Weekend Sports In Brief
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indianapolis Colts’ second choice for head coach could turn out to be even better than the first. And Frank Reich has the Super Bowl championship gear to prove it.
Five days after New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels reneged on a deal to take the Colts’ job, Ballard hired Reich, the man who outwitted McDaniels last week and helped lead the Philadelphia Eagles to their first NFL title since 1960.
Terms of the deal were not immediately available, but Reich is expected to be introduced at a news conference Tuesday. Colts officials posted a photo of Reich signing the deal on the team’s website.
The move ends a search that spanned 41 days, included two coaching announcements and the embarrassment of McDaniels changing his mind Tuesday night just eight hours after telling the Colts he’d take the job.
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) – Ted Potter Jr. outplayed the world’s No. 1 player and held off everyone else Sunday to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National for his first victory since a broken ankle nearly ended his career.
Potter holed a chip from behind the green for birdie on the par-3 seventh hole to build a two-shot lead over Dustin Johnson, and no one got any closer the rest of the way. He finished with 11 straight pars for a 3-under 69 and a three-shot victory over Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Jason Day and Chez Reavie.
Potter was unflappable playing alongside Johnson, who next week completes one full year at No. 1 in the world. That changed when he tapped in for par on the 18th hole, and he choked back emotion of a week he won’t soon forget.
BOSTON (AP) – Paul Pierce used to walk onto the court at TD Garden and imagine seeing his number hanging from the rafters.
”The Truth” doesn’t have to dream about that day anymore.
The Celtics retired Pierce’s No. 34 following the Celtics’ 121-99 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He became the 23rd person in franchise history to have his number or name enshrined by the Celtics organization.
The honor capped a 19-year career for Pierce, who was named NBA Finals MVP in 2008 when the Celtics captured their 17th championship.
After the game, Pierce, clad in a green plaid blazer, entered the court via the newly named Paul Pierce Players’ Tunnel. The team said the tunnel, featuring Pierce’s signature, will serve as a reminder to current and future players of what ”being a Celtic” means.
When his jersey was raised, Pierce was serenaded with chants of ”Thank You, Paul Pierce!”
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Brad Keselowski opened Speedweeks, before he turned a single lap, as the 7-1 favorite to win the Daytona 500.
Now that he has the first victory of the season, Keselowski is shaping up to be a safe bet.
Keselowski led a 1-2 Team Penske sweep Sunday in the exhibition The Clash at Daytona International Speedway. The race marks the opening of Speedweeks and is the first chance for teams to show their offseason work.
Keselowski is one of the best restrictor-plate racers in NASCAR. Although he’s a five-time winner at Talladega in Alabama, his lone victory at Daytona International Speedway was in the 2016 summer race.
POMONA, Calif. (AP) – Brittany Force escaped serious injury in a wall-banging crash Sunday in the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals.
John Force Racing said the 31-year-old Top Fuel driver, the daughter of Funny Car great John Force, sustained no major internal injuries, but does have some bruising of the lungs and will remain hospitalized overnight as a precaution. The team said a CT scan was negative and an MRI showed subtle findings likely from previous injuries.
The defending season champion was racing against Terry Haddock in the first round of eliminations when her 11,000-horsepower dragster veered right just off the start, shot to the left – crossing in front of Haddock – and slammed into the left wall. It spun with the tangled parachute catching the nose and hit backward into the right wall, flipping on its side. It ended up back on what was left of the wheels when it finally skidded to a stop. She was taken to the hospital about the same time her father went out with an engine explosion.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) – Sabres forward Jack Eichel has a sprained right ankle and coach Phil Housley says it’s premature to rule out Buffalo’s leading scorer for the remainder of the season.
Housley said Eichel will miss four to six weeks, putting the player in a position to return in the final weeks of the season even though Buffalo might not have much to play for at that point. The Sabres are last in the Eastern Conference standings and sit 19 points out of the playoff contention with 27 games left.
Eichel was hurt during the first period while attempting to play the puck behind the Bruins net. He was hecked from behind by Boston’s Matt Grzelcyk and fell awkwardly into the boards.
Eichel leads Buffalo with 22 goals and 53 points in 55 games in his third season since being selected with the No. 2 pick in the 2015 draft.