- Associated Press - Friday, January 22, 2021


TOKYO (AP) - IOC President Thomas Bach and local organizers are pushing back against reports that the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be canceled.

Now set to open July 23, the Tokyo Games were postponed 10 months ago at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and now the event appears threatened again.

The Times of London, citing unidentified government sources, reported that the games will have to be canceled. It quoted an unidentified senior member of the ruling government coalition.


PHILADELPHIA (AP) - The Philadelphia Eagles are nearing a deal to hire Nick Sirianni to be their head coach, according to two people familiar with the decision.

Sirianni was the offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts the past three seasons. He worked under coach Frank Reich, who was offensive coordinator in Philadelphia when the Eagles won the Super Bowl three years ago.

Both people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t officially announced the hiring.

The 39-year-old Sirianni previously served as an assistant coach with the Chiefs and Chargers.

- By Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi.

ATLANTA (AP) - New Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith began assembling his staff on Thursday by naming Dave Ragone, Dean Pees and Marquice Williams as coordinators.

Ragone, Pees and Williams will coordinate the Falcons’ offense, defense and special teams, respectively.

Also, Smith is retaining Falcons wide receivers coach Dave Brock.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has retired after a 36-year career as a player, coach and adviser in the NFL, the team announced Thursday.

The decision will force head coach Mike Zimmer to hire a sixth offensive coordinator in six seasons.

Kubiak, who took over the role in 2020 and followed Kevin Stefanski, John DeFilippo, Pat Shurmur and Norv Turner under Zimmer, steered Minnesota’s most productive offense in more than a decade. The Vikings ranked fourth in the league in total yards and tied for sixth in offensive touchdowns.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The Jacksonville Jaguars hired Trent Baalke as general manager Thursday, removing the interim tag from his title and pairing him with new coach Urban Meyer.

Team owner Shad Khan is switching to a coach-centric model in which Meyer and Baalke will both report to him to “have transparency and (fill) the needs and concerns of both parties without really getting filtered or have a chain of command.” Meyer, though, is expected to have final say over the roster and most everything else.

NEW YORK (AP) - Robert Saleh is taking a CEO-type approach to his new job as New York Jets head coach by overseeing the entire team and not just one area.

The former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator announced during his introductory news conference Thursday that he hired Jeff Ulbrich to run the Jets’ defense.

Saleh also announced that Mike LaFleur will be the Jets’ offensive coordinator after he was the 49ers’ passing game coordinator the past three seasons.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Rams have hired Raheem Morris to be their new defensive coordinator.

He replaces Brandon Staley, who became the Los Angeles Chargers’ head coach last weekend.

Morris finished last season as the Atlanta Falcons’ interim head coach, going 4-7 as Dan Quinn’s temporary replacement. He spent six seasons on Quinn’s staff in a variety of positions, coaching both the offense and the defense before serving as defensive coordinator last season.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Dwayne Haskins will attempt to kick-start his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers signed the former Washington quarterback to a futures contract on Thursday, giving the 23-year-old a second chance after he flamed out in the nation’s capital in less than two seasons.


CLEVELAND (AP) - Kevin Porter Jr. is no longer a problem for the Cavaliers.

Cleveland has agreed to trade the troubled forward to the Houston Rockets for a future draft pick, a person familiar with the deal told the Associated Press on Thursday night.

The Cavs will send Porter, the 2019 first-round draft pick who hasn’t played this season and recently had an outburst in the team’s locker room, to the Rockets for a protected second-round pick. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the trade has to be approved by the NBA.

- By AP Sports Writer Tom Withers.


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - National champion Alabama has hired former Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

O’Brien is replacing Steve Sarkisian, who left to become head coach of the Texas Longhorns after the national championship game.

O’Brien spent six-plus years as the Texans head coach, going 52-48 with four AFC South titles and four playoff appearances.

The 51-year-old O’Brien spent two years as Penn State’s coach in 2012 and 2013.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Notre Dame’s football program is on NCAA probation until next January after admitting to recruiting violations in 2019 in which a now-former assistant had an impermissible in-person meeting with one prospect and sent impermissible text messages to another.

The NCAA announced the negotiated resolution Thursday after it was reviewed by the Division I Committee on Infractions.

Head coach Brian Kelly also was found to have had impermissible off-campus contact with a prospect when he had his picture taken with the prospect at his high school.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.

Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 and time on the staffs of the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers when those teams made the Super Bowl.


Tennessee has hired UCF athletic director Danny White as the Volunteers’ new athletic director just three days after the firing of football coach Jeremy Pruitt and athletic director Phillip Fulmer’s retirement.

White will be Tennessee’s fourth different athletic director since Dave Hart took over in September 2011, and his first job will be hiring a new football coach with the Volunteers in the midst of an NCAA investigation into recruiting violations that cost Pruitt his job.

STORRS, Conn. (AP) - The deficit in the University of Connecticut’s athletic department rose by $1.2 million during the last fiscal year to $43.5 million, according to the school’s annual report to the NCAA.

UConn released the fiscal report on Wednesday. It said the gap, which last year was among the highest in Division I, was covered by $37 million in direct support from the university and $6.5 million in student fees.


The newest MLS franchise went with talented Virginia Tech midfielder Daniel Pereira with the top pick in the league’s SuperDraft.

The Venezuela-born 20-year-old is the first-ever pick by Austin FC. His selection was the beginning of a run on stars from the ACC at the top of the draft. The top five picks and six of the top seven were from ACC schools.

Calvin Harris of Wake Forest went No. 2 to FC Cincinnati and Philip Mayaka of Clemson went No. 3 to Colorado. The only player outside the ACC to be taken in the top seven picks was Washington defender Ethan Bartlow, who went at No. 6 to Houston.

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Poland hired Paulo Sousa as its national team coach Thursday to replace the fired Jerzy Brzeczek.

The appointment comes three days after Brzeczek was surprisingly dismissed despite leading the team to the 2020 European Championship, which was delayed to this summer.

The 50-year-old Sousa, a former Portugal international, has previously coached clubs including Basel and Fiorentina.


MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - A Spanish tennis player ranked in the top 70 who was forced to quarantine in her hotel room after potentially being exposed to the coronavirus on an Australian Open charter flight says she tested positive for COVID-19.

Paula Badosa, a 23-year-old who reached the fourth round at last year’s French Open, wrote Thursday on Twitter that she received her test result for the illness caused by the coronavirus on the seventh day of her hard quarantine.

Badosa was among the 72 tennis players who have been placed under a stricter lockdown - unable to leave their hotel rooms at all for two weeks - after being on a flight with someone who tested positive upon arrival in Melbourne.


STAMFORD, Conn. (AP) - Lindsey Vonn is returning to ski racing - as a television analyst.

The winningest woman in World Cup history is scheduled to help out with the NBC Sports broadcast of the women’s downhill and super-G races in Crans Montana, Switzerland, this weekend. Vonn will make her on-air debut as an analyst alongside commentator Dan Hicks.


ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The Iditarod, the world’s most famous sled dog race, has lost another major sponsor as it prepares for a scaled back version of this year’s race because of the pandemic, officials said Thursday.

ExxonMobil confirmed to The Associated Press that the oil giant will drop its sponsorship of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. The move came after ExxonMobil, which has been a race sponsor since 1978, received pressure from one its shareholders and the race’s biggest critic, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.


Ted Thompson, whose 13-year run as Green Bay Packers general manager included their 2010 Super Bowl championship season, has died. He was 68.

The Packers announced Thursday that Thompson died the previous night at his home in Atlanta, Texas. The team said it was contacted by a direct family member.

Thompson announced in May 2019 he had been diagnosed with an autonomic nerve disorder.

He was the general manager from 2005-17 and drafted many notable players on the current roster, including two-time MVP quarterback Aaron Rodgers. He acquired 49 of the 53 players on the Packers’ 2010 championship team.

NEW YORK (AP) - Alice Hoagland, a beloved figure of the gay rugby movement that her own son, Mark Bingham, helped set in motion shortly before he perished in the 2001 terrorist attacks as one of the heroes of Flight 93, has died. She was 71.

Hoagland, who became a safety activist while carrying on her son’s athletic legacy, died Dec. 22 in her sleep at her home in Los Gatos, California, after battling Addison’s disease, according to longtime family friend Amanda Mark.

International Gay Rugby - an organization that traces its roots to one team in London in 1995 and now consists of about 90 clubs in more than 20 countries on five continents - held Hoagland in such esteem that one of the prizes at its biennial Mark Kendall Bingham Memorial Tournament, or the Bingham Cup, is called the Hoagland Cup.


More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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