The Arizona Cardinals cancelled meetings on Thursday to allow their players to remember George Floyd.

Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis last week, sparking protests at police brutality and racial injustice across the United States and beyond.

The Cardinals issued a statement on Monday saying they were "committed" to being part of a "meaningful societal change".

Three days later running back Kenyan Drake revealed players of the NFC West franchise had been given the day off meetings in order to honour Floyd.

"Cardinals have granted us the day off from meetings to honour George Floyd's memorial," he wrote on Twitter.

"We are but a small cog in a big machine but gestures like these create dialogue and expands the vision to help take the next steps for a better tomorrow. Peace and love."

The Diamondbacks welcomed Arizona's announcement that professional sport can resume in the state without fans on Saturday amid the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, suspending the NBA and NHL seasons, while delaying the start of the 2020 MLB campaign.

The United States has been the hardest country hit, with more than 1.4 million confirmed cases and over 83,400 deaths.

But on Tuesday, Arizona governor Doug Ducey opened the door for sport to return to the state, albeit behind closed doors.

"We have had discussions with leaders with some of these leagues, and they all know they are welcome to operate, play and perform in the state of Arizona," Ducey said.

"It would be, at this point in time, according to the CDC guidelines, without fans. We could do that safely in the state of Arizona beginning May 16."

In a boost for MLB franchise the Diamondbacks, president Derrick Hall said in a statement: "I was pleased to hear the governor's comments on the state's willingness to allow sporting events in a controlled environment.

"We have been in constant communication and he has consistently shown cooperation and support to us and league leadership. Both he and I have made it clear we are more than willing to be part of a solution if there is a need for us to host more teams or games."

In a statement to the Arizona Republic, NFL team the Arizona Cardinals said: "We would still need the NFL to green-light the return to team facilities and resume activities."

Meanwhile, the NHL's Arizona Coyotes said: "We are aware of governor Ducey's announcement and will await direction from the NHL."

J.J. Watt conceded it was tough to lose DeAndre Hopkins as a Houston Texans team-mate but admitted the decision to trade him to the Arizona Cardinals was "above his pay grade".

All-Pro wide receiver Hopkins was stunningly dealt to the Cardinals in March for a second-round draft pick and running back David Johnson.

The deal, made by head coach Bill O'Brien, who acts as the Texans de facto general manager, drew widespread criticism.

Watt, along with quarterback Deshaun Watson, is one of the faces of the franchise. The three-time Defensive Player of the Year was unwilling to criticise the Texans' decision to part with another of the team's superstars.

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Watt said: "Anytime you have a guy like Hop, who in my opinion, has the best hands in the game and is obviously one of the top receivers of the game, it certainly catches your eye, that's for sure.

"It's always tough to lose a guy like that, no matter what the situation is.

"It's above my pay grade and it's something that obviously the team and the organisation feels is in the best interest of the team.

"So as a player on the team, I do my job and I go to work and I play the games, and the GM and the owners, they do their job and they try and do what they feel is best for the team.

"And so, all I can do is show up and go to work and hope that all the guys that we have are great contributors to our team."

Arsenal may have gone 16 years without an English league title, but the last time they landed the trophy it was an unforgettable triumph for Arsene Wenger's 'Invincibles'.

They secured the silverware for the competition then known as the Premiership on this day in 2004, with a 2-2 draw against bitter north London rivals Tottenham.

On the same day, Sri Lanka humiliated Zimbabwe in an ODI cricket clash in Harare, bowling out the home team for 35 - the lowest innings total for a one-day international.

In 2012, Bayern Munich denied Real Madrid a place in the Champions League final when they beat Los Blancos, whose star names faltered in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.

And 12 months ago, Kyler Murray chose American football ahead of baseball when he was drafted first by the Arizona Cardinals.

Here we look back on some of the most memorable moments from the world of sport to take place on April 25.

2004 - Wenger wonders toast title at White Hart Lane

Alan Shearer's winner for Newcastle United against high-flying Chelsea earlier in the day meant Arsenal had the chance to scoop the Premier League title at Tottenham's White Hart Lane home.

Unbeaten in the league all season, Wenger's side were not in the mood to let such an opportunity pass them by and swept into a 2-0 lead by half-time thanks to goals from Patrick Vieira and Robert Pires.

Jamie Redknapp pulled one back and Robbie Keane fired a late penalty equaliser for lowly Spurs, but Arsenal had needed just one point, so the 2-2 draw was enough to spark celebrations among the visitors.

2004 - Harare horror show

Zimbabwe lost the ODI series 5-0 and suffered back-to-back huge innings defeats in a 2-0 Test trouncing by Sri Lanka - and this surrender in the third ODI was perhaps the worst of that grisly set of results.

Dion Ebrahim top-scored for Zimbabwe with seven runs as the hosts were skittled for 35 in 18 overs, Chaminda Vaas taking 4-11 with the ball for merciless Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka missed out on a 10-wicket victory when Russel Arnold fell cheaply, but they sauntered to a nine-wicket success to ease 3-0 up in the series.

There were extenuating circumstances, with Zimbabwe hugely weakened due to their established players going on strike in a protest over political interference.

2012 - Penalty woe for Ronaldo and Ramos

Armed with a 2-1 semi-final lead from their home leg, Bayern nevertheless appeared to be seeing the Champions League final slip out of sight when Cristiano Ronaldo fired Madrid 2-0 up inside 15 minutes at the Santiago Bernabeu, only for ex-Real winger Arjen Robben to revive the Germans' hopes with a penalty.

The tie was locked at 3-3 on aggregate after half an hour of a breathless second-leg battle and it remained that way after 120 minutes, meaning penalties would decide who joined Chelsea in the final.

The usually reliable Ronaldo and Kaka saw their kicks saved by Manuel Neuer, and Sergio Ramos fired over the bar, allowing Bastian Schweinsteiger to convert the winning penalty.

Jose Mourinho's Madrid still won LaLiga that season, while Bayern finished empty-handed after losing the Champions League final to Chelsea - on penalties - and seeing Borussia Dortmund land a domestic double.

2019 - Cardinals take Murray with first pick

Kyler Murray was the ninth overall pick in the MLB Draft in June 2018, having had his choice of sports. But his continuing success with the Oklahoma Sooners in college football meant Murray was coveted by NFL teams too, and he soon gave up the approaching prospect of a baseball career.

A quarterback, he was drafted first overall by the Cardinals and became a resounding hit in his first NFL season, winning the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

He bettered all other first-year players with 349 completions - the third-most by a rookie in NFL history - and 3,722 passing yards.

The first round of the 2020 NFL Draft returned some normalcy to the sports world, even if commissioner Roger Goodell's basement does not quite exude the same glitz as the Las Vegas Strip. 

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing the draft to be held remotely with NFL general managers, coaches and scouts isolated in their homes instead of inside team complexes, the virtual draft ran smoothly – and without much drama early on Thursday.

In what has been widely expected for weeks, and possibly months, the Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the first overall pick.

Burrow led LSU to the national title last season, completing 76.3 percent of his passes for 5,671 yards and an FBS-single season record 60 touchdowns to just six interceptions. 

The second pick also went exactly like how many draft experts had predicted for weeks, with the Washington Redskins drafting Ohio State edge rusher Chase Young. 

Young led the FBS with 16.5 sacks and six forced fumbles in 2019, and was regarded to be the most talented player in the draft class – even ahead of Burrow. 

If not for Burrow's incredible 2019 season and because of Tua Tagovailoa's injury concerns, the latter may have challenged for the top spot in the 2020 draft. 

Tagovailoa became the second quarterback off the board when he was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the fifth pick.

One pick after Tagovailoa, the Los Angeles Chargers took Oregon QB Justin Herbert – just the third time since the 1970 merger three quarterbacks were chosen in the top six picks. 

Three teams that had selected quarterbacks in the first round of the last two drafts, used the 2020 draft to beef up their offensive lines to protect their young, franchise QBs. 

The New York Giants (Daniel Jones at six in 2019) picked Georgia tackle Andrew Thomas at fourth overall, the Cleveland Browns (Baker Mayfield at one in 2018) selected Alabama tackle Jedrick Wills Jr. with the 10th pick, and the New York Jets (Sam Darnold third in 2018) used the next pick to select Louisville tackle Mekhi Becton. 

After this run on tackles, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took part in the first trade of the draft to insure their new – and aging – quarterback would also stay upright. They moved up one spot in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers to select Iowa tackle Tristan Wirfs at 13 to shore up the offensive line in front of Tom Brady. 

The next trade came 10 picks later as Brady's old team, New England Patriots, dealt pick 23 to the Chargers – who selected Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray. The Patriots received a second and third-round pick from the Chargers and now have five of the first 100 picks of the 2020 draft and 13 overall. 

While it is possible New England could use one of those picks to draft Brady's replacement, the Green Bay Packers have chosen the heir apparent to 36-year-old Aaron Rodgers, trading up from 30th to 26th to select Utah State quarterback Jordan Love. 

The opening round concluded with the defending Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs selecting the first running back to bookend the first round with LSU picks, taking Clyde Edwards-Helaire – the 14th player drafted out of the SEC. 

Wide receiver is considered to be the deepest position in the draft, and six went in the first round – but none until 12, when Alabama's Henry Ruggs III became the first player ever selected by the Raiders in their new home of Las Vegas. 

While Las Vegas was not able to host the draft festivities this year, Goodell announced that the city has been awarded the 2022 draft, with the commissioner saying, "We think you deserve another shot".

 

First round selections:

1. Joe Burrow (Cincinnati Bengals)
2. Chase Young (Washington Redskins)
3. Jeff Okudah (Detroit Lions)
4. Andrew Thomas (New York Giants)
5. Tua Tagovailoa (Miami Dolphins)
6. Justin Herbert (Los Angeles Chargers)
7. Derrick Brown (Carolina Panthers)
8. Isaiah Simmons (Arizona Cardinals)
9. CJ Henderson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
10. Jedrick Wills Jr. (Cleveland Browns)
11. Mekhi Becton (New York Jets)
12. Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas Raiders)
13. Tristan Wirfs (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
14. Javon Kinlaw (San Francisco 49ers)
15. Jerry Jeudy (Denver Broncos)
16. A.J. Terrell (Atlanta Falcons)
17. CeeDee Lamb (Dallas Cowboys)
18. Austin Jackson (Miami Dolphins)
19. Damon Arnette (Las Vegas Raiders)
20. K'Lavon Chaisson (Jacksonville Jaguars)
21. Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia Eagles)
22. Justin Jefferson (Minnesota Vikings)
23. Kenneth Murray (Los Angeles Chargers)
24. Cesar Ruiz (New Orleans Saints)
25. Brandon Aiyuk (San Francisco 49ers)
26. Jordan Love (Green Bay Packers)
27. Jordyn Brooks (Seattle Seahawks)
28. Patrick Queen (Baltimore Ravens)
29. Isaiah Wilson (Tennessee Titans)
30. Noah Igbinoghene (Miami Dolphins)
31. Jeff Gladney (Minnesota Vikings)
32. Clyde Edwards-Helaire (Kansas City Chiefs)

DeAndre Hopkins insists he had "no relationship" with Houston Texans head coach Bill O'Brien prior to the star wide receiver's trade to the Arizona Cardinals.

Hopkins was stunningly traded to the Cardinals last month for the paltry return of a second-round pick and running back David Johnson.

The former first-round pick has three successive 1,000-yard campaigns and five overall in his seven seasons in the NFL.

In the aftermath, it was claimed the relationship between Hopkins and O'Brien deteriorated in the wake of a meeting in which the coach brought up former New England Patriots tight end and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez.

Hopkins was blunt in his response when asked about O'Brien during an interview with Sports Illustrated.

"There was no relationship," Hopkins said. "Make sure you put that in there. There's not a lot to speak about."

The three-time first-team All-Pro revealed he knew that "asking for a little raise" would lead to O'Brien, who acts as the Texans' de-facto general manager, trying to trade him.

"Which is the outcome that I wanted," he explained.

In moving to Arizona, Hopkins will go from one talented young dual-threat quarterback to another.

He will hope to form the same connection with Kyler Murray, last year's number one overall pick, that he had with Deshaun Watson.

Hopkins is confident, though, that Watson will continue to play at a high level, adding: "Deshaun is going to be amazing without me."

DeAndre Hopkins revealed he anticipated he might be traded by the Houston Texans as he spoke for the first time since being dealt to the Arizona Cardinals.

Last month the Texans shipped their All-Pro wide receiver and a fourth-round pick to the Cardinals in exchange for running back David Johnson and a second-round pick.

Houston then sent a selection from that second round to the Los Angeles Rams to land Hopkins' replacement Brandin Cooks.

It was considered a perplexing move given Hopkins was coming off his third straight 1,000-yard receiving season and is under contract through 2022, even if there are rumblings about the 27-year-old wanting a new deal.

However, while the rest of the NFL tried to get their head around the trade, it did not come out of the blue for Hopkins.

"It wasn't a big surprise to me after the year," Hopkins told reporters on a conference call. "I was preparing for it.

"I was very excited, actually, about it because [of] what Arizona has been building, having a young quarterback, a young team and also having veterans."

The Cardinals have already discussed a new contract for their recently acquired asset and Hopkins is happy to leave his contract situation in the hands of his agent.

"That's between my agent and the organisation," he said.

"DeAndre Hopkins goes out and works out every day to prepare myself to get my team the opportunity to win a championship whenever that's possible.

"So, you know, everything behind closed doors, that's between my agent and the organisation."

Hopkins is going from one promising young quarterback in Deshaun Watson to another in Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in 2019 who won the Offensive Rookie of the Year award last season.

"Both of those guys are able to get out of situations with their feet, so that's one of the things, and also, they both keep their head downfield and just trying to make their play, not just with their feet," Hopkins said of Watson and Murray.

"So a lot of similarities there. Obviously, they can run out the pocket and get away from things, but both of those guys also have a very strong arm."

Trading DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals was in the Houston Texans' "best interest", Bill O'Brien has said.

Three-time All-Pro Hopkins is one of the NFL's finest wide receivers having amassed 8,602 receiving yards and 54 touchdowns in the seven seasons since Houston selected him in the first round of the 2013 draft.

However, in a stunning trade last month, he was moved to the Cardinals along with a fourth-round draft pick this year in exchange for running back David Johnson and two selections in the second and fourth rounds over the next two years.

O'Brien explained that Hopkins, who is under contract for the next three years, wanted an improved deal that the Texans were unwilling to offer.

"I would say the deal with Arizona was a deal that we felt was in the best interest of our team," O'Brien said on a conference call with Texans season-ticket holders.

"DeAndre Hopkins was a great football player here. He made so many plays for us. We love DeAndre Hopkins. But he had three years left on his deal and he wanted a raise. And we weren't going to be able to go in that direction.

"We felt like we had a great offer from Arizona that involved picks. That involved an excellent three-down running back who is hungry and humble and just can't wait to get started. David Johnson is going to be a great addition to our football team.

"There's a lot of things that go into trades. Lot of thoughts that go in. How much are you going to take on contractually? How much does it take to buy that second-round pick, that number 40 pick?

"What type of player are you bringing in? What type of player are you losing and what is in the best interest of the team?"

It is not the first time O'Brien, who also acts as the general manager in Houston, has been involved in a blockbuster trade.

Three-time Pro Bowler Jadeveon Clowney was shipped to the Seattle Seahawks last year while the Texans have no first-round picks in the next two drafts due to the package O'Brien sent to the Miami Dolphins to land left tackle Laremy Tunsil and receiver Kenny Stills.

"Capital T capital E capital A capital M - everything that we do is made with the team in mind," O'Brien added.

"We don't think about one player; we think about the future."

DeAndre Hopkins may not have played an NFL game as a Cardinal yet, but he has already made a donation to Arizona's coronavirus relief fund.

Four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Hopkins was stunningly traded to the Cardinals by the Houston Texans last week in a deal which netted his former franchise David Johnson.

Fans hoping to see Hopkins in red and white at State Farm Stadium will have to wait until August at the earliest, though, when the NFL preseason begins.

However, that has not stopped Hopkins from making a sizeable donation to his new state's COVID-19 fund, set up to cope with the impact of the global pandemic on the region.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Hopkins said: "To my new AZ family, I can't wait until everything settles down so I can get out there and play in front of you all.

"Until then I wanted to do my part for my new community and donate $150,000 to the Arizona Coronavirus Relief Fund."

Hopkins, a first-round pick in 2013, had 8,602 receiving yards and 54 touchdowns across seven seasons with the Texans.

The Cardinals hope his acquisition can help quarterback Kyler Murray in his second year, with last year's first overall pick in the draft having won the Rookie of the Year award in 2019 when Arizona went 5-10-1.

DeAndre Hopkins insisted claims against his former head coach Bill O'Brien are being "blown way out of proportion".

All-Pro wide receiver Hopkins was traded from the Houston Texans to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday in a stunning move by O'Brien.

O'Brien, unlike most head coaches, operates without a general manager and has control over the roster.

He has received significant criticism in the wake of the trade, which saw the Texans net a meagre return of a second-round draft pick and running back David Johnson.

Reports of tension between Hopkins and O'Brien were expanded on by former Dallas Cowboys receiver and pundit Michael Irvin in an appearance on ESPN on Wednesday.

Irvin claimed a meeting between O'Brien and Hopkins led to their relationship deteriorating, and presented a range of allegations about what was said in their talks.

However, reacting in a post on Twitter, Hopkins wrote: "This is being blown way out of proportion.

"As I've said before, I enjoyed and am proud of my time with the Texans. I have the utmost respect for Coach O'Brien and that will not change.  

"Now, I'm ready to play for the Cardinals."

The Houston Texans have reportedly sent DeAndre Hopkins and a fourth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for David Johnson.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Texans will also receive a second-round pick in April's draft and a fourth-round pick for 2021.

Running back Johnson appeared to confirm the move with a post on Twitter.

He wrote: "LET'S GO HOUSTON!!! See you soon."

Wide receiver Hopkins recorded his third successive 1,000-yard season in 2019 but has been sacrificed after tailbacks Carlos Hyde and Lamar Miller entered free agency.

Johnson endured a disappointing season last year, with 370 receiving yards in addition to 345 on the ground. He finished with six total touchdowns.

The Cardinals moved to ensure they are not left short in the running back position by placing the transition tag on Kenyan Drake on Monday, meaning they can match any offer he receives in free agency.

A.J. Green has received the franchise tag from the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals icon was scheduled to be a free agent when the new league year begins on Wednesday but will now move into a 10th season with the team.

Green, 31, will earn around $18million in 2020 if he opts to sign the tag, with the team having until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal before the new season.

Amid a stellar career that has seen him earn seven Pro Bowl selections, the wide receiver sits second in Bengals history when it comes to receptions (602), receiving yards (8,907) and receiving touchdowns (63).

Green has been the subject of trade rumours after missing all of last season due to an ankle injury suffered in training camp, having only played nine games in 2018, with the team struggling in his absence.

But the franchise tag means Green remains under the control of the Bengals, who hold the number one overall pick in April's NFL Draft which they are expected to use on LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.

"A.J. has been a big part of this team for a long time," Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said after the franchise tag decision was announced on Monday. 

"Now that he's healthy, I am excited to see what he will add to our offense this year."

With the legal tampering period for NFL free agents beginning on Monday, teams have been making key roster moves.

The Arizona Cardinals opted to hand the transition tag to running back Kenyan Drake, who they acquired in a trade with the Miami Dolphins last season.

Drake will initially be contracted for one year at around $8.4m but is free to negotiate with other teams. If he signs an offer sheet elsewhere, the Cardinals will have the opportunity to match the deal under the terms of the tag.

Meanwhile, the New England Patriots are reportedly applying the franchise tag to guard Joe Thuney at an estimated cost of $14m.

Thuney had looked poised to become one of the top offensive linemen hitting the open market but will now stay in New England, where the future of QB Tom Brady is dominating the agenda.

The Arizona Cardinals will play a home game in Mexico City next season.

The franchise described giving up a game at their State Farm Stadium home as a "necessary move" after Arizona was awarded the hosting rights to Super Bowl LVII.

An opponent and a date for the fixture have yet to be confirmed.

Arizona played the league's first game in Mexico City back in 2005, beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-14 in front of a then NFL-record crowd of 103,467.

In Friday's announcement, Cardinals chairman and president Michael Bidwill said; "Two years ago when the NFL awarded Super Bowl LVII to Arizona and State Farm Stadium, we understood the requirement of hosting an international game before 2023.

"We are thrilled to learn that this game will take place at Estadio Azteca where we received such an enthusiastic reception in 2005.

"We are extremely grateful for the support we receive from fans in Mexico and look forward to an incredible experience"

After that 2005 fixture, Estadio Azteca has played host to three further NFL games. Super Bowl champions the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Los Angeles Chargers in Mexico City in the 2019 season.

The Cardinals finished last in the NFC West with a 5-10-1 record in 2019, but the rapid development of quarterback Kyler Murray, the first overall pick in last year's draft, offered hope of a quick turnaround for Arizona.

Running back David Johnson will not be cut by the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, general manager Steve Keim has confirmed.

Johnson was an All-Pro in 2016 after accruing 2,118 all-purpose yards and, despite missing 15 of the 16 games the next season, he was given a three-year $39million deal on the eve of the 2018 season.

However, Johnson has failed to live up to that contract since, rushing for just 1,285 yards combined across the past two campaigns and losing his starting spot to Kenyan Drake last season when the Cards acquired him in a trade with the Miami Dolphins.

Arizona want to keep Drake, who is due to enter free agency, but Johnson is owed a guaranteed $10m in 2020 and has a salary cap hit of more than $14m, so Keim acknowledged it does not make financial sense to move on from the 28-year-old.

"Cutting him is not an option," Keim told Arizona Sports 98.7 FM.

"Not only the cap hit, but you're still paying him the cash as well, and it wouldn't be responsible for me or the organisation for me to do that.

"If David Johnson isn't the starter, he still has a significant role. He still creates big-time mismatches in the passing game, he still brings kick-return ability.

"There are a number of things, and you can't just have one back. You have to have a platoon of backs. We've seen that. So there are enough carries to go around."

Johnson was drafted by Keim in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft after Arizona missed out on their preferred target Ameer Abdullah to the Detroit Lions.

It looked like a stroke of good fortune after two seasons and Keim is hopeful Johnson can still deliver on the gridiron, though he would not discuss the possibility of a trade.

"I still have a lot of faith in David," Keim added.

"He's got tremendous skills, he's a great person, he works extremely hard.

"I think it was one of those things [last season], if you look at the big picture, Chase [Edmonds] got hurt, David got hurt, we made the trade [for Drake], and Kenyan Drake came in and he got the hot hand."

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