(TNS)

Tribune News Service

Sports Budget for Saturday, October 17, 2020

Updated at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 UTC)

This budget is now available at http://www.TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.

^TOP STORIES<

^Dodgers' three first-inning runs stand up in win over Braves to force NLCS Game 7<

BBN-BRAVES-DODGERS:LA — Walker Buehler, the young ace the Los Angeles Dodgers once again needed when the stakes were highest, was in a messy predicament in the second inning of the Dodgers' 3-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series on Saturday.

Three Atlanta Braves had delivered consecutive singles to load the bases with no outs. The bottom third of Atlanta's lineup was next. The Dodgers' early three-run lead was hanging by a thread. In response, Buehler vaulted to another level.

Kenley Jansen, pitching for the second straight day, earned the save with a one, two, three ninth inning as the Dodgers won their second straight game to even the series at three and force a Game 7 on Sunday at Globe Life field.

750 by Jorge Castillo in Arlington, Texas. MOVED

PHOTOS

Also moving as:

BBN-BRAVES-DODGERS:AT — 1050 by Gabriel Burns in Arlington, Texas. MOVED

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^Florida Gators coach Dan Mullen says he tested positive for COVID-19<

FBC-FLORIDA-MULLEN-CORONAVIRUS:OS — University of Florida coach Dan Mullen announced Saturday he has tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the latest person impacted by the outbreak within the Gators football program.

Mullen said his initial positive test result was confirmed.

"I'm continuing to self-isolate from my family, who all remain healthy, and am following all the guidelines set forth by UF Health, the CDC and our public health officials," Mullen said in a statement. "I am proud of how our players, staff and campus community have navigated this unprecedented time and hope all continue to be safe."

400 by Edgar Thompson in Gainesville, Fla. MOVED

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^Ravens place DT Brandon Williams on reserve/COVID-19 list; game vs. Eagles is still on<

FBN-RAVENS-WILLIAMS:BZ — The Baltimore Ravens have placed defensive tackle Brandon Williams on the reserve/COVID-19 list, the team announced Saturday, one day before a road game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Because Williams did not test positive for the virus, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, the game is still expected to be played. Williams was in close contact with an infected person, the source said, which means he will miss Sunday's game.

550 by Daniel Oyefusi and Jonas Shaffer in Baltimore. MOVED

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^Looking back at Tony La Russa's stint as White Sox manager: 'I have this fire that burns inside me, and it tells me I want to win any way I can.'<

BBA-WHITESOX-LARUSSA-SPORTSPLUS:TB — Tony La Russa is one of the most accomplished managers in major-league history.

He's third all time with 2,728 victories. He won the World Series as the manager of the 1989 Oakland Athletics and the 2006 and 2011 St. Louis Cardinals. La Russa was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

His major-league managing career began with the Chicago White Sox. La Russa went 522-510 with the Sox from 1979-86.

As speculation continues about a possible reunion, here's a timeline of La Russa's stint with the Sox.

1600 by Lamond Pope in Chicago. MOVED

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^BASEBALL<

^Yankees manager Aaron Boone makes improving how team gets analytic information to players an offseason priority<

BBA-YANKEES-ANALYTICS:NY — There was little reason for speculation even after the "cruel" ending. Aaron Boone was always coming back for 2021. Still, in three years as the Yankees manager, Boone has repeatedly talked about learning, adapting and improving as a team. So, it's fair to wonder what did Boone learn from this 2020 season?

The little things matter, apparently. Boone, who is praised for his ability to communicate between the analytics department and the players, said that he and his staff actually have to be better at that.

800 by Kristie Ackert in New York. MOVED

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^Bill Madden: This offseason will be a bloodbath for MLB players<

^BBO-MADDEN-COLUMN:NY—<There is a cold, uncertain winter a comin' for baseball. No one is talking about it because they're heaving a huge sigh of relief over making it through the pandemic-truncated 60-game season all the way to the World Series. But a brutal offseason is coming, and the players will bear the brunt of the pain.

1200 by Bill Madden. MOVED

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^Mark Bradley: A subdued Game 6 leaves the Atlanta Braves with one last chance<

^BBN-BRADLEY-COLUMN:AT—<The series lead? Gone. Hope? Still alive. There's one game to go, one game to make, one way or another, history. On Sunday night, the 2020 Braves will become National League champions or add their name to that long, long list of Atlanta teams that looked great until they didn't.

A bit of perspective: If, seven days ago, someone had said, "The Braves will take the Dodgers to a Game 7 — you OK with that?", your answer would have been yes absolutely, yes positively. The Dodgers were supposed to win this, and they still could. And so could the Braves. Yes, they've whiffed on two chances to clinch, but it'll take strike three to send them home.

850 by Mark Bradley. MOVED

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^Saturday's games<

TNS expects coverage from the following games:

Houston at Tampa Bay, 8:37 p.m. EDT

^NFL<

^To really be like Brady, maybe Aaron Rodgers' future is with Bucs<

FBN-BUCCANEERS-RODGERS:PT — There is nothing fans get up for more than a quarterback showdown.

It's even better when involving two future Hall of Famers who rarely make an appearance on the same stage.

Unless there is an encounter in the postseason, this could be the last time Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers cross paths on the football field.

Brady is 43 and Rodgers is 36. Their careers span a combined 37 NFL seasons and 375 regular-season games, but Sunday's meeting at Raymond James Stadium will be only their third.

"You've got the Tampa Bay Bradys versus the Green Bay Rodgers. That's the way I look at this game," Packers tackle David Bakhtiari said — a little sarcastically — in a call with reporters. "It's a one-on-one battle."

1100 (with trims) by Rick Stroud in Tampa, Fla. MOVED

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^Dolphins' Flores, Jets' Gase have same, awful record with new teams, but that is where the similarity ends<

FBN-DOLPHINS-JETS-COACHES:FL — One NFL coach started the 2019 season 0-7, won five of the last nine to end his first year, and is off to a 2-3 start through five games in 2020.

The other started 1-7, won six of the last eight games to end his first season with his new franchise, and is off to a 0-5 start this season.

The math says they both have the same record, 7-14, in that span.

But Brian Flores and the Miami Dolphins could not be drifting into a direction further away from the abyss New York Jets coach Adam Gase finds himself in before both teams play on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium.

950 by Safid Deen in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED

PHOTOS

^Manish Mehta: Joe Douglas, Adam Gase divorce must happen for Jets GM to create 'best culture in sports'<

^FBN-MEHTA-COLUMN:NY—<The New York Jets have provided a road map to the best circus in town, where laughter is guaranteed even if winning isn't.

Nearly 10 months after general manager Joe Douglas revealed that "the plan is to create the best culture in sports," the wayward franchise has been lampooned by everyone from diehard fans to "Saturday Night Live."

NFL players, coaches and executives giggle behind their backs. Gang Green has morphed into something much worse than just a bad team.

They're a punchline.

800 by Manish Mehta. MOVED

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^Jaguars shut down team facility, working remotely due to COVID-19 precautions<

FBN-JAGUARS-CORONAVIRUS:JK — The Jacksonville Jaguars are working virtually only on Saturday after shutting down their facility at TIAA Bank Field because a practice squad player tested positive for COVID-19, the franchise announced.

After confirming the positive test Friday night, the Jaguars said they are working with the NFL to review contact tracing data while the player who tested positive remains self-isolated.

As a precautionary measure, the franchise said they made the decision to conduct their activities for Saturday remotely while following NFL protocols and recommendations.

450 by John Reid in Jacksonville, Fla. MOVED

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^Falcons have more COVID-19 cases, take 2 planes to Minnesota<

FBN-FALCONS-CORONAVIRUS:AT — Defensive line coaches Jess Simpson and Tosh Lupoi did not travel with the Atlanta Falcons to Minnesota, and defensive end John Cominsky was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.

Earlier in the week, defensive tackle Marlon Davidson was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. The Falcons shut down their facilities Thursday after an assistant coach tested positive. The team reopened the facilities Friday with additional protocols.

150 by D. Orlando Ledbetter in Atlanta. MOVED

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^Chiefs make Le'Veon Bell signing official but his Kansas City debut might not come this week<

FBN-CHIEFS-BELL:KC — The Kansas City Chiefs officially welcomed running back Le'Veon Bell by announcing his signing Saturday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid mentioned the contract wasn't signed.

"He's got to through all the protocols and that, so nothing is official yet," Reid said. "When it becomes official, then we'll talk."

Life comes fast in the NFL because less than two hours after the team's final media availability, the deal is done.

400 by Herbie Teope in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED

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^Chiefs' Sammy Watkins won't play Monday at Bills; Mitchell Schwartz is questionable<

FBN-CHIEFS-INJURIES:KC — The Kansas City Chiefs will play Monday's game against the Buffalo Bills without wide receiver Sammy Watkins after officially ruling him out for Week 6.

The designation doesn't come as a big surprise because Watkins missed three straight days of practice. Watkins injured his hamstring in Week 5 and was unable to finish the game.

Starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz is a surprise addition to Saturday's injury report. Schwartz showed up as questionable because of a back injury despite the Chiefs indicating he went through a full practice.

300 by Herbie Teope in Kansas City, Mo. MOVED

PHOTO

^Vahe Gregorian: Father figure says Le'Veon Bell will arrive in Kansas City 'a little humble,' run 'very angry'<

^FBN-GREGORIAN-COLUMN:KC—<Shortly after the news broke earlier this week that the New York Jets had released running back Le'Veon Bell, Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones semi-subtly but less-than-cryptically engaged the prospect of Bell joining the Chiefs by simply invoking his name on Twitter.

Even if that wasn't exactly the impetus for what percolated over the next few days, it certainly was an instant spark in what promptly became an informal awareness campaign with, really, a hint of a frenzy among Chiefs fans and even some players.

1050 by Vahe Gregorian. MOVED

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^Dallas Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch has been cleared to play Monday vs. Arizona<

FBN-COWBOYS-VANDERESCH:FT — Roughly five weeks a suffering a fractured collarbone in the season-opening loss to the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has been cleared to return to the field, per a source.

All signs are pointing to Vander Esch being on the field when the Cowboys (2-3) take on the Arizona Cardinals (3-2) Monday night.

300 by Clarence E. Hill Jr. in Frisco, Texas. MOVED

PHOTO

^Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. tests negative for COVID-19 again, expected to play vs. Steelers<

^FBN-BROWNS-BECKHAM:AK—<Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday after testing negative for COVID-19 a second time while recovering from an illness.

All of the Cleveland Browns' tests from Friday came back negative Saturday morning, a person familiar with the situation said, so Beckham was cleared to return to team headquarters.

400 by Nate Ulrich. MOVED

PHOTO

^COLLEGE FOOTBALL<

^No. 1 Clemson leaves no doubt with 73-point outburst in win over Georgia Tech<

FBC-CLEMSON-GEORGIATECH:CS — Clemson started Saturday's game at Georgia Tech with some sloppy play and found itself tied with the Yellow Jackets midway through the first quarter.

The No. 1 Tigers ended Saturday's game at Georgia Tech with 66 consecutive points, 671 yards of offense and its most lopsided victory ever in the ACC.

Clemson pounded Georgia Tech 73-7 at Bobby Dodd Stadium, avoiding any letdown a week after a Top 10 win over Miami — and while playing on the road at noon at a place where they have historically struggled.

500 by Matt Connolly in Atlanta. MOVED

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^Steve Hummer: The team from another planet overwhelms Georgia Tech<

^FBC-HUMMER-COLUMN:AT—<About 125 miles of pine trees and outlet stores separate the cities of Atlanta and Clemson, South Carolina. For 351 days of any year, it's abundantly clear which map point is more appealing.

But on college football game days, the preferences get a little scrambled. Then, surely, there can be no better place to call home than Clemson.

1050 by Steve Hummer. MOVED

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^Miami Hurricanes grind out win vs. Pittsburgh to bounce back from Clemson loss<

FBC-PITT-MIAMI:FL — The No. 13 Miami Hurricanes returned home from their loss at No. 1 Clemson needing a win.

As ugly as it may have been at times, Miami got exactly that against the gritty Pittsburgh Panthers on Saturday afternoon.

Quarterback D'Eriq King threw four touchdown passes, along with two interceptions, and the Hurricanes topped Pitt, 31-19, in front of an announced attendance at Hard Rock Stadium of 9,000 scattered fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

750 by David Furones in Miami Gardens, Fla. MOVED

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^Dave Hyde: Miami beats up on Pitt — now what does it mean?<

^FBC-HYDE-COLUMN:FL—<With uncertainty over the post-game Zoom connection, Miami Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz tested his end with a David Bowie lyric late Saturday afternoon:

"Ground control to Major Tom."

This was the issue all week for Diaz. Did his players hear him? Did his message get through? Could they understand what he wanted to correct from the previous week's disappointment at Clemson?

Maybe Saturday's 31-19 win over the gritty Pittsburgh Panthers was important for this season. Maybe not. MOVED

PHOTO

700 by Dave Hyde. MOVED

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^UK football ends another bad streak with impressive road win over Tennessee<

FBC-TENNESSEE-KENTUCKY:LX — Kentucky went down to Rocky Top and pushed Tennessee off the mountain.

The Wildcats, losers of 17 straight in Knoxville, never trailed in a 34-7 victory over the Volunteers at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

It was the Wildcats' first win at Tennessee since 1984, and their first victory in the series since a 2017 decision at Kroger Field.

850 by Josh Moore in Knoxville, Tenn. MOVED

PHOTO

^John Clay: Stoops' streak-busters do it again as UK football takes down Tennessee<

^FBC-CLAY-COLUMN:LX—<Old Rocky Top finally came tumbling down.

Chalk another one up to Mark Stoops' streak-busters, who keep drawing a line through Kentucky football's most painful losing streaks. Two years ago in Gainesville, down went the Florida Gators for the first time since 1986. Saturday, down went the Tennessee Volunteers for the first time at Neyland Stadium since 1984.

Final: Kentucky 34, Tennessee 7.

700 by John Clay. MOVED

PHOTO

^NC State gets win over Duke, but loses QB Devin Leary to injury<

FBC-DUKE-NCSTATE:RA — N.C. State will go into its game against old rival North Carolina off a comeback victory over Duke, but possibly without quarterback Devin Leary.

The Pack overcame a host of mistakes Saturday to fight past the Blue Devils 31-20 at Carter-Finley Stadium, and will head to Chapel Hill to face the Tar Heels with a 4-1 record, with three straight victories.

But Leary's injury put a pall over the Pack's win. The sophomore quarterback was injured on a third-quarter run, his left leg pinned under him as he attempted to slide and was hit by Duke's Lummie Young IV.

650 by Chip Alexander in Raleigh, N.C. MOVED

PHOTO

^Luke DeCock: Resilient Wolfpack and rudderless Blue Devils headed in different directions<

^FBC-DECOCK-COLUMN:RA—<Maybe Duke and North Carolina State should only play once a decade. This game was a mess, full of penalties, miscues, mistakes, dirty plays and one very ugly injury.

But their first meeting since 2013 and N.C. State's first win against Duke since 2008, 31-20 on Saturday, also represented, almost exactly, the directions these two programs are headed this season: The Wolfpack resilient and feisty — too feisty at times — the Blue Devils willing to fight but unable to surmount consistent issues at the most important position, the one position that shouldn't be an issue on a team coached by quarterback guru David Cutcliffe.

950 by Luke DeCock. MOVED

PHOTO

^USF squanders double-digit second-half lead in 39-37 loss at Temple<

^FBC-USF-TEMPLE:PT—<On a crisp Philadelphia afternoon when it delivered its most uplifting performance of the season, USF couldn't quite deliver a watershed moment.

But it sure beats the woodshed ones this program recently has endured.

What shaped up as the Bulls' first American Athletic Conference victory in nearly a year was thwarted by untimely turnovers and penalties, as Temple (1-1, 1-1 AAC) rallied from an 11-point second-half hole for a 39-37 victory.

500 by Joey Knight. MOVED

PHOTO

^Kansas leads early, then struggles rest of the way in loss at West Virginia<

^FBC-KANSAS-WESTVIRGINIA:KC—<Kansas' football players carried a "win one for their coach" mentality into Saturday's Big 12 game at West Virginia.

"We are gonna go play for him today. You better believe that They (players) are totally committed to the cause. We're gonna get this one for Coach Miles," acting KU coach Josh Eargle said prior to kickoff on the Jayhawk radio network.

The fired-up Jayhawks, motivated to play well for head coach Les Miles, who was back in Lawrence watching the game on Fox as he completes a 10-day COVID-19 quarantine, were unable to claim victory, but were competitive for a half in a 38-17 loss before 15,000 fans at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia.

1000 by Gary Bedore. MOVED

PHOTO

^Navy fullbacks provide winning formula again in 27-23 win over East Carolina<

^FBC-NAVY-EASTCAROLINA:BZ—<For the second straight game, the fullback was the Navy football team's best friend.

Pounding fullbacks Nelson Smith and Jamale Carothers between the tackles has become a winning formula for the Midshipmen, who have found it is an ideal way to wear down the defense and shorten the game.

Smith rushed for a career-high 157 yards and two touchdowns as Navy slipped past East Carolina, 27-23, on a crisp, sunny fall afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina. Carothers contributed 82 scores and a score for the Mids, who have a two-game winning streak for the first time this season.

1500 by Bill Wagner. MOVED

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^UCF gives up 21 fourth-quarter points during loss to Memphis<

^FBC-UCF-MEMPHIS:OS—<The University of Central Florida and Memphis have played some classic college football games and Saturday's showdown was no exception.

Memphis quarterback Brady White outdueled UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel, finding receiver Calvin Austin for a game-winning four-yard touchdown pass as the Tigers (2-1, 1-1 AAC) scored 21 fourth-quarter points to earn a 50-49 home win over the Knights Saturday.

650 by Matt Murschel. MOVED

PHOTO

^Kevin Sherrington: In what was supposed to be a breakout season, Tom Herman's walking a thin line between solidarity and tradition<

^FBC-SHERRINGTON-COLUMN:DA—<In the image gone viral, a dozen or so figures linger on the Cotton Bowl grass after Texas' five-hour, four-overtime 53-45 loss to Oklahoma. A few uplifted hands provide the narrative. You can almost hear the brassy blast of "The Eyes of Texas" booming over their heads like a fighter-wing flyover.

A cameraman, coaches, a few support personnel, a couple of suits.

A single forlorn football player.

If a picture can paint a thousand words, this one is worth millions. As in dollars, the stuff that keeps college athletic programs afloat.

850 by Kevin Sherrington. MOVED

PHOTO

^Saturday's games<

TNS expects coverage from the following games featuring teams in the AP top 25:

No. 5 UNC at Florida State, 7:30 p.m.

No. 3 Georgia at No. 2 Alabama, 8 p.m.

^COLLEGE BASKETBALL<

^UCLA coach Mick Cronin envisions players forgoing extra year of eligibility<

BKC-UCLA-ELIGIBILITY:LA — The calculus of college basketball rosters is changing. UCLA coach Mick Cronin now must navigate not only who's leaving early but also who wants to extend their stay.

The NCAA earlier this week granted winter sport athletes an additional year of eligibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that Bruins senior guard Chris Smith, a candidate for the Pac-12 Conference player of the year, could stay an additional season.

In theory, anyway.

"He's not coming back for a fifth year," Cronin told the Los Angeles Times on Friday. "Let's just get that out to our fan base now. He's going to graduate and get his chance at the NBA for sure."

750 by Ben Bolch in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^COLLEGE SPORTS<

^The reawakening: Pac-12 rebuilds staff, prepares for basketball broadcasts and keeps football options open for Dec. 19<

^PAC12-STAFF:SJ—<With sports returning on the campuses, the recovery begins in San Francisco.

The Pac-12 office is bringing back 54 of the 79 employees who were notified of furloughs in August, when it appeared there would be no sports competition until early 2021.

The process is unfolding in stages across both the conference and networks divisions.

1000 by Jon Wilner. MOVED

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^WNBA<

^Lisa Leslie pushes hard for change, 30 years after her first encounter with inequity<

BKL-TRIPLETS-LESLIE:LA — Just like she did during her Hall of Fame career, Lisa Leslie is hustling. Now the stakes are higher than a championship trophy.

Leslie, a two-time WNBA champion with the Sparks and four-time Olympic gold medalist, is part of three voting rights groups — LeBron James' More Than a Vote, Hoopers Vote and Rock the Vote — with less than a month before the election. This second act is what the Sparks legend believes could be her greatest area of influence.

"My ability to speak, my ability to inspire people, that's my God-given talent," Leslie said. "The platform just happened to be the basketball court."

950 by Thuc Nhi Nguyen in Los Angeles. MOVED

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^AUTO RACING<

^Jimmie Johnson's retirement from NASCAR is only the start of major changes at Hendrick<

^CAR-NASCAR-JOHNSON-HENDRICK:CH—<Despite the calls from Rick Hendrick and questions from reporters that started before the beginning of his final full-time season, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has offered the same line throughout 2020 to the skeptics wondering, "Are you sure?"

Johnson is sticking by his retirement plans through the pandemic year that included a positive COVID-19 test, missed race and mostly fanless events. Johnson is sure, he's repeatedly said, and is slated to run a part-time IndyCar schedule with Chip Ganassi Racing next season.

1150 by Alex Andrejev. MOVED

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^HIGH SCHOOL <

^With no high school football, a frustrated trainer staged his own game, violating Washington's COVID-19 protocols<

FBH-WASH-STAGEDGAME:SE — Tracy Ford doesn't mince words explaining his motivations for lobbying to get high school football players back on the field.

"These kids need to be seen," said the man behind the Ford Sports Performance center in Bellevue, which trains professional and up-and-coming amateur players. "They need to be seen and they need to be evaluated."

And when Gov. Jay Inslee's office declined to recommend that the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) resume fall sports after a meeting last month involving the WIAA, the governor's office, Ford and student athletes, the trainer took matters into his own hands. He organized an invitation-only, three-day mini-camp and showcase game two weekends ago in Tacoma that involved up to 112 top in-state players.

Only problem is, the governor's office says the game, videotaped for college recruiters, should never have happened.

1650 by Geoff Baker in Seattle. MOVED

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^COLUMNS<

^Larry Stone: With no bubble in place, football season, college and NFL, in jeopardy with rising COVID rates<

^STONE-COLUMN:SE—<It was just a normal Saturday in the tense new world of college and pro football.

The New England Patriots reopened their facilities after canceling Friday's practice because of a positive COVID-19 test. The Jacksonville Jaguars closed their facilities after a practice squad player tested positive on Friday. The Denver Broncos traveled to face the Patriots without running backs coach Curtis Modkins, who tested positive for COVID on Saturday morning, and also without running back Melvin Gordon III, who had an illness that was feared to be COVID but now has been determined to be unrelated.

900 by Larry Stone. MOVED

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