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Finally finished: Cavs-Celtics modify, complete big trade

CLEVELAND (AP) — The blockbuster trade, delayed and in jeopardy of dying, is done: Kyrie Irving is headed to the Celtics, Isaiah Thomas is coming to the Cavaliers and the NBA can take a well-earned, late-summer break.

For a minute.

Concerned with medical findings after looking at Thomas' injured right hip, the Cavs have negotiated another draft pick from Boston to compete the mega-deal that stalled, the teams announced in a joint statement early Thursday.

The teams modified the original deal and Cleveland will also get a second-round pick in 2020 from the Celtics, a pick it acquired from Miami.

"The trade is now complete," the teams said in their statement.

After days of uncertainty, both sides can move forward toward a 2017 season that will start with the Cavs hosting the Celtics on Oct. 17.

The teams had a deadline of 10 a.m. Thursday to agree on the trade, which was prompted by Irving demanded to be dealt in July. New Cavs general manager Koby Altman pulled it off by sending the team's second-best player to the Celtics for Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and an unconditional first-round pick next year.

The Cavs had balked at pushing the Aug. 22 trade through last week after Thomas underwent a physical. He tore a labrum last season in the playoffs against Cleveland, and it's possible he might not be ready for the start of the season.

On Tuesday, Thomas told ESPN he is "not damaged" and believes he will return to All-Star form.

"There's never been an indication that I wouldn't be back, and there's never been an indication that this is something messing up my career," Thomas said. "Maybe I am not going to be back as soon this season as everyone wants me to be, but I'm going to be back, and I'm going to be the same player again. No doctor has told me anything different than that."

Thomas decided not to have surgery and has been rehabbing his hip this summer.

After the teams finalize the deal with the league, the Cavs are expected to formally announce a trade that officially ends Irving's star-crossed tenure in Cleveland.

The former No. 1 overall pick grew into one of the NBA's biggest stars with the Cavs, and he'll always be remembered for making the go-ahead 3-pointer over Golden State's Stephen Curry in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals when Cleveland won the title — the city's first major pro sports championship since 1964.

But while he was adored by Cleveland fans, Irving struggled playing in the shadow of LeBron James, and shortly after the Cavs were beaten in this year's Finals by the Warriors, a disgruntled Irving demanded a trade.

He's joining a Boston team that has been chasing Cleveland in recent years, and he'll play alongside Gordon Hayward, signed as a free agent by the Celtics this summer.

Thomas' future is not as certain. The 5-foot-8 playmaker was beloved in Boston, but he'll have to share the stage in Cleveland in a supporting role to James. Thomas is in the final year of his contract and could end up sharing playing time with newly signed Cavs guard Derrick Rose.

And, of course, there's always drama surrounding James, who will try to make his eighth straight Finals before possibly opting out of his contract next summer and hitting the free-agent market again.

If he leaves, the Cavs have the first-round pick — maybe even the top pick overall — they got from Boston to help them rebuild.

But that's next summer. For the moment, this chaotic one has finally calmed down.


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New scratch ticket unveiled and you could win tickets to a Patriots game

CONCORD — With the defending champion New England Patriots preparing to kick off the 2017 season next week, Robert Kraft joined the New Hampshire Lottery and Governor Chris Sununu to launch the 2017 Patriots' scratch ticket.

The $5 scratch ticket unveiled in front of the Statehouse on Tuesday gives buyers the chance to win up to $100,000 as well as tickets to future games.

"It's an honor to share the stage with Robert Kraft, the CEO and chairmen of the World Champion New England Patriots — the only organization that knows more about winning than the New Hampshire Lottery," said Charlie McIntyre, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Lottery.

This is the sixth consecutive year that the Patriots are partnering with the New Hampshire Lottery, which helps fund education with ticket sales.

"I'm told that in the six years, we've generated over $26 million in sales and netted $7 million for the state," Kraft said.

The lottery, since its inception in 1964, has raised almost $2 billion for the state.

Following the announcement of the scratch ticket, Patriots' alumni held a mini-training camp for 100 football players from the Merrimack Cardinals Youth Football League. Twenty-five Merrimack youth cheerleaders also got to participate in a mini-training camp held by two Patriots cheerleaders.


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NFL making $40 million available for medical research

NEW YORK (AP) — A year after the NFL pledged $100 million in support of independent medical research and engineering advancements, a huge chunk of that soon will be awarded to such research, primarily dedicated to neuroscience.

A Scientific Advisory Board assembled by the NFL is set to launch its program to solicit and evaluate research proposals for funding. The board, composed of independent experts, doctors, scientists and clinicians, and chaired by retired U.S. Army General Peter Chiarelli, will provide direction for the $40 million allocated under the league's initiative.

"Prevention should always be a focus," Chiarelli says. "Nevertheless, the development of biologically based diagnostics is critical for return-to-play decisions for the NFL, and return to combat/training for the armed forces. Imagine if you had a handheld analyzer that with a single drop could determine whether a player or a soldier had a concussion — and determine the severity of that injury."

The NFL has an ongoing affiliation with the armed forces, and in April partnered with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Material Command on a three-year venture to collaborate on head health research and development.

As always in this era of CTE concerns, any sports-oriented medical studies must be all-encompassing. Developing improved tools for research and design is front and center, as the league's scientific advisory board is seeking to be, with significant financial outlay.

CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) can cause memory loss, depression, violent mood swings and other cognitive and behavioral issues in those exposed to repetitive head trauma.

"There have been significant learnings in recent years that have changed the way we look at traumatic brain injury, notably CTE," says Dr. Allen Sills, who came aboard this year as the league's chief medical officer. "I agree with many medical experts that there are still a lot of unanswered questions relating to the cause, incidence and prevalence of CTE. But what is clear is that there's a problem that impacts some athletes in sports like ours, others possibly, too, and we are eager to see CTE research move forward and begin to assemble more pieces of the puzzle.

"The NFL has a responsibility to do everything it can to make the game safer and drive research that advances treatment and prevention and, as we make advances, share them with the broader sports world. Most of the issues we face in the NFL are sport issues, and beyond that they are society issues."

A year out from Commissioner Roger Goodell's pledge to "look at anything and everything to protect our players and make the game safer," one of the areas receiving concentrated attention by the league is developing equipment that provides even more specific and enhanced feedback on improving safety in football. Helmets, shoulder pads and other pads, and footwear all have seen improvements, but there's much more to be done.

The league has embarked on what it calls "The Engineering Roadmap," a $60 million program designed to improve head protection equipment.

"This is a comprehensive and dedicated plan intended to spur innovation and significantly improve head protection for NFL players in three to five years," explains Dr. Jeffrey Crandall, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Applied Biomechanics and chair of the NFL's head, neck and spine engineering subcommittee.

The program is managed in collaboration with NFL Players Association's engineering consultants, Dr. Kristy Arbogast, co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, and Dr. Barry Myers, director of innovation at Duke University's Clinical and Translational Science Institute.

"A key component of the engineering roadmap is to accurately measure the motion and acceleration the head experiences during play in the NFL by player position, to give design direction for protective equipment," Arbogast says. "To date, we have been doing that via video reconstructions and injury event recreations using crash test dummies. These approaches are incredibly time intensive and, by design, focus on 'events' that must be subjectively selected from game film or injury reports."

But "the engineering roadmap leverages the modeling approach used in other fields to apply computational models to helmet design and evaluation," Crandall adds.

"Many fields have transitioned from primarily an experimental evaluation and design of products to a largely computational development program. Computational models that simulate various designs and use conditions can greatly enhance the thoroughness and efficacy of the design process while simultaneously reducing the time of product development."

Of note is a focus on sensors that can determine all sorts of data to help enhance safety. The league and the players' union are working to develop novel sensor technology capable of accurately recording the motion of the head during impact in varying game conditions and positions. The plan is for the NFL, when the technology is ready, to offer mouth guards instrumented with such sensors to players to measure their impact response.

"This athlete exposure data will inform the testing of protective equipment so that future helmet test methodologies and design evolution are relevant to what is actually experienced on the field," Arbogast says.

With a recent study into brain trauma revealing significant numbers of former NFL players among those examined suffering from CTE, the emphasis on injury prevention of all kinds must be paramount.

That means pushing hard on all fronts, particularly equipment innovation and testing.

Crandall sees the engineering roadmap as the correct, well, road to take.

"Beyond the particular outcome of the roadmap," he says, "we will develop an improved understanding of the types and severity of impacts players experience on-field through video analysis and sensors that will be available to examine a broader array of medical and engineering questions."

With, hopefully, benefits for every level of football — and for other sports.


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Mayweather dominates McGregor in late rounds to go 50-0

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Floyd Mayweather Jr. put on a show in the last fight of his spectacular career.

Conor McGregor didn't do so badly, either.

Mayweather figured out a 50th opponent Saturday night, letting McGregor have the early rounds before stalking him late and leaving the mixed martial artist defenseless and exhausted on the ropes in the 10th round.

It was a smashing end to a career that earned Mayweather more money than any fighter before him — including an estimated $200 million for his last bout.

"I think we gave the fans what they wanted to see," Mayweather said. "I owed them for the (Manny) Pacquiao fight."

Mayweather battered McGregor around the ring in the later rounds, finally stopping him at 1:05 of the 10th with a flurry of punches that forced referee Robert Byrd to stop the fight.

Before a pro-McGregor crowd that roared every time the UFC fighter landed a punch, Mayweather methodically broke him down after a slow start to score his first real stoppage in nearly a decade. He did it in what he said would be his final fight, against a man who had never been in a professional boxing match before.

McGregor boxed surprisingly well but after landing some shots in the early rounds, his punches seemed to lose their steam. Mayweather then went on the pursuit. McGregor backpedaled most of the way, stopping only to throw an occasional flurry as Mayweather wore him down.

"I turned him into a Mexican tonight," McGregor said. "He fought like a Mexican."

Though Byrd cautioned McGregor for hitting behind the head on two different occasions, there were no real fouls in the fight and McGregor never tried to revert to any MMA tactics

McGregor had vowed to knock Mayweather out within two rounds, and he won the early rounds with movement and punches to the head. But the tide of the fight turned in the fourth round as Mayweather seemed to figure out what he had to do and began aggressively stalking McGregor.

Mayweather was credited with landing more than half his punches, as he solved McGregor's defense after a few rounds. Ringside stats showed him landing 170 of 320 punches to 111 of 430 for McGregor.

In a fight so intriguing that it cost $10,000 for ringside seats, McGregor turned in a respectable performance for someone in his first fight. He switched from southpaw to conventional at times and used his jab well, but Mayweather's experience and his ring savvy paid off as he executed his game plan to perfection.

"Our game plan was to take our time, go to him and take him out in the end," Mayweather said. "I guaranteed everybody this fight wouldn't go the distance.

McGregor was trailing badly on all three ringside scorecards through the ninth round, with scores of 89-81, 89-81 and 87-83. The Associated Press had it 87-84.

Mayweather was widely criticized for not going after Pacquiao in their megafight, and he didn't make the same mistake this time. In a fight that could make him $200 million, he seemed to stagger McGregor with a series of punches in the ninth round, landing at will as McGregor desperately tried to clinch.

The end was near as the two fighters came out for the 10th round and Mayweather went right after McGregor again. He landed a punch that set McGregor reeling across the ring, then landed a combination that had McGregor defenseless as Byrd moved in to stop the bout. McGregor didn't complain when the fight was stopped and went over and hugged Mayweather.

"I was a little fatigued," he said. "He was composed in there, that's what 50 pro fights can give you."

He seemed almost happy in the ring afterward, secure that he had given a good performance even in losing.

"I thought it was close though and I thought it was a bit of an early stoppage. I was just a little fatigued."

McGregor's challenge of Mayweather was fueled by social media and turned into a spectacle as the two fighters promoted the bout. It figured to make him $100 million or so, and gave McGregor a name and brand outside of the UFC.

He also got some respect from a fighter who has been in the ring his entire life.

"He's a lot better than I thought he'd be," Mayweather said. "He's a tough competitor, but I was the better man tonight."

After all the talk and hype, the fight unfolded like most in boxing figured it would. Mayweather, a 5-1 favorite, took a few rounds to establish his dominance but once he did it was a one-sided fight.

Mayweather ran his record to 50-0, surpassing Rocky Marciano's 49-0 record and giving himself a great parting gift. He repeated afterward that he was not going to fight again.

"This is my last fight for sure. 50-0 sounds good, I'm looking forward to going into the Hall of Fame," Mayweather said. "I picked the best dance partner to do it with.

Irish fans arrived by the thousands in the days before the fight, filling the arena for the weigh-in and boisterously cheering for their man. They even went off in the middle of the night and spray painted an Irish flag and "49-1" on a billboard on Interstate 15 promoting Mayweather's businesses.

The capacity crowd of 14,623 cheered McGregor on, but they quieted as the fight progressed and Mayweather showed his dominance.


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Ballparks hit home run by hosting eclipse watching parties

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Baseball fans in more than a half-dozen cities are heading to ballparks to watch the solar eclipse as teams look to cash in with game-day viewing parties.

Minor league teams from Oregon to South Carolina have scheduled games Monday to coincide with the total eclipse as it streaks across the United States.

READ: First total solar eclipse in 99 years to sweep width of US

 

In Nebraska, the Lincoln Saltdogs will wear special eclipse jerseys and stop their game to watch the full eclipse at 1:02 p.m. The team says it has sold tickets to buyers from as far away as the United Kingdom and Germany.

READ: No eclipse glasses? No problem. Do-it-yourself project results in stellar homemade viewer

 

Other teams hosting events include the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Idaho Falls Chukars, Bowling Green Hot Rods, Nashville Sounds, Greenville Drive, Columbia Fireflies and Charleston RiverDogs.

No big league games are scheduled to coincide with the eclipse.


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Brady has TD in preseason debut as Pats fall to Texans 27-23

HOUSTON (AP) — Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass in his first game since winning the Super Bowl on the same field and the New England Patriots fell to the Houston Texans 27-23 in a preseason game on Saturday night.

Brady, who sat out last week, was 6 of 9 for 67 yards while directing the offense for two possessions.

The Patriots punted on their first drive before Brady connected with Rex Burkhead on a 22-yard touchdown throw that tied it at 7 early in the second quarter. His performance came in his return to Houston after leading the Patriots back from a 25-point third-quarter deficit to a 34-28 overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons to earn his fourth Super Bowl MVP trophy here in February.

"The last time we were, it was a fun night," Brady said. "It was fun to come back tonight. I wish we would have won, but we had a good week of practice, and I think we're getting better."

It was a far different environment than the previous time the Patriots were at NRG Stadium, but there was a reminder of their big win as remnants of red and blue confetti from the Super Bowl postgame celebration remained in the phone banks near their bench.

Rob Gronkowski also made his season debut for the Patriots, playing about 15 snaps but not catching a pass, in his first preseason appearance since 2012. Julian Edelman and Brandin Cooks also played after sitting out last week, and Cooks had a 7-yard reception.

Houston quarterback Tom Savage was effective in two drives, going 8 of 9 for 98 yards with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Jaelen Strong that put the Texans up 7-0 in the first quarter.

"I'm really, really comfortable with this offense," Savage said. "We have a lot of talent out there and a lot of the guys are making some big plays for me and it's been awesome."

Texans rookie first-round pick Deshaun Watson, who had 179 yards passing last week, threw for 102 yards and ran for a 2-yard touchdown in about two quarters of work.

Jimmy Garoppolo was 15 of 23 for 145 yards with a touchdown and an interception after taking over for Brady.

ROOKIE WATCH

Houston third-round pick D'Onta Foreman, who won the Doak Walker Award as the nation's best college running back last season, had another solid game after rushing for 76 yards last week. He had two receptions for 66 yards and ran for 10 yards and a 4-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. His best moment came when he grabbed a short pass from Watson and broke several tackles en route to a 63-yard gain that set up Watson's touchdown in the third quarter.

"I'm proud of myself, just being able to show that I can catch the ball," Foreman said. "People said I couldn't catch the ball well, so being able to display that and just show my coaches and teammates that I can catch the ball,

whatever they want me to do I can be effective."

WATT'S UP

Houston defensive end J.J. Watt played just one series, but it was long enough to provide one of the highlights of the night. Watt, who is returning from back surgery which cost him 13 games last season, leveled Burkhead for a 2-yard loss on New England's opening possession for his first tackle of the season.

"It's a great feeling ... (but) it's just a glimpse," he said. "There's a lot of stuff I've been working on for a very long time. There's a lot of plays that have built up in the archives that I want to get out there and make."

SITTING OUT

Houston outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney and receiver DeAndre Hopkins did not play after both participated in the first preseason game. It appears to be a precautionary move since the team hasn't acknowledged injuries to either player. Patriots running back Mike Gillislee sat out for the second straight week with a hamstring injury. New England linebacker Elandon Roberts injured his ribs in the second half and didn't return.

THEY SAID IT

New England coach Bill Belichick on if he thought about the team's Super Bowl win in his return to Houston on Saturday night: "That's all in the past ... I'm trying to get this team ready to go. This year's team is this year's team. It's my responsibility to make a strong commitment to this team. I'm not trying to live in the past, I'm not trying to live in the future, I'm just trying to do a good job with the team we have."

UP NEXT

New England: Visit the Detroit Lions on Friday.

Houston: Visit the New Orleans Saints on Saturday.


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Rally Cat: Feline on field sets up Cardinals' grand slam

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Cardinals have a friendly feline to thank for their rally against the Royals.

With the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth on Tuesday night, the game was delayed for a couple minutes when a small, feisty cat sprinted onto the field at Busch Stadium.

On the first pitch after play resumed, Yadier Molina hit a grand slam off Peter Moylan to give the Cardinals an 8-5 lead. The cat was instantly dubbed #RallyCat on Twitter, and St. Louis went on to win.

The cat emerged from near the visitors' dugout on the third-base side and blitzed into the outfield, the fur on its tail standing on end. Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain stood, smiling, with a hand on his hip as the cat sprinted past him.

Lucas Hackmann, a member of the Cardinals' grounds crew, ran out to grab the stray and flinched several times as the animal tried to bite or scratch him.


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Patriots' QB Tom Brady ranks 1st for merchandise sales as NFL training camps start

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL training camps have been open for less than a week and Tom Brady is already on top of the league once again.

The Patriots' superstar quarterback ranks No. 1 in merchandise sales in a list compiled by the NFL players union.

The list is based on total sales of all officially licensed NFL player merchandise tracking year-to-date results from March 1 to May 31.

Brady, who won his record fifth Super Bowl in February, was joined at the top of the list by Dallas Cowboys teammates running back Ezekiel Elliott (No. 2) and quarterback Dak Prescott (No. 3). Two more Cowboys were also in the top 10 in wide receiver Dez Bryant (No. 6) and tight end Jason Witten (No. 10).

Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch, who returned to the league after a one-year absence, was at No. 4 and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson rounded out the top five.


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Study finds CTE in almost all donated brains from dead NFL players

CHICAGO (AP) — Research on 202 former football players found evidence of brain disease in nearly all of them, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school.

It's the largest update on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a brain disease linked with repeated head blows.

But the report doesn't confirm that the condition is common in all football players; it reflects high occurrence in samples at a Boston brain bank that studies CTE. Many donors or their families contributed because of the players' repeated concussions and troubling symptoms before death.

"There are many questions that remain unanswered," said lead author Dr. Ann McKee, a Boston University neuroscientist. "How common is this" in the general population and all football players?

"How many years of football is too many?" and "What is the genetic risk? Some players do not have evidence of this disease despite long playing years," she noted.

It's also uncertain if some players' lifestyle habits — alcohol, drugs, steroids, diet — might somehow contribute, McKee said.

Dr. Munro Cullum, a neuropsychologist at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, emphasized that the report is based on a selective sample of men who were not necessarily representative of all football players. He said problems other than CTE might explain some of their most common symptoms before death — depression, impulsivity and behavior changes. He was not involved in the report.

McKee said research from the brain bank may lead to answers and an understanding of how to detect the disease in life, "while there's still a chance to do something about it." There's no known treatment.

The strongest scientific evidence says CTE can only be diagnosed by examining brains after death, although some researchers are experimenting with tests performed on the living. Many scientists believe that repeated blows to the head increase risks for developing CTE, leading to progressive loss of normal brain matter and an abnormal buildup of a protein called tau. Combat veterans and athletes in rough contact sports like football and boxing are among those thought to be most at risk.

The new report was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

CTE was diagnosed in 177 former players or nearly 90 percent of brains studied. That includes 110 of 111 brains from former NFL players; 48 of 53 college players; nine of 14 semi-professional players, seven of eight Canadian Football league players and three of 14 high school players. The disease was not found in brains from two younger players.

A panel of neuropathologists made the diagnosis by examining brain tissue, using recent criteria from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, McKee said.

The NFL issued a statement saying these reports are important for advancing science related to head trauma and said the league "will continue to work with a wide range of experts to improve the health of current and former NFL athletes."

After years of denials, the NFL acknowledged a link between head blows and brain disease and agreed in a $1 billion settlement to compensate former players who had accused the league of hiding the risks.

The journal update includes many previously reported cases, including former NFL players Bubba Smith, Ken Stabler, Junior Seau and Dave Duerson.

New ones include retired tight end Frank Wainright, whose 10-year NFL career included stints with the Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens. Wainright died last October at age 48 from a heart attack triggered by bleeding in the brain, said his wife, Stacie. She said he had struggled almost eight years with frightening symptoms including confusion, memory loss and behavior changes.

Wainright played before the league adopted stricter safety rules and had many concussions, she said. He feared CTE and was adamant about donating his brain, she said.

"A lot of families are really tragically affected by it — not even mentioning what these men are going through and they're really not sure what is happening to them. It's like a storm that you can't quite get out of," his wife said.

Frank Wycheck, another former NFL tight end, said he worries that concussions during his nine-year career — the last seven with the Tennessee Titans — have left him with CTE and he plans to donate his brain to research.

"Some people have heads made of concrete, and it doesn't really affect some of those guys," he said. "But CTE is real."

"I know I'm suffering through it, and it's been a struggle and I feel for all the guys out there that are going through this," said Wycheck, 45.

In the new report, McKee and colleagues found the most severe disease in former professional players; mild disease was found in all three former high school players diagnosed with the disease. Brain bank researchers previously reported that the earliest known evidence of CTE was found in a high school athlete who played football and other sports who died at age 18. He was not included in the current report.

The average age of death among all players studied was 66. There were 18 suicides among the 177 diagnosed.


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Sen. Rubio jokes of making Pats QB Tom Brady ambassador to Brazil before start of season

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a lifelong fan of the Miami Dolphins, has grown weary of watching the New England Patriots rack up Super Bowl wins while his team watches from afar.

Operating on the theory that misery loves company, he tried last week to sell a fellow Patriot antagonist on a plan he's cooked up to sideline New England's star quarterback, Tom Brady.

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, selected by President Donald Trump to be ambassador to the United Kingdom, appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for his confirmation hearing. Rubio's a member of the panel. And before he quizzed Johnson on issues like counterterrorism and Brexit, the senator got the other important business out of the way.

First, because the Jets and Dolphins are rivals — both are in the NFL's AFC East division along with the Patriots — Rubio cleared a few things off his chest.

"Support for your nomination due to you relationship with the New York Jets is painful and difficult, but I'm willing to do it for the good of the country," he told Johnson as laughter filled the crowded committee room.

Rubio quickly pivoted to the more dastardly, common enemy: Brady. The 39-year-old signal caller has five Super Bowl rings and is a certain first-ballot Hall of Famer. The Patriots have collected eight consecutive AFC East titles, while Miami hasn't even won a playoff game since 2000.

"I think you and I agree the country would be well-served if a certain Thomas Brady were nominated ambassador to Brazil," Rubio told Johnson. "Perhaps that could be arranged before September of this year," which is start of the NFL's regular season.

Brady is married to Brazilian-born supermodel Gisele Bündchen.

"I don't know why people are laughing," Rubio said, trying to keep a straight face. "I'm very serious."

Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts tossed cold water on the scheme. President Donald Trump and Patriots owner Robert Kraft are close friends, he said.

"So I don't think there's any chance of Tom Brady leaving the country until he's won at least two or three more Super Bowl championships," Markey said. "At that point, it's whatever he wants."


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NH man launching livestream platform for parasports nationwide

DURHAM — A University of New Hampshire power wheelchair soccer player and coach is launching an online streaming platform to showcase various parasports nationally that otherwise wouldn't be broadcasted.

Tony Jackson, who is currently the power soccer coordinator at Northeast Passage, said he has been playing power wheelchair soccer since 2009 and has broadcasted the sport since 2013. He said he officially founded ParaSportsLive in February for a couple of reasons.

The first was the demand that Jackson saw for parasports to be broadcasted.

"I saw all the other adaptive sports that aren't being broadcast out there, and that's why I started ParaSportsLive to bring these sports to everybody," he said.

Jackson, a graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism where he began broadcasting college athletics for the school's radio station, said he had seen the benefits of broadcasting parasports firsthand.

"When I've done the power soccer broadcasts, I've seen the positive impact that it has on a lot of people," Jackson said. "Family members, friends, relatives from all over the country and world can see their loved ones competing. Seeing that has really pushed me forward to do this."

While Jackson only plays power soccer, he said the whole mission of ParaSportLive is to eventually bring a cornucopia of adapted sports to viewer's computers and mobile devices.

"I want to go out there and bring track and field events, swimming, sled hockey, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and so many other adaptive sports that aren't being shown right now," he said. "The Disabled Sports U.S.A. Junior Nationals are taking place in Wisconsin right now, and those aren't even being livestreamed out to anybody."

Jackson said that future Paralympians could be competing in the Junior Nationals, yet nobody aside from the people at the event can watch them compete. He said there are over 60,000 adapted sports athletes in the U.S., and with the increasing popularity of online video livestreaming, the potential market for streaming parasports is large.

The second reason Jackson said he started ParaSportsLive was to create opportunities for other disabled individuals pursuing a career in broadcasting.

"The goal is to find people like me who studied broadcasting in school and aspired to be broadcasters and journalists, and have never had the opportunity to work in broadcast media," Jackson said. "There are very few people with disabilities in the broadcasting industry now, so I'm hoping that with ParaSportsLive we can bring some more of those talented people into the fold and let them showcase their talents."

Jackson said he had made a number of connections in the adaptive sports community while traveling the country broadcasting power soccer, and he hopes these connections will get on board with his new platform.

"I've reached out to them and sent proposals in an effort to broadcast the events that they host every year," he said. "Ideally, we hope to eventually cover events every month throughout the year."

Jackson said that while the Paralympics receive a lot of media attention, once they are over, coverage of adapted sports is greatly diminished. He said that just because the media coverage stops doesn't mean the adapted sports do, and that's where ParaSportsLive comes in.

The streaming platform is still a work in progress, but Jackson said there is an official website and a GoFundMe campaign has already raised over $3,000. He said he hopes to be streaming games by October.

"Northeast Passage hosts a wheelchair rugby competition every October, so the goal is to have all of the equipment together and have everything up and running before then so that way we can use that tournament as our maiden broadcast," he said.

To learn more about ParaSportsLive and to make a donation, visit their GoFundMe page. Below is an introduction video from the company's GoFundMe campaign.


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Federer wins 8th Wimbledon title, beating Cilic in final

LONDON (AP) — Roger Federer's wait for No. 8 at Wimbledon is over.

He is once again the champion of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, now more often than any other man in the history of an event first held in 1877.

Federer won his eighth title at the All England Club and 19th major trophy overall, capping a marvelous fortnight in which he never dropped a set by overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in a lopsided final that was more coronation than contest.

When it ended, with an ace from Federer after merely 1 hour, 41 minutes, he raised both arms overhead. A minute or so later, he was sitting on the sideline, wiping tears from his eyes.

Truly, the outcome was only in doubt for about 20 minutes, the amount of time it took Federer to grab his first lead. Cilic, whose left foot was treated by a trainer in the late going, was never able to summon the intimidating serves or crisp volleys that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 U.S. Open, where he surprisingly beat Federer in straight sets in the semifinals.

This one was all Federer, who last won Wimbledon in 2012.

That seventh championship pulled Federer even with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw in what's still officially called Gentlemen's Singles. Sampras won all but one of his in the 1990s; Renshaw won each of his in the 1880s, back in the days when the previous year's champion advanced automatically to the final and therefore was able to successfully defend a title with one victory.

Federer had come close to bettering his predecessors but couldn't quite do it. He lost in the 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon finals to Novak Djokovic, and in the semifinals last year after erasing match points to get past Cilic in a five-set quarterfinal.

With clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air, the very first game offered a glimpse at Cilic's apparent plan: go after Federer's backhand. All five points won by Cilic in that opening stanza came via mistakes by Federer on that stroke. Conversely, all three points won by Federer in that game were thanks to forehand miscues by Cilic.

Understandably, there were signs of nerves for both.

Federer's early play, in general, was symptomatic of jitters. For everything he's accomplished, for all of the bright lights and big settings to which he's become accustomed, the guy many have labeled the "GOAT" — Greatest of All Time — admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts at important on-court moments to this day.

And so it was that Federer, not Cilic, hit a double-fault in each of his first two service games. And it was Federer, not Cilic, who faced the match's initial break point, 15 minutes in, trailing 2-1 and 30-40. But Cilic netted a return there, beginning a run of 17 points in a row won by Federer on his serve.

It was as if the first indication of the slightest bit of trouble jolted Federer.

In the very next game, Federer broke to lead 3-2 with the help of three errors by Cilic and one marvelous point. Cilic tried a drop shot, Federer got to it and replied at a tight angle. Cilic got that and offered a slick response of his own but slipped and fell to the court, allowing Federer to flip a winner, eliciting roars from the crowd.

Federer broke again to take that set when Cilic double-faulted, walked to the changeover and slammed his racket on his sideline chair. Cilic then sat and covered his head with a white towel.

After Federer raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set, Cilic cried while he was visited by a doctor and trainer. At that moment, it wasn't clear, exactly, what might have been ailing Cilic. During a later medical timeout, Cilic's left foot was re-taped by the trainer.

Federer would break to a 4-3 edge in the third set and all that remained to find out was how he'd finish. It was with his eighth ace, at 114 mph, and he raised both arms overhead.

This caps a remarkable reboot for Federer, who departed Wimbledon a year ago with a lot of doubts. He had lost in the semifinals, yes, but more troublesome was that his body was letting him down for the first time in his career.

Earlier in 2016, he had surgery on his left knee, then sat out the French Open because of a bad back, ending a record streak of participating in 65 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments. Then, after Wimbledon, he did not play at all the rest of the year, skipping the Rio Olympics, the U.S. Open and everything else in an attempt to let his knee fully heal.

It worked. Did it ever.


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Athletic shoe company steps up with benefit art project using sneakers

Pizza, cacti, lilacs and a venus flytrap are all part of a unique combination fundraiser and art project sponsored by an athletic shoe company.

Adidas commissioned a dozen artists to take one of the company's sneaker designs and use it as the basis for a artistic creation, one for each of America's fifty states.

Money raised from auctioning off the shoes benefits Women Win, which Bloomberg's Business Insider calls a "charity devoted to advancing women's leadership."

The shoes sport whimsical arrangements of paint and props that pay homage to each state's character. New Jersey's shoe looks like a lace up slice of pizza. Georgia's looks like a peach. New Hampshire's shoe has a colorful depiction of the state flower- the lilac.


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2-time champ Nadal loses 15-13 in 5th set at Wimbledon

LONDON (AP) — First, Rafael Nadal erased a two-set deficit. Then, he erased four match points. Nadal could not, however, erase the fifth.

After digging himself out of difficult situations over and over during the course of a riveting encounter that lasted more than 4½ hours, Nadal suddenly faltered, getting broken in the last game and losing to 16th-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-3, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 15-13 in the fourth round of Wimbledon on Monday.

"It's tough to say what, exactly, made the difference at the end," Muller said. "To be honest, I haven't really realized what just happened."

The surprising defeat extended Nadal's drought without a quarterfinal berth at the All England Club to six years.

He has won two of his 15 Grand Slam championships at Wimbledon, and played in the final three other times, most recently in 2011. But since then, Nadal's exits at the All England Club have come in the first round (2013), second round (2012, 2015) and fourth round (2014, 2017).

All of those losses, except Monday's, came against men ranked 100th or worse. The 34-year-old Muller is not exactly a giant-killer: He had lost 22 consecutive matches against foes ranked in the top five. And he'd only reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal once before, at the 2008 U.S. Open.

"If I had lost that match," Muller said, "it would have been tough to digest."

But Muller's powerful serve and crisp volleys make him what Nadal called "uncomfortable" to play. And Muller — who already owned one victory over Nadal at Wimbledon, back in the second round in 2005 — managed to pull this one out, unfazed despite allowing opportunities to pass him by.

Nadal served from behind throughout the final set and was twice a point from losing in its 10th game. He again was twice a point from losing in the 20th. Only when Muller got yet another chance to end it did he, when Nadal got broken by pushing a forehand long.

"When you are in the fifth, against a player like him, (the outcome) just depends on a few balls," Nadal said, shaking his head. "Actually, he was a little better than me on a few balls."

One key: Nadal converted only 2 of 16 break points. That included going 0 for 5 in the fifth set, four in one game, and was a big reason that the No. 4-seeded Spaniard lost despite remarkable totals of 77 winners and 17 unforced errors.

Nadal entered the match having won 28 consecutive completed sets in Grand Slam play, equaling his personal best and a total exceeded only twice in the Open era. He arrived at the All England Club coming off his record 10th French Open championship, and 15th major trophy overall, and seemed primed to be a factor again at the grass-court tournament.

From 2006-11, Nadal reached the final in five consecutive appearances at Wimbledon (he missed it in 2009 because of bad knees), winning titles in 2008 and 2010. But now he heads home, while Muller's next opponent will be 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic.

Other men's quarterfinals matchups: defending champion Andy Murray against Sam Querrey of the U.S., Roger Federer against Milos Raonic, Tomas Berdych against Novak Djokovic or Adrian Mannarino. The Djokovic-Mannarino fourth-rounder was postponed until Tuesday; it had been scheduled to be played on No. 1 Court after Nadal-Muller concluded.

But that duo played on and on, past 8 p.m., when the descending sun's reflection off a piece of the arena bothered Nadal so much that he held up action and chair umpire Ali Nili asked spectators to stand in the way and block the rays. A few games later, Nili told fans to stop doing the wave, suggesting they wait for the next changeover to resume.

After losing two sets in the opening 75 minutes, Nadal adjusted. He stepped a little farther behind the baseline to give himself more time to react. He also fared better on his own serve, finishing with 23 aces, an unusually high total for Nadal and only seven fewer than Muller.

Still, things were not looking good when Nadal served while down 5-4 in the fifth set. He double-faulted to trail 15-40, offering Muller his two initial match points, before erasing those with an ace and a service winner. Muller's next two match points came at 10-9. Nadal deleted the first with a volley winner, and the second disappeared when Muller shanked a return.

"It was not easy," Muller said, "to keep believing."

The fifth set alone lasted 2 hours, 15 minutes, and Nadal could not manage to complete what would have been his fourth career comeback from two sets down — and first in a decade.

Instead, it was Muller who was able to enjoy a win that seemed to be slipping away.


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Golfer chooses daughter's graduation over playing in U.S. Open

ERIN, Wis. (AP) — Phil Mickelson has withdrawn from the U.S. Open, realizing there was no chance to get from his daughter's high school graduation in California to make his tee time in Wisconsin.

This is the first time Mickelson has missed the U.S. Open since he failed to qualify in 1993.

Mickelson had been holding out hope that with the potential of storms over Wisconsin, there might be a four-hour delay that would allow him to watch his daughter graduate and zoom across the country in his private jet.

Instead, the U.S. Open began Thursday under sunshine with little threat of bad weather all day.

Roberto Diaz of Mexico, the next alternate, officially took Mickelson's afternoon tee time.


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Surfing, canoeing go to court over stand up paddle dispute

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The governing bodies of surfing and canoeing will go to court for control of stand up paddle boarding, a sport that is seen as a future candidate for the Olympic program.

The International Surfing Association says the Court of Arbitration for Sport has been asked to mediate in its dispute with the International Canoe Federation. No timetable for a ruling was suggested.

Stand up paddle blends elements of surfing and kayaking. Athletes stand on a board and generate speed by powering a paddle through the water.

The dispute continues a trend of established Olympic sports bodies seeking control of newer, youth-focused disciplines.

The world gymnastics body has been trying to incorporate parkour, which combines running, climbing and acrobatics across urban architecture.


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Julian Edelman, New England Patriots agree to multi-year contract extension

FOXBORO — After another incredible season capped off with the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history, Julian Edelman was rewarded by the Patriots with a new multiyear contract extension.

Edelman originally would have been a free agent following the 2017 season since he had only one remaining year on his previous contract. However, with this extension, Edelman will be signed to the Patriots for the next coming seasons.

Edelman had another career year during the 2016-17 regular season, ending up with over 1,100 receiving yards and 98 receptions, just two shy of the vaunted 100 mark. 

However, he really made his mark in the Patriots three playoff games, averaging 7 receptions per game and over 114 receiving yards.

Without his help, the Patriots would have potentially been faced with another crushing Super Bowl loss instead of the come-from-behind victory they achieved.


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3 New England communities score big in hockey rankings

The puck stops in New England, at least as far as hockey is concerned.

Cities in five New England states, including New Hampshire, along with the New York area and portions of the midwest stood out in popularity rankings released Wednesday.

The Bruin's hometown of Boston ranked second in online finance site WalletHub's list of hockey-loving cities across the U.S. Beantown also held the third spot in the category of "Highest NHL Fan Engagement."

New Hampshire towns also ranked high, with Durham taking the No. 25 spot and Hanover at No. 28.

The hometown for the University of New Hampshire showed up second under "Highest College-Hockey Fan Engagement."

Maine's Orono came in at No. 30, Storrs, Connecticut, is at No. 37 and Providence, Rhode Island, took No. 40.

Filling up spots to the Top 50 were Cambridge, Massachusetts, at No. 43 and Wocester, Massachusetts, at No. 49.

Boston ranked as the city with the third most expensive ticket for an NHL game nationally. The highest price was in Dallas, Texas, which also has the lowest capacity NHL stadium.


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More trouble for Tiger Woods after police charge him with driving drunk in Florida

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — Police say golf great Tiger Woods has been arrested on a DUI charge in Florida.

The Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says on its website that Woods was booked into a county jail around 7 a.m. Monday.

Jail records show Woods had been arrested by police in Jupiter. He was released just before 11 a.m. on his own recognizance. He has been charged under a Driving Under the Influence statute.

No other details were immediately available. Messages left for a Jupiter police spokeswoman were not immediately returned.


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News flash: Cubs stay classy in 'Anchorman' road trip spoof

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Chicago Cubs kept it classy on their way to open a road trip at Dodger Stadium, with the World Series champions dressing as characters from the Will Ferrell comedy "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy."

Manager Joe Maddon colored his gray hair a dark brown and dressed in a suit and red tie in a nod to Burgundy, the San Diego TV news anchor played by Ferrell in the 2004 comedy. Burgundy's nightly signoff was "You stay classy, San Diego."

"It was a Maaco job," he said, referring to the auto painting business. "I scratched my head on the airplane, I still can't get my fingernails clean. That brown paint bedded deeply in my nail bed."

Outfielder Kyle Schwarber donned a white cowboy hat with a suit similar to sportscaster Champ Kind in the 1970s-set movie. Pitcher John Lackey wore a red suit and white cowboy hat, while pitcher Jon Lester dressed in a bright blue suit and a striped tie.

"The guys had a great time. It was really well done," Maddon said before Friday's game against the Dodgers.

Missing from the trip was third baseman Tommy La Stella, who Maddon said is a dead ringer for Brick Tamland, the Action News Team's not-very-bright but good-hearted meteorologist played by Steve Carell in the movie.

"That would have been perfect," Maddon said.

He said strength and conditioning coach Tim Buss "stole the show" in a bright blue bathing suit and orange bathrobe with a stuffed tiger head dangling from his right shoulder, along with a bushy mustache, brown wig and sunglasses.

"Above and beyond," Maddon said. "I'm really happy for the notoriety that he's achieving based on his representation of Mr. Burgundy pool side."

The Cubs will do it all over again on Wednesday night when they return to Chicago after concluding a three-game series in San Diego.

Maddon said he went online and found two vintage clothing stores in Burgundy's town that he plans to visit on Tuesday.

He's known for coming up with themes on road trips. In a previous visit to Los Angeles, the Cubs wore footed pajamas.


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