Bengals want ball in Burrow’s hands with ground game stalled
CINCINNATI (AP) — The Bengals do everything they can to get the ball into Joe Burrow’s hands and let him make plays. As a result, the running game for Cincinnati has become somewhat of an afterthought. The Bengals were 29th out of 32 NFL teams in rushing during the regular season, averaging 92.9 yards per game — the fewest of any team advancing to the divisional round. Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said the Bengals will certainly try to establish the run in Sunday’s divisional-round playoff game at Buffalo, but their success will turn on what the 26-year-old quarterback can do.
Bills’ Hamlin faces long recovery, family spokesman tells AP
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — A family spokesman for Damar Hamlin tells The Associated Press the Buffalo Bills safety still faces a long rehabilitation despite enjoying a remarkable recovery some three weeks after having to be resuscitated on the field during a game in Cincinnati. Jordon Rooney says Hamlin still requires oxygen and is having his heart monitored regularly to ensure there are no setbacks or after effects. Rooney provided the update to emphasize Hamlin still faces hurdles since being discharged from Buffalo General Medical Center on Jan. 11, and began making regular visits to the Bills facility this week.
Twins sent batting champ Arraez to Marlins for Pablo López
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have traded reigning AL batting champion Luis Arraez to the Miami Marlins for a three-player package featuring starting pitcher Pablo López. The 25-year-old Arraez had a breakout season in 2022. He made his first All-Star team while batting a league-best .316 and denying Aaron Judge the Triple Crown award. The Twins also received two prospects from the Marlins: infielder Jose Salas and outfielder Byron Chourio. The 32-year-old López had a 3.75 ERA in 32 starts last season.
Wembanyama, even with eyes always on him, seems unfazed
PARIS (AP) — All eyes are on French basketball phenom Victor Wembanyama. And that doesn’t seem to bother the 19-year-old NBA draft prospect. He and his family sat just off the court at the game Thursday in Paris between Detroit and Chicago. A maze of people surrounded him as he walked to his seat because they all wanted to get a peek at the talk of the basketball world. But Wembanyama wasn’t bothered by the attention. He’s enjoying his French season and the NBA is getting ready to welcome him in a few months. Commissioner Adam Silver says it’s important for him to not add to the pressure Wembanyama is facing.
Murray match highlights how tennis can be an all-night sport
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Andy Murray was pleased with the result but not happy about the circumstances after finishing an Australian Open victory after 4 a.m. His marathon raised anew the issue that tennis has shown it is that rare sport where folks sometimes need to play all night. Murray and others pointed out that is not good for anyone involved. Not the players, the spectators, the officials or the ball kids. It does not seem like anything will change to prevent these sorts of late finishes from happening in the future. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley says there is no need to alter the schedule.
NFL VP backs NY girls’ high school bid for flag football
KENMORE, N.Y. (AP) — NFL Vice President Troy Vincent is backing a bid for an all-girl high school in suburban Buffalo, New York, to start a flag football team. He visited the school this week after one of the students wrote him a letter in the fall. Vincent’s visit coincides with the NFL’s growing push to promote flag football, particularly for girls and women. The league released a standardized guide to each team on Friday providing steps to assist schools on how to establish flag football programs. It also comes with grants. Six states have sanctioned girls flag football as a varsity sport. Twenty more are launching pilot programs.
Shiffrin and Swiatek keep learning to win from each other
They both tend to shy away from the spotlight despite winning regularly. They both compete in individual sports. And they’ve both ascended to the top as much more well-known predecessors Lindsey Vonn and Serena Williams headed toward retirement. So it’s no surprise that American skier Mikaela Shiffrin and Polish tennis player Iga Swiatek are drawn to each other. The pair renewed their long-distance conversation as Swiatek routed qualifier Cristina Bucsa 6-0, 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open a few hours before Shiffrin finished fourth in a downhill to leave her tied with Vonn for the women’s World Cup record of 82 wins.
Attorneys: Jamaica’s Usain Bolt missing $12.7M from account
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Lawyers for sprinter Usain Bolt say more than $12.7 million is missing from his account with a private investment firm in Jamaica that authorities are investigating. Attorney Linton P. Gordon on Wednesday provided The Associated Press with a copy of a letter sent to Stocks & Securities Limited demanding that the money be returned and threatening further if it isn’t. Gordon says Bolt’s account once had $12.8 million but now reflects a balance of only $12,000. Stocks & Securities Limited did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The company says on its website that it is closely monitoring the situation.
Dani Alves jailed in Spain for alleged sexual assault
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Brazilian soccer player Dani Alves has been arrested after being accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Barcelona. Police say the alleged act took place on Dec. 31 at a nightclub in Barcelona. Alves was denied bail by a judge after hearing his testimony. A charge of sexual assault in Spain can mean anything from unsolicited and unwanted sexual groping to rape. Police say they cannot give any details on the case. Alves is a former Barcelona defender who now plays with Mexican club Pumas. He denies any wrongdoing.
Is there a Netflix curse on Australian Open tennis players?
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Tennis is abuzz with tongue-in-cheek talk about a “Netflix curse” during the Australian Open. There are folks drawing a line from the streaming service’s new docuseries about the sport to the recent rough times for Season 1 protagonists. Only one of the 10 players featured prominently across the five episodes released last week remains in the singles competition at Melbourne Park heading into Saturday. That is Felix Auger-Aliassime. He is a 22-year-old from Canada who said he hadn’t heard of the supposed “curse” until his girlfriend mentioned it to him Friday.