With big waves coming, Mavericks contest is on
HALF MOON BAY, Calif. — With a Pacific storm pushing big waves toward California, organizers of a contest at one of the world’s most perilous surfing spots have told competitors to grab their boards and get ready.
Jeff Clark, director of the Mavericks event, set the contest for Friday after forecasters predicted that the mix of swell size and weather would make for waves with faces exceeding 40 feet.
Twenty-four of the world’s best big wave surfers now have until then to make their way to the break a half-mile off the coast near Half Moon Bay.
Two seasoned watermen have died there, including legendary big-wave rider Mark Foo from Hawaii in 1994.
This year’s competitors feature local and international surfers, including former Mavericks champion Greg Long.
Florida St backup QB released from scholarship
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida State quarterback Jacob Coker has been released from his scholarship and is expected to transfer.
FSU officials confirmed Coker’s decision Wednesday. The sophomore could be eligible to play next season if he graduates this summer.
The Alabama native competed with Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston for the starting job last year. Coker played in eight games, mostly mop-up duty. His season ended with a knee injury Nov. 9 against Wake Forest.
Coker completed 18-of-36 passes for 250 yards and an interception.
Coker’s high school coach Steve Mask told Al.com that Alabama coach Nick Saban visited Coker on Tuesday. The Crimson Tide will be looking to replace A.J. McCarron. Coker and McCarron attended the same high school in Mobile.
Sean Maguire and John Franklin will compete to back up Winston.
Cleveland Browns coaching search focused on Pettine
CLEVELAND — The Browns’ coaching search could be nearing a conclusion.
Team officials interviewed Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine for the second time on Tuesday night in Mobile, Ala., and although the sides did not reach a deal, the 47-year-old has emerged as the front-runner to become Cleveland’s seventh full-time coach.
Pettine, who spent one season with the Bills after four on Rex Ryan’s staff with the New York Jets, told Cleveland.com that he “should have some feedback on my interview by the end of the day.”
The Browns are also expected to give Seattle defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a second interview. With the Seahawks getting ready for the Super Bowl, the Browns have to conduct that interview by Jan. 26.
On Tuesday, Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase withdrew his name from consideration for Cleveland’s opening.
Raiders sued by cheerleaders
ALAMEDA, Calif. — The Oakland Raiders are being sued by current and former cheerleaders claiming wage theft and other unfair employment practices.
The lawsuit filed Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court alleges that the organization withholds all pay from the Raiderettes until the end of the season, does not pay for all hours worked and forces the cheerleaders to pay many of their own business expenses.
According to the filing, Raiders cheerleaders are paid $1,250 per season, which amounts to less than $5 per hour for the time they spend rehearsing, performing and appearing at events for which they are not compensated.
Former NFL QB Vince Young files for bankruptcy
HOUSTON — Former NFL and University of Texas quarterback Vince Young has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
The petition was filed last week in a Houston federal bankruptcy court, listing Young with estimated assets between $500,001 and $1 million and liabilities between $1,001,000 and $10 million. The Houston Chronicle reports no specific details on Young’s assets and liabilities were immediately available.
The 30-year-old Young is fighting a pair of lawsuits stemming from a $1.8 million loan obtained in his name during the 2011 NFL lockout.
A court has granted a judgment against Young to Pro Player Funding, a New York company that made the loan.
Pro Player Funding has made several efforts in a Harris County state district court to enforce collection of the judgment, but those efforts remain pending.
Outfielder Grady Sizemore agrees with Red Sox
BOSTON — Outfielder Grady Sizemore has agreed to a $750,000, one-year contract with the Boston Red Sox.
A three-time All-Star, the 31-year-old has played eight major league seasons, all with Cleveland. He hit .269 with 139 homers and 458 RBIs.
Sizemore was an AL All-Star in each of his last three full seasons (2006-08) and hit .279 during that stretch. He has been hampered by injuries over the last five years, missing the past two seasons following operations on his right knee and back. Before 2009, he had never been on the disabled list.
Sizemore’s base salary is guaranteed under Wednesday’s deal, and he can make $4 million in performance bonuses and $1.25 million in roster bonuses.
Right-hander Brayan Villarreal was designated for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.
Percy Harvin back to practice for Seattle
RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin has cleared league-mandated concussion protocol and has returned to practice as a full participant.
Harvin was on the field for Seattle’s practice on Wednesday, his first since suffering a concussion in the second quarter of the NFC divisional playoff game against New Orleans on Jan. 11. Harvin was not cleared last week and was unable to play in the NFC championship game against San Francisco.
Harvin’s had an injury filled season, playing in just two of 18 games. He had hip surgery in early August and made his debut in Week 11 against Minnesota. Harvin suffered complications after that one game and was unable to make it back until the postseason. He had three receptions and one carry for 9 yards before being injured against the Saints.
Aspen remains site of Winter X through 2019
ASPEN, Colo. — The Winter X Games will stay in Aspen through 2019.
The deal was set to expire after the event this weekend, but ESPN and Aspen Skiing Company announced a five-year extension Wednesday. This will be the 13th straight year Winter X has staged snowboard, ski and snowmobile events in Aspen.
Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president of ESPN programming and X Games, said that other options were explored, much like a few months ago when the decision was reached to relocate Summer X from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas. In the end, Guglielmino said a return to Aspen simply made “a lot of sense.”
The winter action sports event will be without one of its premiere athletes as two-time Olympic gold medalist Shaun White skipped the competition to rest for Sochi.
By wire sources