Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen died on Thursday at the age of 75.

Named as majority owner in March 1984, Bowlen's tenure included three Super Bowl wins, while he was a 2019 selection for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

He passed away peacefully at his home following a battle with Alzheimer's, his family announced via a statement on the Broncos' official website.

"We are saddened to inform everyone that our beloved husband and father, Pat Bowlen, passed on to the next chapter of his life late Thursday night peacefully at home surrounded by family. His soul will live on through the Broncos, the city of Denver and all of our fans," the statement read.

"Our family wishes to express its sincere gratitude for the outpouring of support we have received in recent years. Heaven got a little bit more orange and blue tonight.

"Pat Bowlen had a competitive spirit with a great sense of humour. As fun-loving as he was, he always wanted us to understand the big picture. We will forever remember his kindness and humility.

"More important than being an incredible owner, Pat Bowlen was an incredible human being."

Bowlen had 21 winning seasons with the Broncos. He also served as chairman of the NFL Broadcasting Committee and the NFL Management Council Executive Committee.

It was a weird week in the United States, but an eventful one.

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant was dealt a catastrophic injury, but that was not even the biggest news.

The Stanley Cup Final was decided, an MLB great was shot and the New York Giants may have some indecision on their quarterback position.

 

1. Blues complete improbable championship run

There may be no crazier sports story this year than the St Louis Blues. The hockey team out of Missouri defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games to win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

But that is not the crazy part. Here are just a few of the highlights:

- St Louis fired their head coach on November 20.
- The Blues were in dead last in the NHL on January 3.
- The team benched their goalie Jake Allen around the same time.
- A rookie goalie took over the starting job.
- They then made the playoffs as the number three seed in their division after that goalie went 24-5-1 in the regular season.
- Defeated the Winnipeg Jets in the first round in six games, the Dallas Stars in seven in the second, the San Jose Sharks in six and the Bruins in seven.
- Their rookie goalie Jordan Binnington won more playoff games than any rookie ever has (16).
- Their interim coach Craig Berube still does not officially have the coaching job.

That is only part of the story. What St Louis did was off the charts insane and it helped them win their first championship.

2. David Ortiz shot

There was some weird stuff happening this week as Red Sox great David Ortiz was shot in a nightclub over the weekend.

At first it was reported he was shot in a robbery attempt but there appears set to be more to the story.

3. Raiders get Hard Knocks

You want drama? You got it, because the Oakland Raiders have been chosen as the team to be on this coming season of HBO's Hard Knocks. For those who do not know, this is a show which goes behind the scenes with an NFL team during training camp.

Last season featured a Cleveland Browns team in clear disarray where Hue Jackson was clearly at odds with offensive coordinator Todd Haley and both men were later fired during the season.

This year, newly acquired wide receiver Antonio Brown will be featured with the Raiders while coach Jon Gruden will be in the spotlight as well. There are bound to be fireworks from day one and we cannot wait to see them.

 

4. Eli Manning's starting job at risk?

Maybe Eli Manning will not be the Giants' starting quarterback this year. At least it sure sounded like this week that coach Pat Shurmur was not exactly fully on board with going into this season with the two-time Super Bowl winner at the helm.

"We're gonna play the very best player," Shurmur said, via Newsday. "I know we're dancing around the words here, but right now Eli is getting ready to have a great year and Daniel [Jones] is getting ready to play. We'll just see what happens.

"We feel good where Eli is, he's our starting quarterback, and we've got a young player that we think is going to be an outstanding player getting himself ready to play."

That does not exactly sound like a vote of confidence for Manning, and with a first-round draft pick spent on a quarterback there could be a lot of pressure to get Jones into the game. We will see how long Manning has the job and if fans start clamouring for him to be replaced.

5. MLB trade rumour season in full swing

With the changes in MLB's trade rules this year as deals can no longer be made after July 31, the rumour season is in full swing. There are already plenty going around and we will give you a few.

- The New York Yankees have contacted the Toronto Blue Jays about Marcus Stroman and will not break the bank on Madison Bumgarner.
- The Cleveland Indians could entertain dealing Francisco Lindor and the Washington Nationals could possibly move Max Scherzer.
- The San Diego Padres might move on from Kirby Yates and Detroit Tigers closer Shane Greene is also available.
- Detroit are apparently open for business too as they have started listening to offers for Cy Young dark horse Matthew Boyd and their best player in Nicholas Castellanos.

Trade season is real and it is spectacular.

The Jacksonville Jaguars will be short on defense as mandatory minicamp starts, with Yannick Ngakoue holding out due to a contract dispute.

Ngakoue, 24, released a statement on Monday revealing his contract was the reason he will be missing from the team facility this week.

“I will not be attending minicamp as my contract has not been resolved," Ngakoue said via ESPN.

"I remain committed to Jacksonville, the fans and my team-mates. My hope is to be with Jacksonville for years to come.”

The defensive lineman is in the final year of his rookie contract and is expected to make a base salary of $2.025million.

Ngakoue, who earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2017, has 29.5 sacks under his belt in his first three years in the NFL. The former third-round pick is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2020.

DeMarcus Lawrence, Frank Clark, Dee Ford and Trey Flowers are among the pass-rushers to have landed big contracts this offseason, which would not have gone unnoticed by Ngakoue.

If Ngakoue does not get the deal he wants and decides to sit out this season, it would be another huge blow for Jacksonville's defense.

Linebacker Telvin Smith previously announced he would be sitting out the 2019 season to "get my world in order" and to focus on his family and health.

Tom Brady has won six championships. He wants more.

The 41-year-old New England Patriots quarterback posted a photo to Instagram with all of his Super Bowl rings on display on Sunday.

The caption read: "Do you know which ring is my favourite? .... The Next One!!!"

Brady took home his latest title when the Patriots topped the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in the Super Bowl in February.

He threw for 262 yards in the victory while Sony Michel rushed for a touchdown.

Brady and the rest of the Patriots received their Super Bowl LIII rings last week during a private ceremony at the home of team owner Robert Kraft.

"It's pretty special to be in this position and to accept a ring and to have that for the rest of your life," Brady told reporters. "That's something you'll pass down to your kids. It means a lot, that 2018 team accomplished a lot."

Brady is set to enter his 20th NFL season and the final year of his contract.

"I think you set goals for yourself and you have to have short-term and long-term and the reality is, this year is the most important one and that's the one that I'm focused on," Brady said. "I hope there is a lot of football beyond this, but it's a contact sport. I've said that for a long time, too, and I don't think that you can take those things for granted.

"I try to work hard to put my body in the best position possible to withstand the hits and so forth, make all the throws and I feel like I'm in a good place right now for that."

Brady competed 65.8 per cent of his passes and threw for 29 touchdowns, along with 11 interceptions, in 16 games for New England in 2018.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz has signed a four-year contract extension.

Wentz's new deal will run through until the 2024 season, it was announced on Thursday.

The 26-year-old's deal is reportedly worth $128million, with at least $107m guaranteed.

"Can’t even explain to you how excited I am right now to be a part of this city for this many more years. It means the world to me," Wentz said in a video posted to Twitter.

"From the moment I got drafted here, I knew this place was special. I knew they had the most passionate fans in the world, in all of sports.

"I knew we had the opportunity to build something truly special here. To be cemented here for this much longer means the world to me."

The Eagles originally selected Wentz with the second pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He has completed 63.7 per cent of his passes and thrown for 70 touchdowns, along with 28 interceptions, in 40 career games.

"It's going to be a fun ride," Wentz said. "By no means is the work done. We're just getting started. This year is going to be special."

Wentz tore his anterior cruciate ligament in December 2017 and missed the rest of that year as his backup Nick Foles led the Eagles to Super Bowl LII glory. He then suffered a stress fracture in his back last season as the Eagles failed to defend their crown.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson told reporters earlier this week that Wentz has looked "strong" during organised team activities (OTAs).

"His lower body is strong," Pederson said. "His arm is strong. You are seeing the things that we saw a couple of years ago when he was healthy, obviously. He's leading the offense, leading the team, and really doing a nice job out there."

Foles left the Eagles and signed a four-year, $88m contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March.

One young Pittsburgh Steelers fan found himself without a date to prom, so he went out on a limb and asked JuJu Smith-Schuster.

To his surprise, the wide receiver said yes.

Anthony Molinaro was dumped by his girlfriend before the big event at Chartiers Valley High School, near Pittsburgh, but Smith-Schuster would not let him go alone.

The two even wore matching green velvet tuxedos.

"Got a DM from him a while back about needing someone to go with, decided why not, had a litty night at his school!" Smith-Schuster posted on his Twitter page.

After posing for pictures, Smith-Schuster was filmed dancing with students as they chanted "f*** AB" in reference to departed star Antonio Brown.

Rob Gronkowski insists he will not be coming out of retirement despite rumours he could return to the NFL.

Former New England Patriots tight end Gronkowski, who turned 30 in May, announced his retirement in March after nine seasons in the league.

He won three Super Bowls in that time and leads the Patriots all-time for touchdowns.

But Gronkowski is not interested in adding to his legacy, addressing the possibility of a comeback as he returned to Gillette Stadium for a charity event.

"Oh man... whatever I say, it doesn't matter," he told the Boston Herald. "It will always be crazy out there. You can put them to rest."

Asked to set the recond straight, Gronkowski added: "I just did, yes. I'm feeling good, I'm in a good place. It's great to be back, though.

Denver Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. has agreed a new one-year contract, it was announced on Tuesday.

The restricted deal will keep Harris, 29, in Denver through to at least the end of the 2019 NFL season.

Harris – a four-time Pro Bowler – has spent his entire eight-year career with the Broncos. He reportedly asked for either a new contract or a trade earlier this offseason.

"We have a lot of respect for Chris as a player and for everything he's meant to our organisation," Broncos president John Elway said in a statement.

"This contract adjustment recognises his value to our team and the high expectations we have for Chris as a Bronco this season and hopefully for years to come."

Harris recorded 49 total tackles, three interceptions and a sack in 12 games for Denver last season.

"[Harris] does every single thing right, on and off the football field," Broncos star Von Miller said earlier this month. "Undrafted free agent. Played well through his first contract. Got a second contract. Played well through the second contract.

"Sometimes, when you first get here, they tell you if you play and you play well, they'll take care of you and if you do the right things in the community and you do all the right things on the football field, they'll take care of you. Chris has definitely done everything right and then some."

The Broncos finished 2018 with a 6-10 record and missed the playoffs for a third straight season. They fired former head coach Vance Joseph in late December and hired Vic Fangio to replace him.

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur said Corey Ballentine is "getting better each day" as he participated in team practice just a month after being shot.

The Giants' rookie cornerback was present at organised team activities and participated in drills on Tuesday, progressing to 11-on-11 sessions after ramping up individual work last week.

Ballentine, selected 180th overall in the sixth round of last month's draft, was struck in the backside in the shooting that took place near the Washburn University campus shortly after he was picked. 

His former Washburn University teammate Dwane Simmons was killed during the incident. Ballentine was taken to a nearby hospital with non-life threatening injuries. 

"He's doing what he can do," Shurmur said of Ballentine. "He looked good moving around and he's getting better each day."

Ballentine, 23, totalled 186 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and five interceptions during his college career.

Nick Foles is missing organised team activities with the Jacksonville Jaguars due to "personal reasons".

The quarterback, about to enter his first season with the Jaguars, does not have a timetable for his return, although NFL Media reported he could be back by the end of this week.

Head coach Doug Marrone said: "Our thoughts and prayers are with Nick and his family".

He added: "He knows, like anything else, that we're here for him. The football part, we'll just figure that out."

Foles, 30, signed a four-year, $88million contract with the team in the offseason after spending the past two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles as Carson Wentz's backup. 

In both seasons, Wentz went down with an injury that forced him to miss the latter part of the year, as well as the playoffs.

Foles' performance in the 2017-18 season made him a hero, as he helped the Eagles bring home their first Super Bowl title after defeating the New England Patriots.

He is expected to be the Jaguars' starter this season.

NFL star J.J. Watt may not yet have a Super Bowl ring but he will soon have a wedding band on his finger.

The Houston Texans defensive end took to Twitter to announce his engagement to professional soccer star Kealia Ohai, accompanied by several photos of the happy couple.

Sharing the news with his followers, Watt posted: "I'm the luckiest man in the world. #SheSaidYes."

Ohai, 27, who plays for the NWSL's Houston Dash and has been a member of the U.S. Women's National Team also shared the news via Twitter, saying: "I love you @JJWatt."

The couple have been dating since 2016. Ohai is the sister-in-law of former Texans linebacker Brian Cushing, now an assistant coach with the team.

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette is ready for a fresh start ahead of the NFL season.

While he is still with the Jaguars, Fournette is hoping the upcoming campaign will serve as a reboot after an injury and suspension kept him off the field for half the year.

"I'm happy, especially the way I'm here working with my team right now," Fournette – the fourth pick in the 2017 draft – said Friday after organised team activities.

"It's a new year. We have a new team. We're focused and we have new players. It's a new year for us. So it's a new everything. It's a clean start for a lot of us guys.

"We're not focused on the past. The past's the past. Some things I did, whether it was offseason and I admitted to, yeah, I was wrong. We moved on. We're in a good place right now."

The offseason incident Fournette referred to was an arrest in April. The 24-year-old was cited for knowingly driving with a suspended license stemming from a separate incident in November 2018.

Fournette is coming off a disappointing 2018 season. In eight games, he only logged 439 rushing yards and six total touchdowns.

"I kind of put a lot on myself this offseason, like getting my body right," Fournette said. "Just mentally coming back ready to play football. No distractions. Leaving the outside stuff where it's at. I think that's one of the biggest things that us players have a problem with.

"We face a lot of problems, you know what I mean? We have a lot of issues ourselves. And if we're not right with ourselves and then we come out on this field, we're not going to be right in the game."

Long-time NFL defensive back Adam 'Pacman' Jones, whose 12-season career was marked as much by controversy off the field as contributions on it, has announced his retirement.

Jones, 35, posted a video on his Instagram story on Friday that purports to show him signing a document with an NFLPA-backed organisation, "The Trust," whose goal is to provide retired players with the support in life after football.

The video was posted with the all-caps caption "LOL."

"This is an official letter," Jones says in the video. "It's official that I'm done with the NFL, cuz."

Jones most recently featured for the Denver Broncos, playing in seven games in 2018 before being released.

"I'm content. I had a hell of a run doing it. I'm at the point where I didn't feel I would be top level if I tried to play now. I'm happy and I'm looking forward to spending more time with my family and the kids," Jones told ESPN on Friday.

Jones was taken in the first round (number six overall) by the Tennessee Titans in the 2005 NFL Draft out of West Virginia.

Over the course of 12 seasons across 14 years - he was suspended one season and sat out another - Jones recorded 508 total tackles (421 solo) and had 17 interceptions, returning two for touchdowns.

He played most of his career, eight seasons from 2010-17, with the Cincinnati Bengals.

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold is happy his team added Le'Veon Bell.

New York signed the star running back to a four-year, $52.5million deal in mid-March.

Darnold, 21, was asked about Bell when he met with reporters on Thursday during OTAs.

"Obviously, we know what Le'Veon is capable of," Darnold said.

"Once we signed him I was pumped, just super stoked to have him on our team and for me to have him as a weapon. To be able to check the ball down, get him out in space, have him running routes, there's so many things we can do. So, I'm really pumped about it."

New Jets coach Adam Gase reportedly did not want the team to sign Bell, who missed all of 2018 after holding out from the Pittsburgh Steelers over a contract dispute.

Gase, however, denied that was the case when he met with reporters on Thursday.

Gase was promoted to interim general manager after New York fired Mike Maccagnan last week.

"We signed him," Gase said. "I'm excited we have him. I've been in constant communication with him."

Darnold, meanwhile, completed 57.7 per cent of his passes and threw for 17 touchdowns, along with 15 interceptions, in 13 games as a rookie for the Jets last season. He said he was excited to learn Gase's offense.

"It's been really fun to learn a new offense, kind of understand what coach Gase wants to do, how aggressive he wants to be," Darnold said.

"But [we've been] really making sure that we take a step back and realise it's not going to be perfect day one or day two or day three. This week [at OTAs] it was definitely a process – that's the word I would use to describe it."

The Jets finished 2018 with a 4-12 record and missed the playoffs for an eighth straight season.

They fired former coach Todd Bowles in late December and hired Gase to replace him.

The Golden State Warriors will not have a key piece of help to start the NBA Finals, though they do not really need any.

In New York, a Yankees slugger suffered a setback and in the NHL, the Stanley Cup Finals are set.

All that and more this week in US Sports.

 

1. Kevin Durant still not cleared to play

The Warriors have a long layoff between their Western Conference Finals sweep of the Portland Trail Blazers, but it does not look like that helped them all that much with the return of their best player.

Golden State announced Kevin Durant has still not been cleared for on-court activities and is unlikely to play in the NBA Finals opener next week.

While the Warriors have looked incredibly good since Durant went out, going 5-0 in that time span, the team would still love to get Durant back for the Finals for obvious reasons.

At this point the question may need to be: will Durant come back and play at all?

 

2. Giancarlo Stanton suffers setback

The Yankees are still without one of their best sluggers and will be for even longer now.

Giancarlo Stanton suffered a setback in his recovery from an injury in the first week of the season and will not pick up a bat for at least another week and probably 10 days.

New York are still dealing with the injury bug as seemingly every player has been out for some amount of time this season, and Stanton is not coming back to help any time soon.

 

3. Stanley Cup Finals set

When the Blues were last in the Western Conference in early January, the city of St Louis all but wrote them off.

Now, they are playing in their first Stanley Cup Finals since 1970 as they beat the San Jose Sharks in the conference finals in six games this week.

The Blues will match up against the same team, the Boston Bruins, they faced in 1970 and will be looking for their first win in the Stanley Cup Finals.

And with this team it would be hard to believe they do not get just a win, but they compete for a championship admirably if not win it outright.

The Bruins are also in an interesting spot as they swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference Finals and will have a layoff of 11 days before Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. That is tied for the longest layoff ever for a team coming off a conference final win.

 

4. NFL drama continues

Did you think that because Antonio Brown was traded to the Oakland Raiders and Le'Veon Bell signed with the New York Jets that drama would not still follow them and the Pittsburgh Steelers? Because it has followed and created some of the biggest – and dumbest – storylines of this week in the NFL.

First with Bell, it was reported that new Jets interim general manger and head coach Adam Gase did not want to sign the running back to a long-term deal. It was then rumoured that the Jets would trade Bell if they found a suitor before the season.

Gase called that rumour ridiculous, but it was still a fun little moment in the early days of OTAs.

Then with Brown, Ben Roethlisberger told reporters earlier this week he tried to apologise to his former wide receiver, before Brown tweeted "two face".

Just another entertaining day in the world that used to be the talented offense of the Steelers.

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