NFL: Drew Brees led New Orleans to a touchdown on his only series Sunday night, and the Saints beat the Arizona Cardinals 17-10 in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio.
The game was canceled last year for the first time in 45 years because of the NFL’s lockout of players. Labor issues also came into play in Sunday night’s game – the seven officials were replacements.
The win completed a good weekend for the Saints, who needed one after their rough offseason overshadowed by the bounty scandal. Former Saints tackle Willie Roaf was part of the six-man induction class to the hall on Saturday night.
Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb threw an interception and left with bruised ribs, hurting his chances of winning the starting job.
• College officials work Hall of Fame game: A crew of officials with college experience worked the Hall of Fame game, filling in for regulars who are locked out in a labor dispute with the NFL.
It was a glimpse of what’s to come if the NFL and the officials’ union fail to reach an agreement before the season openers.
Craig Ochoa, who has worked Big Ten games, was the referee for the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Arizona Cardinals. Ochoa has eight years of experience in BCS conferences and 16 years officiating Division III games.
The other five officials also have worked college games. Most of them also have experience in other professional leagues, such as the Arena League.
• Avril signs deal with Lions: Defensive end Cliff Avril has reported to Detroit Lions training camp.
Avril signed his tender and will make $10.6 million this season as franchise-tagged player. He didn’t report with his teammates to training camp on July 26 and missed more than a week of practice.
Avril is the only NFL player with at least 19 1/2 sacks, nine deflected passes, seven forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries the previous two years.
• Chicago wide receiver Thomas retires: Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Thomas has retired.
Thomas left the Chicago Bears and later announced his retirement. The former Washington Redskins and New York Giants player offered no immediate explanation, saying on Twitter, “I have decided to retire from the NFL.”
Betancourt cut, Abreu called up
MLB: Slumping infielder Yuniesky Betancourt has been cut by the Kansas City Royals after beginning the season as the team’s starting second baseman.
Betancourt was designated for assignment Sunday following Kansas City’s 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers in 10 innings. To replace him, the Royals selected the contract of infielder Tony Abreu from Triple-A Omaha.
The 27-year-old Abreu was hitting .322 with nine home runs, 36 doubles, five triples and 73 RBIs in 103 games with Omaha. He has a .251 batting average in 146 major league games with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks.
Columbus Crew midfielder Urso dies
Miscellany: Columbus Crew midfielder Kirk Urso died Sunday at a central Ohio hospital, and no cause of death has been determined, a county coroner said. He was 22.
Urso was pronounced dead at 1:50 a.m. at Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Franklin County Coroner Dr. Jan Gorniak said. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
Police were called to a bar in the city at about 12:50 a.m. and Urso was taken from there to the hospital, The Columbus Dispatch reported. Police officials did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking details on the circumstances.
The team withheld detailed comment, and the hospital said privacy laws ruled out any comment.
Urso was in his first season with the Crew.
• Dolgopolov wins Citi Open: Second-seeded Alexandr Dolgopolov won the Citi Open for his first ATP World Tour 500 event title, beating fourth-seeded Tommy Haas 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-1 in Washington.
The 25th-ranked Dolgopolov’s previous three finals appearances, including one victory, came in 250-level events.
Haas won the first-set tiebreaker to hand Dolgopolov his first set loss of the tournament.
Both players held serve in the second set until Dolgopolov, from the Ukraine, broke Haas in the final game for the German’s first set loss in the tournament. Dolgopolov broke Haas’ serve twice in the final set.
• Filly Irish Mission wins Breeders’ Stakes: Irish Mission won the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine in Toronto, beating Aldous Snow by half-length in the 1 1/2-mile race on the turf course.
Irish Mission, the 3-year-old filly ridden by Alex Solis, gave trainer Mark Frostad his fourth victory in the race. In seven starts this year, Irish Mission has three victories and two second-place finishes, with earnings of more than $840,000. The winner finished in 2:30.90 and paid $11.80, $6.10 and $4.70.
Aldous Snow returned $5.80 and $4.20, and Quaesitor paid $12.10 to show.
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