The Latest: Giants cornerback Eli Apple out with groin issue

The Latest on the second Sunday of the NFL regular season (all times EDT):

10:15 p.m.

New York Giants cornerback Eli Apple won’t return to an NFC East showdown against the Dallas Cowboys because of a groin injury.

The injury was announced in the third quarter with the Cowboys leading the Giants 13-0.

The Cowboys scored on the third play of the game when Tavon Austin beat cornerback Janoris Jenkins deep on a 64-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott.

Giants punt returner Kaelin Clay injured an ankle and was announced as out at halftime, but returned in the second half.

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7:05 p.m.

The Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos are trying to stage big second-half rallies.

Matthew Stafford threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Michael Roberts with 3:27 remaining, and the Lions trail San Francisco 30-27. Detroit was down 30-13 with 11:21 left.

Denver was down 19-7 in the third quarter, but is now trailing Oakland 19-17 after a 1-yard TD run by Case Keenum with 5:58 to play in the fourth.

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6:50 p.m.

Detroit running back LeGarrette Blount has been ejected for coming off the sideline to shove a San Francisco player.

Blount took exception to Elijah Lee pushing Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford as he stepped out of bounds. Blount was standing on the sideline right in front of the play and went on the field and pushed Lee.

Blount was assessed a personal foul and ejected for the play.

San Francisco leads the Lions 30-20 in fourth quarter.

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6:45 p.m.

Eight months later and with the stakes not nearly as high, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots need another fourth-quarter comeback against Jacksonville. Blake Bortles has staked the Jaguars to a 24-10 lead going into the fourth with three touchdown passes.

The Jaguars were up 24-3 and in a rhythm when Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore punched the ball loose after a reception by DJ Chark Jr. Brady then threw a touchdown pass to Chris Hogan, who beat Jalen Ramsey on a slant.

Brady led the Patriots from a 20-10 deficit in the AFC title game in January.

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6:20 p.m.

The Detroit Lions have lost standout cornerback Darius Slay to a concussion.

Slay left in the third quarter, and if he misses additional games that could be a big problem for the Lions, who face questions about their depth at cornerback beyond Slay.

Shortly after Slay left, the San Francisco 49ers took a 27-13 lead over Detroit in the third quarter on a 66-yard touchdown run by Matt Breida.

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6 p.m.

On a day when extra points have been anything but routine, the Los Angeles Rams are doing just fine despite an injury to their standout kicker.

Greg Zuerlein injured his groin during pregame warmups, so the Rams have simply gone for 2 — and converted — after each of their three touchdowns. They lead Arizona 27-0 in the third quarter.

Punter Johnny Hekker is handling the kickoff duties and also made a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, yet another team had issues with a PAT when Oakland had one blocked in the second quarter at Denver.

— Joe Reedy reporting from Los Angeles.

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5:50 p.m.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was on the mark in the first half against Denver, completing 18 of 19 passes for 158 yards.

His only incompletion came in the first quarter when he failed to connect on a short pass with Jordy Nelson. Carr’s longest completion was 23 yards to Nelson.

On the flip side, Case Keenum of the Broncos was just 5 of 11 for 38 yards with an interception deep in Oakland territory. Keenum has thrown four interceptions in his first two games in a Broncos’ uniform.

Oakland leads 12-0 at halftime.

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5:10 p.m.

A rough day for kickers is getting even worse.

Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein is questionable to return after injuring his groin during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals.

Zuerlein was the NFL’s leading scorer last season, but was placed on injured reserve late in the season due to a back injury. After Todd Gurley’s 11-yard touchdown early in the second quarter opened the scoring against Arizona, the Rams tried a 2-point conversion and were successful.

Earlier, Cleveland’s Zane Gonzalez missed two field goals and two extra points in a 21-18 loss to New Orleans. His last attempt could have tied it in the final seconds.

Green Bay and Minnesota played to a 29-all tie . Daniel Carlson of the Vikings missed two field goals in overtime, and Mason Crosby missed one at the end of regulation for the Packers.

Miami’s Jason Sanders and New York’s Jason Myers were both wide on PATs in the Dolphins’ 20-12 victory over the Jets. Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell missed an extra point against Kansas City, and Tampa Bay’s Chandler Catanzaro did so as well against Philadelphia.

— Joe Reedy reporting from Los Angeles.

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4:55 p.m.

Teams in Jacksonville and Denver are contending with some unusually high temperatures.

It was 97 degrees at kickoff for the Jaguars and Patriots, with a heat index of 107. According to the NFL, it is the hottest game since Green Bay played at Arizona in 2003.

Meanwhile, Denver’s game against the Raiders is the hottest home game in franchise history for the Broncos, at 92 degrees.

The Patriots and Jaguars lost starters on consecutive plays. New England defensive end Trey Flowers was being evaluated for a concussion after he was struck in the head by teammate Keionta Davis. On the next play, the left knee of Jacksonville left tackle Cam Robinson buckled during pass protection. He was helped off the field until taking steps gingerly on his own.

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4:40 p.m.

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat on a cooler for the national anthem, while Denver receiver Demaryius Thomas and linebacker Brandon Marshall went inside the tunnel.

Lynch rode a stationary bike just before the anthem before taking a seat behind the bench. He was surrounded by team personnel.

Elsewhere, Marquise Goodwin of the 49ers, who was out of uniform because of injury, raised a fist during the anthem before San Francisco’s game against Detroit.

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4:30 p.m.

The NFC North showdown between Minnesota and Green Bay has lived up to the hype.

The teams are in overtime, tied at 29, after Kirk Cousins threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Adam Thielen with 31 seconds remaining in regulation. Thielen somehow came up with that pass despite two Green Bay defenders in the area, and Cousins threw to Stefon Diggs for the tying 2-point conversion.

That Minnesota drive was aided by a roughing the passer call on Clay Matthews, after Green Bay appeared to have an interception.

Mason Crosby missed a 52-yard kick that would have won it for the Packers at the end of regulation.

Minnesota’s Daniel Carlson missed a 49-yard field goal attempt on the first possession of overtime.

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4 p.m.

Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes has thrown for six touchdowns — and there’s still plenty of time to go.

Mahomes hit Tyreek Hill for a 29-yard score with 13:42 to play in the fourth quarter in Pittsburgh. He’s now thrown 10 TD passes through the first two weeks of the season, breaking the record of nine that was shared by Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Charlie Johnson.

Mahomes’ six touchdowns also tied Hall of Famer Len Dawson for the most in a single game in Kansas City history and tied the most allowed by the Steelers.

Kansas City leads 42-30 in the fourth quarter as it tries to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986.

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3:40 p.m.

It’s slipping away again for the Cleveland Browns.

The Browns, seeking to end an 18-game winless streak, have wasted a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter at New Orleans. Tyrod Taylor threw an interception, giving the Saints the ball at the Cleveland 18, and New Orleans eventually scored a touchdown to take an 18-12 lead with 2:40 remaining.

Now it’s on Taylor and the Cleveland offense to try to rally.

The Browns opened the season with a tie against Pittsburgh, but they haven’t won since Dec. 24, 2016.

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3:15 p.m.

It’s been a rough second week of the NFL season for placekickers.

Not on field goals so much, but extra points.

Five were missed before any of the early Sunday games ended.

In Dolphins-Jets, both Miami’s Jason Sanders and New York’s Jason Myers were wide on PATs.

Cleveland’s Zane Gonzales missed at New Orleans, as did Pittsburgh’s Chris Boswell against Kansas City, and Tampa Bay’s Chandler Catanzaro against Philadelphia.

At least the Steelers made up for Boswell’s error by later making a 2-point conversion.

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3:05 p.m.

Could this finally be the day for the Cleveland Browns?

Cleveland, which went 0-16 last season, snapped a 17-game losing streak with a season-opening tie against Pittsburgh. But it wasn’t a win.

Now the Browns lead New Orleans 12-3 after three quarters.

Cleveland’s defensive coordinator is Gregg Williams, who held the same post in New Orleans when the Saints won their only Super Bowl. The Browns have contained the New Orleans offense and scored the game’s lone touchdown so far on a 1-yard run by Carlos Hyde in the third quarter.

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3 p.m.

The defending champions have their hands full again.

The Philadelphia Eagles trail Tampa Bay 27-7 in the third quarter after a pair of 75-yard touchdown passes in the first half.

Ryan Fitzpatrick connected with former Eagle DeSean Jackson for one of those TDs on the first offensive play of the game.

Philadelphia had to hold on late for an 18-12 win over Atlanta in the season opener.

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2:50 p.m.

It took nearly 95 minutes, but the Buffalo Bills finally reached the end zone.

The Bills were the last NFL team that hadn’t scored a touchdown this season, but Chris Ivory scored on 1-yard plunge with 11:06 left in the third quarter against the Chargers. The TD cut Los Angeles’ lead to 28-13.

— John Wawrow reporting from Orchard Park, New York.

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2:45 p.m.

So much for Ben Roethlisberger’s achy right elbow.

The 36-year-old quarterback has thrown for 278 yards and three touchdowns in the first half as the Pittsburgh Steelers rallied from an early deficit to pull into a 21-all tie with Kansas City. Roethlisberger missed two days of practice last week after injuring the elbow late in a Week 1 tie in Cleveland.

Kansas City led the Steelers 21-0 after the first quarter.

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2:35 p.m.

The Cleveland Browns are making another credible bid to end their winless streak.

The Browns took a 6-3 lead into halftime against the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans has moved the ball in stints, but has two turnovers on fumbles after receptions. The Saints also have missed a field goal.

Cleveland now has eight takeaways this season, including six in the season opener against Pittsburgh. That game ended in a tie, snapping a 17-game losing streak for the Browns.

Facing the Browns appears to have brought about a remarkable transformation of New Orleans’ defense, which gave up more than 500 yards in a 48-40 loss to Tampa Bay in Week 1.

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2:20 p.m.

Calvin Ridley has scored his first NFL touchdown.

Ridley, a first-round draft pick out of Alabama, hauled in an 11-yard scoring pass from Matt Ryan with 4:03 left in the first half, pulling the Atlanta Falcons into a 10-all tie with the Carolina Panthers.

On third-and-8, Ridley broke toward the middle on a slant, beat cornerback Donte Jackson and made the catch crossing into the end zone. He celebrated with an emphatic spike before being mobbed by his teammates.

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2:10 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins are dueling at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers’ 9-yard touchdown pass to receiver Davante Adams with 12:28 left in the second quarter gave the Green Bay Packers a 14-7 lead over the Minnesota Vikings. Rodgers is wearing a brace on his injured left knee.

He’s limited and slower than usual, though Rodgers does have some mobility. Rodgers is also getting outstanding protection from his offensive line after getting sacked to end his first series.

Cousins, meanwhile, hit his first nine passes for the Vikings. Minnesota gave up a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt.

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2 p.m.

Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee has been ejected from the game against Carolina for a vicious hit to the head of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

Newton was struck after running for 10 yards on a fourth-and-4 play in Falcons territory.

The quarterback was sliding to the turf at the end of the play when Kazee dove low to deliver a helmet-to-helmet hit that snapped back Newton’s head. Teammate Torrey Smith raced in to deliver a hit that sent Kazee to the turf, also drawing a personal foul penalty but not an ejection.

Several skirmishes broke out. Newton was finally able to get up and head to the medical tent. As he walked off the field, he took off his helmet and let out a defiant scream.

While officials sorted out the penalties, Newton was quickly examined and returned to the field without missing a play.

Six plays later, Newton threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jarius Wright, giving the Panthers a 10-3 lead.

Kazee was making his second career start. He is the first player ejected for the league’s new helmet rule this season.

— Paul Newberry reporting from Atlanta.

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1:55 p.m.

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is picking up right where he left off in the season opener. The 22-year-old threw three touchdown passes in the first quarter as the Chiefs raced to a quick 21-0 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Mahomes threw four touchdown passes in a victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in the opener.

The Steelers finally got on the board in the second quarter to make it 21-7. The Chiefs are trying to win in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1986.

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1:40 p.m.

Rookie quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh Allen are facing early deficits.

Darnold got off to a better start than he did in the New York Jets’ opener at Detroit, when he threw an interception on his first career pass. But Darnold was picked off late in the first quarter against Miami on Sunday, and the Dolphins took advantage of a short field to take a 7-0 lead over the Jets.

Allen made his first start for the Buffalo Bills, but they fell behind 14-0 against the Los Angeles Chargers. Buffalo finally got on the board with a field goal in the second quarter.

The Bills remain the only NFL team that hasn’t scored a touchdown this season.

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1:25 p.m.

Blaine Gabbert started at quarterback for the Tennessee Titans, though Marcus Mariota is active against the Houston Texans.

Mariota hurt his elbow in the season opener, a 27-20 loss at Miami. Gabbert came out with the offense for its opening series after the Titans stopped the Texans’ opening drive. It was the 46th start of Gabbert’s career.

Rookie coach Mike Vrabel dipped into a bag of tricks to get the Titans on the board first on a fake punt . Safety Kevin Byard threw the ball to wide-open rookie Dane Cruikshank. He ran down the right sideline and faked out Texans returner Tyler Ervin for a 66-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee

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1:20 p.m.

Aaron Rodgers started for the Green Bay Packers against the Minnesota Vikings, wearing a brace on his left knee. Rodgers completed three passes on Green Bay’s first drive, which ended with a punt.

The Packers later took a 7-0 lead with a special teams touchdown. Geronimo Allison blocked a punt deep in Vikings territory after rushing up the middle. The ball was recovered by rookie Josh Jackson, who jumped to secure the ball and landed in the end zone.

Rodgers was questionable coming into the game after hurting the knee in the season-opening, come-from-behind win over Chicago. The Packers operated out of a shotgun or pistol formation on Rodgers’ first drive.

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1:05 p.m.

Miami Dolphins wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson again took a knee during the national anthem, this time before the team’s game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

All of the Jets players linked arms, along with coach Todd Bowles and CEO Christopher Johnson while standing together on the sideline during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Last Sunday, Stills and Wilson also took knees, and were the only players in the NFL to do so.

Colin Kaepernick, then with the San Francisco 49ers, sparked the anthem controversy by kneeling during the pregame ritual in 2016 — his way of protesting police brutality and social injustice in America. He thanked both Stills and Wilson on Twitter last week for “their unwavering strength by fighting for the oppressed.”

League-wide, only about 10 players participated in any form of protests. On Thursday, Stills insisted that his pregame statements are not going away.

“It’s something I’m committed to forever,” he said.

Elsewhere on Sunday, Chargers tackle Russell Okung stood behind the line of Los Angeles players with his right arm raised and hand in a fist before the game at Buffalo.

— Dennis Waszak Jr. reporting from East Rutherford, New Jersey.

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12 p.m.

The NFL Foundation will contribute $1 million to Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

That contribution will be distributed to organizations that will address the immediate needs of those impacted throughout the Carolinas and other areas.

“The NFL family sends its support to the individuals, families and communities affected by Hurricane Florence,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Sunday. “Natural disasters like this are devastating. As communities in and around the Carolinas recover and rebuild, we hope these funds will provide some measure of relief in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

NFL fans are encouraged to text FLORENCE to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross Hurricane Florence relief.

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Kuchar overcomes slow start to win Sony Open

Kuchar overcomes slow start to win Sony Open

Kuchar overcomes slow start to win Sony Open

Matt Kuchar overcame a slow start Sunday to rally for his second victory of the PGA Tour season at the Sony Open in Honolulu.

Kuchar, 40, held a two-shot lead entering the final round at Waialae Country Club, but saw that evaporate with three birdies over his first five holes against a lone birdie. Andrew Putnam grabbed a share of the lead when Kuchar bogeyed Nos. 4 and 5.

Kuchar started to get his round going with a birdie on No. 9. He then reeled off two more over the first three holes after making the turn to regain the lead. This time, he wouldn’t let go, with three birdies over his final four holes to emphatically seal a four-shot victory.

Kuchar’s final-round 66 put him at 22-under 258 for the tournament, with Putnam finishing at 18 under with a 2-under 68 on Sunday.

“It was not at all what I was looking for,” Kuchar told the Golf Channel about his poor start. “I know that I was playing well, so I tried to stay confident. If I keep plugging along, I knew good things would happen.

“Andrew was tough. He was battling me, took the lead … it was nice to have that pressure, to have come through and to make some birdies coming in. For me, I’ve never had a cushion like this coming down to the last (hole).”

Kuchar, who won the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November, took home the $1.152 million winner’s check with his ninth career PGA Tour victory and is the second multiple-time winner on Tour this season. He also earned 500 FedEx Cup points to take over the No. 2 spot behind Xander Schauffele, who earned his second victory of the season last week.

“I think it might have been Jay-Z that said 40 is the new 20?” Kuchar joked. “I hope that’s the case. I’m awfully pleased with my game. Obviously last year was disappointing, but to win two out of three events is crazy to comprehend.

“It’s such a special thing for me.”

Australia’s Marc Leishman finished in a four-way tie for third place at 17 under with Canada’s Corey Conners and Americans Hudson Swafford and Chez Reavie. Davis Love III, one of four 50-plus-year-old in the field, earned a solo seventh-place finish another shot back.

Defending champion Patton Kizzire tied for 13th at 13 under, while 2017 event champion Justin Thomas earned a share of 16th place another shot off the pace. Thomas posted a 66 on Sunday and has now shot 68 or lower in 12 consecutive rounds at Waialae.

The Tour begins its California Swing with the Desert Classic in La Quinta next week.

–Field Level Media

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Maroon 5 officially announced as SB LIII halftime headliner

Maroon 5 officially announced as SB LIII halftime headliner

Maroon 5 officially announced as SB LIII halftime headliner

Three-time Grammy Award winner Maroon 5 was officially announced as the headliner for the Super Bowl LIII halftime show in Atlanta, the band and CBS Sports announced Sunday.

Rapper and six-time Grammy nominee Travis Scott will perform with the band, and Atlanta native Big Boi was announced as host for the proceedings at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Maroon 5’s role in the halftime show had been speculated for months, but there was no shortage of public outcry for the band to not do the show because of the controversies surrounding Colin Kaepernick and other players who have knelt for the national anthem.

An online petition filed at change.org and titled “Maroon 5: Drop Out of the Super Bowl Halftime Show” has nearly 85,000 signatures as of Sunday night. The page reads in part, “Kaepernick risked his career to take a knee for equality, and the NFL punished him for it. Until the league changes their policy and supports players’ constitutional right to protest, no artists should agree to work with the NFL. Join me in asking Maroon 5 to drop out of the 2019 Super Bowl halftime show.”

Scott also announced that he and the NFL are making a joint $500,000 donation to social justice nonprofit Dream Corps.

“I back anyone who takes a stand for what they believe in,” Scott reportedly said in a statement. “I know being an artist that it’s in my power to inspire. So before confirming the Super Bowl Halftime performance, I made sure to partner with the NFL on this important donation. I am proud to support Dream Corps and the work they do that will hopefully inspire and promote change.”

According to multiple reports, Scott told the NFL he would not perform in the show without the NFL first agreeing to the donation. Nonetheless, there was no shortage of anger and unhappiness on Twitter following the announcement Sunday.

Maroon 5 have sold more than 53 million albums and 48 million singles and set a record for the most No. 1 singles (nine) by a group in the 20-year history of the top-40 chart.

The band’s sixth studio album, “Red Pill Blues,” released in late 2017, features their current hit single “Girls Like You,” which was No. 1 on the charts for seven consecutive weeks. The track has become the longest-running song in the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and according to Nielsen Music, the band recently finished 2018 as the biggest act on U.S. radio.

Scott’s No. 1 single “Sicko Mode” was nominated for a Grammy for best rap performance and best rap song, and his latest album, “Astroworld,” also earned a Grammy nomination for best rap album.

Big Boi is best known as a member of hip-hop duo Outkast, which has sold 25 million albums and won six Grammys. His most-recent album, “Boomiverse,” was released in June 2017.

Last year’s Super Bowl halftime show featured Justin Timberlake in his return after he was part of Janet Jackson’s notorious “wardrobe malfunction” during the 2004 NFL title game.

The list of past Super Bowl halftime performers includes Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Madonna, Lady Gaga, The Who, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, Prince, Paul McCartney, U2, Diana Ross and Michael Jackson.

–Field Level Media

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TE Gates wants to play for Chargers in 2019

TE Gates wants to play for Chargers in 2019

TE Gates wants to play for Chargers in 2019

Last February, Antonio Gates believed he had played his last game for the Los Angeles Chargers, and perhaps in the NFL. Now the 38-year-old wants to be back for a 17th season with the club.

After Gates and the Chargers lost to the Patriots in New England 41-28 in the AFC divisional round on Sunday, the future Hall of Fame tight end talked about his career and told reporters he doesn’t see how it can end now.

“I just don’t see myself walking away with this taste,” Gates said. “And plus this team. I think when you add Hunter (Henry) back, and hopefully we get (defensive back) Jason Verrett back — shoot, the sky’s the limit. And I want to be a part of it.

“But that has to be a collective decision. I can’t just want to come back. So we’ll see how it goes.”

It was Henry’s injury that actually landed Gates on the Chargers’ roster this season. Gates became a free agent following last season and the Chargers — the only team for which Gates has played — told Gates and his representation in February they would not re-sign him. Gates announced he intended to keep playing, but with a different team.

But when Henry suffered a torn ACL in May, the team was hurting in both experience and depth at tight end. At that point, Virgil Green was the only tight end on the roster with an NFL catch. The team signed Gates on Sept. 2, a week before the season began.

Gates finished the season with 28 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 16 regular-season games. He added nine catches for 76 yards in two playoffs games, catching a touchdown with less than a minute left on Sunday — the last touchdown the Chargers scored this season.

“I want to be sure to remind them that I want to come back,” Gates said. “I want to be part of something special, and I think we have that here. But that’s out of my control in the sense where I can only do what I can do. And we’ll see out it goes.”

In 16 seasons, the former Kent State basketball player has 955 receptions for 11,841 yards and 116 touchdowns in the regular season. The receptions and yardage totals are third among tight ends in NFL history, while the touchdowns are a record for the position.

Gates’ 89 regular-season touchdown catches from Philip Rivers are the most by a quarterback-tight end combo in NFL history.

–Field Level Media

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Lattimore’s INT caps Saints’ comeback win over Eagles

Lattimore's INT caps Saints' comeback win over Eagles

Lattimore’s INT caps Saints’ comeback win over Eagles

Overcoming a horrid start and a 14-point first-quarter deficit, Drew Brees threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns and lifted the host New Orleans Saints to a 20-14 NFC divisional playoff victory over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore intercepted a Nick Foles pass — which went through the hands of Alshon Jeffery — at the New Orleans 19-yard line and returned it to the Saints’ 33 with 1:52 remaining, and running back Alvin Kamara ran for 12 yards on third-and-10 in the final minute to kill the clock.

The No. 1-seeded Saints (14-3) trailed 14-0 just 10:23 into the game but scored 20 unanswered points to advance to the NFC Championship Game next Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Rams at the Superdome.

After starting 0 for 3, including an interception on the first play of the game, Brees finished 28 of 38 with scoring passes of 2 yards each to Keith Kirkwood and Michael Thomas. Thomas set Saints’ playoff records with 12 catches and 171 yards receiving.

“Defensively in the second half, we were outstanding,” Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters following the game. “It wasn’t a perfect game. There’s a lot of things we have to clean up. But we got the win against the defending champions, and that means a lot. … We’ve played from behind quite a bit in the regular season, and we’ve been able to come back. … We did a great job of getting off the field on third down.”

The sixth-seeded Eagles (10-8) played valiantly despite a flurry of injuries. Foles completed 18 of 31 passes for 201 yards, but Philadelphia’s offense failed over the final three quarters, amassing just 97 yards after 153 in the first.

New Orleans took its first lead of the game, 17-14, by capitalizing on a withering, 18-play, 92-yard drive that consumed 11:29 of the third quarter and netted the Saints nine first downs. Brees completed 8 of 10 passes for 80 yards on the march, on which the Saints overcame two holding penalties and a false start. One of the holding penalties, on left guard Andrus Peat, nullified a 46-yard scoring pass from Taysom Hill to Kamara.

Brees eventually got the touchdown, finding Thomas in man coverage against Cre’Von LeBlanc for a 2-yard score.

“It impacts you relative to the number of snaps played, most importantly with your defense and their rest and your opponent getting that many snaps (on defense),” Payton said of the drive’s importance. “A lot had to happen for that to take place. Regretfully, those penalties hurt us, but we were able to overcome them.”

Wil Lutz extended the Saints’ lead to 20-14 with a 39-yard field goal with 10:28 left, but it remained a one-possession game.

When Lutz missed a 52-yard field-goal attempt wide right with 2:58 remaining, the Eagles had new life at their own 42. But Jeffery’s drop of Foles’ pass and Lattimore’s interception — his second of the game — sealed Philadelphia’s fate.

“He told me he loved playing with me and we wouldn’t have won a Super Bowl without me,” Jeffrey told the media after the game of what Foles said to him. “Still, I let the city of Philadelphia down.”

Eagles coach Doug Pederson told reporters that prior to the interception he believed his team would capitalize on Lutz’s miss.

“I thought we were on our way, that we got that. It just felt like the momentum at that point was in our favor, ion our hands. It’s been that way all season. I felt like the magic was going to continue.”

The Eagles dominated the first quarter, jumping out to a 14-0 lead and at one point holding a total yardage advantage of 151-0.

However, the Saints got back in the game with 10 consecutive points in the second quarter to trail only 14-10 at halftime.

Foles completed eight of his first nine passes for 113 yards and led Philadelphia to touchdowns on its first two possessions. The first score was set up on the Saints’ first play, when Brees badly underthrew Ted Ginn Jr. on a deep route and LeBlanc intercepted the ball at the Philadelphia 24.

Foles completed all five passes for 65 yards on the ensuing 76-yard scoring drive, including a 37-yard strike to wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who easily beat double coverage for the touchdown.

After New Orleans went three-and-out, Foles directed a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown march, setting up the score with a 30-yard back-shoulder throw to Jeffrey on third-and-7 to the Saints’ 4. Foles got the 14-0 lead by stretching the ball over the goal line from 1 yard out two plays later.

But the Saints finally got rolling in the second quarter, when Brees completed 13 of 16 passes for 171 yards a touchdown. Sean Payton successfully gambled twice on fourth down on the touchdown drive — converting a fourth-and-1 on a fake-punt run by Hill at the Saints’ 30 and then converting the touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 2 with Brees’ soft pass in the left corner of the end zone to Kirkwood.

Lutz brought the Saints within 14-10 with a 45-yard field just before intermission. The drive started at the New Orleans 6 with 78 seconds remaining in the half.

The loss will also bring Foles’ future with the Eagles into question in the coming days and into the offseason. The Super Bowl MVP from last season may become a free agent in the spring and starting quarterback Carson Wentz’s health issues will leave the Eagles with a huge decision regarding Foles.

“I just told him I appreciated everything he’s done,” Pederson said of what he told Foles. “For him to come in and step in the way he has, I told him I loved him, and we’ll probably visit in the next few days.”

The NFC Championship Game is scheduled to kick off at 3:05 p.m. ET next Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Report: Dolphins ponder rebuild, eye 2020 QB class

Report: Dolphins ponder rebuild, eye 2020 QB class

Report: Dolphins ponder rebuild, eye 2020 QB class

The Miami Dolphins are pondering a full-scale rebuild that could mean fewer wins in the 2019 season but a shot at one of the top quarterbacks in the 2020 draft, ESPN reported Sunday.

Per the report, the Dolphins know their roster is far from where they want it to be, and they “recognize that losing likely will be a part of next season,” as they look to improve the offensive and defensive lines.

A poor 2019 season could put Miami in position to draft highly regarded quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama or Justin Herbert of Oregon. Herbert could have declared for the 2019 draft but decided to return to school, while Tagovailoa won’t be eligible to declare until the 2020 draft.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was candid about the possibility of a rebuild during his season-ending press conference, after firing head coach Adam Gase.

“We’ve been operating under a philosophy that we had a good young roster, and it needed maybe free agents and draft choices and we’d be very competitive,” Ross said. “To keep operating under that philosophy would be like the definition of insanity: doing the same thing and really expecting a different result.

“…Basically, the thought is we’re going to look to really build this organization based on our needs, and if it takes a year or so — two years, three years — we’re going to be there and we’re going to be an organization.”

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill — who has missed 24 games over the last three seasons due to injury — is reportedly not in the team’s long-term plans, but it’s unclear if the Dolphins intend to move on this offseason. General manager Chris Grier was noncommittal at his season-ending press conference about Tannehill’s status.

“Yeah, as of right now, he’s on the roster,” Grier replied when asked if Tannehill would be back in 2019. “Again, the next head coach is going to come in and he’ll evaluate the roster as well. So we’ll work through that once that guy is hired.”

If not for a restructure of Tannehill’s contract last March, Miami would be able to release him with no cap implications, but it would now incur a dead-money hit of $13.4 million by releasing him. Still, that would represent a savings of $13.2 million from his $26.2 million cap number for 2019. The Dolphins could spread that dead-money hit out over two seasons (about $7.9 million in 2019 and $6.6 million in 2020) by releasing Tannehill with a June 1 designation.

Miami is expected to hire New England Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores once the Patriots’ season is over.

Most teams give new head coaches four-year contracts with a fifth-year team option, but the San Francisco 49ers — entering a full-scale rebuild of their own — gave Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch six-year deals two offseasons ago.

The Dolphins have gone 13-19 over the last two seasons after reaching the playoffs with a 10-6 record in 2016.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs G Allen rewards good Samaritan with tickets

Chiefs G Allen rewards good Samaritan with tickets

Chiefs G Allen rewards good Samaritan with tickets

A Kansas City Chiefs fan named David Cochran is going to the AFC Championship Game next Sunday for doing a good deed.

A snowstorm bombarded the Kansas City area on Saturday, and the vehicle of Chiefs guard Jeff Allen got stuck in approximately eight inches of snow as he was trying to make it to Arrowhead Stadium for his team’s playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Allen encountered a man, who identified himself simply as Dave, who helped get him his car out. He asked for Dave’s phone number and was entering it into his phone when his phone rang and he lost the number.

So late Saturday night, Allen began a social-media search for Dave. He put out the word on his Twitter account and said he wanted to give the helpful man tickets to the AFC title game.

“My car got stuck in the snow before the game & a nice guy named Dave help pull me out without knowing I was a player,” Allen wrote. “I want to give him tickets to the AFC championship game for helping but don’t have a way to contact him. He drove a 97 or 98 Black Suburban. Pls RT #ChiefsKingdom”

Allen had to sift through numerous impostors claiming to be the man before finally being contacted by the correct “Dave” on Twitter.

“Update: Despite the recent influx in people changing their name to Dave in the KC area lol, I was actually able to track down the Dave that helped me thanks to the power of social media and #ChiefsKindgom,” Allen wrote. “Thanks for your kindness”

The Kansas City Star met up with Cochran in the parking lot at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday and confirmed his identity. NBC affiliate KSHB-TV reported that Cochran is homeless and living in the truck with his girlfriend and his dog.

In a video interview, Cochran did say of his vehicle, “It’s my home.”

As for his reaction when hearing about the reward from Allen?

“I seen the message this morning,” Cochran said in a video interview. “Call me soft if you want to home boys, but I started bawling, I started bawling.

“Just to know he is a man of his word and reached out to contact me. It is like a dream come true.”

The Chiefs will host the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game next Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET.

–Field Level Media

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Saints’ Rankins, Eagles’ Cox, Brooks hurt

Saints' Rankins, Eagles' Cox, Brooks hurt

Saints’ Rankins, Eagles’ Cox, Brooks hurt

Both teams were hit hard with injuries during the first half of Sunday’s divisional playoff game in New Orleans, starting with Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and Philadelphia Eagles guard Brandon Brooks getting carted off minutes apart.

NFL Network reports Rankins — who the Saints ruled out before halftime — is believed to have torn his Achilles, putting him out for several months.

A separate NFL Network report states Brooks’ season is likely over with a serious lower-leg injury.

Meanwhile, Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox hurt his foot early in the second quarter while trying to stop a Saints fake punt that converted a fourth-and-1. The team deemed him questionable to return, and he came back for the final few plays before halftime.

Philadelphia also saw defensive ends Brandon Graham and Michael Bennett and cornerback Rasul Douglas leave during the second quarter, though Graham and Bennett each returned. Douglas was ruled questionable with an ankle injury.

Cox was named first-team All-Pro this season, while Brooks was named to his second straight Pro Bowl.

Rankins posted a career high with eight sacks in the regular season.

–Field Level Media

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Report: NFL owners prepare for work stoppage in 2021

Report: NFL owners prepare for work stoppage in 2021

Lost in the headlines

Report: NFL owners prepare for work stoppage in 2021

Lost in the headlines of the names and ages of the people NFL teams are hiring to fill head-coaching vacancies is some of the language common in the contracts they sign.

Specifically, language reportedly foreshadowing a possible work stoppage in 2021.

According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Sunday, the head-coaching contracts negotiated in the last week contain wording that show “teams are addressing how much each coach would make — or lose — in the event of a work stoppage.”

Teams are using different percentages based on the amount of game time that could be missed in 2021 to determine how much money they would save in coaching salary should there be a work stoppage, according to the report.

Schefter added that “both teams and coaches are confident that there will be some type of disruption,” and that similar language is expected to appear in contracts for upcoming free agents.

The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in what would be the third year of those new contracts.

Shortly after Schefter tweeted the news on Sunday, the official Twitter feed of the NFL Players’ Association tweeted back, “These contract provisions were also seen in the lead up to the 2011 lockout. Take note.”

After the owners and players were unable to come to an agreement before the last CBA expired in March 2011, the owners locked the players out as negotiations continued. That impasse lasted 132 days, coming to an end on July 25 with the Hall of Fame Game being the only on-field cancellation caused by the lockout.

–Field Level Media

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Reports: Browns hire Monken, Wilks as coordinators

Reports: Browns hire Monken, Wilks as coordinators

The Cleveland Browns will fill their coordinator openings

Reports: Browns hire Monken, Wilks as coordinators

The Cleveland Browns will fill their coordinator openings with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coordinator Todd Monken on offense and former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks on defense, according to multiple reports Sunday.

New head coach Freddie Kitchens is expected to call plays and run his own offense for the Browns, but Monken will provide extra experience, as Kitchens had not been an NFL coordinator prior to 2018’s midseason promotion.

Monken, who turns 53 in February, was a candidate for head-coaching openings with the Green Bay Packers, Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets and also drew interest as a coordinator from several other teams, including Jacksonville and Detroit.

He took over playcalling from Dirk Koetter in Tampa Bay this season, his third as offensive coordinator, and helped the Bucs’ offense finish third in yards and 12th in points. The Bucs did not bring Monken back after hiring new head coach Bruce Arians, whose offensive coordinator will be Byron Leftwich.

Wilks, 49, was fired less than a calendar year after taking over the Cardinals, who finished with the NFL’s worst record this season at 3-13, a job he had gotten after shining as a coordinator with the Carolina Panthers.

Arizona’s defense ranked 20th in yards and 26th in scoring, but Wilks helped Carolina finish seventh and 11th, respectively, in 2017, his only previous experience as an NFL coordinator. Wilks was a defensive backs coach for four teams from 2005 through 2016 before taking over as coordinator in Carolina.

He is replacing Gregg Williams, who served as interim head coach for the second half of 2018 but was let go when Kitchens was promoted to head coach last week.

Per Cleveland.com, both coordinator hirings are expected to be announced Monday. Kitchens will also be officially introduced as head coach on Monday.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Futures of Gronkowski, Gates uncertain

NFL notebook: Futures of Gronkowski, Gates uncertain

He may be

NFL notebook: Futures of Gronkowski, Gates uncertain

He may be focused on the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game next weekend, but New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to contemplate retirement again once the offseason arrives, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported.

Gronkowski, 29, told reporters last month he is not thinking about retirement after first broaching the subject following last season’s Super Bowl. Rapoport said those close to him think he’ll seriously consider it again, however. Last offseason, Gronkowski was the subject of numerous trade rumors and skipped OTAs before reporting to Patriots training camp and restructuring his contract.

The oft-injured Gronkowski has struggled to stay on the field this season, catching 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games as he has battled back and ankle injuries.

–Following Sunday’s loss to the Patriots, Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates said that he wants to be back for a 17th season with the club.

The Chargers signed Gates shortly before the season began after tight end Hunter Henry suffered a torn ACL in May. Gates finished the season with 28 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns while playing in all 16 regular-season games. The former Kent State basketball player has 955 receptions for 11,841 yards and 116 touchdowns in the regular season. The receptions and yardage totals are third among tight ends in NFL history, while the touchdowns are a record for the position.

–New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins and Philadelphia Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks each tore their Achilles tendon just minutes apart during the Saints’ 20-14 win in their divisional playoff game in New Orleans.

Multiple outlets reported the Saints — who ruled Rankins out before halftime — believe Rankins tore his Achilles, though an MRI on Monday will confirm the injury. Brooks, whom the Eagles officially ruled out after halftime, announced his diagnosis after the game on Twitter, thanking fans for well wishes and saying he looks forward to “attacking rehab like it’s a game.”

–Oft-injured veteran linebacker Sean Lee said after the Dallas Cowboys’ season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night that he will ponder whether he will play another season.

Lee, 32, has been with the Cowboys since the team selected him in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He missed the 2014 season with a torn ACL, played in only 18 games in the last two seasons combined, and never has played a 16-game season.

–According to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the head-coaching contracts negotiated in the last week contain wording that show “teams are addressing how much each coach would make — or lose — in the event of a work stoppage” in 2021.

Schefter added that “both teams and coaches are confident that there will be some type of disruption,” and that similar language is expected to appear in contracts for upcoming free agents. The current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in what would be the third year of those new contracts.

–The Miami Dolphins “recognize that losing likely will be a part of next season” and are pondering a full-scale rebuild that could mean fewer wins in the 2019 season but a shot at one of the top quarterbacks in the 2020 draft, ESPN reported.

A poor 2019 season could put Miami in position to draft highly regarded quarterbacks Tua Tagovailoa of Alabama or Justin Herbert of Oregon. Current starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill — who has missed 24 games over the last three seasons due to injury — is reportedly not in the team’s long-term plans, but it’s unclear if the Dolphins intend to move on this offseason.

–The Cleveland Browns will fill their coordinator openings with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coordinator Todd Monken on offense and former Arizona Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks on defense, according to multiple reports.

Wilks, 49, was fired less than a calendar year after taking over the Cardinals, who finished with the NFL’s worst record this season at 3-13.

–Three-time Grammy Award winner Maroon 5 was officially announced as the headliner for the Super Bowl LIII halftime show in Atlanta, the band and CBS Sports announced. Rapper and six-time Grammy nominee Travis Scott, along with Atlanta native Big Boi, will also take part in the proceedings at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Maroon 5’s role in the halftime show had been speculated for months, but there was no shortage of public outcry for the band to not do the show because of the controversies surrounding Colin Kaepernick and other players who have knelt for the national anthem. Scott announced that he and the NFL are making a joint $500,000 donation to social justice nonprofit Dream Corps.

–Field Level Media

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Patriots hammer Chargers, make 8th straight AFC title game

Patriots hammer Chargers, make 8th straight AFC title game

Patriots hammer Chargers, make 8th straight AFC title game

Scoring touchdowns on their first four possessions Sunday, the New England Patriots established a 35-7 halftime lead and cruised to a 41-28 win over the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC divisional round game at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

The result sends New England (12-5) to Kansas City next Sunday to play for the conference title and a trip to the Super Bowl on Feb. 3. The game is scheduled to kick off at 6:40 p.m. ET. The win also gives the Patriots a perfect 9-0 home record this season and puts them in the conference championship game for eighth consecutive season, an NFL record.

Los Angeles finished its season with a 13-5 record and its first playoff win since January 2014.

But on this day, the Chargers couldn’t come close to replicating last week’s wild-card round victory in Baltimore. The Patriots carved up Los Angeles’ defense for drives of 83, 67, 58 and 87 yards to start their day, then cashed in a fumbled punt return for a fifth touchdown just before halftime.

Every aspect of New England’s offense did its job. Tom Brady completed 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards and a 15-yard scoring strike to Phillip Dorsett with 12:17 left in the second quarter. Rookie running back Sony Michel pounded out 129 yards on 24 carries, reaching the end zone on runs of 1, 14 and 5 yards.

Brady made liberal use of running back James White and wide receiver Julian Edelman — White caught 15 passes for 97 yards and Edelman added nine catches for 151 yards, a franchise-record fifth 100-yard game in the playoffs.

Defensively, the Patriots made the Chargers one-dimensional with their first half explosion. Running back Melvin Gordon managed only nine carries for 15 yards and a third-quarter touchdown, forcing Philip Rivers to carry the load.

Operating under duress all day, Rivers completed only 25 of 51 passes for 331 yards and three scores with an interception. New England recorded only two sacks, but hurried and harassed the quarterback all day.

The AFC title game will be a rematch of a wild Week 6 game in Foxboro that the Patriots won 43-40 on a 28-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski as time expired.

–Field Level Media

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Former Dolphins OL Keuchenberg dies at 71

Former Dolphins OL Keuchenberg dies at 71

Bob Keuchenberg, a member of the Miami Dolphins perfect 17-0 team in 1972, died on Saturday at the age of 71.

Keuchenberg was a six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman in his 14 seasons with the Dolphins, also helping the Dolphins win the Super

Former Dolphins OL Keuchenberg dies at 71

Bob Keuchenberg, a member of the Miami Dolphins perfect 17-0 team in 1972, died on Saturday at the age of 71.

Keuchenberg was a six-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman in his 14 seasons with the Dolphins, also helping the Dolphins win the Super Bowl in 1973.

A fourth-round pick by the Philadelphia Eagles out of Notre Dame in 1969, Keuchenberg instead signed with the Dolphins as a free agent the following season and went on to play in 196 games, all with Miami.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Bob Kuechenberg,” the Dolphins tweeted early Sunday.

His former coach, Don Shula, also released a statement calling for Keuchenberg to be honored in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I’ve coached a lot of Hall of Fame players, including a number of offensive linemen, and Kooch was as good as any of them,” Shula’s statement reads. “I hope one day he gets that ultimate recognition by being enshrined in Canton – it’s an honor long overdue and one he certainly deserves.”

–Field Level Media

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Report: Gronkowski to consider retirement after season

Report: Gronkowski to consider retirement after season

New England Patriots

Report: Gronkowski to consider retirement after season

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is expected to contemplate retirement again this offseason, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Gronkowski, 29, told reporters last month he is not thinking about retirement after first broaching the subject following last season’s Super Bowl. Rapoport said those close to him think he’ll seriously consider it again, however.

Following New England’s Super Bowl LII loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, Gronkowski would not commit to playing the 2018 season. The ensuing offseason was tumultuous for Gronkowski, who was the subject of numerous trade rumors and skipped OTAs.

Gronkowski reported to Patriots training camp, and the team restructured his contract to boost his potential 2018 earnings by $4.3 million. The star tight end is under contract at a base salary of $9 million in 2019, then will become a free agent.

The oft-injured Gronkowski has struggled to stay on the field yet again this season, catching 47 passes for 682 yards and three touchdowns in 13 games. He has battled back and ankle injuries.

The Patriots face the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC divisional-round playoff game on Sunday.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys, LB Lee have decisions to make

Cowboys, LB Lee have decisions to make

Cowboys, LB Lee have decisions to make

Oft-injured veteran linebacker Sean Lee said after the Dallas Cowboys’ season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday night that he will ponder whether he will play another season.

“We will see. I am going to take some time and think about it,” Lee told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Obviously, staying healthy is something I need to do if I want to keep playing. But I do love playing the game. I love the organization. We have to figure out the future.

“There is a decision. I need to talk to my family. And see what the deal is Cowboys wise. We have to figure things out.”

The Cowboys also have some thinking to do.

Lee is owed a $7 million base salary and would represent a $10 million cap hit in 2019. The Cowboys would reclaim $7 million in cap space if they release Lee, according to NBC Sports.

Lee, 32, has been with the Cowboys since the team selected him the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He missed the 2014 season with a torn ACL and never has played a 16-game season.

In the 2018 regular season, he played in seven games (five starts), a hamstring injury limiting him throughout the season. He made just 30 tackles, down from 101 in 11 games in 2017.

In Lee’s absence, rookie first-round selection Leighton Vander Esch made a name for himself. In 16 games (11 starts), he made 140 tackles and intercepted two passes.

–Field Level Media

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Kuchar shoots bogey-free 66 to hold Sony Open lead

Kuchar shoots bogey-free 66 to hold Sony Open lead

Kuchar shoots bogey-free 66 to hold Sony Open lead

Matt Kuchar shot a bogey-free 6-under-par 66 to extend his lead in the Sony Open on Saturday at Waialae Country Club in Honolulu.

He’ll go into Sunday’s final round at 18-under 192 with a two-shot edge on Andrew Putnam, whose strong start allowed him to tie for the lead early in the third round.

The 40-year-old Kuchar was 3-under on the front side and regained the solo top spot.

Kuchar ended the round with six consecutive pars. Putnam birdied No. 18.

Kuchar will aim for his second championship in about two months after winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic in November in Mexico. He tied for 19th place last week in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

Kuchar opened with consecutive rounds of 63 this week. He excelled with the irons again Saturday, leaving himself birdie putts of reasonable length.

Putnam pulled even with Kuchar with three birdies in the first five holes. He had a shot for another birdie on No. 6, but his chip from the fringe sat just outside the cup. That would have made for birdies on three consecutive holes.

Keith Mitchell and Chez Reavie share third place at 14-under.

Mitchell played a bogey-free round of 63, including four straight birdies on Nos. 7-10.

Reavie (66), who had three eagles Friday, was 5-under through nine holes of Saturday’s round. Then he went through a 3-over stretch from Nos. 11-13 and regrouped for two birdies the rest of the way.

Bryson DeChambeau made a move with 63, tying his best score on the PGA Tour. He opened the round with birdies on each of the first three holes.

He’s among a cluster of golfers at 11-under.

Corey Conners, Davis Love III, Charles Howell III, Dominic Bozzelli and Brian Stuard will all begin the final round tied at 11 under. They all checked in with 64s.

Hudson Swafford (67), Ted Potter Jr. (68) and Marc Leishman (68) are also in the bunch at 11-under.

–Field Level Media

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Anderson, Gurley run Rams past Cowboys, into NFC title game

Anderson, Gurley run Rams past Cowboys, into NFC title game

Anderson, Gurley run Rams past Cowboys, into NFC title game

C.J. Anderson rushed for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and Todd Gurley added 115 yards and a score as the Los Angeles Rams ran their way into the NFC Championship game with a 30-22 victory Saturday over the visiting Dallas Cowboys.

Quarterback Jared Goff was 15-of-28 passing for 186 yards as the Rams moved one victory from the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since 2001, when they lost to the New England Patriots.

The Rams will face the winner of Sunday’s Philadelphia Eagles-New Orleans Saints matchup in next weekend’s NFC title game.

“It was incredible what they did today,” Goff said of the Rams’ running backs. “We know this (Cowboys) defense, and we prepared for it well all week. What Todd and C.J. did … Todd started it and C.J. finished it off.”

Dak Prescott was 20 of 32 for 266 yards and one touchdown passing while also rushing for a score as the Cowboys lost their eighth consecutive road playoff game.

The Rams totaled 273 yards on the ground, a franchise record for a playoff game. It was the most rushing yards the Cowboys’ defense has given up in a game this season. Dallas entered with the fifth-best rushing defense in the NFL, allowing 94.6 yards per game.

“We just didn’t do a good enough job of controlling the line of scrimmage, winning our gaps and tackling,” Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said. “They were able to run consistently throughout the game. They controlled the pace and tempo of the game really because of that.”

Anderson, who was signed late in the season and played in just two regular-season games, scored on a 1-yard TD run to give the Rams a 13-7 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half.

Gurley, who was playing in his first game since Dec. 16 against Philadelphia because of knee soreness, added a 35-yard TD run with 3:27 remaining in the opening half to give the Rams a 20-7 lead.

After a third-quarter field goal from the Rams’ Greg Zuerlein, the Cowboys cut the deficit to 23-15 on a 1-yard TD run from Ezekiel Elliott and a 2-point conversion catch from Amari Cooper.

The Cowboys started a potential game-tying drive late in the third quarter, but Elliott was stopped on fourth down from the Rams’ 35-yard line on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Rams promptly went on a 12-play, 65-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard TD run from Anderson to take a 30-15 lead with 7:16 remaining. Prescott added the Cowboys’ final TD on a 1-yard run with 2:11 remaining.

Elliott was held to 47 yards on 20 rushes for the Cowboys.

“Even when we were in three-receiver sets they were in base, so they were committed to stopping our running game,” Garrett said. “If they’re committed to taking one thing away you have to be able to beat them in the other area, and at times we did a good job of that tonight.”

At 32, the Rams’ Sean McVay became the youngest head coach to win a playoff game, ahead of John Madden, who was 33 when he won his first playoff game with the Oakland Raiders.

–Field Level Media

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NFL notebook: Fitzgerald pondering Cardinals return

NFL notebook: Fitzgerald pondering Cardinals return

Arizona Cardinals wide

NFL notebook: Fitzgerald pondering Cardinals return

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said he is undecided if he will retire or play in 2019, which would be his 16th season in the NFL.

He told ESPN’s Adam Schefter he intends to take some time to mull the decision.

Fitzgerald committed to playing the 2018 season last February, but it turned out to be a tough year in Arizona. The Cardinals finished the season with an NFL-worst 3-13 record, and head coach Steve Wilks was fired.

New head coach Kliff Kingsbury said last week he hopes Fitzgerald will return. In 2018, the 35-year-old appeared in all 16 games and caught 69 passes for 734 yards and six touchdowns.

–The Cleveland Browns officially named Freddie Kitchens as the team’s new head coach on Saturday.

Kitchens, 44, becomes the 17th full-time head coach in franchise history. He replaces Hue Jackson, who was fired in October after compiling a 3-36-1 record in two-plus seasons.

After parting ways with Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley in October, the Browns promoted Kitchens from running backs coach to offensive coordinator and named defensive coordinator Gregg Williams as interim head coach. Williams has been relieved of his duties and is no longer with the team.

–Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, whose job security was in question when the team was 3-5 at midseason, now is expected to receive a long-term contract extension, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

Garrett’s current contract runs through 2019, but his work leading the Cowboys to a 10-6 finish apparently has owner Jerry Jones ready to commit to him beyond then. Garrett is in his ninth season and is 77-59 since taking over in Dallas midway through the 2010 season.

Jones gave Garrett a vote of confidence amid the team’s midseason struggles and teased a potential extension earlier this week during an interview on 105.3 The Fan.

–Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley and tight end Blake Jarwin were both active for the team’s divisional playoff game at the Los Angeles Rams.

Both players missed practice all week due to ankle injuries, but both were expected to give it a go during pregame warmups, and both received the go-ahead to play. Beasley aggravated his ankle issue last week but played through it as the Cowboys beat the Seattle Seahawks.

Defensive tackle Maliek Collins and guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, who were also questionable with ankle injuries, were also active. Safety Darian Thompson (groin) was inactive for Dallas after being listed as questionable, and the Rams were fully healthy.

–The Denver Broncos are expected to be one of several teams interested in trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown this offseason, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports.

The report adds that there have been no moves toward reconciliation with the team on Brown’s part, and the Steelers may actively seek a trade rather than merely listening to offers.

–New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians is making a concerted effort to keep wide receiver DeSean Jackson on the team, NFL Network reports.

Per the report, Arians intends to “re-recruit” Jackson and “convince him he can be a big part of the offense,” after the wideout reportedly soured on his fit with the Bucs in 2018.

ESPN reported before the season finale that Jackson told the team he wants out of his contract so he can play elsewhere in 2019. Jackson, 32, remains under contract for $10 million in 2019 — the last year of his deal — but he has no guaranteed money remaining.

–The Jacksonville Jaguars are interested in Denver Broncos coach/personnel man Gary Kubiak for their offensive coordinator vacancy, according to an ESPN report.

Kubiak, who is currently under contract in Denver’s personnel department, was expected to become the Broncos’ offensive coordinator under new head coach Vic Fangio, but those plans changed due to philosophical differences.

–Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry (heel) and running back Spencer Ware (hamstring) were both inactive for the team’s AFC divisional playoff game against the visiting Indianapolis Colts.

However, Chiefs wideout Sammy Watkins (foot) was active for the first time since Week 11.

–For all the grief Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey received for missing what would have been a winning 43-yard field goal in the playoffs last week, many others in the Windy City might express some sympathy after knowing what it feels like.

Among the 101 contestants who tried the kick from the same yardage in tough, wintery conditions in Chicago, not one put it through the uprights in what was called the Cody Parkey challenge.

–Field Level Media

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No winning kickers in Chicago’s Cody Parkey challenge

No winning kickers in Chicago’s Cody Parkey challenge

No winning kickers in Chicago’s Cody Parkey challenge

For all the grief Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey received for missing what would have been a winning 43-yard field goal in the playoffs last week, many others in the Windy City might express some sympathy after knowing what it feels like.

Among the 101 contestants who tried the kick from the same yardage in tough, wintery conditions in Chicago on Saturday, not one put it through the uprights in what was called the Cody Parkey challenge. And none faced a rush trying to block their attempts — Eagles defensive tackle Treyvon Hester nicked Parkey’s kick last week.

Chicago brewery Goose Island Beer Co. put on the contest outside its taproom at 1800 W. Fulton St. less than a week after the Bears lost to the Philadelphia Eagles 16-15 in the NFL wild-card game last Sunday.

“It became much bigger than we ever thought it would,” said Zac Connelly, an employee who came up with the idea. “The last couple days have been crazy.”

Patrons 21 or older were given one chance to kick a 43-yard field goal. A successful kick would have led to a shot to be the grand-prize winner by hitting a 65-yard field goal, thereby breaking the NFL record set by Matt Prater, who made a 64-yarder for the Denver Broncos on Dec. 8, 2013.

Two first-place finishers also would have received two tickets to any 2019 regular-season game of their choosing, plus round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for two consecutive nights.

The incredible response forced the brewery initially to limit the number of entrants, then the policy was changed when only 101 decided to compete in the snowy, cold, windy weather.

Kicking contestant Phil Cozzi of Elmhurst, Ill., said, “It’s way different, everyone’s slipping all over the place.”

He was comforted by the fact that the only Eagles fan wiped out during his attempt.

“OK, good,” Cozzi said.

Without a grand prize to award, the brewery is donating $20,000 to the Lurie Children’s Hospital, the charity chosen by Parkey.

–Field Level Media

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Cowboys WR Beasley, TE Jarwin active

Cowboys WR Beasley, TE Jarwin active

Cowboys WR Beasley, TE Jarwin active

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley and tight end Blake Jarwin are both active for Saturday’s divisional playoff game at the Los Angeles Rams.

Both players missed practice all week due to ankle injuries, but both were expected to give it a go during pregame warmups, and both received the go-ahead to play. Beasley aggravated his ankle issue last week but played through it as the Cowboys beat the Seattle Seahawks.

Defensive tackle Maliek Collins and guard Xavier Su’a-Filo, who were also questionable with ankle injuries, are also active. Su’a-Filo will serve as a backup behind rookie Connor Williams, who will start at left guard after taking first-team reps all week.

Safety Darian Thompson (groin) is inactive for Dallas after being listed as questionable.

The Rams are fully healthy, as their only player listed as questionable — defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks — is active.

–Field Level Media

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Chiefs, Mahomes control Colts, advance to AFC title game

Chiefs, Mahomes control Colts, advance to AFC title game

Chiefs, Mahomes control Colts, advance to AFC title game

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for 278 yards and ran for a score Saturday as the Chiefs ended a six-game home losing streak in the postseason by stomping the Indianapolis Colts 31-13 at snowy Kansas City, Mo.

The AFC playoff victory was the first in a quarter-century for the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium after they advanced as the No. 1 seed for the first time since 1997.

More than a half-foot of snow socked Kansas City before kickoff. Light snow also fell during the game.

Kansas City will play for the AFC championship next Sunday against the winner of Sunday’s playoff game between the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers.

Running back Damien Williams had career bests with 25 carries for 129 rushing yards. He scored one touchdown.

Tight end Travis Kelce led the Chiefs with 108 receiving yards on seven catches, while wideout Tyreek Hill added eight catches for 72 yards and a rushing TD. Mahomes went 27-for-41 passing and didn’t throw an interception.

Kansas City linebacker Justin Houston had two sacks and recovered a fumble off a strip by Dee Ford.

The turnover thwarted a huge opportunity for the Colts after they took over at the Chiefs 20-yard line late in the third quarter on a fumble that was forced and recovered by linebacker Darius Leonard.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck could never get into a rhythm, passing for 203 yards while going 19-for-36. The Colts, who had won 10 of their previous 11 games, including five straight, were dogged by 10 penalties for 70 yards.

Kansas City dominated the first half, generating 18 first downs before Indianapolis moved the chains for the first time during a two-minute drill to end the half.

The Colts stormed downfield on that march but kicker Adam Vinatieri, playing in his 32nd postseason game, missed a 23-yard field goal attempt off the left upright as time expired. Vinatieri also missed a PAT attempt.

The 24-7 lead the Chiefs took into the break was achieved with 195 yards passing from Mahomes, who also rushed for a 4-yard TD with 1:40 left. Williams scored on a 10-yard rush and wide receiver Tyreek Hill on a 36-yard reverse to cap the first two Kansas City drives.

Indianapolis went three-and-out on each of its first four possessions.

Najee Goode broke through to block a punt that teammate Zach Pascal recovered in the end zone with 5:56 left for the Colts’ only first-half score.

–Field Level Media

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