AP Thursday Sports Roundup
Bryant and Cowboys agree on $70 million deal...Thomas strikes it rich in Denver
UNDATED (AP) — Dallas Cowboys wideout Dez Bryant and Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas just made their best receptions since last season.
A person close to the negotiations tells The Associated Press that Bryant has received a five-year, $70 million contract which includes $45 million in guaranteed money. Bryant had threatened to skip training camp and regular-season games without a contract to replace the $12.8 million, one-year offer he had under the franchise tag.
Bryant led all NFL receivers with 16 touchdown catches last season.
Thomas has signed a five-year, $70 million deal. It's the richest contract in Broncos history and includes $43.5 million guaranteed. Thomas set career highs with 111 catches for a franchise-record 1,619 yards and 11 touchdowns last year.
Both players had until Wednesday afternoon to either accept multi-year offers or play under their franchise tag-designated salary.
In other NFL contract news:
— The Kansas City Chiefs have made Justin Houston the highest-paid linebacker in NFL history, giving him a six-year, $101 million package in which more than half the money is guaranteed. Houston has made three consecutive Pro Bowls and was the key to Kansas City's front-seven dominance last year. He broke Derrick Thomas's franchise record with 22 sacks in 2014, a half-sack off Michael Strahan's NFL single-season record.
— The agent for Patriots kicker Stephen Gostowski is working on a last-minute deal that would replace his $4.56 million franchise tag. Gostkowski hit 94.6 percent of his field-goal attempts last year, nailing a league-high 35 of 37.
— A person close to the negotiations says defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul did not get a new long-term contract deal from the New York Giants ahead of a deadline for players who have franchise tags. Pierre-Paul's status has been uncertain since he was hurt in a fireworks accident July 4.
Suit says NFL, DirecTV has created an illegal monopoly
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco bar has filed suit against the NFL and DirecTV over the league's Sunday Ticket package.
Ninth Inning Inc. says DirecTV's exclusive right to broadcast certain NFL games is an illegal monopoly that raises costs for bars and restaurants. The suit says a bar or restaurant with a fire code occupancy between 51 and 100 people will pay a little more than $2,300 for Sunday Ticket this year.
A ratings stinker
NEW YORK (AP) — Baseball's All-Star Game drew a record-low television rating. The AL's 6-3 win over the NL in Cincinnati on Tuesday night earned a 6.6 rating and 12 share on Fox. The previous low was a 6.8 in 2012.
Fox reports that the broadcast averaged 10.9 million viewers, down from the 11.3 million for last year's game, Derek Jeter's final All-Star appearance.
Ratings represent the percentage of homes with televisions tuned to a program, while shares measure the percentage of TVs in use at the time.
Dodgers acquire southpaw Grant from Marlins
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The L.A. Dodgers have acquired left-hander Grant Dayton from the Miami Marlins in exchange for left-hander Chris Reed. Dayton, who was 2-1 with a 2.83 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 25 games for Triple-A New Orleans this season, will report to the Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate in Oklahoma City.
St. Andrews is ready
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — It's a morning for going low at the British Open.
Irish amateur Paul Dunne birdied the first two holes early Thursday. So did David Lingmerth of Sweden.
With temperatures in the mid-50s and little wind to speak of on a cloudy morning along St. Andrews Bay, the early starters should be able to put up some impressive scores.
That includes the favorite, Jordan Spieth, who is trying to take another step toward the Grand Slam.
Spieth is ready for tee time presently. He's already won the Masters and the U.S. Open.
Reigning champion Rory McIlroy is unable to defend his crown.
McIlroy won at Royal Liverpool last year, the third of his four major titles. He led wire-to-wire for a two-stroke victory over Rickie Fowler and Sergio Garcia. However, he can't participate because of an ankle injury suffered while playing soccer with some friends recently.
Spieth is the hottest player on the planet. The 21-year-old Texan won the John Deere Classic last weekend and has already captured the Masters and U.S. Open this year. Spieth is the fourth player since 1960 to win the first two majors of the year. Arnold Palmer did in in 1960, as did Jack Nicklaus in 1972 and Tiger Woods in 2002. All failed to make it three straight with a win in the British Open.
Following completion of the Open, the final major will be the PGA Championship next month at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
And of note, five-time British Open winner Tom Watson is playing in the event for the final time. The 65-year old also announced this week that next year's Masters will be his last because he no longer hits the ball far enough to be competitive in the event.
Comments could cost Trump, again
ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — British Open organizers are biding their time before deciding whether Turnberry should be removed from the championship rotation following comments by course owner Donald Trump about Mexicans.
The Republican candidate for president is facing a backlash after saying some Mexican immigrants to the U.S. bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists.
Trump recently purchased Turnberry, a links resort on the west coast of Scotland that has hosted the British Open four times.
Deals around the league
UNDATED (AP) — Center Ryan Kesler has agreed to a six-year, $41.25 million contract extension with the Anaheim Ducks. He had 20 goals, 27 assists and 75 penalty minutes last season in his first year with Anaheim after nine seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. Kesler also had seven goals and six assists in a standout playoff effort for the three-time Pacific Division champion Ducks, who fell one game short of the Stanley Cup Final.
In other NHL news:
— The Dallas Stars have landed another member of the Chicago Blackhawks' Stanley Cup-winning team, inking defenseman Johnny Oduya to a two-year, $7.5 million contract. Oduya scored two goals and 10 points in 76 games for the Hawks last season and had five assists in the playoffs. The signing comes less than a week after the Stars acquired forward Patrick Sharp in a deal that sent defenseman Trevor Daley to Chicago.
— Beau Bennett has signed a one-year, $800,000 contract that keeps the forward with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Bennett had four goals and eight assists in 49 games for the Pens last season, but the 23-year-old has struggled to stay healthy or play with any real consistency during his brief career.
— Justin Schultz and the Edmonton Oilers have avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $3.9 million pact. The 25-year-old defenseman had six goals and 31 points in 81 games last season.
— The New York Rangers have re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Dylan McIlrath. McIlrath had six goals and 11 assists in 73 games with the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League last season. He skated in one game with the Rangers last season.
Not bad pay for an assistant
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will make at least $5.1 million over three years. The university released details of his contract which shows the former Florida head coach will make $1.6 million in the 2015 season and receive $100,000 raises in each of the next two years plus unspecified bonuses.
Florida also owes Muschamp $6.3 million over three years. That raises his total pay to $3.9 million a year.
Air Force, Colorado to resume rivalry
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Air Force and Colorado will face off on the football field in 2020, ending a 46-year drought in the series.
The Falcons will visit Boulder on Sept. 12, 2020, and the Buffaloes will visit the Academy on Sept. 10, 2022.
The last game between the schools was at Air Force on Oct. 5, 1974, with Colorado winning 28-27.
Cuban players AWOL, but team advances...Trinidad and Tobago takes Group C
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A couple of Cuban soccer players were missing as the team played Guatemala on Wednesday.
The whereabouts of Dario Suarez and Aricheel Hernandez were unknown, and the two players were listed as absent on the official roster. Neither regional soccer officials nor Cuban delegation members immediately offered an explanation.
Two other Cuban soccer players already abandoned the team in the United States on this trip. Forward Keiler Garcia defected in Chicago ahead of Cuba's match against Mexico and backup goalkeeper Arael Arguellez disappeared before the team traveled to Arizona.
The absence of the two players didn't stop the Cubans from advancing to the quarterfinals. They scored in the 73rd minute to beat Guatemala and improve to 1-2-0.
Cuba next faces the United States on Saturday in Baltimore.
Mexico played to a 4-4 draw with Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago took Group C's top seed at 2-0-1 and will face Panama in the quarterfinals Sunday at the Meadowlands before Mexico faces Costa Rica in New Jersey.
TOUR DE FRANCE
Froome remains in yellow
UNDATED (AP) — The winner of the 11th stage of the Tour de France was Poland's Rafal Majka. The 25-year old won a stage that included several mountain climbs.
Britain's Chris Froome continues to wear the leader's yellow jersey, 2:52 ahead of Tejay Van Garderen of the United States.