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By Sonny Jones

Some not such good news for a pair of professional athletes from Bladen County. Both attended East Bladen High School.

Larrell Murchision was waived by the Tennessee Titans on Tuesday as NFL teams were required to trim rosters to 53 players.

Sincere Smith was released by the New York Yankees organization on Aug. 9 after playing four seasons in the rookie league in Florida.

Murchison was among 29 players the Titans waived Tuesday. He was drafted in the fifth round by Tennessee in the 2020 draft and played in 21 games over the past two seasons. The former N.C. State defensive lineman started five games for the Titans last season. In his two seasons, Murchison was credited with 13 tackles, including five solo tackles and two tackles for loss. He also played on special teams.

The transaction doesn’t mean that Murchison’s NFL career is over. He can sign with any other NFL team and be placed on their 53-man opening game roster or can sign with any team’s practice squad, including the Titans, beginning today. Each NFL team can carry up to 16 players on their practice squad. The practice squad players can practice with teams and be ready to play in games as needed when other players get injured.

It would be surprising if Murchison doesn’t continue playing with a NFL team, whether it’s on another team or the Titans, if he desires.

Smith, on the other hand, may be a different story.

He was a 32nd round selection by the Yankees in 2018 and never advanced past rookie level ball. In four seasons, he batted .237 with 1 home run, 14 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases in 70 games. He played 29 games in 2019 and batted .270 with 7 stolen bases.

Smith can sign with any Major League Baseball organization, could try out for an independent league team or look elsewhere if he wants to continue playing professional baseball. If his playing days have ended, he should be proud of reaching the professional level. Few of us can say the same.

I have a friend who was drafted by the Texas Rangers about 40 years ago, never got above Low-A in three minor league seasons and opted to start “real life,” if you will. He has had a very successful personal and professional life. He’ll always be able to say he played professional baseball. Who among us wouldn’t like to claim that?

Whatever the future holds for Murchison and Smith, both can take pride in their accomplishments and folks in Bladen County wish them the best in whatever comes next.


Anett Kontaveit will need three sets to beat Serena Williams in the second round of the U.S. Open. The crowd will be with Serena, as they should, and Williams will give it her best, but the second-seeded Kontaveit is a tough match-up. It will be a fun match to watch and the crowd will be electric. Wouldn’t mind being wrong on this call.

TUESDAY’S PICK: Rafael Nadal hasn’t played in the U.S. Open since he won the event in 2019. He’s back this year as the No. 2 and will open with a straight set win against Rinky Hijikata. RESULTS: Nadel dropped the first set, but won the next three to advance to the second round.


• TENNIS: U.S. Open, noon, ESPN

• PREMIER SOCCER: Newcastle United at Liverpool, 3 p.m., USA

• MLB: Houston at Texas or Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 2 p.m., MLBN

• MLB: LA Dodgers at NY Mets or Chicago Cubs at Toronto, 7 p.m., MLBN

• MLS: Atlanta at Philadelphia, 7 p.m., FS1

• TENNIS: U.S. Open, 7 p.m., ESPN

• WNBA PLAYOFFS: Connecticut at Chicago, 8 p.m., ESPN2

• WNBA PLAYOFFS: Seattle at Las Vegas, 10 p.m., ESPN2

Sonny Jones can be reached at wibbyj@gmail.com and follow on Twitter @FOSonnyJones.

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