Pro Football Hall of Fame center Jim Langer, who was literally in the middle of the Miami Dolphins’ 1972 perfect season, has died at the age of 71.
Langer died Thursday at a Coon Rapids, Minn., hospital near his home of a heart-related problem, said his wife, Linda.
Langer was a first-year starter and played every offensive down for the NFL’s only unbeaten, untied team that went 17-0. The following year he helped the Dolphins repeat as Super Bowl champions, and began a stretch of six Pro Bowl seasons for Miami while playing in 128 games in a row.
A Minnesota native, Langer played linebacker at South Dakota State and went undrafted. He signed with Cleveland as a rookie in 1970 but was cut, joined the Dolphins and made the team as a center in coach Don Shula’s first season with Miami.
• Bobby Dillon, who lost his left eye as a result of childhood accidents but became an All-America defensive back at Texas and a four-time Pro Bowl safety for the Packers of the 1950s, died on Aug. 22 in Temple, Texas. He was 89. His daughter said the cause was complications of dementia.
College football: Kenny Willekes recovered two fumbles, including one in the end zone for a touchdown, and No. 18 Michigan State manhandled visiting Tulsa 28-7. Willekes, back on the field after breaking his leg in last season’s Redbox Bowl, was part of a swarming Michigan State defense that held the Golden Hurricane to minus-73 yards rushing.
• Jonathan Taylor rushed for 135 yards and scored four touchdowns as No. 19 Wisconsin opened its season with 49-0 rout of South Florida in Tampa.
NHL: The NHL announced it will not exercise its option to reopen its collective bargaining agreement with players two years early. That lessens the chance of a work stoppage 13 months from now. The players’ union still has until Sept. 15 to announce whether it plans to reopen CBA talks early, though the league’s move now puts public pressure on the union to follow suit and avoid a potential labor disruption.
Golf: Australian Hannah Green shot a 9-under-par 63 to take a five-stroke lead at 17-under after the second round of the LPGA’s Portland (Ore.) Classic. Green’s round included an eagle on the par-5 No. 5 hole. The winner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in June, Green was at 127 after 36 holes at Columbia Edgewater Country Club. Concord’s Yealimah Noh, who was tied for second after the first round, followed her 65 in the first round with a 68.
• Rory McIlroy picked up five shots in his last five holes for a 7-under 63 to move within a shot of the lead after the second round of the European Masters in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. McIlroy surged to join Tommy Fleetwood (65) and three others at 10-under, one behind Gavin Green (64).
• Michael Bradley birdied his final two holes and tied the course record with a 9-under 61 in the opening round of the PGA Tour Champions’ Shaw Charity Classic in Calgaryl Alberta. Bradley, 53, had his finest round on the over-50 circuit with 10 birdies and a bogey at the par-70 Canyon Meadows Golf and Country Club. Steve Flesch was one stroke off the lead after an opening 8-under 62.
WNBA: Courtney Williams scored 26 points and Alyssa Thomas scored 20 and grabbed nine rebounds to lead visiting Connecticut to a 94-84 win over New York.
Soccer: A second French league game in three days was interrupted because of banners deemed homophobic as Paris Saint-Germain beat Metz 2-0. Referee Frank Schneider stopped the game briefly after the banners were unfurled in the first half.
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