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Athlete Contracts

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The Atlanta Braves have signed rookie outfielder Michael Harris II to a $72 million, eight-year contract to remain with his hometown team. The 21-year-old Harris is the youngest player in the majors. His early-season promotion has bolstered the Braves’ hopes for another championship run. The deal runs through the 2030 season with team options for 2031 and 2032. If both option years are activated, the total value of the contract would be $102 million over 10 years. Harris has emerged as one of the National League’s top rookies as an offensive and defensive standout. He is hitting .287 with 12 home runs. Harris was born in DeKalb County, Georgia, and was drafted by the Braves out of Stockbridge High School, south of Atlanta.

The U.S. women’s basketball team will have a lot of new faces when the Americans play in the FIBA World Cup next month in Australia. South Carolina’s Aliyah Boston is the lone college player among the 29 invited to the USA Basketball training camp that will begin in Las Vegas next month. Joining Boston are nine players from the Tokyo Olympics, including A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart. Players will report to training camp at the conclusion of their WNBA seasons. The playoffs are set to begin Wednesday and if the WNBA Finals goes five games it would end on Sept. 20 — right before the World Cup begins.

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Borussia Dortmund has moved quickly to secure the future of Jamie Bynoe-Gittens at the club. He's the latest exciting young prospect to emerge at Dortmund. On Tuesday Dortmund said it's extending the 18-year-old Bynoe-Gittens’ contract to June 2025. His previous deal at Dortmund was set to end in 2023. Bynoe-Gittens helped stir Dortmund’s comeback at Freiburg in the Bundesliga on Friday. The winger came on late and let fly from distance to equalize and played a role in the next goal before Dortmund went on to win 3-1. Dortmund coach Edin Terzić says the player is a “game changer."

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The Texas Rangers have fired manager Chris Woodward with the team on pace for its sixth consecutive losing season. Woodward has managed the team for almost four seasons. The move came with Woodward two games short of his 500th game with the Rangers. He finished with a 211-287 record in his first managerial job. Woodward was under contract through next season, and the team held an option for 2024. Third base coach Tony Beasley was named the team’s interim manager. Texas is 52-63 after beating Oakland 2-1 on Monday night.

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Cleveland Browns Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward has been activated from physically unable to perform list and will practice for the first time since Cleveland’s training camp opened. He had been sidelined with a sprained left foot. Ward was hurt during Cleveland’s final practice of minicamp in June and has been restricted to working on the side with trainers in camp. The 25-year-old Ward signed a five-year, $105 million contract extension in April, a deal that at the time made him the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback.

Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Bud Dupree has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from an altercation in a Nashville drugstore. Dupree was sentenced to 6 months of supervised probation. The altercation happened on Jan. 2. Police said Dupree grabbed a Walgreens employee and the man's phone after the employee had argued with some shoppers. Dupree signed a five-year deal worth $82.5 million with the Titans last offseason.

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The Denver Broncos have signed veteran inside linebacker Joe Schobert who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers last year. The team also activated prized offseason acquisition Randy Gregory and right tackle Billy Turner from the physically unable to perform list. Schobert's signing comes two days after linebacker Jonas Griffith dislocated an elbow in the Broncos' exhibition game against the Dallas Cowboys. Griffith is expected to miss up to six weeks. He had been penciled in to start alongside Josey Jewell.

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Former first-round pick Danny Shelton began his latest fresh start with the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday, hoping to earn a place in the middle of their defensive line after agreeing last week to a contract for the upcoming season. The 28-year-old Shelton appeared in 13 games for the Giants last season, where he rotated up front primarily as a run-stuffing defensive tackle.  The addition of Shelton came the same day that Kansas City waived offensive lineman Evin Ksiezarczyk, cornerback Lonnie Johnson and wide receivers Omar Bayless and Gary Jennings, who was dealing with a concussion that he sustained when he ran into a door during an indoor practice. Jennings was waived with an injury designation.

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Liz Cambage announced on social media she is stepping away from the WNBA “for the time being.” It's the first time the Australian has addressed her contract divorce from the Los Angeles Sparks last month. The Sparks were in the hunt for a playoff spot when Cambage left the team on July 26. The team lost eight of their final nine games and finished out of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Cambage also withdrew from the Australian national team last summer.

Monaco has signed midfielder Mohamed Camara from Austrian club Salzburg on a five-year deal. Monaco said the 22-year-old Mali midfielder has a contract until 2027. No financial details were given but French reports estimated Monaco paid 15 million euros ($15.4 million) for Camara. He has scored three goals in 15 appearances for Mali. Camara won two Austrian league and cup doubles with Salzburg. He is Monaco’s fifth signing of the season and arguably the most important one. He is seen as a replacement for France international Aurelien Tchouameni, who joined Champions League winner Real Madrid in a high-profile move.

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Patrick Mahomes threw for 60 yards and a touchdown on Kansas City’s first possession, then watched as the Chiefs lost to the Chicago Bears 19-14 in the preseason opener. The game Saturday was the first for Chicago’s Matt Eberflus as a head coach. It also marked the return to Soldier Field for predecessor Matt Nagy who is now the Chiefs’ quarterbacks coach. Mahomes completed 6 of 7 passes on a 72-yard drive after Chicago went three-and-out on the game’s first possession. Chiefs safety Justin Reid nailed an extra point after after Kansas City scored in the closing seconds of the first half.

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New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson injured his right knee in the first quarter of Friday night’s 24-21 preseason victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. After going back to pass with 4:29 left in the period, Wilson was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled to his right for 7 yards, but went down after the play. He appeared to injure his knee when planting to cut on Philadelphia’s grass field. After being checked by trainers, Wilson limped to the sideline on his own power before heading to the locker room.

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A person with direct knowledge of the decision tells The Associated Press that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson would accept an eight-game suspension and $5 million fine to avoid missing the entire season. Watson is facing a potential year-long ban for sexual misconduct. He would agree to a lesser penalty, said the person who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the case. An independent arbitrator suspended Watson, accused of lewd sexual behavior during massage appointments with two dozen women, six games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. The league appealed, seeking a longer ban. Watson is scheduled to start the Browns preseason opener Friday in Jacksonville.

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A person with direct knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press the New York Jets and offensive tackle Duane Brown have agreed to terms on a two-year contract. The move Thursday came three days after the Jets learned they likely lost Mekhi Becton for the season because of a knee injury suffered in practice. The person spoke to The AP on condition of anonymity because the team had not announced the signing. Brown turns 37 on Aug. 30. He visited the Jets and attended their scrimmage at MetLife Stadium last Saturday night.

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Eric Kendricks is forming a bond quickly with new Minnesota Vikings linebacker partner Jordan Hicks. Kendricks played the last decade next to close friend Anthony Barr at UCLA even before the Vikings. Their mutual understanding was strong enough that sometimes all it took was one look. Barr became a free agent. Hicks signed with Minnesota in March after being cut by Arizona. Both Kendricks and Hicks have said they're well on their way to being in sync. They each told defensive coordinator Ed Donatell earlier this year how much they enjoy playing with the other.

The Chicago Bears’ standoff with Roquan Smith took another turn when the team removed the star linebacker from the physically unable to perform list a day after he went public with a trade demand. It was unclear if the Bears took him off the list Wednesday because of a potential contract extension or trade, or to fine him for missing practices. Smith has been a “hold-in” since training camp began with negotiations on a new deal apparently at a standstill. Placing him on the physically unable to perform list allowed him to attend meetings and workouts at Halas Hall without being fined for missing practices. Smith, who does not have an agent, accused the Bears of not negotiating in good faith in a statement on Tuesday.

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The record $4.65 billion sale of the Denver Broncos to Walmart heir Rob Walton and his daughter and son-in-law has been unanimously approved by NFL owners. This was the expected final step in the team's transfer from the family of the late Pat Bowlen. Walton, his daughter, Carrie Walton Penner and her husband, Greg Penner, are the new owners. The vote was taken at a league meeting at a hotel in Minnesota. Walton is the eldest son of Walmart founder Sam Walton. He has an estimated net worth of $60 billion. He becomes the wealthiest owner in the league.

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Matt Judon won over his New England Patriots teammates and the fanbase last season with his outsized personality and ability to disrupt opposing quarterbacks. A year after having a career-best 12 1/2 sacks and providing the Patriots with plenty of return on their four-year, $56 million investment, Judon says he's feeling even more at home in New England than he initially did after arriving in free agency. Coach Bill Belichick says Judon remains anxious to learn in Year 2 and he is expected to again be part of a defense looking to be much better stopping the run.

Micah Parsons is the reigning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year because the Dallas Cowboys linebacker excels at rushing the passer. The Cowboys want to move their versatile young star around as they face the challenge of helping him improve on a remarkable debut. His 13-sack performance last season is among the best in league history at his position. Parsons believes he can play all over the field, offense included. The Cowboys want to keep fueling that competitive desire in their 2021 first-round pick.

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The Baltimore Ravens have agreed to a four-year contract extension with star kicker Justin Tucker. His previous deal was through 2023. Tucker has been a game changer for the Ravens in his 10 years with the team. He’s made a record 91.1% of his field goal attempts, and his 1,360 points are the most ever by a player through his first 10 seasons. He set another record last year with a 66-yard kick at Detroit that won the game. He is 16 of 16 on field goal attempts in the final minute of regulation and has converted 58 straight in the fourth quarter and overtime.

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Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt participated in team drills for first time in three days after demanding a trade. Hunt is the final year of a two-year, $12 million deal he signed two years ago, but is asking for a long-term extension. The 27-year-old has been productive during his three seasons for Cleveland. But he missed nine games last season with calf and ankle injuries. Hunt’s situation adds more drama for the Browns, who are waiting to see how quarterback long Deshaun Watson will be suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Hunt was not made available to speak with the media.

Right guard Wyatt Teller firmly established himself as one of the NFL’s top offensive linemen last season, earning his first Pro Bowl selection. The Cleveland Browns rewarded him with a $56.8 million, four-year contract extension. Accolades and big money only go so far, though, when your primary goal is a winning a championship. Cleveland is one week away from its preseason opener at Jacksonville, which its players view as a fresh start following a disheartening 8-9 campaign. Teller was a rock throughout, being named second-team All-NFL for the second year in a row.

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The Browns are back in limbo while waiting to learn quarterback Deshaun Watson's fate. Watson's playing status rests in the hands of the NFL after the league appealed his six-game suspension for violating the personal conduct policy. Cleveland signed Watson in March, confident he would end the Browns' long search for a franchise QB. But his legal entanglement after being accused of sexual misconduct by two dozen women has put his future in jeopardy and the Browns in a bad light for signing him to a $230 million contract.

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Diontae Johnson’s hold-in paid off. Literally. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pro Bowl wide receiver have agreed to a three-year deal on Thursday that runs through the 2024 season. The deal will reportedly pay Johnson more than $39 million over the next three years. Johnson was entering the final season of the rookie deal he signed after being taken in the third round of the 2019 draft. The 26-year-old caught a career-best 107 passes for 1,161 yards and 10 touchdowns last season for Pittsburgh.

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