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Steelers sign three XFL players

PITTSBURGH — A stint in the XFL has landed three players jobs with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The team signed defensive end Dewayne Hendrix, safety Tyree Kinnel and linebacker/long snapper Christian Kuntz to one-year deals on Monday. All three played in the XFL under the startup league that suspended operations earlier this month because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hendrix had four tackles and a sack for the St. Louis BattleHawks. Kinney finished with 17 tackles for the DC Defenders while Kuntz served as the long snapper for the Dallas Renegades.

The signing is a homecoming for both Hendrix and Kuntz. Hendrix played for the University of Pittsburgh from 2015-18 while Kuntz is from the Pittsburgh suburbs and played at Duquesne University. Kuntz, who won the Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award twice, spent some time with the Steelers during training camp last year but did not make the 53-man roster.

The signing also reunites Kinnel with former Michigan teammates Devin Bush and Zach Gentry. Kinnel played four years at Michigan, finishing with 154 tackles, a sack and two interceptions.

ESPN to air NBA Finals games

BRISTOL, Conn. — ESPN will air NBA doubleheaders on Wednesday nights during April showcasing key NBA Finals games.

The doubleheaders begin this Wednesday with two games from the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors, where the Cavaliers became the first team in league history to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win the title.

The final two games from Miami’s 2013 title run will air April 8. The rest of the month will feature the clinching games from the Lakers’ titles in 2009 and ’10, Boston’s 2008 championship run and the final games for Shaquille O’Neal with the Lakers and LeBron James with the Miami Heat.

Spring athletes to get extra year

The NCAA will permit spring sport athletes who had their seasons shortened by the coronavirus outbreak to have an additional year of eligibility.

The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to give college athletes who compete in spring sports such as baseball, softball and lacrosse a way to get back the season they lost, but did not guarantee financial aid.

Winter sports were not included in the decision. Council members declined to extend eligibility for student-athletes in sports where all or much of their regular seasons were completed.

How much scholarship money will be made available to each athlete will be determined by the athlete’s school. The amount could range from nothing to as much the athlete received the year before.

Roster limits will be adjusted to fit returning athletes along with incoming freshman.

Deadline extended indefinitely

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The final deadline to nominate horses for the Triple Crown series is being extended indefinitely because of the coronavirus.

It was scheduled to be Monday.

The extension was agreed upon by officials at Churchill Downs, Maryland Jockey Club and New York Racing Association.

The Kentucky Derby has been pushed back from May 2 to Sept. 5.

Maryland and New York racing officials are continuing discussions to decide when the Preakness and Belmont stakes will be run. The Preakness is scheduled for May 16 and the Belmont for June 6.

When the Triple Crown dates are settled, a deadline for late nominations will be announced.

Any 3-year-olds not made eligible at a cost of $600 during the early nomination phase will be able to be nominated for $6,000.

A total of 347 horses were nominated during the early phase that closed Jan. 25.

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