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    The NFL is teaming up with Ice Cube. The league announced Thursday a partnership with Contract with Black America Institute, an economic inclusion-focused initiative led by artist and entrepreneur O’Shea Jackson, who is known as Ice Cube.  The NFL has worked to increase economic equity and partnerships with Black-owned businesses. The partnership with Ice Cube’s CWBA will focus on identifying league-wide opportunities in the financial, tech, and production sectors, with a concentration on increasing direct and indirect spending to national Black businesses to help close America’s racial and economic wealth gap.

      The NFL and Deshaun Watson’s legal team presented their arguments before a disciplinary officer for a second day with both sides holding firm as the hearing is scheduled to continue in Delaware on Thursday. The league is insisting on an indefinite suspension and Watson’s side is arguing there’s no basis for a punishment that significant, two people in attendance told The Associated Press.  Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association, is tasked with determining whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

        The NFL insisted on an indefinite suspension while Deshaun Watson’s legal team argued there’s no basis for that punishment as both sides presented their cases in front of a retired judge in Delaware on Tuesday, two people in attendance told The Associated Press. The hearing will continue on Wednesday and Watson is scheduled to be there for the duration, according to the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the hearing isn’t public. Former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFL Players’ Association, will determine whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

          Buffalo Bills and Sabres co-owner Kim Pegula is “progressing well” while rehabilitating from a health issue. The Pegula family released a statement saying she is resting and they are grateful for the medical professionals providing her care. The statement would not say whether Pegula remains in the intensive care unit of a Florida hospital or specify the medical issue in asking to continue respecting the family’s need for privacy. The statement is the first update on Pegula’s health in two weeks, when the family first revealed she was receiving medical care for what was called some unexpected health issues.

            Two people with knowledge of the move tell The Associated Press the Washington Commanders have agreed to terms on a three-year contract extension with star wide receiver Terry McLaurin. One person confirmed the new deal is worth up to $71 million with roughly $53 million guaranteed and a $28 million signing bonus. McLaurin had one year left on his rookie contract and skipped offseason workouts while negotiations were ongoing. A third-round pick in 2019, McLaurin has become Washington's best player since breaking into the NFL. Coach Ron Rivera had said it was a matter of time until the team got a deal done with McLaurin's camp.

            Baker Mayfield said the Cleveland Browns have work ahead if they want him to help them through their situation with Deshaun Watson. Mayfield, speaking at his football camp near the University of Oklahoma’s campus, didn’t entirely close the door on stepping in if needed. “No, I think for that to happen, there would have to be some reaching out,” Mayfield said. “But we’re ready to move on, I think, on both sides.”

            Prime Video is turning to an experienced host for its coverage of “Thursday Night Football”. Amazon announced that Charissa Thompson will host the pregame, halftime and postgame coverage for its first season as the exclusive home of the primetime package. Thompson will also continue to host Sunday’s Fox “NFL Kickoff,” which she has done for the past three seasons. Prime Video will carry a preseason game when San Francisco faces Houston on Aug. 25. Its first Thursday night regular-season game comes on Sept. 15 when Kansas City hosts the Los Angeles Chargers.

            Marlin Briscoe, the first Black starting quarterback in the American Football League, has died at the age of 76. Briscoe's daughter, Angela Marriott, told The Associated Press that he died of pneumonia at a hospital in Norwalk, California on Monday. Briscoe was a star quarterback at Omaha University before the Denver Broncos drafted him as a cornerback in the 14th round in 1968. He told the team he wanted a tryout at quarterback. Denver agreed to an audition, and the 5-foot-10 dynamo nicknamed “The Magician” ended up starting five games that year.

            A lawsuit alleges the Houston Texans had been told that their former quarterback Deshaun Watson was sexually assaulting and harassing women during massage sessions, but instead of trying to stop him, the team provided him with resources to enable his actions and “turned a blind eye” to his behavior. The lawsuit against the team was filed in Houston on Monday by one of the 24 women who had previously sued Watson over allegations of sexual misconduct when he played for the Texans. In a statement, the Houston Texans said the team would “take the necessary steps to address the allegations against our organization." Watson is set to have a hearing this week over whether he will be disciplined by the NFL.

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            Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

            Content by Brand Ave. Studios. The annual Amazon Prime Day is coming July 12 and 13, and per usual will offer discounts on many of your favorite things.

            Five-time All-Pro linebacker Luke Kuechly is returning to the Carolina Panthers as a member of its radio broadcast team. A seven-time Pro Bowler who retired in 2020, Kuechly will be joining play-by-play announcer Anish Shroff and either Jordan Gross or Jake Delhomme for seven games this season. Kuechly will be in the booth for six home games against the Cleveland Browns, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers and one road game at the Cincinnati Bengals. Jim Szoke will continue to act as the third man in the booth for the games Kuechly doesn’t do.

            Three people familiar with the meeting tell AP that Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson will have a hearing with NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson next week. Watson is facing a potential suspension from the league stemming from accusations of sexual misconduct by massage therapists in Texas. He will meet with Robinson on Tuesday, said the persons who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the hearing have not been disclosed publicly. ESPN earlier reported Watson’s meeting with Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and NFL Players Association. This is the first case the former federal judge has heard. Earlier this week, Watson reached undisclosed financial settlements in civil lawsuits filed by 20 of his 24 accusers.

            The Chicago Bears have signed second-round draft pick Kyler Gordon to a four-year contract. The cornerback from Washington became the Bears’ first selection when they took him with the No. 39 overall pick. The Bears got a potential starter opposite Jaylon Johnson by taking the athletic and hard-hitting Gordon. A first-team, All-Pac-12 pick, he had 46 tackles and two interceptions to go with a team-high seven pass breakups in 12 starts last season. With Gordon under contract, the Bears’ only remaining unsigned draft pick is Jaquan Brisker. The safety from Penn State was taken in the second round at No. 48 overall.

            Chicago Police say Bears linebacker Matt Adams was arrested and charged with misdemeanor firearm possession. Police say they recovered a weapon during a search of his vehicle in downtown Chicago on Thursday evening. He was also cited for possessing a high-capacity magazine within the city limits and metal-piercing bullets, a municipal code violation. Adams has a court date scheduled for Aug. 24. The Bears say they were made aware of the arrest Friday morning and are “gathering more information.” Adams signed with Chicago in April after spending his first four seasons in Indianapolis and followed new coach Matt Eberflus to the Bears. Eberflus spent the past four seasons as the Colts’ defensive coordinator.

            A decision regarding discipline for Deshaun Watson is still expected before training camp, though the league has yet to conclude its investigation and turn it over to a disciplinary officer, according to two people with knowledge of the case. Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Friday because the investigation is ongoing. The Cleveland Browns open training camp on July 22 for rookies with veterans due on July 26. Once the NFL completes its investigation, former U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson, who was jointly appointed by the league and the players’ union, will review the findings to decide whether Watson violated the NFL’s personal conduct policy and whether to impose discipline.

            Tennessee tight end Chig Okonkwo has a really good reason not to be working with the rest of the Titans’ rookies as they wrap up their offseason at the team headquarters. Okonkwo had somewhere better to be. It's called Tight End University. Okonkwo said Thursday it's just so amazing to be able to learn from so many Pro Bowl tight ends. Tight End U is back for a second straight year in Music City. That's the offseason home of San Francisco tight end George Kittle who first devised this three-day camp with Travis Kelce of the Chiefs and Greg Olsen.

            The Patriots have completed signing their 2022 draft class, inking contracts with first-round pick Cole Strange, second-round pick Tyquan Thornton and fourth-round pick Bailey Zappe. Terms of the deals were not released. New England previously reached agreements with the other seven members of its class. Strange was a five-year starter on the offensive line for Chattanooga. He was taken 29th overall and is expected to have a chance start as a rookie this upcoming season following the offseason trade of Shaq Mason and free agency departure of Ted Karras.

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