Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Sports

Falcons facility back on track

ATLANTA — As he awaits word on Atlanta's bid to host a Super Bowl, Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Monday construction of the team's new Mercedes-Benz Stadium is back on schedule to open in June, 2017.

NFL owners will choose next week between Atlanta and other cities competing to host Super Bowls in 2019, '20 and '21. No city will be awarded more than one game. The vote will be taken at the NFL owners meeting in Charlotte, N.C.

Blank said good weather has construction back on schedule.

"I'm thrilled. We had a great winter, actually a mild winter, and a beautiful spring, so the weather has fully cooperated," Blank said before joking, "I'll take responsibility for that."

Blank also owns the expansion MLS franchise Atlanta United FC, which will share the stadium. Construction delays had jeopardized the soccer team's inaugural home summer schedule in 2017 and the Falcons' 2017 home preseason games.

Team president Rich McKay confirmed workers "started the fall significantly behind."

"Now all of a sudden our pace has really picked up," he said.

The Falcons announced food and beverage pricing for all events at the new stadium will start with $2 each for soft drinks (including free refills), hot dogs, pretzels and popcorn.

Bills: Team officials said first-round pick Shaq Lawson, who plans to move to linebacker in the NFL, will have surgery today on his injured right shoulder and wide receiver Sammy Watkins had a foot operation. Watkins reportedly had a small stress fracture and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in July.

Broncos: Quarterback Mark Sanchez will miss the first few days of workouts next week after having surgery Saturday on a ligament in his left, non-throwing hand. He hurt his thumb Thursday in a weight room mishap. Also, former Florida State and Bucs linebacker Dekoda Watson signed.

Dolphins: Former Lions defensive end Jason Jones signed.

Panthers: They released cornerback Brandon Boykin, who signed in this offseason.

Ravens: The league is investigating after coach John Harbaugh had players in pads during rookie minicamp last week, ESPN reported. Having players wear full pads before training camp violates the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Also, they signed former Bucs quarterback Josh Johnson, profootballtalk.com reported.

Seahawks: They signed linebacker Khairi Fortt after waiving injured linebacker Christian French.

Titans: They waived quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who is 0-10 in his career as a starter.

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