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Michael Sam, NFL's first openly gay player, is cut by St. Louis Rams

The St. Louis Rams have pushed the pause button on the football career of rookie linebacker Michael Sam.

Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, was released Saturday in the final round of cuts, just missing a spot on the 53-man roster.

There’s still a possibility Sam could wind up with the Rams. In order to place him on their practice squad, they would need to place him on the waiver wire for a day, thus making him available to the league’s other 31 teams.

Much like the draft, Sam's football future hinged on a down-to-the-wire decision.

Only eight picks remained in the draft when Sam, a standout at Missouri, was chosen with a seventh-round compensatory pick. His main competition for a roster spot was undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, former NCAA Division II defensive player of the year at West Texas A&M.

Westbrooks was one of nine defensive linemen the Rams kept.

Before the Rams’ last exhibition game, against Miami on Thursday, Sam tweeted that the game was his final exam. In a game...

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Ohio State rallies to 34-17 victory over Navy

Redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns in his college debut, and No. 5 Ohio State beat Navy 34-17 Saturday for its 25th consecutive regular-season victory.

Elevated into a starting role after senior Braxton Miller injured his right shoulder on Aug. 18, Barrett went 12 for 15 — including an 80-yard TD pass to Devin Smith that put the Buckeyes up 20-14 with 4:10 left in the third quarter.

Ohio State (1-0) won despite allowing Navy (0-1) to gain 370 yards on the ground, including 118 by Ryan Williams-Jenkins.

Barrett became the second freshman since 1950 to start a season opener at quarterback for Ohio State. He ran nine times for 50 yards, did not throw downfield often and relied heavily on a ground game that finally wore down the Midshipmen in the fourth quarter.

After Navy closed to 20-17 with 13:54 remaining, the Buckeyes launched a 10-play drive that featured just one pass. Ezekiel Elliott converted a fourth-and-1 from the Navy 45 and Barrett threw a...

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Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova eliminated at U.S. Open

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova was stunned in the third round of the U.S. Open by a scrambling, moon-balling qualifier ranked No. 145.

Aleksandra Krunic, a 21-year-old Serb who until this week had not taken even a set from a player in the top 30, crumpled to the court in celebration and shock Saturday when she pulled off the 6-4, 6-4 upset of the third-seeded Czech.

“Of course, I didn't expect to win,” said Krunic, the second qualifier to pull off such a shocker after 121st-ranked Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat No. 2-seeded Simona Halep on Friday.

After a week of upsets on the women's side, only three of the top eight seeds remain, No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 5 Maria Sharapova and No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard.

Kvitova, who would have ascended to the No. 1 ranking if she won the U.S. Open and Williams had lost before the quarterfinal, committed 34 unforced errors against the fast-moving Krunic, who slid and sometimes went into a gymnastics split to chase down every ball and make her opponent hit...

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James Harrison, former Steelers star, announces his retirement

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, a five-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl winner, announced his retirement Saturday on his Facebook page.

"I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today," Harrison posted. "My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game."

Harrison, 36, had been looking to sign with an NFL team following his release from the Cincinnati Bengals in March. He reportedly met with Arizona Cardinals officials this week, but the two sides couldn't reach an agreement on a contract.

Harrison, the 2008 AFC Defensive Player of the Year, entered the NFL with the Steelers in 2002 after playing at Kent State. After being released and then rejoining the Steelers in 2004, Harrison developed into one of the NFL's top linebackers, playing a leading role in Pittsburgh's Super Bowl wins in 2006 and 2009.

While establishing himself as one of the most feared defensive players in the game, Harrison also...

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IndyCar driver Mikhail Aleshin hurt in multi-car crash in Fontana

IndyCar rookie Mikhail Aleshin was injured Friday night in multiple-car crash during final practice for the IndyCar race Saturday night at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

Aleshin was conscious and airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center "complaining of injuries to his right shoulder and right foot," IndyCar officials said.

The 27-year-old, the first driver from Russia to race in the Verizon IndyCar Series, was in Turn 4 of the two-mile Fontana oval -- a track where the cars travel at more than 200 mph -- when the accident occurred at about 7:30 p.m.

Aleshin's No. 7 car was low on the track when it suddenly went into a spin. The car driven by Charlie Kimball then slammed into Aleshin's car at full speed, sending Aleshin's car sailing into the outside catch fence.

Aleshin's car ripped out a section of the fence, then pinwheeled and fell back to the track as pieces of the car were scattered for yards. It took safety workers several minutes to extricate Aleshin from his crumpled...

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Angels pitcher Garrett Richards comes to grips with knee injury

Angels pitcher Garrett Richards knew the moment he fell awkwardly into the dirt after catching a spike near first base in Fenway Park in the second inning of an Aug. 20 game against the Boston Red Sox that his season was over.

“After I heard the pop and the crunching, I knew something wasn’t right,” said Richards, who underwent surgery to repair a torn patellar tendon in his left knee two days later. “I didn’t know what it was. Initially, I felt like I had a bone sticking out of my body. That wasn’t the case, obviously, but it kind of scared me.”

The first couple of days after surgery were tough for Richards, whose break-out season — the hard-throwing right-hander went 13-4 with a 2.61 earned-run average and 164 strikeouts in 26 starts — is a primary reason the Angels are well-positioned to end their four-year playoff drought.

But when Richards, on crutches and wearing a knee brace, joined the Angels for their annual team picture before Friday night’s game against the Oakland Athletics...

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Renan Barao falls ill cutting weight, scratched from UFC title fight

T.J. Dillashaw said last week he believed his scheduled Saturday opponent and former bantamweight champion Renan Barao had outgrown the division.

Friday, Dillashaw's opinion struck sooner rather than later, depriving the new champion of an opportunity to affirm his May upset of Barao with a repeat victory.

Barao fell ill while cutting weight and has been replaced in the Ultimate Fighting Championship main event at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

Scheduled undercard fighter Joe Soto (15-2) will step in for Barao, the UFC announced, and the jumbled fight card will remain on pay-per-view, a company spokesman said.

Barao “was feeling poorly … in the process of his weight cut,” the UFC spokesman said. A “decision was made to pull him from [the] fight based on his health and safety.”

Soto has won six consecutive mixed martial arts fights, but he’s a sharp drop in talent from Barao, who hadn’t lost in nine years before meeting Dillashaw in May.

Soto just signed with the UFC this month.


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Aldon Smith of the 49ers slapped with nine-game suspension

In a big blow to the San Francisco 49ers’ smothering defense, All-Pro outside linebacker Aldon Smith was suspended Friday for the first nine games of the season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Smith, whose transgressions since 2012 include two DUI arrests and a felony weapons charge, is eligible to return Nov. 10. He has three days to appeal the suspension. In April he was arrested for allegedly making a false bomb threat at Los Angeles International Airport, though he was never charged.

After collecting 33½ sacks in his first two seasons, Smith missed five games in 2013 to seek treatment for a substance-abuse problem. He appeared in 11 games last season and finished with 8½ sacks.

The 49ers were already dealing with the loss of All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman, who is recovering from a devastating knee injury suffered in the NFC championship game at Seattle.

The St. Louis Rams can breathe a sigh of relief, because Smith will miss both games against them. He will be...

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Venus Williams loses to Sara Errani at U.S. Open

Venus Williams was eliminated Friday in the U.S. Open women’s singles, in a three-set match that was strange and compelling.

The winner was Sara Errani of Italy, a feisty, small doubles player who turned out to be just feisty enough in her 6-0, 0-6, 7-6 (5) victory, played out before a huge center court crowd that ebbed and flowed with the emotion of the match.

Williams is a two-time U.S. Open champion. She is also 34, and seemed to show her age in a listless first-set performance. But she rallied her energy and the crowd, and actually got herself into prime position to win, serving for the match at 5-3.

But Errani, whose strange service motion — she pulls the racket back and rests it on her shoulder before making her toss — never stopped trying. She won with a cross court forehand winner that wrong-footed Williams. That was after Williams had rallied from 2-5 down in the tiebreaker.

Many in the crowd probably looked upon this as a huge upset, but Errani entered the match seeded No. 13...

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Athletics decide not to protest controversial call in loss to Angels

The Oakland Athletics decided not to file a formal protest of a controversial obstruction call in the ninth inning of Thursday night’s game in Angel Stadium, meaning the Angels’ 4-3, 10-inning victory will stand.

General Manager Billy Beane, assistant GM David Forst and Manager Bob Melvin spoke Friday morning, and the team agreed that as a judgment call, obstruction can’t be protested. Only an incorrect application of the rules can 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 team said 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.”

With the score tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the ninth, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar led off with a chopper that bounced high off the plate and down the first-base line.

Oakland reliever Dan Otero fielded the...

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NASCAR says Tony Stewart still eligible to make Chase title playoff

Tony Stewart can still qualify for NASCAR's Chase for the Cup title playoff despite missing three races after a fatal incident involving a fellow driver, NASCAR President Mike Helton said Friday.

Drivers in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series are required to either qualify or race in all 26 of the series' regular-season races to make the 10-race Chase, but NASCAR can grant a waiver to the requirement.

After evaluating "a very unique set of circumstances" surrounding Stewart, "we've come to the conclusion that Tony would be eligible to participate in the Chase if he were to earn a spot," Helton said.

There are two races left in the regular season: Sunday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway and the following weekend in Richmond, Va.

Under a revised format implemented this year, a win during the regular season virtually assures a driver a berth in the 16-driver Chase. Stewart, already a three-time Cup champion, does not yet have a win this season.

However, if Stewart were to win one of the next two...

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Clippers waive Carlos Delfino, Miroslav Raduljica

The Clippers waived newly acquired players Carlos Delfino and Miroslav Raduljica on Friday and will pay their remaining salaries over five years via the NBA’s stretch provision.

The move will create about $3.5 million under the hard salary cap and allow the Clippers to sign additional players to veteran’s minimum contracts. The team currently has 11 players under contract for next season, two below the league minimum.

Delfino and Raduljica, acquired Tuesday as part of a trade that sent Jared Dudley and a 2017 first-round draft pick to the Milwaukee Bucks, each had one guaranteed year left on their contracts plus an additional team option year. Delfino’s contract was for $3.25 million next season and Raduljica’s was for $1.5 million.

Possible targets to fill the Clippers’ roster include Ekpe Udoh, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Ray Allen.

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