The Chargers reportedly are ready to bolt San Diego. ESPN.com said Wednesday that the Chargers plan to announce as early as today that they are moving to Los Angeles. According to the report, the Chargers have notified team owners and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell of their intent to relocate for the 2017 season. However, the website added that nothing was final.
A team employee has told The Associated Press that the Chargers have called a staff meeting for 8 a.m. PST today. The report comes as the deadline for the Chargers to exercise their relocation option was extended two days to Jan. 17 by the NFL. That decision was made because the 15th falls on a Sunday and Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday.
The league's stadium and finance committees met for about 3½ hours Wednesday to discuss relocation of the Chargers and Raiders. Should the Chargers actually decide to stay put, the Raiders could invade the L.A. market unless owner Mark Davis ships the team to Las Vegas as he has previously indicated.
Meanwhile the Buffalo Bills are putting their faith in Sean McDermott to fix their under-performing defense and restore relevance to a franchise that hasn't reached the playoffs since the Music City Miracle loss in January of 2000. The Bills hired the Carolina defensive coordinator as head coach yesterday. He replaces Rex Ryan, who was fired two weeks ago for failing to deliver on his bold promises to build the Bills into a bully.
The Broncos have selected Vance Joseph, who had served as one of the NFL's top secondary coaches before spending this season as the Dolphins' defensive coordinators. He replaces Gary Kubiak, who was hired over Joseph by Broncos vice president and general manager John Elway two years ago. Joseph inherits a team that experienced a late-season swoon to finish 9-7, one season after winning the Super Bowl.
If somebody really wants an autograph or to take a selfie with Johnny Manziel, the former Heisman Trophy winner now has a menu of what it will cost. Manziel, who was a bust in the NFL, will be in Houston ahead of the Super Bowl to give fans a chance to meet him, for a price. A selfie will cost $50 and for those wishing for a more professional photo they will need to hand over $99. He'll provide his autograph for $99 as well and for another $29 he'll include a four-word inscription.
In the NBA, Philadelphia edged the Knicks 98-97, Boston topped Washington 117-108, Minnesota won against Houston 119-105, Oklahoma City defeated Memphis 103-95, the Clippers beat Orlando 105-96, and it was Portland over Cleveland 102-86.
Russell Westbrook posted his 18th triple-double of the season by delivering 24 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists to Oklahoma City's 103-95 win against the visiting Memphis Grizzlies. No other player has had more triple-doubles in a season since Magic Johnson had 18 in 1981-82, and Westbrook did it last season as well. The outburst comes two weeks after Westbrook was ejected during the Thunder's 34-point loss in Memphis.
The NBA has fined Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn $25,000 for a flagrant foul that left Pelicans star Anthony Davis with a bruised left hip. The league says O'Quinn struck and pushed Davis from behind with 1:16 left in the third quarter of New Orleans' 110-96 victory at Madison Square Garden on Monday. Davis ended up crashing into the front row of seats behind the baseline and O'Quinn was ejected.
In the NHL, Florida slid past the Islanders 2-1, Montreal beat Winnipeg 7-4, Washington topped Pittsburgh 5-2, and it was Calgary over San Jose 3-2.
Alex Ovechkin moved into sole possession of 29th place on the NHL's all-time goals list while becoming the 84th player in league history to collect 1,000 career points. Ovechkin notched his 545th and 546th goals in leading the Washington Capitals to their seventh consecutive win, 5-2 against Pittsburgh. He scored just 35 seconds after the opening faceoff to reach the 1,000-point milestone and pass Hall of Famer Maurice Richard on the goal-scoring list.
In college men's basketball, UConn beat Temple 73-59 last night for its second straight conference win. Kentan Facey scored a career-high 23 points. The 6-foot-10 senior hit nine of his 11 shots for the Huskies. Shizz Alston Jr. had 13 points to lead Temple.
Tanner Leissner had 16 points and 11 rebounds and hit a crucial 3-pointer down the stretch to help New Hampshire beat Albany 75-67 on Wednesday night.
The eighth-ranked Creighton Bluejays have matched the best 17-game start in program history, improving to 16-1 with a 75-64 win over No. 12 Butler. Maurice Watson Jr. scored twice points and had seven assists as the Bluejays handed the Bulldogs their first loss in five games against ranked top-25 teams this season. Khyri Thomas added 14 points and 12 rebounds to the victory.
Boston University made 12-of-18 3-pointers in beating American University 76-66 last night to win its fifth straight. Cedric Hankerson scored 21 points with five 3-pointers, and Eric Fanning added 17 points, including his career 1,000th. BU has opened Patriot League play 5-0 for the second time in four years.
UMass beat Dayton 67-55 last night to snap the Flyers' five-game winning streak. Luwane Pipkins scored 17 points, and Rashaan Holloway had 14 points and seven rebounds for UMass. Kyle Davis made 6 of 8 shots and scored 16 points for Dayton, which hasn't won a regular-season game at UMass since 2004.
Vermont made eight 3-pointers to beat Binghamton 67-50 last night to win its fifth straight to start America East Conference play 3-0 for the third time in the last four years. Payton Hensen scored 12 points. Trae Bell-Haynes scored nine points with four assists, Ernie Duncan hit three 3-pointers, and the Catamounts made 24 of 47 field goals.
Maine edged Massachusetts-Lowell 73-71 last night. Wesley Myers converted a 3-point play with four seconds left and matched a career-best with 31 points for Maine. Tyler Livingston scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Massachusetts-Lowell, which had a three-game win streak snapped.
In women’s college basketball, UAlbany beat New Hampshire 71-58.
Andy Murray has drawn the No. 1 seed in the Australian Open, which begins Monday at Melbourne Park. Novak Djokovic is the second seed, followed by Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and Kei Nishikori. Angelique Kerber is No. 1 on the women's side, ahead of Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova.
NASCAR driver Carl Edwards has officially announced that he is walking away from the final year of his contract with Joe Gibbs Racing, but he stressed that he's not retired. Edwards says he made the decision because he's content with his career accomplishments, wants to spend more time on other interests and wants to maintain his current health. Edwards admitted the concussion issues that plagued Dale Earnhardt Jr. most of last season were a wakeup call to the industry.
Reigning Xfinity Series champion Daniel Suarez is replacing Edwards in Gibbs Racing's No. 19 Toyota. Edwards was in the running for last year's Sprint Cup championship heading into the last 10 laps of the final race before losing the title. He also lost the championship to Tony Stewart in 2011 and leaves the circuit with 28 victories.
Veteran PGA player Jim Furyk has been named U.S. captain for the 2018 Ryder Cup in France. He'll be in charge of a team that will try to win on European soil for the first time since 1993. The Americans ended a three-match losing streak last year at Hazeltine in Minnesota with a 17-11 victory. Furyk has played on nine consecutive Ryder Cup teams and has a 10-20-4 record. He played on only two winning teams, in 1999 and then in 2008. The European team has named Thomas Bjorn as captain.
The Seattle Mariners engineered two trades Wednesday in an effort to solidify their starting rotation. The M's have picked up Drew Smyly from the Rays for outfielder Mallex Smith, infielder Carlos Vargas and lefty Ryan Yarbrough. The move was possible after Seattle picked up Smith and right-hander Shae Simmons from the Braves for left-handed pitching prospects Luiz Gohara and Thomas Burrows. The 27-year old Smyly made 30 starts last season for Tampa Bay, throwing a career-high 175 1/3 innings and striking out 167. He was 7-12 with a 4.88 ERA.
In other major league news:
— Giants third baseman Conor Gillaspie has avoided arbitration and accepted a one-year, $1.4 million contract. Gillaspie hit a three-run homer off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in the ninth inning of San Francisco's 3-0 wild-card win at New York.
— Days before he leaves the office of President, Barack Obama will welcome the World Series-champion Cubs to the White House on Monday. Obama spent many years in Chicago and extended the invitation to the Cubs shortly after they beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games.
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