BC-AP Sports Digest
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The miss by Bears kicker Cody Parkey won’t be easily forgotten in Chicago. Co-hosts Jim Litke and Tim Dahlberg discuss on AP’s PodcastOne Sports Now why kickers are so expendable, and yet so vital in a league that doesn’t seem to value them nearly enough.
CYC--DOPING AT 90?
Carl Grove, a 90-year-old record-setting American cyclist who failed a doping test, tells The Associated Press that anti-doping agencies are wasting time and taxpayer dollars on cases like his. The great-grandfather and former U.S. Navy Band saxophonist who played for U.S. presidents says the failed test was caused by eating contaminated meat. By John Leicester. SENT: 1,000 words, photos.
FBN--ZEKE AND TODD
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — Todd Gurley is a big football fan, and Ezekiel Elliott is one of his favorite players. The good feelings are mutual heading into the Cowboys’ playoff visit to the Rams and a showdown between the NFL’s two premiere running backs. By Greg Beacham. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 10 p.m.
— FBN--COWBOYS-TAVON’S RETURN. By Pro Football Writer Schuyler Dixon. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 8 p.m.
CLEVELAND —The Browns didn’t have to go far to find their new coach. The 44-year-old Freddie Kitchens, who had a dazzling eight-week run as the team’s interim offensive coordinator, is finalizing a contract to become Cleveland’s ninth coach since the franchise’s 1999 rebirth, the AP is told. Gregg Williams, who went 5-3 as Cleveland’s interim coach and defensive coordinator this season, is no longer with the team. By Tom Withers. SENT: 570 words, photo.
SEATTLE — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman visits Seattle for the first time since the city was awarded an expansion franchise that will begin with the 2021-22 season. By Tim Booth. UPCOMING: 600 words by 8 p.m. Developing from 4:30 p.m. availability.
MOSCOW — The Kremlin says there is “understanding” on how crucial data on drug use by Russian athletes will be handed over to the World Anti-Doping Agency, whose representatives arrived in Moscow on Wednesday. The Moscow laboratory data could help WADA file doping charges against numerous Russian athletes. SENT: 320 words, photos.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Denver Broncos general manager John Elway has decided on Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio as his new head coach, the AP is told. Fangio is a first-time head coach at age 60. By Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton. SENT: 730 words, photos.
TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa Bay is counting on Bruce Arians to help Jameis Winston realize his potential. However, the young quarterback is not the only component the coach will have to fix to help the Buccaneers end a long playoff drought. By Fred Goodall. UPCOMING: 400 words by 7 p.m.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Matt LaFleur has never been in charge of an NFL team before, and until last year had never called plays for one either. He now takes over the Green Bay Packers, a storied franchise that has now missed the playoffs two years in a row. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos. News conference set for 4 p.m.
TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona Cardinals introduce Kliff Kingsbury as their new coach a day after hiring the former Texas Tech coach in a bid to revitalize the worst offense in the NFL. By Bob Baum. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m. News conference set for 3 p.m.
FBN--PANTHERS-REID DRUG TEST
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The NFL and the NFL Players Association say an independent administrator found that Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid received the “normal” number of drug tests this season and he was not the subject of targeting by the league. Reid said in December he’d been drug tested seven times and was being targeted by the NFL because of his ongoing collusion case. A person familiar with the situation tells the AP that Reid was not tested as many times as he said he was. By Steve Reed. SENT: 570 words, photo.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was Doug Pederson a couple years ago. Matt Nagy last year. Now, it’s Eric Bieniemy that is juggling the roles of Chiefs offensive coordinator — preparing Kansas City to face the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday’s divisional round — with the phone calls from teams searching for their next head coach. By Dave Skretta. SENT: 800 words, photos.
INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts defense started this season by giving up 180 points in their first six games. They’re facing Kansas City on Saturday because they’ve given up only 72 over the last six — and will need another good game to advance to the AFC championship game. By Michael Marot. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.
PHILADELPHIA — Nick Foles is in a unique position, a Super Bowl MVP trying to lead his team to consecutive NFL titles but knowing his next loss is most likely his final game with the Eagles. By Rob Maaddi. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos by 6 p.m.
METAIRIE, La. — Injuries along the offensive line coincided with a drop-off in late-season production from the Saints’ usually prolific offense. A first-round playoff bye gave New Orleans’ linemen a little extra time to heal and provided coach Sean Payton more time to consider contingencies. By Brett Martel. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 8 p.m.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots’ defense has done just enough this season to earn victories against some of NFL’s top quarterbacks, including Andrew Luck, Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers. Next up is the Chargers’ Philip Rivers, who has yet to throw a touchdown against New England in two playoff meetings. By Kyle Hightower. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.
COSTA MESA, Calif. — The Los Angeles Chargers have not lost a game yet this season when they have had to get on a plane. They try to continue their road success this week in an AFC divisional-round game at New England. By Joe Reedy. UPCOMING: 650 words, photos by 7 p.m.
HOUSTON — Two of the early front-runners for MVP meet when Houston’s James Harden and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo face off when the Rockets host the Bucks. By Kristie Rieken. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
— BKN--TIMBERWOLVES-WIGGINS APOLOGY — Wolves’ Andrew Wiggins apologizes for using “gay” as derogatory term. By Cliff Brunt. SENT: 410 words, photos.
BKW--T25-LOUISVILLE-NOTRE DAME PREVIEW
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — No. 2 Louisville can take a big step toward its first top ranking ever if it beats No. 1 and defending champion Notre Dame on the road Thursday. While the Irish are used to 1-2 matchups, the Cardinals will be in new territory and need to overcome their struggle in marquee games. By Gary B. Graves. UPCOMING: 550 words, photos by 5 p.m.
LAWRENCE, Kan. — No. 7 Kansas tries to bounce back from a lopsided loss at Iowa State when the Jayhawks return home to face No. 25 TCU. UPCOMING: 600 words, photos. Game starts 9 p.m.
CHICAGO — The Nashville Predators go for their fifth win in six games when they visit Patrick Kane and the Chicago Blackhawks. The surging Kane has 11 goals and 15 assists in his last 17 games. By Jay Cohen. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos. Game starts 8 p.m.
HKN--AROUND THE NHL
While teams that fired their coaches this season aren’t faring much better, four of the six that made a change over the summer are in playoff position at the midway mark. By Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno. SENT: 1,150 words, photos.
HONOLULU — Coming off his worst season, Jordan Spieth couldn’t wait to get started and booked a flight across the Pacific for his 2019 debut at the Sony Open. By Golf Writer Doug Ferguson. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos by 7 p.m.
— TEN--SYDNEY INTERNATIONAL — Ashleigh Barty beats No. 1 Simona Halep in Romanian’s tour return. SENT: 550 words, photos.
— TEN--ASB CLASSIC — Top-seeded John Isner beaten in 2nd round of ASB Classic. SENT: 600 words.
— TEN--HOBART INTERNATIONAL — Belinda Bencic advances at Hobart International. SENT: 200 words.
MANCHESTER, England — Manchester City starts as overwhelming favorite in its English League Cup semifinal match against third-tier club Burton Albion. The first leg is at City’s Etihad Stadium. UPCOMING: 400 words, photos by 6 p.m.
— SOC--MAN UNITED-SOLSKJAER’S SUCCESS — Man United revitalized with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the wheel. By Steve Douglas. SENT: 1,070 words, photos.
— SOC--ASIAN CUP-CHHETRI’S GOALS — India striker overtakes Lionel Messi in national team scoring. By John Duerden. SENT: 530 words, photos.
— NFL CONCUSSION CASE — NFL drops appeal over dementia claims in concussion case. By Maryclaire Dale. SENT: 370 words.
— SUPER BOWL TICKETS-LAWSUIT — Fan’s lawsuit challenging Super Bowl ticket policies meets court defeat. By David Porter. SENT: 540 words.
— BKN--NBA CAPSULES
— HKN--NHL CAPSULES
— BKC--TOP 25 CAPSULES
— BKW--TOP 25 CAPSULES
Wednesday Time Schedule (EST)
Indiana at Boston, 7 p.m.
Philadelphia at Washington, 7 p.m.
Atlanta at Brooklyn, 7:30 p.m.
Cleveland at New Orleans, 8 p.m.
Milwaukee at Houston, 8 p.m.
San Antonio at Memphis, 8 p.m.
Phoenix at Dallas, 8:30 p.m.
Orlando at Utah, 9 p.m.
Chicago at Portland, 10 p.m.
Detroit at L.A. Lakers, 10:30 p.m.
Nashville at Chicago, 8 p.m.
Colorado at Calgary, 9:30 p.m.
Ottawa at Anaheim, 10 p.m.
College Basketball (Top 25)
No. 4 Virginia at Boston College, 9 p.m.
No. 7 Kansas vs. No. 25 TCU, 9 p.m.
No. 9 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 7 p.m.
No. 10 Nevada vs. San Jose State, 11 p.m.
No. 11 Auburn at Mississippi, 7 p.m.
No. 13 Florida State vs. Miami, 9 p.m.
No. 16 Ohio State at Rutgers, 7 p.m.
No. 17 Houston at Temple, 7 p.m.
No. 21 Marquette at Creighton, 7 p.m.
No. 3 UConn vs. Cincinnati, 7 p.m.
No. 4 Baylor vs. Kansas State, 8 p.m.
No. 11 Texas vs. Oklahoma, 8 p.m.
No. 18 Minnesota at No. 23 Michigan State, 7 p.m.
No. 20 Iowa State vs. TCU, 7:30 p.m.