The New England Patriots have reached an agreement with free-agent quarterback Cam Newton, bringing in the 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player to help the team move on from three-time MVP Tom Brady. A source tells the AP that the one-year deal is worth up to $7.5 million with incentives.
The Patriots had been heading to training camp with 2019 fourth-round draft choice Jarrett Stidham as the heir apparent to Brady, who led the team to six Super Bowl championships since 2001 but signed with Tampa Bay this offseason. Stidham appeared in three games last season, completing two passes for 14 yards with one interception. The Panthers released Newton on March 24 following nine seasons, a move that saved the team $19.1 million under the NFL salary cap. The 31-year-old Newton was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft after leading Auburn to a national championship and winning the Heisman Trophy.
In other NFL news, the Patriots have been fined $1.1 million by the league for inappropriately filming the Cincinnati Bengals' sideline during a game last season. NFL spokesman Michael Signora confirmed the discipline to The Associated Press. As part of the penalties, the Patriots also lost a third-round pick in the 2021 draft, and will not be able to shoot any games in the 2020 season. The filming occurred at the Bengals game at Cleveland on Dec. 8 of last season. The Bengals hosted the Patriots the following week and lost 34-13. When the taping became known last season, the team said at the time a three-person crew producing a web series titled "Do Your Job" "inappropriately filmed the field from the press box" as part of a feature on the scouting department. At the time, Patriots coach Bill Belichick says neither he nor his coaching staff had watched any of the video footage.
Former Washington Redskins assistant coach Joe Bugel has died. Bugel was the architect of "The Hogs," the dominant offensive lines that helped lead the team to three Super Bowls under Hall of Fame head coach Joe Gibbs. He was regarded as one of the best offensive line coaches in NFL history. In addition to his two stints as an assistant with Washington, he was also a head coach of the Phoenix Cardinals and Oakland Raiders and an assistant with the Chargers. The Redskins announced that Bugel died Sunday at age 80. No cause of death was given.
Kansas State football players say they will boycott all team activities until administrators create a policy that would allow a student to be expelled for "openly racist, threatening or disrespectful actions." The move that most players announced Saturday on social media follows a tweet by a student about the death of George Floyd that prompted outrage on campus. Jaden McNeil mocked Floyd's death in a tweet Thursday, one month after the Black man died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck for nearly eight minutes. McNeil is the founder of a conservative group called America First Students and has been criticized for his past comments on the Black Lives Matter movement. University officials have said they are exploring their options for action.
The Los Angeles Clippers have signed free agent Joakim Noah to a new contract for the rest of the season, three months after he first signed a 10-day deal with the team. The two-time All-Star averaged 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 42 games for Memphis last season. Noah originally signed with the Clippers on March 9, two days before the NBA put its season on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic. The 35-year-old center was the 2014 defensive player of the year. Noah provides the Clippers with playoff experience and additional depth at the position. Noah's 12 years in the NBA also includes stints with Chicago and the New York Knicks.
Dustin Johnson won the Travelers Championship on Sunday to end a long drought and extend his career-long season victory streak to 13. Johnson closed with a 3-under 67 for a one-stroke victory over Kevin Streelman at fan-free TPC River Highlands. Johnson last won in Mexico City in March 2019. Johnson said it was along time between wins and he wants to keep his streak going. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus each won in 17 consecutive years. Mackenzie Hughes, who shot a first-round 60, had a 67 to tie for third with 23-year-old Will Gordon at 17 under. Gordon, who has no status on either the PGA Tour finished just enough to earn him a special temporary card and unlimited exemptions for the rest of the season. There were seven COVID-19-related withdrawals from the Connecticut event, with two positive tests among players. Cameron champ withdrew Tuesday and Denny McCarthy had a positive test on Friday.
In other golf news, Dylan Frittelli became the fourth PGA Tour player to test positive for the coronavirus and had to withdraw from Rocket Mortgage Classic next week in Detroit. Frittelli missed the cut at the Travelers Championship, playing the opening two rounds with Ian Poulter and J.T. Poston. The South African player took a saliva test so he could take the tour's charter to Detroit, and the result came back positive Sunday. Frittelli said he's experiencing no issues and feels great physically. After conducting contact tracing, the tour said its medical advisors are not recommending additional testing at this time. Four players and two caddies have tested positive for the coronavirus since the tour returned to competition three weeks ago with tournaments in Fort Worth, Texas; Hilton Head Island, South Carolina; and Connecticut. Nick Watney received a positive test before his second round at Hilton Head, while Cameron Champ tested positive before the Travelers Championship and Denny McCarthy after his first round at the TPC River Highlands.
The U.S. Open is returning to NBC starting this year at Winged Foot after Fox Sports has asked to end its 12-year contract with the USGA. Three people with direct knowledge of the change say it came together in the last two weeks. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been announced. An announcement was expected Monday. The U.S. Open, originally scheduled to be played last week, was postponed to Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot in New York. NBC televised the U.S. Open from 1995 until the USGA signed a 12-year deal with Fox Sports that began in 2015. One person said Comcast-owned NBC would pick up the final seven years of the contract through 2026. The change means NBC will have the U.S. Open and the British Open, along with three World Golf Championships, the Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup and the FedEx Cup playoffs every other year.
Round 2 at Pocono went to Denny Hamlin. Hamlin seized the spotlight, specifically in victory lane when Pocono had to set up lights after the race ended in the dark. Hamlin topped Kevin Harvick on Sunday night to win the second Cup race of the weekend at Pocono Raceway and flip the result of the opener. The 1-2 finish out of each driver is a clear sign two of the best drivers in the game are poised again to make a championship push. Brandon Jones took home a trophy and sent a car to the scrap heap in about an hour at Pocono. Jones won Sunday's Truck Series before wrecking on the first lap of the Xfinity Series race. Pocono became the first track to hold a Truck, Xfinity and Cup race on the same day.
In NASCAR news, the owner of a North Carolina racetrack said he has faced death threats, lost employees and seen "all but two" of his sponsors evaporate amid the backlash over his social media post invoking the noose found in the garage stall of Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace. Mike Fulp, who owns the half-mile, dirt track 311 Speedway in Stokes County, told the News & Record he knew his troubles from what he described as a joke were self-inflicted. Fulp's post advertised "Bubba Rope" for sale on Facebook Marketplace the day after an FBI investigation determined the noose found at the Talladega Superspeedway garage had been there since at least October and was a coincidence, not a hate crime. Fulps told the newspaper he's responsible "for trying to make some jokes and said he is not a racist. Fulp said he's been getting death threats and received messages threatening his family. He said seven workers quit.
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