NFL

Thursday's Sports In Brief

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JULY 4-6 - FILE - In this June 15, 2010, file photo, Barbara Castelein, left, and Mierte, both from the Netherlands, walk after an interview outside Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Soccer's governing body says the outfit Photo:

ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JULY 4-6 - FILE - In this June 15, 2010, file photo, Barbara Castelein, left, and Mierte, both from the Netherlands, walk after an interview outside Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg. Soccer's governing body says the outfit

NFL

The players' union proposed a settlement on Tom Brady's four-game suspension last week that was ''met with silence'' by the NFL, a person familiar with the proposal told The Associated Press.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the NFL Players Association's offer was confidential. There is no timetable on when Commissioner Roger Goodell will rule on the New England quarterback's appeal.

Several media reports indicated the union's proposal called for Brady paying a large fine, but with no suspension. The Patriots paid a record $1 million fine and were stripped of two draft picks, including a No. 1 selection next year. Team owner Robert Kraft accepted those punishments while stating he believed the Patriots had done nothing wrong.

Brady was suspended for his role in using underinflated footballs in the Patriots' victory over the Colts in the AFC title game. A league-sanctioned independent report by attorney Ted Wells found that Brady at the least was ''generally aware'' of the use of the footballs in what has become known as ''Deflategate.''

---

TOUR DE FRANCE

SAINT-JEAN-DE-MAURIENNE, France (AP) Chris Froome is halfway through the Alps, the last obstacle to his second Tour de France victory, after comfortably maintaining his race lead on a Stage 18 won in style by Romain Bardet on Thursday.

Bardet rode alone down the huge Glandon pass and up the 18 hairpin bends of the Montvernier Laces, previously unclimbed by the Tour, to take a solo victory at Saint-Jean-De-Maurienne on the second of four days in the Alps, the last big test before the finish in Paris on Sunday. Pierre Rolland of the Europcar team made it a 1-2 French finish, coming in 33 seconds behind the winner for AG2R La Mondiale.

As they did on the first Alpine stage on Wednesday, Froome's rivals again tested the Team Sky rider but couldn't make him crack over seven climbs.

''Everyone attacked,'' Froome said.

---

BASEBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Scott Kazmir is heading to his hometown Houston Astros and into the thick of a pennant race, and the Oakland Athletics are starting their summer sell-off.

The A's began their expected changes leading up to the July 31 trade deadline, sending the left-hander to the Astros for a pair of minor leaguers Thursday in what could be the first of many significant deals across the majors in the next week.

Oakland received sought-after catcher Jacob Nottingham and right-handed pitcher Daniel Mengden in the swap with its AL West rival - and the Astros got a top-tier starter as they chase a playoff berth in the season's second half. Houston hasn't been to the playoffs since being swept in the 2005 World Series by the Chicago White Sox when the Astros were still in the National League.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Aramis Ramirez is headed back to the Pittsburgh Pirates after they acquired the veteran third baseman from the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Pirates got Ramirez on Thursday for minor league pitcher Yhonathan Barrios.

The trade came 12 years to the day after the Pirates sent Ramirez to the Chicago Cubs.

The 37-year-old Ramirez, a three-time All-Star, is hitting .247 with 11 home runs and 42 RBIs in what he says is his final season.

The contending Pirates, who will also receive cash considerations in the trade, were in need of infield help with regular third baseman Josh Harrison and shortstop Jordy Mercer both out at least another month with injuries. Pittsburgh began Thursday trailing St. Louis by six games in the NL Central.

---

SOCCER

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - Sepp Blatter left the security of Switzerland for the first time in two months on Thursday, arriving for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw, with Russia saying that communication with FIFA has been disrupted by the corruption crisis.

Blatter will no longer be FIFA president by the time of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, with the 79-year-old Swiss due to leave office in seven months after almost 18 years in power.

The uncertainty about the leadership of world soccer is creating some issues for Russia, whose sports minister, Vitality Mutko, joined Blatter on arrival at his St. Petersburg hotel on Thursday.

The draw for World Cup qualifying is on Saturday as Russia prepares for its first major football event in three years.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - At the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw on Saturday, two European countries could be rewarded for perfect tactics on and off the field.

Both Romania and Wales should be top-seeded in their groups despite not playing at a World Cup for decades.

Credit is due to in-form national teams and smart national federation officials learning that playing friendlies can damage your FIFA ranking.

FIFA is expected to confirm on Friday that seeding will be decided by world rankings alone, as it was four years ago.

That will ensure No. 8-ranked Romania and No. 10 Wales avoid Germany, Spain and the Netherlands in a draw where only group winners are sure to advance.

---

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Braxton Miller is shifting from quarterback to receiver, whittling Ohio State's QB competition to two star passers.

Miller told SI.com on Thursday night that he plans to start the season in the H-back position and also hopes to return punts. He had surgery to repair of torn labrum in his throwing shoulder before the start of last season and sat out while J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones led the Buckeyes to their first national title since 2002.

Barrett led Ohio State to an 11-1 record before breaking his ankle. Jones then guided the Buckeyes to victories in the Big Ten title game against Wisconsin, the national semifinal against Alabama and the championship game against Oregon.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Miller was Big Ten player of the year in 2012 and 2013.

---

DRUG TESTING

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Drug testing is coming to e-sports.

The Electronic Sports League said Thursday it will begin randomly drug testing players at its competitive video game tournaments.

The e-sports organization plans to work with the World Anti-Doping Agency to create and enforce rules surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs.

''The growing visibility and popularity of e-sports, as well as increasing prize pools, make it not only more tempting for teams and players to break the rules, but also more damaging to our sport as a whole when they do,'' the organization said in a statement.

The announcement came after a competitive video game player said in a YouTube video posted last week that he and his team used the drug Adderall during an ESL tournament in March where players competed for $250,000 in prize money.

Promoted Stories
Comments

More NFL