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Heinz History Center, Pro Football Hall of Fame Announce Closures

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Hall of Fame

At this point, everyone is aware that most sporting events have been canceled or postponed due to the ongoing public heath threat of the novel coronavirus-caused COVID-19 pandemic.

But it isn’t just live sporting events that are being canceled in the pro sports world.

Saturday, the Heinz History Center and Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum in Pittsburgh announced that they will close through March 29.

“In accordance with the recommendations of local and state officials to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Heinz History Center and Fort Pitt Museum will close to the public effective on Saturday, March 14, and remain closed through Sunday, March 29,” the center tweeted on Saturday.

“As always, the health and safety of our visitors, volunteers, and staff is our top priority. Please continue to follow our social media platforms for updated information on this fluid situation.”

In Canton, Ohio, the Pro Football Hall of Fame also announced its closure, at least through March 27.

“The health and safety of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s visitors, as well as staff and volunteers, is a top priority,” the Hall of Fame said in a statement.

NFL

Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. Suffers Torn ACL

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The Cleveland Browns may have improved to 5-2 with their comeback win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday, but they suffered a significant loss.

Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will miss the remainder of the 2020 season with a torn ACL, the organization announced Monday morning.

Beckham suffered the injury in the first quarter of Cleveland’s win over Cincinnati on Sunday, attempting to make a tackle on an interception thrown by quarterback Baker Mayfield.

The star wideout was off to a strong star in his second season with the Browns, catching 23 passes for 319 yards and three touchdowns. He also had rushed for a score.

While the loss of Beckham is significant, the Browns appear to have enough offensive weapons to overcome the injury. Mayfield posted one of the best performances of his career on Sunday, completing 22 of 23 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns after Beckham left the game.

Financially, Cleveland is still likely on the hook for Beckham’s $12.971 injury guarantee, which will convert to a full guarantee if he is rostered on the third day of the next league year, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. This means that Beckham is uncuttable, and a trade is very unlikely considering the injury.

Selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the New York Giants, Beckham has caught 487 passes for 6,830 and 51 touchdowns over his career. He has been selected to three Pro Bowls, but not since 2016.

The Steelers and Browns do not face off again until Week 17 in Cleveland.

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Around the NFL: Mayfield Leads Browns to Late Win; DiNucci Fills In for Dallas

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Welcome to Around the NFL, where Cale Berger of Steelers Now will recap early-week action and take a look ahead at some of the most important matchups from the Pittsburgh Steelers perspective. 

AROUND THE NFL THIS WEEKEND

Cleveland Browns 37 Cincinnati Bengals 34

Following their beatdown at the hands of the Steelers last week, the Browns got back on track Sunday with another shootout win over the in-state rival Bengals, sweeping the season series.

After rough 0-5 start that included an interception, Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield rebounded to produce the best game of his career, completing 22 of his final 23 passes for 297 yards and five touchdowns. He set a franchise record in the process by completing 21-consecutive passes. Mayfield’s remarkable day was capped off with a game-winning touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones with eleven seconds remaining.

Browns defensive end Myles Garrett continued his streak of dominance Sunday, sacking Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow twice and forcing a fumble. Garrett entered Week Seven second in the league with seven sacks and three forced fumbles.

Burrow continues to show exactly why he is the reigning Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1-overall pick, but his stellar play has repeatedly demonstrated just how far Cincinnati’s roster is from being competitive and the amount of help he needs. With 406 yards, three passing touchdowns and a rushing score Sunday afternoon, Burrow is the first rookie quarterback in NFL history with at least 400 passing yards, three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in a single game.

The Bengals will continue the hunt for their second win when they host the Titans, while the Browns will welcome the Raiders to town.

Washington 25 Dallas Cowboys 3

A former WPIAL standout threw his first NFL passes, but the 2020 season went from bad to worse for the Cowboys on Sunday as they were blown out by Washington, suffering their second-straight loss.

Already without star quarterback Dak Prescott of the remainder of the season, Dallas backup Andy Dalton was knocked out of the game in the third quarter on an illegal hit by linebacker Jon Bostic, who was subsequently ejected. Dalton’s injury thrusted former Pine-Richland and Pitt quarterback Ben DiNucci into his first extended NFL action. DiNucci completed two of three passes for 39 yards, including this 32-yard dime to wide receiver Amari Cooper on his first career throw.

Meanwhile, Washington snapped a five-game losing streak yesterday behind a pair of impressive performances from their dynamic, young duo in running back Antonio Gibson and wide receiver Terr McLaurin. A rookie out of Memphis, Gibson rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown, while McLaurin, the second-year star out of Ohio State, caught seven passes for 90 yards and a score.

DiNucci is expected to make his first career start when Dallas travels to Philadelphia next week. Washington hits their bye week before hosting the Giants on Nov. 8.

San Francisco 49ers 33 New England Patriots 6

While Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo did not play as well as he probably would have liked in his return to Foxborough, San Francisco still thumped the Patriots behind a suffocating performance from their defense.

New England quarterback Cam Newton, who looks lost since returning from the Reserve/COVID-19 list a few weeks ago, was a disaster on Sunday, completing just nine of fifteen passes for 98 yards and three interceptions. Newton was a non-factor on the ground as well, carrying just five times for 19 yards. The 49ers defense recorded four interceptions total, also picking off Jarrett Stidham in relief. Cornerback Jamar Taylor had two of the four.

Garoppolo was better, but just slightly. He completed 80% of his passes for 277 yards, but tossed two interceptions of his own and no touchdowns. The ground game was what truly swung the game in San Francisco’s favor. The Niners rushed for 197 yards and four scores as a team, 112 and three of which came from running back Jeff Wilson Jr. Unfortunately, Wilson’s phenomenal day ended abruptly when he was carted off the field with a leg injury in the third quarter that appeared significant.

San Francisco will aim to win their third-straight when they visit Seattle next Sunday. New England goes back to the drawing board ahead of a key divisional matchup against the 5-2, AFC East-leading Bills.

Kansas City Chiefs 43 Denver Broncos 16

Even though the volcanic Chiefs offense was able to sustain its excellence through blizzard-like conditions Sunday, it was the Kansas City defense and special teams that dominated the Denver Broncos.

The Chiefs sacked quarterback Drew Lock three times and forced four Denver turnovers, including a 50-yard pick six by safety Daniel Sorensen. Safety Tyrann Mathieu picked Lock off a second time, and the Kansas City defense forced  running back Melvin Gordon to fumble twice. Not to be out done, Chiefs wideout Byron Pringle returned a kickoff 102 yards to the house at the end of the second quarter, an impressive play put over-the-top by the legendary Kevin Harlan.

Kansas City Patrick Mahomes was uncharacteristically quiet, throwing for 200 yards and connecting with wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a single touchdown. Hill is off to a tremendous start to the year, having now scored a touchdown in six of seven games this season Former Steelers and Jets running back Le’Veon Bell was used sparingly in his Chiefs debut, carrying the ball six times for 39 yards. His compatriot in the backfield Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed eight times for 46 yards and a score.

Kansas City will host the winless New York Jets at Arrowhead next week, and just as a friendly reminder, the largest margin of victory in history is Chicago 73-0 over Washington back in the 1940 NFL Championship Game. Denver welcomes the Chargers to Mile High.

REST OF THE SCHEDULE

Philadelphia Eagles 22 New York Giants 21

Detroit Lions 23 Atlanta Falcons 22

Pittsburgh Steelers 27 Tennessee Titans 24

Carolina Panthers 27 New Orleans Saints 24

Buffalo Bills 18 New York Jets 10

Green Bay Packers 35 Houston Texans 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 45 Las Vegas Raiders 20

Los Angeles Chargers 39 Jacksonville Jaguars 29

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals, 8:20 p.m., WPXI-TV

Chicago Bears at Los Angeles Rams, Monday, 8:15 p.m., ESPN

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Report: Antonio Brown and Buccaneers Agree to One-Year Deal

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Free agent wide receiver Antonio Brown and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to a one-year deal, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Brown is set to arrive in Tampa on Friday night and visit with the team Saturday, immediately entering COVID-19 protocol.

Brown is currently serving an eight-game suspension for multiple violations of the league’s personal conduct policy, but he will be available to return to the field in Week 9 when the Bucs face the New Orleans Saints.

In addition, Rapoport and Schefter are both reporting that Brady has been a “driving force” behind the Bucs’ pursuit of Brown. The duo played a single game together in New England last season and found immediate success, connecting on four passes for 56 yards and a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins.

Tampa Bay adds Brown to an already star-studded receiving core that includes Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski. Evans is currently second in the league with six receiving touchdowns on the year.

Not only are the Buccaneers be bolstering themselves, but they are also stealing Brown’s services from the Seattle Seahawks, who were also reported to be interested in adding the four-time All-Pro this week.

Selected by the Steelers in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Brown spent the first nine years of his career in Pittsburgh. He is second in franchise history in receptions (837), yards (11,207) and receiving touchdowns (74), trailing only Steeler legend Hines Ward, although Brown played 87-fewer games.

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