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CANTON Ryan Strome Jersey , Ohio (AP) — Joining the most exclusive club in football truly hit home Friday for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.
Well, maybe not for the one guy missing, but certainly for Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Robert Brazile, Jerry Kramer and Bobby Beathard.
While Terrell Owens was in Chattanooga planning his own ceremony , the other seven men who will be inducted into the football shrine Saturday night attended the Gold Jacket Luncheon in Canton. Their takeaway was tinged with awe.
“I’ve never experienced anything like it in my life,” said Lewis, like Moss and Urlacher a Hall of Famer in his first year of eligibility. “There was so much love and respect in that room. I’ve never experienced this level of greatness, this level of respect.”
The luncheon isn’t at all about food and drink. It’s about a kinship, a fraternity of the very best at what they did as athletes.
So when the likes of Joe Greene, Dick Butkus and Willie Lanier told their stories to the three linebackers in this year’s class, Lewis, Urlacher and Brazile were spellbound.
“The stories and the brotherhood Christian Dvorak Jersey , I didn’t realize what I was getting into,” Urlacher said, shaking his head while smiling. “To hear the stories of what they’d gone through … .”
Of course, Kramer went through more than three decades of waiting to get in. The Packers guard became eligible in 1974 and wound up being voted into the hall as a senior candidate.
Brazile also went the senior route after becoming eligible in 1990. Beathard made it in the contributor’s category and has been retired from NFL team front offices since 2000.
Much of the attention at a news conference Friday was paid to the four youngest men in this class; Dawkins got in on his second try. Each of them was stoked by being part of the luncheon gathering.
And they spoke about the guys they idolized.
“Ronnie Lott is the first guy I wanted to be like, I looked up to that cat for much and modeled my game after him,” said Dawkins, who probably was a harder hitter than Lott, though few defensive backs approached Lott’s coverage skills. “He would challenge his teammates to do more, challenge himself to do more. He was a game changer in a game-changing league.”
Urlacher pointed to Butkus, considered by many the greatest middle linebacker in NFL history, and Mike Singletary, his Hall of Fame predecessors for the Bears. But because Urlacher played safety at New Mexico — and often outran every teammate, regardless of position — his hero, like Dawkins’, was a DB.
“Darren Woodson,” Urlacher said. “I was a safety in college and a huge Cowboys fan and he was the guy I wanted to be like when I grew up.”
Urlacher has an edge on Woodson Womens Andrew Cogliano Jersey , who hasn’t yet made it into the hall.
Moss mentioned being thrilled to chat with former teammate Chris Doleman, who was inducted in 2012.
“These guys set the foundation and we respect these guys who paved the way,” Moss said. “It was great to be in there and hear a lot about it. You walk out of that room and say, ‘I am glad to be part of this fraternity.’”
At the gold jacket celebration Friday night, Owens made the printed program’s bio, and otherwise was a nonentity while the other class of 2018 members received their jackets.
While Owens is part of it because he was elected in February, his distancing himself from the proceedings here — and from his hall peers — didn’t draw much response from 2018 class members. That’s probably fitting, sort of like how an NFL coach won’t talk about players who are holding out, focusing instead on “the guys who are here.”
Nearly 140 Hall of Famers are expected in Canton for Saturday night’s inductions. Lewis wished he could have spoken in depth to all of those who attended the luncheon.
“Listening to some of those stories,” Lewis said, “you think, ‘Each one of you guys had to make your path straight enough so a person like me could follow.’ (It was) me and Dick Butkus face to face. Me and Mean Joe Greene locked. Willie Lanier and me just there in the corner talking.”
Hall of Famers all.
Francesco Molinari played a steady hand amid another crazy ending at Carnoustie and won the British Open to become Italy’s first major champion.
Tiger Woods took the lead in the final round at a major for the first time in nine years and lost it with one bad swing. Jordan Spieth cost himself another chance in a major by failing to make a single birdie.
Seven players had a share of the lead at some point. Six were still tied on the back nine.
Through all that suspense, Molinari never flinched.
He closed with a 2-under 69, playing the final 37 holes on the toughest links in golf without a bogey. The clincher was a bold drive on the 18th hole that flirted with edge of a pot bunker, a wedge to 5 feet and a birdie putt that made him a major champion.
Molinari, who finished at 8-under 276 Corey Perry Jersey , raised his fist and shook it lightly before slamming it for emphasis.
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A thunderstorm suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour’s Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
The third stoppage of play Sunday at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders – Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18-under par – and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play also was stopped to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour’s second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole.
MONTREAL (AP) – Johnny Manziel is headed to the Montreal Alouettes in a reunion with the coach who recruited him to Texas A&M.
The Canadian Football League team acquired the former Heisman Trophy from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a blockbuster trade Sunday that reunites him wifh first-year Montreal coach Mike Sherman.
Montreal also got offensive linemen Tony Washington and Landon Rice from the Tiger-Cats for defensive end Jamaal Westerman, wide receiver Chris Williams and first-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.
The Alouettes made the move a day after starting quarterback Drew Willy sustained his second injury of the season. Montreal backup Jeff Mathews also is out with a foot injury, leaving third-stringer Matt Shiltz to play the final three quarters Saturday night in a 25-8 loss at Calgary.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) – The New York Giants have signed rookie first-round pick running back Saquon Barkley to a contract.
The No. 2 overall selection from Penn State rushed for 3,843 yards and 43 touchdowns and caught 102 passes, eight for scores, in three seasons with the Nittany Lions. He had 5,538 total yards on 791 touches for averages of 7.0 yards per play and 145.7 yards per game.
Barkley joins four draft choices who had previously signed: guard Will Hernandez of UTEP (second round), outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter of Georgia (third round), defensive tackle B.J. Hill of North Carolina State (third round), and quarterback Kyle Lauletta of Richmond (fourth round).
Defensive tackle RJ McIntosh, a fifth-rounder Max Pacioretty Jersey , also signed later in the day, completing the team’s draft class.
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano died Sunday at the age of 56.
The team announced Sparano’s death in a statement that did not provide a cause. Sparano had been the Vikings’ offensive line coach since 2016.
Sparano began his NFL coaching career in 1999 and had stints as a head coach with the Miami Dolphins and Oakland Raiders. He was the Dolphins’ head coach from 2008-11 and went 29-32. He went 11-5 and won the AFC East in his first season with Miami.
Sparano also spent time with the Browns, Redskins, Jaguars, Cowboys and 49ers.
TOUR DE FRANCE
CARCASSONNE, France (AP) – Magnus Cort Nielsen of Denmark sprinted away from two other challengers to win Stage 15 of the Tour de France, while Geraint Thomas had no trouble holding the overall lead for a fourth consecutive day
Cort Nielseen claimed his first career win at the Tour after staying ahead of Ion Izagirre and Bauke Mollema in a sprint over the final 200 meters. The Astana rider finished the hilly 181.5-kilometer (112.7-mile) leg from Millau that ended in a long descent to Carcassonne in 4 hours, 25 minutes.
Thomas in the yellow jersey, second-placed Chris Froome, and the rest of the overall contenders arrived at Carcassonne and its medieval city walls 13 minutes after the stage winner.
Thomas kept his advantage of 1 minute, 39 seconds over teammate and defending champion Froome before the race’s second rest day on Monday.
NEW YORK (AP) – In the latest bizarre medical development for the baffling New York Mets, ace pitcher Noah Syndergaard is headed back to the disabled list after contracting hand-foot-and-mouth disease.
The team figures it’s likely Syndergaard caught the contagious virus when he made an appearance at a baseball camp for kids last Thursday during the All-Star break. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said that probably explains why Syndergaard weakened and his velocity decreased during Friday night’s victory at Yankee Stadium.
According to WebMD.com, hand-foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious disease that ”most often occurs in children under 10 and is characterized by a rash of small blister-like sores on the palms of the hand http://www.officialusafootballs.com/denver-broncos
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