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4 hours ago

Patrick Mahomes leads defending champion Kansas City Chiefs back to Super Bowl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After last weekend's playoff win against the Cleveland Browns, safety  Tyrann Mathieu stole a look in the Kansas City Chiefs locker room at injured quarterback Patrick Mahomes. That quick peek told him Mahomes would not only return to play in Sunday night's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills, but he would play well. "He was in the locker room and he had that look in his eye like, 'Don't forget about me,''' Mathieu said after Mahomes led the Chiefs to a 38-24 victory over Buffalo and a berth in Super Bowl LV against Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "Just watching him work throughout the week, he was the same old Pat, the same teammate, the same leader, moving around, trying to extend plays. "On top of that, he's a gamer. It doesn't necessarily matter the situation or the circumstances. He tends to rise above all that.'' Mahomes, who was knocked out of last week's...
4 hours ago
January 24

Kansas City Chiefs (-3) open as favorites over Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV

The GOAT is a 'dog in the Super Bowl. The Kansas City Chiefs opened as consensus 3-point favorites over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV. The line was trending up Sunday night, with some sportsbooks moving to Kansas City -3.5. Barring significant line movement, it will be only the second time Brady has been an underdog in his 10 Super Bowl appearances. In his Super Bowl debut, Brady and the Patriots were 14-point underdogs against the St. Louis  Rams in 2002, a game New England won outright. The Chiefs were 3.5-point favorites over the Buccaneers when the teams met in Tampa, Florida, during Week 12 of the regular season. Kansas City won 27-24. The rematch in the Super Bowl also will take place at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium, but oddsmakers don't expect there to be any home-field advantage for the Bucs. Brady led Tampa Bay to the franchise's second Super Bowl appearance by holding off the Green Bay...
January 24
January 24

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner hopes Deshaun Watson sticks with Texans

HOUSTON -- Houstonians everywhere are hoping the Texans and quarterback  Deshaun Watson can reconcile before the 2021 season begins. Even in the mayor's office. On Sunday, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeted that the city "loves" Watson and the Texans and as the mayor, "I pray we move forward together." Later in the day, Turner followed that by tweeting he values Watson as a player, but he respects him even more as a person. "I know he loves this City because I have seen how much he has given of himself and his treasure to people in this City," Turner tweeted. "I am humbled to be his Mayor. I hope that won't change anytime soon." Watson is upset with the Texans' organization because of the way it handled the process of finding a new general manager, eventually hiring Nick Caserio, sources previously told ESPN. Watson has not asked for a trade, but on Sunday, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen that the Texans' coaching decision is not expected to change...
January 24
January 24

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur said call to kick FG late 'felt like right decision'

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Matt LaFleur said that while he did end up regretting his decision to take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands and kick a field goal with 2:09 left in the Green Bay Packers' 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, he trusted the thinking behind the move. Down eight points (31-23) at the time and facing fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line, LaFleur sent Mason Crosby in for a 26-yard field goal instead of giving Rodgers one more shot at the end zone (and then a 2-point-conversation attempt) to tie the score. Crosby converted, but Rodgers never got the ball back thanks to Tom Brady and a pass interference call on Packers cornerback Kevin King that allowed the Bucs to run out the clock. "Yeah, anytime it doesn't work out, you always regret it, right?" LaFleur said after the game. "It was just the circumstances of having three shots and coming away with no yards and knowing that you...
January 24
January 24

Aaron Rodgers uncertain about future with Green Bay Packers

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Even Aaron Rodgers doesn't know what the future holds for him with the Green Bay Packers. That's how he left things after Sunday's 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game. "[The Packers have] a lot of guys' futures that are uncertain -- myself included," Rodgers said as part of an answer about how different the team could look next season and what the 2020 campaign meant to him. "That's what's sad about it, most, getting this far. Obviously, it's going to be an end at some point, whether we make it past this one or not, but just the uncertainty's tough and finality of it all." The 37-year-old presumptive NFL MVP is under contract through 2023 via the $134 million contract extension he signed in 2018. But his long-term future with the Packers was thrown into question when general manager Brian Gutekunst traded up to select Rodgers' possible eventual replacement, Jordan Love, with the 26th pick in...
January 24
January 24

Memphis Grizzlies have fifth straight game postponed

Wednesday's game between the Bulls and Grizzlies at FedExForum in Memphis has been postponed due to the NBA's health and safety's protocols. It will be the Grizzlies' fifth straight game postponed under the policy and sixth overall, matching the Washington Wizards for most in the NBA. The Wizards returned to action on Sunday, their first game in 13 days after six players tested positive for COVID-19 and three others had to miss several days following contact tracing. The NBA said the game is being postponed due to contact tracing with the Grizzlies and the fact the team will not be able to practice before the scheduled game. The Grizzlies have no new players entered into the health and safety protocols, a source told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The next scheduled game for the Grizzlies is Saturday in San Antonio against the Spurs. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
January 24
January 24

Sources: Brad Hand, Washington Nationals agree to 1-year, $10.5M deal

Closer Brad Hand and the Washington Nationals are in agreement on a one-year, $10.5 million contract, sources familiar with the deal told ESPN's Jeff Passan on Sunday. The 30-year-old left-hander is poised to become Washington's closer in his 11th major league season, joining the back end of the bullpen that already includes Will Harris, Daniel Hudson and Tanner Rainey. Hand had another solid season as the closer for the Cleveland Indians in 2020, leading the major leagues with 16 saves, but he was a victim of the team's salary purge heading into 2021. Cleveland declined his $10 million option in exchange for a $1 million buyout. Cleveland tried to deal the three-time All-Star after the season but was unable to find a trade partner. Hand was acquired from the San Diego Padres at the trade deadline in 2018. In two-plus seasons with Cleveland, he had 58 saves in 65 chances and a 2.78 ERA and 154 strikeouts in 107 innings over...
January 24
January 24

Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur said decision to kick FG late 'felt like right decision'

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Matt LaFleur said that while he did end up regretting his decision to take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers' hands and kick a field goal with 2:09 left in the Green Bay Packers' 31-26 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game, he trusted the thinking behind the move. Down eight points (31-23) at the time and facing fourth-and-goal at the 8-yard line, LaFleur sent Mason Crosby in for a 26-yard field goal instead of giving Rodgers one more shot at the end zone (and then a 2-point-conversation attempt) to tie the game.   Rodgers never got the ball back thanks to Tom Brady and a pass interference call on Packers cornerback Kevin King that allowed the Bucs to run out the clock. "Yeah, anytime it doesn't work out, you always regret it, right?" LaFleur said after the game. "It was just the circumstances of having three shots and coming away with no yards and knowing that you not only need the...
January 24
January 24

Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers hold off Green Bay Packers to punch Super Bowl ticket

Tom Brady is going back to the Super Bowl. For a 10th time. At the age of 43. But this time it comes as the quarterback of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady and the Bucs knocked off the No. 1-seeded Green Bay Packers 31-26 in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field. They now will face the defending Super Bowl-champion Kansas City Chiefs -- a 38-24 winner over the Buffalo Bills in Sunday's AFC Championship Game -- at Raymond James Stadium in Super Bowl LV. The Bucs will become the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in their own stadium. As Brady walked off the field Sunday, he shouted to teammate Devin White, "D-White, where we going? We're going home!" "I guess when I was holding the Halas Trophy, I was like, 'Oh my gosh. We're actually gonna do it,'" coach Bruce Arians said. "We can dream about looking across the street [at the stadium] for two weeks." Arians will become the second-oldest coach behind Marv Levy to...
January 24
January 24

TE Greg Olsen retires from NFL, will join Fox Sports as broadcaster

Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen announced before Sunday's NFC Championship Game that he plans to retire and join Fox Sports' NFL coverage. Olsen spent the 2021 season with the Seattle Seahawks after nine years with the Carolina Panthers, where he became the first tight end in NFL history to have three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons from 2014 to '16. The Panthers released Olsen, 35, during the 2020 offseason under new coach Matt Rhule. He signed a one-year, $6.6 million deal with Seattle in February. In July, Olsen signed a deal to be Fox Sports' No. 2 NFL television analyst, paired with Kevin Burkhardt, after he retires. "Proud of what I was able to accomplish in this league, proud of the relationships and everything that the game has given me,'' Olsen said during Fox Sports' pregame show. "But sometimes, when it's time, it's time, and my time in the NFL now has come to an end. I'm excited for the next chapter. ... I've got it all out of my...
January 24
January 24

New York Yankees acquire pitcher Jameson Taillon from Pittsburgh Pirates for four prospects

The New York Yankees added another bounce-back candidate to their starting rotation Sunday, acquiring Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for four minor league prospects. Pittsburgh received pitchers Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith in the trade, which has been announced by both teams. Taillon, 29, was the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2010 and was a 14-game winner for the Pirates in 2018. But the hard-throwing right-hander appeared in just seven games in 2019 and missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. The Yankees agreed to the trade less than two weeks after signing two-time Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber, who also is looking to rebound from back-to-back injury-marred seasons. Taillon, who has spent his entire professional career in the Pirates' organization, tweeted Sunday that it was a "bittersweet day" for...
January 24
January 24

Houston Texans' coaching decision won't affect Deshaun Watson's desire to leave, sources say

The Texans' coaching decision is not expected to change Deshaun Watson's thinking, as the quarterback is still expected to want out of Houston, no matter who the head coach is, sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen. The Texans are expected to request a second interview with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and could ask for a second interview with  Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy after Sunday's AFC Championship Game, sources told ESPN. Frazier privately has told some people that he thinks he has a legitimate chance to land the Texans' job and has tried assembling a coaching staff in the event that he does. Bieniemy had a strong staff, but some of his candidates are beginning to accept other jobs. But Watson has been upset with the Texans over, among other issues, the process they used to hire general manager Nick Caserio, sources told ESPN, leading to widespread speculation that Houston could trade the star...
January 24
January 24

Sources: New York Yankees acquire pitcher Jameson Taillon from Pittsburgh Pirates for four prospects

The New York Yankees have added another bounce-back candidate to their starting rotation, acquiring Jameson Taillon from the Pittsburgh Pirates for four minor league prospects, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan and multiple reports. Pittsburgh will receive pitchers Miguel Yajure and Roansy Contreras, infielder Maikol Escotto and outfielder Canaan Smith in the trade, sources told Passan. Taillon, 29, was the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2010 and was a 14-game winner for the Pirates in 2018. But the hard-throwing right-hander appeared in just seven games in 2019 and missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow. The Yankees agreed to the trade less than two weeks after signing two-time Cy Young award winner Corey Kluber, who also is looking to rebound from back-to-back injury-marred seasons. Taillon and Kluber, if healthy, could provide the Yankees with much-needed experience and depth in their...
January 24
January 24

Houston Texans expected to seek second interviews with Bills' Leslie Frazier, Chiefs' Eric Bieniemy, sources say

The Houston Texans are expected to request second interviews with Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy after Sunday's AFC Championship Game, sources told ESPN. Both candidates believe they have a legitimate chance to land the Texans' head-coaching job and have begun assembling coaching staffs in the event that they are hired, sources said. Frazier is said to have had a strong interview with the Texans and has previous head-coaching experience from his time with the Minnesota Vikings. Bieniemy is viewed in many circles as a head coach in waiting, though he has recently been passed over by several teams. As Houston's head-coaching search ramps up, the winning coordinator from Sunday's game could be the loser in the Texans' search, as they would have to wait to hire him. The Texans could act quicker with the coordinator from the losing team. This scenario played a key role in...
January 24
January 24

Sources: Super Bowl teams not allowed in Tampa until 2 days before game

In a season unlike any other, Super Bowl week also will not be like any other. Super Bowl teams always arrive in the city of the game one week in advance, but this season's participants are not allowed to arrive in Tampa, Florida, any earlier than the Friday before Super Bowl LV, league sources told ESPN. If the Buffalo Bills win the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, they have tentative plans to arrive in Tampa on Friday, Feb. 5, two days before the Super Bowl, according to sources. If the Kansas City Chiefs advance to the Super Bowl, they do not plan to arrive in Tampa until the day before the Super Bowl, according to sources. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who booked a spot in the game by beating the Packers on Sunday, spent the week practicing opposite Raymond James Stadium, in clear sight of the Super Bowl LV banners now hanging on the stadium. All of these changes and adaptations are being done to keep teams in the COVID-19 prevention routines they have...
January 24
January 24

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, Anthony Davis 'still have trouble' with Kobe Bryant's death

Three-hundred and sixty-three days following Kobe Bryant's death and 104 days after winning an NBA championship in his honor, the  Los Angeles Lakers' co-captains, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, reflected on the time that has passed since the world lost Bryant. "Man, it's a saying that time heals all," James said after a win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday at the United Center, where Bryant's idol, Michael Jordan, used to play. "And as devastating and as tragic as it was and still is to all of us involved with it, only time. And it takes time. Everyone has their own grieving process." Many among the Lakers and in Bryant's family and close circle of friends are still in mourning, nearly a year after a helicopter crash killed 41-year-old Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others. "As we approach his one-year anniversary, it saddens our hearts to actually come to the realization that he's gone," Davis said. "I know I still...
January 24
January 24

Kyrie Irving relishes 'winning time' after coming up big late for Nets in bounce-back win

NEW YORK -- With a once double-digit lead whittled down to just one point in the final quarter of the Brooklyn Nets' Saturday night game against the Miami Heat, Kyrie Irving took over. He splashed in clutch 3-pointers, had driving layups and made key free throws to help lift the Nets to a 128-124 victory. Down the stretch, Irving said his mentality was: "It's winning time." "I've always said that throughout my career," Irving said. "When it gets down to that point, obviously you just want to buckle down on the defensive end, get stops, and I felt like we did that." The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Nets, who dropped a pair of games at the  Cleveland Cavaliers earlier this week. Irving's 18 fourth-quarter points were the most he has scored in a final quarter since joining Brooklyn. "We had two losses where we had to learn a lot very quickly," Irving said. "And we just moved on to the next night. And I feel like we gave the...
January 24
January 24

Dustin Poirier stuns Conor McGregor with second-round TKO at UFC 257

Dustin Poirier avenged his loss to Conor McGregor and picked up by far the biggest win of his career. The perennial UFC lightweight contender shocked McGregor, beating him via TKO after swarming him with punches at 2:32 of the second round Saturday night in the main event of UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Poirier first hurt McGregor on the right leg with kicks to the calf. With McGregor's leg compromised, Poirier ripped off a series of hard-punching combinations. The closing blow was a shovel right hand that dropped McGregor. Poirier followed on the ground, and referee Herb Dean stepped in to call it, marking the first KO or TKO loss of McGregor's 13-year career. McGregor and Poirier had fought before, with McGregor winning a featherweight match by first-round TKO at UFC 178 in 2014. "I felt his presence less, his aura less," said Poirier, who entered the fight as a plus-275 underdog. "I just saw another fighter tonight. I think the first time, I was kind of...
January 24
January 24

Source: Kansas City Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire likely to play vs. Buffalo Bills

The Kansas City Chiefs will likely have running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire but be without Le'Veon Bell for Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Edwards-Helaire is listed as questionable due to ankle and hip injuries. The team is still unsure exactly how much he will be able to play; it will depend on how he feels pregame and, if active, in the game, the source said. Edwards-Helaire hasn't played since being injured in the Chiefs' Week 15 win over the New Orleans Saints. Bell, questionable with a knee injury, is unlikely to play, the source told Schefter. He had just two rushes for six yards in the Chiefs' victory over the Cleveland Browns last week. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, questionable with a calf injury, is considered a long shot to play, the source said.
January 24
January 24

Stipe Miocic-Francis Ngannou rematch set to headline UFC 260

The UFC heavyweight championship will be on the line on March 27. A rematch between champion  Stipe Miocic and  Francis Ngannou will headline UFC 260, the promotion announced Saturday night. The co-main event will feature UFC featherweight champion  Alexander Volkanovski against  Brian Ortega. The location for UFC 260 has yet to be announced, but sources told ESPN the fight is expected to take place in Las Vegas. Miocic defeated Ngannou via unanimous decision at UFC 220 in January 2018. Ngannou (15-3) has won four fights in a row, all by first-round stoppage. Miocic (20-3) has won two straight since losing the belt to Daniel Cormier two years ago. He defeated Cormier in a trilogy fight in August.
January 24
January 23

Michigan Wolverines halt all athletic activities for 14 days following positive tests for new coronavirus strain

Following positive tests for a new coronavirus strain within Michigan athletics, the state department of health and human services has closed all facilities and paused all University of Michigan teams and activities for up to 14 days, according to a release from the school. Per the release, the state is taking a cautious approach to the new SAR-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 strain of the virus, which is "approximately 50 percent more transmittable." All athletes, coaches and staffers are required to quarantine, beginning Saturday, possibly for two weeks. "Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools," Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in the statement. It's unclear how games and other teams might be affected beyond the potential two-week quarantine. The No. 7 Michigan men's...
January 23
January 23

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry passes Reggie Miller for second-most career 3-pointers

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry passed Hall of Famer Reggie Miller for the second-most made 3-pointers in NBA history after making his 2,561st career 3-pointer early in the second half of a 127-108 loss to the Utah Jazz on Saturday. Curry is now just 411 made 3-pointers behind Hall of Famer Ray Allen for the most in NBA history. Miller offered Curry his congratulations in a surprise visit during the postgame video call with reporters. "You are an inspiration to so many little ones like mine," Miller said while holding his young son, Ryker, who was wearing Curry's jersey. Curry was clearly touched by Miller's postgame appearance, which came in the middle of an answer in which Curry was discussing just how much it meant for him to pass Miller on the list. "It's special," Curry said. "I was trying to enjoy it in the middle of the game because I knew it was on the horizon and I knew how much I looked up to him growing up, watching him play, playing...
January 23
January 23

Michigan Wolverines halt athletic activities for 14 days following positive tests for new coronavirus strain

Following positive tests for a new coronavirus strain within Michigan athletics, the state department of health and human services has closed all facilities and paused all University of Michigan teams and activities for up to 14 days, according to a release from the school. Per the release, the state is taking a cautious approach to the new SAR-CoV-2 B.1.1.7 strain of the virus, which is "approximately 50 percent more transmittable." All athletes, coaches and staffers are required to quarantine, beginning Saturday, possibly for two weeks. "Canceling competitions is never something we want to do, but with so many unknowns about this variant of COVID-19, we must do everything we can to minimize the spread among student-athletes, coaches, staff, and to the student-athletes at other schools," Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel said in the statement. It's unclear how games and other teams might be affected beyond the potential two-week quarantine. The No. 7 Michigan men's...
January 23
January 23

Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry passes Reggie Miller for most second-most career 3-pointers

Golden State Warriors star guard Stephen Curry passed Hall of Famer Reggie Miller for the second-most made 3-pointers in NBA history after making his 2,561st career 3-pointer early in the second-half against the Utah Jazz on Saturday. Curry entered the fourth quarter of the game 411 made 3-pointers behind Hall of Famer Ray Allen for the most in NBA history. The record-breaking 3 came in fitting fashion. Curry drove into the lane early in the second half, kicked the ball out to Draymond Green on the wing, relocated in the corner and nailed the shot off a quick pass from Green.  "What defines Steph is his ability to hit the 3s on or off the dribble," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said prior to Saturday's game during a video conference with reporters. "Either on the dribble with all of his movement or playing off the ball and that's probably where he and Ray Allen are most alike. Reggie was much more an off-ball, catch and shoot 3-point guy. Shoot off pin downs...
January 23
January 23

Sources: Stipe Miocic-Francis Ngannou rematch to headline UFC 260

The UFC heavyweight championship will be on the line on March 27. A rematch between champion  Stipe Miocic and  Francis Ngannou will headline UFC 260, sources told ESPN. The co-main event will feature UFC featherweight champion  Alexander Volkanovski against  Brian Ortega, according to sources. The date and location for UFC 260 have yet to be announced, but sources said the fight is expected to take place in Las Vegas. Miocic defeated Ngannou via unanimous decision at UFC 220 in January 2018. Ngannou (15-3) has won four fights in a row, all by first-round stoppage. Miocic (20-3) has won two straight since losing the belt to Daniel Cormier two years ago. He defeated Cormier in a trilogy fight in August.
January 23
January 23

Detroit Lions actively seek to trade QB Matthew Stafford, sources say

In an arrangement the two sides have discussed and mutually agreed upon, quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to not return to the Lions this offseason, with Detroit listening to trade offers starting this week, league sources told ESPN on Saturday. With new general manager Brad Holmes and new head coach Dan Campbell now in place, the Lions will soon begin trade discussions that most likely will result in a new quarterback for the team -- largely influenced by what and whom Detroit will get in exchange for Stafford, sources told ESPN. The Lions are expected to receive at least a first-round pick, league sources said. Stafford approached the Lions about the possibility of a trade being in the best interest of both parties, but the franchise tabled that discussion until completing the coach and GM searches, a source told ESPN's Michael Rothstein. Holmes and Campbell were told before they were hired that trading Stafford could be a possibility, sources told ESPN....
January 23
January 23

Detroit Lions to actively seek trade for QB Matthew Stafford, sources say

In an arrangement the two sides have discussed and mutually agreed upon, quarterback Matthew Stafford is expected to not return to the Lions this offseason, with Detroit listening to trade offers for its former No. 1 overall pick starting this week, league sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter on Saturday. With new general manager Brad Holmes and new head coach Dan Campbell now in place, the Lions will soon begin trade discussions that most likely will result in a new quarterback -- largely influenced by what and who the Lions will receive in a trade for Stafford, sources told ESPN. The Lions are expected to receive at least a first-round pick, league sources said. Stafford, the former No. 1 overall pick who has not had a playoff win in his 12 seasons with the Lions, is expected to bring back a handsome return for multiple reasons. He turns 33 in March, has two years remaining on a team-friendly contract that is due to pay him a combined $43 million -- $20 million this...
January 23
January 23

Short-handed Washington Wizards sign centers Alex Len, Jordan Bell

WASHINGTON -- The short-handed Wizards signed free-agent centers  Alex Len and  Jordan Bell on Saturday, trying to fill out a roster decimated by COVID-19 and injuries. The Wizards have scrapped six games since a win over the Phoenix Suns on Jan. 11 made them 3-8. They are scheduled to play Sunday at San Antonio. Six Washington players have tested positive for COVID-19, and three other players were sidelined after contact tracing determined they might have been exposed to the virus. Starting center Thomas Bryant is out for the season with an injured left knee, and point guard Russell Westbrook is still dealing with a left quadriceps injury. Westbrook is listed as questionable for Sunday's game, and he said that he doesn't know if he'll play. Coach Scott Brooks said Westbrook is progressing and looking good so far. The 7-foot-0 Len has averaged 7.9 points and 6.2 rebounds in 474 games over eight seasons with Phoenix, ...
January 23
January 23

Green Bay Packers activate Tramon Williams, who could become first to play for two NFL teams in a postseason

The Green Bay Packers have elevated recent cornerback acquisition Tramon Williams to their active roster for Sunday's NFC Championship Game with the visiting  Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Williams, who was acquired by the Packers and put on their practice squad after he was waived by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday, could become the first in NFL history to play for two different teams in the same postseason. Williams, 37, had three tackles in the Ravens' 17-3 AFC divisional playoff loss at the Buffalo Bills last week. Williams previously played for the Packers from 2007 to 2014 and 2018 to 2019, and he had a key role in the team's run to Super Bowl XLV with interceptions in playoff games versus the  Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons. "It's special," Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said of the team's decision to sign Williams this week. "He's one of those teammates you just love playing with over the years....
January 23
January 23

Domani Jackson, No. 5 recruit in 2022 class, commits to USC

Five-star cornerback Domani Jackson announced his commitment to USC on Saturday, choosing the Trojans over Arizona State, Clemson, Michigan and Ohio State. Jackson is the No. 5-ranked prospect in the 2022 class and the No. 1 prospect from California. He is a 6-foot-1, 190-pound cornerback from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, California, and gives USC the No. 1 in-state prospect two recruiting cycles in a row. That might sound mundane, but coach Clay Helton and his staff finished the 2020 cycle with the No. 54-ranked recruiting class and only one ESPN 300 commitment in wide receiver Gary Bryant. California prospects were fleeing the state, including Bryce Young, the No. 1-ranked dual-threat quarterback in 2020 who flipped from USC to Alabama. The Trojans staff, which added secondary coach Donte Williams in February 2020, made a concerted effort to take back the west and keep the local prospects at home. Those...
January 23
January 23

Garrett Richards, Boston Red Sox reach 1-year, $10 million deal, sources say

Starting pitcher Garrett Richards and the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a one-year, $10 million deal, sources told ESPN's Jeff Passan on Saturday. The deal is pending a physical. Richards' biggest success during the pandemic-shortened season was staying healthy. The veteran right-hander made 10 starts for the San Diego Padres in 2020, going 2-2 with a 4.03 ERA, 46 strikeouts and 17 walks. He was moved to the bullpen late in the season and during the playoffs. The 32-year-old veteran fared much better against right-handed hitters (.589 OPS) than left-handers, who had an .853 OPS against him during the season. Richards has had a long history of arm injuries. He had Tommy John surgery to repair his damaged ulnar collateral ligament after making 16 starts for the Los Angeles Angels in 2018, and he signed with the Padres after that season with the knowledge that he'd be rehabbing for most of the first year of his two-year, $15 million deal. He did get...
January 23
January 23

Columbus Blue Jackets send Pierre-Luc Dubois to Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine in swap of disgruntled stars

The Blue Jackets and Jets have completed a blockbuster trade to swap disgruntled stars as winger Patrik Laine is headed to Columbus while center Pierre-Luc Dubois has landed in Winnipeg. Forward Jack Roslovic, a Columbus native, is also headed to the Blue Jackets as part of the deal. Columbus is sending Winnipeg its 2022 third-round pick. Dubois, 22, signed a two-year, $10 million contract extension ahead of training camp, though sources confirmed to ESPN that as he negotiated he also told management he wanted to be traded. Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen wasn't in a rush to move Dubois -- the No. 3 pick of the 2016 draft -- preferring to wait until he could land the best return. However, the situation escalated with Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella benching Dubois after the first period on Thursday. "He hasn't given a reason why he wants to leave," Tortorella told 97.1 The Fan last week. "He should get in front of it. That's the way...
January 23
January 23

Columbus Blue Jackets send Pierre-Luc Dubois to Winnipeg Jets for Patrick Laine in swap of disgruntled stars

The Blue Jackets and Jets have completed a blockbuster trade to swap disgruntled stars as winger Patrik Laine is headed to Columbus and center Pierre-Luc Dubois moves to Winnipeg. Forward Jack Roslovic, a Columbus native, is also headed to the Blue Jackets as part of the deal. Columbus is sending Winnipeg its 2022 third-round pick. Dubois, 22, signed a two-year, $10 million contract extension ahead of training camp, although sources confirmed to ESPN that as he negotiated, he also told management he had a desire to be traded. Columbus GM Jarmo Kekkalainen wasn't in a rush to move Dubois -- the No. 3 pick of the 2016 draft -- preferring to wait until he could land the best return. However the situation escalated with Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella benching Dubois after the first period on Thursday "He hasn't given a reason why he wants to leave," Tortorella told 97.1 The Fan last week. "He should get in front of it. That's the way I think...
January 23
January 23

Brooklyn Nets' defense thumped by Cleveland Cavaliers in 'two humbling losses'

After a 125-113 loss to the  Cavaliers on Friday night, the Brooklyn Nets leave their road trip to Cleveland 0-2 and have a slew of defensive breakdowns to review in their next film session. "This was two humbling losses," Nets point guard  Kyrie Irving said after Friday's game. Scoring wasn't an issue for the Nets, even without Kevin Durant, who sat out after playing over 50 minutes in Brooklyn's double-overtime loss Wednesday. On the defensive end, the Nets couldn't slow down the Cavaliers in the paint. In Wednesday's loss, the Nets gave up 64 points in the paint. They gave up another 70 in Friday's defeat, with Cavaliers center  Jarrett Allen finishing with 19 points off the bench to go along with 19 points from center  Andre Drummond and 25 points from guard  Collin Sexton. The 134 points in the paint are the most Brooklyn has allowed in a two-game span over the past 25 seasons, according to ESPN Stats &...
January 23
January 22

Tony Jones, two-time Super Bowl champion with Denver Broncos, dies at 54

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Tony Jones, a starting tackle on two of the Denver Broncos' championship teams, has died, the team announced Friday. He was 54. Jones, who started at right tackle in the Broncos' win in Super Bowl XXXII and started at left tackle when the team won Super Bowl XXXIII the following year, played 13 seasons in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens and Broncos after he entered the league as an undrafted rookie in 1988. Known as "T-Bone" to his Broncos teammates, he spent the last four years of his career with the Broncos, retiring after he started 16 games in the 2000 season at age 34. "We lost a great man," former teammate Rod Smith posted on Twitter. "Just happened to be a hell of a ball playa. We love you and miss you Bone. One of the Broncos' all time best tackles. Greatest dresser of ALL TIME!" Ed McCaffrey, another former teammate on the Broncos, called Jones "a great teammate and a wonderful man," and Hall of Famer Steve...
January 22
January 22

Sources: Boston Red Sox, Enrique Hernandez agree to 2-year, $14 million deal

The Boston Red Sox have agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal with Enrique Hernandez, sources confirmed to ESPN's Jeff Passan on Friday. Hernandez, originally acquired from the Miami Marlins as part of a seven-player trade in December 2014, was a key cog for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the past six years because of his infectious energy, defensive versatility and production against left-handed pitching. Hernandez, 29, is a career .240/.313/.425 hitter, making him slightly below league average, but he can provide premium defense as a middle infielder and in the outfield. From 2016 to 2020, Hernandez compiled 5.7 FanGraphs wins above replacement. One of his greatest highlights with the Dodgers came in October, when he hit the tying home run in Game 7 of the National League Championship Series. MLB Network was first to report the deal.  ESPN's Alden Gonzalez contributed to this report. 
January 22
January 22

Houston Texans interview QB Josh McCown, Jim Caldwell for head coach opening

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans have interviewed quarterback Josh McCown and former Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell for their head coach opening, the team announced on Friday. Houston signed McCown to a two-year contract on Nov. 4 from the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad, with him joining Deshaun Watson and AJ McCarron on the active roster. The Texans also announced they have "continued discussions" about the vacancy with Caldwell.  Caldwell, 66, most recently was hired as an assistant head coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2019 but had to leave the team ahead of the season to address health issues and was not retained for the following season. He went 36-30, including playoffs, as head coach of the Lions (2014-17) and 28-24 as head coach of the Colts (2009-11). McCown, 41, retired in 2019 after 17 years in the NFL and took a job as a high school quarterbacks coach in Charlotte, North Carolina, where his sons played. He...
January 22
January 22

Source: Matt Patricia returning to New England Patriots to assist Bill Belichick's staff

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Matt Patricia, who was fired as Detroit Lions head coach in November before the completion of his third year on the job, is returning to the New England Patriots' coaching staff in 2021, a source confirmed. Patricia had been an assistant on Bill Belichick's staff from 2004 to 2017 before landing the Lions job. In Detroit, he posted a 13-29-1 record, with one of those victories coming over Belichick's Patriots early in his first season. It was a turbulent tenure in Detroit for Patricia, and a return to New England -- where he is expected to assist Belichick's staff in a variety of roles -- provides him a safe and familiar haven in which to continue his coaching career in the NFL. Patricia, 46, had most recently served as the Patriots' defensive coordinator from 2012 to 2017, and in his absence, Belichick hasn't given that title to another coach. But Belichick referenced this past season that his son Steve, the outside linebackers coach,...
January 22
January 22

Houston Texans interview QB Josh McCown for head coach opening

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans have interviewed quarterback Josh McCown for their head coach opening, the team announced on Friday. Houston signed the quarterback to a two-year contract on Nov. 4 from the Philadelphia Eagles' practice squad, with him joining Deshaun Watson and AJ McCarron on the active roster. The Texans also announced they have "continued discussions" about the vacancy with former Lions and Colts head coach Jim Caldwell.   McCown, 41, retired in 2019 after 17 years in the NFL and took a job as a high school quarterbacks coach in Charlotte, North Carolina, where his sons played. He continued to coach after coming out of retirement and signing with the Eagles later in 2019. McCown played three games that season, including the wild-card game loss to the Seattle Seahawks after Carson Wentz left in the first quarter with a concussion. When McCown signed with the Texans, he was asked whether he hoped to...
January 22
January 22

Draymond Green technical when yelling at James Wiseman rescinded, source says

The NBA has rescinded Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green's second technical foul from Thursday night's loss to the New York Knicks, a league source told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. The quick reversal does not come as a surprise given that Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Ben Taylor, the game's crew chief, admitted at halftime that second-year official John Butler thought Green was yelling at him and made a mistake by giving the forward his second technical foul. Green was actually yelling at teammate James Wiseman for not being in what he thought was the right position on the floor, but Butler got confused and ejected the veteran forward. Green, who picked up his first technical of the game with 4 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first quarter after arguing too long with the officials, received his second with 1:04 left in the second quarter after turning the ball over on a pass directed to Wiseman. On his...
January 22
January 22

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes says he has cleared concussion protocol, been cleared to play Sunday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes cleared the NFL's concussion protocol and will play for the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. "Talking to all of the doctors and going through all of the testing, we have the belief that I'll have no lingering effects and I'll be able to go out there and be who I am,'' Mahomes said after clearing the protocol. "You have to take it day by day. That's the best thing. You can only control what you can control. For me, that was coming in every day with a positive attitude, try to make myself better, try to prepare myself as if I was going to play. Luckily enough, I haven't had any symptoms and I'm able to play.'' Mahomes worked all three days of the Chiefs' practice week, so momentum had been building for his availability against the Bills. That's a dramatic switch from last Sunday's divisional round playoff win over the Cleveland Browns. Mahomes got...
January 22
January 22

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes says he's cleared concussion protocol, cleared to play Sunday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. --  Kansas City Chiefs quarterback  Patrick Mahomes said Friday he's out of the concussion protocol and cleared to play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Mahomes took all of the snaps in Wednesday's practice and a majority of them on Thursday. Mahomes was knocked out of last week's divisional-round playoff win over the Browns with symptoms of a concussion after he was tackled hard on a running play.  Three other key Chiefs players who have been fighting injuries were also present for the start of Friday's practice: wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf), running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (hip, ankle) and cornerback Bashaud Breeland (concussion, shoulder). Coach Sean McDermott said the Bills were preparing for Mahomes to play. "I guess at the beginning of the week we weren't quite sure, and we really won't know, I guess,''...
January 22
January 22

Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant ruled out for Friday's game at Cleveland Cavaliers

Brooklyn Nets' star Kevin Durant has been ruled out of Friday night's game at the Cleveland Cavaliers for Achilles injury rehab. Durant played more than 50 minutes in the Nets' double-overtime loss to the Cavaliers on Wednesday, tallying 38 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists. Friday is also the first night of a back-to-back, as the Nets are slated to play the Miami Heat on Saturday. Durant has played in both games of back-to-back games once this season, on Jan. 12 against the Nuggets and Jan. 13 against the Knicks. Durant said being able to play in back-to-backs was a goal of his after his Achilles injury. He tore his right Achilles tendon in June 2019. He is averaging 31.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game this season.
January 22
January 22

Ottman Azaitar cut day before UFC 257 for bringing unauthorized guest on Fight Island

UFC cut undefeated lightweight Ottman Azaitar from its active roster Friday, just one day before he was scheduled to face Matt Frevola at UFC 257 on Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi. Azaitar (13-0), an exciting German-Moroccan lightweight with 10 career knockouts, was pulled from UFC 257 after committing a "violation of the health and safety protocols" at the W Hotel in Abu Dhabi. UFC president Dana White told BT Sport that his security team identified an unauthorized individual entering the fighter hotel with a wristband provided by Azaitar to deliver a bag to the fighter's room. "It's just bad," White said. "He's gone. He's no longer a UFC fighter, and he's not fighting [at UFC 257]." White said the individual "shimmied" across multiple balconies to enter Azaitar's room. Azaitar and his entire team were directed off the property Friday, sources told ESPN. UFC is headed into its third live event on Fight Island in a seven-day span. All athletes, staff and...
January 22
January 22

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes, still in concussion protocol, at practice again Friday

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Patrick Mahomes was with the Kansas City Chiefs as they began Friday's practice session, their last one before Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Buffalo Bills at Arrowhead Stadium. His participation on Friday would appear to put Mahomes on a path to play Sunday. Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Mahomes took all of the snaps in Wednesday's practice and a majority of them on Thursday. Reid said Mahomes remains in concussion protocol and that he has passed every step in the protocol except one, which is clearance by an independent neurological consultant and the Chiefs' physician. Mahomes was knocked out of last week's divisional-round playoff win over the Browns with symptoms of a concussion after he was tackled hard on a running play.  Three other key Chiefs players who have been fighting injuries were also present for the start of Friday's practice: wide receiver Sammy Watkins (calf), running back ...
January 22
January 22

Longtime MLB home run king Hank Aaron dies at 86

Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, the Hall of Fame slugger whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball's golden mark, has died. He was 86. "Our family is heartbroken to hear the news of Hank Aaron's passing," Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said in a statement on behalf of the Aaron family. "Hank Aaron was an American icon and one of Georgia's greatest legends. His life and career made history, and his influence was felt not only in the world of sports, but far beyond -- through his important work to advance civil rights and create a more equal, just society. We ask all Georgians to join us in praying for his fans, family, and loved ones as we remember Hammerin' Hank's incredible legacy." The Atlanta Braves said in a release that Aaron died peacefully in his sleep. One of the sport's great stars despite playing for the small-market Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves throughout a major league career that spanned from 1954 to 1976, Aaron still holds major league records for RBIs (2,297), total...
January 22
January 22

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown ruled out for NFC title game vs. Green Bay Packers

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not have wide receiver Antonio Brown for Sunday's NFC Championship Game at the Green Bay Packers, coach Bruce Arians announced Friday. "I just talked to him this morning, and to put him on the plane and fly up there and have it swell more doesn't make any sense," Arians said. "He wasn't as close as we'd hoped, so we'll get him ready for the next one." Brown suffered a knee injury in the divisional playoff game at the New Orleans Saints and played only 27 snaps. He did not practice this week. Arians had described him as " day-to-day," but Brown wasn't able to progress quickly enough in his healing. The former All-Pro led the Buccaneers in receiving targets the final five weeks of the regular season and had a 36-yard touchdown catch in their wild-card win over Washington. Brown also has experience playing in two league championship games and a Super Bowl, something few other players on...
January 22
January 22

Source: Jurickson Profar, San Diego Padres agree to 3-year, $21 million deal

Jurickson Profar and the San Diego Padres are in agreement on a three-year, $21 million contract, a source familiar with the deal told ESPN's Jeff Passan. Profar continues to show his versatility as a true utilityman, having played five defensive positions for the Padres last season while seeing most of his action in left field and at second base. He hit a career-high .278 with seven home runs and 25 RBIs in 56 games during the pandemic-shortened season. The 27-year-old continues to get on track offensively as he gets more playing time, something he didn't have during his first six years after the top prospect was called up by the Texas Rangers in 2012. He got off to a horrible start during the 2020 season but compiled an .879 OPS over the final 43 games, hitting .331. The Padres acquired Profar in a trade with the Oakland Athletics after the 2019 season, and he beat out Brian Dozier to win the starting job at second base. His slow start, however,...
January 22
January 22

Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier make weight for UFC 257

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates -- A nontitle UFC lightweight rematch between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier is official for UFC 257 on Saturday, as both fighters successfully made weight during Friday's weigh-in. McGregor (22-4), a former undisputed champion at lightweight, weighed in at 155 pounds. Poirier (26-6), who won an interim lightweight championship in 2019, tipped the scales at 156. The contest headlines UFC 257 on Saturday inside Etihad Arena. This will mark the second contest between the two fighters. The first took place in 2014 and at the 145-pound featherweight limit. McGregor knocked out Poirier just 1:46 into the bout with his infamous left hand. That would actually be Poirier's final fight at featherweight, as he moved up to the lightweight division in his next bout. McGregor has competed at lightweight only twice in his UFC career. He won the belt in his UFC lightweight debut in late 2016 by knocking out then-champion Eddie Alvarez....
January 22
January 22

Steve Kerr: Officials admit Draymond Green's ejection for yelling at James Wiseman was mistake

SAN FRANCISCO --  Golden State Warriors forward  Draymond Green was mistakenly ejected late in the second quarter of Thursday night's 119-104 loss to the  New York Knicks after yelling at rookie teammate James Wiseman. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game that Ben Taylor -- the game's crew chief -- admitted at halftime that second-year official John Butler thought Green was yelling at him and made a mistake by giving the forward his second technical foul.  Green, who picked up his first technical of the game with 4 minutes, 2 seconds left in the first quarter after arguing too long with the officials, received his second with 1:04 left in the second quarter after turning the ball over on a pass directed to Wiseman. On his way back down the floor, Green's voice boomed through a near-empty Chase Center as he appeared to air out his frustration at the rookie. When the whistle was blown and Green was assessed his second technical,...
January 22

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