Steelers RB Conner on recent fumbles: “It’s correctable”

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ben Roethlisberger cut off the question mid-sentence. The quicker to dismiss it, the better.

No, the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback stressed, there are no issues about running back James Conner’s ability to hold onto the ball even after Conner’s fumble late in the third quarter on Sunday in Denver swung momentum to the Broncos in what became a 24-17 loss that ended Pittsburgh’s six-game winning streak.

“I’ll stop you now,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday. “There is no concern and we have all the confidence in him. We are going to ride with James because he’s our guy.”

Conner took responsibility for the mistake, saying he didn’t do a good job covering up before getting hit by Denver’s Bradley Roby at the end of a 23-yard reception. The fumble was Conner’s fourth of the season, tying him with Chicago’s Tarik Cohen and Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott for most in the NFL by a non-quarterback.

“It’s correctable,” Conner said. “It’s not something that’s going to be a problem for me.”

It can’t be if the Steelers (7-3-1) want to lock down their fifth straight playoff appearance. Pittsburgh righted its season by relying heavily on Conner after falling into a 1-2-1 hole. He averaged 172.3 yards from scrimmage during a four-game stretch from Oct. 7-Nov. 4, a surge that earned him AFC offensive player of the month honors for October and made the absence of two-time All-Pro Le’Veon Bell a non-issue.

Those numbers have taken a steep drop since Conner left a blowout of Carolina on Nov. 8 with a concussion. He had just 15 touches in a comeback win over Jacksonville on Nov. 18, a number that would have crept up to 16 if he hadn’t let a pass go through his hands on Pittsburgh’s final drive that would have been a walk-in touchdown. That drop became moot when the Steelers found a way to win anyway.

Facing the NFL’s 27th-ranked run defense last Sunday in Denver, the Steelers opted to have Roethlisberger throw 58 times. Conner finished with 17 touches against the Broncos and just one after the fumble, a 1-yard run on second-and-goal from the Denver 3 with 1:53 left. Roethlisberger faked a handoff to Conner on the next play and threw a game-ending pick in the end zone.

Conner shrugged when asked about his drop in opportunities in recent weeks. The former college star at Pittsburgh understands he’s just a second-year player who has hardly earned the right to start making demands.

“(Offensive coordinator) Randy (Fichtner) has a game plan,” Conner said. “We talk about it in the hotel before the game and that’s just what it is. I’m in no position. It doesn’t matter what I like. My job is just to go out there and execute. When I don’t run the ball, I try to help the tackles and be involved in the pass game and do my job.”

Maybe, but the guys blocking for Conner wouldn’t mind it if they saw his No. 30 coming up behind them at the line of scrimmage with a head of steam.

“We got to get him the ball, get him back heated up again, getting him some runs he feels comfortable with, get him more involved in the game plan,” center Maurkice Pouncey said. “Obviously whenever he was doing things, he looked really, really good out there.”

Conner isn’t worried about getting run down in his first full season as a starter, or developing a reputation as a chronic fumbler. He coughed it up seven times in 689 career touches at Pitt. His four this season have come on 235 touches, not particularly alarming save for the timing.

He let one drop in the fourth quarter in Cleveland in Week 1, which set the stage for a comeback that allowed the Browns to rally from a 14-point deficit and force a tie. He caught a break in Week 5 against Atlanta when the ball squirted free and rolled out of bounds as he tried to break a tackle inside the Falcons 10. In a rematch with Cleveland on Oct. 28, the Browns were up 6-0 when Conner fumbled at the Pittsburgh 27. Fullback Roosevelt Nix fell on it and Pittsburgh — feeding Conner regularly on a day he ran for 146 yards and two scores — got it together in time to win going away.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t think Conner needs to change the way he runs, but Tomlin also knows the Los Angeles Chargers (8-3) will test that theory when they visit Heinz Field on Sunday.

“When you got some tape with some balls on the ground that people use that as motivation, I know we do,” Tomlin said.

Conner will use it as motivation even as he continues to adjust to the idea that for the first time in his football life, he’s not the focal point of the offense.

“You play the same teams over and over again, so you have to switch it up,” Conner said. “That’s just the way life goes.”

NOTES: WR Eli Rogers practiced Wednesday for the first time since tearing the ACL in his right knee in a playoff loss to Jacksonville in January. Pittsburgh has a three-week window before it has to decide whether it will activate Rogers. … RT Marcus Gilbert (knee), S Morgan Burnett (back), LB Bud Dupree (pectoral) and TE Vance McDonald (hip) did not practice. … DE Stephon Tuitt (elbow) was limited while TE Xavier Grimble (concussion) was a full participant.

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Jets fire Maccagnan, name Gase as interim GM

Jets fire Maccagnan, name Gase as interim GM

The New York Jets

Jets fire Maccagnan, name Gase as interim GM

The New York Jets fired general manager Mike Maccagnan on Wednesday and named first-year head coach Adam Gase as the interim GM.

Hired in January of 2015, Maccagnan had two years remaining on the contract extension he signed at the end of the 2017 season.

Team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson issued a statement saying the decision was made “in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”

“This morning, I informed Mike that he was being relieved of his duties as General Manager of the team, effective immediately,” Johnson said. “Mike helped to execute the strategic vision of the organization during the last four seasons and especially the past few months. However, I came to the decision to make a change after much thought and a careful assessment of what would be in the best long-term interests of the New York Jets.”

No other active NFL coach has the title of general manager, although Bill Belichick essentially holds the role with the New England Patriots.

Johnson said the Jets’ search for a permanent general manager would begin immediately.

Multiple outlets report that Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas has been rumored around the league as the Jets’ potential GM for some time. Douglas and Gase were both with the Chicago Bears in 2015, Douglas as director of college scouting, and Gase as offensive coordinator.

ESPN reports former scout and current NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah is “under serious consideration for a prominent front-office position,” calling Douglas and Jeremiah “a potential package deal.” Before stints with Cleveland and Philadelphia, Jeremiah spent four years in the Baltimore Ravens’ personnel department (2003-06), where Douglas worked in various roles from 2000-15.

NFL Network’s previous lead draft analyst, Mike Mayock, was hired as the Oakland Raiders’ general manager earlier this year.

During the NFL draft last month, Maccagnan denied reports of simmering turmoil with Gase.

“Actually, I think Adam and I have worked very well together,” Maccagnan said at the time. “I’m sure like in any process, there’s times you may have different opinions. It’s just like in a scouting meeting, you may have different opinions on a player.

“But from my standpoint, I’ve had a very good working relationship with Adam. He has a very good sense of humor. He makes me laugh quite a bit, which is one of the things I really like working with him.”

Multiple reports indicated that Gase wasn’t pleased with the Jets’ approach in free agency.

Maccagnan maneuvered to add at least three starters in March, including running back Le’Veon Bell. Linebacker C.J. Mosley signed a five-year deal and the Jets acquired offensive lineman Kelechi Osemele.

“I don’t think I’m really going to sit here and comment on my job,” Maccagnan said last month. “I’m focused on the draft. I feel very good about the situation we’re in. I feel very good about working with Adam going forward.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Jets’ front-office shakeup Wednesday also included the dismissal of vice president of player personnel Brian Heimerdinger.

Maccagnan was named the NFL Executive of the Year in 2015 by the Pro Football Writers Association.

Before joining the Jets, he worked in the scouting department for the Houston Texans from 2000-14 and scouted for the Washington Redskins from 1994-2000.

–Field Level Media

Read More 497 Words

Take 5: Good bets to win 101st PGA Championship

Take 5: Good bets to win 101st PGA Championship

Take 5: Good bets to win 101st PGA Championship

With a Par 70 course measuring 7,459 yards and featuring gnarly rough, the winner of the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black this week will need to drive the ball long — and straight.

He will also have to cope with a partisan New York crowd expected to number around 60,000 fans daily.

Five good bets to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy come Sunday:

Lucas Bjerregaard, Denmark (150/1 by Bovada.com): We’ll go straight to our longshot pick. The 44th-ranked player in the world still isn’t a household name, but Bjerregaard’s game is well respected by his peers. He has also been playing more in the States this year, including knocking off Tiger Woods en route to the semifinals of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in March. Great odds on an emerging player, with the downsides being two missed cuts in his past three events and little Sunday experience on the game’s grandest stages.

Tiger Woods, United States (11/1): Woods will have the crowd behind him and can’t be counted out, but he also hasn’t played a competitive round since winning the Masters last month. Few players understand the nuances of how to get around the Black Course better than the 2002 U.S. Open champion on the difficult track, and his course management is second to none. To be in contention on Sunday, Woods must drive the ball well and convert the short putts that have nagged him at times as he has aged. Tiger still gets our nod over world No. 1 Dustin Johnson (10/1), who is tied for 74th on the PGA Tour in final-round scoring (70.22) this season, including several notable Sunday implosions.

Tommy Fleetwood, England (28/1): Fleetwood is going to earn his major breakthrough sooner than later. One of the world’s elite ball-strikers, the Englishman hasn’t cracked the top 35 in his past two majors but did finish second at last year’s U.S. Open and has spent plenty of time on the first page of major leaderboards. He also earned a T-5 at this year’s Players Championship and is coming off a T-8 at the British Masters.

Brooks Koepka, United States: (10/1): Koepka has won three of the past eight majors and is a combined 47-under par in his past five PGA appearances — including a record-setting 72-hole score of 264 at Bellerive last year. He lives for the major stage, has more than enough firepower and is coming off a solid solo fourth at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

Rory McIlroy (11/1): A two-time PGA Championship winner (2012, 2014) seeking his first major in five years, no one has been more consistent in 2019 than the recently turned 30-year-old Northern Irishman. He has top-10 finishes in all but one of his nine starts this year, and most important, he is the best all-around driver of the golf ball in the world. If he can get even warm with his inconsistent putter this week, McIlroy should be in line to capture his fifth career major.

–Field Level Media

Read More 435 Words

Reports: Patriots bring back former LB Collins

Reports: Patriots bring back former LB Collins

Reports: Patriots bring back former LB Collins

The New England Patriots have agreed to bring back former linebacker Jamie Collins, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

Contract terms have yet to be reported. NFL Network reported earlier Wednesday the sides were in talks about a deal.

Collins, 29, spent three-plus seasons with New England before being dealt to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional third-round pick midway through the 2016 season. Cleveland gave Collins a four-year, $50 million extension in January of 2017, but he was released this March after 30 games with the club.

The Patriots took Collins in the second round of the 2013 draft, and he blossomed with a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign, when he racked up 89 tackles (eight for loss), 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception and six passes defensed in just 12 games.

In 50 games (41 starts) with the Patriots, Collins totaled 326 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, five interceptions and 16 passes defensed.

After missing 10 games to injury in 2017, Collins played in all 16 for the first time in his career last year, totaling 104 tackles, four sacks, an interception and four passes defensed for the Browns.

Collins will now be coached by a former teammate, as he played alongside current inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo from 2013-15.

–Field Level Media

Read More 142 Words

Report: Patriots in talks with former LB Collins

Report: Patriots in talks with former LB Collins

Report: Patriots in talks with former LB Collins

The New England Patriots are in talks to bring back former linebacker Jamie Collins, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

Collins, 29, spent three-plus seasons with New England before being dealt to the Cleveland Browns for a conditional third-round pick midway through the 2016 season. Cleveland gave Collins a four-year, $50 million extension in January of 2017, but he was released this March after 30 games with the club.

The Patriots took Collins in the second round of the 2013 draft, and he blossomed with a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign, when he racked up 89 tackles (eight for loss), 5.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, an interception and six passes defensed in just 12 games.

In 50 games (41 starts) with the Patriots, Collins totaled 326 tackles, 10.5 sacks, 10 forced fumbles, five interceptions and 16 passes defensed.

After missing 10 games to injury in 2017, Collins played in all 16 for the first time in his career last year, totaling 104 tackles, four sacks, an interception and four passes defensed for the Browns.

If he does rejoin the Patriots, Collins would be coached by a former teammate, as he played alongside current inside linebackers coach Jerod Mayo from 2013-15.

–Field Level Media

Read More 128 Words

NFL notebook: Rosen opens up about Cards exit

NFL notebook: Rosen opens up about Cards exit

Now that Josh Rosen has made his

NFL notebook: Rosen opens up about Cards exit

Now that Josh Rosen has made his move for a fresh start with the Miami Dolphins, the 22-year-old quarterback who experienced a disappointing rookie season with the Arizona Cardinals is ready to start talking. Well, more like trash talking.

Appearing Tuesday on the “The Rich Eisen Show,” Rosen let out his feelings about the organization that gave up on him in favor of grabbing Kyler Murray with the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

“I love everyone in that building with the exception of maybe one or two guys,” Rosen said on the radio show. “I mean, the only thing that truly did kind of frustrate me through this whole process is, like, I still haven’t heard from my old GM (Cardinals general manager Steve Keim). Like, I didn’t talk to him for months before, didn’t talk to him … after.”

Keim traded Rosen, the No. 10 overall pick in 2018 out of UCLA, for the 62nd overall pick this year, and a 2020 fifth-round choice. Rosen, 22, went 3-10 as a starter for Arizona last year. He completed 55.2 percent of his passes for 2,278 yards with 11 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions.

–Indianapolis police are investigating after dozens of shots were fired into the home of Colts assistant Parks Frazier over the weekend. No residents were home when the incident occurred.

Witnesses told police that eight young men jumped out of three vehicles and fired more than 80 rounds at about 6 p.m. local time Sunday, according to WTHR-TV.

The report also said the back door of the home was kicked in and more shots were fired inside. According to the police report obtained by WRTV-TV, police found handgun and rifle casings in the street as well as a cellphone that may have been dropped at the scene.

–Free agent defensive end and former No. 3 overall pick Dion Jordan will serve a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

Jordan, 29, learned that an arbitrator had denied his appeal, according to NFL.com.

The former Miami Dolphins (2013-14) and Seattle Seahawks (2017-18) defender tested positive three times in four weeks in December and January for the use of Adderall, a prescription medication he had been approved to take in the past to treat ADHD. His therapeutic use exemption (TUE) had expired, however.

–Former Atlanta Falcons guard Andy Levitre announced his retirement on social media after 10 seasons and 143 starts with three NFL teams.

“Unfortunately, due to injury my body won’t allow me to continue any longer,” he wrote on Instagram, one day before his 33rd birthday. “Thank you to my wife and children, my family, friends, coaches, teammates and all of the fans who supported me on this journey.”

Levitre ranked among the most durable players in the league for most of his career, starting all 16 games in each of his first eight seasons with the Buffalo Bills, Tennessee Titans and Atlanta.

–The Minnesota Vikings signed center Garrett Bradbury, the 18th overall pick in the April draft, to a four-year rookie deal worth a reported $12.88 million.

“It’s awesome to get it done,” Bradbury told the team’s official website. “It’s done. … I’m a Viking. It’s good that I can put this to rest and get back to football.”

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the value of the contract, which includes a $7.39 million signing bonus and the standard fifth-year option. Bradbury, 23, won the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top collegiate center last season at North Carolina State and earned consensus All-America and first-team All-ACC honors.

–Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is facing a June 13 pretrial conference related to a misdemeanor count of unlawful assembly.

The charge stems from an incident that video shows took place on March 15 at Coyote Ugly Saloon in Panama City Beach, Fla. Crawford entered a not-guilty plea in the case on April 12.

TMZ published a video Tuesday that showed Crawford engaged with security staff at the bar as he attempted to keep a security officer from detaining a member of his party.

–Field Level Media

Read More 610 Words

Jury selection to begin in ex-TE Winslow’s rape trial

Jury selection to begin in ex-TE Winslow's rape trial

Jury selection was set

Jury selection to begin in ex-TE Winslow’s rape trial

Jury selection was set to begin Monday in San Diego County in the trial of former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, who faces possible life imprisonment on multiple charges of rape, kidnapping and indecent exposure.

The allegations against Winslow include the rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2003; the rape of a 54-year-old hitchhiker in 2018; and the rape of a 59-year-old homeless woman, also in 2018.

Winslow had been out of jail on $2 million bail, but it was revoked after another alleged incident in a fitness center hot tub in February. He was charged with lewd conduct, elder abuse and battery of an elder in that case.

Jury selection at the Vista, Calif., courthouse was expected to take up most of the week, with opening statements possibly starting Friday.

Winslow, 35, played nine seasons with four NFL teams from 2004-13. He is the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers.

The younger Winslow was a first-round pick (sixth overall) by Cleveland in 2004 and played in 44 games with the Browns, including a Pro Bowl campaign in 2007 with 82 catches for 1,106 yards.

He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-11), New England Patriots (2012) and New York Jets (2013).

–Field Level Media

Read More 152 Words

Cowboys DL Crawford facing misdemeanor charge

Cowboys DL Crawford facing misdemeanor charge

Cowboys DL Crawford facing misdemeanor charge

Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford is facing a June 13 pretrial conference related to a misdemeanor count of unlawful assembly.

The charge stems from an incident that video shows took place on March 15 at Coyote Ugly Saloon in Panama City Beach, Fla.

TMZ published a video Tuesday that showed Crawford engaged with security staff at the bar as he attempted to keep a security officer from detaining a member of his party.

Crawford entered a not guilty plea in the case on April 12.

Crawford, 29, could be subject to punishment under the NFL personal conduct policy, even if not convicted.

Last season, Crawford started 15 games for the Cowboys and made a career-high 5.5 sacks. Dallas drafted Crawford, a Boise State product, in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft.

–Field Level Media

Read More 76 Words

Thomas (wrist) withdraws from PGA Championship

Thomas (wrist) withdraws from PGA Championship

Justin Thomas,

Thomas (wrist) withdraws from PGA Championship

Justin Thomas, the No. 5 player in the World Golf Rankings, has withdrawn from this week’s PGA Championship because of a wrist injury.

Thomas, 26, won the PGA Championship in 2017 at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C., and tied for sixth last season at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

The season’s second major begins Thursday at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.

“Obviously, as a past Champion, this tournament is extra special to me,” Thomas wrote on social media. “It consistently has the strongest field in golf and I’m disappointed to not be among those competing this year but I’m optimistic about a return in the near future.”

Kelly Kraft, a 30-year-old from Dallas who has two top 10 finishes this season, will replace Thomas in the field.

Thomas, who has nine career victories on the PGA Tour, has five top 10 finishes this season in 11 events. He last played at the Masters last month, tying for 12th at 8 under. He has been bothered by the nagging wrist injury that prevented him from playing at Quail Hollow in the Wells Fargo Championship that began May 2.

–Field Level Media

Read More 131 Words

Broncos’ Miller sides with Harris in contract battle

Broncos' Miller sides with Harris in contract battle

Broncos’ Miller sides with Harris in contract battle

All-Pro linebacker Von Miller wants the Denver Broncos to show veteran cornerback Chris Harris Jr. the money.

Harris, a four-time Pro Bowl pick who has been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, hasn’t had much luck in trying to convince the Broncos to give him a new, improved contract.

Miller, who has played alongside Harris on a formidable Denver defense for years, went through a similar contract impasse with the Broncos before they eventually agreed to a six-year, $114.5 million deal in 2016.

“I talked to Chris all the time … this is our ninth year playing football together,” Miller said Monday in an article on espn.com. “… We kind of go through the process together, it takes a while, you’ve just got to stay level-headed. With a guy like Chris he’s done every single thing right on and off the football field, he’s checked every single box. … Chris definitely has to get what’s right for him, he’s done everything right.”

In the last year of a five-year, $42.5 million deal he signed in 2015, Harris reportedly wants a contract extension worth $15 million a year and is not participating in the Broncos’ voluntary offseason program. He would be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season.

In April, Harris told 9News Denver, “I want to be here, so we can salvage it.” And in a separate interview with The Athletic, he added, “I’ve been patient. I’m still open to coming back. I’m never closing that door until they close it.”

On Thursday, multiple outlets reported that the Miami Dolphins were making Xavien Howard the highest-paid cornerback in NFL history, after they agreed to a five-year, $76.5 million extension.

In the ESPN story, Miller indicated that it’s difficult for either side to get involved in a contract battle without getting their feelings hurt.

“I think both sides kind of take it personally, honestly,” Miller said. “I think both sides kind of take it personally, I think when you talk about money and contracts, both sides, not just the player, but the guys in the front office take it personally, too, they want to get a great deal done, too. … If you really focus on business and it’s all about business, it’s easy to get it done, you look at what’s been done, you look at what you want to do going forward, whether you want to pay the guy, or you don’t want to pay the guy and you just go from there.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 361 Words

Patriots officially sign WR Inman, OL Veldheer

Patriots officially sign WR Inman, OL Veldheer

Patriots officially sign WR Inman, OL Veldheer

The New England Patriots on Monday officially signed a couple of free agent acquisitions — wide receiver Dontrelle Inman and offensive lineman Jared Veldheer. Terms were not announced.

Deals with both players were reportedly in the works last week.

To make room for the two veterans, the Patriots on Monday released two undrafted rookies in offensive lineman Calvin Anderson and wide receiver Xavier Ubosi. Both players practiced during the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend.

Inman, 30, caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games for the Indianapolis Colts last season. His best season was in 2016, when he established career highs of 58 receptions, 810 yards and four touchdowns for the then-San Diego Chargers. Signed as a rookie free agent by Jacksonville Jaguars out of Virginia in 2011, he was released at the end of training camp.

Then the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Inman moved on the Canadian Football League, playing two seasons (2012-13) with the Toronto Argonauts. The Argonauts won the Grey Cup in 2012.

Inman played for the Chargers from 2014-17 — including four games in 2017 after the move to Los Angeles — and also played for the Chicago Bears (eight games in 2017). He has 158 career receptions for 2,101 yards and 11 scores in 58 games (34 starts).

Multiple media outlets reported last week that Veldheer had agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $6.5 million. According to SiriusXM NFL, the minimum value will be $3.5 million, with up to $3 million in additional escalators.

Veldheer, who turns 32 in June, started 12 games at right tackle for the Denver Broncos last season after being acquired via trade, allowing just one sack but committing seven penalties.

He spent the previous four years with the Arizona Cardinals, playing primarily left tackle before moving to the right side in 2017. A third-round pick of the Oakland Raiders in 2010 out of Hillsdale College, Veldheer has 113 starts in 118 games through nine seasons, with the majority at left tackle. He projects as New England’s swing tackle and likely will battle 2018 first-round draft pick Isaiah Wynn for the starting spot at left tackle.

–Field Level Media

Read More 285 Words

Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

Judge suppresses video in Kraft's solicitation case

Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

A judge on Monday granted Robert Kraft’s motion to suppress video evidence, delivering the New England Patriots owner a huge victory — and potentially derailing the prosecution’s case — as he combats charges of soliciting a prostitute at a Jupiter, Fla., massage parlor.

Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser sided with the defense’s contention that the warrant that allowed recording devices into the spa, and the methods detectives used to obtain video, did not sufficiently protect the privacy and identity of innocent people in the surveillance videos.

“The Court finds that the search warrant does not contain required minimization guidelines, and the minimization techniques employed in this case did not satisfy constitutional requirements … (thus) all evidence against the Defendant obtained through and connection with the search warrant is suppressed,” Hanser wrote in his ruling.

Hanser added that the police’s stop of Kraft’s car on Jan. 19 constituted an unlawful search and thus all information obtained from that search is also suppressed.

While the state could appeal the ruling, the suppression could effectively end the state’s case. Last week, Hanser set a May 21 date for a mandatory appearance for Kraft and his attorneys, at which time a trial would be scheduled. According to reports, however, it is highly unlikely that hearing will happen.

Kraft, 77, visited the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter on Jan. 19 and 20, during which time prosecutors claim Kraft paid for and received sex acts at the spa.

A different judge in April judge issued a temporary protective order to prevent the public release of the videos, with Kraft’s attorneys arguing release of the videos would result in “catastrophic” harm for Kraft and that “the public’s interest in seeing this video is all about prurient interest.”

When Kraft was first charged with first-degree solicitation of a prostitute in February, the NFL released a statement that Kraft would be subject to the league’s personal-conduct policy, and that the NFL would monitor the investigation and let the legal process play out before taking any potential action.

–Field Level Media

Read More 285 Words

Former first-round pick Manuel retires

Former first-round pick Manuel retires

Former first-round draft pick EJ Manuel has

Former first-round pick Manuel retires

Former first-round draft pick EJ Manuel has retired from the NFL.

The Buffalo Bills chose Manuel with the No. 16 overall selection in the 2013 draft out of Florida State, but he failed to keep the starting quarterback spot.

In four seasons with Buffalo, he appeared in 28 games (17 starts) and had a 6-11 record. He completed 319 passes for 3,502 yards, throwing 19 touchdown passes and 15 interceptions.

He appeared in two games with Oakland in 2017 and started one, a loss, and didn’t see game action in 2018.

In the offseason, the 29-year-old signed with Kansas City to compete for the backup quarterback spot to Patrick Mahomes.

–Field Level Media

Read More 48 Words

Report: Tiger’s staff accused of destroying evidence in case

Report: Tiger's staff accused of destroying evidence in case

Report: Tiger’s staff accused of destroying evidence in case

Lawyers for parents who said their son died after a night of drinking at Tiger Woods’ Florida restaurant alleged Tuesday that restaurant staff destroyed video evidence that showed him drinking at the bar before he crashed his car.

The family of Nicholas Immesberger, who died last December, have filed a wrongful death suit naming the restaurant, Woods and his girlfriend, Erica Herman, who is the general manager of the eatery, called The Woods.

Immesberger’s parents allege their son had a “habitual problem” with alcohol and had been overserved. A bartender there, Immesberger stayed and had drinks following a work shift at the Jupiter, Fla., restaurant.

“One of the most significant issues we have here is the destruction of evidence,” attorney Spencer Kuvin said Tuesday, per ESPN. “Obviously it shows that somebody knew something had gone wrong and they wanted to get rid of that evidence. We have evidence to show that that videotape, showing Nick at the bar that night after he got off at 3 p.m., drinking for three hours at the bar, was destroyed shortly after the crash had occurred.

“So we have, through our investigation, uncovered evidence to show that the bar knew what happened, they knew about the crash that night and shortly thereafter that video evidence was destroyed and deleted off the servers they had there at The Woods.”

After ending his shift on Dec. 10, 2018, Immesberger allegedly stuck around and drank to the point of intoxication before the 24-year-old left the restaurant. He later died after losing control of his car and swerved across three lanes of highway traffic before going airborne and landing in a grassy patch, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, per the Palm Beach Post.

At the time of the crash, Immesberger’s reported blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit at .256.

The lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County alleges that Woods “was directly responsible for ensuring that his employees and management … were not over serving its employees/customers.”

Woods, 43, called Immesberger’s death a “terrible ending” during a press conference Tuesday in Farmingdale, N.Y., where he is competing in this weekend’s PGA Championship — his first tournament since winning his fifth Masters in April.

“We’re all very sad that Nick passed away,” Woods said. “It was a terrible night, a terrible ending. And we feel bad for him and his entire family. It is very sad.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 351 Words

NFL notebook: Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

NFL notebook: Judge suppresses video in Kraft's solicitation case

NFL notebook: Judge suppresses video in Kraft’s solicitation case

A judge on Monday granted Robert Kraft’s motion to suppress video evidence, delivering the New England Patriots owner a huge victory — and potentially derailing the prosecution’s case — as he combats charges of soliciting a prostitute at a Jupiter, Fla., massage parlor.

Palm Beach County Judge Leonard Hanser sided with the defense’s contention that the warrant that allowed recording devices into the spa, and the methods detectives used to obtain video, did not sufficiently protect the privacy and identity of innocent people in the surveillance videos.

Hanser added that the police’s stop of Kraft’s car on Jan. 19 constituted an unlawful search and thus all information obtained from that search is also suppressed. While the state could appeal the ruling, the suppression could effectively end the state’s case against the 77-year-old Kraft.

–The Patriots officially signed free agents Dontrelle Inman (WR) and Jared Veldheer (OL). Terms were not announced. To make room on the roster, the Patriots released undrafted rookies Calvin Anderson (OL) and Xavier Ubosi (WR).

Inman, 30, caught 28 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns in nine games for Indianapolis last season. Veldheer, 31, started 12 games at right tackle for Denver last season after being acquired via trade, allowing just one sack but committing seven penalties.

–Broncos All-Pro linebacker Von Miller said he wants the team to give cornerback Chris Harris Jr. the money he wants, but acknowledged, “both sides kind of take it personally, honestly.”

Harris, a four-time Pro Bowl pick in the last year of a five-year, $42.5 million deal he signed in 2015, reportedly wants a contract extension worth $15 million a year and is not participating in the Broncos’ voluntary offseason program. He would be an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season.

–Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph told a reporter he is hoping to find a way to stay with the team despite trade rumors and reported contraction negotiation breakdowns. Rudolph, 29, has one year left on his contact and is due $7.5 million in 2019.

–Former Kansas City Chiefs head coach Gunther Cunningham has passed away after a brief illness. He was 72. Cunningham compiled a 16-16 record in two seasons at the helm of the Chiefs from 1999-2000. He also served as defensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Raiders (1992-93), Chiefs (1995-98, 2004-08) and Detroit Lions (2009-13).

–The Seattle Seahawks will reportedly meet with free agent quarterback Geno Smith on Wednesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported. Other reports said a signing is imminent. Smith, 28, was 12-18 as a starter in four seasons with the Jets, lost his only start with the New York Giants in 2017, and attempted just four passes with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2018.

–Buffalo is bringing back tight end Lee Smith on a reported three-year, $9 million deal. Smith, 31, played the last four seasons with the Raiders, catching 36 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns. He spent his first four NFL campaigns with the Bills, tallying 20 receptions for 144 yards and three scores from 2011-14.

–Stefen Wisniewski reportedly re-signed with the Philadelphia Eagles on a one-year, $1.5 million contract, with $500,000 in additional incentives. A guard and center, Wisniewski has started at least six games each of the past three seasons. Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks is recovering from a torn Achilles, and Wisniewski could open training camp with the first unit.

–The Chargers re-signed defensive lineman Damion Square to a one-year contract after his 31-tackles, three-sack season in which he started a career-high 11 times.

–New York Giants sixth-round pick Corey Ballentine was with fellow rookies, in meetings and the classroom, two weeks after the cornerback was shot on the night he was drafted. He was shot in the backside on April 28 in an incident in Topeka, Kan., that claimed the life of Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons. He is still rehabbing his injuries.

–Jury selection was set to begin in San Diego County in the trial of former NFL tight end Kellen Winslow II, who faces possible life imprisonment on multiple charges of rape, kidnapping and indecent exposure. The allegations against Winslow, 35, include the rape of a 17-year-old girl in 2003; the rape of a 54-year-old hitchhiker in 2018; and the rape of a 59-year-old homeless woman, also in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Read More 637 Words

Ex-Cowboys QB Romo fails to qualify for U.S. Open

Ex-Cowboys QB Romo fails to qualify for U.S. Open

Ex-Cowboys QB Romo fails to qualify for U.S. Open

Tony Romo failed Monday in his quest to qualify for the U.S. Open.

Three days after the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback missed the cut at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas, his third PGA Tour event, Romo failed to move on at a local U.S. Open qualifier at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, Texas.

He shot a 3-over-par 74 on Monday — four strokes higher than the cut line to advance.

Romo has played three PGA events via sponsor exemptions, something the U.S. Open does not hand out. The 39-year-old retired NFL star has tried many times to qualify, advancing to sectional qualifying in 2010, when he withdrew while still an active player in the NFL offseason.

The current CBS NFL analyst told ESPN that he will try to play next in the Mid-Amateur and Northeast Amateur over the summer. He also hopes to play the American Century Championship at Stateline, Nev., in July, a tournament he won last year.

–Field Level Media

Read More 116 Words

Woods, Koepka embrace attention as PGA superpowers

Woods, Koepka embrace attention as PGA superpowers

Tiger Woods said Tuesday

Woods, Koepka embrace attention as PGA superpowers

Tiger Woods said Tuesday he wakes up feeling older than his age more often than not.

But he arrived at the 101st PGA Championship at Bethpage Black knowing his best is enough to win golf’s grandest events.

“In order to win this one, driving is going to be at the forefront with the rough as lush as it is,” Woods said Tuesday in Farmingdale, N.Y., where he shoots for his fourth consecutive top-10 finish in a major. “The fairways are plenty wide because it’s wet. You’ve got to hit it not only straight but hit it far.

“As the week goes on and the greens dry out, the majority of the greens are elevated. Trying to get an upspin to the ball to get it elevated, you’ve got to be in the fairway to do that.”

Woods, 43, has finished in the top 30 in each of his six starts in 2019, including winning his 15th career major at the Masters last month. If the ball rolls his way again at Bethpage — as it did when he won the U.S. Open in 2002 — Woods could leave this course on Sunday ranked No. 1 in the world. He’ll start the event at No. 6 and, in his words, “relevant again” alongside defending champion Brooks Koepka.

“The players that’ve had the most success on Tour — NFL football player, you’re in the Hall of Fame after nine years. If you play out here only nine years, you haven’t really done that well. Out here, you’re measured in decades,” Woods said. “Arnold Palmer played in 50 straight Masters. Because of the nature of the sport, you’re able to hang on a lot longer and still be relevant.

“When Jack (Nicklaus) played his final PGA in 2000, I played with him. He said he played with Gene Sarazen in his final PGA. The fact that golf can span nearly 60-70 years in playing careers, that’s what makes it so special. Now, Brooksy look like a young me? I was never that big. I was 130 pounds. We’re both able to generate speed. I did it through whip and timing. Brooksy is just pure power. He’s an athlete.”

Koepka, 29, tees off with Woods and Francesco Molinari at 8:24 a.m. ET on Thursday. He’ll be attempting to become the first player since Woods to repeat the PGA Championship. Woods did it in 2006 and 2007.

Woods and Koepka have finished 1-2 in the past two majors — Woods’ win at Augusta in April and last year’s PGA at Bellerive. Koepka enters with the longest streak of subpar rounds in majors at nine, followed by Jon Rahm (eight) and Woods (seven)

“There’s a big age difference there,” Koepka said of starting his seventh PGA Championship start. “He’s a little bit older. I don’t see it as a rivalry. It’s just golf. It’s just really been the last couple of years, I don’t see it as a rivalry. Although it is fun to play with him. Best player to ever play the game. It’s exciting more to me. I’m really looking forward to playing with him.

“It’s good to have Tiger back winning majors. That atmosphere, when he was done, was pretty special.”

Koepka said he doesn’t “fear” Woods, because they aren’t planning to fight.

“He’s not going to knock my teeth in. What’s there to be afraid of?”

–Field Level Media

Read More 504 Words

Browns WR Beckham takes field at OTAs

Browns WR Beckham takes field at OTAs

Odell Beckham Jr. and Baker Mayfield are teaming up on the field Tuesday for the first

Browns WR Beckham takes field at OTAs

Odell Beckham Jr. and Baker Mayfield are teaming up on the field Tuesday for the first time since the Cleveland Browns acquired the Pro Bowl wide receiver from the New York Giants.

Beckham was on the field Tuesday and plans to participate in most of the 10 voluntary organized team activity workouts, as well as the Browns’ mandatory minicamp, as the franchise takes its next step in a rebuild guided by general manager John Dorsey.

Beckham was recovering from ankle surgery last offseason and didn’t take part in most of the on-field workouts during the Giants’ offseason program while also angling for a new contract.

The Browns traded a first-round pick to the Giants and will pair him with his LSU teammate Jarvis Landry — acquired from the Miami Dolphins in 2018 — as Mayfield’s likely top targets.

In five seasons with the Giants, Beckham had 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns. He had 77 catches for 1,052 yards and six scores in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Read More 108 Words

Report: Browns WR Beckham plans to join OTAs

Report: Browns WR Beckham plans to join OTAs

Odell Beckham Jr. and Baker Mayfield are teaming up on the field Tuesday for the

Report: Browns WR Beckham plans to join OTAs

Odell Beckham Jr. and Baker Mayfield are teaming up on the field Tuesday for the first time since the Cleveland Browns acquired the Pro Bowl wide receiver from the New York Giants.

ESPN reported Tuesday that Beckham plans to participate in most of the 10 voluntary organized team activity workouts, as well as the Browns’ mandatory minicamp, as the franchise takes its next step in a rebuild guided by general manager John Dorsey.

Beckham was recovering from ankle surgery last offseason and didn’t take part in most of the on-field workouts during the Giants’ offseason program while also angling for a new contract.

The Browns traded a first-round pick to the Giants and will pair him with his LSU teammate Jarvis Landry — acquired from the Miami Dolphins in 2018 — as Mayfield’s likely top targets.

In five seasons with the Giants, Beckham had 390 receptions for 5,476 yards and 44 touchdowns. He had 77 catches for 1,052 yards and six scores in 2018.

–Field Level Media

Read More 107 Words

Reports: Woods sued over bartender’s drunk-driving death

Reports: Woods sued over bartender's drunk-driving death

Reports: Woods sued over bartender’s drunk-driving death

Tiger Woods is facing a lawsuit from the family of a bartender who worked at one of his restaurants following the staffer’s death in a drunk-driving accident, multiple media outlets reported Monday.

The parents of Nicholas Immesberger allege that their son, whom they said had a “habitual problem” with alcohol, had been overserved after he stayed and had drinks following a work shift at The Woods, a restaurant in Jupiter, Fla., owned by the 15-time major champion and run by Woods’ girlfriend, Erica Herman.

After ending his shift on Dec. 10, 2018, Immesberger allegedly stuck around and drank to the point of intoxication before the 24-year-old was allowed to drive home. He later died after losing control of his car and swerved across three lanes of highway traffic before going airborne and landing in a grassy patch, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, per the Palm Beach Post.

At the time of the crash, Immesberger’s reported blood alcohol level was more than three times the legal limit at .256.

The lawsuit filed in Palm Beach County alleges that Woods “was directly responsible for ensuring that his employees and management … were not over serving its employees/customers.”

Woods, 43, called Immesberger’s death a “terrible ending” during a press conference Tuesday in Farmingdale, N.Y., where he is competing in this weekend’s PGA Championship — his first tournament since winning his fifth Masters in April.

“We’re all very sad that Nick passed away,” Woods said. “It was a terrible night, a terrible ending. And we feel bad for him and his entire family. It is very sad.”

–Field Level Media

Read More 211 Words

McIlory moves into tie for lead at RBC Canadian Open

McIlory moves into tie for lead at RBC Canadian Open

McIlory moves into tie for lead at RBC Canadian Open

Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy and Webb Simpson each enjoyed bogey-free rounds on Saturday to join Matt Kuchar in a three-way tie for the lead at 13-under-par following the third round of the RBC Canadian Open in Hamilton, Ontario.

McIlroy, who is making his event debut, roared into contention at the Hamilton Golf & Country Club with a 6-under 64. He kicked off with a birdie at the first hole, followed by two more at Nos. 5 and 8 before making the turn. He dropped three more on the back, at Nos. 11, 15 and 17, and was first into the clubhouse at 13 under.

McIlroy missed his first cut of the season last week at The Memorial and said that gave him some extra practice time.

“I feel like I turned that missed cut into a positive,” he said. “There were a couple things in my game that were highlighted and I had a chance to work on them. … That’s why I am where I am on the leaderboard.”

Simpson, who started the day two shots off the lead at 10 under, posted birdies at Nos. 7, 11 and 12 en route to his 3-under 67. The 33-year-old North Carolina native, whose last win came in 2018 at The Players Championship, is seeking his sixth PGA Tour win.

It was not as smooth of a day for Kuchar, the second-round co-leader, who had two bogeys and three birdies in his round of 69. Kuchar dropped a shot early with a bogey at No. 3 but rebounded with back-to-back birdies at Nos. 4 and 5. He canceled out a birdie at 11 with a bogey at 15 and finished by getting up and down on 18 to shoot 1 under for the day.

In a tie for fourth are Ireland’s Shane Lowry (66), Brandt Snedeker (69) and Canada’s Adam Hadwin (67), who is aiming to become the first Canadian to win country’s national event since Pat Fletcher in 1954. Fellow Canadians Mackenzie Hughes (69, 9 under) and Nick Taylor (73, 8 under) are also within striking distance.

World No. 1-ranked Brooks Koepka, who also is making his event debut, posted a 2-over 72 on Saturday and stands tied for 50th place. Defending champion Dustin Johnson, who has an opportunity to reclaim the No. 1 ranking this week, moved into a tie for 17th place after shooting 68. Jonathan Byrd matched McIlroy for low round of the day with a 64 and moved into a tie for ninth place.

–Field Level Media

Read More 337 Words