Hurricane Harvey

NFL Notes: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict has suspension reduced to 3 games

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NFL Notes: Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict has suspension reduced to 3 games

CINCINNATI -- Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict had his NFL suspension reduced from five to three games for his egregious hit on a Chiefs running back during a preseason game.

During the second preseason game, Burfict leveled running back Anthony Sherman on a pass play when he wasn't the intended target.

Burfict appealed and had two games shaved off the punishment. He'll miss home games against the Ravens and Texans and a road game with the Packers. He'll be eligible to return for a game in Cleveland on Oct. 1.

It's the second straight season he's suspended for the first three games. He was suspended last season for his hit to Antonio Brown's head during a 2015 playoff loss to the Steelers.

Browns: Two-time Pro Bowl CB Haden released
CLEVELAND -- Too expensive and too-often injured, Joe Haden is no longer part of Cleveland's long-term plans.

The two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, who had gone from being one of the city's most popular players to polarizing, was released Wednesday after the team couldn't trade him or persuade him to take a pay cut.

"We want to thank Joe for all he has done for this organization both on and off the field," said Sashi Brown, executive vice president of football operations. "He has been a great teammate and a true asset to the Cleveland community. These are very difficult decisions, we have the utmost respect for Joe and in my eyes, he will always be a Cleveland Brown."

A first-round pick in 2010, Haden has been slowed by injuries the past two seasons and the Browns felt he was no longer one of their top defensive backs.

Cleveland, which is in need of a wide receiver, had shopped Haden but couldn't find a partner, mostly because he'll make $11.1 million this season and has two more seasons left on a five-year, $67.5 million extension -- $45 million guaranteed -- he signed in 2014 (see full story).

Chiefs: Former 1st-round OL Erving acquired from Browns
CLEVELAND -- The Browns have traded offensive lineman Cam Erving, a former first-round pick, to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cleveland is getting a fifth-round pick for Erving, the No. 19 overall selection in 2015 who was a disappointment for the Browns. They tried him at center, guard and tackle, but the 6-foot-5, 313-pounder struggled at each spot.

Erving has been sidelined with a calf injury in recent weeks and limited in practice.

He started 13 games last season, 12 at center and one at right tackle. Cleveland's offensive line was ravaged by injuries last year, but the Browns still managed to finish second in the NFL by averaging 4.9 yards per attempt.

Erving made 42 consecutive starts at Florida State, where he started as a defensive lineman before moving to offensive tackle. Later, he was switched to center and played well for the Seminoles (see full story).

Texans: Team ready to head home after game cancelled
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texans were planning to head home to flood-ravaged Houston after their final preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys was canceled Wednesday.

The game had been moved from Houston to the home of the Cowboys because of widespread flooding in the Houston area in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The decision to cancel Thursday night's game altogether was announced when the Texans said local authorities had found a safe route for the team to drive the 250 miles home.

"At this time, the priority of our organization is getting our players, coaches and staff back home to be reunited with their families, many of whom have been evacuated from their homes and are currently sheltered," the Texans said in a statement. "The team feels it is imperative to get back home to help the Houston community recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey."

After the Texans played their preseason game in New Orleans last weekend, they went to North Texas instead of home after the storm. The Texans worked out Monday and Tuesday at the Cowboys' practice facility (see full story).

Vikings: Bridgewater still working his way back
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Exactly one year ago, Teddy Bridgewater dropped back to pass during a routine drill and tumbled to the ground with a devastating injury to his left knee.

The unflappable Bridgewater has made a remarkable recovery, but he still has a long way to go before he can return to action with the Minnesota Vikings.

"He's got to be able to protect himself on the field and be able to do the movements that are required by his position," coach Mike Zimmer said. "When he's there, he'll practice."

Bridgewater has taken questions from reporters only once since the fateful afternoon of Aug. 30, 2016, when teammates were jolted by the sight of their popular quarterback writhing in pain and head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman had to lead a hasty effort to save his leg.

Each day during training camp this summer, with the rest of the Vikings working on strategy and technique, Bridgewater has been off to the side simply working on rebuilding strength in and around the knee that suffered a dislocation and multiple ligament tears (see full story).

Best of MLB: Rangers blitz Astros in opener of series relocated for storm

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Best of MLB: Rangers blitz Astros in opener of series relocated for storm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Shin-Soo Choo homered and drove in four runs Tuesday night, helping the Texas Rangers rout the Astros 12-2 in the opener of a series relocated to Florida due to flooding in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey.

Adrian Beltre of the Rangers drove in three runs to pass Hall of Famer Ernie Banks for 28th on the career RBI list with 1,637 while Joey Gallo hit a two-run homer off Mike Fiers (8-9) before an announced crowd of 3,485 at Tropicana Field, the home of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The three-game series that concludes Thursday was moved from Minute Maid Park because of flooding in the Houston area, with the Astros serving as the home team after the Rangers declined a proposal to play the games in Arlington, Texas.

It's only the fourth time in major league history that games have been relocated to neutral sites because of weather (see full recap).

Sale fans 11 as Red Sox shut out Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Chris Sale and two relievers combined on a four-hitter, Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run and the Boston Red Sox beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-0 on Tuesday night.

Sale (15-6) fanned 11 in his ML-best 17th double-digit strikeout game, raising his league-leading total to 264. His 15 wins lead the AL.

Sale, who matched a season-worst by allowing seven runs in his previous outing, pitched seven innings. The left-hander has not allowed a run in 22 innings against the Blue Jays this season.

After Toronto DH Kendrys Morales hit a one-out double in the second inning, Sale retired 17 consecutive batters before Morales singled to begin the eighth.

Kevin Pillar chased Sale with a single, and Addison Reed came on to strike out pinch-hitter Ezequiel Carrera and Miguel Montero. Ryan Goins singled to load the bases for Steve Pearce, but he grounded into a fielder's choice.

Craig Kimblrel finished for his 31st save in 35 chances.

Toronto has lost nine of 11 (see full recap).

Nationals top Marlins despite Stanton’s 51st HR
WASHINGTON -- Giancarlo Stanton tied a major league record with his 18th home run in August, but Anthony Rendon had four RBIs and the Washington Nationals beat the Miami Marlins 8-3 on Tuesday night.

Stanton hit a long homer in the first inning off Edwin Jackson (5-3), his 51st this season, to open the scoring following a 26-minute rain delay. His August output matched the mark set by Rudy York with the Detroit Tigers in 1937. Sammy Sosa set the record for homers in a month when he hit 20 in June 1998, and Stanton has two games left this month to catch the former Cubs slugger.

Stanton added an RBI with a deep sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

Rendon's three-run double in the seventh came after Washington's bullpen thwarted a rally earlier in the inning. Daniel Murphy also had a two-run single.

The Nationals, 16-7 since Aug. 6, had five runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings against Vance Worley (2-4) (see full recap).

NBA Notes: Isaiah Thomas says 'I am not damaged' in interview

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NBA Notes: Isaiah Thomas says 'I am not damaged' in interview

CLEVELAND -- All-Star point guard Isaiah Thomas believes he will fully recover from a right hip injury that has threatened to void his recent trade to Cleveland.

Thomas, who was dealt by the Boston Celtics to the Cavaliers last week for star Kyrie Irving, told ESPN he has made progress in his recovery.

"I am not damaged," the 28-year-old said. "I'll be back, and I'll be the same player."

After Thomas underwent a physical last week, the Cavaliers had some concerns about the results. A person familiar with the findings told The Associated Press the trade would not be finalized until the team completed a "deep and thorough review." The Cavs have continued to weigh their options in recent days, and it's possible they will ask for the Celtics for more compensation -- likely another draft pick (see full story).

Rockets: Team, owner up Harvey donation to $10 million
HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets and owner Leslie Alexander have upped their donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts to $10 million.

Alexander pledged $4 million to Houston mayor Sylvester Turner's Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund on Monday before announcing that he'd donate $10 million to help victims affected by catastrophic flooding in the city on Tuesday.

The donation is the largest of many contributions by Houston's sports teams and athletes in recent days. Astros owner Jim Crane and the Astros foundation pledged $4 million to the cause and Major League Baseball also contributed, joining with the players association to donate $1 million to the Red Cross and relief organizations chosen by the players.

The Texans and owner Bob McNair donated $1 million to the United Way of Greater Houston Flood Relief Fund. The NFL Foundation said it would match the $1 million donation, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and his family pledged to match all funds donated to the American Red Cross in support of Harvey flood relief up to $1 million.

Houston star J.J. Watt started a fundraising page online that has raised more than $1.6 million since its inception on Sunday. His original goal was $500,000, but he's now aiming to raise $2 million. 

Trail Blazers: Team president Olshey agrees to extension
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a multi-year contract extension with President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

The team did not disclose terms of the deal, which runs through the 2020-21 season.

Olshey was named general manager in 2012 and promoted to his current positon in 2015. His first year he was involved in the draft that landed guard Damian Lillard and the team's hiring of head coach Terry Stotts. The next year Portland drafted CJ McCollum.

Portland has been to the playoffs in each of the last four seasons.

"Neil has done an excellent job improving our team and getting us into the playoffs. With our young and improving roster, I expect our franchise to keep improving," Blazers owner Paul Allen said. "Continuity in the front office is important as we continue to grow, and this extension shows the confidence we have in Neil's leadership."