Wednesday Sports in Brief

NFL

BOSTON (AP) — Whether Tom Brady will return as quarterback of the New England Patriots next season is still an open question. But the 42-year-old on Wednesday gave another indication that he isn’t done playing football.

In an Instagram post to fans, Brady said “I still have more to prove” following a season that ended with the Patriots failing to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2015.

“In both life and football, failure is inevitable,” he wrote. “You dont always win. You can, however, learn from that failure, pick yourself up with great enthusiasm, and place yourself in the arena again.”

New England’s season ended with a 20-13 loss in the wild-card round to the Tennessee Titans on Saturday night. A six-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Most Valuable Player of the NFL title game and three-time winner of the league MVP, Brady could become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career when his contract ends in March.

FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Mike McCarthy didn’t take long before mentioning that his Super Bowl title came at the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

The former Green Bay coach then quickly added that he was ready to win his next championship with the Cowboys, who are going on 25 years since their previous trip to football’s biggest stage.

McCarthy was introduced as coach of the Cowboys at a news conference Wednesday with a handful of players and dozens of Dallas staffers watching in the atrium of the indoor stadium that serves as the club’s practice field.

The 56-year-old is going from one iconic franchise to another, taking over the team led for so long by Tom Landry after coaching for the club made famous by Vince Lombardi.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — The struggling New York Giants went into their third coaching search since 2015 looking for a leader for their young team.

In hiring New England Patriots special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach Joe Judge on Wednesday, the Giants settled for a 38-year-old assistant who has never run a team either at the college or NFL level.

What they did get with Judge though was a young man who has worked with two of the best football coaches in the past 30 years in Bill Belichick and Nick Saban.

The hope is the success those men have had rubs off and makes the Giants relevant in the NFL again.

The Giants and representatives for Judge reached a contract agreement Wednesday, less than 24 hours after he was offered the job and asked to turn around a franchise that has made the playoffs once since winning the Super Bowl in February 2012.

Judge succeeds Pat Shurmur, who was fired a week ago Monday after winning nine games in two seasons.

MLB

BOSTON (AP) — Major League Baseball says it will investigate allegations the Boston Red Sox illegally used their video replay room to steal signs between opposing pitchers and catchers during their 2018 World Series championship season.

The claims were made Tuesday in a report by The Athletic. The website cited three anonymous sources it said were with the Red Sox during the 2018 season who said some players visited the replay room during games to get information on sign sequences.

Those sources told The Athletic that the Red Sox weren’t able to do it during the postseason because of in-person monitors used by MLB in those games.

The Red Sox said they will cooperate as MLB looks into the allegations.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm is heading to the NFL, despite some struggles during a junior season that led to speculation he might return for one more year with the Bulldogs.

Fromm announced his decision Wednesday in a statement on his Twitter page, one week after leading the Bulldogs to a 26-14 victory over Baylor in the Sugar Bowl.

Fromm threw for a career-high 2,860 yards this season, with 24 touchdowns and just five interceptions. But he posted the lowest completion percentage (60.8) and quarterback rating (141.2) of his college career, leading to him dropping in many NFL draft projections.

Still, Fromm will be remembered as one of the best quarterbacks in Georgia history. He was 35-7 record as the Bulldogs’ starter, including three straight appearances in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith has received a three-year contract extension that would keep him with the Beavers through the 2025 season.

Smith, a former Oregon State quarterback, originally signed a five-year deal when he became coach of the Beavers prior to the 2018 season.

The Beavers went 5-7 overall this season and 4-5 in the Pac-12, finishing in a three-way tie for second place in the league’s North Division. The team improved by three wins over the previous season.

NBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection.

Kerr was ejected late in the second quarter of the Warriors’ 111-98 road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night after getting hit with consecutive technical fouls by referee Jason Goldenberg.

Kerr appeared initially upset about a continuation call that went the Kings’ way, then erupted after Golden State did not receive a similar call. He angrily walked onto the court after the second technical and yelled at Goldenberg before leaving.

NEW YORK (AP) — New York Knicks forward-center Bobby Portis was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for recklessly making contact above the shoulders of an airborne shooter.

Portis was assessed a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected in the second quarter of the Knicks’ 117-87 loss at the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Portis is averaging 9.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 20.6 minutes in 37 games this season.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — The Big 12 Conference has fined West Virginia coach Bob Huggins $10,000 for referring to an officiating crew as “three blind mice” after a recent loss at No. 3 Kansas.

The league announced the fine in a statement that also issued a public reprimand.

“Coach Huggins’ comments following the West Virginia vs. Kansas basketball game violate the Big 12 Conference’s sportsmanship policy,” Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in the statement Tuesday. “Because this is Coach Huggins’ third such incident, a public reprimand and a fine of $10,000 is appropriate.”

Huggins made the comments in a postgame radio interview Saturday after the 60-53 loss in Lawrence, Kansas.

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Pittsburgh basketball coach Jeff Capel has agreed to a two-year contract extension that would keep him with the Panthers through the 2026-27 season.

The deal, announced Wednesday, gives Capel more time to continue the rebuilding project he took on when Pitt hired him in April 2018. Capel guided the Panthers to a 14-19 mark in his first season, a six-win improvement from former coach Kevin Stallings’ nightmarish final year with the Panthers in which Pitt went winless in Atlantic Coast Conference play.

Capel said in a statement he is excited about the direction of the program.

NHL

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — The Calgary Flames and defenseman Rasmus Andersson have agreed to a six-year, $27.3 million contract extension.

The deal was announced Wednesday.

The 23-year-old native of Sweden has three goals, nine assists and 33 penalty minutes in 44 games for Calgary this season – his second full season with the NHL club.

WNBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Walt Hopkins is the new coach of the New York Liberty.

The team held a news conference Wednesday at Barclays Center — the Liberty’s new home for this season — to introduce Hopkins.

Hopkins had been an assistant for the Minnesota Lynx since 2017. Before that, he was the academic coach at Cal. He previously was director of basketball operations and player development for the Tulsa Shock.

Former coach Katie Smith’s contract wasn’t renewed after the season ended in September. The team has the first pick in the WNBA draft in April and most likely will select Oregon star guard Sabrina Ionescu.

This was the first coaching hire for the Liberty under owner Joe Tsai’s group, which bought the team last year. Tsai also owns the Brooklyn Nets.

TENNIS

BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — World No. 1-ranked Ash Barty’s new year has started with an upset loss to American qualifier Jennifer Brady.

The 53rd-ranked Brady, who has no WTA tournament victories, beat French Open champion Barty on her home court at Pat Rafter Arena 6-4, 7-6 (4) on Thursday.

It was a second-round match for both players but Barty had received a first-round bye. Brady had beaten wild-card entry Maria Sharapova in the first round in three sets.

It’s the first time in three matches the 24-year-old Brady has defeated Barty, who was guilty of multiple unforced errors throughout the match.

SOCCER

CHICAGO (AP) — Anthony Hudson was hired as coach of the U.S. men’s under-20 soccer team on Wednesday to replace Tab Ramos, who quit in October to become coach of Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo.

The 38-year-old Hudson coached Bahrain’s senior national team from 2013-14 and New Zealand from 2014-17. He was hired by Colorado before the 2018 season and led the Rapids to eight wins, 19 losses and seven ties in his first MLS season. He was fired May 1 after a winless start that included seven league losses and two draws.

Ramos coached at the last four Under-20 World Cups, leading the U.S. to the quarterfinals in 2015, 2017 and 2019.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Former U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard is taking a job with Memphis 901 FC, the United Soccer League team in which he already has a stake as a part owner.

Memphis announced the move Wednesday. It is unclear Howard will take a paycheck.

But president Craig Unger says Howard brings knowledge and experience to the job that can’t be replicated.

Howard played 13 years in the English Premier League and also had 121 caps with the U.S. national team. He will work full-time helping pick players, while also developing approaches for both the club and technical staff. Memphis has nine players returning from its inaugural season.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Portland Thorns traded away U.S. national team defender Emily Sonnett, Australian Caitlin Foord and forward Midge Purce in a pair of deals Wednesday and landed the top pick in this year’s college draft.

The Thorns sent Sonnett and Foord’s rights, along with the seventh and 14th draft picks, to the Orlando Pride in exchange for the top pick in next week’s draft. Purce was sent to Sky Blue along with a 2021 first-round pick for the rights to midfielder Raquel Rodriguez.

OBITUARY

George Perles, who coached Michigan State to a Rose Bowl victory in 1988 and was an assistant for the dominant Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 1970s that won four Super Bowls, died Tuesday, the school said. He was 85.

Perles played football at Michigan State and later was an assistant coach, head coach, athletic director and member of the school’s governing body.

Michigan State hired Perles in 1983 to revive its beleaguered football program. He did just that, winning Big Ten titles in 1987 and 1990 and coaching the school in seven bowl games. He helped the Spartans beat Southern California, 20-16, on Jan. 1, 1988, for their first Rose Bowl win in three-plus decades.

Perles was hired away from the Spartans in 1972 to coach the Steelers’ defensive line. He later was defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for a team that won four NFL championships in six years. The Philadelphia Stars of the U.S. Football League signed him in 1982, but he got out of his contract to return to the campus in East Lansing, Michigan.

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