Spurs in pursuit of Argentinean guard Nicolas Laprovittola

The San Antonio Spurs are in pursuit of a third Argentinean for their roster, according to league sources.

So that’s why USAB chairman Jerry Colangelo didn’t need a lot of time Sunday night, after the medals were handed out here in Rio, to make an immediate declaration about the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

“We can’t go back again with 10 new players,” Colangelo said. “That’s not going to happen.”

“For me,” he added with unmistakable relief, “I’m glad we got past this.”

Colangelo was grateful, mostly, for the presence of the few wise old heads who did make the trip to these Olympics. There they sat in front of the world’s media at the postgame podium from left to right: Mike Krzyzewski, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony.

Laprovittola and Garino were key contributors to the Argentina squad that reached the elimination round in the recent Olympics.

A dozen years removed from leading ?Argentina to an improbable gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Ginobili, at 39, retired from international play following ?a quarterfinal loss to the United States.

“This is an incredible and wonderful city. And after today’s amazing celebration, I hope that this legacy extends beyond basketball. I hope that August 24, on this day, is a celebration of passion and hard work, dedication and mentorship. Because teaching the next generation how to achieve greatness is really what it’s all about. And together as a city we can do this. We only play for one thing in this city, and that’s winning championships. Inspiring the next generation to achieve their dreams, whatever that dream might be, is the most important thing. We need each other to do it. And together we will do that, and certainly we will win championship after championship.”

His news conference afterward had little do with basketball. His first two questions were about his newly announced venture capital fund [“I’m not looking for the massive multiple, I’m looking for the passion for the idea,” Bryant said] and the challenge of defeating homelessness.

He seemed as comfortable talking about these non-basketball issues as any of the politicians were during the day, and it was evident he was well prepared for his post-basketball transition.

Jimmy Garoppolo on taking QB reins: ‘You have to make it your own’

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Five things we learned from New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s interview on sports radio WEEI’s “Dennis and Callahan Show with Minihane” on Monday morning:

Why he likes throwing to Malcolm Mitchell. The rookie receiver has made a quick first impression (four catches, 55 yards in the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints). “He’s progressing really well,” Garoppolo said. “He has big, strong hands and catches everything you throw at the guy. As a quarterback, you love that. You don’t like a guy who bobbles it. He’s going to catch it clean for you every time, and that’s a comforting feeling.”

It means Corey Linsley lost the job in the same way he got it.

Linsley, who stepped in as a rookie after Tretter went down in an Aug. 22, 2014, preseason game, remains on the physically unable to perform list because of a hamstring injury that kept him out the entire offseason as well.

“JC Tretter has had an excellent camp,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Monday. “I think I’ve answered that question repeatedly and JC, in my view, has earned the starting position at center. Availability is a big part of what you look for in your players.

“It’s unfortunate what Corey is going through and continuing to battle to get back out there. But there’s been a lot of time that’s gone by since he’s been out there. I think JC has done an excellent job.”

Clearly, McCarthy has placed value not only on Tretter’s performance but also in the reps he’s taken all offseason with the other offensive line starters. Continuity has long been one of McCarthy’s goals for his offensive line. In 2014, when Linsley took over, the same five linemen started 17 of the 18 games (including playoffs).

Last year, only left guard Josh Sitton started every game, and he made one of those starts out of position, at left tackle.

Tretter has made four career starts — all last season. Three of those came at center when Linsley had a late-season ankle injury. The other was at left tackle in the wild-card playoff game at Washington.

But in the 2014 preseason — the last season when Griffin saw the field — he ran three times against the Browns, and twice took hits. On one, he was hit by three Browns defenders when he could have run out of bounds.

After the game, Gruden said simply: “When he gets out of the pocket, he needs to protect himself.”

When Griffin got to Cleveland, Jackson had a more direct approach about sliding.

“Demand it,” he said.

There was no wiggle room.

“You want to play quarterback in our system for us, there are certain things we ask the quarterback to do,” Jackson said. “You have to protect the ball; you have to take care of yourself. Because you have to be out there with your teammates.”

In practice, Griffin throws the ball away in an exaggerated manner — flinging it over a 15-foot fence that circles the practice field. In the offseason, Griffin proudly talked about how he had executed a perfect slide with nobody watching, and then celebrated another slide on the field.

In the game against Atlanta, Griffin slid twice and also covered up a bad snap — and drew a face mask penalty — as opposed to picking up the ball and trying to run.

Jared Goff, Carson Wentz lead NFL Week 1 preseason injury list

QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Injury: Hairline fracture in his ribs

Prognosis: Wentz, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2016 draft, suffered the injury on a hit Thursday night in the Eagles’ 17-9 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Doug Pederson said the team hopes to have Wentz back before the preseason ends Sept. 1. This injury will halt any attempt to move up the depth chart or at least pressure veterans Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel before the season begins. Any playing time he receives this season will be the result of either multiple injuries or poor performances elsewhere, as opposed to a surge in preseason games.

WR Malcolm Mitchell, New England Patriots
Injury: Dislocated left elbow

Prognosis: Initial reports suggest Mitchell will miss four weeks. That timetable calls into question whether he’ll be ready for the Patriots’ regular-season opener Sept. 11 at the Arizona Cardinals, but overall it’s great news, given how gruesome the injury looked on video in the Patriots’ 34-22 victory Thursday over the New Orleans Saints. Mitchell had four catches for 55 yards to that point, continuing a surge that hinted he would be a significant part of the Patriots’ offense this season. He’ll still have that chance.

LB IK Enemkpali, Buffalo Bills

Injury: Torn right ACL

Prognosis: Enemkpali will miss the season after suffering the injury Saturday in the second quarter of the Bills’ 19-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Enemkpali had been working with the first-team defense throughout camp, partially because of injuries to other players, but his injury leaves the Bills’ defensive line significantly depleted. Yes, this is the same Enemkpali who forever changed New York Jets history last summer when he broke the jaw of quarterback Geno Smith during a locker-room altercation. The Bills claimed Enemkpali after the Jets waived him.

WR Bennie Fowler, Denver Broncos

Injury: Right elbow fracture

Prognosis: Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Fowler will miss “a few weeks,” which implies that he might be ready to return when the regular season begins. (Apparently elbow fractures heal quickly.) Fowler, who suffered the injury on a punt return in Thursday night’s 22-0 victory over the Chicago Bears, has been working as the Broncos’ No. 3 receiver during training camp.

Cortland Finnegan brought it up even before the media had a chance.

When someone asked him about how much pride he takes in being a good locker room guy and a teacher to his young teammates, the New Orleans Saints’ newest cornerback replied, “You know, when your reputation is you’re a dirtbag … you like to hope and think that you add some value in real life to the locker room.”

A small smile came across Finnegan’s face as he answered, as if he had beaten reporters to the punch while addressing them for the first time.

“You know, you guys probably think that,” Finnegan added.

The 32-year-old veteran is able to laugh about his notorious reputation — he was routinely voted as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players during his prime and became infamous for a 2010 fight with receiver Andre Johnson.

At the same time, Finnegan showed great self-awareness in the interview, which can be seen here on the Saints’ website.

“I don’t think it’s a misconception. I think it’s a stated fact, people just think that. So I’ve just got to live with it. It’s just part of who I am now. So we’ll just take it,” said Finnegan, who often was accused of taking cheap shots at the end of plays and who openly admitted that he would try to get under receivers’ skin by yapping at them throughout the game.

Chiefs hoping to lure St. Louis fans after Rams move to L.A.

The Chiefs didn’t have to seek the situation because it has come to them. Donovan said the Chiefs have been approached by St. Louis area fans about buying tickets and businesses about buying sponsorships.

“We got calls the day the Rams moved, or the day it was announced, with people [from St. Louis] saying they wanted to buy Chiefs tickets,’’ Donovan said. “It was probably a handful of people, not a lot. But we think if we have a good product, we have an opportunity to grow there. It’s not that far a drive.’’

The Chiefs have done business in St. Louis before. They had many ticket holders from that area the last time St. Louis did without the NFL, from the time the Cardinals played their last home game in Missouri in 1987 to the time the Rams moved from Los Angeles in 1995.

“We do have some [season ticket holders] there, certainly going back to the period of time when St. Louis didn’t have a team,’’ Hunt said. “Over time, that may grow.’’

Preseason TV is the first step for the Chiefs. They’re hopeful many of their regular-season games also will be on TV in St. Louis, though ratings will drive that decision.

“We’ll be considered,’’ Donovan said. “If we do our job and win football games, they’ll want to put us on.’’

Well, that’s one way to shorten the preseason.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame game between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts was cancelled on Sunday evening because of unsafe field conditions.

The teams arrived at the stadium in Canton, Ohio, to find that the field was in terrible shape after Saturday night’s induction ceremony. Field workers worked furiously to try to get the field into playable condition, but both teams’ coaches feared that it was a major injury risk.

The NFL and NFLPA issued a joint statement after the decision to cancel the game was made official:

“Due to safety concerns with the condition of the playing surface in Canton, tonight’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Green Bay Packers has been cancelled. We are very disappointed for our fans, but player safety is our primary concern, and as a result, we could not play an NFL game on this field tonight.”

The surface of Tom Benson Field, named after the New Orleans Saints owner, was extremely hard (“like concrete,” per an ESPN report) because the paint applied to the ground had gummed up into a tar-like surface. ESPN’s Lisa Salters reported that that wrong paint was used on the surface before the game.

Tom Brady: Accepting suspension a ‘personal decision’

“I have a job to do, and I try to approach it the best way I can,” he said. “I’ve always tried to do things the same way. Every day is important to me. Certainly, as someone who has been around here for a long time, I know I have to bring it every day. I think I just have to go out there and lead by example, and try to bring it, and show my teammates I’m ready to go mentally and physically every day.”

Brady was on fire during Friday’s practice, which was an intrasquad scrimmage. Although the pass rush held up before sacking quarterbacks and there was no live tackling, Brady was still 25-of-25 in the scrimmage and was especially vocal, his emotion flowing over after big plays.

“I think it’s just a way to elevate everybody’s game,” he said of his approach. “It’s a very competitive team, it’s a competitive sport and you have to bring it mentally every day. You have to have an attitude about you, and we have a lot of guys on this team that bring that. Trying to push their buttons, I love to do that. They push it back, and I think that gets the best out of everybody.”

Brady also deflected a question on whether he’s changed his approach in training camp, knowing he won’t play until Oct. 9 at Cleveland, saying, “Honestly, I’m just trying to be as good as I can be every day.”

His interview with reporters lasted five minutes, during which he acknowledged the support he’s received throughout Deflategate.

“My family has been everything to me,” he said. “Obviously the support of my teammates, and coaches, and Mr. [Robert] Kraft and Jonathan [Kraft], the whole team, all our fans. I said the other night, we have the best fans in the world. And we do. Hopefully we give them a lot of reason to cheer this year.”

RENTON, Wash. — During one drill Thursday, Seattle Seahawks rookie right guard Germain Ifedi got matched up with veteran defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin.

It was a one-on-one drill, and Ifedi won this round. But what stood out was how he kept after Rubin until the whistle blew or the coaches announced that the rep was over. This has been a constant throughout camp. Ifedi has mixed it up with Michael Bennett and others on the defensive side of the ball.

“He knows I won’t back down,” Ifedi said. “The team knows I won’t back down.

“You can’t be a nice guy on the field, or you won’t be on the field very long.”

Ifedi said Bennett has been a great guy to him off the field, but the offensive line and defensive line have gotten into quite a few scuffles through the first five practices of camp. The defensive line is the more talented, more accomplished group. But what the coaches have noticed is that the offensive linemen have stood their ground.

After practice, head coach Pete Carroll gushed about what he’s seen from Ifedi so far.

‘Mutual interest’ between Nick Foles, Dallas Cowboys

Rapoport noted that Dallas did its homework on Foles even before he was released by Los Angeles, saying: “They did work on him when the Rams were trying to shop him. There’s a lot of mutual interest there for the Cowboys and Nick Foles.”

With Foles sitting on his couch jobless and the Cowboys in desperate need of another camp arm, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this deal go down much sooner than later.

What’s your perception of Mark Sanchez?

It’s probably something like this: Some ups (the guy has been a part of four playoff wins, including one at Tom Brady and the New England Patriots), plenty of downs, he has been the butt (fumble) of jokes and ultimately a quarterback whose career has been unfulfilling.

Sanchez has a chance to change all of that.

There’s a lot of pressure that comes with landing on the Denver Broncos as their presumptive Week 1 starter. Sanchez finds himself on a team that just won a Super Bowl, so anything less this season is a step back. He’s replacing Peyton Manning, one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. The challenge is unmistakable.

But it’s also an amazing opportunity for Sanchez, just before his 30th birthday, to rewrite his NFL story.

“It’s been an amazing experience and I wouldn’t trade anything — the good, the bad, the ugly — and it’s been so fun. Now this is just this gift-wrapped opportunity,” Sanchez said. “You don’t want to squander this. This is a real shot to finish your career the way you want.”

Sanchez doesn’t have the starting job yet. So far in training camp he has mostly split first-team repetitions with Trevor Siemian, a 2015 seventh-round pick. This year’s first-round pick, Paxton Lynch, is still on the third team as he struggles through rookie inconsistency. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Wednesday that nothing has been decided, and preseason games will matter.

“I don’t think anybody has taken off and done anything,” Kubiak said.

Stabler was part-man, part-living legend before he died in 2015. His off-field lifestyle coupled with his on-field heroics made for a unique persona. He kept fans on the edge of their seats when he was leading fourth-quarter touchdown drives, but also when he was partying during the offseason — or on Saturday nights before games. “The monotony of camp was so oppressive,” he wrote in his autobiography, “that without the diversions of whiskey and women, those of us who were wired for activity and no more than six hours sleep a night might have gone berserk.”

His football legacy is as the figurehead of the 1970s Raiders, a role his personality perfectly suited. In his first playoff game in 1972, Stabler came in as a backup and scrambled for a 30-yard touchdown with 1:13 remaining to give Oakland a 7-6 lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers (Yep, that’s the forgotten part of the Immaculate Reception game). That set the stage for six unforgettable years. He won playoff games in five straight seasons, often with heroics. Stabler wasn’t the most talented quarterback, but he carved out quite the spot for himself in NFL lore.

Injuries: Dion Jordan on NFI list; Foster activated

Here are other injuries we’ve been tracking on Sunday:

1. Kony Ealy is in concussion protocol and didn’t practice after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit Saturday, Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera told the Charlotte Observer.

2. Sammy Watkins (foot) has passed the Bills’ conditioning test, but he remains on the PUP list, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported. The team is being cautious before clearing him to return to the practice field.

3. Falcons coach Dan Quinn says wideout Julio Jones could be back to full-go on Tuesday. Jones did about 50 percent of practice Sunday.

4. Niners placed safety Jaquiski Tartt on the active/non-football injury list. Tartt will still count on the 90-man roster.

5. Giants wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. left practice early with a minor injury. He suffered a few cuts from being stepped on.

6. Patriots receiver Chris Hogan left practice early with a shoulder injury, NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo reported.

7. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said Sam Brenner is under evaluation for a concussion.

The Broncos placed nose tackle Phil Taylor (knee) on injured reserve, the team announced. In a corresponding move, the team signed defensive end Billy Winn.

8. Seahawks third-round pick C.J. Prosise tweaked his hamstring on Saturday and didn’t work out on Sunday, NFL Media’s James Palmer reported. Tight end Cooper Helfet has a foot injury. His date to return is unknown.

9. Colts first-round pick Ryan Kelly left practice Sunday with his shoulder wrapped. Kelly observed practice after participating earlier. Team spokesman said Kelly’s injury is “not serious” and coach Chuck Pagano will not have an update on the player’s status until Monday.

10. Texans offensive tackle Derek Newton, who was carted off Sunday, suffered a strained hamstring, source said after his MRI. It’s believed Newton will be sidelined a few weeks.

11. Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin was carted off the field Sunday. Head coach Jeff Fisher said Austin experienced cramping and added the receiver had skipped lunch.

12. Chargers head coach Mike McCoy is waiting for test results on receiver Stevie Johnson’s knee. McCoy said more information will be available Monday.

Ben Roethlisberger is not happy about Martavis Bryant’s year-long suspension.

The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback is not only upset about missing the dynamic wide receiver on the field, but disappointed about Bryant not being completely honest about the circumstances surrounding his suspension.

Big Ben said he hasn’t talked to his maligned receiver recently and called out Bryant for not responding overtures.

“I kind of put it on his plate. I would love to talk to him, but I have to let him make the move, he needs to reach out to me because I’ve tried and done those things,” Roethlisberger said. “I’m not trying to be rude or mean, but I think he needs to do that, like grow up and reach out and talk to me, anybody. I know he talks to Markus (Wheaton).”