Update on the latest sports
Gettleman has no-holds barred talk with Manning
UNDATED (AP) — Giants general manager Dave Gettleman says he and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning have had a no-holds barred conversion about the longtime quarterback’s future with the team. Gettleman wouldn’t say whether Manning will be back for a 16th season, or whether his $23 million salary cap hit will play a role in the decision. Manning turns 38 on Thursday.
In a news conference Wednesday, Gettleman said he likes the direction the Giants are headed. He said the offense overcame early season woes to lead the NFC East in scoring, but the defensive play needed to improve.
In other NFL news:
— Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly expects to play in Saturday’s wild-card round game at Houston. Kelly practiced Wednesday after sitting out Sunday’s regular-season finale with a stinger. He also missed three games earlier this season with a sprained medical collateral ligament and now wears a brace to protect his left knee. The 10-6 Colts did not allow a sack in the five games preceding Kelly’s first injury. They allowed six sacks in the three games he missed.
— A person familiar with the Buffalo Bills’ decision confirms the team has fired offensive line coach Juan Castillo. Castillo also oversaw the running game during his two seasons in Buffalo. Both the offensive line and LeSean McCoy-led running game struggled as the Bills finished 6-10 finish. The Bills ranked ninth in the NFL with 1,984 yards rushing, though rookie quarterback Josh Allen accounted for nearly a third of that with a team-leading 631 yards. McCoy had career lows with 514 yards rushing and by averaging 3.2 yards per carry.
—Former Broncos head coach Vance Joseph will be in town this week interviewing for Cincinnati’s job as the Bengals begin their search for Marvin Lewis’ replacement. Joseph will be in Cincinnati on Thursday and Friday to talk to owner Mike Brown and members of the front office.
Washington safety Taylor Rapp declares for NFL draft
UNDATED (AP) — Washington safety Taylor Rapp has declared for the NFL draft, giving up his final year of eligibility after being a second-team AP All-America selection.
Rapp’s decision, announced on Wednesday, was expected after he received a high evaluation from the NFL College Advisory Committee. Rapp is expected to be an early-round selection.
Rapp was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection the past two seasons and was the conference’s defensive freshman of the year in 2016. He finished his junior season with 59 tackles, three fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Rapp did not play in the Rose Bowl due to a hip injury suffered in the Pac-12 championship game and his absence was felt in the 28-23 loss to Ohio State. Rapp went through pregame warmups but never took the field.
In other college football news:
— Florida linebacker Vosean Joseph has decided to leave school early and enter the NFL draft. The junior led the Gators with 93 tackles this season, including a goal-line stop on fourth down against Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Joseph is the fourth Florida player to turn pro in recent weeks. Defensive back Chauncey Gardner-Johnson declared for the draft in late November. Offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor and defensive end Jachai Polite did the same following the Peach Bowl.
— Former Georgia Tech safety Nathan Burton is returning to Atlanta as co-defensive coordinator for new coach Geoff Collins. Burton, who coached defensive backs for Collins at Temple in 2018, will be in charge of Georgia Tech’s safeties.
— Houston has hired West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen as its coach, ending his eight-year run with the Mountaineers. Holgorsen was 61-41 and 33-30 in the Big 12 as he helped guide West Virginia through the transition from the Big East to the Power Five conference.
—Oklahoma receiver Marquise Brown will skip his senior season and declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. He will leave as one of Oklahoma’s all-time great receivers. In two seasons, he caught 132 passes for 2,413 yards and 17 touchdowns. He leaves No. 6 in career yards receiving.
Ovechkin to skip All-Star Game, will be suspended 1 game
UNDATED (AP) — Alex Ovechkin has decided to skip the All-Star Weekend in San Jose to get some extra rest and will serve an automatic one-game suspension.
The Washington Capitals announced Ovechkin’s decision Wednesday. The team says the league’s leading goal-scorer wants to take advantage of the adjoining bye week to prepare for the second half of the season.
It’s not clear when Ovechkin will be suspended. The NHL recently instituted an automatic one-game suspension for players who chose not to participate in All-Star Weekend, except in cases of injury.
Washington’s final game before the All-Star break is Jan. 23 at Toronto. The All-Star game is Jan. 26, and the Capitals don’t play again until Feb. 1 against Calgary.
In other NHL news:
— The Vancouver Canucks traded goalie Anders Nilsson and minor-league winger Darren Archibald to the Ottawa Senators for netminder Mike McKenna, forward Tom Pyatt and a sixth-round pick in the 2019 draft on Wednesday. Nilsson had a 3-8-1 record with a 3.03 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage this season with Vancouver as Jacob Markstrom grabbed the reins as Vancouver’s No. 1 goalie. Archibald had one goal and one assist in nine games with the Canucks, along with 16 points in 23 games with the Utica Comets of the American Hockey League. He has been assigned to the AHL’s Belleville Senators.
—Montreal Canadiens star goaltender Carey Price is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday night against the visiting Vancouver Canucks. But after missing the past three games with a lower-body injury, it’s not certain whether Price will start or back up Antti Niemi.
AP source: Tulowitzki agrees to 1-year deal with Yankees
UNDATED (AP) — A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press the New York Yankees have agreed to a one-year contract with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the major league minimum $555,000.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Wednesday because the agreement, first reported by ESPN, is subject to a successful physical.
Tulowitzki idolized retired Yankees captain Derek Jeter and has worn No. 2 in his honor. He could take over at shortstop while Didi Gregorius recovers from Tommy John surgery last October.
A five-time All-Star who turned 34 in October, Tulowitzki has not played in the major leagues since July 2017 and was released by the Toronto Blue Jays last month.
In other MLB news:
— The Twins and veteran slugger Nelson Cruz have agreed to a one-year contract with an option for the 2020 season, giving Minnesota a boost at designated hitter. Cruz played 144 games for the Seattle Mariners last season, hitting .256 with 37 home runs, 97 RBIs and a .342 on-base percentage. The 38-year-old from the Dominican Republic has been named an All-Star six times, including five of the last six seasons. He has played 14 seasons in the majors with Milwaukee, Texas, Baltimore and Seattle.
Ex-USC coach Tony Bland pleads guilty in corruption case
NEW YORK (AP) — Former University of Southern California assistant basketball coach Tony Bland has pleaded guilty in a criminal case in which prosecutors said bribes were paid to steer top athletes to certain schools.
Bland pleaded guilty on Wednesday in Manhattan federal court to a single count of conspiracy to commit bribery.
He was among four assistant coaches charged in the September 2017 crackdown on college basketball recruiting corruption.
Prosecutors say the coaches teamed up with a top Adidas executive and others to trade hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents and even tailors.
Bland had been scheduled to go to trial in April.
In other college basketball news:
— Forward Sterling Manley will miss No. 15 North Carolina’s game against Harvard due to left knee soreness. Team spokesman Steve Kirschner disclosed Manley’s condition roughly four hours before the start of Tuesday night’s game. He says the sophomore is undergoing further evaluation and it is not known how long he will be out. Manley shares the team lead with eight blocked shots and is shooting 55 percent for the Tar Heels.
Nadal withdraws from Brisbane because of thigh strain
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Rafael Nadal has withdrawn from the Brisbane International on the eve of his first scheduled competitive match of the season because of a strained left thigh.
The second-ranked Nadal had a bye in the first round and arrived in Australia after withdrawing from an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi following one match. He played only nine tournaments during an injury-interrupted 2018 season, winning five titles.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played a competitive match since September but says he is confident he will be ready to compete at the Australian Open, which starts on Jan. 14.