The New England Patriots have not officially named an offensive coordinator and are installing a "new offense", but quarterback Mac Jones said he is not overly concerned. 

With longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels now the head coach for the Las Vegas Raiders, the Patriots have not named anyone to fill his role. Instead, head coach Bill Belichick is spending more time with the offense and former Detroit Lions coach Matt Patricia and ex-New York Giants coach Joe Judge are also working with the unit. 

"I’m going to figure it out. I always have. I always will," said Jones, entering his second NFL season. "At the end of the day, you’re going to have your ups and downs with anything new. I think we’re close on a lot of things. It’s just that 2 per cent we need to fix."

The notoriously tight-lipped Belichick has acknowledged that the Patriots have "streamlined" their offense this year, with multiple players saying the goal is to make it simpler so they can play faster.  

Jones and the new-look offense has struggled at times this preseason, with numerous breakdowns and rushers coming free too often. 

"It’s just getting the communication down," Jones said. "It’s different than what we’ve done in the past. It’s a little frustrating sometimes, but our offensive line – the players and coaches – are trying the best they can.

"I have all the trust in the world in those guys. It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re trying to grow." 

Jones led the Patriots to a 10-7 record and a playoff berth in his rookie season, throwing 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.  

New England host the New York Giants in their preseason opener on Thursday night. 

The PGA Tour has won their first legal battle against the controversial LIV Golf brand, with a judge ruling on Tuesday that LIV Golf players are not eligible to play in the FedEx Cup starting this week.

Specifically, Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford were the three golfers seeking the temporary restraining order to play at the FedEx St. Jude Championship – but a judge ruled that their cases did not prove they were victims of "irreparable harm" due to their highly paid contracts.

The LIV Golf lawyers argued that the FedEx Cup is about "more than money" – even going as far as calling it "the Super Bowl of golf", and comparing former FedEx Cup winners to all-time greats Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.

They claimed the PGA Tour was attempting to use monopoly powers to stamp out fair competition, to which the PGA lawyers countered with the facts that five of their top-10 most famous players – based on their Player Impact Program – have already jumped ship, and that Gooch, specifically, signed a contract worth significantly more than the $18million awarded to the winner of the FedEx Cup.

LIV Golf were queried about how they could project a 20 per cent market share while also calling the PGA Tour a monopoly, and that being a monopoly is not illegal, only using monopoly powers against another organisation is.

The judge explained that the breakaway golfers would have ample opportunity to play on the alternate tour; that their upfront LIV Golf contracts took into account the possibility that they would not be eligible for the FedEx Cup and/or major championships; and that the inability to win even more money does not constitute "irreparable harm".

Some other interesting tidbits were revealed during proceedings, including a direct contradiction from a prevalent storyline about the LIV Golf contracts.

LIV Golf lawyers claimed that prize money won from tournaments would be "recouped against the LIV contracts" – with a clip emerging immediately afterwards showing an LIV Golf spokesperson specifically saying during a news conference featuring Pat Perez and Brooks Koepka that all prize money would be "in addition to the contracts".

Their lawyers also confirmed that all 48 spots had been filled for next LIV Golf season, and the judge indicated that the larger-scale antitrust trial would be tentatively scheduled for September.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Martin Necas have agreed to a two-year, $6million contract to keep the young winger with the franchise through the 2023-24 season.

Necas had been a restricted free agent.

Selected 12th overall by the Hurricanes in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Necas has totalled 119 points (45 goals, 74 assists) in 203 career games.

At 23 years old, Necas is considered a key piece for Carolina's future. He tallied 14 goals and 26 assists last season but managed just five assists in 14 Stanley Cup playoff games.

After the New York Rangers eliminated the Hurricanes in Game 7 of the second round, Necas said he wanted to be a more consistent scoring threat in the future.

"I've got to help the team more, got to produce way more,” Necas said in June. "That's what everyone kind of expects from me. I didn't do it this year, so like I said, it was disappointing for me."

Carolina won the Metropolitan Division last season with a 54-20-8 record.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst was overjoyed by the memorable comeback instigated by Rangers on Tuesday that set up a Champions League qualification play-off against PSV.

Rangers lost 2-0 to Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium last week, a result that Van Bronckhorst even felt flattered his team.

But just as Ibrox proved a dependable fortress en route to the Europa League final last season, home advantage helped Rangers over the line again.

James Tavernier's penalty on the stroke of half-time was added to by Antonio Colak's close-range header near the hour mark.

Bayern Munich loanee Malik Tillman then nodded in the crucial goal 12 minutes from time, and Van Bronckhorst – who will go up against his former Netherlands team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy in the next round – was left ecstatic with the 3-2 aggregate success.

"It's another amazing night in Europe," he said. "There was a lot of pressure on us to deliver and to go through to the next round. We played really well at moments and kept the pressure on them.

"We know the atmosphere can be very hostile and we created that atmosphere along with the fans. I'm very proud of the performance of my team."

Rangers only lost once at home in the Europa League last term, a 2-0 defeat to Lyon in September, and Van Bronckhorst once again highlighted the fans' role in their turnaround on Tuesday.

"We know the fans are always there but if we have a performance like we did today then the crowd will be even more hostile," he continued.

"They keep pushing us to go forward so at moments in the game you have to make the right decision not to go too quick with your attacks. We knew we were capable of doing this but we keep doing it time after time. And we did it again.

"They had some chances – the biggest one was saved in the second half. Some chances we just dropped our bodies in front of them to block the shots.

"It's a big performance. We needed that. I’m very proud of the team. We're still in contention to go to the group stages of the Champions League. We'll to do everything possible to be in the Champions League this season."

Real Madrid playmaker Luka Modric does not think it will be crucial for Carlo Ancelotti to manage his minutes this season, despite the upcoming World Cup.

The 2022 edition of FIFA's showpiece tournament takes place in Qatar across November and December, with Modric's Croatia having qualified.

Croatia reached the final of the 2018 tournament in Russia, with Modric starring. He subsequently won the Ballon d'Or, and is the only player not named Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi to scoop that award since 2007, when Kaka took it.

While Ivan Rakitic, the other mainstay of Croatia's midfield over the past decade, and Mario Mandzukic - who led the line in 2018 - have retired from international football (and in the latter's case, from playing altogether), Modric is set to lead his country once again.

Modric will be 37 by the time the World Cup rolls around, with Croatia drawn against Belgium, Canada and Morocco in Group F, but ahead of Wednesday's Super Cup clash with Eintracht Frankfurt, explained that he has not felt the need to talk to Ancelotti about managing how much he plays this campaign.

He told a news conference in Helsinki: "Not at all, I don't see it being different, as I've always said, age doesn't matter. What matters is what you show on the pitch, you don't need to look at your age.

"I speak to the coach every day, but not about that. The coach knows I like playing and I feel better when I play.

"I'm feeling good, available to the team to give my all to help the team in every way. The World Cup doesn't change anything for me, I just have to be ready, train well and be at the coach's disposal."

 

Perhaps to prove a point, Modric, who will have additional competition from new arrival Aurelien Tchouameni this season, was leading the press in a training game between two 11s made up of Madrid's superstar-littered squad at the Olympic Stadium after the media duties had been fulfilled.

Modric, as well as Karim Benzema, was also asked how Madrid could improve on last season, when they won a LaLiga and Champions League double.

"To be at this level you have to work hard and be committed on and off the pitch, that's what we're doing," he added. 

"We have a very good group of players here, we are ready for a good season, we are going to give everything as we do every year."

The equally evergreen Benzema, citing his coach, said: "I think we all agree, if that's what Carlo said!

"Age doesn't come into it, it's true that we're no longer young but we're all working hard, on and off the pitch, resting well between and are able to keep going and performing at a high standard. We have a good squad here, better than last year. We're going to compete for everything."

Rangers wiped out a 2-0 aggregate deficit to reach the Champions League play-offs thanks to a 3-0 win over Union Saint-Gilloise at Ibrox on Tuesday.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side were guilty of an underwhelming first-leg performance in Belgium last week, with the Dutchman acknowledging his team were fortunate to only lose 2-0.

But just as it proved crucial en route to the Europa League final last season, the 'Ibrox factor' put them back on course.

Fan expectations will have remained low for much of the first half until a hopeful Borna Barisic cross struck an arm, and James Tavernier converted the resulting penalty with aplomb on the stroke of half-time.

Rangers' tails were up and they appeared rejuvenated in the second period, with Antonio Colak nodding in from close range to level the scores on aggregate.

Extra time looked likely, but another Barisic delivery proved crucial 12 minutes from the end – this time Bayern Munich loanee Malik Tillman beat the stranded goalkeeper to nod into an empty net as the visitors, who had Jean Thierry Lazare sent off late on for two bookings, were vanquished.

Rangers will face either PSV or Monaco – whose second leg went beyond the regulation 90 minutes in the play-off round.

Erik ten Hag can improve Manchester United's fortunes but will need time to affect change, according to former Ajax and Liverpool midfielder Jari Litmanen.

Ten Hag was appointed manager at Old Trafford in April after a successful period in charge of Ajax, but he suffered a chastening 2-1 home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday in his first Premier League game at the helm.

Litmanen had two spells with Ajax during an illustrious playing career, winning five Eredivisie titles, three KNVB Cups and a Champions League crown.

Speaking to Stats Perform at the UEFA fan park in Helsinki ahead of Wednesday's Super Cup, Finland great Litmanen joked when asked if he believed Ten Hag would be a success at United: "I am for Liverpool, so hopefully not!

"I hope the best for Erik. He is a good person and a good coach, he showed that at Ajax, but he needs time.

"They are a big club, and they will get back to the top, but they need time. Competition is high in England so it is going to be difficult, but Erik is a good manager."

Litmanen also raised the possibility of Cristiano Ronaldo staying at Old Trafford, despite reportedly asking for a move so he can play in the Champions League this season.

"We will see if he can get the best out of Ronaldo," Litmanen added. "I haven't spoken to Erik so who knows? Maybe Cristiano stays the whole season, he showed he is one of the best goalscorers in history and if he leaves, then someone else will have to take that responsibility."

Litmanen also had an 18-month spell at Liverpool, where he was part of a squad that won the EFL Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup treble in the 2000-01 season.

Although he was used sparingly at Anfield, he did play alongside Reds icon Steven Gerrard, who is now manager of Aston Villa, and Litmanen expects his former team-mate to succeed as a coach in the Premier League.

"Stevie G [Gerrard] is a big name in English football and Liverpool history and he for sure has something to give English football [as a manager]," he said. 

"I was happy to play with him for one and a half years and he is someone who has a great personality."

The fear over the severity of New York Jets offensive tackle Mekhi Becton's right knee injury have become a reality.

Jets coach Robert Saleh told reporters on Tuesday that Becton suffered a kneecap fracture during Monday's practice and his season is "more than likely" over.

Becton has been diagnosed with an avulsion fracture in the knee, according to NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo, and will see a surgeon on Wednesday.

''It's probably the inevitable,'' Saleh said of the severity of the injury.

The Jets were initially optimistic about the injury, with Saleh saying after Monday's practice that: "it doesn’t seem like it's a big deal," but the outlook changed later in the evening after the results of an MRI.

Saleh said he feels "sick" for Becton, who missed the final 16 games of the 2021 season after dislocating his right kneecap in the season opener, and defended the oft-injured 23-year-old after he arrived at training camp healthy and in acceptable shape after battling weight issues following surgery in September.

"His story's not over. He's got full support of this organisation," Saleh added. "And if you're a fan that wants to support him, you're more than welcome, otherwise just keep it moving."

The 11th overall pick of the 2020 draft, Becton started 13 games at left tackle as a rookie and began last season at the position before getting hurt.

In need of depth on the offensive line, the Jets signed veteran guard Caleb Benenoch and guard Chris Glaser on Tuesday.

Free-agent tackle Duane Brown, a five-time Pro Bowler, visited the Jets on Saturday and could be offered a contract.

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti thinks last season was the best of his illustrious career, after celebrating success in LaLiga and the Champions League.

Ancelotti was appointed as successor to Zinedine Zidane in June 2021 in something of a surprise move.

The Italian had seemed satisfied with life at Everton, though he had only managed to lead the Premier League club to 12th and 10th-placed finishes in his 18 months at Goodison Park.

Ancelotti was a popular figure with fans and players alike during his initial spell at Santiago Bernabeu, taking Madrid to 'La Decima' - their tenth Champions League title - in 2014, but he was dismissed in 2015, with Los Blancos having finished second in LaLiga and exiting the Champions League in the semi-finals.

Having triumphed in every other major European league, LaLiga success had evaded Ancelotti until his return to Madrid, who cruised to the title in Spain's top flight last season.

European glory then came in the form of a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Stade de France at the end of May, making Ancelotti the first coach in history to win the Champions League four times (twice with Milan, twice with Madrid).

Ahead of the Super Cup against Europa League champions Eintracht Frankfurt in Helsinki, Ancelotti reflected on last season as his best as a coach.

"I think so, it was the best I had in my career. I was never able to win the league and Champions League [double]," he told a news conference.

"My players were able to reach this through a fantastic combination – spirit, attitude, quality, experience and enthusiasm of the youngsters.

"For all these reasons we were able to beat strong teams."

Asked what Madrid's goals are heading into this season, Ancelotti replied: "We're going to battle on all fronts in every competition, I have no doubts about that.

"I am confident in all of the players here, considering last year, I think the squad has improved further."

Madrid have brought in Antonio Rudiger from Chelsea and Aurelien Tchouameni from Monaco, but neither of their new signings will start on Wednesday against Frankfurt, with Ancelotti revealing the same team that lined up against Liverpool in Paris will take to the field.

"We are here down to the hard work of the players who won the Champions League," said Ancelotti, who was joined in his news conference by Luka Modric and Karim Benzema.

"We didn't just win with 11 players who are going to start tomorrow, of course there are others who deserve to play, but we can only start 11, and I'm going to play the team that started in Paris."

With a smile and trademark lift of an eyebrow, he quipped: "I think the two players who are next to me are going to start, if they want to!"

World number one Scottie Scheffler has hit out at a lawsuit being brought against the PGA Tour by several of LIV Golf's leading names. 

With the PGA suspending players who joined the controversial Saudi Arabia-backed circuit, the likes of Phil Mickelson and Bryson DeChambeau are among 11 players to back a legal attempt to reverse those measures ahead of the FedEx Cup Playoffs beginning on Thursday.

While reports suggest only three LIV players – Talor Gooch, Matt Jones and Hudson Swafford – are seeking re-entry to the event, the PGA has accused them of trying "to have their cake and eat it" by attempting to feature at their events.

And Scheffler, who has been a prominent defender of the PGA Tour amid several high-profile players signing up for the LIV circuit, has little sympathy for those fighting suspension.

"I'm definitely curious to see what's going to happen," the 2022 Masters victor told a news conference on Tuesday.

"It's one of those deals where those guys kind of made their decision to go join another tour.

"They broke the rules and regulations of our tour and now they're trying to sue us, which is definitely a bit frustrating.

"I heard that was going to happen and I know some guys aren't surprised to see it, but I definitely am surprised to see some guys now suing us.

"If they win, come out here and play, I mean, that's something that's up to the courts. I can't control what's going to happen in a court case. 

"[I'm] definitely interested, but at the end of the day it has no effect on my preparation for the week."

Tyson Fury has confirmed he is planning a return to the boxing ring, as he urged Derek Chisora to accept his offer for a trilogy fight after revealing Isaac Lowe as his new trainer.

Fury claimed in April that he was to retire following a sixth-round knockout of Dillian Whyte at Wembley Stadium, but has repeatedly hinted he was considering a U-turn.

Earlier this week, Fury's co-promoter Frank Warren said the 33-year-old has "itchy feet" and "wants to fight", while the WBC heavyweight champion pledged to face the winner of the upcoming Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua bout last month.

However, Fury now appears to have a third bout with Chisora, who he has beaten on two previous occasions, in his sights.

On Monday, Fury took to Instagram to reveal his offer to Chisora, declaring: "You're running, Derek, from the trilogy. You call yourself 'war', you should call yourself 'chicken'."

The following day, Fury stood alongside long-time friend and fellow fighter Lowe in a second post, adding: "I've decided to come back to boxing because I can be the first heavyweight world champion in history to have two trilogies, one with Deontay Wilder, one with Derek Chisora.

"I'd always say I'd fight Derek Chisora at the end of my career, and here we are, breaking all records again, setting precedents.

"When I was with [former coach] SugarHill [Steward], Isaac's always been there. He knows me better than anyone on the planet and we're a great team, we're going to finish this together, and here we are, about to take on a massive event." 

Fury overcame Chisora on points in 2011 before registering a dominant win in their 2014 rematch in London, while the 38-year-old beat Kubrat Pulev in his last outing in July.

Serena Williams' long and illustrious tennis career is drawing to a close after the American confirmed on Tuesday that the countdown has begun.

Following a long piece in Vogue, Williams wrote of her plan to "move in a different direction" after "these next few weeks", suggesting the US Open – which begins in late August – will be her last outing.

Thanks to her success and brilliance on the court, Williams has become synonymous with tennis and is regarded by many as the greatest the women's sport has ever seen.

Yet, her seemingly imminent retirement cannot be seen as a shock. At the age of 40, Williams has persisted with tennis far longer than most do, and that is testament to her quality and enduring desire for success.

With Williams now reaching the end, Stats Perform takes a look at the key facts, stats and figures of her career; in other words, Serena's remarkable legacy.

Twenty-three… and counting?

Of course, the headline fact for Williams' career is her grand slam titles count.

She has won 23, which is more than anyone else in the Open era.

But she's still got one target left: matching Margaret Court. The Australian's 24 grand slam successes include nine won before the Open era began in 1968, though her overall total has been the benchmark ever since she claimed her final crown at the US Open in 1975.

Clearly, victory for Williams at Flushing Meadows would be the perfect farewell.

 

The finals hurdle

Even if Williams only reaches the championship match next month, she'll still be equalling a different record.

Assuming she does compete in Queens, Williams heads into the US Open having played in 33 grand slam finals, one more than Martina Navratilova.

But Chris Evert (34) sits out in front, and that record will remain hers for many, many years if Williams cannot reach the finale at Flushing Meadows.

Top of the pile

It's been a while now since Williams was last the highest-ranked player in the world, but in a way that only further highlights how remarkable her career has been.

She's spent 319 weeks ranked as world number one, which is behind only Steffi Graf (377) and Navratilova (332).

While many might have expected Williams to have been top of the pile for even longer, it's worth remembering how she's spent time out due to injuries and pregnancy, with her general involvement in top-level tennis decreasing after 2014 when she played 16 tournaments – in 2016 that halved to eight, and during no year since has she played in more.

Additionally, some will also be surprised to learn she actually only finished the year as the top-ranked female player five times. Nevertheless, that's still third to only Graf (eight) and Navratilova (seven).

Go hard or go home

Such has been Williams' quality, she was always considered a threat regardless of the surface – she's won each grand slam at least three times.

But there's no denying she was at her most lethal on hard courts.

She has won 48 WTA Tour-level titles on hard courts, which is 11 more than anyone else (Graf) in the Open era.

Those 48 come from a grand total of 73 across all surfaces, leaving her ranked fifth behind Navratilova (167), Evert (157), Graf (107) and Court (92).

 

Surface to say…

Williams' comfort on hard courts goes even further than that.

She's won 539 matches on the surface, making her one of just two female players to surpass 500 victories on one specific ground type.

Navratilova (600 on carpet) is the only other player to achieve the feat, with Serena's sister Venus (498 on hard) the closest to the 23-time grand slam champion.

The grass is greener

Despite that unrivalled excellence, hard courts may not be the surface many feel to be most synonymous with Williams, however.

Wimbledon is the tournament that would appear to be her favourite.

She's reached the final at SW19 11 times. Only Navratilova can better that record for the most finals at one tournament – though it's worth saying she contested the WTA Finals and Chicago 14 times each, Eastbourne 13 times and 12 at Wimbledon.

Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale will miss the remainder of the season due to a fractured right wrist sustained during a bicycle accident on Saturday.

The oft-injured left-hander underwent surgery on Monday, and the team said he is expected to be ready for the start of spring training in 2023.

Sale was already on the injured list and hoped to pitch later in the season after sustaining a broken left pinkie on July 17 against the New York Yankees when he was hit by a line drive in the first inning.

That outing was just Sale's second start of the season after recovering from a fractured rib sustained while working out during the Major League Baseball lockout.

Sale signed a five-year, $145million contract extension with Boston in 2019, but he has pitched a combined 48 1/3 innings since the end of that campaign.

The seven-time All-Star missed the pandemic-shortened 2020 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery before making his 2021 debut on August 14, going 5-1 with a 3.16 ERA in nine starts.

All-Pro linebacker Roquan Smith loves the Chicago Bears, but he does not believe the feeling is mutual.

Smith issued a statement requesting a trade on Tuesday, writing "the new front office regime doesn't value me here".

Set to make $9.735million in the final year of his rookie contract, Smith, who represents himself, had been holding out during training camp while working towards a new deal.

The 25-year-old, however, has become infuriated with negotiating with first-year general manager Ryan Poles and now wants out.

"The new front office regime doesn't value me here," Smith wrote in a statement posted by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

"They've refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been 'take it or leave it'.

"The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it. I've been trying to get something done that's fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me.

"I wanted to be a Bear for my entire career, help this team bring a Super Bowl back to our city.

"However, they have left me no choice than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organisation that truly values what I bring to the table."

Selected eighth overall in the 2018 draft, Smith has been one of the league's top linebackers and was looking to be paid like one.

Smith was reportedly offended by Chicago's backloaded offer that included de-escalators that are not in the contract of any of the other 94 non-quarterbacks making at least $15m per year.

Smith ranked fifth in the NFL in total tackles last season with 163 to go with 12 tackles for loss to earn second-team All-Pro honours for the second straight year.

In 61 career games, he has 538 total tackles, 43 tackles for loss and five interceptions, making him one of just three defensive players with at least 300 tackles, 30 tackles for loss and five interceptions since 2018, along with Darius Leonard and Jamie Collins Sr.

Smith apologised to Chicago fans and implied he could possibly withdraw the trade request if team ownership can restore the fragmented relationship but said it is unlikely he will ever put on a Bears uniform again.

"I haven't had the chance to talk to the McCaskey family, and maybe they can salvage this," he wrote, "but as of right now I don't see a path back to the organisation I truly love."

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