Redskins

Wednesday's Sports in Brief

Wednesday's Sports in Brief

NEW YORK (AP) If time spent at the bargaining table indicates progress, the NHL and the locked-out players' association finally could be on their way to making a deal to get hockey back on the ice.

A second straight day of marathon negotiations took place Wednesday, when the two sides spent more than five hours hammering away at the most contentious issues separating them. Coupled with the more than seven hours they spent negotiating on Tuesday, owners and players have been together about 13 hours and are ready to get back to it on Thursday.

Neither side tipped its hand about what was discussed or if the talks were successful, and the location of the meetings is still being kept secret.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - Darrell Royal, the former Texas football coach known as much for his folksy, simplistic approach to life as for his creative wishbone offenses and two national championships, died. He was 88.

University of Texas spokesman Nick Voinis confirmed Royal's death. Royal had suffered from Alzheimer's disease and recently fell at an assisted living center where he was receiving care.

Royal, who also starred as a defensive back and quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners, didn't have a single losing season in his 23 years as a head coach at Texas, Mississippi State and Washington. During his 20 years at Texas (1957-1976), his teams boasted a 167-47-5 record - the best mark in the nation during that period.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Southern California says it has fired a student manager who intentionally deflated game footballs below NCAA-mandated pressure levels for the Trojans' loss to Oregon last week.

USC announced the dismissal of the unnamed student manager on its website late Wednesday night.

The school says it was reprimanded and fined by the Pac-12.

Underinflated footballs are thought to be easier to catch and throw. The Ducks had little trouble throwing or catching throughout their 62-51 win, the worst defensive performance in USC history.

PRO FOOTBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Andrew Luck has joined the shaved squad, too.

Nearly three dozen players on the Indianapolis Colts have shaved their heads in a show of support for head coach Chuck Pagano, who is undergoing treatment for a form of leukemia.

Luck became a new member of the no-hair club Wednesday morning. Players and coaches were not available for comment because they were headed to Jacksonville, but a team spokesman confirmed that Luck will indeed look quite different when he takes off his helmet Thursday night.

``Buzzed heads and orange locks in honor of Chuck,'' team owner Jim Irsay tweeted. He also included a link to a photo showing many of the players who had gotten buzzed.

Reggie Wayne wore orange gloves against Green Bay, the ribbon color used to raise awareness for leukemia.

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The NFL fined the San Diego Chargers $20,000 because a member of the equipment staff failed to immediately surrender towels when ordered to do so by a game official against the Denver Broncos on Oct. 15.

The NFL also said in a statement that after investigating the Chargers' use of towels that included an adhesive substance, it was determined that San Diego did not violate any rules.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Rex Ryan has found the positive side of being voted the most overrated coach in the NFL.

A poll of 103 players in The Sporting News had Ryan with 35 votes, beating New England's Bill Belichick, who had 16.

``My first thought was I looked and saw who was second,'' the New York Jets coach joked Wednesday. ``Hey, I finally beat Belichick. I got him. I knew it would take time, but I finally got him.''

BASEBALL

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) - In between trade talks and early negotiations with free agents, baseball general managers considered some wide-ranging changes that include broader use of instant replay by umpires, changed roster limits for September and protective headgear for pitchers.

On the first day of the GM's annual three-day session, the Colorado Rockies hired Walt Weiss as manager Wednesday and the New York Mets announced they had reached an agreement to terminate outfielder Jason Bay's contract with one guaranteed season remaining. The Los Angeles Dodgers finalized a deal to hire Mark McGwire to be their first base coach.

Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said he'd listen to trade offers for two-time All-Star right fielder Justin Upton but thought a swap was not likely. And Texas GM Jon Daniels said the Rangers remained interested in re-signing All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton.

NEW YORK (AP) - Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is one of five finalists for the AL MVP award in voting by the Baseball Writers Association of America.

The Detroit third baseman is joined by Texas' Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton, the New York Yankees' Robinson Cano, and Los Angeles Angels rookie Mike Trout, who also is one of three nominees for AL Rookie of the Year.

For the first time, the BBWAA announced finalists for its awards. The winners will be revealed next week live on the MLB Network, beginning Monday with the two rookies of the year and concluding Thursday with the MVPs.

NEW YORK (AP) - San Diego Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal was suspended for 50 games because of a positive test for testosterone, with the ban set to begin at the start of next season.

Grandal made his big league debut this year. He hit .297 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 60 games. He turns 24 on Thursday.

PRO BASKETBALL

Oscar Robertson's jersey from the 1960 Olympics and his 1964 NBA MVP trophy are among the items available in an online basketball auction.

Memorabilia from fellow Hall of Famers David Thompson and Sam Jones also will be included in SCP's auction that begins Nov. 14.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana needs to find a long-term replacement for Danny Granger.

Team officials announced Wednesday that the one-time All-Star forward is expected to miss up to three months after receiving an injection in his left knee to treat patellar tendinosis.

PENN STATE

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Former Penn State president Graham Spanier was arraigned and released on bail at a brief court appearance on charges he lied about and concealed child sex abuse allegations involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Spanier, accompanied by his wife, signed paperwork after his bail was set at $125,000, but he was not required to post any of that amount. He was ordered to forfeit his passport and be fingerprinted. He didn't enter a plea.

TENNIS

LONDON (AP) - In what is shaping up to be the new top rivalry in tennis, Novak Djokovic held off Andy Murray at the ATP finals.

The top-ranked Serb got the big break when he needed it late in the third set and beat Murray 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 at the O2 Arena.

Despite the win, Djokovic still hasn't advanced to the semifinals at the season-ending tournament for the top eight players in the world. Tomas Berdych beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 in the late Group B match, keeping all four players alive in the tournament.

On Friday, Djokovic will face Berdych, while Murray will take on Tsonga.

SOCCER

ROME (AP) - Barcelona lost for the first time since August, and Manchester United and Chelsea needed late goals to win in a wild night of Champions League action.

Barcelona had been unbeaten in 12 matches since the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid before falling 2-1 at Celtic, which is two points behind the Spanish power with two matches remaining.

United came back from a goal down to beat Braga 3-1 and qualify for the second round in a match that was stopped briefly because of a light outage.

Defending champion Chelsea needed a header from Victor Moses four minutes into injury time to beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-2.

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Robbie Keane scored two goals and Mike Magee added another as the Los Angeles Galaxy beat the San Jose Earthquakes 3-0 to complete a 3-1 aggregate victory in the teams' Western Conference semifinal series.

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - The Houston Dynamo held off Sporting Kansas City after Seth Sinovic scored his first career goal in the second half, falling 1-0 on Wednesday night but advancing to the Eastern Conference finals with a 2-1 aggregate-goal result.

CYCLING

CHORLEY, England (AP) - Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins was recovering in hospital Wednesday after being hit by a car while riding his bike in northern England.

Team Sky said Wiggins will be kept in the hospital overnight for observation, but that ``the injuries he sustained are not thought to be serious and he is expected to make a full and speedy recovery.''

OBITUARY

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) - Carmen Basilio, the genial onion farmer's son who wrested the world middleweight boxing crown from Sugar Ray Robinson in 1957 and lost an equally epic, razor-edge rematch six months later, died Wednesday at age 85.

Edward Brophy, executive director of the Boxing Hall of Fame in upstate New York, said Basilio died at a Rochester hospital where he was being treated for pneumonia.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Imitating Cam Newton's Superman celebration caused one Charlotte prep football player to be ejected from a state playoff game.

West Mecklenburg quarterback Jalan McClendon was kicked out of last Friday's 45-10 win over Hough High in the first round of the state 4AA playoffs after pretending to rip open his jersey following a touchdown run like Newton, Carolina's popular second-year quarterback.

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Vernon Davis urges Redskins fans to have patience with Bruce Allen

Vernon Davis urges Redskins fans to have patience with Bruce Allen

Tight end Vernon Davis has seen the Washington Redskins go through many ups and downs since becoming a part of the organization in 2016, but the 2018 season brought a new set of challenges.

Two injured quarterbacks headlined the Redskins' 7-9 season and fans were once again calling for team president Bruce Allen's job.

In a rare media availability during Tuesday's Senior Bowl practice, Allen noted how "close" he felt the Redskins were to reaching the postseason but his continued lack of transparency is something that does not sit well with Redskins fans.

Davis, speaking Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, is standing by the team's president.

"I strongly believe, like I said before, we have the pieces to win games."

"Bruce and Dan [Snyder], those guys are constantly sitting in their office trying to find ways to win. It's not like they're not doing a great job with it. I believe in them. I believe that they're going to make the right decision to do the best they can do to help us win football games around here because that's what they're there for. Bruce is there to make sure that we're a championship team. Make sure that we're winning. Making sure that we have all the pieces when it comes to different positions on the football field. So, they're doing just that.

Allen has continued to praise the Redskins fans for their passion throughout the offseason. But if you know the Redskins, don't expect many changes to take place. 

And if it's hard for you to hang on to the little insight Allen provides Redskins fans with in regards to the future of the organization, Davis urges fans to keep holding on. 

"I wouldn't quite count him out. I just say have patience and continue to support the Washington Redskins." 

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Grizzlies putting Gasol, Conley on trade block creates opportunity if surging Wizards turn aggressive

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USA TODAY SPORTS

Grizzlies putting Gasol, Conley on trade block creates opportunity if surging Wizards turn aggressive

News that the “grit ‘n grind” era is apparently ending in Memphis effectively tips off the NBA trade deadline rumors.

No shock if the John Wall and Dwight Howard-less Washington Wizards receive a mention or two for deals involving Marc Gasol and Mike Conley Jr. Mention and final destination are different worlds, of course.

ESPN reported Tuesday that the Grizzlies are finally open to hearing trade offers for their two franchise stalwarts. They never reached the level of other famed big man/guard tandems, but Gasol and Conley were at the center of a seven-year run of playoff appearances peaking with the 2013 Western Conference finals.

With age and injuries striking the duo, Memphis slipped in recent years. The postseason streak ended last season. After a hot start to the 2018-19 campaign including an early-season win over the Wizards, the Grizzlies have lost 12 of 13, falling to 19-28 overall. While that record would not automatically end playoff hopes in the Eastern Conference, it slots Memphis 14th out of 15 teams in the West.

As NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman noted, finding a trade partner will not come easy for the Grizzlies.

Gasol, 33, has a player option next season for $25.6 million. That’s a huge number for a center in this perimeter-oriented era on top of the $24.1 million the three-time All-Star is earning this campaign. Gasol’s highly skilled game is showing signs of decline, though his basic statistical numbers (15.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.3 blocks) remain helpful.

Conley, one of the NBA’s most underrated talents of his generation, offers lead guard, leadership skills – and a financial challenge. From Feldman:

Mike Conley will have a lot of interested parties, he is an All-Star level player (he’d make it in the East easy, but in the West probably falls short again), but his contract is bigger than Gasol’s. Conley makes $30.5 million this season and has $67 million the two seasons after that (the second is an early termination option, but Conley isn’t opting out of that money, so consider that $67 million fully guaranteed).

As Memphis’ season turned south, Washington surged, winning seven of its last 10 games to move into a ninth-place tie with Detroit. Still two games back of the eighth and final playoff berth, the Wizards could use general depth if not actual star power with Wall sidelined for the season. Howard (back surgery) and forward Markieff Morris (neck) face uncertain recovery timelines.

No disrespect to the Wall and Howard replacements, Tomas Satoransky and Thomas Bryant, but Gasol and Conley would upgrade Washington at those positions. The cost, however, keeps such grandiose thoughts on the shelf. 

During the team’s recent London trip, Wizards owner Ted Leonsis emphatically stated the team would not consider throwing in the towel despite injuries and a losing record. That is not the same as stating the luxury-tax paying team would take on significant salary or trade coveted assets for help.

Washington’s 2019 first-round selection takes on additional importance because the team already exceeds next season’s salary cap with only five players under contract.

Now, if some creative mind conjures a trade that removes the final year of Ian Mahinmi’s four-year, $64 million contract from the books without sending Washington dramatically further into the tax or deals with Wall's trade kicker, hmmm.

If the Wizards decide the overall roster needs a dramatic shake-up, perhaps a deal centered on Wall and Conley gets interesting (Thanks, NBA trade machine, though maybe include draft picks already).

Wall’s run of recent surgeries combined with his four-year, $170 supermax contract kicking in next season and that substantial kicker may end all discussion. However, he is three years younger than Conley. Memphis, set to build around 19-year-old Jaren Jackson Jr., could find that age factor appealing or use Wall/Conley to fascilitate a larger trade.

Other teams will offer more future-friendly deals for Gasol and Conley. The Wizards appear set in their belief the current roster, even with the injuries, can reach the playoffs. Therefore, it's wise setting aside the notion of a major move from Washington involving the Grizzlies’ stars or any other high profile/big salary players. Bookmark the trade machine page regardless. 

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