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Allen Kee / ESPN Images(FOXBOROUGH, Mass.) – The Patriots expected the worst when tight end Rob Gronkowski went down with a back injury, and the bad news became a reality Saturday. The team placed the tight end on injured reserve following back surgery in Los Angeles on Friday, ending his season.

Gronkowksi has had a rough season injury-wise, playing in only eight games due to hamstring and lung injuries. He only caught 25 passes for 540 yards and three touchdowns in those games.

Gronkowski's injury was traced to the big hit he absorbed from Seattle Seahawks safety Earl Thomas on Nov. 13. Running back DJ Foster will take Gronkowski's spot on the 53-man roster.

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Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images(HOUSTON) -- According to multiple reports, free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran and the Houston Astros have agreed to a one-year $16 million deal.  The deal also includes a no-trade clause, according to ESPN.

Beltran, 39, was a top free agent on the market after a stellar 2015-16 campaign. He started the season off with the Yankees, leading them with a .304 batting average, 22 homers and 64 RBIs, and finished the year with 29 homers, 93 RBIs and 163 hits as a member of the Texas Rangers.

This will be Beltran’s second stint with Houston, after being traded there from Kansas City in June of 2004. The nine-time All Star is still searching for his first World Series title. Meanwhile, the Astros have bolstered their lineup this offseason, acquiring catcher Brian McCann from the Yankees in a trade and free-agent outfielder Josh Reddick to a four-year, $52 million deal.

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Allen Kee / ESPN(NEW ORLEANS) -- The shooting that killed former NFL player Joe McKnight in Louisiana on Thursday is considered a road rage incident, not a hate crime, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said.

Ronald Gasser, who allegedly admitted to fatally shooting McKnight, is cooperating with the ongoing investigation, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office said this afternoon. Authorities released Gasser, 54, after questioning him overnight. There was no reason to continue holding Gasser, the sheriff's office said.

The shooting happened Thursday afternoon near an intersection in Terrytown, which is about 5 miles south of New Orleans across the Mississippi River. When police arrived, they found 28-year-old McKnight suffering from multiple gunshot wounds; he died at the scene, the sheriff's office said. The sheriff's office said McKnight was not armed and there was no gun near his body.

 Gasser stayed at the scene after the shooting, and was then taken into custody, the sheriff's office said. He "relinquished his weapon to our officers," Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said Thursday.

"We are interviewing a number of witnesses as well as Mr. Gasser," Normand said.

The NAACP in New Orleans today claimed the football player, who is black, was lynched. Gasser is white.

The NAACP called on Kenneth Polite, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, to get involved, and urged witnesses to the shooting to come forward to the local FBI Civil Rights Division.

"We are demanding answers," NAACP New Orleans President Morris Reed said today.

Normand said at a news conference this afternoon that "this isn't about race."

Normand revealed more details about the shooting, which he described as a road rage incident. Gasser was inside his car when he fired three shots at McKnight; three casings were located in Gasser's vehicle, he said.

“We have no witness account of an apology being made by Mr. McKnight to Mr. Gasser," Normand added.

Normand stressed today that the investigation is ongoing and said "external influences will not motivate this office .. as to how we are going to conduct this investigation."

A grand jury or the district attorney will decide whether or not charges should be filed against Gasser, a sheriff's office official told ABC News this morning.

 Normand said many people in his office are close to the McKnight family.

A spokesperson for the McKnight family said in a statement that "the family is distressed, distraught. This tragedy is something that changes all of our lives so dramatically. We are in the process of trying to deal with the grief and what we need go through legally. We want to give Joe his just due."

And in an interview with ABC affiliate WGNO, McKnight's brother Jonathan McKnight said, "My brother would never lay a hand on nobody. Even when he was going through problems, he would never hurt nobody."

Asked about his reaction to his brother's death, McKnight told WGNO, "I didn’t believe it ... Joe ... was getting everything together. It just happened out of nowhere. That’s why it hurts so bad for us."

He added, "My family was never brought up in the streets, we was always doing the right thing. My family put us on the right path. It’s going to be hard for a long time, just not seeing his face. We never lived that kind of life."

McKnight went to high school in Louisiana before he headed west for college in 2006, where he became a football star at the University of Southern California.

After USC, McKnight played for the New York Jets and the Kansas City Chiefs.

This season, he played in the Canadian Football League, according to his brother.

McKnight's death marks the second time an NFL player was shot and killed in a motorist incident in New Orleans this year. In April, former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith was fatally shot while driving in New Orleans's Lower Garden District.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
Final  Orlando        105  Philadelphia   88
Final  N-Y Knicks     118  Minnesota     114
Final  Toronto        113  L.A. Lakers    80
Final  Boston          97  Sacramento     92
Final  Detroit        121  Atlanta        85
Final  L.A. Clippers  114  New Orleans    96
Final  Chicago        111  Cleveland     105
Final  San Antonio    107  Washington    105
Final  Houston        128  Denver        110

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
Final SO  Calgary    3  Minnesota   2
Final  San Jose   2  Montreal    1

TOP-25 COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Final  (4) Washington     41  (9) Colorado   10
Final  (13) W. Michigan   29  Ohio           23

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Final  (13) Indiana   83  SIU-Edwardsville   60

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- LeBron James was a Chicago Cub fan...for one night.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star wore a full Cubs uniform before his team's game against the Chicago Bulls on Friday night after losing a World Series bet to Chicago-native and Bull Dwyane Wade.

The Cubs won the World Series against the Cleveland Indians 4-3 for the team's first series title since 1908.

Thank you to @KingJames for being a good sport, and to @DwyaneWade for making it happen! https://t.co/9ycdXzyVFK pic.twitter.com/595WoSlntI

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) December 3, 2016

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Tom Pennington/Getty Images(DALLAS) -- Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has reached an agreement with prosecutors to dismiss a domestic violence charge against him, according to the Dallas County District Attorney's Office.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutors, Brittany Dunn, said the Heisman-trophy winning football player will have to meet certain conditions for a  year before the misdemeanor charge is dismissed. Those conditions included enrolling in an anger management class, participating in a substance abuse program, and attending a domestic violence impact panel.

Manziel faced up to a year in prison and a $4,000 fine for allegedly hitting and threatening former girlfriend Colleen Crowley during a night out in January.

The deal, reached on Friday without Manziel present, forbids him from contacting Crowley. The 23-year-old former Texas A&M star is still under review for possibly violating the NFL's domestic violence policy, which could result in a six-game suspension.

In a statement, Manziel's lead attorney, Jim Darnell, told ABC News that his client is "pleased to be able to put this part of the situation behind him and is eager to satisfy the terms of the agreement."

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iStock/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) — The San Diego Chargers could be closer to utilizing the team’s option to move to Los Angeles next year, sources told ESPN.

At the NFL owners meeting last January, the league allowed the Chargers the option to relocate to L.A., giving the team a Jan. 15, 2017 deadline to decide. It was in that same meeting that the league authorized the Rams to move to L.A., ESPN reports.

If Chargers chairman Dean Spanos decides to move his team in January, it won’t be without obstacles. A move would mean the Chargers will need a new place to play as well as a practice facility — a matter that will be up for discussion at the next NFL owners meeting this month in Dallas.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Here are the latest scores and winners:

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION

Charlotte 97, Dallas 87
Milwaukee 111, Brooklyn 93
LA Clippers 113, Cleveland 94
Memphis 95, Orlando 94
Miami 111, Utah 110
Houston 132, Golden State 127 (2OT)

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE

Boston 2, Carolina 1 (2OT)
Buffalo 4, NY Rangers 3
Pittsburgh 6, Dallas 2
NY Islanders 3, Washington 0
Florida 2, Detroit 1
Philadelphia 3, Ottawa 2
St. Louis 5, Tampa Bay 4
Edmonton 6, Winnipeg 3
Chicago 4, New Jersey 3
Columbus 3, Colorado 2
LA Kings 4, Arizona 3
Anaheim 3, Vancouver 1

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE

Dallas 17, Minnesota 15

TOP-25 COLLEGE BASKETBALL

(8) Gonzaga 97, MVSU 63
Cincinnati 55, (19) Iowa St. 54 (OT)
(20) South Carolina 68, Vermont 50
(24) Florida 91, North Florida 60

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Former USC and New York Jets running back Joe McKnight was fatally shot in a road rage incident near New Orleans on Thursday, according to ESPN.

"At approximately 2:43 p.m. today we received a call of a shooting that occurred here at Holmes [Boulevard] and Behrman Highway (in Terrytown)," Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said. "Our officers arrived on the scene and immediately began giving CPR to an individual who was shot and lying on the ground."

The suspect was identified as Ronald Gasser, who stayed at the scene after the shooting, according to police.

"Mr. Gasser did, in fact, shoot Mr. McKnight. We will be releasing additional details as we get through these interviews with these witnesses," Normand told reporters. "Mr. McKnight did not have a gun in his possession."

McKnight played 3 seasons at USC and was a fourth round pick for the Jets in the 2010 draft, according to ESPN. He spent 3 seasons with the Jets and was released by the team in 2013 after a turbulent return to training camp.

"Joe McKnight was a loving father and a genuine, kind-hearted person," the Jets said in a statement. "It is sad when life is taken in what appears to be such a senseless act of violence. Joe, you will be missed."

McKnight was 28.

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Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- NASCAR has a new sponsor for it's premier seires, announcing a multi-year deal with Monster Energy. It will be just the third brand to sponsor the premier series in its' history, taking over for Sprint after Dec. 31 of this year.

"Motor sports is [Monster's] DNA," NASCAR CEO Brian France said, "They understand motor sports, they understand NASCAR, they understand how to reach across and excite our core audience and help us deliver on a new audience."

Monster's Chief Marketing Officer Mark Hall also felt strongly about the new deal. "It's a rare and unique opportunity to be associated with a premier professional sport, to be closely partnered with that sport and work together to build both of our brands," he said.

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