Category Archives: Sports

Seahawks’ Ansah returns to practice

Ziggy Ansah was one of the most significant additions the Seahawks made in the offseason, but prior to this week, the former Pro-Bowl pass-rusher had yet to practice with his new team.

That changed on Tuesday, however, with Ansah taking part in practice, a very positive step towards a potential return for the regular season opener.

“We’re really happy to get him out finally,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “It has been a long, rigorous return. He has busted his tail and he’s made it. We were hoping he would make it before the final week (of the preseason), which he did. So we’ll take it and see how far he can go.

“He has worked really hard on the outside, he has been doing all kinds of drills and movement stuff and throwing heavy things and butting into stuff and all that to get ready for this, and we feel really secure that he’s ready to go now.”

Ansah isn’t yet practicing fully and won’t play in Thursday’s preseason finale, but Carroll said, “he moved around fine. He went through the individual drills, he’ll do more tomorrow. He’s on his way back. His shoulder is healed and his groin in healed, and he’s ready to battle.”

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The Seahawks gave Ansah a one-year, $9 million deal that includes $6 million guaranteed. The max value is $13.25 million with another $4.25 million available in incentives tied to playing time, sacks, Ansah making the Pro Bowl and the Seahawks reaching the playoffs.

The Seahawks tend to have players coming off extended injury absences practice for at least two weeks before allowing them to play in games, which makes it significant that Ansah is practicing 12 days before the opener. The Seahawks need all the firepower they can get along a defensive line that no longer has Frank Clark and will be without Jarran Reed for the first six games while he serves a suspension.

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Indians begin stretch run against Tigers

The loss of one of their best players puts the Cleveland Indians in a precarious position as they try to reach the postseason. A three-game series against the host Detroit Tigers should help their quest entering the final 31 games of the regular season.

Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez underwent surgery on Monday to repair a fractured right hamate bone. Ramirez could miss the remainder of the season.

“I feel bad for Josey,” manager Terry Francona said to over the weekend. “There’s two ways to look at it. … You can feel sorry for yourself, which probably doesn’t end well. Or you can choose to fight back and feel like this is our time to shine. And I would choose No. 2. I’m aware that it got more difficult. We lost a great player. That doesn’t mean you can’t win. Just makes it a little harder.” Ramirez was injured while fouling off a pitch on Saturday night.

The Indians lost 9-8 in 10 innings to Kansas City on Sunday after they heard the bad news about Ramirez’s injury. The series at Detroit begins Tuesday night.

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Cleveland has owned its division rival this season, winning 12 of 13 meetings. Ramirez batted .302 in those matchups with 11 runs scored, six extra-base hits and 10 RBIs.

The Indians trail Central Division leader Minnesota by 3 1/2 games. They hold one of the wild card spots with Tampa Bay currently second in those standings. Oakland and Boston remain within striking distance.

The Tigers played 24 games in 24 days prior to Monday’s day off and went 7-17. They’re returning from a 10-game road trip. They’re just 17-43 at home this season.

“We’re going home now and that’s where we really have to start playing better,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “We’ve not been very good at home and this club has to pick it up. I hope we can show our fans some of the things we’ve been doing on the road.”

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Chiefs to sign Moore after losing Henne

The Kansas City Chiefs lost backup quarterback Chad Henne to a broken ankle that will require surgery, and they quickly signed veteran Matt Moore on Monday to provide depth behind starter Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs have two other quarterbacks on their roster in Chase Litton and Kyle Shurmur, but neither of the developmental prospects has distinguished himself during the preseason.

”Unfortunately, injuries happen, but one thing I do know is that our medical staff, our head coach and our personnel staff are going to make the best decisions for us moving forward,” Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy said. ”You never want to see anyone get hurt in this industry, but one thing we understand is that we have two young guys. We have to get them up and coming.”

That was before the Chiefs added an older guy to the mix.

The 35-year-old Moore sat out last season after starting a pair of games for Miami in 2017, the end of a seven-year tenure with the Dolphins that began as the starter and ended as their backup. Moore also spent three seasons with Carolina, and is 15-15 in 30 starts. He never had the kind of options at his disposal that he would have in Kansas City, though.

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Mahomes is coming off a record-setting debut as starter, along with a league MVP award, thanks in part to wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins and tight end Travis Kelce. The Chiefs also have a speedster in rookie Mecole Hardman and an up-and-coming star in running back Damien Williams.

”It’s definitely going to be different with Chad, just because he was that veteran guy that was out there on the field,” Mahomes said. ”We have a lot of trust in these young guys to come in and step in and make plays. They’ve done a good job of picking up stuff, so we’re going to keep bringing them along and letting them learn. I mean, Chad will still be there in the room helping out.”

Henne, who broke his ankle Saturday in the Chiefs’ game against the 49ers, will have surgery Tuesday in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which is coincidentally where Kansas City plays its preseason finale Thursday night. Dr. Robert Anderson is scheduled to operate.

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Howard to join Lakers

The veteran big man plans to sign a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers after finalizing a contract buyout with the Memphis Grizzlies, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The deal is reportedly non-guaranteed.

The 33-year-old Howard was acquired by the Grizzlies in a cap-clearing trade last month with the Washington Wizards, who received C.J. Miles in return. The Grizzlies never intended to keep Howard for the season and were apparently unable to find a trade partner that desired Howard.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Howard gave up $2.6 million of his $5.6 million guaranteed salary to Memphis in the buyout. He can earn that amount back if he’s still on the Lakers’ roster past early January. The deal will return Howard to a team where had a disastrous first stint. The center burned several bridges in his quest to force a trade from the Orlando Magic to the Lakers, only to struggle with injuries and conditioning, and squabble with Kobe Bryant over usage. Howard eventually left the Lakers after one season to sign a max contract with the Houston Rockets.

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Despite that history, the Lakers are still willing to bring Howard back after losing DeMarcus Cousins for the season due to a torn ACL. Howard now projects to be the team’s back-up big man behind JaVale McGee, the only other center currently on the roster. The team had also reportedly considered bringing in Joakim Noah.

Howard has shown he can still put up decent numbers as a center when he’s on the court, having posted 15.0 points, 12.4 rebounds and and 1.4 blocks in 29.8 minutes per game while shooting .588 from the field. Of course, health has been a significant concern as he missed nearly all of last season with a butt injury.

The Lakers won’t need much from Howard beyond rebounding, interior defense and finishing inside the paint with LeBron James and Anthony Davis running the show. The question becomes whether Howard is willing to accept that smaller role.

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Andrew Luck retires

In the most shocking development of the NFL offseason, Indianapolis Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck will retire from the NFL. 

Luck was seen on the sidelines of the Colts’ preseason game Saturday night, where he was booed by Colts fans. He then confirmed the burbling news reports during a postgame press conference. The injuries he battled throughout the past few seasons had simply taken too big a toll on his psyche, he said.

“I felt stuck and the only way out of it is to no longer play football,” Luck said. “It’s taken my joy away from the game.”  Luck appeared overcome with emotion as he read prepared remarks, visibly bearing the weight of both his words and his decision, which he called the hardest of his life.

He singled out former teammates such as Robert Mathis, who he noted was the best teammate he ever had, and Jacoby Brissett, who he called an awesome dude with a bright future. Luck also said that he was jealous of how happy and content Brissett appeared at the facility when they returned for the offseason program. He later apologized to his mother for wearing a ratty t-shirt during the press conference, and noted that he at times had to pinch himself last season due to how much fun it was to play for Colts coach Frank Reich. 

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The No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Luck has battled injuries throughout his seven NFL seasons, most recently a lingering calf issue that held him out for much of the offseason. Luck led the Colts to the playoffs in each of his first three seasons before the injury issues began in earnest. He battled rib and shoulder issues for much of 2015 and 2016, then sat out the entire 2017 season after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Luck returned in 2018 and, after a slow start, looked very much like his former self for much of the year. 

The calf issue cropped up earlier this offseason, but the Colts had been insisting that Luck would get back on the field at some point. It instead appears that he will not play another game for the team. 

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Murray to play Challenger Tour event in Spain

Andy Murray will compete at next week’s ATP Challenger Tour event in Mallorca, Spain, the tournament announced on Thursday.

In search of more match play in his return from right hip surgery, Murray will return to the Challenger circuit for the first time since 2005. Held at Rafael Nadal’s academy on the island of Mallorca, the tournament is set to embark on a second edition.

It will be Murray’s third professional tournament since kicking off his singles comeback last week at the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. This week, he competed at the Winston-Salem Open, falling to Tennys Sandgren in Monday’s night session.

In what will be one of the more highly-anticipated Challenger appearances in history, the Scot is poised to return to the circuit in search of matches and confidence. He’s not alone. In 2018, Kei Nishikori did the same in his return from a wrist injury, claiming the title in Dallas en route to qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals.

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Murray is 14 years removed from his last visit to the ATP Challenger Tour, when he reached the quarter-finals in Mons, Belgium in 2005. He owns two titles at the level, having lifted a pair of trophies on U.S. soil in Aptos and Binghamton earlier that year.

The 32-year-old is back in familiar territory in Mallorca, returning to the Rafa Nadal Academy for the first time since 2016. That year, he had the opportunity to train at the facilities in preparation for the North American hard-court swing.

The Rafa Nadal Open by Sotheby’s will begin on Monday. Murray, now ranked 329th in the world, has already committed to playing the Zhuzai Championships in September and European and China Opens the following month, after deciding against competing in doubles events in the US Open.

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Left ankle sprain for Panthers’ Newton

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton left Thursday’s preseason game against the New England Patriots with a foot injury and was spotted departing the stadium in a walking boot, according to the Charlotte Observer’s Scott Fowler. 

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the injury “doesn’t appear to be serious” and that the walking boot could be “used as a precaution.” The MMQB’s Albert Breer added Newton has been diagnosed with a sprained foot and the “team will know more tomorrow.”

The Athletic’s Joe Person noted the injury appeared to occur when Danny Shelton wrapped up Newton’s left ankle on a sack.  Newton’s track record is one of the best among current NFL quarterbacks with a resume that includes the 2015 Most Valuable Player Award, three Pro Bowl selections and a first-team All-Pro nod. He also led the Panthers to Super Bowl 50 at the end of the 2015 season.

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Although the 30-year-old Atlanta native appeared in 123 of a possible 128 regular-season games over his first eight seasons, his no-holds-barred style of play often leaves him banged up. After suffering an eye injury during the 2018 preseason, he said, “I only know how to play this game one way.”

If the latest ailment forces him to miss time when the regular season begins, Taylor Heinicke will probably get another opportunity to fill the massive void. The Panthers may cycle through a few other QBs, including Will Grier and Kyle Allen, if it’s an extended absence, though.

Ultimately, the Carolina offense will see a significant drop off without Newton if he is out for an extended period. He’s always been a bit streaky, especially in terms of operating as a pure passer, but he’s by far the team’s best option available at the sport’s most crucial position.

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Lions extend DT ‘Snacks’ Harrison through 2021

The Detroit Lions signed nose tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison to a one-year extension worth $11 million, multiple outlets reported Wednesday.

Harrison, who skipped offseason workouts but reported to training camp without a new deal, had two years remaining on his contract, worth $7 million in 2019 and $9.25 million in 2020. He is now under contract through 2021.

The 30-year-old was acquired by Detroit from the New York Giants before the trade deadline in October, in exchange for a fifth-round pick. He racked up 50 tackles, 3.5 sacks and seven quarterback hits in 10 games with Detroit after totaling 31 tackles, no sacks and one QB hit in seven games with New York.

Harrison has at least 55 tackles in each of his six seasons as a starter in the NFL, including 315 over the last four years. He has led all NFL interior defensive linemen in tackles in each of the last four seasons.

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Harrison had been seeking a contract extension from the organization, which acquired him in a midseason trade last year with the New York Giants for a fifth-round pick. Harrison sat out all of the spring workouts — including mandatory minicamp — this offseason, at least in part over his contract status.

The 30-year-old Harrison was then placed on the non-football injury list to start training camp before starting to practice last week in Houston. He has yet to speak to the media this preseason.

Harrison is a key part of Detroit’s defensive line as one of the top run-stoppers in the league. He has played in 102 games, starting 95 of them — including playing in 17 games last season. Now that the Lions have locked up the best run-stuffing defensive lineman in the NFL over the past four seasons; Darius Slay who’s under contract for two more years could be the next player to sign a one-year deal with guaranteed money attached.

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Cardinals reach deal with Crabtree, release White

The Arizona Cardinals released wide receiver Kevin White on Wednesday and signed veteran wideout Michael Crabtree to a one-year deal. Crabtree visited the team earlier this month, but the sides couldn’t agree on a deal. The terms of Wednesday’s agreement weren’t immediately reported.

Crabtree, who turns 32 in September, had gone unsigned following his release from Baltimore in February. He had 54 catches for 607 yards and three scores in 16 games with the Ravens last season. White, a first-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 2015, signed with Arizona in March on a one-year, $1.5 million contract with $400,000 guaranteed. He missed the first two games of the preseason while battling a hamstring injury sustained during training camp.

The 27-year-old played in just 14 games (five starts) across three seasons with the Bears, missing time due to a number of injuries. He has 25 catches for 285 yards and no touchdowns in his career. White had been listed among three first-team wideouts on the Cardinals’ first depth chart, but Arizona also has three rookie receivers — Andy Isabella (second round), Hakeem Butler (fourth) and KeeSean Johnson (sixth) — in addition to expected starters Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk.

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Butler has a broken hand and could miss a chunk of the regular season, but Johnson has impressed in camp. The Cardinals are expected to keep at least six receivers, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid scheme is expected to feature four or five wideouts often, unlike most NFL offenses. Kingsbury and Crabtree both played in college under coach Mike Leach at Texas Tech, though Kingsbury graduated four years before Crabtree arrived in Lubbock (2006).

Crabtree spent his first six NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted him 10th overall in 2009, before joining the Oakland Raiders for three seasons. He was released by Oakland in March 2018. In 141 career games (138 starts), he has 633 catches for 7,477 yards and 54 touchdowns.

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Nationals’ Strickland injured in weight room mishap

The Nationals bullpen got a little thinner on Sunday when closer Sean Doolittle was placed on the Injured List with right knee tendinitis.

On Tuesday, the unit almost had another pitcher endure an IL-needing injury, as recently-acquired relief pitcher Hunter Strickland nearly injured himself in a weight room accident in Pittsburgh just hours prior to the Nationals matchup with the Pirates.

Strickland had a bar strike the right side of his face, according to manager Dave Martinez, the Washington Post reported. When seen walking in the clubhouse, the reliever had a stripped band-aid on his nose to couple with a very red face.

Strickland posted a picture of himself on Instagram, suggesting that he had broken his nose after getting mixed up with a barbell. According to The Washington Post, Strickland was seen in the clubhouse with a bandaged nose moments before the picture went live on social media.

“Broke nose never killed anyone. We have a playoff push so let’s keep it going @nationals This team is special!,” he wrote. “Side note: barbell=1 me=0.”

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He underwent X-rays at PNC Park, and they confirmed that Strickland suffered a broken nose.

Earlier this season Nationals ace Max Scherzer bunted a pitch into his face during batting practice and suffered a broken nose. He was able to make his scheduled start the very next day, albeit with a black eye. From the sound of things, Strickland will be the second Nationals pitcher this year on the mound with a shiner.

Strickland, 30, signed a one-year contract with the Mariners this past offseason, but made only four appearances with the team around a lat injury. He was traded to the Nationals last month and they can retain him next year as an arbitration-eligible player.

Strickland did not pitch in the 4-1 loss, but manager Dave Martinez told reporters after the game that Strickland was available if they needed him. He should not have to be placed on the injury list, Martinez said.

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