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NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL season doesn't start for another six weeks and already job security is an issue for some coaches.


Yes, even in late July.


Every season, teams that entered with low expectations show significant improvement and make unexpected deep postseason runs. Last season, Jacksonville with coach Doug Marrone went to the AFC championship game and held a late lead at New England before Tom Brady rallied the Patriots. And, of course, the Eagles and coach Doug Pederson, despite losing Carson Wentz to a torn ACL, beat Brady and Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl.


There's always pressure on NFL coaches to win. And win now.


Here are a few who enter the 2018 season on the hot seat:


JASON GARRETT (67-53, 1-2 in playoffs)


There's always pressure on the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, especially with Jerry Jones as owner. The franchise that has won five Super Bowls has not advanced past the divisional round of the

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The trade deadline is right around the corner in Major League Baseball and with roster turnover comes opportunity in daily fantasy. Two things happen every trade deadline: The good teams get better and the bad teams get worse.


The most common deals are with relievers, where contending teams often scoop up the best late inning options from non-contenders, while the teams out of the playoff race turn over the back end of their roster to give minor leaguers an opportunity. Bullpens are already an area of opportunity for daily fantasy as they're often overlooked in traditional analysis. Those who don't account for the changes at the trade deadline will be at a disadvantage.


The first big reliever trade is a great example of how quickly a good bullpen can turn into a bad one. The Padres traded both Adam Cimber, 3.17 ERA, 2.33 fielding independent pitching (FIP) and 2.80 expected fielding independent pitching (xFIP),

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IRVINE, Calif. (AP) — Running back Todd Gurley agreed to a lucrative four-year contract extension through 2023 with the Los Angeles Rams on Tuesday.




Rams general manager Les Snead confirmed a new deal for the NFL's offensive player of the year, calling Gurley a cornerstone of a team with Super Bowl aspirations.




"He's a big part of who we are and where we're going," Snead said. "It's not only Todd, but a lot of guys we want to make Rams for a long time and be part of our core."




The Rams didn't announce the financial terms of the deal, but ESPN said the extension is worth $60 million, with a whopping $45 million guaranteed. That deal contains the NFL's largest annual average value for a running back contract, resetting the market for ball-carriers such as Dallas' Ezekiel Elliott and Arizona's David Johnson — and for Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell next year.




Gurley was a league standout in his third NFL season while playing

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Posted by AP Sports Staff

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian soccer team competing at the World Cup is called the Socceroos. But a different kind of soccer-roo has dominated a pitch for half an hour in Canberra during a women's match.


The misguided marsupial made its first appearance on the stadium soccer field during the half time break on Sunday afternoon in a match between Canberra's two top teams — Canberra Football Club and Belconnen United, Canberra FC official Amber Harvey said on Monday.


The male eastern gray kangaroo bounded back during the second half, indifferent to efforts to drive him away and delaying play for 32 minutes, Harvey said.


"It was just a real menace," Harvey said.


"A few people came close to it to see if they could maybe get it to move on. It stood up pretty tall. I think it was just over 6 feet (183 centimeters), so they backed off pretty quickly. But I don't think anyone was alarmed too much by it," she

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MOSCOW (AP) — Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest soccer player in history, has had a miserable World Cup and must turn it around immediately to save Argentina from a humiliating early exit from the tournament.


Messi leads Argentina into a must-win Tuesday game against Nigeria at St. Petersburg Stadium, where the African team would advance out of Group D with a victory. The South Americans are winless at the World Cup, Messi has yet to score a goal, and a victory against Nigeria won't guarantee a spot in the round of 16. Argentina must win, and get help from Croatia, which has already advanced.


Croatia has no pressure in its match against Iceland, which must win its final Group D game in Rostov-on-Don to advance. If Iceland wins, Argentina is out and Messi's international career might be over.


Messi turned 31 two days before the match, and there's strong speculation he'll retire from the national team if Argentina

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — UConn President Susan Herbst told Kevin Ollie she was upholding his firing because the former men's basketball coach had a pattern of breaking NCAA rules and committed serious violations, according to a letter obtained by The Associated Press.


The school released the June 19 letter from Herbst to Ollie on Monday in response to open records requests from the AP and other news organizations.


Ollie has asserted that the violations which led to his firing in March were minimal and isolated.


Herbst refutes that idea in the letter, writing that "eventually even a series of 'isolated' or 'de mimimis' violations can become a pattern of non-compliance, which is what occurred in the Men's Basketball program under your leadership."


She said the violations "are serious under any definition which may be applied and constitute just cause for your termination."


Ollie's attorney, Jacques Parenteau, said the

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Marvin Bagley III dominated at Duke, while fellow freshman Michael Porter Jr. barely saw action at Missouri due to injury. Yet they'll likely be the first forwards to hear their names called during Thursday's draft.


Bagley is a possible No. 1 overall pick and double-double machine with a long frame. But many considered Porter to be the top NBA prospect in last year's class as he works to prove he's past the back injury that required surgery and limited his college career to just three games.


Here's a look of the top forwards in the draft:


MARVIN BAGLEY III


Bagley lived up to all expectations, being named The Associated Press player of the year in the Atlantic Coast Conference and a first-team All-American .


STRENGTHS: The 6-foot-11 forward checks a lot of boxes: athleticism, inside-out ability, length. He averaged 21 points and 11.1 rebounds while shooting 61 percent from the floor and nearly 40 percent from 3-point

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MOSCOW (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal can send Morocco to an early World Cup exit on Wednesday.


A second straight defeat would ensure elimination for the North African side which has not let an opposing player score in this World Cup campaign since 2015.


An own goal by Morocco forward Aziz Bouhaddouz in stoppage-time was decisive in a 1-0 loss to Iran last Friday in a game it mostly dominated.


"Because they lost the first game, Morocco will give everything. They have no other choice," Portugal forward Andre Silva said.


Portugal's opening 3-3 draw with Spain in a World Cup classic means Morocco must take at least one point before the Spanish play Iran in Wednesday's late game in Kazan.


That will mean stopping Ronaldo on the main stage of Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow after his irresistible hat trick in Sochi, including a stunning late free kick.


The Morocco defense, however, is proven to be resilient. Anchored

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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — This is unfamiliar territory for five-time World Cup champion Brazil.


The last time it didn't win its first game in a World Cup, Pele had just retired from soccer. The "Selecao" had won every one of its opening matches since 1978, a year after "The King's" farewell.


Brazil drew Sweden 1-1 back then, the same score of its match against Switzerland in Rostov-on-Don on Sunday, when all the hype surrounding Neymar and his teammates turned into disappointment and concern.


The result that ended Brazil's nine-match winning streak in openers left the national team two points behind group leader Serbia, which defeated Costa Rica 1-0 earlier Sunday.


One of the main title favorites, Brazil suddenly sees itself having to come from behind to keep alive its hopes of winning the team's first world title since 2002. But although the result felt like a loss, there was no reason to panic just yet, as Brazil remains

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Veteran coach Barry Trotz is leaving the Washington Capitals less than two weeks after leading them to the Stanley Cup.


Trotz informed the team of his decision Monday, 11 days after Washington won the championship in five games over the Vegas Golden Knights. It was the first Stanley Cup in franchise history.


"After careful consideration and consultation with my family, I am officially announcing my resignation," Trotz said. "When I came to Washington four years ago we had one goal in mind and that was to bring the Stanley Cup to the nation's capital. We had an incredible run this season culminating with our players and staff achieving our goal and sharing the excitement with our fans."


The 55-year-old Trotz went into the season without any certainty about his future when ownership and general manager Brian MacLellan last summer opted not to give him a contract extension. Trotz's situation was a significant story

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Shaun Livingston and JaVale McGee have been giving the Golden State Warriors a huge lift in these NBA Finals by making every shot they take look easy.


Then again, they've all have been easy.


Livingston is a perfect 9 for 9 from the field in this championship series. McGee is 8 for 9 — and his lone miss came when he tried a dunk and stuffed the ball into the rim instead. The average distance of their made field goals is a staggeringly close 3 1/2 feet, which is basically gimme range in golf and darn close to gimme range in basketball as well — especially at this level.


For as spectacular as LeBron James has been in the first two games, his Cleveland Cavaliers are down 2-0 largely because the Warriors' supporting cast members like Livingston and McGee — journeymen of sorts — are soundly outplaying their Cavs' counterparts.


Stephen Curry is playing like an NBA Finals MVP, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A salary-cap squeeze threatened to slam the Washington Capitals' Stanley Cup window shut. Instead, it busted it wide open.


When the dollars didn't add up to be able to keep a handful of key contributors to back-to-back Presidents' Trophy-winning teams, the Capitals went bargain hunting to sign bought-out winger Devante Smith-Pelly, who general manager Brian MacLellan termed a "project." Up against the cap at the trade deadline, they acquired lightly used defenseman Michal Kempny from Chicago.


"Some of the best acquisitions are ones that are under the radar, ones that fit almost seamlessly," coach Barry Trotz said. "Some of the best deals that we've made are those ones that, even myself I'm like, 'Hmm, that's a little bit of an upgrade, not a big one.' And they ended up being the biggest upgrades because they're not sexy names."


Kempny said "probably nobody knew my name when I came here or played

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Posted by AP Sports Staff

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry backpedaled in pure joy. He skipped, hollered and let the ball fly from everywhere with that feeling he gets when there's no way it will miss — unwavering even with a defender's hand in his face.


Curry dazzled in outdueling LeBron James as the two superstars traded big shots and celebratory moves, hitting an NBA Finals-record nine 3-pointers and scoring 33 points to lead the Golden State Warriors to a 122-103 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night for 2-0 lead.


"Pretty special night," Curry said, "and hopefully some more special things happen and we get two more wins."


Kevin Durant found his steady stroke to score 26 points to go with nine rebounds and seven assists while also handling a load of the defensive assignment against James. Klay Thompson added 20 points playing on a tender left leg to put the defending champions two wins from a repeat title they have

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Posted by AP Sports Staff

LeBron James is friends with Draymond Green, has worked out with Kevin Durant, speaks with great reverence for Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr.


They all do like each other.


And, to those watching the NBA Finals, that might be easy to forget at times.


Turns out, when the same franchises meet for the fourth consecutive year to decide the NBA championship, familiarity indeed does breed contempt. Tensions have been high at times in the first two games of this series, emotions have started to boil over on a couple of occasions, and that trend will likely be continuing until someone hoists the Larry O'Brien Trophy.


"Even with turnover from players, you have a continuity of management, continuity of culture in organizations," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. "There's the institutional memory there of the wins and the losses. And so, I think it is very meaningful and when you have the same teams that are meeting for the

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Posted by AP Sports Staff

BATAVIA, N.Y. (AP) — Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly will receive ESPN's Jimmy V Award for the toughness and perseverance he's displayed during his ongoing battle with oral cancer.


ESPN officially announced the honor Monday, a few hours after Kelly first revealed the news while attending his charitable foundation's 32nd golf tournament outside of Buffalo. Kelly will be honored during the network's ESPY Awards on July 18.


The award is named for late North Carolina State men's basketball coach Jimmy Valvano, who gave an inspirational speech at the ESPYs in 1993 less than two months before he died of cancer. Valvano most notably led the Wolfpack on an improbable run to win the 1983 NCAA Tournament championship.


Kelly had surgery to have cancer removed from his jaw in Marchafter tests revealed a recurrence. The 58-year-old Kelly was initially diagnosed five years ago with skin cancer and had been cancer

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Posted by AP Sports Staff

Steve Clifford was there the last time the Orlando Magic were a playoff contender.


He's being asked to make them one again.

Clifford was announced Wednesday as the new coach of the Magic, a team that has missed the playoffs in each of the last six years. Clifford — who spent the last five seasons as coach of the Charlotte Hornets — was an assistant coach on Stan Van Gundy's Magic staff during the team's most recent playoff run in 2012.

"We are very excited to welcome Steve back into the Magic family," Magic president Jeff Weltman said. "Steve is widely regarded throughout the NBA community as an elite coach and developer of players at all stages. His teams have always been disciplined and prepared, and have embraced the concept of playing for each other."

The team scheduled a Wednesday afternoon news conference.

Clifford is replacing Frank Vogel, who was let go after two seasons. Clifford — who missed 21 games this pastRead More

LAS VEGAS (AP) — After just one game, it's already clear this Stanley Cup Final is on thin ice. Thin, patchy, slushy, rut-riddled ice.






The Vegas Golden Knights have shocked the sporting world by playing for a championship in their inaugural season. But their incredible playoff run has taken them straight into summer in the Mojave Desert, where temperatures routinely soar past 100 degrees from May to October.






With sizzling heat outside and a frenzied sellout crowd inside, T-Mobile Arena's ice melted into an inconsistent playing surface for the Golden Knights and the Washington Capitals in the series opener.






Despite constant sprucing from attendants during timeouts, both teams chased the puck through dozens of weird bounces and unpredictable slides while Vegas rallied for a 6-4 victory.






"It was pretty bad," Washington forward Jay Beagle said. "It's so hot outside, so it's not like it's a surprise."






And it's about to

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CLEVELAND (AP) — Michael Brantley largely lost his previous two seasons to injuries.




Cleveland's left fielder has returned and is one of the best hitters in baseball again.




Brantley extended his hitting streak to 18 games by going 3 for 4, including a solo homer, and the Cleveland Indians beat the Chicago White Sox 7-3 on Tuesday night.




"When you get a really good hitter, a really good player and he feels confident and take it to the fact that he's healthy, it's fun to watch," manager Terry Francona said.




Brantley played in only 11 games two years ago because of a shoulder injury. He batted .299 last season, but was limited by an ankle injury the final two months. Brantley had surgery in October and missed the first week of this season.




This year, he's batting .343 with nine home runs and a .953 OPS.




Right-hander Mike Clevinger, who allowed one run in 6 2 /3 innings Tuesday, knows what Brantley means to the Indians.




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ATLANTA (AP) — On another day of injuries in another season filled with them, the New York Mets were trying to put their finger on the latest problem.


A pair of finger injuries sent Noah Syndergaard to the disabled list and knocked Steven Matz out of his start against the Atlanta Braves after just three innings Tuesday.


Syndergaard was placed on the 10-day DL before the game with a sore right index finger, though the Mets are hopeful the right-hander will only miss one start.


Then, in an almost surreal development for the injury-plagued team, Matz exited with discomfort in the middle finger of his left hand. Leading 4-0, he went out to warm up for the fourth inning but suddenly stopped throwing and began looking at his pitching hand.


New York manager Mickey Callaway and a trainer popped out of the dugout to examine Matz. The pitcher flexed the finger a bit before heading slowly to the dugout, his night over after

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BOSTON (AP) — Red Sox manager Alex Cora doesn't think about his team's torrid start.


He wonders how much better it can be.


"We're good right now, don't get me wrong," Cora said after Boston beat the Toronto Blue Jays 8-3 on Tuesday night for its major league-leading 38th victory. "But we feel there's room to improve. It's fun right now, but I can't wait."


Sandy Leon hit a home run and two doubles, Xander Bogaerts also homered and Rick Porcello took a three-hitter into the seventh inning, helping the Red Sox match the second-best start in franchise history.


J.D. Martinez also had two of Boston's six doubles as the Red Sox (38-17) won for the eighth time in 10 games. Only the 1946 Boston team that started 42-13 with Ted Williams and Bobby Doerr returning from World War II had a better start through 55 games.


Every batter in the Red Sox lineup had one hit by the sixth inning.


"That tells you right there everybody's c

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Posted by AP Sports Staff

DETROIT (AP) — Ian Kinsler has been working tirelessly in the batting cage, trying to turn around what has been his worst season offensively.


For one game at least, it paid off.


Kinsler hit a three-run homer in the second inning as part of a 3-for-3 performance to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Detroit Tigers 9-2 Tuesday night.


He entered the game on a 2-for-27 slump during the current road trip. After the victory, he raised his batting average to .195 with about one-third of the season finished.


"Long time coming," Kinsler said. "Yeah, it's definitely a relief."


Luis Valbuena homered twice and Martin Maldonado added a two-run homer in the eighth inning for Los Angeles.


Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he hopes the fence-clearing shots will help Kinsler and Valbuena — who is hitting .234 — gain confidence after both put in extra work to fix their swings.


"The process only keeps you going for a while," he said.

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BALTIMORE (AP) — The season is barely two months old, and the Washington Nationals have already been asked to adjust to a new manager, overcome a rash of injuries and jump into bounce-back mode following a poor start.


With Bryce Harper leading the way, they've handled every obstacle while becoming the hottest team in the big leagues.


Harper hit his NL-leading 17th home run , Mark Reynolds added a solo shot and Washington beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 Tuesday night to extend its road winning streak to nine games.


The Nationals have lost veteran Howie Kendrick for the season, are without sluggers Adam Eaton and Ryan Zimmerman and are still waiting for three-time All-Star Daniel Murphy to make his season debut.


No matter.


Washington has won 20 of its past 26 games, including five in a row, since starting 11-16. The Nationals own the best road mark in the majors, and the nine-game run matches the team's longest since

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Posted by AP Sports Staff

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Michael Wacha is tweaking his delivery and getting results.


The St. Louis righty pitched two-hit ball for 6 2/3 innings and the Cardinals hit three home runs to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-1 on Tuesday night.


Harrison Bader, Matt Carpenter and Francisco Pena each hit solo drives to help St. Louis top the NL Central leaders.


Wacha (6-1) allowed just one run. He walked four and struck out three, and combined with two relievers to limit the Brewers to three hits.


"They've got a tough lineup over there. They've got a really good team," Wacha said of the Brewers, who had won 10 of their previous 12 games. "It's all about execution out there on the mound. Guys were playing great defense behind me."


Wacha improved to 6-0 over his last 10 starts with a 2.31 ERA in that span.


"He was in control all the way," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He ran into a little bit of trouble late.


"He's not relying on

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PITTSBURGH (AP) — Anthony Rizzo has no intention of easing up at home plate, even after Major League Baseball said he should have been called out for interference when he took out Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Elias Diaz and sparked a debate about what is — and what isn't — a legal slide.


Then again, if given the choice, the Chicago Cubs first baseman prefers to trot home instead. When he does, the Cubs are as dangerous as any team in baseball.


Rizzo shook off the boos and sparked a late rally with his ninth home run of the season as Chicago beat the reeling Pirates 8-6 on Tuesday night.


A day after his aggressive tack toward Diaz in an effort to break up a double play drew a review from MLB director of baseball operations Joe Torre , Rizzo doubled in the first inning and sent a solo shot off Edgar Santana (2-1) just over the railing of the Clemente Wall in right field to knot the game at 4 in the seventh.


"I feel

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ATLANTA (AP) — For both the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets, this felt so familiar.


Another stunning, walk-off win for the Braves.


Another excruciating day for a Mets team that seems downright cursed.


Johan Camargo homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night to give Atlanta a 7-6 win over the Mets, who squandered a pair of four-run leads and lost two more pitchers to injuries.


Camargo's liner off Gerson Bautista just cleared the right-field wall , the Braves' second walk-off homer in two days against their NL East rival.


"I knew who was pitching and how hard he throws," Camargo said through a translator. "As soon as I hit it, I thought it might have a chance."


Asdrubal Cabrera homered twice and Adrian Gonzalez also went deep for the Mets. But it wasn't enough for an injury-plagued squad that keeps losing key players.


Before the game, the Mets placed Noah Syndergaard on the 10-day disabled list

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