Steelers Won’t Tag Bell, Look to Trade Brown
Le’Veon Bell’s time in Pittsburgh is over. Antonio Brown’s potential departure isn’t quite so certain.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert says the team will not place a transition or franchise tag on Bell, meaning the star running back will become a free agent next month. Colbert said the team did not want to potentially tie up millions by placing a tag on Bell, who sat out all of 2018 after declining to sign his one-year tender last spring.
The Steelers will explore trade options for Brown, but Colbert did not completely rule out Brown’s possible return in 2019 if the team can’t find fair value for the four-time All-Pro. Colbert said the team will not devalue Brown and will not release him under any circumstances.
The team does plan to bring back kicker Chris Boswell, who converted just 13 of 20 field goals in 2018 after being a Pro Bowler in 2017. Boswell is expected to face competition in training camp. The team also plans to work on a contract extension for the 36-year-old quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
Stricker named Ryder Cup captain
Steve Stricker is going to his seventh straight Ryder Cup, this time in his home state of Wisconsin as the American captain.
Stricker officially was appointed Ryder Cup captain Wednesday morning in Milwaukee, an hour south of where the Americans will try to win back the Ryder Cup in 2020 at Whistling Straits.
Europe already has appointed Padraig Harrington as its captain.
Stricker, who turns 52 on Saturday, is the first U.S. captain to have never won a major, part of the old formula for picking captains. He won 12 times on the PGA Tour and didn’t play in his first Ryder Cup until he was 41, in 2008 at Valhalla, a rare U.S. win.
Stricker played in three straight Ryder Cups through 2012, followed by three stints as an assistant captain.
Flyers’ Gudas gets 2-game suspension
Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas has been suspended two games by the NHL for high-sticking Tampa Bay Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov on Tuesday night.
The play occurred late in the third period of the Lightning’s 5-2 win. Gudas received a minor penalty on the play. He is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
Also, Flyers defenseman Robert Hagg has been fined $3,091.40 for interference against Lightning forward Cedric Paquette early in the third period.
Capitals place Smith-Pelly on waivers
The Washington Capitals have placed winger Devante Smith-Pelly on waivers ahead of next week’s NHL trade deadline.
Smith-Pelly was put on waivers Wednesday after winger Dmitrij Jaskin did not practice in Toronto. Coach Todd Reirden told reporters the plan was to waive Jaskin but the team changed course.
The 26-year-old Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in last year’s playoffs to become one of the Capitals’ playoff heroes during their run to the Stanley Cup. This season, Smith-Pelly hasn’t scored a goal in 33 games, registered an assist in 17 games and has just eight points in 54 games.
Morris inks deal with Oklahoma City
The Oklahoma City Thunder signed free-agent forward Markieff Morris -- the twin brother of Celtics forward Marcus Morris.
The 29-year-old Morris was traded from Washington to New Orleans two weeks ago in a deadline deal, then waived by the Pelicans. He has been cleared to play after being sidelined since late December because of a neck injury.
Morris averaged 11.5 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 34 games this season for Washington. In eight NBA seasons with Phoenix and Washington, the former Kansas player has averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists.