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Bob Talamini, Jets starting left guard on Super Bowl title team and three-time All-Pro, dies at 83

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Bob Talamini, one of the greatest players in AFL history, died at age 83 last week. Talamini made his mark with the Houston Oilers for eight seasons before finishing his career with the New York Jets and starting in Super Bowl III. He was an Associated Press First Team All-Pro selection three times and an AFL First Team selection four times. 

Talamini was drafted by the Oilers in their first season in 1960, earning the starting left guard spot in 1960 and never relinquishing the spot in his career with Houston. He earned five AFL All-Star selections and was a league first or second team selections six times, winning two AFL titles with the Oilers in the league’s first to seasons of existence. Talamini found his way to the Jets after a contract dispute with Houston, signing with New York for the 1968 season after the Jets traded for his rights. Talamini had retired from the AFL prior to the trade. 

Talamini made his way into the starting lineup after replacing the injured Randy Rasmussen in that 1968 season, starting eight of the final nine games. The underdog Jets ended up getting Rasmussen back for the Super Bowl, but they had to move around the offensive line with Sam Walton unavailable for the game. Dave Herman (right guard) moved to right tackle while Rasmussen filled in for Walton at right guard. Talamini started at left guard.

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“Bob was a gift from the football gods,” Joe Namath told the New York Post in 2020. “That was one of the greatest moves Weeb ever made, getting Bob to come out of retirement and join our team in ’68. … If it wasn’t for having Bob Talamini, we don’t win the championship.”

Talamini and left tackle Winston Hill were the catalysts for Matt Snell’s touchdown in the Super Bowl III, a left sweep run that gave the Jets a 7-0 lead in the second quarter. The Jets wouldn’t relinquish the lead in the 16-7 upset over the heavily-favored Baltimore Colts, proving the AFL’s legitimacy, with the leagues merging two years later. 

Super Bowl III was Talamini’s final professional football game, as he retired after the Jets’ upset victory over the Colts. Talamini started 113 of his 126 career games in the AFL and was a Pro Football Hall of Fame All-Decade selection in the 1960s. He was also a second team selection on the AFL All-Time Team. Born in Louisville, he played college ball at the University of Kentucky.

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Novak Djokovic withdraws from Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati due to COVID-19 vaccination status

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World No. 6 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati because of his COVID-19 vaccination status. The unvaccinated tennis star’s participation in the US Open, which begins on Aug. 29, is still uncertain.

The hard-court tournament in Cincinnati is set to take place Aug 13- 21. At this moment, unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to travel to Canada or the United States. Earlier this month, Djokovic had to pull out from the Canadian Open in Montreal. He also had to miss the Australian Open in January after being deported from the country due to his unvaccinated status.

Djokovic has won the US Open three times and was the runner-up last year, falling to Daniil Medvedev in the title game. The Serbian star has registered 21 major championships and is still fresh off his seventh career Wimbledon title. He only needs one more Grand Slam title to tie Rafael Nadal for the men’s record, but he has already said publicly that he does not intend on getting the vaccine.

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“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter United States or exemption,” Djokovic said after his Wimbledon win. “I don’t know. I don’t think exemption is realistically possible. If that is possibility, I don’t know what exemption would be about.”

Djokovic doesn’t necessarily need to rule out the US Open yet, as the CDC could still change its guidelines to allow unvaccinated travelers into the country in the next few weeks.

“This updated guidance is intended to apply to community settings,” reads the CDC page. “In the coming weeks CDC will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for healthcare settings, congregate settings at higher risk of transmission, and travel, with today’s update.”

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Phillies' OF Matt Vierling prevents Mets from winning in walk-off fashion after throwing out Starling Marte at home

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The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the New York Mets in extra innings after OF Matt Vierling threw out a tagging Starling Marte who would have been the winning run.



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Blue Jays’ Berrios continues head-scratching season in drubbing vs. Guardians

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TORONTO – That Yusei Kikuchi is an unstable element in the Toronto Blue Jays starting rotation shouldn’t be a total surprise. Sure, more was expected from the left-hander when he was signed for $36 million over three years out of the lockout, but it was a high-risk, high-upside play and the type of season he’s slogging through was very much on the spectrum of possibility.

The Blue Jays, barring a surprise, will need him to make a start next week against the Baltimore Orioles and then, with Ross Stripling likely set for a return after throwing five shutout innings for triple-A Buffalo during a rehab start Friday at Syracuse, they’ll have a decision to make.

Far more jarring for the Blue Jays is the head-scratching season of Jose Berrios, who for the second time in 2022 allowed eight earned runs, this time over four innings of a dispiriting 8-0 drubbing from the Cleveland Guardians on Friday night.

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The latest drubbing for the ace right-hander signed to a $131-million, seven-year extension over the winter came exactly one week after a rough outing at Minnesota, where he allowed five runs in 3.2 innings. In six July starts preceding that one, Berrios had seemingly turned the corner, pitching to a 3.00 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 36 innings.

But while the wide divergence between his home/road splits are often raised as a talking point, a more troubling split is that in 15 outings against teams better than .500, his ERA is 6.61 while in eight starts versus sub-.500 clubs it’s 3.77.

Now, worth noting is that mixed in there are strong performances against Houston, St. Louis, Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. Clearly, though, he isn’t getting away with as much against better lineups.

Take Friday, for example.

Berrios cruised through the first two innings before hitting No. 8 hitter Austin Hedges with one out in the third. Will Benson followed with a single and then Steven Kwan laid down a perfect bunt that just stayed fair down the third base line to load the bases.

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Amed Rosario then roped a curveball just under the zone up the middle for a two-run single and after a Jose Ramirez sacrifice fly to centre brought home a third run, Josh Naylor of Mississauga, Ont., sent this 94.3 m.p.h. fastball over the wall in left to make it 5-0.

Really, it wasn’t a bad pitch.


The next inning, a three-run shot by Ramirez that made it 8-0 was even more audacious, the star third baseman golfing this Berrios changeup over the wall in right-centre.


It’s obscene and while both homers count against his pitching line, it’s reason to believe that Berrios isn’t necessarily in crisis, even though he’s far from being at his best.

Regardless, the Blue Jays, at 60-51 in the rapidly clustering wild-card standings, are facing their first real period of challenge under interim manager John Schneider having lost five times in their past six outings, each against a team above .500.

They’re now 29-39 against teams with winning records, worse than Seattle, Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Minnesota, the four teams closest around them.

Complicating matters is that their offence, in the ongoing absence of George Springer, hasn’t been able to overcome some of the pitching staff’s recent blips.

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Cal Quantrill of Port Hope, Ont., primarily riding a sinker-cutter mix, matched a season-high with seven strikeouts and allowed just one hit, a one-out double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr., in the fourth that extended the all-star first baseman’s hit streak to 21 games.

Digging out of early five-run holes isn’t easy, but seizing a game early at the plate could help ease the burden on the staff at times, too.

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