With the conclusion of the Summer Olympics, it’s MLB and NFL that has taken Center Stage in the world of sports this past weekend. Baseball is approaching its final months and football is about to conclude it’s Preseason, and you have College Football just around the corner. Here is an update on the World of Sports:
NFL: On Sunday, the Pittsburgh Steelers trimmed their roster to 79 players, placing offensive tackle Jerald Hawkins on the Reserve/Injured List, while quarterback Dustin Vaughan has been Waived/Injured. In addition, the team has released linebackers Jordan Zumwalt and Mike Reilly, wide receivers Isaac Blakeney and Levi Norwood, tight end Michael Cooper, defensive end Giorgio Newberry, defensive tackle Khaynin Mosley-Smith, and cornerback Julian Whigham. Pittsburgh must reduce its roster to 75 players by Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Steelers DE Cameron Heyward suffered a high ankle sprain in the first half of the Steelers’ 27-14 win over the New Orleans Saints on Friday. Heyward, who suffered the injury on a play in which he was cut-blocked, wore a protective boot on his foot after the game. He told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he’d be ready for the Sept. 12 opener against the Washington Redskins. OT Marcus Gilbert was also injured in the game with an elbow injury that he described as “significant” on Sunday. Gilbert said that he’s heading for a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews, but that he plans on being on the field for the season opener even if he’ll be playing through pain.
In other NFL News: The San Diego Chargers finally got their First Round pick signed, sealed and delivered as they agreed to terms with LB Joey Bosa on a four-year deal that will include a team option for a fifth year. The signing ends a 31-day holdout that got testy last week after the Chargers publicly shamed Bosa during negotiations, claiming that he had turned down one of the best offers ever given to a rookie in San Diego. Bosa’s four-year deal with the Chargers is worth $25.8 million and includes a $17 million signing bonus. Of course, due to the rookie slotting system, it’s been known since April that Bosa’s deal would be worth $25.8 million.
The defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers also made a move, acquiring P Andy Lee from the Cleveland Browns for a 2017 seventh-round pick, the Panthers also shipped a 2018 fourth-round selection and 2014 undrafted punter Kasey Redfern to Cleveland…The defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos announced that Trevor Siemian will be the starting quarterback when the regular season opens in 10 days against the Panthers. The 2015 seventh-round pick beat out veteran Mark Sanchez and rookie first-rounder Paxton Lynch to earn the job. The Broncos are also reportedly listening to trade offers for Sanchez…The NY Jets are also reportedly listening to offers for backup QB Geno Smith…SF 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick‘s decision to protest the national anthem on Friday has become a lightning rod of controversy around the NFL over the past two days. While some players have come out in support of Kaepernick and his right to protest, other players are livid with Kaepernick, including one of his ex-teammates, Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Alex Boone, who spent five seasons as Kaepernick’s teammate in San Francisco, says that the 49ers quarterback needs to show some respect, despite understanding what he’s trying to do.
MLB-After getting swept by the Miami Marlins, Pittsburgh Pirates did something amazing over the weekend by sweeping the Milwaukee Brewers in 4 games-in Milwaukee for the first time-ever. Miller Park has proven to be a house of horrors for the Pirates before they pulled off this feat. In the Rubber Match on Sunday, P Ivan Nova (4-0) threw six sharp innings before leaving early because of a hurting left hamstring and the Pirates hit three solo homers to rally past the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 on Sunday for their eighth straight road victory. John Jaso and Gregory Polanco each homered in the sixth off Brewers starter Chase Anderson (7-11) Starling Marte added a solo shot in the eighth. Pittsburgh is in the thick of the NL Wild Card race, but Nova’s injury is the latest issue in a road that gets much tougher for the Pirates…Ace right-hander Gerrit Cole will reportedly miss his next start and instead travel to Los Angeles to have his sore elbow looked at by a specialist. Cole is 7-9 with a 3.55 ERA this season.
In other MLB news: Things could not be going much better for Yankees rookie catcher Gary Sanchez. He’s already become the fastest player in history to hit 11 home runs, doing so in his first 21 games. Sanchez is also the first player with 10+ home runs and 30+ hits in his first 22 MLB games. On Monday, Sanchez added another notch to his belt: he was named AL Player of the Week. Again. Sanchez is the first rookie in baseball history to win Player of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks.
College Football: The Pitt Panthers will open their 2016 College Football season Saturday against Villanova at Heinz Field. At his first news conference for the season, HC Pat Narduzzi had this to say: “We’re very excited to get this week started and get game one under our belt. We’ve got a very accomplished football team in Villanova coming into Heinz Field this weekend. They not only have an accomplished football team, but a well decorated head coach in Andy Talley as well. I think he’s going on his 32nd season. He’s been in the playoffs 11 times.”
On the status of RB James Conner: “I think it’s the same James I saw a year ago. Maybe he’s a little bit happier; I think he’s thankful to be here. You will probably see more of a smile on his face. He’s really enjoying the moment. I don’t know if he was more stressed out a year ago, but he seems more relaxed. He’s calmer.”
On freshman Aaron Mathews making the two-deep at wide receiver:
“He’s right in there with Zach [Challingsworth] to be honest with you. It’s really an Aaron Mathews or Zach Challingsworth. Aaron has done a nice job. He is a mature and smart guy who is physical and tough. He doesn’t act like a freshman when he is on the field. He goes up and gets the ball.”
In other College Football news: Georgia running back Nick Chubb has been cleared to play in the 18th-ranked Bulldogs’ season opener against No. 22 North Carolina inside the Georgia Dome on Saturday. Chubb has been ahead of his rehab schedule for months since he damaged several knee ligaments when he went down awkwardly on his first carry against Tennessee in October. The junior, who has rushed for 2,294 yards and 21 touchdowns in less than two full seasons of work.
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