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AP source: Chiefs' Alex Smith agrees to extension
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) When he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs last offseason, quarterback Alex Smith professed his admiration for coach Andy Reid and his excitement at playing for the storied franchise.
Now, he could have that opportunity for at least four more years.
Smith signed a $68 million extension Sunday to remain with the Chiefs through the 2018 season, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team did not disclose the terms of the contract.
Smith, who is due $7.5 million this season, will receive $45 million in new guarantees.
"It was a priority of ours to get this deal done and keep Alex in a Chiefs uniform long term," Chiefs general manager John Dorsey said in a statement. "Alex is a proven leader on and off the field. He is a special individual with a lot of ability and we are fortunate to have him here."
Smith and his agent, Tom Condon, had been discussing an extension for several months, and both sides were hopeful that a deal would be reached by the regular season. But with the Chiefs opening against Tennessee next weekend, time was quickly running out.
"John and his staff along with Tom and his group have worked hard to get this deal done. They've done a nice job," Reid said in a statement. "Alex is a smart, talented football player that has adapted well to our offensive scheme. He also, obviously, has had a tremendous amount of success as a quarterback in this league. We as a team are very happy to have Alex as our quarterback."
The Kansas City Star first reported that Smith had reached an agreement.
The former No. 1 overall draft pick joins a wave of quarterbacks who have recently signed long-term extensions, including the Bengals' Andy Dalton and the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick.
Smith has not played well in the preseason, throwing two interceptions in the red zone in his final outing against Minnesota. But he's been hampered by an offensive line in turmoil, an injury to running back Jamaal Charles that kept him out two weeks of training camp, and a suspect group of wide receivers that will start the season without suspended star Dwayne Bowe.
"I feel good. I mean, I feel great," Smith said last week. "We got some good work, some things to learn from to get better, but I do - I do feel confident in what we're doing."
Smith's deal is important for the Chiefs on other fronts, too.
Now that he's under contract, they can turn their attention toward a long-term deal with Pro Bowl pass rusher Justin Houston. And if they fail to reach an agreement with him, the Chiefs could put the franchise tag on Houston without worrying about losing Smith to free agency.
After arriving in Kansas City for a pair of second-round draft picks, Smith had possibly the best season of his career. He threw for a career-high 3,313 yards and 23 touchdowns against only seven interceptions, even while skipping a meaningless regular-season finale.
More importantly, he took a downtrodden team that had won two games before his arrival to an 11-5 record and the playoffs. Smith threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-44 loss to the Colts, setting playoff franchise record with 30 completions and 46 attempts.
Smith's won-loss record the past three seasons is 30-9-1, trailing only the Patriots' Tom Brady, Packers' Aaron Rodgers and Saints' Drew Brees in wins among QBs with at least 30 starts.
Now with a year in Reid's system, Smith thinks he can be even better this season.
"It's always a progression. It's not like we've arrived anywhere," he said recently. "I mean, last year is a great example of where we started the season and where we ended it. Every season is like that.
"There are ups and downs along the way throughout the season, but you've got to continue to progress. You want to be playing your best football as the season goes on and into late in the year. So, you're never just at a place. You're always striving to be moving forward."
Now, Smith knows that he'll be moving forward with Kansas City.
AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 13:44:00 +0000
49er Ray McDonald accused of domestic violence
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald was arrested early Sunday on felony domestic violence charges after officers responded to a home in an upscale neighborhood, San Jose police said.
Sgt. Heather Randol, a police spokeswoman, declined to discuss the circumstances that led to McDonald's arrest, saying only that officers had probable cause to take him into custody.
McDonald, 29, was later released from Santa Clara County Jail after posting $25,000 bail.
He wouldn't discuss what happened with television news reporters who approached him after he posted bail.
"I can't say too much, not right now, but the truth will come out. Everybody knows the kind of person that I am," McDonald said. "I'm a good-hearted person."
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced tougher penalties this past week for players accused of domestic violence. The move followed scrutiny over Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice's two-game penalty stemming from his arrest on an assault charge in February.
"The 49ers organization is aware of the recent reports regarding Ray McDonald and we take such matters seriously," general manager Trent Baalke said in a statement. "As we continue to gather the facts, we will reserve further comment."
McDonald has been playing for San Francisco since he was drafted as a third-round pick in 2007.
The incident is the latest blow to what has been one of the NFL's fiercest defenses. On Friday, linebacker Aldon Smith received a nine-game suspension for what the league called violations of its substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies.
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 07:49:00 +0000
Ferrer out in first big upset among men at US Open
NEW YORK (AP) Gilles Simon felt cheated by the weatherman.
Instead of the cool day he was expecting, he faced the prospect of playing a top player who had dominated him in the past on one of the hottest, muggiest days of the U.S. Open so far.
In the end, the skinny Frenchman overcame both, beating fourth-seeded David Ferrer 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 to pull off the biggest upset to hit the men's draw yet. Ferrer was the first of the top 10 seeds to go down, and nobody was more surprised than the 26th-seeded Simon.
"I was not really prepared," he said with a smile, "because everyone was talking about the cooler day with maybe some rain.
"It was really, really difficult to play. It was hot and it was so humid. I never sweat like this in the last 10 years."
Simon, who was ranked as high as No. 6 in 2009 and cracked the top 20 earlier this year, came into the match with a 1-5 record against Ferrer, and most of those losses weren't even close. Simon said that actually helped him to play more relaxed, as if he had nothing to lose.
He confounded the Spaniard by mixing up the spin, height and pace of his shots that kept Ferrer out of sync on grueling rallies that often went past 20 shots, the longest lasting 30. Ferrer piled up an uncharacteristic 52 unforced errors, nearly twice that of Simon, who sensed the Spaniard was tiring in the 90-degree heat.
"I felt he was in trouble," Simon said. "It's not very often that him and me are tired like this just after two hours, but I feel we run a lot."
Ferrer acknowledged as much after the match, saying, "It was not easy for me. I was not good with my fitness."
It marked Ferrer's second straight early Grand Slam exit after a second-round loss to Andrey Kuznetsov at Wimbledon. That ended Ferrer's streak of 10 straight major quarterfinals.
Simon moves on to play 14th-seeded Marin Cilic, a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over 18th-seeded Kevin Anderson, for a shot at the quarterfinals. That would match Simon's deepest Grand Slam run, at the Australian Open in 2009.
He will no doubt pay closer attention to the weather for that one.
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 23:15:00 +0000
Dunn dealt to A's, could be his last shot playoffs
CHICAGO (AP) One more shot at the playoffs for Adam Dunn before he says he's probably done.
The slugger with 460 career home runs but zero at-bats in the postseason was traded by the Chicago White Sox to Oakland on Sunday, possibly giving the contending A's the power boost they need for the stretch.
The White Sox also sent cash to Oakland while acquiring minor league pitcher Nolan Sanburn. Because the deal was made before Sept. 1, Dunn will be eligible for the postseason if the suddenly sluggish Athletics make the playoffs.
The 34-year-old Dunn has played more games - 1,976 - without reaching the postseason than any active major leaguer. This is his 14th season and, with a contract set to expire, said he's planning to retire after this year.
Dunn waived his no-trade clause and approved the deal.
"This is probably going to be it," he said. "I think that also weighed a lot, too. This is an opportunity. I've been playing a long time and haven't got this opportunity, so I'm going to try to make the most of it."
Dunn is hitting .220 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs. Earlier in his career, he played for Cincinnati, Arizona and Washington.
Oakland holds the top wild-card spot in the American League. The A's were second in the AL West after three straight losses to the division-leading Los Angeles Angels, and hadn't scored in 22 innings going into Sunday's series finale.
"I think this is just an opportunity for him that he should've taken," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "It came about and you talk to him about it, you're happy that he gets a chance to go do this. I think even if he does happen to hang it up after this year, he'll at least get a shot at doing this."
The A's trailed the Angels by four games, their largest deficit since May 2013. The Athletics were looking to add a hitter after trading Yoenis Cespedes to the Boston Red Sox for starter Jon Lester before the July 31 nonwaiver deadline.
"We're trying to do whatever we can to get some offense going here," Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. "The guy has a history of hitting homers and getting on base, and I know he's excited about being with us."
Along with Dunn, the White Sox have traded away second baseman Gordon Beckham and outfielder Alejandro De Aza in the past week and a half.
Dunn has struggled in four seasons with the White Sox, mostly as a designated hitter. He has played first base and some outfield, and even made his first career pitching appearance this season in a mop-up role.
The White Sox envisioned making playoff runs when they signed Dunn to a four-year, $56 million contract in December 2010. Dunn was coming off back-to-back 38-homer seasons with Washington but the plan didn't unfold as envisioned.
"I wish things would've worked out better, but it didn't," he said.
Dunn's first season in Chicago was brutal. His average dropped more than 100 points to .159 while he hit just 11 homers in 2011, and he never really lived up to expectations after that.
He became a lightning rod for fans with his high strikeout totals, finishing one shy of the record with 222 in 2012, but he remained popular in the clubhouse.
"Some people like to lump it all together," teammate Paul Konerko said. "We know the first year was a rough year, but if you look at a lot of his time here, he kind of did what he was supposed to be doing."
General manager Rick Hahn said the White Sox started to zero in on the Oakland deal on Saturday. He discussed the possibility with Dunn, and the veteran waived his no-trade clause.
"This deal, we feel real good about Sanburn," Hahn said. "He's a young power arm with good pitch ability and good secondary pitches."
He said Sanburn will likely start next season in Double-A. As for Dunn's time in Chicago?
"Obviously, we were both disappointed that we didn't accomplish on the field what we had hoped when the deal was originally signed four years ago," Hahn said. "He was brought here as part of a plan to help us win championships in that window, and it didn't happen. From that standpoint, I think we're all disappointed. From the clubhouse standpoint, he was outstanding."
The White Sox also called up first baseman Andy Wilkins and Scott Snodgress from Triple-A Charlotte, reinstated outfielder Moises Sierra from the 15-day disabled list and outrighted pitcher Nestor Molina to Double-A Birmingham on Sunday.
Wilkins, who had 30 home runs and 85 RBIs for Charlotte, started at first base on Sunday.
Dunn, meanwhile, gets to play in meaningful games down the stretch.
"I think that's what's probably really exciting for him at this point, is to come in here and play meaningful games in September and hopefully help a team get to the postseason," Melvin said.
Sun, 31 Aug 2014 20:33:00 +0000
Roger Federer advances in four sets at US Open
NEW YORK—Trudging through a thicket of heavy air, Roger Federer looked lost in a fog while his shots strayed into the alleys. A lethargic Federer lost 10 straight points to open his third-round match with Marcel Granollers, and the Spaniard stormed out to a 5-2 lead before a lightning storm caused a two-hour delay. When play resumed, Federer fell into a one-set hole and was one point from slipping down a break in the second.
One pulsating retrieval energized Federer for a run of all-court brilliance. After a sloppy start, Federer delivered his most dynamic tennis of the tournament, dismissing Marcel Granollers, 4-6, 6-1, 6-1, 6-1, to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open for the 14th straight year. Conditions created a strange atmosphere, and the attacking skills of both men—they combined for 87 trips to the net and played sharp angles and drop shots—created moments of throwback tennis reminiscent of Forest Hills' lawns.
The steamiest day of the event grew menacing as the pair walked out on court. White lights above Arthur Ashe Stadium bled into a darkening haze, a swirling wind whistled through the chair umpire's microphone, and local weather reports issued severe storm and flood warning alerts for the New York area. Struggling to tame his forehand in the swirl, Federer spit out four forehand errors in the opening game.
The 42nd-ranked Granollers doesn't hit the ball hard, but he can take it early. He buzzed through 10 straight points, winning 12 of the first 13 for a 3-0 lead. Tested for the first time on serve at 30-all, Granollers bent low for a sharp-angled forehand volley winner, eventually holding at love for 5-2. About 19 minutes after play began, tournament referee Brian Earley pulled the pair off court due to lightning strikes in the distance.
Play resumed about two hours and six minutes later, and this time Federer brought his forehand and some pop to the party. Zapping a cross-court forehand, he broke back for 4-5. But Federer played a miserable 10th game. His serve-and-volley effort didn't surprise Granollers, who spun a backhand pass down the line to conclude a bizarre set. At this point, with day-session ticket holders giving way to evening entrants, there were probably less than 2,000 fans scattered throughout the cavernous 23,771-seat Ashe Stadium.
Failing to convert three break points in the opening game of the second set, Federer denied a break point in the second game. An accomplished doubles player, Granollers used the drop volley through the first set and hit a fine dropper to open the third game. Then things changed. Exploding off the mark, Federer was streaking right at net when he flicked a stunning backhand get that incited the crowd and kick-started his game. He went on to break serve, sparking a run of eight straight games where he elevated his level to a place Granollers just couldn't reach.
Finding his opponent's sometime disjointed forehand, Federer drew the error, scoring his third straight break to level the match after 63 minutes of official play—and more than three hours after first ball. The run of eight straight games finally came to an end when as Granollers held for 1-3 in the third set.
Wearing a white towel around his neck, Granollers gazed at the court with the vacant expression of a man without answers. The lanky Barcelona native doesn't possess the power to hang with Federer from the baseline, and he lacked the legs to run down the winners streaming from the second seed's red-and-black Pro Staff. In breezing through the third set, Federer hit 17 winners to Granollers' two.
Despite the slow start and the fact he converted just nine of 20 break-point chances, Federer should be satisfied with the fact he turned up his game considerably, served with authority (13 aces, no double faults, won 56 percent of second-serve points), and finished with 57 winners against 27 unforced errors. The five-time U.S. Open champion faces another Spaniard, No. 17 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, for a quarterfinal spot.
Mon, 01 Sep 2014 02:17:00 +0000
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