Update on the latest sports
No QBs in Denver, no home for SF as COVID-19 sows NFL chaos
UNDATED (AP) — The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the NFL into chaos. The Denver Broncos have no quarterbacks. The San Francisco 49ers have no home stadium or practice facility. And the Baltimore Ravens may not have enough players available for their next game, which has already been pushed back twice.
The Broncos won’t have any of their four quarterbacks available Sunday when they face the New Orleans Saints because of coronavirus concerns. Starter Drew Lock, backup Brett Rypien and practice squad veteran Blake Bortles were ordered off the practice field Saturday after they were deemed high-risk close contacts with No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel on Wednesday, the day before Driskel tested positive for COVID-19.
Practice squad rookie receiver Kendall Hinton and No. 3 running back Royce Freeman were being prepared to share snaps at quarterback Sunday when Denver hosts the Saints. Hinton played quarterback for three seasons in college and Freeman is the team’s emergency QB.
Meanwhile, the Ravens have 20 players on the COVID-19 list. Baltimore had already disciplined an unidentified staff member for violating COVID-19 protocols, and the outbreak — the worst on any team this season — left the Ravens with three defensive linemen and one quarterback available for Tuesday night’s game at Pittsburgh. That game originally was scheduled for Thanksgiving night, then moved to Sunday and moved again to Tuesday.
And the San Francisco 49ers might need to find a temporary new home after Santa Clara County banned all contact sports from holding games and practices for the next three weeks. County officials issued the directives Saturday in response to rising cases of the coronavirus in the area. The rules take effect Monday and will last until Dec 21. The 49ers have home games scheduled for Dec. 7 against Buffalo and Dec. 13 against Washington at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. The team also practices at that site in the county.
AP source: NFL fines Saints $500,000, Patriots $350,000
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL has fined the New Orleans Saints $500,000 and stripped them of a 2021 seventh-round draft pick for violating league COVID-19 protocols, according to a person with direct knowledge of the discipline. And the person tells The Associated Press that the New England Patriots were fined $350,000 for similar violations.
The person says New Orleans was fined as a repeat offender; Sean Payton previously was docked $150,000 and the team $250,000 because the head coach failed to properly wear a face covering during a Week 2 game against the Raiders. The more recent issue with the Saints came after a Week 9 win over Tampa Bay when the team’s celebrations included players not wearing masks while in close proximity to one another. The celebrations were captured on video by some players and posted to social media.
The Saints are expected to appeal the discipline, which ESPN first reported Sunday morning.
New England, which had a mini-outbreak of COVID-19 earlier this season that included positive tests for quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, was fined for not following protocols at that time.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic caused major disruptions around the NFL all week, again calling into question the league’s plan to play a full schedule after several weeks that went relatively smoothly.
The Denver Broncos will be without their four quarterbacks when they host the Saints on Sunday. Starter Drew Lock, backup Brett Rypien and practice squad veteran Blake Bortles were deemed high-risk close contacts with No. 3 quarterback Jeff Driskel on Wednesday, the day before Driskel tested positive for COVID-19.
F1-BAHRAIN GP-GROSJEAN CRASH
F1 driver Grosjean escapes after horror crash at Bahrain GP
SAKHIR, Bahrain (AP) — Formula One driver Romain Grosjean (groh-ZHAHN’) appears to have escaped with minor burns after his car crashed and burst into flames moments after the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 34-year-old French driver slid off the track on the first lap and his Haas car burst into flames after being sliced in two by a barrier.
Grosjean was stuck inside the flaming wreck for nearly 10 seconds before clambering out with the fire roaring behind him and his race helmet singed.
Race footage showed safety officials reaching the car immediately but with Grosjean still trapped inside. He managed to find a way out and jumped through the flames and gripped the extremely hot metal barrier as he jumped over back onto the track, shaking his hands in agony before being helped by the stewards.
Moments later, Grosjean was shown on television chatting with the race doctor in the medical car. He was then helped out of the car and into an ambulance. He appeared to be shaken but did not immediately seem injured other than a slight limp.
Investigators search doctor’s office, probing Maradona death
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentine police searched the home and office of Diego Maradona’s personal doctor on Sunday as part of investigations into the death of the 60-year-old soccer star, which caused a wave of grief across the country.
Reporters saw several police officers stationed at the door of the offices of neurologist Leopoldo Luque in Buenos Aires’ Belgrano neighborhood.
Court investigators have been taking declarations from Maradona’s relatives, according to a statement from the San Isidro prosecutor’s office, which is overseeing a probe into the medical attention Maradona received prior to his death on Wednesday. It said investigators were trying to secure Maradona’s medical records.
Maradona was buried Thursday in a private ceremony attended by only two dozen people following a vigil at the presidential palace where tens of thousands of weeping fans lined up to filed past his coffin.
Maradona died of a heart attack in a house outside Buenos Aires where he had been recovering from a brain operation Nov. 3. He had suffered from a long series of medical issues, some related to overindulgence in drugs and alcohol.