Monday’s Sports in Brief
The NFL has barred in-person interviews with free agents and is requiring local physical examinations for them rather than team-conducted exams.
In a memo sent to the 32 franchises, the league also banned travel by team personnel to meet with free agents as well as those players traveling to team facilities. The league’s business year begins Wednesday, but representatives for players were allowed to negotiate with clubs starting Monday — though no deals could be finalized.
All offseason activities such as meetings, practices and minicamps have been delayed indefinitely as a safeguard against the new coronavirus. No players can enter a club facility through March 31, with the exception of those receiving medical treatment.
NEW YORK (AP) — The NFL will proceed with its draft but without public events next month in Las Vegas. It’s not yet clear, however, if the draft itself will be held in the city.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said the draft will take place April 23-25 as scheduled, but under a modified format still being developed. The draft will be televised regardless of its venue or format.
The NFL said it is exploring “innovative options” for how the process will be handled and will provide that information as it becomes available.
The Titans used the nonexclusive franchise tag on Henry. That means he still can receive offers from other teams, with the Titans able to match or receive two first-round draft picks. The Titans also have until July 15 to sign Henry to a long-term deal, or he will be paid $10.2 million in 2020.
Elsewhere, the Dallas Cowboys placed their exclusive franchise tag on Dak Prescott, securing the rights to their star quarterback for an estimated $31.5 million while the sides continue working on a long-term deal.
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball pushed back opening day until mid-May at the earliest because of the new coronavirus after the federal government recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks.
Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement following a conference call with executives of the 30 teams. MLB said it is committed to playing as many games as possible when the season begins.
MLB called off the rest of the spring training schedule last Thursday and said opening day, which had been scheduled for March 26, was postponed for at least two weeks. Teams and players agree that two to four weeks of additional spring training will be needed before the regular season begins.
The NHL significantly pushed back its timeline of when it could potentially resume playing by several weeks, if not a month or more, as a result of the new coronavirus pandemic.
The league and NHL Players’ Association told players they can go home — even outside of North America — and must self-isolate through March 27 while the season is on hold. But the NHL also cautioned that it will not be able to even provide guidance on the potential reopening of team practices for another 45 days, which could push any potential return to play into May.
The new directives come on the heels of the CDC’s recommendation against gatherings of 50 or more people in the U.S. for the next eight weeks.
The latest decision leaves open questions as to whether the NHL can complete its regular season, which was suspended Thursday with 189 games remaining, and whether it might have to alter its playoff format to avoid the postseason from pushing into the summer months.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR suspended its season until May as part of the CDC’s recommendation to postpone gatherings for the next eight weeks because of the COVID-19 pandemic
The decision came after at least two conference calls between the sanctioning body and its team owners. It affects seven total races — Atlanta and Homestead had already been postponed.
The series plans to hold all 36 races this season and return to the track at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia on May 9.
NASCAR first said it would run last weekend and this coming weekend without spectators, but reversed course Friday and postponed the races at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway.
All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz said he showed no symptoms of being sick before testing positive for the coronavirus, and he continues to have no signs of illness since going into isolation.
Mitchell, speaking to ABC’s “Good Morning America” in an interview, also revealed that it “took awhile for me to kind of cool off” at Rudy Gobert, his All-Star teammate who was the first NBA player to have a positive test for the virus revealed. Gobert has said in recent days that he did not take the threat of the illness seriously.
As a different set of lawyers took over for the U.S. Soccer Federation, new USSF President Cindy Parlow Cone disavowed papers submitted by the previous attorneys who argued women’s national team players had lesser skills and responsibilities than their male counterparts.
Parlow Cone took over as head of American soccer’s governing body last week when Carlos Cordeiro abruptly resigned because of the backlash over the documents, submitted by the USSF as it defended a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by women’s national team players.
MIXED MARTIAL ARTS
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The UFC postponed its next three scheduled events through April 11, finally giving up on President Dana White’s plan to keep fighting amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The UFC will not hold its show scheduled for Saturday, which was initially slated to be held in a full arena in London. The UFC also won’t hold shows scheduled for March 28 and April 11.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Brown promoted Heather Marini to quarterbacks coach, making her the first female position coach in Division I football.
A native of Australia, Marini spent last season as the team’s offensive quality control assistant coach. She is the third woman on the staff in the last three years under head coach James Perry.