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Ben Roethlisberger insists he has no problem with the Pittsburgh Steelers drafting Mason Rudolph.

That his comments during a radio appearance shortly after the Steelers took the former Oklahoma State star in the third round of the draft – when Roethlisberger openly wondered why the team drafted a quarterback when he plans to be around a good while longer – were made in jest.

”I think people took some things into a context that I was going to be mean or rude John Simon Jersey ,” Roethlisberger said on Tuesday as the AFC North champions began organized team activities. ”That was not it at all.”

As if to prove a point, Roethlisberger went out of his way to praise Rudolph when the two shared a field together.

They didn’t exactly bro-hug or trade jokes, but the 36-year-old Roethlisberger did what he says he’s done throughout his 14-year career. A suggestion here. A comment there.

During one drill, Roethlisberger even found himself playing the de facto center as he whipped the ball underhand to the 22-year-old who may – or may not – being Roethlisberger’s eventual replacement.

”I have never been the type to be rude or mean to other quarterbacks,” Roethlisberger said.

”I’ve had a lot of quarterbacks through here that have been younger than me that I’ve tried to help any way that I can. I’ll continue to do that.”

The Steelers raised some eyebrows when they traded up to select Rudolph with the 76th overall pick in the draft, the highest the organization has taken a quarterback since making Roethlisberger the 11th overall selection in 2004.

Pittsburgh general manager Kevin Colbert said in the aftermath the Steelers had Rudolph rated equally with the first quarterbacks chosen in the first round, but declined to get into specifics about whether the team views Rudolph as Roethlisberger’s eventual replacement.

Roethlisberger expressed surprise during a radio appearance earlier this month, rhetorically asking why Pittsburgh used a third-round pick on a quarterback when there were players at other positions who could make a more immediate impact.

Roethlisberger stressed that wasn’t a slight at Rudolph and he is more than happy to help Rudolph get comfortable. When Rudolph threw high and hard to fullback Roosevelt Nix, Roethlisberger offered a bit of advice.

”I pulled him aside and said `You’ll learn quickly every throw doesn’t have to be the hardest throw you can make Andrew Whitworth Jersey ,”’ Roethlisberger said.

”You don’t have to put every throw on guy’s chests as hard as you can. That’s a great opportunity for a nice easy touch pass. Just trying to instill things like that.”

Rudolph has been deferential from the minute he became a Steeler, stressing it was his job to learn how to play in the NFL and not Roethlisberger’s job to teach him.

Roethlisberger didn’t hesitate when asked if there’s anything that stood out about Rudolph during their initial workout.

”He has a big arm,” Roethlisberger said. ”Seems to understand the offense. Seems to not have any issues in the huddle. So I thought he did really well.”

Any potential ”controversy” – be it real or imagined – remains far off at best. Rudolph is in the mix of a three-man race to be Roethlisberger’s primary backup. Landry Jones has held the job for each of the past three seasons, with 2017 fourth-round pick Josh Dobbs serving as the third stringer last fall.

The Steelers will only carry three quarterbacks out of camp. Given the lengths the Steelers went to draft him, Rudolph figures to be a lock for one of the two spots behind Roethlisberger, with the emphasis on ”behind.”

For how long remains the central question. Roethlisberger took two months during the 2017 offseason before deciding to return.

He announced his intention to be back in 2018 in a quiet locker room after the Steelers were upset by Jacksonville in the divisional round.

Asked what made him flip from saying he was year to year to hinting he could play beyond the contract that expires in the spring of 2020 and Roethlisberger remained somewhat vague.

He likes the offensive line in front of him – all of whom are signed through this season – and the skill-position talent that surrounds him in the huddle.

Oh, and Randy Fichtner has taken over as offensive coordinator after Todd Haley’s deal wasn’t renewed in January.

Pressed on specifics and Roethlisberger offered little while also somewhat contradicting himself in the process.

”Take it one year at a time and just feeling what you have left in the tank,” he said.

Which – for now – appears to be quite a bit.

NOTES: For the second straight spring, All-Pro RB Le’Veon Bell was not in attendance as OTAs began. Bell has yet to sign his one-year Chuck Howley Jersey , $14.1 million franchise tender. … Injured LB Ryan Shazier (spinal surgery) watched practice from a golf cart.

The surging San Francisco Giants have made the NL West a little more intriguing.

Brandon Belt and Joe Panik drove in two runs each, Hunter Pence had a pinch-hit, two-run double, and the Giants completed a three-game sweep with a 9-6 victory over the division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. It was San Francisco’s seventh win in eight games and their first sweep of the Diamondbacks since September of 2016. San Francisco moved into a second-place tie at 2 1/2 games behind Arizona for the first time since June 10.

A four-run fifth inning highlighted by Pence’s double off reliever Silvino Bracho gave the Giants an 8-3 lead. Cory Gearrin (1-1) got one out in the fourth inning to earn the win in relief of starter Derek Holland.

Afterward, manager Bruce Bochy praised the veteran Pence – who is primarily a bench player at present – for accepting his role.

”He is our spiritual leader. I know his role has changed and he has handled it so well. This is a little bit of a change for him and it is not easy,” Bochy said. ”He has a great attitude and just wants to help the club win.”

The Giants tagged starter Zack Godley (9-6) for seven runs on nine hits in four-plus innings, ending his four-game winning streak. But Holland didn’t make it out of the fourth, chased after loading the bases with an intentional walk with San Francisco leading 4-3.

The Diamondbacks couldn’t take advantage, as Belt raced well beyond the first base bag into shallow right field to throw out Christian Walker at first and end the inning.

”We feel like we are in a good rhythm Carl Nassib Jersey ,” Pence said. ”It’s part of baseball and we feel like we are working on all cylinders and that is definitely momentum.”

Holland allowed three runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Godley’s five walks were the second most he’s issued in a start this season.

”I couldn’t locate certain pitches and they took advantage of that,” Godley said. ”They’re swinging the bat really well right now, one through nine.”

Arizona rallied with two runs in the seventh on Paul Goldschmidt’s 18th home run of the season, and Jarrod Dyson became the eighth player in team history to record at least two hits, two RBIs and two stolen bases in a game.

The Diamondbacks brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth with two outs, but Will Smith struck out Jake Lamb for Smith’s second save.

”They kicked our butts. They came in here and beat us, straight up,” Lamb said.

WALKER IN LEFT

Walker, normally a first baseman Niles Paul Jersey , started Sunday in left field for the first time in his 44-game major league career.

FREQUENT FLIER

To help provide coverage for the bullpen amid a long stretch without a day off, Arizona called up Bracho from Triple-A Reno before Sunday’s game. Pitcher Jimmy Sherfy was sent back to Reno. Bracho has been recalled five times this season.

FIRST PITCH FOR FIRST PICK

Recently drafted Phoenix Suns big man Deandre Ayton, the first overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, threw out the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: 3B Pablo Sandoval was hit by a pitch in the right elbow in the third inning and left the game before the bottom of the inning. X-rays were negative and the injury was announced as a deep bruise, with Sandoval’s status day to day. … 3B Evan Longoria is about a week away from taking some swings as he works his way back from a broken left hand, Bochy said. … RHP Jeff Samardzija’s final rehab start for Triple- A Sacramento is set for Monday and he is expected to pitch five or six innings with around 90 pitches.

Diamondbacks: INF Ketel Marte was held out after suffering a right leg cramp in Saturday’s game. Manager Torey Lovullo said he felt the team ”dodged a bullet” as far a more serious injury.

UP NEXT

Giants: LHP Madison Bumgarner (1-2) is set for his sixth start of the season in the series opener against the Colorado Rockies on Monday in Denver.

Diamondbacks: LHP Robbie Ray (3-0) is set to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the series opener at Chase Field on Monday.

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Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue has joined the board of directors of an organization founded by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and aimed at improving race relations.

Tagliabue has been an adviser for the past year to the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality. He was NFL commissioner from 1989 to 2006.

The organization is known as RISE and attempts to use sports to promote understanding DeShawn Shead Jersey , respect and equality. Tagliabue calls it a ”unique alliance of leading organizations” dedicated to ”addressing key issues of equality in our communities.”

RISE was founded in 2015 and is headquartered in New York. It has been active in 23 states.

— In a dim season for the last-place Kansas City Royals, rookie Brad Keller has been one of the few bright spots.

Keller pitched five solid innings, Alex Gordon homered and Jorge Bonifacio had a go-ahead RBI single in the decisive sixth inning for the Royals, who rallied past the Chicago White Sox 3-1 on Saturday night.

Nicky Delmonico homered in the second inning off Keller (6-5), driving a changeup over the right-center field fence. That was the only blemish against the 6-foot-5 right-hander, who allowed seven hits, struck out five and walked none.

“This was a battle game Nickell Robey-Coleman Jersey , honestly,” said the 23-year-old Keller, who has the only winning record on the staff. “I felt like I made my pitches. It was one of the games where you needed to keep the team in it.”

The Royals won for the third time in their past nine games. The White Sox had their win streak stopped at three.

Chicago had five hits combined in the fourth and fifth innings, but Keller got out of the jams.

“He did a great job of really limiting the damage,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He made huge pitches when he needed to.”

Dylan Covey (4-10) returned to the form he had displayed the first 2½ months of the season but remained winless in five starts since July 21. The right-hander allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings.

Covey entered the game with a 1-8 record and 8.94 ERA in his last 10 starts. He was 0-5 with a 6.34 ERA versus Kansas City in his career.

“Overall, I threw the ball pretty well,” Covey said. “Just the mistake to Gordon Taven Bryan Jersey , and then even the pitch to Bonifacio was a pretty good pitch.”

After Whit Merrifield opened the game with a single, Covey didn’t allow another hit until Gordon homered with one out in the sixth. One out later, Lucas Duda doubled and scored on Bonifacio’s hit to left field.

Alcides Escobar provided an insurance run with a two-out RBI single off Juan Minaya in the ninth.

“Keller did a good job of keeping us in the game,” Gordon said. “All we needed was a run to get us over.”

Five Royals relievers combined for four scoreless innings. The last, Wily Peralta, worked a perfect ninth for his eighth save in as many tries.

HEAVEN HELP THEM

Sister Mary Jo Sobieck, of Marian Catholic High School in suburban Chicago Heights Donte Jackson Jersey , dropped jaws with an impressive ceremonial first pitch.

“I said, ‘Can you play for us?'” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “She said, ‘Sure.’ Seems to be a really nice lady.”

NEWBIE IN THE HOUSE

Kansas City promoted RHP Jake Newberry from Omaha and optioned RHP Jason Adam to the Triple-A club. The 37th-round draft pick from 2012 is in line to become the lowest-round selection to debut for the team since OF Jarrod Dyson (50th, 2010).

RHP Blaine Boyer cleared waivers and became a free agent. The veteran has a 12.05 ERA in 21 relief appearances.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Royals: OF Brett Phillips (lower-body fatigue) returned to the lineup after a two-game absence.

White Sox: OF Avisail Garcia will try to work through a balky right knee that’s likely to require surgery after the season. “He’s just going to have to deal with it and continue to move forward. And I think he’ll be able to,” Renteria said. … RHP Nate Jones (strained right arm) “is throwing the ball well and feeling good,” Renteria said, but there still is no timetable for his return. His last appearance came on June 12.

UP NEXT

Royals: Rookie RHP Heath Fillmyer (1-1 Kavon Frazier Jersey , 3.61 ERA) will close out the series Sunday.

White Sox: RHP Reynaldo Lopez (4-9, 4.40) will take a 1.93 ERA in his last two home starts into the finale. He didn’t figure in either decision.

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Aaron Slegers and Jake Cave have been called up from Triple-A by the Minnesota Twins three times apiece this season Leonard Floyd Jersey , and the All-Star break is still more than one week away.

Their contributions to this struggling team on Thursday night were sure worthy of a longer stay.

Slegers picked up his first major league win with six smooth innings, Cave reached base all four times he batted, and the Twins stopped their six-game losing streak by hanging on for a 5-2 victory over the lowly Baltimore Orioles.

”I know that I think, and I know Slegers thinks the same thing, that we can play big league baseball,” Cave said. ”We’re ready to go anytime the team needs us, and that’s just kind of how you’ve got to think of it.”

Logan Morrison homered and Cave drove in an eighth-inning insurance run with one of his two doubles for the Twins, who turned to Fernando Rodney in the ninth for his 18th save following two consecutive blown chances. Slegers (1-0) gave up only one run, on the first of two homers by Jonathan Schoop.

”It’s fun to have that in the stat column, to be a major league winner Kavon Frazier Jersey ,” Slegers said. ”I can say that for the rest of my life.”

With eight right-handers in the Orioles lineup, except for Chris Davis, Slegers put his sinker to good use against the second-lowest scoring team in MLB. The Orioles managed just three hits against the 6-foot-10 Slegers, who was the latest to fill the recently revolving fifth spot in the rotation. Manager Paul Molitor stopped short of a commitment, but he indicated Slegers earned another turn after needing only 72 pitches to complete those six innings in his first major league start this season.

”Sometimes you make tough decisions to protect those young guys when they’ve had good outings and make sure they feel good when they come out of the game,” Molitor said.

The Orioles squandered another quality start by Andrew Cashner (2-9) and lost for the 10th time in 11 games. They have the worst record in the major leagues at 24-62, just the team the Twins needed to face to start a season-long 11-game homestand after a pivotal 1-8 road trip.

Trailing AL Central-leading Cleveland by 11 1/2 games, Minnesota has become a probable seller before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 with several accomplished players on expiring contracts. Baltimore has essentially been in that boat since April, with slugging shortstop Manny Machado widely considered the best asset on the market this summer.

CASHED OUT

Cashner, one of the offseason acquisitions by the Orioles that suggested their commitment to contending in the daunting AL East Michael Johnson Jersey , has had more than three runs scored for him in only one of his 17 starts this year. He gave up three runs, two earned, and six hits.

”It’s not like we didn’t want to score for him,” Schoop said. ”I hope things start changing.”

Orioles starters have received the least amount of run support in the major leagues this season.

”I probably had the worst stuff I’ve had this season, but I thought I just grinded throughout the game,” Cashner said. ”When you’re not scoring runs, I feel like I keep my mind sharp on what I want to do out there and thinking pitch to pitch.”

WHOOPS

Cashner was charged with an error in the third, when he was covering first base on a chopper hit by Bobby Wilson to Davis and fumbled the relay toss to let Cave score from second. Wilson eventually scored on a single by Eddie Rosario.

WHIFFS

Rodney struck out Davis to start a perfect ninth, pushing the sputtering slugger into a first-place tie on the Orioles list for strikeouts with 1,305. He is tied with Cal Ripken Jr. T. J. Carrie Jersey , who played 3,001 games for Baltimore. Davis has appeared in 972 contests.

MAN, CAVE

Cave, who was recalled from Rochester last week, made a fully extended catch at the wall in right-center to take a potential extra-base hit away from Davis in the fourth inning. Cave doubled twice, driving in one run, to go with a single and an intentional walk.

”He can really flash it out there,” Slegers said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Darren O’Day (strained left hamstring) has been scheduled for his season-ending surgery on July 12. He’ll need six months to recover.

DOZIER’S DAY

Twins second baseman Brian Dozier, who has started 80 of 84 games and appeared in all but one this season, went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He’s batting .218.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Dylan Bundy (6-7 Jessie Bates III Jersey , 3.75 ERA) will come off the DL to start Friday night. Bundy has been sidelined by a sprained left ankle.

Twins: RHP Lance Lynn (5-7, 5.49 ERA) will take the mound in the second game of the series, coming off his worst turn of the season. He gave up seven runs in Chicago to the Cubs in just 1 2/3 innings.

Thunder forward Paul George and Utah guard Donovan Mitchell, the leading scorers for their respective teams in their first-round playoff series, are uncertain for Game 2 on Wednesday because of injuries.

George scored 36 points in the opener and set a team playoff record with eight 3-pointers in Oklahoma City’s 116-108 win, but he missed the last minute to get treatment for a bruised right hip. Thunder coach Billy Donovan said he’d wait until Wednesday to determine George’s status. He said George was limited in practice and did not do contact work.

Mitchell suffered a left foot bruise in Game 1, and a Jazz spokesman said he is questionable. The rookie went through portions of Tuesday’s practice. He had 27 points and 10 rebounds in the opener after averaging 20.5 points in the regular season.

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Formula One's efforts to expand its reach across the U.S. got a key boost Thursday when Miami city commissioners agreed to enter formal negotiations to host a race as early as next year.

The unanimous vote allows city staff to work out a contract with F1 that could be voted on later this summer. Miami officials have said they hope for a 10-year deal on a race that could be staged in October James Bradberry Jersey , toward the end of the annual F1 season.

Formula One has been looking to expand in the U.S. since the U.S. Grand Prix was revived in 2012 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Miami would be the fourth race in North America, along with the annual Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and the Mexican Grand Prix in Mexico City.

A Miami race also would give F1's American owners, Liberty Media, a coveted showcase event in a U.S. city with international interest for fans of the global series.

"Formula 1 in Miami represents a fantastic opportunity to bring the greatest racing spectacle on the planet to one of the world's most iconic cities, and we are delighted that the journey is underway," said Sean Bratches, Formula One's director of commercial operations.

Although a contract must still be approved, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez called Thursday's vote a "big step" toward getting the race done. He noted the race faced very little opposition in the public comment period at Thursday's commission meeting. Suarez said the city and F1 will work to address any concerns about traffic and noise in Miami neighborhoods.

F1 officials have been scouting locations since 2017 and the city last week released an early proposal of a course that would take the cars through downtown high-rises, into the Port of Miami and over water on two bridges. Reigning F1 champion Lewis Hamilton said he was excited about the prospect of racing in Miami, but deemed the proposed course boring.

"Miami is a super-cool place and I was very excited to hear about it Preston Brown Jersey , but when I saw the layout I was like 'meh'. It could be a lot more fun," Hamilton said in Barcelona ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.

F1's previous efforts to schedule races in the U.S. included New Jersey and Los Angeles before Liberty Media zeroed in on Miami. The location would also give F1 a gateway for fans from South America, which has only one F1 race, in Brazil.

"I think it would be great to have a race there," McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne said. "I think the U.S. has always been kind of a territory where we want to promote the sport a bit more."

Mario Andretti, the last American to win an F1 season championship in 1978, called Miami a "very attractive venue."

"There's a lot of room for growth with F1 in the US. Why not a second race?" Andretti said. "It would be some sort of a coup (for Liberty) because Miami has been talked about for a long time and then it always goes into never-never land."

The U.S. Grand Prix in Texas gets more than $25 million annually in state and local tax money to pay F1's rights fees and other expenses. The proposed Miami Grand Prix would include a business partnership with Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross to promote and stage the race.

While no financial details have been released by F1 or the city, Suarez has said he expects "99 percent" of financing for a Miami race to come from private sources with any city funds to be under $500,000.

Ross helped lead the plan to relocate the Miami Open tennis tournament from Key Biscayne to the Dolphins' stadium complex in Miami Gardens in time for next year's tournament. He also brought several international soccer events to Hard Rock Stadium, which is seeking to host World Cup matches in 2026.

AP Sports Writer Tales Azzoni contributed from Barcelona. The Atlanta Falcons have entered the free-agency period facing financial constraints made more difficult by the league's soaring market for quarterbacks.

The Falcons addressed a need on Wednesday's first day of free agency by signing offensive guard Brandon Fusco, who started 16 games for San Francisco last season Patrick DiMarco Jersey , to a three-year deal.

Fusco, who began his career with the Vikings, could immediately start at right guard.

An offseason priority is reaching a new deal with quarterback Matt Ryan, the 2016 NFL MVP. Ryan can become a free agent following the upcoming final season on his six-year, $103.75 million contract.

General manager Thomas Dimitroff has expressed optimism about reaching a new deal with Ryan this offseason.

"I think it's not going to be that difficult of a negotiation, quite honestly," Dimitroff said after last season.

Now, however, the market has become more expensive.

Ryan is set to earn $19.25 million in 2018, and Drew Brees of the NFC South rival New Orleans Saints has just signed a new two-year deal reportedly worth $50 million . Meanwhile, Jimmy Garoppolo Tyler Higbee Jersey , who has played in only 23 games in his career, last month signed a five-year, $137.5 million deal with San Francisco.

Dimitroff said at the NFL draft combine on March 2 the Garoppolo contract, worth a record $27.5 million per year, "complicates things."

"I think a lot of quarterbacks are honed in on what's going on," Dimitroff said.

Though Ryan couldn't match his 2016 production and the Falcons' offense struggled at times last season , the quarterback appears to be headed for a raise.

It would help the Falcons' offseason efforts if Ryan, who turns 33 on May 17, will agree to a deal that relieves salary cap pressure for 2018.

The team's available cap space was about $9 million after re-signing kicker Matt Bryant , offensive lineman Austin Pasztor and cornerbacks Leon McFadden and Blidi Wreh-Wilson.

Atlanta released defensive end Derrick Shelby and announced plans to release tight end Levine Toilolo in cost-cutting moves.

Also, the Falcons this week placed second-round tenders on safety Ricardo Allen and guard Ben Garland Reggie Wayne Jersey , who are restricted free agents.

There wasn't financial room to re-sign all the looming free agents 鈥?especially with Ryan's new deal looming.

"Matt Ryan's situation of course has some play in dictating where we are and how creative we are in free agency and re-signing some of our other players," Dimitroff said.

"Anytime you're signing a top-tier quarterback you're going to be faced with complications. That's just the way it is."

The team's defensive front took a hit on Wednesday, the first day of free agency, when starters Adrian Clayborn, who led the team with 9 陆 sacks last season, and Dontari Poe became unrestricted free agents. Among other key players who became unrestricted free agents were fullback Derrick Coleman, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel, linebacker Kemal Ishmael and defensive tackle Courtney Upshaw.

After signing Fusco, Atlanta's needs in free agency and the NFL draft include defensive line and tight end.

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The Washington Redskins will host the New York Jets this summer for three days of joint training camp practices.

The teams announced Tuesday that they will practice with each other at Washington’s Bon Secours Training Center from Aug. 12 to 14 Nolan Cromwell Jersey , leading into their preseason game at FedExField on Aug. 16.

The practices, which will be free and open to the public, will mark the first time the Jets have held joint sessions with another team since they joined the Giants at SUNY Albany in 2005. Meanwhile, this will be the third set of joint practices in the last five years for the Redskins, who hosted New England in 2014 and Houston the following summer.

Jets coach Todd Bowles says the practices will be ”a nice change of pace for our players to face another team.” Redskins coach Jay Gruden says similar sessions in the past have given his staff good opportunities to evaluate players in competitive situations.

Fans of both teams will be able to get a close look at Jets first-round pick Sam Darnold, who will compete for New York’s starting quarterback job. Washington, whose new QB is Alex Smith Sean Mannion Jersey , selected Alabama defensive tackle Da’ron Payne with the 13th overall pick.

With Mikaela Shiffrin dominating the World Cup circuit this season, it can seem like a distant memory when the American was locked in a tight battle with Lara Gut for last year’s title.

That’s because that contest ended prematurely when Gut ruptured her left ACL last February in a crash during slalom warmups for the combined event of her home world championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Gut had surgery and missed the rest of the season. She returned at the start of this season but had recorded just two podiums results – both second-places – before winning the final super-G before next month’s Pyeongchang Olympics on Sunday.

It was Gut’s first victory since winning the downhill in Cortina almost a year ago.

”It’s good to be back – to be back winning,” Gut said. ”In super-G I’ve always been fast. … If I ski the way I can I’m always top 10.”

In a race on a shortened course that was shaped by strong winds, overcast conditions and overnight snowfall, Gut clocked 1 minute, 14.78 seconds for a 0.14-second advantage over Johanna Schnarf of Italy.

Nicole Schmidhofer of Austria finished third Zack Martin Jersey , 0.27 behind.

Shiffrin missed a gate midway through her run and Italian favorite Sofia Goggia hit a gate and also did not finish.

”The whole way down I skied way too direct of a line, which is really frustrating because the problem was with my inspection and I’m not exactly sure what we can do for me to be better prepared for super-Gs,” Shiffrin said. ”One of my biggest issues right now is still switching from the timing of downhill turns to super-G turns.”

Still, Shiffrin holds a nearly insurmountable 876-point lead over Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein in the overall standings. Gut reclaimed the lead in the super-G ranks, 18 points ahead of Weirather.

After last year’s Cortina races, Shiffrin’s lead over Gut in the overall standings was just 80 points.

Gut won the overall title two seasons ago, which helped her erase memories of the 2014 Sochi Olympics – where she cried in disappointment after taking the bronze medal in the downhill. Gut finished the Sochi race a slim 0.10 seconds behind joint gold medalists Tina Maze of Slovenia and Swiss teammate Dominique Gisin.

”I know what it means to go to the Olympics now Bruce Smith Jersey ,” Gut said. ”The first time you go to the Olympics it’s like discovering what it is and you have to tell yourself that it’s just a race. … I’m going to try to give it something even more.”

Sunday’s win was the 24th victory of Gut’s World Cup career.

Lindsey Vonn, the record-holder in Cortina with 12 wins, was slowed by a strong gust of wind and finished sixth, 0.37 back.

”I’ve never had a gust that strong,” Vonn said. ”I could barely make out the next gate and I was just hoping that I would see it at the last minute.”

Vonn started sixth and Gut was next.

”Some people obviously had it worse than others,” Vonn said.

Gut trailed Schnarf at all three checkpoints but then established her lead through the final gates.

”I didn’t have any wind, so I was fast Taylor Moton Jersey ,” Gut said.

Due to increasing wind, the race was called off after 44 of 58 skiers had started.

Thirteen skiers did not finish and there were several crashes – the worst of which involved Nadine Fest of Austria, who spun around at high speed and ended up in the safety netting. She was taken down the course on a sled and was being checked for a suspected knee injury.

Laura Pirovano of Italy also crashed heavily.

Federica Brignone, the Italian who won the previous super-G, did not start due to a fever.

Brignone will be looking to defend her victory in Tuesday’s giant slalom in nearby San Vigilio di Marebbe.

More AP Olympic coverage:  Womens Rashaan Gaulden Jersey

No. 11 is coming back for the Arizona Cardinals.

New Arizona coach Steve Wilks says wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald – arguably the most popular and certainly the most prolific player to don a Cardinals uniform – has told him he’ll return for a 15th NFL season.

Wilks made the comment Thursday in an interview on the ”Doug & Wolf” sports talk radio show. Wilks says Fitzgerald told him of his decision in a conversation Wednesday night.

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So for at least one more season Shelby Harris Jersey , Fitzgerald will be scooping in the throws – from somebody – and laying down some blocks for David Johnson.

There was a quick response from teammate and golfing partner, cornerback Patrick Peterson.

”Wouldn’t be the same without him,” Peterson said on twitter, with a photo of Fitzgerald hugging him.

Added safety Tyrann Mathieu, also on twitter, ”11 for 15. Welcome back Legend.”

Fitzgerald hadn’t said publicly whether he would remain for another season and there was speculation he might follow the lead of coach Bruce Arians and quarterback Carson Palmer, who both retired after last season.

The 34-year-old Fitzgerald is one of the most prolific receivers in the game’s history Josh Gordon Jersey , ranking third on the NFL career lists for receptions and yards receiving. He finished second in the NFL with 109 catches last season.

He returns even though there is no quarterback on the Arizona roster. General manager Steve Keim has said the team will move aggressively to fill that void, through free agency, trade or the draft – or any combination thereof.

Fitzgerald has caught passes from 17 quarterbacks since being drafted No. 3 overall by Arizona in 2004.

Although Jerry Rice’s NFL career records are out of reach, Fitzgerald has a good shot at moving up to No. 2. He needs 92 catches to top for second in career receptions and 390 yards receiving to pass Terrell Owens for No. 2 in that category.

Fitzgerald has one year and $11 million remaining on his contract and most indications were he was leaning toward giving it at least one more season.

New offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said Fitzgerald was the first player he reached out to and that the receiver said he was excited about the prospects of the coming season.

Fitzgerald has missed only six games in his career and has caught a pass in 211 consecutive contests, tied with Tony Gonzalez for second all-time. He has topped 100 catches and 1,000 yards receiving each of the alst three years and, last season Bob Lilly Jersey , was selected to the Pro Bowl for the 11th time. Among wide receivers, only Rice has been selected more often.

He shared Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year honors with Eli Manning a year ago.

>The Seattle Seahawks cut ties on Friday with star cornerback Richard Sherman, who became one of the NFL’s premier cornerbacks during his seven seasons with the team.The team informed Sherman early in the day he would be released, and he confirmed the decision in a text message to The Associated Press. The move appeared to be building after he met with the team Wednesday to discuss his future. Sherman declined to comment after the meeting.“Thank you for helping win championships, shape our culture and define success in Seattle,” the team said in a statement announcing the decision.“We love you and your unwavering competitiveness, confidence and fierce passion for football and life. For that Dan Hampton Jersey , you will always be a Hawk!”Sherman was an overlooked fifth-round draft pick who went on to become a two-time All-Pro who helped anchor a defense that was the league’s best for several years.He will be 30 years old going into next season and coming off an Achilles tendon injury that cost him half of the 2017 season.But the biggest reason for his release was financial. Sherman was due $13 million for the 2018 season and his release gives Seattle a salary cap savings of about $11 million. Sherman was released with a “failed physical” injury designation. Sherman issued a statement later Friday thanking the Seahawks for “taking a chance.”“As this chapter comes to a close, I am looking forward to what the future holds,” Sherman said.Sherman became a star in Seattle, bringing a brash attitude and willingness to speak out on any topic to go along with his stellar play. His best seasons came in 2013 and 2014 when Seattle made two Super Bowl appearances and he has 32 interceptions.This may not be an end for Sherman and the Seahawks, depending on what he finds in free agency. Seattle could be open to bringing Sherman back at a reduced salary.Sherman was open to the idea of a new place to call home last offseason when Seattle engaged in trade discussions surrounding Sherman, but said his preference was to remain with the Seahawks.What’s still to be answered is how much of an impact the Achilles injury will have. Sherman has never been the fastest cornerback, often using his exquisite technique and smarts to make up for less than elite speed. But recovery from Achilles injuries can often be troublesome and Sherman also had a cleanup surgery on his opposite ankle during the offseason.The questions about Sherman’s health account for Seattle’s position. The Seahawks don’t want to be paying a premium price for a cornerback entering the final year of his contract with an injury concern. Seattle could be sacrificing something greater Mark Barron Jersey , though. Sherman has been a locker-room leader and mentor to younger players. Shaquill Griffin spoke regularly about Sherman’s influence last year.But it’s clear the Seahawks are a team in transition, although it also remains to be seen how significant this makeover will be. Seattle already traded Michael Bennett to Philadelphia for two late-round draft picks and a little-used wide receiver. Kam Chancellor and Cliff Avril both have neck injuries, and it’s uncertain if they’ll play again. Earl Thomas said at the Pro Bowl he wants a new contract and may hold out. Seattle also released cornerback Jeremy Lane on Friday. The move with Lane will save Seattle $4.75 million against the salary cap in 2018.About the only sure thing for the defense is the return of All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner. General manager John Schneider, speaking at the NFL combine, called it a “constant puzzle.”“You’re trying to put stuff together all the time,” he said. “It’s a big challenge.” Womens Michael Gallup Jersey

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has visited a hospital in Maine to make a donation and meet with kids.

Gronkowski Dan Bailey Jersey , his father and two of his brothers delivered a $25,000 check to The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

Hospital chief operating officer Jeffrey Sanders said Tuesday the hospital is grateful and added, "Gronk will always be a champion" to people there.

The money was raised through two raffles by the Gronk Nation Youth Foundation, which is dedicated to inspiring young people to reach their maximum potential through sports, education, community and fitness. The raffles were for tickets to the AFC Championship game and the Super Bowl, which the Patriots lost to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, Hasbro Children's Hospital in Rhode Island and Boston Children's Hospital benefited from the raffles.

Pittsburgh’s drama-filled season ended shockingly. A final Ramon Humber Jersey , forgettable act.

No shot at the Patriots. No seventh Super Bowl trophy. No tomorrow.

And when it ended following a game no one expected, Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and the rest of the dejected Steelers searched to find words to describe all that had gone wrong.

This was a struggle from the start.

”It wasn’t our day,” Roethlisberger said. ”It wasn’t our year.”

Doomed by two first-half turnovers and a pair of head-scratching play calls on fourth down, Pittsburgh was stunned in the AFC playoffs by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who outslugged the Steelers 45-42 on Sunday to earn a trip to New England for next week’s conference championship.

Roethlisberger, who had wondered if he was washed up after throwing five interceptions in a loss to the Jags on Oct. 9 Taylor Gabriel Jersey , set a franchise postseason record with five touchdown passes but it wasn’t enough as the Steelers (13-4) couldn’t stop a Jacksonville offense that was supposedly weak.

”It’s disheartening,” said Brown, who caught two TD passes and played at his All-Pro level while battling a calf injury. ”I thought we had the right guys. As a player, you live for these moments. Now we start all over.”

As Roethlisberger dressed at one end of Pittsburgh’s locker room, a few of his teammates sat at their stalls in disbelief.

This wasn’t the plan.

Cam Heyward handled wave after wave of questions about the team’s numerous defensive lapses. Bell downplayed that his messy contract situation created an unnecessary distraction in the days leading up to the game, and cornerback Artie Burns sat in his uniform and stared blankly at the floor.

The Steelers never recovered from a 21-0 first-half deficit and are now left to wonder what might have been. Twice they got within seven in the second half only to give up back-breaking plays to the Jaguars, who rushed for 168 yards and seemed to come up with a big play whenever they needed one.

”It’s crazy that we couldn’t get off the field,” Heyward said. ”They played better than us – simple as that.”

The Jaguars had the Steelers out of step early on. After rookie Leonard Fournette’s second TD Miles Killebrew Jersey , the score set up by linebacker Myles Jack’s interception of Roethlisberger, Jacksonville was up 14-0 and Pittsburgh’s rowdy fans were using their Terrible Towels to muffle their disgust.

The Steelers seemed to panic when coach Mike Tomlin elected to go on fourth-and-inches and then inexplicably ran a sweep to Bell that got snuffed. Later, Roethlisberger threw an incompletion on fourth down when a simple sneak might have moved the chains.

”We didn’t execute well enough and they did,” Tomlin said when asked about his decisions.

Roethlisberger went 37 of 58 for 469 yards and the five TDs, the last coming with 1 second left.

It was a sobering moment for the star quarterback who has orchestrated so many comeback wins during a 14-year career. Roethlisberger found some solace in his final throw.

”Nobody quit and that speaks volumes about this team,” he said.

Roethlisberger also dismissed any talk the Steelers were looking past the Jaguars and a rematch with the Patriots, who handed Pittsburgh its only loss in the last 11 games.

”We were dialed in,” he said. ”I know I wasn’t looking forward.”

Bell finished with 155 total yards and afterward sidestepped much talk about his contract. He was franchise tagged by the team for $12 million this season and has made it clear he wants more money.

”I wasn’t thinking about it Eddie Goldman Jersey ,” he said. ”All I was thinking about was getting to the Super Bowl.”

As for his own future, Roethlisberger indicated that he intends to return next season. The 35-year-old has hinted at retirement, but that seemed far from his mind as he swallowed a loss few saw coming.

”I don’t know what’s going on with people’s contracts,” he said. ”I don’t know how many years guys have left. I know the guys up front are all under contract and that’s a good feeling. I definitely have a desire to play football. I love this game. I love these guys. It’s tough. It stings.

”You hate losing at home. I feel bad because I feel like I let the fans down and my teammates down. I feel like I let a lot of people down and I’ll take it all myself. I look forward to next year with those guys.”

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As he prepares for his second season Keke Coutee Jersey , Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky can sense the difference and so can his teammates.

It’s the faith in him and the leadership he’s showing.

”I love the position I’m in and the leadership role,” Trubisky said Wednesday.

”I have to know the guys are looking at me. Come out every day and bring the energy and make sure I’m taking care of my business so that everyone else’s job is easier around them, too. That’s what I’m trying to do and I love the responsibility and I’m just very excited for the continuous opportunities to move forward and move this team.”

How far the Bears go largely hinges on the development of their quarterback.

General manager Ryan Pace banked on a big payoff when he traded up a spot with San Francisco last year to draft Trubisky with the No. 2 overall pick. He then largely designed the offseason game plan around his young quarterback.

The Bears hired the offensive-minded Matt Nagy off Andy Reid’s staff in Kansas City to replace the fired John Fox and overhauled their receiving group, with Allen Robinson the most notable addition.

They also added some potential difference makers in the draft, taking Iowa lineman James Daniels and Memphis receiver Anthony Miller in the second round.

More than anything, they believe they surrounded Trubisky with the pieces he needs to reach his potential and invigorate a struggling franchise.

The Bears have four straight last-place finishes in the NFC North and just one playoff appearance since the 2006 team reached the Super Bowl.

Along with the new additions, the Bears are seeing a more comfortable and confident Trubisky.

”He is in more control now,” running back Tarik Cohen said. ”He knows the players. He can really call us out. When you’re a rookie, you’re hesitant to really jump on guys. He’s taken over more of the reins. He’s in the driver’s seat now.”

It’s a different feeling for a quarterback who wasn’t even supposed to play last season. With just 13 college starts at North Carolina, the Bears planned to have him watch from the sideline.

Instead, Mike Glennon struggled and Trubisky started the final 12 games. It was a tough spot for a raw but talented rookie.

And though he showed some promise, he clearly had room to grow. It didn’t help that he was working with a struggling receiving group hit hard by injuries.

It all added up to an offense that ranked 30th overall and finished in the bottom half for the third time in four years.

But whether it’s the new system and pieces around him or just the fact that he’s no longer a rookie, Trubisky is more comfortable. He’s embracing the responsibility that comes with his role Charles Clay Jersey , and he can sense the mounting faith in him.

”Nothing gives me more confidence than when my teammates believe in me,” Trubisky said.

He’s still facing a steep learning curve. The same goes for his teammates and the coaches. They’re all adjusting.

”That’s part of being out here, too, with these guys, the nuances of things, the year-to-year editing that you do,” new offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said.

The system is ”100 percent” Nagy’s, Helfrich said.

As for Trubisky?

”I really like his mindset,” Helfrich said.

He sees a quarterback who’s not afraid to ask questions as he grows into the job.

”I think we all see through his eyes on a lot of things and through his brain and how he thinks through things,” Helfrich said.

”That’s a big part of it, too is just learning how that guy sees things and being able to talk and teach to that. Today he made some mistakes, today he corrected some guys, but he’ll throw that away and build from the good stuff and continue to kind of add a little bit more each day.”

NOTES: WR Kevin White said the conversation with general manager Ryan Pace was ”clean cut and smooth” when he found out the Bears weren’t picking up his fifth-year option. He also said he is feeling ”really good” as he works his way back from a broken shoulder. Drafted seventh overall in 2015 and Pace’s first pick as a general manager Case Keenum Jersey , White has been limited to five games because of leg and shoulder injuries.

From the start, the Browns took chances in the NFL draft.

After 0-16, what did they have to lose?

Cleveland’s selection of polarizing Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick was a major surprise, and the Browns followed with another shocker, taking Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward at No. 4 – several slots higher than most mock drafts predicted.

The team addressed the need to replace retired left tackle Joe Thomas and added a running back and defensive end on the second day as new Browns general manager John Dorsey was praised for bold moves and sound strategy.

But Saturday’s choices of troubled Florida wide receiver Antonio Callaway in the fourth round and Louisiana-Lafayette cornerback Simeon Thomas were curious.

Callaway failed a drug test at the NFL combine and his alarming list of legal issues with the Gators plunged him from potentially being picked in the first round to No. 114.

Thomas missed time in 2013, 2014 and 2015 for academic reasons and NCAA violations. He was one of 13 players charged with misdemeanor criminal mischief after they were accused of entering a dorm room and taking $2,400 worth of items.

Shortly after making the Callaway pick, Dorsey left the team’s draft room to defend the choice. Dorsey told reporters the team was satisfied it had done its homework on Callaway’s background, just as it had on Mayfield, whose Heisman Trophy-winning year began with an offseason arrest.

”Character is important,” Dorsey said. ”I think it’s a case-by-case basis and you sit and meet individuals, and then you begin to understand what they are as people. If you sit there and understand his situations and his life story, you can see a guy that actually loves the game of football.”

Callaway’s passion notwithstanding Terrance Williams Jersey , his selection seems at odds with the Browns’ message of adding quality people to change their culture.

But Dorsey, hired in December, has a track record for picking players at risk. While Kansas City’s GM, he drafted wide receiver Tyreek Hill, cornerback Marcus Peters and tight end Travis Kelce despite all bringing off-field baggage into the league. Each has made multiple Pro Bowls.

Dorsey feels Callaway would have been one of the top two receivers drafted if not for his off-field problems, which include a season-long suspension in 2017 during an investigation into felony credit card fraud, marijuana possession and a sexual assault complaint.

Browns coach Hue Jackson acknowledged the team’s draft class might not be choir boys.

”Obviously, there are some guys that are in this group that have some spots on them,” he said. ”But trust me, we’ve done our due diligence in making sure that we vetted it all out and we feel very good about these guys in our organization. There’s no question that we have the resources in place to help them through it and we’ll kind of go from there.”

Here are some other takeaways from a draft the Browns hope begins their turnaround:

THIRD IN LINE: Mayfield will go from No. 1 pick to No. 3 quarterback. For now.

Jackson anointed Tyrod Taylor his starter as the Browns want to bring Mayfield along slowly. But Jackson knows things can change once training camp opens and Mayfield could move up the depth chart.

”Right now, Tyrod is the starter,” Jackson said. ”If Baker can understand the National Football League and all the rigors and the grinding that you have to go through, I am not going to ever stop a player from being the best he can be. But we have a plan and I want to work that plan as much as we can.

”Now Shannon Sharpe Jersey , can a player supersede that? You never know. I have not had that happen. Right now, this team is going to be led by Tyrod Taylor.”

SELLING POINT: Mayfield might have been the top choice from the outset for some inside the Browns’ organization. Not Jackson. He was skeptical about the Heisman winner until his pro day.

”The ball jumps off his arm,” Jackson said. ”He has a quick arm. He is very accurate with the ball. From there, obviously, spending some more time with him when he came here. Baker Mayfield from a football IQ standpoint is as good as I have been around. He has tremendous arm talent, more so than anybody knows.”

RUNNING GAME: Second-round pick Nick Chubb compared his running style to Miami’s Frank Gore. Jackson sees the former Georgia star as ideally suited to run in Cleveland and as a nice complement to Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson.

”A guy that is very physical, very tough,” Jackson said. ”He can create runs on his own. This is a guy that if we are going to run the football the way that we plan on running it, you have got to have good backs. With him and Carlos and Duke, we feel like we have some guys that we can do that with.”

STILL NEEDED: Victories. Cleveland is 1-31 under Jackson, who needs to get off to a strong start in 2018. The Browns have made progress talent-wise in the offseason. Now it has to translate to the field.

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Saints coach Sean Payton takes a small measure of comfort in New Orleans’ regular-season sweep of Carolina.

It means the Saints (11-5) play the Panthers (11-5) in the Superdome Josh Ferguson Jersey , where New Orleans hasn’t lost a playoff game since 1992 and is 4-0 in the postseason under Payton.

Beyond that, however, the Saints coach asserts that teams evolve over the course of a season as they develop chemistry and adjust to roster or positional changes brought on by injuries.

And on Sunday, there will be a different psychology to performing in the postseason, when losing brings the season to a sudden end.

”Each game’s different,” said Payton, whose team took its first NFC South crown since 2011 by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker over Carolina.

”From the midpoint of the season, when (Carolina) got on a roll, you can see the confidence grow with that team. And you’re also talking about a team that (two years ago) was in the Super Bowl,” Payton said. ”The prior two games don’t matter.”

Payton pointed out that the Panthers not only defeated two of the top teams in the NFL this season – New England and Minnesota – but beat the Patriots on the road.

Carolina coach Ron Rivera doesn’t downplay the significance of those victories.

”I don’t think that is overplayed. I think that is a reality. But at the same time, we are playing against a team that has beat us twice,” Rivera said. ”We have to figure out what went well and improve on that and what went wrong and correct that.”

When the Saints pounded the Panthers by 21 in Carolina in Week 3, it began an eight-game winning streak that vaulted New Orleans atop of the division for good.

When New Orleans topped Carolina by 10 in the dome in Week 13, it ended a Panthers four-game winning streak and was one of only two losses in Carolina’s past nine games.

Their third meeting – also the first playoff clash between them – is loaded with story lines. Here are some of the main ones:

CAM ON THE RUN: The Panthers have been better when quarterback Cam Newton runs the ball. But Newton, Carolina’s leading rusher this season, didn’t run much in two losses to New Orleans, gaining 67 yards on nine carries.

That could change with the season on the line. Newton has averaged 12.5 carries for 59.7 yards per game in Carolina’s past four games.

”That’s my edge,” Newton said. ”I’m comfortable running the football. I feel like I help the team when I’m running the football.”

While Saints All-Pro defensive end Cam Jordan has done well containing the 6-foot-5 Bennie Fowler III Jersey , 245-pound, fleet-footed Newton in previous meetings, he said he doesn’t exactly enjoy the prospect of having to do so again.

”Who likes facing Cam Newton? I mean, come on,” Jordan said. ”He’s able to escape, spins. He reverse-spins. He pivot-spins. He gets out of the pocket as well as he climbs through the pocket and he’s got some weight to him. I mean, he’s not a frail guy.”

FAMILIAL INSPIRATION: Saints quarterback Drew Brees, whose 72 percent completion rate this season was an NFL record, enters his first playoff game in four years just days after traveling to Texas for the funeral of his 92-year-old grandfather, Ray Akins, a World War II veteran and long-time high school football coach.

Brees said his two days in Texas was ”obviously very sad” at times, but stressed that he ”really came back energized.”

”Being with my family, and with friends, and with guys that played for my grandfather, and just listening to their stories again, just reemphasizing to me what a great man he was, and what a wise man he was, and just a true American hero Micah Hyde Jersey ,” Brees said.

”He was my hero. I learned so much from him and it just reemphasizes all the important things in life, and the values and morals that I want to live by not only in the way I conduct myself as a family man and in the community, but also as a member of this team.”

DEFENDING THE RUN: The Panthers finished third in the league against the run, but struggled to stop the Saints.

The Pro Bowl running back tandem of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara helped the Saints rush for 149 and 148 yards in two games against Carolina, the two highest rushing totals allowed by Carolina this season.

”We take pride in being good at stopping the run,” Panthers outside linebacker Thomas Davis said. ”If you look at those two games, we flat out didn’t get it done. … It’s uncharacteristic of this defense. This weekend should be a much better showing.”

GETTING HEALTHIER: The Panthers expect to get two key players back on offense – running back Jonathan Stewart and guard Trai Turner.

Stewart sat out last week’s 22-10 loss to Atlanta with back soreness. Turner has missed three games with a concussion.

New Orleans could get starting left tackle Terron Armstead back from a thigh injury that kept him out of last week’s 31-24 loss at Tampa Bay. He practiced on a limited basis this week and was listed as questionable.

Meanwhile, Panthers star tight end Greg Olsen and Saints Pro Bowl cornerback Marshon Lattimore are slated to play after missing each of the previous two meetings.

Kevin Durant made his approach to taking over a pivotal NBA playoff game sound so simple – and look that way, too.

”I just try to tell myself that I’m at my best when I don’t care what happens after the game, the outcome or anything,” Durant said. ”That’s when I’m free and having fun out there, and forceful. That was thing – just try to play with force no matter if I missed shots or not, just keep shooting, keep being aggressive.”

Durant scored Golden State’s first two baskets on pull-up jumpers of 21 and 15 feet before a minute-and-a-half had elapsed in Game 4 of the Warriors‘ Western Conference semifinal series against New Orleans on Sunday. He finished with 38 points on 15-of-27 shooting to go with nine rebounds, and Golden State soundly defeated the Pelicans 118-92 to take a commanding 3-1 series lead back to the West Coast.

Warriors guard Stephen Curry said it was apparent early that getting the ball to Durant would be wise.

”Just find ways to get him in scoring positions,” Curry said. ”Sometimes, that’s not really hard to do – just throw it to him.

”Just keep the game simple at that point because he’s such a great scorer, you don’t have to really overthink things.”

The Warriors lost by 19 in Game 3 Friday and the Pelicans were looking to even the series. Instead Martinas Rankin Jersey , the Warriors responded with a resounding effort that produced a wire-to-wire win with leads as large as 26 points. Curry scored 23, Klay Thompson added 13 and Quinn Cook, who was a Pelicans reserve earlier this season, contributed 12 points.

Anthony Davis had 26 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, but the Pelicans hit only 36 percent (32 of 88) of their shots, missing 22 of 26 3-point attempts.

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said Golden State’s defense ”had a lot to do with” the Pelicans’ poor shooting.

”We didn’t have the looks we normally have,” he said. ”We pressed a little bit when we got behind.”

E’Twaun Moore scored 20 and Jrue Holiday 19, but New Orleans reserves combined for just 14 points after scoring 32 two nights earlier. Rajon Rondo finished with 11 rebounds but had only six assists after racking up 21 in Game 3. The Pelicans also committed 19 turnovers, which led 21 Warriors points.

”We missed a lot of easy shots, a couple game-plan discipline mistakes early on and they came out on fire,” Davis said. ”We just can’t afford to shoot that poorly.

”But we’ve got another one,” Davis added. ”Any time we’ve been punched in the mouth, we’ve always responded very well.”

TIP-INS

Warriors: Draymond Green had eight points, nine rebounds, nine assists, four steals and two blocks. With his fourth rebound, Green became the third player in Warriors history to reach 800 playoff rebounds. Wilt Chamberlain (922) and Nate Thurmond (896) are the only others. … Green was assessed his first technical foul of the playoffs after he fell to the floor on a Davis layup and no foul was called.

Pelicans: Davis committed six turnovers and Rondo four. … Davis shot 10 of 10 from the foul line. … The Pelicans made 18 of 19 free throws in the first half but finished 24 of 30. … Nikola Mirotic grabbed 11 rebounds but missed six of seven shots to finish with seven points.

BREAKING AWAY

After shooting poorly Friday night, the Warriors were eager to regain their rhythm and did so immediately. They hit six of their first eight shots Kenny Golladay Jersey , with Durant making his first three.

”He was attacking tonight right from the beginning and he was brilliant,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. ”He found better spots on the floor with his aggression and created easier shots for himself.”

Thompson and Curry each added early 3s. That, and solid defense that included Green’s block of Rondo’s layup, helped Golden State open a 10-point lead in the first four minutes.

The Pelicans missed eight of their first 10 shots and trailed 20-6 after Green made Golden State’s fourth 3.

The Pelicans slowly ground their deficit down to seven by halftime – only to botch the opening of the third quarter.

Rondo’s bounce pass handcuffed Davis as he cut to the hoop for what looked like a thunderous dunk in the making. Moments later, Green fired a cross-court pass to Durant for a one-handed jam.

Andre Iguodala and Curry followed with 3s, and in two minutes, the Warriors’ lead ballooned to 15.

GOING SMALL

Kerr went with a different starting lineup for a third consecutive game. Green moved to center after starting at forward in Game 3, 7-foot center JaVale McGee returned to a reserve role and Iguodala, who’d started games 1 and 2, returned to the first unit at forward. Curry, Thompson and Durant rounded out the starting five.

”Obviously, the lineup worked, but it’s not about the lineup,” Kerr asserted. ”The effort at both ends tonight was night-and-day from Game 3.

”There’s a good chance I’ll start these same five guys on Tuesday.”

UP NEXT

The series returns to Oakland, California, for Game 5 on Tuesday night.

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The New York Giants have signed offensive lineman Patrick Omameh and defensive back Curtis Riley.

The team announced the moves on Friday.

Omameh Marvin Harrison Jersey , who spent the past two seasons in Jacksonville, has played in 53 regular-season games with 44 starts for Tampa Bay, Chicago and the Jaguars. Last season, the former Michigan product started 16 games at left guard for Jacksonville.

Riley played in 11 games the previous two seasons for Tennessee. He had 11 tackles, an interception, and one special teams tackle in seven games last season. He was signed as an undrafted free agent by Tennessee on 2015.

The Giants, coming off a 3-13 season Marquette King Jersey , signed left tackle Nate Solder and outside linebacker Kareem Martin on the first two days of free agency.

>BROWNS (0-15) at STEELERS (12-3)Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, CBSOPENING LINE 鈥?Steelers by 16RECORD VS. SPREAD 鈥?Browns 3-12, Steelers 7-8SERIES RECORD 鈥?Steelers lead 73-58.LAST MEETING 鈥?Steelers beat Browns 21-18, Sept. 10LAST WEEK 鈥?Browns lost to Bears 20-3; Steelers beat Texans 34-6AP PRO32 RANKING 鈥?Browns No. 32, Steelers No. 2BROWNS OFFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (27), RUSH (19) Anthony Castonzo Jersey , PASS (26)BROWNS DEFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (12), RUSH (7), PASS (19)STEELERS OFFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (3), RUSH (20), PASS (2)STEELERS DEFENSE 鈥?OVERALL (4), RUSH (10), PASS (5)STREAKS Ndamukong Suh Jersey , STATS AND NOTES 鈥?AFC North champion Steelers can clinch top seed in AFC with victory and New England loss to Jets. Pittsburgh already assured of first-round bye. … Browns one loss from joining 2008 Detroit Lions as only teams to go 0-15. … Steelers have won five straight in series and have 32-6 advantage since Cleveland rejoined NFL in 1999. … Pittsburgh has 10th season with at least 12 wins in franchise history. Browns have won 12 or more games in a season four times, only once since joining NFL in 1950. … Cleveland has lost 13 consecutive games at Heinz Field … Browns have lost 20 straight road games and 16 in row against AFC North opponents. … Cleveland is 2-40 since last road win on Oct. 11, 2015. … Browns opened season with promising 21-18 loss to Steelers, who got big play in fourth quarter from WR Antonio Brown. … Despite 1-30 record with Cleveland entering game, coach Hue Jackson is expected back for 2018 season. Owner Jimmy Haslam vowed Jackson’s return on Dec. 8, when he fired VP Sashi Brown and hired new GM John Dorsey. …. … Rookie QB DeShone Kizer leads league with 21 interceptions. … Browns have clinched No. 1 pick in next year’s draft and own Houston’s first-round selection (currently No. 4). … RB Duke Johnson leads team in receptions (68) and yards receiving (618). Johnson and Herschel Walker are only backs in league history to have 500 yards receiving in each of first three seasons. … LBs Joe Schobert and Christian Kirksey enter finale tied for second in league with 132 tackles. … WR Josh Gordon had two catches for 19 yards last week in loss at Chicago. Because of suspensions, Gordon hasn’t faced Steelers since 2013 season finale. … Steelers’ Mike Tomlin’s 115 career victories are tied for second for most wins for coach in first 11 seasons. Don Shula’s 117 are tops. … Pittsburgh uncertain how much starters will play. … WR Antonio Brown is out with left calf injury. … Steelers beat Browns 27-24 in 2016 finale with Brown Shane Lechler Jersey , QB Ben Roethlisberger and RB Le’Veon Bell all sitting. … Bell is third in NFL in yards rushing (1,291), 15 behind Rams star Todd Gurley. … Bill Dudley in 1946 was last Steeler to win NFL rushing title. … Pittsburgh’s 50 sacks are second in NFL (Jacksonville, 52). … Steelers DL Cam Heyward’s 12 sacks tied for fifth in NFL. … Pittsburgh K Chris Boswell’s 35 field goals are single-season team record (Norm Johnson 34, 1995). … Fantasy Tip: Steelers rookie WR JuJu Smith-Schuster has picked up slack for Brown. NFL’s youngest player has 12 receptions for 189 yards in last two games and has caught at least four passes in six games he’s been available. Atlanta Falcons Elite Jerseys
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