Around the Nation (Jan. 20): Titans hire former Browns assistant Horton as defensive coordinator

Published:

Associated Press

FOOTBALL

Titans hire former Browns coordinator Ray Horton

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt's defensive staff has a Cleveland Browns flavor.

Whisenhunt continued putting together his staff Monday by announcing the hirings of defensive coordinator Ray Horton and defensive backs coach Louie Cioffi, who each filled the same roles this season in Cleveland. The Browns fired head coach Rob Chudzinski after the season.

During the 2011 and 2012 seasons, Horton was defensive coordinator and Cioffi was defensive backs coach in Arizona while Whisenhunt was the Cardinals' head coach.

The Browns ranked ninth in the NFL in total defense this season, up from 23rd in 2012.

Horton said Monday in a team release that, "I am excited about this opportunity, to be reunited with Coach Whisenhunt and to be a piece of the puzzle to move this team forward."

Belichick: Denver's Welker attempted to 'take out' Talib

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick says Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker deliberately tried to "take out" cornerback Aqib Talib when they collided in the AFC Championship Game.

Talib hurt his knee on the play early in the second quarter and missed the rest of the game. Denver beat New England 26-16 on Sunday to advance to the Super Bowl.

Belichick calls the play one of the worst he's seen and says Welker made no attempt to get open. On the play, Peyton Manning's pass to Demaryius Thomas fell incomplete.

Welker spent the previous six years with the Patriots before signing with the Broncos before the season. He says he was trying to get Talib to go behind him as the two headed for each other across the middle.

BASKETBALL

No timeline set for Kobe's return

CHICAGO -- Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is riding a bike and trying not to think about when he might be able to play again.

Bryant missed the start of the season while he recovered from surgery to repair a torn left Achilles tendon. Then he broke a bone in his left knee Dec. 17 at Memphis while playing his fourth game in five nights.

Bryant says his return is "up in the air" until he gets back on the court. He is limited to mostly bike work right now.

Playing without Bryant and Steve Nash, the Lakers had lost 12 of 15 heading into Monday night's game at Chicago. But Los Angeles had won two in a row since a six-game losing streak, and Bryant says the team had been competing and playing hard.

BASEBALL

Jeter has first field workout of 2014

TAMPA, Fla. -- New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has resumed on-field work for the first time since his 2013 season was cut short.

The Yankees captain hit off a tee in a batting cage and fielded 108 grounders on the grass in front of the infield dirt Monday at the Yankees minor league complex.

Jeter, who turns 40 in June, was limited to 17 games last year after breaking an ankle during the 2012 playoffs.

Jeter says "I don't think about it, and that's a good thing."

Brewers sign 1B Overbay to minors

MILWAUKEE -- The Brewers have signed Lyle Overbay to a minor league contract, making him the latest candidate for the team's first-base job.

Milwaukee announced Monday that Overbay has an invitation to big league camp in spring training next month.

The left-handed Overbay hit .240 with 14 homers and 59 RBI in 142 games last year for the Yankees. He returns to Milwaukee, where he played two seasons starting in 2004. His 53 doubles that year are a single-season franchise record.

Overbay joins Mark Reynolds and Juan Francisco as potential options at first for Milwaukee. Reynolds was signed to a minor league deal last week.

First base was a problem after Corey Hart missed the 2013 season following right knee surgery. Hart signed a free-agent deal this off-season with Seattle.

TENNIS

Federer eases into Australian quarters

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Sixth-seeded Roger Federer has equaled Jimmy Connors record by reaching his 41st Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 win over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the fourth round of the Australian Open on Monday.

It was also the 11th straight year the Swiss star has reached the quarters at Melbourne Park.

Federer and Tsonga met twice in the quarterfinals of Grand Slams last year, with the Swiss player winning their match at the Australian Open and the Frenchman prevailing at the French Open.

Federer next faces fourth-seeded Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. He has won just four of his last 14 matches against top-10 players, including Monday's victory over 10th-seeded Tsonga.

Isner, Querrey, Bryans on U.S. Davis Cup roster

SAN DIEGO -- Despite an early exit at the Australian Open because of an injured right ankle, John Isner is on the U.S. roster for its first-round matches against Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and Britain.

Isner, who is ranked 13th, quit after dropping the first two sets of his opening match at the Australian Open last week.

Joining him on the American roster announced Monday by U.S. captain Jim Courier are Sam Querrey and the doubles team of twins Bob and Mike Bryan.

The Davis Cup matches are Jan. 31 through Feb. 2 at a temporary court set up in left field at the San Diego Padres' baseball stadium.

ICE HOCKEY

Canucks' Tortorella suspended 15 days

NEW YORK -- The NHL has suspended Vancouver coach John Tortorella without pay for 15 days for his conduct after a brawl between the Canucks and the Calgary Flames.

Tortorella went to Calgary's locker room at intermission following the first period Saturday night, which began with several fights and four game misconducts per team. Vancouver won the game 3-2 in a shootout.

"Mr. Tortorella's actions in attempting to enter the Calgary Flames locker room after the first period were both dangerous and an embarrassment to the league," NHL senior executive vice president of hockey operations Colin Campbell said.

"Coaches in the NHL bear the responsibility of providing leadership, even when emotions run high, and Mr. Tortorella failed in his responsibility to the game."

Tortorella's suspension runs through Feb. 2. He will miss six games.

Capitals re-assign goaltender Grubauer

ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Washington Capitals have re-assigned goaltender Philipp Grubauer to Hershey of the AHL.

Grubauer had been on pace to establish himself as the Capitals' No. 1 goalie until he was pulled from the last two games. He allowed three goals on 14 shots Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets and three goals on eight shots Sunday against the New York Rangers.

The 22-year-old Grubauer has appeared in 16 games with a 6-4-5 record, a 2.38 goals against average and a .926 save percentage. He earned his first NHL win Dec. 8 against the Rangers and has started 14 of Washington's last 20 games.

His departure leaves Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth as the Capitals' goalies.

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