NBA SIMULATED SCOREBOARD

Indiana 114 Phoenix 107

LA Clippers 115 New York 105

Boston 121 Washington 113

Miami 109 Oklahoma City 107

Brooklyn 108 Orlando 105

Denver 109 Chicago 102

Milwaukee 120 Detroit 102

Dallas 119 Houston 115

 

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE

Sacramento at Cleveland

Portland at Charlotte

LA Lakers at Toronto

Memphis at New Orleans

Philadelphia at Minnesota

San Antonio at Utah

 

NHL SIMULATED SCOREBOARD

Columbus 2 New Jersey 1

Toronto 4 Florida 3

Colorado 3 Minnesota 2

Calgary 3 San Jose 2

Edmonton 3 Anaheim 2

Vegas 4 Vancouver 3

 

TUESDAY’S SCHEDULE

Buffalo at Montréal

Columbus at NY Rangers

NY Islanders at Philadelphia

Carolina at Pittsburgh

St. Louis at Washington

Detroit at Boston

Florida at Ottawa

Winnipeg at Nashville

Los Angeles at Dallas

 

MAJOR LEAGUE SPRING TRAINING – TUESDAY

St. Louis at Texas

Cleveland at Houston

San Diego at Chicago Cubs

Kansas City at Milwaukee

Colorado at Seattle

Chicago White Sox at Arizona

San Francisco and Oakland

LA Angels at LA Dodgers

NY Mets at Baltimore

Boston Atlanta

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

Detroit at Pittsburgh

NY Yankees at Toronto

 

All signs point to Tokyo Olympics being postponed

IOC members, national Olympic committees and athletes were all racing toward the same conclusion Monday: The Tokyo Olympics are not going to take place this summer.

Craig Reedie, a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee, told The Associated Press that everyone can see where things are headed, with the coronavirus pandemic spreading and Olympic hopefuls around the world unable to train.

“In the balance of probabilities, the information known about conditions in Japan and the COVID-19’s effect on the rest of world clearly indicates the likelihood of postponement,” Reedie said. “The length of postponement is the major challenge for the IOC.”

Earlier in the day, an IOC member said that he had reached the same conclusion about the games, which are scheduled to start July 24. A tweet put out by the newspaper read: “The 2020 Summer Olympics Have Been Postponed Over Coronavirus Concerns.”

The IOC said no decision had been made, and Reedie was quick to acknowledge that he was speaking only for himself and not because of any insight provided to him by IOC president Thomas Bach, who will guide the final decision. Pound did not return a message left by AP. Earlier in the day, after Pound’s pronouncement, an IOC spokesman said, “It is the right of every IOC member to interpret the decision of the IOC (executive board) from Sunday.”

Indeed, the interpretations and opinions are just that and haven’t always been spot-on. Last month, Pound told AP that cancellation, not postponement, was the only real option if the Tokyo Games couldn’t start on time.

But a lot has changed since then, and the rapid momentum of the “postpone” movement among athletes and nations seemed to diminish the likelihood that it will take all of four weeks for the IOC to reach a conclusion. That was the timeline the IOC’s executive committee decided on Sunday when it announced it was putting together working groups to study the massive logistical issues involved in postponing the games.

Among those issues include the availability of venues in Japan, the disruption to the international sports calendar during whatever new date is chosen, the resetting of qualifying procedures, and insurance considerations; both the IOC and the Japanese organizing committee hold massive policies, the legalese of which will take time to unwind.

After that IOC announcement, however, both Canada and Australia – whose senior Olympic official is IOC member John Coates, the leader of the Tokyo inspection team – sent word that they would not or could not send teams to Japan for an Olympics that start in July.

“I know this is heartbreaking for so many people – athletes, coaches, staff and fans – but this was absolutely the right call, and everyone should follow their lead,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

Other key delegations that have pushed for a postponement include World Athletics, the international federation for the centerpiece sport of the Olympics, along with Olympic committees in Brazil, Slovenia and Germany. USA Swimming and USA Track and Field, which combine to form about a third of the U.S. team, also want a new date.

Athletes also grew louder in their request for postponement. A track group called The Athletics Association joined another athlete group, Global Athlete, in pressing the IOC to act.

The track group is led by two-time Olympic champion Christian Taylor of the U.S., who said more than 4,000 track and field athletes responded to a survey, and 87% said their training had been adversely affected by the coronavirus.

Individual athletes continued to speak out as well.

“Although I am upset that the Olympics will not be happening this year, I agree that this is the best decision in order to keep the athletes and spectators healthy and to prevent the virus from spreading further,”

in a tweet, reacting to Pound’s comments.

And while saying it’s a done deal might be jumping the gun, it feels inevitable the announcement will come.

 

Former Texas A&M guard David Edwards dies from coronavirus

Former Texas A&M guard David Edwards died from the coronavirus.

Edwards’ teammate, Chuck Henderson, posted on Facebook Monday night that Edwards died from the virus. The Dallas Morning News confirmed news of Edwards’ death.

Here was his note:

“Never in a million years would I have even imagined my backcourt teammate would go before his time. I just got the news that Dave Edwards passed away. For those that have been praying for him, he is now in a better place.

“This coronavirus has hit me in the heart. We need to find a vaccine. Dave was one of the fiercest competitors and best point guards that I’ve ever met. Nearly unstoppable. Learned a how to become tough as nails competing against him every day and shaking off adversity. Will also remember the 4 years we were together after you transferred from Georgetown to Texas A&M. RIP Dave Boogie!!!!”

Edwards began his college career at Georgetown from 1989-1990 before transferring to A&M. He played three seasons for the Aggies from 1991-1994 and averaged 13.5 points and 7.1 assists per game during his Aggies career. He led the Southwestern Conference in assists as a senior.

 

Purdue to Face West Virginia in Hall of Fame Invitational

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame has announced that the Purdue men’s basketball team will face West Virginia in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational on Dec. 13.

The game will take place Dec. 13, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., as part of a tripleheader.

It will mark Purdue’s first appearance in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational and first regular-season game in New York City since the Jimmy V Classic in early December 2016, a 97-64 win over Arizona State in Madison Square Garden. The 2018 Big Ten Tournament was also held in Madison Square Garden, where Purdue finished as the runner-up.

The Boilermakers own a 7-1 series advantage against the Mountaineers, last facing West Virginia in Dec. 2013. The two teams played in four straight seasons from 2010 to 2013, then scrimmaged regularly in the preseason scrimmage until last year.

West Virginia posted a 21-10 overall record and a 9-9 mark in the Big 12 Conference a year ago, being ranked in the top 25 for the majority of the season. The Mountaineers return six of their top seven scorers from a year ago, including their three-leading scorers in Oscar Tshiebwe (11.2 PPG), Derek Culver (10.4 PPG) and Miles McBride (9.5 PPG).

Purdue, meanwhile, will return five of its top-six scorers, including its top three in Trevion Williams (11.5 PPG), Eric Hunter Jr. (10.6 PPG) and Sasha Stefanovic (9.1 PPG). The Boilermakers posted five wins against nationally-ranked teams during the 2019-20 season and will carry 24 straight sellouts at Mackey Arena into the 2020-21 season.

 

Ohio State adding Harvard grad transfer Seth Towns makes Buckeyes a legit Final Four threat

Ohio State basketball added Harvard grad transfer Seth Towns which makes the Buckeyes a legit contender to make the Final Four next year.

Who says you can’t go home again?

Columbus native and Northland High School product Seth Towns will play his final two seasons of college basketball at Ohio State.

The Harvard grad transfer picked the Buckeyes over Duke and also considered Kansas, Virginia, Michigan, Maryland and Syracuse after announcing his intentions to leave the Ivy League after this season.

Towns missed the last two seasons due to injury but in his last full season was the Ivy League Player of the Year when he averaged 16 points and nearly six rebounds per game. Towns is a lights-out shooter from 3-point range, shooting 44.1 percent that season.

“I’m coming home,” Towns said during his announcement on Saturday night. “From a basketball standpoint, it makes sense for me. Obviously, there’s no place like home. Coach [Chris] Holtmann and I have developed a really good relationship; I trust him wholly. It’s great. It’s been my childhood dream. I have a painting of me in an Ohio State jersey on my childhood bedroom wall, even still. I got that when I was 2 years old.”

This makes for a great story on a sentimental level, but Buckeyes fans want to know about the basketball aspect of this story.

The biggest question surrounding Towns is the state of his health and whether he can recapture the form he displayed in the 2017-2018 season. Two years on the shelf with injury is a long time so he’ll have a lot of rust to knock off as he prepares for the rigors of the season and physical play the Big Ten is known for.

 

10 NBA Draft prospects who belong on your radar

Although there are no college hoops to watch, basketball hasn’t totally stopped, as we saw this week when Georgia freshman star and top prospect Anthony Edwards declared for the NBA Draft. He is one of several top college stars who will make the move to the pros. So to fill the time you’d normally spend double-checking your bracket, check out 10 NBA Draft prospects who should be on your radar.

Anthony Edwards | Georgia

Edwards was the consensus No. 1 pick in the draft before the year began, and even after an up-and-down season with a woeful Georgia team (5-13 in the SEC), he’s maintaining his top position. Edwards scored 19.2 points per game on inefficient shooting, but he’s at the top of the board because he’s a super-athlete. He’s 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, with a 6-foot-9 wingspan, and he looks more like a defensive end than a shooting guard. The problem is that he still relies on his athleticism too much. He has the speed and the hops to get any shot he wants, but they are often terrible. The hope is that he can turn into a Victor Oladipo type at the NBA level, and at 18, he has plenty of time to master the pick-and-roll and improve his outside shot and on defense. But he probably won’t be good as a rookie, and like what was done with Oladipo, the team that drafts Edwards will need to wait for his basketball skills to catch up to his athletic potential.

Obi Toppin | Dayton

Toppin is the likely Player of the Year after putting up big numbers for the best Dayton Flyers team ever — they went 29-2 and won their last 20 games. Toppin averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds and shot 63 percent from the field. It’s a versatile offensive player who shoots 39 percent from three-point range while leading the nation in dunks. Oh, he can pass, too. What are the knocks on Toppin? He’s already 22, and at 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, he isn’t quite as big as you’d like for a guy who might play minutes at center. He might not have as much upside as Edwards, but he’s perfect for a lottery team that needs a stretch big man and wants to win right away — perhaps the Golden State Warriors?

LaMelo Ball | NBL in Australia

The case for taking Ball No. 1 is simple: He’s easily the best passer in the draft, and he has the potential to be one of the best passers in the whole league. Ball shut down his season in Australia early after a foot injury, but he’d already established that he could throw any kind of pass he wanted with either hand. At 6-foot-8, the 18-year-old easily sees over the defense, rarely turns the ball over and anticipates plays like a veteran. And just like his brother Lonzo, his biggest weakness is his ugly jumper (LaMelo shot 25 percent from three). The hope is that NBA coaching can fix his bad fundamentals on both ends and let his basketball genius shine. After all, Lonzo’s ugly shot improved from 30 percent to 38 percent on threes after three years. He needs a team willing to wait on him, but Ball has a chance to be truly special — as long as his dad is banned from the home arena.

Cole Anthony | North Carolina

Greg Anthony’s son hurt his knee and missed half of a disastrous season for North Carolina, which lost seven of nine games without him. Anthony turned the ball over too much and displayed bad decision-making, but he also averaged 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists on a team where he was clearly the best player. He’d look a lot better on a team with other weapons to pass to or draw defensive attention. His three-point percentage (35%) and 75 percent FT percentage indicate he could be a legitimate shooter at the next level. Anthony’s a risk, but he could make a team that needs a point guard happy — maybe even his dad’s old team: the Knicks.

James Wiseman | Memphis

By looks alone, Wiseman seems like he should be the top pick. He stands 6-foot-11 and weighs 250 pounds, with a massive 7-foot-5 wingspan. But his game is still unrefined. In his three games for Memphis, Wiseman’s strengths and weaknesses were on full display, as he made spectacular blocks but got lost on defense. He dribbled well for a big man but often settled for fallaway jumpers. He’s a great athlete and a prospect you can dream on, but the problem for Wiseman is that many of the worst teams just filled their holes at center. So he may drop in the lottery, even though he’s clearly a long-term project.

Isaac Okoro | Auburn

In his freshman year at Auburn, Okoro was already a defensive prodigy and a big part of the reason the Tigers went 25-6. He’s 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds and a tenacious, strong defender. More than that, he’s a great teammate, playing like a veteran glue guy despite being a freshman. What’s the downside? His jumper is rough, he’s not great at handling the ball and most of his offense comes from smart cuts and crashing the boards. But even if the jumper never comes around, he’s still a useful player with a sixth sense for making timely plays. If he does learn to shoot, Okoro becomes a better, less dirty version of Bruce Bowen.

Tyrese Haliburton | Iowa State

Haliburton is the prospect in this draft who most divides analytics people and scouts. The Iowa State guard’s numbers are impressive — 15.2 points, 6.5 assists, 5.9 rebounds, shooting 41.9 percent from distance and over 50 percent overall. His true shooting percentage was 63.3, he averaged 3.8 steals and blocked almost a shot a game, huge for a guard. But scouts don’t like that he’s skinny (6-foot-5 and 175 pounds), he struggles going left and his release is slow on his jumper. Scouts might quibble with Haliburton’s fundamentals, but it’s impossible to quibble with his results. The most likely outcome to this conflict is that Haliburton drops to the late lottery, and some team gets a huge steal.

Deni Avdija | Maccabi Tel Aviv

Avdija is a 6-foot-9 forward from Maccabi Tel Aviv, and a two-time Israeli League champion and last year’s MVP at the FIBA Under-20 Championship. A role player on that team, Avdija was adept at moving without the ball and finding open teammates. He has the dribble moves to get to the basket and the size to score down low, and though his shot is awkward, he made more and more of his jumpers as the year went on. Whether Avdija can hit outside shots (and free throws) will determine if he’s a quality starter, but he’s a good enough team defender that he should play meaningful minutes as a rookie, and he’s the best international player in the draft.

Tyrese Maxey | Kentucky

Maxey is a freshman guard who broke out as a scorer at the end of the year for Kentucky. He’s a strong defender and another guy in this draft built like a football player. The knock on Maxey at the start of the year was his inconsistency, but he scored in double digits in eight of his last nine games. Maxey’s outside shot isn’t there yet, but his floaters are great. He’s the perfect backcourt complement to a scoring guard who struggles defensively. Maxey can guard the best scorer, and handle the ball without embarrassing himself. He may go higher than you’d expect, as the high lottery is full of teams that have exactly that type of guard.

Killian Hayes | Europe

Hayes is a 6-foot-5 combo guard who weighs 215 pounds, which is great size for a player who won’t turn 19 until July. His father played professionally in Europe, which is how Hayes played for “ratiopharm Ulm” in Germany instead of a U.S. college program. He had a good year, dramatically upping his scoring in February. He isn’t the greatest athlete — Hayes reportedly has a “lack of burst” on his first move — but he excels at creating his own shot and has great court vision. Hayes is young and also big for his position, and he plays better with the ball in his hands, which is why he compares himself to another lefty, James Harden. We haven’t seen him hit outside shots consistently or sell fouls aggressively enough to call him the Le Barbe, but someone is about to get a steal in Hayes.

 

Peyton Manning reportedly turns down ESPN’s ‘Monday Night Football’

ESPN is looking to add a huge name to its “Monday Night Football” broadcast for next season, but that big hire is not going to be Peyton Manning.

Manning has officially turned down ESPN’s massive offer, Andrew Marchand of the New York Post reports. The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback is not yet ready to commit to the weekly schedule of the NFL season as an analyst, and it remains unclear if he ever will be.

Manning has now turned down ESPN and other major networks on multiple occasions. While he has done two shows — “Peyton Places” and “Detail” — for ESPN+, working as a broadcaster would involve a much more demanding schedule, and Manning appears to be enjoying retirement with his family.

Marchand previously reported that ESPN’s dream scenario was to lure Al Michaels away from NBC and pair him with Manning. The only way ESPN could hire Michaels would be via a trade with NBC, and it doesn’t sound like the rival network has any interest in a scenario like that.

ESPN made a run at Tony Romo before Romo signed a massive contract extension with CBS, and there were reports that executives at ESPN were prepared to make Manning an unprecedented offer. However, it seems like there is no amount of money that could rope Manning into broadcasting just yet.

 

Colts preferred Philip Rivers over Tom Brady?

The market for Tom Brady did not seem to be quite as robust as many expected it to be, and the Indianapolis Colts may have played a direct role in that.

The Colts were obviously looking for an upgrade at quarterback this offseason, which is why they signed Philip Rivers to a one-year deal last week. However, they surely would have preferred Brady and his championship pedigree if the four-time Super Bowl MVP wanted to play in Indy, right? Apparently not.

According to Peter King of NBC Sports, Brady’s camp showed interest in the Colts but the interest was not mutual. The Colts are said to have preferred Rivers from the start because they knew they could sign him to a one-year deal.

Brady signed a two-year, $50 million contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that is fully guaranteed and includes up to $9 million in incentives. Rivers signed a one-year deal with the Colts that is worth around $25 million. Rivers is four years younger than Brady, but it’s hard to believe Indianapolis preferred one year of Rivers over two years of Brady.

It’s possible that Brady’s camp only showed interest in the Colts as a way of strengthening the market for the 42-year-old. Brady seems like he was in a position where he would have wanted to really stick it to the Patriots, and signing with Indy would have been one way to do that. However, he also wanted to play on the east coast for travel purposes. It seems unlikely that Brady would have signed with the Colts even if they wanted him.

 

Ex-Brady backup Hoyer agrees to 1-year deal with Patriots

Brian Hoyer is returning to the Patriots for a third time.

The veteran quarterback has agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.05 million.

Hoyer was released by Indianapolis on Saturday.

In Hoyer, the Patriots add a veteran quarterback who is familiar with their system. It is their first move to add some depth at the quarterback position since Tom Brady left

and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The 34-year-old began his career as Brady’s backup in New England in 2009 and has spent time with seven NFL teams during his 11-year career. He has played in 69 games with 38 starts and has completed 873 of 1,477 passes for 10,274 yards with 52 touchdowns and 34 interceptions.

His second stint with the Patriots began in 2017 after he was released by San Francisco following its acquisition of Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade with New England.

Hoyer again served as Brady’s backup in 2018 before being beaten out for that role by Jarrett Stidham during the 2019 preseason. He was cut by the Patriots and signed by the Colts, appearing in four games with one start last season.

Hoyer becomes the third quarterback on New England’s roster, joining Stidham and Cody Kessler, who ended the season on the practice squad.

 

Dallas Cowboys Pro Bowl center Travis Frederick shockingly announces retirement

Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick shockingly announced his retirement via Twitter Monday.

Frederick missed all of 2018 due to Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease. He returned last year and made the Pro Bowl for the fifth time in his career.

But while Frederick was proud of his journey back to the game after not knowing if he would be able to play with his kids again, let alone suit up with his teammates, he didn’t feel he played up to previous standard, nor if he would ever do so again.

“After much consideration, discussion, and reflection, I have decided to retire from football,” Frederick said in a statement. “I made my return to the field, played well overall, and was selected to the Pro Bowl. But it was a difficult year for me. Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.”

Frederick was a first-round pick of the Cowboys in the 2013 NFL draft out of Wisconsin. He made four straight trips to the Pro Bowl from 2014-2017. He made first-team All-Pro in 2016 and second team in 2014 and 2015.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called Frederick the core piece of one the most talented and skilled offensive lines in the history of the NFL. It featured three first-round picks and perennial Pro Bowlers in left tackle Tyron Smith and right guard Zack Martin as well as Frederick.

“His leadership ability, production and intelligence put him at the top level of interior offensive linemen in our league for many years,” Jones said in a statement. “At the pinnacle of his success, his career on the field was only exceeded by a rare display of courage and determination in overcoming a life-threatening illness and returning to the game — a challenge that could only be completed by a person with rare levels of perseverance and strength.”

In addition to counting $11 million against next year’s cap, Frederick’s departure leaves a hole at center for the Cowboys to fill heading into the 2020.

Backup guard-center Joe Looney, who replaced him in 2018, is an option, as is Adam Redmond and 2019 third-round pick Connor McGovern.

 

Patriots release all-time leading scorer Stephen Gostkowski

The Patriots said goodbye Monday to another longtime staple of their two-decade run of championships, releasing kicker and franchise leading scorer Stephen Gostkowski.

The three-time Super Bowl champion has spent his entire 14-year career in New England.

Drafted in 2006, Gostkowski has long passed Adam Vinatieri as the Patriots’ leading scorer with 1,775 points. Only Tom Brady (41), Vinatieri (32) and Jerry Rice (29) have played in more playoff games. His 205 postseason points are second to the 238 points by Vinatieri.

The 36-year-old Gostkowski started the first four games of 2019 but struggled, missing a career-high four extra points after not missing more than three in any of his previous 13 NFL seasons. He was placed on injured reserve in October and underwent season-ending hip surgery.

Viniatieri cemented his place in New England history by kicking two winning field goals in the Super Bowl before leaving for the Indianapolis Colts as a free agent in 2006.

Gostkowski did the same with his consistency, becoming one of the NFL’s most dependable kickers during his Patriots tenure. A two-time All-Pro, he missed only one extra point in his first 10 years in the league and appeared in every game for New England from 2011 through 2018.

His six Super Bowl appearances are tied for second behind Brady.

Gostkowski ends his Patriots tenure having made 87.4% (374 of 428) of his field-goal attempts. Veteran Nick Folk ended last season as New England’s kicker, but is currently a free agent.

 

AP source: Redskins acquire QB Kyle Allen from Panthers

The Redskins have traded for a quarterback coach Ron Rivera is plenty familiar with. Just not that one.

Washington on Monday acquired Kyle Allen from the Carolina Panthers, according to a person with knowledge of the move. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

It’s not as big a splash as getting Cam Newton, but Allen becomes competition for 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. Rivera coached Allen with Carolina the past two seasons before being fired.

Rivera repeatedly praised Allen’s toughness and said, “He doesn’t let things faze him.”

“I’m not concerned about Kyle’s learning curve,” Rivera said last season. “He’s a young quarterback who is going to make young mistakes. But that is why you put him out there. We’re going to live with his learning pains because that is what the game is all about.”

Allen, 24, has thrown for 3,588 yards, 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in 15 NFL games in 2018 and 2019, all with the Panthers. He became their starter last season when Newton got hurt, finished with 23 turnovers and was benched for rookie Will Grier the final two weeks after Carolina fell out of the playoff hunt.

The Panthers signed Allen as an undrafted free agent out of Houston. He has expressed gratitude for Rivera giving him a chance.

“There weren’t many places for me or opportunities coming out of college, and Coach Rivera gave me that opportunity,” Allen said. “In camp and everything we did in practices, he never just treated me as camp arm. … He always gave me opportunities, and without him I don’t know where I would be right now.”

Rivera made it clear upon taking over control of Washington’s football operations that he wanted a veteran to compete with Haskins for the starting job. The Ohio State product completed 58.6% of his passes and threw for seven touchdowns and seven interceptions during his rookie year.

The Redskins appeared likely to fill the void at quarterback from the outside and let Colt McCoy and Case Keenum leave in free agency. Allen became available when Carolina agreed to terms with XFL star P.J. Walker on a two-year deal.

In addition to trading for Allen, Washington continued its roster makeover by making deals official with tight end Logan Thomas and safety Sean Davis and re-signing defensive lineman Caleb Brantley. Rivera has so far strayed away from major moves, with the biggest perhaps being a multiyear contract with cornerback Kendall Fuller.

More could be coming in the form of subtractions. The Redskins are listening to trade offers for left tackle Trent Williams and cornerback Quinton Dunbar.

 

AP source: Panthers agree to terms with XFL QB P.J. Walker

A person familiar with the situation says the Panthers have agreed to terms on contracts with former XFL quarterback P.J. Walker of the Houston Roughnecks and former Raiders linebacker Tahir Whitehead.

The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the moves have not been announced by the team since the players have yet to pass physicals. The person says Walker agreed to a two-year contract and Whitehead will get a one-year deal.

Walker joins the Panthers on the first day that XFL players were allowed to sign with NFL teams.

Both Walker and Whitehead played college football at Temple under new Panthers coach Matt Rhule.

The 25-year-old Walker was one of the stars of the XFL and a leading MVP candidate, throwing for 1,338 yards with 15 touchdown passes and four interceptions while leading the Roughnecks to a 5-0 start before the league canceled its season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

While playing under Rhule at Temple, Walker threw for 10,668 yards in four seasons with 74 touchdowns and 44 interceptions before finishing in 2017. He has spent parts of the past three seasons on the Colts practice squad, but has never played a regular-season down in the NFL.

“Couldn’t be happier for (at)XFLRoughnecks PJ Walker,” Roughnecks director of pro personnel Randy Mueller said on Monday. “Love to see guys bet on themselves and be rewarded. Easy to root for good people.”

Walker joins a crowded quarterback room in Carolina, although Cam Newton is expected to be traded or released in the near future.

Teddy Bridgewater is expected to be Carolina’s starting quarterback after agreeing to a three-year, $63 million contract last week to replace Newton. Will Grier, a third-round draft pick in 2019, and Kyle Allen, who started 12 games last season for Carolina, are the other QBs on the roster.

Whitehead is a more proven player. He’s played 125 games with 87 starts and has 633 tackles and five interceptions. He has started 63 of a possible 64 games over the past four seasons with the Lions and Raiders. Last year Whitehead had 108 tackles for the Raiders.

He could help ease the loss of linebacker Luke Kuechly, who announced his retirement after last season.

Outside of the Bridgewater signing, the Panthers have been relatively quiet in free agency, adding mostly lower-priced free agents, while allowing top free agents starters such as defensive end Mario Addison, cornerback James Bradberry, defensive tackles Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe and guard Greg Van Roten to join other teams. Along with Kuechly’s retirement, the team also released tight end Greg Olsen, traded five-time Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner and made the decision to part ways with Newton, the league’s MVP in 2015.

 

AP Source: Seahawks acquire CB Quinton Dunbar from Redskins

The Seattle Seahawks have finally addressed one of their defensive needs. No, it had nothing to do Jadeveon Clowney or the pass rush.

Seattle landed some needed depth in the secondary by acquiring cornerback Quinton Dunbar from the

for a fifth-round pick Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the move.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced. ESPN first reported the trade.

The move could end up being another trade steal for John Schneider and the Seahawks as they attempt to upgrade the secondary. Seattle had a need for cornerback depth and Dunbar should instantly jump into the competition as a potential starter. At 6-foot-2 with long arms, Dunbar fits the mold of the cornerbacks Seattle wants to have in its defensive system.

Dunbar had a career-best four interceptions last season for the Redskins. He has started 17 of the past 18 games he’s played for Washington. He missed five games last season with a hamstring injury and made it clear he wanted to play somewhere other than Washington for the upcoming season.

a thank you to the Redskins organization on Instagram accompanied by a highlight video. He closed his messaged with, “I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life which is joining the Seattle Seahawks and helping them win a championship.”

The move was the second significant trade made by Seattle since the start of last season to help the secondary. The Seahawks sent a seventh-round pick to Detroit for Quandre Diggs midway through last season and now used a fifth-round pick to acquire Dunbar.

Cornerback has been on Seattle’s list of needs, but took a backseat to other matters in the early days of free agency. Seattle focused extensively on the offensive line with four additions – B.J. Finney, Cedric Ogbuehi, Brandon Shell and Chance Warmack – and made one big splash on defense by bringing back former first-round pick Bruce Irvin to help the pass rush.

The Seahawks continue to wait on Clowney’s decision on whether he’s up for a return to Seattle.

But cornerback had to be addressed at some point. While Shaquill Griffin had a solid season last year, Seattle’s pass defense as a whole was a problem. Griffin’s counterpart Tre Flowers was often picked on by opposing quarterbacks, especially when Seattle’s lackluster pass rush was unable to cause any disruption. Dunbar seems likely to challenge Flowers for the starting role.

Flowers was a safety in college at Oklahoma State but made the move to cornerback before his rookie season in 2018. He started 15 games last season and was targeted 101 times, allowing a 60.4% completion rate and a 72.5 passer rating against, according to Pro Football Reference.

Dunbar was a wide receiver in college at Florida before moving to cornerback after being signed by the Redskins as an undrafted free agent.

 

Reports: Giants agree to terms with RB Dion Lewis

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants and running back Dion Lewis have reached an agreement on a one-year contract, according to multiple reports.

Lewis, 5-8 and 195 pounds, has played seven NFL seasons for Philadelphia 2011-12), New England (2015-17) and Tennessee (2018-19). He did not play in the 2013-14 seasons.

Giants coach Joe Judge was the Patriots’ special teams coordinator when Lewis was in New England.

Lewis is the eighth free agent that played for another team in 2019 that has reportedly agreed to terms with the Giants. The others are cornerback James Bradberry (Carolina), linebackers Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell (both Green Bay), tight end Levine Toilolo (San Francisco), tackle Cam Fleming (Dallas), safety/special teams standout Nate Ebner (New England) and quarterback Colt McCoy (Washington).

Lewis has started 27 of 86 regular-season games and rushed for 2,310 yards and 11 touchdowns on 538 carries (4.3-yard avg.) and caught 172 passes for 1,281 yards and seven scores. Lewis has also played in nine postseason games with five starts, including two Super Bowls. His playoff totals are 60 carries for 222 yards and one touchdown, plus 23 receptions for 158 yards and one score.

 

Reports: Giants agree to terms with WR Corey Coleman

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants and wide receiver Corey Coleman have reached an agreement on a one-year contract, according to a report by Jordan Raanan of ESPN.

Coleman, a 5-11, 185-pounder, is entering his fifth NFL season and third with the Giants. He missed the entire 2019 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the first full-squad training camp practice on July 25. Coleman was placed on injured reserve two days later.

A 2016 first-round draft choice by the Cleveland Browns, Coleman joined the Giants’ practice squad on Oct. 18, 2018 and was signed to the active roster one week later. He played in eight games with one start – Dec. 23 at Indianapolis – and caught five passes for 71 yards, with a long reception of 30 yards. Coleman also led the 2018 Giants with 23 kickoff returns for 598 yards (26.0-yard avg), with a long of 51 yards and had one punt return for 19 yards.

Coleman has played in 27 regular-season games with 19 starts for the Browns and the Giants. His career totals include 61 catches for 789 yards (12.9-yard avg.) and five touchdowns. Coleman also has three rushing attempts for 15 yards, 23 kickoff returns for 589 yards (26.0-yard avg.) and two punt returns for 19 yards.

 

Jaguars agree to sign journeymen defenders Marsh, Woods

The Jacksonville Jaguars have agreed to sign two journeymen defenders in free agency: linebacker/pass-rusher Cassius Marsh and defensive tackle Al Woods.

Marsh, who notched 36 tackles and 2 1/2 sacks in 16 games with Arizona last season, agreed to terms on a one-year contract Monday.

Woods’ agency, SportsTrust Advisors, announced his signing on Twitter. Woods spent last year in Seattle, where he had 32 tackles and a sack in 14 games.

Marsh also has played for San Francisco, New England and Seattle during his six-year career. Woods also has spent time with Indianapolis, Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Tampa Bay over his 10 NFL seasons.

The newcomers give Jacksonville five new defenders in free agency. The Jaguars previously signed former Cleveland linebacker Joe Schobert, former Cincinnati cornerback Darqueze Dennard and former Arizona defensive lineman Rodney Gunter.

The 6-foot-4, 254-pound Marsh is a hybrid linebacker/defensive end who will serve as an insurance policy if disgruntled pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue refuses to sign the franchise tender and opts to sit out games in hopes of forcing a trade.

Ngakoue also could sign the tender and guarantee himself $18 million in 2020 while working on a long-term deal. Ngakoue, though, has made it clear he has no desire to remain in Jacksonville.

Woods is a 6-foot-4, 330-pound nose tackle who could help solidify Jacksonville’s porous run defense. He likely will serve as a backup to projected starter Abry Jones.

 

AP source: 49ers agree to deal with DE Kerry Hyder

The San Francisco 49ers have agreed to a one-year contract with defensive end Kerry Hyder.

A person familiar with the deal says the sides came to the agreement on Monday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the signing hasn’t been announced.

NFL Network first reported the deal and also reported that San Francisco reached a one-year deal linebacker Joe Walker.

Hyder entered the league as an undrafted free agent with the New York Jets in 2014. He was with Detroit from 2015-18, where he spent three seasons under Niners defensive line coach Kris Kocurek.

Hyder’s most productive season came in 2016 when he had eight sacks for the Lions. He had one sack in 16 games for Dallas last season.

Walker had 65 tackles in 16 games for Arizona last season. He is a key contributor on special teams and will fill the void created when San Francisco didn’t tender reserve linebacker Elijah Lee a contract last week.

The 49ers also announced a one-year deal with defensive end Ronald Blair that had been initially agreed to last week.

Blair was a fifth-round pick by San Francisco in 2016. He has 13 1/2 sacks in 46 games as a key reserve on the defensive line.

Blair had three sacks in nine games last season before being sidelined by a season-ending knee injury. The Niners hope Blair will be ready for the start of training camp.

“We are thrilled to have agreed with Ronnie Blair to continue with the Niner family,” general manager John Lynch said. “Ronnie is a great teammate, who has developed into a key contributor to our defense. His versatility and playmaking ability along with his strength of character off the field make him special. Ronnie’s work ethic makes us confident he will return to form this season.”

 

Report: Jadeveon Clowney turned down $17 million annually from Dolphins

Jadeveon Clowney is holding out for a lot of money that he isn’t getting right now.

According to Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle, Clowney had discussions with the Miami Dolphins about a deal that would have been worth roughly $17 million annually. When this still wasn’t enough to get Clowney to commit, the Dolphins moved on and signed Shaq Lawson instead.

Clowney just isn’t getting what he wants as a free agent. It doesn’t sound like he’s dropping his asking price, either, which has led to him receiving very little interest. Clowney is clearly not getting the long-term deal he wants, so a short-term pact — perhaps with his most recent team — may be the most likely scenario at this point.

 

Cam Newton on a mission after Panthers sign Teddy Bridgewater?

Cam Newton seems to have a chip on his shoulder after being replaced by Teddy Bridgewater in Carolina.

Bridgewater got a three-year, $63 million contract from the Panthers and will be the team’s starter. He shared a photo on social media Monday that appeared to show him signing his contract.

The Panthers traded quarterback Kyle Allen to the Redskins on Monday. As for Cam, the Panthers seem to want to trade Newton but will probably end up releasing him.

Newton is coming off foot surgery and seems motivated to show what he can do. Hours after Bridgewater posted a photo signing the contract, Newton posted photos on Instagram of himself working out.

Newton compared himself to a “warrior in battle.”

Teams probably would have interest in Newton, but he’s effectively in a holding pattern due to the lack of travel and NFL visits because of the coronavirus. One intriguing squad is listed as a favorite to land him.

 

Offseason moves that reshaped the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft

MOVE: NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN CB JAMES BRADBERRY

RESULT: NO JEFFREY OKUDAH TO THE GIANTS

The single biggest winners of the James Bradberry deal might not even be the Giants themselves. It’s the Detroit Lions, who now find themselves in a fantastic position to secure Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah [No. 4 on PFF’s Big Board] even if they trade back with the Dolphins or Chargers should the Redskins take Ohio State defensive end Chase Young [#2]. The Giants have to be eyeing either offensive tackle (Louisville’s Mekhi Becton [#47] or Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs [#11] seem most likely) or Isaiah Simmons [#7] at this point.

MOVE: CAROLINA PANTHERS SIGN TEDDY BRIDGEWATER

RESULT: OUT OF THE QB TRADE MARKET

The market to move up for either Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa [#3] or Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert [#29] looks like a two-horse race at this point between the Dolphins and Chargers. The Jaguars could be in the mix as well, but they look more firmly in the 2021 quarterback mix at the moment.

Jan 5, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) before kickoff of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game against the Minnesota Vikings at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Credit: Derick Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

MOVE: ARIZONA CARDINALS TRADE FOR DEANDRE HOPKINS

RESULT: HELLO OT IN ARIZONA

Obviously, if a talent such as Ohio State cornerback Jeffrey Okudah [#4] or Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons [#7] falls to the Cardinals, they’ll have to think long and hard about them, but the need at right tackle is almost too perfectly filled by either Alabama’s Jedrick Wills [#9] or Iowa’s Tristan Wirfs [#11]. Their athleticism would fit in perfectly with Kliff Kingsbury’s screen game.

MOVE: OAKLAND RAIDERS SIGN NICK KWIATKOSKI AND COREY LITTLETON

RESULT: NO NEED AT LB FOR RAIDERS

Las Vegas had been a popular landing spot for either LSU linebacker Patrick Queen [#40] or Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray [#43]. With the gaping hole left by Antonio Brown’s absurd departure last year, the Raiders look like a shoo-in to take advantage of the stacked wide receiver class at pick No. 12. Either Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb [#6] or Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy [#5] will do.

MOVE: INDIANAPOLIS COLTS TRADE PICK NO. 13 TO 49ERS FOR DEFOREST BUCKNER

RESULT: WR TO SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

With Emmanuel Sanders signing elsewhere and one of Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy [#5], Alabama’s Henry Ruggs [#10] or Oklahoma’s Ceedee Lamb [#6] assuredly still on the board at pick No. 13, the 49ers would be silly not to add another dynamic playmaker to that offense. More weapons at Kyle Shanahan’s disposal means more headaches for opposing defensive coordinators. There are needs on defense, but no one on the board at No. 13 will move the needle quite like one of the wideouts listed above.

Jan 19, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) is sacked by San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) and defensive tackle DeForest Buckner (99) in the first half of the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium. Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

MOVE: TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS SIGN TOM BRADY

RESULT: OT ALMOST A LOCK AT NO. 14

Considering Tampa Bay doesn’t have a right tackle currently on the roster, I’d say that’s a pretty big need — especially considering the stress Bruce Arians’ deep passing offense puts on its offensive tackles. They’re in luck, though, as Georgia’s Andrew Thomas [#8] or Houston’s Josh Jones [#14] look NFL-ready from a pass protection standpoint.

MOVE: ATLANTA FALCONS CUT DESMOND TRUFANT

RESULT: BIG-TIME CB PLAYERS

I can tell you this much, the cornerback trio of Isaiah Oliver, Jordan Miller and Kendall Sheffield isn’t taking you to an NFC South championship with Drew Brees and now Tom Brady in the division. The Falcons need an influx of talent badly. Florida’s C.J. Henderson [#21] probably makes the most sense with the coverages he excelled in for the Gators.

MOVE: DALLAS COWBOYS SIGN HA HA CLINTON-DIX

RESULT: NO MORE SAFETY?

While Ha Ha Clinton-Dix doesn’t necessarily ‘fix’ the safety position in Dallas, his presence means they can go elsewhere if the value is right. Once a popular landing spot for Alabama safety Xavier McKinney [#18] and LSU safety Grant Delpit [#16], Dallas will likely look elsewhere come the 2020 NFL Draft. Even after re-signing Amari Cooper, Dallas could be players in this stacked receiver class as LSU’s Justin Jefferson [#44] looks tailor-made to play the slot in Mike McCarthy’s offense.

MOVE: MIAMI DOLPHINS SIGN BYRON JONES

RESULT: NO MORE CB FIT

The 18th overall pick had been a popular landing spot for Florida cornerback C.J. Henderson [#21] with his coveted man coverage ability in Brian Flores’ defense. It’s difficult to see the Dolphins carrying the two highest-paid cornerbacks in the NFL and a first-round pick at the position, though (although we wouldn’t mind it). That opens it up to pretty much any other position on the field.

Dec 5, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Byron Jones (31) defends a pass intended for Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) during the first half at Soldier Field. Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

MOVE: BUFFALO BILLS TRADE PICK NO. 22 TO MINNESOTA VIKINGS FOR STEFON DIGGS

RESULT: WR TO VIKINGS

While it doesn’t necessarily have to be with pick No. 22, it’s difficult to envision Minnesota leaving the first round without at least one wide receiver. It’s such a deep class, that the value will makes too much sense there. Any sort of explosiveness will do, and TCU’s Jalen Reagor’s [#25] downfield ability could ease the pain of losing Stefon Diggs.

MOVE: NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS LOSE TOM BRADY

RESULT: PATRIOTS ARE SERIOUS QB PLAYERS

Could this be where Utah State’s Jordan Love [#76] comes off the board in the first round? Even if not, it’s difficult to see the Patriots leaving the 2020 NFL Draft without at least some competition for former fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham.

 

NFL insider notes: The Texans and five teams with the worst offseason plans through free agency’s first wave

It’s going to be difficult for any NFL team to strip the mantle of 2020 offseason losers from the Houston Texans. Rarely have I seen a trade as universally panned by the scouting community, the analytics community, the player community, and the coaching community the way the DeAndre Hopkins trade was.

That is a difficult task to pull off in and of itself, and when one considers it also include the Texans taking on one of the worst contracts in football in the process in David Johnson (don’t get me wrong; it was a home run for the player and the agent, just not for the Cardinals front office that agreed to it), and it sets the bar pretty low. Throw in the Randall Cobb contract (just compare it to what Emmanuel Sanders got for instance, and the loss of DJ Reader, and the fact they still have to pay Deshaun Watson and Laremy Tunsil and, probably, Will Fuller, and this is a recipe for disaster. But hey, at least they still have Barkevious Mingo leftover from when they paid half of Jadaveon Clowney’s contract to trade him to the Seahawks last year … except, well, Mingo is a pure journeyman and on the market again.

Still, they have a full complement of draft picks to fill the gaps … except, well, they drastically overpaid for Tunsil in the trade last year, too, so they are in win-now-or-bust mode. Yikes. Coach/GM/football czar Bill O’Brien is becoming a figure of great derision in Houston these days it seems — be careful what you wish for in those power grabs – and it just might be that, even less than a week into the official start of the League Year, the Texans are going to run away and hide with this crown.

But we’ll at least keep the drama going, my friend. Let’s not anoint them just yet. Still a little too early for that. And there is some competition. They are not alone in their series of head-scratching moves in the opening days of this 2020 transaction season. Perhaps someone will catch them. There are certainly a handful of other teams who give me great pause as to what exactly they are trying to accomplish. Here are some other franchises that would probably be getting even more flak if not for Houston’s extreme exploits.

Jacksonville

This was always going to be an ugly offseason for them. But just when you think they are going to just bite the bullet and tank and sell off what is left of their talent for whatever they can get, they turn around and give a linebacker a five-year, $55M deal. Huh? This is not a team that needs to spend money just to get to the mandatory 89-percent of the cap threshold, no, in fact, no team has spent — or wasted — more money on payroll the last five years than the Jaguars.

So if they wanted to cut back some and prepare for the future, so be it. So go ahead and trade Yannick Ngakoue last week, while the huge contracts were flying around for pass rushers, and take what you can get. Why drag this out when teams have less to spend for a player who did exactly what Jalen Ramsey did, if need be, to get out of there. Why not trade for an offensive lineman or do whatever you can and start playing youngsters? If Calais Campbell is gone and AJ Bouye is gone, why do this half-assed, again? What are you waiting for? Get in now before the free-agency wave crashes. This team has no chance to be competitive — which has been the case pretty much every year the last 10 years save for one.

Chicago

Nick Foles?!? Nick Foles?!? You managed to find the one veteran with a playoff pedigree who actually might not be able to push Mitchell Trubisky. You need a viable QB2 who should be able to play 12 games or more once your starter shows what he is again … and you sign a QB who has a good six weeks in him, at best, every year. And you take on a brutal contract in the process? Porque? Bears gonna Bear. Robert Quinn had a nice season, but GM Ryan Pace paid him like he was 27 years old not on the wrong side of 30. I have yet to talk to a personnel man who believes the Bears brass will have a chance of saving their jobs with this Frankenstein roster they have created. I mean, $9M a year for Jimmy Graham? He played against you twice a year in Green Bay. Was anyone in the Bears front office watching? Losing Kwiatkowski will hurt a defense that was already slipping from its 2019 form — reminds me of losing Adrian Amos from a year before — and the offensive line has to be addressed still. Good luck. The downward spiral in Chicago will continue and, much like in Houston, when the next regime takes over it will be saddled with problems that could take years to undo.

Los Angeles (Rams)

Like Jacksonville, you could see this one coming from months back. And that Jalen Ramsey trade was only going to exacerbate the problems. Even a great young coach like Sean McVay is going to have a hard time making this work. I’m not big on Clay Matthews or Dante Fowler — but someone will have to replace them and the lack of edge rushers around Aaron Donald is a problem. Gone also are Cory Littleton, Nickell Bradley-Coleman and Michael Brockers. Gulp.

On offense, no one was ever gonna take Todd Gurley’s contract off their hands, and dumping him was the only recourse, but still, that was the second-best player on that team as recently as two years ago and they got nothing for him. Andrew Whitworth is not what he once was, and making a $20M commitment to him may come back to bite them — then again they lack the picks to needed to draft a left tackle early. Jared Goff’s contract will be an albatross for years to come, they are saddled with a bad Brandin Cooks deal and lack maneuverability on the roster in a bad way. Call me crazy, but I don’t see A’Shawn Robinson and Leonard Floyd being difference makers there. That division is getting better and deeper. I think the Rams are in deep trouble.

Dallas

The Cowboys defense was awful before the offseason began, and they seem intent on making it even worse in 2020! How about that? Two of their biggest contributors from a year ago — pass rusher Robert Quinn and corner Byron Jones — are gone. Sean Lee is back, despite his age and years of injury woes. They’d better hope Gerald McCoy makes a far more significant impact than he did in Carolina last year, or this thing might really crumble. Keeping Amari Cooper is nice, but wait until Dak Prescott is making $38M a year. It’s going to limit the ability to do a few other things, and Jerry Jones has been paltry spending on payroll the last four years, anyway. They’d better have one helluva of a draft, and it had better lean decidedly to the defensive side of the ball. Their ability to stop anyone remains very much in question, and even all of the yards they rolled up a year ago were not enough to make them anything close to a contending team.

Detroit

Relying on former New England players — by executives and coaches who used to work for the Patriots — has not worked out that well, at all, over the years. And with Bob Quinn and Matt Patricia very much trying to keep their jobs in 2020, they went back to that well. The moves seem desperate to their peers. And I believe they face an uphill climb. Yes, they can draft a corner to replace Darius Slay — but they need to make good with the third and fifth-round picks they got for that shutdown corner from Philly — and that’s not an easy task with a mid and late-round draft pick. They have reshuffled their offensive line yet again, and need it to really stick this time.

 

UEFA formally postpones Champions League final amid shutdown

UEFA formally postponed the Champions League final on Monday – an inevitable move with European soccer in total shutdown and four Round of 16 games yet to be completed.

The final was scheduled for May 30 in Istanbul before the spreading coronavirus pandemic forced the four remaining second-leg games on March 17-18 to be delayed indefinitely.

UEFA

has yet been made on finding a new date.

The shutdown has no end in sight though UEFA and European soccer leaders said last week they hope to complete the club season by June 30.

The 2020 European Championship for national teams was postponed for one year to clear space in the fixture calendar for clubs to win titles in domestic leagues and cups, and UEFA’s competitions.

UEFA said the Europa League final, due on May 27 in Gdansk, Poland, and the Women’s Champions League final, scheduled for May 24 in Vienna, Austria, were also postponed.

The Europa League is also frozen at the Round of 16 stage, with six of the eight first-leg games played.

The Women’s Champions League was about to start the quarterfinals stage.

After consulting European soccer officials on March 17, UEFA created a working group chaired by its president Aleksander Čeferin to look at rescheduling this season’s games.

UEFA said that panel would make more announcements “in due course.”

 

Stan Van Gundy has no interest in coaching ‘dysfunctional’ Knicks

It’s going to take some serious work to find someone who wants to coach the New York Knicks.

Stan Van Gundy certainly won’t be doing it. The veteran coach told ESPN Radio that he had no interest in the job, citing the “extremely dysfunctional” organization. He added that his brother, Jeff Van Gundy, might not want the job either.

Neither of these guys may be the favorite for the head coaching job, but if this is the thinking around the league, the Knicks are in trouble.

There is a widespread perception of owner James Dolan as incompetent among league fans. The scarcity of NBA head coaching jobs dictates that someone will eventually be hired, but it’s not exactly the most desirable position around.

 

Minnesota center Daniel Oturu says he’s entering NBA draft

Minnesota center Daniel Oturu said Monday he is declaring for the NBA draft after leading the Big Ten in rebounding and blocked shots as a sophomore.

Oturu made the announcement with a letter to fans on Instagram, saying he planned to hire an agent.

The 6-foot-10 Oturu averaged 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game this season. He was second in the conference in scoring and his 56.3% shooting percentage led the Big Ten.

The native of Woodbury, Minnesota, also was chosen for the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team.

 

Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu is AP women’s player of the year

Sabrina Ionescu capped off a unprecedented college career by entering an exclusive club.

Oregon’s star guard was a unanimous choice Monday as The Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year, receiving all 30 votes from the national media panel that selects the Top 25 each week during the season. Since the award was first given in 1995, the only other player to receive all the votes is former UConn star Breanna Stewart.

“That’s pretty crazy. Someone I look up to and have a good relationship with,” Ionescu told the AP. “To be in that class with her is an honor.”

Ionescu, who was only the eighth player to earn AP All-American honors three times, shattered the NCAA career triple-double mark and became the first player in college history to have 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.

“Sabrina is a transcendent basketball player,” Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said. “There’s really nothing that she couldn’t do on the court. She was the ultimate leader.”

Ioenscu came back for her senior season, saying she had unfinished business and hopes of winning a NCAA title. She averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds this season as well as having eight of her 26 career triple-doubles.

She helped the Ducks win the Pac-12 regular season and tournament titles. The native of Walnut Creek, California, was honored as the conference’s most outstanding player of the tournament and regular season.

Ionescu guided Oregon to a 31-2 mark this past season, which ended prematurely with the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have enjoyed everything that I did this year,” said Ionescu during the Pac-12 Tournament. “I never second-guess my choice.”

Ionescu might have been the most recognizable college player this year in either the men’s or women’s game. Her jerseys sold out in hours at stores.

“Sabrina is a basketball player, period. She was this year’s Zion and a household name,” AP voter Deb Antonelli said. “Fans and ball players respect her game because she works hard and produces when the brightest lights are shining on her. She delivered stats in the game no other four year player has ever accomplished man or woman.”

While Ionescu was a unanimous choice, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley received 20 votes from the panel to win the AP’s coach of the year award for the first time. Northwestern coach Joe McKeown was second with five votes, Graves garnered four ballots and North Carolina State’s Wes Moore received one.

 

SPORTS EXTRA

TODAY IN SPORTS HISTORY-1962

NEW YORK – Emile Griffith of New York regained the world welterweight boxing championship from Benny (Kid) Paret tonight at Madison Square Garden. Paret was knocked unconscious and underwent brain surgery at Roosevelt Hospital. Griffith stopped Paret after 2 minutes 9 seconds of the twelfth round. Paret was out on his feet. When he failed to regain consciousness in the ring, he was taken to his dressing room on a stretcher and later removed to the hospital by ambulance.

At the hospital, Dr. Harry Kleiman reported that the 25-year-old Paret was in serious condition. Dr. Lawrence Schick, a neurosurgeon, then performed surgery to relieve pressure on the brain. Another doctor at the hospital said Paret’s chances to recover were “poor.” In a waiting room downstairs from the operating room, about fifteen fans and friends quietly awaited word of Paret’s condition. This group included Garden officials. Griffith was among those in the waiting room and said: “I’m sorry it happened. I hope everything is being done for him.” Griffith left before the operation began. Before Paret left the Garden, the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church were administered.

Although Griffith had been down for an 8- count in the sixth, his triumph was anything but surprising. He had been in command most of the way, and there had been times when the punishment he inflicted on Paret seemed much more than any normal human could withstand. What finally ended the stubborn Cuban’s reign was a two-handed flurry that started with ten consecutive right uppercuts to the chin. The 23-year-old Griffith punched faster than most observers could count. All told, his winning assault consisted of twenty-five blows.

Long before Griffith had completed this cyclonic sortie, many in the crowd of 7,600 were begging Referee Ruby Goldstein to intervene. Goldstein was not moved to pity until one fact became obvious: The only reason Paret still was on his feet was that Griffith’s pile-driving fists were keeping him there, pinned against the post in a neutral corner. Paret’s eyes were closed. His hands dropped at his sides. His head snapped to the left and to the right as Griffith pounded away. The fact that Paret would not fall seemed to arouse the New Yorker to new heights of fury.

Perhaps he was remembering the split decision he lost to Paret here last Sept. 30. That was the bout in which Paret regained the crown he had lost to Emile on April 1, 1960, at Miami Beach. That fight ended in a thirteenth-round knockout. Whatever it was that Griffith was thinking about tonight, it certainly was translated into something akin to savagery. After the ten rights to the face had failed to do the job, he began alternating the rights with left hooks. All these blows were thrown from behind Emile’s back, it seemed. Paret sagged but still would not go down.

Goldstein finally made his move but had difficulty restraining Griffith. When the referee finally pulled the attacker away, Paret slid slowly down the ropes and to the canvas. He lay on his back unconscious for about eight minutes while physicians worked on him. He still was unconscious when carted to his dressing room. In a sense, it was something of a miracle that Paret had reached the twelfth round. Had he not possessed more courage than skill, he would have been knocked out in the tenth. Griffith punched faster and harder than his opponent. Paret frequently made the mistake of allowing his foe to bore in under slow-motion jabs and pump both hands hard to the body. And at close quarters, Griffith invariably was the man who managed to work a hand free to throw a stiff uppercut.

Griffith weighed 144 pounds and Paret 146 1/4 for the scheduled fifteen-round bout. Paret was guaranteed $50,000, and Griffith’s purse was about $17,000. Griffith was a heavy favorite. The knockout was the fourth of Paret’s professional career. His record now shows thirty-four victories, twelve losses and three draws. Griffith has won twenty-five bouts and has lost three.

Kid Paret remained in a coma until his death in a New York City hospital on April 3. Emile Griffith fought until 1977.

 

TODAY IN BASEBALL HISTORY

1933       Babe Ruth, who made $75,000 last season, takes a $23,000 pay cut, a decrease which is indicative of the depression era. The 38 year-old Yankee slugger remains productive, batting .301, hitting 34 home runs, and driving in 103 runs for the second-place club that finishes seven games behind the Senators.

1936       Paul Dean agrees to a $10,000 deal to pitch for the Cardinals, after posting a 19-11 record in his sophomore year. The 23 year-old right-hander, who has compiled 38 victories in his first two seasons, will have his career shortened by arm troubles, retiring after a nine-year tenure in the major leagues with a 50-34 mark.

1946       In Birmingham, Alabama, police pull Edward Klep from the lineup of the Buckeyes, a visiting Negro American League team. The authorities order the first white player in organized black baseball to change into his civilian clothes and sit in the “whites only” section of Rickwood Field away from his teammates.

1947       During a four-hour hearing with Commissioner Chandler at the Sarasota Terrace Hotel, Dodger manager Leo Durocher admits to playing occasional card games for money with Kirby Higbe. Before Opening Day, Chandler will suspend the Brooklyn skipper for the entire 1947 season for “association with known gamblers.”

1952       During spring training at St. Petersburg, Cardinals pitcher Bob Slaybaugh is hit in the face with a line drive during batting practice that will subsequently result in the loss of his left eye. The 21 year-old southpaw will attempt a comeback in 1953 and again in 1954 before he retires from professional baseball.

1959       A photo of Pete Whisenant taken before an exhibition game played against the Dodgers in Havana, Cuba, shows the Reds outfielder toting a machine gun. The weapon shown in the posed picture belongs to a rebel from Fidel Castro’s revolutionary army.

1961       The NY State Senate approves $55 million in funding to build a new stadium in Flushing Meadows Park for the new National League’s expansion team. Until the Queens’ ballpark is completed, which will become known as Shea Stadium, the Mets will play in the Polo Grounds during the first two years of their existence.

1982       When Fernando Valenzuela ends his three-week holdout, the Dodgers automatically renew the southpaw’s contract for a reported $350,000. The National League Cy Young Award and Rookie of the Year Award recipient, after earning just $42,500 in his freshman season, still refuses to sign the deal that makes him the highest-paid second-year player in baseball history, having asked for a raise to $850,000.

1984       The Tigers trade utility player John Wockenfuss and outfielder Glenn Wilson to the Phillies for relief pitcher Willie Hernandez and first baseman Dave Bergman.

2001       During an exhibition game against the Giants, Diamondback hurler Randy Johnson’s fastball hits and instantly kills a dove flying in front of home plate. The bird appears to explode as the National League Cy Young winner’s pitch sends it over catcher Rod Barajas’ head.

2006       At Mickey Mantle’s restaurant in New York City, the U.S. Postal Service unveils the “Baseball Sluggers” postage stamps, which will be issued on July 15th at Yankee Stadium before the game against the White Sox. The four featured Hall of Famers all have roots in New York, with Mickey Mantle (Yankees), Mel Ott (Giants), and Roy Campanella (Dodgers) playing their entire careers in the Big Apple, and the fourth, Hank Greenberg, setting schoolboy records at James Monroe High School in the Bronx.

2008       The Twins agree to a new deal with their All-Star closer, signing Joe Nathan (1.88, 37 saves) to a $47 million, four-year contract, which includes a 2012 club option. The 33 year-old right-hander’s 160 saves over the past four seasons is tied with Mariano Rivera of the Yankees for most in the American League.

2008       On the South Lawn of the White House, the Washington Nationals Presidential character mascots take part in the traditional White House Easter Egg Roll. Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and George Washington all appeared very comfortable in their surroundings.

 

GREATEST FINAL FOUR’S-1985

Bear with me. This is about basketball, I swear. But first …

Secretariat set the Kentucky Derby record in 1973 by winning in 1:59 and 2/5 seconds, a mark that endures. Sham finished second, 2-1/2 lengths behind. The only official times at racetracks are those of the winner’s, but some folks using stopwatches had Sham clocked at 1:59 4/5, which would have been — and would still be — the second-fastest Derby ever run.

Eleven years, 10 months and 25 days after Sham ran second in Louisville, another gallant runner-up walked off the floor in Lexington’s Rupp Arena, which sits 68 miles east of Churchill Downs. They were the Georgetown Hoyas, who’d managed the unthinkable. Playing for a second consecutive NCAA title, they’d outscored their opponent by seven baskets; outrebounded it (though rebounds were few) by three; made four more assists and six fewer turnovers. They sank 54.7% of their shots. And they lost.

Victorious Villanova made 78.6% of its shots, a number that still astounds. The Wildcats’ one second-half miss was blocked by Patrick Ewing. Every Nova shot that reached the rim after halftime went through the hoop.

Georgetown was coming off an authoritative national title. Its defense, which limited a gifted Kentucky team to 3-for-33 shooting in the second half of a Final Four semifinal in 1984, cowed all comers. Opponents made 39.4% of their shots, a national low. The Hoyas’ only losses came against No. 2 St. John’s and No. 11 Syracuse by a total of three points in the span of three days. When matched against those two in the regular season’s final week, Georgetown won by 16 and 27.

The Hoyas beat both again in the Big East tournament. They arrived at the Final Four off a nervous win over Georgia Tech in the East Regional final, and there to meet them was … St. John’s yet again. Georgetown won 77-58. “It just so happens that we came along at the same time they did,” said Bill Wennington of St. John’s. “We’re a good team. We can play with the best teams. Unfortunately, we just did.”

Said St. John’s coach Lou Carnesecca: “When a club like that executes at that level, there’s little you can do.”

Villanova, yet another Big East representative, was a No. 8 seed that reached the Final Four lugging 10 losses, the first coming in The Omni against Georgia in the Cotton States Classic. The Wildcats won the Southeast Regional by upsetting No. 1 seed Michigan and No. 2 North Carolina. They beat Memphis State 52-45 in a nondescript semifinal. They arrived at Monday night having lost twice to Georgetown, though not by a lot — by two in overtime and by seven. They knew what was coming.

Harold Pressley scored on a follow to give Villanova a 29-28 halftime lead. Twice the Wildcats pulled over by six points. Twice Georgetown overrode it. The Hoyas led by one and had a chance to make it three inside the final four minutes — there was no 3-point shot then; no shot clock, either — but Bill Martin bounced a pass off teammate Horace Broadnax’s foot. Villanova took its sweet time (49 seconds) to find sub guard Harold Jensen on the right wing. His jump shot with 2:36 left put the Wildcats ahead to stay.

“We’d play defense right in their face, and they shoot almost 80 percent,” Broadnax said. “It was frustrating.”

Not that a team had ever made almost 80% of its shots in any final, but you’d figure if one did, it would win going away. Villanova won 66-64. That’s how splendid Georgetown was. It lost by two. On April Fool’s Day.

Said Jensen: “It’s too much to believe. I won’t realize the magnitude of this for 10 years.”

For others among us, it didn’t take nearly that long. Villanova’s performance remains the greatest in any NCAA final. Georgetown’s might well have been the second-best.

 

WORLD SERIES HISTORY-1906

The 1906 World Series was the first to feature two teams from the same city, “the windy city” that is. Chicago was split in two as the American League’s (South Side) White Sox prepared to battle the National League (West Side) Cubs. The Sox, despite having a meager offense, managed to win the Series opener 2-1. In fact they would play true to form in the first four games of the Series collecting only six runs and eleven hits. The Cubs rebounded with a 7-1 victory in Game 2 that featured the one hit pitching of Ed Reulbach and the timely hitting of Harry Steinfeldt and Joe Tinker. Third baseman Steinfeldt, a .327 hitter after his off-season acquisition from Cincinnati, went three-for-three and Tinker had two hits and scored three runs.

In Game 3, White Sox pitcher Ed Walsh allowed one single off of Solly Hofman and a double to Frank Schulte in the first inning He then went on to hold the Cubs hitless for the rest of the way. The South Side’s franchise emerged as 3-0 winners, with Walsh striking out twelve batters and George Rohe tagging Jack Pfiester for a bases-loaded triple in the sixth inning. Mordecai Brown drew the Cubs even the next day, denying the White Sox a hit for the first 5 2/3 innings on the way to a two-hit, 1-0 victory. The trend would not last as the White Sox bats came alive in Games 5 and 6. Nicknamed the “Hitless Wonders” by the local press, they came out swinging and drove Reulbach from the mound in the third inning. Continuing their momentum, they added four runs in the fourth and held on for an 8-6 victory. Frank Isbell paced the Sox’s twelve hit attack with a Series-record four doubles and George Davis knocked in three runs as well.

The Cubs were stunned by their cross-town rival’s renewed zeal and were unable to stop them in Game 6 despite their best efforts. The “born-again” bats from the South Side defeated Mordecai Brown (the Cubs’ Game 4 winner) and cruised to a stunning Series-deciding 8-3 victory that was fueled by fourteen hits. The Sox had pulled off an upset of gigantic proportions despite hitting only .198 in the Series. Their top threesome, Patsy Dougherty, Billy Sullivan and Fielder Jones, the team’s playing manager, combined for only four hits in sixty-two at-bats. Nevertheless they had out-hit the Cubs, who batted only .196. Their top hitter, center fielder Solly Hofman, had appeared in only sixty-four games during the regular season, yet he played every inning of the Series and batted .304.

 

BASEBALL’S GREATEST PLAYERS

CAP ANSON

Cap Anson, baseball’s first superstar, was the dominant on-field figure of nineteenth-century baseball. He was a small-town boy from Iowa who earned his fame as the playing manager of the fabled Chicago White Stockings, the National League team now known as the Cubs. A larger-than-life figure of great talents and great faults, Anson managed the White Stockings to five pennants and set all the batting records that men such as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth later broke. Anson was the second manager (after Harry Wright) to win 1,000 games and the first player to stroke 3,000 hits (though his exact total varies from one source to another). Although he retired from active play in 1897, he is still the all-time leader in hits, runs scored, doubles, and runs batted in for the Chicago franchise.

Adrian Constantine Anson, named after two towns in southern Michigan that his father admired, was born in a log cabin in Marshall (later Marshalltown), Iowa, on April 17, 1852. Adrian was the youngest son of Henry and Jeannette Rice Anson, and was the first pioneer child born in the town that his father had founded. Henry Anson, who was born in New York State and had drifted westward as a young adult, was a surveyor, land agent, and businessman who brought his wife and oldest son Sturgis to Iowa in a covered wagon. He found a promising valley in the center of the state, built a log cabin, and laid out a main street. Henry worked tirelessly to build and promote Marshalltown, and is recognized to this day as the patriarch of the city. Jeannette Anson was a sturdy pioneer housewife who died when Adrian was seven years of age, leaving behind an all-male household.

Adrian, whose family proudly claimed descent from the British naval hero Lord Anson, was a strong, strapping boy with reddish hair and a self-admitted aversion to schoolwork and chores. Not until his teenage years, when baseball fever swept through Marshalltown, did Adrian find an acceptable outlet for his energy and enthusiasm. He practiced diligently and earned a place on the town team, the Marshalltown Stars, at the age of 15. The Stars, with Henry Anson at third base, Adrian’s brother Sturgis in center field, and Adrian at second base, won the Iowa state championship in 1868.

Henry Anson enrolled his sons in a preparatory course at the College of Notre Dame for two years beginning in 1865, but Adrian was more interested in baseball and skating than in his studies. A later sojourn at the state college in Iowa City (now the University of Iowa) ended similarly. Young Adrian Anson wanted to play professional ball, and his break came in 1870 when the famous Rockford Forest City club and its star pitcher, Al Spalding, came to Marshalltown for a pair of games. The Forest City team won both matches, but the Anson clan played so impressively that the Rockford management sent contract offers to all three of the Ansons. Henry and Sturgis turned Rockford down, but Adrian accepted and joined the Forest City squad in the spring of 1871.

The 19-year-old Adrian, dubbed “The Marshalltown Infant,” batted .325 for Rockford and established himself as one of the stars of the new National Association. The last-place Rockford team disbanded at season’s end, but the pennant-winning Philadelphia Athletics quickly signed Adrian to a contract. He rewarded the Athletics with a .415 average in 1872, third best in the Association. He played third base for the Athletics that season, but spent the next three seasons shuttling from first to third base with occasional stops at second, shortstop, catcher, and the outfield. The hard-hitting utility man quickly became one of Philadelphia’s most popular athletes.

Boston Red Stockings manager Harry Wright had always dreamed of introducing baseball to England, his home country, and in 1874 Wright and his star pitcher Al Spalding organized a mid-season trip to England. The Red Stockings and the Philadelphia Athletics took a three-week respite from National Association play and sailed to the Old World, where they played both baseball and cricket for British crowds. Adrian Anson led all the players on both teams in batting during the tour, and, more importantly, began a friendship with Spalding. Both were young men from the Midwest, less than two years apart in age, and both had willed themselves to prominence in the baseball profession. Each found reasons to admire the other, and their relationship would play an important role in Anson’s life for the next 30 years.

During the 1875 season, Chicago club president William Hulbert signed four of Boston’s brightest stars, including pitcher Al Spalding, to play for his White Stockings in the new National League in 1876. Spalding recommended that Hulbert also sign two Philadelphia standouts, Ezra Sutton and Adrian Anson. Sutton and Anson reached agreements with Hulbert, though Sutton later reneged on his deal and returned to the Athletics. Anson moved to Chicago in early 1876, and the White Stockings, managed by Spalding and powered by Anson and batting champ Ross Barnes, won the first National League pennant that year.

On a personal note, Anson began dating Virginia Fiegal, daughter of a saloon owner, during his Philadelphia days. He met Virginia when he was 20 and she only 13 or 14, though this was not considered unusual at the time. Their relationship hit a roadblock after Adrian signed his contract with Chicago, when Virginia strongly objected to Adrian’s desire to leave Philadelphia. Anson was no contract-jumper, so he offered William Hulbert $1,000 to buy his way out of the agreement. Hulbert refused, and Anson, unwilling to break his contract and not wanting to lose Virginia, asked Virginia’s father for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Adrian and Virginia were wed in November 1876 and started a family that eventually produced four daughters, all of whom grew to adulthood, and three sons who died in infancy.

Adrian Anson, powerfully built at 6-feet-2 and over 200 pounds, was the biggest and strongest man in the game during the 1870s. Some reports state that he did not take a full swing at the plate; instead, he pushed his bat at the ball and relied upon his strong arms and wrists to produce line drives. An outstanding place hitter, Anson and the White Stockings worked an early version of the hit-and-run play to perfection. So good was Anson’s bat control that he struck out only once during the 1878 season and twice in 1879. He also served as Spalding’s assistant on the field, enthusiastically cheering his teammates and arguing with opponents and umpires. Anson had managed the Philadelphia Athletics for the last few weeks of the 1875 season, and looked forward to the day that he would succeed Spalding as leader of the White Stockings.

The Chicago team failed to repeat as champions under Spalding in 1877. Spalding then moved into the club presidency, but passed over Anson and appointed Bob Ferguson as his successor. Ferguson’s regime was a failure, and Spalding named Anson as captain and manager for the 1879 season. He was now “Cap” Anson, and in one of his first decisions, the former utility man planted himself at first base and remained there for the rest of his career. His 1879 team challenged for the pennant, but fell apart after Anson was sidelined due to illness in late August. However, Anson’s 1880 White Stockings, fortified by newcomers such as catcher Mike Kelly, pitcher Larry Corcoran, and outfielders George Gore and Abner Dalrymple, won the flag with a .798 winning percentage, the highest in league history.

Two more pennants followed in 1881 and 1882 as Anson, who won the batting title in 1881 with a .399 mark, cemented his stature as the hardest hitter and finest field general in the game. He used his foghorn voice and belligerent manner to rile opponents and frighten umpires, and made himself the focus of attention in nearly every game he played. His outbursts against the intimidated umpires earned him the title “King of Kickers.” His White Stockings followed Anson’s lead and played a hustling, battling brand of ball that won no friends in other league cities, but put Chicago on the top of the baseball world. As baseball grew in popularity, the handsome and highly successful Cap Anson became the sport’s first true national celebrity.

Regrettably, Anson used his stature to drive minority players from the game. An 1883 exhibition game in Toledo, Ohio, between the local team and the White Stockings nearly ended before it began when Anson angrily refused to take the field against Toledo’s African-American catcher, Moses Fleetwood Walker. Faced with the loss of gate receipts, Anson relented after a loud protest, but his bellicose attitude made Anson, wittingly or not, the acknowledged leader of the segregation forces already at work in the game. Other players and managers followed Anson’s lead, and similar incidents occurred with regularity for the rest of the decade. In 1887, Anson made headlines again when he refused to play an exhibition in Newark unless the local club removed its African-American battery, catcher Walker and pitcher George Stovey, from the field. Teams and leagues began to bar minorities from participation, and by the early 1890s, no black players remained in the professional ranks.

Chicago was the highest-scoring team in baseball, and Anson, as its cleanup hitter, was the leading run producer in the game. The Chicago Tribune introduced a new statistic, runs batted in, in 1880 and reported that Cap Anson led the league in this category by a healthy margin. The statistic was soon dropped, but later researchers have determined that Anson led the National League in RBIs eight times. He is credited with driving in more than 2,000 runs, behind only Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth on the all-time list despite the fact that National League teams played fewer than 100 games per season for much of Anson’s career.

Anson hit more than 12 homers in a season only once. He swatted 21 round-trippers in 1884 by taking advantage of the tiny Chicago ballpark, which featured a left-field fence only 180 feet from home plate (balls hit over the fence had been ruled as doubles in previous seasons). On August 5 and 6, 1884, Anson belted five homers in two games, a record that has been tied (by Stan Musial, among others) but never broken. However, Anson drove in most of his runs with sharp line drives that the barehanded infielders found nearly impossible to stop. Fielding gloves found their way into the National League by the mid-1880s, but Anson’s production continued uninterrupted. He batted .300 or better in each of his first 20 professional seasons, and by 1886 he was baseball’s all-time leader in games played, runs, hits, RBIs, and several other categories.

He was less successful as a fielder, leading the league in errors several times and setting the all-time career mark for miscues by a first baseman. However, Anson was fearless in stopping hard-thrown balls with his bare hands, and his size made him an excellent target for his infield mates. He was an integral part of the celebrated “Stonewall Infield” with third-baseman Tom Burns, shortstop Ed Williamson, and second-baseman Fred Pfeffer. This unit remained together for seven seasons, from 1883 to 1889, and formed the backbone of the Chicago defense.

Anson had been a teetotaler since his younger days, but his White Stockings were a hard-drinking crew that kept their captain up nights with their behavior. His 1883 and 1884 teams failed to win the pennant, partially due to off-the-field controversies, but in 1885 the White Stockings reclaimed their place at the top of the league. New pitcher John Clarkson posted a 53-16 record and led the team to the pennant after a spirited race against the New York Giants. However, Anson’s team played poorly in a postseason “World’s Series” against the St. Louis Browns of the American Association. The series ended, officially, in a tie after a disputed Browns victory caused no end of controversy. In 1886 Anson drove in 147 runs in 125 games and led the White Stockings to the pennant once again, but his charges lost the six-game World’s Series against the Browns when some of the Chicago players appeared to be inebriated on the field.

Spalding and Anson decided to break up the team, selling Mike Kelly to Boston for a then-record $10,000 and dropping veterans George Gore and Abner Dalrymple, among others. The 1887 squad was a better-behaved bunch, but finished in third place despite Anson’s outstanding performance at bat. The 35-year-old captain won the batting title with a career-best .421 in a year in which walks counted as hits (though later researchers removed the 60 walks from his hit totals, leaving his average at .347 and giving the title to Detroit’s Sam Thompson). In early 1888 Spalding sold John Clarkson, baseball’s best pitcher, to Boston for $10,000. Several new men tried, and failed, to fill Clarkson’s shoes, and the White Stockings finished second despite another batting championship by Anson.

After the 1888 season Spalding, owner of the sporting goods company that still bears his name, took the Chicago club and a team of National League all-stars on a ballplaying excursion around the world. Virginia Anson accompanied the party as Anson directed the White Stockings in New Zealand, Australia, Ceylon, Egypt, and the European continent. The trip lost money for its backers, including Anson, but it introduced baseball (and advertised Spalding’s business) to countries that had never seen the sport before. The six-month adventure was the high point of Cap Anson’s life, and takes up nearly half of Anson’s autobiography, published in 1900. At the conclusion of the trip, in April of 1889, Spalding signed Anson to an unprecedented 10-year contract as player and manager of the White Stockings.

By 1890, Anson was a stockholder in the Chicago ballclub, owning 13 percent of the team. A company man through and through, he bitterly criticized the Brotherhood of Professional Ball Players, whose members quit the National League en masse in early 1890 and formed the Players League. Anson, one of a handful of stars who refused to jump to the new league, hastily assembled a new group of youngsters (which the newspapers dubbed Anson’s Colts) and finished second that year. Spalding worked behind the scenes to undermine the rival circuit, while Anson led the charge in the newspapers, denouncing the jumpers as “traitors” and gleefully predicting the eventual failure of the upstart league. The new circuit collapsed after one season, but Anson’s role in the defeat angered many of his former players.

Some reporters called Anson “the man who saved the National League,” but many former Players Leaguers hated the Chicago captain for his attitude toward them. Such stars as Hugh Duffy and George Van Haltren refused to return to Chicago after the collapse of the rival circuit, costing Anson much-needed talent. In 1891, Anson’s Colts held first place until mid-September, but an 18-game winning streak vaulted Boston into the lead amid rumors that Boston opponents threw games to keep the pennant out of Anson’s hands. Chicago finished in second place, and Cap Anson believed for the rest of his life that he lost the championship through the machinations of his former Players League rivals.

Anson, after more than 20 years as a player, began to slow down. His average dipped below .300 for the first time in 1891, though he led the league once again in runs batted in with 120. He had never been a great fielder, but covered so little ground at first base that the pitcher and second baseman had to help out on balls hit to the right side. As stubborn as ever, Anson was the last bare-handed first baseman in the major leagues, finally donning a glove in 1892. At bat, Anson produced one last hurrah with a remarkable .388 average in 1894 at the age of 42, but his slowness on the basepaths bogged down the Chicago offense. As a manager, his increasing strictness and inflexibility angered his charges. He was baseball’s biggest celebrity, even enjoying a run as an actor on Broadway in a play called A Runaway Colt in December of 1895, but his Colts fell steadily in the standings.

His position as manager was weakened in 1891 when Al Spalding stepped down as team president. Anson might have been willing to retire from the field and accept the position, but Spalding, who retained controlling ownership in the team, appointed former Boston manager Jim Hart to the post. Anson held little regard for Hart, who had served Spalding as business manager of the round-the-world tour four years before, and the two men clashed often over personnel and disciplinary matters during the next several seasons.

Spalding and Hart reorganized the club in 1892, and Anson signed a new contract with the Chicago ballclub. This agreement retained Anson’s 13 percent stake in the team, but cut one year off his previous 10-year pact, though Anson claimed that he did not discover the discrepancy until later. At any rate, the new agreement expired on February 1, 1898. Anson, who by 1894 was the oldest player in the league, stubbornly kept himself in the lineup despite his dwindling production and his deteriorating relationships with Hart and the Chicago players. He batted .285 in 1897, a respectable figure today but well below the league average, and his Colts finished in ninth place. Spalding and Hart declined to renew his contract, and after 27 seasons, Cap Anson’s career was over. The 45-year-old Anson retired as baseball’s all-time leader in games played, times at bat, runs, hits, doubles, runs batted in, and wins as a manager.

Spalding offered to hold a testimonial benefit for Anson and raise $50,000 as a going-away gift, but Anson proudly turned it down, explaining that accepting such an offer would “stultify my manhood” and smacked of charity. The former Chicago captain then accepted a position as manager of the New York Giants, succeeding Bill Joyce, who had been sharply criticized by the national press for his part in an ugly on-field brawl. Giants owner Andrew Freedman promised Anson full control of the team, but continually interfered with personnel and management issues. He also ignored Anson’s request to trade or release Joyce, who remained on the team and retained the allegiance of many of the players. Anson led the Giants to a 9-13 record before Freedman fired him and reinstated Joyce after the controversy over the brawl died down.

After his humiliating exit from the Giants, Anson tried to obtain a Western League franchise and move it to the South Side of Chicago, but Spalding, whose approval for the move was necessary under to rules of the National Agreement, refused permission. This act ended the decades-long friendship between the two men. Anson then served as president of a revived American Association, which attempted to begin play in 1900 but folded due to financial pressures. After this defeat, Anson expressed his bitterness in his autobiography, A Ball Player’s Career. “Baseball as at present conducted is a gigantic monopoly,” stated Anson, “intolerant of opposition, and run on a grab-all-that-there-is-in-sight basis that is alienating its friends and disgusting the very public that has so long and cheerfully given to it the support that it has withheld from other forms of amusement.”

Cap Anson was finished with the National League, and although he lived for another two decades, he would never again hold any official position in organized ball. Instead, Anson opened a bowling and billiards emporium in downtown Chicago and served as a vice-president of the new American Bowling Congress. He captained a team that won the ABC five-man national title in 1904, making Anson one of the few men in history to win championships in more than one sport. He then turned his energies to what appeared to be a promising political career. Elected to a term as Chicago city clerk in 1905, Anson soon became embroiled in numerous controversies that he was, by personality and temperament, unable to overcome. He lost a bid for re-nomination, and his career in public office ended ignominiously. His bowling and billiards business floundered, and in late 1905 the cash-strapped Anson sold his remaining stock in the Chicago ballclub and severed his 29-year connection with the team.

He then devoted himself to semipro ball, investing most of his remaining money in his own team (called Anson’s Colts) and building his own ballpark on the South Side. This effort was a money-loser, and in desperation Anson donned a uniform in 1908 and played first base at the age of 56. He could still hit, but was nearly immobile in the field, and his Colts finished in the middle of the City League standings for three seasons. In those years, Anson played many games against the Chicago Leland Giants, the leading African-American team of the era, without apparent complaint. Anson, his finances stretched to the limit, sold his team after the 1909 season and returned to the stage. He created a monologue and performed it in vaudeville houses throughout the Midwest for the next few years.

Anson’s later life was filled with disappointment. The National League offered to provide a pension for the ex-ballplayer, but Anson stoutly refused all offers of assistance. He declared bankruptcy in 1910, and by 1913 he had lost his home and moved in with a daughter and son-in-law. Virginia Anson died in 1915 after a long illness, and the widowed ex-ballplayer resumed his stage career in a skit written by his friend Ring Lardner titled “First Aid for Father.” The skit starred Anson and his daughters Adele and Dorothy, and the Anson clan crisscrossed the nation, sharing bills with jugglers and animal acts in small town and big city alike. Vaudeville allowed Anson to support himself, but barely, and he retired, penniless, from the stage in 1921. He died on April 14, 1922, three days shy of his 70th birthday, and was buried in Oak Woods Cemetery in Chicago. The National League paid his funeral expenses. Seventeen years later, on May 2, 1939, Anson and his former friend and mentor Al Spalding were named to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a special committee.