Saints agree to terms with QB Winston on one-year contract
UNDATED (AP) — Jameis (JAYM'-ihs) Winston has found a landing spot.
The unrestricted free agent quarterback has agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.
Winston was the first overall pick in the 2015 draft and the starting QB for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’ll serve as backup to Drew Brees in New Orleans.
Winston is coming off a season in which he led the NFL with 5,109 yards passing and ranked second with 33 touchdown passes, but he also led the NFL in interceptions with 30. That made Winston the first QB in NFL history to have at least 30 TDs and 30 interceptions.
In five seasons with the Buccaneers, he has passed for 19,737 yards and 121 touchdowns while throwing 88 interceptions. The Bucs went 28-42 in games Winston started.
In other NFL developments:
— Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Bashaud Breeland has been arrested in South Carolina for resisting arrest and other offenses. Breeland, who is from Charlotte, was arrested in York County, just south of the North Carolina-South Carolina border. Breeland was also charged with driving with an open container of alcohol, possession of marijuana or hash and driving without a license. Breeland had seven tackles and an interception in the Chiefs' 31-20 Super Bowl win over San Francisco two months ago.
— Joe Staley says he has been taken aback by the tributes that have poured in from former 49ers teammates, coaches and competitors since he announced his retirement. The limelight in the NFL is usually reserved for players who catch, run or throw the ball, not the behind-the-scene workers who help make all that happen. But Staley is deserving of it after making six Pro Bowls, the NFL all-decade team and helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl twice in his 13-year career.
— The Kansas City Chiefs have released two-time Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt. Colquitt's 15-year career with the Chiefs allowed him to set numerous franchise records, including the most games played and most postseason appearances. Colquitt posted a farewell on Instagram late Monday in which he said that “all things come to an end, sometimes sooner than you hoped, prayed and pleaded for them to.” Colquitt stopped short of saying he was retiring. He turns 38 next month.
— The Houston Texans have released veteran safety Tashuan Gipson just one year after signing him to a three-year, $22.5 million contract. Gipson started 14 games for Houston last season before landing on injured reserve because of a back injury. The 29-year-old Gipson had 55 tackles and three interceptions in his one season with the Texans.
— A person familiar with the deal tells The Associated Press that free agent wide receiver Rashard Higgins has agreed to a one-year contract to stay with the Cleveland Browns. Higgins clashed with former Browns coach Freddie Kitchens last season. A fifth-round pick in 2016, Higgins had only four catches for 55 yards last season as he also dealt with a knee injury. In 2018, Higgins had 39 receptions for 572 yards and four touchdowns.
— The Pittsburgh Steelers have picked up the fifth-year option on All-Pro outside linebacker T.J. Watt. Watt, Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in the 2017 draft, is coming off a stellar 2019 in which he had 14 1/2 sacks and was selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time.
— The Denver Broncos have agreed to terms with unrestricted free agent defensive lineman Christian Covington on a one-year contract. Covington played for the Dallas Cowboys last year after spending four seasons with the Houston Texans, who selected him in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL draft. Covington started a career-high six games for the Cowboys and had a personal-best 28 tackles.
— The Chicago Bears signed defensive tackle John Jenkins. Jenkins appeared in 16 games and made five starts for Miami last season, getting one sack. He has also played for New Orleans, Seattle, Chicago and the New York Giants since he entered the league in 2013.
— The 2021 NFL draft will be held in Cleveland from April 29 to May 1. The dates were announced following the completion of a unique, stay-at-home draft that went smoothly despite logistical obstacles due to the COVID-19 pandemic. TV ratings soared over the weekend as fans soaked in every moment. The NFL officially awarded Cleveland the 2021 NFL draft last year. The Browns will be celebrating their 75th anniversary next year. Details are still being finalized, but the draft will be held at locations around FirstEnergy Stadium and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
NFL OBIT-HARLAND SVARE
Former Giant Harland Svare, Rams, Chargers coach dies at 89
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Harland Svare, a starting linebacker on the Giants’ 1956 NFL championship team and later the team’s defensive coach, has died, He was 89. He died on April 4 at a nursing home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. For many years, Svare also held the distinction of being the NFL’s youngest head coach at 31 years, 11 months. He was elevated from defensive line coach to head coach by the Los Angeles Rams midway through the 1962 season.
Orioles 1B Mancini expects to miss season to treat cancer
BALTIMORE (AP) — Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini is undergoing chemotherapy for stage 3 colon cancer and expects to miss the season if major leaguers return this summer.
Mancini had a malignant tumor removed shortly before turning 28 on March 18. Writing a first-person article for The Players Tribune, the 28-year-old says has been undergoing chemotherapy since April 13. He says the treatment will take six months and expects to make a full recovery.
Mancini hit .291 with 35 homers and 97 RBIs for last-place Baltimore in 2019.
AP sources: MLB opening options include 3 regional divisions
NEW YORK (AP) — People familiar with the discussions tell The Associated Press that Major League Baseball is exploring various options that could allow the season to start if the medical situation allows.
Included is a plan in which the 30 teams could be split into three regional divisions. Teams could be restricted to playing within their region.
That idea, if used, would break up the traditional alignments of the American and National Leagues. It also would cut travel.
In other virus-related baseball news:
— The Pittsburgh Pirates are suspending retirement benefits for members of the team’s baseball operations staff in an effort to cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. General manager Ben Cherington says the team has been searching for ways to find savings with the 2020 season on hold indefinitely with much of the country locked down in hopes of stemming the spread of the virus. The temporary suspension of retirement benefits is part of an effort to avoid any potential personnel cutbacks.
— Major League Baseball has told teams they could decide their own ticket refund policies. Spring training was suspended on March 12 and the regular season was delayed from its scheduled March 26 start because of the new coronavirus pandemic. A revised schedule has not been announced, and teams had treated the missed games as postponements and not announced refund policies.
— The maker of Louisville Slugger baseball bats is producing non-medical masks to help benefit food banks. Louisville-based Hillerich & Bradsby says in a release its Maskonic masks are reusable, water repellent and treated with a bactericide that lasts up to 10 washes. The mask was inspired by the company's Bionic gloves line. Company president and CEO John Hillerich says it "was a natural progression, particularly in a time of global crisis” when personal protective equipment is needed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Hillerich says the company has channeled its production and supply chain toward making masks for the public.
NASCAR race may take place in Charlotte without fans
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The governor of North Carolina says NASCAR can hold the Coca-Cola 600 without fans at Charlotte Motor Speedway at the end of May if health conditions do not deteriorate in the state.
Gov. Roy Cooper says he and state public health officials have had discussions with NASCAR and the speedway. Cooper says he believes the race can go forward on Memorial Day weekend for the 60th consecutive year.
NASCAR, like other sports, has been shut down for weeks because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In other virus-related developments:
— The head of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics says he disagrees with suggestions by some scientists and doctors that a vaccine for COVID-19 is needed to hold the games. John Coates is an International Olympic Committee member from Australia and a lawyer. He says he has read the opinion but doesn’t agree. Coates says, “the advice we’re getting from (the World Health Organization) says we should continue to plan for this date and that is what we’re doing.” Coates offers no details on how athletes from around the world could safely enter and exit Japan without spreading the virus.
— Athletes in track and field can apply for money from a $500,000 fund to help them get through the coronavirus pandemic. World Athletics and the International Athletics Foundation have launched the fund to help athletes who’ve lost income because competitions are suspended.
— Texas Tech athletic director Kirby Hocutt says the school will cut nearly $7 million from the athletic budget in the upcoming school year, including eliminating performance bonuses for himself and Red Raiders coaches. Hocutt told A-J Media in Lubbock, Texas that deeper cuts may be needed if college football can’t play a full season.
— The 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course is delaying the start of ticket sales until August. Tickets were originally set to go on sale to those who registered online in May. Instead, PGA Championship tournament director Scott Reid said that with the world grappling with the coronavirus pandemic it was not appropriate to ask potential spectators to make purchasing decisions at this time.
— The Atlantic Coast Conference will bring its men’s basketball tournament back to Greensboro, North Carolina in 2023 after this year’s tournament there was canceled near the midway point due to the coronavirus pandemic. The ACC is headquartered in Greensboro, which has hosted the tournament 27 times, the most of any location.