Tuesday Sports in Brief
NEW YORK (AP) — Alabama's DeVonta Smith emerged as the best player in college football.
Smith became the first wide receiver to win the Heisman Trophy in 29 seasons Tuesday night.
The Crimson Tide senior is the fourth receiver to win the Heisman, joining Michigan’s Desmond Howard in 1991, Notre Dame’s Tim Brown in 1987 and Nebraska’s Johnny Rodgers in 1972.
The other finalists were Smith’s Alabama teammate Mac Jones, Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence and Florida’s Kyle Trask. Crimson Tide running back Najee Harris finished fifth in the voting.
Quarterbacks had won 17 of the previous 20 Heisman trophies, including the last four.
Smith is the third Alabama player to win the Heisman, all since 2009.
NEW YORK (AP) — College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said Tuesday the national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State is still a go for Monday night amid a report that the Buckeyes are having COVID-19 issues.
AL.com reported that Ohio State has been in contact with CFP officials about possible player availability problems that could force the game to be delayed. Those discussions were confirmed to The Associated Press by a person with knowledge of the situation who spoke on condition of anonymity because no one had been authorized to speak publicly about the details.
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement that the Buckeyes continue to follow the same protocols they have all season. “We plan to play January 11,” Smith said.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Two days after celebrating their return to the NFL playoffs, the Cleveland Browns were knocked flat.
COVID-19 will keep coach Kevin Stefanki — and at least two players, one a Pro Bowler — out of the team’s first playoff game since the 2002 season.
The Browns announced Tuesday — 18 years to the day since their last playoff game — that Stefanski tested positive with the virus, which has plagued the team in recent weeks and now causing a devastating disruption as Cleveland prepares to play the Pittsburgh Steelers for the second straight week on Sunday.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J (AP) — New York Giants defensive coordinator Pat Graham is staying put.
The Giants announced Tuesday that Graham has signed a contract extension to remain as Joe Judge’s defensive coordinator. He is adding the title assistant head coach.
The Giants defense improved markedly this past season and Graham reportedly was being considered for the vacant head coaching job with the Jets.
NEW YORK (AP) — Peyton Manning leads the list of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2021.
Manning, of course, was one of the most prolific passers in NFL history. He won 201 of those games, including playoffs, guiding the Colts to the 2006 NFL championship. He also made the Super Bowl for the 2009 and 2013 seasons, was a seven-time All-Pro, and a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2000s.
Joining Manning as a finalist was wide receiver Reggie Wayne, a finalist for the second time. First-year eligible Calvin Johnson and second-time finalist Torry Holt also made the cut among receivers.
Four defensive backs, including current 49ers general manager John Lynch, advanced along with Charles Woodson, Ronde Barber and Leroy Butler.
Two of the NFL’s most dependable defensive linemen got to the finals: sack master Jared Allen and versatile Richard Seymour.
Three linebackers made the finals: Zach Thomas, Sam Mills and Clay Matthews.
Two offensive linemen Alan Faneca and Tony Boselli round out the potential class of 2021.
FULLERTON, Calif. (AP) — Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda has returned home after being hospitalized in Southern California for nearly two months.
The Los Angeles Dodgers tweeted Tuesday that their 93-year-old former manager left the hospital and returned to his Fullerton home. He had been hospitalized due to heart issues since Nov. 8, although the team didn’t make it public until a week later. He underwent several weeks of rehab in the hospital.
TORONTO (AP) — Colin Wilson, who played 11 seasons with the Colorado Rockies and Nashville Predators as part of a three-generation NHL family, announced his retirement Tuesday.
The 31-year-old forward played nine games for Colorado last season before having double hip surgery.
Wilson scored 113 goals and had 173 assists in 632 regular-season games. He added 17 goals and 16 assists in 65 playoff games.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Spencer Knight made 34 saves in yet another shutout and the United States upset Canada 2-0 on Tuesday night to win the world junior hockey championship.
Tournament MVP Trevor Zegras had a goal and an assist, and Alex Turcotte also scored as the U.S. won its first gold medal at the event since 2017.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The WTA released a provisional 2021 women’s tennis schedule through the end of Wimbledon in July, largely sticking to a traditional calendar, including the Miami Open in March.
The lineup released Tuesday tacks on 20 weeks to the tour’s initial announcement covering the year’s first seven weeks, including the Abu Dhabi WTA Women’s Tennis Open that begins main-draw play Wednesday.
The Billie Jean King Cup finals and playoff series will start on April 12, the French Open on May 23, and Wimbledon — which was canceled last year for the first time since 1945 because of the coronavirus pandemic — on June 28.
Major League Soccer is proposing no more pay cuts to its players for the 2021 season but in exchange is asking for a two-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement.
MLS presented its revised labor agreement to the MLS Players Association on Tuesday, a week after the league invoked its force majeure clause that obligates the league and the MLSPA to negotiate modifications to the existing CBA in good faith for 30 days.
The league is proposing that players receive their full salaries after they agreed to a 5% pay reduction as part of a renegotiated CBA in June when the league returned with the MLS is Back tournament. As part of the new proposal, MLS wants the current CBA extended through 2027.
CARSON, Calif. (AP) — The LA Galaxy hired Greg Vanney as their head coach on Tuesday, hoping to establish stability and continuity under a respected MLS Cup winner after a chaotic four-year stretch for the five-time league champions.
Vanney played seven seasons as a defender with the Galaxy in two stints before beginning his coaching career. He led Toronto FC to the MLS Cup championship and the domestic treble in 2017 during 6 1/2 seasons as the team’s head coach and technical director.
Toronto reached the postseason five times and made three MLS Cup finals under Vanney, who resigned Dec. 1 after his club was eliminated early from the playoffs despite finishing the regular season with the league’s second-best record (13-5-5).
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Bob Brett, a tennis coach whose players included Grand Slam champions Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic, has died. He was 67.
Tennis Australia published a tribute to the Australian coach on Wednesday after being informed by Brett’s family of his passing. He had been battling cancer.
Brett received the ATP’s Tim Gullickson Career Coach award in November.
In addition to his work with Becker, Ivanisevic, Cilic and other individual players, Brett coached for national tennis associations in Britain, Japan and Canada.
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Colin Bell, one of the best English midfielders of his generation and considered an all-time great at Manchester City, has died. He was 74.
Bell, whose name lives on in the “Colin Bell Stand” named after him at the Etihad Stadium, died after a short illness not linked to the coronavirus, City said Tuesday.
Known as “The King of the Kippax” by fans and compared to a race horse by coach Malcolm Allison because of his extraordinary stamina, Bell was at the heart of City’s successful side of the late 1960s and 70s.
He made 492 appearances for the club over 13 seasons, scoring 152 goals, and also won 48 caps for England, netting nine times. Those statistics may have been greater had injury not curtailed his career.
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