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Cowboys back to practice after memorial service

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Cowboys back to practice after memorial service

IRVING, Texas (AP) The corner locker assigned to Jerry Brown at the Dallas Cowboys facility remained untouched Wednesday.

A day after a private memorial service for Brown, the practice squad member killed in a car accident involving a teammate, his Cowboys helmet hung on a hook below a shelf with several pairs of cleats. Towels marked with his No. 53 were folded on the bench right next to a copy of the team's itinerary from last week.

For the Cowboys, it was back to practice as they took their next steps after the tragedy and started preparations for Sunday's home game against Pittsburgh.

``It was hard last week initially. But this week, it's been upbeat. Guys are getting their energy back,'' defensive tackle Jason Hatcher said. ``I'm back to being me, making people laugh, being the guy I am. We had a good day today. Hopefully we can have another one tomorrow and the next day and get ready for the Steelers.''

The Cowboys won their game Sunday at Cincinnati, about 36 hours after Brown was the passenger in a one-car accident for which nose tackle Josh Brent, his college teammate and close friend, is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge. The car Brent was driving flipped over and Brown was later declared dead at a hospital.

Brent, who is free on bond, was placed Wednesday on the reserve/non-football illness list by the Cowboys, a move that ends his season but allows him to remain with the team.

``I think we want to be able to contact him and him being able to contact his teammates,'' Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said from an NFL owners meeting being held at a hotel not far from Valley Ranch.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said teams are ultimately responsible for such roster moves and that in this case, ``it was the right decision.''

Asked about possible NFL discipline against Brent, Goodell said the league would let the legal process move forward a little bit to get more clarity on that. The commissioner gave no timeframe on when he anticipated speaking with Brent.

``The best thing for Josh Brent and for everyone involved in this thing is that he's a part of the Dallas Cowboys in some way, shape or form, and he feels the love that we have for him and the support that we have for him,'' coach Jason Garrett said.

Fullback Lawrence Vickers, whose locker is next to Brent's, echoed Hatcher and Garrett that the team is there to support Brent.

``You've just got to be there for your brother in a time of need. This is one of those times,'' Vickers said. ``This is an issue that we all have to deal with, but he has to deal with it even more.''

Brent was with Brown's family at the memorial service. Vickers said Brown's mother, Stacey Jackson, had comforting words for the entire team.

``Stronger than any woman I ever seen in that position,'' Vickers said. ``For us seeing her strength, her strength was more like, `Hey, y'all focus on what you have to do, Jerry's in a better place.'''

The Cowboys (7-6) are a game behind the NFC East-leading New York Giants with three games to play. They play Pittsburgh and New Orleans at home before ending the season at Washington, which is tied with them for second place.

Garrett said there were still discussions about whether the team would honor Brown's memory with any kind of patch or decal on their uniforms.

While the Cowboys aren't revealing details of Tuesday's memorial, Garrett said the service ``was incredible on so many different levels.'' He said it contributed to helping everybody heal and move forward.

``There was a lot of love in that room, there's no question about that,'' Garrett said. ``A lot of love for Jerry and his family, a lot of love for Josh Brent.''

Garrett said he spoke with Brown's mother after the game and got a chance to visit her before the memorial. He called her a ``rock for everybody'' and described as remarkable the strength that she has demonstrated, her ability to understand and having peace in the situation so quickly.

Most of the players learned of the fatal accident after boarding the team flight Saturday afternoon before taking off for Cincinnati. They won the game Sunday, then got a day off before the memorial service.

Now they have to refocus for the rest of the season.

``The whole situation has been very challenging for all of us right from the start,'' Garrett said. ``The big thing that we have to do is we have to balance remembering Jerry and honoring him, supporting Josh in every way that we can, and also getting back to living our lives, as individuals, as players, as coaches, as a football team, and getting back to work. They aren't two separate things. I believe you can do both.''

NOTES: Dallas signed DT Brian Schaefering, who was released by Cleveland before this season. He appeared in five games with the Browns in 2009, and all 16 games (nine starts) in 2010, when current Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan held the same position there. ... NT Jay Ratliff (groin) and rookie CB Morris Claiborne (concussion) didn't practice. RB DeMarco Murray (foot) and LB DeMarcus Ware (elbow) were also held out. ... DE Robert Rose (Ohio State), LB Brashton Satele (Hawaii) and TE Andre Smith (Virginia Tech) were added to the practice squad.

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Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

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Dwight Howard improving, but status still unknown entering Wizards' season opener

Dwight Howard may play in the Wizards' regular-season opener on Thursday night against the Miami Heat, but the team will not know until the day of the game and likely won't announce the decision either way until head coach Scott Brooks addresses the media about two hours before tipoff.

Howard only has three practices under his belt but has made significant progress throughout this week after missing all five of the team's preseason games due to a strain in his piriformis muscle.

Head coach Scott Brooks said Howard has looked good in those three practices but has a lot of missed time to make up for.

"I think he's definitely winded at times, but that's part of it," Brooks said.

Brooks added that Howard is not getting the same lift when jumping that he's used to. Howard, 32, is used to playing above the rim and his vertical leap is an important part of his game.

The Wizards play their first two games at home, the second on Saturday against the Raptors. They then embark on a Western Conference road trip beginning with the Blazers on Monday.

Brooks said Howard will "definitely" make that trip with the team, which gives a good indication of how close he is to returning to game action. When Howard is ready to play will be left up to the team's medical staff.

If Howard does miss time, the Wizards are expected to rely on his backup Ian Mahinmi as the starting center. Jason Smith would then become the No. 2 center on the depth chart, though they could use forwards like Markieff Morris or Jeff Green at the five-spot.

Howard signed a two-year free-agent deal worth $11 million to join the Wizards in July.

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Capitals vs. Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Capitals vs. Rangers: Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

The Capitals (2-2-1) were dealt a herky-jerky schedule for the first month of the NHL season, already having logged two back-to-backs and two extended breaks.  But Washington finally gets a semblance of normalcy when they host the New York Rangers (2-4) on Wednesday night in the first of two home games before heading out west to end the month.

The Caps enter the Wednesday Night Hockey tilt with their longtime regional foes having dropped a thrilling weekend showdown against the Toronto Maple Leafs and their high-powered attack. The Rangers have long been a thorn in the side of the Capitals and fans alike. But the team that will hit the ice at Capital One Arena on Oct. 17 will be one that Capitals need to dispatch of with ease.

The team's first foray into defending a championship has been a wild ride with ceremonies, openers, rematches and a lot of time off. After dropping the first three games of the season, New York has won two of its last three,  with both games needing extra time.

Here is everything you need to know about Capitals vs. Rangers which takes place at 7:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.

CAPITALS vs. RANGERs HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers, Game 6 of the 2018-19 NHL Regular Season

Where: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.

When: Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Capitals vs. Rangers will be broadcast on NBC Sports Network. (NBC Sports Washington Channel Finder)

Live Stream: Watch Capitals vs. Rangers on  the NBC Sports Washington live stream page and  the NBC Sports MyTeams App.

Radio: Caps 24/7 Radio, 106.7 The Fan FM

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS TV SCHEDULE

6:00 PM: Caps Faceoff Live
6:30 PM: Caps Pregame Live
7:00 PM: Capitals vs. Rangers on NBC Sports Network
9:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live
10:00 PM: Caps Overtime Live

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS PLAYERS TO WATCH

Braden Holtby, G. Capitals: Holtby has started four of the Capitals' first five games. He's allowed just two goals in the Capitals' two wins, but has given up 11 in the two losses. That being said, the Rangers do not have the caliber of fire-power possessed by the Penguins and Maple Leafs. Expect a big game from "The HoltBeast."

Mats Zuccarello, Rangers: The Rangers savvy veteran leads the team in assists (5) and points (50 through the first six games. While he's not the most dangerous threat on offense, he's the table setter and crafty elder statesman. 

CAPITALS vs. RANGERS SERIES HISTORY

Number of all-time Meetings: 273

All-Time Series Record: Capitals lead series 131–117–18–7

Regular Season Record: Capitals lead series 103–90–18–7

Playoff Record: Capitals lead series 28-27

Last Meeting: Capitals beat Rangers 3-2 OT (3/28/2018)

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