#SportsReport: 66 Players Opt Out Of NFL Season; Phillies Beat Yankees | WAMC

#SportsReport: 66 Players Opt Out Of NFL Season; Phillies Beat Yankees

Aug 7, 2020

A total of 66 players have opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the coronavirus pandemic, nearly half of them linemen. Twenty offensive linemen and 11 on defense opted out before Thursday's deadline. Players with a medical opt out will receive a $350,000 stipend, whole those voluntarily opting out receive $150,000 as an advance against future salaries.

No team has come close to New England in losing players for the upcoming season, which begins Sept. 10 with Houston at Super Bowl champion Kansas City. The Patriots, already minus several stars who left in free agency — including, of course, Tom Brady to Tampa Bay — saw eight opt outs: running back Brandon Bolden, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, safety Patrick Chung, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, tight end Matt LaCosse, wide receiver Marqise Lee, offensive lineman Najee Toran and fullback Dan Vitale. Hightower, Cannon and Chung were key contributors in recent seasons.

In other NFL news:

The Green Bay Packers say they won't have any fans for at least their first two home games this season due to the coronavirus pandemic. That means there won't be any spectators for their Sept. 20 game with the Detroit Lions and their Oct. 5 Monday night game with the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay's third home game is Nov. 1 against the Minnesota Vikings. Packers officials say any decision on whether to admit fans for that game would depend on the status of the pandemic at that time.

The New Orleans Saints have placed two players on their COVID-19 reserve list. Second-year linebacker Kaden Ellis and veteran long snapper Zach Wood are the first two Saints players to receive the designation since players began reporting to team headquarters early last week. The designation means the players had a positive or must isolate because of potential exposure.

A judge in Colorado has agreed to push the Denver Broncos ownership trial to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The case had been scheduled to be heard Sept. 1 before but that would have required the sides to participate via videoconference. The case pits the two eldest daughters of late owner Pat Bowlen and the three trustees who have run the team for the last seven years.

NHL

Scott Laughton scored two goals and Travis Sanheim added one to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 3-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday. The Flyers play Tampa Bay on Saturday and the winner will earn the top seed in the East. Kevin Hayes had three assists for the Flyers. Brian Elliott stopped 16 shots to keep the Flyers. Travis Boyd scored for the Capitals.

Also Thursday, Mark Stone scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection with under 7 minutes left, and the Vegas Golden Knights took a big step toward clinching the top seed in the Western Conference by beating the St. Louis Blues 6-4 in round-robin play. Vegas would be the West's No. 1 seed with a win against Colorado on Saturday.

MLB

J.T. Realmuto hit a three-run homer, Hector Neris struck out Aaron Judge in a big spot and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the New York Yankees 5-4. Phillies starter Zach Eflin allowed two unearned runs and four hits, striking out five in four innings in his first start. A beleaguered bullpen surrendered two runs the rest of the way on Gary Sanchez's two-run homer off Nick Pivetta.

In other MLB action: 

The Oakland Athletics are on a roll with the rival Houston Astros coming to town at last. Matt Olson homered to back Mike Fiers' first win of the season and the A's beat the Texas Rangers 6-4 on Thursday for their sixth straight victory and a series sweep.Khris Davis added a two-run single, Mark Canha had an RBI single and Stephen Piscotty a sacrifice fly as the balanced, first-place A's won again with Houston on its way. Anderson Tejeda hit a two-run homer in his major league debut, chasing Fiers (1-0) in the seventh inning and pulling the Rangers within 5-4. Oakland's Sean Murphy countered with an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. Houston would have played its first road game of the season at Oakland in late March before this season was delayed by the coronavirus.

Nick Markakis capped his first start of the season with a game-ending home run in the ninth inning that lifted the Atlanta Braves to a 4-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Markakis lined the one-out homer off Wilmer Font that carried into the restaurant behind the right-field stands. Markakis opted out at the start of the season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic before changing his mind and returning to the team.

Shohei Ohtani homered in his first plate appearance since being shut down as a pitcher, Dylan Bundy struck out 10 in the third complete game of his career and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Seattle Mariners 6-1. Ohtani drove a 1-0 pitch from Seattle starter Taijuan Walker to the opposite field just beyond the leap of left fielder Dee Gordon leading off the second inning. It was Ohtani's third home run of the season, all coming against the Mariners.

José Ramírez homered from both sides of the plate and drove in four runs, and the Cleveland Indians routed the Cincinnati Reds 13-0. Ramírez hit a solo drive batting from the left side against Luis Castillo in the first inning. He connected again during Cleveland's 10-run seventh, belting a two-run drive off left-hander Cody Reed. According to STATS, Ramirez is the first player in major league history to homer from both sides of the plate within his team's first 15 games of the season.

Daniel Murphy hit a two-run, pinch-homer during a five-run seventh inning to lead the Colorado Rockies over the San Francisco Giants 6-4. Trevor Story and Charlie Blackmon also homered for the Rockies to spoil Tyler Anderson's return to Coors Field. Anderson was Colorado's opening day starter in 2019, but knee surgery in June ended his season after going 0-3 with an 11.76 ERA. The Giants picked him up off waivers in October.

Whit Merrifield, Maikel Franco and Jorge Soler homered, and the Kansas City Royals stopped a six-game slide with a 13-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs. Soler and Salvador Pérez each had three hits and two RBIs, helping Brad Keller to the win in his first major league appearance in nearly a year.

Kevin Newman's pinch-hit two-run single with one out in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 6-5 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Newman ended Pittsburgh's seven-game losing streak. Gregory Polanco added a three-run home run for the Pirates. Miguel Sano hit a three-run shot for the Twins.

NBA

Damian Lillard tied his franchise record with 11 3-pointers and scored 45 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers moved closer to the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference by beating the Denver Nuggets 125-115 Thursday night. Lillard was 11 for 18 from 3-point range, plus had 12 assists for Portland. The Blazers closed to within a half-game of Memphis in the race for eighth in the West. Michael Porter Jr. scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Denver, which remained in the West's No. 3 spot.

Despite not having Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-97 Thursday. The Lakers were without LeBron James. James Harden outpaced everyone with 39 points. Anthony Davis had 17 for L.A. The Rockets, who had 21 3-pointers, are 3-1 since the restart. The Lakers are 2-3.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 35 points to help the Sacramento Kings beat the New Orleans Pelicans 140-125. De'Aaron Fox had 30 points and 10 assists and Harrison Barnes added 22 points for the Kings, who got their first win in four tries since the restart. Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram each scored 24 points for the Pelicans. Both teams are chasing a spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton scored 33 points each, and the Milwaukee Bucks overcame a huge early deficit to get a 130-116 win over the Miami Heat on Thursday to clinch the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat led by as many as 23 points in a first half where the team piled up 73 points despite playing without Jimmy Butler and Goran Dragic.

Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points to help the Los Angeles Clippers defeat the Dallas Mavericks 126-111. Paul George scored 24 points and Ivica Zubac added 21 points on 10-for-10 shooting and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who strengthened their hold on the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference standings. Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 points and Luka Doncic added 29 for Dallas, which fell to 1-3 in the restart.

Deandre Ayton had 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Phoenix Suns continued their improbable run in the NBA bubble with their fourth straight win 114-99 over the Indiana Pacers on Thursday. Devin Booker added 20 points and 10 assists and Cameron Johnson had 14 points and 12 rebounds as the Suns pulled away with a 21-0 run that began late in the third quarter and carried over into the fourth.

SOCCER

Nani scored a pair of first-half goals and Orlando City advanced to the MLS is Back tournament title match by holding off Minnesota United 3-1 on Thursday night. Orlando will play the Portland Timbers, who defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-1 in the other semifinal on Wednesday night, in the championship game on Tuesday. Mason Toye pulled Minnesota within 2-1 with his first goal of the season in the 83rd minute, but the Lions withstood United's attack down the stretch before Benji Michel's goal for the final margin. 

GOLF

Jason Day's name hasn't been on the leaderboard lately in the majors. Brooks Koepka's is there all the time. Day opened the the PGA Championship with a bogey-free round of 5-under 65 at the TPC Harding Park. Right behind was Koepka, going after a third straight PGA Championship title. No one has ever won this major three straight times in stroke play. And only six players in history have won the same major three straight times. Koepka had six birdies and was among those at 66. Tiger Woods had a new putter and opened with a 68. Bulked-up Bryson DeChambeau, the longest driver on tour, broke his driver, which he has nicknamed "the Kraken." It cracked when he bent over to pick up his tee, the club snapped under him. His support team fetched another shaft.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Notre Dame opens its season as an Atlantic Coast Conference football member against visiting Duke on Sept. 12. But the Fighting Irish won't face Navy for the first time in more than nine decades as part of the ACC's reconfigured schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league has set up a 10-game conference schedule that includes a nonconference game, though that game must be played in the member school's home state. The Fighting Irish and Midshipmen had been scheduled to play for the 94th straight year.

In other college football news:

Miami star defensive end Gregory Rousseau has opted out of this college football season. He was second in the nation with 15.5 sacks last season. Rousseau would have been a third-year sophomore and is eligible to enter the NFL draft next year.

Penn State All-American Micah Parsons is opting out of the 2020 season because of concerns about COVID-19. The junior linebacker will be eligible to enter the 2021 NFL draft and is already expected to be high first-round selection. Penn State says it's not expecting to have fans at home football games this season, a decision that will cost the schools millions in revenue. Penn State has one of the largest stadiums in the country, holding more than 107,000 fans for big games.

BYU will play at Navy on Labor Day night in a matchup of teams that had openers against traditional rivals canceled as Power Five leagues rearranged their schedules. The Cougars were originally slated to open their season on Sept. 3 at Utah, but the Pac-12 has gone to a conference-only schedule to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing to get the annual football game between Florida State and the University of Florida rescheduled. He said Thursday that keeping the famed rivalry going will be good for the state. The two schools have played each other every year since 1958

Ohio State is opening preseason training camp with strict coronavirus precautions in place and uncertainty about the coming season. The Buckeyes are scheduled to play a 10-game season against all Big Ten opponents starting Sept. 3. However, the season may still be canceled.

Two sons of pro football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis have announced on social media they will transfer to play at Kentucky. Rayshad and Rahsaan Lewis announced their decisions on verified Twitter accounts.

NASCAR

Erik Jones won't return to Joe Gibbs Racing next season, ending his time with one of NASCAR's top teams after three Cup seasons but several years in Gibbs' driver development program. The 24-year-old was discovered by reigning Cup Series champion Kyle Busch when Jones beat Busch in the Snowball Derby late model race in 2012. Jones was 16 at the time and the victory opened the door for Jones' rapid rise into NASCAR's national series.

TENNIS

Past U.S. Open champions Kim Clijsters and Andy Murray received wild-card invitations for the Grand Slam tournament Thursday. Clijsters is a four-time major champion and former No. 1 who came out of retirement this year after already being elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The U.S. Open — which she won in 2005, 2009 and 2010 — would mark the 37-year-old Belgian's first Grand Slam appearance since a second-round loss at Flushing Meadows in 2012. Murray, a 33-year-old from Britain who also has been ranked No. 1, won the first of his three Grand Slam titles at the 2012 U.S. Open. He is working his way back from two hip operations. The U.S. Open is scheduled to start Aug. 31 without spectators.

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