Thursday’s Sports in Brief
METAIRIE, La. (AP) Saints rookie running back Alvin Kamara says the NFL has fined him $6,079 for wearing Christmas-themed red cleats with white trim during last Sunday’s victory over Atlanta.
Kamara says it was worth it and says he’s hoping to parlay publicity from his banned holiday cleats into a fundraiser to help supply athletic footwear to children whose families struggle to afford it.
Many players, including Falcons star receiver Julio Jones, wore holiday-themed cleats during pregame warmups last Sunday, which was Christmas Eve.
But most players switched back to regular NFL-compliant footwear designs matching their uniforms before kickoff.
Kamara’s red cleats were topped by a white lining reminiscent of the trim on a Santa Claus costume, along with bells. He removed the bells for the game, but says he wanted to wear the cleats even after being warned by officials they violated league uniform standards.
Kamara, who gained 90 yards from scrimmage in his red shoes, says lightheartedly that his fine makes the NFL look like the ”Grinch.”
BEREA, Ohio (AP) – Joe Thomas has a major decision to make this offseason.
Until then, he’s made up his mind about Cleveland’s coach.
His 11th NFL season – and an historic playing streak – ended by an injury in October, Thomas plans to wait until after the season before deciding to continue a Pro Bowl career that will one day take him to the Hall of Fame.
Thomas suffered a torn triceps on Oct. 22 against Tennessee and underwent season-ending surgery.
”I’m going to sit down with my family and kind of discuss where I am about continuing to play,” he said Thursday as the Browns prepared for their season finale in Pittsburgh.
”I think it will come down to really, first and foremost, my health. Do I feel like I’m still playing at an elite level and do I still love it? For me, I feel like when I make that decision, which will be after the season, that is really what it is going to come down to.”
The 33-year-old Thomas said coach Hue Jackson’s future will have no bearing on his future. Thomas has been in Jackson’s corner for some time, and although the Browns are on the verge of a 0-16 season, he hasn’t changed his mind.
Jackson is 1-30 in two seasons with Cleveland, but owner Jimmy Haslam intends to bring the coach back for a third year. Thomas believes that’s the right move.
”I am excited for it,” he said. ”I think Hue really has not been given the opportunity yet to prove what kind of coach he is.”
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – Two quarterbacks put on one heck of a show for Navy in the Military Bowl.
Backup Zach Abey scored five touchdowns, starter Malcolm Perry ran for 114 yards and two scores and the Midshipmen rolled to a surprisingly easy 49-7 victory over Virginia.
After Virginia’s Joe Reed took the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, the Midshipmen (7-6) got two TDs apiece from Perry and Abey in taking a 28-7 halftime lead.
Perry left in the third quarter with a foot injury, leaving Abey to score on runs of 5 and 20 yards to make it 42-7 in a game Navy entered as a 1+-point favorite.
”Malcolm did a masterful job. The kid’s phenomenal, man,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. ”He brings another dimension to our offense. To Zach’s credit, he came in there and played really, really well.”
The Midshipmen rolled up a Military Bowl-record 452 yards rushing, including 101 by Chris High and 88 by Abey, who began the season as the starter before losing the job.
”That’s the best we’ve played all year,” Niumatalolo said. ”We put it together on both sides of the ball.”
Playing in their first bowl since 2011, the Cavaliers (6-7) could not contain Navy’s triple option and had no success moving the ball.
”I think coach Niumatalolo had his team very well prepared,” Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall said. ”Clearly, I didn’t have our team prepared to perform to their true potential, offensively, defensively or special teams.”
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) – Maryland forward Justin Jackson will miss the remainder of his sophomore season with a shoulder injury.
Jackson has a torn labrum in his right shoulder that will require surgery, coach Mark Turgeon said. Jackson had already missed three straight games and was showing few signs of improvement.
Turgeon said: ”After evaluating Justin’s shoulder over the past few weeks, which included extensive rehabilitation and rest, we feel the best course of action is for Justin to move forward with surgery.”
As a freshman, Jackson started 30 games and ranked second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.5 points per game. He shot 43.8 percent from 3-point range, leading the team.
This year has not gone nearly as well. He missed three straight games with shoulder soreness and is averaging 9.8 points and 8.1 rebounds. He was shooting 37 percent from the floor and 25 percent from beyond the arc.