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TENNIS

Courier out at Davis Cup

Jim Courier said he decided a year ago to step aside as captain of the U.S. Davis Cup team after the 2018 competition ended. The U.S. Tennis Association announced Thursday that Courier was "stepping down" less than two weeks after the Americans lost to host Croatia 3-2 in the Davis Cup semifinals. The USTA's news release did not say why Courier was leaving after eight years on the job. In an email to The Associated Press, Courier said that the choice to walk away was his and that he determined "at the end of 2017 that 2018 would be my final year as captain." He added that he revealed his impending departure to players, staff and USTA President Katrina Adams at the team's closing dinner in Croatia on Sept. 16, after the matches there concluded. "The reason I made 2018 my final year was my view that eight years was the right amount of time for me to lead the team," Courier wrote to the AP. Whoever the USTA brings aboard to replace Courier will be its first captain to operate in the new Davis Cup setup that was approved by the International Tennis Federation last month and takes effect next year, including a season-ending, 18-team tournament at a neutral site. The United States had a 10-8 record in World Group play since Courier was appointed in October 2010, twice making it as far as the semifinals. The U.S. has won a record 32 Davis Cup titles but none since 2007.

Murray advances

Andy Murray advanced to the quarterfinals of the Shenzhen Open on Thursday by beating top-seeded David Goffin 6-3, 6-4. Murray broke the defending champion's serve five times and saved seven of 10 break points. No. 11 Goffin is the highest-ranked opponent Murray has faced since returning in June from hip surgery. Fourth seed Damir Dzumhur also reached the quarterfinals in Shenzhen, China, by defeating Indian qualifier Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-2, while seventh-seeded Alex De Minaur beat Mackenzie McDonald 1-6, 7-6(1), 6-0.

FOOTBALL

QB Taylor returns

Cleveland Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor has returned to practice after sustaining a concussion and losing his starting job. Taylor practiced Thursday after being cleared from the NFL's concussion protocol. He was injured during the first half of last week's game against the New York Jets. Rookie Baker Mayfield came off the bench and led the Browns to their first victory since 2016. Earlier this week, Browns Coach Hue Jackson made Mayfield his new starter. If he's healthy, Taylor is expected to be Cleveland's No. 2 quarterback for Sunday's game at Oakland. Veteran quarterback Drew Stanton is another option if Taylor can't play. Jackson said he has no intention of trading Taylor, acquired by the Browns in March after he guided Buffalo to the playoffs last season. Browns safety Damarious Randall worked on the side during practice Thursday as he recovers from a heel injury. Linebacker James Burgess was out again with a knee injury.

Titans release Matthews

The Tennessee Titans have released wide receiver Rishard Matthews, whose production had dipped significantly this season. Titans General Manager Jon Robinson said Thursday that Matthews had asked Monday to be traded or released. Matthews has just three receptions for 11 yards after catching over 50 passes for the Titans each of the previous two seasons. He had 65 catches for 945 yards and 9 touchdowns in 2016 before following that up with 53 receptions for 795 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. Matthews, who turns 29 on Oct. 12, joined the Titans in 2016 after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins.

Jets have headset trouble

New York Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates said the team has experienced malfunctions with its sideline headsets in all three games this season. Bates said Thursday that while he's not making excuses for on-field miscommunication in some instances, he acknowledges that the Jets have had to work around those issues at Detroit, at home against Miami and at Cleveland. Bates added that he and the coaches understand that technical issues can happen, "especially in New England." The Patriots were accused by some teams -- and, ultimately, cleared -- a few years ago of tampering with headsets at Gillette Stadium. The Jets have come up with a signals system to use when the headsets go out and Bates can't communicate effectively with quarterback Sam Darnold. During the team's loss at Cleveland last Thursday night, New York was forced to take a timeout to go over the signals and the play calls.

SPORTS WAGERING

House members show support for regulation

WASHINGTON — Several members of the House Judiciary Committee suggested Thursday that they would support new federal regulation of sports gambling, though the specifics remained murky.

Four months after the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling paving the way for legal sports betting nationwide, Congress held its first hearing on the matter. Over the course of 90 minutes, members of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security and Investigations pressed a group of witnesses about various potential legal safeguards, in the wake of the Court’s decision to overturn a decades-old federal law that limited most sports gambling to Nevada.

The day’s biggest question: Who should safeguard the games, while also looking out for athletes and bettors.

“I think the one thing that all would agree on is that for Congress to do nothing is the worst possible alternative,” said Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., the subcommittee’s chairman.

Nevada, Delaware, New Jersey, Mississippi and West Virginia now offer some form of legalized sports gambling. A handful of other states have legalized but not yet implemented betting on pro and amateur sports, and more states are expected to take up bills this fall.

Sports entities have favored federal oversight, while gaming groups have generally preferred state regulation. The NFL was the only professional league represented at Thursday’s hearing, and Jocelyn Moore, a communication executive with the league, voiced support for federal oversight.

“We’re asking for core federal standards,” she said. “We’re not asking for sweeping federal legislation.”

Among the league’s requests: uniform standards for state regulatory bodies, a 21-year-old age minimum for bettors, a requirement that official league data be used by sports books, established protocol for books to communicate across state lines about abnormal betting patterns, and a limit on in-game prop bets — like whether a field goal will be made or missed — that could be easily manipulated.

Sports on 09/28/2018

Print Headline: Off the wire

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