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Jets Part Ways with WR Stephen Hill

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Stephen Hill experiment is over in New Jersey.

The-23-year-old receiver was cut by the New York Jets Saturday.

The Jets selected the 6-foot-4 Hill with the 43rd overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.

Hill's NFL career got off to a hot start catching two touchdowns in his first regular season game, but it was all downhill from there. According to ESPN Stats & Information, over the last two seasons, Hill recorded the second-lowest reception percentage of any player that was targeted at least 100 times. 

During his two seasons with the Jets, Hill played in 23 games, catching 45 balls, for 594 yards and four touchdowns.

The Jets will now rely upon Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson as their main receivers to start the season.

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Longtime Steelers Linebacker James Harrison Retires

NFL via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Linebacker James Harrison will retire from the NFL.

The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year made the announcement on his Facebook page Saturday.

"I have made the difficult decision to retire as of today," Harrison posted. "My love for my family and the need to be there for them outweighs my desire to play the game. I have missed too many experiences with them because I devoted SO much time to my career.

"My love for the game isn't strong enough to make up for missing one more birthday or first day of school."

Harrison joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2002 as a undrafted free agent out of Akron. The five-time Pro Bowler proceeded to play the next 10 seasons in Pittsburgh, where he was part of two Super Bowl winning teams.

Harrison was released by the Steelers following the 2012 season and played last season for the Cincinnati Bengals.

Harrison had one of the least productive years of his career in Cincinnati. He played in 15 games, recording 30 tackles and two sacks.

The Bengals cut Harrison in March and the 36-year-old had been trying to find another team to play for before finally deciding to announce his retirement.

Harrison finishes his 11 year NFL career playing in 146 regular season games, compiling 647 tackles, 66 sacks, 29 forced fumbles and six interceptions.


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ESPN: Michael Sam Released by Rams

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) --  Defensive end Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, according to ESPN.

Sam was attempting to become the first openly gay player in NFL history, but came up short as all 32 teams had to trim their rosters down to the league-mandated 53 players.  He was beat out by undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who is one of nine defensive linemen to land a roster spot.

"You know what, it's not going to be like the draft," Sam said earlier this week. "I'm very confident that I'm going to sleep really well tonight and I'm very confident I'm going to be on a team, the Rams or any other team in the NFL."

Sam made headlines before the NFL scouting combine when he announced that he's gay. He'd be the first openly gay player in NFL history.

Even with a chip on his shoulder, Sam was unable to prove to Rams coaches that as a seventh round pick, he should make the team.

Despite being let go, Sam had a very productive preseason. In four preseason games, he's recorded 11 tackles while also registering three sacks.

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Kliff Kingsbury Signs Extension With Texas Tech

Banana Stock/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Good news for Texas Tech fans, Kliff Kingsbury isn't going anywhere.

Kingsbury and the University have agreed to a contract extension that will keep him as the head football coach through the 2020 season.  He'll make $3.1 million in 2015 and receive a $200,000 raise each year to $4.1 million in the final year of his deal.

"This is where I want to be and I couldn't be happier," Kingsbury said in a statement. "I can't wait to take this thing to the next level."

Kingsbury was a record-setting quarterback for the Red Raiders before spending five seasons in the NFL.  He became the head coach of Texas Tech in December 2012.  Last season, he led the Red Raiders to a 7-5 record and a bowl win.

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Bills Sign Veteran QB Kyle Orton

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  The Buffalo Bills have signed free agent quarterback Kyle Orton to a one-year deal, the club announced late Friday night.

The Bills have spent much of the preseason searching for a veteran backup quarterback to mentor E.J. Manuel.  The team signed Jordan Palmer earlier this week, but released him shortly afterwards.

Orton, 31, has started 70 games over his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Chicago Bears, and Kansas City Chiefs.  The Cowboys released Orton back in July, paving the way for him to sign with Buffalo.

According to ESPN, Orton's deal includes a player option for a second season.  He was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL draft.

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Bengals Release BenJarvus Green-Ellis

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(CINCINNATI) --  Veteran running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis has been cut by the Cincinnati Bengals, the team announced Friday.

The move was expected, as Green-Ellis did not dress for the Bengals' last two preseason games.  Giovani Bernard will be the team's starting running back, with rookie Jeremy Hill serving as the primary backup.  Cincinnati selected Hill in the second-round of this year's NFL draft.

"It's very difficult to release such a fine player and person as BenJarvus," coach Marvin Lewis said. "He has been an exceptional player and teammate, as well as mentor to our younger players. He has also been a standout person in the community. We thank Bennie for all he has done and wish him the best of luck in the future."

Green-Ellis was entering the final year of his three-year contract and was scheduled to make $2.3 million this season.  In his two seasons in Cincinnati, Green-Ellis rushed for more than 1,700 yards.  He averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry last season and had just four catches.

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Jim Irsay Reportedly Has Plea Deal in Place

Joe Robbins/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay has reportedly reached a plea deal as part of his impaired driving case. That according the Indianapolis Star, citing court officials.

Irsay was arrested in March on a pair of misdemeanor charges. The Colts owner was arrested near his home after failing a field sobriety test. Officers on the scene said he had trouble reciting the alphabet. Police reports showed that Irsay had various prescription drugs and $29,000 in cash in his position at the time of the arrest.

"I cannot provide any details of -- or even verify the existence of -- an agreement unless and until one would be tendered to the Court at such a hearing," said Andre Miksha, a spokesman for the Hamilton County prosecutor.

The trial, originally scheduled for Oct. 30, was reportedly rescheduled for Tuesday. While details of the plea agreement were not released, the announcement of the plea will allow NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to deliver his punishment of Irsay.

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Michigan State Cruises to Season Opening Win

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(EAST LANSING, Mich.) -- A 64-yard touchdown pass from Connor Cook to Tony Lippett opened the scoring for Michigan State football in 2014. It also started a brief injury scare as Cook needed to be helped off the field following a hit to his leg.

That scare did not last long as Cook returned to throw three touchdowns in helping the eighth-ranked Michigan State Spartans to a 45-7 win over Jacksonville State. The junior completed his first nine passes of the game and finished the day going 12-for-13 for 285 yards before sitting out the second half.

The defending Big Ten Champions led 38-0 at halftime before resting the majority of their starters. The Gamecocks, considered a top team in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), didn't get on the board until the Max Shortell found Markis Merrill for a nine-yard strike.

"I was proud of our kids on how we finished the game," said Jacksonville State head coach John Grass. "We dug a hole early, and you can't do that against a team like Michigan State. They've got a team that's going to make a run at a national championship. I really believe that."

The Spartans will have a much tougher task next week when they take on the No. 3 Oregon Ducks. 

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Federer Advances in Straight Sets

ANDREW YATES/AFP/GettyImages(NEW YORK) -- The No. 2 seed in the U.S. Open rolled to a straight set win over Sam Groth on Friday. Roger Federer defeated the Australian 6-4, 6-4, 6-4, despite consistently facing serves in excess of 130 m.p.h.

"I'm aware of every serve, how hard it is after the point when he goes big, because I think it's interesting and I want to see," Federer said. "Sometimes I feel it, as well. I'm like, 'That felt like 138,' and it might be just a couple off."

Facing the big-hitting Groth, Federer limited him to just eight aces while breaking the Aussie's serve five different times. The Swiss superstar has won five U.S. Open Championships as part of his 17 Major titles.

Federer's win improved him to 54-1 all-time in Grand Slam second round matches and sets him up for a date with Spaniard Marcell Granollers.

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Yankees Tanaka Returns to New York with Soreness

Rob Carr/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka returned to New York on Friday with what is being called "general soreness". The right-hander was attempting to return from a torn ligament in his elbow suffered in July.

"I want to be a little bit cautious. I haven't been throwing for a couple of weeks and then I started throwing again and built up the number of pitches that I've been throwing,'' said Tanaka via his interpreter, Shingo Horie. "I think that's the reason why there's a little bit of extra soreness in the arm itself."

Tanaka, almost a lock for American League Rookie of the Year before the injury, threw 49 pitches in a simulated game prior to the Yankees taking on the Detroit Tigers on August 28. Following his performance, Tanaka said he was experiencing a feeling of soreness which then raised questions about his return this season.

"I don't have percentages,'' Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "We'd like him to pitch for us, too. But as I've said all along, this is something we're either going to know or not know when he gets into competition.

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