Capitals

Broncos waive rookie safety Ihenacho

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Broncos waive rookie safety Ihenacho

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos have waived safety Duke Ihenacho, opening a roster spot that could be filled by linebacker D.J. Williams.

Williams was reinstated Monday after sitting out the first nine games of the season while serving two separate NFL suspensions. He'll practice Wednesday for the first time since training camp, where he was relegated to individual drills and backup duty while the Broncos prepared his replacements for the regular season.

The Broncos (6-3) can evaluate Williams over the next few days before activating him to the 53-man roster. Coach John Fox said the coaching staff needs to see him practice before making any decisions.

The team's leading tackler in five of the past eight seasons, Williams said Monday that it was difficult to watch his teammates play without him, ``but I did the crime, gotta do the time. It's over with now. Hopefully, I can move on and help my team continue to keep winning.''

Williams was suspended for the first six games of the season for violating the league's banned-substances policy after the NFL said he supplied a ``non-human'' urine sample during a drug test. Commissioner Roger Goodell tacked on three games for Williams' second alcohol-related driving conviction in August.

He forfeited in the neighborhood of $4 million from a combination of lost salary, money he had to pay back from his bonuses and a restructuring of his contract that he agreed to because of the suspensions.

Williams praised the Broncos' starting linebackers - Wesley Woodyard, Keith Brooking and Von Miller - for their solid performances so far and said he'll play whatever role he's asked, including special teams, but hopes to return to a prominent position on the team before long.

``Without being out there for a long time, there will be some rust,'' Williams acknowledged. ``But football's a great sport to come back to, because when it doubt, just hit somebody.''

Ihenacho has been up and down between the Broncos' practice squad and active roster all season. The undrafted rookie from San Jose State has played in two games and made one special teams tackle.

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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Capitals deal Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik ahead of the draft

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NBC Sports Washington

Capitals deal Philipp Grubauer and Brooks Orpik ahead of the draft

DALLAS—The Capitals have dealt backup goaltender Philipp Grubauer and veteran defenseman Brooks Orpik to Colorado for a second round pick, the team announced shortly before the NHL Draft kicked off Friday at American Airlines Center.

After the moves, the Caps had more than $21 million in space under the salary cap ceiling, according to www.capfriendly.com, and potentially enough room to accommodate new contracts for John Carlson and other key free agents.

GM Brian MacLellan was widely expected to deal Grubauer, a 26-year-old who wanted the opportunity to be a No. 1. As a restricted free agent with arbitration rights who was also coming off a strong season, Grubauer was due a significant raise.

“We would like to thank Brooks and Philipp for all of their contributions to our organization,” MacLellan said in a statement. “Philipp has been a consummate professional and a great teammate and we wish him all the best.”

Trading Orpik, on the other hand, was a bit unexpected, particularly considering how much the 37-year-old’s rugged play and leadership meant to the Caps during their run to the Stanley Cup.

By dealing Orpik, MacLellan shed his $5.5 million cap hit for next season—an important development given the Caps’ tight salary cap situation and the number of key players who need new contracts. Carlson, Michal Kempny and Jakub Jerabek are unrestricted free agents, while Tom Wilson, Devante Smith-Pelly, Travis Boyd and Madison Bowey are restricted free agents.

According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the Avalanche are expected to help Orpik land a preferred spot, whether via trade or buyout. By taking on Orpik in the deal, Friedman reported, the Avs only had to give up one pick.

“Brooks,” MacLellan continued, “was a great leader and a tremendous role model for our young players in his four years with our organization. This was a difficult move, but the one we felt we needed to make in order to give some flexibility moving forward.”

Will moving out Grubauer and eliminating Orpik’s cap charge allow MacLellan to ink Carlson, who's set to become the top defenseman on the free agent market? That’s unclear, but it will sure help the Caps’ cause. Carlson is expected to command an extension in the eight-year, $8 million per neighborhood. 

Dealing Orpik also opens up a spot for a young and inexpensive defenseman such as Christian Djoos or Madison Bowey to take on a bigger role in 2018-19.

Without Grubauer, the Caps are likely to turn to Pheonix Copley, who is due to earn the NHL minimum of $650,000 next season, as their backup next season. And if Copley starts the year in Washington, that allows 2015 first round pick Ilya Samsonov to take the reins in Hershey.

The second round pick the Caps received in exchange for Grubauer and Orpik is the 47th overall selection.

MacLellan is expected to speak to reporters following the first round later Friday night. The Caps currently hold the 31st overall pick.

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Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

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USA Today Sports

Bryce Harper will compete in Home Run Derby, but only on one condition

It’s happening.

When the 2018 All-Star Weekend comes to Washington, D.C. in the middle of July, Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper will compete in the 2018 Home Run Derby, but only on one condition: He has to be a member of the 2018 National League All-Star Team.

Though Harper is having a down year, only hitting .213 thus far, he leads the NL in home runs with 19.

In the June 18 update of All-Star game voting, Harper sat second among all outfielders with just north of 1,000,000 votes.

That means he’s not only going to make the All-Star team, but he’ll likely start in the outfield.

Harper, a five-time All-Star, competed in the Home Run Derby once before. He was the runner-up to Yoenis Cespedes in 2013, losing by just one long ball, 9-8.

The 2018 Home Run Derby will take place on July 16 at Nationals Park.

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