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Off the WIre

January 18, 2022 at 2:18 a.m.


Raiders fire GM Mayock

The Las Vegas Raiders have fired General Manager Mike Mayock after three seasons and will begin a search for a coach and GM following their second playoff berth in the past 19 seasons. The Raiders announced the move to get rid of Mayock on Monday, two days after losing their wild-card playoff game to Cincinnati 26-19. "We thank Mike for his contributions over the last three years in helping to form the foundation for the franchise to build upon in its future," the team said in a statement. Coach Jon Gruden brought Mayock in to replace Reggie McKenzie following the 2018 season, but the Raiders had spotty results in the draft and free agency in recent years. Gruden resigned in October following the publication of his old offensive emails, and now Mayock is out as well, potentially giving owner Mark Davis a clean slate. Interim coach Rich Bisaccia led the Raiders to the playoffs with four straight wins to end the regular season, but his status going forward remains unknown. He has met with Davis and the Raiders must conduct a full search before deciding on a new coach to satisfy the Rooney Rule. Mayock joined the Raiders after a long tenure as a draft analyst at NFL Network. While Gruden had final say on all personnel matters, Mayock held the title of general manager and had input on the draft in which the Raiders failed to hit on several first-round picks in his tenure.

Bears interview candidates

The Chicago Bears interviewed Indianapolis executive Ed Dodds for their general manager job and Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus for their head coaching position on Monday. Dodds has 19 years of experience in the NFL. He has spent the past five in Indianapolis' front office, including four as assistant GM under Chris Ballard. Before that, Dodds worked for Seattle from 2007-16, helping the Seahawks win two conference championships and a Super Bowl. Eberflus has spent the past four years as Indianapolis' defensive coordinator, helping turn around a unit that ranked among the league's worst. The Colts ranked eighth on defense in 2020, though they slipped to 16th this season. Indianapolis missed the playoffs at 9-8, closing with two straight losses when a win in either game would have clinched a postseason berth. The Bears fired General Manager Ryan Pace and Coach Matt Nagy after going 6-11.

Ravens re-sign Seymour

The Baltimore Ravens have re-signed cornerback Kevon Seymour for the 2022 season. The team announced the move Monday. Seymour played nine games this season and made his first two starts since the 2017 season as the Ravens secondary was decimated by injuries. He also had the first sack of his career.

QB transferring to Clemson

One-time Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson is returning to the Tigers, becoming Coach Dabo Swinney's first player taken from the NCAA transfer portal. Johnson had been with Northwestern the past four seasons. He announced his decision to return to Clemson on Monday. Johnson is a 6-2, 205-pound graduate from Brownsburg, Ind. He was considered a five-star prospect coming out of high school and signed with Clemson in 2017. Johnson sat behind starter Kelly Bryant that season and went through spring practice the following year behind future No. 1 NFL Draft pick Trevor Lawrence. Johnson transferred before the 2018 season. He sat out that year because of NCAA transfer rules at the time. Johnson played in 11 games at Northwestern, completing 95 of 183 passes for 856 yards, five touchdowns and eight interceptions. Johnson said he had contacted Swinney about becoming a graduate assistant coach for the Tigers. Swinney asked if he'd like to join the team and help the team's younger quarterbacks in current starter D.J. Uiagalelei and incoming freshman Cade Klubnik, considered a five-star prospect by

Purdy headed to Nebraska

Former Florida State quarterback Chubba Purdy announced his decision to transfer to Nebraska on Monday. Purdy is the second quarterback headed to Nebraska through the transfer portal. Casey Thompson announced his move from Texas on Jan. 7. Purdy said in November he planned to leave Florida State. He played behind Jordan Travis and McKenzie Milton and appeared in one game. He played in three games in 2020, starting one. Purdy was a four-star recruit coming out of Perry High School in Glendale, Ariz., and originally pledged to sign with Louisville before flipping to Florida State. The addition of Thompson and Purdy gives Nebraska five scholarship quarterbacks entering spring. The others are Logan Smothers, Heinrich Haarberg and Richard Torres. Adrian Martinez, the Huskers' starter since 2018, transferred to Kansas State for his final season.


1960 silver medalist dies

Richard "Rink" Babka, a former world record holder who was part of a U.S. medals sweep in the discus at the 1960 Rome Olympics, has died. He was 85. Babka died Saturday of congestive heart failure in a hospital, according to the University of Southern California, which was informed by his partner, Sharon. Al Oerter and Babka were gold-medal favorites at the Rome Games. Babka defeated Oerter at the U.S. trials and tied the world record of 196.55 feet a month before the Olympics. At the Games, Oerter broke his own Olympic record in the second set of qualifying round throws at 191.69 feet. Babka exceeded the old mark three times and American teammate Dick Cochran did so once in the final. But only Oerter was able to lower his mark again with a throw of 194.16 feet to earn the gold. Babka took silver and Cochran earned bronze to complete a U.S. podium sweep. Born Richard Aldrich Babka on Sept. 23, 1936, in Cheyenne, Wyo., he starred in football, basketball, baseball, and track and field at Palo Alto High in Northern California before graduating in 1954. He attended nearby Menlo College before going to USC. He lettered in track and field at USC from 1956-58, helping the Trojans win the 1958 NCAA track and field championship and tying for first place in the discus as a senior. His throw of 198.10 is still tied for fifth on USC's all-time list.


Lewandowski leads FIFA list

Robert Lewandowski was voted the best men's player in the world, retaining the FIFA award he won last year. The Bayern Munich forward overturned the result last month of the Ballon d'Or prize where he placed second behind Lionel Messi, who finally led Argentina to a senior title at the 2021 Copa America. Mohamed Salah of Liverpool was also on the shortlist. Lewandowski broke two Bundesliga records by scoring 41 goals for Bayern in its title-winning 2020-21 season and 43 in the calendar year of 2021. Both marks were held since 1972 by another Bayern great, Gerd Muller. Alexia Putellas, who captained Barcelona to its first Women's Champions League title, was voted the best women's player ahead of teammate Jennifer Hermoso and Sam Kerr of beaten finalist Chelsea. Chelsea swept the coaching awards in a year when its men's and women's teams led by Thomas Tuchel and Emma Hayes reached their Champions League finals. Tuchel again edged Manchester City's Pep Guardiola for victory to repeat the result of their European title game. Guardiola led City to the English Premier League title, and his team is the runaway leader this season after beating Chelsea on Saturday. Roberto Mancini was the other shortlisted candidate after leading Italy to win the European Championship.

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