Antelope Valley Press

Steelers, Roethlisbe­rger agree to new deal for 2021 season


PITTSBURGH — Ben Roethlisbe­rger is returning for an 18th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers and is taking a pay cut to do it.

The team and the two-time Super Bowl winner announced on Thursday they have agreed on a new contract that assures the 39-year-old will be back in 2021.

Financial details were not immediatel­y available, though the Steelers made no secret

of the need for Roethlisbe­rger to take a pay cut to ease some of the burden of his NFLhigh $41.25-million salarycap hit scheduled for 2021.

NFL Network, citing anonymous sources, said Roethlisbe­rger’s new deal will essentiall­y pay him $14 million this season and adds four voidable years to spread out the dead money.

“I am grateful to be at this stage of my career and more than happy to adjust my contract in a way that best helps the team to address other players who are so vital to our success,” Roethlisbe­rger said in a statement. “I love this game and love to compete, and I believe in this team and my ability to deliver when called upon. It all starts with great preparatio­n and I am ready to go.”

Roethlisbe­rger passed for 3,803 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 intercepti­ons in 15 games in 2020 after missing almost all of 2019 with a right elbow injury. The Steelers won their first 11 games on their way to a 12-4 record and captured the AFC North title but were stunned at home by Cleveland in the first-round of the playoff game thanks in part to four Roethlisbe­rger intercepti­ons.

Boone discharged from hospital, day after getting pacemaker

TAMPA, Fla. — New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone was discharged from St. Joseph’s Hospital on Thursday, a day after having a pacemaker installed.

Boone is on a leave of absence from the Yankees and intends to return to work in a few days.

The 47-year-old is entering his fourth season as Yankees manager. He had openheart surgery in 2009.

Bench coach Carlos Mendoza took over as acting manager for Wednesday night’s 4-1 win over Toronto in Tampa and Thursday’s 15-0 loss to Philadelph­ia in Clearwater.

Heart problems may be rare in pro athletes after COVID-19

Heart inflammati­on is uncommon in pro athletes who’ve had mostly mild COVID-19 and most don’t need to be sidelined, a study conducted by major profession­al sports leagues suggests.

The results are not definitive, outside experts say, and more independen­t research is needed. But the study published Thursday in JAMA Cardiology is the largest to examine the potential problem. The coronaviru­s can cause inflammati­on in many organs, including the heart.

The research involved profession­al athletes in the U.S. and Canada who play in major league football, hockey, soccer, baseball and men’s and women’s basketball. All tested positive for COVID-19 before October and were given guideline-recommende­d heart tests, nearly 800 total. None had severe COVID-19 and 40% had few or no symptoms — what might be expected from a group of healthy elite athletes with an average age of 25. Severe COVID-19 is more common in older people and those with chronic health conditions.

Almost 4% had abnormal results on heart tests done after they recovered but subsequent MRI exams found heart inflammati­on in less than 1% of the athletes. These five athletes all had COVID-19 symptoms. Whether their heart problems were caused by the virus is unknown although the researcher­s think that is likely.

Coming off victory, Nelly Korda shares the lead on LPGA Tour

OCALA, Fla. — Nelly Korda didn’t miss a beat four days after her first LPGA Tour title on U.S. soil, outplaying her sister and the world’s No. 1 player for a 5-under 67 to share the lead at the Drive On Championsh­ip.

Former NCAA champion Jennifer Kupcho managed a 67 despite playing most of the back nine with a migraine that blurs her vision. Austin Ernst also had a 67 at Golden Ocala.

The third-ranked Korda was part of a featured group that played early before the cool morning yielded to warm sunshine. She played alongside her older sister, Jessica, who had a 69; and Jin Young Ko, the No. 1 player in women’s golf who had a 75.

Cardinals to increase attendance

The St. Louis Cardinals say they’ve received approval from the city to fill Busch Stadium at 32% capacity starting with their April 8 home against the Milwaukee Brewers.

That could mean 14,500 fans at Busch Stadium, which has a capacity of 45,538.

City health director Dr. Fredrick Echols says new COVID-19 infections have been declining and the positivity rate in St. Louis dipped below 5% for the first time since mid-September.

“The Cardinals organizati­on has worked diligently to ensure they are able to create and maintain a safe environmen­t for staff and fans. Wearing a face covering, social distancing, cleaning, and other infectious disease control measures they have in place for the stadium should keep us moving in the right direction,” Echols said in a news release.

Season ticket holders will get the first crack at tickets for the first two homestands, then the general public if tickets remain. The Cardinals said fans will be seated in pods of four or fewer with at least 6 feet of space between pods. Masks will be required except when eating or drinking.

MLB’s Royals to allow limited fan attendance

The Kansas City Royals plan to allow a limited number of fans to return to Kauffman Stadium when the baseball season begins next month, the team announced Thursday.

The Royals will initially have 10,000 fans per game, sitting in socially distanced, pod-style arrangemen­ts. The number of fans will increase monthly if it’s safe to do so, the Royals said in a news release.

Team officials have worked for months with Kansas City health officials and the Jackson County Sports Authority to ensure fans will have a safe experience, the team said.

Royals Manager Mike Matheny said he and his team are thrilled to have fans back after playing in front of empty stadiums last season.

“Words cannot describe how excited all of us are to be able to open at home ... in front of as many of our blueclad fans that the protocols will allow,” he said. “It will be a completely different environmen­t than last year and bring a little more normalcy to our sport and lives.”

The Royals open the season April 1 at home against the Texas Rangers.

USC routs Stanford to stay in hunt for Pac-12 title

LOS ANGELES — Tahj Eaddy scored 16 points on 6-of-8 shooting and Southern California routed Stanford 79-42 on Wednesday night, snapping a two-game skid and keeping the Trojans in the hunt for the Pac-12 title.

Drew Peterson had 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Trojans (20-6, 14-5 Pac-12), who notched their 20th win for the fifth time in six seasons under coach Andy Enfield. They trail first-place Oregon by percentage points with one game remaining for each team.

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