Off the wire

Washington Commanders controlling owner Josh Harris speaks to the media during an NFL football press conference, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Commanders controlling owner Josh Harris speaks to the media during an NFL football press conference, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

FOOTBALL

Commanders fire Rivera

Ron Rivera was fired Monday as coach of the Washington Commanders, a long-anticipated move new owners made as they put their stamp on the NFL franchise they bought last year. It's just the first of several changes coming to an organization that has won just two playoff games over the past three decades. The fourth and final season under Rivera finished with eight consecutive losses, a 4-13 record and a 38-10 home loss to division-rival Dallas with Washington's home stadium full of Cowboys fans. Rivera's firing came as no surprise to anyone, including the veteran coach who went 26-40-1 with Washington, including one playoff appearance in 2020 for finishing atop an uncharacteristically weak NFC East at 7-9 and never having a winning season.

Giants' DC resigns

Wink Martindale is resigning as defensive coordinator of the Giants to pursue head coach and defensive coordinator opportunities elsewhere. Martindale's defense tied for the NFL lead in takeaways (31) as the lone bright spot during an otherwise dismal season. But the tension and internal dynamic between Brian Daboll and Martindale boiled over into the public eye prior to the Giants' bye week and foreshadowed change once the season ended. His resignation capped a slew of coach firings and planned departures on a busy Black Monday for co-owner John Mara, GM Joe Schoen, Daboll and their reeling franchise. Prior to losing their defensive coordinator, the Giants already had fired special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey and offensive line coach Bobby Johnson on Monday morning and outside linebackers coach Drew Wilkins and his brother, defensive assistant Kevin Wilkins, in the afternoon.

'Canes add a quarterback

There will be a quarterback competition this spring practice at the University of Miami. The Hurricanes finally landed a transfer portal signal-caller this offseason when the FCS's Albany star Reese Poffenbarger on Monday afternoon committed to the Hurricanes. Poffenbarger, who put his name in the NCAA's portal on Dec. 20, threw for 36 touchdown passes and 3,603 passing yards in 2023 -- the most of any FCS quarterback. Though he is known for his prolific arm, Poffenbarger also ran for 187 yards and five touchdowns this past season.

BASKETBALL

Morant out for the season

Ja Morant's season is over, with the Memphis Grizzlies announcing Monday night that their star guard needs surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder. Morant got hurt in practice on Saturday, the Grizzlies said. He was in a sling for the Grizzlies' game against Phoenix on Sunday, and then the news came a day later about how serious the issue us. "Following ongoing soreness and instability, Morant underwent an MRI that revealed an underlying labral tear," the Grizzlies said. Morant missed the first 25 games of the season while serving an NBA suspension for displaying a gun on social media. He returned and averaged 25.1 points in nine games.

Memphis recruit enter portal

Former Memphis recruit Mikey Williams has entered the transfer portal five weeks after reaching a plea agreement in a gun case. The school confirmed Monday that the former star from San Ysidro High has decided to transfer. "The University process for him to join the men's basketball program was underway, but Williams elected to explore his options at this time," the school said in a statement. Williams had been enrolled in online classes at Memphis and was on the roster but didn't have access to team facilities or activities while his legal case played out in a suburban San Diego courtroom. Williams pleaded guilty to one felony gun charge on Nov. 30 and one of his attorneys said the 19-year-old is not expected to face jail time.

BASEBALL

Franco released from jail

Wander Franco, a shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays, was released Monday from a jail in the Dominican Republic amid an ongoing investigation into allegations he had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Franco paid $34,000 as a type of deposit required by a judge who on Friday ordered his conditional release. While Franco is free to leave the Dominican Republic, he was ordered to appear monthly before authorities as the investigation continues. The 22-year-old All-Star is accused of commercial sexual exploitation and money laundering, with prosecutors alleging he paid the teen's mother thousands of dollars and gave her a car in exchange for her consent.

HOCKEY

Ducks trade defenseman

The Anaheim Ducks have traded defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a second-round pick in 2025 to the Philadelphia Flyers for high-scoring college left wing Cutter Gauthier. The teams executed the swap of highly regarded youngsters Monday. The 21-year-old Drysdale was the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft by Anaheim, and he has grown into a puck-moving defenseman who has played a major role this season for the Ducks after missing nearly all of last season due to injury.

GYMNASTICS

Retton faces long recovery

Olympic gymnastics great Mary Lou Retton said she faces a long battle recuperating at home from a rare form of pneumonia in which doctors weren't sure whether she would survive. In an interview that aired Monday on NBC's "Today" show, Retton said while wearing a breathing tube pumping oxygen through her nose that she was sent home after a few days in a Texas hospital but had an immediate setback that required her to be put in intensive care in October. Retton, 55, was supposed to meet her daughters at a football game in Dallas but never showed up. A neighbor noticed a car door left open in her driveway, went to alert Retton and found her alone at home. The neighbor drove Retton to an emergency room. After Retton was discharged with the pneumonia diagnosis, Shayla Kelley Schrepfer, the oldest of Retton's four daughters, said she found her mother almost unresponsive the next day and took Retton to another hospital, where doctors found that her oxygen levels were dangerously low. After a week, Retton's medical team considered putting her on a ventilator.

  photo  Washington Commanders controlling owner Josh Harris speaks to the media during an NFL football press conference, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders controlling owner Josh Harris speaks to the media during an NFL football press conference, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders controlling owner Josh Harris speaks to the media during an NFL football press conference, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders controlling owner Josh Harris speaks to the media during an NFL football press conference, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders controlling owner Josh Harris speaks to the media during an NFL football press conference, Monday, Jan. 8, 2024 in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera during his news conference at the end of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Landover, Md. Dallas won 38-10. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera walking away from the podium at the end of his news conference following an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Landover, Md. Dallas won 38-10. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera speaking during a press conference at the end of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Landover, Md. Dallas won 38-10. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
 
 
  photo  Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera walking off the field at an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Jan. 7, 2024, in Landover, Md. Dallas won 38-10. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
 
 

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