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Off the wire

by Compiled from Democrat-Gazette press services | November 6, 2021 at 1:51 a.m.

FOOTBALL

Browns release Beckham

Out of patience with the antics and attitude displayed by Odell Beckham, the Cleveland Browns on Friday said they’re releasing the polarizing star wide receiver, whose arrival 2 1/2 years ago triggered a celebration and spawned wild expectations never met. Beckham’s unceremonious exit — still not official — came on his 29th birthday and days after his father shared an 11-minute video on social media highlighting plays on which Browns quarterback Baker May-field didn’t throw him the ball. Beckham was excused from two days of practice while his agents tried to work out an amicable parting with General Manager Andrew Berry as the Browns were preparing to play a critical game on Sunday in Cincinnati. “This really is not about the video,” Berry said a few hours after the Browns announced the breakup. “It’s really about a series of discussions, certainly over the last week but even spanning back longer than that.” Beckham wanted out of Cleveland almost from the time he was acquired in a 2019 blockbuster trade from the New York Giants. He asked to be traded several times. The Browns originally thought Beckham could be the final piece, the game-changing playmaker for Mayfield, capable of transforming the offense and leading Cleveland to Super Bowls. Instead, Beckham was injured, frustrated and mostly used as a decoy. The Browns didn’t appreciate the video or that Beckham never reached out to Mayfield or Coach Kevin Stefanski, who often praised his work ethic in an arduous recovery from knee surgery. Berry did speak with Beckham, but didn’t disclose the nature of their conversations. Once the sides finalize financial terms — Beckham is owed $8 million this season — Beckham will be waived and can be claimed by any team with enough salary-cap space. If he clears the waiver wire, which probably won’t happen until early next week, he’ll be a free agent and can sign anywhere.

Surgery for Rams’ DT

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day could miss the rest of the season after undergoing surgery on an injured pectoral muscle. Rams Coach Sean McVay announced Friday that Joseph-Day had reaggravated the injury that caused him to miss theQuarterback Matthew Stafford (back) and receiver Robert Woods (foot) both were limited in practice Friday after sitting out the Rams’ two previous workouts this week, but both are expected to play Sunday night when the Rams host the Tennessee Titans.

GOLF

Wolff leads

Matthew Wolff was on the verge of building a big lead Friday at Mayakoba until a pair of late bogeys forced him to settle for a 3-under 68 and a two-shot lead over fast-closing Scottie Scheffler in the PGA World Wide Technology Championship at Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. Wolff had no trouble making birdies on the day after he opened with a 10-birdie round of

  1. He birdied all the par 5s at El Camaleon for the second straight day, the last one with a nifty pitch to 6 feet at No. 13 that took him to 15 under. But he found a greenside bunker on the tough par-4 16th, which played into a light wind, and failed to get up-and-down with a 35-yard sand shot. His 3-wood off the tee at the 18th went left into a bunker, and he missed a 12-foot par putt on his final hole. That dropped him to 13-under 129, still in the lead and looking to be in command of his game. The 16th and 18th are two of the three toughest holes on the course. Carlos Ortiz of Mexico and defending champion Viktor Hovland of Norway each had 65 and are three shots behind. Andrew Landry (Arkansas Razorbacks) shot a 3-under 68 and is five shots back at 134.

MOTOR SPORTS

Rhodes takes Trucks title

Ben Rhodes finished third at Phoenix Raceway on Friday night, but it was enough to claim the NASCAR Truck Series championship. Chandler Smith won the race, followed by Stuart Friesen. But Rhodes was the first championship contender to cross the finish line and claimed his first NASCAR championship. Rhodes won for ThorSport Racing, a Truck Series team since 1996 based in Ohio. Rhodes needed a late pass of fellow title contender Zane Smith to win the title. He chased Smith for two dozen laps before getting past him for the title-deciding position with eight laps remaining. “That was the hardest last 40 laps I’ve ever driven in my life. I was doing things with my race car that were dumb, but we had nothing to lose,” Rhodes said. Zane Smith finished fifth and was runner-up for the title. He sat dejected on the pit road wall after the race. “I just needed for my truck to turn, man,” Smith said. “But still an insane year, really. We were eight laps away from winning a championship.”

BASEBALL

Baker staying put

Dusty Baker will return as manager of the Houston Astros for a third season after agreeing to a one-year contract with the American League champions. Baker took over from AJ Hinch, who was suspended by MLB for his role in the team’s sign stealing and then fired. The Astros lost to Tampa Bay in the 2020 AL Championship Series and to Atlanta in this year’s six-game World Series. “We have an exciting future here — and present,” Baker said Friday. “I just had some unfinished business to take care of, but we’re close. We’re getting better every year.” Baker, 72, has never won a World Series title as a manager. He has 1,987 regular-season wins as a manager.

Miley to Cubs

The Chicago Cubs added a veteran to their rotation Friday, claiming left-hander Wade Miley off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. Miley, 35, went 12-7 with a 3.37 ERA in 28 starts for Cincinnati this season. He threw his first career no-hitter in a 3-0 win at Cleveland on May 7. Miley has a $10 million club option with a $1 million buyout. The team likely will pick up the option after making the waiver claim.

Ramirez stays in Cleveland

The Cleveland Indians picked up All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez’s $12 million contract option for 2022 on Friday. Ramirez was one of the only bright spots for the team’s inconsistent offense this season. The 29-year-old batted .266 with 36 home runs, 103 RBI and 27 steals in the final year of a team-friendly $26 million, four-year deal. The Indians have a $14 million option on Ramirez for 2023. The Indians, who will be known as the Guardians next season, also declined a $7 million option for catcher Roberto Perez, who gets a $450,000 buyout, and hired Chris Valaika as their hitting coach.

HOCKEY

Sergachev suspended

Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was suspended for two games without pay Friday for an illegal check to the head of Toronto’s Mitch Marner. The incident occurred in the first period of the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 overtime victory Thursday night in Toronto. Victor Hedman hooked Marner before Sergachev immediately followed with a check to the head on Marner. Sergachev was assessed a minor penalty. The suspension will cost Sergachev $48,000.

TENNIS

Djokovic to semis

Top-ranked Novak Djokovic beat unseeded American Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-3 on Friday to reach the Paris Masters semifinals and remain on course for a record-extending sixth title at the tournament. Djokovic is also vying for a record 37th Masters title. He is tied on 36 with fellow 20-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal. Djokovic, who next faces seventh-seeded Hubert Hurkacz of Poland, is playing in his first tournament since losing the U.S. Open final in straight sets to Daniil Medvedev in September. Djokovic could face Medvedev, the defending Paris Masters champion, in the final again this Sunday. The second-seeded Russian saved three set points at 5-4 and 0-40 in the first set before beating French qualifier Hugo Gaston 7-6 (7), 6-4. He next plays fourth-seeded Alexander Zverev, whom he beat in last year’s final. Zverev was largely untroubled in a 7-5, 6-4 win against No. 6 Casper Ruud of Norway. Zverev leads Medvedev 5-4 in career meetings, although Medvedev won the past three contests.

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