NFL bans on-field pyrotechnics, reviewing Titans incident
NEW YORK — The NFL has banned any on-field pyrotechnics and “flame effects” at any league or team events, including games, in the wake of an incident at last Sunday’s game at Nissan Stadium.
A league spokesman said the matter was being reviewed and the prohibition would last at least through the review.
Equipment used for pyrotechnics during pre-game festivities burst into flames in the north end zone about five minutes before kickoff between the Titans and Colts. Workers quickly started putting out the fire near the 5-yard line on the sideline near the Titans’ locker room.
The show went on as workers extinguished the flames as Taj George, wife of Eddie George and a member of the group Sisters With Voices (SWV) sang the national anthem.
The Titans, who lost to the Colts in that game, put out a statement last Sunday:
“Following the pregame introductions today, there was a mechanical failure by one of the pyrotechnic devices which resulted in a fire. The vendor will be required by the state of Tennessee to undergo an inspection for the defective device and the others that were used to determine the final cause. The field staff acted quickly to extinguish the fire, which resulted in no injuries and minor field damage.”
Rams starting TE Tyler Higbee out Sunday with bruised chest
THOUSAND OAKS — Los Angeles tight end Tyler Higbee will miss the Rams’ game at Cleveland with a bruised chest.
Coach Sean McVay announced the decision Friday.
Higbee has never missed a game in his four-year NFL career, but he was hurt during last week’s win at New Orleans. The chest injury left him coughing up blood, and he didn’t participate in practice this week.
Higbee agreed to a four-year contract extension earlier this month with $15.5 million guaranteed.
Gerald Everett is likely to get extensive playing time in Higbee’s absence.
Starting right guard Austin Blythe is still questionable for Sunday with a low left ankle sprain. Jamil Demby is expected to make his first career start if Blythe can’t go.
LAFC forward Adama Diomande enters MLS health program
LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles FC forward Adama Diomande has entered Major League Soccer’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.
MLS announced Diomande’s voluntary decision Friday.
Diomande won’t play for LAFC at least until the program’s doctors complete their evaluation and he is cleared by program officials.
The 29-year-old Norwegian scorer has eight goals and seven assists in 25 appearances this season, including 15 starts. He has played a valuable complementary offensive role alongside MLS scoring leader Carlos Vela.
Diomande is in his second MLS season after joining LAFC from Hull City. He also previously played under LAFC coach Bob Bradley in Norway.
LAFC (19-4-7) has clinched the Western Conference title, and it leads the overall MLS table by seven points despite a four-game winless streak.
Federer wins doubles with Zverev, Europe leads in Laver Cup
GENEVA — Roger Federer teamed up with Alexander Zverev in doubles to lift Europe into a commanding 3-1 lead over the world team on the first day of the Laver Cup on Friday.
Federer, who has an Olympic gold medal in doubles, and Zverev won 6-3, 7-5 against Jack Sock and Denis Shapovalov as the Europeans swept the two-match evening session. The afternoon singles matches were split at the noisy, 17,000-seat Palexpo arena.
“Thanks Sascha, for carrying me in that second set,” Federer told his playing partner in an on-court interview.
The six-man Europe team has a big advantage in ATP rankings, and No. 5 Dominic Thiem started the day by beating the 33rd-ranked Shapovalov 6-4, 5-7, 13-11. Shapovalov let three match points slip in the decisive third set which is played as a super-tiebreaker.
Sock, whose rankings fell into the 200s in an injury-hit season, then leveled the three-day event by winning 6-1, 7-6 (3) against No. 11 Fabio Fognini.
Europe, captained courtside by Bjorn Borg, regained the lead when No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas won 6-2, 1-6, 10-7 against 30th-ranked Taylor Fritz for the world team led by John McEnroe.
Federer is back on court before another sold-out crowd Saturday, when he will play Nick Kyrgios in the afternoon’s second match.
“I’m fresh, I’m ready to go for more,” said Federer, who co-owns the Laver Cup competition.
Saturday’s play opens with Zverev playing John isner. Rafael Nadal enters the stage for Europe in an evening singles against Milos Raonic, then stays on to partner Tsitsipas against Kyrgios and Sock.
Victories Saturday in the three singles matches and one doubles are worth two points each. Sunday’s matches score three points for the winning team and 13 points are needed to lift the title.
Europe seeks a third straight win in the Laver Cup. It was launched two years ago in Prague, then moved to Chicago last year.