Thursday Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — The Los Angeles Rams will host the Buffalo Bills on Thursday night, Sept. 8, to begin the 2022 season.
It’s a juicy matchup of the team generally considered the title favorite by oddsmakers in the Bills traveling to SoFi Stadium, where the Rams won the championship over Cincinnati in February.
The Bengals are home to their division rivals, the Steelers, on Sunday, Sept. 11 when all but two other teams get started. Those two clubs playing on Monday night also offer an enticing storyline: Russell Wilson bringing his Broncos to Seattle. The Seahawks traded their longtime quarterback to Denver in the offseason.
Sunday’s prime-time game features Tom Brady and the Buccaneers at Dallas.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — No. 1 overall draft pick Travon Walker signed a four-year, $37.4 million rookie contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Thursday, a deal that includes a $24.4 million signing bonus.
Walker’s contract is fully guaranteed and includes a team option for a fifth year, both standard for NFL first-round picks. He signed it one day before the Jaguars begin a rookie minicamp.
Fellow first-rounder Devin Lloyd, the 27th overall selection, also signed his rookie deal. He gets a four-year contract worth $12.9 million and a $6.6 million signing bonus.
Jacksonville signed five of its seven draft picks in all, including running back Snoop Conner (fifth round), cornerback Gregory Junior (seventh) and cornerback Montaric Brown (seventh).
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phillies slugger Bryce Harper has a small tear in his right elbow and won’t throw for four weeks, but the reigning NL MVP will stay in the lineup as Philadelphia’s designated hitter.
Harper will receive a platelet-rich plasma injection Sunday and won’t play that day, manager Joe Girardi said before Thursday night’s game at Dodger Stadium.
Harper was hitting .269 with six home runs, 19 RBIs and an .847 OPS going into the series opener against Los Angeles. He won his second NL MVP award last season.
The 29-year-old star has spent most of his time at DH this year because of his elbow trouble.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 32 points and waved “bye bye” to the Philly crowd as he sent the Miami Heat into the Eastern Conference finals with a 99-90 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night in Game 6.
The Heat will play the winner of the Milwaukee-Boston series. The defending champion Bucks lead that series 3-2, with Game 6 on Friday night in Milwaukee.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA’s championship trophy has a new look, and the league will hand out some new trophies for the first time during these playoffs.
The league unveiled a slightly redesigned Larry O’Brien Trophy on Thursday, plus announced changes to the Bill Russell NBA Finals MVP trophy and changes to the design of the conference championship trophies.
And four of the game’s legends now have their names on NBA hardware.
The Eastern Conference championship trophy has been renamed for Bob Cousy, the Western Conference championship trophy for Oscar Robertson. And for the first time, there will be MVP’s of the conference finals — the East finals MVP will receive the Larry Bird Trophy, the West finals MVP will receive the Magic Johnson Trophy.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Binnington made 25 saves and the St. Louis Blues beat the Minnesota Wild 5-1 on Thursday night in Game 6 to advance to the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Ryan O’Reilly, Tyler Bozak and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in a dominant second period during which the Blues outshot the Wild 22-5 and took control of the game.
Nick Leddy also scored, Colton Parayko added an empty-netter and David Perron had two assists as St. Louis won its first series since defeating the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final in 2019.
The Blues will travel to Colorado to face the Avalanche in Game 1 of the second round. The date and time had not yet been announced.
NEW YORK (AP) — Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews and Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid are two of the finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, the NHL’s most valuable player award.
New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin is also in contention for the prize awarded “to the player adjudged to be the most valuable to his team.”
Matthews, who earned this season’s Maurice (Rocket) Richard Trophy as the NHL’s leading goal-scorer, had career highs with 60 goals and 46 assists.
Rich Strike will not run in the Preakness after his major upset to win the Kentucky Derby, keeping horse racing from having a Triple Crown winner for a fourth consecutive year.
Owner Rich Dawson made the stunning announcement Thursday, 10 days before the race in Maryland.
Dawson said he and trainer Eric Reed agreed to stick with the initial plan for Rich Strike and rest him for five weeks. Rich Strike, at 80-1, was the biggest long shot to win the Derby in more than a century. Only Donerail in 1913 paid more to win.
The plan now is to have Rich Strike ready to run in the Belmont Stakes in New York on June 11.
LONDON (AP) — Greg Norman’s brushing off of Jamal Khashoggi’s killing as a “mistake” has been condemned by the fiancee of the late Washington Post columnist.
The former No. 1 golfer is leading a series of Saudi Arabia-funded tournaments in England and has come under criticism for his comments about Khashoggi’s gruesome death on Oct. 2, 2018, at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
“Look, we’ve all made mistakes and you just want to learn by those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward,” the 67-year-old Norman said Wednesday at an event to promote the tournaments.
The Australian noted “the good that the country is doing in changing its culture.”
The draw for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, will be held on Oct. 22 in Auckland.
The draw, announced early Friday in New Zealand, will determine the groups for the preliminary stage of soccer’s premier women’s event, which will include an expanded field of 32 teams.
The draw will be televised internationally and showcase the host cities for matches in both countries. The World Cup is set to open on July 20, 2023 at Eden Park in Auckland. The final is set for Aug. 20 in Sydney.
Rugby’s biggest tournament is finally heading to the United States.
The Rugby World Cup will be staged in the U.S. for the first time after being voted on Thursday as the host of the men’s event in 2031 and the women’s tournament two years later.
It marks rugby’s biggest attempt to move into the wider American sporting consciousness and unlock what World Rugby — the sport’s international governing body — regards as an area of untapped potential, in both a commercial and sporting sense.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Gino Cappelletti, a former AFL Most Valuable Player and original member of the Boston Patriots who was part of the franchise for five decades as a player, coach and broadcaster, has died. He was 89.
Cappelletti died Thursday at his home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. His death was announced by the New England Patriots on Thursday. No cause of death was given.
Known as “The Duke,” Cappelletti played receiver and kicker and scored the first regular-season points in AFL history, a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter of the Patriots’ 13-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9, 1960.
He went on to be the league’s MVP in 1964 and was one of three players to play in every game in the AFL’s 10-year history, along with Jim Otto and George Blanda.
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