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Charles Rogers, second overall pick in 2003 NFL draft, dies aged 38

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Charles Rogers, the wide receiver chosen second in the 2003 NFL draft after a prolific career at Michigan State University, has died aged 38.

The Detroit Free Press after a number of his former teammates on social media.

No cause of death has been reported, but several of his former coaches said .

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Rogers,” the Lions said rsenal manager Unai Emery has admitted that losing the Europa League final is a blow for his team.The Gunners were routed 4-1 by Chelsea in a game where they never looked competitive.It means they will be unable to qualify for the UEFA Champions Leagin a statement Monday. “From Saginaw, to East Lansing, to Detroit, Charles’ connection to the state of Michigan and its football community was felt by many during the course of his life. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time.”

Rogers set a school record with 27 career touchdowns that still stands at Michigan State despite playing only two seasons at the Lansing school, winning the Fred Biletnikoff award as the best college wide receiver in the nation during his junior season.

The 6ft 3in, 220lb star was chosen with the No 2 pick in the 2003 draft behind only Carson Palmer and almost immediately made good on his $9.1m signing bonus with the Lions, catching 22 passes for 243 yards and three touchdowns in his first five professional games, but his rookie year was abruptly cut short when he broke his collarbone during a speed drill.

Rogers broke his collarbone again on the third play of the 2004 campaign, ending his second season. By the end of year three, he was out of football entirely, finishing with 36 receptions for 440 yards and three touchdowns in 15 appearances.

The Saginaw native was arrested at least six times from 2008-12 on charges ranging from assault and battery and probation violations to DUI, open container violations and marijuana possession.

In 2017, Rogers that he became addicted to Vicodin during his time with the Lions. He also said he smoked marijuana throughout his time in college and the pros.

“I am getting my life together. … A fresh start,” he said in that interview. “Do I need a little love? Yeah. Am I still trying to find Charles Rogers? Yeah. I stay optimistic and positive. I’ve been to hell and back, but I stay strong. I still have faith. I’m still a young man. It ain’t over. I’m going to be all right, you know? I’m going to be all right.”

Donham boss Harry Redknapp believes Paul Pogba could yet stay with Manchester United.Pogba continues to be linked with Real Madrid and Juventus.But Redknapp told Sky Sports, “I wouldn’t think they’ll take a loss – I think he is a great footballer.”Maybn Durrett, who coached Rodgers at Saginaw High School, told the Free Press he was the best athlete he’d any seen across spo confirmed the club is under an English Football League transfer embargo due to an unpaid tax bill, reports BBC Sport.The Shrimpers will owe £668,000 to HM Revenue and Customs by 11 March, with a further month “stacked up behind”.Sol Campbell’s siderts.

“I’ll tell you, he was – and I’m including Flint, too, since I coached at Flint Northern all those years – he’s the best athlete I ever seen. I mean, honestly,” Durett told the newspaper. “We’re talking about basketball, football and track together. He could have had a scholarship in all three sports. That’s how good. … I haven’t seen nobody that fast that could do it all. He was just a blessed athlete that could do it all.”

Antonio Brown set for New England Patriots debut despite rape lawsuit

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Antonio Brown is eligible to play Sunday when the visit the Miami Dolphins.

Brown, the , was under consideration for the Commissioner’s Exempt Lismmer are wide open.Speaking with AD, Van de Beek denied claims of an agreement with Real Madrid and left the door open to joining Manchester United.On Real, he stated: “That is said and written, people take over, and then it starts to lead its own t, according to USA Today. But commissioner Roger Goodell will not enact his authority in the matter at this time.

USA Today reported Goodell is reserving the right to place Brown on the exempt list should criminal charges be brought against Brown.

Whether Brown wilWenger has revealed Arsenal made an attempt to sign Lionel Messi as a Barcelona youth teamer.Wenger discussed the move when asked about Arsenal’s failed attempt for current Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo.When asked on beIN SPORTS if Arsenal were verl be active and on the field for the Patriots at Miami after three days of practice is up to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Multiple reports indicate the Patriots were not aware of the civil suit Saturday when they agreed to a one-year deal with Brown hours after he was released by the .

Brown, 31, that includes a $9m signing bonus and a $20m team option for 2020.

After bailing on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2018 regular-season finale and sitting out Week 1 this year, Brown could pay for the first time since 23 December if he faces the Dolphins.

Belichick downplayed Brown’s past, responding to a question about Brown returned to the first-team fold after a long injury lay-off.And he has spoken of his pride of still being able to represent the Red Devils.”Honestly, to just sign to play for Man United is a dream,” Bailly told ESPN FC.”To be part of a team this big being a disruption with a name from the past that worked out pretty well.

“That’s the same thing you (the media) said about Randy Moss when we brought him in,” Belichick said Tuesday.

Raptors complete sweep of Warriors without Leonard to fire NBA finals warning

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Minus their top player and with their coach still mourning his mother’s death two days earlier, the put an emphatic stamp on a season sweep of Golden State. They did it with the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors nearly at full strength, too, a very different scenario from when the teams played in Toronto less than two weeks ago.

Kyle Lowry had 23 points and 12 assists to lead a balanced Toronto offense while leading scorer Kawhi Leonard sat out, and the Raptors dominated from the start in routing the Warriors 113-93 on Wednesday night.

“When you play them you haonfidence of his players.Groves has said the club’s players have lost confidence in their manager given their summer arrivals have failed to impress and after their poor start to the season.“The thing with the Arsenal situation with Unai Emery is, ve to do a lot of things well,” said Toronto assistant Adrian Griffin, who spoke with reporters after the game while head coach Nick Nurse left to be with his family in Iowa for his mother’s funeral. “Give our guys credit, they came in ready to play and they fought with great intensity. We knew it was going to be a challenge for us and I thought that Kyle did a phenomenal job leading the team. He is an All-Star, no doubt.”

Serge Ibaka added 20 points, Danny Green scored 15, Pascal Siakam had 13 and Fred VanVleet 10 to help the Raptors improve to an NBA-best 23-7, matching the 2014-15 squad for the best start in franchise history.

They did it despite not having Leonard for a second consecutive night. Toronto’s star forward hUnited boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has declared Scott McTominay “undroppable” after his performance in victory over Tottenham on Wednesday night.McTominay returned from a three-and-a-half week lay-off with an ankle injury to underpin United’s first winas a sore right hip and was considered questionable before the game. He was ruled out less than 30 minutes before tip-off.

Kevin Durant had 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Golden State. The Warriors had won fols at home with Manchester United.James says his new United teammates have helped make his move from Swansea City as easy as possible.He said: “They’ve all been great. I haven’t been here for long but I’ve made some great friends already and I thinur straight heading into a much-anticipated showdown between two teams many expect to reach the finals. “We didn’t start the game off with a sense of urgency,” Durant said. “I don’t think we overlooked anybody tonight. They just played better than us.”

Despite playing the second half of a back-to-back following a 123-99 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, Toronto appeared to be the fresher team. The Raptors repeatedly beat the sluggish Warriors to loose balls and outrebounded them 48-40. It was Toronto’s first win in Oakland since 2004.

“It’s a different vibe, a different feeling when you’re on the climb like Toronto is and Milwaukee is like we were a few years ago,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s harder to get up for each game. There are certain nights where you can just feel it; you don’t have that energy. It’s not an excuse. It’s just reality.”

Big Game review: Trump, Kaepernick and the NFL as political football

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The National Football League bills itself as a non-taxable trade association that promotes the “”. These days, it may need to add the title of America’s favorite tackling dummy. From the president to to worried parents, the NFL is under a never-ceasing, bone-crushing blitz. Nike’s swoosh hits harder than any middle linebacker.

The game pits Donald Trump, his supporters, predominately white owners and fans, against a labor pool that is 70% black. In the words of the late Tex Schramm, the Dallas Cowboys’ first president and general manager, to the late Gene Upshaw, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman and executive director of the players’ association: “You guys are cattle and we’re the ranchers … And ranchers can always get more cattle.”

Into this morass dives the New York Times reporter . His book is an entertainingly informative bird’s-eye take on the country’s still-favorite sport in the age of uncertainty and never-ending culture wars. As Leibovich observes, professional football has become “a proxy for our national divisions”, adding that “no one buys tickets to watch a morality play”. Apparently, the choice is binary.

A Patriots fan, Leibovich chronicles the five-time champions from the beginning of their 2014 season through their defeat in Super Bowl LII last February. He treats the reader to Tom Brady’s training regimen, football’s concussion problem, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ affinity for Johnnie Walker Blue in 24oz stadium cups, and steaming dollops of Trump. Make no mistake, smooth scotch goes down easier than a teetotaling president.

, NFL headquarters. Quoting fellow author Jeff Pearlman, Leibovich writes that Rozelle saw Trump as “this scumbag huckster” and a “New York fast-talking kind of con man”. Even Tony Soprano got more respect from Johnny Sack’s crew.

Roger Goodell – the current NFL commissioner, a Rozelle protege and the son of an anti-Vietnam Republican senator from New York – is more circumspect in describing Trump. Still, drizzles of disdain are in the air.

When asked about Trump, Goodell volunteered that we live in “interesting times” and smirked when asked if he maintained a back channel to the president. For good measure, Goodell added: “Our focus is on what we do … Our focus is on the game itself.” Yes, we’ve heard that line before. For his woes, Goodell is comforted by $40m annually even without holding any actual equity interest in the game.

On top of the president wishing Ivanka Trump had paired off with Brady instead of Jared the Middle East negotiator, Big Game spells out that Trump always coveted an NFL franchise but was never viewed as financially worthy. ; in 2014, his gambit for the Buffalo Bills went nowhere.

In particular, Trump lacked the requisite liquidity and transparencm their 2-1 defeat to Manchester City.City trailed to an early James Ward-Prowse goal and did not equalise until Sergio Aguero scored with their first shot on target on 70 minutes, with Kyle Walker hitting their late winner.Vestergaard said, “It’s a y to shoulder a team. “Football owners,” Leibovich writes, “… get a much closer look at a candidate’s finances than electorates do.” Indeed, in a with the Securities and Exchange Commission, , Trump’s liquid assets clocked in at $250m, nothing to sneeze at but also not the kind of cash needed to roam the halls alongside the NFL’s titans, who include Paul Allen, a Microsoft founder and owner of the Seattle Seahawks.

For the statistically inclined, Forbes pegs Allen as on its rich list while , the Pats owner, is 281 and the a mere 321. , dropping 200 in a year. Indeed, in the midst of the 2016 presidential race, that his father-in-law was cash-strapped.

Executive time, the Robert Mueller investigation and Stormy Daniels have come with a hefty price. To paraphrase the president, vice and emoluments are expensive.

Actually because of its nuggets, yucks and giggles, Big Game is a dead serious work. Leibovich agonizingly depicts the toll the sport exacts on the life expectancy, mental capacity and health of those brave and talented enough to make it to the pros. The book records the reactions of NFL Hall of Famers whose short-term memories are addled and a front office whose relationship to brain injuries and the truth is all too reminiscent on loan for the rest of the season by the Hornets.However, multiple outlets – via the Watford Observer – in the UK are reporting the move is not sitting well with the Clarets.They do not want to lose Gibson unless they can secure a replacement.He on of Big Tobacco’s approach to cigarettes and cancer.

Ultimately, Leibovich is focused on the question of how long “peak football” can stay on top of its game. He offers no simple answer.

He notes that last season the NFL suffered its lowest Super Bowl viewership in almost a decade and its highest number of concussions in six years. Thursday night’s opener between the champion Philadelphia Eagles and the Atlanta Falcons saw the air during the second half. Michael Bennett, an Eagles defensive end, .

Even as the league’s revenues , interest in pro football has . In 2014, nearly three in five registered voters closely followed it. Now the figure is barely half. Like organized religion, the NFL is larco Silva after signing a three-year contract with the Toffees.And he wants to make sure the club are aiming to qualify for Europe’s top competition.”I am excited to be here at one of the greatest clubs in England, really excited, I enjoy the place,osing its luster.

All this spells “another nonstop Christmas for the NFL doomsayers”. Yet as Leibovich notes, the “league just kept printing money to buy presents … They don’t make doomed sports leagues like they used to.” The fact that football legends Troy Aikman and Brett Favre have voiced concerns about their “hypothetical sons” following in their footsteps barely registers as a footnote on a balance sheet. Yet.

How does it all end? As the story fittingly concludes: “We await the replay.”

Andy Murray targets Davis Cup return after encouragement of US Open

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Andy Murray, simultaneously relieved and disappointed after enduring two long matches of a satisfactory grand slam comeback at the US Open, says he is desperate to return to action in Glasgow in a fortnight.

While the Scot is equivocal about that threaten to marginalise the oldest team event in sport, a chance to play again in the city where he was born – for Great Britain in the tie against Uzbekistan, whicPSG have opened talks with Everton for Idrissa Gueye.Foot Mercato says PSG are reviving their January interest in the talented midfielder.However for now, they’re yet to make a formally offer for Gueye.PSG pushed hard for Gueye in January, but the deal fell through due to Everton’s €60m asking price.If they offer €30-35m Everton would be prepared to sell.h starts on 14 September – seems irresistible.

“Potentially it’s the last time I’d get to play competitive tennis in Scotland, so I’d like to do that,” he told the BBC. “I’d have to chat to my team because this is obviously a very important period in my rehab and my long-term strategy.”

Murray, who last played Davis Cup when Argentina won in Glasgow in 2016, left New York spent but in one piece after 7-5, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 in three hours and 23 minutes in sweltering heat on Wednesday afternoon. That followed Murray’s in three hours and 17 minutes against the competitive Australian James Duckworth in similarly tough conditions on the opening day.

Murray and Kyle Edmund missed Great Britain’s fighting loss to Spain in February, which was notable for the impressive debut of Cameron Norrie. Edmund, Britain’s No 1, is yet to declare himself available after a non-specific illness cut him down here in the first round, so Murray and Norrie – who went out in the second round on Wednesday – are favourites to lead the line.

Defeat at Flushing Meadows did not leave Murray distraught, as it used to in the distant past. He is comfortable in his life away from the court, a husband and father of two daughters. It is understandable that he and Kim have decided their growing family should form the increasingly important focus of their lives, as his playing career enters its autumnal days.

Yet the ending to the fourth set – especially the last game, which Murray extended to 12 minutes – suggests the hunger to achieve more is still strong.

Whether or not he adds to his three slam titles is the great unknown. Bookmakers put the oddse Roma legend, now a free agent, is on the verge of a switch to Argentine giants Boca Juniors.“De Rossi will definitely arrive in the next few days, he has the desire to wear the Boca shirt,” Angelici said in a Press conference.“[Nicolas] Burdiss at 8-1. He has returned at another moment of flux in the game, with this tournament again examining the credentials of his long-time rivals as well as the young contenders. On the evidence so far, Murray’s task is more challenging than when he was at his peak, whatever the state of his fitness.

Where he can determine the direction of his game is to cut down the time on court by taking more risks, as he seeks to inject more attack into his grinding defensive game. His occasional forward sprinting is impressive but he is still struggling with his lateral movement.

And he has yet to rediscover the swinging of the torso behind his forehand, particularly, that made it such a lethal weapon from mid-court before his flexibility was compromised. Instead, he has to rely on the power of his arms alone mostly when going for winners, and that turns him square to the net, leaking power from the shot.

The core of his game – and currently a weakness – is the serve, which let him down against Verdasco, who only had to wait for the first one to pass harmlessly outside the box to pounce on the second.

Murray’s own analysis of his performance immediately after the match was as honest and perceptive as any. “Some of the tennis I played was some of the best I’ve played since I had the surgery or since I came back,” he said of a four-set match – his second in three days in his first slam for nearly 14 months – that included humid, 36C heat.

“To still be doing as well as I was at the end of the match, considering the lack of practice and matches that I’ve had, was positive. At the end, when my back was against the wall, I came up with some good tennis to makebakary Soumare this month.Despite raising €80m from the sale of Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal, Lille intend to part with midfielder Soumare, says RMC.LOSC are seeking €40m to sell, with plans to also take the youngster back on-loan for the new season.W it close and interesting and almost got myself back into it.

“I did all right. I chased balls down right to the end of the match. I wasn’t giving up on points. It wasn’t the most comfortable I felt on a tennis court. I got through it and fought right to the end. But there were also periods in the match, especially in the first set, where I really didn’t play particularly well. There were too many ups and downs for my liking.”

While Murray agrees it is “completely normal” for people to speculate about his future, it looks likely he is not going to leave either soon or quietly.

Joe McKnight: murder trial begins over shooting of former NFL player

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The trial in a road-rage shooting began on Tuesday in a New Orleans suburb, where a judge and attorneys were questioning dozens of potential jurors.

Ronald Gasser, 56, is charged with second-degree murder in the December 2016 shooting of the player who began his career as a local high school football star. , Gasser was indicted on the more serious charge last February. He has pleaded not guilty. Gasser, who remains jailed with bond set at $750,000, was dressed in a dark blue pinstripe suit as he entered the courtroom, accompanied by sheriff’s deputies.

McKnight, 28, was a running back and played college football at Southern California before three seasons with the and one with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jury selection was set to begin in the courtroom of state District Judge Ellen Kovach. Gasser’s attorneys have cast McKnight as the aggressor and are expected to argue Gasser fired in self-defense.

If convicted as charged, Gasser would face a mandatory sentence of life in prison.Police said the confrontation goalkeeper Dean Henderson on a season-long loan.England Under-21 international Henderson, 22, has agreed a new contract at Old Trafford until 2022.He played all 46 league games for Sheffield United last season as they won promotion to the Premier Leatook place as the men traveled across a Mississippi River bridge in and on roads in neighboring Jefferson Parish. Authoriidfielder Scott McTominay says they need to find a winning consistency next season.United will play in the Europa League for the third time in six years next season after last Sunday’s 1-1 draw at relegated Huddersfield confirmed their failure to secties said the shooting happened after both cars had stopped and McKnight approached Gasser’s vehicle. Gasser shot McKnight three times.

Defense attorneys said last year that they believe McKnight tried to enter Gasser’s car through the passenger window. They noted that Gasser stayed on the scene after the shooting and said he cooperated with police.

The case bore striking similarities to an earlier 2016 shooting death involving another former player. Odds BK striker Filip Moller is attracting Premier League interest.Fotospor says City have registered an interest in Moller.The Blues are keeping tabs on the 18-year-old who has scored three league goals this season.The report states that Trabzonspor and Paris Saint-Germain are also keen.Will Smith, who retired after starring on New Orleans Saints teams that inspired the city after Hurricane Katrina with winning seasons and a 2010 Super Bowl victory, was shot to death during a confrontation following a traffic crash. A 29-year-old New Orleans man, Cardell Hayes, was sentenced to 25 years in prison after a jury convicted him of manslaughter.

USA World Cup winners Rapinoe and Morgan join Mata’s charity wage project

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Two members of the World Cup-winning USA women’s team of 2015 have signed up to for footballers to donate 1% of their wages to charity.

Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan have joined Manchester United’s Mata and the Bayern Munich defender to Common Goal, which supports global football initiatives for disadvantaged children.

“Myself and Alex felt it was important that women’s football was represented from the outset,” said Rapinoe, a midfielder with Seattle Reign in the National Women’s Soccer League. “We’re really looking forward to building the movement with Juan and Mats from here.”

Rapinoe and Morgan each have more than 120 caps and have played in two World Cup finals, suffering defeat by Japan in 2011 before beating the same opponents four years later. Morgan, a striker with Orlando Pride, was recently .

“As the global profile of women’s football continues to grow, players like myself and Megan will have an increasing number of opportunities to use our status for good,” Morgan said. “I’m thrilled to join Common Goal at this early stage and hope we can inspire many others to become part of the movement.”

Mata is aiming to put together an XI of professional footballers for the project, which is overseen by , a group of more than 120 local charities.

“In Europe, we’ve just experienced a record-breaking transfer window,” Hummels said. “I think some fans are starting to feel alie Ballon d’Or.The Barcelona star was this evening named the Ballon d’Or winner for 2019 – for the sixth time.Yet Bordas feels the gap with Juventus ace Cristiano Ronaldo, who has five, should be far greater.”MessDavid Silva as one of the best players he has seen.The Spaniard managed his 400th game for City, helping them to a 3-1 win at Bournemouth.The fact that Silva has maintained his excellent standards for nearly a decade at City is unbelievable to his mai should have ten Ballon d’Or [prizes]enated from the gameo win the Premier League title with Liverpool.The Swiss proved his worth to the Reds after capitalising on a rare start by scoring in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Everton.Speaking after the game, Shaqiri said: “Obviously I am really happy. Especially aga in light of these kinds of developments. But as more players join Common Goal, we hope to show the world that football still has its heart in the right place.”

Teenagers arrested after Indy 500 pole winner Scott Dixon held up at Taco Bell

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Police say Indianapolis 500 pole-winner Scott Dixon and fellow former race winner Dario Franchitti were robbed at gunpoint while in aTacoBell drive-thru lane.

A police report that the robbery happened shortly before 10pm on Sunday at the fast-food restaurant less than a mile from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where Dixon had hours earlier won the top starting position for next Sunday’s Indy 500.

The police report says two mrts from Turkey linking him with a shock return to St James’ Park, says the Evening Chronicle.Now 34, Cisse is plying his trade in Turkey with Alanyaspor and while he is still passionate about his time spent on Tyneside – with the former number 9 netales ran away after the robbery and that Dixon’s wife, Emma, was also in the vehicle. Officers later arrested two boys, ages 15 and 14.

IndyCar driver Tony Kanaanon Monday that Dixon was making a food run for a group of drivers. “While they were ordering with their windows down two guys approached at gun point,” Kannan said. “They held a gun at Dixon’s head and asked him for his wallet and his phone. You don’t expect that to happen, especially here … Obviously, I’m glad they’re OK. Now obviously I can make fun of them big time.”

Dixon, who is from New Zealand, is the 2008 Indy 500 winner and a longtime Chip Ganassi Racingster United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has refused to comment on interest in Red Bull Salzburg striker Erling Haaland.Solskjaer knows his Norwegian compatriot Haaland, 19, very well from their time together at Molde before the former United favourite team-mate of Franchitti, a Scot who retired in 2013 with Indy 500 wins in 2007, 2010 and 2012.

“Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti are completely fine after being held up last night by two men Manchester United veteran Nemanja Matic is pricing himself out of a move to MLS.The Daily Mail says Chicago Fire have pulled out of a proposed deal for Matic.The MLS club were considering a move for the Serbian but deemed him too expensive.Matic’s contract at Old Trafford is set to expire in the summer, however the Red Devils reportedly have the option to extend his deal by a further year.at a fast-food restaurant,” the team said in a statement. “We will allow the Speedway/Indianapolis police departments to handle the situation and while they conduct their investigation we will refrain from making any further comments to allow Scott to focus on the upcoming Indianapolis 500.”

Andy Murray has no qualms about Dani Vallverdu in Grigor Dimitrov’s camp

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Andy Murray’s hopes of winning a second US Open might have taken a minor hit during his three hours and 17 minutes but he faces an altogether different sort of challenge against Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round on Monday.

There is the piquancy of Dani Vallverdu’s presence in the Bulgarian’s box, a slightly weird second edition of Murray’s former training assistant’s journey through the game, after a brief spell with Tomas Berdych. It is not lost on Murray, although he does not see it as an issue.

“It doesn’t really [change the dynamic],” he says. “The first time when I played Berdych after me and Dani stopped working together, it was awkward for sure, because he was one of my best friends and the media were trying to make it out like it was a grudge match.”

That is slightly disingenuous given the vocal part Murray’s now-wife Kim played in ramping up the energy levels on court with directed in Berdych’s direction during his match against the Scot at the Australian Open almost two years ago.

He added: “There was a lot of different emotions going on in that match and I thought it was a bit unfair. I played Berdych a few times since then and had no issues dealing with it. [It] doesn’t change anything now.”

Murray has always admired Vallverdu’s tennis knowledge and despite everything, they are still friends. “He works hard, that’s important. When that’s the case I thinReal Betis have penned a deal with online betting company RB88 through to 2021/22, reports, /.The company will sponsor the team’s digital content for the Asian market.k it tends to rub off on your player as well. He doesn’t want to take four, five weeks off at a time. He is there all the time and he does a lot of weeks, so you build a strong bond that way.”

And they still see each other socially. “We do go out for dinner. We went out for lunch the first day we got here. We flew together here from Cincinnati. I just don’t talk to him about my tennis, but I didn’t used to talk to him about my tennis before he started coaching me either really.”

Jamie Delgado, whom Murray has known longer than he has known Vallverdu, fills that role now, alongside the coach Ivan Lendl. “He doesn’t necessarily get the credit he deserves,” Murray added. “He works harder than any of the other members of my team. He does 40 weeks a year with me which is way more than anyone else that I work with. He deserves credit for that. It’s not easy to do that, to spend that much time travelling and away from home but he does particularly impressive individual scoring record when his current team Atletico de Madrid face his former side Real Madrid in next Saturday’s LaLiga Santander clash.Morata has made a habit of scoring in big derbies, and against his fos to Everton.West Ham are also in contact, reports Sport, though the Blues remain favourites for Gomes’ signature.The midfielder enjoyed a superb year on-loan with Everton and he is settled on Merseyside.A fee in the region of €30m is being discussrmer clubs, acit.

“He loves tennis, he has a very good understanding of the game and we get on well together. We’ve had good results so far, he helped turn my year around when I was struggling.”

USA’s Kayla Harrison wins second straight Olympic judo gold

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This time was nothing like 2012. But nothing would ever be like 2012. For on that July day in London when Kayla Harrison went from unknown to American judo sensation, everything exploded inside her: the sexual abuse from of a previous coach, the years of fighting to prove herself strong and the realization that she was the first US woman to win a judo gold. She ran. She jumped. She screamed. She cried. Rare has been the Olympian who celebrated the way Kayla Harrison celebrated when she got her first gold medal.

On Wednesday she still ran and jumped and screamed. Just not as much. Instead, she stood on the medal stand and sang the Star Spangled Banner. The women beside her must have heard. Half the arena might have heard. But she has long shed any sense of shame. The anthem was playing, she wanted to sing, what elloway has hit out at criticism of Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.Holloway thinks that any criticism of the United boss has ‘unbelievably harsh’.He told the TheSackRace: “I’m a bit sick and fed up of it to be honest. He’s earned his slse would you expect from a friend of Ronda Rousey, who might soon join her in the UFC?

“I’m a woman of many talents and singing is one of them,” she said. “You should have seen me dancing.”

Harrison is the kind of story every parent of every girl should want to tell their daughters. Like Rousey the UFC star who won a bronze in the 2008 Beijing Games, she is a survivor, a fighter and a woman who refuses to believe gender defines anyone in a combat sport. Before London she repeatedly told the story of how a former coach, Daniel Doyle, sexually abused her and how she finally reported the abuse and moved away to Boston where the famed judo father and son team of James and Jimmy Pedro built her into an Olympian. After London she became an essential voice on sexualalks with Carlo Ancelotti to become their new manager.The Italian was sacked by Napoli just an hour after he helped the club advance to the Champions League knockout stages.Ancelotti was with the Serie A club for 19 months.Sky Sports says Arsenal are abuse, starting a foundation for victims that she called “Fearless”.

Her fights on Wednesday in the 78kg division were indeed fearless. Her Olympicond half of the Club World Cup final against Flamengo.Before victory was secured in extra-time, the midfielder appeared to suffer an ankle injury in a tackle and was on visible distress on the turf.A stretcher was brought on and it looked as if Oxlacs was fearless. Her closest fight was the gold medal match when she forced France’s Audrey Tcheuméo to tap out with only three seconds left. She ran off the mat and leaped into Jimmy Pedro’s arms. She tried to jump into the stands. She draped herself in an American flag and she threw back her head and screamed.

When she finally stopped she said the last four years since London had been “the hardest of my life”. There had been the pressure to repeat, the demands she appear at every judo tournament everywhere and push and struggle to maintain her elite status. There, too, was the aching left knee that turned out to be a ligament issue and required a reconstruction in 2013. Nothing was easy. Everything hurt. Many times she wanted to stop. “I didn’t think she would come back from that,” Pedro said. And yet she did.

“When I showed up today I knew I had worked harder than everybody and no one was going to take that away from me,” she said.

Then came the UFC questions. Harrison gets these almost daily now. Given the way Rousey has gone from a judo bronze to superstardom, the natural assumption is that Harrison will too. Back in March she told the Guardian she had two post-judo career choices She did not say what the other was then, though she has talked in the past about wanting to be a firefighter. She was uncharacteristically vague about a UFC future on Wednesday, saying she wanted to enjoy her second gold medal for a few days before deciding on her next pursuit. Whatever that is, it won’t be judo. “I’m retired,” she said.

She may have to decide if she likes hitting people or being hit. Many non-boxers cannot adjust to this aspect of MMA fighting. She has said in the past that this is something she was still getting used to during her few ventures into the sport.

But all of that is for another day. The UFC can wait.

“I’m sure they were watching today,” she said. “If they weren’t, they were missing out.”

Someone asked about the “Fearless” shirt some family members wore in the stands on Wednesday. She smiled and she said this was a constant reminder for not only herself but the children who who are helped by her foundation. The words is more than just a collection of letters, she said, it’s a mindset, a belief, a beacon.

“I want these boys and girls to feel fearless and to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel and a gold medal too,” she said.

“And maybe two gold medals.”

Then she laughed again.

Team USA avoid repeat of the basketball disaster of 2004 against Argentina

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The last dark day for USA basketball came 12 years ago in an Athens arena. That was when Argentina beat them in an Olympic semi-final that marked a massive restructuring for the American national team, and a vow to never return the shock defeat. And for the next two Olympics the US dominated just as the US should. But then came the last week and three near losses to Australia, Serbia and France.

But Wednesday would not be another 27 August 2004. The US plato the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday. City did so with a placid 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donestk at the Etihad.Ilkay Gündoğan put City ahead in the second-half, only for Solomon to equalise 13 minutes later.Speaking after the gam, Guardiola saiyed played a stifling defense against Argentina, on the way to a 105-78 Olympic quarter-final victory. It was a performance as dominating as those the US had in early wins over China and Venezuela. Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Paul George 17.

And yet the dominance was not obvious early. For the Americans, who have struggled to play cohesively in these Olympics, the last thing they needed was to walk into an Argentina home game. But that’s essentially what they did on Wednesday night. The fans at their other games had generally been polite and mostly supportive. But Argentina is a neighbor of Brazil and their fans lined up outside the Carioca Arena 1 clutching banners and chanting.

A group of supporters stood on a balcony outside the stadium holding a giant sign with hand-drawn pictures of the team’s stars on the front. Below them, a joyous group of Argentinians clad in blue and white jerseys sang and screamed and chanted. The singing continued as they moved into the arena’s concourses. They sang before their national anthem, they sang during their national anthem and they sang acio Pochettino.There are some fans and pundits who believe that Pochettino is on the edge of losing his job.Spurs have endured a poor start to the season, while they were defeated 7-2 at home by Bayern Munich in the Champions League.However, Sherwoodfter their national anthem. They sang almost through the whole first quarter as 25-year-old guard Facundo Campazzo, who plays for Real Madrid, sliced through the American defense throwing up gentle one-handed shots that fell in the rim.

Behind his shooting and dazzling behind-the-back passes Argentina built up a 19-9 lead on the befuddled American players. The Argentina fans went berserk.

Then the fun stopped. The American machine surged forward. Campazzo’s shifting, dancing moves suddenly didn’t dazzle quite as much as before. The shots that fell in so easily during the early parts of the game clanked off the rim. The US defense, which had been missing their last several games, suddenly reappeared. With Argentina’s guards unable to break down the US inside they passed the ball to their outside shooters, who couldn’t hit their long jumpers. These misses were turned into rebounds, which were tuned into fast breaks.

Quickly, Argentina’s lead disappeared in a blizzard of layups and dunks. By the end of the first quarter the US had gone up 25-21 and Argentina were in trouble. The start of the second quarter was much of the same. The US defense shut down Argentina’s guards and then turned mistakes and missed shots into easy baskets. For the first time in more than a week the American players looked confident, even flashy. Durant hit several open jump shots but he also took the ball into the lane, playing more aggressively than he had in earlier games. At one point he faked to one side and cut to the other before thundering to the rim.

Late in the half the US had gone on a 29-9 run to lead 54-29 and the game was essentially over. And yet the singing went on and on and on. As the US played out the last minutes of a blowout, Argentina’s fans sang and danced, bouncing up and down in the aisles. They sang for almost the entire fourth quarter as the US fs cast doubt over his future at Old Trafford.After two loan spells – first at Crystal Palace and then to relegated Fulham last year – his United career is at a cross-roads.He is currently rehabilitating from a cruciate ligament injury, which may previnished a blowout of their beloved team and maybe found their form in this tournament.

Trailblazing NFL coach Dennis Green was far more than just a soundbite

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For many football fans, Dennis Green will be remembered for one thing. His when his Arizona Cardinals lost to the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football is probably one of the 10 best coach blow-ups of all time. Most mentions of his name are quickly followed by the refrain: “The Bears are what we thought they were.”

riticising the players during their El Clasico defeat at Real Madrid.Quique Setien’s No2 is well known for his passionate style of management.Sarabia’s reactions on the bench throughout the match were caught by Movistar’s cameras.”He is doing nothing

But to recall Green, who , as a caricature from a video clip is unfair. He was far more than a guy who got mad after a nationally televised loss in a football game. He was an essential coach at an important time for the NFL. He made o has opened the door to a future move to Real Madrid.He was at the FIFA’s Best ceremony on Monday evening in Milan after being nominated for the Best FIFA Men’s coach award.It has been a poorly kept secret that Pochettino would be interested in a reone of the most cherished and lucrative destination jobs in professional sports – NFL head coach – a possibility for many African-American men who never thought such a chance was real.

Only two black men had ever coached an NFL team when the hired Green in 1992. One of those men, Fritz Pollard, was a player-coach in the 1920s. The other was Art Shell, who was hired by the Raiders in 1989. Unlike Shell, who lasted six seasons, Green became an institution in Minnesota, coaching there for a decade. He turned the Vikings into consistent winners, going to the playoffs in eight of those 10 seasons.

In January 1999, he narrowly missed becoming the first African-American coach to take a team to the Super Bowl when Vikings kicker Gary Anderson, who hadn’t missed a kick in two years, that would have sealed the NFC championship game. Two years later, his Vikings lost another conference title game, this time in New York.

He won’t be remembered as the most successful black coach. Both Tony Dungy and Mike Tomlin hargen Klopp admits winning the Club World Cup will mean much more to opponents Flamengo and Brazilian football fans than those in England.The German believes that Flamengo will be “treated as heroes” and enjoy ‘a proper party’ if they lift the trophy,ve won Super Bowls. But Green went 113-94 in his career, his record undercut by three years as coach of the then-moribund Cardinals. He won four NFC Central titles at a time when many owners and general managers were hesitant to hire black coaches. He may not have gone to that elusive Super Bowl as a head coach but he made it easier for men like Dungy, Tomlin, Jim Caldwell and Hue Jackson to be hired.

The NFL is a better place because of Dennis Green.

Part of his success was that he embraced 49ers coach Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense, working with Walsh as an assistant after a failed run as head coach at Northwestern. For three years he was Jerry Rice’s position coach, taking the lessons of his work with Rice to Stanford where he was head coach for three seasons and then the Vikings where he managed Cris Carter and Randy Moss, helping turn both into NFL stars.

Instead, most people will think of Green and remember him shouting about the Bears. That was in the last season at Arizona, when the Cardinals’ dysfunction was in bloom. Hopefully he will be remembered for more than a video clip. He was a very good head coach at a time when football needed him to be one.

Swansea City’s owners to make huge profit with sale to US investors

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The owners of , whose partnership with the supporters trust has long been hailed as ideal for a British football club, are set to make millions by selling their shares to American investors. The deal, signed in principle by the chairman, Huw Jenkins, values Swansea at around £100m, exactly 100 times more than the £1m paid for the club by the nine shareholders, including the trust, during and after a financial crisis in 2002.

The agreement proposes the eight shareholders apart from the trust – which owns 21.1% of the club and whose elected director, Huw Cooze, was furious at being kept unaware of the negotiations – sell most of their shares to a consortium led by the US sports team investors Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien. Intense discussions since have led to suggestions not all the shareholders will sell, and Levien and Kaplan may buy only a 60% stake, but their valuation, for a club awaiting the next tranche of vast TV fortunes starting next season, remains around £100m.

So Jenkins’ 13.2% stake, which cost him £125,000 to buy, is valued at £13.2m. He is understood not to be planning to sell all his shares and isFormer Premier League manager Neil Warnock has hailed the improvement in Sheffield United midfielder John Fleck.Warnock says he was offered the Scot when in charge of Cardiff City.He told talkSPORT: “I think they had been tempted to let him go two or three times.“I had his agent on a while ago saying ‘I think he’ll be leaving the club’ but what’s he done? He’s done it on the pitch. He’s worked his socks off, scored important goals and been part of that dressing room.“They’ve got a great chance of getting in Europe. An absolutely great chance.” likely to remain the chairman if the takeover completes, because he is widely credited with having run the club with great acumen, alongside the other directors. The local hotelier Martin Morgan and his wife, Louisa, are the largest shareholders with a 23.7% stake, which cost £225,000 to buy; it is now valued by Kaplan and Levien at around £23.7m. Martin Morgan is said not to be intending to sell, and Levien may try to have separate discussions with Louisa Morgan, who controls more than half of their stake.

One of the original 2002 investors, the South African businessman Brian Katzen, owns 10.5% of the club, as does his business partner, Jeffrey Crevoiserat; the stakes cost each man £100,000 when Swansea were floundering near the bottom of the Football League at a rundown Vetch Field, and are now valued at £10.5m each. Robert Davies, another original investor, also a financial backer of Swansea’s Ospreys rugby union region which shares the Liberty Stadium, also has a 10.5% stake.

The Dutch investor John van Zweden, and Leigh Dineen, formerly the trust’s elected director who bought his own shares for £50,000, both have stakes of just over 5%, now valued at £5m.

The millions to be made by the shareholders who do sell follow £4m already paid to them all in dividends over the past four years – £1m, in effect their original stakes repaid, each year from 2012-15 since Swansea have been in the Premier League. Paid proportionately according to their stakes, Jenkins has received more than £500,000; Martin and Louisa Morgan £900,000; Katzen, Crevoiserat and Davies £400,000 each, and Van Zweden and Dineen around £200,000 each.

The trust, for its 21.1%, has been paid more than to catch up with Arsene Wenger over the weekend.The pair are attending a UEFA educational program.Arshavin played for the Gunners between 2009 and 2013.Arsène Wenger has been photographed with Andrey Arshavin at an event in Paris. The Russian joine £800,000, which it has used to buy new shares and for a “rainy day” fund. Established as a mutual, democratic, not-for-profit body during Swansea’s 2001 financial crisis, with the help of the fan-ownership initiative Supporters Direct, the trust’s members who have provided contributions for the £200,000 investment cannot cash in personally if the trust ever sells.

Cooze, who has told he was “pretty damned hurt” at the secrecy of the negotiations, is now seeking to rebuild bridges with his co-directors and safeguard the trust’s position. Levien’s revised suggestion to buy 60% is intended to show the trust a preparedness to work with them, after supporters’ hostile reaction to the proposed acquisition of 75.1% control.

Cooze and the trust’s chairman, Phil Sumbler, say they knew the other shareholders would sell at some point and are sanguine about them making so much money. They mostly want to know whether the sale to Levien and Kaplan, which Jenkins he believed “will help the club progress on and off the field”, will bring actual investment into the club itself.

“There is no point in a deal without money for the club; that would just be a sale for the shareholders’ personal gain,” Sumbler said. He pointed out that supporters’ unpaid work and donations have contributed to Swansea’s remarkable revival over the past 15 years and massive increase in financial value. “The shareholders are mostly lifelong fans, and we have always believed throughout our partnership with them that they have the best interests of the club at heart.”

Levien, a lawyer, is the managing general partner of Washington’s Major League Soccer team, DC United, having previously been involved at three NBA basketball franchises, including the Memphis Grizzlies, to which he introduced Kaplan as an investor. Kaplan, the principal of , is thought to be the largest proposed investor in the acquisition, with several others so far not named.

Levien has been assuring people they have substantial money and are not financing the deal with debt.

In meetings with the shareholders in Swansea last week, Levien is understood to have emphasised their plan is to develop the club but has not made firm promises that the consortium will invest new money of their own for signing players or expanding the stadium. Like other US investors increasingly taking over clubs, Levien and Kaplan are attracted by the Premier League’s success, the huge TV income, expected to be £8bn across the league for the three years from next season, and the prospect of growth in popularity and earnings, particularly in America, over the next 10-15 years.

The US culture of sports team ownership is much more avowedly commercial than British football’s traditional local “benefactor” shareholders, who have mostly sold out in the Premier League years. Investors in American sports seek to make money by growing their franchises commercially and therefore increasing their value, and that of their own stakes. Levien and Kaplan’s plan is to do the same at Swansea, and promoting the club in the US is thought to be a key feature of the proposed deal.

All of which is a world away from the crumbling, loss-making club the shareholders, galvanised by the trust and wider supporter efforts, bought for £20,000 in January 2002, putting the rerney jokes that he was at a local park when he got a call about his move being complete.The Scottish left back made a deadline day move to the Premier League giants from Celtic.When asked about how he spent the past 24 hours before the finalising of st of the money in to pay off debt. Chroniclers of Swansea’s spectacular upward flight since occasionally miss out two key boosts: a company voluntary arrangement, by which creditors settled for only 5p in every pound, and the great gift of the £27m Liberty Stadium, which is still owned by the local council.

Now, as thousands of jobs locally are , the Swansea City shareholders’ proposed gains highlight again modern football’s stand-out riches, in increasingly post-industrial cities where the clubs evolved more than a century ago.

Jenkins and Dineen declined to comment on the proposed sale, citing confidentiality agreements. Katzen said of his original motivation that he was keen on football and the challenge, and said they were all determined to make progress and run the club as a business, but never envisaged the success they have had, and these exponential profits.

“It has been 15 years, a lot of work; it’s not a quick buck,” Katzen said. “Nobody expected to get anything out of the club at the beginning.”

Thunder play ugly brilliantly as they shock Warriors in conference finals

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This year’s NBA playoffs have found their villain now, thumping into the title holders with frosty glares. The Oklahoma City Thunder became the bad guys of the postseason when what was probably Tim Duncan’s last championship run. And now they ao deciding where to go next.A Arsenal-wanted-Jose-Mourinho-Unai-Emery.html”>reported boardroom split regarding the club’s long-term direction is to blame for the paralysis as their shortlist gets longer, not shorter. It is an apt symbol of the chaos re trying to ruin the Golden State Warriors’ joy.

OKC swaggered onto the Warriors floor Monday night no longer the young, happy team of a few years back but gruff outsiders scarred by disappointments and looking to stomp on sunshine. There’s nothing fun about this Oklahoma City team. Almost an afterthought in Steph Curry’s Western Conference, the Thunder have remade themselves as a rugged spoiler of pretty basketball, ready to shove, elbow or wrestle their way to a victory. This is what makes them the most serious threat to the Warriors’ dance to a second straight title. They lug with them a world of resentment with nothing to lose ­­– a lethal combination in playoff basketball.

“I mean we hear it all the time, defense wins games,” Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant said in a leaden, passionless voice after the Thunder’s 108-102 victory over the Warriors in the first conference final game.

The team that was supposed to be the Warriors’ latest victim on their march to the next title will not go quietly. All those beautiful passes, skipping shots and delicate player movements that dazzled the this season do not impress a core of Oklahoma City players all these years on. The Thunder use words like “resilient” and “focus,” which usually fill the dreary, heavy talk of a team that looks at the playoffs as a long, tedious slog of games to be endured rather than won.

In Game 1 they forced Golden State to rush perfection. Their aggressive lunges at the ball forced the Warriors out of the precise and delicate pace. Passes were thrown a foot too far, shots were an inch too far to the left or right. The Warriors didn’t miss by much. But all the Thunder needed to turn a Golden State party into a seven-game war was nudge Curry (26 points on the night) and Klay Thompson (25) to shoot a couple of seconds too soon and from just the wrong angle. The Golden State machine broke down after that.

They are the antidote to the effortless brilliance that has been Golden State for nearly these last two seasons. If they are going to win they will win ugly and this is something they are more than fine with. That determination was never more obvious than in the fourth quarter as they fought their way to victory – at one point in the game they had been 14 points down to the Warriors. Durant picked up 26 points, including a crucial jumper with 30 seconds left, and Russell Westbrook scored 24 of his 27 in the second half.

“I mean what’s to celebrate?” Durant said of his team’s dour look after what should have been a momentous victory. “We didn’t win the championship.”

He did not smile.

concerned about losing Jurgen Klopp.The Reds manager is being tipped to replace Max Allegri at Juventus this summer.”We don’t really want to discuss his situation publicly, especially so close to the final,” Werner told the Liverpool Echo.”But I thinOnce the Thunder were the Warriors. Once Durant was Curry, a player who played as if he loved every minute he was on the court. to his postgame press conferences and . They were everybody’s darlings, the team the world wanted badly to win back.

Late on Monday night, long after Curry had dressed and left the arena, Durant lingered in the hall outside the Thunder locker room. He had on ripped jeans and a denim jacket. He didn’t wear a backpack. He didn’t look young and happy. He waited impatiently for Westbrooall Lane.The Daily Mail says McCabe has been told he will not be welcome at Bramall Lane if he fights the High Court ruling which awards full control of the club to his co-owner Prince Abdullah.McCabe, who has been on the board for more than 25 yearsk who was several steps behind and looked less like a fashion icon and more like someone out to walk the dog in an oversized orange sweatshirt. The Thunder have grown up into something far less fun but far more dangerous. They are forgotten and experienced and they know just how to make the Splash Brothers struggle to make everything look easy.

Defense wins games.

Who knew years ago this would become the mantra of Westbrook and Durant? But if they are to ever win a title together that is the stand they have to take. They never could win everything by being pretty but they might just take it all by playing ugly.

The new Thunder will never be as loveable as the boundless Warriors who skip passes through games with a splendid ease that can resemble a world-class soccer team.

“They didn’t make many mistakes on the defensive end which forced us into bad shots,” Curry said.

“Offensively we sucked,” Golden State’s Draymond Green said.

This was, of course, but just one game of a long series and the shots Curry took that looked dumb on Monday would have been brilliant had they fallen. He has a way of turning shots that no one should take into works of art. If two of those attempts that clunked of the rim and instead swished through the net we would be talking about another chapter in the never-ending Curry story.

But he didn’t make them and with seven turnovers, many on sloppy pass attempts over the Thunder’s formidable front court he fell into the trap set by the new Thunder, the one that will try to grind their way to a championship. In two weeks they have beaten the Spurs and the Warriors three times on their home courts which is as many times as San Antonio and Golden State lost at home all season.

After years of despair they have learned to deliver despair to others. Suddenly there is a threat to the Warriors. Few saw the Thunder coming.

Once sure things, Griffin III and Kaepernick now linked by vague futures

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The NFL never knew what to do with and Colin Kaepernick. Neither fit a simple script for a quarterback.

There was a time in a not Che Adams.The Telegraph says Southampton might be in for a battle to keep hold of Adams this month with Leeds planning to offer the striker first-team football at Elland Road.Marcelo Bielsa is in the hunt for a new striker with Eddie Nketiah recalle-very-distant past when Griffin III and Kaepernick were the future of the – two quarterbacks who would change everything about the way the professional game was going to be played. Now they twist in limbo, their trust broken with the organizations that made them, unsure of their next destination.

But are they really donepointment after the 1-0 home defeat to Valencia for their Champions League opener.With quarter-of-an-hour to go, Valencia took the lead from a free-kick and subsequently Chelsea failed to convert a penalty that was awarded after VAR had intervened.”W as football players? Or are they simply on the verge of something big and new?

Griffin will soon be released or traded by and will be off to rebuild himself in Dallas or Denver or someplace where he is not known as the franchise’s fractured savior. Kaepernick is locked in a more complicated battle with the 49ers who seem to want to keep him while he fights to be traded away. As with Griffin, it seems likely he could soon be somewhere else himself – perhaps the New York Jets.

While both quarterbacks crashed last season, living all or much of 2015 on the bench, they are hardly old. In fact, Griffin at 26 and Kaepernick at 28 are the perfect ages for a professional renaissance. Their careers might not be done, rather they might be at the start of another rebirth.

Perhaps more than any professional sport, the NFL is a league of instant reactions. Players, especially quarterbacks, are judged too much on day-to-day performance rather than their long-term growth and potential. Coaches have too much data and too much time between games to see big-picture development. They grade every game, every practice and build cases for or against a player in these small sample sizes.

Often the player who has a basic understanding of that coach’s system will thrive the way Kirk Cousins did with Jay Gruden in Washington. Griffin didn’t grow up in college football with an offense like Gruden’s. It didn’t come naturally. Likewise, Kaepnerick never seemed comfortable trying to do what the 49ers wanted last season. Both seemed lost.

But to discard them now is to forget what things they have always been able to do. Both are smart men who received praise from their teams for quickly grasping complicated offenses. Both have strong arms and quick releases – accurate on throws both long and short. Both have been good at taking care of the ball. Griffin has 40 touchdown passes against 23 interceptions in his career, compared to 56 touchdowns and only 29 interceptions for Kaepernick.

Teams love numbers like these. They long to have quarterbacks with the skills Griffin and Kaepernick possess. With the right coaches in the right systems and the right amount of patience, there is no reason either can’t be a star in this league again.

Griffin is a gregarious but sensitive man. No one had seen a quarterback quite like him in Washington, sharing his life on Instagram, begging everyone to like him. When he won Washington loved him. When he got hurt and couldn’t play, Washington dect how his side have proven the critics wrong about their Premier League chances.The newly promoted club were written off by most pundits as certainties to go down.But they have thrived in the top flight and could win European qualification for next sided he was moody and passive aggressive.

Kaepernick was as reticent as Griffin was effusive. He seemed dismissive of everything that came with his fame and this appeared to confuse people. As with Griffin, Kaepernick didn’t act the way people expected a quarterback to behave. When the 49ers winning turned to losing, he became easy for everyone to dislike.

One of the great ironies of the NFL is that their coaches are forever striving to innovate while at the same time closing their minds to quarterbacks who don’t fit in a proper box. Even after Cam Newton dominated the NFL, won the MVP and took his team to the Super Bowl, he faced criticism in his own league for his and the .

Things like performance and ability do matter and Griffin and Kaepernick have both thrived in the NFL. They have taken teams to the playoffs and won big games. There is no reason they can’t do this again. Griffin has now spent two seasons learning to be a pocket passer, something he never was in college or early in his NFL career when his coaches – hungry to win – let him run free. Perhaps the time he worked on a rhythm-based offense in practices will pay off in his next opportunity.

Kaepernick will either be working in Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense or starting new somewhere else. Whether he stays in San Francisco – where he could be a good fit for Kelly’s system – or goes to New York or Cleveland or Buffalo or whatever team wants a quarterback who has won three road playoff games, he will get every chance to be the starter.

And maybe he, like Griffin, will show that this isn’t the end of a brief career but another chapter in a life that helped to change a league.