DENVER (AP) — The three NFL teams that had been the models of stability at quarterback have new signal-callers in 2022. The Seattle Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to Denver and the Atlanta Falcons traded Matt Ryan to Indianapolis. Wilson had started for a decade in Seattle and Ryan was the Falcons' starter since 2008. The Pittsburgh Steelers lost Ben Roethlisberger to retirement. The two-time Super Bowl winner was their starting quarterback since 2004.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Falcons are expected to highlight the competitions for the final roster spots in Saturday’s final preseason game for both teams. That means Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence, like most starters, is expected to be an observer. The Jaguars and Falcons had two joint practices at the Falcons' facility this week. Jaguars coach Doug Pederson says most starters won’t play on Saturday. Falcons coach Arthur Smith hasn’t revealed plans for his starters.
Fourth-ranked Clemson is determined to follow a year of change with a return to the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Tigers saw their six-year run as league football champions snapped last year, then the Tigers lost coordinators on both sides of the ball to head-coaching jobs. Yet Dabo Swinney’s team is favored again ahead of teams like No. 13 North Carolina State, No. 16 Miami, No. 17 Pittsburgh and No. 22 Wake Forest. The Hurricanes are picked to win a Coastal Division race that includes four new head coaches.
NEW YORK (AP) — Novak Djokovic will not play in the U.S. Open, as expected, because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 and thus is not allowed to travel to the United States. Djokovic announced his withdrawal from the year’s last Grand Slam tournament on Twitter on Thursday, hours before the draw for the event was revealed.
The Savannah Bananas are leaving the Coastal Plain League to focus full attention on their professional barnstorming team. The Bananas joined the summer league for college players in 2016, playing in historic Grayson Stadium after the departure of the city’s longtime minor league team. The amateur team was an immediate sensation, on and off the field, winning three championships, selling out every game and drawing attention from national media.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kyle Wright allowed two hits over seven efficient innings and the Atlanta Braves drilled the sloppy Pittsburgh Pirates 14-2 to complete a three-game sweep. Wright struck out eight and walked one while improving to 16-5, tied for the most wins in the majors. Matt Olson hit his fifth career grand slam, a 420-foot blast that bounced into the Allegheny River. Atlanta has won 14 of 16 to keep the pressure on the NL East-leading New York Mets.
The Georgia Bulldogs are trying to prove they aren't one-year wonders. The Bulldogs are seeking to repeat as national champions, but Southeastern Conference rival Alabama is preseason No. 1. Sixth-ranked Texas A&M is also in hot pursuit. The Bulldogs lost 15 NFL draft picks from the championship team that beat the Crimson Tide in the national title game. But quarterback Stetson Bennett and tight end Brock Bowers are back. Alabama returns two of the nation's top players in Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young and national defensive player of the year Will Anderson.
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Max Fried allowed three hits in eight innings, pacing the Atlanta Braves to a 6-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night. Fried (12-4) struck out seven and walked one, retiring 20 of the final 23 batters he faced. The All-Star left-hander got through eight innings for the second time this season.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama coach Nick Saban is getting a new eight-year contract worth at least $93.6 million, eclipsing the recent megadeal of Southeastern Conference rival Kirby Smart. The University of Alabama trustees compensation committee approved a one-year extension through Feb. 28, 2030, for the 70-year-old Saban, who has led the Crimson Tide to six national titles.
The college football schedule offers a weekly selection of marquee games between top teams, and some will hit the ground running this year. Two September 3 showdowns will shuffle the preseason Top 25 quickly as No. 5 Notre Dame and new coach Marcus Freeman play at No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Georgia, the defending national champion, plays No. 11 Oregon in Atlanta.