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Browns continue coaching search, interview Eagles' Schwartz

UNDATED (AP) — Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz was interviewing Wednesday with the Cleveland Browns.

Schwartz is the sixth candidate to meet with the Browns, who are again looking for a head coach after another losing season. Owner Jimmy Haslam promised a “disciplined” and “thorough” search last week, and there's no reason for the Browns to rush now since they're the only NFL team still without a coach.

Schwartz was the Detroit Lions head coach from 2009-13. He inherited a 0-16 team and took it to the playoffs in his third season. Schwartz went 29-52 with Detroit.

The 53-year-old Schwartz isn't considered the front-runner to land Cleveland's top job, and it's possible the Browns could be talking to him about leading their defense. Schwartz, however, has more head coaching experience than any other candidate the Browns have spoken to.

Haslam and his search committee have interviews scheduled with Vikings offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski on Thursday and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels on Friday.

Cleveland is the only NFL team currently looking for a coach. Once the Browns hire a coach, they'll begin interviews for a new general manager.

In other NFL news:

— Tom Brady is indicating that he’s not ready to give up football. The New England Patriots quarterback says in an Instagram post to fans that he still has more to prove following a season that ended with his team failing to reach the Super Bowl for the first time since 2015. New England's season ended with a 20-13 loss in the wild-card round to the Tennessee Titans. Brady's current contract ends in March. If he's not re-signed he could become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his 20-year career.

— Special teams coordinator John Fassel is leaving the Los Angeles Rams for the same job with the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams announced the decision of their former interim head coach Wednesday on Twitter. Fassel is the second coordinator to leave Sean McVay's staff this week. McVay fired defensive coordinator Wade Phillips on Monday. Fassel is headed to Dallas to join the new staff of Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike McCarthy, who was hired by the Cowboys on Tuesday.

— For the first time in the Super Bowl era, five Heisman Trophy winners are expected to suit up in the same game when Baltimore faces Tennessee on Saturday night. Lamar Jackson, Mark Ingram and Robert Griffin III are expected to dress for the Ravens, and the Titans will have Heisman winner Derrick Henry in the starting backfield while backup quarterback Marcus Mariota watches from the sideline.


George Perles, longtime Michigan State coach, dies

UNDATED (AP) — Longtime Michigan State football coach George Perles has died at the age of 85. Perles coached the Spartans to a Rose Bowl victory in 1988 after helping the Pittsburgh Steelers win Super Bowls as an defensive assistant. Perles played football at Michigan State and later was an assistant, head coach, athletic director and member of the school’s governing body. He won Big Ten titles in 1987 and 1990 as coach and guided the school to seven bowls. He stepped down from the Michigan State board in 2018, citing his age and his struggles with Parkinson's disease.

In other college football news:

— Minnesota safety Antoine Winfield Jr. is skipping his final two years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft. Winfield earned consensus All-American honors in 2019 and tied the single-season program record with seven interceptions. He had 88 total tackles and 62 solo tackles to lead a team that finished 11-2 for the most wins in school history since 1904. Winfield was the Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year award winner. He's the son of Antoine Winfield, a three-time Pro Bowl cornerback who played nine of his 14 years in the NFL with the Minnesota Vikings.

— A person familiar with the situation says Rocky Long is retiring as San Diego State's football coach after taking the Aztecs to nine straight bowl games. The person spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the move hasn't been announced. The Aztecs were 10-3 last season and beat Central Michigan in the New Mexico Bowl. Many observers expect former head coach Brady Hoke to replace Long. Hoke hired Long as his defensive coordinator at SDSU in 2009. Long then replaced Hoke when he took the Michigan job.

— Oregon State coach Jonathan Smith has received a three-year contract extension that would keep him with the Beavers through the 2025 season. Smith, a former Oregon State quarterback, originally signed a five-year deal when he became coach of the Beavers prior to the 2018 season. The Beavers went 5-7 overall this season and 4-5 in the Pac-12, finishing in a three-way tie for second place in the league's North Division. The team improved by three wins over the previous season.


Davis to travel with Lakers after negative MRI from fall

UNDATED (AP) — Anthony Davis plans to travel with the Los Angeles Lakers on their upcoming road trip after he bruised his buttocks in a nasty fall.

The Lakers announced encouraging news about their six-time All-Star's health Wednesday, a day after he left their blowout win over New York with a scary injury.

An MRI exam performed overnight on Davis showed no major concerns, and X-rays were negative. Davis was extremely sore, but his injuries appear to be only bruises.

The NBA's sixth-leading scorer is expected to be listed as questionable when the Lakers open a two-game road trip Friday in Dallas.

Davis was hurt when he fell hard on his back and tailbone after trying to block the shot of New York's Julius Randle in the third quarter of the Lakers' sixth straight win, 117-87 over the Knicks on Tuesday night.

In other NBA news:

— Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for verbally abusing a game official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection. Kerr was ejected in the second quarter of the Warrior's 111-98 road loss to the Sacramento Kings on Monday night after getting hit with consecutive technical fouls by referee Jason Goldenberg. Kerr appeared initially upset about a continuation call that went the Kings' way. Then he erupted after Golden State did not receive a similar call. He angrily walked onto the court after the second technical and yelled at Goldenberg before leaving.


AP source: Chirinos, Rangers close to reunion on $6.5M deal

UNDATED (AP) — A person familiar with the deal says Robinson Chirinos (chih-REE’-nohs) and the Texas Rangers are close to reuniting on a $6.5 million contract. The deal with the veteran catcher is pending a successful physical.

Chirinos spent last season with the AL West rival Houston Astros. Chirinos will make $5.5 million this season. The deal has a 2021 option worth $6.5 million that includes a $1 million option. Chirinos spent six seasons with the Rangers before signing last winter with Houston. He had become a free agent after the Rangers declined to exercise a club option to keep him.

Chirinos hit .238 with 17 homers and 58 RBIs in 114 games for the American League champions, while catching for AL Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and runner-up Gerrit Cole. He homered in Games 3 and 4 of the World Series, including a pair in Game 4.

The 35-year-old likely will become the Rangers starting catcher again.

In other MLB news:

— Francisco Lindor’s (lihn-DOHRZ') status with the Indians has been slightly upgraded. Team president Chris Antonetti said Wednesday he's more confident the All-Star shortstop will be in Cleveland's lineup to start the season after the Indians didn't receive a trade proposal to their liking over the past few weeks. Antonetti did not disclose any specifics about what has been offered for Lindor, a four-time All-Star and one of baseball's best all-around players. Cleveland has him under contract through the 2021 season, but the Indians have been unsuccessful in their attempts to sign him to a long-term deal.

— Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell has been been given a three-year contract extension through 2023. Counsell was hired to replace Ron Roenicke a month into the 2015 season and has led the Brewers to consecutive postseason appearances for the first time in team history. Milwaukee went 96-67 in 2018, beating the Chicago Cubs in a tiebreaker game for the NL Central title and tying the franchise record for wins. The Brewers reached Game 7 of the NL Championship Series, losing to the Los Angeles Dodgers, then lost to Washington in last year's NL wild card game.

— The World Series champion Washington Nationals will be at the New York Mets and Detroit will play at Cleveland on March 26 in the first two games of Major League Baseball's earliest opening day other than international games. All 30 teams could be playing on opening day for the first time since 1968. A full slate was scheduled in 2018 but two games were postponed because of bad weather. The 2020 regular season is set to end Sept. 27. That puts the World Series on track for Oct. 20-28.

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