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    • Mike HarrisIt was typical day during organized-team activities in June 2016, and Vikings guard Mike Harris was battling to keep his starting job. Following a practice, he returned to his home in Eden Prairie to study his iPad.

      Suddenly, everything changed for Harris.

      “I felt like I was having a stroke,’’ Harris said Tuesday. “I got home and I just remember being on my iPad and my vision went blurry, went double. I couldn’t see.’’

      A friend rushed Harris to Winter Park, and he was looked at by Vikings medical personnel with the initial thought it was a concussion. But that wasn’t it.

      After tests were conducted at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, it was determined Harris had a congenital condition known as brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM). The Mayo Clinic website describes it as “a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.’’

      It wasn’t initially thought to be career ending. When Harris arrived for training camp in July 2016, he was put on the non-football illness list, and had hope of returning that season.

      That didn’t happen, and Harris ended up being waived by the Vikings last February. He had hoped to hook on with another team, but those thoughts ended during the summer when Harris returned to the Mayo Clinic and it was determined it would not be wise to play again.

      Harris said he will file retirement papers with the NFL next month. His career is over after five seasons, the last three with Minnesota. He started all 16 games for the Vikings during their NFC North title season of 2015.

      The good news for Harris is he is expected to lead a normal life. He will have a procedure at the Mayo Clinic in about a month, and he said doctors have told him there is only 5 perfect chance of having a recurrence of AVM.

      “For a long time, I really depressed about the whole situation but I finally am in the light,’’ Harris said. “At the end of the day, I want to live to be a grown man. Football gave me a good life. I had been playing since I was 10 years old.

      “When it first happened, I didn’t want to talk to the media and any of my teammates, but I’m in a better place now. It took a while but I know my life comes over football.’’

      After Harris was put on the NFI list in July 2016 and through the remainder of his tenure with the team, the Vikings declined to discuss his medical situation. They were under no obligation to pay Harris for the 2016 season, but he said they agreed to give him $400,000 of his $1.9 million base salary. He already had earned a $100,000 workout bonus for the spring, so that gave him a total of $500,000.

      “They didn’t have to (pay him), but my agent and me, we very much appreciate it,’’ said said Harris, who made about $3.5 million his NFL career. “I’ve done well with my money. There are no hard feelings. I still love this organization. I went to each home game this year so far.’’

      Harris, 28, is a California native, but he has elected to remain in Minnesota, where he has been since the Vikings claimed in on waivers in 2014 following two seasons with San Diego.

      Harris, who graduated from UCLA with a history degree in 2012, is seeking now to determine what will be his next career. He is considering going into coaching or fitness training or perhaps doing film or media work.

      “It’s unfortunate my career has come to an end, but I’m just happy I can walk on my own two feet and I can be there for my family in my future,’’ Harris said.

      Prior to June 2016, Harris said he had no problems related to AVM. He was seeking then during spring drills to show he should retain his starting job at right guard even though the Vikings had signed free agent Alex Boone to play left guard and were looking to move Brandon Fusco from left guard to his old position on the right.

      “It was totally non-football related,’’ Harris said. “It was like a malformation. They did a CT scan and they found it.’’

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    • Carmelo Anthony, a 10-time NBA All-Star, has given the New York Knicks an expanded list of teams — including the Cleveland Cavaliers — for which he would be willing to waive his no-trade clause, league sources told ESPN.

      Team sources told ESPN’s Ian Begley that the Knicks also were informed that the Oklahoma City Thunder are one of the other teams Anthony has included on that list.

      After the Knicks insisted that they were unable to make a deal with the Houston Rockets, his primary trade destination, Anthony and his representatives honored New York’s request and furnished at least those two additional teams within the past 10 days, league sources told ESPN.

      Cleveland was part of Anthony’s original group of preferred destinations prior to Chris Paul’s trade to the Rockets in late June. The Rockets remain Anthony’s most desired location, but he has worked to accommodate New York to try to find a trade before the start of the season, league sources said.

      Portland has remained interested in Anthony, as guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are working to recruit Anthony to waive his no-trade for the Trail Blazers, league sources said. Portland still could emerge as a possible destination for Anthony if New York is unable to find deals with teams on his current list.

      Anthony, 33, is expected to report to the team’s media day on Monday, the eve of the opening of New York’s preseason training camp. Anthony expected that a trade would be completed before the start of camp. So there is expected to be significant tension between Anthony and the Knicks once he reports to camp. The franchise has expressed a desire to start rebuilding around a young core.

      Anthony has been encouraging the Knicks to show urgency in their pursuit of a trade before the season, league sources said. The Knicks made a preliminary call to the Cavaliers on Monday, but the two sides haven’t exchanged trade ideas, league sources told ESPN. Cleveland has to weigh the fact that Anthony, with two years and $54 million left on his contract, could opt into the $27.9 million in the final year of his deal for 2018-19 — when LeBron James could be gone in free agency and Cleveland might be embarking on a rebuild.

      New York has had discussions with Houston but has found no pathway to a deal, league sources said. Since the hiring of Scott Perry as general manager in July, New York has changed course on the asking price for Anthony and has been pushing for a return of assets that Houston is unable to provide. Perry has been looking for a scoring wing to replace Anthony’s production, short-term contracts and draft assets, league sources said.

      Anthony has hoped to join Paul and James Harden with the Rockets, but has heeded the Knicks’ desire for an expanded list of teams to find a deal, league sources said. New York has been unwilling to accept Ryan Anderson, who is owed three years and $60 million on his contract with Houston.

      New York’s two top basketball executives, Perry and president Steve Mills, have both published blogs on the team that have made no mention of Anthony.

      Under ex-team president Phil Jackson, the Knicks had been pushing for Anthony to waive his no-trade clause for over a year — only to backtrack on executing a deal once Jackson was pushed out and Perry took over as GM.

      “Look, Carmelo’s going to be back here,” Perry said Friday at the team’s training facility. “Carmelo has always been a professional. That’s one thing I’ve always respected about him. I think he can set a good example for the young players. He’s been a 10-time All-Star. If he’s back here with the New York Knicks, we expect him to be the professional he’s always exemplified throughout his career and move forward with him.”

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    • The Cleveland Browns have placed Corey Coleman on injured reserve after the receiver had surgery for a broken right hand, the team announced Tuesday.

      Coleman, who had six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown in two starts this season, will be eligible to return to practice after six weeks and to the active roster after eight.

      This marks the second year in a row that Coleman, a first-round pick in 2016, has been sidelined with a broken bone in his right hand. On Sept. 21, 2016, he broke a bone in practice and missed six games.

      Coleman’s injury depletes a struggling Browns receiving corps that has caught just 19 of 40 passes thrown to them. Veteran Kenny Britt, expected to step in for Terrelle Pryor (who left as a free agent), has just 15 receiving yards in two games.

      In other moves, the Browns signed defensive lineman Tyrone Holmes and receiver Jordan Leslie to the practice squad and released defensive backs Najee Murray and Channing Stribling from the practice squad.

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    • WASHINGTON — Stephen Strasburg and teammates zipped through their quickest home game of the season, then waited along with several hundred fans at Nationals Park. About 90 minutes after finishing a victory over the Phillies, Washington broke out the champagne to celebrate its continued NL East supremacy.

      Strasburg extended his scoreless streak to a franchise-record 34 innings, and the Nationals beat Philadelphia 3-2 on Sunday in a tidy 2 hours, 16 minutes. A little while later, Washington clinched its fourth NL East title in six seasons when the Braves beat the Marlins on an 11th-inning homer in Atlanta.

      Fans remained in the stands to watch the Braves rally with three runs in the ninth, and fireworks erupted from the upper deck after Atlanta finished off Miami, making the Nationals the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot this year. Players poured out of the dugout wearing ski goggles, embraced their wives, girlfriends and children, and flung hats and T-shirts into the crowd.

      “This one was very, very gratifying. Even though it looked like we had a comfortable lead, it was still a struggle,” manager Dusty Baker said in the booze-soaked clubhouse. “A lot of our top guys were hurt.”

      The Nationals also won the NL East in 2012, 2014 and last year, but they haven’t advanced past the divisional round of the postseason.

      “It’s the most well-balanced team that we’ve had,” general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We’re very efficient offensively. We don’t strike out nearly as [much as] we did in ’12, ’14 and ’16. We think that we have more ways to score. Our rotation is our rotation. It’s as good as it gets.”

      Baker had the luxury of resting nearly all his regulars on Sunday, but one player who didn’t need a break was Strasburg, who was infamously shut down before the playoffs in 2012 in his first season after Tommy John surgery. Strasburg has just one career postseason start, a loss in 2014.

      Now he’s pitching better than ever, joining Max Scherzer and Gio Gonzalez in a formidable trio that Washington will carry into the playoffs.

      “Stras has been a big part of this franchise since he joined it. He’s been an elite major league pitcher every time he toes the rubber,” Rizzo said. “I couldn’t be happier that he’s going in the right direction going into October, and it’s a place he belongs.”

      Strasburg (13-4) threw two-hit ball for eight innings and struck out 10. He hasn’t allowed a run since Aug. 19 at San Diego, which was his first start since he came off the disabled list with an elbow nerve impingement. Since returning from the DL, he is 3-1 with an 0.51 ERA, 41 strikeouts and just four walks.

      “It just comes with trust. That’s the biggest thing,” Strasburg said. “Trust your ability, trust your stuff, and you go out there and kind of sleep well at night, no matter what happens.”

      Strasburg had command of everything he threw, including a fastball topping out at 97 mph and a 90 mph changeup. He walked one, induced two double plays and faced one batter over the minimum.

      “He had all his pitches working for him, and he was tough to hit,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “We have young guys who have never seen him before, which also added to his success — not that he needs that.”

      Trea Turner homered and tripled for the Nationals, and Victor Robles got his first major league hit and RBI.

      The Phillies threatened in the ninth off Ryan Madson, who allowed Nick Williams’ bloop two-out, two-run single before retiring Rhys Hoskins on a grounder. It was his second save this season and first for the Nationals, who acquired him in a trade with Oakland on July 16.

      Then the wait began.

      “I was about to go to sleep in my office,” Baker said. “It looked like we were going to have to wait until Tuesday, but now, it’s a perfect scenario. We can enjoy it tonight, have a day off tomorrow. Usually you’ve got to come right back and play the next day, and guys are either super tired or hung over.”

      Despite the spring training-type lineup that Baker fielded on Sunday, the Nationals are relatively healthy heading into October, with one major question mark: former MVP Bryce Harper, who is out with a hyperextended knee. Asked how the knee was feeling, Harper said, “ready to party tonight,” without elaborating.

      Rookie Ben Lively (3-6) allowed six hits and struck out seven in his first career complete game and the first for the Phillies this year.

      Lively allowed one hit before Turner led off the sixth with a triple and scored on Adrian Sanchez’s bloop double. Robles doubled with two outs.

      Turner homered with one out in the eighth to extend Washington’s lead.

      “That’s just baseball. Two bad pitches, and that was the ballgame,” Lively said. “Otherwise, I felt great. I felt like our game plan was on point. Just two hangers.”


      The Nationals have an outside shot at catching the free-falling Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in the majors, which would guarantee them home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Catcher Matt Wieters, who made the postseason three times in the past five seasons with the Orioles, isn’t obsessing over the standings.

      “Normally I do like watching scoreboards,” Wieters said before the game. “We know with the lead that we have, that if we just go out there and win, we’ll be fine, and with the postseason, and I’ve learned this from the past, anything can happen at any time, so trying to control situations of where you play or what you’ll do is really reaching at things that may not be in your control.”


      Nationals: Baker rested 2B Daniel Murphy, 3B Anthony Rendon, OF Michael A. Taylor and 1B Ryan Zimmerman on Sunday, and Wieters and OF Jayson Werth sat out both Saturday and Sunday. Werth has a sore shoulder, and Wieters has dealt with intermittent back tightness.

      Phillies: OF Aaron Altherr made his first start since Aug. 4, going 0-for-3. Altherr (right hamstring strain) was activated from the 10-day disabled list Monday but did not appear in a game until Saturday, when he played the ninth inning in left field. … OF Odubel Herrera was out of the lineup one day after his 21-game hit streak ended.

      UP NEXT

      Nationals: LHP Gio Gonzalez (14-6, 2.50 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game home series against the Braves on Tuesday. RHP Julio Teheran (10-11, 4.77 ERA) will pitch for Atlanta.

      Phillies: After a day off Monday, Philadelphia begins a 10-game homestand Tuesday against Miami with RHP Nick Pivetta (5-10, 6.49 ERA) drawing the start.

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    • Magic Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers’ president of basketball operations, took full responsibility for the team’s $500,000 tampering fine and said he told owner Jeanie Buss to take the money out of his paycheck.

      “It’s under my watch,” Johnson told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “I apologize to Jeanie, and that was the main thing. I told her she could take it out of my salary because I don’t want the Lakers to be paying that fine. … I don’t want her spending $500,000, because she didn’t do anything. That’s on me.”

      Last Thursday, the NBA issued the fine to the Lakers for violating the NBA’s anti-tampering rule after general manager Rob Pelinka was found to have had contact with Paul George’s agent after the team had already been warned.

      The league said Pelinka’s contact with George’s agent “constituted a prohibited expression of interest in the player while he was under contract” with the Indiana Pacers. The fine followed an investigation, conducted by an independent law firm, after the Pacers filed tampering charges.

      The NBA had already warned the team about tampering following Johnson’s nationally televised comments about George on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on April 20.

      “This is just on a late-night show being funny,” Johnson said Monday. “But now I know I can’t do that. We’re OK. I haven’t thought twice about it. We made a mistake. … It’s under my watch. I’m gonna make sure it doesn’t happen anymore.”

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    • LuxembourgFrance coach Didier Deschamps preferred to retain a positive outlook despite seeing his star-studded side held to a shock goalless draw at home by minnows Luxembourg.

      Les Bleus went into the World Cup qualifier in Toulouse on the back of a 4-0 mauling of Holland on Thursday and would have been expected to inflict even more damage on a nation placed 126 below them in the FIFA world rankings.

      But a combination of the woodwork, inspired goalkeeping from Jonathan Joubert and indifferent finishing saw France — who would have ensured a top-two finish in Group A with a win — held 0-0 at the Stadium Municipal.

      Deschamps admitted his side “can do better” but pointed to the fact they still boast a one-point lead at the top of the group, with their final two games coming against Bulgaria and Belarus, as reason not to be too downhearted by the result.

      He said in quotes reported by L’Equipe: “It’s true that three points against Luxembourg would, of course, be better.

      “I am of a positive nature, but when things are going well, like against Holland, I do not fall into euphoria either.

      “The players are disappointed. But the reality after this match is that we are better off in terms of points than we were before the two matches this week and we are also a point ahead of Sweden.

      “We have to win our last two matches so we don’t have to rely on other sides. We have everything in front of us and it only depends on us”

      Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann both struck the crossbar while the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Djibril Sidibe and Samuel Umtiti also were unable to make the most of the numerous openings that France created in the match.

      It could have been much worse for the 1998 World Cup winners, though, as Luxembourg midfielder Gerson Rodrigues fired a shot against the post with 12 minutes left.

      Deschamps said of his side’s performance: “We can do better, of course. Leaving a game where you’ve had at least 12 opportunities without winning is hard.

      “I would like to congratulate Luxembourg who, like their goalkeeper, have been heroic.

      “We created opportunities but lacked lucidity. There was always a foot, a leg, a post…It is annoying to have so many chances and not score, but we have to accept it. If there were no opportunities it would have bothered me more. That’s football.”

      Luxembourg’s point was their fifth in qualifying and saw them move off the bottom of the group and above Belarus, who lost 4-0 to Sweden.

      Coach Luc Holtz, whose side beat Belarus 1-0 on Thursday, said it was “a day of glory” for his nation.

      He added: “We are satisfied with the point, which we got playing with a lot of heart, commitment and also success. With a bit more luck we would have got the three points.

      “For Luxembourg, the result is historic. A point against a top team is extremely rare. It is a day of glory for Luxembourg football.”

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