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News, Scores, Teams, Stories & More on Northeast OH Sports on

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    The Cavaliers plan to let expire the remaining $3 million left over from the Kyrie Irving trade last summer to use in trades, sources told

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cavaliers plan to let expire the remaining $3 million left over from the Kyrie Irving trade last summer to use in trades, sources told

    When the Cavs traded Irving to the Boston Celtics last year for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and two draft picks, they also created a $5.8 million trade exception -- which means the salaries they received from Boston were that much less than Irving's salary last year.

    Cleveland used $2.8 million of that trade exception earlier this month when it acquired forward Sam Dekker from the Los Angeles Clippers. The Cavs have until Wednesday to use the remaining $3 million, but a source said such a trade was unlikely.

    Cleveland has 12 players on its roster, with spots 13 and 14 reserved for restricted free agent Rodney Hood and David Nwaba, who has agreed to join the Cavs but is still ironing out contract details. For now, the Cavs plan to let camp invites battle it out for the 15th and final spot.

    Then again, they have two more trade exceptions that expire on Oct. 15 -- two days before their season opener in Toronto. Cleveland has a $2.5 million trade exception for trading Richard Jefferson and a $1.3 million exception for dealing Kay Felder.

    Remember, trade exceptions are not stackable, so the Cavs can't combine the exceptions for Jefferson and Felder to acquire a more expensive player.

    When the Irving trade exception expires Wednesday, it will essentially close the book on a landmark trade in franchise history. The centerpiece of the deal on this end turned out to be rookie Collin Sexton, drafted with Brooklyn"s No. 1 pick (eight overall ) -- acquired as part of the Irving deal.

    The Cavs used Thomas to trade for Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. from the Lakers, and Crowder to land Hood from Utah. The other pick Cleveland landed from the Celtics -- Miami's second rounder in 2020 -- was sent to the Kings in February as part of the deal that brought George Hill to Cleveland.

    The Cavs' first practice is Sept. 25.

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    Greg Allen and Melky Cabrera, in an oufield marred with injuries and illness, has helped ease the Tribe's worries with their steady play.

    BOSTON - The Indians are still looking to add a hitter to their roster before the Aug. 31 waiver deadline comes and goes. But will it be in the infield or outfield?

    After losing outfielders Leonys Martin to illness and Tyler Naquin and Bradley Zimmer to injuries, it seemed the Indians would try to improve the outfield. Lately, however, rookie center fielder Greg Allen and veteran right fielder Melky Cabrera have lessened their concerns.

    Allen entered Tuesday's game against the Red Sox with a 13-game hitting streak. It's the longest in the big leagues by a rookie this year. He extended the streak to 13 games on Monday night with a game-winning, two-run homer in the seventh inning and made it 14 on Tuesday.

    The switch-hitting Allen is batting .383 (18-for-47) with five runs and 11 RBI through Monday.

    Cabrera, who also homered in Monday's 5-4 win, was hitting .379 (11-for-29) with four homers and 13 RBI in eight games before Tuesday -- and then he homered again off Nathan Eovaldi. Cabrera, in his second tour with the Tribe this season, entered Tuesday hitting .299 (26-for-87) with five homers and 14 RBI in 27 games since rejoining the big-league club.

    Manager Terry Francona knows he doesn't have a perfect team, but he likes it.

    "I'm not sure that you have to (have a perfect team)," said Francona. "Melky's not only done a real good job of clutch hitting since he's come back, but of being a full-fledged member of our team. Sometimes it's hard when you're new. Guys love him. I love him. He cares."

    Allen has bounced between Cleveland and Class AAA Columbus five times this season. This is the best he's played.

    "Greg has come up, filled in and looks like he belongs up here," said Francona. "It makes it fun. When you have young kids that you see getting better, it's fun. There will be some hiccups and we know that, but it's fun to watch them get better."

    The crowd of Fenway Park has a tradition of singing Neil Diamond's Sweet Caroline in the eighth inning. Francisco Lindor told Allen on Monday to take a moment and listen to it.

    "It was awesome," said Allen. "Just taking in something like that, obviously the history and the nostalgia of this place, it was a fun environment. It's fun to play in a competitive atmosphere, high intensity with such a great team over there."

    As encouraging as the play of Allen and Cabrera has been - with perhaps an outside chance of Martin returning at some point - the Indians will continue to try to improve. But waivers are needed on every player that is traded between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31.

    On Tuesday, the Cubs claimed Washington infielder Daniel Murphy and worked out a trade for him. Could he have helped the Indians? Perhaps, but Murphy never got out of the National League.

    The same thing could happen with outfielder Andrew McCutchen, who was reportedly put on waivers by the Giants. McCutchen could help the Tribe, but will a NL contender claim him before they get a shot?

    Some say it has been tougher than usual to get players through waivers this August because of Justin Verlander and Jay Bruce. Last year Verlander and Bruce cleared waivers in both leagues. Detroit traded Verlander to Houston and he helped them win a World Series. The Mets traded Bruce to the Indians and he solidified the middle of their lineup and helped them win 102 games in the AL Central.

    Perhaps that's why contenders are paying closer attention to the waiver wire than usual.

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    Yes, that's right. There was Osman, the second-year Cavaliers swingman, getting photographed and putting in work alongside some of the league's premier small forwards.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Some of the NBA's best gathered on the campus of UCLA for a summer workout Tuesday. 

    LeBron James. Kevin Durant. Kawhi Leonard. Cedi Osman. 

    Yes, that's right. There was Osman -- the second-year Cavaliers swingman -- getting photographed and putting in work alongside a few of the league's premier small forwards. 

    There were also coaches from other teams, including former Cavaliers assistant Phil Handy who joined the Toronto Raptors this off-season after not having his contract renewed in Cleveland. It was Handy who posted the group photo on his social media. 

    "Work is work," Handy wrote. "It don't matter what team we represent, the NBA is family. True professionals all trying to perfect our craft."

    As for James and Osman, the two became close this past season in Cleveland, with Osman eventually earning a spot in James' post-practice shooting group. Throughout the regular season, James often spoke highly of Osman's basketball IQ and professional approach despite playing time that fluctuated. 

    Shortly after James' departure for Los Angeles this summer, Osman wrote a heartfelt message to James and posted it to Instagram. 

    "Some people bring out the worst in you, others bring out the best. And there are remarkably rare ones who just bring out the most of everything that even you don't know that you have," Osman wrote. "They build you up. They make you feel alive. They make you feel strong. They make you feel indisputable. From the first moment we met, you've always been that rare one for me, King.

    "I don't believe in coincidences. I choose to believe my path crossed with you for a reason. And that reason will be uncovered as I continue to walk through. Please accept my highest gratitude for your support and appreciation for your inspiration. I'm truly blessed to have been surrounded by your charm."

    Osman spoke numerous times throughout his rookie year about how thrilling it was to not only be in the NBA, but to compete for a title and be welcomed by James. 

    "For me it's really amazing being on this team," Osman said in December. "We have great players, great coaches, this is a championship team. And from the first day when we came in as new players, LeBron was saying we have to live as a champion from the first day."

    It's been a busy, basketball-filled summer for Osman, who played for Turkey in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 European Qualifiers before joining the Cavaliers in Las Vegas for summer league. It's all part of Osman's plan to show the Cavs he's ready for a bigger role during the post-LeBron era. 

    Working out with James, Durant and Leonard can't hurt. 

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    Shane Bieber pitched into the seventh inning and Greg Allen looked like Kenny Lofton in center as the Indians beat Boston for the second straight night at Fenway Park. Watch video

    BOSTON -- Terry Francona says it's fun to watch young players get better at the big-league level.

    He'll be the first to admit it's not always going to be moonbeams and roses, but for the last two nights at Fenway Park that's exactly what it has been.

    Rookie Shane Bieber pitched into the seventh inning and rookie Greg Allen played center field like he invented it as the Indians beat Boston, 6-3, Tuesday night. The first two games of this four-game series have gone the Indians' way as the Red Sox have lost three straight for just the second time this year.

    Bieber (7-3, 4.36) threw six scoreless innings in his first career start against Boston. He didn't make it out of the seventh as Boston strung together three straight hits that turned into three runs.  The damage would have been worse if Allen didn't race deep into the triangle in center field to make a sliding catch of Mitch Moreland's drive. A run still scored on Moreland's long sacrifice fly, but who knows what would have happened if Allen didn't track the ball down.

    The Indians took a 2-0 lead against hard-throwing Nathan Eovaldi (5-5, 3.81) in the fourth. They bunched four straight two-out hits in the rally.

    Melky Cabrera, who finished a triple short of the cycle, started it with a single to right. Jason Kipnis sent him to third with another single to right. Yan Gomes scored Cabrera with a single to center and Allen doubled to left for the second run.

    Allen has hit in 14 straight games, the longest streak by a rookie this season. He prepared for his catch against Moreland by taking on the center field wall in the fifth to steal extra bases from Xander Bogaerts.

    Cabrera made it 3-0 with a leadoff homer to center field in the sixth. It was his third homer in as many games and his fifth in the last nine games.

    The Indians added two more runs in the sixth to make it 5-0. Gomes and Allen, the eighth and ninth hitters, singled with one out. After Francisco Lindor struck out, Brantley singled to center to bring them home.

    The Red Sox cut the lead to 5-3 in the seventh. Andrew Benintendi opened the inning with a double. J.D Martinez singled to move him to third. Bogaerts doubled past third to score Benintendi and sent Martinez to third.

    Moreland's sacrifice fly made it 5-2 and moved Bogaerts to third. Rookie Adam Cimber relieved and retired the next two batters, but not before Ian Kinsler delivered Bogaerts with a ground out to second.

    Gomes answered the Red Sox with a homer in the eighth, his 12th, for a 6-3 lead.

    Andrew Miller and Brad Hand followed Cimber with a scoreless inning each. Hand pitched the ninth for fifth save with the Indians and 29th overall. He had to pitch around an ugly error by Kipnis at second.

    What it means

    The Indians are tracking two potential playoff foes in the AL West. Yes, Houston and Oakland remain tied for the division lead at 76-50. The Astros, who have lost eight of their last 11 games, beat Seattle, 3-2, Tuesday night. The A's, who have won eight of their last 11 games, beat Texas, 6-0.

    Jose Altuve, last year's AL MVP, returned to the Astros' lineup Tuesday after missing 21 games with a knee injury.

    The Tribe has closed to within 2 1/2 games of the Astros and A's to host the best-of-five ALDS in October. They've closed the gap on the AL West leaders by going 15-4 in August.

    The pitches

    Eovaldi threw 87 pitches, 63 (72 percent) for strikes. Bieber threw 82 pitches, 52 (63 percent) for strikes.

    The streak

    Michael Brantley's double in the fifth inning gave him an 11-game hitting streak at Fenway. It's the longest active streak at the Fens by a visiting player.

    Brantley entered the game hitting .333 (49-for-147) in 39 games against the Red Sox. The double gave him a 13-game hitting streak overall against Boston. It's the longest by an Indians' player since Casey Blake's 16-gamer from 2005-07.

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Red Sox drew a sellout crowd of 37,188 to Fenway Park on Tuesday night. First pitch was at 7:12 p.m. with a temperature of 70 degrees.


    Right-hander Carlos Carrasco (15-6, 3.33) will face Red Sox right-hander Brian Johnson (4-3, 4.00) on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.

    Carrasco is coming off a win over the Orioles in which he threw seven scoreless innings. He's 7-1 with a 1.73 ERA in nine starts since coming off the disabled list on July 6. Johnson will be facing the Indians for the first time. He's coming off a win against the Rays.

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    Jackson has a grand vision for 2018.

    BEREA, Ohio - During Dez Bryant's visit to Cleveland last week, Hue Jackson shared with him his grand vision for a team coming off of 0-16.

    "Twenty-one days, baby, Pittsburgh Steelers, right here at home, in front of the Dawg Pound,'' Jackson tells Bryant in his office on episode three of Hard Knocks. "It'll be unbelievable. This will be the greatest turnaround in sports history."

    The episode also revealed that Josh Gordon arrived in Cleveland on the same day that Bryant left without a contract. Hard Knocks cameras were there at the airport to capture the big event.

    Late in the show, Jackson is seen talking to offensive coordinator Todd Haley on the field during pregame vs. the Bills on Friday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. Bryant left the Browns facility earlier that day without a contract, although Jackson has said the two events were not related.

    "The bird has landed,'' Jackson says to Haley. "The bird is here. Not in here, though. Not in here, but the bird's here."

    "Has he been working out?" Haley asks.

    "Yeah,'' Jackson said.

    That's the understatement of the episode. The show cuts to the Browns fieldhouse, where Gordon, a workout warrior, is seen stretching with director of strength and conditioning Larry Jackson. He looks to be in excellent shape, like he could walk right out onto the field and play.

    "How you been doing, man?" Jackson asks.

    "Been all right,'' says Gordon.

    "Good, man. Now we can start grinding. We're going to start grinding now.''

    Gordon, who returned the night before from his treatment program at the University of Florida, is then seen lifting and sprinting, looking like he hasn't missed a workout and is poised to "make a big splash'' this season like he vowed to do in the spring.

    Mayfield: 6 reasons the Browns should be excited

    Hours before the bird landed, Bryant and his agent Kim Miale left town without a deal, despite Jackson and Bryant hitting it off.

    In Jackson's office on Thursday, he asks Bryant, clad in a Spiritual Gangster t-shirt, "What are you looking for, Dez?"

    "I'm just looking for realness,'' says Bryant, cut by the Cowboys in April after eight seasons. "That's all."

    Jackson keeps it real with the three-time Pro Bowler, who's seeking a one-year deal and turned down a three-year offer from the Ravens in April worth about $21 million.

    "Well, Dez, I tell you this opportunity that's sitting before you, to me, is kind of unique in a sense that we're at a time where I think we're about to do this [uses hand to signal rising], at a time where you could help us get this organization back to where it rightfully should be,'' says Jackson.

    "The last two years have been hell. I'll be the first to tell you that. But it's going to take guys like you who love to compete, who love to go in these big stadiums, it's like, 'We're here, and we're coming here to kick your ass.' And that's the kind of guys I'm looking for. I know you know Jarvis Landry. Jarvis Landry is real."

    "I love everything about him,'' says Bryant.

    "Absolutely,'' says Jackson. "He's going to compete. As you know, a football team's got to have enough guys that have that mentality and mindset, and then it flips. The whole culture flips. ... In order to deliver, I need guys like you."

    "Coach, it's new to me,'' says Bryant. "I'm just being honest. All this is new. Just being honest, the way you're expressing yourself, the way you're talking to me, we barely know each other, and I feel comfortable. That's what these players want.

    "I just want that realness 'cause I'm going to give you who I am. I feel like I'm an easy person to talk to. I love learning. I want to know things. If there's something I'm not doing right, I want to know those things 'cause I feel like we all deserve that. We all deserve that opportunity."

    In the days after Bryant left, it became apparent he might not get that opportunity with the Browns. The turnaround might have to happen without him.

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    Ka'ai Tom has a bases-loaded triple for Akron.

    Tyler Krieger.jpgTyler Krieger 

    ERIE, Pennsylvania -- Tyler Krieger had four hits and three RBI to help the Akron RubberDucks jump to a 6-0 lead over the SeaWolves and then hold on for an 8-6 win Tuesday night.

    Ernie Clement had an RBI double, Krieger a two-run single and Ka'ai Tom a bases-loaded triple in the second inning for Akron. All of the scoring came with two outs.

    Tom finished 2-for-4 with four RBI, while Clement was 3-for-5 with an RBI.

    Akron left-hander Sean Brady (6-7, 4.84 ERA) gave up two runs and eight hits in five innings. Erie starter Alfred Gutierrez (2-3, 6.09) lasted only 1 2/3 innings. 

    Danny Woodrow was 4-for-5 with two RBI for Erie.

    The game was delayed for just over 90 minutes by rain.

    See the box score from the game.

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    Shakif Seymour looks to join a list of former Northeast Ohio tailbacks who have shined for the Toledo Rockets. Watch video

    TOLEDO, Ohio - There are very few football teams in the Mid-American Conference that reload. The Toledo Rockets are one of them.

    Less than two weeks before the first game there are plenty of starting spots still open, according to head coach Jason Candle. That quarterback and tailback are just two of them would be cause for angst for most MAC programs.

    "It's exciting to me,'' said sophomore tailback Shakif Seymour, a Holy Name grad who is considered a favorite to be the starting tailback when the season opens, Sept. 1, against VMI.

    "People call it a reloading year, but we look at it as our time. We're going to be perfectly fine,'' he said.

    For Toledo, a program that finished 11-3 with a 2017 MAC Championship, and consistently contends for a MAC title, even filling those gaps is considered business as usual.

    Despite so many unanswered questions, Toledo was solidly picked to finish second in the MAC West behind favored Northern Illinois. The Rockets were 38 votes ahead of No. 3 Western Michigan, and picked up seven of the 24 first-place votes to win it all.

    Last season, with MAC MVP quarterback Logan Woodside, Toledo was 7-1 in league play. Before that, tailback Kareem Hunt, now starring in the NFL, kept the regularly bowl-bound Rockets in the thick of the MAC chase for four years.

    Now, it could well be time for the Clevelander with the unusual name: Shakif La'paris Nyrobi Seymour, which includes names from both sides of his family.

    Just looking at Seymour, it is not hard to understand why he is so confident. Certain programs seem to plug in players that look like the ones who came before them. Seymour fits that profile.

    Not only is he from Northeast Ohio, he is almost physically identical to past Rocket tailbacks from Northeast Ohio, Harvey "Scooter" McDougale (Shaw) and Hunt (Willoughby South).

    Seymour is 5-11, 225-pounds, built to run between the tackles and on the edge.

    "I feel like I'm an every-down back,'' said Seymour, who rushed for 702 yards and 12 touchdowns as a reserve, averaging 6.1 yards per carry for the Rockets as a freshman.

    Yet unlike McDougle and Hunt, who became receiving threats as they matured, Seymour brings that talent with him.

    "He is a guy who is a jack-of-all-trades,'' Toledo running backs coach Kerry Dixon said. "He has really good speed. Deceptive speed. And he's faster than last year."

    Toledo was Seymour's first offer as a high school recruit, but he had many more before he made his decision. It was an easy one, really.

    While other schools recruited him as a tailback, they also talked linebacker because of his size. At Toledo, Seymour knew he would get the ball in his hands before any conversation about a position change could be made.

    "When I came here, all the backs were built like me,'' Seymour said. "Coach gave me the chance to play my position first. That's all I needed.''

    At Toledo, tailbacks have historically carried the load for the Rockets offense. UT does throw the ball well enough to more than keep teams honest. But what wears the opposition down, is the time-consuming, ground-pounding running game where a tailback can expect to hear his name called often.

    It is said one reason Hunt was "only" a third-round draft pick for the Kansas City Chiefs is because he had already run the ball so much in college. But carrying a heavy load is why Seymour is at Toledo.

    "It's a mentality, really,'' he said. "Hard-nosed football. You know for a fact, going into the game, you are going to get your chance at a lot of carries."

    About this series: Plain Dealer reporter Elton Alexander is reporting from football preseason camp at each Ohio member of the Mid-American Conference.


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    New Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor has thrown only 12 passes in the preseason. That's not enough preparation. Watch video

    BEREA, Ohio -- According to an ESPN story, there is more money being bet on the Browns to win the AFC-North than the other three teams in the division -- combined!

    That's at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas.

    Odds are involved, and that drives betting patterns.

    But it's clear the public expects the Browns to win some games - soon.

    In fact, a lot of games.

    After Tuesday's practice, Hue Jackson was very upbeat.

    "I truly believe winning is in this group," said the Browns coach. "In this coaching the plan we've laid out. I think there's a chance. Now we have to go out and do it."

    It's critical for the Browns get off to a decent start.

    The first five games: Pittsburgh (home); at New Orleans; N.Y. Jets (home); at Oakland, Baltimore (home).

    If the Browns had been a consistent contender, I wouldn't be dwelling on the fast start aspect.

    Jackson can jump in the lake (which he did). He  can claim it's a new team, a new season (which he has). But the Browns still carry the mental baggage of a 0-16 and 1-31 record into 2018.

    The Browns have been running radio spots where Jackson is telling the team, "The winning starts now."

    Apparently, people who bet on games agree, at least to some degree.


    Which brings us to Thursday's preseason home game against Philadelphia.

    This is a game where NFL teams play their starters, at least in the first half. They still are using only small parts of the playbooks on offense and defense.

    But it's the last game for the starters to play together before the Sept. 9 regular season opener against the Steelers.

    Gregg Williams has his defense far ahead of the offense at this point, at least when the starters are on the field.

    That's why Jackson has to make sure his starters on offense begin to look like a football team.

    Tyrod Taylor has played only 32 snaps as the preseason starting quarterback. That's not even three typical NFL quarters.

    If Taylor was in his third season starting for the Browns and had been playing with the same core group for a few years -- this would not be a big deal.

    But with the Browns on offense, nearly everything is new.

    The only guys likely to start at the same positions with the Browns as they did a year ago are David Njoku (tight end), JC Tretter (center), Kevin Zeitler (guard) and Duke Johnson (running back).

    Johnson may come off the bench. Zeitler has been injured for the preseason, but he is expected to be ready for home opener.

    Todd Haley is the new offensive coordinator, and he has changed quite a few things from what the Browns ran a year ago.

    It's why Haley was frustrated (in "Hard Knocks") with some veterans sitting out practices.

    There is a sense the Browns are trying to catch up with the rest of the AFC North - where all the teams have had the same starting quarterbacks and far more continuity overall than the Browns.


    Taylor has thrown only 12 passes in the preseason.

    By comparison, rookie Baker Mayfield has thrown the ball 33 times.

    Taylor played one series in the first preseason game. In the second game, the Browns were working on their running game. He threw the ball seven times.

    This is Taylor's last chance with the offense before the opener.

    The Browns need to develop some rhythm, especially in the passing game. Jarvis Landry has caught a lot of passes from Taylor in training camp, but the veteran has only two in preseason games.

    Antonio Callaway (groin injury) may not play. The rookie receiver has watched another rookie play a lot in practice - Damion Ratley.

    And Ratley has had some nice moments.

    Rashard Higgins and Landry are likely starters at receiver. Josh Gordon is supposed to be close to coming back, but we'll see how that works out.

    The need for chemistry between the quarterbacks and receivers is vital, and it hasn't happened so far.


    There is a sense that the Browns offense is not anywhere close to being ready for the regular season. Most days in training camp, the defense has been more impressive.

    The risk is injury. Every day, it seems a team loses a significant starter to a major injury in practice or a preseason game.

    That's why coaches hate putting their key players on the field in the fourth preseason game.

    The Browns are a better team. The hype in Las Vegas and elsewhere is ridiculous, but the improvement is real.

    But I do worry about the team being regular-season ready, especially on offense.

    That's why Thursday's game means so much to the Browns.

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    Cleveland Browns hope to soar with Philadelphia Eagles in third preseason game of 2018

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns get ready for their third preseason game of the season. The third preseason game is commonly referred to as a dress rehearsal because the starters actually play at least half the game. The Browns' dress rehearsal is tomorrow night at home against the defending world champion Philadelphia Eagles.

    While it still is just a preseason game, it should provide the Browns the best measuring stick so far for seeing where they are in their bid to improve upon winning just one game the last two seasons.

    The Eagles improved from a 7-9 team in 2016 to a 16-3 team that won the Super Bowl last season. While it's asking a bit much for the Browns to go from worst to first in a year, Philadelphia's improvement certainly makes eight wins seem possible for Cleveland in 2018.

    Crowquill, by Plain Dealer artist Ted Crow, appears three times a week in The Plain Dealer and on

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    Jackson is optimistic about the talent on this roster. Watch video

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Hue Jackson broke training camp on Tuesday with far more optimism than he had in his first two seasons here.

    "Very excited,'' he said. "Probably more excited than I've been the first two years because I truly believe that winning is in this group, in this coaching staff, in this group, in the plan that we've laid out. I think there's a chance. Now, we have to go do it. We have to coach well. We have to improve our players, and the players have to buy into what we are all selling.

    "At the same time, I've never been more confident about a group having the opportunity to have success.''

    Jackson cited the excellent quarterback play in camp on the part of Tyrod Taylor and Baker Mayfield, and noted, "it's paramount. Forget the past, it's going to be the catalyst to us having the opportunity to change the narrative that's been here. I think we have some guys that can do that.''

    Jackson predicts 'the greatest turnaround in sports history' for the Browns

    Jackson also singled out a number of others, including Myles Garrett, whom he said has been "phenomenal'' and Joel Bitonio for taking up the challenge at left tackle, and rookie Austin Corbett for the strides he's made at left guard.

    "When I look at David Njoku and what he did in the first game, that's what we want David to become,'' he said. "I thought that last week he blocked extremely well. That's tough. I don't think that people still recognize that he's still a young player. He's playing against some grown men at defensive end and has to block those guys play in and play out at 255 pounds. He's taken that challenge on, and he's done a great job in that way.''

    He praised No. 4 overall pick Denzel Ward.

    "Obviously, our young corner is very, very talented, very talented,'' he said. "He has to play a lot of football. There are a lot of really good receivers down the road that he is going to have to face here pretty soon week in and week out. The pressure of handling that, we will not know until we do it. That's just the way that it's going to be. He's not a surprise, but he's done some good things, and he's the type of player that we want.''

    He compliment Mayfield not only for his on-field performance, but handling the demands of being the No. 1 overall pick.

    "When I look at what Baker has done, walking in here, handling everything from the media to his teammates to all of the expectations and all of that, he's been outstanding. I can't say that enough. He's handling all of this the right way, and that's very, very important for his future and what he is trying to accomplish."

    He also reiterated that Taylor has been everything they hoped for and more.

    "I'd be remiss if I didn't say Tyrod Taylor and what he's done on this football team since the day that he walked in the building at practice, his leadership, how he has conducted himself here and trying to do everything he can to get this organization get to winning,'' said Jackson. "There are so many players that I can talk about, but those are the guys that hit my mind right now. I'm sorry if I'm forgetting anybody. There are a lot of other players, too, on our football team that have made huge strides."

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    Check here for the entry list, tee times and TV schedule for the PGA Tour's The Northern Trust 2018 this week in New Jersey.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas and Brooks Koepka comprise one of the notable groups for Rounds 1-2 of the PGA Tour's The Northern Trust 2018 this week in New Jersey. The Northern Trust is the first of four events in the FedExCup Playoffs.

    Among other notable groups: Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman and Tommy Fleetwood; Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson and Tony Finau; Justin Rose, Bubba Watson and Jason Day; and Ryan Armour, Chez Reavie and Brendan Steele.

    Johnson, Thomas, Koepka, Rose and Watson finished Nos. 1-5 in the FedExCup "regular-season'' standings.

    The original field of 125 (120 will start at The Northern Trust) will be cut to 100 after The Northern Trust; to 70 after the Dell Technologies Championship; and to 30 after the BMW Championship. The top 30 play in the TOUR Championship.

    Johnson is ranked No. 1 in the world. His PGA Tour season features three victories among 10 Top-10's.

    Thomas has won three times this season, including the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club in Akron.

    Koepka won two majors this season -- the U.S. Open and PGA Championship. He went back-to-back at the U.S. Open.

    Rose has won twice this season; Watson, three times.

    No. 11 Mickelson, 48, won WGC-Mexico Championship 2018, his first victory since British Open 2013.

    No. 20 Woods, 42, tied for sixth at U.S. Open 2018 and was runner-up at PGA Championship 2018. He owns five Top-10's this season but zero victories; the most recent of his 79 PGA Tour titles occurred at WGC-Bridgestone 2013.

    No. 37 Armour, a Silver Lake native and a former standout at Walsh Jesuit and Ohio State, has experienced a career revitalization in his early 40's. After a missed cut in the 2017-18 PGA Tour season opener, Armour won the Sanderson Farms Championship three weeks later. It was his his first career PGA Tour title (in his 105th start) and secured his card through the 2019-20 season.

    In July, Armour finished second at the Quicken Loans National. Most recently, he finished tied for eighth at the Wyndham Championship, which ended Aug. 19.

    Armour owns nine Top-25's and has earned $2.41 million this season, the latter more than double his career earnings prior.

    Site: Paramus, N.J.
    Course: Ridgewood CC. Yardage: 7,385. Par: 71.
    Purse: $9 million. Winner's share: $1,620,000.
    Television: Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. (Golf Channel); Saturday 1-2:45 p.m. (Golf Channel); 3-6 p.m. (CBS); Sunday, noon-1:45 p.m. (Golf Channel), 2-6 p.m. (CBS).
    Defending champion: Dustin Johnson.
    FedExCup leader: Dustin Johnson.
    Last week: Brandt Snedeker won the Wyndham Championship.
    Notes: This is the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events that conclude with the Tour Championship at East Lake. Points count quadruple for the opening three events, then are reset for the Tour Championship. ... Tiger Woods returns to the FedExCup playoffs for the first time in five years. He starts at No. 20. ... Harris English and Nick Taylor moved into the top 125 to qualify for the playoffs and keep full cards for next year. Seamus Power, who missed the cut at the Wyndham Championship, finished at No. 125. ... Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Bud Cauley and Patrick Rodgers are not playing, leaving the field at 120 players. ... The top 100 in the FedEx Cup advance to next week at the TPC Boston. ... U.S. Open and PGA champion Brooks Koepka will have his first shot at reaching No. 1 in the world. ... The field includes Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, both just outside qualifying for the European Ryder Cup team with two weeks remaining. ... Matt Kuchar won at Ridgewood in 2010. ... The tournament returns next year to Liberty National. After that, it will alternate with the TPC Boston. ... Snedeker moved to No. 30 with his victory at the Wyndham Championship.
    Next week: Dell Technologies Championship.

    (Fact box from Associated Press.)

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    Outfielder Leonys Martin will not play again this season for the Indians. Watch video

    BOSTON -- Doctors have advised Leonys Martin and the Indians that he should not return to play this season after suffering a life-threatening bacterial infection.

    Manager Terry Francona met with the Indians before Wednesday night's game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park to tell them the news.

    Martin, 30, was released from Cleveland Clinic on Saturday and is slowly recovering from a bacterial infection that entered his blood stream, created toxins and attacked his internal organs.

    "The news is really good," said Francona. "He's doing fantastic, but he's not going to play baseball this year. We just wanted to share it with the guys. They ask all the time. We just want to keep them abreast of what is going on.

    "Overall, he's done so well. We're just so thrilled for him."

    Francona said Martin wanted to try to come back this season.

    "He wanted to play," said Francona, "but I think the doctors just thought with what happened he needs some time to let his body heal and we fully support that."

    Francona said Martin will stay in Cleveland for the immediate future because he needs to be re-examined by doctors who treated him at Cleveland Clinic.

    The Indians acquired Martin from the Tigers on July 31, just before the non-waiver trading deadline. He appeared in six games with them, hitting .333 (5-for-15) with two homers and four RBI before becoming ill.

    Martin became ill on the night of Aug. 7.  He was taken to Cleveland Clinic the next day.

    The Indians have had a difficult time filling center field this year. Bradley Zimmer opened the season there, but he was lost to a right shoulder surgery. Tyler Naquin has started 29 games there, but he's been lost to right hip surgery. Rajai Davis made 31 starts in center, but he went on the disabled list Wednesday with a non-baseball condition.

    Martin started four games in center before his season ended.

    Rookie Greg Allen is the Indians current center fielder and he's been playing well. He took a 14-game hitting streak into Wednesday night's game and made two great catches in Tuesday's 6-3 win over the Red Sox.

    "He's played really good defense," said Francona. "He's stolen some bases. It's been fun to watch him kind of developing right in the middle of a pennant race."

    Allen, who has been up and down five times between Cleveland and Class AAA Columbus, is hitting .257 (48-for-187) with five doubles, two triples, two homers and 11 RBI. He's stolen 11 bases in 12 attempts and scored 25 runs in 59 games.

    The switch-hitting Allen is hitting .400 (20-for-50) during his 15-game hitting streak. The streak is the longest this season by a rookie in either league this year.

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    Meyer was suspended for three games and Smith suspended from Aug. 31-Sept. 16 without pay following an investigation into how they handled domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Following 10 hours of deliberation between the university president and the board of trustees, with a group of fans, students and well-wishers outside of Longaberger Alumni House growing in attendance throughout the day hoping to see Ohio State football be allowed to proceed as normal, the university handed down a punishment to head coach Urban Meyer that will delay that return to normalcy and leaves to question whether things can ever been the same for a coach who holds a hall of fame resume.

    Meyer was suspended for three games on Wednesday night, and athletic director Gene Smith suspended for three weeks without pay following the university's investigation into how both handled domestic abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith in 2015.

    It turns out the scope of the investigation, though, went beyond that, looking into how business in general was conducted in Meyer's program, particularly as it related to Zach Smith. A comprehensive 23-page report detailed Smith's personal transgressions beyond domestic abuse allegations and painted the picture of a troubled assistant coach shirking his responsibilities and behaving in a manner unbecoming of someone in that position.

    "Although neither Urban Meyer nor Gene Smith condoned or covered up the alleged domestic abuse by Zach Smith, they failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith's misconduct and retained an assistant coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes," the university said in a statement, summing up its reasons for Wednesday's decision.

    Meyer, who had been on paid administrative leave since Aug. 1, will be suspended through Sept. 2, meaning he'll miss the season opener against Oregon State on Sept. 1. He can return to run practice after that, but will also be suspended from OSU's games on Sept. 8 against Rutgers and Sept. 15 against TCU. Meyer will also forgo six weeks of compensation.

    Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day, who's been serving as acting head coach during Meyer's leave, will retain that role during Meyer's suspension.

    This is the price Meyer has to pay for letting Zach Smith go unchecked for six years before firing him on July 23.

    "I followed my heart and not my head," Meyer said in a prepared statement Wednesday. "I fell short in pursuing full information because at each juncture I gave Zach Smith the benefit of the doubt. As I reflect, my loyalty to his grandfather Earle Bruce, who was a mentor and like a father to me, likely impacted how I treated Zach over the years. I did not know everything about Zach Smith, and I am pleased that the report made this very clear. However, I should have demanded more from him and recognized red flags."

    What Meyer and Gene Smith knew, and whether they followed proper protocol in reporting the allegations against Zach Smith dominated most of the conversation and was the crux of the investigation. To that end, neither was found to violate any school policy other than misunderstanding the reporting requirements laid out in their respective employment contracts.

    Both Meyer and Gene Smith became aware of the allegations against Zach Smith in October 2015. Gene Smith is required to report to the Office of University Compliance and Integrity. He did not. Meyer is required to report in writing to Gene Smith and to Athletic Compliance. He did not, though Gene Smith was aware of the allegations before Meyer was. According to the investigative report, instead of technically following proper protocol, both Meyer and Gene Smith believed that the related police investigation that ended without charges being brought against Zach Smith meant the incident did not trigger a responsibility to report.

    The investigation determined that both "viewed the issue too narrowly through the lens of law enforcement action."

    However that was only part of the cumulative reasons for punishment laid out by the university on Wednesday.

    The report details personal transgressions on the part of Zach Smith that clashed with his role as an assistant football coach at Ohio State. That included a sexual relationship with a former football secretary in 2015, a $600 expenditure at a strip club during a recruiting trip to Florida in 2014, issues with drug and alcohol abuse including a 2013 citation for driving while intoxicated, showing up late for practices and meetings and not showing up for recruiting visits.

    Neither Meyer nor Gene Smith were aware of all of those incidents, but each was aware of some and Gene Smith recommended Meyer replace Zach Smith on his staff in 2015. Meyer declined, and kept Zach Smith on for two more seasons before firing him on July 23 after Smith's ex-wife filed for an order of protection against him on July 20. Zach Smith is also facing a criminal trespass charge from an incident at his ex-wife's home in May 2018.

    Meyer cited both of those recent legal issues, which weren't reported to him but instead found out through media reports, as the reasons for firing Zach Smith. Meyer deemed them a violation of the program's core value of honesty.  

    On the issue of Meyer's comments at Big Ten media days, when he at first seemed to deny any knowledge of domestic abuse allegations against Zach Smith in 2015, the investigation could not determine if Meyer was deliberately misleading or was in part confused by an erroneous report that Zach Smith had been arrested for domestic violence. Smith was never arrested or charged in the incident. The report also made mention of Meyer possibly being evasive out of loyalty to Bruce and because he was reticent to divulge what he deemed someone else's personal matters.

    Records of text conversations show that Meyer was advised to avoid going into detail on the 2015 allegations at all. But his more definitive proclamations that he knew nothing, or never had any conversations about it put him on the path that led to Wednesday's decision.

    "I want to state clearly that we believe Urban Meyer did not and does not condone domestic abuse," said OSU President Michael Drake, who made the final decision in consultation with the board. "However, he did fail to take sufficient management action regarding Zach Smith, he was not as complete an accurate at media days and did not not uphold the high standards and values of the university on that day."

    Perhaps the most troubling revelation in the investigative report was a conversation between Meyer and director of football operations Brian Voltilini regarding changing the settings on Meyer's phone so that text messages more than a year old could not be accessed. That was in response to possible public records requests for Meyer's phone logs. When Meyer turned in his university-issued phone on Aug. 2, there were no text messages more than a year old, though the investigation could not determine if Meyer deleted any messages or when the settings on his phone were changed.

    Nonetheless that likely played into a punitive decision that went beyond the "time served" punishment for Meyer that was floated out earlier this week before Drake and the board deliberated on the investigation.

    Those reports, though, made some optimistic that Meyer perhaps could have been back on the practice field as early as Wednesday afternoon. The board's executive session began at 9 a.m., with Meyer arriving about 30 minutes later. Around 4:30 p.m. you could start to hear the sounds emanating from the football team's practice just across Olentangy River Road at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

    Given what was made public before the full report was divulged, it wasn't a stretch that Meyer would be back in his position overseeing that practice by Thursday at the latest.

    But as Wednesday's deliberations carried into the seventh hour and beyond, it became clear that this wasn't as cut and dry as how Meyer and Smith handled domestic allegations against a subordinate in 2015. It went beyond that, some of the sordid details showing the shocking extent of Meyer's blind spot for Zach Smith.

    None of that may have risen to reason to fire Meyer with cause, or perhaps Ohio State simply didn't want to go down that road. Drake essentially dodged a question asking if termination was on the table for either Meyer or Gene Smith. Firing Meyer without cause would have cost Ohio State roughly $38 million. That's a hefty sum to pay for what would have amounted to firing someone for public relations reasons.

    Instead the result was a middle ground between ending Meyer's tenure at Ohio State and reinstating him outright.

    A month of practice, three games and six weeks of pay were the price for improper management of the allegations against Zach Smith three years ago, for his words at Big Ten media days, and for failures in letting a troubled assistant coach run amok in his program for six years.

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    Vote for whether you think Ohio State made the right decision in suspending Urban Meyer for three games.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State suspended head coach Urban Meyer for three games on Wednesday night following an investigation into what he knew and did regarding allegations of domestic violence against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

    The university had placed Meyer on paid administrative leave on Aug. 1 while it launched its investigation, which concluded Sunday.

    OSU's Board of Trustees met on Wednesday to give its decision on Meyer's status. 

    So do you think the university and President Michael Drake made the right decision? Let us know in the poll and comments below.

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    See the full press conference where OSU announced suspensions for both Urban Meyer and Gene Smith.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State suspended coach Urban Meyer three games and athletic director Gene Smith without pay from Aug. 31-Sept. 18.

    The university announced the suspensions shortly before 9 p.m., following a meeting of the Board of Trustees. The board reviewed the investigation into what Meyer knew and did regarding domestic violence allegations against former receivers coach Zach Smith, who was fired on July 23.

    Watch the full press conference here from our Facebook Live, and make sure you stay with for more coverage of the news from Ohio State.

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    It was always a long shot Ohio State would fire Urban Meyer in the domestic abuse scandal involving fired aide Zach Smith. But Meyer did not do what his admonitions promised.

    CLEVELAND, Ohio - The sign in the football meeting room of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center is written all in capitals. It is a primal scream of a commandment. 


    Another sign bears words found in Matthew 16:26: "For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul?"

    They are the signs of Urban Meyer's pledge of the honor of his players and himself to decency and high standards.

    They also are the sad signs of the times at Ohio State. 

    Wednesday night, Ohio State suspended Meyer for the first three games of the season and equally suspended athletic director Gene Smith for their mishandling of  domestic abuse in the broken marriage of fired assistant coach Zach Smith.

    The first two games, at home against Oregon State and Rutgers, are lollipops. A loss in the third, on the road against TCU in the Dallas Cowboys' stadium, could wreck the Buckeyes' season  


    Meyer's career has been checkered when it comes to policing wrong-doing and whitewashing it with great success.

    The most notorious scorch mark resulted from Aaron Hernandez, the brilliant, troubled tight end at Florida, who hanged himself in prison after being convicted of a double murder with the New England Patriots.

    Meyer also admitted he knew about a 2009 incident in the Smiths' marriage, in which the volatile Smith reportedly threw his pregnant wife, Courtney, against a wall. 


    Yet Meyer kept Zack Wallbanger on his staff, then re-hired him in 2012 at Ohio State. And Meyer got burned by him again.

    Meyer lied about his knowledge of a 2015 incident between Smith and Courtney, now his ex-wife, at the Big Ten preseason meetings this year. Then Meyer had to walk it back after Courtney Smith produced photos of injuries. She said she had shown them to Meyer's wife, Shelley, in urging her to tell her husband.

    The scandal spiraled out of control after Meyer was put on paid leave amid sordid allegations that Smith ordered sex toys to be delivered to the athletic center, where he supposedly had oral sex with a staffer.

    Haz-mat protocols might be needed to make the Woody habitable again.

    Zero tolerance, really?

    On the basis of a murky surveillance tape that was far less incriminating than the file on Smith, Meyer suspended running back Carlos Hyde, now with the Browns, for three games in 2013 for striking or, maybe not striking, a woman with a dismissive gesture during a bar argument. 

    The bullies of the new millenium

    But the default position of universities too often is to protect the institution.

    The terrible consistency of the coarse and brutal scandals of this decade in college sports is exploitation and abuse of  the young, the defenseless and the physically weaker. 

    Included are the young boys raped by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky, while Joe Paterno spouted piffle about Success with Honor; the female gymnasts at Michigan State, sexually abused by a team doctor and covered up by their Spartans coach; and now Meyer's unfounded loyalty to Smith.  

    Other than the good old boys network - Smith is the grandson of Meyer's mentor, the late OSU head coach Earle Bruce - there is little defense for Smith staying on Meyer's staff until this summer. 

    Those who do these things are tainted, shamed as bullies and cowards who knew about evil, but did nothing, who chose to pursue victory at the terrible price of the safety of women and the innocence of children.

    Scandal and sanctimony 

    Ohio State applied as much whitewash as it could, saying, nonsensically, that Meyer lied at the Big Ten meetings but not deliberately.

    So Meyer, an intense, painstakingly prepared coach, half-wittedly blundered? 

    The findings also concluded that Smith and Meyer sat on the 2015 Smith incident rather telling the compliance office.

    Both the lie and the inaction are fireable offenses.

    But then, Meyer has lost only eight games in six seasons at Ohio State. Of course he was not fired.

    "I should have done more," said Meyer, who claimed his relationship with Earle Bruce caused him to go with "my heart."

    He certainly did not go with the signs.

    Bill Livingston is a retired Plain Dealer columnist. He continues to write occasional columns for The Plain Dealer and

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    Akron right-hander Aaron Civale gave up five hits and struck out six in seven shutout innings.

    aaron civale.jpgAaron Civale 

    AKRON, Ohio -- Daniel Salters homered and Andrew Calica had an RBI double as the RubberDucks squeaked out a 2-0 win Wednesday night over the Erie SeaWolves at Canal Park.

    Akron right-hander Aaron Civale gave up five hits and struck out six in seven shutout innings but didn't get the decision. Nick Sandlin got the win with an inning of scoreless relief.

    R.C. Orlan earned the save with a perfect ninth.

    The game was scoreless entering the eighth when Salters homered with one out off Erie reliever Nolan Blackwood. With two outs, Ernie Clements singled, and Calica brought him in with his double off reliever John Schreiber.

    Erie right-hander Spencer Turnbull also was solid, giving up just three hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings.

    See the box score from the game.

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    Read all of the report from the investigation into Urban Meyer, who was suspended three games by Ohio State on Wednesday.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohio State suspended Urban Meyer and athletic director Gene Smith on Wednesday night following an investigation into what they knew about domestic-violence allegations against former receivers coach Zach Smith.

    The following is the full report, with the summary of investigative findings and university actions:


    1.                  The Board of Trustees appointed a Special, Independent Working Group ("Working Group") to oversee an independent investigation of allegations that Coach Urban Meyer failed to act appropriately regarding alleged abuse by Zach Smith of his former wife and related allegations that he misrepresented his knowledge of the alleged events at the Big Ten Media Days. 

    2.                  The Working Group included three Trustees of Ohio State:  Janet Porter, Alex Fischer and Alex Shumate.  The Working Group also included three prominent non-Trustees:  JoAnn Davidson, former Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives; Craig Morford, former Acting Deputy U.S. Attorney General, and Carter Stewart, Esq., former United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.  The University thanks each of these six individuals for the many hours they have spent reviewing these issues in the last two weeks. 

    3.                  The Trustees retained Mary Jo White, Esq., former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and former Chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as her law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, to conduct a detailed investigation of the allegations (the "Independent Investigatory Counsel").   Ms. White and her firm were selected because of their unquestioned independence and their expertise in prior investigations of this nature. Ms. White and her partner, David Sarratt, led the investigation. 

    4.                  In undertaking their review, the Independent Investigatory Counsel interviewed more than 40 witnesses, some multiple times.  They reviewed over 60,000 e-mails and 10,000 text messages, in addition to relevant media reports, police reports, court filings, the employment contracts of Coach Meyer and Athletic Director Smith, and relevant OSU rules and policies, NCAA and Big Ten rules, and applicable state and federal laws. 

    5.                  Upon completion of the Independent Investigatory Counsel's work, the Working Group received their report, found it to be complete, professional and credible, and formally accepted it. 

    6.                  Key findings from the independent review: 

       A.                On the University's overriding concern of assuring that spousal abuse is neither ignored nor condoned, the findings are:  Coach Meyer has "a sincere commitment to the Respect for Women core values that he espouses and tries to instill in his players."  The Independent Counsel also concluded that Coach Meyer would not hesitate to terminate any coach if spousal abuse was established:  "We believe [Coach Meyer] as did Zach Smith, that if [Coach Meyer] ever came to learn or believe that Zach Smith had physically abused his wife, Coach Meyer would have fired Zach Smith or any other coach on the spot." 

       B.                 Although Coach Meyer and Athletic Director Smith failed to adhere to the precise requirements of their contracts when they concluded that they needed to await a law enforcement determination to file charges before they reported the otherwise disputed claims of spousal abuse against Zach Smith, they did so based upon a good faith belief that they did not have sufficient information to trigger a reporting obligation or initiate a disciplinary action in the absence of law enforcement action.  Other than their misunderstanding of the requirements triggering reporting obligations, neither Coach Meyer nor Athletic Director Smith violated any policy, rules, law or contractual obligation in connection with the alleged domestic abuse claims against Zach Smith. 

       C.                 A number of the other witnesses who were interviewed had the same understanding as that of Coach Meyer and Athletic Director Smith as to the events required to trigger University reporting obligations.  The University therefore will undertake steps to make its requirements clearer and implement additional training to reinforce them. 

       D.                Although Coach Meyer made significant misstatements about his knowledge of the 2015 events relating to Zach Smith and his former wife at the Big Ten Media Days, they were not part of a deliberate cover-up effort to keep Zach Smith on the coaching staff in the face of evidence of domestic violence by him that Athletic Director Smith and Coach Meyer credited. 

       E.                 The investigation identified multiple other examples of inappropriate conduct by Zach Smith while employed as an assistant football coach, some known by Coach Meyer and/or Gene Smith and others on the football staff.  Coach Meyer and Athletic Director Smith's efforts to help Zach Smith overcome his personal issues went too far in allowing him to remain as an employee in the face of repeated misconduct.  

    7.                  University actions based upon the independent review: The President and the members of the Board of Trustees of the University have received the Report of the Independent Investigation and find it to be complete, professionally done and credible.  The President has consulted with the Board of Trustees and based upon these independent findings, the University accepts the findings of the report and, based on them, takes the following action: Although neither Urban Meyer nor Gene Smith condoned or covered up the alleged domestic abuse by Zach Smith, they failed to take sufficient management action relating to Zach Smith's misconduct and retained an Assistant Coach who was not performing as an appropriate role model for OSU student-athletes.  Permitting such misconduct to continue is not consistent with the values of the University and reflects poorly on Coach Meyer, Athletic Director Smith, and the University.  Their handling of this matter did not exhibit the kind of leadership and high standards that we expect of our Athletic Director, Head Coach, Assistant Coaches and all on the football staff.  Urban Meyer is suspended through September 2, 2018, and for the games on September 1, 8 and 15 without pay. Gene Smith is suspended without pay from August 31-September 16.

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    The Urban Meyer saga ended Wednesday with Ohio State's investigation revealing much of what you thought this was.

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Urban Meyer saga ended Wednesday with Ohio State's investigation revealing much of what you thought this was. There's little surprise about how this ended.

    The solution, a three-game suspension for Meyer and three-week suspension for athletic director Gene Smith, threaded the needle between no punishment and dismissal, as OSU president Michael Drake dodged a question about whether firing Meyer and Smith was seriously considered.

    A long, strange day of waiting out a decision gave the impression that this solution wasn't rubber stamped and sent on its way, and Meyer and Smith both apologized as soon as they took to the microphone at a news conference that began just before 9 p.m. Ohio State did several things right.

    The school's findings scolded Meyer and Smith for a failure of leadership in dealing with fired receivers coach Zach Smith, as Meyer admitted he gave Zach Smith too much slack over six years at Ohio State because he was the grandson of former OSU football coach Earle Bruce, Meyer's mentor. That was obvious throughout Smith's career.

    Gene Smith and Meyer, but especially Smith, didn't properly handle domestic-abuse allegations against Zach Smith in 2015, as Gene Smith failed to involve Ohio State's compliance office. But Ohio State found that failure to be a misunderstanding of their duties, not a malicious cover-up.

    Drake addressed the obvious, that no solution would please everyone, and that the two-week investigation and 10-hour consideration by Drake and the OSU Board of Trustees on Wednesday dealt with some complicated issues.

    The end result, in my opinion, was reasonable. It could have been more severe.

    Smith's failures as an AD in not more systematically dealing with the allegations in 2015 are a problem. Meyer's continued employment of an unqualified relative of a friend put personal relationships ahead of the football program, and he ignored several chances to cut ties with Zach Smith, outside of the fact that Smith was never charged with a domestic-violence crime.

    So changes must be made.

    In general, Gene Smith and Meyer clearly didn't understand the best way to deal with a domestic-violence issue in 2015, and Ohio State said better plans will be put in place.

    A key question of power in this case must be addressed as well, and Ohio State said it would be. Gene Smith said he did not know when Zach Smith was hired in 2012 that he had domestic-abuse allegations against him at Florida in 2009. Meyer was very aware of that.

    So Ohio State will address its hiring policies. Meyer, who just fired his mentor's grandson and also has the best man from his wedding on his coaching staff, will have less control over hires. He'll discuss them with Gene Smith. And Smith said he has talked with human resources about improving Ohio State's background checks.

    Zach Smith never should have been hired here. Meyer was given that discretion. He shouldn't, and apparently won't, have that kind of carte blanche anymore.

    In adequately addressing this, Ohio State had to deal with punishment, atonement and policies going forward. There is punishment. There were apologies. There were pledges about changes.

    But there was no apology for Courtney Smith, the ex-wife of Zach Smith, who played a central role in this situation from the get-go, and has alleged abuse by her husband on multiple occasions.

    Meyer was offered a point-blank opportunity to apologize to Courtney Smith, an apology that wouldn't have to hinge on whether charges were ever brought, as lead investigator Mary Jo White acknowledged while kicking off the news conference that charges aren't the threshold in domestic violence cases. No charges was not an excuse for Ohio State to not do more.

    No charges was no excuse for Meyer to not apologize. But when asked, Meyer instead apologized for the situation as a whole, a seemingly stubborn avoidance when an expression of concern for a woman who has expressed repeated fears about her husband would have been so simple to offer.

    Meyer, who said previously he wasn't prepared for questions at Big Ten media days on July 24, when his misleading answers clouded this story and put him in further jeopardy, had to know this question was coming. He had to be prepared this time -- he hasn't coached for three weeks. But he chose that answer.

    The OSU investigation focused heavily on Meyer's misstatements, or lies, at Big Ten media day. The investigators found that Meyer was untruthful, but without intent. He did himself no favors with what he said in Chicago on July 24, but to me how he handled Zach Smith and listened to Courtney Smith was always a far bigger issue.

    But Meyer -- uncomfortable at a news conference as his school president outlines his failures, away from his team as it practices for a Sept. 1 opener that will take place without him -- knew he reached this point in part because of his words.

    The investigation made that clear. He chose in the end to not speak the words a lot of people were waiting to hear.

    Meyer seemed sorry about his actions. That's what matters most here. But in the end, he should know the weight that words, spoken and unspoken, can carry.

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    Boston ended Carlos Carrasco's streak of good starts by knocking him out of Wednesday night's game after 3 2/3 innings. Watch video

    BOSTON -- Edwin Encarnacion is back and that's a good thing for the Indians. Wednesday night, however, it wasn't good enough.

    Encaracion hit two home runs in his first game back from the disabled list, but Boston rocked Carlos Carrasco on the way to a 10-4 victory at Fenway Park. The Indians lead the four-game series between division leaders, 2-1.

    The Indians placed Encarnacion on the DL on Aug. 12 with a bruised right hand and sore left biceps. They activated him Wednesday and he homered in the first and fifth innings.

    Encarnacion's first-inning drive over The Green Monster gave Carrasco a 2-0 lead. He cleared The Monster again in the fifth to cut Boston's lead to 6-4 to give him 27 homers and 85 RBI for the season.

    But the night and the game belonged to the Red Sox, whose 89 victories are the most in the big leagues. The victory ended Boston's longest losing streak of the season. The streak was only a three-gamer, which is an indication of what kind of season they're having.

    Carrasco (15-7, 3.55) has never had much luck against Boston and that didn't change on Wednesday. The Red Sox took control in the fourth as they scored five runs and sent 11 batters to the plate to take a 6-2 lead.

    "I just thought he got into that (fourth) inning and he couldn't locate in and then they started covering everything," said manager Terry Francona. "They do such a good job of covering the plate. He'd throw a two-seamer away and they whacked it the other way. I think it kind of started because he just couldn't command the ball inside good enough."

    Andrew Benintendi's three-run double to left field against an over-shifted defense was the big hit of the inning. When Mitch Moreland followed with a single, Carrasco was done for the night. He allowed six runs, five earned, in 3 2/3 innings.

    Carrasco started the game as one of baseball's hottest pitchers. He was 8-1 with a 1.73 ERA in his last nine appearances. In those eight appearances, covering 52 innings, he allowed 10 earned runs. He allowed half that many Wednesday night.

    "We are going to have those days," said Carrasco. "We're going to throw those perfect pitches (and they're going to get hit). Like to (Blake) Swihart, the catcher. I threw a pitch down and away he got a ground ball (single) pretty much to shortstop. I thought that was one of my best pitches of the whole night. It was down and away to get a ground ball."

    Swihart's single to left field in the fourth against an overshifted defense gave Boston a 3-2 lead that it never surrendered.

    "It is what it is, man," said Carrasco. "They're going to get those pitches sometimes. Sometimes you throw a really bad pitch they get out, too."

    In his career, Carrasco is 1-3 with a 7.47 ERA (26 earned runs in 31 1/3 innings) against the Red Sox.

    "They got me here last year and they got me again this year," said Carrasco. "I've just got to learn from it."

    The Red Sox, once the Indians made it 6-4, moved to higher ground in a hurry. Moreland hit a two-run homer off Dan Otero in the sixth for an 8-4 lead. Xander Bogaerts opened the seventh with another homer off Otero for a 9-4 lead. It was his second homer of the night. He started the fourth-inning rally with a one-out homer off Carrasco.

    J.D. Martinez made it 10-4 with a single off Cody Allen in the eighth. Center fielder Greg Allen ended the inning with a running catch of Bogaerts drive to deep center. Allen, however, took an 0-for-4 to end his 14-game hitting streak.

    What it means

    The Indians went into Wednesday night's game eyeing just one team in the AL West as a possible playoff opponent. They did so knowing that it's unlikely to stay that way for long.

    Houston beat Seattle, 10-7, Wednesday afternoon to reclaim first place in the West by one game over Oakland. The A's, also playing an afternoon game, lost to Texas, 4-2.

    The Indians are in line to play the AL West champion in the first round of the postseason in October. They went 3-4 against Houston and 2-4 against Oakland earlier this season.

    AL MVP Jose Altuve just rejoined the Astros from the disabled list, but George Springer is still dealing with a quadriceps injury. Reports say he could return to the lineup on Friday.

    The Astros are off Thursday, while the A's open a seven-game trip Thursday night with a four-game series against the Twins. The A's then travel to Houston for a three-game showdown. It will be the last regular-season series between the two teams.

    The pitches

    Carrasco threw 81 pitches, 58 (72 percent) for strikes. Johnson threw 82 pitches, 51 (62 percent) for strikes.

    Thanks for coming

    The Indians and Red Sox drew a sellout crowd of 37,107 to Fenway Park on Wednesday night. First pitch was at 7:10 p.m. with a temperature of 83 degrees.


    Rookie right-hander Adam Plutko (4-3, 4.62) will face Red Sox left-hander David Price (13-6, 3.69) on Thursday at 1:05 p.m. SportsTime Ohio, WTAM and WMMS will carry the game.

    Plutko, coming off a 4-2 loss to the Orioles, will be facing the Red Sox for the first time. He has taken the place of injured Trevor Bauer in the rotation.

    Price has a 1.35 ERA in five starts since the All-Star break. He is 10-2 with a 2.24 ERA in 13 career starts against the Indians.

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