- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 21, 2015

NFL

The NFL says its investigation into whether the New England Patriots used under-inflated footballs in the AFC championship game is ongoing after a report claimed the league found 11 balls were not properly inflated.

Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president for football operations, told The Associated Press that the “investigation is currently underway and we’re still awaiting findings.”

Vincent was responding to an ESPN report that cited anonymous league sources saying 11 of the Patriots’ 12 allotted game footballs were under-inflated by 2 pounds per square inch of air. ESPN did not say how that occurred.

Vincent said earlier Tuesday he expected the probe to be concluded by the end of the week. The last thing the NFL wants after a difficult season off the field is a potential cheating scandal that disrupts Super Bowl week. New England faces Seattle on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona.

CHICAGO (AP) - The Chicago Bears hired Vic Fangio as their new defensive coordinator, hoping the veteran coach who spent the last four seasons with San Francisco can breathe some life into the once-storied unit.

The Bears said they have reached an agreement with the 56-year-old Fangio to take over the Bears’ struggling defense under new coach John Fox. Terms were not disclosed.

Fangio had been a candidate for the defensive coordinator job with the Washington Redskins, who hired Joe Barry. Last week, Fangio was bypassed for the 49ers’ coaching job, given to defensive line coach Jim Tomsula.

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) - The Washington Redskins’ meandering search for a defensive coordinator ended with the hiring of Joe Barry, the linebackers coach for the San Diego Chargers who was once in charge of the only 0-16 defense in NFL history.

Barry was chosen to replace Jim Haslett, who departed three weeks ago after a 4-12 season. The Redskins’ busy offseason has also included the additions of Scot McCloughan as general manager and Bill Callahan as offensive line coach.

The Redskins cast a wide net searching for Haslett’s replacement. Eric Mangini, Wade Phillips, Ed Donatell and Raheem Morris were among the candidates, but Barry emerged as the favorite until San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio became available last week. Washington heavily recruited Fangio, hosting him for two days over the weekend, but he choose to take an offer from the Chicago Bears.

BALTIMORE (AP) - The Baltimore Ravens hired Marc Trestman as their offensive coordinator, keeping with their tendency to hire a former head coach for the position.

Trestman was fired by the Chicago Bears last month after going 5-11 in his second season. He interviewed with Cleveland for the offensive coordinator job before taking the same position with Baltimore.

Trestman is the fourth former head coach in four years to fill the position with the Ravens. He follows Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell and Gary Kubiak.

NEW YORK (AP) - Chan Gailey will be running the New York Jets’ offense under new coach Todd Bowles.

The Jets hired Gailey as their offensive coordinator, a move that had been expected since Bowles became head coach last Wednesday.

The 63-year-old Gailey was out of football the last two seasons after being fired as Buffalo’s coach following the 2012 season. But Bowles targeted Gailey early to be a part of his staff, which is beginning to take shape.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) - Southern Mississippi has self-imposed a postseason ban for the current basketball season because of an ongoing NCAA inquiry into the program.

The university said in a statement Tuesday that the program will not play in the Conference USA postseason tournament or make itself eligible for NCAA tournament consideration. The statement said the ban is a “result of an ongoing university and NCAA inquiry of the basketball program related to the 2012-13 and 2013-14 academic years.”

Donnie Tyndall was the coach at Southern Miss the past two seasons, but left to take over at Tennessee. Southern Miss acknowledged in November that the NCAA was investigating potential violations in the program.

BASEBALL

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Nori Aoki brings more than just a big personality and sense of humor to the San Francisco Giants.

Manager Bruce Bochy is projecting him as the World Series champions’ starting left fielder, while noting Aoki’s versatility allows him to fill in for Angel Pagan in center field and Hunter Pence in right as needed. Pagan will begin spring training next month as the leadoff hitter, another job Aoki can handle with his speed and ability to steal bases.

Aoki was formally introduced at AT&T; Park one day after finalizing his $4.7 million, one-year contract with the team.

Aoki played last season with Kansas City, which lost the World Series to the Giants in seven games.

HOUSTON (AP) - Outfielder Colby Rasmus has agreed to an $8 million, one-year contract with the Houston Astros.

The deal was announced a day after Houston dealt last year’s starting center fielder, Dexter Fowler, to the Chicago Cubs.

The 28-year-old Rasmus started 80 games in center field for the Toronto Blue Jays last season and has played both right and left field in his six-year big league career. He batted .225 with 18 homers and 40 RBIs last season after hitting 22 home runs with 66 RBIs in 2013.

WNBA

SEATTLE (AP) - Jenny Boucek is moving one chair over, becoming head coach of the Seattle Storm.

The assistant was promoted by the WNBA club Tuesday. She succeeds Brian Agler, who left this month to coach the Los Angeles Sparks.

Boucek returned to the Storm as an assistant in 2010 and was an associate head coach this past season. She also was head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs for 2 1/2 seasons after a stint as a Seattle assistant Seattle from 2003-05.

Boucek, an assistant both times the Storm won WNBA titles (2004, 2010) inherits a team in transition. Seattle has been one of the league’s most stable franchises the past decade. The Storm reached the playoffs every year since 2003 until this past season.

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