Football Player Holding Ball

Seahawks’ Olsen To Miss At Least Two Months

Seattle Seahawks veteran tight end Greg Olsen’s season is in doubt after the 35-year-old was escorted off the pitch during the team’s 28-21 Thursday Night Football victory over NFC West rivals Arizona Cardinals. Tests have since revealed that Olsen has suffered a ruptured plantar fascia, meaning that he will miss around two months and potentially the rest of the Seahawks’ season.

Olsen pulled up with the non-contact foot injury in the early stages of the final quarter in Thursday’s matchup with the Cardinals. The experienced tight end then limped off the field with the help of a couple of assistants and was evaluated briefly in the medical tent before heading to the locker room.

“It’s a little early, but he has a fascia tear injury that he has had before in his other foot,” Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll explained after the game. “He knows exactly what it is, and sometimes when it ruptures like it did, we think, it’s the best thing for a quick recovery. So we’ll see what happens and wish him the best and hopefully he can make it back. The fact that he’s already had this before really helps him understand what’s coming up.”

“I don’t know (if Olsen will make it back this season) yet,” Carroll said. “There’s been some marvelous returns for guys who do rupture their fascia that would blow you away. Here right now, he’s really in a lot of discomfort and all that, but we’ll see what happens. I can’t tell you more than that, that’s why it’s a little early to be talking about it.”

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Head coach Carroll is optimistic for an Olsen return to the side this year despite the severity of the injury as it is one the player has faced before. However, it could take a deep Seahawks playoff run if we are to see Olsen on the field of play again before the season is over. If Olsen is unable to return in time, or the Seahawks’ season ends prematurely, Thursday night may have been the last time NFL fans got to see Olsen taking the field.

The former Panther is 35 now and even before the start of the 2020 season there were rumours that he would retire from playing and take a role in the Fox broadcasting team. It remains to be seen whether Olsen has the desire to continue playing once he recovers from this injury, and whether or not he will be a desirable enough asset to continue being paid by an NFL team.

Olsen was not the only casualty for the Seahawks on Thursday as an already injury-ravaged backfield suffered further losses. Recently elevated from the practice squad, running back Bo Scarbrough had 31 yards rushing on 6 attempts in his debut before leaving the game in the fourth quarter after landing awkwardly following a rushing attempt. Starting right tackle Brandon Shell also left the game in the fourth quarter after injuring his ankle.

“Brandon Shell got a sprained ankle,” Carroll said. “I don’t know how bad it is. I don’t know that. Chris (Carson) will play next week, unless he has a setback, he’ll be ready to go,” Carroll said. “Rashaad Penny is only a couple weeks away from being back.”

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“We’re getting stronger, if this works out right,” Carroll continued. “We could be really healthy going down the stretch here.”

It was not all bad news for the Seahawks on Thursday night however, as the team came up with a clutch win over division rivals to halt a two-game losing streak. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap made the game-sealing play, a sack on Kyler Murray on fourth-and-10 with less than a minute left on the clock. The former Bengals pass rusher glided past right tackle Kelvin Beachum before grabbing Murray with two hands and slinging him to the floor to send the Seahawks players and staff into fits of celebration.

“They brought me here to do one job. I would like to say that I was happy to get it done,” Dunlap said, via Seattle P-I. “This is just a start. I still got a full story to write. I still got to prove a point and show up when called upon. This is something that I personally see myself being able to do for years to come, and I hope that you got a taste of it today, and there’s going to be more games to play. I just have to continue to show up. This is what they brought me here for. I’m just happy I could deliver.”

Dunlap was traded to the Seahawks this year after spending his first 11 seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 31-year-old saw his playing time diminish in Cincinnati but his strong play has continued through his move to Seattle and the defensive end finished with two sacks, three QB hits, and four tackles in an impressive Thursday Night Football display.

Soccer Stadium

Guardiola Signs Two-Year Man City Extension

After much speculation in recent months, Pep Guardiola has signed a two-year contract extension that will keep him with English soccer team Manchester City until at least 2023. The Spaniard previously had just seven months remaining on his existing deal, raising concern amongst City fans that he would depart at the end of this campaign.

These fears were exacerbated by the fact that Guardiola has already been at the helm in Manchester for a longer period than any of his previous jobs, as well as the fact that City continue to struggle in Europe and did not lift the league trophy last year. Now however, fans can rest assured that Guardiola is still fully committed to this squad and will likely receive the financial backing to continue building it.

“It is testament to the qualities of the man that Pep Guardiola’s passion and intelligent approach are now woven into the very fabric of the football we play and our culture as a club,” Man City chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak said in a statement announcing the contract extension. “That impact has been central to our success during his tenure and it is why I am delighted that he shares our view that there is so much more to be achieved both on and off the field.”

“Pep’s contract extension is the natural next step in a journey which has evolved over many years. It is a product of the mutual trust and respect that exists between him and the entire Club. It also goes to the stability and creativity at the heart of our football operations. Importantly it is a validation of the football structure and philosophy that has been built over more than a decade and to which he has contributed so much.

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“I’m sure all City fans share my delight in this new agreement and in anticipating the exciting opportunities that, with continued hard work, are there to be taken.”

Guardiola has had a huge effect on Man City since he joined in 2016, changing their style of play and taking them to domestic heights that no team has reached before; the team lifted the 2017/18 English Premier League trophy with a record haul of 100 points and 106 goals. The following season saw Guardiola and his side managed to repeat the dominance, picking up 98 points to win the league in a season that saw them become the first ever English team to pick up every single domestic trophy on offer – the EPL, FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield.

Success in England is only a continuation of Guardiola’s fantastic career to date with the 49-year-old having picked up an incredible 29 major trophies in just 11 full seasons as manager. 14 of those came in four seasons as the head coach of Barcelona, including the club’s first ever treble in his first year there. Guardiola would pick up a second Champions League trophy before he left Barcelona in 2012, but the world-renowned coach has failed to win one since, despite taking the helm at German giants Bayern Munich and then Man City.

“Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome in the Club and in the city itself – from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the Chairman and Owner,” Guardiola said. “Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies, and we are all very proud of that success.”

“Having that kind of support is the best thing any manager can have. I have everything I could possibly want to do my job well and I am humbled by the confidence the Owner, Chairman, Ferran and Txiki have shown in me to continue for two more years after this season.

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“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving, and I am very excited and about helping Manchester City do that.”

There has been further positive contract news for Man City this week as star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne announced that he still wants to play in Manchester beyond this season and is even in talks with the club for a new contract.

There had been speculation that the 29-year-old superstar would move elsewhere at the end of this season and the Belgian had said that he would be forced to look elsewhere if Man City’s European ban was upheld. Luckily for City fans, the ban has been overturned and it looks as if one of the club’s most prized assets will be around for another couple of years at least.

Speaking to Belgian TV station VTM Nieuws, De Bruyne said: “I am at a good club [with] good owners.

“We are a bit in talks – not advanced. At the moment I am doing the talks myself.

“I would like to stay with the club, so it’s easy. If I didn’t want to stay, it would take someone to mediate. But when you want to stay, it’s not so difficult.”

Miami Dolphins Football

Dolphins Donate $75 Million To Cancer Hospital

The Miami Dolphins have committed to donate $75 million to cancer research at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, an amount they say is the largest ever pledged to a charity by a sports organization. The donation is intended to provide year-round support to South Florida’s premier cancer center.

The Dolphins have partnered with Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of the University of Miami Health System and South Florida’s only NCI-designated cancer center, since 2010 and now the efforts have been renamed the Dolphins Cancer Challenge movement. In that decade, over $39 million has been raised to support the Center’s initiatives. These include finding a cure for cancer, as well as fighting disparities in care for minority communities, helping medically underserved populations, reducing risks for firefighters and other first responders, and preventative care habits.

“It is an honor to serve my second year as Chair of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge, particularly during this momentous occasion,” said Dr. Jacqueline A. Travisano, EVP and COO of the University of Miami. “This announcement is a true testament to the power of our South Florida community coming together to fund cancer research. The fight against cancer is deeply personal to many, including me. It is only through dedicated teamwork, such as the extraordinary partnership between Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Miami Dolphins, that we can succeed in ending cancer.

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The Dolphins Cancer Challenge normally hosts an annual cycling event but the team has now committed to a more comprehensive annual campaign, raising funds year-round to support the signature annual cycling effort. More than 300 active clinical trials will be supported via these funds, as well as various survivorship programs and the advancement of breakthrough cancer treatments such as immunotherapy.

“At a time when our country is facing economic and medical hardships, the health and well-being of the South Florida community, including those affected by cancer, remains a top area of focus for our community efforts,” said Miami Dolphins Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel. “We continue to be inspired by the high-level research and patient care at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and are proud to expand our support.”

In recognition of the Dolphins Cancer Challenge’s continuing contributions to the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the University of Miami have announced that they will be renaming their courtyard the Sylvester Courtyard. The courtyard will pay homage to past and present supporters of the Dolphin Challenge Cancer and will intend to inspire others for future participation. Each Sylvester location across South Florida will also recognize the Dolphins Cancer Challenge.

“Physicians and scientists at Sylvester are more committed than ever to developing new, more effective, and less toxic ways to treat cancer and to prevent it. We just launched an Experimental Therapeutics program which will accelerate our efforts to bring promising discoveries from our laboratories to our patients. This incredible partnership with the Miami Dolphins has supported vitally important research at Sylvester for a decade. We are extremely grateful for this renewed commitment to continue working side by side in pursuit of new cancer cures,” said Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

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Despite the challenges that the global pandemic has posed, the Dolphins Cancer Challenge is planning to go ahead with its marquee annual event in spring, starting with its famous 100-mile bike ride. The event is due to take place on April 10, 2021, and participants will be able to choose to ride, run or walk on a route of their choice, or with others at the Hard Rock Stadium.

Details on how to register or volunteer will be available online over the coming months.

“The University of Miami is grateful to the Miami Dolphins Foundation for its renewed commitment to this extraordinary South Florida tradition,” said University of Miami President, Julio Frenk.

“The DCC has become a beacon of hope in South Florida. Together, we will continue to create a spirit of community around our cherished goal – giving patients the gift of life and freedom from the pain and suffering that comes from fighting cancer.”

The NFL continued its theme of charity last week as Bills supporters rallied around their franchise quarterback Josh Allen to raise over $200,000 in donations to the Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo in memory of the 24-year-old’s recently deceased grandmother.

“Good morning #BillsMafia On the hospital’s 3rd birthday today, you gave us the best gift by donating over $200,000 in memory of @JoshAllenQB grandmother. And special thanks to the non-Bills fans jumping in to support our cause as well! This is special and we are grateful,” Oishei’s Children’s Hospital posted on social media after the donations were made.

The movement garnered plenty of attention on social media and soon moved beyond just the ‘Bills Mafia’. Fans from all over the world sent both donations and well wishes to Allen, who was quick to express his gratitude for the sentiment and help given to a hospital he has partnered with regularly.

Soccer Clears & Ball Close Up

Scotland Qualify For First Major Tournament in 20 Years

The Scottish national soccer side have qualified for their first major tournament in over two decades following two dramatic qualifying games that were both settled by a penalty shootout.

Scotland will participate in the European Championships next year and have been drawn in a group with fierce rivals England.

Last week saw the final qualifier played in a matchup between Serbia and underdogs Scotland.

Ryan Christie gave the Scots the lead early in the second half and they looked to be cruising to a slender victory when heartbreak struck in the final minute and Serbia equalised via a free header from a corner. An uneventful extra time then ensued before Scotland scored all five penalties for the second qualifier in a row to send players, fans and staff into delirium.

The last time the people of Scotland were able to cheer on their side at a major tournament was the 1998 World Cup; the team were knocked out of the group stage, scoring just two goals in the process. Qualifying pain has been the standard since then and fans will be hoping they get to support their team in person at next year’s rearranged European Championship.

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“It is just an amazing night. From the start, we kind of believed. Obviously, the last few camps we have picked up so much belief in each other,” man of the match and goalscorer Ryan Christie told Sky Sports News. “Even the way the game went tonight, conceding that late equaliser and still digging in. Penalties and you’re away from home but big Marshy again comes up. He’s unbelievable.

“When you are on the pitch, you always feel like you can influence it. When you are off, you can’t watch. Those penalties are the worst thing I have ever been through. It’s just everything.”

Christie has now hit the back of the net four times in his last five international fixtures, having scored none in his last nine appearances for Scotland. His second half opener was the first goal scored by a Scottish player against Serbia, with the two nations having met twice previously. The win also marked Scotland’s ninth successive international match without defeat, their longest such run since 1930.

On the other hand, the result signals another agonizing qualifying campaign for the Serbs, who have now failed to qualify for the European Championship on every attempt since competing as an independent country for the first time in 2006.

“Normally, we fall at the final hurdle or we have the glorious failure, but I thought we were the better team in the game and deserved to be in front. We just couldn’t get the second goal to kill them off,” Scotland head coach Steve Clarke said after the game.

“To concede then from a set play when they were throwing everybody into the box was a big setback, but you have to be so proud of the players, the way they responded to that.

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“That was a sore one as we were really close to where we wanted to be. The reaction was to dig in during extra time, and we managed to do that. We got to penalties and we’ve managed to produce again from the penalty spot. It’s a magnificent night for everyone in Scotland.

“We said we’d try to put smiles back on faces and I hope they managed to enjoy the match as we did here in Belgrade. They can smile tomorrow.”

The group stage has now been finalized for the rearranged Euros next year and Scotland will face rivals England, World Cup finalists Croatia and the Czech Republic. Expectations will be relatively low as the country faces a stern group in its return to major international football, but fans will just be happy that they are finally back.

“Unbelievable! The shoot-out was excruciating! I am buzzing! David Marshall is a hero to the whole country! But the standards of all the penalties was brilliant,” former Scotland midfielder Darren Fletcher said following the conclusion of the match.

“Talk about character. Those lads weren’t stepping up thinking, ‘Imagine if I’m the one to miss’. They were positive – and then Marshall was the hero.

“I fancied every one of them stepping up. There was something about Mitrovic; he was saving himself for fifth. Our main striker stepped up first – bang, into the back of the net. People thinking about glory and headlines; that’s what I thought about Mitrovic.

“Then Big ‘Marsh’ – what a hand.”

“Marsh was in the squad when I was there. He’s got around 40 caps now but for a lot of his career he has had to play second or third choice to Allan McGregor and Craig Gordon. He always turned up when Scotland needed him.

“I’m delighted for him to play such a big part, obviously the penalty save was different class, his reaction to see if it would be allowed was iconic.

Football Player

Javon Wims Suspended After On Field Punching Incident

The NFL has issued the Chicago Bears wide receiver a two-match suspension without pay for his actions in the week eight matchup against the New Orleans Saints. After a play was whistled dead in the third quarter, Wims ran up to Saints cornerback C.J. Gardner-Johnson and punched him twice in the helmet, causing a mass brawl between the two sets of players.

Earlier on in the third quarter, Wims and Gardner-Johnson had been seen in a heated exchange at the end of a play, with Gardner-Johnson appearing to yank Wims’ mouthpiece before the two were separated. Before throwing the two punches, Wims seemed to rip Gardner-Johnson’s mouthpiece out in retaliation. Wims drew a 15-yard penalty and was quickly ejected from the game.

“I’m just going to continue going back, I am really, really bothered by that third-quarter incident. That bothers me. I’m being completely honest with you guys. It bothers me,” Bears head coach Matt Nagy said in Sunday’s post-game press conference.

“It’s brutal,” Nagy said Sunday. “You go from second-and-5 to second-and-20. That’s hard. What I don’t like is you come out, it’s a tie game and you have an opportunity to do some things and we go the other way. I felt like it took the sting out, the fire, for a little bit. We had to regroup. The defense, at least in that situation with the field position, was able to hold them and not let them score touchdowns. But we had to regroup offensively on the sideline and just let these guys know, ‘Let’s go. Get on track and get out of that.’ That’s kind of where we were with that.”

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“We’ve talked to him and told him that that’s not how things go here,” Nagy said. “One of Javon’s strengths is his character, who he is as a person. He’s since apologized. But you don’t have that. There’s no part of that in this game. That’s not how we roll here.”

The NFL have decided to uphold Wims’ two-game ban and have suspended him for violating the NFL unsportsmanlike conduct rules. These rules prohibit 1) Striking an opponent in the head, neck or face with a wrist, arm, elbow or hand; 2) And any act which is contrary to the generally understood principles of sportsmanship.

The suspension means Wims, who has been with the Bears for three years now, will miss crucial upcoming games against the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings and be eligible to return to the field of play on November 17. The former seventh-round Georgia draft pick has picked up five receptions for 35 yards and one touchdown in his eight games so far this season.

NFL Network reported Monday that Wims told Chicago Bears staff that Gardner-Johnson had attempted to spit on him in their previous disagreements on the day. Gardner-Johnson has refuted these claims, instead arguing that the attack was relatively unprovoked. The Saints cornerback was punched by his own teammate Michael Thomas on the practice field earlier in the season, meaning that Thomas was forced to sit out his team’s week five narrow overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers.

“It ain’t got nothing to do with me. If he’s acting out, that’s on him,” Gardner-Johnson said. “It wasn’t no incident. We won the game. I mean, everybody, it’s a lot of he said, he said. Ain’t nothing happened. Nobody got spit on.

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“Shouldn’t be nowhere near the field of play when the game’s going on. So I ain’t answering no more questions about that.”

Just one play after Wims’ loss of discipline resulted in his ejection and a 15-yard penalty for his team, Bears quarterback Nick Foles threw an interception to Marshon Lattimore at his team’s 39-yard line. The Saints were able to capitalize, converting the possession into a Will Lutz field goal to take a 16-13 lead.

The Saints went on to clinch the overtime win and progress to a record of 5-2 ahead of their crucial Sunday Night Football matchup with division rivals Tampa Bay. For the Bears, the hard-to-take defeat was their second on the bounce and moved them to 5-3 and second place in the NFC North.

“We learned that Chauncey Gardner-Johnson knows how to rub people up the wrong way. It wasn’t quite Gervonta Davis’ vicious knockout punch against Leo Santa Cruz on Saturday night, but Javon Wims threw two right hands at the Saints’ safety before all hell broke loose,” NFL journalist Cameron Hogwood said on the matter.

“That’s the same Chauncey Gardner-Johnson that was punched by Saints receiver Michael Thomas in practice earlier this season. Wims, responding to Gardner-Johnson poking Anthony Miller in the eye, was subsequently ejected from what might prove his final game for some time.

“As for the football, Matt Nagy invited further criticism of his play-calling as the Bears went punt, interception, punt, turnover on downs to begin the second half before falling short in overtime. There’s only so long this Bears defense can continue to hold out for its offense.”

Ivy League Sports Canceled For Fall And Winter Amid Covid-19 Concerns 

Ivy League schools  announced this week that they will not be competing in intercollegiate sports this winter due to the Covid-19 pandemic worsening exponentially in the US. The Ivy League Council of Presidents stated in a press release that all fall sport competitions will also not be rescheduled for the spring, however, they already alluded to that decision back in the summer. 

The Ivy League’s will also be postponing all intercollegiate athletic competitions for the spring sport season until at least February 2021, when more clarity on a vaccine will hopefully be made available. 

“Regrettably, the current trends regarding transmission of the COVID-19 virus and subsequent protocols that must be put in place are impeding our strong desire to return to athletic competition in a safe manner.”

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The US has been posting new daily record highs for Covid-19 cases throughout the past week. In fact, over 100,000 new cases have appeared every single day in America for the past week; Friday marked the highest number of cases with over 132,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

Other collegiate leagues are also struggling to continue playing as the coronavirus pandemic continues to worsen in America. For example, Alabama, Texas A&M, Georgia, Auburn, Louisiana State, Mississippi State, Missouri and Tennessee won’t be able to participate in the Southeastern Conference this weekend because four of the teams don’t have enough players due to positive tests appearing forcing most of the athletes to quarantine. 

The winter sports that are currently projected to cease any sort of practices or operations include basketball and hockey; football is in the weird middle ground of being indefinitely suspended in the meantime.

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The council made it clear that athletes will still be able to train and practice as long as they’re following their state’s/communities health and safety procedures at all times. However, the varying policies implemented throughout all 50 states is part of the reason this pandemic has been so hard to get under control in the US. 

Winter and fall athletes will not be losing a season of Ivy league or NCAA eligibility whether or not they enroll, according to the release, due to the severity of the pandemic. The Ivy league schools involved in these new policies include Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Yale University. 

“We look forward to the day when intercollegiate athletics — which are such an important part of the fabric of our campus communities — will safely return in a manner and format we all know and appreciate.”

The council went on to explain that they would be closely monitoring and evaluating the coronavirus pandemic as well as new policies and procedures that begin to be put into play as Joe Biden transitions into taking office this January. They’re hope is that as long as they continue to listen to health experts and scientists, they can return back to the field without any worry soon.

Football

49ers Suffer Devastating Double Injury Blow

In a season in which they have already suffered an unprecedented amount of injuries, the San Francisco 49ers came out of their Week 8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks with a pair of devastating long-term losses. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has suffered another high-ankle sprain to go with his one earlier in the season, while star tight end George Kittle will likely miss the remainder of the season with a fractured foot.

The fresh injury blows are particularly hard to take for the defending NFC champions as they continue to endure one of the most injury-hit seasons an NFL franchise has ever faced. Both Kittle and Garoppolo have already missed time on the field this year due to injury and the Week 8 loss to the Seahawks also saw Tevin Coleman aggravate a knee injury, adding yet another to a growing injury list that already included the likes of Raheem Mostert, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, Richard Sherman and Deebo Samuel.

The 49ers now have a decision to make with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo after the 29-year-old suffered his second ankle sprain of the season. Surgery may fix the issue permanently, but this would signal the end of the former Patriot’s season. Former undrafted free agent Nick Mullens will take over until Garoppolo’s return.

“He essentially had a whole new one, just on the same foot,” Kyle Shanahan revealed on Tuesday. “When you have those high ankle sprains, you re-injure them a lot. But it was a different way that he did it, so it’s basically doing it all over again in a different way. It’s usually four to six weeks with those high ankle sprains, it is worse than the last one.”

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“We’re just getting different doctors’ opinions now,” Shanahan continued. “Whatever is best for him long term is obviously what we will decide on. But if he does need a surgery, then it will be all year. If not, then we’re hoping six weeks and we get a chance to get him back in the end.”

“Every week is a new week and you have to play with the cards that you’re dealt. I can’t speak much on the identity, but it’s all about making plays. You know, ‘who’s going to make the plays?’ and that’s what we have to get back to. Just making plays, executing at a high level and focusing on us.”

Injuries have been more frequent across the NFL this year as teams and players deal with a lack of a proper preseason and other Covid-related factors. The 49ers have been disproportionately hit though and head coach Kyle Shanahan has been given a mammoth task keeping this team competitive with so many injuries to starters.

As expected, Shanahan has risen to the task admirably and even after the loss to the Seahawks his team sit at .500. However, the NFC West is extremely competitive this year and a record of 4-4 is only good enough for fourth place. 49ers fans had been hoping that the team kept afloat while it awaited the return of a number of key figures but the latest injury news means that a playoff run is currently looking an unlikely prospect.

“No disrespect to Garoppolo, I think the Kittle one is more damaging than Garoppolo,” Good Morning Football host Kyle Brandt said of the injuries. “And I say that out of respect to Kittle.

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“I think sometimes we try to be apologist for teams and say ‘they’re banged up’, and then there’s a little bit of an eye roll because that’s just the price of playing football. But nobody is banged up like these guys; the Kittle injury is devastating.

“All over the field, there are household-name guys, Super Bowl champs, guys who are first-team All Pro; I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like it this early in the season.

“Kyle Shanahan is a hell of a coach, but he’d better be Einstein if they’re going to make it to the playoffs.”

With another injury to Garoppolo and the fact that when he has played, his performances have not been of a particularly high quality, rumours have surfaced in the last week that the 49ers may look to move on from the 29-year-old.

“I’d argue that Kittle is the most valuable player in this entire league that doesn’t play quarterback,” Peter Schrager, also of Good Morning Football, said.

“Kittle is so important to that team because, when the offence goes, he is not only a receiver, but he is also a blocker and sets the tone.

“The Kittle loss is a heart-breaker and I think this might be it for the 49ers. I’m the biggest believer in Kyle Shanahan, in what that locker room has in as far as unity, but to lose Kittle – again, not to insult Garoppolo – when he is not on the field, they are not the same team.”

Dodgers Win World Series For First Time In 30 Years

After a wait of more than thirty years, the Los Angeles Dodgers have been crowned World Series champions for the seventh time. The victory comes in a Covid-impacted season that has looked like no other before it and signals a successful year for Los Angeles sports; the Lakers also picked up a championship just weeks ago. Playing in front of a reduced capacity crowd mainly consisting of Dodgers fans at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the Dodgers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 in Game Six to clinch the title and send their fans into raptures. It was not all plain sailing for the Dodgers, however, as third baseman Justin Turner was forced to leave the contest before it concluded because of a positive Covid-19 test. Celebrations on-field as well as in the stands took place with masks on.

“It’s a bittersweet night for us,” MLB commissioner Manfred said in an on-field interview on FOX Sports. “We’re glad to be done. I think it’s a great accomplishment for our players to get the season completed, but obviously we’re concerned when any of our players test positive. We learned during the game that Justin was a positive. He was immediately isolated to prevent spread.” The Dodgers have been dominant in baseball over the past half a decade and have appeared in three of the past four World Series, losing all of them. The last time the LA team won it all was in 1988, a full ten years before the inception of the Tampa Bay Rays franchise. This was the Rays’ second World Series appearance, also losing the first in 2008, going down 4-1 to the Philadelphia Phillies.

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“I had a crazy feeling that came to fruition,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “It’s just a special group of players, organization, just all that we’ve kind of overcome, I just knew that we weren’t going to be denied this year. We said it. This is our year. Everyone in this ballpark wearing Dodger blue, everyone all over the world wearing Dodger blue, never wavered. This is our year.” Because of the pandemic, the MLB was forced to play its 2020 regular season without any fans in attendance. The season was dramatically shortened from 162 games to 60 and unlike in the NBA, WNBA and NHL, there was no bubble format, meaning teams travelled to and use their own stadiums. In the National League, designated hitters were implemented for the first time in history, while the league also introduced seven-inning doubleheader games, mainly used to counteract the impact of Covid-19 outbreaks on the St Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins. If a game required extra innings, each team would begin their half inning with a runner on second base.

“This team was incredible all throughout the year, all throughout the postseason, all throughout the quarantine,” said Corey Seager, who drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth and became the eighth player to win the League Championship Series MVP and World Series MVP in the same year. “We never stopped. We were ready to go as soon as the bell was called. And once it did, we kept rolling.” “You know, that’s things you think about when you’re a kid, man,” Seager said. “You wonder what it’s like, you strive to hear that, and to do it with this team and this group, man, it couldn’t be any more special.” “It’s absolutely phenomenal,” he continued. “This team was incredible all throughout the year, all throughout the postseason, all throughout the quarantine. We never stopped. We were ready to go as soon as the bell [sounded]. And once it did, we kept rolling.

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“We had an unbelievable postseason on both sides of the field. We ran bases, we pitched, we played defense. We scored runs when we needed to. You can’t say enough about what we did this year.” “To be able to win and to be able to do it with a team like this, it means everything,” Seager told reporters. “Obviously going through the injuries and everything like that and missing out on a World Series chance, it hurt. But to be able to come back and get back in the same place with this core and to know what it feels like to lose, it’s special.”

“You really can’t,” Seager said, asked after the game if it was possible to put the implications of the final inning out of your head. “The nerves definitely start creeping in towards the end of the game. But you’ve got to shut them out. You got to finish the job. We know more than anybody that the game is not over until you make 27 outs. So to be able to finally accomplish that and get the last out, it’s surreal, and it’s unbelievable.”

American Football NFL

Antonio Brown Returns To The NFL

Controversial free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown has signed for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one year after being released by two franchises in a matter of weeks. Brown is currently serving an eight-match suspension for improper conduct and so will not be available to play for the Bucs until their week nine matchup against NFC South rivals the New Orleans Saints.

Signing on a one year-deal, Brown joins an already elite tier wide receiving corps in Tampa consisting of Pro Bowl caliber playmakers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, as well as 23-year-old Scotty Miller, who has already developed impressive chemistry with Tom Brady and amassed the most yards of any Bucs wideout so far this year. “This is something Jason (Licht) and I have been talking about every couple weeks, ever since the injuries to our other guys,” said Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians on the signing. “When the time was right, we would see if we can pull the trigger and fit him into what we wanted to get done. And we’ll see. If Antonio does what I think he’s going to do, he’s going to be fine.”

So far this season, like most of the NFL, the Bucs have struggled with injuries and have had to rely on young and fringe players. Star wide receiver duo have barely been on the field together and when they have it has never been at full fitness. Brown offers the Bucs a third elite option and if all three can get on the field at the same time it will be daunting for any NFL defense.

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“It’s an insurance policy,” said Arians. “When we don’t have Mike and we don’t have Chris, why not have another Pro Bowl caliber player that’s available and fits everything we need? So why not? We have good players, and you can’t have enough of them. In Chicago, we had one of our top guys out there on one leg. Why not have another one?” “He looks fantastic,” Arians said Wednesday, via team transcript. “I think we had really good conversations today, he and I. He was in the meetings and everything and he’s working with Anthony Piroli and the strength staff. He looks in great shape and ready to go next week.”

“It went really well, and he and I had a good conversation this morning,” Arians said. “He’ll be ready to go next week and in good shape.” “He wants to play. If you want to play, you’ve got to do it. In our conversation today, it’s, ‘Go to football practice, go to work, come home and go back to work.’ He’s all in. I don’t think we’ll have any problems with those things.” Despite barely featuring this season and last, Brown has the most touchdown catches in the league since 2014 and boasts a whole host of pedigree. During his career, Brown has played in 131 games and caught 841 passes for 11,263 yards and 75 touchdowns. Since 2010, the only players with more touchdown receptions than Brown are tight ends Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski, who is also with the Bucs.

“I had a lot of people support me over the years, realizing that I was far from where I needed to be and they would guide me and provide me with the help that I needed as a player to reach my potential,” Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady said last Wednesday. “I think that’s — how you impact people, and we talk about that a lot as professional athletes — how you impact people on the field is one thing, how you impact people off the field is another. So whether that’s teammates that you can impact or people in the community that you can impact, I think all those things are important.

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Brown joins a team widely regarded as in the Super Bowl hunt and with arguably the most complete team in the NFL. The Bucs currently sit atop the NFC South with a record of 5-2 and a healthy blend of young talent and experience. Time will tell if the addition of Brown will put the cherry on an already tasty looking cake or spoil the dish but for now, Bucs fans will be struggling to contain their excitement.

“You just try your best every day, realizing that a lot of people weren’t born with the same advantages that I’ve had growing up, they weren’t born with the same background or support systems that I had. I think that when you recognize that and bring that to relationships, all’s you can do is the best you can do,” Brady said.

“For me, I think that’s something I really enjoy still about playing football, is that I probably have more perspective than just about every player in the league right now, based on my years of experience and what I’ve seen. I want to see other guys succeed. And I think a lot of joy in my experience comes from seeing other people be their best and seeing people succeed in ways that can set their family up. I think that’s a really important aspect of football for me.”

Soccer ball in stadium

English Soccer Player Takes on Politicians.. Again

Manchester United soccer star Marcus Rashford has promised to keep on representing and fighting for vulnerable families as UK parliament members vote against providing free school meals to low-income families over the holidays.

Rashford recently received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list for his efforts campaigning and fundraising for struggling families across the country. However, members of the UK Parliament recently voted down the latest proposal backed by Rashford by a count of 322 to 261. A positive vote would have resulted in the extension of a scheme that provides 1.5 million children with food vouchers during the school holidays until at least Easter next year.

The opposition party, Labour, had called the motion to a vote but it always looked likely to fail as a number of Conservative MPs had expressed their disagreement with a policy and their intentions to vote it down, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“Put aside all the noise, the digs, the party politics, and let’s focus on the reality. A significant number of children are going to bed tonight not only hungry but feeling like they do not matter because of comments that have been made today,” Rashford wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.

“We must stop stigmatizing, judging and pointing fingers. Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity.”

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Rashford was talking about comments from various members of the Conservative party that criticized the scheme and even suggested that the Manchester United player should stick to football and stay out of politics.

Ben Bradley MP hit out against Rashford’s comments on Twitter and argued that the current government was in fact doing enough for vulnerable families and tweeted “extending freebies are a sticking plaster not a solution.”

“1.5million children have little to no access to food resources due to the 2-child UC cap.

Nobody is pointing fingers, I’m asking we work together to protect our most vulnerable children dealing with the devastating effects of the pandemic. This is nothing to do with politics,” he said.

Meanwhile, Conservative Party MP David Simmonds said that Rashford’s time receiving free school meals had occurred under a Labor government and Brendan Clarke-Smith MP said he opposed the idea of “nationalizing children.”

“Instead, we need to get back to the idea of taking responsibility, and this means less celebrity virtue-signaling on Twitter by proxy and more action to tackle the real causes of child poverty,” said Clarke-Smith.

22-year-old Rashford gathered national support earlier in the year for his initial efforts campaigning to get the school meal holiday scheme up and running. Back then, Rashford spoke of the struggles he, his siblings and his single mother faced growing up and how it would not have been possible without the help provided to him by his community and the government, back then under Labor control.

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Rashford’s Twitter post continued:

“Our views are being clouded by political affiliation. This is not politics, this is humanity. We talk about the devastating impact of COVID-19 but if projections are anything to go by, child food poverty has the potential to become the greatest pandemic the country has ever faced. We must start working together and unite to protect our most vulnerable children. No more sticking plasters.

“Let’s face this head on. Let’s level up once and for all. The asks of the Child Food Poverty Taskforce remain the same. We are endorsing government-commissioned policy recommendations that were built from extensive research and data analysis. These policies are vital to stabilizing millions of households across the UK and need to be implemented without delay. Child hunger should never be faced with looming deadlines.”

Rashford, already a superstar for both club and country, has been vocal in his campaigning on social issues but this has not affected his form on the pitch. Although his side has made a slow start to the season, Rashford has been his usual electric self, combining pace with skill and finishing to impress like few others do at his age.

The forward has scored five times in just seven starts so far this campaign.

“I don’t have the education of a politician, many on Twitter have made that clear today, but I have a social education having lived through this and having spent time with the families and children most affected,” Rashford wrote.

“These children matter. These children are the future of this country. They are not just another statistic. And for as long as they don’t have a voice, they will have mine. You have my word on that.”

Following the vote businesses across the country have offered support in a move that has left Rashford ‘blown away’ at their generosity. Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer praised the ‘great people of this country’ who have stepped in to ‘do the right thing’. Something the UK government have sadly failed to do.