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Sports Report: Patriots Claim Victory In NFL Season Opener

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NFL:

The New England Patriots unveiled their latest Super Bowl banner before Quarterback Tom Brady passed for four touchdowns to lead the defending champs past the Steelers 28-21 in the NFL season opener.

On Sunday, Cleveland is in the Meadowlands to face the Jets at 1 p.m. on CBS, Indianapolis will see the Bills in Buffalo at 1 p.m. on CBS, and the Giants face off against the Cowboys in Dallas at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall says his race-related comments during a TV appearance this week had "nothing to do with the judge" in the Tom Brady case. Marshall made headlines on Showtime's "Inside The NFL" when he said that many NFL players believe that white players are treated differently by the league when it comes to discipline.

Suspended Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy won't challenge the NFL in federal court over his four-game ban for his role in a domestic violence case. The former Carolina player was suspended 10 games by Commissioner Roger Goodell after the league concluded through evidence obtained from his trial in North Carolina that he roughed up his former girlfriend, Nicole Holder, in May 2014. An arbitrator reduced the suspension on appeal.

A person familiar with the decision has told The Associated Press that the NFL will suspend Buffalo Bills linebacker IK Enemkpali for the first four games of the season for punching and breaking the jaw of New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith. Enemkpali will be suspended without pay for violating the league's personal conduct policy following the altercation that took place inside the Jets locker room on Aug. 11. Enemkpali was cut on Sept. 4. Buffalo then signed the second-year player to its practice squad on Monday.

Marcell Dareus has become the Buffalo Bills' top-paid player after signing a six-year contract extension worth just over $100 million. Dareus will miss the game while serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. He is a two-time Pro Bowl and one-time All Pro selection.

MLB:

In baseball, in the National League,  the Mets beat Atlanta 7-2 to gain a 7 ½ game lead in the NL East. Colorado edged San Diego 4-3, Milwaukee bested Pittsburgh 6-4 in 13 innings, and Cincinnati crushed St. Louis 11-0.  The Cubs at Philadelphia game was postponed due to rain.

In American League, Seattle blanked Texas 5-0 and Cleveland won against Detroit 7-5.

Toronto will face off against the Yankees in New York after being postponed yesterday.

The Red Sox had a day off and will be in Tampa Bay tonight to see the Rays.

Tennis:

The women's semifinals at the U.S. Open have been rained out and will be part of Friday's schedule at the National Tennis Center.

Top seed and No. 1-ranked Serena Williams is just two wins away from clinching a calendar Grand Slam, a win in all four major tournaments this year. Her semifinal opponent will be Italian Roberta Vinci, who has lost to Williams four times in as many matches.

The other semi has second seed Simona Halep going up against 26th seed Flavia Pannetta, who leads the series with Halep 3-1.

The men's semifinals will follow with No. 1 Novak Djokovic playing ninth seed Marin Cilic and second seed Roger Federer going against No. 5 Stan Wawrinka.

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton has reached out to former tennis professional James Blake to apologize for his being handcuffed and arrested mistakenly by a New York police officer. Blake told ABC's "Good Morning America" that he was standing outside Manhattan's Grand Hyatt New York hotel on Wednesday waiting to head to the U.S. Open when he saw an officer charging him. He says he was body-slammed and handcuffed. The office has been placed on desk duty.

NBA:

The New York Knicks have signed forward Darion Atkins and guard/forward Wesley Saunders. Terms of the deals with the undrafted free agents weren't disclosed. The 6-foot-8 Atkins averaged 7.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and 23.9 minutes as a senior at the University of Virginia. The 6-foot-5 Saunders averaged 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a senior at Harvard.

NHL:

The New York Islanders have signed first-round draft pick Mathew Barzal to a three-year, entry-level contract. Barzal had 12 goals and 45 assists in 44 games last season with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League. The forward added four goals and four assists in the playoffs.

The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman David Schlemko to a one-year contract for $625,000. Schlemko had a goal and three assists in 44 NHL games with Arizona, Dallas and Calgary last season. The 28-year-old spent his first eight seasons with the Coyotes organization before being claimed on waivers by the Stars and Flames last season.

The Buffalo Sabres have added veteran depth to their defense by signing free-agent Cody Franson to a two-year contract worth $6.65 million. The signing comes a week before players report for training camp. A person familiar with the contract provided its value to The Associated Press and spoke on the condition of anonymity because the Sabres did not release that figure. Last year, Franson had a career-best 36 points on seven goals, 29 assists in 78 games split between Nashville and Toronto.

Golf:

There is a two-way tie for the lead after the opening round of the final major of the year in women's golf, the Evian Championship in France. The lead is shared by Lexi Thompson of the U.S. and South Korea's Mi Hyang Lee at 5-under 66. Three players, including American Gerina Piller, are tied for third at minus-4.

NCAA:

State transportation officials are expanding Connecticut's bus-only corridor service to University of Connecticut football games in East Hartford on Saturdays. Officials say the service to Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field will begin tomorrow.

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