Wizards

Monday's Sports In Brief

Monday's Sports In Brief

CYCLING

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Lance Armstrong ended a decade of denial by confessing to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The admission came hours after an emotional apology by Armstrong to the Livestrong charity he founded and turned into a global institution on the strength of his celebrity as a cancer survivor.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network. She tweeted afterward, ``Just wrapped with (at)lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!'' She was to appear on ``CBS This Morning'' on Tuesday to discuss the interview.

The confession was a stunning reversal for Armstrong after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.

NFL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when he shot his girlfriend nine times and then killed himself in front of his coach and general manager, an autopsy showed.

The Jackson County Medical Examiner report on Belcher, 25, raised new questions about whether police should have done more before the Dec. 1 murder-suicide. Officers found Belcher sleeping in his idling car about five hours earlier, but let him go inside a nearby apartment to sleep it off.

At the time of the autopsy, Belcher's BAC was 0.17, more than twice the limit of 0.08 percent for Missouri drivers, and it was likely higher when he shot girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, 22, at the couple's Kansas City home. A police report released previously said Belcher had gone out the night before with a woman he was dating on the side while Perkins attended a concert with her friends.

BASEBALL

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Oakland manager Bob Melvin got a two-year contract extension that takes him through the 2016 season after he led the A's to a surprising AL West title last year.

Oakland became the first team in major league history to win a division or pennant after trailing by five games with less than 10 to play, sweeping three games against Texas to win the division.

The A's lost to Detroit in the deciding game of its best-of-five AL division series. Oakland ended a five-year stretch without a winning record or playoff berth, finishing 94-68 with a majors-best 14 walkoff wins by a young team and rotation of rookies.

Melvin was voted AL Manager of the Year. The 51-year-old took over from the fired Bob Geren in June 2011. Melvin led the Diamondbacks to the NL West title in 2007 and also won 93 games in his rookie season with Seattle in 2003.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kevin O'Neill was fired as Southern California's basketball coach after 3 1/2 years during which he failed to turn around a program weighed down by NCAA issues that preceded his arrival and a string of player injuries.

O'Neill had a 48-65 record, including 7-10 this season after going 6-26 last year, setting a school record for losses.

Veteran assistant Bob Cantu will serve as interim coach while USC searches for a successor.

Cantu took over for O'Neill during a Pac-10 tournament semifinal game against Arizona in 2010-11 when the coach was suspended after getting into a confrontation with a Wildcats booster. He has remained on the staff through four coaching changes and is the Pac-12's longest tenured assistant.

Athletic director Pat Haden said it was evident to him that the program needed new leadership.

GOLF

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) - Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are on the same team now - at least when it comes to sponsorship.

McIlroy officially made the switch to the swoosh as Nike confirmed one of the worst-kept secrets in golf, announcing it had signed a multi-year deal with the top-ranked Northern Irishman.

The deal means Nike now has golf's two biggest names representing its brand, as Woods has been with the sportswear company since turning pro in 1996. Nike did not disclose any financial details of the deal, but industry observers have estimated that McIlroy will be paid up to $20 million a year to use the company's equipment and apparel.

McIlroy said he was ``really excited'' to start the season and insisted he has made a ``seamless'' adjustment to his new equipment, especially his driver.

SOCCER

LONDON (AP) - FIFA President Sepp Blatter has raised fresh doubts about the safety of playing the 2022 World Cup in Qatar during the summer.

There have been growing calls to move the tournament to the winter to avoid the sweltering desert heat that is expected to exceed 104 degrees in June and July.

Blatter says players and fans will be fine in the air-conditioned stadiums. But he adds that the World Cup is also an event outside the stadiums, ``so it is a question mark.''

In an interview with Sky Sports News, Blatter addressed other matters. He reiterated his belief in deducting points from teams in cases of racial abuse, and he confirmed that in 2015 he'll be leaving his job as head of soccer's governing body.

Quick Links

Dwight Howard reportedly takes another positive step in post-surgery recovery

Dwight Howard reportedly takes another positive step in post-surgery recovery

Dwight Howard is back. Back in town, at least.

According to a report from The Athletic, the Wizards’ center, sidelined since undergoing back surgery on Nov. 30, is expected to start on-court work in Washington.

The original timeline indicated a 2-3 month recovery timeline for Howard, who played in nine games for the Wizards but none since Nov. 18 against Portland. Howard, 33, has primarily rehabbed post-surgery in his native Atlanta.

Washington returns to practice Wednesday following the NBA All-Star break. The Wizards, 24-34, face the Hornets Friday in Charlotte before hosting the Indiana Pacers Saturday.

Needing to jump three teams for a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards could certainly use more help. Whether that help comes from Howard remains to be seen. The report did not indicate if Howard would rejoin the team's full practices or when he would return to the lineup.

Howard missed training camp, preseason and the opening seven games while dealing with back and gluteal pain. The future Hall of Famer only played seven minutes against the Trail Blazers before exiting.

Less than two weeks later Dr. Robert Watkins performed a L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy after consultation with the Wizards’ medical staff determined disc herniation was causing severe nerve irritation and gluteal pain.

Washington signed the free agent center to a two-year, $11 million contract in July after trading longtime starter Marcin Gortat in June. The Wizards hoped Howard’s interior presence on both ends of the court would provide the team with needed low-post scoring, rebounding and rim protection.

Though he averaged 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds, Howard labored athletically. Washington struggled throughout the season on the boards.

His absence created an opportunity for second-year center Thomas Bryant, who has developed into an efficient scorer and energy provider.

The second season on Howard’s contract is a player option, an option he seemed likely to execute without returning to the court this season. For now, the question is how much can he help the Wizards with 24 games remaining.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

daniel-jones-duke-usat.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

2019 NFL Mock Draft Roundup: Who are the Redskins taking at 15?

As the calendar turns toward spring, one thing consumes the NFL: mock drafts. Leading up to the NFL Draft on April 25, many will try to predict which players each of the 32 teams will select. Though no one will know for sure until the names are called, it's still interesting to see what potential directions teams might go in.

Let's take a look at what some people believe the Redskins will do with their first round pick.

ESPN's Mel Kiper's NFL Mock Draft 2.0: Drew Lock (QB, Missouri) Kiper currently has Washington taking a quarterback in the first-round, but maybe not the one people were expecting. While Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins are viewed as first-round locks by many, the Missouri product's placement in the draft is not as certain. In this scenario, Kiper has Murray and Haskins off the board before Washington gets on the clock, making Lock the best available passer remaining. In his senior seaosn, Lock finished with 3,498 passing yards and 28 touchdowns.

CBS Sports' R.J. White: Devin White (ILB, LSU) Not a quarterback here. White has the Redskins using a pick on the junior linebacker. With questions surrounding what will happen with Zach Brown as well as pass-rushing linebacker Preston Smith, White could fill a need for the Redskins. 

CBS Sports' Ryan Wilson and Chris Trapasso: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) The Redskins take a passer in both of these mocks as well, just a different one. Jones, the junior from Duke, slides in at No. 15 behind both Murray and Haskins. However, Wilson also has Lock going before the Redskins pick, while Trapasso has him falling to No. 28. 

Bleacher Report's Kristopher Knox: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) More Jones here for the Redskins. The passer, who threw for 22 touchdowns in 2018, is the fourth quarterback off the board in this mock draft as Haskins, Murray and Lock all go in the top 10. 

USA Today's Luke Easterling: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Starting to see a theme here? Not only does this mock draft have the Redskins selecting Jones, but it has them moving up to No. 12 to make the selection. Easterling describes Jones as, "a raw but promising passer." 

NFL Analyst Charley Casserly: Daniel Jones (QB, Duke) Describing him as a passer with "excellent field vision, anticipation and accuracy," Casserly likes Jones in Washington.

NBC Sports Washington's Ben Standig: Montez Sweat (DE, Mississippi St.) As mentioned earlier, Preston Smith's time with the burgundy and gold could be coming to an end. Sweat, who recorded 11.5 sacks last season, impressed at the Senior Bowl and could make an impact from Day 1. While many see the Redskins taking a quarterback, Standig sees inside linebacker as a priority

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: