Bye, Rio. Here’s What’s Happening in the Rest of the Sports World

Some pretty big things, tbh.

Photo: NFL.com

There was a lot going on these last few weeks—outside of Rio. The sports world is still kicking, and pitching, and tackling and The Relish has your updates on all things that aren’t Olympics too. Let’s start with the NFL…

We’re about halfway through the preseason, which is only making us antsier for regular-season football to get here — just two and a half weeks until the Super Bowl rematch on September 8th! In the meantime, here’s some ‘round-the-league news to keep you in the know:

After Peyton Manning’s retirement and Brock Osweiler’s departure for the Houston Texans, the Denver Broncos’ QB battle is still wide open. Mark Sanchez thought he had the starting job wrapped up, but after two sack-fumbles Saturday night, the door has been opened for Trevor Siemian and rookie Paxton Lynch, despite their own imperfect play.

On the other end of the spectrum, though his team still lost, Andrew Luck had the best individual preseason debut he could have asked for in his first game back since lacerating his kidney midway through last season. Even without star receiver T. Y. Hilton, in just two series Luck still went a perfect 8-for-8 for about 70 yards (42 of which came on the game’s first drive), and scrambled for 12 more. Here’s hoping it’s a sign of more good things to come.

While RGIII’s personal life might be about as messy as his past couple of seasons were, the #2 overall 2012 draft pick might be on his way to a career resurgence with the Cleveland Browns. He and WR Terrelle Pryor have been clicking in preseason games; if they can continue that chemistry against regular-season defenses, Cleveland might just have some more sports happiness in its future.

This week in stupid preseason injuries: Eagles kicker Caleb Sturgis wasn’t wearing his helmet during pregame warmups, so got a concussion when an errant punt hit him in the head. Head injuries are serious and nothing to joke about, but we feel like this one probably could have been prevented. As could this: Tom Brady attempted to get something out of his cleats using scissors, and nicked his thumb in the process.

In not-so-stupid injuries, Brady wasn’t the only Patriots player to go down. Running back Dion Lewis is expected to be out a couple of months after knee surgery, guard Shaq Mason broke his hand, and tackle Sebastian Vollmer is expected to start the season on IR with a hip issue. With Brady due to serve his Deflategate suspension, this could be a different Patriots offense to watch than we’re used to for the next few weeks.

Reigning Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt is still recovering from back surgery, so may not be available for the Texans’ first two regular-season games against the Chiefs and the Bears. Time for Jadeveon Clowney to step up; if he performs as he did against the Saints Saturday night, the Texans’ defense will be a force to be reckoned with upon Watt’s return.

The female NFL contingent was strong at the Bills-Giants game on Saturday: Bills owner Kim Pegula posed with Kathryn Smith, the Bills’ special teams quality control coach (and the first full-time assistant coach in the NFL) and Sarah Thomas, first female referee. It was the first NFL game with both a female coach and a female referee on the field, and we can’t wait to see more.

In more sobering news, Giants kicker Josh Brown was handed a one-game suspension for domestic violence allegations that recently came to light (while Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell still has to sit out three games for violating the league’s substance policy). The baseline punishment appears to be a six-game suspension for first-time offenders, but apparently this can be modified if there are any “mitigating factors.” Way to pretend you’re taking a hardline stance but then go completely vague again, NFL.

And finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t share these football-meets-pop-culture bits with you, too:

For the gamers among us, Madden 17 comes out for PlayStation 4 tomorrow (apparently if you have an Xbox One there was/is a way to subscribe to EA Access and get it early). We might like this parody ad featuring Von Miller asking you to start him better than the game itself!

Seahawks defender Michael Bennett started a book club. (Following in Luck’s footsteps, are we? Except this one is inside the locker room only rather than open to the general public.) The first read on the docket is Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers — good choice, Michael.

Because this is the Year of the Reboot, the announcement of a Varsity Blues remake should come as no surprise. If you loved Friday Night Lights, this is a show to keep an eye on.

From the desk of our copy chief rach54, our MLB update here:

Coming off a slew of firsts for U.S. athletes at the Olympics, could there be a carryover effect in baseball? Let’s catch you up as baseball passes our time until the start of the NFL season:

Four of arguably the top five teams in baseball have either never won the World Series or waited a long, long, long time to return. Could 2016 be their year?! The Cubs, with baseball’s best record, have not won the WS since 1908; the Nationals have never made the WS; the Rangers have never won the WS; and the Indians have not won the WS since 1948.

The American League wild-card race has suddenly gotten hot, with the Mariners winning seven of their last 10 entering Sunday to put a scare into the Red Sox and Orioles. The defending WS champion Royals might still be too far back, but they have won eight in a row.

Cubs right-hander Kyle Hendricks, who leads MLB in ERA, has been going insane, with a 1.33 ERA over his last seven games.

Teammate Kris Bryant leads the National League in home runs (31) and runs scored (98) and was batting .517 over his last seven games.

Key injuries: The Marlins seemed certain of getting an NL wild card, but have struggled since losing OF Giancarlo Stanton on Aug. 13 with a left groin strain that could keep him out for the season; the Cardinals are struggling to hang on to a NL wild card since losing OF Matt Holliday on Aug. 11 with a broken thumb that required surgery.

Managers on the hot seat: The Mets, last year’s NL representative, hover at .500, and Terry Collins might pay the price; Robin Ventura, in his fifth season as White Sox manager, likely will finish with his fourth sub-.500 record and could be gone.

Sports aren’t over after Rio. We’ll keep serving them up in your inbox, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow along!