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This Week in US Sports: Tragedy strikes NFL, MLB

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Sports did not matter in the United States this week.

While there are always things more important than games going on where we watch to see grown men throw a ball or catch it, this week that truly hit home.

The NFL and MLB were hit with serious news off the field that made their games take a back seat.

1. NFL, MLB struck by tragedy

The first week of July in 2019 will always be remembered in football and baseball circles. That is because both leagues were hit by harsh tragedy and lives taken far too early.

Former New York Giants quarterback Jared Lorenzen and Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs died this week and games became secondary.

Lorenzen was admitted to hospital last week and looked to be getting better as time went along, but his family announced his sudden passing on Wednesday at the young age of 38.

Skaggs’ death was far more shocking as he had just pitched last week and was found dead in his hotel room on Monday. He was 27.

Tributes poured for each man and Los Angeles cancelled their game against the Texas Rangers on Monday. This was simply a week which will always be known for lives taken too soon.

2. Free agent frenzy

While the untimely deaths of two professional athletes reverberated across USA, games were still played and free agents still signed in both the NHL and NBA.

The balance of power has shifted in both leagues as two-time Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky signed with the Florida Panthers and one of the best wingers in the game in Artemi Panarin signed with the New York Rangers.

Those moves changed things in the NHL, but the NBA might have seen even more of a shift as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving both signed with the Brooklyn Nets, Jimmy Butler was reportedly traded to the Miami Heat and D’Angelo Russell moved to the Warriors. Golden State also signed Willie Cauley-Stein days after losing Durant.

Things are going to be different next year and the biggest domino in free agency has not even fallen yet. Kawhi Leonard remains unsigned.

3. Phil Kessel traded to Coyotes

While the Rangers getting Panarin is an absolutely huge move of a dynamic player, the move of Phil Kessel might be just as big.

The former Penguins winger was rumoured to be on the move all offseason and finally was sent off officially on Saturday as Pittsburgh traded him to the Arizona Coyotes.

Now, two teams that did not make the playoffs last year all of a sudden have an injection of talent which at least makes their divisions much more difficult.

It also makes the NHL even more interesting.

4. Ezekiel Elliott avoids suspension

It seems like every offseason, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is being discussed as getting a possible suspension, but he has at least avoided one this year as it was announced he would not be disciplined for an incident in Las Vegas in which he allegedly shoved a security guard and was handcuffed.

He met with the NFL to talk about the incident and came away without a suspension.

Elliott had shared a statement on Twitter, confirming the meeting and promising to work hard to ensure he stays out of trouble in the future.

“I need to work harder on myself to ensure I do not put myself in compromised situations in the future,” Elliott wrote, in part. “I am rededicating myself to use all of the resources that the league has made available. But in the end, it is up to me and I am determined not to be in this position again.”

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