Momentum to delay the deal has dissipated “meaningfully,” in the estimation of one league source.

The Giants were missing two key starters. WR Sterling Shepard was out after having a career game against San Francisco, making 11 catches for 142 yards. He was added to the injury report Saturday with an illness and could not play. CB Eli Apple was at home with his mother, who had brain surgery on Thursday. “He’s My best friend, my nurse and part time ninja,” Annie Apple tweeted Sunday morning. …Thanks for being my side every step of the way.”

Someone else who will probably be a lot more involved is Tavon Austin, the fifth-year Rams receiver who has been used mainly as a backfield decoy and had only two offensive snaps on Sunday.

Jones also has been upset with how the league handled Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy, even though the Cowboys running back was not charged by authorities in Columbus, Ohio, who investigated allegations of domestic violence by a former girlfriend.

According to, several players said Elway’s comments were a topic in their meetings Saturday night. Then Sunday afternoon … another loss.

And then … the topic between Broncos players and reporters (via The Denver Post) was that four-letter word: S-O-F-T.

The Dodgers have a sneakily interesting offseason at hand. The roster should get younger with the departure of a few veteran free agents, all of which should be fairly easy to replace, except for starter Yu Darvish and reliever Brandon Morrow. L.A. can let them all walk, add no one and still be a heavy favorite to yet again win the NL West. But do the Dodgers get aggressive this winter, or do they wait until next July to see what, if any, areas have sprung a leak?

LeBron gets stitches, scores 23 in fourth as Cavs beat Nets

LeBron James shook off a blow to the face and scored 23 points in the fourth quarter — including 18 straight for Cleveland — as the Cavaliers won their sixth straight, 119-109 over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night..

The Sixers didn’t know they’d have Embiid until about 45 minutes before the game after he successfully tested the knee in warmups.

“Look, I don’t have an answer to our unreliability right now,” Spoelstra said.

Wrap your head around that, and around this: Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara were the first pair of Saints backs to each rush for more than 100 yards since 2006 бн and the last time Brees threw fewer than his 25 passes against the Bills was in 2009.

Moore led a nine-play, 70-yard drive that ended with a 26-yard Cody Parkey field goal on his first series. Moore was 4 of 7 for 66 yards on the drive.

Cutler, who signed a one-year deal worth $10 million prior to the season after a season-ending injury to Ryan Tannehill, was 6 of 12 for 83 yards with a touchdown and the three picks. The former Broncos and Bears quarterback, who briefly retired earlier this year, has 13 touchdown passes this season to nine interceptions as the Dolphins (4-6) lost their fourth straight.

Moore led another field goal drive on the next series and threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills in the fourth quarter, but in a losing effort as the Buccaneers held on for a 30-20 victory. Moore finished 17 of 28 for 282 yards with the touchdown and zero interceptions. nike_patriots_3966

NFL owners committee says Roger Goodell contract talks are ‘progressing’

The NFL’s Compensation Committee is continuing to move forward with a contract extension for commissioner Roger Goodell, despite reported efforts — and threats — by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement Monday.

Blank’s statement (via SportsBusiness Journal), on behalf of the committee tasked with negotiating the extension with Goodell:

However, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart denied that Goodell had submitted a written counterproposal, adding that there have been ongoing meetings and calls ahead of a reported conference call Monday involving the Compensation Committee.

“Someone on our team talked with him,” Walton said after the Lakers’ practice Saturday, without disclosing who it was. “It’s all part of the learning process.”

When asked to reveal who spoke to Ball, Walton said, “That’s a locker room thing, unless they want to share it. What our players talk about behind the doors I’m not going to repeat to the media.”

“I just try to get in there and break it up,” the 7-foot Lopez added. “I’ll just try to get in the middle of it. If someone throws a punch, maybe it’ll hit me. I can take it. Unlike [my twin brother] Robin, probably.”

Walton was not concerned with how some on the internet were critical of Ball walking away from the scuffle.

Trail Blazers: After scoring Portland’s first points, Napier followed with a 3 and two free throws to account for the Blazers’ first seven points. … The crowd greeted former Sixer Evan Turner with a loud round of boos. The 76ers drafted Turner second overall in 2010. … The Blazers had held seven of their last eight opponents under 100 points. … Forward Al-Farouq Aminu (ankle) missed his ninth straight game.

He has yet to score a touchdown this season and has the most rushing attempts for a player yet to find the end zone.

Ajayi has rushed 138 times for 465 yards (3.4 average) over seven games for the Dolphins this season. He is coming off a big 2016 campaign in which he racked up more than 1,200 yards (4.9 per carry) with eight touchdowns.

The Dolphins are the first team since the 2013 Rams without a rushing touchdown in their first seven games, and the team’s streak of eight games without a rushing touchdown is a franchise record.

A crowd of 18,997 came for Ball. So did Beverley. Johnson warned his protégé about the Clippers’ Doberman Pinscher, comparing him to Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green. “Beverley plays mind games,” Johnson said. “You’ve got to stay strong.” Out of the Clips’ pre-game huddle, Beverley hopped and hollered like a Miami defensive back, eyes fixed on his mark.

Spavital, second-year O-Line coach Joe Wickline and Holgorsen last worked together back in 2010, when the Cowboys had the Big 12’s most prolific offense. “I feel like Gundy, and I’m sure Jake feels like me [when he was Gundy’s OC],” Holgorsen says. “I’m comfortable doing it. I feel like I’m managing things better, focusing on game management, time management, recruiting more, doing all of the personnel decisions, working with all the special teams.”

No league has a deeper pool of gifted quarterbacks than the Pac-12, but the guy making the best run for first team all-conference honors was completely off the radar in September as all the hype was heaped on Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Rosen (UCLA), Luke Falk (Washington State) and Jake Browning (Washington). Even Oregon’s Justin Herbert generated some strong buzz in September. But everything has changed over the course of a month for Arizona’s Khalil Tate.flames_013

Sorry, but Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz wouldn’t be this good with Browns

Every time Deshaun Watson puts up video game-like stats for the Texans and Carson Wentz delivers a win for the Eagles, it happens.

While Watson and Wentz are looking like long-term franchise quarterbacks in the NFL, everybody keeps bringing up the team that traded out of its opportunity to draft either QB — the Browns.

Uninterrupted has a 13-minute documentary on suspended Browns receiver Josh Gordon’s drug use and attempted rehab. Gordon begins by listing some of the substances he has abused—alcohol, Xanax, cocaine, marijuana, codeine, cough syrup, and methazine. rounded up some moving takeaways from the piece.

An endorsement for those in deeper leagues, LeVert is struggling badly from the field with just 36.8 percent of his shots going in so far, marked by shooting 19.3 percent from beyond. But I also see him shooting 4.3 3-pointers and playing 28.4 minutes, evidence a positive correction could be on the way for his shooting and scoring rates. More than anything, I think LeVert is a talented prospect and could eventually find his stride on this fast-paced and fantasy-friendly Nets scheme.

The Bucs parted ways with a talented but troubled player who was in the final year of his contract and unlikely to remain in Tampa after free agency. The Patriots’ pass coverage ranked No. 30 in the NFL at the time, and their secondary had been crushed by injuries. Talib helped the Patriots to a division title in 2012 and earned 2013 Pro Bowl honors after signing a one-year contract to remain with the team. He moved on to the Denver Broncos in 2014. The Buccaneers used the fourth-round pick to draft defensive lineman William Gholston, who remains a part-time starter.

he’s not about to think about letting it happen again.

Campbell let off the gas before — after he experienced accolades that followed his appointment as the head coach at Toledo in 2011 at age 32, though it’s doubtful anyone but Campbell himself noticed a drop in intensity. Still, he’s not about to think about letting it happen again.

“You’re constantly coaching,” he said. “You’re constantly teaching, and you’ve got to constantly remind yourself that our margin for error is so small. And it’s got to start with me.”

As NASCAR experimented with two-day weekends to save teams money and see if fans would like a more condensed schedule that included qualifying earlier Sunday — and as much as NASCAR has celebrated the final season of driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. — races like Sunday will do more for the sport than anything else.

“I got up in there and rooted him out of the way a little bit. … I was able to get through there, luckily, somehow,” Busch said. “I don’t know how.”

The dominoes there will ripple across the country, especially as other schools in other conferences start making their own decisions about their futures.

Even as much as NASCAR tries to manufacture drama, it needed some help. It got it from Joey Logano, who tried to ride out a flattening tire after contact, battling for third late in the race. If he pits, his Penske teammate Keselowski possibly cruises to the win. He didn’t and ended up spinning to have seven laps left in regulation.

To be fair, if Logano could have finished ahead of other playoff drivers and Keselowski for some reason didn’t win, that could have helped Keselowski. And it was refreshing that there apparently wasn’t a team order nor team concern in the Logano camp.

“I was surprised [he didn’t pit],” Busch said. “When it’s rubbing that bad, you know you’ve got about five, six, seven laps. … What’s crazy is I actually smelt it go from rubber to cords and knew it was coming. I knew he didn’t have much time left.”canadiens_296_21a70c255793463e-180x180

Perry scores in shootout to lift Ducks past Hurricanes

Anaheim Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said goalie Ryan Miller was brought in to be a veteran presence and not just a backup to starter John Gibson.

But Miller didn’t get the opportunity to show what he could do over the first 10 games of the season.

On Sunday he got that chance and rose to the occasion, stopping 34 shots as the Ducks beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 in a shootout.

“The message to Mark will be between me and Mark,” Payton said after Sunday’s win.

The coach previously commented: “You turn the ball over like we did, and you don’t deserve to win games like that. You can’t do it.”

Luckily for the Saints, who are on a five-game winning streak, Ingram did plenty prior to fumbling to help earn the victory.

“Oh, he is being blackballed. That’s a no-brainer,” Kerr said of Kaepernick, whom he has never met. “All you have to do is read the transactions every day, when you see the quarterbacks who are being hired. He’s way better than any of them.

“But the NFL has a different fan base than the NBA. The NBA is more urban, the NFL is more conservative, and I think a lot of NFL fans are truly angry at Kaepernick, and I think owners are worried what it’s going to do to business.”

Kerr drew a comparison between Kaepernick and Tim Tebow, in that any team signing one of those quarterbacks knows that guy is going to be the story every day.

“If you are a general manager, you do have to worry about the circus that would erupt if you signed Kaepernick,” he said. “That’s not justifying not signing him, but it’s understanding what you’re getting into.”blues-019

Sunday Night Football: Three takeaways from Steelers’ narrow win over Lions

The Steelers captured their third consecutive win Sunday night over the Lions to move to 6-2 and into a tie with the Patriots atop the AFC.

Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster enjoyed a breakout game in the 20-15 win while Le’Veon Bell added a touchdown of his own, and Pittsburgh’s defense didn’t break despite nearly 500 yards of Lions offense and multiple trips to the red zone.

Here are three takeaways from the Steelers’ win over the Lions.

“It’s been consistently brisk,” Westgate assistant manager Jeff Sherman said of the betting action on the Knights.

Vegas is the first franchise in NHL history to win eight of its first nine games during its debut season. But the real test comes as the Golden Knights hit the road to play six games in nine days, including matchups against four of the Original Six.

Asked on a busy college football Saturday what the SuperBook’s biggest decision was, Sherman responded playfully, “the Golden Knights not to win the Cup.”

At William Hill, 18 percent of all Stanley Cup futures bets have been on the Knights. The next-closest team, the Chicago Blackhawks, has just 7 percent of the bets. Nearly 50 percent of the bets on Vegas at William Hill were placed from Oct. 16 to Oct. 29.

While the majority of the bets on the Knights have been small in size, $10 and $20, there have been some larger wagers. Last week, the Westgate took bets between “$200 and $500” on the Knights, according to Sherman. And sportsbook operator CG Technology reported taking a $500 bet on Vegas when it was 100-1. That bet would net $50,000.blues-007

2018 World Cup Nations’ Kits Leaked as Fans Begin to Judge Their Retro-Inspired Designs

The kits for the World Cup are set to be launched in one month’s time, however a reports from The Sun has claimed that Germany, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Russia have all had their kit designs leaked early, allowing the fans to enjoy the retro-inspired designs earlier than planned.

Kidd said the Thunder’s new power trio of Westbrook, George and Anthony reminds him of another recent superteam that featured three stars.

“With Oklahoma City, they kind of remind you of the older Miami teams,” Kidd said. “Where live ball turnovers turn into dunks or 3s. So just talking to the guys, we got to be able to take care of the ball and get good shots. But if there are turnovers, understanding Russ is coming, no matter what. It puts a lot of pressure on the defense.”

George scored 20 points, hitting 4 of 8 from 3-point range, and Carmelo Anthony scored eight of his 17 points in the first quarter.

The 49ers received a 2018 fifth-round draft pick for Robinson, who was demoted after starting the first seven games of the season.

The Jets’ starting cornerbacks are battling injuries, so there’s a good chance Robinson will play Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills.

The Jets also see Robinson as a player who could help them in the future. Only 22 years old, he started 13 games over two seasons for the 49ers.

Also, the 49ers released quarterback Brian Hoyer, and cornerback Will Redmond was released from the injured reserve list.

Hoyer, who started his career with New England, is expected to sign with the Patriots barring an unexpected turn, a source told ESPN’s Mike Reiss.

Robinson was a fourth-round pick in 2016 by the Chip Kelly regime, but he fell out of favor with the new administration. He recorded one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery this season in San Francisco.

Harris only has two tackles, but his presence is starting to be felt.

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought Beathard was going to be anywhere near an NFL franchise quarterback during his collegiate career at Iowa. Even as he compiled a 21-7 record as the Hawkeyes’ starter, he averaged just 148 yards per game as a senior.

Since Sept. 25 of last year, Kansas City is 0-3 SU and ATS against Pittsburgh and 16-2 SU and 14-4 ATS against all other opponents. Kansas City was the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL before suffering its loss on Sunday.

While the Chiefs may not be able to solve the Steelers, they haven’t had much trouble solving the Raiders in recent years. Kansas City is 11-3 SU and ATS in its last 14 road games against Oakland per the OddsShark NFL Database.

The Raiders seemed to have picked up where they left off in 2016 when they stormed out of the gate with a 2-0 SU and ATS record. But since then, Oakland is 0-4 SU and ATS, failing to take advantage of Derek Carr’s return in last Sunday’s 17-16 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers.

But with the offensive revival under head coach Sean McVay, no newcomer has made more of a difference than Whitworth. He has only surrendered one sack in the entire season and is tops in the NFL per Pro Football Focus’ Pass Block Efficiency.

This year, Harris only has two tackles, but his presence is starting to be felt. “Yes, the last game I though he was disruptive, high energy,” head coach Adam Gase said of Harris’ development early this season. “He was flying around the field. That was what we’ve been expecting. You can throw the stats out the window. That doesn’t mean anything to me. When the quarterback feels you and he’s getting rid of the ball because he feels like you’re creating pressure on the side of the ball you’re rushing from or in the run game, if you’re doing your job, which our defense has been the majority of the time, where everybody is playing team defense, that’s why the run game has changed.”lakers_050