NFL: Rodgers' use of ayahuasca didn't violate drug policy

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ use of the hallucinogenic drink ayahuasca during an offseason retreat isn’t considered a violation of the NFL’s drug policy.

Rodgers discussed on “The Aubrey Marcus Podcast” last week how he went on an ayahuasca retreat to Peru in 2020. Ayahuasca is defined as a psychoactive beverage native to South America and is often used for religious, ritualistic or medicinal purposes.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy says it wouldn’t have triggered a positive test result on either the substance abuse or performance-enhancing substance policies collectively bargained by the NFL and its players’ association.


Savage injures hamstring during Packers' 'Family Night'

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Starting safety Darnell Savage suffered a hamstring injury during the Green Bay Packers’ traditional “Family Night” practice at Lambeau Field. During one-on-one matchups between receivers and defensive backs early in practice, Savage pulled up while trying to cover Amari Rodgers. Savage watched the rest of practice from the sideline with ice wrapped around his right leg. He says he doesn't think the injury is a major concern and he'll “handle it the right way.” Early in camp, Green Bay’s defense has mostly had its way with an offense led by four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers but adjusting to life without All-Pro receiver Davante Adams.


Lauer works 7, Tellez and Taylor homer as Brewers top Reds

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Eric Lauer pitched seven strong innings, Rowdy Tellez and Tyrone Taylor homered, and the Milwaukee Brewers shook out of their post-trade deadline funk with a 5-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. NL Central-leading Milwaukee had lost three straight since dealing All-Star closer Josh Hader to the Padres on Monday. Tellez hit a two-run shot in the first inning off Robert Dugger, and Taylor followed with a three-run blast in the third. Lauer worked out of trouble early for Milwaukee. Devin Williams entered with two on in the ninth and struck out two for his seventh save.


Pirates rally by scuffling Brewers once again in 5-4 victory

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Bryan Reynolds raced home on a wild pitch with one out in the 10th inning, lifting the Pittsburgh Pirates past the Milwaukee Brewers 5-4 to complete a three-game sweep. Reynolds tied it earlier in the inning when he hit a ground-rule double down the right-field line off Matt Bush (2-2). Reynolds moved to third on a fly to right field by Ke’Bryan Hayes and raced home when a pitch from Bush slipped by Brewers catcher Victor Caratini to give the Pirates their third comeback win over first-place Milwaukee in as many days.


DeMarre Carroll reunites with Budenholzer as Bucks assistant

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks have hired former NBA player DeMarre Carroll and former Utah Jazz assistant coach Vince Legarza as assistant coaches. Carroll will reunite with Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer after playing for him with the Atlanta Hawks from 2013-15. Carroll played in the NBA from 2009-20. The Bucks also promoted Charles Lee from assistant coach to associate head coach, promoted Blaine Mueller from head video coordinator to assistant coach and promoted Sidney Dobner from assistant video coordinator to head video coordinator.


Ugly 5th inning cost Brewers in 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Rookie Oneil Cruz hit a three-run homer to spark a five-run sixth inning as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied for a 5-3 victory over the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers, snapping a seven-game skid. Cruz hit a blast to dead center field off reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes, pulling the Pirates into a 3-all tie. Pittsburgh then added two runs to win for the first time since July 23. The Brewers had their four-game winning streak snapped, one day after trading All-Star closer Josh Hader to San Diego. Milwaukee had also won seven of eight.


Mom's lessons of pluck, preparation served LeRoy Butler well

(AP - Arnie Stapleton) Growing up in a rough-and-tumble Jacksonville housing project, LeRoy Butler wore hand-me-down clothes, what he calls his “Forrest Gump” leg braces and a constant smile.

His grandmother, Rosa Lee Durham, used to tell him that his gift from God was his uncanny ability to “ignore anything negative" such as getting teased for daring to dream about playing in the NFL when he couldn't even walk straight or having to stay indoors when his siblings went outside to play.

When that happened, Butler would retreat to the kitchen where his mother, Eunice O. Butler, imparted both the secrets of the family's favorite recipes and how to handle neighborhood bullies.

The man who would become best known as the originator of the " Lambeau Leap ” and who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend spent much of his youth in a wheelchair, braces or casts. The bones in his feet were so weak and misaligned that he could only walk for short distances and he couldn’t run.

Being severely pigeon-toed meant he was constantly picked on by other kids who never picked him when choosing sides during recess.

By the time he was in seventh grade, however, Butler's legs had healed and by high school the lessons he learned from his mother about patience, pluck and perseverance had begun to pay off as he overcame his childhood challenges, which included a reading disorder, to earn a scholarship from Bobby Bowden at Florida State.

In 1990, after starring for the Seminoles, Butler received a call from Packers coach Lindy Infante during the second round of the NFL draft. Infante told Butler they were going to select him and did he have any questions?

“I do have one, Coach,” replied Butler. "Where's Green Bay?”

Butler would soon be joined by Reggie White, Brett Favre, Ron Wolf and Mike Holmgren and together they put Green Bay back on the NFL map.

Butler was key to restoring Green Bay's glory days during a 12-year career that featured four All-Pro selections and landed him on the league's All-Decade team of the 1990s, and his versatility put him at the vanguard of a shift in the way safeties are used in today's game.

To disguise the defense's intentions and maintain an ability to stop the pass or the run on later downs, coordinators Ray Rhodes and later Fritz Shurmur would stick with their base defense when opponents sent extra receivers onto the field. They would then have Butler cover either the slot wideout or top tight end and occasionally blitz the stumped quarterback.

This took Butler's game to another level, which kindled the notion that he was one of the greatest ever to play his position.

Butler was selected for the Hall in his 16th year of eligibility, his third as a finalist.

A few years before her death in 2016, his mother helped Butler write the acceptance speech that he'll deliver at his induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, on Saturday.

“She taught me a long line of things," Butler said. “(When) you have a special needs kid who can't go outside, can't go swimming, can't do sleepovers, you've got to be a patient person.”

That's why Butler said he never fretted about his long wait for his enshrinement.

Butler's football career came to a premature end on Nov. 18, 2001, when he broke his left scapula while tackling Atlanta's Maurice Smith, leaving him 16 games shy of breaking Bart Starr's record of 196 games played with the Packers.

He fell just short of becoming the first player in NFL history to finish his career with 40 interceptions and 20 sacks.

Although he won a Super Bowl and reached another, Butler was best known for what he did in a game in December 1993 against the Raiders.

Butler forced a fumble by running back Randy Jordan that Reggie White recovered and lumbered with for 10 yards before pitching it to Butler, who raced down the sideline to score his first career touchdown, which he celebrated by jumping into the stands.

“Mike Holmgren always said, if you get a fumble and you’re a defensive player, don’t lateral the ball,” Butler recounted. "But Reggie wanted to do it. And it’s Reggie White, right?

"So Reggie laterals the ball, I’m running down the sideline, and it’s all spontaneous. And when I jumped up there, and the hugging, the best fans — I take that back, they’re owners — that was my way of loving the fans.”

The "Lambeau Leap″ became an entrenched tradition following touchdowns as the Packers morphed from persistent also-rans to a perennial playoff team over the past quarter century, winning two Super Bowls and reaching another.

Former Broncos safety Steve Atwater, whose stellar play in Super Bowl 32 denied Butler a second ring, is another member of the 1990s All-Decade team who had an interminable wait for enshrinement.

Atwater said that when he finally made it in 2020, the first thought that crossed his mind was holding the door open for Butler.

“He's one guy I'm really looking forward to welcoming in,” Atwater said. "He was a playmaker. I remember watching him when he was at Florida State, just being amazed at the tackles he made, the interceptions. He was all over the field. And he did that same thing in Green Bay."

It's not only Butler's long wait but how far he came, Atwater said.

“I think all of us overcome some adversity, but that's just a whole other level there,” Atwater said. “To not get picked for teams because of the situation with his legs and then to overcome that — even the mental part of it, you've got to be so strong mentally — and play at the high level he played at is amazing.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL


Brewers can't finish off sweep of Boston, fall 7-2

BOSTON (AP) — Xander Bogaerts, J.D. Martinez and Christian Vázquez each had an RBI double that helped the slumping Red Sox beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-2 for just their fourth victory in 17 games as the trade deadline approached. Bogaerts, Martinez and Vázquez all are in what could be in their final season with the Red Sox. Bogaerts can opt out of his contract and the other two are eligible to become free agents. Boston, which had a season-high eight doubles, was 3-7 on a season-long homestand and 8-19 in July.


Yelich, Woodruff lead Brewers to 4-1 win over Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) — Christian Yelich drove in the go-ahead run with a single in the seventh inning, Brandon Woodruff struck out nine and the Milwaukee Brewers returned to Boston for the first time in eight years and beat the Red Sox 4-1. Andrew McCutchen had a run-scoring fielder’s choice and Tyrone Taylor added a sacrifice fly in the ninth. The Brewers improved to 6-1 since the All-Star break and won in their first game at Fenway Park since April 2014. Woodruff (9-3) went 6 1/3 innings, allowing one run and four hits and two walks. Josh Hader struck out three in the ninth to pick up his 29th save. Brayan Bello (0-3) took the loss in an extended relief outing.


Packers’ Bakhtiari won’t make predictions about his return

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Green Bay Packers offensive tackle David Bakhtiari says he feels better but won’t predict when he might play again as he recovers from a knee injury that’s now more than 1½ years old.

Bakhtiari has played just one game since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament on Dec. 31, 2020. The left tackle underwent a third procedure on the knee during the offseason and was on the physically unable to perform list Wednesday as the Packers opened training camp.

“It’s a nightmare, my nightmare that I have to live,” Bakhtiari said. “I don’t know how many days it’s been, but I’m just excited to wake up (from the nightmare) one day.”

The Packers remain hopeful that Bakhtiari will be ready for the start of the season.

“I think we’re cautiously optimistic,” general manager Brian Gutekunst said.

Bakhtiari, who turns 31 on Sept. 30, was playing well enough to earn first-team All-Pro honors for a second time when he hurt the knee. He underwent surgery after the 2020 season and had a second procedure during the 2021 regular season.

He returned to play 27 snaps in the 2021 regular-season finale at Detroit, but had a setback and was inactive for the Packers’ 13-10 NFC divisional playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

“Everyone loves timelines,” Bakhtiari said. “When I’m ready, I’ll be out there. What I can say is I do feel really good. I really like — I feel normal. My knee feels normal and that’s the biggest plus. Now it’s just getting that normal feeling again when I play football, so that’s what it is, the load, stress, strength, but we’re not really in an ACL issue. That’s actually been a long time ago that we put that chapter to bed.”

The Packers need a healthy Bakhtiari as they attempt to reach a Super Bowl for the first time since their 2010 championship season. Bakhtiari earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2018 and 2020 and was a second-team selection in 2016, 2017 and 2019.

With Bakhtiari unavailable for either of Green Bay’s past two playoff losses, the Packers allowed five sacks in each of those games.

Bahkhtiari acknowledged that he wasn’t at 100% for the Lions game last season, but hoped playing in the regular-season finale would prepare him for the playoffs. It didn’t work out that way.

“Obviously it didn’t respond in the right direction, which was a huge bummer for me,” Bakhtiari said.

The return of Bakhtiari and 2020 Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins from a torn ACL would boost an offensive line that has lost much of its depth with former right tackle Billy Turner now in Denver and former guard Lucas Patrick now in Chicago. The Packers did address the position in the draft by selecting UCLA’s Sean Rhyan in the third round, Wake Forest’s Zach Tom in the fourth and Penn State’s Rasheed Walker in the seventh.

Green Bay’s chances of winning a fourth straight NFC North title improve tremendously if Bakhtiari’s around to protect four-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ blind side. Rodgers knows how difficult the recovery process has been for his teammate and friend.

“He was dealing with a significant injury that was more than just an ACL injury,” Rodgers said. “I’m not going to speak out of turn for him, but every day I was in there in the offseason, he was in there working, getting body work, doing rehab, so he wants to get back out there.

“I know it’s really, really tough on him but he’s got some great balance off the field, an incredibly amazing, beautiful wife who’s pregnant now. So I think this year’s going to be really special for him both on and off the field, and we look forward to him getting back whenever that time is.”

Indeed, Bakhtiari has reached this crisis point in his career at a time when things are going great for him off the field.

He got married during the offseason, with Rodgers officiating the wedding. As Rodgers noted, Bakhtiari and his wife are now expecting a baby.

“It’s like I’ve just been living a nightmare (with the injury), but outside of work, things have been the exact opposite,” Bakhtiari said. “It’s been like a fairytale for me. It’s just making sure the nightmare stays at work.”

NOTES: K Mason Crosby says he underwent a “minor scope on the knee” two weeks ago. He hopes to be ready for the start of the season. ... The list of Packers not practicing Wednesday also included WRs Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson. Gutekunst said he doesn’t expect Watkins to be out for very long. Gutekunst wouldn’t say whether Watson might return in time for the first preseason game. ... Gutekunst said he isn’t currently interested in adding any more receivers. One of the top potential options took himself off the market this week when Julio Jones signed with Tampa Bay. “I really like the group we have,” Gutekunst said. “I want to give those guys the opportunity to see what they can do, and if we feel we need to do anything, we’ll adjust. But right now it’s like any year at this time of year. There’s not a lot out there. They’re usually on teams.” ... The Packers released LB Caliph Brice.

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL