Wednesday’s Sports In Brief

FOOTBALL

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Former Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel says he is making a football comeback.

Manziel announced Wednesday that he’ll participate in the developmental Spring League in Austin, Texas, which will play from March 28 to April 15. The league is designed for players hoping to impress NFL scouts. The league confirmed Manziel will participate.

Manziel won the Heisman as a freshman with Texas A&M in 2012 and left school after his sophomore season for the NFL. He was drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns, but was cut in 2016 and hasn’t played since.

In a recent interview with ”Good Morning America”, Manziel said he has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and has stopped drinking alcohol. In 2016, a domestic assault charge against Manziel in Dallas was dismissed after Manziel took an anger management course and participated in the NFL’s substance-abuse program. He was also suspended four games for a substance-abuse violation even though he wasn’t under contract.

”Can’t wait to get back on the field and show NFL scouts what I can do!” Manziel tweeted Wednesday.

Manziel played nine games with the Browns in two seasons, passing for 1,675 yards with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions.

”Football has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. Sometimes you take for granted how much you value something until it’s gone. My goal is to make it back to the NFL and I realize I have to earn that privilege,” Manziel said in a statement provided by the Spring League.

BASEBALL

CLEVELAND (AP) – Terry Francona loves to talk about his dad. Their relationship went way beyond baseball.

One a Cleveland Indians player, the other the team’s adored manager. Father and son.

Tito and the kid who became Tito.

John ”Tito” Francona, who proudly watched his son Terry follow his footsteps to the major leagues, died unexpectedly at his home on Tuesday night in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. He was 84.

Francona’s passing cast a pall over Cleveland’s training camp in Goodyear, Arizona, as pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday. Terry Francona, who has been affectionately called ”Tito” for years in a respectful bow to his dad, will leave the team for several days to be with family.

There will be private services to celebrate the elder Francona’s life.

”We’re all incredibly saddened by Tito’s passing,” Indians president Chris Antonetti said. ”Not only was he a really good player in our franchise history but he was a friend to so many of us. There have been so many great things for the organization and for me personally. Having Terry here for the last five years, one of the most meaningful things for me was to get to know his dad and build a friendship with him.

”He was such a warm, thoughtful, exuberant person that brightened every room he walked into. To have the opportunity to visit with him when he’d come into town, to hear his stories, to see how he and Terry connected was really meaningful. He will be missed by so many of us.”

HOCKEY

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) – The Vancouver Canucks have signed general manager Jim Benning to a multiyear contract extension.

Benning has served four years in the role since joining the Canucks in May 2014.

”I’m grateful to the Aquilini family and to Trevor Linden for the commitment they’ve made to me and for their confidence in our long-term vision for the Vancouver Canucks,” Benning said in a statement.

”I’m excited about the direction of our team and the depth and talent we continue to build.”

Prior to joining the Canucks, Benning spent seven seasons as an assistant general manager with the Boston Bruins, being part of a Stanley Cup champion in 2011. He also served as Buffalo’s director of amateur scouting for 12 years.

Benning played 12 NHL seasons as a defenseman with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver.

SOCCER

Morgan Brian and Rose Lavelle are returning to the U.S. women’s national team ahead of next month’s SheBelieves Cup after dealing with injuries last year.

Brian, in France playing for Lyon, will not take part in training camp in Orlando, Florida, but will be available for the SheBelieves Cup roster. Brian had knee and groin injuries last year, while Lavelle struggled with a hamstring problem. Both missed last month’s training camp and it was unclear how much Lavelle would be able to participate.

The 26-player roster was announced by coach Jill Ellis. The list will be cut to 23 for the tournament, which opens on March 1 against Germany in Columbus, Ohio.

In addition to the top-ranked U.S. team and No. 2 Germany, the tournament includes No. 3 England and No. 6 France. Matches also will be played in Orlando and Harrison, New Jersey.

The roster includes newcomer Hailie Mace, a UCLA senior. Mace had 15 goals and three assists last season for the Bruins, who played in the College Cup final.