=== News Summaries from The Sports Network - Wednesday, August 20 ===
=== Browns name Hoyer starting QB ===
Berea, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Brian Hoyer will be the starting quarterback
for the Cleveland Browns to begin the season.
Coach Mike Pettine made the announcement on Wednesday morning, selecting Hoyer
over rookie Johnny Manziel.
"We've maintained all along that if it was close, I would prefer to go with
the more experienced player," said Pettine in a statement Wednesday. "Brian
has done a great job in the meeting rooms and with his teammates on the
practice field and in the locker room."
The Browns will open their season on Sept. 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Hoyer started each of the Browns' first two preseason games. He completed 6-
of-14 passes for 92 yards in the opener against Detroit and was just 2-of-6
for 16 yards this past Monday against Washington.
Manziel, selected with the 22nd overall pick in May's draft, threw for 63
yards on 7-of-11 passing in the first preseason game against the Lions. He was
7-of-16 for 65 yards with a touchdown on Monday, but was also sacked three
"It's obviously disappointing," said Manziel after practice Wednesday. "I
didn't play terrible (in the first two preseason games), but I made strides.
If I would have done better in the last two weeks, it would have been
different outcome. I'm going to continue to give it my all every day."
Hoyer started three games for the Browns last year, but a torn ACL in the
first quarter of a Week 5 victory over Buffalo ended his season. He led
Cleveland to a pair of wins in his first two starts and completed 57-of-96
passes for 615 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions in his
The Michigan State product entered the NFL with New England as an undrafted
free agent in 2009 and appeared in 13 games over three seasons with the
Patriots. He then split the 2012 campaign with Pittsburgh and Arizona, making
one start in two appearances with the Cardinals.
=== Steelers bring back Keisel ===
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Steelers have re-signed
defensive end Brett Keisel to a two-year contract.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Keisel has played his entire 12-year career with the Steelers, who selected
him in the seventh round of the 2002 NFL Draft. However, he had not received a
contract offer as an unrestricted free agent this summer. The Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette reported that the Arizona Cardinals were set to make him a
proposal earlier this week.
The Post-Gazette reported a deal with the Steelers was in the works on Tuesday
and Keisel revealed his plans to stay in Pittsburgh on Twitter.
"I am very excited to finish what I started in 2002 with the @steelers,"
Keisel wrote. "Time to get to work!!"
Keisel has started 110 of the 144 games he has played with Pittsburgh and has
helped the Steelers to a pair of Super Bowl titles. He has 29 career sacks
with seven forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries.
A 2010 Pro Bowl selection, Keisel also has three sacks in 16 postseason games.
The Steelers released defensive tackle Al Lapuaho to open a roster spot.
=== Bucs release Hawkins ===
Tampa, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released wide
receiver Lavelle Hawkins on Wednesday.
Hawkins spent last season with the San Diego Chargers, appearing in just four
games, after playing his first five years with the Tennessee Titans.
In six seasons in the league, Hawkins has 71 catches for 771 yards with one
=== Jim Kelly has no evidence of cancer ===
Orchard Park, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Doctors treating Jim Kelly for sinus
cancer said there is no longer evidence of cancer in the Hall of Fame
"The treatments so far have completely eliminated Mr. Kelly's pain, and his
level of function has essentially returned to normal. Further, on physical
examination, there is no evidence of cancer," Dr. Peter Constantino said in a
statement released by The New York Head & Neck Institute at Lenox Hospital in
Kelly had the follow-up screening Tuesday, three months after completing
several rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. He will undergo a series of
tests over the coming week to determine if further treatment is necessary.
"It is possible that no further treatment will be required, and the testing
over the next week will define this issue," Constantino said.
Kelly was initially diagnosed with cancer in his upper jaw in June 2013 before
undergoing surgery. Doctors found a recurrence of that cancer in March.
=== Broncos WR Norwood tears ACL, done for year ===
Englewood, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Denver Broncos wideout Jordan Norwood
has suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees during a
Wednesday practice and is out for the season.
The Denver Post was first to report the news, revealing that Norwood fell
awkwardly at the sideline while going against cornerback Brandon Harris for a
pass by quarterback Peyton Manning. He was carted off the field, then sent for
an MRI, which revealed the extent of the damage.
"Appreciate the love n support from friends fam fans and the like. ACL,
ShmayCL. Ill be back in no time. Blessed, favored, n in my Gods hands,"
Norwood stated on his Twitter account.
Norwood, undrafted out of Penn State, spent last season away from football. He
posted 13 catches for 137 yards in two games with Cleveland in 2012, and has
posted 36 receptions for 405 yards and one score for the Eagles and Browns.
He garnered the interest of the Broncos through the club's GM, Tom Heckert,
for whom Norwood played in his previous two league stops.
=== Tingelhoff selected as senior nominee for Pro Football HOF ===
Canton, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Minnesota Vikings center Mick Tingelhoff was
selected as the senior nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of
Tingelhoff will be an automatic finalist on the ballot next February.
A six-time Pro Bowl selection and five-time First-Team All-Pro, Tingelhoff
never missed a game in 17 seasons with the Vikings from 1962-78. He started
all 240 games he played and appeared in 19 postseason games, including four
Tingelhoff will join 15 yet-to-be-named modern-era finalists in addition to
two contributor finalists from which the Class of 2015 will be selected. The
Pro Football Hall of Fame's selection meeting will be held on Jan. 31, 2015,
in Arizona, the day before Super Bowl XLIX.
=== Schilling says chewing tobacco gave him cancer ===
Boston, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - Former All-Star pitcher Curt Schilling said
chewing smokeless tobacco gave him cancer.
Schilling, appearing on WEEI radio in Boston, said he is in remission after
undergoing treatment for squamous cell carcinoma. He revealed his diagnosis in
February with a statement through ESPN and spoke publicly about it for the
first time on Wednesday.
The 47-year-old six-time All-Star said he chewed tobacco for about 30 years
and firmly believes it is the reason he developed cancer.
"I'll go to my grave believing that was why I got what I got," Schilling said
during the radio interview. "Absolutely. No question in my mind about that. I
do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing is what gave me
"I'm not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing. ...
It was an addictive habit, I can think about so many times in my life when it
was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever. And I lost my
sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part, I had gum issues, they bled,
all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit.
"The pain I was in going through this treatment, the second or third day, it
was the first thing and the only thing in my life that I've ever had that I
wish I could go back and never have dipped. Not once. It was so painful."
Schilling said he lost 75 pounds during his treatment, which included
radiation and chemotherapy, and added that his recovery is challenging.
"There are so many things that are damaged during the process," Schilling
noted. "I don't have any salivary glands, so I can't taste anything, and I
can't smell anything right now. And there's no guarantee they'll come back."
The news about Schilling comes just two months after Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn
died after battling cancer of the salivary gland following his use of
Schilling pitched 20 seasons in the majors with five different teams
(Baltimore, Houston, Philadelphia, Arizona, Boston) before retiring following
the 2007 campaign.
=== Rays activate OF Myers ===
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Reigning American League Rookie of
the Year Wil Myers was activated from the 60-day disabled list by the Tampa
Bay Rays on Wednesday.
Myers had been on the DL since June 1 due to a slight stress fracture in his
right wrist. The injury occurred during outfield collision with teammate
Desmond Jennings during a game in Boston.
He didn't have surgery for the injury, but did wear a cast and missed 70 games
The 23-year-old captured the AL's top rookie honor after batting .293 with 13
home runs and 53 RBI in just 88 games last season, but was in the midst of a
sophomore slump in 2014. Myers was hitting just .227 with five homers and 25
RBI through 53 games at the time of the injury.
To make room on the roster, the team optioned Vince Belnome back to Triple-A
Durham, while moving Jerry Sands from the 15-day DL list to the 60-day.
=== Rangers agree to terms with former first-round pick Hayes ===
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Rangers agreed to terms with
free agent forward Kevin Hayes on Wednesday.
Hayes was selected with a first-round pick by Chicago in 2010, but could not
agree to terms with the Blackhawks by the deadline last Friday and became a
The Blackhawks retained Hayes' rights through college. He concluded his
collegiate eligibility last season and had until Aug. 15 to reach a deal.
Hayes was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as the top player in college
last season. He skated in 40 games for Boston College and compiled 27 goals
with 38 assists to rank second in the nation with 65 points.
The 22-year-old Massachusetts native scored 44 goals and added 88 assists for
132 points in 142 collegiate games. He helped BC win the national championship
in the spring of 2012.
Chicago, under terms of the collective bargaining agreement, will receive a
compensatory pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. It will be the No. 24 selection in
the second round.
=== NHL changes draft lottery rules again ===
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - The National Hockey League on Wednesday
announced further changes to its draft lottery.
In an attempt at addressing greater competitive balance in the league and
among its non-playoff participants, the percentages of each team which does
not qualify for the postseason will be altered. Each of the bottom four clubs
will receive lower odds, while the 10 best will see their odds increase.
Last season, the worst club in the NHL had a 25 percent chance of winning the
lottery and picking first, while the new allocation lowers that to 20 percent.
The second-worst club enjoyed 18.8-percent odds of winning, which are now
lowered to 13.5 percent.
The 13th and 14th non-playoff franchises, which previously had a less than
one-percent chance to win the lottery, will now see the odds increased to two
percent and one percent, respectively.
In addition, beginning in 2016, three separate draws will be held to determine
each of the top three picks in the draft. The winners will be locked, in
order, from first to third slot.
The alterations come just over 18 months since the league announced its
previous change, which made all 14 teams that fail to qualify for the
playoffs eligible to win the right for the top selection. Previously, only
the five teams with the fewest points in the standings had the opportunity to
win the lottery.
Changes announced this year will take effect over a two-year period, starting
with next season's lottery.
=== Serena is top seed at the Open ===
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Five-time champion Serena Williams is the
top seed for the U.S. Open, which will begin Monday in Flushing Meadows.
The world No. 1 great has won the last two Opens by beating former top-
ranked star Victoria Azarenka in a pair of finals. The powerful American
has reached the last three finals in Flushing, having finished as a runner-up
Williams is followed in the seedings by French Open runner-up Simona Halep,
Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova, former Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska
and French Open titlist Maria Sharapova, who was a U.S. Open champ in 2006.
Seeds 6-through-10 in New York will be Angelique Kerber, Wimbledon runner-up
Eugenie Bouchard, former French Open champ Ana Ivanovic, former U.S. Open
runner-up Jelena Jankovic and former Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki.
Five of the top-10 seeds -- Williams, Sharapova, Ivanovic, Jankovic and
Wozniacki -- are former or current world No. 1s.
=== Furyk to play in PGA Grand Slam ===
Palm Beach Gardens, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Jim Furyk will be the final
competitor in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Furyk will join this year's three major champions -- Bubba Watson, Martin
Kaymer and Rory McIlroy -- in the foursome that will compete in the 36-hole
event to be held Oct. 13-15 at Port Royal Golf Course in Southampton,
Since McIlroy won both the British Open and PGA Championship, Adam Scott was
initially invited to round out the field as the defending champion of the
event. Scott, though, was unable to compete due to a scheduling conflict.
Furyk, the 2003 U.S. Open champion, was runner-up in this year's Major
Champions Points List, which charts the performance throughout the year of
active major champions.
"It's exciting to cap a great year in golf by matching a foursome of the
game's premier performers over 36 holes," said PGA of America president Ted
Bishop in a statement Wednesday. "The PGA Grand Slam of Golf is a reward for
achieving a milestone in a golfer's career."
Furyk won the Grand Slam of Golf in 2003 and again in 2008.
=== Tulsa's Sims captures rookie monthly honor ===
New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Tulsa's Odyssey Sims was named the WNBA's
top rookie for the month of August.
Sims led the WNBA in scoring during the month with an average of 23.5 points.
She scored 20 or more points in five of the six games and 25 or more in three
of those contests.
The Baylor product, who was selected second in the 2014 WNBA Draft, led all
rookies in scoring during the season with an average of 16.7 points and 4.2
=== Kent State football player dies ===
Kent, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Kent State football player Jason Bitsko died
Wednesday. He was 21 years old.
The school said Bitsko was found unresponsive in his off-campus apartment
shortly before 9 a.m. ET. Police believe he died from an undetermined medical
"Our players, coaches and everyone involved with our team are hurting because
he was family," said Kent State football coach Paul Haynes in a statement
Wednesday. "As a team, we will come together and get through this one day at a
According to the school, calls were placed to Bitsko's roommate after he
failed to show up for morning practice. The roommate called 911 after finding
Bitsko in his bed. Police arrived on the scene within three minutes of the
Bitsko was set to begin his fourth season with the Golden Flashes. He started
12 games at center last season and was slated to start again in 2014.
=== Wicked Strong and Tonalist meet again in Travers ===
Saratoga Springs, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Wicked Strong and Tonalist, first
and second in the Jim Dandy Stakes, meet up again in Saturday's $1.25 million
Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
The 1 1/4-mile "Mid-Summer Derby" has attracted a field of 10 3-year-olds,
including Haskell Invitational winner Bayern.
Wicked Strong, trained by Jimmy Jerkens for Centennial Farms, will start from
post 7 with his regular jockey Rajiv Maragh. The morning line has the Jim
Dandy champ as the 7-2 third pick with Tonalist at 3-1 and Bayern the 2-1
Wicked Strong, wearing blinkers for the first time, captured the Jim Dandy
over Tonalist on July 26 by a solid 2 1/4 lengths. The victory made the colt
a millionaire as he has banked $1,244,610 with three wins in nine career
"We needed to see that from him," Jerkens said about the Jim Dandy. "He's been
slowly developing all along. He certainly didn't run bad in those (Triple
Crown) races, but he hadn't put it together like that. It was good to see."
The 3-year-old began his 2014 season with a disappointing ninth-place finish
in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. After a fourth in an optional
allowance race, he won the Wood Memorial at odds of 9-1.
Wicked Strong overcame some problems in the Kentucky Derby to finish fourth
and again finished fourth, in a dead heat with California Chrome, in the
Belmont Stakes won by Tonalist.
Tonalist has drawn to Wicked Strong's immediate inside for Saturday. Trained
by Christophe Clement, the colt will again have Joel Rosario in the saddle.
"I'm looking forward to the Travers. I'm looking forward to a mile and a
quarter. I'm looking forward to the pace scenario. I'm excited. Let's go,"
Owned by Robert Evans, Tonalist gained national attention with his Belmont
Stakes victory, denying California Chrome the Triple Crown. Four weeks prior
to the Belmont the colt won the Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park.
Tonalist has won half of his six career starts for $1,077,000.
Bayern, trained by Bob Baffert for Kaleem Shah Inc., will break from post 2
with Martin Garcia getting his second straight mount on the colt.
Bayern ran away from the field to win the Haskell by 7 1/4 lengths as he won
for the first time beyond a mile. Coming into the Haskell, the colt's biggest
win came in the seven-furlong Woody Stephens Stakes on the Belmont Stakes
program, He won that stakes by seven lengths.
"The Haskell was pretty impressive," Baffert said. "Will he take a step
backward? I don't know, but he looks good. He's not a really big horse, but
he's fast. He's a handy horse, and he's got a lot of speed. I'm not totally
convinced he can go a mile and a quarter, but he's pretty fast. You just have
to let him go and what happens, happens. You can't worry about it. When you
have a horse with that kind of brilliant speed, you have to use it."
The 3-year-old, unraced last year, has four wins from seven lifetime starts
Here is the field for the Travers in post position order: Commanding Curve,
Shaun Bridgmohan, 15-1; Bayern, Martin Garcia, 2-1; Charge Now, Junior
Alvarado, 15-1; V. E. Day, Javier Castellano, 15-1; Viva Majorca, Julien
Leparoux, 20-1; Tonalist, Joel Rosario, 3-1; Wicked Strong, Rajiv Maragh, 7-2;
Kid Cruz, Irad Ortiz Jr., 12-1; Ulanbator, Brian Hernandez Jr., 30-1 and Mr
Speaker, Jose Lezcano, 10-1.
The Travers has a scheduled post time of 5:46 p.m. ET and will be televised by
NBC Sports Network.
08/20 17:18:33 ET