Alabama is No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 preseason poll for fourth time in the past six seasons.
Coming off its sixth national championship under Nick Saban, the Crimson Tide enters the season loaded with potential replacements for the record-breakers and NFL draft picks who have moved on, including Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith.
Alabama received 47 of 63 first-place votes from the panel of sports writers and broadcasters in the poll presented by Regions Bank. Oklahoma is No. 2, just ahead of No. 3 Clemson (each received six first-place votes).
Ohio State, which lost to the Tide in last season’s championship game, is No. 4 after receiving a first-place vote. Georgia received three first-place votes and rounds out the top five.
DENVER (AP)Jake Arrieta caught on with a playoff contender after getting released by the Chicago Cubs, signing a minor league deal with the San Diego Padres on Monday.
The former NL Cy Young Award winner is expected to make his first start for San Diego on Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.
The Padres signed Arrieta to add depth to their injury-plagued rotation. Chris Paddack (left oblique strain) and Yu Darvish (back tightness) are on the 10-day injured list.
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) – The Atlanta Falcons have become the first NFL team to have all of its players complete COVID-19 vaccinations.
The Falcons opened training camp with more than 90% of their players vaccinated, and they confirmed Monday they reached 100%. The NFL announced the Falcons were the first team to reach 100%.
Atlanta becomes the first team able to have all its players not wear masks around the facility and eat and work out together.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – The Las Vegas Raiders will require all fans attending home games to show proof of vaccination for COVID-19.
The team said Monday that the policy will take effect for the first regular season home game on Sept. 13 against Baltimore.
The Raiders implemented the change in accord with new directives from Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak regarding large events. Vaccinated fans will not need to wear masks at the games.
LOS ANGELES (AP) – The Los Angeles Clippers have brought back guard Eric Bledsoe to the team where he started his NBA career.
A trade with the Memphis Grizzlies announced Monday sends Bledsoe to the Clippers for guards Patrick Beverley and Rajon Rondo and center Daniel Oturu. Bledsoe spent his first three seasons in Los Angeles after being the 18th pick overall out of Kentucky in 2010 before going to Phoenix, Milwaukee and New Orleans.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Nashville Predators have signed goaltender Juuse Saros to a four-year, $20 million contract.
General manager David Poile announced the deal Monday.
Saros, 26, is coming off his best season yet in his five-year NHL career. He went 21-11-1 in 36 games with career bests in wins, 35 starts, a 2.28 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. He finished sixth in the Vezina Trophy voting for best goalie and 11th in the Hart Trophy voting for most valuable player.
U.S. forward Carli Lloyd is retiring after a decorated career that included a pair of World Cup titles and two Olympic gold medals, as well as a bronze medal at the Tokyo Games.
The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year known for her dramatic hat-trick in the 2015 World Cup final will play four as-yet unannounced friendly matches this fall with the U.S., and finish out the season with her club team, Gotham FC. She hinted for more than a year that she was nearing the end of her career and made it official Monday.
CLEVELAND (AP) – Dick Schafrath, a star offensive tackle for the Cleveland Browns who blocked for Hall of Fame running backs Jim Brown, Leroy Kelly and Bobby Mitchell before going into politics after retiring, has died. He was 84.
The team said Schafrath died on Sunday night. No cause of death was given.
Nicknamed ”The Mule” by his teammates for his determination, Schafrath was a four-time All-Pro during a career with Cleveland from 1960-71. After he stopped playing, Schafrath was an assistant coach with Washington on coach George Allen’s staff before entering politics and serving as a state senator in Ohio.
Schafrath played at Ohio State before he was drafted in the second round by the Browns in 1959.
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