NFL teams with foundation to support veterans, families

NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL is joining an effort for nonprofit organizations to support healthy lifestyle programs for veterans and their families.

The league will contribute $2 million to the Bob Woodruff Foundation, which was established in 2006 after the television journalist was wounded by a roadside bomb while covering the war in Iraq.

The foundation has invested more than $55 million for programs that empower the military and their families. The NFL will work with the Woodruff group in creating a grant referral system for nonprofits.

Anna Isaacson, the NFL senior vice president of social responsibility, says the league is committed to “evolving its work in the military landscape and funding programs that will make a tangible, long-lasting impact.”

One of those programs is Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, a nationwide nonprofit that provides rehabilitative fly fishing programs for disabled active duty personnel and for disabled veterans. It has 8,500 participants and another 3,500 volunteers who teach disabled veterans the intricacies of fly fishing and stages events locally, regionally and nationally.

“The BWF provides us with a grant each year that supports one of our largest programs for rod building,” says Todd Desgrosseilliers, president and CEO of Project Healing Waters who spent 31 years in the military and sustained traumatic head injuries in combat. “We had over 900 veterans participate in it thanks to that. It’s part of a larger core of activities we have that include fly fishing education and outings.

“We meet on a regular basis, whether weekly or twice or month, with a minimum of once a month. This is a group of disabled veterans coming together with folks who care about them, and involved in an activity that is fun and therapeutic.”

An affiliation with the NFL is logical, says Marshall Lauck, chief growth and marketing officer for the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

“The NFL is such a prominent American brand and one that has a longstanding commitment to the vet community,” Lauck says. “This is not something new to them, given their history with supporting veterans and the active military. It’s a time of increased interest on their part in how most effectively they can support the veteran community (through nonprofits).

“Our expertise can be very helpful for the NFL in its goals in supporting the veteran communities.”

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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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Broncos’ Fangio says Lock ‘doesn’t know how to pitch yet’

Broncos’ Fangio says Lock ‘doesn’t know how to pitch yet’

Denver Broncos rookie quarterback Drew Lock found out what

Broncos’ Fangio says Lock ‘doesn’t know how to pitch yet’

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

On only his second day of training camp, Lock, who reportedly was in a contract stalemate earlier this week, got verbally hit below the belt Friday by the old-school coach of the Broncos.

“He’s not a quarterback yet,” Fangio told reporters. “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.”

Four years of experience as a starter at Missouri isn’t enough to make Lock an NFL quarterback according to Fangio, the former defensive coordinator of the Chicago Bears.

“His college offense had no carryover to pro offenses,” Fangio said. “He was under duress a lot in college, so a lot of his plays he was running around. I don’t think he’s as far along being an NFL-ready QB as he could have been.”

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.

“Drew will come in and compete for the backup job,” general manager John Elway told ESPN.com in April.

Fangio sounds like the tough-talking team player Elway needs in dealing with his young gun.

“I think a quarterback that can change his arm angles is a position when it’s needed,” Fangio said. “You don’t want to do it when you don’t have to do it. Obviously if someone’s in my face and I have to do it, that’s good to have that talent. But if I’m strong in the pocket and there’s nothing, I want to throw over the top, nice and strong. I don’t want to rely on side-arms.

“It’s good that (Lock) can do that, but he needs to use that when he needs to and not when he doesn’t need to.”

–Field Level Media

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Sproles returns to Eagles with 1-year deal

Sproles returns to Eagles with 1-year deal

The Philadelphia Eagles on

Sproles returns to Eagles with 1-year deal

The Philadelphia Eagles on Friday 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.

“We are excited to bring Darren back,” the Eagles said in a statement. “It isn’t very often that you have the opportunity to add a player who has the sixth-most (all-purpose) yards in NFL history. He is the ultimate professional, and a leader on and off the field. He will add another proven talent to our running back room. His dynamic punt return skills are second to none. We can’t wait to get started next week.”

Sproles had discussed retiring after the 2017 season, the year he sustained a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and broken right arm in Week 3. He returned for last season but missed 10 games due to a hamstring injury.

He said he came back for 2018 because “I couldn’t let my career end like that.”

Sproles had topped 1,100 all-purpose yards in all 11 of his full seasons, peaking with an NFL-best 2,696 in 2011 with the Saints.

–Field Level Media

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Herman leads Barbasol field at midpoint

Herman leads Barbasol field at midpoint

Jim Herman shot a second consecutive

Herman leads Barbasol field at midpoint

Jim Herman shot a second consecutive 7-under-par 65 on Friday to take a one-stroke lead at the midway point of the Barbasol Championship in Nicholasville, Ky.

Bill Haas is second at 13-under 131 following a 66 at Keene Trace Golf Club’s Champion course.

David Toms (8 under on Friday), D.J. Trahan (5 under), Kelly Kraft (5 under) and Kramer Hickok (5 under) are tied for third at 12 under.

First-round leader J.T. Poston, who tied the course record with a 62 on Thursday, produced a 73 on Friday to fall into a tie for 18th at 9 under.

Herman, whose only career PGA Tour win came at the 2016 Shell Houston Open, opened with four birdies and one bogey on the front nine. The 41-year-old Cincinnati native added four more birdies in a bogey-free back nine.

“Everything seems to be working this week,” Herman said. “I’ve really been playing very well. … I’m rolling the ball great. I’m hitting a lot of greens and making some putts. That’s always a good combination. …

“I’ve tried the best I could this week to set my sights high. I knew everyone was going to be going low. I’ve been always around the cut line it seems the last year, just fighting for cuts, missing out by a shot here and there. I had a goal of 15 under (through two rounds) and I just missed it, so we’ll reset and see what we can do on the weekend.”

John Daly, who completed in the Barbasol Championship after the Open Championship refused to give him a medical exemption for the use of a golf cart, missed the cut by three strokes. He shot 71-72–143.

–Field Level Media

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Ireland’s Lowry shares Open lead with Holmes

Ireland's Lowry shares Open lead with Holmes

Ireland’s Lowry shares Open lead with Holmes

Ireland’s Shane Lowry survived a shaky back nine and grabbed a share of the 36-hole lead with J.B. Holmes at The Open Championship on Friday while some of the game’s most famous names bit the dust.

Lowry, who grew up 180 miles from Royal Portrush, shot another 67 to match his first-round score. That left him at 8 under and even with Holmes, who shot 68 in the second round.

“I knew with the weather coming in, there’s going to be rain in the afternoon, I knew I needed to get off to a decent start anyway,” Lowry said of his 31 on the front nine. “To be out there doing it in front of the Irish people, it’s incredible.”

Lowry is not entirely new to the pressure of leading a major. He held the 54-hole lead in the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont with a third-round 65, only to become the first golfer since Payne Stewart (1998) to blow a lead of more than four shots in the final round.

Holmes’ two-round total of 134 is his best in a major by four strokes. A winner of five PGA tournaments, most recently the 2019 Genesis Open, he did not compete in the British Open last year.

“You can have that great round and that day where everything goes right. But it’s nice to get two rounds in a row,” Holmes said. “It shows a little consistency. And two days in a row I’ve hit the ball really well and putted well.”

Lee Westwood and Tommy Fleetwood, both from England, are one shot behind at 7 under. Westwood was the Open Championship leader through 54 holes at Muirfield in 2013, when Phil Mickelson emerged with the Claret Jug.

Mickelson, who carded an 8-over 150 total through two rounds, and Tiger Woods (6-over 148) missed the cut (1-over 143), along with local favorite Rory McIlroy, who shot a 6-under 65 but failed to make the weekend by one stroke.

“You know, I’m playing so bad that I really don’t know what to say,” Mickelson said following his round. “I’m just playing terrible golf.”

Defending champion Francesco Molinari of Italy (74-69) and Portrush native Graeme McDowell (73-70) just made the cut.

Without a single bogey in the second round, Westwood walked off the course Friday with only his second bogey-free round in 86 tries in The Open. But the 46-year-old Westwood, who would become the oldest first-time major winner, isn’t ready to start counting his shots toward a major title.

“There’s too much ground to cover before Sunday night. There’s a long way to go in this tournament,” he said. “I’ve never felt under that much pressure, to be honest. You lads write about it. I’ve always gone out and done my best. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

With a 7-under 135, Fleetwood shot his best score through two rounds of any major, thanks to four birdies on the back nine and six overall on Friday.

Brooks Koepka, who shot a 2 under 69 on Friday, is three shots back of the lead at 5 under along with Jordan Spieth, Andrew Putnam and South Africa’s Dylan Frittelli. After winning the U.S. Open in 2017 and 2018, and the PGA Championship in 2018 and 2019, the 29-year-old Koepka is trying to become the fourth player to earn five or more major titles before turning 30.

Woods started the back nine birdie-birdie but finished with bogeys on 17 and 18. Woods confessed he was travel-weary and ready to pack his bags Friday night.

“I just want some time off just to get away from it,” Woods said. “I had a long trip to Thailand and then trying to get ready for this event, to play this event, it’s been a lot of travel, a lot of time in the air, a lot of moving around and different hotels and everything.

“I just want to go home.”

McIlroy wasn’t quite ready to tag out after a miserable first-round 79, charging toward the cut line with a furious run of birdies in the second round. But he missed the cut at the Open for the first time since 2013, bouncing back with a win the next year.

Frittelli spun out of a share of the lead with a horrific tee shot on 17 and more trouble on 18 to end double bogey-bogey. His group at 6-under is one shot behind England’s Justin Rose, South Africa’s Justin Harding and Australia’s Cameron Smith, who are tied for fifth.

–Field Level Media

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Hometown hero McIlroy falls just short of Open cut

Hometown hero McIlroy falls just short of Open cut

Hometown hero McIlroy falls just short of Open cut

Rory McIlroy was 14 shots better in the second round than he was on Thursday, but a 65 left the hometown favorite one stroke from making the Open Championship cut at Royal Portrush.

McIlroy ran out of hometown magic but gave a strong effort before a raucous and supportive gallery following a brutal opening round.

McIlroy, who grew up in Northern Ireland approximately an hour drive from the Royal Portrush Golf Club, nearly pulled off the improbable after opening the final major tournament of the year Thursday with an 8-over-par 79.

It took all of McIlroy’s course knowledge and determination to reverse his fortunes Friday and shoot a 6-under 65 in the second round, but a final birdie was not to be had after the four-time major winner missed the green with his approach shot at the 18th hole.

His one-putt par left him at 2-over par for the tournament.

“It was awesome, sort of emotional,” McIlroy said of the crowd support in an interview on the ESPN broadcast. “I feel like I get a lot of great support anywhere I go, but I really felt it today. Every green to tee, all these people are here for me and they want me to do well. It sucks I’m not here for the weekend. I would’ve loved to play in front of them for two more days.”

Adding to the backdrop of McIlroy’s week was his history at the famed course. He once played Royal Portrush as a present for his 10th birthday.

McIlroy’s first-round struggles at a course he knows so well came as surprise. He shot a course-record 61 at Royal Portrush when he was just 16.

That kind of play was somewhat evident early Friday when McIlroy opened the front nine at 2-under with birdies at No. 3 and 7. His charge really started to gain momentum with birdies on the opening three holes of the back nine.

An untimely bogey at No. 13 derailed did not help the cause. He found a fairway bunker off the tee while following an aggressive line and was unable to salvage par. He still rebounded with a birdie at No. 14 and another at the par-3 16th hole but could not find one last birdie.

The 14-stroke improvement from his first round to his second round was by far his best in any event. His previous best improvement between the first two rounds was 10 strokes at the 2018 U.S. Open.

“I’m proud of how I snuck in there and played a really solid round of golf today,” McIlroy said. “It wasn’t quite enough. The good thing about this game is there’s always next week. Dust myself off and get ready for (the WGC-FedEx-St. Jude Invitational at) Memphis.”

–Field Level Media

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Raiders’ stadium cost in Vegas soars to $1.9 billion

Raiders' stadium cost in Vegas soars to $1.9 billion

Raiders’ stadium cost in Vegas soars to $1.9 billion

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 that $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.

Nearly $1 billion already has been spent on the 65,000-seat stadium, with the final three of 26 steel trusses expected to be installed in the next few weeks.

A 0.88-percent tax on Clark County hotel rooms is expected to pick up $750 million of the price tag.

A total of at least 46 annual events are expected to be held in the stadium, including concerts, MMA-style events and monster truck shows. The NCAA men’s basketball committee reportedly toured the facility this month with a future Final Four possible.

-Field Level Media

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Broncos bring back RB Williams, waive OL Jacobson

Broncos bring back RB Williams, waive OL Jacobson

Running back David Williams, who

Broncos bring back RB Williams, waive OL Jacobson

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

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, who released Williams on May 10.

The Broncos also announced that offensive lineman Nathan Jacobson had been waived. Jacobson had joined the Broncos in May as an undrafted free agent out of UNLV.

–Field Level Media

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Former Giants OL Petrus dies of heat stroke

Former Giants OL Petrus dies of heat stroke

Former offensive lineman Mitch Petrus, who earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in 2011, died Thursday night of an apparent heat stroke.

Petrus, who was 32, had spent the day working outside of his family's business near Little

Former Giants OL Petrus dies of heat stroke

Former offensive lineman Mitch Petrus, who earned a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in 2011, died Thursday night of an apparent heat stroke.

Petrus, who was 32, had spent the day working outside of his family’s business near Little Rock, Ark. The area has been under a heat advisory, with temperatures into the 90s.

The former University of Arkansas walk-on was drafted by the Giants in the fifth round in 2010 and was part of the team that won the title after the 2011 season. He was cut after the season and spent time with the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots the following season before leaving the NFL.

The official Razorbacks twitter account posted a tribute to Petrus on Friday morning.

“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Mitch Petrus,” it reads. “He was an outstanding competitor, incredible teammate and a true Hog. He will be greatly missed by many. Rest easy Mitch.”

–Field Level Media

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Ireland’s Lowry grabs share of Open lead

Ireland's Lowry grabs share of Open lead

Ireland’s Lowry grabs share of Open lead

Ireland’s Shane Lowry survived a shaky back nine and grabbed a share of the 36-hole lead at The Open Championship on Friday.

Lowry, who grew up 180 miles from Royal Portrush, shot another 67 to match his first-round score. That left him at 8-under and even with J.B. Holmes, who shot 68 in the second round.

“I knew with the weather coming in, there’s going to be rain in the afternoon, I knew I needed to get off to a decent start anyway,” Lowry said of his 31 on the front nine. “To be out there doing it in front of the Irish people, it’s incredible.”

Lowry is not entirely new to the pressure of leading a major. He held the 54-hole lead in the U.S. Open at Oakmont with a third-round 65, only to become the first golfer since Payne Stewart (1998) to blow a lead of more than four shots in the final round.

Lee Westwood sat one shot off the lead with Tommy Fleetwood also at 7-under. Westwood was the Open Championship leader through 54 holes at Muirfield in 2013, when Phil Mickelson emerged with the Claret Jug.

Mickelson, who carded an 8-over total through two rounds, and Tiger Woods (6-over) are done for the tournament.

Without a single bogey in the second round, Westwood walked off the course Friday with only his second bogey-free round in 86 tries in The Open. But Westwood isn’t ready to start counting his shots toward a major title.

“There’s too much ground to cover before Sunday night. There’s a long way to go in this tournament,” he said. “I’ve never felt under that much pressure, to be honest. You lads write about it. I’ve always gone out and done my best. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”

Fleetwood sits a 7-under, his best score through two rounds of any major, thanks to four birdies on the back nine and six in his second round Friday.

Brooks Koepka was 2-under on Friday and is three shots back of the lead at 5-under along with Jordan Spieth, Andrew Putnam and Dylan Frittelli.

Woods started the back nine birdie-birdie but finished with bogeys on 17 and 18. Woods confessed he was travel-weary and ready to pack his bags Friday night.

“I just want some time off just to get away from it. I had a long trip to Thailand and then trying to get ready for this event, to play this event, it’s been a lot of travel, a lot of time in the air, a lot of moving around and different hotels and everything.

“I just want to go home.”

Local favorite Rory McIlroy wasn’t quite ready to tag out after a miserable first round, charging toward the cut line with a furious run of birdies in the second round.

Frittelli, from South Africa, spun out of a share of the lead with a horrific tee shot on 17 and more trouble on 18 to end double bogey-bogey. His group at 6-under is one shot behind Justin Rose, Justin Harding and Cameron Smith, who are tied for fifth.

–Field Level Media

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Bills sign S Coleman to replace retiring Bush

Bills sign S Coleman to replace retiring Bush

The Buffalo Bills

Bills sign S Coleman to replace retiring Bush

The Buffalo Bills signed journeyman safety Kurt Coleman on Friday 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.

Coleman has played for Bills coach Sean McDermott during previous stints with the Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers.

Bush made seven starts for the Bills last season, finishing the season with 45 tackles and 1.5 sacks.

–Field Level Media

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Tiger (6-over) projected to miss cut at The Open

Tiger (6-over) projected to miss cut at The Open

Tiger (6-over) projected to miss cut at The Open

Tiger Woods will likely miss the cut at The Open after shooting a 1-under 70 in the second round at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland on Friday.

Woods appeared to recover from a disastrous first round on Thursday — he labored to a 7-over 78 — but bogeys on the final two holes left him at 6-over for the tournament.

Stamina and physical health were questioned in Woods’ media session after his first two rounds. While he said there is no specific injury, Woods confessed he’s beaten down emotionally by his physical limitations.

“There were some physical issues — it was more frustrating than anything else,” Woods said. “This is me not playing well. Not scoring well. I don’t have the flexibility I once had. … There are times it’s going to be there, times it won’t.

“There’s been a lot of travel lately. I just want to go home.”

The cut line was hovering around 2-over par, but had shifted to 1-over as the morning wave finished the second round.

Woods entered the second round 12 shots off the lead, but birdied two of the first six holes to pick up momentum.

A bogey on the par-5 No. 7 interrupted his strong start, though he quickly got back on track with birdies on Nos. 10 and 11.

After a string of pars, Woods followed up a bogey on No. 17 with another on No. 18 as his chances faded away.

The highest opening round by a champion of The Open since World War II was a 75 by Gary Player in 1959.

Woods began the week ranked No. 5 in the world, and could have climbed as high as No. 2 with a victory.

–Field Level Media

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NFL declines to punish Chiefs WR Hill

NFL declines to punish Chiefs WR Hill

NFL declines to punish Chiefs WR Hill

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.

“Accordingly, he may attend Kansas City’s training camp and participate in all club activities. He has been and will continue to be subject to conditions set forth by the District Court, Commissioner [Roger] Goodell, and the Chiefs, which include clinical evaluation and therapeutic intervention.”

The Chiefs announced in late April that Hill has been barred from team activities. In three seasons with the Chiefs after he was a fifth-round draft choice out of West Alabama in 2016, Hill has 223 catches for 3,255 yards and 25 touchdowns.

The Chiefs released a statement on Friday welcoming Hill back to the team for the start of training camp next week.

“We have been informed of the decision by the National Football League that, based on the available evidence, the league has not found that Tyreek Hill violated the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy. Based on the information provided to us by the league, we have decided it is appropriate for Tyreek to return to the team at the start of training camp. The club fully supports the conditions for return laid out by the league and will continue to monitor any new developments in the case. We are glad to welcome Tyreek back to the team and look forward to the start of training camp next week.”

In the recently released recording, played by 610 KCSP radio, Hill is heard telling Crystal Espinal that he “didn’t touch you in 2014.”

“You f—ing ruined my life and you lied on me in 2014,” Hill told Espinal. “I’m still not over that. I didn’t touch you in 2014.

“You lied on me in 2014. If you want to rewind that night, we can rewind that night, too. You was in my house. And did I pick you up and slam you? Hell no. I picked you up and put you out my door and after that you left.”

In August 2015, eight months after his arrest, Hill entered a guilty plea to domestic assault and battery by strangulation for allegedly punching and choking Espinal, who was pregnant at the time.

While entering his plea, Hill told a judge that he “did something I shouldn’t have done” and that “I let my feelings take control of me,” according to ESPN’s reporting.

Kansas City television station KCTV aired another audio recording, believed to have been made as Hill and Espinal were in Dubai’s international airport, that spurred the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office to take a second look at a possible criminal case involving injuries to the couple’s 3-year-old son.

The television station said it received the audio from “someone who is concerned about the welfare of the couple’s child.”

When police responded to their home previously, there were signs that a crime had been committed against the child, but the District Attorney’s Office said it would not have been able to prove who did it.

In the 11-minute audio file released in April, Espinal is heard telling Hill that the boy said “Daddy did it,” referring to an injury to the child’s arm.

The league left the door open for potential discipline down the line, saying “If further information becomes available through law enforcement, the pending court proceeding, or other sources, we will promptly consider it and take all appropriate steps at that time.”

–Field Level Media

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Tiger 500-1 to rally for The Open Championship

Tiger 500-1 to rally for The Open Championship

Tiger

Tiger 500-1 to rally for The Open Championship

Tiger Woods entered The Open Championship as a 20-1 bet to claim his 16th career major title this week at Royal Portrush.

After a sloppy and disastrous 7-over-par 78 in Thursday’s opening round, PointsBet and FanDuel dropped those odds to 500-1, as Woods will need a stellar round on Friday to even sniff the cut line.

He was given the same odds to win as David Duval, who carded a 91 on Thursday.

Woods began the week ranked No. 5 in the world, with an opportunity to climb as high as No. 2 with a victory. Others in his odds category entering Friday include the likes of Champions tour regular Tom Lehman, 528th-ranked Innchoon Hwang of South Korea, No. 350 Nino Bertasio of Italy and No. No. 327 Yosuke Asaji of Japan.

Woods looked so out of sorts, admitting after his round that he’s not feeling 100 percent physically, that Rory McIlroy has odds twice as good to win the tournament despite sitting another shot back at 8 over.

After offering everything from whether Woods would be paired with Sergio Garcia at some point during the tournament to whether he would keep the flagstick in on the final shot of a victory, the only Tiger-related prop bet being offered by PointsBet on Thursday was a “3-ball” bet. Woods is favored at +169 to play better on Friday than England’s Matt Wallace (+176, currently at 2 over) and former Masters champion Patrick Reed (+183, currently at even par).

For those who believe Woods can make one of his vaunted comebacks, PointsBet is offering a 30-1 bet that Woods can rally to finish within the top 10. FanDuel is offering 100-1 that he can climb his way into the top 5, but a less aggressive play is the 10-1 to rally for a top 40 finish.

Then again, that’s shorter odds than the 11-1 FanDuel is offering for the same bet on Phil Mickelson, who begins Round 2 two shots ahead of Woods at 5 over.

–Field Level Media

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