Nationals

Niners WR-PR Williams questions NFL sanctions

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Niners WR-PR Williams questions NFL sanctions

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Kyle Williams can't believe the New York Giants weren't punished by the NFL for targeting him in last year's NFC championship game.

The punt returner whose mistakes cost the 49ers a chance to make the last Super Bowl, and who will miss Sunday's game against Baltimore with an injured left knee, said Wednesday he is ``shocked'' that the Giants escaped discipline.

``The only thing crazy to me was that nothing came of it after they came down so much on the Saints,'' Williams said.

``The league announced the bounties and that (former Saints defensive coordinator) Gregg Williams said the same things the Giants were saying. They took it to the highest level they could with the Saints. But it seemed like the league decided it was no big deal what the Giants said.''

What Giants special teamers Jacquian Williams and Devin Thomas said after New York's 20-17 overtime victory sounded similar to what the Saints were sanctioned for.

``The thing is, we knew he had four concussions, so that was our biggest thing was to take him out of the game,'' said linebacker Jacquian Williams, who forced the 49ers returner's overtime fumble, which set up the winning field goal.

Thomas recovered both errors - the first was considered a muff when the ball glanced off Williams' right knee.

``He's had a lot of concussions,'' Thomas said. ``We were just like, `We've got to put a hit on that guy.'''

The NFL did not punish either player following that game, saying, ``There was no conduct by the Giants of any kind that would suggest an effort to injure Kyle Williams in any way.''

And the Giants were not penalized once the Saints bounties were announced.

``Guys are trying to put guys out of the game every game, so it did not surprise me,'' Kyle Williams said. ``You know a guy has a history of injuries, you'll go after it. You might not say it, but you do it.''

But the Giants said it.

``Yeah,'' Williams said with a shrug. ``But it's all in the past now. And we're at the Super Bowl.''

The Giants declined to comment Wednesday.

Williams also was subjected to hateful, even threatening comments via social media after the 49ers lost the conference championship game. He talked with his father, Kenny, the executive vice president of the Chicago White Sox, and was comforted by his dad's advice.

``He told me that a strong man gets through this,'' Kyle Williams said. ``He said, `I have no doubt you will,' and that's the last time we talked about it.''

Williams felt guilty about last year's loss, but said teammates immediately came to his defense and supported him. He is getting the same vibes from them now as he watches while they play for the NFL title.

``We're like a family, and we comfort each other, help each other out,'' he said. ``The guys like myself and Mario (Manningham) and Kendall (Hunter), who are hurt and can't play, we're still a big part of our success.''

Coincidentally, Williams was injured trying to avoid Saints linebacker Jonathan Vilma - one of the players initially suspended in the bounty case - in San Francisco's 31-21 win at the Superdome on Nov. 25. He re-entered the stadium for the first time Tuesday during Super Bowl media day, admitting it felt ``strange.''

He also said he has an empty feeling, but that would change with a win Sunday.

``Honestly it's been bittersweet because I'm not lacing them up, I'm not going to be able to be out there,'' Williams said. ``But I'm still there with them. I'm playing my role in a sense.

``I'm a semi-coach at this point, helping out the younger guys, whatever I can see on the sidelines. I've got the earpiece in ... I have a limited role right now, but it's my role. I've got to do it.''

The 49ers insist upon it. Their general manager, Trent Baalke, spoke with Kenny Williams about the importance of Kyle remaining involved in the 49ers' everyday routine.

Not that the father expected anything less of the son.

``He's been around athletics all his life and he knows there are different factors that go into ultimate team success,'' Kenny Williams said. ``That's one of the things that has been expressed to me from Trent directly is that Kyle's got some leadership abilities and he did not want him to go away like some guys do when they get hurt. He wanted his voice heard and he wanted him front and center with all the responsibilities. I'm glad to hear that he's following through on all that.''

Still, Kyle Williams would prefer to follow through on it with a big catch or long punt return.

``It ticks me off, because you want to suit up and help the team and you can't,'' he said.

---

AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in New Orleans contributed to this story.

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

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Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3 despite Robles' heroics

Donaldson's 9th-inning single lifts Braves over Nats 4-3

ATLANTA -- Josh Donaldson's bases-loaded single off Fernando Rodney in the ninth inning lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Washington Nationals 4-3 on Friday night after Luke Jackson allowed a tying, two-run homer to Victor Robles in the top half.

Ronald Acuna Jr., who had three hits, led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk off Rodney (0-3) and took second on Dansby Swanson's single. Freddie Freeman walked on four pitches, loading the bases.

Nationals manager Dave Martinez brought in left fielder Juan Soto as a fifth infielder, including three on the left side against the right-handed hitting Donaldson.

Donaldson hit a 2-0 pitch over Robles to center-field warning track, and the Braves boosted their NL East lead to 6 games over the second-place Nationals. Atlanta had lost its previous five home games against Washington.

Robles' homer went 446 feet to left, giving Jackson his seventh blown save in 24 chances.

Julio Teheran gave up one hit through five scoreless innings and retired 14 consecutive hitters before pinch-hitter Gerardo Parra singled with one out in the sixth. Anthony Rendon chased Teheran with a two-out RBI single.

Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin couldn't win on his 30th birthday while paired with catcher Yan Gomes, who turned 32. Corbin and Gomes became only the second pitcher-catcher tandem to start together on their birthdays since 1900, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Chicago Cubs pitcher Dave Hillman and catcher Jim Fanning did it against Pittsburgh on Sept. 14, 1957.

Corbin allowed two runs and eight hits in five innings. He struck out Ozzie Albies with the bases loaded in the first and fanned Albies to end the fifth with two out.

Albies hit a two-out double in the fourth and scored on Austin Riley's double. Freeman was 2 for 20 in his career against Corbin before his RBI single in the fifth.

Acuna's RBI double against Tanner Rainey gave the Braves a 3-1 lead.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Max Scherzer, on the 10-day IL since July 10 with an injury originally announced as a mid-back strain, was given a cortisone shot on Tuesday to address inflammation in the bursa sac under his right shoulder blade. Scherzer still has some discomfort and must throw a bullpen session before cleared to pitch in a game. With Scherzer unavailable, RHP Austin Voth is expected to start in Sunday night's series finale.

Braves: RHP Patrick Weigel, who had Tommy John surgery in 2017, was recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to make his major league debut Saturday. RHP Wes Parsons also was recalled from Gwinnett. RHPs Kyle Wright and Touki Toussaint were optioned to Gwinnett.

UP NEXT

Nationals: RHP Anibal Sanchez (5-6, 3.71) is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two starts this season against the Braves, his former team.

Braves: Rookie RHP Mike Soroka (10-1, 2.24) will try to win his sixth straight decision on Saturday night. The 21-year-old right-hander became the youngest pitcher in franchise history to be selected an All-Star.

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A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

A timeline of Tommy Sheppard's moves as interim Wizards GM

The Wizards are naming Tommy Sheppard their permanent GM after he served in the role on an interim basis since April 2. 

Let's take a look back at the moves which earned Sheppard the long-term GM job:

April 2: The Wizards fire GM Ernie Grunfeld. Tommy Sheppard takes over the role on an interim basis. 

June 20: The Wizards select Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. Later in the evening, Washington acquires Jonathan Simmons and the draft rights to Tennessee forward Admiral Schofield from the Philadelphia 76ers. Simmons was placed on waivers on July 7.

July 5: The Wizards acquire Moritz Wagner, Isaac Bonga, and Jemerrio Jones, and a 2022 second-round draft pick as part of the deal which sent Anthony Davis to the Lakers. 

July 6: The Wizards trade Dwight Howard to the Grizzlies in exchange for C.J. Miles and acquire Davis Bertans from the Spurs in a three-team deal with Brooklyn and San Antonio, sending the draft rights of Aaron White to the Nets. 

July 7: The Wizards re-sign center Thomas Bryant on a three-year deal and trade guard Tomas Satoransky to the Bulls for a 2020 second-round pick.

July 9: The Wizards sign guard Ish Smith to a two-year deal.

July 10: The Wizards sign guard Isaiah Thomas to a one-year deal. 

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