Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has been hospitalised after testing positive for COVID-19.

The team said Bidwill had been traveling recently and was not feeling well this week, with a headache and fever. After testing positive,  Bidwill admitted himself to a hospital in Rhode Island following a recommendation by his doctor.

The Cardinals said his symptoms have subsided and he is expected to be released this weekend.

Bidwill has been working remotely since March and the team said he has not had in-person contact with coaches or players.

The 55-year-old Bidwill has been president of the family-owned team since 2007 after previously serving as vice-president and general counsel. His father and previous team owner, Bill, passed away in October.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have revealed plans that would allow a limited number of fans to attend 2020 home games, filling TIAA Bank Field to around a quarter of its 67,000 capacity.

The organisation also unveiled new safety protocols for staff and fans, including mandatory use of face coverings amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Jaguars said the plan was designed "in compliance with state and local authorities and following CDC social distancing guidelines", a reference to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Additional seating could become available if public health authorities approve such a move later in the season, the Jaguars said.

The club also declared a commitment to provide additional hand sanitising stations, convert all concessions and merchandise sales to a cashless format and provide in-stadium guidelines for social distancing.

The Jaguars first sent the plan to season ticket holders in an email before releasing details to the public. The season is due to begin on September 10.

Fans who own season tickets are eligible for full refunds or can apply the payments toward tickets this season or next season. Season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets, and any unsold seats will be available to single-game buyers.

The Jaguars said they are working with Ticketmaster to develop a seating plan to allow friends and family to attend games together while keeping a minimum of six feet between "unaffiliated parties".

Jacksonville became the third NFL franchise to unveil a plan for limited seating this season, after the Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs.

Tom Brady admitted his move from the New England Patriots to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been made more difficult due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Brady swapped the Patriots for the Buccaneers via NFL free agency following 20 seasons in Foxborough, where he won six Super Bowl championships.

The transition from New England to Tampa, however, has not been easy for the 42-year-old superstar quarterback amid the COVID-19 crisis.

"The biggest hurdle I've overcome recently I would say would be a transition of moving my life from one area where it's been for 20 years to a completely different area," Brady told reporters.

"That's been a big transition getting to know a new community, albeit in some very unique times, but also transitioning my life, getting a lot of my personal life moved to a new place and entering into new professional relationships with people and having to do that over FaceTime or Zoom calls.

"I think we're all just trying to do the best we can do at this point. It's a unique experience for us all and everyone is trying to make it work the best they can.

"For me, we're in a unique situation now where we're all home together and I think that's a great thing that I've experienced the last month, being in a house all together and getting to know each other in ways that we could never have if we'd been pulled in different directions.

"My kids are off at school and my wife's travelling, or I'm travelling, fulfilling different obligations. The reality is my family is very important to me, my career is very important to me and I've had a great time focusing on those two things the last four weeks."

Professional sports are returning in the United States, where there have been more than 3.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and over 135,800 deaths.

The MLS is Back Tournament started on Wednesday, while the NBA (July 31) and MLB (July 23) seasons are preparing to resume this month after leagues were suspended in March.

The NFL sees no problem with players touching, sweating and breathing on one another in games, but as soon as the final whistle blows, it may be time for opposing players to immediately social distance.

League officials informed teams on Thursday of plans that could see players prohibited from post-game interactions within six feet of each other in an effort to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

It means exchanging jerseys, hugging and handshakes will be off limits, if the proposals, reported by the league's own NFL Network, get the go-ahead.

A jersey swap among opposing players has been a familiar sight on the field after games, as has been the obligatory embrace between each team's starting quarterback, but neither look like being permitted for the 2020 season, which is due to start on September 10.

The NFL's thinking was mocked by Richard Sherman, the San Francisco 49ers cornerback, who questioned how it can be "deemed unsafe" to carry out the swap given all the contact that has gone before.

As part of the 11-page document sent to each team outlining game-day protocol plans, teams have reportedly also been informed that players and coaches would not be required to wear masks on the sideline but other sideline personnel will be required to wear a face covering.

Media will also not be allowed in the locker room and anyone who arrives at the stadium and records a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted to enter.

A report on NFL.com cited the NFL Network story, while adding: "The proposed protocols are set to be in effect during any preseason action, if agreed to. As are all things during the pandemic, they're subject to change as the science, data and situations develop."

Lewis Hamilton was warned he faced "potential consequences" if he wore a helmet paying tribute to Colin Kaepernick and therefore abandoned the plan.

Former NFL quarterback Kaepernick has been a divisive figure in the United States since he kneeled for the national anthem to protest social inequality and police brutality.

The demonstration has been adopted across the sporting world in recent weeks following the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.

Hamilton, Formula One's reigning champion and first black driver, was among those to follow suit as his season started last weekend.

But the Briton revealed ahead of the Styrian Grand Prix that he had initially planned a display relating to Kaepernick at the sport's American event.

"I was advised from outside, from someone in the States who was really quite high up, that it wasn't the time for me to be doing so," Hamilton explained.

"There were potential consequences for me doing it, so that's why they advised me not to do it. I don't remember who else was involved. It's not particularly important.

"I do still have that helmet that I've done for Colin. And I did speak to Colin about it, who was super supportive.

"I'm grateful that I was able to do it [take the knee] last weekend, and continue on the great movement I think he initially started [that] so many are continuing on today."

Julian Edelman has offered to take fellow NFL receiver DeSean Jackson to the Holocaust Museum following the Philadelphia Eagles wideout's anti-Semitic post.

Jackson apologised for a series of offensive posts made from his Instagram account over the weekend - including one with a quote falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler - with the Eagles calling their player's messages "offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling".

Three-time Pro Bowler Jackson said he had "unintentionally hurt the Jewish community" and vowed to "educate myself".

New England Patriots wide receiver Edelman, who is Jewish, has now addressed Jackson's comments and offered him a deal to learn more about his community.

"I know he said some ugly things but I do see an opportunity to have a conversation," Edelman said in a video posted on his social media channels.

"I'm proud of my Jewish heritage and for me it's not just about religion, it's about community and culture as well. I'm unusual because I didn't identify as Jewish until later in my life. Whenever I encountered hatred, it never really felt like it was aimed at me.

"It was only after I was part of this community that I learned how destructive hate is. Anti-Semitism is one of the oldest forms of hatred, it's rooted in ignorance and fear."

Edelman, a three-time Super Bowl champion, went on to say he was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse in 2011 - two years after he entered the NFL.

"There's no room for anti-Semitism in this world," he added.

"Even though we're talking about anti-Semitism, I don't want to distract from how important the Black Lives Matter movement is and how we need to stay behind it.

"I think the black and Jewish communities have a lot of similarities. One, an unfortunate similarity, is that they are both attacked by the ignorant and the hateful.

"It's really hard to see the challenges a community can face when you're not part of it so what we need to do is we need to listen, learn and act. We need to have those uncomfortable conversations if we're going to have real change.

"So, to that end, DeSean, let's do a deal. How about we go to [Washington] DC and I take you to the Holocaust Museum? And then you take me to the Museum of African American History and Culture? Afterwards, we grab some burgers and we have those uncomfortable conversations."

The Cleveland Browns signed offensive tackle and first-round draft pick Jedrick Wills Jr. to his four-year fully guaranteed rookie contract.  

Wills' deal is believed to be worth $19.7million and includes a reported $11.889m signing bonus. 

Selected 10th overall in this year's NFL Draft, Wills played right tackle at Alabama and yielded just one sack in 29 starts.

He protected left-handed Tua Tagovailoa's blindside in college but is expected to step in and start at left tackle in the NFL. 

Wills is the third top-10 pick to sign his NFL contract, along with Miami Dolphins quarterback Tagovailoa and Carolina Panthers defensive lineman Derrick Brown, the seventh overall selection.

 

Patrick Mahomes said a balance between his long-term security and the flexibility to keep great team-mates around him was behind his 10-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs announced on Monday that they had signed quarterback Mahomes to an extension worth up to $503million, the richest contract in sports history.

It comes after a remarkable start to Mahomes' career in the NFL, which saw him win the league MVP award in 2018 and named Super Bowl MVP last season as the Chiefs fought back to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20.

Despite the eye-watering numbers, the contract does not destroy the Chiefs in terms of the salary cap.

Mahomes, who had two years left on his rookie contract, will be tied to the Chiefs for the next 12 seasons but will count just $5.3million against the cap in 2020 and $24.8m in 2021.

It is not until the final five years of his deal that the most exorbitant cap hits will take effect, and it is his Chiefs team-mates who stand to benefit. 

The relatively light price the Chiefs will pay for Mahomes in the short term could allow them to sign franchise-tagged defensive tackle Chris Jones to a long-term deal, while safety Tyrann Mathieu, tight end Travis Kelce and right tackle Mitchell Schwartz are all candidates for extensions.

"I went in there with an open mind," Mahomes told a news conference of the negotiations. 

"I wanted to keep great players around me and reward them for being great players. When the concept came to me I loved the idea, we were able to do it the right way.

"Having Brett Veach, a young general manager who's done a great job of putting great players around me was a boost of confidence of signing this long-term extension.

"Having a 10-year contract, I just wanted to have the security of knowing I'm going to be a Kansas City Chief for a long time and at the same time we did a good job of having enough money to pay the guys around me.

"We're going to be a good football team for a long time."

The Philadelphia Eagles have condemned an anti-Semitic Instagram post made by wide receiver DeSean Jackson, calling it "offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling." 

Jackson posted a photo of a quotation attributed to Adolf Hitler on the social media platform on Monday.

The veteran receiver also posted quotations from Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam who has made anti-Semitic comments in the past.

The NFL released its own statement, calling the posts "highly inappropriate, offensive and divisive."

After receiving some backlash over the posts, Jackson re-posted the photo with a new caption.  

"Anyone who feels I have hate towards the Jewish community took my post the wrong way," Jackson wrote. "I have no hatred in my heart towards no one!! Equality equality."

Jackson made the posts to his Instagram story, which keeps the photo active for 24 hours. It has since expired. 

"We have spoken with DeSean Jackson about his social media posts," the Eagles said in a statement on Tuesday. "Regardless of his intentions, the messages he shared were offensive, harmful and absolutely appalling.  

"They have no place in our society and are not condoned or supported in any way by the organisation."

Neither the NFL nor the team has issued any kind of punishment to Jackson for the posts, but the Eagles said that they are still evaluating the situation and "will take appropriate action."

"We are disappointed, and we reiterated to DeSean the importance of not only apologising but also using his platform to take action to promote unity, equality and respect." 

Just after the team released their statement, Jackson posted an apology video to his Instagram account.  

"I never want to put any race down or put any people down. My post was definitely not intended for anybody of any race to feel any type of way, especially the Jewish community," Jackson said. "What I posted – I definitely didn't mean it to the extent that you guys took it, and I just wanted to let you guys know that I'm very apologetic. 

"I probably should have never posted anything that Hitler did, because Hitler was a bad person; I know that. I was just trying to uplift African Americans."

Joe Banner, the Eagles' team president from 1995-2012, has made numerous posts on Twitter condemning Jackson's message and debating with those who are defending Jackson.  

In one tweet, Banner called Jackson's post "absolutely indefensible" and said it would be "totally appropriate" for the team to consider cutting Jackson.  

"Either hate is wrong no matter who it's directed at or it isn't," Banner said in another tweet. "Quoting Farrakhan and Hitler is not a good start. 

"Hate needs to be wrong no matter who it is directed at, especially when based on lies."

Jackson played his first six NFL seasons with the Eagles before stints with the Washington Redskins and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He re-joined the Eagles last season but was limited to just three games due to a core muscle injury that required surgery.

Patrick Mahomes has signed a sensational 10-year contract extension with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The quarterback agreed a deal reportedly worth $503million with the Super Bowl champions, with $477m in guaranteed mechanisms, keeping him tied to the franchise through the 2031 season, when he will be 35.

The NFL MVP in 2018 and Super Bowl MVP in 2019, Mahomes was always expected to reset the QB market when he signed a new deal this offseason.

But for him to sign the richest contract in North American professional sports history on such a long contract was a huge development.

While it will likely see him sit top of the league's salary chart for many years to come, his new deal would have been music to the ears for some of the other QBs nearing a negotiating window.

Here, we look at those who also could be in line for a huge payday.
 

Deshaun Watson – Houston Texans

The man drafted just two spots below Mahomes at number 12 in 2017, Deshaun Watson, has ended years of quarterback woe in Houston.

Two consecutive AFC South crowns and a first playoff win last year have highlighted his credentials, with Mahomes and the Chiefs ultimately stopping the Texans in the divisional round in 2019.

Mahomes is second all time for yards-per-attempt among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 attempts and Watson is an impressive fifth on that list, averaging over eight YPA.

Dual threat Watson has 71 touchdowns to 29 interceptions in 38 career games, plus 1,233 yards and a further 14 scores on the ground.

The Texans are desperate to retain him and Mahomes' deal means the price-tag just went up, although the loss of number one target DeAndre Hopkins means the new season may prove to be more challenging.


Dak Prescott – Dallas Cowboys

Dak Prescott is in the midst of a long contract negotiation with the Dallas Cowboys which dates back to last year.

He has signed the franchise tag which is due to see him play the 2020 season on a one-year pact worth $31m, unless a long-term deal can be struck before the deadline. 

Prescott enjoyed a superb statistical season in 2019, throwing for 4,902 yards and 30 touchdowns to just 11 picks.

The 26-year-old will be eyeing similar production this year after the team retained wide receiver Amari Cooper and added CeeDee Lamb to the mix.

But whether he deserves top-tier QB money is a subject that divides opinion, as the Cowboys have only won one playoff game since he was drafted in 2016, while his career record in games decided by three points or fewer is just 7-7.
 

Lamar Jackson – Baltimore Ravens

One player who may be on a similar trajectory to Mahomes is Lamar Jackson, who has been revolutionising the QB position with his rushing ability.

He won the NFL MVP in 2019, rushing for 1,206 yards and seven touchdowns in addition to 3,127 yards, 36 touchdowns and just six picks through the air as part of an offense that is tailored to his strengths.

Having only played two seasons, he still is one year away from being eligible to receive a contract extension on his rookie deal.

After the Baltimore Ravens were shocked by the Tennessee Titans in the playoffs, Jackson will be aiming to follow the path of Mahomes in winning the Super Bowl the year after being named MVP.

If he does that, a life-changing deal surely awaits, though the standard he set last year will be very hard to repeat.
 

Baker Mayfield – Cleveland Browns

Baker Mayfield was picked atop the same 2018 draft that saw the Ravens get incredible value to land Jackson at number 32.

The Cleveland Browns QB faces a huge third season in the NFL, one which will determine whether or not he will be seen as the franchise's future.

An excellent rookie season saw him earn a 93.7 QB rating, prompting the Browns to surround him with talent including receivers Odell Beckham Jr and Jarvis Landry, plus Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb.

But a sophomore slump saw him throw 21 picks as the team failed to live up to high expectations, slumping to 6-10, with Mayfield's QB rating dropping to 78.8.

In response, the Browns fired their head coach, bolstered a poor offensive line and assembled another impressive array of weapons around him for 2020.

Mayfield therefore has the opportunity to bounce back and earn a big contract, but if he does not produce, there will be fewer excuses available this time around.

The National Football League Players Association voted unanimously to request the cancellation of the 2020 preseason, sending a memo to NFL executive committee last Friday.  

It was announced on Thursday by the NFL that it planned to hold a preseason shortened from four games to two because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the players' union memo, the league held a conference call that night to discuss its rationale.  

The NFL said that it kept two preseason games to facilitate COVID-19 testing and to provide an abbreviated "acclimation period" for players to help prevent injury.  

Responding in its memo, the NFLPA wrote: "The NFL offered no medical justification that supports their decision to retain two preseason games, nor any medical justification for shortening the previously agreed acclimation period, which is medically recommended for avoidance of injuries during the season."

The league has yet to respond publicly to the players' request.  

The NFL regular season is scheduled to kick off on Thursday, September 10.  

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