NY Yankees 12 Toronto 6

Boston 3 LA Angels 0

Detroit 10 Kansas City 8

Cleveland 7 Minnesota 5

Chicago Cubs 12 Cincinnati 5

Miami 9 Atlanta 2

San Francisco 5 Philadelphia 0

San Diego 9 Colorado 3




Norfolk 3 Indianapolis 2

Indianapolis 3 Norfolk 2

South Bend 8 Lansing 4

Fort Wayne 6 Dayton 2



Buffalo 24 Indianapolis 16

NY Giants 31 NY Jets 22

Baltimore 29 Jacksonville 0

Cleveland 30 Washington 10

New England 31 Detroit 3

Miami 34 Atlanta 27

Tennessee 27 Philadelphia 10

Carolina 23 Chicago 13

Green Bay 28 Houston 26

Arizona 17 LA Chargers 13

Seattle 22 Denver 14




New York City FC 3 Houston 2




Washington 91 Indiana 78

Los Angeles 84 Phoenix 74

Seattle 69 Dallas 57




Pos Name Score Thru
1 T. Merritt -9 18
2 D. Johnson -8 18
3t K. Kisner -7 18
3t J. Rahm -7 18
5t T. Finau -6 18
5t R. McIlroy -6 18
5t J. Rose -6 18
5t W. Simpson -6 18
9t C. Conners -5 18
9t C. Hadley -5 18




Ladies Scottish (LPGA)
Pos Name Score Thru
1t M. Lee -8 18
1t J. Park -8 18
1t A. van Dam -8 18
4 M. Jutanugarn -7 18
5t C. Choi -6 18
5t C. Hedwall -6 18
5t S. Oh -6 18
8t M. Hur -5 18
8t H. Kim -5 18
8t S. Kim -5 18




Rizzo celebrates, Cubs beat Reds 12-5 for biggest lead

Anthony Rizzo’s 30th birthday celebration had a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy.

Rizzo had a pair of hits on his big day, Nicholas Castellanos added to his Chicago surge with a pair of homers and the Cubs beat the Cincinnati Reds 12-5 on Thursday night for their biggest NL Central lead of the season.

The Cubs’ sixth win in seven games gave them a 3 1/2-game margin over the idle Brewers and a sense that things are heading in the right direction.

“That’s the way we’re supposed to look – the energy before the game, the dugout was alive,” manager Joe Maddon said. “There were a few more smiles and a refreshing kind of attitude. That’s what you have to be.”

They all got in on the fun. Javier Baez unveiled his left-handed swing in the ninth as Kyle Farmer mopped up for the Reds. The Cubs finished with a season-high 19 hits and their first back-to-back games with at least 10 runs since April.

“With the guys we have off the bench now, it’s a deep lineup and that’s what it takes to go far,” starter Cole Hamels said.

Rizzo was greeted in the visiting clubhouse by a banner featuring pictures of him as a youth. A few Cubs fans sang “Happy Birthday” before his first at-bat, and he answered with an RBI double off left-hander Alex Wood.

Castellanos had a pair of solo homers among his three hits, the latter breaking a 5-5 tie off Kevin Gausman (3-8) in the fourth inning. He’s hit safely in all eight games since the Cubs got him from Detroit.

Ian Happ drove in four runs with a single and a two-run homer, his second straight games with four RBIs.



Urshela HRs twice, streaking Yanks outslug Bichette, Jays

Blue Jays rookie Bo Bichette had fitting competition during a record-setting first game in Toronto – a Yankees lineup led by a player plenty familiar with Rogers Centre.

Gio Urshela hit two home runs for the second straight game and New York outslugged Bichette and the Blue Jays 12-6 Thursday night to extend its winning streak to a season-best nine games.

The Yankees have hit a record 19 homers over their last four games, including at least five in each win during a three-game sweep at Baltimore this week. Urshela hit two-run homers in the first and third innings, his 15th and 16th of the season, and outfielder Mike Tauchman also had a two-run shot during New York’s six-run third.

Urshela’s homer barrage comes almost exactly a year after the Yankees purchased him from the Blue Jays.

“They’ve been impact players for us,” manager Aaron Boone said of Urshela and Tauchman. “They do it on both sides of the ball.”

Playing at home for the first time, Bichette became the first player in major league history to double in nine consecutive games. He also homered, giving him an unprecedented 13 extra-base hits in his first 11 career games. Bichette is the first rookie to have an extra-base hit in nine straight games since Ted Williams in 1939, according to STATS.

“When I hit the homer, that was the first chills moment I’ve had in the big leagues so far,” Bichette said.

Bichette’s 11 game-hitting streak to start his career is the longest ever by a Blue Jays player.

“We’re watching history,” manager Charlie Montoyo said.

The Yankees have homered in 12 consecutive games, hitting two or more in a season-high seven straight. New York is an AL-best 51-7 when hitting two or more homers this season.



Indians hold on to take series opener from Twins, 7-5

Trying to ice his arm and knee in the clubhouse after his night was done, Mike Clevinger screamed at the television after each up and down for Cleveland just like a fan watching the tense finish at home.

The scene in Minnesota was befitting of the postseason, intensifying an AL Central race that’s just heating up.

Clevinger allowed only three hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings, Jose Ramirez drove in three runs, and the Indians struck first in this four-game series between the division front-runners with a 7-5 victory on Thursday that cut the Twins’ division lead to one game.

“It’s way more fun to go through this versus feeling like it’s spring training where you’re getting ready for something bigger,” Clevinger said. “This is what it’s going to be like in October. The games are going to be just like this.”

Indians closer Brad Hand ended the game by retiring Eddie Rosario on a routine flyout with the bases loaded, recording his 29th save in dramatic fashion after facing the last four batters of a three-run eighth by the Twins.

“This team is fighting all the time, fighting all game, every pitcher and every at-bat,” said Rosario, who went 0 for 5 with one RBI.

Minnesota has been in sole possession of first place since April 27, a lead that was 11 1/2 games on June 3 and was still 7 1/2 games on July 13. The Indians are 40-16 since June 4, the best record in baseball in that span.



Sale fans 13 in two-hitter, Red Sox beat Angels 3-0

Red Sox ace Chris Sale and assistant pitching coach Brian Bannister logged long hours in the video room after Sale was lit up twice by the rival Yankees recently.

With a few tweaks, the lanky left-hander was picture perfect Thursday night.

Sale righted himself and struck out 13 over eight innings of two-hit ball to lift Boston over the Los Angeles Angels 3-0. He had allowed 14 runs over nine innings during his previous two starts, both against New York, but he bounced back with his 13th double-digit strikeout game this season.

“Just getting back to kind of what I was doing to make myself successful before all this,” Sale (6-11) said. “We spent a lot of time this week looking at some things.”

Sale’s brilliance against the Angels merely lowered his season ERA to 4.41.

“This is August, so there’s a lot of question marks for the right reasons, obviously,” Cora said. “At least for today, he looked great.”

A resurgence by Sale would be welcome news for a Boston club that needs to make up a sizable deficit in order to defend its World Series title.

The Red Sox had lost nine of 10 games, not including’s Wednesday’s contest against the Royals that was suspended in the 10th inning with the score tied at 4. Thursday’s game ran without issue and was over in a tidy 2 hours, 16 minutes.

Boston pulled within 5 1/2 games of the second AL wild card with Tampa Bay and Oakland idle.



Bumgarner takes no-hit bid into sixth, Giants beat Phillies

For much of this week, Madison Bumgarner spent extra time throwing on flat ground as he tried to get his feel back after a forgettable outing at Coors Field.

He sure had some of his best stuff this time.

Bumgarner carried a no-hit bid into the sixth inning and won his fourth straight decision, pitching the San Francisco Giants past the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0 on Thursday night to snap a four-game losing streak.

Not that the humble lefty even concerns himself with such things as no-hitters – though he knew he had it going, saying, “I never believe when guys say they don’t know.”

“Honestly, I don’t care about it,” he said. “I just want to win the game. I’m not out there for any kind of personal achievements or goals.”

Pinch-hitter Cesar Hernandez hit a sharp single up the middle with one out in the sixth to break it up. Before that, the only Phillies baserunner came when Rhys Hoskins drew a one-out walk in the fourth.

Mike Yastrzemski hit a solo homer and drove in three runs to get the offense going after San Francisco scored just four total runs the previous three days in being swept by the Nationals.

Phillies slugger Bryce Harper had his majors-best streak of reaching base end at 21 games with an 0-for-3 night.

The Giants delivered four straight hits against Aaron Nola (10-3) to start the third and back Bumgarner (7-7), capped by Yastrzemski’s two-run double before he got caught in a rundown trying to stretch it to a triple. San Francisco left the bases loaded in the fourth.



Red Sox pitcher Price on 10-day IL with cyst on left wrist

Boston Red Sox left-hander David Price was placed on the 10-day injured list Thursday after an MRI revealed a cyst on his left wrist.

The team announced that the 33-year-old Price was treated with a shot of cortisone in the wrist on Wednesday. Price is 7-5 record with a 4.36 ERA over 21 starts this season.

“The hope is for him to come (back) sooner rather than later, but we don’t have a timetable,” manager Alex Cora said about Price, who was not made available to address his injury. “We’ll make sure he’s OK, and we’ll go from there.”

Cora noted that the cyst, classified as a TFCC cyst, was not cancerous or related to any other serious illness.

Price most recently pitched Sunday against the New York Yankees after being reinstated from paternity leave. Price allowed seven runs on nine hits in 2 2/3 innings in New York, falling to 0-4 with a 10.59 ERA in his last four starts.

Cora said Price told him after the game that he “didn’t feel 100 percent” and “felt tight.”

“His last three or four (starts), as far as the location and the action of the pitches, it wasn’t there,” Cora said. “Regardless if he’s throwing 87 or 95 (mph), precision and strikes is his game.”

Price missed 14 games earlier this season with left elbow tendinitis and was plagued by elbow inflammation during the 2017 season.

“Hey, at least we found out,” Cora said. “Whatever people were thinking about if it’s the elbow or something else, at least we know (it’s not). We’ll shut him down for a little bit, and then he’ll be back.”

Right-hander Hector Velazquez was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to take Price’s spot on the 25-man roster before the series opener Thursday night against the Los Angeles Angels.


Tim Beckham After Being Suspended: I Was Given A Product From A Trusted Source, Who Had Advised Me That It Was Safe To Take

The Seattle Mariners have lost Tim Beckham after he lost an arbitration case surrounding a positive test for performance-enhancing drugs.  The 29-year-old was the first pick in the 2008 MLB Draft and took a substance banned by baseball after being given it by a “trusted source” that lied about it being allowed.  Beckham’s case should be a warning to all other players in every other sport that there are no trusted sources when it comes to anything an athlete puts in their body, especially drugs.

“I was given a product from a trusted source, who had advised me that it was safe to take.” Tim Beckham said in his statement released by Major League Baseball Players’ Association.  Beckman tested positive for Stanozolol, a banned performance-enhancing drug under baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.  According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency, Stanozolol is a synthetic steroid derived from testosterone with both anabolic and androgenic properties.  Beckham said that the product he was given was tainted with the banned substance, resulting in a positive test and the 80-game suspension.

Tim Beckham was on his way to playing more games this season than any other during his major league career which started in earnest in 2015 with the Tampa Bay Rays.  Last season during the second half of his two-year career with Baltimore, Beckham played 96 games, a career high but he’s a career .249 hitter who was clearly hoping for one big payday before his major league career was over.  Now, after signing a one-year deal with Seattle in January, his dream might be over.  Beckham does hope to continue his career once his suspension is served; but he will need to sign a contract in order to finish serving his 80-games next season.

Tim Beckham was desperate and was caught cheating, and at 29-years-old he might have played his final game because his talent level may not warrant another chance from major league teams.  Playing the “I didn’t know what I was taking” card is never a good idea for any athlete to do after being busted for drug use of any kind.  When you are making your livelihood from your physical abilities, everything short of a bottle of water should be questioned; and when you say someone else you trust gave you something that ended up being tainted, that’s only passing the buck because there should never be any “trusted sources” when it comes to pills and needles.


Singletary’s fresh legs help Bills beat Colts, 24-16

Running back LeSean McCoy might still be, as he puts it, “The Guy” in a Buffalo Bills backfield that also features the NFL’s active leading rusher, Frank Gore.

On Thursday, diminutive rookie Devin Singletary showed he shouldn’t be overlooked.

With McCoy resting and Gore limited to playing two series, Singletary got the Bills off to a running start in their preseason-opening 24-16 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

Being fed the ball seven times on Buffalo’s fourth drive, the 5-foot-7 Singletary displayed the elusive qualities that led to the Bills drafting him in the third round. He accounted for 16 yards rushing and 21 receiving as part of a 46-yard drive that ended with Matt Barkley hitting Cam Phillips for an 8-yard touchdown pass to open the scoring 5 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.

“He’s a natural,” Gore said. “People think he’s small, but he’s really not. He’s got a thick lower body. He’s a true running back.”

Singletary was taken aback when informed of Gore’s comments.

“Coming from Frank, that’s major,” he said. “If he says I’m a natural, then I guess I’m a natural.”

Singletary scored 66 touchdowns during his three years at Florida Atlantic, which led to Bills general manager Brandon Beane referring to him as “the funnest guy I’ve watched all year.”

Singletary was fearless in running up the middle, at one point having defensive end Kemoko Turay whiff as he sped past him. And he displayed patience in following his blocks, as happened on a 10-yarder to convert a third-and-10 two plays before Phillips scored.



Mayfield throws TD, OBJ sits as Browns beat ‘Skins 30-10

Baker Mayfield was almost perfect. Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t lend him a hand.

Mayfield threw a touchdown pass to end his only series, Beckham never put on his new orange helmet, and the Cleveland Browns gave a brief preview of their offensive firepower during a 30-10 win over the Washington Redskins in an exhibition opener Thursday night.

Mayfield picked up where he left off following his “dangerous” rookie season, firing a 24-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins as the Browns went no-huddle and drove 89 yards in just 2:13 to open the game.

“That’s what they were supposed to do,” Browns first-year coach Freddie Kitchens said after his debut. “They’re supposed to get completions, big, chunk plays. And I thought we did a good job outside, inside, everywhere. It was a real nice first drive.”

They did it while Beckham, the Browns’ major offseason acquisition in a trade from the New York Giants, was kept on the sideline along with Pro Bowl receiver Jarvis Landry by Kitchens.

“Yeah, I didn’t think it was worth the risk,” he said. “They’ve been trying to fight through a couple things, minor things, nothing to write home about, per se. But no reason (to play them). I mean, why?”

Mayfield didn’t need his top targets. He misfired on his first pass, but was otherwise flawless, going 5 of 6 for 77 yards and a perfect 158.3 rating before turning Cleveland’s offense over to backup Drew Stanton.



Daniel Jones throws TD in only series, Giants beat Jets

Daniel Jones wowed the New York Giants in his short debut. It’s seemingly only a matter of time before people call for the kid to replace two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning at quarterback.

Jones hit all five of his passes and capped his only series with a pinpoint 12-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler III in leading the Giants to a 31-22 victory over the local rival Jets on Thursday night in a preseason game suspended for 59 minutes in the first quarter when lightning and heavy rain rolled into the Meadowlands area.

“There were a couple of things I messed up the first couple of plays,” Jones said, who took over on the Giants’ second series. “When you’re playing with good players, it helps. We found a way to make it work. I thought it went well. We moved the ball and executed.”

It wasn’t perfect. Coach Pat Shurmur noted that Jones forgot to motion a tight end on his very first play, leaving running back Wayne Gallman against a defensive end.

“He got all completions and got us in the end zone,” Shurmur added. “That was a very effective job.”

Jones might have played more but Shurmur decided to sit him after the delay.

The 38-year-old Manning had a three-and-out opening series on which he failed to see a wide open tight end Rhett Ellison on the first play.

Sam Darnold and the Jets looked good on their opening series for new coach Adam Gase, going 75 yards in seven plays against a defense that many think is the Giants’ weak link. Darnold hit passes of 32 and 28 yards before finding Jamison Crowder from 3 yards.

“It was fun out there for that first drive and hopefully gave Jets fans a little taste of what the season is going to be like,” said Darnold, who was 4 of 5 for 68 yards.



Rosen throws for 191 yards to help Miami beat Atlanta 34-27

Josh Rosen kept going down and getting back up.

Bidding for a starting job, Rosen overcame shaky protection to throw for 191 yards and direct three scoring drives of more than 60 yards to help the Miami Dolphins win their exhibition opener Thursday against the Atlanta Falcons, 34-27.

Rosen went 13 for 20 with no touchdowns and one interception and played half the game. He shook off more than half a dozen hits as Falcons reserves manhandled the Dolphins’ backups in the offensive line.

“That’s football,” Rosen said. “We’re all working on things. It’s a physical game.”

Rosen is competing for the quarterback job with veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who worked the first two Dolphins series and led them to a field goal. Fitzpatrick completed 2 of 5 passes for 20 yards.

Atlanta backup Matt Schaub threw for 172 yards and led the team to four scores in the first half.

“He really managed the game in the way we wanted,” coach Dan Quinn said. “He delivered the ball on time to the right guys.”

Schaub went 12 for 19 with no touchdowns or turnovers for the Falcons (0-2), who have lost 10 consecutive exhibition games since 2017.



Rookie Slye kicks Panthers past Bears in preseason opener

With Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro battling for the Chicago Bears kicking job, the best kicking effort in Thursday’s preseason opener came instead from Carolina Panthers rookie Joey Slye.

Slye made field goals of 42, 55 and 29 yards and the Panthers had a 7-yard touchdown catch and 11-yard TD run from rookie Elijah Holyfield in a 23-13 victory over the Bears.

The Panthers already have a standout kicker in Graham Gano, and it’s possible Slye put himself on the radar of the Bears as well as other teams seeking a kicker by hitting a second-quarter kick of 55 yards for a 6-0 lead.

“He handled it really well,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “We had an opportunity for him to kick a 55-yarder. During practice, he hit a 60-something yarder. So I thought this was well within his range and it was kind of fun to watch him kick it.”

The former Virginia Tech player made a 29-yarder in the third quarter to expand Carolina’s lead to 16-10. Slye’s 42-yarder came on Carolina’s second possession to open the scoring.

While the Bears look for a kicker, the Panthers are trying to determine who will back up quarterback Cam Newton.

Both Carolina quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Will Grier enjoyed solid efforts, with Newton sitting out to rest his shoulder after offseason surgery.

Allen started and completed 7 of 11 for 76 yards, while Grier completed 9 of 16 for 77 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Grier’s 7-yard TD pass to Holyfield put the Panthers ahead 13-10 in the third quarter, and was set up by a 57-yard punt return from Terry Godwin. Holyfield added his 11-yard run, cutting to the left sideline in the final two minutes.



Top takeaways from Thursday’s NFL preseason games

The first real slate of NFL preseason action took place with 11 games around the league Thursday night.

Top rookie quarterbacks made their debuts. Two of them put up stellar performances while another struggled. Other young players were out to make a point to their respective coaching staffs.

While the first real day of preseason action left a lot to be desired from a star-power standpoint, we still learned a lot. Here are the biggest takeaways from Thursday’s Week 1 preseason action.

Sam Darnold, Jets start out strong

It was somewhat surprising to see Darnold start Thursday night against the Giants. Already established as the Jets’ starting quarterback, most figured he’d get the night off. Instead, Darnold led the Jets on a solid seven-play, 75-yard scoring drive to open the game. It lasted just more than three minutes and included three third-down conversions.

Darnold completed his final four passes of the drive after almost throwing an interception to open it. That included strikes to Chris Herndon and Jamison Crowder of 32 and 28 yards, respectively. If this is an indication of how Darnold might look like as a second-year pro, the Jets are on good hands.

Quarterback competition for Giants?

Daniel Jones was darn good in his Giants debut against the Jets. He completed 5-of-5 passes for 67 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown strike. This is a continuation of the No. 6 overall pick vastly outplaying veteran Eli Manning during camp.

For his part, Manning completed his only pass for 3 yards while leading the Giants on a three-and-out. It led to boos from fans at the Meadowlands. The Giants’ brass might be playing this close to the vest publicly. That’s fine. There’s no reason to embarrass Manning. However, if training camp and Week 1 of the preseason is any indication, there’s no reason to believe a late-summer battle won’t be brewing for the Giants’ starting quarterback job heading into September.

Marcus Mariota remains a problem in Nashville

Ouch. Taking on a majority of the Philadelphia Eagles’ backup defense, Mariota and the Titans couldn’t get much of anything going. The struggling quarterback completed just 4-of-8 passes for 24 yards.

We fully understand the Titans were without a vast majority of the top skill-position players, including Derrick Henry, Delanie Walker and Corey Davis. But Mariota displayed nothing that tells us a story of an improved signal-caller heading into a make-or-break 2019 campaign.

Ravens offense looks bland

One thing became clear in Baltimore’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars: They were not going to show their hand as it relates to offensive coordinator Greg Roman’s new offense. Lamar Jackson led the team to 10 points on three drives, completing 4-of-6 passes for 59 yards and a touchdown.

For his part, Jackson continued to struggle with ball placement. He threw the ball late on a consistent basis and was about as inaccurate as we saw during Baltimore’s offseason program.

Rookie receivers impress for Patriots

N’Keal Harry was questioned about making his NFL preseason debut after suffering a hamstring injury earlier in the week. It was a surprise to see the Patriots play him in a meaningless game. Instead, he played extremely well early on. That included catching both of his targets for 36 yards.

Undrafted rookie free agent Jakobi Meyers has been getting first-team reps with the plethora of injuries at this position. He continued to impress. The North Carolina State product added two touchdown catches, including this beauty.

Lions offensive line struggles

Whether it was the starters or the backups, the Lions struggled in pass protection against the Pats. They allowed Tom Savage and David Fales to get sacked six times on their first 18 drop-backs. In fact, Detroit had negative-11 passing yards well into the fourth quarter.

This led to fans in Detroit booing the backups. That might have been an overreaction, but this was one heck of an ugly product on display in the Motor City Thursday.

Brian Burns show in Carolina

The Panthers had to be doing back flips when the likes of Clelin Ferrell and Rashan Gary went ahead of Burns in April’s draft. Selected No. 16 overall, the Florida State product has a combination of pass-rush moves and elite athleticism that makes him a potentially generational talent. The Chicago Bears found that out first-hand early in Thursday’s preseason opener.

Baker Mayfield and Browns roll early

The hype train in Ohio is now at capacity. Some believe expectations are too high for the Browns after a hugely successful offseason. That’s fine. But we all know the talent is there to succeed in 2019. If Cleveland’s first drive of the preseason is any indication, the team is going to be a blast to watch.

Mayfield engineered a seven-play, 89-yard scoring drive to open up action against Washington, culminating in this beautiful touchdown pass. The drive lasted just over two minutes, displaying the quick-hit ability this offense possesses. All of this happened with Odell Beckham Jr. resting.

Pro game too big for Dwayne Haskins right now?

Redskins fans had to be pumped about Haskins’ debut. Despite being listed as the No. 3 quarterback on the preseason depth chart, the Ohio State product had looked good during training camp. That did not transition to his debut.

Haskins threw two early interceptions, including this pick-six into the hands of fellow rookie Mack Wilson. The game appeared to be too fast for this young quarterback. He struggled with timing and threw the ball in places that did not give his receivers a chance to make plays. This isn’t terribly surprising. Haskins started one season at Ohio State. He’s going to be a project.

Kyler Murray was perfect in NFL debut

It wasn’t awe-inspiring, but Murray looked exceptional in his NFL debut against the Los Angeles Chargers. The No. 1 pick connected on six of seven passes for 49 yards for the Arizona Cardinals.

While Arizona did not score on that one drive, Murray showed the poise and accuracy that made him the top pick. He also displayed tremendous field vision, arm strength and an ability to escape the pocket. If first impressions mean anything, Murray is going to have a solid rookie season.

Browns trade RB Duke Johnson to Texans for 2020 draft pick

Duke Johnson got his wish, and the Browns got more than expected for him.

Cleveland traded the disgruntled running back to the Houston Texans on Thursday for an undisclosed 2020 draft pick. A person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the Browns are getting a fourth-round pick that can become a third-rounder.

The person spoke on the AP condition of anonymity because the teams are not providing details of the swap.

One of the NFL’s most versatile backs over the past four seasons, Johnson had grown unhappy with his role and asked to be traded earlier this year after the Browns signed suspended free agent running back Kareem Hunt, who will sit out the season’s first eight games.

Browns general manager John Dorsey had been adamant he wasn’t going to “give away” the 25-year-old Johnson, and he resisted several offers before striking a deal with the Texans.

Houston was looking for a proven backup to play behind starter Lamar Miller. The Texans released D’Onta Foreman earlier this week.

Johnson, who has been sidelined for much of training camp with a hamstring injury, is a shifty runner, solid at blitz protection and can play some wide receiver if the Texans need him to.

Miffed by what he called the Browns’ lack of loyalty toward him, Johnson skipped the team’s voluntary offseason program. In June, he doubled down on his trade request, saying loyalty “is not a one-way street.”

During his public rift with the Browns, Johnson changed agents and hired Drew Rosenhaus, who met with Dorsey at the start of training camp.

With Johnson gone and Hunt out until November due to an NFL suspension for two violent incidents, second-year back Nick Chubb will get the majority of carries.


Dallas DE Quinn suspended 2 games over performance enhancers

Dallas Cowboys defensive end Robert Quinn has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s ban on performance enhancers.

Quinn was acquired in a trade with Miami in the offseason. The league said Thursday the ninth-year player is eligible to practice and play in preseason games, but he is out until the regular season after breaking his left hand in practice at training camp.

The 29-year-old Quinn will be eligible to return in Week 3 at home against the Dolphins.

Quinn’s agent, Sean Kiernan, said he was “extremely disappointed” in the NFL’s decision to suspend Quinn. Kiernan said Quinn takes medication to control seizures. The agent said it is believed Quinn’s medication was contaminated with the substance in question when a prescription was filled at a pharmacy.

The Cowboys are counting on Quinn to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence. Dallas gave up a sixth-round pick in the deal with the Dolphins. Quinn was acquired in part because of the indefinite suspension for Randy Gregory, who is expected to seek reinstatement for this season.


AP source: Chiefs add CB Mo Claiborne on 1-year deal

The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to terms with cornerback Morris Claiborne on a one-year deal Thursday to fortify a thin and unproven backfield, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The person, who said the deal could be worth about $3 million with incentives, spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced it. Claiborne still must pass a physical to make it official.

The Chiefs have been searching for help at cornerback all offseason, and that need became even more apparent when backup Keith Reaser suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Claiborne would give Kansas City some depth behind the starting trio of Bashaud Breeland, Charvarius Ward and Kendall Fuller.

Well, when he becomes eligible to play.

The former sixth-overall pick has been suspended the first four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. That means the earliest he could play is Week 5 against the Colts, giving him plenty of time to learn defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo’s system.

Claiborne, who was teammates at LSU with new Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu, spent his first five seasons with Dallas before spending the last two with the Jets. He has started 73 of the 77 games in which he has appeared, making 251 tackles and seven interceptions while scoring a pair of touchdowns.

One of his biggest problems has been staying healthy.

Claiborne has missed time with injuries ranging from hamstring and groin problems to a torn patellar tendon that caused him to miss 12 games in 2014. He also has missed a game each of the past two seasons in New York, first with a foot injury and last season with a shoulder problem.


Saints want no more lawsuit on the playoff’s ‘NOLA no-call’

They were badly burned by the “Nola no-call,” but the New Orleans Saints have joined the NFL in opposing a fan’s lawsuit seeking damages over the missed penalty that helped the Los Angeles Rams beat the Saints in a January playoff game and move on to the Super Bowl.

The lawsuit by attorney and self-proclaimed fan Anthony LeMon resulted in a state judge’s recent order that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and three game officials submit to questions in September. The league appealed to the Louisiana Supreme Court on Wednesday night. And attorneys for the Saints filed an accompanying brief supporting the league.

At issue is officials’ failure to call a roughness or pass interference penalty on Rams cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman for his helmet-to-helmet hit on receiver Tommylee Lewis well before a pass arrived during the NFC Championship game. The Rams won that game and advanced to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the New England Patriots.

“As the Saints have expressed, no team should be denied the opportunity to reach the title game (or simply win a game) based on the actions, or inactions, of those charged with creating a fair and equitable playing field,” Saints attorneys say in the brief. They go on to say that the team has sought rules changes aimed at addressing such possibilities.

However, the brief says, allowing the suit to proceed would be wrong.

“While the Saints appreciate the fervor and dedication of their deep and passionate fan-base, allowing such claims to proceed in court would open the door to countless legal claims brought by passionate sports fans that would inundate the courts and overburden sports leagues and their member teams, including the Saints,” the brief says.

LeMon, who filed with three other ticket-holders, answered the Saints and the NFL in a brief Thursday, noting that no other such suits are pending in the state court where he filed, and arguing that the circumstances of the game – and his lawsuit – are unique. The suit isn’t simply filed over a missed call, his filing said. Among its allegations are claims that fraud and “implicit or unconscious bias” on the part of game officials from the Los Angeles area led to the decision not to flag the penalty.

“We can assure you that the four ticketholders who initiated this lawsuit, including me, are passionate fans and do not want to cause any harm to the Saints organization,” LeMon wrote in an emailed statement.

The NFL’s filing asks the high court to halt proceedings in the lawsuit and grant a quick review of the case, which state Civil District Court Judge Nicole Sheppard of New Orleans allowed to proceed. NFL attorneys argue that LeMon and his fellow plaintiffs – all game ticket-holders – have no right of action under Louisiana law.

“Plaintiffs’ Petitions clearly seek legal redress for their frustration and disappointment with the outcome and rule-administration of a ticketed event, and the law is clear that ticket-holders lack a right of action to do so,” the NFL’s brief says.

LeMon counters that the suit isn’t about unhappiness with the outcome of a fairly played game, or a simple error by officials. “It is an entirely different situation when an NFL official clearly observes an infraction and purposely does not call a penalty,” his filing said.

LeMon’s lawsuit was crafted to avoid the NFL being able to move it to federal court, where three other lawsuits over the game have been unsuccessful.

“This lawsuit is very different from any other ticketholder lawsuit that has ever been filed against the NFL because it is based on the unique laws in Louisiana, rooted in the Napoleonic Code, which exists only in Louisiana,” LeMon added in his emailed statement.

One way of keeping it in state court was to keep damages low at $75,000. LeMon has said he intends for any money won to go to former Saints star Steve Gleason’s charity to aid people with neuromuscular diseases. Gleason was diagnosed with ALS in 2011.


25 most important faces in new NFL places

Significant turnover, both on rosters and in the coaching ranks, happens every year in the NFL. Players depart via free agency, the draft brings several instant-impact stars into the league, and the previous season’s round of coaching firings results in new regimes taking over with regularity. In some cases, a familiar face is counted on to deliver big results in a new place, and in others a newcomer carries with him the hopes and dreams of a fan base. Let’s take a look at the 25 most important faces in new NFL places for 2019.

1 of 25 Odell Beckham Jr.

Baker Mayfield’s strong rookie season had pundits predicting another improvement for Cleveland in 2019, but the Browns’ blockbuster trade for Beckham, one that also brought Olivier Vernon to Cleveland, threw Browns hype into overdrive. Mayfield had Jarvis Landry last year, but Landry is more of a possession receiver than a gamebreaker, and the Browns did not have a reliable, dynamic downfield threat for Mayfield. Only a handful of receivers belong in the discussion for the title of best in the NFL, and Beckham is one of them. Excluding his injury-shortened 2017 campaign, Beckham’s average stats when he plays at least 12 games are staggering: 97 catches, 1,369 yards and 11 touchdowns. Beckham is also the rare talent without a weakness. He’s great at high-pointing the football, has incredible hands and is dynamic after the catch. With Mayfield — not an end-of-the-line Eli Manning — throwing him the ball, Beckham has a chance to post incredible numbers and push the Browns to an AFC North title, and beyond.

2 of 25 Kliff Kingsbury

The latest Air Raid coach to hit the NFL, Kingsbury is also the least-accomplished in terms of wins and losses as a head coach. He went 35-40 in six seasons at Texas Tech, but that wasn’t what attracted NFL teams to him. His work with Baker Mayfield, Davis Webb and Patrick Mahomes was his calling card, and the Red Raiders ranked in the top-20 in scoring offense in three of Kingsbury’s six years and the top 25 in five of six. The pressure to succeed in Arizona will be intense, as the Cardinals fired Steve Wilks after one season and was willing to trade Josh Rosen to Miami for pennies on the dollar to draft Kyler Murray, Kingsbury’s preferred choice to run his offense. Kingsbury’s philosophies are decidedly new school, and if the offense puts up big point totals right from the start, he’ll have at least delivered in his area of expertise. However, he won’t get six years in Arizona if the Cardinals are, on average, a 7-9 or 8-8 team, which is equivalent to what he did most years in Lubbock.

3 of 25 Le’Veon Bell

Bell shocked most observers when he made good on his threat to sit out the entire 2018 season after he and the Steelers were unable to agree on a long-term contract, and the team chose to franchise him again. He didn’t get the big payday he planned for in free agency, with the Jets his only seriously interested suitor. Now that his contractual dramas are in the past, Bell must silence his doubters, one of whom may or may not be his new head coach, Adam Gase. It will be incumbent on Bell to prove that a year off not only didn’t hurt him but also helped him and that the Jets were wise to spend money on him as the primary weapon for second-year quarterback Sam Darnold. New York was bereft of big-name offensive talent last year, and it stunted Darnold’s development. Bell’s versatility and ability to turn safety valve passes into big plays will be a huge factor for the Jets this season. Gang Green hasn’t been to the playoffs since 2010 and has only one winning season in the interim. If Bell leads the Jets back to the postseason, he’ll have been worth every penny.

4 of 25 Matt LaFleur

LaFleur and quarterback Aaron Rodgers got off to an inauspicious beginning, with the two having a public back-and-forth about the degree of freedom Rodgers would be afforded in LaFleur’s system. That’s probably not a great start, considering Mike McCarthy got fired for being unable to maintain a productive, healthy working relationship with the future Hall of Fame quarterback. That mini-controversy aside, the new Packers head coach has arguably the best situation of any first-year boss, simply by virtue of the fact that Rodgers is his quarterback. LaFleur’s task is simple: get the most out of Rodgers, and get the Packers back atop the NFC North. He flopped last year with Tennessee but has the Sean McVay pedigree from his time as Rams offensive coordinator in 2017 (though McVay retained control of the play-calling). Green Bay’s expectations are Super Bowl or bust, and Rodgers is talented enough for that to be valid regardless of the supporting cast he has around him. McCarthy’s schemes were rudimentary and relied on receivers to get themselves open. LaFleur is known for his ability to do the exact opposite. If he can scheme in several easy throws for Rodgers every week, opponents could be in big trouble.

5 of 25 Antonio Brown

“Mr. Big Chest” had one of the ugliest breakups in NFL history when he burned every bridge in Pittsburgh (and there are many of them) and forced a trade to Oakland. Things have gotten off on the wrong foot in the Bay Area, literally and figuratively, as Brown has missed most of training camp with a foot injury. The ailment is not believed to be anything too serious, and when he returns Brown will be counted on not only to be his usual transcendent self on the field but also to help generate major buzz for Oakland’s move to Las Vegas. Brown’s presence should also help determine whether Derek Carr is really the guy who went 12-3 as a starter in 2016 or the guy whose career record otherwise is 20-43. Brown will be under the microscope, not only with “Hard Knocks” cameras around but also with NFL fans and analysts everywhere watching and waiting for the first sign of trouble. If he keeps the drama to a minimum and produces at his typical level, the Raiders might improve by several wins as a result. Goodness knows the defense won’t save them.

6 of 25 Bruce Arians

It seems like ancient history at this point, but it was only five years ago that Arians was in the desert as Cardinals head coach, about to lead the team to consecutive playoff appearances, posting 11-5 and 13-3 marks in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The magic ran out after that, though, and Arians announced his “retirement” after going a combined 15-16-1 in 2016 and 2017. Evidently, one season away was enough for Arians, as he left the broadcast booth and went back to coaching, this time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Arians’ reputation as a quarterback whisperer will be put to the test, as Jameis Winston has never found consistent form as a top-tier NFL starter despite being the No. 1 overall pick in 2015. As with so many coaches, especially ones more recently hired, Arians’ main charge is simple: Get the most out of the quarterback. The NFC South figures to be a brutal division, with the Saints still looking strong, Cam Newton appearing healthy early in training camp and the Falcons poised to rebound from a disappointing 2018. Can the Buccaneers crash the party? If Arians can work some magic a la 2014 and 2015, they just might.

7 of 25 Nick Bosa

The 49ers are a trendy pick to make a major leap in the standings this season, and while the main reason for that is the assumed health of Jimmy Garoppolo, the presence of Bosa, the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, might be next on the list. DeForest Buckner led the Niners with 12 sacks in 2018, but no other defender had more than 5.5. That lack of pressure is one big reason San Francisco finished dead last in turnovers forced, and 28 th in points allowed despite ranking 13th in yards allowed. Bosa will be counted on to provide an immediate, major impact as a pass rusher, and the expectation is that he can become the 49ers’ franchise player on defense. Bosa has plenty to live up to, as his older brother, Joey, notched 10.5 sacks in his rookie year with the Chargers, putting up those numbers in only 12 games. No defensive player in this year’s draft class will be expected to make a more immediate positive impact than Bosa.

8 of 25 Kyler Murray

Nick Bosa might be the most scrutinized defensive player in this year’s draft class, but the pressure he’ll be under is nothing compared to what Murray will face in Arizona. The Cardinals took a significant loss in the Josh Rosen trade, specifically because they believed that Murray was the right man to run Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense and take them to the Promised Land. There have been and will continue to be questions about Murray’s size and durability, but there is no arguing that his raw physical talents are spectacular. Old concerns about short quarterbacks have dissipated somewhat because of the success of Baker Mayfield and Russell Wilson and the continued excellence of Drew Brees, but Murray is smaller than all three and slighter of frame. If Arizona picked the wrong quarterback, that means it picked the wrong head coach, and that means that the franchise will be back to the drawing board yet again. It’s one thing to be a franchise savior. It’s another thing altogether to be that savior after the team just kicked last year’s first-round pick out the door to make way for you.

9 of 25 Gregg Williams

Many felt that Williams should have gotten the Browns head coaching job full time after he led the team to a 5-3 record as the interim boss. However, Cleveland seemed to never seriously consider him for the post, reasoning that it was more important to find a coach who melded well with Baker Mayfield. Fair enough. That left Williams looking for work, and he found it as the Jets’ new defensive coordinator. New York made a big splash offensively with Le’Veon Bell, but it also gave Williams a foundational piece when it brought in C.J. Mosley from Baltimore. Williams has guided four different defenses to top-10 rankings in points allowed, and a half-dozen more to top-15 rankings. The Jets were 29 th in points allowed and 25th in yards allowed in 2018 and were just about equally inept against the run and the pass. In addition to Mosley, Williams also has No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams on hand, and there is an expectation that the Jets will be vastly improved on that side of the ball. A major defensive turnaround in New York might make the Jets a dark horse playoff contender in the AFC.

10 of 25 N’Keal Harry

You may have heard that the Patriots lost Rob Gronkowski, and while no one can replace the threat he represented, Harry, the final pick of the first round out of Arizona State, has the size and speed on the outside to give the Pats a matchup problem at wide receiver. Tom Brady still has Julian Edelman available to work underneath routes as well as a bevy of running backs with different skill sets. But he needs a man to both stretch the field and win contested catches in the red zone. Harry is still a project in some ways, but if he can give the Patriots help in particular areas, they’ll again have the kind of offensive versatility that makes Brady so unstoppable come playoff time. For as great as New England has been, one thing it has not been good at is drafting wide receivers. Only Edelman, a seven th- round pick in 2009, represents a major win at the position. Most everyone else in recent memory has come in from outside the organization, like Wes Welker and Randy Moss. If Harry can buck that trend, it will make Brady’s life considerably easier and lessen the sting of Gronkowski’s retirement.

11 of 25 Brian Flores

The Dolphins have been the definition of mediocrity for most of this century, 10 times finishing between 6-10 and 8-8 since 2006. Miami has one division crown in that same span, in 2008, when Tom Brady was out for the season, and the Dolphins have only one other playoff appearance since. Flores is the latest coach from the Bill Belichick tree to get a head coaching shot, and the 38-year-old is one of the few new head coaches whose background is defense. Despite Miami’s perpetual also-ran status, there is legitimate intrigue surrounding this team, as it fleeced Arizona in the Josh Rosen trade, and in so doing got to immediately try again with a new potential franchise quarterback after Ryan Tannehill’s tenure ended with a whimper. Flores takes over a team that went 7-9 but was worse than its record indicated, ranking 26 th in points scored and 27th in points allowed. Clemson’s Christian Wilkins should give the defense an immediate shot in the arm, but Flores’ first year, and really his whole tenure, will be defined by whether Rosen flourishes. If he does, Miami’s timetable for contending will accelerate dramatically.

12 of 25 C.J. Mosley

Le’Veon Bell was the splashier acquisition by the Jets, but Mosley came with a much heftier price tag — $43 million guaranteed, to be exact — and will be counted on to have much the same impact on the defense that New York is hoping for from Bell on offense. Mosley was a fixture in the middle of Baltimore’s defense, but there are some questions about the degree of positive impact he can have on the Jets. One thing that is known for sure is that new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams loves to play an attacking 4-3 defense, so a steady presence at middle linebacker is a must. Mosley, at least on paper, should provide that, though he was only slightly above average last season, according to Pro Football Focus’ grading, and was mediocre in pass coverage, according to PFF. Still, he represents a definite improvement over what New York had, and fans will probably be happy if he gives the team two to three high-level seasons out of his five-year contract.

13 of 25 Steve Spagnuolo

Only one thing kept the Chiefs from the Super Bowl last year, and it was their porous defense. Actually, porous is being too kind. Kansas City couldn’t stop anyone, and it cost the Chiefs dearly. They were 24th in scoring defense and 31st in yards given up. That was enough to offset their league-best offense and did them in specifically in their AFC championship Ggme classic against the Patriots. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton lost his job as a result, and it will be up to Spagnuolo to improve a defense that led the league in sacks and quarterback hurries but was powerless to stop just about anything else. Kansas City needs serious work against both the quick passing game and against the run, where it gave up 5.0 yards per carry, good for second-worst in the league. Spagnuolo is three years removed from having the second-best scoring defense in the league with the Giants, though the team plummeted to 27th in scoring defense the following season. Chiefs fans know they’ve got the offense to succeed, but it will be on Spagnuolo to bring together the other side of the ball enough to lift Kansas City to the top of the AFC heap.

14 of 25 Trey Flowers

Flowers was a skilled pass rusher whether he played inside or on the edge for the Patriots, and now that he’s been reunited with his former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia in Detroit, the hope for Lions fans is that his versatility further elevates a defense that was 16 th in points allowed but 10th in yards allowed. Detroit was second-worst in the league at forcing turnovers, but Flowers’ disruptive presence should be the kind of element that harries quarterbacks more often and causes more frequent bad decisions. Detroit’s offense was not good last year, as it committed to a more run-heavy attack with negative results. Patricia is clearly going old-school across the board with his approach, and after one year the results have been negative. Adding Flowers should help, particularly if Patricia and the rest of the Lions’ brain trust continue with their attempt to mold the team into a more physical outfit. No Lions player registered more than 7.5 sacks last year, and while that number matches Flowers’ career high, he has a pedigree that no one on the team can match now that Ziggy Ansah is gone. The Lions need Flowers to be nothing less than great if they’re to have any chance in the NFC North.

15 of 25 Mike Mayock

Mayock’s situation is fascinating insofar as not many people feel he has real authority in Oakland. They figure, instead, that Jon Gruden calls most of the shots and has Mayock around more for his scouting expertise than anything. One wonders, for example, if Mayock would have wanted to acquire Antonio Brown, were the decision his alone. In any event, Mayock’s name is on Oakland’s draft, and the Raiders were panned for taking Clelin Ferrell with the fourth-overall pick, when most felt he would go in the latter half of the first round. Josh Jacobs was viewed favorably, and there are some intriguing prospects throughout Oakland’s draft class. Notably, three of the nine players Mayock and the Raiders drafted were from Clemson. It’s fair to wonder whether that is a conscious strategy, picking players from a powerhouse school with a reputation for winning big every year. The Ferrell pick suggests that it is no coincidence, and if he isn’t a star, Mayock will get crushed for passing on, among others, Kentucky’s Josh Allen.

16 of 25 Dwayne Haskins

Haskins could have been the Giants’ guy with the sixth pick, but they were enamored with Duke’s Daniel Jones despite Haskins having had more success in a much more pressure-packed environment at Ohio State. Haskins is local to the D.C. metro area, having moved to Potomac, Maryland, as a ninth-grader. Washington used the 15 th- overall pick on him, and a franchise that thought it had its quarterback of the future in Robert Griffin III several years ago will get a chance to try again. Haskins is a pure pocket passer, without the running ability that Alex Smith possessed, but he has the arm to make all the throws. Pro Football Focus charting gave Haskins 24 “big-time throws” in his final year at Ohio State, which tied for best in the Big Ten. Washington fans haven’t had a true franchise quarterback to cheer for since Joe Theismann, but Haskins gives them real hope and the kind of high-ceiling talent under center that is essential to victory in today’s NFL.

17 of 25 Mark Ingram

Ingram’s four-game suspension to start last season played a big role in him not recording his third straight 1,000-yard season in New Orleans, but he was still a reliable between-the-tackles runner when he came back, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Baltimore has rebuilt its offense from scratch to best take advantage of Lamar Jackson’s skills, and most pundits feel that said offense will be run-heavy. That makes Ingram a valuable asset, as he will be required to take much of the load off Jackson’s shoulders to help keep the quarterback healthy. Ingram was part of a dynamic two-headed backfield monster with Alvin Kamara in New Orleans and proved himself a capable pass-catcher during that period as well. He will be counted on to do much the same in Baltimore alongside Gus Edwards. Whether or not a run-focused attack will work in today’s pass-happy NFL is up for debate, but if it does, Ingram will have a big hand in making it so.

18 of 25 Nick Foles

Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles experiment finally came to a formal end, as the Jags and Bortles mercifully parted ways after a miserable 2018. Bortles was so bad that he obscured what was still a  capable, dynamic defense — one that ranked in the top five in both points and yards allowed. What the Jaguars needed was a legitimate passing game, and they hope Foles provides that and more. Jacksonville made a big bet on Foles, signing him to a four-year, $88 million deal with just over $50 million guaranteed. What makes that all the more intriguing is the fact that for all of Foles’ heroics in Philadelphia the past two seasons, he’s played in only 12 regular-season games and started only eight. What will he be like outside of Doug Pederson’s system, and what will he be like when defenses have a chance to game plan for him regularly? If he’s “Playoff Nick Foles” all the time, the Jaguars might vault right back to the top of the AFC South and would immediately make it one of the most interesting divisions in football.

19 of 25 Steve Wilks

Wilks got a raw deal in Arizona, with the team choosing to fire him and retain GM Steve Keim despite Keim seemingly being the source of most of the Cardinals’ troubles. Wilks’ reputation as a respected defensive mind meant he wouldn’t be out of a job too long, as the Browns swooped in and hired him to run their defense a mere two weeks after Arizona let him go. Wilks was the Panthers’ defensive coordinator for one season, and the team ranked seven th in yards allowed and 11th in points allowed. He’ll be counted on to improve a Browns defense that hemorrhaged yards last season, ranking 30th in the league, and was only saved by its propensity for forcing turnovers. Cleveland was 21st in the league in points allowed and had problems with tackling. Before Wilks became a defensive coordinator in Carolina, he was a defensive backs coach and nurtured Josh Norman into one of the league’s best corners. He’ll be counted on to have the same impact on Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams, as the Browns have pinned many of their defensive hopes on those young defensive backs. Most everyone expects Cleveland’s offense to make more progress this season; if Wilks can do the same for the defense, the Browns will be a force to be reckoned with.

20 of 25 Earl Thomas

The most recent image of Thomas on a football field during a regular-season game saw him make an obscene gesture at his head coach, Pete Carroll, while being carted off the field after breaking his leg in Week 4 against the Arizona Cardinals. Thomas never got the new contract he wanted from the Seahawks, but the injury did not affect his value in free agency. The Ravens ponied up the cash, inking Thomas to a four-year, $55 million contract, including $32 million guaranteed. If Thomas is healthy, Baltimore will have gotten a deal on one of the league’s best safeties and a man who represents an upgrade over the departed Eric Weddle. Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor made many of the headlines in the heyday of Seattle’s Legion of Boom defense, but Thomas was its engine and most important piece. Despite not practicing last year because of his contract situation, Thomas still notched three interceptions in four games and physically appeared as good as ever. Baltimore may have lost major defensive pieces this offseason, but an as-advertised Thomas would go a long way toward easing the sting of those departures and would probably plant some seeds of concern in the minds of Baker Mayfield, Ben Roethlisberger and Andy Dalton.

21 of 25 Devin Bush

Much was made of the Steelers’ defensive collapse after Ryan Shazier’s horrific injury in late 2017. Pittsburgh was completely hamstrung by his absence, never finding a suitable replacement in the middle of its 3-4 defense. That’s why the Steelers traded up to get Bush, a Michigan product who will be counted on to start immediately, and play at a high level, particularly against the pass. The Steelers defense ranked six th in the league in yards allowed but only 16th in points, a disparity largely attributable to their inability to force turnovers. Only three teams were worse in that department in 2018, but the belief in Pittsburgh is that Bush’s dynamic abilities and athleticism will have a ripple effect on the rest of the defense and make it easier to flip fields and take the ball away. The last time the Steelers made a bold trade to move up in the first round for a defensive player was 2003. You may have heard of the man they selected with the 16th pick that year. His name is Troy Polamalu.

22 of 25 Greg Roman

Roman stands as one exception here, as he is technically not in a new place. He does, however, inhabit a new position with the Ravens, that of offensive coordinator. No coordinator in the league might be as scrutinized this season, as Baltimore has spent the offseason rebuilding its offensive scheme from scratch to better fit the abilities of Lamar Jackson. Roman has experience structuring an offense around a dual-threat QB, as he was the 49ers’ offensive coordinator in 2012 when Colin Kaepernick took them to the brink of a Super Bowl. What will the new offense look like? Will Roman be able to keep Jackson mostly out of harm’s way while still making appropriate use of his spectacular running ability? Perhaps most interesting will be finding out whether Roman is able to devise pass schemes that put Jackson, a good deep ball thrower but a hit-or-miss short and intermediate passer, in the best position to succeed through the air. The Ravens traded away Joe Flacco and pushed all their chips in behind Jackson, and much of the pressure to make that gamble pay off rests with Roman.

23 of 25 Josh Rosen

Rosen got blown out of Arizona by the same winds that sent Steve Wilks packing. Once Kliff Kingsbury was hired as head coach, rumors swirled that Rosen was not suited to run his Air Raid style. Those rumors proved true, as the Cardinals selected Kyler Murray first overall, then promptly, if clumsily, traded Rosen to the Dolphins. The new regime in Miami has a distinctly New England feel to it, as new head coach Brian Flores was Bill Belichick’s linebackers coach, and new offensive coordinator Chad O’Shea was the Patriots’ wide receivers coach for a decade. Rosen’s rookie year was doomed almost from the start, but there are many who feel that he can and will thrive in a more stable environment. Like Arizona, Miami doesn’t have much of an offensive line, but Rosen won’t be thrust into the mix right away if he isn’t ready, as veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently ahead of him on Miami’s depth chart. This year is a mulligan for Rosen, and if he ends up making the most of it, the Dolphins will have set themselves up at the most important position on the field for years to come.

24 of 25 Adam Gase

Gase was a failure in Miami, where he could not build momentum after a 10-6 record and playoff appearance in 2016, his first season as head coach. An injury to Ryan Tannehill that robbed him of his 2017 season didn’t help, but Gase did himself no favors by getting mediocre performance out of Jay Cutler, a man with whom he had some professional history. Gase also called the personnel shots in South Florida, and that didn’t yield much fruit either, with Miami a thoroughly underwhelming team in terms of overall talent — something that was borne out in the overall rankings. Now he takes over as Jets head coach, having landed on his feet, and immediately he made waves for essentially saying he wasn’t thrilled with the team’s decision to sign Le’Veon Bell to a big contract, even though the length of the deal isn’t onerous and New York desperately needed offensive star power. Gase’s time in New York will be judged by wins and losses, but how those shake out is intimately connected to how much he can help Sam Darnold improve. Many felt Darnold was the front-runner to go first overall last year, until Baker Mayfield charged up draft boards, and if Gase brings out that level of performance, his failures with the Dolphins will be quickly forgotten.

25 of 25 Kareem Hunt

The NFL world waited with bated breath to see which team would sign Kareem Hunt after the Chiefs let him go following the release of video that showed him pushing and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel lobby in February of 2018. It was not an altogether shocking development that the Browns snatched him up despite his NFL future being uncertain, as Cleveland GM John Dorsey was the man who drafted Hunt in Kansas City. Hunt will be suspended for the first eight games of the season, but when he returns he would give the Browns arguably the best cast of skill talent in the entire NFL. Hunt serves as both a wild card and an insurance policy, should Nick Chubb get hurt. Browns fans might be uncomfortable rooting for him, even though he’s a native of suburban Cleveland, but adding the league’s leading rusher in 2017 is a coup from a personnel standpoint. On the flip side, Hunt is yet another talented but potentially combustible element on a team already chock full of them.


Aaron Rodgers takes swipe at Matt LaFleur over live special teams drills

The Green Bay Packers are under new management with rookie head coach Matt LaFleur calling the shots, and Aaron Rodgers has an issue with something he’s doing.

LaFleur has the Packers running live special teams drills, which Rodgers said isn’t “very smart.”

“I don’t think doing live special teams drills is very smart,” Rodgers said via Pro Football Talk. “I think the [NFL]PA is going to look at that, for sure. The kickoff especially is one of the most dangerous plays in football, and that’s why they’ve tweaked different things over the years. Close to a live kickoff drill I don’t think is best use of a [joint] practice.”

The point he’s making is salient, but to say that it is not “very smart” here may not have been the best approach. Even though he’s not saying the name “Matt LaFleur” he’s absolutely pointing to the coach here.

This isn’t the first time Rodgers has been on a different page than his new head coach, either. It truly makes one wonder if Rodgers is going to clash during the season with yet another head coach.


Jason Garrett calls Cowboys out ahead of preseason opener

The Dallas Cowboys will begin their preseason slate Saturday evening against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara. At this point, it doesn’t seem like head coach Jason Garrett is happy.

Through the first 10 practices of training camp, the embattled head man wants to see a lot more from his squad.

“We’re way far off as a team,” Garrett said, via 105.3 The Fan. “We’re not even close.”

That’s not necessarily a great assessment from the head coach. It also comes at a time of major drama in Big D, primarily the continued holdout of star running back Ezekiel Elliott as well as the contract situations pertaining to Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.

Dallas heads into the 2019 season with potentially unrealistic Super Bowl aspirations. The bar has been set high by owner Jerry Jones.

But given Garrett’s take on where the Cowboys are, they have a lot of work to do between now and Week 1 against the division-rival New York Giants.


Does It Matter If Ezekiel Elliott Refuses To Play Without A New Contract?

Another day and some more dysfunction from the Dallas Cowboys. It’s always a great day when the Dallas Cowboys can’t get their shit together. What’s even better is how public they have been with all of it.  It’s like they can’t help themselves and everyone who isn’t a Cowboys fan is enjoying the shit out of it.  So, the update is that Zeke isn’t going to play without a new contract.  The words of an official hold out.

Jerry Jones isn’t worried and says the deals will get done, but reports are that all three players (Zeke, Dak, Amari) have deals that have been offered to them, yet none of them are interested in signing them.  Now, regardless of which one of the three deserves the payday the most, Zeke has been the one that has been the most vocal (shocking) and it doesn’t appear to be any closer to a resolution.

Zeke is reportedly asking for Todd Gurley money and looks to be on the LeVeon Bell path if he doesn’t get it. How do you think the Rams feel right now about paying Todd Gurley that money?  How did that contract help them in the Super Bowl? 3 points? Oh yeah that’s right, the running back position is not as important as the running backs think it is. Jerry Jones has even said you don’t need the rushing leaders out there to make it to the Super Bowl.  Especially with that offensive line, which is top 5 in the NFL and has been for some time now.

The biggest problem here with Zeke is, he has taken all of his leverage away.  There is no free agency to fall back on.  You are under contract until 2020 and you called for this extension too early.  Hell, they can still franchise tag him after his contract runs out, twice! We haven’t heard much from the other players about how they feel about this, but they are all guys looking to get paid and I’m sure nobody is happy that Zeke is essentially cutting in line and looking to get paid before all of them.  It’s a selfish move and I think the Cowboys need to send a message.  No, the Cowboys are not built around Zeke and we talked the other day about the numbers to prove it.  Amari Cooper has proven to be more vital to Dak Prescott and the team winning than Zeke has.  Just look at Dak’s numbers without Amari Cooper and compare them to his numbers without Zeke.

I think Dallas should at least flirt with the market a little bit here.  Yes, I know, this sounds crazy but there are a couple teams out there who feel that they are a Zeke away from being a serious Super Bowl contender.  Why not take advantage of it while Zeke’s value is at an all-time high?  Holding out is just going to hurt the Cowboys’ chances of dealing him for what they feel he’s worth and hurt Zeke’s pockets, so it’s a lose-lose situation.


Will Jimmy Johnson Ever Be Inducted Into The Pro Football Hall Of Fame?

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that includes the egos of Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson, who both tried to take credit for the last period of success experienced by the Dallas Cowboys. Now, all these years later, Jerry Jones is still around the neck of Jimmy Johnson, and will likely keep the former head coach out of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

You can’t say Jimmy Johnson without thinking of one of the most lopsided moves in NFL history involving Hershel Walker. Johnson sent the running back to the Minnesota Vikings for a slew of draft picks and turned the players he picked into back-to-back Super Bowl Champions. Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones tried to prove that it wasn’t Johnson’s coaching, but his leadership from the front office that was the reason for the team’s newfound success by letting Johnson go prior to the 1994 season.

The Cowboys went on to win a third Super Bowl in four years under Barry Switzer in 1995 while Johnson went to Miami in 1996, replacing their Hall of Fame coach Don Shula.  Without another Hershel Walker to trade, Johnson was unable to duplicate his Cowboys’ success on South Beach and when to work for Fox Sports after leaving the Dolphins never to coach again.

It is easy to say that Jimmy Johnson would have won the same Super Bowl for the Cowboys that Barry Switzer did, giving Johnson his third ring.  Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin always tells both Johnson and Jones that because of their inability to get along and work together longer their teams likely lost out on at least two more Super Bowl championships.

The ego of Jerry Jones and his failure to work well with Jimmy Johnson has caused the Dallas Cowboys to be a hot and cold franchise since the dynasty ended, and more cold that hot.  Since 1998 the team has only been to the playoffs nine times and only has three postseason wins under the leadership of Jones, who has been better at growing the brand of the Lone Star than building a team that could win year in and year out.

There was nothing stopping the Dallas Cowboys from surpassing the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 1970’s or the San Francisco 49ers of the 1990’s and becoming the greatest dynasty in National Football League history to that point, instead, Jerry Jones blew the whole thing up just so he could prove that not anyone could drive his car, and the franchise has never been the same since.  It is because of Jerry Jones that Jimmy Johnson will never make the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.


Ohio State FB Release: Taking a look at the Ohio State offensive line

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State opened camp this fall looking to replace four of five starters across the offensive line. That is not the most enviable task but fortunately for offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, he’s working with a talented group, just not an experienced one in terms of starts. This current o-line contingent has a total of 22 combined starts in a Buckeye uniform led by left tackle Thayer Munford’s 13. With no one other than Munford really entrenched in a spot yet, and a deep and talented group, competition this fall camp will interesting.

The Buckeyes have 19 offensive lineman in camp this August.

Josh Alabi – Fifth-year senior who is now in his third season on offense after initially playing along the defensive line. He has seen action in 24 games, including a start at left tackle in the Rose Bowl win over Washington when Thayer Munford was hurt. Alabi played a career-high 83 snaps in the win at Maryland last season and totaled 393 snaps as a junior in 2018 while playing in all 14 games.

Brandon Bowen – A fifth-year senior who missed the entire 2018 season while recovering and rehabilitating a leg injury that he incurred in Game 6 of the 2017 season Maryland. He earned the starting right guard spot at the onset of the 2017 season and held that role up until his injury.

Jonah Jackson — Joined the Ohio State football program in the summer of 2019 as a graduate transfer following a four-year career at Rutgers. He was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and media in 2018 for the Scarlet Knights, starting 11 of 12 games at right guard. Voted a captain by his teammates.

Kevin Woidke – A fifth-year senior and a two-time Varsity O letterwinner, Woidke initially walked on to the team in June of 2015. He played in 13 of 14 games last year for the Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions and has appeared in 25 contests over the last two years. Through his hard work, he was awarded an athletic scholarship this past spring that extended into the summer term.

Brandon Pahl – Is in his fifth season with the program. He joined the team as an invited walk-on in June of 2015. He is returning to the field this fall after missing spring practice with an injury.

Nathan Brock – Is in his fourth season with the program after walking-on in the summer of 2016. He redshirted his first season and has two years of eligibility remaining.

Gavin Cupp – A fourth-year junior who spent the majority of spring practice with the No. 1 offensive line unit. He played a total of 50 snaps from scrimmage in two games during the 2018 season and earned his first Varsity O letter. Gavin was part of the athletic department’s Huntington Bucks Go Pro summer internship program this year, working with the Student-Athlete Sports Services Office.

Thayer Munford — The lone returning starter on the offensive line in 2019. He started the first 13 games of the 2018 season before an injury cost him an appearance in the Rose Bowl. He has played in 25 of 28 games over the past two seasons. Munford helped lead an offense that broke numerous Ohio State and Big Ten records in 2018 and earned honorable mention All-Big Ten honors for his efforts.

Wyatt Davis – Entered Ohio State as one of the top recruits in the country in 2017. He redshirted his first season and then played in all 14 games last year, including starting the Big Ten Championship game vs. Northwestern and the Rose Bowl vs. Washington. He begins the 2019 season as one of the most experienced members of the offensive line, albeit just a sophomore in eligibility.

Josh Myers – Was one of 10 recruits from the class of 2017 to enroll in classes at Ohio State in January 2017 and thus has been part of three years of spring drills. He redshirted in 2017 and then was the backup to All-American center Michael Jordan in 2018. Myers has the size, skill and smarts to follow in the long line of standout performers at the position that includes back to back Rimington Award winners Pat Elflein and Billy Price in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

Jack Jamieson – Is in his second year with the program after joining the team at the start of fall camp last season. Was a three-year captain and starter at one of the Ohio’s most successful programs: St. Ignatius High School. He played both guard and center along the offensive line for the St. Ignatius.

Chris Kuhn — Joined the Ohio State football program in the fall of 2018. The mathematics major was an OSU Scholar-Athlete in his first year with the team.

Matt Jones – Has taken part in spring practice each of the last two years after enrolling in classes in January of 2018. Redshirted as a true freshman last fall. He was rated as high as No. 41 in the class of 2018 on the ESPN 300.

Nicholas Petit-Frere – Redshirted last season as a true freshman and was an OSU Scholar-Athlete. He was the nation’s consensus top-ranked offensive tackle prospect in last year’s class. This past summer, Petit-Frere was one of five players who had an externship at the WWE Headquarters in Orlando, Fla. to learn about the ins and outs of the professional wrestling business.

Max Wray – Is in his second year with the program after enrolling in January of 2018. He redshirted last season. Was a consensus Top-100 recruit in the 2018 class and was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Ryan Jacoby – A true freshman, he enrolled early and joined the program in time for the start of the 2019 spring semester. He was Ohio’s No. 8-ranked player in the 2019 class. Jacoby was a two-time first team All-Ohio honoree and led Mentor to a runner-up finish in 2017.

Dewand Jones – A mountain of a man, listed at 6-8 and 360 pounds, Jones was a four-star prospect by ESPN and a consensus top-15 rated player – regardless of position – in the state of Indiana. He is a tremendous athlete for his size as he was a two-sport athlete who also excelled on the basketball court as well. He averaged 17.0 points and 9.0 rebounds per game on the hardwood and had several DI offers.

Harry Miller — Was rated the nation’s No. 2-ranked center and the No. 37-rated prospect overall according to in the 2019 class. Miller played guard, tackle and center for Buford High School which averaged 41.6 points per game in 2018 and scored 50 or more points four times. He was his class Valedictorian.

Enokk Vimahi — Was rated the nation’s No. 7 guard and No. 124 overall player by in the 2019 class. Vimahi was a four-star prospect by every major recruiting service and the No. 2-ranked player in the state of Hawaii. Last winter, he took part in both the U.S. Army All-America Bowl and Polynesian Hall of Fame Bowl.

Zach Stevenson and Ryan Smith will also get back in the mix once classes begin on August 20.

Just the guy to lead them
Greg Studrawa, who returns for his fourth season coaching the offensive line, has already coached two major award winners – Rimington Trophy winners Pat Elflein and Billy Price – and three All-Americans at Ohio State: Elflein, Price and Michael Jordan this past season. His 2016 offensive line was one of three finalists for the Joe Moore Offensive Line Award.


  • In the three seasons since Studrawa took over the o-line reigns, the Buckeyes have been second in the Big Ten and eighth nationally in rushing.
  • In 2018, the team was third in the Big Ten in fewest sacks allowed while setting Big Ten records for pass completions, yards and touchdowns.

 No More Black Stripe
Urban Meyer brought a simple yet meaningful ritual to Ohio State in which all newcomers to the program wear a black stripe on their helmet and it isn’t removed until they have earned the right to be on the field. That tradition has continued with coach Day. Some early enrollees of the freshman class lost their stripes during spring practice. But the first member of the program to have their stripe removed this fall was graduate transfer Jonah Jackson. The Rutgers transfer earned the distinction after just the fourth practice of fall camp. He is vying for a starting spot at one of the guard positions. True freshman Harry Miller had his stripe removed after practice No. 5.

Greg Studrawa’s Thoughts 

On transfer Jonah Jackson…
“He’s a guy that provides leadership without saying a word. Obviously, he’s a new guy and the rest of the guys are getting to know him. But he’s a professional. He does his job and goes hard every play that he’s in there. He’s starting to lead by example.”

On Thayer Munford…
“He’s done a really good job with his weight. He’s down to 313 pounds and looks like a million bucks. That’s going to take some stress off his back. We’re limiting him a little as he gets back into the swing of things because he hasn’t been in a full padded practice since last November. For him to knock the dust off and get back going, that’s going to come with each rep in practice this camp. But Thayer looks really good.”

On the depth…
“The depth right now is as good as it’s ever been since I’ve been here. The competition is unbelievable. Harry Miller has performed with the twos as a true freshman against our defense. Enokk (Vimahi) came in here at 270 and is now 295 and wow, does he look like a million bucks. Dawand Jones, you can’t miss him, he’s as big as a house and he’s running around at 375 pounds and looks like an athletic guy. And all that’s to say I can’t even get those guys in with the twos to get reps right now.”


Freshman 15: First-year players who will make an immediate impact

Two years ago, freshman Tua Tagovailoa went into the College Football Playoff championship game after halftime and led Alabama to a national title. Last season freshman Trevor Lawrence put on a passing show in the championship game en route to a 15-0 season and a title. Heck, three years ago freshman Jalen Hurts went toe-to-toe with Clemson’s Deshaun Watson in the national championship game for Alabama in a last-second loss.

Freshmen matter. Freshmen make an impact. Freshmen win championships.

Having said that, it isn’t always easy to figure out which freshmen will make that immediate impact. Who knew Tagovailoa would have even played in that title game, let alone lead the comeback? Lawrence didn’t even begin the season as Clemson’s starting quarterback. Who heard of Jonathan Taylor before he ran for 1,977 yards as a freshman in 2017? Sometimes it isn’t just talent as much as opportunity.

Let’s look at 15 freshmen who could make an immediate impact in 2019.

1 of 15 Antonio Alfano, Alabama

Alabama seems to rotate in great defensive linemen after great defensive linemen. With Quinnen Williams and Isaiah Buggs now playing in the NFL, Alfano will need to step in as a true freshman to keep Nick Saban’s defense stout. He has a knack for disrupting offenses and making quarterbacks nervous. He is fast for an 285-pound rush end and physical enough to deal with blockers — most likely the next big Crimson Tide defensive lineman.

2 of 15 Hank Bachmeier, Boise State

Boise State quarterbacks have not only produced huge passing seasons, but they’ve also been able to do so right out of the box. Bachmeier will take the place of Brett Rypien, who started as a freshman and was the four-year starter for the Broncos. He is an NFL talent and one of the top-ranked prospects to ever play in Boise. There is a good possibility that he is the starter when the Broncos head to Jacksonville to take on Florida State in the season opener.

3 of 15Matt Corral, Ole Miss

Corral played sparingly last season, throwing only 22 passes over four games. It was a shrewd move by Rebels head coach Matt Luke, who took advantage of a rule that allows a player to play four games and still be able to redshirt. Corral got some early-season snaps in 2018 and then was inactive the rest of the year. Now the pro-style quarterback takes over for Jordan Ta’amu and will play under quarterback-friendly Rich Rodriguez. Sure, the SEC West is a daunting grind, but Ole Miss quarterbacks have done well over the years. Corral should have a big season.

4 of 15 Baylor Cupp, Texas A&M

The Aggies have had a nice history of tight ends come through College Station. Jace Sternberger was the last one, and he will be playing for the Packers this fall. Cupp is the present and future at A&M — a hulking guy with receiver skills that will be a big weapon in Jimbo Fisher’s offense. His best attribute is that he is always improving. He got better and better in high school and got better and better in spring practices.

5 of 15 John Emery Jr., LSU

LSU lost Nick Brossette, so Emery should be able to come right in and be the featured back in a Tigers offense that loves to run the ball. Emery came from out of nowhere to become a top-five back in the nation. He is lethal in open space and understands the importance of blocking for a running back. (Coaches love that.) He’ll certainly get the opportunity this year.

6 of 15 Jaelen Gill, Ohio State

J.K. Dobbins will be the starting running back; there’s no reason to debate that. But Ohio State likes to use other backs in a variety of ways. Gill is a do-everything kind of back who not only can run between the tackles but also is great as a receiver, and he is lethal in open space. New quarterback Justin Fields came from an offense in Georgia that used a quick back in D’Andre Swift, so having a release valve like Gill could help him get more comfortable in Columbus.

7 of 15 Jadon Haselwood, Oklahoma

Oklahoma lost Marquise Brown to the NFL, so Haselwood will need to fill the role opposite CeeDee Lamb in the Sooners receiving corps. Oklahoma has had one of the greatest offenses in the country recently (consecutive Heisman Trophy winners prove that), and Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts looks to continue that trend. Hurts is known for his legs, but he can sling it too, and Haselwood will get a lot of looks with defenses focused on Lamb and cautious of Hurts’ ability to run.

8 of 15 K.J. Henry, Clemson

After two national championships in three seasons, Clemson’s vaunted defensive line will be playing in the NFL this fall. While replacing that kind of talent is tough, the Tigers just reload. Henry, who was a top-10 recruit coming into last season, played sparingly and redshirted in 2018, meaning he’ll be a freshman again for 2019. Guys like Justin Foster and Xavier Thomas will step into bigger roles this year, so Henry should be able to take advantage of offenses focusing elsewhere.

9 of 15 Graham Mertz, Wisconsin

Mertz was one of top passing prospects in the country, and it’s a bit of a coup that Wisconsin nabbed him. The Badgers have had solid quarterbacks in the past but not one who can walk in as a freshman and do what Mertz can do. With the last two national championships won on the arm of a freshman quarterback, the stigma of needing an experienced signal-caller to win at a high level is gone. The Big Ten West division is up for grabs, and Mertz could be a big reason why Wisconsin gets back to the conference championship game.

10 of 15 Bru McCoy, USC

McCoy has had one of the weirdest offseasons in recent memory…and he hasn’t even played one college down yet. McCoy committed to USC during the All-America Bowl but changed his mind after Trojans offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury left for the NFL’s Cardinals. Bru McCoy (c’mon, that’s a Texas name if I ever heard one) decided to transfer to Texas, only to change his mind again and put his name back in the transfer portal and enroll at…USC. Again. There is some doubt as to whether McCoy will get to play this season (the NCAA needs to grant a waiver for him to do so), so while he is on this list, there is the possibility that he may not get to play as a true freshman. He is a big receiver who makes tough catches down the field and in traffic. He is a huge recruit for USC, and if he does get his waiver he could create problems for the rest of the Pac-12.

11 of 15 Bo Nix, Auburn

Jarrett Stidham left a big hole at quarterback for Auburn, and there is no obvious successor to the starting job. Nix, a freshman from Pinson, Alabama, very well could be the guy. Nix fits Gus Malzahn’s system of having a dual-threat quarterback…but so does sophomore Joey Gatewood who has a bit more size. Nix is the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix.

12 of 15 Nolan Smith, Georgia

Smith is one of the top-ranked incoming freshmen, and while the Bulldogs have plenty of defensive talent, he will still see the field enough to make an impact on games and the season. Not only does he have the physical tools to be a fine pass rusher, but he’s also smart and uses great technique

13 of 15 Derek Stingley Jr., LSU

LSU is known for producing some fantastic defensive backs. Stingley is cut from the same mold: He is a playmaker who can be a major factor in games from the first second he steps on the field. He was the top-rated defensive back out of high school. His father, Derek Sr., was a former professional football and baseball player and his grandfather, Darryl Stingley, was the former Patriots receiver who was paralyzed by a hit from Raiders safety Jack Tatum in a preseason game in 1978.

14 of 15 Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oregon

Thibodeaux is scary — a 6-foot-5 defensive end who can run like a deer. And he fills an immediate need for a Ducks team that fancies itself as back on the rise. He is a defensive difference maker who should strike fear in Pac-12 quarterbacks for years to come.

15 of 15 Christian Turner, Michigan

Turner actually saw action at Michigan last year, playing in three games with 10 carries and 55 yards in the Wolverines’ 41-15 loss to Florida in the Peach Bowl. He was eligible to redshirt last year, so he enters the 2019 season officially as a freshman. With Karan Higdon moving on, Turner will be relied on to shoulder the running load for an offense that should be a lot more in tune this year.


College football rivalries: Ranking the top 10 for 2019

Rivalries are an innate part of sports. Simple geographic locations have propped up plenty of rivalry games in college football, while conference affiliations bolstered certain matchups, as well. Success can create a rivalry, too, especially if two teams constantly meet and compete.

Every rivalry on this list is scheduled to play in 2019, save for one, but there’s an excellent chance those two will wind up meeting regardless. But there were a handful of rivalries that just couldn’t be included because they haven’t met on the field in a while – Texas vs. Texas A&M, Oklahoma vs. Nebraska and Pitt vs. West Virginia, to name a few.

Our first rivalry contains two California-based Pac-12 schools, neither of which are in Los Angeles. This rivalry’s first meeting took place in 1892, making it one of the oldest in college football.

No. 10: California vs. Stanford

This season’s meeting between the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University marks the 100th consecutive season the Golden Bears and Cardinal square off. Their first matchup came in 1892, making this rivalry over 100 years old, but the teams didn’t play from 1906 through 1918 in favor of rugby.

Plenty of exciting moments have come from this matchup, too, most notably, “The Play,” from the 1982 game. After a John Elway-led Stanford touchdown drive to put his team ahead with four seconds to go, a kick return that resembled backyard football won Cal the contest. After four laterals, the original ball-carrier, Kevin Moen, scampered into the endzone for the game-winning score as time expired. He was forced to maneuver through more than just the kicking team, though, as the Stanford band had begun celebrating on the field; Moen plowed through a band member as he crossed the goal line.

No. 9: Florida State vs. Miami (FL)

The Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes is another rivalry built on proximity, but success from both sides elevated this game to a whole other level. Both teams have been highly ranked in a handful of their matchups, including back-to-back season’s each team was ranked in the top three.

From all the great players to participate in this rivalry, it’s known best for the kickers. Outsiders won’t likely remember these names — Gerry Thomas, Dan Mowrey, Matt Munyon and Xavier Beitia, but Seminole and Hurricane fans alike will, each for different reasons.

Thomas is best known for his missed go-ahead kick in 1991 that would’ve given the No. 1 Seminoles a win over the No. 2 Hurricanes; Miami went on to win the National Championship that season. Mowrey, the very next season, missed another 4th quarter go-ahead kick wide right to give Miami another victory. Munyon’s happened in 2000 after eventual-Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke led a drive into Miami territory. The legend continued, though, as Munyon’s kick sailed wide right for the third time in this series. Beitia was the last FSU kicker to go wide, except he kicked it a different direction, literally.

Neither team is expected to run the table in 2019, but that won’t take away from their early-November meeting. By that point in the season, each team will likely have figured out their identity, providing fans an experience that can be added to the history books.

No. 8: Alabama vs. Clemson

Thanks to the College Football Playoff system, Alabama and Clemson have met once per season each of the past four years, including three CFP National Championship Games. With a 2-2 split, though, neither team’s taken the upper hand in the budding rivalry, but the latest performance could buck that trend.

Clemson dominated Alabama 44-16 in the 2019 CFP, marking the Tigers second national championship victory against the Tide. It’s been a back-and-forth affair between the two, though, alternating wins in each of the past four games.

What does it say about Dabo Swinney and Clemson being able to topple the mighty Crimson Tide and Nick Saban from the mountain top? Will the Tigers be considered favorites moving forward just because of the name on their chest? Alabama’s been great under Saban, but they often get the benefit of the doubt because of their name. Will that happen with Clemson?

With star quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence and Tua Tagovailoa back for another season, the Tigers and Tide could very well see each other in 2019. All signs are pointing toward another College Football Playoff matchup. Could fans be blessed with another classic between these two?

No. 7: Florida vs. Georgia

Florida and Georgia are Southeastern Conference foes and have played a neutral-site game every season in Jacksonville since 1933, save for the 1994 and 1995 seasons when the Gator Bowl was being renovated. The Bulldogs own the all-time series, posting a 51-43-2 record, and currently hold a two-game win streak.

This rivalry featured players such as Knowshon Moreno, Steve Spurrier, Tim Tebow, Herschel Walker, Jack Youngblood, and tons of other studs. The Bulldogs and Gators are responsible for the following accolades, too.

  • 5 Heisman Trophy winners
  • 55 Consensus All-Americans
  • 89 1st round draft picks
  • 679 total draft picks

When the Bulldogs and Gators square off in early November – the same weekend as Florida State-Miami, actually – it could be one of the premier matchups of the 2019 season. Many are expecting Florida to be contenders in the SEC East, while Georgia’s dominated the division since Kirby Smart took over in 2016.

If both teams are able to meet on Nov. 2 in Jacksonville undefeated, the winner will likely reach the SEC Championship Game. And from there, a College Football Playoff berth would be within their grasp. Could it happen for either of these rivals in 2019?

No. 6: Minnesota vs. Wisconsin

Possibly the greatest rivalry trophy in sports, the gridiron winner of Minnesota-Wisconsin takes home Paul Bunyan’s Axe. This rivalry’s been played every single year dating back to 1890, except for 1906, but the series is a surprising 60-60-8 split.

Although the overall series is tied, Wisconsin’s had the upper hand the last couple decades, posting a 43-25-3 record since 1948, including 12 straight victories from 2004 through 2017. P.J. Fleck, however, ended the series’ longest winning streak in just his second season in 2018, leading the Gophers to a 37-15 road victory.

The University of Minnesota isn’t thought of as a big-time football program nowadays, but in their heyday – nearly 70 years ago – the Gophers dominate college football. They claimed seven national championships, but can’t seem to replicate that success in today’s game. The University of Wisconsin, on the other hand, is a contender in the Big Ten year-in and year-out.

Throw out each team’s record when these two meet, though, especially for their matchup in late November this year when Wisconsin hosts their 2019 Senior Day against Minnesota. Will the Gophers spoil the Huskies’ last stand?

No. 5: Harvard vs. Yale

The annual football contest between the Harvard Crimson and Yale Bulldogs is the third-oldest FCS rivalry in all of college football, behind Yale-Princeton and Lafayette-Lehigh. Playing the same team 135 times is an incredible accomplishment, too, regardless of what the series record is. Yale, however, has the overall edge 67-60-8.

Being two of the oldest college institutions in America, Harvard and Yale have played nearly every sport for a long time. Football added tension to the relationship in 1894 when the two played a game later known as the “Springfield Massacre.” Seven players were reportedly carried off the field and historian George Sullivan had this to say of the meeting.

“So savage was combat on a neutral Springfield gridiron … that newspapers printed a casualty summary similar to those listing victims of a disaster. The game’s violence appalled the world and ignited a national uproar about football ferocity—outrage that threatened the sport’s future.” – George Sullivan, Historian

Harvard and Yale helped shape the sport of football as we know it, too, influencing early discussions surrounding the safety of football. Representatives from each school – in addition to Princeton – were summoned by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 to the White House to discuss minimizing violent plays. In addition to safety concerns, the flying wedge was banned during this general time, the neutral zone was created and the distance for a first down was extended from five to 10 yards.

These schools don’t boast countless All-Americans or Heisman Trophy winners, but each program’s longevity adds a pillar to the college football kingdom that’ll never be knocked down. These two square off in the final game of the regular season in late November.

No. 4: Army vs. Navy

What college football teams get an entire weekend to themselves other than Army and Navy? It happens every December following conference championship weekend and it’s the third and final game in the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy series; Air Force is the third team in this interservice rivalry.

Although the series is close, Navy holding onto a 60-52-7 record, one team usually dominates the series for a handful of years. Army once held an eight-game win advantage over the Midshipmen, but Navy’s since taken control of the series with the Black Knights. Navy’s 14-game win streak (2002-2015) ultimately landed them their current lead; Army’s won the last three matchups.

A neutral-site field usually hosts this rivalry, and often times it’s in Philadelphia – actually, 88 times Army and Navy have played in Philadelphia. They’ve played the second-most games in New York City (11), followed by Baltimore (6) and East Rutherford, New Jersey (4); West Point and Annapolis have hosted the game three times each.

Ten sitting President’s have attended the rivalry over the years, dating back to Theodore Roosevelt in 1901, the starter of this trend. It isn’t followed by all of them, though. Here’s a list of the other Presidents to attend: Woodrow Wilson (1913), Calvin Coolidge (1924), Harry Truman (1945-53); John F. Kennedy (1961-1962); Gerald Ford (1974); Bill Clinton (1996); George W. Bush (2001, 2004, 2008); Barack Obama (2011); and Donald J. Trump (2017).

No. 3: Oklahoma vs. Texas

Whenever Oklahoma and Texas meet for the Red River Showdown, there’s always a ton on the line. It’s been about pride more than anything recently since the Longhorns have taken a tumble from their once-envious perch among college football’s elite. But for about the fifth offseason in a row, Texas is considered to be, “back.” Just don’t tell Lincoln Riley and Oklahoma.

These two programs have met on the gridiron 114 times since 1900, with the Longhorns owning the all-time series 62-47-5. They’ve held the series lead since the birth of the rivalry, too, winning the first eight games and never looking back. Texas’s longest winning streak in the rivalry is eight games (twice), while the most wins the Sooners’ have pieced together is six in a row.

Plenty of great players have played in this rivalry, too, including nine combined Heisman Trophy winners, 141 consensus All-Americans, 92 first round NFL Draft picks and over 700 total picks. Everything’s bigger in Texas, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a better companion for the Longhorns than Oklahoma. These two feed off of the success of one another, which is going to make the 2019 season a real test for Texas. Can Tom Herman and quarterback Sam Ehlinger lead the Longhorns back to the top of the Big 12?

Like every regular season matchup since 1932, Texas and Oklahoma will face off in 2019 at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. This neutral-site venue is roughly equal distance from Austin and Norman, respectively, and it provides each program with a unique opportunity to showcase their team’s to local fans and potential recruits. A handful of rivalries on this list don’t see each other until the final weekend of the regular season; Oklahoma and Texas meet Oct 12.

No. 2: Alabama vs. Auburn

College football’s Iron Bowl is played between the two largest public universities in Alabama – the University of Alabama and Auburn University. They’ve only met 83 times, and the Crimson Tide owns the series 46-36-1, but the Tigers seem to have the upper-hand when it comes to unforgettable plays.

Is there anything worse than missing a go-ahead field goal as time expires, only to watch your rival take it 109 yards the other way for a game-winning touchdown? If that happened to anybody other than Nick Saban, I’d be convinced they’d never coach again. It was just another bump in the road for the six-time national champion head coach, though. He’s won five at Alabama, making the Tide arguably the best dynasty of this generation. However, Auburn’s stayed relevant, albeit with a pair of head coaches.

Gene Chizik coached the Tigers to an undefeated 2010 season, with the help of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton, that resulted in a BCS Championship victory. Chizik’s successor, Gus Malzahn, led the Tigers back to a BCS title game in 2013 but couldn’t seal the deal. Including those two Tiger seasons, one of either Alabama or Auburn played in the national championship every season from 2009 through 2013. That’s an incredible run.

Auburn’s done plenty to be considered more than just Alabama’s little brother, but the Tide have propped this rivalry up for years. Alabama’s simply the greater program that continues to attract superior talent. Saban coaching helps, but so does ranking first in all-time bowl game appearances (70), fourth in all-time wins (905) and sixth in total NFL Draft picks (365).

These two meet on Nov. 30 at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn. Alabama will be seeking their second-consecutive win in the series after last year’s 52-21 victory.

No. 1: Michigan vs. Ohio State

Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler. Eddie George and Charles Woodson. Maurice Clarett and Braylon Edwards. Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer. Each of those people, players and coaches alike, represent the greatest rivalry in college football – Michigan versus Ohio State.

Since 1897 have these two clashed on the football field, Michigan owning the all-time series 58-50-6. The Buckeyes, however, are currently on a seven-game winning streak including last season’s 62-39 thumping in Columbus. Harbaugh’s yet to beat the Buckeyes, and the Wolverines haven’t done so as a program since 2011 when Harbaugh was still in the NFL.

With Meyer out as head coach and Ryan Day taking over for Ohio State, what comes next? This rivalry has been an excellent measure of how successful Buckeye coaches will be during their tenure. Woody Hayes, Earle Bruce, Jim Tressel and Meyer all won their first games against Michigan and had, for the most part, successful tenures in Columbus. Luke Fickell and John Cooper, on the other hand, each lost their first game against, that team up North,” and aren’t thought as highly as those previously mentioned. Fickell was replaced by Meyer, so he’s forgotten rather quickly. The same goes for Cooper as Tressel came in blazing hot, winning 14 games in year two.

This rivalry takes the cake when it comes to the best in college football, but I’d stack it up against Duke-North Carolina in college basketball, the Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA and the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees in baseball. When your rivalry game is simply dubbed and recognized by outsiders as, “The Game,” it’s importance is obvious. What rivalries do you think stand out the most in college football?


Merritt ties course record for lead at Northern Trust

Troy Merritt isn’t obsessed with his position in the FedEx Cup and what he needs to advance in the PGA Tour’s postseason. He figures the best solution is good golf, and he delivered his best round of the year Thursday in The Northern Trust.

Merritt began with a 10-foot par save, followed with a pair of 20-foot birdie putts and took advantage of calm, rain-softened Liberty National by tying the course record with a 9-under 62 for a one-shot lead over Dustin Johnson.

It wasn’t a career low – Merritt twice has shot 61 on the PGA Tour – but it might have been his best round hardly anyone saw.

The storm was so fierce on the eve of the FedEx Cup playoffs opener that the public was not allowed in until 10 a.m., nearly three hours after the round began. And when the fans arrived, most of them were watching the action – what little there was – two groups behind him with Tiger Woods.

Woods, in only his third round since the U.S. Open, made double bogey on the shortest hole on the course, three-putted from 15 feet and had three bogeys from the fairway in a listless round of 75. Along with being 13 shots out of the lead, he was in danger of missing the cut for the first time in the FedEx Cup playoffs, which also would jeopardize a return to East Lake for the Tour Championship.

“We all knew it was soft out here with the rain last night,” Woods said. “I knew I had to go get it, post a low one, and didn’t do it. It’s certainly out there. Greens are soft. Fairways are soft. You can play aggressively and not have any real ramifications for playing aggressive.”

Johnson ran off four straight birdies near the end of his round for a 63, a good start in a tournament he already has won twice.

Kevin Kisner and Jon Rahm were at 64, while the group at 65 included Rory McIlroy and the suddenly hot Webb Simpson, who posted his sixth straight round of 65 or better dating to the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Invitational two weeks ago.

The wind arrived in the afternoon, slowing the onslaught of low scores, with no round better than the 66 by Justin Rose.

“Got a bit tricky this afternoon,” Rose said. “I didn’t pay too much attention to this morning’s scores. Saw a scoreboard at one points – 9 (under), 8, 7s, 6s – and I knew it was on. This golf course, if you’re playing well, you can take it on and challenge it. … If you’re not 100 percent on your game, you have to play conservatively.”

Merritt is No. 72 in the FedEx Cup, with the top 70 advancing next week to the BMW Championship at Medinah. Points are quadrupled in the postseason.

“I know good golf will take care of itself,” he said. “You just try to play the best you can. Obviously, I’ll be watching throughout the weekend, but just getting off to a good start, put that to the back of the mind and try to win a golf tournament.”

Johnson has no such worries as the No. 7 seed, though this time of the year means a lot to him only because of past failures. The FedEx Cup isn’t the same as winning a major championship, and Johnson has gone three years since his lone major at the 2016 U.S. Open.

He narrowly lost out on the FedEx Cup in 2016 when he had a share of the 54-hole lead, shot 73 and still could have won the cup if anyone but McIlroy had won. McIlroy won in a playoff. Four other times he went to the Tour Championship among the top five seeds and didn’t get it done.


Park, van Dam, Lee share lead at Ladies Scottish Open

Jane Park, Anne van Dam and Mi Hyang Lee took advantage of calm conditions in the opening round of the Ladies Scottish Open on Thursday, shooting 8-under 63s to share the lead.

Lee won the Ladies Scottish Open two years ago at Dundonald. The veteran Park and the rookie van Dam are seeking their first LPGA Tour victories.

Moriya Jutanugarn was one shot back on a sunny day of low scoring at The Renaissance Club, a resort links next to Muirfield on Scotland’s East coast. Players were bracing for wind and rain on Friday.

“When I see the forecast, today is like best day and then tomorrow is worst day,” Lee said. “So my plan, my kind of plan was I try to make a lot of birdies.”

Van Dam, a long-hitting Dutch player known for viral videos of her swing, hit a 5-iron to 4 feet for eagle on the par-5 first hole and 6-iron to 3 feet for another eagle on the par-5 12th. She wasn’t pleased that tees were moved up on several holes, including those where she took full advantage.

“It’s just disappointing, on a day like today, the weather was just perfect. I saw no need to do that,” van Dam said. “You’re talking to the best players in the world in the females’ game. I don’t think we need any short courses, not at all. If it’s a day like tomorrow, when it rains a lot, fine.”

Van Dam is seeking to lock up her spot on Europe’s Solheim Cup team along with ensuring full LPGA Tour playing privileges next season.

“I’m just looking forward to playing a solid week of golf,” she said. “Whatever happens at the end of the week, I can’t control that.”

Su Oh, Caroline Hedwall and Chella Choi each shot 65.

Defending champion Ariya Jutanugarn, winless since last year’s triumph at Gullane, opened with a 69.

Park dedicated her round to her husband, Pete Godfrey, who caddies for Ariya Jutanugarn and celebrated his birthday on Thursday.


NASCAR Cup Series: Will 10th consecutive race feature a different winner?

A total of 10 different drivers have won at least one of the first 22 races on the 36-race 2019 NASCAR Cup Series schedule. Nine of these drivers have won one of the last nine races going back to the race at Pocono Raceway in early June, which was won by Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch.

You have to go back to the race at Charlotte Motor Speedway in late May before you reach the most recent two-time winner. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. won that race before winning the race at Sonoma Raceway in late June.

The only driver who has won at least one race this season but has not won any of the last nine races is Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski. Keselowski sits in a third place tie on the wins list so far this season with three, but he hasn’t won a race since he won the race at Kansas Speedway in mid-May.

He also won the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway in late February and the race at Martinsville Speedway in late March.

Will this Sunday’s race, the Consumers Energy 400, at Michigan International Speedway produce a 10th different winner in the last 10 races?

Looking at the history of the results at this four-turn, 2.0-mile (3.219-kilometer) Michigan International Speedway oval in Brooklyn, Michigan, it is very possible. Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson hasn’t won a race since the 2017 season, and he won three races in a row at the track from 2016 to 2017. His third victory at the track in August of 2017 was followed up by a win by Stewart-Haas Racing’s Clint Bowyer in June of 2018. Bowyer has not won a race since he won this one.

The last two race winners at Michigan International Speedway, however, have won one of the most recent nine races that have been contested this season. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Kevin Harvick won the race at the track last August, and he won the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway a few weeks ago.

Team Penske’s Joey Logano won the race at Michigan International Speedway back in June, and this race was the second race of the active nine-race streak of different winners.

The only other former winners at Michigan International Speedway who are in the field but have not won one of the last nine races are Roush Fenway Racing’s Ryan Newman and Hendrick Motorsports’ Jimmie Johnson. Both drivers are seeking their first victories in more than two years.

Newman won the races at the track in August of 2003 and June of 2004 while Johnson won the race there in June of 2014.

As far as the historical implications of 10 consecutive races being won by 10 different drivers is concerned, it has not been done since the 2012 season when 11 different drivers won one race in an 11-race span. Ironically, both this streak and the active nine-race streak began with the 14th races of the season, and this race was held at Pocono Raceway in both seasons.

Here is the current nine-race streak.

Pocono Raceway – Kyle Busch

Michigan International Speedway – Joey Logano

Sonoma Raceway – Martin Truex Jr.

Chicagoland Speedway – Alex Bowman

Daytona International Speedway – Justin Haley

Kentucky Speedway – Kurt Busch

New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Kevin Harvick

Pocono Raceway – Denny Hamlin

Watkins Glen International – Chase Elliott

Here is the 11-race streak that took place seven years ago.

Pocono Raceway – Joey Logano

Michigan International Speedway – Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Sonoma Raceway – Clint Bowyer

Kentucky Speedway – Brad Keselowski

Daytona International Speedway – Tony Stewart

New Hampshire Motor Speedway – Kasey Kahne

Indianapolis Motor Speedway – Jimmie Johnson

Pocono Raceway – Jeff Gordon

Watkins Glen International – Marcos Ambrose

Michigan International Speedway – Greg Biffle

Bristol Motor Speedway – Denny Hamlin



Friday, August 9

Time Event Channel
12:35 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series First Practice MRN/NBCSN
1:35 p.m. Gander Outdoors Truck Series First Practice No TV
1:35 p.m. Xfinity Series First Practice NBC Sports App
3:05 p.m. Gander Outdoors Truck Series Final Practice No TV
4:05 p.m. Xfinity Series Final Practice NBC Sports App
5 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Qualifying MRN/NBCSN

Saturday, August 10

Time Event Channel
8:35 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Second Practice MRN/NBC Sports App
9:35 a.m. Gander Outdoors Truck Series Qualifying FS2
11:30 a.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Final Practice MRN/NBC Sports App
11:40 a.m. Xfinity Series Qualifying NBC Sports App
1 p.m. Gander Outdoors Truck Series Corrigan Oil 200 MRN/FS1
3 p.m. Xfinity Series B&L Transport 170 MRN/NBCSN

Sunday, August 11

Time Event Channel
3 p.m. Monster Energy Cup Series Consumers Energy 400 MRN/NBCSN

Consumers Energy 400 Starting Lineup

Below is the entry list for the Consumers Energy 400.

Starting Driver Number
TBD Landon Cassill 00
TBD Kurt Busch 1
TBD Brad Keselowski 2
TBD Austin Dillon 3
TBD Kevin Harvick 4
TBD Ryan Newman 6
TBD Daniel Hemric 8
TBD Chase Elliott 9
TBD Aric Almirola 10
TBD Denny Hamlin 11
TBD Ryan Blaney 12
TBD Ty Dillon 13
TBD Clint Bowyer 14
TBD Ross Chastain 15
TBD Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 17
TBD Kyle Busch 18
TBD Martin Truex Jr. 19
TBD Erik Jones 20
TBD Paul Menard 21
TBD Joey Logano 22
TBD William Byron 24
TBD Quin Houff 27
TBD Corey Lajoie 32
TBD Michael McDowell 34
TBD Matt Tifft 36
TBD Chris Buescher 37
TBD David Ragan 38
TBD Daniel Suarez 41
TBD Kyle Larson 42
TBD Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. 43
TBD Ryan Preece 47
TBD Jimmie Johnson 48
TBD Cody Ware 51
TBD Austin Theriault 52
TBD Spencer Boyd 53
TBD Garrett Smithley 77
TBD Alex Bowman 88
TBD Matt DiBenedetto 95



1905       “COME AT ONCE STOP VERY SORRY STOP YOUR FATHER DEAD IN SHOOTING ACCIDENT STOP HURRY.” – telegram sent to Ty Cobb by Joe Cunningham, a long-time hometown Royston friend. Ty Cobb, playing for the Augusta Tourists of the South Atlantic League, receives a telegram sent by his long-time hometown Royston friend Joe Cunningham informing him that his father Professor W. H. Cobb has been killed in a shooting accident the previous night. The incident, which will have profound effect on the life of the 18 year-old minor leaguer, will become a sordid affair when it is revealed that his mother pulled the trigger.

1906       Cubs right-hander Jack Taylor, who will amass a lifetime record of 152-139 along with an ERA of 2.66, goes the distance, beating Brooklyn at Washington Park, 5-3. The victory will be the last of his 187 consecutive complete games, an amazing streak which began on June 20, 1901 with a 2-0 loss in Boston.

1916       The Philadelphia A’s twenty-game losing streak ends when Joe Bush beats the Tigers, 7-1. The 20-80 club has won only three of their prior 43 contests, with lone victories during the stretch snapping skids of twelve and nine consecutive defeats.

1939       Yankee third baseman Red Rolfe begins an eighteen-game scoring streak. The Penacook, New Hampshire native will score thirty runs during this period of time.

1946       In MLB’s version of Friday Night Lights, all eight games, scheduled in eight different cities, will be played under the lights. It will be the first time in the major league history that every team will participate in an evening tilt on the same night.

1949       Dom DiMaggio, hitless in his first four at bats against Yankee hurler Vic Raschi, sees his 34-game hitting streak come to an end. The Red Sox outfielder’s older brother Joe makes a shoestring catch in the eighth inning, taking his sibling’s last chance to extend the streak.

1961       The Reds continue their domination of the hapless Phillies by winning their 16th straight game against the inept squad, who have won just one contest in their last 19 tries. Joey Jay’s 5-0 whitewash is the 13th loss in a row for Philadelphia, the club’s longest losing streak in 25 years.

1963       One loss shy of tying the major league record of 19 consecutive defeats, Roger Craig switches his uniform number to 13 in an attempt to change his luck. The move appears to work when Jim Hickman lofts a short fly ball in the ninth inning with two outs and the bases-full in a tie game, that just ticks the upper-deck overhang in left field at the Polo Grounds for a walk-off grand slam, giving the Mets an improbable 7-3 victory over the Cubs.

1963       Jim Hickman hits a ninth-inning grand slam off reliever Lindy McDaniel, giving the Mets a two-out walk-off 7-3 victory over Chicago at the Polo Grounds. The game-winning round-tripper, a pop fly that grazes the overhang extending from the left field upper deck, ends Roger Craig’s 18-game losing streak.

1963       Lindy McDaniel becomes the second pitcher in major league history to give up a pair of game-ending grand slams in the same season when Mets pinch-hitter Jim Hickman goes deep, giving the Mets a dramatic 7-3 victory over the Cubs at the Polo Grounds. The Chicago right-hander, who also allowed Houston’s Bob Aspromonte to end a game with a bases full walk-off round-tripper in June, joins Satchel Paige (1952) in accomplishing the infamous deed.

1964       After throwing a perfect game on Father’s Day against the Mets, Phillies right-hander Jim Bunning continues his mastery over New York, retiring a total of 44 New York batters in a row. Joe Christopher beats out a two-out bunt in the fifth inning to finally end the right-hander’s perfection over the Amazins’.

1975       At Shea Stadium, Davey Lopes steals his 32nd consecutive base without being caught, breaking Max Carey’s 1922 record in the Dodgers’ 2-0 victory over New York. The Dodger second baseman’s mark will be broken by Vince Coleman in 1989.

1976       Cal Hubbard, with his induction to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as an umpire, becomes the first professional athlete to be elected into two Halls of Fame. In 1963, the Missouri native was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a result of his outstanding performance on the gridiron with the New York Giants and Green Bay Packers.

1976       John Candelaria becomes the first Pirate since 1907 to throw a no-hitter in Pittsburgh. Nick Maddox threw the first and only Buc home no-hitter until the ‘Candyman’ beat the Dodgers at Three Rivers Stadium. (There was never a no-hitter pitched in the 61-year history of spacious Forbes Field.)

1981       Major league baseball returns in a big way from its in-season strike when 72,086 fans attend the belated All-Star Game, a 5-4 National League victory over the Junior Circuit at Cleveland Stadium. Giants southpaw Vida Blue becomes the first pitcher to win the Mid-Summer Classic for both leagues, and Expo backstop Gary Carter, who hits two home runs, is named the MVP of the contest.

1988       After 5,687 consecutive contests take place during the day at the Chicago Northside ballpark dating back to 1914, the first official major league night game is played at Wrigley Field, with the hometown Cubs taking a 6-4 decision from the Mets. The historic event was scheduled for last night, but the contest against the Phillies was rained out after the third inning.

1996       Cal Ripken records his 2,500th career hit with a single off White Sox right-hander Bill Simas in the Orioles’ 4-3 loss to Chicago in 10-innings. The Baltimore infielder will end his 21-year career with a total of 3,184 hits.

1998       The Expos draw a total of 757 dogs during the team’s Dog Day promotion. Montreal’s 8-2 victory over Arizona featured a pregame parade of the dogs and their owners on the field.

1998       Dennis Eckersley, throwing a perfect eighth inning in the Red Sox’ 14-8 victory over Texas, ties Kent Tekulve for second on the all-time list with 1,050 appearances by a pitcher. Hoyt Wilhelm is the over-all leader with 1,070, a record the ‘Eck’ will surpass in his final major league game on September 26.

1998       Dennis Martinez, with his 244th victory, surpasses Juan Marichal to become the winningest Latin American pitcher in major league baseball history. The Nicaraguan right-hander, known as ‘El Presidente’, pitches a perfect eighth inning in the Braves’ 7-5 victory over the San Francisco.

1999       For the first time in major league history, five grand slams are hit in a single day. Cardinal Fernando Tatis, Expo Jose Vidro, Marlin Mike Lowell, Yankee Bernie Williams, and Mariner Jay Buhner all connect to set the record. (Lowell, Williams, and Buhner all played for the Columbus Clippers – thanks to Steve Basford for this interesting aside.)

1999       The Blue Jays bang out 25 hits in a 19-4 rout of the Rangers at The Ballpark in Arlington. The total, which includes six doubles and four home runs, establishes a new franchise mark for hits.

2001       Mike Hampton ties the National League record for pitchers with his seventh homer when he goes deep off Felix Heredia in the Rockies’ 14-5 victory over the Cubs at Wrigley Field. The Colorado southpaw equals the mark established by Dodger hurlers Don Drysdale (1958, 1965) and Don Newcombe (1955), and two shy of the major league standard set by Wes Ferrell, playing for the Indians in 1931.

2002       Barry Bonds joins Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron as the only players ever to hit 600 career home runs. The 38 year-old Giant left fielder hit the milestone homer in the sixth inning by lining a 2-1 pitch thrown by Pirates starter Kip Wells over the center field wall at Pacific Bell Park.

2002       At the age of 26 years and 182 days, Vladimir Guerrero hits his 200th career home run, tying the Expos right fielder with Ken Griffey, Jr. as the second-youngest player to reach the 200 homer plateau. Alex Rodriguez is the youngest major leaguer to reach the 200 homer mark, reaching the milestone in 25 years 290 days.

2005       An arbitrator rules Kenny Rogers, who has missed 13 games, should be reinstated. The decision states the punishment for shoving two cameramen handed down by Bud Selig went too far in suspending the Ranger pitcher for 20 games and in levying an excessive $50,000 fine.

2006       Mike Piazza belts two home runs off Mets ace Pedro Martinez and nearly hits a third one in the eighth inning during a 4-3 Padres loss in New York. The Big Apple fans give their former hometown hero an uncommon road curtain call after the round tripper, but aren’t so kind the second time the backstop goes deep as he is greeted with boos and catcalls.

2008       Micah Hoffpauir ties a modern Pacific Coast League record by homering in his first four at-bats in the Iowa Cubs’ 15-3 rout over the Round Rock Express. The 28 year-old slugging first baseman becomes the third player in the history of the storied PCL to go deep in four consecutive at-bats and the fifth to accomplish the feat in one game.

2008       As part of the 50th anniversary celebration commemorating the Giants’ move to San Francisco, the team honors their greatest outfielders. Barry Bonds, thought not to be in attendance for the event, receives a standing ovation accompanied by a loud approval from the surprised fans when his name is announced and takes part of the ceremony telling the crowd, “It feels awful to me not to be in uniform and the Dodgers are right here”.

2009       In the eighth inning of a 5-2 victory over the Red Sox in the Bronx, Johnny Damon and Mark Teixeira hit consecutive homers for the sixth time this season, the most ever for a pair of Yankees in one season. The teammates’ accomplishment is remarkable, considering the franchise featured the dynamic duos of Ruth and Gehrig as well as Mantle and Maris in its storied past.

2010       Citing he has lost confidence in his manager, Mariner GM Jack Zduriencik fires Don Wakamatsu and three coaches. Triple-A Tacoma manager Daren Brown is named as the interim pilot of the last-place club (42-70), becoming the team’s fifth skipper in a little more than three years.

2010       The front-running Reds obtain 40 year-old veteran Jim Edmonds from the Brewers in exchange for Chris Dickerson, a light-hitting defensively talented outfielder. Dusty Baker will use his newest player, who hit .286 and eight homers in 73 games for Milwaukee, in a part-time role during the playoff chase.

2011       With the tying runs at the corners and two outs in the bottom of the ninth, Curtis Granderson is picked off at first, ending the game as Mark Teixeira, the Yankees’ leading home run hitter, stands at the plate. The last out of New York’s 6-4 loss to the Angels is the result of the seldom effective fake to third, throw to first move perpetrated by closer Jordan Walden, which easily catches the Bronx Bomber outfielder off the base when he attempts to steal second base on a 1-6-3 play.

2013       Dan Haren becomes the thirteenth pitcher in history to record a victory over all 30 major league franchises when he hurls seven solid innings in the Nationals’ 9-2 win over Philadelphia. The 32 year-old right-hander joins Al Leiter, Randy Johnson, Barry Zito, A.J. Burnett, Kevin Brown, Terry Mulholland, Curt Schilling, Woody Williams, Jamie Moyer, Javier Vazquez, Vicente Padilla, and Derek Lowe in accomplishing the feat.

2013       The Dodgers rally for four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, overcoming a six-run, seventh-inning deficit, for their fifth walk-off victory of the season. The team’s 7-6 victory over Tampa Bay is their 11th consecutive win in one-run games, a span in which they have defeated ten different clubs.

2014       Bill Lee, who threw a complete-game victory two seasons ago for the San Rafael Pacifics, breaks his own record as the oldest player ever to win a professional baseball game when he hurls 5.2 innings in the Sonoma Stompers’ 6-3 victory at Arnold Field. The 67 year-old former major league hurler, a member of the Red Sox Hall of Fame, gives up six hits and three runs to the visiting Pittsburg Mettle of the independent Pacific Association.



NEW YORK – In Edmonton, it is still summertime. People still flock to the world’s largest indoor mall. The Oilers are still printing up their schedules for the next hockey season. But life has changed forever in Edmonton. Wayne Gretzky is gone. Nothing terrible happened. He did not total his car trying to break a different kind of record out on the highways of Alberta. He did not succumb to alcohol or drugs or any of the other perils. He was not caught pulling stock deals or writing bad checks. He was merely traded to the Los Angeles Kings today, with his acquiescence, and things will never be the same.
Babe Ruth was sold. Wilt Chamberlain was traded. Tom Seaver was traded. Kareem Abdul- Jabbar was traded. Other franchise players have been traded near the peaks of their careers. But it could be argued that no other team athlete has ever been traded while he was the most dominant player of his time and perhaps even of his game. Edmonton was already on the map-that spot way up there on the North American continent -but Gretzky taught people where to look for it. Little boys on the Alberta wheat farms, waiting for their ponds to freeze over, may not understand it. Eskimos near the Arctic Circle, waiting for Hockey Night in Canada to start again in October, may not understand it. Yuppies of Edmonton, with their season tickets for 40 Oiler games in the Northlands Coliseum, may not understand it. Gretzky is gone.
The oil bust having lasted so long in Edmonton, Peter Pocklington, the owner of the Oilers, may very well need the millions of dollars he receives in the Gretzky deal. It was Peter Puck and his hockey man, Glen Sather, who snookered the Ontario teen-ager away from a fellow World Hockey Association speculator, Nelson Skalbania, after Gretzky’s eightgame career as a part-time high school student in Indianapolis. Now Gretzky is leaving Edmonton for Los Angeles, perhaps to further the career of his new wife, Janet Jones, perhaps to see how he might do in front of the cameras, perhaps just to stay warm in the winters without having to snuggle into the fur coats he can well afford.
Perhaps having done just about everything a hockey player can do, he now wants the creative challenge of seeing whether he can revive a franchise as lukewarm as the Forum ice. He never said he would stay forever. He just scored 583 goals for the Oilers and, in the last five seasons, helped win four Stanley Cups.
The Great Gretzky. Even in steamy towns along the Gulf of Mexico, where hockey rarely materializes, they have heard of this Wayne Gretzky. Skinny dude from Canada. Long blond hair. Gentle face and gracious manner. Scores all those goals. In Canada there are children who eat their cereal and drink their juice and buy a certain brand of sportswear because Wayne Gretzky says so. But he is more than the sum of his endorsements.



American League
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
NY Yankees 76 39 .661 43 – 18 33 – 21 43 – 14 14 – 12 9 – 6 9 – 1 W 9
Tampa Bay 66 50 .569 10.5 31 – 28 35 – 22 30 – 26 15 – 12 10 – 8 7 – 3 L 1
Boston 61 56 .521 16 29 – 30 32 – 26 28 – 31 17 – 8 13 – 12 2 – 8 W 1
Toronto 47 71 .398 30.5 20 – 35 27 – 36 19 – 32 17 – 18 9 – 10 6 – 4 L 1
Baltimore 38 76 .333 37.5 17 – 41 21 – 35 18 – 35 7 – 15 8 – 16 3 – 7 L 3
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Minnesota 70 45 .609 35 – 24 35 – 21 18 – 11 27 – 14 19 – 11 6 – 4 L 3
Cleveland 69 46 .600 1 38 – 24 31 – 22 15 – 9 32 – 19 16 – 13 7 – 3 W 3
Chi White Sox 51 62 .451 18 27 – 28 24 – 34 15 – 18 26 – 24 4 – 9 5 – 5 W 1
Kansas City 41 75 .353 29.5 23 – 35 18 – 40 7 – 19 22 – 35 7 – 16 2 – 8 L 1
Detroit 34 78 .304 34.5 15 – 39 19 – 39 10 – 13 16 – 31 3 – 19 3 – 7 W 1
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Houston 75 40 .652 43 – 15 32 – 25 13 – 10 14 – 10 38 – 12 9 – 1 W 6
Oakland 65 50 .565 10 37 – 23 28 – 27 13 – 14 15 – 4 27 – 26 7 – 3 L 1
Texas 58 56 .509 16.5 35 – 22 23 – 34 7 – 6 17 – 9 26 – 32 5 – 5 L 2
LA Angels 56 60 .483 19.5 29 – 28 27 – 32 12 – 11 8 – 13 25 – 30 2 – 8 L 7
Seattle 48 68 .414 27.5 27 – 33 21 – 35 7 – 8 14 – 13 23 – 39 5 – 5 W 1


National League
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Atlanta 68 49 .581 32 – 25 36 – 24 28 – 19 20 – 13 14 – 12 6 – 4 L 1
Washington 61 53 .535 5.5 31 – 25 30 – 28 30 – 22 5 – 11 18 – 16 6 – 4 W 3
NY Mets 59 56 .513 8 32 – 20 27 – 36 27 – 24 12 – 15 10 – 13 9 – 1 W 6
Philadelphia 59 56 .513 8 34 – 26 25 – 30 26 – 26 13 – 10 12 – 15 4 – 6 L 3
Miami 43 71 .377 23.5 23 – 35 20 – 36 17 – 37 7 – 16 11 – 9 2 – 8 W 1
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
Chi Cubs 63 52 .548 41 – 19 22 – 33 14 – 11 26 – 21 13 – 12 7 – 3 W 2
Milwaukee 60 56 .517 3.5 33 – 24 27 – 32 16 – 9 30 – 24 10 – 14 4 – 6 W 3
St. Louis 58 55 .513 4 31 – 23 27 – 32 16 – 14 26 – 20 9 – 10 2 – 8 L 5
Cincinnati 54 59 .478 8 31 – 27 23 – 32 11 – 9 24 – 29 11 – 12 6 – 4 L 1
Pittsburgh 48 66 .421 14.5 24 – 32 24 – 34 8 – 14 20 – 32 10 – 16 2 – 8 L 5
Team W L Pct GB Home Road East Central West Last 10 Streak
LA Dodgers 77 40 .658 46 – 15 31 – 25 18 – 6 22 – 11 34 – 17 8 – 2 W 5
Arizona 58 57 .504 18 27 – 28 31 – 29 15 – 12 10 – 10 19 – 29 5 – 5 W 2
San Francisco 57 59 .491 19.5 26 – 31 31 – 28 9 – 15 12 – 10 30 – 27 3 – 7 W 1
San Diego 53 61 .465 22.5 26 – 30 27 – 31 12 – 17 10 – 13 22 – 26 4 – 6 W 1
Colorado 52 63 .452 24 29 – 27 23 – 36 11 – 15 10 – 9 23 – 29 3 – 7 L 3



Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Philadelphia 25 12 6 7 46 37 9 7-3-2 5-3-5 42
Atlanta 24 12 3 9 41 29 12 9-3-1 3-0-8 39
New York City FC 22 10 8 4 40 29 11 6-4-1 4-4-3 38
New York 24 11 4 9 41 34 7 8-1-4 3-3-5 37
D.C. 25 9 9 7 32 31 1 5-5-3 4-4-4 36
Montreal 25 10 3 12 34 44 -10 6-1-4 4-2-8 33
New England 24 9 6 9 34 41 -7 6-2-5 3-4-4 33
Toronto FC 24 9 5 10 38 40 -2 6-3-4 3-2-6 32
Orlando City SC 24 8 5 11 32 33 -1 5-1-6 3-4-5 29
Chicago 25 6 9 10 35 35 0 5-6-2 1-3-8 27
Columbus 25 7 4 14 25 37 -12 5-2-6 2-2-8 25
FC Cincinnati 24 5 2 17 23 55 -32 3-1-7 2-1-10 17
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Los Angeles FC 23 16 4 3 61 23 38 9-1-0 7-3-3 52
Minnesota 23 11 5 7 39 30 9 7-4-1 4-1-6 38
San Jose 23 11 5 7 40 34 6 8-2-3 3-3-4 38
Seattle 23 11 5 7 35 31 4 8-2-2 3-3-5 38
Los Angeles 23 12 1 10 30 34 -4 8-0-4 4-1-6 37
Real Salt Lake 23 10 4 9 33 31 2 8-1-2 2-3-7 34
FC Dallas 24 9 6 9 31 28 3 6-5-1 3-1-8 33
Portland 22 9 4 9 35 33 2 3-2-1 6-2-8 31
Houston 24 9 3 12 34 39 -5 7-3-3 2-0-9 30
Sporting KC 23 7 7 9 36 41 -5 4-3-4 3-4-5 28
Vancouver 25 5 9 11 25 42 -17 3-4-5 2-5-6 24
Colorado 23 6 5 12 39 48 -9 5-2-6 1-3-6 23



Eastern Conference
W L Pct GB Home Road Conf Last 10 Streak
Connecticut Sun 16 6 .727 11-1 5-5 10-3 7-3 7 W
Washington Mystics 16 7 .696 0.5 7-3 9-4 9-2 6-4 1 W
Chicago Sky 13 9 .591 3.0 9-3 4-6 8-4 7-3 2 W
New York Liberty 8 14 .364 8.0 4-6 4-8 1-8 3-7 4 L
Indiana Fever 8 16 .333 9.0 4-8 4-8 4-7 3-7 1 L
Atlanta Dream 5 18 .217 11.5 4-9 1-9 2-10 2-8 8 L
Western Conference
W L Pct GB Home Road Conf Last 10 Streak
Las Vegas Aces 15 8 .652 9-3 6-5 8-4 7-3 1 W
Los Angeles Sparks 14 8 .636 0.5 8-2 6-6 7-4 8-2 4 W
Seattle Storm 13 11 .542 2.5 9-4 4-7 7-5 5-5 1 W
Minnesota Lynx 11 11 .500 3.5 6-5 5-6 4-6 5-5 1 W
Phoenix Mercury 11 11 .500 3.5 7-2 4-9 5-6 5-5 1 L
Dallas Wings 6 17 .261 9.0 6-6 0-11 3-9 2-8 2 L