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'The league done messed up': Defining moments of the Haskins era – theScore

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The Washington Football Team released quarterback Dwayne Haskins on Monday in a move that was stunning yet predictable given how his career was unfolding.

The Ohio State product never came close to fulfilling expectations in the nation’s capital, but he sure left an imprint on the Washington franchise through a number of defining moments.

April 25, 2019: The laugh at the draft and ‘the league done messed up’

Confident as ever following a sensational college career, Haskins let out a giggle when his childhood team, the New York Giants, chose a different quarterback – Daniel Jones – with the No. 6 selection. Haskins and Jones were battling to be the second quarterback off the board, as Kyler Murray was the consensus top signal-caller in the draft and went first overall.

Washington ended Haskins’ slide at No. 15, drafting the former Heisman Trophy finalist to be its quarterback of the future. The marriage was thought to be a match made in heaven: Haskins grew up in nearby Potomac, Maryland, and vowed to work with a chip on his shoulder after tumbling down the board. “The league done messed up,” he said after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the pick.

Sept. 29, 2019: An ugly debut

Haskins’ career got off to a slow start, as early-season reports suggested he looked raw in practices. Washington began the season 0-3 and was losing a fourth game to the Giants when Haskins was inserted for a benched Case Keenum. He went 9-for-17 and threw three interceptions in his first appearance, and Washington fell 24-3.

Oct. 4, 2019: The Jay Gruden report

Five days after the rocky debut, the Washington Post’s Les Carpenter reported that head coach Jay Gruden had opposed drafting Haskins in the first place. Gruden and Haskins played nice publicly, but Gruden’s reluctance to commit to Haskins as the starter in a season that was quickly going down the drain fueled speculation that he never wanted the former Buckeyes star.

Nov. 24, 2019: But first, let me take a selfie

After losing his first three starts, Haskins led Washington to back-to-back victories over the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers in Week 12 and 13. In the first win, Keenum had to come in for the final kneel-down because Haskins was taking selfies with fans, providing one of the most embarrassing moments of his brief career.

Feb. 28, 2020: Draft rumors

Washington ushered in a new regime over the offseason, and it didn’t take long for quarterback rumors to follow. NFL Network’s Michael Silver reported that new head coach Ron Rivera would consider drafting another signal-caller, adding that Tua Tagovailoa was a “very real possibility” at No. 2 overall. While Washington ultimately didn’t pick Tagovailoa, Rivera later revealed he would have selected Joe Burrow if the Cincinnati Bengals passed on him at No. 1.

Sept. 2, 2020: Haskins named opening-day starter

Eleven days out from the start of the new season, Rivera tabbed Haskins as his Week 1 starter over Alex Smith and Kyle Allen. While he only threw for 178 yards with a touchdown, Haskins led Washington to a surprising 27-17 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Oct. 7, 2020: Benched

Patrick Smith / Getty Images Sport / Getty

With Haskins struggling and the shine of his opening-day win worn off, Washington demoted him to third-string duties in Week 5. The 23-year-old hadn’t shown much progress in practice or games and Washington was mired in a three-game losing streak.

Oct. 23, 2020: COVID-19 protocol violation

A few weeks after he was benched, Haskins was fined for breaking COVID-19 protocol. The sophomore reportedly reserved a room for a family friend at the same hotel Washington was staying at before a road game, a clear violation of team rules. The club could have penalized him up to $14,650, but it slapped him with a $4,833 ticket.

Dec. 13, 2020: Back in action

A calf injury to Smith paved the way for Haskins to draw back into the lineup against the San Francisco 49ers (Allen went down earlier in the season with a broken ankle). Haskins only threw for 51 yards, but Washington led when he entered and had no problem holding on for a 23-15 victory to cement its place atop the NFC East standings.

Dec. 20, 2020: COVID-19 protocol violation

Yup, he did it again. After throwing two interceptions to a vulnerable Seattle Seahawks defense and losing, Haskins went out and partied without a mask, allegedly at a strip club. He apologized for his second violation of team rules, though he denied he went to a strip club. Washington punished him more harshly this time, fining him $40,000 and removing him as a team captain.

Dec. 27, 2020: Benched again

Despite the events of the previous week, Haskins remained the starter in Week 16 with Smith still nursing his calf back to full health. Washington needed a win to clinch the NFC East, but for the second straight game, Haskins failed to deliver. He committed three giveaways against the lowly Carolina Panthers before Rivera pulled him for journeyman Taylor Heinicke, who nearly eclipsed his passing yardage in just two drives.

Dec. 28, 2020: Waived goodbye

Less than two full seasons into his pro career, Washington pulled the plug. The team announced it was waiving the once-promising quarterback, who threw 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and posted a passer rating of 74.4 over 16 career appearances.

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Sinclair to lead Canadian women’s team in her fourth Olympics

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Christine Sinclair, the all-time international goal-scoring record holder, was named to her fourth Olympic squad on Wednesday and will headline a Canadian roster at the Tokyo Games that features a mix of veterans and youth.

Led by Sinclair, whose 186 goals for her country are the most by a female or male soccer player worldwide, Canada won medals at both the 2012 and 2016 Olympics and was the only nation to make the podium in both competitions.

“I am looking forward to doing whatever I can to help take this team back to the podium and make history again,” said Canadian captain Sinclair. “Our team is in a good spot, we are excited, we are hungry and we are ready to go.”

The 18-player roster features 12 members of the squad that competed at the 2016 Rio Games while a quintet including Vanessa Gilles, Jayde Riviere, Julia Grosso, Adriana Leon, and Evelyne Viens will be making their Olympic debuts.

Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan travelled to Rio in 2016 as an alternate.

Canada will kick off their Tokyo 2020 journey when they face Japan on July 21 and continue Group E play against Chile on July 24 and Britain on July 27.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, editing by Ed Osmond)

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Which of the Canadians Picked in the 2021 NFL Draft Will Thrive This Season?

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It was a good NFL Draft for Canadian players in 2021.

Some four stars from north of the border were selected by NFL franchises in the free agency pick ‘em, and that is tied as the highest number of Canadians drafted in the 85-year history of the event.

Of course, the hope is that these young talents are more than just filler and roster depth, but can any of the quartet make the breakthrough into the big time?

Here’s a look at which of the NFL’s newest Canadian additions can shine in 2021/22.

Jevon Holland

The defensive back was the number 36 pick in the Draft by the Miami Dolphins, who beat off a number of rivals in the hunt for the Coquitlam native.

A versatile defender, Holland is a former Jim Thorpe Award semi-finalist thanks to his exploits in the NCAA back in 2019 with the University of Oregon.

He sat out the 2020 campaign, but representatives from dozens of NFL teams were in town to watch Holland go through his paces at the Oregon Pro Day.

The 21-year-old is following in the footsteps of his father Robert, who turned out for the Detroit Lions, and he is expected to force his way into the starting line-up at the Dolphins. And, who knows, maybe Holland could go all the way in his first season, with Miami priced at +2500 in the Super Bowl 2022 American football odds.

Benjamin St-Juste

When you’re six foot three, 205 pounds and still able to run 40 yards in 4.51 seconds, it goes without saying that you have the physical credentials to succeed in the NFL.

Benjamin St-Juste is the man that can, and he will bolster the roster at a Washington Football Team that will be looking to improve upon their playoff showing in 2020.

The 23-year-old may only have been a third-round pick, but he comes with a burgeoning reputation thanks to a successful time at the University of Minnesota. An All-Big Ten special mention in 2019, more than 50 NFL recruitment personnel attended the college’s pro day – largely to catch a glimpse of St-Juste going through his paces.

Both Brian Gutekunst and Jon Robinson made the trip but, in the end, it was Washington who snapped up the powerhouse from the Draft.

Chuba Hubbard

The third Canadian to be drafted in 2021 was Chuba Hubbard, who became the first Canadian running back to be selected from the Draft in 25 years.

It’s the Carolina Panthers who have taken a chance on the 22-year-old and with his credentials, you can see why. Hubbard finished eighth in the voting for the Heisman Trophy in 2019 after a stellar campaign – he served up 2,094 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns, an NCAA best. He was named the Big 12 Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

While running backs are not the hottest of properties in the Draft, Hubbard provably has the talent to cross into the end zone with regularity – the Panthers might just have got their hands on an unheralded gem here.

With these three Canadians taking the step up to the NFL, the future of the sport north of the border looks in safe hands.

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Berrettini ends Murray’s comeback at Queen’s

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Andy Murray‘s grasscourt return was cut short in brutal fashion at Queen’s Club as Italian top seed Matteo Berrettini dished out a 6-3 6-3 defeat to the former world number one on Thursday.

The 34-year-old two-time Wimbledon champion, playing in his first singles tournament on grass for three years, could not handle the ferocious pace of Berrettini as he slid to defeat.

Murray eased past Benoit Paire in his opening match on Tuesday but world number nine Berrettini was too big a step up.

Berrettini’s huge first serve and forehand did most of the damage but the Italian also showed plenty of silky touch on the slick lawns to register his first career win over Murray.

Berrettini, 25, finished the match off with a powerful hold of serve, banging down four massive first serves before sealing victory with a clubbing forehand winner.

He faces British number one Dan Evans in the quarter-final after Evans beat Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

Murray, a five-time winner of the traditional warm-up event but now ranked 124 after long battles with hip injuries including resurfacing surgery in 2019, has been handed a wildcard for the Wimbledon championships.

Apart from a slight groin niggle, Murray said he was reasonably happy with his condition, considering this was only his third Tour-level tournament of the year.

“I think obviously I need to improve,” Murray told reporters. “I actually felt my movement was actually quite good for both of the matches. My tennis today was not very good today. That’s the thing that I’ll need to improve the most.

“I felt like today that that sort of showed my lack of matches.”

Spanish veteran Feliciano Lopez, who won the singles title in 2019 and the doubles alongside Murray, was beaten 6-2 6-3 by Canada‘s Denis Shapovalov.

(Reporting by Martyn HermanEditing by Toby Davis and Pritha Sarkar)

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