Update on the latest sportsAP
Bucs officially sever ties with Antonio Brown
UNDATED (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have officially severed ties with Antonio Brown, terminating the contract of the mercurial receiver who claimed he was fired in the middle of a game for not playing through an ankle injury.
The Bucs announced the move Thursday, one day after Brown broke his silence on a bizarre exit from last Sunday’s victory over the New York Jets. Brown removed his jersey, shoulder pads, undershirt and gloves, then left the field after a sideline exchange with coach Bruce Arians, who said afterward that the player was no longer part of the team. The 33-year-old receiver, who began his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, tossed some of his gear into the stands, did some jumping jacks and waved to fans at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., as he headed to the locker room.
Brown has a long history of troubled behavior on and off the field.
In other NFL news:
— Cooper Kupp is finishing up one of the greatest seasons by a receiver in NFL history. The Los Angeles Rams’ star wideout is leading the NFL with 138 receptions, 1,829 yards receiving and 15 touchdown catches as the Rams attempt to clinch the NFC West title in their 17th game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers. If Kupp stays on top in all three categories, he will be just the fourth receiver in NFL history to lead the league in every category of the receiving triple crown. The others are Jerry Rice, Sterling Sharpe and Steve Smith.
— The Chicago Bears have placed quarterback Justin Fields on the reserve/COVID-19 list, likely sidelining him for the finale and ending his rookie season. The Bears expected Fields to start at Minnesota on Sunday after missing the previous two games because of an ankle injury. That plan is now in doubt.
— The Kansas City Chiefs will likely be without running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire for the second straight week when they visit the Broncos on Saturday in their crucial regular-season finale but hope to have him back for the playoffs. Tackle Orlando Brown Jr. is expected to play against the Broncos after hurting his calf in warmups for last week’s game in Cincinnati.
— Greg Robinson, who spent nearly four decades coaching in the NFL and college, has died at 70 from a form of Alzheimer’s Disease. Robinson won two Super Bowl rings as defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos in the late 1990s and also served in the same role for the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.
Red Wings-Ducks postponed hours before schedule game
UNDATED (AP) — The scheduled game tonight between Anaheim and the Detroit Red Wings has been postponed to Sunday because of COVID-19-related issues affecting the Ducks. Anaheim placed center Sam Carrick, goaltender John Gibson, defenseman Hampus Lindholm and right wing Vinni Lettieri into the NHL’s COVID-19 protocols.
The Red Wings also are set to play Saturday night at the Los Angeles Kings and end the trip Tuesday night at San Jose.
The Montreal Canadiens extended their pause on team activities as the club continues to deal with a COVID-19 outbreak. The Canadiens said Thursday that both the NHL team and its American Hockey League affiliate, the Laval Rocket, will not return to the ice until practice resumes Sunday.
Meanwhile, Stephen Curry and Golden State rebounding leader Draymond Green have been ruled out of the the Warriors’ game tonight against New Orleans Pelicans. Curry injured his left quad muscle when he banged legs with Dallas forward Dorian Finney-Smith during a loss at Dallas on Wednesday night. Green is nursing a left hip injury. The Warriors also ruled out reserve wing player Juan Toscano-Anderson because of a left ankle injury as Golden State completes a two-game trip.
Rask close to return with Bruins, signs with Providence
BOSTON (AP) — Goalkeeper Tuukka Rask (TOO’-kah rask) is getting closer to returning to the Boston Bruins after signing a professional tryout agreement with Providence of the American Hockey League.
Rask is currently a free agent, but he has spent 14 seasons with the Bruins and is the franchise’s leader in wins. He is coming back from offseason labrum surgery on his hip.
The 2013-14 Vezina (VEH’-zih-nah) Trophy winner has been working out at the Bruins’ training facility for more than two months. He says he expects to play two games in Providence before working out a deal to join the Bruins.
Elsewhere around the NHL:
— The Seattle Kraken will be without forward Jaden Schwartz for at least a month due to a hand injury that will require surgery. Schwartz has not played since being injured on Dec. 29 against Philadelphia. The team says Schwartz would miss four to six weeks. Schwartz has six goals and 14 assists in 29 games for Seattle. He is tied for the team lead in assists and second on the team in points.
Gobert tests positive for virus again, enters NBA protocols
UNDATED (AP) — The first time that Rudy Gobert (goh-BEHR’) tested positive for COVID-19, the NBA didn’t even have health and safety protocols. It shut down the league instead. This time, the Utah Jazz center might just miss a few days. Gobert has tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed Thursday on the virus-related protocols list — something that didn’t even exist when he tested positive for the virus on March 11, 2020.
Former Mets acting GM Zack Scott acquitted of DUI charges
NEW YORK (AP) — Former New York Mets acting general manager Zack Scott has been cleared of drunken driving charges stemming from his arrest last August after he attended a fundraiser at team owner Steve Cohen’s house. Scott’s attorney, Bruce Bendish, said a judge in the White Plains City Court acquitted Zack Scott of all criminal charges against him Thursday.
Scott was arrested Aug. 31 after police found him asleep at the wheel of his sport-utility vehicle at a traffic light. Scott was placed on leave by the Mets and later fired. Scott said he was thankful for the verdict.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE SPORTS
NCAA updates guidelines to follow CDC recommendations
UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA has updated its pandemic-related protocols for winter sports athletes and teams to reflect the latest CDC guidelines.
The biggest recommendation is a booster for those who are beyond two months of receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, five months of receiving the Pfizer or six months of receiving the Moderna vaccine. For those athletes and staff, a booster shot is required to be considered fully vaccinated.
The NCAA also says five days of quarantine are suggested after a positive test instead of 10 days. That matches recent federal guidance from the CDC.
Djokovic in limbo as he fights deportation from Australia
BRISBANE, Australia (AP) — Locked in a dispute over his COVID-19 vaccination status, Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) is confined to an immigration detention hotel in Australia as he awaits a ruling on whether can compete in the Australian Open later this month.
Djokovic, the No. 1 men’s tennis player in the world, is a vocal skeptic of vaccines. He obtained a medical exemption to Australia’s strict vaccination rules before setting out for Australia. But when he arrived, border authorities rejected it. After his long-haul flight, Djokovic spent the night trying to convince authorities he had the necessary documentation, to no avail. He is now awaiting a court hearing on Monday in his bid to stave off deportation.
In other tennis news:
— Rafael Nadal began fine-tuning his quest for a 21st Grand Slam singles title with a 6-2, 7-5 win over Ricardas Berankis in a warm-up tournament at Melbourne Park ahead of the Australian Open. Nadal is recovering from the coronavirus.
— Former French Open champion Iga Swiatek (shvee-AHN’-tehk) advanced to the Adelaide International quarterfinals with a 6-1, 6-2 win over U.S. Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez.
Her skis stolen, US Olympic hopeful Dani Loeb stays upbeat
UNDATED (AP) — Olympic hopeful Dani Loeb says she’s optimistic that police are able to recover her custom skis, helmet and other gear stolen in Atlanta now that two suspects are in custody. The men were arrested this week, but police haven’t said whether they’ve been able to recover Loeb’s gear. She’s hoping to get the items back before Wednesday, when she will try to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The 20-year-old former gymnast is from Alabama and competes in aerial freestyle.
In other news:
— Snowboarding star Shaun White told Olympics.com that he tested positive last month after competing in an event in Colorado. The 35-year-old was symptomatic but has been cleared to compete in a qualifying event this weekend at Mammoth Mountain, the last qualifying event for the U.S. Olympic Team.