iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(IRVING, Texas) – The Dallas Cowboys (6-1) released defensive end Michael Sam from their practice squad on Tuesday.
“I want to thank the Jones family and the entire Cowboys organization for this opportunity, as well as my friends, family, teammates and fans for their support,” Sam wrote on his Twitter page. “While this is disappointing, I will take the lessons I learned here in Dallas and continue to fight for an opportunity to prove that I can play every Sunday.”
Sam, who is the NFL’s first openly gay player, was signed by the Cowboys to their practice squad on Sept. 3, after he was cut by the St. Louis Rams at the end of the preseason.
The Rams selected Sam out of Missouri with the 249th pick in this year’s NFL draft. During his preseason campaign, the 2013 SEC defensive player of the year had 11 tackles and three sacks.
In seven games this season, the Cowboys have just seven sacks.
iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The New York Jets (1-6) and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley agreed to a four-year contract extension on Tuesday. He was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following this season.
The deal is worth $16 million, with $5.4 million guaranteed, according to ESPN.
The Jets selected Kerley out of TCU with the 153rd overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft. In 49 career regular-season games, he has 150 receptions for 1,865 yards and seven touchdowns.
Kerley has led the Jets in receptions and receiving yards the last two seasons.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the midst of what is proving to be another disappointing season, Florida Gators' athletic Director Jeremy Foley has stated that he will continue to evaluate head coach Will Muschamp "as it plays out" over the season.
Through the first six weeks of the season, the Gators find themselves at 3-3 and 5th in the SEC East standings behind South Carolina, Kentucky, Missouri, and Georgia.
"At the beginning of the season, we said we would evaluate the season as it plays out," Foley said in a statement. "We will continue to do so. Our sole focus right now is supporting our coaching staff and players as they prepare for Georgia."
The fan criticism towards Mushamp has grown week by week as he is now in his fourth season as the team's head coach and has had little success.
In Muschamp's second season with Florida back in 2012, he went 11-2 that year, but is a combined 14-17 in his other three seasons at the helm.
Wesley Hitt/Getty Images Sport(NEW YORK) -- The San Francisco 49ers will to press on as starting center Daniel Kilgore will miss the remainder of the season with a broken bone in his left leg.
Kilgore suffered the injury during the team's loss against the Denver Broncos on Sunday night.
"It's an obstacle to overcome, and he's made of the right stuff," head coach Jim Harbaugh said of Kilgore. "No doubt that he'll overcome it."
"We'll say a prayer and hope the surgery goes real well tomorrow, which I'm confident it will, and he'll start healing," he continued.
In his first year as the starting center, Kilgore was more than holding his own as the 49ers have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL.
Marcus Martin, who was the team's third-round draft pick this year, is expected to take over as the team's new starting center. He's close to recovering from a left knee injury he suffered back in the preseason.
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius was sentenced to five years in prison for the 2013 shooting death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, Judge Thokozile Masipa announced Tuesday.
Before announcing her decision, Masipa acknowledged that sentencing is "not a perfect exercise."
"A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. But a long sentence would also not be appropriate, because it would lack mercy," she said.
Pistorius was convicted last month of culpable homicide -- comparable to manslaughter -- in Steenkamp’s death. The conviction carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison with no minimum prescribed sentence.
He was found not guilty of a more serious premeditated murder charge.
Prosecutors had requested 10 years in prison for Pistorius, 27, who’s known as Blade Runner for his prosthetic legs. The South African athlete’s defense team suggested a sentence of house arrest.
The trial began in March and was marked by the athlete’s emotional outbursts -- often sobbing and wailing in court as details of the shooting were discussed.
iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Citing health reasons, Archie Manning has stepped down Monday from the College Football Playoff Committee that was designed to select the four teams in the 2014 NCAA Playoff, the first in collegiate football.
"It is an honor to serve on this committee, and I enjoy the group and was looking forward to the opportunity ahead," Manning said. "My health had to be my primary concern and I intend to be up and about as soon as possible."
The 65-year-old underwent knee replacement surgery earlier this year and has begun to experience some discomfort while walking. Manning is scheduled to have another procedure done in the next month and will be unable to attend the committee's meetings.
Now a 12-member group, the committee will release its first rankings on Oct. 28. Should a 6-6 deadlock vote occur for the top two teams in the playoff, the group will continue to discuss and re-vote until a member changes their mind. There is currently no option where the committee's chair can break a tie.
With the departure of Manning, the committee has placed Mike Tranghese to work with the Mountain West Conference while Steve Weiberg will assist with the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- San Francisco 49er Aldon Smith could be returning sooner than later, according to a league source that confirmed Monday the linebacker's suspension may be reduced for good behavior.
Smith was initially suspended nine-games prior to the start of the season for violating the NFL's personal conduct and substance abuse policies. The suspension is set to be lifted on Nov. 10, following San Francisco's game against the New Orleans Saints.
However, a league source confirmed a report that the penalty may be reduced by one or two games. That means the linebacker could return prior to San Fran's matchup with the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 3. The 49ers have a bye-week in Week 8 and a Week 9 return would only improve a linebacking core that has been hampered with injuries and suspensions.
In order for the suspension to be reduced, Smith must maintain his good behavior. Under the terms of the suspension, the four-year veteran has been allowed at the team facilities for meetings and conditioning but has not been allowed to practice.
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Less than three months ago, Paul George was being carried off the floor from a intersquad scrimmage with Team USA with a broken leg. On Monday, the Indiana Pacers forward was seen shooting jump shots with his teammates at practice.
Video surfaced from Pacers practice that showed George taking midrange jumpers as well as shooting some three-pointers in the gym following practice. The small forward suffered a grisly compound fracture in his right leg on Aug. 1 during a televised scrimmage with Team USA before the FIBA World Cup.
The 24-year-old has been cleared to put weight on his leg and begin upper-body workouts. George also proclaimed recently that he plans to play at some point during the upcoming NBA season.
A two-time All-Star, George has not missed more than three games in a season since the 2011-12 campaign. Last year he helped lead the Pacers back to the Eastern Conference Finals, averaging 21.7 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers scored 24 points in the second quarter, including three touchdowns in less than 90 seconds, to pick up a 30-23 win over the Houston Texans on Monday night. It was the 16th straight victory for the Steelers on Monday Night Football.
Trailing 13-0 halfway through the second quarter, the Steelers (4-3) got on the board with a Shaun Suisham field goal at the 3:08 mark. Less than two minutes later, Ben Roethlisberger found Martavis Bryant for a 35-yard touchdown pass that brought Pittsburgh within three at 13-10.
What happened next changed the course of the game. Two plays after the touchdown, Houston's Arian Foster fumbled deep in his own territory to give the Steelers perfect field possession. Wide receiver Antonio Brown then delivered a three-yard pass to Lance Moore on a reverse, putting Pittsburgh ahead 17-13. Things only escalated for the Texans (3-4) when Ryan Fitzpatrick's pass was tipped an intercepted on the very next play.
That set-up another scoring drive for Pittsburgh, capped off by a Roethlisberger two-yard strike to Le'Veon Ball, making it a 24-13 ball game at halftime.
"You stand on the sidelines long enough, you will see explosions such as that," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "It was good to be on the good side of it."
The Steelers only mustered a pair of second-half field goals and had to hold off a late rally by the Texans. Houston pulled within a touchdown when Fitzpatrick and Foster connected for a touchdown pass with 1:31 remaining in regulation. However, the ensuing onside kick was recovered by Pittsburgh, who ran out the clock.