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Seattle hires Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator

Seattle hires Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator

RENTON, Wash. (AP) Seattle moved quickly Thursday to fill its vacant defensive coordinator position by hiring Dan Quinn away from Florida to replace Gus Bradley, who left to become the head coach in Jacksonville.

The Seahawks made the hiring official just hours after Bradley was hired by the Jaguars. It will be a nearly seamless transition for the Seahawks.

``Dan Quinn is an excellent teacher who is familiar with our system and allows us to maintain continuity,'' Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said in a statement. ``Dan did a great job for us in 2010 and I'm pleased to get him back.''

Quinn returns to Seattle after spending the last two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Florida and getting his first experience in that role. There is plenty of familiarity for Quinn with the staff and personnel in Seattle. He spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons as the Seahawks defensive line coach. He was first hired in that role by Jim Mora for the 2009 season then was retained by Carroll in his first season as Seattle's head coach.

Despite being away for two seasons, Quinn will see a few familiar faces on Seattle's defense when he returns. Starting defensive linemen Red Bryant, Brandon Mebane and Chris Clemons were all with Quinn in 2010, along with safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

Quinn will take over a defense that was lauded for much of the season and finished as the top scoring defense in the NFL, giving up 15 points per game.

Yet Seattle struggled to hold on in late-game situations, including the Seahawks' 30-28 loss to Atlanta in the divisional playoffs. Seattle rallied from being down by 20 to start the fourth quarter to take a 28-27 lead with 31 seconds left. Atlanta then hit two quick passes and got into field goal range, where Matt Bryant's 49-yarder proved to be the winner.

It was the fourth time this season the Seahawks surrendered points in the final 30 seconds of regulation that either lost them the game or sent it to overtime.

In his two seasons at Florida, Quinn's units were among the best in college football. The Gators ranked eighth nationally in total defense in 2011 and fifth in 2012. The Gators allowed just 286.7 yards and 14.5 points per game last season.

Quinn previously worked in the NFL as a defensive line coach in San Francisco, Miami and with the New York Jets.

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Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

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USA TODAY Sports

Trade to Caps potentially offers Jerabek what he never got in Montreal

Defenseman Jakub Jerabek is really happy about the opportunity to play with the Washington Capitals, but it could have come at a better time. The trade came with his parents already on their way from the Czech Republic to visit him.

“It was crazy days past three days because I had my parents on the way to Montreal and they didn't know so it was a big surprise for them,” Jerabek told reporters Saturday after his first skate with the team.

A native of the Czech Republic, Jerabek signed his first NHL contract with the Montreal Canadiens in May 2017. After spending some time in the AHL and struggling to consistently earn a spot in the Canadiens’ lineup, he knew a trade was possible.

“My family, maybe we expected some trade. When its come with Caps and it was Washington, I was really happy.”

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Jerabek said he came into the NHL with no expectations and was simply happy for the opportunity, but it is fair to wonder if he was not just the least bit frustrated with how he was utilized by Montreal.

For a player with experience playing for the national team, the Czech league and the KHL, getting only 25 games with a bad Montreal team seems a bit low.

“In first two weeks, I didn't know what's going on because the coaches just told me that I played well, but we just make some competition between the [defensemen] and that I have to wait for my next chance,” Jerabek said. “It was hard, but now I'm happy down here.”

Washington now offers a very different opportunity. In need of help on the blue line, Jeraebek has the chance to earn consistent playing time for a team on pace to reach the postseason.

Jerabek will not play in Saturday’s game against Buffalo, but he was hopeful he would be in the lineup for Monday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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For now, Jerabek and head coach Barry Trotz are unclear as to what his ultimate role on the team will be. With eight defensemen now on the roster, Trotz cautioned any lineup decision could not be rushed because of the trickle-down effect it will have on the other players.

“You always look at chemistry and all that with your group depending how high that player goes up the lineup, it affects different people,” Trotz said. “In a forward group, if you get a guy that you all of a sudden stick on the first line, there's four other guys that are bumped down and one guy's bumped out.”

The addition of Jerabek, however, offers the Caps another defenseman who can quickly move the puck out of the defensive zone, something the team has struggled with immensely throughout the season. Though he shoots left, he also said he is comfortable playing on the right said and has played there regularly over the past few years. That provides the lineup with some flexibility on the third pair behind Matt Niskanen and John Carlson.

As for Jerabek’s parents, they will be arriving in Washington on Saturday.

“I tried to figure out the situation with them to get them to here and they will come today,” he said. “So I'm really happy.”

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

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Warriors will visit D.C. kids instead of White House when they play Wizards

Instead of visiting the White House when they come to Washington this week to play the Wizards, the defending-champion Golden State Warriors plan to hold an event with D.C.-area kids.

Their invitation was rescinded by president Donald Trump following a back-and-forth between the two sides last year. After the Warriors won the title, they openly questioned whether they should follow the tradition given many of the players and coaches disagree with his policies. Trump took the opportunity away before they came to a final decision.

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The Warriors' event will be closed off to the media and held at an undisclosed location. It is set for Tuesday, the day before they play the Wizards at Capital One Arena. The Warriors had the option of holding a ceremony with other politicians in the Democratic party, but decided that would send the wrong message. 

"It's their championship. They got disinvited to the White House, so it's up to them what they wanted to do. So they made their plans," coach Steve Kerr said. "I want the players to have a good day and to do something positive and to enjoy what they're doing."

The Warriors are the first NBA team to make this choice since Trump was elected president. Last season, the Cleveland Cavaliers held their celebration with president Barack Obama in November. They did so just days after Trump was elected and LeBron James questioned at the time whether he would visit the White House with Trump in office.

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Sports teams visiting the White House goes back to the mid-1800s. The first World Series title team to visit was the 1924 Washington Senators. By the 1960s, NBA teams were going and by the 1980s NFL and NHL teams made it a tradition.

Entire teams snubbing the White House is unusual, but many players have turned down the opportunity. In the NBA, some famous cases include Larry Bird in 1984 and Michael Jordan in 1991, according to Rolling Stone.

Perhaps the Warriors start a trend, or maybe it will be a one-off thing. Regardless, the alternative they chose is a respectable one. 

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