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 trade batting champ Arraez to Marlins for Pablo López
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins have traded reigning American League 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. Salas was picked as Miami’s fifth-best prospect in the most recent MLB Pipeline rankings.
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.
More than 50,000 tickets sold for AFC title game in Atlanta
ATLANTA (AP) — The NFL says more than 50,000 tickets were sold in the first 24 hours for a potential AFC championship game in Atlanta. Season-ticket holders of the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs were given priority access to tickets if the Jan. 29 game is played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The league revamped its playoff system after Buffalo’s game against the Cincinnati Bengal was canceled. That denied the Bills a shot at a home-field edge throughout the AFC playoffs. The league decided if those two teams advance, the AFC title will be decided at a neutral site.
Titans’ 1st Black GM says he stands on ‘shoulders of giants’
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ran Carthon says he has been so busy earning a job as an NFL general manager that he hasn’t had time to contemplate the history and meaning of becoming the Tennessee Titans’ first Black GM. Carthon says an aunt texted to warn him that the question about making history would come and that was when he realized it. Carthon says his goal is to be successful and leave the door open for other Black men. He takes over a franchise that finished the season on a seven-game skid. Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk says she still has high expectations despite the questions facing the team this offseason.
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 Spanish 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 denies any wrongdoing. Mexican club Pumas said it was terminating Alves’ contract that he signed in July.
Florida releases QB Rashada from scholarship to end breakup
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida has granted quarterback Jaden Rashada a release from his national letter of intent. It comes three days after he requested to be let go because the Gator Collective failed to honor a four-year name, image and likeness deal worth more than $13 million. That detail is according to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither side acknowledged the split publicly. The high-profile case will likely prompt changes at Florida and could lead to a lawsuit and, potentially, an NCAA investigation.
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.
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.
British boxer Eubank Jr. wears rainbow armband at weigh-in
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — British boxer Chris Eubank Jr. wore a rainbow armband at the weigh-in before his middleweight bout against Liam Smith after a nasty exchange at a news conference. Smith had repeatedly asked Eubank at Thursday’s pre-fight press conference “do you want to tell us something?” in reference to Eubank’s sexuality. Eubank responded with claims about Smith’s fidelity to his wife, and Sky Sports apologized for “personal and homophobic remarks.” On Friday Eubank wore a pro-LGBTQ armband on his right arm throughout the weigh-in and face-off with Smith ahead of their bout at Manchester’s AO Arena on Saturday.