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November 25, 2020
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Update on the latest sports


Playoff rankings: Alabama, Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State
UNDATED (AP) – Alabama is No. 1 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the season, followed by Notre Dame, Clemson and Ohio State. Texas A&M was fifth and Florida was sixth, followed by unbeaten Cincinnati at seventh, the best ranking for a non-Power Five team in the seven-year history of the selection committee’s rankings.
Another unbeaten team from outside the Power Five was not so highly regarded by the committee. BYU was slotted 14th, behind No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 13 Iowa State among others.


Burkhead will miss the rest of the season
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) – Patriots running back Rex Burkhead says his recent knee injury will keep him sidelined for the rest of the season. In an Instagram post Tuesday, Burkhead wrote that he looks forward to “coming back better than ever in 2021.”
The proclamation comes after he was carted off the field in the third quarter of New England’s 27-20 loss at Houston following a knee-to-helmet collision with Texans cornerback Bradley Roby. His injury is the latest blow to a Patriots running back group that has already had to make several adjustments.


In other NFL developments:
– The Browns are down another defensive star. Starting cornerback Denzel Ward, who leads the NFL in passes defensed and is coming off his best game this season, will miss time with a strained calf he sustained in Sunday’s win over Philadelphia. Ward’s injury is just the latest to a big-name player for the Browns, who are already missing dynamic end Myles Garrett. He’ll miss his second straight game this week at Jacksonville as he recovers from COVID-19.


-Injured San Francisco 49ers cornerback K’Waun Williams has been suspended two games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Williams was already sidelined by a high ankle sprain but now will officially be suspended the next two weeks. He is eligible to return after the Week 13 game against Buffalo.


-The Dallas Cowboys canceled practice Tuesday after a non-coronavirus medical emergency involving their strength and conditioning coordinator. The Cowboys said Markus Paul experienced a medical emergency at the facility, where he was immediately treated by Cowboys medical personnel before being transported to a hospital.


Manning, Woodson on the list
UNDATED (AP) – Peyton Manning, Charles Woodson, Jared Allen and Calvin Johnson are first-year eligible players to make the list of 25 semifinalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021.
Joining them are four players who previously have been eligible, but never made the semifinals: Eric Allen, Willie Anderson, Cornelius Bennett and Rodney Harrison.
A player must be retired for five seasons before being considered for entry to the Canton, Ohio, shrine. The selection committee will meet during Super Bowl week to select the entrants.


Ingram signs five-year deal with Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A person familiar with the situation says restricted free agent Brandon Ingram has agreed to a five-year, $158 million contract with the New Orleans Pelicans. Ingram is the NBA’s reigning most improved player after averaging a team-high 23.8 points in his first season with the Pelicans.


Elsewhere in the NBA:
– Veteran 7-foot center Steven Adams has agreed to a two-year extension with the Pelicans following his trade to New Orleans as part of a four-team deal that also sent guard Jrue Holiday from the Pelicans to Milwaukee. A person familiar with the deal says Adams’ extension is worth $35 million. The Pelicans’ acquisition of Adams follows center Derrick Favors’ decision to leave New Orleans for Utah in free agency. The deal also sends Milwaukee’s 2025 and 2027 first-round picks to New Orleans.


– Free agent guard Brad Wanamaker has signed with the Golden State Warriors. He will give the team additional depth in the backcourt in the wake of Klay Thompson’s Achilles injury that will sideline him all season. The Warriors announced the deal two days after acquiring guard Kelly Oubre from the Oklahoma City Thunder in a trade for draft picks. Thompson will miss the season after tearing his right Achilles tendon during a pickup game.


– The Miami Heat front office says it’s working on a contract extension with Bam Adebayo. When finalized, the deal will likely guarantee him at least $168 million over the next six seasons and perhaps as much as $200 million in that span. Adebayo will make $5.1 million this season, the final year of his rookie contract.


– The Los Angeles Lakers have signed veteran Spanish center Marc Gasol. The NBA champions confirmed the latest step in their roster reconfiguration by formally adding the 35-year-old Gasol. He spent the last 1 1/2 seasons with the Toronto Raptors and won a championship ring in 2019. Gasol will suit up for the Lakers nearly 13 years after the franchise acquired his older brother, Pau, by trading Marc’s draft rights to the Memphis Grizzlies.


– The Utah Jazz will play homes games before a limited number of fans when the NBA season begins. The team said Vivint Arena will reopen with a reduced seating capacity of 1,500 in the lower bowl only and limited seating on the suite level. The arena has a capacity of 18,306. Several safety measures are being put into place, including requiring face coverings, mobile entry, and screening procedures at all entrances.


Tennessee extends pause
UNDATED. (AP) – No. 12 Tennessee has extended its pause of team activities through Dec. 4 after receiving the results of COVID-19 testing.
The Vols paused activities Monday and ran more tests after announcing coach Rick Barnes, 66, had tested positive. Tennessee later canceled its Volunteer Classic that had been scheduled to start Wednesday.
Now Tennessee has extended its pause on activities, and the Vols will not play No. 1 Gonzaga in Indianapolis next week as part of the Jimmy V Classic. School officials also announced Tennessee will not play at Notre Dame on Dec. 4. That was a game that had not been announced with the contract not finalized yet.


In other virus-related developments in college basketball:
– No. 2 Baylor has pushed back the start of its men’s basketball season even further with the cancellation of Sunday’s game at Seton Hall. Baylor said Tuesday that it was a mutual agreement between the schools to cancel the Big 12/Big East Battle matchup. The Bears had originally been scheduled to start the season Wednesday night against No. 18 Arizona State, and then play No. 3 Villanova or Boston College on Thanksgiving Day in Connecticut. Baylor didn’t make that trip after head coach Scott Drew revealed he had tested positive for COVID-19.


Braves boost rotation, sign Morton for a year at $15 million
ATLANTA (AP) – The Atlanta Braves have added another veteran arm to their rotation by signing two-time All-Star Charlie Morton to a $15 million, one-year deal. The 37-year-old right-hander is returning to the Braves after helping Tampa Bay reach the World Series this season.
The signing comes after left-hander Drew Smyly signed an $11 million, one-year deal with the Braves on Nov. 16. Smyly, 31, became the first of the 181 free agents to switch teams.
Morton was drafted by Atlanta in 2002 and made his major league debut with the Braves in 2008 before he was traded to Pittsburgh in 2009.


In other MLB news:
– Tampa Bay outfielder Randy Arozarena has been arrested in Mexico’s Yucatan state for a situation involving an apparent custody dispute. The incident comes just two weeks after he won the Babe Ruth award for the Most Valuable Player in the postseason. Prosecutors say Arozarena was detained “for problems relating to his ex-partner.” He has not been formally charged yet.


– Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda’s condition has improved while he remains hospitalized in Southern California. A Los Angeles Dodgers spokesman says the 93-year-old former Dodgers manager has been taking online calls with former players. The team first announced he was hospitalized on Nov. 15.



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