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Off The Wire

by Compiled from Democrat-Gazette press services | January 13, 2022 at 2:00 a.m.


Safety Weddle joins Rams

Safety Eric Weddle is coming out of retirement to rejoin the Los Angeles Rams for the playoffs. Weddle turned 37 last week, and he hasn't played in the NFL since the 2019 season, but the Rams signed him to their practice squad Wednesday to address their glaring need at safety. Leading tackler Jordan Fuller is out for the playoffs with a right ankle injury, and fellow starting safety Taylor Rapp is in the concussion protocol. Weddle retired in February 2020 after one season with the Rams in which he made 108 tackles and called the defense's signals. The Los Angeles-area native spent his first 11 NFL seasons with the San Diego Chargers and Baltimore Ravens before his year with the Rams on Wade Phillips' defense. The NFC West champion Rams (12-5) return to practice today ahead of their visit from the Arizona Cardinals (11-6) on Monday night. The Rams missed the playoffs in Weddle's only season with the team. The two-time All-Pro selection and six-time Pro Bowler with 29 career interceptions has appeared in just one playoff game since 2013, but the Utah product is seizing the chance to fill in for a defense that desperately needs help.

Bears interview Pederson

The Chicago Bears interviewed former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson and Cleveland Browns executive Glenn Cook for their vacant coach and general manager jobs Wednesday. The positions opened Monday when the Bears fired former coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace on the heels of a 6-11 season. Pederson led Philadelphia to the franchise's lone Super Bowl championship. He was 42-37-1 with two division championships and three playoff appearances before going 4-11-1 in 2020 and getting fired. Pederson and Nagy are friends from their time working under Andy Reid in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Cook has spent six years in Cleveland's front office. He was the Browns' assistant director of pro scouting from 2016 to 2019 and their vice president of player personnel the past two seasons, working with executive vice president of football operations and General Manager Andrew Berry. Cook also served as a scouting assistant with Indianapolis (2011-12) and a pro scout with Green Bay (2012-15).


Twins to retire Kaat's number

The Minnesota Twins will retire the uniform number of former pitcher Jim Kaat, who was recently elected to the Hall of Fame. The Twins announced Wednesday that they'll add Kaat's 36 to their wall of retired numbers during a pregame ceremony at Target Field on July 16. Kaat will join Harmon Killebrew (3), Rod Carew (29), Tony Oliva (6), Kent Hrbek (14), Kirby Puckett (34), Bert Blyleven (28), Tom Kelly (10) and Joe Mauer (7) on the list of retired numbers. Jackie Robinson's 42 has been set aside for all Major League Baseball teams. The 83-year-old Kaat was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Golden Days Era Committee last month.


Wimbledon champ ousted

Ons Jabeur advanced to the quarterfinals of the Sydney Tennis Classic by beating two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova 6-4, 6-4 Wednesday in one of several warm-up tournaments for next week's Australian Open. The seventh-seeded Jabeur had five aces and won 76% of her first-serve points to set up a match against fourth-seeded Anett Kontaveit. Kontaviet advanced to the quarterfinals by beating Elena-Gabriela Ruse 6-3, 6-1. French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova had to wait out a rain delay before beating Jaqueline Cristian 6-1, 7-5 in her first singles match of 2022. She will next play Caroline Garcia, who advanced after ninth-seeded Elena Rybakina withdrew from their second-round match because of an injured left thigh. Third-ranked Garbine Muguruza defeated Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-1, 7-6 (4) to set up a quarterfinal match against Daria Kasatkina. Kasatkina backed up her win earlier this week over 2020 Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Elise Mertens.

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