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USFL relaunching in spring 2022 with at least eight teams

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The USFL is relaunching in 2022, four decades after the spring football league’s short-lived run that featured such stars as Reggie White, Herschel Walker, Steve Young and Jim Kelly as well as future President Donald Trump as an owner.

The new USFL announced Thursday that it will play next spring with a minimum of eight teams and will “deliver high-quality, innovative professional football to fans.”

Although the teams, cities, head coaches and schedule won’t be announced until later, the league said it retains the rights to “key original team names.” The USFL also is using the same red, white and blue stars-and-stripes logo it did from 1983 to 1985.

The USFL’s return could result in two pro leagues playing football in the spring. The XFL has been targeting a 2022 resumption of play after owners Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners purchased the league out of bankruptcy in 2020. Planning for the XFL’s 2022 season has been on pause since March, when it entered into negotiations regarding a collaboration with the Canadian Football League.

Fox Sports, which has a minority equity stake in the company that owns the new USFL, will serve as the league’s official broadcast partner.

“I’m extremely passionate about football and the opportunity to work with Fox Sports, and to bring back the USFL in 2022 was an endeavor worth pursuing,” said Brian Woods, co-founder of the new USFL and founder and CEO of The Spring League. “We look forward to providing players a new opportunity to compete in a professional football league and giving fans everywhere the best football viewing product possible during what is typically a period devoid of professional football.”

Fox CEO and executive producer Eric Shanks called the USFL’s relaunch “a landmark day for football fans and Fox Sports.”

The USFL was launched in 1983 but crumbled after three seasons because of out-of-control spending and an ill-conceived push led by Trump, owner of the New Jersey Generals, to compete directly against the NFL with a fall season.

Launched originally to serve as more of a complement to the NFL than a direct competitor, the USFL helped change professional football in its short lifespan. The USFL featured rules innovations, helped usher in underclassmen being drafted by the NFL, and pushed the NFL to pay bigger salaries and create real free agency.

In the end, the USFL’s most enduring legacy was the $3 judgment it “won” in an antitrust suit against the NFL, a ruling that finished off the league in 1986 before it carried out the Trump-backed move from spring to fall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Kansas City Chiefs hope Kyle Long back by start of regular season after leg injury in practice

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chiefs are hopeful guard Kyle Long can return for the start of the regular season after he injured his leg Wednesday, sources told ESPN.

Long was signed by the Chiefs in the offseason after he ended his retirement after one year. He wrote about the injury on Thursday on his Twitter account.

“I did everything I could to get back for football,” Long said. “Zero regrets. … Focusing on controlling the things I can control. Yesterday was not one of those things!”

Long, 32, was working as the starting right guard at offseason practice. Other candidates to start include Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and rookie Trey Smith.

Drafted 20th overall by the Chicago Bears in 2013, Long missed just one game over his first three seasons, in which he was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls, but appeared in just 30 regular-season contests over his last four years with the team because of a variety of injuries. He announced his retirement in January of last year.

NFL Network first reported that Long had suffered a leg injury.



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Fantasy Football cheat sheets – Updated 2021 player rankings, PPR, non-PPR, depth charts, dynasty

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If you’re seeking a one-stop shop for updated 2021 fantasy football rankings and cheat sheets throughout the summer, you’ve come to the right place. Below, you will find them for PPR and non-PPR formats, as well as dynasty leagues.

PPR positional cheat sheet

One sheet with players broken down by position, including overall rank, salary-cap value and bye weeks for leagues that award one point for each catch. Download »

PPR top-300 cheat sheet

This sheet features 300 players in order of overall draft value, with positional rank, salary-cap value and bye-week information for leagues that reward each catch with a point. Download »

Non-PPR positional cheat sheet

For leagues using the scoring format that doesn’t award an extra point for each reception. One sheet with players broken down by position, including overall rank, salary-cap value and bye weeks. Download »

Non-PPR top-300 cheat sheet

This sheet features 300 players in order of overall draft value, with positional rank, salary-cap value and bye-week information. Download »

Mike Clay’s team-by-team projection guide

If you want the full breakdown for all 32 teams, you’ve come to the right place. Download »

NFL team depth chart cheat sheet

Fantasy depth charts for each NFL team: top two QBs, three running backs, four wide receivers, two tight ends and a kicker. Prioritized by fantasy value in PPR leagues rather than role defined on a traditional NFL depth chart, includes players’ positional ranks. Download »

Dynasty cheat sheet

Features the top 240 players and 60 best rookies to make all of your keeper and dynasty league decisions. Includes the age of players at the start of the 2021 season. Download »

*All cheat sheets are in PDF format. Your device must be equipped with a PDF reader for you to access and print the cheat sheet.

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From Liberia to the Ravens: How Gus Edwards’ journey came full circle – Baltimore Ravens Blog

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards was about sign his two-year $10 million extension on Monday when he thought to pick up his phone and share the moment with his father.

“What’s crazy is that my father is actually in Liberia right now,” Edwards said. “He was like, ‘I’m at the house right now.’”

Edwards lived in Liberia until he was five years old, when he immigrated to the United States with his mother. Edwards’ aunt was fortunate to go to America after winning a lottery as part of the Diversity Visa program, and the family decided Edwards’ father and sister would be the two members who would accompany her. A few years later, Edwards joined them, escaping the country during the Second Liberian Civil War.

Edwards, 26, doesn’t remember much about his time in Liberia, outside of taking his farewell pictures on his last day there. On Monday, he posted a picture on Instagram of his father standing in front of his childhood home, which showed the crumbling concrete steps and the deteriorating cinder block walls. Edwards then signed his new deal with Baltimore, which gave him a $3.75 million signing bonus as well as a sense of his journey coming full circle.

“It was just fantastic — just seeing everything come together,” Edwards said. “It’s been a blessing.”

Edwards is a punishing downhill runner in the only NFL offense to ever total more than 3,000 yards rushing in consecutive seasons. He’s often been overlooked, maintaining a low-key personality while playing behind the likes of Mark Ingram II and J.K. Dobbins.

But few players have been as efficient as Edwards. Of the 31 players who have run the ball at least 400 times over the past three seasons, only two have averaged more yards per carry than Edwards (5.20): former NFL MVP Lamar Jackson (6.0) and two-time Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb (5.23).

“He deserves a lot more credit than he gets,” tight end Mark Andrews said at the end of last season. “He’s the heart and the soul of our team with everything he does, the way he runs the ball. He breaks tackles left and right. He’s a beast.”

Just like he fights for every yard, Edwards had to battle for his spot in Baltimore after being the team’s No. 5 running back three years ago. Undrafted out of Rutgers in 2018, Edwards was cut before the regular season, as the Ravens kept Alex Collins, Buck Allen and Kenneth Dixon at running back.

Edwards was signed to the Ravens’ practice squad, but he had to bide his time. When Dixon went on injured reserve with a knee injury after the season opener, Baltimore promoted De’Lance Turner instead of Edwards to replace Dixon.

It wasn’t until Turner hurt his hamstring in early October that Edwards was placed on the 53-man roster. And it wasn’t until Jackson took over as the starting quarterback midway through the season that Edwards got a shot to start.

Meshing instantly in Baltimore’s new read-pass option attack, Edwards produced 654 yards rushing in the final seven games of 2018, which ranked behind only Saquon Barkley and Derrick Henry over that span.

“He’s a guy who we all root for,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “I think he’s a really good fit in our offense, and he understands that. He’s just a really good fit, also, in our personality as a football team. We appreciate him and the way he plays, and the way he carries himself. He’s just really the most deserving guy.”

In each of the past two years, the Ravens have added to the backfield, signing Ingram in free agency in 2019 and drafting Dobbins in the second round in 2020. But Edwards has kept plowing ahead, gaining a first down on an NFL-best 30.9% of his carries since 2018.

“That’s one person, for sure, when you’re in the hole with [him], you’ve got to brace yourself and get ready, because Gus is ‘Gus the Bus’ for a reason,” Ravens linebacker Patrick Queen said. “He earned that money.”

A restricted free agent, Edwards could have tested the market after the season. Instead, he struck a deal with Baltimore that places him among the top 20 highest-paid backs in the league in average per year.

Staying at a place that feels like home, especially with the path Edwards has taken, means a lot to him.

“I feel like I have unfinished business here,” Edwards said. “I’m comfortable here, I’m happy here and it works for me. In one way or another, I was hoping to stay. I’m just blessed.”



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