found some wide receiver help Thursday when they agreed to a four-year, $37.5 million deal with Golden Tate, $23 million of which is fully guaranteed, according to multiple reports.

Tate acknowledged the signing on Twitter, tweeting an image of the “I love New York” logo and making it his new profile picture.

Tate will pick up at least some of the slack after wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was traded to the Cleveland Browns this week. A nine-year veteran, Tate, 30, caught 74 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns for the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles last season.

Tate was traded from Detroit to Philadelphia before the trade deadline in October for a third-round pick in the upcoming draft.

The former second-round pick in 2010 by the Seattle Seahawks has caught 611 passes for 7,214 yards and 38 touchdowns for the Seahawks, Lions and Eagles. He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2014 season, his first with the Lions, when he caught a career-best 99 passes for 1,331 yards and four TDs.

Tate told reporters after the season that if he didn’t stay with Philadelphia, he hoped to latch on with a contender.

“My years are limited,” Tate said at the time. “I don’t have time to go someone who’s trying to rebuild. I need to go somewhere where they believe they can win now.”

Meanwhile, the Giants also added outside linebacker Markus Golden on a one-year deal, according to multiple reports.

Golden’s agent, Joseph Clayborne, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson his client wanted a one-year deal in a good situation to prove his value.

“We are going to reunite with his former D Coordinator and get back to where we should be as one of the top pass rushers in the league,” Clayborne told Anderson.

Golden, who turned 28 on Wednesday, played three seasons under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher, who held the same position with the Arizona Cardinals from 2015-17.

A second-round pick in 2015, Golden had just 2.5 sacks and six quarterback hits last season in 11 games while returning from a torn ACL, but he racked up 12.5 sacks and 22 QB hits in 16 games in 2016.

The Giants are also expected to re-sign defensive backs Tony Lippett and Antonio Hamilton, according to multiple reports on Thursday.

Both players were primarily special team performers in 2018.

-Field Level Media

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Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

The Cowboys and

Cowboys bring back WR Austin, sign DL Covington

The Cowboys and Tavon Austin agreed on a one-year deal to keep the speedy wide receiver in Dallas, the team announced Thursday.

Austin played in just seven games due to injury last season, catching eight passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns. He could be in line for more targets now that Cole Beasley left the Cowboys for Buffalo.

Austin also ran the ball six times for 55 yards.

Austin has 14 career touchdowns in six NFL seasons, the first five of which came with the Rams.

The Cowboys also signed free agent defensive lineman Christian Covington to a one-year deal to bolster a line that will be without Randy Gregory and David Irving next season. Covington posted 7.5 sacks in 50 games with the Houston Texans over the past four seasons.

–Field Level Media

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Fleetwood, Bradley grab early lead at Players Championship

Fleetwood, Bradley grab early lead at Players Championship

Fleetwood, Bradley grab early lead at Players Championship

Keegan Bradley and England’s Tommy Fleetwood shot 7-under-par 65s on Thursday to share the lead after the first round of The Players Championship in Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.

While the scores were uncommonly low at TPC Sawgrass as the winds stayed fairly calm, Fleetwood turned in one of only six bogey-free rounds on the day. The majority of the low scores came during the morning wave.

“Very happy, I’ll take that and move on and go have my lunch,” Fleetwood said after the round. “I played really, really well. It was nice to just hit a lot of good golf shots. I was really good off the tee, and I put myself in good positions all throughout the day.”

Brian Harman and South Korea’s Byeong Hun An are tied for second at 6 under with Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy another shot back at 5 under along with Vaughn Taylor and Ryan Moore.

There are 10 players within three shots of the lead, with Slovakia’s Rory Sabbatini part of a group at 4 under that also includes Brendan Steele, J.T. Poston, Kyle Stanley and Kevin Kisner.

Fleetwood and Bradley both began their rounds on the back nine.

While Fleetwood did most of his damage with a 6-under 30 over his final nine holes on the front nine, Bradley shot out of the gates with birdies on two of his first three holes. He traded a bogey and a birdie before knocking his second shot on the par-5 16th hole to within 10 feet and converting the eagle putt.

Bradley birdied the 18th hole and then added two more birdies over his final nine holes. Perhaps the biggest shot of the day was his third on the par-5 second after shanking his approach into the trees. Bradley overcame a gnarly lie to punch his ball onto the green and went on to save par.

“It’s one of those rounds that just felt easy,” Bradley told the Golf Channel. “I rarely ever have rounds like that. It was just a fun day that everything went right.”

Fleetwood reeled off three consecutive birdies to close out his opening round, and said the putts simply started to fall in on his back nine.

“If you would have asked me this morning a 65, I would have quite happily sat in the locker room and not moved,” said Fleetwood.

Tiger Woods is five shots off the lead after battling his way to a 2-under 70. Woods struggled with misses both left and right off the tee throughout the round, but also rolled in six birdies against four bogeys.

Woods birdied the 16th and 17th holes to put himself in position for just his second opening round in the 60s at TPC Sawgrass, but pulled his 4-foot par put on the 18th hole left of the cup.

Woods played in the afternoon round, when players had to deal with bumpier greens and stronger winds.

“It was tricky out there today,” he told the Golf Channel. “I was hoping that we would get the brunt of the wind early and then it would die down. It died down a little bit, it wasn’t so bad, but the greens got a little bit on the bumpier side towards the end. Became a little more challenging to make the putts.”

Other notable names include top-ranked Dustin Johnson (3 under), No. 2 in the world Justin Rose (2 over), Nos. 3 and 4 Brooks Koepka and Justin Thomas (1 under) and Phil Mickelson (2 over.)

Woods said he came out of the round feeling good after skipping last week’s Arnold Palmer Invitational due to a neck injury.

“Neck’s fine … yeah, neck’s good,” he said. “Just wish that putt would have gone in on the last hole.”

Notes: Moore hit only the ninth hole-in-one on the famed par-3 17th hole in the history of The Players. It came just minutes after Argentina’s Emiliano Grillo hit the flagstick with his tee shot and nearly rolled back into the water before going on to make par. Moore’s ace came from 121 yards. None of the previous players to hit a hole-in-one on the 17th hole have gone on to win The Players. … Harris English made just the second albatross in the history of the event on the par-5 11th when he holed out from 236 yards. … Wyndham Clark was the last player in the field after Pat Perez withdrew due to an Achilles injury.

–Field Level Media

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