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Serena Williams shares plans to retire from tennis after 2022 U.S. Open

23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams says she plans to retire from tennis sometime after competing in the 2022 U.S. Open.

In an interview for Vogue, Williams said: “I have never liked the word retirement. It doesn’t feel like a modern word to me. Maybe the best word to describe what I’m up to is evolution. I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.” 

Williams added that if she has to choose between tennis and her family, at this point in her life she’s choosing her family:  “Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family. Maybe I’d be more of a Tom Brady if I had that opportunity.”  Williams hinted that the 2022 U.S. Open will be her last tournament.

Williams’ 23 Grand Slam titles includes three wins at the French Open, six wins at the U.S. Open, and seven wins at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon. Her last Grand Slam win came at the 2017 Australian Open, when she was eight weeks pregnant with her daughter Olympia. Since having her daughter, Williams has competed in four Grand Slam finals (2018 Wimbledon, 2018 U.S. Open, 2019 Wimbledon, 2019 U.S. Open), but has lost all four times. She is just one Grand Slam win short of Margaret Court‘s record of 24 Grand Slam titles.

Williams said in her Vogue article:  “There are people who say I’m not the GOAT because I didn’t pass Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the ‘open era’ that began in 1968. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her.”

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Former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch arrested on DUI charge in Las Vegas

Former NFL running back Marshawn Lynch was arrested and charged with driving under the influence by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday morning at 7:25 a.m. PT.

Per TMZ Sports:  Lynch was allegedly driving into roadside curbs before police stopped him. Officers spoke to Lynch and believed he was under the influence, leading to the booking at Las Vegas City Jail. Lynch had his blood drawn and did not submit to a breathalyzer.

The 36-year-old Lynch played in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks and Oakland Raiders from 2007-15 and again from 2017-19.  Lynch was a two-time NFC champion who played for the 2013 Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks, leading the team with 1,573 scrimmage yards and 14 touchdowns.

Lynch is also a five-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro who earned six 1,000-yard seasons, including four straight with Seattle from 2011-14. He scored 106 career touchdowns (94 regular season, 12 playoffs), including an NFL-high 17 regular-season scores in 2017.

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Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker signs four-year extension through 2027 season, worth $24M

The Baltimore Ravens announced that kicker Justin Tucker has agreed to terms on a four-year extension worth $24 million with $17.5 million guaranteed. Tucker’s contract runs through the 2027 season.

Tucker owns a career field-goal conversion rate of 91.1 percent, is both a five-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, and he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2010s. The 32-year-old Tucker also  holds the NFL’s record for the longest converted field goal, crow-hopping into a 66-yard attempt inside Ford Field.

Tucker’s new deal earns him the title of the highest-paid kicker in the NFLk and comes just a week after Chris Boswell signed an extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers that had matched Tucker for being the league’s highest-paid kicker at $5 million per season.

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Chicago Cubs will release outfielder Jason Heyward at the end of 2022 season

Chicago Cubs president Jed Hoyer announced on Monday the organization will release veteran outfielder Jason Heyward from the final year of his deal at the end of the 2022 season. ,” Hoyer said, via CHGO Sports“I’ve talked to Jason about this, and he’s been such a great pro with us and a leader, and we want to have him around the team this year. But we’re not going to have him with the team next year. We’ve already talked to him about that. We want to give him the full offseason to be able to go out and find an opportunity.”

Heyward has been on the injured list since June 27 with a knee injury. Hoyer told reporters (per The Athletic) that while the outfielder will not suit up again this season, he will remain with the team as an inactive player due to his status as a leader in the clubhouse. The 32-year-old is owed $22 million in 2023, the final season of a massive eight-year, $184 million contract he signed in December ’15.

Heyward spent the 2015 season with the Cardinals after spending his first five years with the Braves. He earned his only career All-Star nod as a rookie in ’10. Over his seven seasons with the Cubs, Heyward logged a .245/.323/.377 batting line with 62 homers in 2,522 plate appearances. In addition to earning his first and only World Series ring, Heyward also earned his fourth and fifth career Golden Glove Awards with the team in 2016 and ’17, making him MLB’s first position player to win the award three straight times with three different teams.

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Joohyung Kim wins PGA Wyndham Championship to earn spot in FedExCup Playoffs

20-year-old Joohyung Kim won the Wyndham Championship on Sunday, earning him a spot in the FedExCup Playoffs.

The South Korean Kim posted a 9-under 61 to take the five-shot win in the season-finale event at Sedgefield Country Club. The victory was the first for Kim on the PGA Tour, giving him an instant Tour membership and securing his spot in the postseason.  He is now the second-youngest winner since World War II, and will enter the FedExCup standings at No. 34 – bumping Matt Wallace just outside of the cutoff to play in next week’s FedEx St. Jude Invitational.   Said Kim: “It was a hard day. I didn’t know golf was this stressful before.”

Kim has made just nine appearances on Tour so far this season, but has six international wins to his name; he finished in seventh at the Rocket Mortgage Classic last month, and took home a career-best third-place finish at the Genesis Scottish Open.

Sungjae Im and John Huh finished in a tie for second at 15-under on the week, and Ben Griffin finished alone in fourth at 14-under par.

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Cleveland Browns decline trade request from running back Kareem Hunt amid his ‘hold in’ during training camp

All-Pro running back Kareem Hunt is “holding in” by not participating in team drills during training camp, admit his request that the team either pay him or trade him. Hunt held out of team drills on Friday and Saturday as a way to let Cleveland know he was unhappy with his contract. However according to reports, the Browns have privately denied his request for a trade.

Hunt set to be a free agent after the 2022 season, but the Browns can fine him if he continues to hold out from participating in team drills. The 27-year-old Hunt is in the final year of a two-year, $13.25 million extension and will earn a base salary of $1.35 million in 2022 with a $1.5 million roster bonus. He also has a per-game roster bonus of $200,000 each, which could bring the total amount he earns this season to $3.4 million.

Hunt has yet to perform as he did during his 2017 rookie season with the Chiefs, when he rushed for a league-leading 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns. He has spent the last three seasons with Cleveland, highlighted by an 841-yard, six-touchdown season in 2020. After signing the extension the following offseason, Hunt battled injuries last year, playing in just eight games all season.

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WNBA star Brittney Griner found guilty in Russian drug trial; is sentenced to 9 years in prison

WNBA star Brittney Griner was found guilty by a Russian court on Thursday on drug smuggling and possession charges, and was sentenced her to nine years in a Russian penal colony.  The verdict came after closing arguments in Griner’s trial at a court near Moscow.

The two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist has been in a Russian jail for almost six months since her arrest at Moscow’s airport in February with two vape cartridges containing cannabis oil in her bags.  Cannabis is illegal in Russia, but Griner’s attorneys have argued that she has a valid medical prescription and that she didn’t intentionally pack the cartridges. However in its verdict, the court ruled that Griner had deliberately intended to smuggle cannabis.

The 31-year-old, who’d faced a total of 10 years in prison, pleaded guilty to the charges last month in a bid for leniency from the court. Last week, Griner testified in her own defense, saying she packed the vape cartridges by accident and that she had ‘no intention’ of breaking Russian law. Prosecutors argued for a 9 1/2-year jail sentence for Griner; however, the court rejected those arguments and sentenced Griner to nine years in jail, and a fine of 9 million rubles (equal to about $150,000). The 9-year sentence is considered by many an excessive punishment for Griner possessing less than 2 grams of the cannabis oil. Griner’s attorneys said the verdict was “absolutely unreasonable” and promised to exercise the basketball star’s right to an appeal.

President Joe Biden said he’s doing everything possible to secure Griner’s release: “Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates. My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and [imprisoned former U.S. Marine] Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

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LA Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw leaves game against San Francisco Giants with lower back pain

The Los Angeles Dodgers confirmed that starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw left Thursday’s game against the San Francisco Giants in the bottom of the fifth inning with lower back pain, after an injury that occurred during warmup pitches. There have been no official updates about Kershaw’s injury or how it may impact the star pitcher going forward, with the team just calling it “low back pain.”

The three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed three hits, two runs and one home run, and totaled four strikeouts. He left the game with the Dodgers up 4–2; right-hander Phil Bickford replaced Kershaw on the mound for the fifth inning.

The 34-year-old is in his 15th season with the Dodgers, and has dealt with back issues throughout his career.  In 2014, Kershaw missed 41 days early in the season with a back inflammation issue, and in 2016, he missed 74 days due to a disc herniation. In 2017, he dealt with a back strain, and deal with ongoing back problems in 2018 and 2020. Kershaw missed one month earlier this season with SI joint inflammation that caused pain in his lower back.

Kershaw currently holds a 2.66 ERA, allowing 66 hits, 27 runs and six home runs in 81.1 innings pitched so far this season, as well as 84 strikeouts and 14 walks.

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NFL appeals Browns’ QB Deshaun Watson 6-game suspension, seeks minimum 1-year ban

The NFL announced on Wednesday that it will appeal the six-game suspension given to Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. The league is seeking an indefinite suspension that would last a minimum of one year. According to a statement from the league, commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal.

The NFL notified the NFLPA that it will appeal the disciplinary decision made by Judge Sue L. Robinson, the independent disciplinary officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA. On Monday, Robinson issued the multi-game ban, which was linked to sexual misconduct allegations made against the Cleveland Browns quarterback. The league and players union, which appointed Robinson to settle the disciplinary dispute, had until Thursday to appeal the ruling.

In its statement on Wednesday, the NFL cited its 2020 collective bargaining agreement, which does not allow Robinson’s “factual findings” to be appealed, but does allow the discipline imposed to be appealed.  The league said: “The NFL notified the NFLPA [players union] that it will appeal Judge Robinson’s disciplinary decision and filed its brief this afternoon. Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine who will hear the appeal.”

Watson has faced accusations of sexual assault and inappropriate conduct from more than two dozen women through civil lawsuits, based on alleged encounters occurring between March 2020 and March 2021, when Watson was the starting quarterback of the Houston Texans. Watson has denied criminal wrongdoing and two grand juries in Texas declined to indict him earlier this year, and Watson settled 20 of the lawsuits he faced in June.

Watson did not play at all last season for the Texans amid the allegations, and was traded to the Browns in March after signing a five-year, $230 million contract.

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Linebacker Anthony Barr and the Dallas Cowboys agree to 1-year contract worth $3M

The Dallas Cowboys and four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Anthony Barr agreed to a one-year deal Wednesday, worth $3M.

The 32-year-old Barr has spent the entirety of his career in Minnesota; he was a first-round pick by Minnesota in 2014 and a Pro Bowler every year from 2015-18.  Barr had a career-high three interceptions along with 2 1/2 sacks and 72 tackles last season.

Barr verbally agreed to a deal with the New York Jets in 2019 that would have paid him $15 million per season for five years, but he returned to the Vikings less than 24 hours later to sign for far less money. The linebacker has 495 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 5 interceptions in eight seasons.

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