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Jets release disgruntled RB Bell, who’s owed $6M

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The New York Jets‘ rocky relationship with Le’Veon Bell came to an abrupt end Tuesday when the team announced it had released the running back.

The move concluded a 19-month tenure that was filled with disappointment and broken promises. Bell, who arrived as a marquee free agent in 2019, never clicked with coach Adam Gase, who opposed the signing from the outset.

“After having conversations with Le’Veon and his agent and exploring potential trade options over the past couple of days, we have made the decision to release Le’Veon,” the team said in a statement. “The Jets organization appreciates Le’Veon’s efforts during his time here and we know he worked hard to make significant contributions to this team. We believe this decision is in the best interests of both parties and wish him future success.”

As a vested veteran, Bell is not subject to waivers. He will be a free agent at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.

Bell shared his thoughts on Twitter shortly after the announcement when he tweeted the praying-hands emoji.

Frustrated by his lack of involvement in the offense, Bell met with Gase and general manager Joe Douglas on Monday, a source said. They told Bell they would explore a trade and gave his agent permission to speak with other teams.

The Jets contacted every team but found the contract was difficult to move. They were willing to eat some of the $6 million remaining on his 2020 base salary, but the sticking point was an $8 million injury guarantee in 2021, a source said. No team wanted to take on that much risk, fearing a serious injury this season.

In the end, neither did the Jets. They could have continued to shop him until the Nov. 3 trading deadline, hoping to recoup a late-round pick, but they too were wary of the injury guarantee, knowing they were planning to cut him in the offseason.

The Jets are responsible for the remaining $6 million on Bell’s 2020 base pay, but there is an offset clause that will defray it by the amount of the salary on a new contract with his next team.

Bell tweeted that he is prepared for a new opportunity.

The breaking point in the relationship came Sunday, when Bell was upset with his role in the Jets’ 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Afterward, he declined media interview requests but he took to Twitter and “liked” comments from media members who suggested he was being misused and should be traded.

That upset Gase, who told reporters on Monday, “I hate that that’s the route we go with all this instead of just talking about it, but it seems that’s the way guys want to do it nowadays.”

Bell has been a disappointment since he signed a four-year, $52.5 million contract last year, as he has averaged only 3.3 yards per carry with the Jets — 51st out of 53 qualifying runners in the NFL during that span.

In 17 games with the Jets, Bell rushed for 863 yards and three touchdowns. He was hurt by mediocre line play and a system that didn’t cater to his strengths as a versatile player.

Bell was signed by former general manager Mike Maccagnan, who wanted to add a weapon to help the development of quarterback Sam Darnold. As it turned out, Maccagnan was fired two months after the signing. Darnold has regressed, and the Jets are 0-5 with the NFL’s lowest-scoring offense.

This was the second time in four months that a high-profile Jet wanted out of New York. In July, All-Pro safety Jamal Adams and the team were involved in a contract dispute. The Jets eventually traded Adams to the Seattle Seahawks, and Adams was critical of Gase’s leadership on the way out.

At the time, Bell was critical of Adams for bailing on the Jets, and he attacked Adams on social media.

Bell expressed frustration at various points last season, but he refocused in the offseason and came to training camp in the best shape of his career, he said. He dropped more than 20 pounds since last season. Admitting he was complacent in 2019, Bell vowed to deliver a career year.

Gase muddied the situation by signing one of his favorite players, Frank Gore, in a move that might have further alienated Bell. Sure enough, there was a disagreement in training camp after Gase removed Bell from an intrasquad scrimmage. Gase said Bell reported a tight hamstring, and the coach didn’t want to risk an injury.

Bell went on Twitter and basically called Gase a liar, prompting a long sit-down between the two.

Bell returned to the lineup on Sunday and carried the ball 13 times for 60 yards. He was targeted only once in the passing game.

On numerous occasions, Gase talked about getting Bell more involved as a receiver.

On Sunday, rookie running back La’Mical Perine saw no action. Bell’s departure should create playing time for Perine, who will share the workload with the 37-year-old Gore.

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Cowboys QB Dalton out for game after hard hit

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A Dallas Cowboys season that has been bad has gotten worse.

Andy Dalton, starting his second game for an injured Dak Prescott, was forced to the locker room in the third quarter against the Washington Football Team after taking a big hit from linebacker Jon Bostic on a third-down scramble.

Dalton went straight to the locker room for further examination; Bostic was ejected from the game.

Dalton was replaced by rookie Ben DiNucci, a seventh-round pick, who saw one series of action in last week’s loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Before the injury, Dalton completed 9 of 19 passes for 75 yards. He was sacked three times and lost a fumble on the Cowboys’ first possession that led to a safety. He had one pass intercepted on a throw that was behind Ezekiel Elliott and tipped into Cole Holcomb’s hands for the turnover.

The Cowboys’ third quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, who joined the team last week, is inactive. Tight end Blake Bell was a quarterback at Oklahoma, so he could be the team’s backup.

The last time the Cowboys had to use three quarterbacks in a season because of injury came in 2015. Tony Romo started and finished just two games as he suffered a twice-broken right collarbone. The Cowboys also had Brandon Weeden, Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore, their current offensive coordinator, start games in that 4-12 season.

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Lewis Hamilton overtakes Schumacher with record 92nd F1 win

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Lewis Hamilton powers to victory in the Portuguese Grand Prix to become Formula One’s record all-time race winner.

Six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has become Formula One’s record all-time race winner with a dominant 92nd career victory at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver took the chequered flag a huge 25.592 seconds ahead of second-place team-mate Valtteri Bottas on Sunday, and 34.5 seconds clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for his eighth win of the season.

Hamilton had equalled Ferrari great Michael Schumacher’s record 91 wins at the previous race at the Nuerburgring.

He also took an extra point on Sunday for the fastest lap to extend his huge championship lead to 77 points over Bottas with just five races left in the coronavirus-affected season.

Hamilton is within reach of equalling Schumacher’s record of winning seven championships.

He took a record-extending 97th career pole position, starting ahead of Bottas and Verstappen on a track being used for the first time in F1.

“I only ever dreamed of being where I am today,” he said after the race and a long hug with his father Anthony, who managed his early career.

“I didn’t have a magic (crystal) ball when I chose to come here (Mercedes) – and all we have ever tried to do is make the most of it every single day. We are all rowing in the same direction.

“I have got my dad here which is amazing and my step-mum Linda – and Roscoe (his dog) – so it’s a very special day. It’s going to take time to sink in, but I was still pushing coming across the line.”

On the team radio, he emotionally told Mercedes that it was “such an honour to work with you” and his race engineer Peter ‘Bono’ Bonnington replied, saying: “It’s the same here, an honour, genuinely.”

After the race, Hamilton added: “I really owe it all to these guys for their teamwork, continually innovating and pushing the barrier ever higher every year.”

Lewis Hamilton in action during the race [Rudy Carezzevoli/Reuters]

He had cramp, he said, in his right calf in the closing stages of the race.

“Lifting my foot down the straight, it was pretty painful. I could feel it pull, but I had to get through it. It is what it is.”

His Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff, who has helped guide Hamilton to five of his world titles and the team to an unprecedented six in a row, said: “Who would’ve thought when we started this project in 2013? It’s almost a surreal number of wins.

“From Lewis, it’s his absolute passion and energy and its everything he puts into the sport – and the talent and the ability. He’s just standing out.”

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc finished fourth with AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly fifth at the Algarve circuit near Portimao that was hosting Portugal’s first Grand Prix in 24 years.

Sainz was sixth with Renault’s Esteban Ocon and Daniel Ricciardo eighth and ninth.

Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel took the final point for Ferrari.

Lance Stroll, who missed the last race and then tested positive for COVID-19, was the only retirement of the afternoon with the team reporting floor damage.

Lewis Hamilton celebrates winning the race on the podium [Rudy Carezzevoli/Reuters]

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NFL Week 7 fantasy football inactives watch: Who’s in and who’s out?

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To help you set your fantasy football lineups and to avoid starting a player who won’t be in the lineup, we’ll post fantasy-relevant updates and analysis here as NFL teams release their inactives, typically about 90 minutes before kickoff. Any rankings cited in this column come from our ESPN Fantasy staff ranks.

Refresh often for the latest information.


Note: The Tampa Bay-Las Vegas game originally scheduled for Sunday night has been moved and is currently scheduled in the 4 p.m. window. In a corresponding move, the Seattle-Arizona game has been moved to Sunday night.

4 p.m. ET games

Offense

Tyler Eifert, TE, JAX: Neck — OUT
Impact: James O’Shaughnessy didn’t do much when he filled in after Eifert’s injury last week.

Chris Thompson, RB, JAX: Illness — OUT/IR
Impact: He has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. His limited fantasy value may be usurped by Devine Ozigbo, just off the IR.

Sammy Watkins, WR, KC: Hamstring — OUT
Impact: Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman both see increased fantasy value.

Tyrod Taylor, QB, LAC: Chest — Questionable
Impact: Justin Herbert has been strong since taking over for Taylor, who might not start again this season, even when 100% healthy.

Justin Jackson, RB, LAC: Knee — Questionable
Impact: Expected to play and should see more work than Joshua Kelley.

KJ Hill Jr., WR, LAC: Hip — Questionable
Impact: Just as well if he sits, as Keenan Allen appears to be at full strength.

Bryan Edwards, WR, LV: Ankle — OUT
Impact: Hasn’t been ready for a month now, which means job security for the trio of Henry Ruggs III, Nelson Agholor and Hunter Renfrow.

Julian Edelman, WR, NE: Knee — Questionable
Impact: What else is new? Edelman is questionable. Edelman will almost certainly play.

Raheem Mostert, RB, SF: Ankle — OUT/IR
Impact: JaMycal Hasty and Jerick McKinnon will split RB duties …

Jeff Wilson Jr., RB, SF: Calf — Questionable
Impact: … with Tevin Coleman possibly rejoining the team next week.

Defense

Jeremiah Attaochu, DE, DEN: Quad — OUT

Myles Jack, LB, JAX: Ankle — OUT

Maliek Collins, DT, LV: Shoulder — Active

Adam Butler, DT, NE: Elbow — Questionable

Kwon Alexander, LB, SF: Ankle — OUT

Jimmie Ward, S, SF: Quad — OUT

Jaquiski Tartt, S, SF: Groin — OUT

Sunday night game

Seattle Seahawks

Jamal Adams, S: Groin — OUT

Arizona Cardinals

DeAndre Hopkins, WR: Ankle — Questionable
Impact: Late-week practice, albeit of a limited nature, does point to Hopkins being able to go on Sunday night.

Jordan Phillips, DE: Foot — Questionable

Kylie Fitts, LB: Hamstring — Questionable

Dre Kirkpatrick, CB: Foot — Questionable

Official Sunday inactives should begin coming in at approximately 11:30 a.m. ET for the early games and 2:30 p.m. ET for the late games.


1 p.m. ET games

Offense

John Brown, WR, BUF: Knee — OUT
Impact: Gabriel Davis will fill in for Brown and could deliver some value.

Dawson Knox, TE, BUF: Calf — OUT/IR
Impact: Tyler Kroft can play, but Lee Smith must also sit as a result of Knox’s positive COVID-19 test.

Curtis Samuel, WR, CAR: Knee — Active
Impact: Keith Kirkwood could still see some action.

Joe Mixon, RB, CIN: Foot — OUT
Impact: Giovani Bernard could return huge value as he takes over the majority of Mixon’s workload.

John Ross III, WR, CIN: Illness — Inactive
Impact: There’s just no value here, as Tee Higgins has stepped up big time.

Austin Hooper, TE, CLE: Appendix — OUT
Impact: David Njoku and Harrison Bryant will split time in an effort to replace the ill tight end.

Aaron Jones, RB, GB: Calf — Inactive
Impact: Jamaal Williams is ready to have a huge day.

Robert Tonyan, TE, GB: Ankle — Active
Impact: Marcedes Lewis/Jace Sternberger fade into the background.

Michael Thomas, WR, NO: Hamstring — OUT
Impact: Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway and Deonte Harris are all the WRs that Drew Brees has to throw to this week.

Sam Darnold, QB, NYJ: Shoulder — Active
Impact: Still a lot to be desired in the WR department, though.

Jamison Crowder, WR, NYJ: Groin — Inactive
Impact: Denzel Mims was activated from IR and could see some extra targets.

Sam Ficken, K, NYJ: Groin — Inactive
Impact: Sergio Castillo, recently signed to the practice squad, is the team’s emergency option.

Antonio Gandy-Golden, WR, WSH: Hamstring — OUT/IR
Impact: Dontrelle Inman should see a significant bump in value.

Isaiah Wright, WR, WSH: Shoulder — OUT
Impact: Cam Sims and Robert Foster might enter the WR mix.

Defense

Takkarist McKinley, DE, ATL: Groin — Active

Matt Milano, LB, BUF: Pectoral — Active

Josh Norman, CB, BUF: Hamstring — OUT

Tre’Davious White, CB, BUF: Back — Active

Eli Apple, CB, CAR: Hamstring — Active

Donte Jackson, CB, CAR: Toe — Active

William Jackson III, CB, CIN: Concussion — OUT

Karl Joseph, S, CLE: Hamstring — Active

Tyler Lancaster, DE, GB: Shoulder — OUT

Preston Smith, LB, GB: Shoulder — Active

Kevin King, CB, GB: Quad — Inactive

Darnell Savage, S, GB: Quad — Inactive

Mike Hilton, CB, PIT: Shoulder — OUT

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