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San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster has been suspended without pay for the first two games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s conduct and substance-abuse policy.

The NFL said that Foster will also be fined for violations from a weapons offense and misdemeanor drug charge that were resolved earlier this offseason.

Foster says he accepts the league’s decision and apologized for hurting the team.

Foster will miss San Francisco’s games against Minnesota and Detroit before being allowed to return on Sept. 17 before the Niners play Kansas City.

PRO BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) – The NBA estimates an increase of about 40 [url=http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-minkah-fitzpatrick-jersey]http://www.dolphinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-minkah-fitzpatrick-jersey[/url] ,000 miles of travel in the postseason if it scrapped its current conference format and took the top 16 teams.

Calls to change the system were renewed this week when LeBron James left Cleveland for the Los Angeles Lakers, which could create another strong Western Conference team after Houston and Golden State had the league’s top two records last season. They met in a thrilling West final before the Warriors swept the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals.

Commissioner Adam Silver has said ideally there would be a format allowing the two best teams to meet for the title, but has repeatedly expressed concern about the additional travel that would be created if teams were seeded 1 to 16 in the postseason, instead of the current format in which it’s the top eight teams in each conference.

BASEBALL

SEATTLE (AP) – The Los Angeles Angels activated two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani from the 10-day disabled list and used him as the designated hitter in their game against the Seattle Mariners.

Ohtani and his injured right elbow are only cleared to hit for now, but Los Angeles said he will be re-evaluated as a pitcher in three weeks.

Ohtani received stem cell therapy and a platelet-rich plasma injection to help heal the Grade 2 sprain of his ulnar collateral ligament suffered more than three weeks ago. Ohtani was cleared for a hitting program Friday and took part in two simulated games against minor league pitchers over the weekend.

”We’re going to see how many looks we can give him as a (designated hitter) and hopefully he’ll give us a lift there,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Ohtani went 0 for 4 in Los Angeles’ 4-1 loss to the Mariners.

SOCCER

MOSCOW (AP) – England ended its long run of penalty misery and reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time in 12 years, beating Colombia 4-3 in a shootout.

Eric Dier scored the decisive kick after a 1-1 draw.

England will play Sweden in the quarterfinals in Samara on Saturday. It is the furthest England has progressed in any tournament since the David Beckham era, when a golden generation of players exited the 2002 and 2006 World Cups in the last eight.

England took the lead in a scrappy match when Harry Kane scored from the penalty spot in the 57th minute. Yerry Mina headed in an equalizer in the third minute of stoppage time.

England trailed 3-2 in the shootout after Jordan Henderson’s shot was saved, but Mateus Uribe hit the bar and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford then saved Carlos Bacca’s kick.

MOSCOW (AP) – The lack of a U.S. team caused a big viewership drop for World Cup telecasts.

The 48 group stage telecasts on Fox and FS1 averaged 2,069,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is down 42 percent from the 3.54 million average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC four years ago and down 15 percent from the 2 [url=http://www.saintsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-marcus-davenport-jersey]http://www.saintsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-marcus-davenport-jersey[/url] ,429,000 average on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC eight years ago.

Excluding games involving the U.S. team in previous World Cups, the average declined 28 percent from the 2014 tournament in Brazil and was up 1 percent from the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

Most group-stage kickoff times this year were morning EDT, starting as early as 6 a.m., and the latest matches began at 2 p.m. Games in 2014 started mostly from noon to 4 p.m. EDT, while in 2010 games there were many matches at 10 a.m. and some as early as 7:30 a.m.

Twenty-six group-stage matches were aired on Fox, up from six on ABC in 2014 and four on ABC in 2010.

Ratings include only television viewers and not those who viewed digital streams.

Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson got his NFL start as a scout with the New England Patriots, the same team his new head coach Mike Vrabel won three Super Bowl rings as a linebacker.

Yes, it seems like the Titans are trying to implement the Patriot Way in Music City.

Vrabel said that’s what it looks like – until the Titans win big themselves.

”You have to be able to win championships before people start giving you ways to do things,” Vrabel said Monday. ”So that’ll be our ultimate goal. … Until we can win a championship doing that, there’s not going to be this Titan Way. It will be talked about in the building. But people from outside the building, they won’t believe in us [url=http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-saquon-barkley-jersey]http://www.giantsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-saquon-barkley-jersey[/url] , they won’t have faith in us until you win.”

The Titans introduced Vrabel as their new coach Monday. They agreed to terms with Vrabel on Saturday , just five days after firing Mike Mularkey coming off the franchise’s first playoff win in 14 years.

This is the first head coaching job for Vrabel, 42.

Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk noted Robinson and Vrabel have known each other for years. She also likes Vrabel’s experience and vision for building on back-to-back 9-7 seasons.

”I believe he will do everything he can to bring this town a championship,” Strunk said.

Vrabel is coming off his first season as defensive coordinator for the Texans. Vrabel started his NFL career in Pittsburgh under coach Bill Cowher before signing with New England under coach Bill Belichick, and he finished in Kansas City. In 2011, he joined the staff at his alma mater, Ohio State, coaching linebackers and then defensive linemen.

He said nobody’s ever really ready to be a head coach for the first time in the NFL, though Vrabel feels as ready as he can be thanks to his doctorate degree in coaching he picked up working with some of the best in the game.

”There will be things that I take from New England, from Pittsburgh, from Ohio State, from Houston,” Vrabel said. ”I mean there will be things that I take from everywhere. You draw on these experiences just like everybody else would in life … The nice thing is now there’s things that I didn’t like that Billy did [url=http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-sam-darnold-jersey]http://www.jetsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-sam-darnold-jersey[/url] , I get to change them. So there’s things I like that he did, I get to use them.”

Vrabel went to Houston in 2014 and coached linebackers with the Texans for three seasons before becoming coordinator. The Texans won the AFC South in 2015 and 2016 thanks in part to strong defenses. The unit slipped this season amid injuries to players including J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus.

Building on the Titans’ playoff win in Kansas City means putting Marcus Mariota in position to blossom. Whoever Vrabel hires as his offensive coordinator will be Mariota’s third going into his fourth NFL season, and Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day reportedly is the early favorite for the job in Tennessee.

”I think Amy’s going to trust me to hire the right guy for Marcus,” Vrabel said. ”Jon’s going to trust me to hire the right guy for Marcus or I wouldn’t have been hired.”

And Vrabel made it very clear he knows the potential for Mariota, the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner and No. 2 pick overall in 2015. He recalled Mariota pulling a hamstring Oct. 1 against the Texans.

”A special talent, a special kid, and I can’t wait to work with him and help him through taking that next step in his career,” Vrabel said.

This was Robinson’s first head coaching search since being hired in January 2016, two days before the Titans took the interim tag off Mularkey. The Titans went 21-22 with Mularkey taking a team that had the NFL’s worst record at 5-27 combined over 2014 and 2015 to a team that lost in the AFC divisional round to New England.

Mularkey was fired less than 48 hours after that loss. The Titans interviewed only three people with Vrabel first to meet with them Thursday. The Titans also interviewed Carolina defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur .