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Chiefs re-signing WR DeMarcus Robinson for one year, source says

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The Kansas City Chiefs are re-signing wide receiver DeMarcus Robinson to a one-year contract, a source confirmed to ESPN.

Robinson’s production increased each season after cracking the Chiefs’ receiving rotation, going from 21 catches and 212 yards in 2017 to 32 and 449 in 2019. He started 23 games over three seasons, mostly when the Chiefs opened in three- or four-receiver formations.

Robinson, who turns 26 in September, was a fourth-round draft pick in 2016 and played mostly on special teams as a rookie.

His big game with the Chiefs came in Week 2 of last season. With Tyreek Hill out with an injury, Robinson made the most of the opportunity with six catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns in a win over the Raiders.

NFL Network first reported that Robinson was returning to the Chiefs.

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Titans’ Vic Beasley reports to training camp, starts COVID-19 testing

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans outside linebacker Vic Beasley, who hadn’t reported to camp since it began July 28, arrived to the team facility for COVID-19 testing on Friday morning.

The team hadn’t heard from Beasley since training camp opened up, and general manager Jon Robinson last week released a statement saying Beasley’s absence was unexcused but that he would report soon.

Beasley was fined a mandatory $50,000 per day, resulting in a $500,000 fine after missing 10 days. He will need three negative COVID-19 tests over a four-day period before he can enter the facility. The Titans have a trailer outside of the facility for testing.

If his tests are negative, there’s a good chance he will be on the field when the Titans start practice next week. Not missing any field work is crucial for Beasley, who signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the Titans in March.

Outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen said the staff worked extensively during the offseason to get Beasley up to speed.

“Honestly, we’ve probably met with him a lot more one-on-one than in a group setting even, just because all the other guys have been here,” Bowen said. “So we’re kind of trying to kind of add and expand from 100-level learning to 200-level learning, so to speak.”

The Titans are banking on Beasley to pair with Harold Landry to provide a boost to their pass rush this season.

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Sale of XFL to group that includes actor Dwayne Johnson gets approval

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The sale of the XFL to a group that includes actor Dwayne Johnson was approved Friday morning in a Delaware bankruptcy court.

U.S. District Judge Laurie Silverstein allowed the transaction after the XFL resolved a dispute over the $15 million sale price with the court’s unsecured creditors’ committee. Johnson, along with business partners Dany Garcia and Redbird Capital Partners, will officially assume control of the league from former owner Vince McMahon later this month.

The sale also includes nearly $9 million in payment of cure amounts.

The XFL declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy April 13, less than a month after canceling the 2020 season at its midpoint because of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 30 individuals or groups indicated initial interest in the sale, but Johnson, Garcia and Redbird submitted the only qualified bid. The XFL canceled a planned auction scheduled for Monday and awarded them the league. President and chief operating officer Jeffrey Pollack hailed the sale to former associates of McMahon as a “Hollywood ending” to the process.

The league had marketed itself as a made-for-TV product that could transition to a bubble concept during the pandemic, and Garcia said this week that the new owners are “planning” for a 2021 launch.

“We’re doing all the steps that need to happen for the execution of that,” she said. “But we’re also being mindful to what has actually been successful. It has been really interesting to see that [in sports], when you create a bubble, your players are safe. When you don’t, it’s chaos. We are a league, because of the number of teams we have, that actually can create a bubble environment. Those discussions are active.”

Garcia will have an executive position with the XFL and said that both she and Johnson will have a hands-on approach to running the league. Asked about hiring other executive-level leaders, she said: “We’ve been in close discussion with the current XFL management team.”

“There are a lot of excellent people in that team,” Garcia said. “While it’s not 100 percent just turning the lights on, there is still a tremendous amount of infrastructure and relationships that you can actually call people back, pull people back. We saw the work that they were doing for this year, and there was some excellent, excellent work. There is a team there.”

McMahon fired XFL commissioner Oliver Luck on April 9, and Luck responded by suing McMahon for wrongful termination and is seeking $23.8 million. The lawsuit was on hold while awaiting the results of the bankruptcy process.

The XFL has twice shuttered after one season, first in 2001 and again earlier this year as a result of the pandemic, and there hasn’t been a successful alternative professional football league since the AFL forced a merger with the NFL in 1970. McMahon had been a determined aspirant nevertheless, investing $200 million in the league’s second incarnation, one that promised to “reimagine” the game. But the eight teams suspended play after five weeks. McMahon considered bidding on the XFL himself early in the bankruptcy process but ultimately decided against it.

The league averaged 1.9 million television viewers per game and generated nearly $20 million in gross revenues in 2020, according to court filings. It had projected $46 million in gross revenues for the 10-game season, each data point exceeding internal expectations, according to sources.

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Dak Prescott writes Oklahoma governor to petition for man’s freedom

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Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott has joined a movement in petitioning the governor of Oklahoma to overturn the conviction of and release Julius Jones, a Black man on death row for murder.

In a letter sent Thursday to the office of Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and the state’s parole board, a copy of which was obtained by Time magazine, Prescott advocates on Jones’ behalf, writing that this is an opportunity to correct a “miscarriage of justice.”

“Current events are shining a much-needed light on deep-seated prejudices and systemic mistreatment of black people, and it is my sincere hope that the cultural movements of today will lead to significant social changes that will create a better tomorrow,” Prescott wrote. “To that end, you all are in the unique position of being able to make a direct impact by addressing a specific miscarriage of justice.”

Prescott has joined Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and the NBA’s Russell Westbrook, Blake Griffin, Trae Young and Buddy Hield in urging the governor to spare Jones’ life. In his letter, Prescott addressed his experience with racial injustice.

“As a black man in this country right now, I experience injustices firsthand day in and day out, even as an athlete with ‘celebrity status,'” Prescott wrote.

In 2002, Jones was convicted of first-degree murder for the death of Paul Howell. The 45-year-old businessman was shot in the head on July 28, 1999, while sitting in a vehicle in his parents’ driveway in Edmond, Oklahoma.

Jones has maintained his innocence, with he and his family saying he was at home at the time of the crime. Advocates have pointed to issues such as racial bias, a flawed investigation and an ill-equipped defense in explaining why they believe Jones’ conviction should be overturned. Oklahoma City’s Black Lives Matter chapter has included a commutation for Jones in a list of demands that was presented to Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt on June 1.

“After reviewing the facts of the Julius Jones case, I firmly believe the wrong person is being punished for this terrible crime; furthermore, an evaluation of the process that led to Mr. Jones’ conviction raises serious legal and ethical concerns,” Prescott wrote. “I implore you to right this wrong. Please don’t let another innocent black man die from the systemic mistreatment that has plagued our nation for far too long.”

Last month, Oklahoma attorney general Mike Hunter released a summary of trial transcripts in the case that he says refute what he described as “misinformation” being provided to the public about Jones’ conviction.

“The fact is, Julius Jones murdered Paul Howell in cold blood in front of his sister and daughters,” Hunter said. “No celebrity imploration or profusion of misinformation will change that.”

An execution date for Jones has not been set, but he has exhausted all of his appeals. Hunter announced earlier this year that the state is prepared to resume lethal injections.

“The treatment of Julius Jones is the kind of miscarriage of justice African American men like myself live in fear of, and that is why I feel compelled to use the influence that God has blessed me with to speak up for what I believe is right and to give a voice to those who cannot speak for themselves,” Prescott wrote. “Julius Jones’ case is a clear example of what can happen to a person who cannot afford legal representation, and what can happen to a black person at any time in this country — which is exactly why so many are protesting for the changes we so desperately need.”

In June, Prescott pledged $1 million “to improve police training and address systematic racism through education and advocacy in our country.” His pledge was made following the May death of George Floyd, who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

Information from ESPN’s Royce Young and Todd Archer and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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