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Jim Brown, All-Time NFL Great And Social Activist, Dead At 87

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Jim Brown's No. 32 jersey was retired by the Browns in 1971,

Jim Brown was a force on the field, a Hollywood film hero, and a civil rights activist.

Jim Brown, who retired at the pinnacle of his playing career to pursue acting and remained in the public eye as an activist despite off-field misdeeds that included claims of violence against women, has died. He was 87.

Jim Brown died quietly in his Los Angeles home on Thursday night, according to a spokesman for his family, with his wife, Monique, by his side.

“To the rest of the world, he was an activist, actor, and football star,” said Monique Brown in an Instagram post. “He was a loving husband, father, and grandfather to our family.” “Our hearts are shattered.”

Brown was one of the NFL’s earliest superstars, leading the league in rushing for eight of his nine seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He never missed a game, appearing in 118 straight before retiring unexpectedly in 1965 after being selected Most Valuable Player.

Jim Brown led the Browns to their final championship in 1964 before retiring from football at 30 to pursue a film career. He was in over 30 films, including “Any Given Sunday” and “The Dirty Dozen.”

Jim Brown’s debut as a big runner with speed and stamina boosted the game’s rising popularity on television, and he remained an indomitable figure long after his playing days were through.

Jim Brown was also a champion for African-Americans, using his position and voice to advocate for equality.

Jim Brown organized “The Cleveland Summit,” a gathering of the nation’s top Black sportsmen, including Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor, who eventually became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in June 1967 to support boxer Muhammad Ali’s refusal to serve in Vietnam.

Later in life, he tried to reduce gang violence in Los Angeles, and in 1988, he launched Amer-I-Can, a program to assist poor inner-city kids and ex-convicts.

There was no one on the field like Brown, who would run through tacklers, refusing to let one man take him down before running away from linebackers and defensive backs. He was also known for shedding defenders in the open field with a stiff arm or pushing them away like rag dolls.

jim brown

Jim Brown died quietly in his Los Angeles home on Thursday night, according to a spokesman for his family, with his wife, Monique, by his side.

Brown would carefully stand and walk back to the huddle after being tackled, then dominate the defense when he got the ball again.

Jim Brown was a complicated figure off the pitch.

While he had a heart for those in need, he was also arrested a half-dozen times, primarily for beating women.

Jim Brown’s wife contacted 911 in June 1999, claiming Brown had damaged her car with a shovel and threatened to murder her. Monique Brown recanted her testimony throughout the trial. Jim Brown was acquitted of domestic threats but found guilty of misdemeanor vandalism. When Brown refused to undergo domestic violence counseling, a Los Angeles judge sentenced him to six months in jail.

Jim Brown left his playing days behind and moved to Hollywood, where he eventually settled. Brown announced his retirement to Cleveland coach Blanton Collier while the club was at training camp, and he was on the set of “The Dirty Dozen” in England.

Jim Brown’s relationship with the Browns has been erratic in recent years. He was appointed to advise the team’s younger players after serving as an adviser to owner Randy Lerner. However, Brown left the team in 2010 after incoming team president Mike Holmgren curtailed his responsibilities. Brown felt betrayed by the apparent demotion, and he did not attend the club’s unveiling of a “Ring of Honour” inside its downtown stadium in protest.

In 2016, the Browns built a statue of Brown outside their stadium.

jim brown

Jim Brown was a complicated figure off the pitch.

In recent years, Brown has made only a few public appearances. In February, he attended the NFL Honours ceremony, where the league revealed that the league rushing title would be renamed The Jim Brown Award.

Brown was an eight-time All-Pro and appeared in the Pro Bowl every year of his nine-year career. He retired with league records in yards (12,312) and touchdowns (126).

Brown, born on February 17, 1936, in St. Simons Island, Georgia, was a multisport star at Long Island’s Manhasset High School. He averaged 14.9 yards per rush in football and once scored 55 points in a game.

Brown, a two-sport star at Syracuse who some consider the best lacrosse player in NCAA history, experienced several racist slurs while playing at the nearly all-white institution. Nonetheless, he was a two-sport All-American and lettered in basketball.

Brown was selected sixth overall in the 1957 draught, joining a team that frequently competed for the championship. That season, he was named Offensive Rookie of the Year.

jim brown

Jim Brown’s No. 32 jersey was retired by the Browns in 1971.

Brown broke a league record with 1,527 yards and 17 touchdowns while running behind an offensive line that included Hall of Fame tackles Lou Groza and Mike McCormack on his way to the league’s Most Outstanding Player award — a precursor to the MVP — in 1958. He never ran for under 1,257 yards in the next three seasons, closing with 996 in 1962.

Jim Brown’s No. 32 jersey was retired by the Browns in 1971, the same year he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. During the 1970s and 1980s, however, he rarely visited Cleveland. He and Cleveland owner Art Modell clashed over his premature resignation; the two eventually reconciled and remained friends.

In 1995, Brown-backed Modell’s decision to relocate Cleveland’s team to Baltimore. It was both a reflection of his devotion to Modell and evidence of his uncompromising individuality. Brown was one of the few former Browns players who was not upset with Modell’s decision to relocate the franchise.

“And for him to come out on top is something that not many guys can appreciate.”

Brown is survived by his wife, Aris, son, Jim Jr., daughter, Kimberly, son, Kevin, daughter, Shellee, and daughter, Kim. Karen Ward, his daughter, preceded him in death.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

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Philadelphia — Ace Zack Wheeler and the Philadelphia Phillies agreed on a $126 million, three-year contract for 2025-27, with the fourth-highest average salary in baseball history of $42 million.

The Phillies have set an 11 a.m. EST press conference at their spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida.

wheeler

Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

Wheeler will earn $23.5 million this year in the final season of a $118 million, five-year contract, one of the greatest free agent contracts in Phillies history.

The new contract for the 33-year-old right-hander increases his annual salary to $42 million. He receives a hotel suite on road trips and agrees to make a $100,000 charitable donation each year.

Wheeler’s average trails only Los Angeles Dodgers two-way star Shohei Ohtani ($70 million), Texas ace Max Scherzer ($43.33 million), and Houston pitcher Justin Verlander ($43.33 million), the latter two of whom signed contracts with the New York Mets.

ESPN was the first to report the new contract’s amount.

Wheeler has led the NL in strikeouts and innings over the last four seasons after losing time with ailments with the Mets from 2013 to 2019. He also leads all pitchers in wins above replacement (WAR) while with the Phillies with 19.3, according to FanGraphs.

After missing the 2015 and 2016 seasons due to Tommy John surgery, Wheeler has made 90 starts over the last three seasons.

wheeler

Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

The NL Cy Young Award runner-up in 2021, Wheeler also won a Gold Glove last season.

The Phillies, who have reached the NL Championship Series in each of the last two years, now have their top two starters anchoring the rotation for the foreseeable future. Philadelphia signed fellow right-hander Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million contract.

In 11 postseason games, Wheeler’s ERA is 2.42.

wheeler

Zack Wheeler And Phillies Reach $126 Million, 3-Year Deal For 2025-27

The Phillies have continued to spend money in their pursuit of their first World Series championship since 2008. Team owner John Middleton has been open about spending money to recruit free agents such as Bryce Harper, Trea Turner, and Kyle Schwarber while also signing hefty deals with Nola, Wheeler, and catcher J.T Realmuto.

Wheeler has an 87-63 record and a 3.45 ERA in 227 career starts, dating back to his Mets debut in 2013.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

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The network reported that Chris Mortensen, an award-winning journalist and longtime NFL insider for ESPN, died. He was 72.

Mortensen worked for ESPN for three decades, appearing on “Sunday NFL Countdown,” analyzing the NFL Draft, and contributing to “SportsCenter.”

“Mort was highly regarded as an industry pioneer and greatly adored as a helpful, hardworking coworker. He covered the NFL with exceptional skill and passion and remained at the top of his game for decades. “Colleagues and fans will sorely miss him, and our hearts and thoughts are with his family,” ESPN chairman Jimmy Pitaro said in a statement.

mortensen

Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 and rapidly became known as one of the most trusted football insiders. He formerly worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, covering the Atlanta Braves and Falcons from 1983 to 1990. While at the newspaper, he received the 1987 George Polk Award for a 110-page article titled “Ignoring the Rules” regarding amateur sports and collegiate players.

He disclosed in January 2016 that he had been diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer. Mortensen returned to ESPN after declaring that his cancer treatments were successful.

In September 2023, Mortensen said he would leave ESPN “to focus on my health, family, and faith.”

Mortensen joined ESPN in 1991 and spent years shaping the network’s NFL coverage as it expanded to year-round coverage. He appeared on numerous network shows and also wrote for ESPN.com.

In 2016, the Professional Football Writers of America honoured him with the Dick McCann Award. It was renamed the Bill Nunn Jr. Award in 2021 and is given annually during the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies to a reporter who has made a long and notable commitment to game coverage.

Mortensen previously worked for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 1983 until 1989. He covered the Atlanta Falcons from 1985 to 1986 and the league from 1985 to 1989. He departed for The National in 1989, where he worked for over two years.

He was an NFL columnist for The Sporting News and a contributor to Sport magazine. He also consulted on CBS’s “The NFL Today” in 1990.

mortensen

Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

“I join the millions of hearts across the country, including those in journalism and the sports community, in mourning Chris Mortensen.” “I’m grateful to have had the privilege of knowing Chris through his incredible work beginning at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and, like so many others, being blessed by his professional excellence and personal grace over the many years that have followed,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a statement.

“I considered Chris a personal hero, and it is difficult to imagine sports journalism without him.” His ability to face life’s challenges with tenacity and drive was always truly inspiring, and his immense influence on so many people, including myself, will continue via this work and unwavering friendships.”

Mortensen, a Torrance, California native, attended El Camino College. He spent two years in the Army before starting his journalism career at the South Bay (Calif.) Daily Breeze in 1969.

mortensen

Chris Mortensen, Longtime NFL Insider For ESPN, Dies At 72

“A completely awful day. “Mort was one of the greatest reporters in sports history, and an even better man,” wrote ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter on social media. “Mort was the absolute finest. He will always be missed and remembered.”

He is survived by his wife, Micki, and their son Alex.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – The continuing turbulence surrounding Red Bull had little influence on their three-time reigning world champion, Max Verstappen, who led the field by 22 seconds in the season-opening Formula One race on Saturday.

Verstappen started the Bahrain Grand Prix on pole and was never truly pushed on his route to a dominant one-two victory for Red Bull alongside teammate Sergio Perez. Christian Horner, the embattled team principal, was joined before the race and during the podium celebration by his former pop star wife, Geri Halliwell.

“Today went even better than expected,” Verstappen stated. “It was a lot of fun.”

Carlos Sainz Jr. finished third for Ferrari, fighting hard with teammate Charles Leclerc.

verstappen

F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

Verstappen is already on track to match his near-perfect record from 2023, when he won 19 of 22 races, as the longest F1 season in history begins with 24 races.

Verstappen’s ninth consecutive victory, dating back to September last year, came in Bahrain. Last season, he achieved a Formula One record by winning ten straight races.

The F1 paddock has firmly focused on Horner, with Verstappen claiming on Saturday that his boss was “probably a little bit distracted.”

“Obviously, it’s not been pleasant, some of the unwanted attention, but the focus is now very much on the cars,” Horner told reporters. “My focus has very much been on what’s going on on track and the result today, I think, demonstrates where the whole team’s focus is and we move onwards.”

verstappen

F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

Horner arrived on race day with Halliwell, better known as Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls, and they celebrated together as Verstappen was presented with his trophy. The race came after FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem told the Financial Times that Horner’s controversy was “damaging the sport.”

On Wednesday, the club’s parent corporation dropped a complaint against Horner for alleged misconduct toward a team employee. A day later, during practice in Bahrain, a file purportedly containing evidence against Horner was emailed to over 200 persons in the F1 paddock, including Liberty Media, F1, the FIA, the other nine team principals, and several media agencies.

The Associated Press did not verify the files’ legitimacy; the file originated from a generic email address.

In another indicator that Red Bull is substantially faster than any other team, Perez surged from sixth to second on the grid and encountered little opposition afterwards.

Sainz’s third place was his first podium finish since the October United States Grand Prix, as George Russell’s Mercedes challenge faded.

After qualifying second, Leclerc stated that Ferrari had taken a “step forward” compared to its disastrous 2023. However, the Italian team needed help to reduce the gap with Red Bull on race day.

Leclerc’s challenge to Verstappen ended as the Dutchman took the inside line at the opening corner. Russell, Perez, and Ferrari teammate Sainz overtook Leclerc in rapid succession.

verstappen

F1 Champion Max Verstappen Wins Season-Opening Bahrain Grand Prix Amid Red Bull Turmoil

Sainz, in particular, fought closely with his teammate and then repeated the effort after Leclerc briefly regained the lead at the pit stop. It was Sainz’s first race after being confirmed that he would lose his Ferrari spot to Lewis Hamilton in 2025.

Leclerc’s day went from bad to worse when he protested to Ferrari that the car was pulling rapidly to the right under braking in a “dangerous” manner, leaving him unable to maintain his position. However, he recovered to pass Russell and finish fourth.

Russell finished fifth, Lando Norris sixth for McLaren, and seven-time winner Lewis Hamilton seventh following an unremarkable race in the second Mercedes. McLaren’s Oscar Piastri finished ninth, ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and Lance Stroll.

SOURCE – (AP)

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