Chris Brunt has told West Brom a new contract for team-mate Gareth McAuley is “a no-brainer”. McAuley’s previous deal has expired but the 35-year-old defender is mulling over a one-year extension with the Baggies. As a proven Barclays Premier League performer potentially available on a free transfer he has drawn interest from the likes of Leicester, but Brunt hopes his Northern Ireland colleague remains at the Hawthorns. Speaking ahead of Saturday’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania, where both men are set for key roles, midfielder Brunt said: “I’m quite surprised it’s in the situation it is. It would be a no-brainer for me. “He’s a guy who plays every week in the Premier League. People keep speaking about his age but if you see him day to day in training he’s an extremely fit lad. “For the age of him he’s a bit of a freak really and for him to keep grinding the level of performance he does week in, week out…it’s just a no brainer. “Ever since he got back in the side around Christmas time he’s never looked back. He’s pretty much been like that ever since he joined the club, so hopefully they get that sorted.” Press Association
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs have agreed with defensive tackle Chris Jones on a four-year, $85 million contract extension that includes $60 million in guarantees. That word comes from a person familiar with the deal.The Chiefs and representatives for Jones have been working on a contract extension ever since last year, when they remained far apart on terms and the Pro Bowl selection skipped the entirety of the offseason program. Jones was back in time for training camp and helped the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl in 50 years in February.Elsewhere in the NFL:— A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the Cleveland Browns are closing in on a massive contract extension with star defensive end Myles Garrett. He was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 and is one of the NFL’s premiere edge rushers. Garrett and the Browns could have the deal completed in the next day or so. NFL Network reported the extension could be for five years and $125 million. NHL-ISLANDERS-SOROKIN Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditVIRUS OUTBREAK-MLB-BLUE JAYSCanadian health official suggests longer Blue Jays homestandTORONTO (AP) — A top Canadian government health official says a longer stretch of home games might help the Blue Jays to get approval to play in Toronto amid the pandemic. — Jake Burger is going to play in a local league this summer in his hometown of St. Louis after the Chicago White Sox approved the plan for their first-round pick in the 2017 amateur draft. It’s a chance for the third baseman to get back on the field after he tore his left Achilles tendon twice, sidelining him for each of the previous two seasons. — Fans wanting to see their faces at Dodger Stadium this season can buy cutouts. The team says net proceeds from the sale will benefit the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation. Cutouts in the Dugout Club or new Pavilion Home Run Seats cost $299. Field and loge cutout locations cost $149. The cutouts are 18 inches wide and 30 inches high. The images are subject to team approval. VIRUS OUTBREAK-NBAKings’ Barnes isn’t at NBA restart, says he has coronavirusLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Harrison Barnes of the Sacramento Kings became the latest NBA player to reveal that he has coronavirus, making the announcement Tuesday and saying he has hopes to join his team at the league’s restart later this summer. Barnes is the only player who has started all 64 of the Kings’ games this season. To extend that streak, he’ll need to be cleared and arrive at Walt Disney World before Sacramento’s season resumes with the first of its eight seeding games on July 31 against San Antonio.VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCESoutheastern Conference postpones start of some sportsUNDATED (AP) — The Southeastern Conference is postponing the start of volleyball, soccer and cross country competition through at least the end of August because of COVID-19. The league says that provides more time to prepare for a safe return to competition on an adjusted timeline. The decision includes all exhibition and non-conference games. Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo says back and forth travel from the U.S. where cases are surging is a major issue that could prevent the government from approving MLB to play in Canada. MLB requires an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days. The U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel. The Blue Jays’ home opener is scheduled for July 29 against Washington.In other MLB news:— About 10 Major League Baseball umpires have opted out this season, choosing not to work games in the shortened schedule because of concerns over the coronavirus. There are 76 full-time MLB umpires and more than 20 of them are age 55 or over. Joe West and Gerry Davis are the oldest umps at 67. Umpires who are deemed at risk — either for their age, health situation or other issues — and opt out will continue to get paid. Umps get their salaries over 12 months and have already been paid through April. July 14, 2020 Associated Press — Several people familiar with the conversations tell The Associated Press that the baseball players’ association has discussed hiring noted sports lawyer Jeffrey Kessler to litigate a contemplated grievance against clubs. The grievance would accuse Commissioner Rob Manfred and management of failing to act in good faith to complete the longest season economically feasible. A grievance has not yet been filed and an agreement with Kessler has not been finalized.— Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton has a sprained left foot but no structural damage. Further testing revealed the diagnosis Tuesday, a day after his injury in an intrasquad game at Target Field. The Twins said Buxton would be evaluated on a day-to-day basis. He got hurt tracking a fly ball and lost his balance. —Yankees pitcher Masahiro Tanaka is unsure whether he will be able to take his first turn through the rotation as he recovers from a line drive off his head. Tanaka was hit on the right side near the temple by Giancarlo Stanton’s shot during batting practice on July 4. While the 31-year-old right-hander says he has no concussion symptoms, he has not thrown off a mound since. —A person with knowledge of the deal says the Atlanta Braves have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent outfielder Yasiel Puig (yah-SEEL’ pweeg). The agreement helps the NL East champions address a depth problem in their outfield. Nick Markakis recently opted out over concerns about the coronavirus. The 29-year-old Puig hit a combined .267 with 24 homers and 84 RBIs for Cincinnati and Cleveland in 2019. He also stole 19 bases.— Anthony Rizzo’s back trouble flared up again after he took batting practice over the weekend, and the Chicago Cubs are sending the slugger for tests. Rizzo has been dealing with back tightness during summer camp, a recurring problem throughout his career. The first baseman took live BP on Sunday before the issue surfaced again. Manager David Ross says Rizzo remains day to day. The USTA says the sort of COVID-19 testing and universal housing planned for the U.S. Open “would logistically and financially be incredibly difficult to create” at these national events. The team announced Tuesday that it plans to play in front of about 20% of Gillette Stadium’s capacity, if approved by state and local officials. The stadium’s capacity is just under 66,000. The Patriots also informed season ticket holders that if fans are allowed at the stadium, they will be asked to adhere to physical distancing of at least six feet. Tickets will be arranged in blocks of 10 seats or fewer, with the first eight rows of the stadium not in use. Face coverings will also be required at all times.Patriots season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase individual game tickets. Any remaining ticket inventory will go on sale to the general public. NFL-CHIEFS-JONESChiefs have four-year extension with Jones Update on the latest sports VIRUS OUTBREAK-USTAUSTA cancels amateur eventsUNDATED (AP) — The U.S. Tennis Association has canceled several amateur events scheduled in August because of the coronavirus pandemic but is still planning to hold the U.S. Open starting Aug. 31.USTA National Championships in certain junior age groups for singles and doubles are being scrapped.Men’s and women’s USTA National Grass Court Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, are also among the tournaments eliminated. — Blackhawks defenseman Calvin de Haan missed practice because of a family emergency. Coach Jeremy Colliton said he isn’t sure when de Haan will be back. The 29-year-old de Haan is coming back from right shoulder surgery in December. He was acquired in a June 2019 trade with Carolina. NHL-TED LINDSAY AWARD FINALISTSDraisaitl, MacKinnon among finalistsNEW YORK (AP) — NHL leading scorer Leon Draisaitl of the Oilers, Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon and Rangers winger Artemi Panarin are the finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award. The trophy goes to the league’s most outstanding player as voted by fellow players. None of them have won the award before. Draisaitl finished first in points with 110 in 71 games before the season was halted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. MacKinnon helped injury-ravaged Colorado clinch a top four seed in the Western Conference. And Panarin had 95 points in his first season with New York. Islanders sign Sorokin for next seasonUNDATED (AP) — The New York Islanders have signed goaltender of the future Ilya Sorokin to a contract for next season. The $2 million deal includes $1 million in salary and a $1 million bonus. A day earlier, the team signed Sorokin to an entry-level deal for the remainder of this season even though he’s not eligible to play. The 24-year-old Sorokin is considered one of the top prospects at any position not current in the NHL. In NHL news:— Right wing Troy Terry has agreed to a three-year, $4.35 million contract extension through the 2022-23 season with the Anaheim Ducks. Terry has eight goals and 20 assists in 81 career games with the Ducks. They drafted him in the fifth round in 2015. He scored 15 points in 47 games this season.—The Minnesota Wild similarly signed fellow Russian Kirill Kaprizov to a two-year contract for this season and next. Kaprizov like Sorokin can’t compete in the resumption of the season. Each school will be responsible for any rescheduling of non-conference contests impacted by the postponement.The league hasn’t made any announcement on the football season. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have opted to only play conference games.VIRUS OUTBREAK-NFL-PATRIOTSPatriots hope to play before some fansFOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots have joined a growing list of NFL teams who hope to play home games this season in front of a significantly reduced number of fans to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
UW junior defenseman Cody Goloubef and the Badgers hope to retain the momentum they gained from their 3-2 win over Michigan in the Camp Randall Outdoor Classic and take it into their home[/media-credit]If you believe what the Wisconsin men’s hockey team is saying, don’t expect an open-air hangover.Fresh off a 3-2 comeback win in front of 55,000 fans in Camp Randall’s outdoor game last week, the No. 3 Badgers got back to business in practice Monday. Despite the excitement surrounding that event, the win was ultimately just one of many in the season.UW head coach Mike Eaves was impressed with how his players responded.“It’s been interesting. I think there’s been a very mature kind of ‘win, go back to work, get ready to win again,’ kind of attitude,” he said.“There was so much buildup to that game, it was almost a relief that it ended the way it did, with a win,” senior tri-captain Ben Street said. “We celebrated that and enjoyed that… but it was just a check mark, it was checked off as ‘win that game.’ There’s a bunch more goals that are coming up.”Next on the list for Wisconsin is a home series with the Minnesota State Mavericks (12-14-2). On paper, the weekend looks like an easy four points for UW, but the Badgers won’t take the games for granted.In the second weekend of the season, Wisconsin went on the road to Mankato, where the Badgers lost a 3-2 game in the final five minutes of Saturday’s contest after a convincing 6-0 shutout the night before.Two five-minute major penalties in the third period of that 3-2 loss were evidence of one of few games where the Badgers let things get away from them. While they had letdown-type Saturday games against Minnesota, Colorado College and Minnesota-Duluth, Eaves said there hasn’t been a consistent reason for the second-game losses.Heading into the stretch run — UW has just eight regular season games left — Eaves thinks his team has learned from its previous failures.“I think every time you lose, there’s something in there that becomes a lesson and the intelligent teams are the ones that learn that lesson and apply it later,” he said.After that series, UW sat at just 1-2-1 and looked little like the squad that has been dominant for much of the season since then. At 16-7-4 now, confidence is one of the Badgers’ biggest strengths.“We’ve been through a lot since then; we’ve got the outdoor game out of the way, we’ve got a lot of big series out of the way,” Street said. “We’ve grown; I think we’re a more mature team now then we were then.”“We don’t think we can win, we know we can win every game if we play our ‘A’ game,” defenseman Cody Goloubef said.That ‘A’ game has led to UW owning the second-highest scoring offense in the nation, averaging 3.85 goals per game. Wisconsin is also second in the country in scoring margin and eighth in scoring defense.MSU’s offense has struggled, with a 2.64 goals per game average. Since the year started, the Mavericks have scored three or more goals in a game just four times in eight games.Before a 3-2 win over WCHA basement-dweller Michigan Tech on Jan. 30, Minnesota State was on a five-game losing streak, which included sweeps at the hands of Minnesota-Duluth and North Dakota.That’s not to say the Mavericks haven’t had their moments, though. In addition to their win over UW, they also swept No. 5 Bemidji State in December, winning 5-1 and 3-2 games.With Minnesota State hoping to play the role of spoiler, Street knows the Badgers can’t afford a letdown.“Down the stretch here, it is so tight that we can’t afford to give up any points, especially when we’re at home,” he said. “They’re a team that can come in and they kind of thrive on stealing points, ruining the party when they’re here.”Wisconsin sits tied for fourth in the WCHA with 25 points, but has two games in hand on conference co-leaders St. Cloud State and UMD. If North Dakota can sweep St. Cloud State and Denver loses both games to Minnesota, Wisconsin could move into a first place tie by sweeping Minnesota State. UMD is idle this weekend.The Badgers won’t be scoreboard watching though, as their only concern now is the Mavericks.“With how tight [the WCHA] is, you’ve got to assume the other teams are going to take their points,” Street said. ‘So we’ve got to win just to keep up and give ourselves a chance.”Wisconsin emerged from a strong part of its schedule — at Colorado College, home against Denver and at Minnesota-Duluth — with a 3-2-1 record. Combined with the outdoor game win over Michigan, sophomore forward Jordy Murray said the team wants to keep its foot on the pedal for the rest of the season.“We just want to play real good hockey going into this final stretch. We know how important the points are, especially with the WCHA being as close as it is,” Murray said. “We just want to be playing our best hockey come playoff time, and this is a good time to start.”