Ichiro Nearing Return to Mariners – Ichiro Suzuki is nearing a return to the Seattle Mariners, who are working to finalize an agreement with the former franchise icon, a source confirmed to ESPN. USA Today Sports first reported Monday that Ichiro and the Mariners were close to a one-year major league deal.
The Mariners announced earlier Monday that outfielder Ben Gamel will miss four to six weeks with an oblique injury, jeopardizing his availability for Opening Day and opening a potential roster spot for the 44-year-old Ichiro. Ichiro’s deal with Seattle could be completed as early as Monday, according to sources.
Cavaliers Suspend Smith For Game vs. 76ers – The Cleveland Cavaliers have suspended guard JR Smith for Thursday night’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers for detrimental conduct, the team announced. Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said “something happened after shootaround” Thursday that led to Smith’s one-game suspension. A team source told ESPN the suspension is from a team-related issue, nothing off the court. Smith was at shootaround Thursday. Rodney Hood will start in place of Smith when the Cavaliers host the 76ers at Quicken Loans Arena. Lue said Smith will be back at practice Friday and will be back in the starting lineup on Saturday against Denver. Smith, 32, is averaging is averaging 8.3 points in 59 games (56 starts) this season.
Nets’ Lin: Won’t Change Attacking Style – Brooklyn Nets point guard Jeremy Lin expects to be ready for training camp in the fall and says his right patella tendon injury will not prevent him from playing his same attacking style. In his first comments to U.S. media since rupturing his patella tendon on the Brooklyn Nets’ opening night in October, Lin said his rehab at Fortius Sport and Health in Vancouver is going “really smooth” with “no issues” and that he has been told that “complete full recovery” is expected. The Nets point guard has no plans to change his attacking style or shy away from physical contact on drives to the basket. Lin says he will be more deliberate and safer in his movements and landings.
Steelers Part Ways With OC Haley – Todd Haley is out as offensive coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team does not plan to give Haley a new contract, a source told ESPN. His deal was up after this season. Quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, who’s worked closely with Ben Roethlisberger for much of the quarterback’s career, is expected to get promoted to offensive coordinator, according to ESPN. Haley had a successful six-year run with Pittsburgh, helping the Steelers post top-10 scoring offenses in each of the last four years, the franchise’s longest streak since the 1970s. But discord between Haley and Roethlisberger appeared strong. Reports from CBS and NFL Network highlighted growing tension behind the scenes, and the lack of cohesion bubbled above the surface when the Steelers struggled to execute on the goal line in the final seconds of a 27-24 loss to the New England Patriots in Week 15.
- Janoris Jenkins, CB, New York Giants: Jenkins took a knee to the back from his own teammate after laying a hard hit on Lions TE Eric Ebron.
- Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans:?Miller limped off the field late in the fourth quarter with an apparent left ankle injury.
- Derek Wolfe, DE, Denver Broncos:?Wolfe left Sunday’s game against the Patriots in the first half with a neck injury.
- Darius Slay, CB, Detroit Lions: Slay stayed down on the ground for a while after tackling Odell Beckham Jr. in the second quarter. He hobbled off the field with a hamstring injury and did not return.
- Tyrell Williams, WR, San Diego Chargers:?Williams, who got hit hard on a third-down catch in the fourth quarter, was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion.
- Ladarius Green, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers:?Green took a big shot on the Steelers’ final drive of the game and did not return. Coach Mike Tomlin said after the game that Green is in the concussion protocol.?
- Jimmie Ward, CB, San Francisco 49ers:?Ward left the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury, and was eventually ruled out. The 49ers also lost WR Quinton Patton?(foot) and TE Blake Bell (shoulder) for the game.
- Virgil Green, TE, Broncos:?Green was knocked out of the game after his first and only catch of the afternoon against the Patriots. The TE sustained a concussion in the first quarter and was ruled out.?
- Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings:?Thielen took a huge shot over the middle from Darius Butler in the third quarter. The hit drew a 15-yard penalty, and Thielen was slow to get up. The WR went to the locker room and was eventually ruled out with a neck injury. The Vikings also lost FB? Zach Line to a concussion on Sunday.
- Stephon Tuitt, DT, Pittsburgh Steelers: Tuitt limped off the field on the Steelers’ first defensive series with a left knee injury.
- Vincent Rey,? LB, Bengals:?Rey injured his hamstring in the second quarter on kickoff coverage. The team listed him as questionable, but he returned to the field in the second half.
- Vontaze Burfict, LB, Cincinnati Bengals:?Burfict was slow to get up in the second quarter against the Steelers after taking a hit to the head. He walked off the field with the help of trainers, but he kept pulling his arm away to try to walk on his own. Burfict went to the locker room for concussion testing and returned to the field in the third quarter.
Cavs Get 2nd Rounder to Seal Kyrie-Isaiah Deal – With a Thursday morning deadline looming, the Boston Celtics agreed to send the Cleveland Cavaliers a 2020 second-round draft pick via the Miami Heat to acquire four-time All-Star guard Kyrie Irving and complete the blockbuster trade. The Celtics resisted the Cavaliers’ desire for a first-round pick to compensate the Cavs’ reluctance to sign off on Isaiah Thomas’ hip injury, and Cleveland finally agreed to consummate the deal late Wednesday night. Irving is scheduled to be introduced at a news conference in Boston on Friday, league sources said.
Stafford, Lions Agree to Historic Deal – The Detroit Lions and Matthew Stafford agreed to a five-year contract that is expected to make him the highest paid player in NFL history, a team source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Lions team president Rod Wood said the team was willing to pay “whatever it takes” to lock up quarterback Matthew Stafford for the foreseeable future, even if it meant making him the highest-paid player in football. As of yet, there are no contract details available, though Schefter confirmed the average annual value of the deal will exceed Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s $25 million.