News Summaries from The Sports Network - Friday, August 29|
49ers LB Smith suspended 9 games
San Francisco, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon
Smith was suspended nine games without pay on Friday for violating the NFL's
Policy and Program for Substance of Abuse and the league's Personal Conduct
Smith can return in Week 11 against the New York Giants, as the 49ers have a
Week 8 bye.
In July, Smith was sentenced to 11 days in jail and three years' probation on
weapons and DUI charges, leading to this most recent suspension.
"Our organization has known this decision would come and we have prepared for
it as a team," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement released
by the team on Friday. "Aldon has taken responsibility for his actions and has
continued to show growth personally and professionally. We will continue to
support him, but it is time to put this matter behind us and focus on the
Smith voluntarily took a leave of absence from the 49ers last year to seek
help for a substance abuse problem, missing five games.
He has been one of the NFL's elite pass rushers since being drafted No. 7
overall by the 49ers in 2011. He has 42 sacks in just three seasons, but has
had numerous run-ins with the law.
Vikings' Simpson suspended again
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jerome
Simpson has been suspended for the first three games of the 2014 season for
again violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
Simpson will be eligible to return following the team's Week 3 contest against
It will be Simpson's second suspension in the past three years. He was also
banned for three games in 2012, his first year with the Vikings, following a
guilty plea to a felony drug charge.
In September 2011, when Simpson played for Cincinnati, police confiscated a
package containing 2 1/2 pounds of marijuana that was being shipped from
California to Simpson's Kentucky home.
The latest suspension stems from a DWI arrest last November.
Simpson had 48 catches for a career-high 726 yards and one touchdown in 16
games, including eight starts, last season. He has 145 receptions for 2,004
yards and eight scores in six seasons with Cincinnati and Minnesota.
Bengals release Green-Ellis
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The Cincinnati Bengals have released
running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Green-Ellis started all 16 games for the Bengals last season, rushing for 756
yards and seven touchdowns. In two seasons with Cincinnati, he rushed for
1,850 yards and 13 scores, starting all 31 regular-season games he appeared
Over six NFL seasons, Green-Ellis has 3,914 yards and 42 touchdowns rushing.
He spent his first four seasons in the league with the New England Patriots.
The Bengals also waived linebacker Brandon Joiner, defensive tackle LaKendrick
Ross and quarterback Tyler Wilson on Friday.
LB Angerer among those cut by Falcons
Flowery Branch, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Falcons cut 12 players on
Friday as they work to trim their roster to 53.
Linebacker Pat Angerer, offensive tackle Pat McQuistan and running back Josh
Vaughan were released.
Angerer started 39 games the last four seasons with Indianapolis, while
McQuistan has appeared in 72 career games.
The Falcons also waived defensive end Nosa Eguae, fullback Maurice Hagens,
cornerback Jordan Mabin, wide receiver Freddie Martino, safety Kimario
McFadden, tight end Jacob Pedersen, offensive lineman Adam Replogle, defensive
tackle Donte Rumph and linebacker Yawin Smallwood.
Smallwood was selected by the Falcons in the seventh round of this year's
Moorman given the boot by Bills
Orchard Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The Buffalo Bills released long-time
punter Brian Moorman on Friday and it looks as if he is calling it a career.
In a letter released through his P.U.N.T. Foundation, Moorman said, "It may be
the end of a career, but it's certainly not the end of a friendship."
Moorman averaged 43.8 yards per punt during his 13-year career, which was all
spent with Buffalo except for 12 games in 2012 with Dallas. Last season, he
punted 61 times for an average of 41.2 yards.
Moorman's P.U.N.T. Foundation was created in 2004 to make a difference in the
lives of children in Western New York who are fighting cancer.
According to his letter, he plans to continue his work through his foundation
for patients in Western New York.
On Friday, the Bills also released linebacker Xavius Boyd, defensive tackle
Landon Cohen, tight end Dominique Jones, cornerbacks Kamaal McIlwain and Sam
Miller, quarterback Jordan Palmer, fullback Evan Rodriguez, wide receiver
Naaman Roosevelt and offensive lineman Jared Wheeler. The team placed
cornerbacks Mario Butler and Bobby Felder and tight end Tony Moeaki on the
Bucs release K Barth
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released veteran
kicker Connor Barth on Friday.
Barth, 28, missed the entire 2013 season due to an Achilles injury. He holds
Tampa Bay records for single-season field goal percentage (92.9 in
2011) and most consecutive field-goal attempts made with 25.
The move leaves Patrick Murray to handle the field goal and kickoff duties. He
signed with the Bucs back in January after going undrafted out of Fordham.
Tampa Bay also released defensive end Larry English and guard Jamon Meredith.
The team waived cornerbacks Marc Anthony, Kip Edwards, Anthony Gaitor and
Keith Lewis, linebackers Nate Askew and Ka'Lial Glaud, offensive linemen Edawn
Coughman, Andrew Miller and Jeremiah Warren, defensive end T.J. Fatinikun and
fullback Lonnie Pryor.
Sims to get start for Alabama
Atlanta, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Blake Sims will reportedly be the starter
for the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday when they take on West
CBSSports.com, citing an unnamed source, is reporting that Sims will get the
starting nod over Jacob Coker. The report adds that both Sims and Coker will
Sims is a fifth-year senior. He completed 23-of-39 passes for 244 yards and
two touchdowns as A.J. McCarron's backup a season ago.
Coker, a junior, was at Florida State last season, serving as backup to
eventual Heisman winner Jameis Winston. In limited action last season, he
completed 18-of-36 passes for 250 yards with no touchdowns and one
Athletics drop protest
Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Oakland Athletics have decided to drop
their protest of Thursday's game against the LA Angels of Anaheim.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin lodged the protest after a ninth-inning play that
was ruled obstruction.
Athletics pitcher Dan Otero fielded Erick Aybar's high chopper along the
first-base line and the two collided, along with Oakland first baseman Brandon
Moss. Despite Aybar being on the infield grass, umpires ruled that Otero
obstructed the runner's path and awarded him first base.
It was a judgment call and crew chief Gerry Davis said after the game that a
judgment ruling cannot be protested.
"After further consideration, as well as conversations with the commissioner's
office, the A's have decided to drop the protest from last night's game," the
Athletics said Friday in a statement. "We have determined that, as stated
after the game by the crew chief, Gerry Davis, the call in question was a
judgment call and not worthy of pursuing further."
The Angels went on to load the bases with the score tied at 2-2 in the ninth
inning, but failed to score. They went on to win the game in 10 innings.
Cards activate Molina from DL
St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Cardinals activated catcher
Yadier Molina from the 15-day disabled list prior to Friday's game against the
Molina suffered a torn ligament in his right thumb while sliding into third
base on July 9 in a win against Pittsburgh. He underwent surgery to repair the
ligament on July 11. The 32-yard-old has batted .287 with seven home runs and
30 RBI in 83 games this season.
St. Louis optioned catcher Tony Cruz to Double-A Springfield to make room for
Molina on the active roster.
In addition, the club announced that left-handed pitcher Marco Gonzales will
be recalled from Triple-A Memphis to start the nightcap of Saturday's
Gonzales, who has pitched at four different levels this season, will make his
fourth start for St. Louis.
Mariners recall Jones
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) - The Seattle Mariners have recalled outfielder
James Jones from Triple-A Tacoma on Friday.
Jones, who played center field for a majority of the season until the Mariners
acquired Austin Jackson from Detroit at the trade deadline, has batted .256
with eight doubles, four triples and nine RBI in 83 games. The speedy
outfielder has also swiped 20 bases, getting caught stealing just once.
Seattle optioned right-handed pitcher Erasmo Ramirez to Tacoma in order to
make room on the roster for Jones. Ramirez went 1-6 in 14 starts this season
for the M's.
Mets place Murphy on DL, call up prospect Herrera
Flushing, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Mets placed second baseman
Daniel Murphy on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a strained right calf.
The move is retroactive to Aug. 25.
Murphy is batting .301 with nine homers and 53 RBI over 126 games this season.
The Mets called up Dilson Herrera, a 20-year-old infielder, from Double-A
Binghamton to take the roster spot of Murphy.
Herrera has hit .323 with 13 homers, 33 doubles, 71 RBI and 98 runs scored in
128 games between High-A St. Lucie and Binghamton.
Outman in, Hill out for Yankees
Toronto, ON (SportsNetwork.com) - A day after trading for pitcher Josh Outman,
the New York Yankees selected his contract from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre
and designated pitcher Rich Hill for assignment.
Outman was 4-0 with a 3.28 ERA in 31 relief appearances for the Indians this
season. He was also 3-1 with a 4.43 ERA in 23 games at Triple-A Columbus.
The veteran lefty has a career record of 16-11 with a 4.49 ERA in 152 games,
32 of which have been starts, over parts of six seasons with Oakland, Colorado
Hill, also a lefty, appeared in six games with the Yankees this season,
allowing two hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Indians activate C Gomes
Kansas City, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The Cleveland Indians activated catcher
Yan Gomes from the 7-day disabled list on Friday.
Gomes developed concussion symptoms from a deflected pitch he took off his
mask last Thursday against Minnesota. He is batting .284 with 17 homers and 53
RBI this season.
The Indians placed catcher Chris Gimenez on the paternity list to clear room
for Gomes on the roster.
Oilers agree to terms with Schultz
Edmonton, AB (SportsNetwork.com) - The Edmonton Oilers and defenseman Justin
Schultz have agreed to a one-year contract.
Financial terms for the restricted free agent were not disclosed, but TSN.ca
is reporting it to be worth $3.675 million.
Schultz notched 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points in 74 games last season.
He led all Edmonton defensemen in goals, assists and points, and led all
Oilers in average ice time at 23:20 per game.
The 24-year-old British Columbia native appeared in 48 games for the Oilers
during the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign and has compiled 19 goals with 41
assists for 60 points in his first 122 NHL games.
"Excited for another year with the oilers!!" Schultz wrote on Twitter. "Thanks
for all the support."
Schultz signed with Edmonton as a free agent following the 2012 NHL Entry
Draft after playing three seasons at the University of Wisconsin.
Clippers waive Delfino, Raduljica
Los Angeles, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Clippers waived
guard/forward Carlos Delfino and center Miroslav Raduljica.
Delfino and Raduljica were acquired on Tuesday by the Clippers from the
Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for forward Jared Dudley and a protected 2017
first-round draft pick.
Delfino missed all of last season with a foot injury that he suffered during
the 2013 NBA playoffs with the Rockets. The native of Argentina has averaged
8.1 points and 3.6 rebounds over eight seasons with Detroit, Toronto,
Milwaukee and Houston.
Raduljica scored 3.8 points per game with 2.3 rebounds over 48 games for the
Bucks last season.
Former Villanova coach Kraft dies at 93
Villanova, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Former Villanova basketball coach Jack
Kraft died on Thursday in New Jersey, the school said in a release Friday. He
Kraft coached Villanova from 1961-73 and he finished with 238 victories. He
guided the program to six NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the
1971 title game. The Wildcats lost 68-62 to UCLA in the final.
"The Villanova community mourns the loss of Jack Kraft," university president
Rev. Peter M. Donohue said. "His leadership style inspired great play and
nurtured the development of skills and interests off the court that
contributed to successful and rewarding lives. This inspired great loyalty and
love among those he coached, and created a rich legacy that will endure at
Kraft's winning percentage of .715 is the highest in Villanova history.
Stewart: Ward's death 'will definitely affect my life forever'
Hampton, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Nearly three weeks after he struck and
killed driver Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race at a dirt track in
Upstate New York, Tony Stewart spoke publicly for the first time, expressing
During a press conference on Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the site of
this weekend's 500-mile Sprint Cup Series race, a somewhat subdued Stewart
read from a prepared statement, which lasted a little more than two minutes,
but he did not take any questions from the media. He left the conference
immediately after his statement.
"This has been one of the toughest tragedies I've ever had to deal with, both
professionally and personally, and this is something that will definitely
affect my life forever," Stewart said during his opening remarks. "This is a
sadness and a pain that I hope no one ever has to experience in their life.
"With that being said, I know that the pain and the mourning that Kevin Ward's
family and friends are experiencing is something that I can't possibly
imagine. I want Kevin's father, Kevin Sr., and his mother, Pam, and his
sisters, Christi, Kayla and Katelyn, to know that everyday I am thinking about
them and praying for them."
On Thursday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Stewart would return to his
driving duties in the No. 14 Chevrolet at Atlanta.
Stewart, a three-time champion in NASCAR's premier series, missed the last
three races -- Watkins Glen, Michigan and Bristol -- while he was in seclusion
following his involvement in the fatal accident on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua
The incident occurred during a caution when Ward climbed out of his car and
then walked down the dirt track, pointing his finger in the direction of
Stewart and apparently yelling at him to express his displeasure. The right
rear of Stewart's car hit Ward and dragged him briefly across the track.
The caution came when Stewart and Ward made contact while battling for
position, with Ward spinning out and hitting the wall.
Currently, there are no criminal charges pending against Stewart. The
investigation regarding Ward's death is still ongoing. Ward died from massive
"The racing community is a large family, and everyone is saddened with this
tragedy," Stewart added. "I want to thank all of my friends and family for
their support through this tough and emotional time. And the support from the
NASCAR community, my partners and all of our [Stewart-Haas Racing] employees
has been overwhelming.
"I've taken the last couple of weeks off out of respect for Kevin and his
family and also to cope with the accident my own way. It's given me the time
to think about life and how easy it is to take it for granted. I miss my team,
my teammates, and I miss being back in the race car. I think being back in the
car this week with my racing family will help me get through this difficult
"I also understand that all of you [in the media] have many questions and want
a lot of answers, but however, I need to respect the ongoing investigation
process and cannot answer and address the questions at this time. Emotionally,
I'm not sure if I could answer them anyway. I'm here to race this weekend, and
I appreciate your respect. And there will be a day when I can sit here and
answer the questions."
Shortly after Stewart spoke, the Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff's Department
released a statement on the progress of its investigation. It will continue
for at least two more weeks.
"The investigation into the death of Kevin A. Ward Jr., which occurred August
9, 2014, at the Canandaigua, New York Motorsports Park, will continue for at
least another two weeks," Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said in the
statement. "The Ontario County Office of Sheriff has reviewed this
investigation, as it has been developed to date, with members of the District
"The Office of Sheriff will continue to apprise the District Attorney of
information as it is developed. When the investigation is completed, the news
media will be advised as to what action will be taken. The Ontario County
Office of Sheriff thanks all media outlets for their patience and
understanding as we continue to thoroughly investigate this tragic crash."
Sprint Cup practice at Atlanta took place on Friday afternoon, and qualifying
for Sunday's 500-mile event was scheduled for the evening. This will be the
first time Stewart has competed in a Sprint Cup race since Aug. 3 at Pocono.
Stewart is presently 26th in the point standings and has yet to win a race
this season. Atlanta and Richmond (Sept. 6) are the two remaining races
during the regular season. The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins on
Sept. 14 at Chicagoland.
Regan Smith substituted for Stewart in the No. 14 Chevrolet at Watkins Glen,
while Jeff Burton filled in for him at Michigan and Bristol.
Brett Frood, executive vice president of Stewart-Haas Racing, participated in
Stewart's press conference and took questions from the media after Stewart had
departed. Frood explained why Stewart decided to return to racing at Atlanta.
"I think for Tony, it's all about this healing process," Frood said. "That's
part of why he's in the car. Besides, his mom, his dad, his sister, and his
niece and nephew are here at this racetrack.
"It's part of the healing process of being with his family that he's been with
since 1999, knowing that these people are going to help him get through this.
I think that's one side of it. The other side of it is he's a racer. We have
270 employees [at SHR]. I think him putting a helmet on will help him cope
with this situation."
Frood also noted that Stewart has personally reached out to Ward's family
"Tony has sent the family flowers and a card around the services," he said.
"Besides that, he's been very respectful of them and their time to grieve. I
do know that it will be very important, it's important for Tony, to spend time
with the family. I do believe that will happen in the appropriate time."
NASCAR allowing Stewart to remain eligible for Chase
Hampton, GA (SportsNetwork.com) - Despite his absence from the last three
races, NASCAR will allow Tony Stewart to remain eligible for a spot in this
year's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship due to "a very unique set of
Stewart is currently 26th in the Sprint Cup Series standings and has yet to
win a race this season. But if Stewart wins either Sunday's race at Atlanta
Motor Speedway or next week's Chase-cutoff event at Richmond International
Raceway then he would clinch a position in the 16-driver Chase field.
When announcing the new playoff format for its premier series in January,
NASCAR noted that a driver eligible for the Chase must be in the top-30 in
points following the first 26 races (regular season) and have attempted to
qualify for all of those events. However, in rare instances, NASCAR can waive
the requirement of attempting to qualify for all regular-season races.
NASCAR has decided to waive the requirement for Stewart based on the
circumstances for him missing Watkins Glen (Aug. 10), Michigan (Aug. 17) and
Bristol (last Saturday).
"This has been a very unique set of circumstances to Tony and to our sport,"
NASCAR president Mike Helton said during a press conference on Friday at
Atlanta Motor Speedway. "As a league and our responsibility to try to make
decisions that are correct and right, sometimes we evaluate circumstances that
are given to us and then make those decisions as correctly as we can.
"After evaluating the circumstances around this occurrence, we've come to the
conclusion that Tony would be eligible to participate in the Chase if he were
to earn a spot in it."
Stewart, a three-time Cup Series champion, had been in seclusion following his
involvement in a fatal accident on Aug. 9 at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports
Park. He struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race. As of now,
there are no criminal charges pending against Stewart, but the investigation
into Ward's death is still ongoing.
On Thursday, Stewart-Haas Racing announced that Stewart would return to his
driving duties of the No. 14 Chevrolet this weekend at Atlanta. On that same
day, NASCAR issued a statement in regards to Stewart's return, saying he "has
received all necessary clearances required to return to all racing activities,
and therefore is eligible to compete."
Helton gave some details on the process that NASCAR used to clear Stewart for
his return to racing.
"As typical, our process calls for us to rely on third-party experts to assure
us that a NASCAR driver or a NASCAR member is ready to return, and all those
forms of processes were met, and we cleared him, based on those inputs from
third-party experts," Helton said.
Helton did not reveal any names or their fields of expertise.
Roughly an hour before Helton met with the media, Stewart spoke publicly for
the first time since Ward's death. Stewart expressed his sorrow while reading
from his prepared statement.
Stewart will not qualify for the Chase if he does not win at either Atlanta or
Richmond. Points-wise, he is too far behind 16th-place Greg Biffle on the
provisional Chase grid. Twelve drivers have already clinched a spot in the
playoffs based on their race wins this season. At least two positions will go
to drivers who are without a victory.
Last year, Stewart missed the Chase after he broke his right tibia and fibula
during an accident in a sprint car race in Iowa. He underwent three surgeries
to repair his injured leg and was sidelined for the final 15 Sprint Cup races
of the season.
Otto shoots 62 to take lead at Italian Open
Turin, Italy (SportsNetwork.com) - Hennie Otto cruised to a 10-under 62 on
Friday to take a 3-shot lead heading into the weekend at the Italian Open.
Beginning the day one shot back of the leaders at Circolo Golf Torino, Otto
finished 36 holes at 15-under-par 129 and leads first-round co-leader Bernd
Wiesberger by three shots.
"I really played well, hit some good shots and the greens were running well so
you were able to make some putts," Otto said. "Something about courses in
Italy suits my eye and it would be great to win the tournament. Hopefully I
can keep it up and keep going over the weekend."
Otto, who won this event back in 2008, is a two-time winner on the European
Tour and he is seeking his first victory since winning the South African Open
Championship in 2011. Otto nearly took home the same title earlier this
season, but he finished tied for second.
Wiesberger, another two-time winner on tour who ended tied for 15th at this
year's PGA Championship after playing in the final pairing with eventual
champion Rory McIlroy, carded his second straight 66 and he is in sole
possession of second place at 12-under 132.
Ross Fisher is alone in third at 9-under 135 following a 66 on Friday. Rafael
Cabrera-Bello (63), James Morrison (66), David Lipsky (67), Morten Orum Madsen
(68) and Richie Ramsay (69) are all right behind Fisher at minus-8.
Stephen Gallacher, who is the only player that can clinch an automatic spot on
the European Ryder Cup team with either a win or a second-place finish this
week, shot a 65 to jump into a tie for ninth at 7-under 137.
"When you tee it up 15 and 12 behind you know you're going to have to be more
aggressive and make some birdies so I was delighted to shoot 65 with a double-
bogey in the end," said Gallacher. "It would be nice to follow it up with more
of the same. I knew I had to go low at some stage and I'm just delighted to
get on a run on the back nine."
Francesco Molinari, the 2006 champion of this event who was tied atop the
leaderboard with Wiesberger after round one, shot an even-par 72 on Friday and
he is tied for 16th with six others at 6-under 138.
Following a bogey-free, 5-under 67 on day one, which put him just one shot
behind the leaders, Otto came storming out of the gate to begin his second
Back-to-back birdies on one and two had Otto in red numbers early and he added
another gain on the par-4 fourth. After two pars at five and six, Otto rattled
off three straight birdies from seven to complete a 6-under 30 on the front
Otto did not slow up on the back nine either. Two more pars preceded a big
eagle on the par-5 12th to get him to minus-7. Otto kept rolling with two more
birdies at 13 and 15, meaning if he was able to make three birdies to close
out his round, Otto would have been the first player to ever shoot a 59 on the
A par on 16 dashed those hopes, however, and Otto's first bogey of the week on
17 was the only speed bump in an otherwise incredible round. Otto got that
shot back immediately as he closed the day with a gain on 18 to get him back
to 10-under for the day.
"It's always special to shoot a 62, but a 59 never even crossed my mind," said
Otto. "I didn't really think about my score until my caddie said if I made par
on 17 we would have been on course for a 10-under par round."
Wiesberger completed his second straight bogey-free round on Friday. He made
two birdies on the back nine, his opening nine, at 12 and 16. After making the
turn with four straight pars from 17, Wiesberger made back-to-back birdies on
three and four, and again on seven and eight.
NOTES: Otto also finish tied for eighth at this event last year ... Cabrera-
Bello's 63 on Friday was 10 shots better than his first-round 73 ... Molinari
and amateur Edoardo Raffaele (70), both of whom are at 6-under, are the only
two Italians in the top 20 ... With the cut falling at 2-under 142, 77 players
advanced to the weekend, including seven Italians.
08/29 18:50:28 ET