Falcons suffer second defensive injury

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) - The Atlanta Falcons placed linebacker Deion Jones on injured reserve on Tuesday, taking a second 2017 Pro Bowler from the defense in less than a week.

The move with Jones comes after coach Dan Quinn on Friday announced safety Keanu Neal suffered a torn ligament in his left knee and will miss the remainder of the season.

Jones hurt his foot in Thursday night's 18-12 opening loss at Philadelphia . Quinn said Tuesday that Jones will require surgery, but is expected to return this season.

"We are bummed for Deion, but we do expect to get him back at some point this season," Quinn said in a statement.

"He represents all that we are looking for in a Falcon player, and while he will not be on the field for us right now, he will continue to have a presence in our building."

The Falcons didn't release further details of Jones' injury or surgery.

Jones led the defense with nine tackles, one interception and two passes defensed against the Eagles. It was his seventh career interception.

He had 138 tackles, three interceptions and one sack in 2017 when he earned his first Pro Bowl selection.

Jones must remain on IR for at least six weeks. He then would have two weeks to return to the roster. The earliest date he could return would be on Nov. 11 for Atlanta's game at Cleveland.

Second-year linebacker Duke Riley may take Jones' spot at middle linebacker in the starting lineup. Quinn said Friday a combination of Damontae Kazee and Jordan Richards will be the first options to replace Neal.

BASEBALL

BOSTON (AP) - The Red Sox became the first team in the major leagues to clinch a playoff berth and did not celebrate.

"Any time you make the playoffs and give yourself a chance to be that last team, it's a pretty special thing," Brock Holt said. "We're excited by that, but we've got more work to do."

Holt pinch hit in the seventh inning and hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night that guaranteed Boston no worse than a wild card berth.

At a major league-best 99-46, the Red Sox lead the AL East by nine games with 2 weeks left. Their postgame celebration was lining up for routine high-fives and heading back to the clubhouse.

HOCKEY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman downplayed the significance of entering mediation with former players in a bid to settle a concussion lawsuit, saying Tuesday the league is simply following a judge's order.

"The judge asked us to go into mediation and so we're complying with the judge's request," Bettman told The Associated Press.

He said he had nothing to add when asked if there has been progress, and Bettman reiterated the NHL's position on the lawsuit hasn't changed, by saying: "We also think the lawsuit doesn't have merit."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Texas A&M has supplanted Texas as America's most valuable college football program.

Forbes magazine on Tuesday released its list of most valuable college football programs based on estimate averages for profits and revenue for the 2014, '15 and '16 seasons. Texas had held the top spot, drawing $100 million in revenue in 2011 and $92 million in profit alone in 2014.

A&M's rise was attributed to an increase in athletic department contributions, along more ticket revenue and conference revenue from the Southeastern Conference.

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