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Eagles’ Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz express support, sorrow over George Floyd’s death



Philadelphia Eagles star Carson Wentz, his teammate Zach Ertz and Ertz’s wife, USWNT star Julie Johnston Ertz, on Thursday joined the chorus of athletes who have spoken out about George Floyd, the handcuffed black man whose death earlier this week while in police custody has deeply shaken Minneapolis and sparked protests in cities across the U.S.

The three athletes each took to social media to express support for the African-American community as well as sorrow over the institutional racism that black people experience in America.

“Can’t even fathom what the black community has to endure on a daily basis,” Wentz wrote. “Being from North Dakota, I’ve spent a large part of my life surrounded by people of similar color, so I’m never gonna act like I know what the black community goes through or even has gone through already. I’ll never know the feeling of having to worry about my kids going outside because of their skin color.”

Wentz went on to write, “I don’t understand the society we live in that doesn’t value all human life. It’s heartbreaking and disturbing.”

Zach Ertz and Julie Johnston Ertz posted a joint statement on Twitter. Like Wentz, they acknowledged wrestling with their emotions and struggling to find the right words in the days since Floyd’s death.

“Even the thought of trying to come up with the ‘perfect’ saying is so damn selfish. What I do know is that I am so unbelievably sorry,” they wrote. “I am sorry for the pain and hurt the African American community has endured by another human and more than anything I am sorry that you feel that you are alone in this situation.”

Floyd, 46, died Monday night while in Minneapolis police custody. A bystander’s video showed Floyd pleading that he couldn’t breathe as officer Derek Chauvin, who is white, kneeled on his neck. As minutes passed, Floyd slowly stopped talking and moving.

Chauvin and three other Minneapolis officers involved in Floyd’s arrest were fired Tuesday after video of the incident gained national attention. Floyd’s death is under investigation by the FBI and state law enforcement authorities.

In the days since, several high-profile athletes, including Lakers star LeBron James and former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, have voiced their outrage on social media.

On Wednesday, Lakers legend Magic Johnson expressed frustration over Floyd’s death, writing on Twitter, “George Floyd was clearly murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. How many times do we have to see black men killed on national television? This has been going on for entirely too long. We need to start seeing black people as human beings and not animals on the street.”

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and former Heat star Dwyane Wade also weighed in on social media.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady posted an image of Floyd that included the hashtag #justiceforfloyd to his Instagram story.

In Minneapolis on Thursday, cheering protesters broke into a Minneapolis police precinct station after the department abandoned it, setting it ablaze and setting off fireworks. Earlier in the day, dozens of businesses across the Twin Cities boarded up their windows and doors in an effort to prevent looting, while Minneapolis shut down nearly its entire light-rail system and all bus service through Sunday out of safety concerns.

Protests have also spread to other U.S. cities. In New York City, protesters defied New York’s coronavirus prohibition on public gatherings Thursday, clashing with police, while demonstrators blocked traffic in downtown Denver. A day earlier, demonstrators had taken to the streets in Los Angeles and Memphis.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Patriots offering free parking for home games



The New England Patriots are offering free parking for home games during the 2020 season, the club announced in a letter to its season-ticket members on Monday.

“In order to show our appreciation for your commitment to the Patriots during this unique season — and in acknowledgment that it will be different than any other season we have ever experienced together — we want to share that we will provide free parking in all Gillette Stadium lots this year,” the letter read. “From both a safety and convenience standpoint, we hope this will simplify one aspect of your game-day experience in 2020 and serve to express our gratitude for your support.”

There are thousands of parking spots around the Patriots’ home stadium, which produce significant revenue for owners Robert and Jonathan Kraft. The exchange of cash to enter the lots, and the potential safety hazards with COVID-19, sparked the decision to offer free parking.

The club also announced that all ticketing, and entry to the stadium, will be digital.

The Patriots continue to also offer season-ticket members at an elevated risk of COVID-19 infection the chance to skip the 2020 season and still on to their seats for the next year.

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Ben Roethlisberger’s new puppies, Dwyane Wade’s new haircut and what you missed this weekend



Here’s what you might have missed over the weekend …

The coronavirus put a halt to virtually every sport there is, but nothing, NOTHING, stops Joey Chestnut on the Fourth of July.

My stomach hurts just from reading the above — how about you?

Maybe you went fishing over the holiday weekend? But you probably didn’t do as well as Jawaan Taylor did.

That certainly looks like a catch worthy of an offensive lineman.

They don’t celebrate Independence Day across the pond, but Manchester United surely celebrated a 5-2 win over Bournemouth. Paul Pogba was not among the goal scorers, but he still made an impact — in more ways than one.

Pogba’s barber is clearly back in business.

A couple of Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks — Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady — were celebrating other things over the weekend as well.

Tom’s the one in his dad’s arms, by the way, in case you couldn’t figure that out.

Fireworks are a traditional part of July Fourth celebrations, but Dwyane Wade went above and beyond this year.

Whose hair do you like better, Pogba’s or Wade’s?

And finally, if you wanted to see some real fireworks, here you go — thanks to Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.

Hope you all had a good holiday weekend.

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Better, worse or same? Jaguars offense could be entertaining – Jacksonville Jaguars Blog



JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars were, at times, a horror show on offense in 2019.

They were also pretty entertaining and effective at times, too.

If they’re going to have any chance at all of competing for the AFC South title in 2020, they’re going to have to figure out how to be more of the latter with pretty much the same personnel, plus a couple key additions in tight end Tyler Eifert and running back Chris Thompson.

There’s a new coordinator in Jay Gruden, who brings a West Coast-style attack. He’ll be the team’s fifth coordinator since 2015 and the fourth in the last three seasons. Maybe he’ll be able to generate more than the 18.8 points per game the Jaguars averaged last season.

So is the Jaguars offense going to be better, worse or the same as it was in 2019? Here’s a position-by-position breakdown of the offense:


Additions: Mike Glennon (free agent), Jake Luton (draft)

Losses: Nick Foles

Returners: Gardner Minshew, Josh Dobbs

Better, worse or the same? Same

The Jaguars didn’t draft a quarterback until the sixth round, though there were rumors the team wanted to trade up into the top five. They passed on Jameis Winston and Cam Newton, and didn’t sign a veteran to replace Foles until May 8, so it’s clearly Minshew’s team. Minshew went 6-6 as a starter and had a higher passer rating and fewest interceptions of any rookie quarterback last season. The feeling is he’ll be a good fit in Gruden’s offense. This is his chance to prove that he can be the team’s long-term starter.

Running back

Additions: Nathan Cottrell (undrafted free agent), Connor Slomka (undrafted free agent), Tavien Feaster (undrafted free agent), James Robinson (undrafted free agent), Chris Thompson (free agent)

Losses: Jeremy McNichols

Returners: Ryquell Armstead, Leonard Fournette, Devine Ozigbo

Better, worse, or the same? Better

Fournette had a bounce-back season in 2019, compiling 1,674 yards from scrimmage and leading the Jaguars in rushing and receptions. He only scored three TDs and struggled in the red zone and the Jaguars need him back to his rookie form in that area (10 TDs). Thompson should help significantly as a third-down back, which should take some of that burden off Fournette. Armstead and Ozigbo flashed in the 2019 season finale when Fournette was out, which was encouraging.

Wide receiver

Additions: Laviska Shenault (draft), Collin Johnson (draft), Josh Hammond (undrafted free agent), Marvelle Ross (undrafted free agent), Terry Godwin (free agent)

Losses: None

Returners: C.J. Board, DJ Chark, Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, Michael Walker, Dede Westbrook

Better, worse or the same? Same

Chark had a breakout season and made the Pro Bowl, Conley set a career high with 47 catches last season and Westbrook caught 66 passes despite playing the season with a bad shoulder. That’s a good nucleus. Cole came on at the end of the year after not getting much time early and he gives the Jaguars four reliable, experienced targets. It will be interesting to see what the team does with Shenault, their second-round pick. Coach Doug Marrone wants to use him as a running back, receiver, tight end and Wildcat quarterback, but that will depend on how well Shenault assimilates the new offense despite having only a virtual offseason. It might be best to temper expectations for Shenault and all rookies because of that.

Tight end

Additions: Tyler Eifert (free agent), Tyler Davis (draft), Ben Ellefson (undrafted free agent)

Losses: Ben Koyack, Seth DeValve, Nick O’Leary

Returners: James O’Shaughnessy, Josh Oliver, Charles Jones

Better, worse or the same:? Better

Eifert played a full season in 2019 for the first time in his career (he played 15 games as a rookie in 2013 but missed 52 games from 2014-18). If he stays healthy, the Jaguars will have a legitimate threat at the position for the first time since Julius Thomas caught 46 passes in 2015. O’Shaughnessy had emerged as the top tight end early last season but suffered a torn ACL in Week 5. The team was really high on Oliver as a rookie last season but hamstring and back injuries limited him to just four games. He has a lot to prove. There’s better depth at the position than the Jaguars have had in a long time.

Offensive line

Additions: Ben Bartch (draft), Steven Nielsen (undrafted free agent), Tre’Vour Wallace-Sims (undrafted free agent)

Losses: Cedric Ogbuehi

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