Category Archives: Sports

Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez out of Sevilla, signs with L.A Galaxy

The Los Angeles Galaxy have signed Javier “Chicharito” Hernández from Sevilla, according to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl.

According to Wahl, the Galaxy will make Hernández the highest-paid player in Major League Soccer. That distinction is currently held by Toronto FC and USMNT star Michael Bradley, who makes a reported $6 million a year.

The previous highest-paid player in MLS was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who left the Galaxy in November and re-joined AC Milan. Hernández, whose “Chicharito” nickname was given to him by his father and means “Little Pea”, will be counted on to substitute Ibrahimovic’s star power goal-scoring output.

Hernández has spent nearly a decade playing in Europe since joining Manchester United from Guadalajara in 2010.

He scored 59 goals for United and won two Premier League titles before moving to Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, and he also played for Real Madrid (on loan) and West Ham United before joining Sevilla last summer.

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But he reportedly was told he doesn’t factor into Sevilla’s future plans, and he didn’t train Thursday and was held out of manager Julen Lopetegui’s squad to face Real Madrid this weekend.

The 31-year-old Hernández is the latest international star to sign with the Galaxy, who have counted Ibrahimovic, David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Robbie Keane and Ashley Cole among their ranks.

Hernández is also Mexico’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals in 109 appearances.

The Galaxy had been in negotiations with Hernandez for some time and met with him earlier this week to close the deal. The meeting went well, according to ESPN Mexico and the LA Times, but it took three more days to iron out details.

A report from Spanish newspaper Marca put the transfer fee being negotiated for Chicharito at around $10 million.

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Joe Barry to stay with Rams after declining USC offer

Joe Barry, the Rams’ linebackers coach for the last three campaigns, turned down the opportunity to become USC’s defensive coordinator and signed a new contract to remain with the Rams, a person with knowledge of the situation stated Thursday.

Barry took himself out of consideration for the USC job after discussing the parameters of a contract with a school official, the person said.

USC coach Clay Helton sill in the search of a replacement for Clancy Pendergast, who was fired after a 49-24 Holiday Bowl defeat to Iowa. The Rams’ staff has been shuffled since the conclusion of a disappointing 9-7 season that ended with the team missing the playoffs for the first time in coach Sean McVay’s three seasons.

McVay did not retain defensive coordinator Wade Phillips and running backs coach Skip Peete. Special teams coordinator John Fassel left to join the Dallas Cowboys’ staff, and Peete this week also joined the Cowboys staff.

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McVay hired Brandon Staley as defensive coordinator, setting up the possibility of Barry’s departure to USC, where he played linebacker in 1992 and 1993, served as a graduate assistant and later coached with Helton as part of Lane Kiffin’s Trojans staff in 2010.

As USC focused primarily on the NFL ranks to replace Pendergast, Barry emerged as one of its top options.

He met with Helton on campus last week, but a person familiar with the search said that USC had continued considering other candidates.

The process had stalled in the days since Helton met with Barry, leaving many to wonder where USC’s coordinator search stood. Now, as Barry officially returns to the Rams, that search will move into its fourth week.

A few noteworthy options still remain. Kris Richard, who graduated from Gardena Serra High and played defensive back at USC, was not retained by the Cowboys’ new staff this week. He served as a graduate assistant under Pete Carroll, before following the former Trojans coach to the Seattle Seahawks.

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Bears hiring Joe DeFillippo as QB coach

Bears head coach Matt Nagy continued to remake his offensive coaching staff by hiring John DeFilippo as quarterbacks coach and promoting Dave Ragone to passing game coordinator, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

DeFilippo, whom Chicago interviewed for its head coaching spot two years ago before offering the job to Nagy, spent just one year as offensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars before he and the club mutually agreed to part ways on Monday.

DeFilippo also lasted only 13 games as the Minnesota Vikings coordinator in 2018 before being released.

The 41-year-old coached quarterbacks for the Philadelphia Eagles under Nagy’s close friend Doug Pederson in 2016-17. DeFilippo was part of the Eagles’ staff that helped win Super Bowl LII.

Prior to Philadelphia, DeFilippo was the offensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns in 2015. He additionally worked as quarterbacks coach for the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets.

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Ragone — a rare holdover from the John Fox era — served as Chicago’s quarterbacks coach the past four seasons where he worked closely with former second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky.

Although Trubisky finished the 2019 season ranked 28th in total QBR, tied for 27th in touchdown passes, 21st in passing yards, 32nd in yards gained per pass attempt and 28th in traditional quarterback rating, Nagy frequently lauded Ragone’s work with the 25-year-old quarterback.

Lazor, 47, previously held the title of offensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins (2014-15) and Cincinnati Bengals (2017-18).

Nagy and Lazor never coached together in Philadelphia, but Nagy considered Lazor for Chicago’s offensive coordinator job in 2018 until the Bengals informed they were retaining former coach Marvin Lewis for another campaign.

After Cincinnati changed coaching staffs following 2018, Lazor spent the past year out of the league but visited Bears’ OTAs for couple days as a guest.

Chicago’s offense ranked 29th in points, 29th in average yards per game, 25th in passing yards and 27th in rushing yards in Nagy’s second season.

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Astros interview Buck Showalter and John Gibbons for managerial vacancy

The Houston Astros have interviewed Buck Showalter for their managerial vacancy, ESPN has confirmed.

The Astros interviewed Showalter on Wednesday, two days after they released manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.

The Astros also will interview former Blue Jays manager John Gibbons on Thursday, according to multiple reports.

Showalter has 20 campaigns of major-league managerial experience under his belt. The three-time Manager of the Year also interviewed earlier this offseason for the manager job with the Phillies, who lastly hired Joe Girardi.

Showalter, 63, last managed in 2018 with the Orioles, who went 47-115 and parted ways with him after the season. He owns a career record of 1,551-1,517.

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Gibbons, 57, is 793-789 over parts of 11 seasons in two different stints with Toronto. He managed the Blue Jays to back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016 but did not return to the club after going 73-89 in 2018.

The laid back Gibby who usually appears calm and collected could be just what the doctor ordered for a Houston squad seeking new leadership.

Gibbons was in the Manager’s chair when Astros closer Roberto Osuna went through his legal troubles following a domestic abuse allegation while a member of the Blue Jays in 2018.

Owner Jim Crane in his press conference stated the team needs to move forward with a clean slate and always do the right thing. Gibby’s undeniable character and ability to manage players from all walks of life may be just what Crane and company need to build the Astros back up.

Hinch and Luhnow were released Monday after being suspended by Major League Baseball for the Astros’ illicit use of electronics to steal signs during Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season.

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Bulls´ Daniel Gafford to miss 2-4 weeks with dislocated thumb

Two minutes into Wednesday night’s home match versus the Washington Wizards, rookie center Daniel Gafford ran off the court gripping his right thumb.

Based on the broadcast’s feed, it’s hard to tell exactly what happened, but according to NBC Sports Chicago’s Tony Gill, those on the floor could see that Gafford’s thumb “went backward.”

Shortly after he left the game, the Bulls informed he would not return and simply reported a “right thumb injury.” However, The Athletic’s Sham Charania swooped in a couple of minutes later and announced Gafford would miss 2-4 weeks with a dislocated right thumb.

With the Bulls already down Wendell Carter Jr. until at least mid-February, they were relying heavily on Gafford to handle the team’s rim-protecting duties.

But now, the team will be down to just Luke Kornet and Cristiano Felicio as the only two centers on the roster. Of course, as a seven-footer, Lauri Markkanen can be shifted over to play underneath the basket as well, though it’s never been his strong suit.

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Gafford was picked by Chicago in the second round of last year’s draft.

He was averaging 4.9 points and 2.5 rebounds coming into the game.

Carter again is out, this time with a severely sprained right ankle that will sideline him for four to six weeks. With both Carter and Gafford out, coach Jim Boylen used Luke Kornet initially. He also featured some lineups with Lauri Markkanen at center.

“It’s real disappointing,” Gafford said, who had been starting for Carter. “As much as I want to be out there, I’m going to have to take this time to recover and make sure I can go back out there and do the things that I’ve always been able to do. It’s taken a toll on me right now.”

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Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald back for 17th season

The Arizona Cardinals informed the receiver will return in 2020 for his 17th pro season, signing Fitzgerald to a one-year contract. He had been set to become a free agent.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports Fitzgerald’s deal is worth $11 million with incentives, per sources informed of the contract.

Fitzgerald’s future has been the subject of speculation each season of the past couple of years. Yet the 36-year-old continues to produce.

Fitzgerald snagged 75 receptions for 804 yards and four touchdowns in 2019, all team highs.

Even as things seem to change often in Arizona, Fitzgerald’s production still as steady as a rock.

The veteran’s ability to get open on quick routes meshes well with Kliff Kingsbury’s offense and Kyler Murray’s lightning-fast release. Perhaps Fitzgerald will no longer burn past receivers, but he still owns the route-running ability to box out defenders and vice-grip hands to snag pigskins in close quarters.

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While the Cardinals hope someday soon one of their young guns overtakes Fitzgerald as a true No. 1 target, Kingsbury understands the vital role the veteran plays for his offense to move the chains consistently.

“I think he’s playing as good as anybody, honestly,” Kingsbury said at the close of the season. “You watch what he does week-in and week-out, the little things, the blocking and the toughness that he brings to the offensive side of the football. We missed him twice for huge plays yesterday. He’s just still creating separation. He does it all.”

The 11-time Pro Bowler and former Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year sits No. 1 in Cardinals history in catches (1,378), receiving yards (17,083) and receiving TDs (120). Fitzgerald trails only Jerry Rice in NFL history in catches and receiving yards.

The Cardinals wideout needs 171 receptions and 5,812 yards to tie Rice. It would take a few more campaigns to come close to those numbers, but Fitzy is at least inching closer to records that once seemed outlandish for any wideout to get near.

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Lakers´ Rajon Rondo with finger fracture; Anthony Davis misses third consecutive game

Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis missed his third consecutive match with a bruised backside while guard Rajon Rondo, with a hand injury, also sat versus the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

Frank Vogel said that Davis has made progress, but is still dealing with some soreness. However, he expects his team to compete at the same level they played at when they upset the Thunder this past weekend.

“We’ve been without AD for a couple of games now, so hopefully we’ve found a little rhythm with what those lineups are going to look like, with (Kyle Kuzma) starting at the four and (Jared Dudley) backing him up,” Vogel said.

Rajon Rondo was also out of Monday night’s game versus the Cleveland Cavaliers after an MRI revealed a non-displaced volar plate avulsion fracture of the right ring finger. 

Rondo suffered the injury against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday.

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Davis worked out on the court before the Cavs game, but Vogel said the Lakers’ star big man “still had some soreness” and was “still not ready” to return. Vogel, who said the Lakers would take the “long-term, marathon approach” with Davis’ injury when asked about it last week, was asked how healthy Davis would need to be in order to return to the court.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be 100 percent pain free,” Vogel said. “It’s really just going to be day-to-day and he’ll communicate with the medical team and we want him as close to pain-free as possible. But I don’t know if it’s 100 percent, 99 percent. They’ll tell me when he’s ready.”

L.A. started LeBron James, Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Kyle Kuzma and McGee in a 128-99 victory over the Cavaliers.

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Astros´ Jeff Luhnow, AJ Hinch fired for sign stealing

Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow will likely forever be tied to the team’s sign-stealing polemic, but he insisted he is not a cheater.

Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle shared Luhnow’s statement in which he accepted responsibility for the violations that occurred under him but clarified: “I am not a cheater. Anybody who has worked closely with me during my 32-year career inside and outside baseball can attest to my integrity. I did not know rules were being broken.”

Former manager AJ Hinch also released a statement that was not as brazen but said, “while the evidence consistently showed I didn’t endorse or participate in the sign stealing practices, I failed to stop them and I am deeply sorry.”

ESPN’s Jeff Passan stated Luhnow and Hinch were both suspended for one year as part of the penalties levied against the Astros. The team was also fined $5 million and stripped of its first- and second-round draft picks in 2020 and 2021.

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Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reported Astros owner Jim Crane adopted to fire Hinch and Luhnow in the aftermath of the punishments.

Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic reported on the Astros’ sign stealing in November. Four people who were with the team during the 2017 championship campaign, including pitcher Mike Fiers, said the American League West club used a camera positioned in the outfield as a way of stealing opponents’ signs in real time.

Gabe Lacques of USA Today noted the league interviewed 68 witnesses and also sent out memos in 2017, 2018 and 2019 warning against electronic sign stealing and saying general managers and managers would be held most accountable.

Rosenthal and Drellich also reported the 2018 Red Sox used technology to help steal opponents’ signs on their way to a World Series title. Luhnow became the Astros’ general manager in 2011, while Hinch was the manager since the 2015 campaign.

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Kyrie Irving returns, leads Nets past Hawks

The Brooklyn Nets will take whatever they can get after seeing how much a healthy Irving means to them.

The point guard scored 21 points in 20 minutes in his return from an injured right shoulder, leading the Nets to a 108-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday.

Irving made a career-best 90.9 percent of his shots after missing 26 games with an impingement. The shoulder looked fine and his handle looked as good as ever while he dribbled his way around a hopeless Atlanta defense.

Energized by his return that still seemed a ways away just a week ago, the Nets led by 39 points and won their second straight after dropping seven in a row.

“We had a certain confidence about us tonight that I think we were missing during that streak,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “So great, great timing having him back.” Cam Reddish scored 20 points for the Hawks, who played without star guard Trae Young due to a left hamstring injury and lost their fourth straight.

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The Nets made it such an easy night that their fans didn’t need to worry about the scoreboard as they roared for Vince Carter’s two 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

The 42-year-old former Nets star ended with eight points in his final road appearance versus the franchise.

“Obviously to come back here, and some of the other stops I’ve played for, and just kind of to receive a standing O for one last time is just great,” Carter said.

Irving started feeling pain in his shoulder early in the season, and he took himself out of the lineup after a game in Denver on Nov. 14. The Nets held up well without him for a while thanks mostly to Spencer Dinwiddie’s strong play, but had faltered recently, especially in crunch time.

Irving got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24 and returned to full practice this week, just in time to return on his sister’s birthday.

“It’s not really a surprise for me,” Irving said of his performance. “I put in the work and when I do that I feel like the results will come.”

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Chiefs rally to beat Texans 51-31 in playoffs

Patrick Mahomes stalked up and down the sideline like a field marshal rallying his troops, the brilliant young quarterback imploring the Kansas City Chiefs to stay together even as the Houston Texans were on the verge of taking them apart.

The Chiefs already faced a 24-0 hole, bigger than any deficit they had overcome in franchise history.

”The biggest thing I was preaching,” Mahomes said later, ”was, ‘Let’s go do something special. Everybody is counting us out. Let’s go out there and play by play put it out there.’ And play by play, we did what we were supposed to do.”

Beginning with the first of his five touchdown passes, Mahomes and the Chiefs slowly chipped away at Houston’s seemingly insuperable lead. They continued to pick up momentum, outscoring the Texans 28-0 during the second quarter alone, and eventually reeled off 41 consecutive points before cruising the rest of the way to a 51-31 triumph Sunday that propelled Kansas City back to the AFC championship match for the second consecutive season.

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The Chiefs (13-4) became the first team in NFL history to win a playoff match by at least 20 points after trailing by at least 20.

They matched the fourth-biggest comeback in playoff history while winning a postseason game in back-to-back seasons for the first time. 

Travis Kelce and Damien Williams scored three touchdowns apiece, joining the 49ers’ Jerry Rice and Ricky Waters in Super Bowl 29 as the only teammates to score that many times in a postseason game.

Meanwhile, Mahomes led by example as much as by voice. He ended with 321 yards passing, becoming the first player in postseason history with at least 300 yards passing and five touchdowns while running for at least 50 more yards.

”You saw him going up and down the bench, he was talking to everybody, – ‘Just settle down,”’ Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. ”As a head coach, you can’t ask for more than that. When he’s the leader of your team and he’s going, ‘Hey, we’re going to be fine. Let’s not wait for the fourth quarter. Let’s go!’ And he did that.”

Now, after losing to the Patriots in overtime in last year’s conference title game, the Chiefs are back on the brink of their first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years.

They will host Tennessee next Sunday in a rematch from earlier this season after the Titans upset Lamar Jackson and the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.

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