Wednesday Sports in Brief

NFL

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady entered his final season in New England with a strong inkling that it would be his last with the Patriots.

The six-time Super Bowl champion who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency last month said Wednesday on SiriusXM’s “The Howard Stern Show” it was “just time” for a change, reiterating he has no hard feelings about coach Bill Belichick not making him a Patriot for life.

“I think he has a lot of loyalty and I think he and I have had a lot of conversations that nobody’s ever been privy to, and nor should they be,” Brady told Stern during a wide-ranging interview lasting more than two hours.

The four-time Super Bowl MVP said many wrong assumptions were made about his relationship with Belichick.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — First-year head coach Matt Rhule said Teddy Bridgewater’s familiarity with the team’s offensive scheme made him the “right fit” at quarterback for the Carolina Panthers and ultimately leading to Cam Newton’s release.

Bridgewater spent the 2018 season working under new Panthers offensive coordinator Joe Brady with the New Orleans Saints and the two developed a close player-coach relationship.

“His relationship with Joe, knowing the offense, the things that he has done in this offense just made sense to us,” Rhule said. He didn’t directly answer whether Newton’s history of shoulder and foot injuries played a role in the decision.

Rhule called Newton a “great quarterback who can play in any system.”

ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Falcons are moving to black pants with black jerseys for their home uniforms in 2020 as part of a redesign the team says respects past fashion choices with updates “to match the modern progression of Atlanta.”

The team’s first redesign in 17 years also include white jerseys and white pants for road uniforms. The Falcons will wear continue to use black helmets.

Each new look features red stripes. The black home jerseys will have white numbers. The all-white road uniforms include black numbers.

NBA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James is mostly spending the spring playing hoops with his teenage sons and enjoying tea time with his young daughter.

And when he isn’t binge-watching “Tiger King” with his wife, he is scanning the news for information on whether the coronavirus pandemic will allow the Los Angeles Lakers to finish their impressive season chasing an NBA championship.

James is still optimistic about the Lakers’ future, but he also knows safety comes first.

“I don’t think I’ll be able to have any closure if we do not have an opportunity to finish this season,” James said from his home Wednesday on a conference call with Lakers beat reporters.

NEW YORK (AP) — Kobe Bryant is back atop the best-seller lists, days after the late Los Angeles Lakers superstar was selected to the Hall of Fame.

The latest release from Bryant’s Granity Studios, “The Wizenard Series: Season One” will debut at No. 1 on The New York Times’ middle-grade hardcover list that will be published April 19. Earlier this week, it had already hit No. 1 on Amazon’s bestseller list for children’s basketball books.

Bryant and daughter Gianna were among nine who died in a helicopter crash in late January

Bryant was the series creator and envisioned the story lines.

NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Garnett always found Seattle to be a difficult place for opponents. He played in 27 games there during his NBA career, leaving the court as a winner only eight times.

He remembers those days. And respects them, too.

In a wide-ranging interview this week with The Associated Press, Garnett covered plenty of topics, including the announcement over the weekend that he officially is a member of the Class of 2020 for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, his relationship with fellow inductee Kobe Bryant, the coronavirus pandemic, and his plans for the next five and 10 years.

But there was also a surprise: Garnett revealed a deep affinity for Seattle, to the point where he said he’d like to see the NBA return to that city — and said he would bring a team there if he could.

AUTO RACING

LONDON (AP) — Formula One will furlough half of its staff until the end of May and senior executives will take pay cuts.

F1 called off last month’s Australian Grand Prix and has postponed seven more races so far this season. The Monaco Grand Prix was canceled outright.

More postponements are likely to turn into cancellations, but F1 has said it is still hoping to stage between 15 and 18 races out of the original 22.

F1 said senior leadership figures will take “voluntary pay cuts while still continuing to work and not in furlough,” and that CEO Chase Carey will take a “much deeper” pay cut.

INTERNATIONAL HOCKEY

Former Swiss women’s goalie Florence Schelling was named general manager of one of the nation’s top men’s professional teams, SC Bern, on Wednesday.

At 31, Schelling becomes the first woman elevated to such a high-profile front-office personnel position of a men’s pro hockey team in Switzerland.

A four-time Olympian, who won a bronze medal at the 2014 Sochi Games, Schelling’s hiring comes after spending the past year serving as coach of the Switzerland’s Under-18 women’s team. And the move comes after SC Bern failed to defend its title by missing the playoffs and finishing ninth in the standings.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Texas A&M Chancellor John Sharp said Wednesday that officials believe a 13-game college football schedule would be possible even if the start of the season was delayed until October because of the new coronavirus.

The season is scheduled to begin with seven FBS games Aug. 29 before the majority of teams open the following week.

Speaking in a video discussion with the Texas Tribune, Sharp addressed the football season in answering a question about the university system’s lost revenue because of college sporting events which have been canceled because of the COVID-19 virus.

Sharp said he’s gotten many questions about football and whether it will return on time this season, if at all.

Sharp added that there are many unknowns about football season because of the pandemic.

“We don’t know when this thing is going to end,” he said. “We don’t know when this is going to happen. For all we know, we may have football where we have coaches and players and referees on a field with a TV camera and nobody in the stadium. We don’t know.”

TENNIS

The group charged with monitoring gambling and punishing corruption in tennis found a near-doubling in the number of suspect matches during the first three months of 2020 — an increase it tied to the coronavirus pandemic.

The London-based Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) issued its quarterly report Wednesday and said it received a total of 38 alerts from the regulated betting industry about matches on lower-level tours from the start of the year through March 22. That is up from 21 alerts in the same period of 2019.

The 38 match alerts in the year’s first quarter break down this way: six from the ATP Challenger Tour, and 16 apiece from the men’s and women’s International Tennis Federation World Tennis Tours.

An alert means unusual betting patterns were noticed but does not necessarily indicate there was match-fixing. It does trigger an assessment, and possibly a full investigation, by the TIU.

TRACK AND FIELD

The track world championships have been rescheduled for July 15-24, 2022.

It’s the first major sports event to be repositioned in the wake of the 12-month postponement of the Olympics because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event draws around 1,800 athletes from more than 200 countries. It will still be held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

The event at the expanded and remodeled venue was originally supposed to take place in August 2021. The rescheduling will make for a jam-packed track schedule in 2022.

COURTS

A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against Tiger Woods and his caddie, claiming he suffered injuries from the caddie pushing him out of the way during the Valspar Championship that Woods played two years ago.

The civil complaint, filed Tuesday in Pinellas County, alleges Brian Borruso tried to take a selfie as Woods approached his tee shot left of the 13th green in the third round at Innisbrook, and that Joe LaCava “intentionally shoved” Borruso and caused him to stumble and fall into the crowd.

Josh Drechsel, the lawyer representing Borruso, said the lawsuit was filed two years after the tournament to get a better understanding of the injuries, which were described in the suit as “either permanent or continuing.”

Mark Steinberg, the agent for Woods at Excel Sports Management, did not immediately reply to a text seeking comment. LaCava said he had no comment.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The trial date for a gender discrimination case filed by members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team has been pushed back to June 16.

Players for the team filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer last year under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They allege that they have not been paid equitably when compared to players on the men’s team and have asked for more than $66 million in damages.

The trial date was originally set for May 5 in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Additionally, the April 20 pretrial conference was moved to June 1.