The ESPN Daily: A visit from the NFL "grim reaper," a story of scars and survival, and the luck of the Champions League draw

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast


The darkest day in the NFL ... Intentional injuries. "Missing" cellphones. Sudden disappearances. Players will do just about anything to avoid a visit from the person who's about to tell them the coach wants to see them in his office -- and by the way, they should bring their playbooks. Cut-down day is a source of huge anxiety for many NFL players, and as the saying goes, if you haven't been cut, you haven't played long enough. Former linebacker Emmanuel Acho details the stress and devastation that follows a visit from the "grim reaper." Read More

The ultimate NHL arena experience ... Ever been to an NHL game? It's intense in a way that's different than any other sport. It's not perfect, though, and there's always room for improvement. From a greater focus on the players to a stronger commitment to policing the stands, here are six ways the league could improve how fans experience games in person. Read More

A story of scars and survival ... Paralympian Scout Bassett's right leg exists only somewhere in her memory -- it was mangled in a chemical fire when she was very young and had to be amputated. She spent years denying her past, but by embracing it and becoming a world-class athlete, she has become an inspiration. We talked to her about her incredible story for her appearance in the upcoming Body Issue. Read More


Who's got the advantage? One has the power. The other has the speed. But when Vasiliy Lomachenko takes on Luke Campbell this weekend, only one can come out on top. We have the full breakdown of each fighter's strengths and weaknesses to get you prepared for Saturday's showdown in London. Read More

Breaking down Week 1 ... Auburn and Oregon face off in Arlington, Texas, and even though it's just Week 1, there are huge implications at play ... and not only for the College Football Playoff. Heather Dinich breaks down the most intriguing matchups for the first full Saturday of college football. Read More

Ready to level up ... One of the best parts about any NFL season is that you never know which players are going to make the leap and become household names. Unless you do, in which case you're extremely lucky or a legitimate psychic. If so, can you email us? We've got some questions about the future that ... actually, nevermind. Don't want to change the future by knowing about it. Anyway, here are the top breakout candidates this season on every NFL team. Read More

Luck of the draw ... The English teams have it easy. Not so much for Spain's big three. The Champions League draw is settled, and it's time to figure out who has the easiest path to the title. We have the latest analysis on each group -- including which one's going to take the biggest toll on its members. Read More



Etienne takes off for a 90-yard TD

Travis Etienne breaks up the sideline for a 90-yard touchdown.


Coco shows off her speed

Coco Gauff speeds along the baseline to return Timea Babos' groundstrokes, then rushes to the net to hit a crosscourt winner.


"I want to live my dream of playing the game I've worked my whole life to play, and being open about the person I've always been. Those two objectives shouldn't be in conflict. But judging from the fact that there isn't a single openly LGBT player in the NFL, NBA, Major League Baseball or the NHL, brings me pause. I want to change that -- for me, for other athletes who share these common goals, and for the generations of LGBT athletes who will come next."

-- NFL veteran Ryan Russell, on attempting to return to the league as an openly bisexual man. Read more


On this day in 1918, Ted Williams was born. Perhaps the greatest hitter of all time, Williams was the last person to hit over .400 in a season, and still holds the record for career OBP with an astounding .482 mark.


US Open (All weekend starting at 11 a.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN+): More tennis, more life. The action continues at Flushing Meadows as the likes of Serena, Nadal, Federer and Djokovic continue their quests for another Grand Slam title.

UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs. Zhang (Saturday, 6 a.m. ET, ESPN+): You'll have to get up early for this one, as Jessica Andrade takes on Zhang Weili for the women's strawweight title in Shenzhen, China. If you're up extremely late Friday night, you can catch the prelims at 3 a.m. ET on ESPN.

Countdown to GameDay (Saturday, 8:30 a.m. ET, ESPN App/YouTube/Twitter/Facebook): Yes, GameDay is such a thing that we have a livestream before the show in Week 1. Maria Taylor, Jason Fitz, and David Pollack will give you a first look at the top stories and marquee matchups ahead.

College GameDay (Saturday, 9 a.m. ET, ESPN): GameDay is back for the first full college football Saturday, and we couldn't be more excited. We'll be in Fort Worth, Texas, this week for a matchup between No. 11 Oregon and No. 16 Auburn in Arlington at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC. You can catch the full slate of games on the ESPN family of networks all day.

Lomachenko vs. Campbell (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET, ESPN+): Vasiliy Lomachenko defends his WBA and WBO lightweight belts against fellow 2012 Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell. They're also competing for the vacant WBC lightweight belt, so there's a lot on the line in this matchup.