Sports in brief | 2-12-14


Browns CEO, GM leaving team in stunning shakeup

BEREA, Ohio — The Browns fired their coach after one season. Now they’re sweeping out their front office.

Owner Jimmy Haslam announced Tuesday that CEO Joe Banner will step down in the next two months and general manager Michael Lombardi is leaving the team.

“Mike and Joe have left us in good position in terms of free agency and cap space as well as this year’s draft, where we have 10 overall picks and three of the first 35,” Haslam said at a news conference.

It’s yet another stunning development for a franchise that has undergone nearly constant change in the past 15 years.

Haslam also said assistant GM Ray Farmer, who was pursued by Miami to be the Dolphins’ GM this winter, has been promoted and will immediately take the over the team’s football operations and lead the Browns during free agency and draft. Cleveland has two first-round picks in May’s draft and is well under the salary cap to spend on free agents.

Haslam added that president Alec Scheiner will keep his current role.

“Alec Scheiner will run our business side and remain as president, Mike Pettine will be our head coach and Ray Farmer will be our GM,” Haslam said. “We will not have a CEO and those three people will report directly to me.”

The shake-up comes one month after the Browns finally hired coach Mike Pettine. Banner and Haslam had fired coach Rob Chudzinski after a 4-12 season, the team’s sixth straight with at least 11 losses. Wisconsin said Tuesday that coach Gary Andersen was contacted by the Cleveland Browns for their coaching vacancy but decided not to pursue the position following a conversation with the NFL team, which spent 25 days to hire Pettine.

Roy Oswalt retiring after13 seasons in majors

Roy Oswalt retired from baseball on Tuesday after winning 163 games and making three All-Star teams in 13 major league seasons.

The pitcher’s agent, Bob Garber, confirmed the decision and said Oswalt would go to work for his agency, RMG Baseball. Oswalt will be vice president of baseball operations.

“Roy is now going to be representing players with me,” Garber said Tuesday night. “He’s now an agent.”

The 36-year-old right-hander had a 163-102 career record with a 3.36 ERA. Oswalt won 20 games in consecutive seasons (2004-05) with the Houston Astros and was the 2005 NL championship series MVP. He pitched more than 200 innings seven times but was hampered by injuries in recent years.

“He was a tremendous competitor,” Giants right-hander Matt Cain said. “He was one of the guys I always loved to watch pitch. I remember facing him for the first time and I knew if I gave up more than a couple runs that it wasn’t going to be a good day for us. He went about his business every fifth day like a true pro.”

A 23rd-round pick by Houston in the 1996 amateur draft, Oswalt pitched his first nine-plus seasons for the Astros (2001-10) and then played for Philadelphia (2010-11), Texas (2012) and the Rockies (2013).

CFL players fined for posts about Michael Sam

The Canadian Football League fined two players Tuesday for making inappropriate comments about openly gay NFL prospect Michael Sam.

Montreal Alouettes wide receiver Arland Bruce and Winnipeg Blue Bombers defensive tackle Bryant Turner Jr. were penalized undisclosed amounts on Tuesday for postings on social media. Bruce misspelled the word “gay” in his message, which urged Sam to “man up” and get on his knees and “submit to God fully.”

“The comments made by these players are extremely disappointing and do not represent the CFL’s views or the views of the vast majority of our players,” CFL Commissioner Mark Cohon said in a statement. “The CFL is supportive of openly gay athletes in professional sports and we commend the courage shown by Michael Sam.”

The 36-year-old Bruce is a three-time CFL all-star and two-time Grey Cup champion who appeared in two NFL games with San Francisco in 2003. He and Turner both played college football in the United States, Bruce at Minnesota and Turner at Alabama-Birmingham.

Steelers bring back Joey Porter as coach

PITTSBURGH — Former All-Pro linebacker Joey Porter has rejoined the Pittsburgh Steelers as a defensive assistant coach.

Porter joined the Steelers staff after receiving his first coaching experience at his alma mater last season as a student assistant on Colorado State coach Jim McElwain’s staff while taking classes to complete his degree.

Porter worked with the Rams’ pass rushers, including linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who posted 12 sacks.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said: “We are excited about having Joey back with the Steelers’ family. Joey spent a number of years with Pittsburgh as a player, and now he’s back to assist the coaching staff. We look forward to his efforts and contributions.”

Porter played 13 NFL seasons with Pittsburgh, Miami and Arizona and was a four-time All-Pro.

NBC’s Costas sitting out with eye infection

With Bob Costas sidelined with an infection that has reddened both his eyes and blurred his vision, “Today” show anchor Matt Lauer filled in Tuesday on NBC’s prime-time Olympics coverage.

Lauer, opening the broadcast, said Costas “looked a little like a loser in a prize fight.” Costas has been wearing glasses since the start of the Sochi Olympics because of an infection in his left eye, and on Monday it spread to his other eye. It quickly became the topic of conversation on social media and sports talk radio.

Costas said he simply couldn’t do the job because his eyes had become blurry, watery and sensitive to light. “I’m walking around, I might as well be playing ‘Marco Polo,’” he said in a telephone call to the “Today” show”

He said it’s a viral infection that has to run its course, and he hopes things improve enough in the next few days so he can return to the broadcast.

No one besides Costas has anchored a prime-time summer or winter Olympic broadcast in the U.S. since 1998, when CBS had the rights to broadcast the games.

By wire sources