National Sports News

Martavis Bryant conditionally cleared for preseason participation after drug suspension

The Pittsburgh Steelers got a big-time weapon back into the fold just in time for the NFL draft. Wide receiver Martavis Bryant has been “conditionally” reinstated to the NFL after serving a season-long suspension, general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement. The Steelers’ release said Bryant may join the team at its training facility and participate in preseason “meetings, conditioning work and similar activities.” Bryant has missed 20 regular-season games in two seasons for multiple substance abuse violations, but in the 21 games he did play, he proved one of the NFL’s most potent deep threats with 15 total touchdowns (one rushing). Colbert said he appreciates that Bryant has taken necessary steps to get back, but adds: “We also understand that this is just the beginning as he works to return to the team and meet all the conditions of his reinstatement. We look forward to working with Martavis to ensure that he is mentally and physically…

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Gareon Conley accused of rape; lawyer denies allegations

Former? Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley has been accused by a woman of raping her in a Cleveland hotel earlier this month, according to Cleveland police. Conley has not been arrested nor have any charges been filed against him as Cleveland police investigates the allegations. Attorney Kevin Spellacy, without naming his client, earlier Tuesday denied the allegations to WOIO-TV in Cleveland, calling them “ludicrous and ridiculous.” According to a police report obtained by ESPN, the alleged incident occurred April 9. A 23-year-old woman told police she met Conley in the elevator of the downtown hotel and he brought her back to his hotel room. She alleges that after she declined an offer of group sex with Conley and two friends, Conley had sex with her then kicked her out of the room. The woman reported the incident then went to a local hospital where a rape kit was administered. But the woman also refused to speak to police, according to the report. …

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Marcus Smart on Jimmy Butler’s talk: ‘I laugh at that’

WALTHAM, Mass. — Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart laughed off comments that Chicago Bulls forward Jimmy Butler made after Game 4 questioning Smart’s toughness. After Butler and Smart got into a brief on-court dust-up in the first half of Sunday’s game, Butler said Smart is “a great actor, acting tough — it’s what he does. But I don’t think he’s about that [life].” Given the opportunity to respond after the Celtics’ off-day practice on Tuesday, Smart said his toughness has never been questioned and fired back at Butler. “I laugh at that,” Smart said. “This is about Celtics vs. Chicago Bulls, not Marcus Smart vs. Jimmy. I ain’t gotta sit here and say this and that — I’m this, I’m that. I ain’t that type of guy. My actions speak harder than words. It ain’t hard to find me. But right now I’m focused on my teammates and this series.” Smart conceded that tensions tend to run high in the postseason and, while he tried…

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Agent: QB Jay Cutler ‘wants to play football’

Free-agent quarterback Jay Cutler does not intend to retire and “wants to play football,” his agent told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter on Tuesday. “He never has mentioned retirement to me,” agent Bus Cook told ESPN. “Jay Cutler, as far as I know, is ready to play and wants to play, and his skill set is as good as any quarterback in the league.” Cutler, who turns 34 on Saturday, was released by the Chicago Bears in March. The 11-year veteran?endured a long list of injuries during his eight seasons in Chicago, including a torn labrum that required surgery in December. He played in just five games last season because of thumb and shoulder injuries. Cutler holds almost every passing record in Bears history, though he likely will be remembered for leading the franchise to just one playoff appearance.?He threw 109 interceptions in 102 regular-season games for Chicago, including a career-worst 26 picks in 2009 after the team paid a hefty price to acquire…

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Alabama LB Reuben Foster not invited to draft after incident

Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster was not invited to attend the 2017 NFL draft because of an incident at the NFL scouting combine in March, according to a league source. The league declined to comment on Monday. Foster is a potential top-10 pick in the draft, which will begin Thursday at 8 p.m. ET in Philadelphia. Foster was sent home from the combine after getting into an argument with a hospital worker during medical checks. The NFL would only say Foster was sent home for “personal reasons.” Foster later sent a letter to all 32 teams apologizing for the incident. Foster was a unanimous first-team All-American during his final season at Alabama and also won the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s best college linebacker. Foster tested positive at the NFL combine for a diluted urine sample, which he said was a result of excessive water intake while he was trying to get over an illness. “This is something that’s…

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USGA, R&A don’t go far enough in addressing Lexi Thompson rule fiasco

Lexi Thompson returns to competition after three weeks licking her wounds inflicted by a TV viewer whose email pointing out a rules infraction cost her the ANA Inspiration, the first LPGA major of the year. This week’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout is a chance for Lexi to get back to playing, but it’s also an opportunity for the LPGA to fix a problem virtually everyone seems to think needs to be corrected. The marketing slogan for the LPGA is “See Why It’s Different Out Here.” That is for good reason. The athletes on the LPGA Tour are as media friendly and fan friendly as any pros in any league anywhere. I’ve always felt the most vocal critics of the LPGA are those who don’t go to its events. Once you’re there, you are hooked. Now the tour has a chance to make its marketing mantra resonate in a very special way. The LPGA should unilaterally change three rules that are hated by both fans and players. Stop allowing TV viewers to…

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