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Watson shuns bowl

Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson has turned down the chance to play in the Senior Bowl later this month. Watson's representatives cited the long season and his continued training for the NFL Draft as reasons he won't play in the Jan. 28 game in Mobile, Ala. Watson is a junior giving up his final college season, but has graduated, making him eligible for the game. The Senior Bowl would have given NFL personnel the chance to see the 6-foot-3, 215-pound Watson up close. That includes the Cleveland Browns, holders of the No. 1 pick in next spring's draft, whose staff will coach in the bowl. Watson led the Tigers to a national championship with a 35-31 victory over Alabama. He threw for 4,593 yards, 41 TDs and 17 interceptions this season.


Calhoun's bigger deal

Right fielder Kole Calhoun and the Los Angeles Angels have agreed to a $26 million, three-year contract. The sides reached agreement last week on a $6.35 million, one-year deal that avoided salary arbitration. As part of the deal announced Wednesday, Calhoun's 2017 pay is lowered to $6 million. He will earn $8.5 million in 2018 and $10.5 million in 2019, and the Angels have a $14 million option for 2020 with a $1 million buyout. Calhoun's power dipped slightly and his average rose slightly in another strong season for the steady 29-year-old, who won a Gold Glove in 2015. He hit .271 with 18 home runs, 75 RBI and 91 runs last season, earning $3.4 million as a key component of the Angels' long-term future in an outfield with Mike Trout and Cameron Maybin.


Mickelson's return

Phil Mickelson is set to play the CareerBuilder Challenge, returning from two sports hernia surgeries a week earlier than he originally expected. "I feel good and I want to play," Mickelson said Wednesday in a statement. "I don't know where my game is, but I figure the only way to find out is to play." Mickelson, 46, had surgery Oct. 19 -- three days after tying for eighth in the season-opening Safeway Open -- and again Dec. 12. He has been hitting balls for a week and played a practice round Wednesday. Scheduled to open play today at La Quinta Country Club, Mickelson is in his first year as the tournament ambassador. The Hall of Famer won the 2002 and 2004 events and tied for third last year. He won the last of his 42 PGA Tour titles in the 2013 British Open. Mickelson plans to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week in his hometown of San Diego, and the Waste Management Phoenix Open the following week.


Quarantine to end?

Louisiana's agriculture secretary said the track-wide quarantine of horses at the New Orleans Fair Grounds could end this week, since the last new equine herpes virus infection was detected Dec. 31. A news release Wednesday said horses in 42 barns could be allowed to leave as soon as Saturday. Horses in those barns never showed signs of illness. Six barns will remain quarantined because horses there were exposed to the virus, and 39 horses that tested positive are in an isolation barn. Horses are still being monitored for the virus and the brain infection it can cause. The virus, called EHV-1, is latent in many horses, but symptoms can emerge periodically, making it contagious. It can cause breathing or brain problems, as well as aborted or unhealthy pregnancies.


F1 sale approved

The World Motor Sport Council has approved Formula One being sold to Liberty Media, a U.S. company that invests in entertainment and sports, for $4.4 billion. Liberty Media Corp., which is controlled by 75-year-old tycoon John Malone, ended years of uncertainty about the ownership of the auto racing series with the takeover announcement in September. Four months on, the WMSC approved at a meeting Wednesday the change of control of Delta Topco, F1's holding company, from investment fund CVC Capital Partners to Liberty Media Group. The new F1 season starts in Melbourne in March, when the buyout is expected to be completed.

Argetsinger dies

Jean Argetsinger, the matriarch of early American road racing and a leader in the creation of the International Motor Racing Research Center, has died at 97. Argetsinger died Monday of natural causes at her home in Burdett, N.Y., according to Glenda Gephart, director of administration and communications for the research center in Watkins Glen. Argetsinger was predeceased by her husband, Cameron, in 2008. The Argetsingers are credited with the rebirth of road racing in the United States after World War II. In establishing Watkins Glen as one of the most important racing venues in the world, Jean Argetsinger was at the forefront in hospitality, publicity and community involvement. She was a founder of the IMRRC, an archival and research library that's dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the history of motorsports, all venues and all series worldwide.


Changes proposed

Restricting players to 60 games a year. Replacing penalty shootouts with eight-second run-ups. Introducing orange cards and sending players to sinbins for 10 minutes. No offside. Playing four quarters. Former AC Milan and Netherlands forward Marco van Basten is using his role as technical director at FIFA to propose a series of changes to soccer to stir a debate. Rather than using his job to meddle, Van Basten highlights the need to preserve soccer as the world's most popular sport. "I have spoken to a lot of coaches and players," Van Basten said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We have to promote quality instead of quantity. We are playing too much football now. We have to defend players because they have to play so much and are not fresh or fit anymore. That's bad for the quality of the game." Any changes to the laws of the game cannot be forced through by Van Basten. He said he wants to listen to the views of the world before any proposals are taken to the game's law-making body, the International Football Association Board.


Council rejects June signings; December possible

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A proposed June signing period for college football recruits has been rejected by the NCAA’s Division I Council, but a possible December signing period remains very much in play.

The council modified a proposal for flexibility in the recruiting calendar at the NCAA’s annual convention Wednesday by removing a request for a 72-hour signing period that would have started on the last Wednesday in June. The council acted on the recommendation of the NCAA’s football oversight committee.

At its convention last week, the American Football Coaches Association supported the December signing period but came out against the June date.

The proposed calendar, which still includes a 72-hour December signing period, awaits a vote from the council in April. That December signing period already serves as the time junior-college players can sign with a four-year program.

The proposed December signing period requires approval from the Collegiate Commissioners Association, which administers the national letter of intent.

The traditional national signing day takes place on the first Wednesday of February. That signing period would remain in place under the modified recruiting calendar.

In other action, the council agreed on a change that would allow football recruits to take official visits from April 1 through the last Wednesday of June during their junior year of high school. The original proposal would have allowed official visits to occur through most of June and from July 25-31 after a prospect’s junior year.

If approved, the changes on official visit dates would be effective Aug. 1.

Sports on 01/19/2017

Print Headline: Off the wire

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