Thursday Sports in Brief
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. agreed to a one-year deal with the Rams, choosing Los Angeles and its burgeoning super team over several potential free-agent destinations.
The Browns released Beckham on Monday midway through his third season in Cleveland. He cleared waivers Tuesday with no team willing to pick up the $7.25 million he was owed under his last contract, freeing the five-time 1,000-yard wideout to sign with any team.
After considering his options, Beckham elected to join NFL passing leader Matthew Stafford and coach Sean McVay in the league’s most productive passing offense.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection will play alongside NFL receiving leader Cooper Kupp — who has 74 catches for 1,019 yards and 10 TDs, all tops in the league — and starters Robert Woods (556 yards) and second-year pro Van Jefferson (443 yards). One of those three receivers is likely to see less playing time after Beckham joins the Rams, who have run offensive sets featuring three receivers almost exclusively this season.
RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said he’s ready to return this week after missing the team’s past three games following surgery on the middle finger on his throwing hand.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers agreed to a one-year contract to bring back quarterback Cam Newton to the franchise that drafted him No. 1 overall in 2011 — and later cut him prior to the 2020 season after he lost eight straight games as a starter.
The deal is worth $10 million, including $4.5 million in fully guaranteed money and a $1.5 million roster bonus, according to a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not announce financial terms of players’ contracts.
Carolina was in need of a quarterback after an MRI on Monday revealed starter Sam Darnold would miss at least four weeks with an incomplete fracture of his right shoulder blade.
Panthers coach Matt Rhule said P.J. Walker will still start Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals, and Matt Barkley, signed off the Tennessee Titans practice squad earlier in the week, will serve as his primary backup. Rhule wasn’t sure if Newton would be active this week because he hadn’t practiced yet.
— AP Sports Writer Steve Reed
UConn hired former UCLA coach Jim Mora, who also coached two NFL teams, to lead the Huskies.
The 59-year-old Mora has been out of coaching and working as a television analyst after spending six seasons (2012-17) leading UCLA to a 46-30 record.
Mora coached four seasons in the NFL, three with the Atlanta Falcons and one with the Seattle Seahawks, going 31-33. He was also a defensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers for five years before taking over the Falcons.
UConn has been searching for a head coach since Randy Edsall stepped down in September.
Mora and UConn agreed to a five-year deal that runs through the 2026 season, with a first-year salary of $1.5 million, according to the school’s announcement.
He will be added to the UConn staff immediately as an assistant coach, allowing him the ability to do some coaching in practice with the current players and, most importantly, to have full privileges in recruiting.
Mora’s father, also named Jim, was a head coach in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts.
The Huskies are 1-8 in their first season playing as an independent in football.
OTTAWA, Ontario (AP) — The Ottawa Senators placed three more players in the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol before a 2-0 home loss to the Los Angeles Kings, bringing the team total to nine and an assistant coach.
The Senators put forward Alex Formenton and goaltender Matt Murray on the COVID-19 list and later added defenseman Nikita Zaitsev.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phil Mickelson shot a 6-under 65 and season points leader Bernhard Langer battled through a balky back for a 68 in the opening round of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
Mickelson had seven birdies and a bogey to match Jim Furyk and Kirk Triplett for the lead in the PGA Tour Champions season finale at Phoenix Country Club.
BELLEAIR, Fla. (AP) — Solheim Cup star Leona Maguire thrived in a star grouping with an 8-under 62 for a two-shot lead over defending champion Sei Young Kim in the Pelican Women’s Championship.
Maguire played alongside Kim and Lexi Thompson. No one in the group made bogey at Pelican Golf Club on a day ideal for scoring.
Maguire is still trying to become Ireland’s first winner on the LPGA Tour. Her best result is a runner-up finish at tournaments in Michigan and Hawaii this year.
For now, she happily is best known for going unbeaten in five matches to lead Europe to a Solheim Cup victory two months ago.
HOUSTON (AP) — Marc Leishman, Russell Henley, Talor Gooch and Luke List shared the lead in the suspended first round of the Houston Open, with List still on the course when darkness stopped play.
Rain delayed the start for 2 1/2 hours, with 0.9 inches falling at Memorial Park. None of the afternoon starters completed play.
Leishman, Henley and Gooch each finished at 5-under 65, while List had three holes left when play was called for the day.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Antoine Rozner got off to a strong start to his title defense at the Dubai Championship, shooting 7-under 65 to trail first-round leader JB Hansen by two strokes.
STOCKHOLM (AP) — Tommy Paul held off Andy Murray’s comeback attempt to beat the former No. 1 player 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 and reach the semifinals at the Stockholm Open.
The two-time Wimbledon champion missed out on a chance to reach his first semifinal since the European Open in October 2019, before undergoing hip surgery.
Paul will face fellow American Frances Tiafoe, who beat Dan Evans 1-6, 6-1, 6-1. Earlier, Felix Auger-Aliassime reached his fifth semifinal of the season with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Botic de Zandschulp.
GUADALAJARA, Mexico (AP) — Paula Badosa started off slowly but won 10 games in a row to upset top-seeded Aryna Sabalenka 6-4, 6-0 in their opening match at the WTA Finals.
Badosa will play her next match against Maria Sakkari, who extended her dominance over former French Open champoin Iga Swiatek with a 6-2, 6-4 win.
MILAN (AP) — Sebastian Korda and Brandon Nakashima set up an all-American semifinal at the Next Gen ATP Finals by winning their last round-robin matches.
The 21-year-old Korda, the son of 1998 Australian Open champion Petr Korda, methodically picked apart local favorite Lorenzo Musetti of Italy in a 4-2, 4-3 (4), 4-2 victory to win Group B with a record of 3-0.
Earlier, the 20-year-old Nakashima defeated Holger Rune 3-4 (3), 4-1, 4-1, 4-3 (1) to secure second place in Group A behind top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz at the season-ending tournament for the top 21-and-under players.
LINZ, Austria (AP) — Alison Riske advanced to the final of the Upper Austria Ladies Linz when fellow American Danielle Collins pulled out of their match with a right arm injury after losing the first set 7-5.
It was the only set played on semifinals day, as Simona Halep withdrew from her all-Romanian match against Jaqueline Cristian with a knee injury.
It’s the 11th career final and second of the season for Riske, after losing to Jasmine Paolini of Italy in Portoroz, Slovenia, in September.
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