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Deflated ball just defective

PHILADELPHIA — No investigation or federal case needed this time. The NFL says a bad football used in a preseason game Thursday night was simply defective.

The league said in a statement Friday that a ball was removed from play during the third quarter of the Steelers-Eagles game in Philadelphia and will be sent back to manufacturer Wilson for review.

Questions about an underinflated football flared among fans online after the preseason opener when a sideline radio reporter tweeted that he saw a ball looking “VERY deflated” after an incompletion thrown by Pittsburgh rookie Mason Rudolph.

That immediately brought back reminders of “Deflategate,” the scandal caused when New England Patriots superstar Tom Brady used underinflated footballs during the 2015 AFC championship game. Brady was ultimately suspended four games in 2016 for his role in a case that climbed all the way to a federal appeals court.

The saga prompted the NFL to change how it handles footballs before and during games.

NFL officials say all the proper procedures were followed during the game Thursday night.

Giants’ offense struggles

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The additions of new coach Pat Shurmur and No. 2 overall draft pick Saquon Barkley didn’t provide a quick fix for the New York Giants’ offense.

The 20-10 loss to the Cleveland Brown in the preseason opener Thursday night at MetLife Stadium was somewhat disappointing, at least based on the statistics.

The offense generated 10 points, with the lone touchdown being set up in the third quarter by a recovery of a fumbled punt at the Browns 14 by Zak DeOssie. Aldrick Rosas’ 42-yard field goal on the opening drive was ignited by a 39-yard run by Barkley on the first play from scrimmage. The drive was kept alive by an unsportsmanlike penalty on Cleveland rookie Denzel Ward after a third-down incompletion.

Despite gaining 310 yards, including 134 rushing, the offense didn’t make enough plays. It was 4 of 17 on third downs. The quarterbacks were 22 of 45 for 193 yards. No drive lasted longer than eight plays.

There are excuses. Coming off ankle surgery, star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play. Tight end Evan Engram was not targeted. Eli Manning played two series and Barkley had five carries for 43 yards.

It should get better, but it didn’t look good in the preseason opener. It was much like 2017 when New York scored 246 points, its fewest since 2003.

McCoy’s ex-girlfriend healing

The woman whose face was bloodied in a home invasion at a home owned by Buffalo Bills running back LeSean McCoy says her injuries are healing, though she is still having emotional difficulty dealing with what happened a month ago.

Delicia Cordon wrote, “mentally, is still a battle,” in posting a message on her Instagram account on Friday.

Cordon is McCoy’s ex-girlfriend, and wrote she will continue to fight for justice to be served, and added: “NO ONE deserves what my cousin and I endured.”

Cordon was injured after being attacked by a man who entered the home in suburban Atlanta in the early hours of July 10. Her lawyer said Cordon sustained bruises and was struck in the face multiple times by a gun when the man attempted to take bracelets off her wrist.

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