Around the Nation (Feb. 22): Jim Harbaugh report 'noise' according to Browns coach Pettine

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

FOOTBALL

Browns coach dismisses Jim Harbaugh report as ‘noise’

INDIANAPOLIS — New Cleveland coach Mike Pettine calls a report “noise” that the Browns tried to trade for Jim Harbaugh.

The Pro Football Talk website reported Friday that before hiring Pettine last month Cleveland had a deal in place with San Francisco, but Harbaugh decided to stay. Via Twitter, 49ers CEO Jed York denied that was true.

Pettine said Saturday the issue “has no bearing” on his job. The Browns didn’t deny their attempt to acquire Harbaugh, but Pettine said that didn’t bother him, either. He said he thought that shows the organization’s commitment to turning around the struggling franchise.

The Browns issued this statement: “The team conducted an extensive coaching search and explored several options. That search produced an outstanding head coach in Mike Pettine, and we’re excited about his future with the club.”

Harbaugh has led the 49ers to three straight NFC championship games, but they lost their only Super Bowl appearance with him.

Pettine is the seventh head coach of the Browns since 1999.

GOLF

Els reaches semis at Match Play for 1st time in 13 years

MARANA, Ariz. — Ernie Els has reached the semifinals of the Match Play Championship for the first time in 13 years.

The four-time major champion still hasn’t played great golf at Dove Mountain, but it was good enough to get past 20-year-old Jordan Spieth, who was clearly frustrated in losing on the 16th hole.

Graeme McDowell had a lead for the first time all week — and he wound up losing. His magical week ended on the 18th hole when he lost to Victor Dubuisson of France in a tight match.

Els next plays the Frenchman.

Jason Day took out an ailing Louis Oosthuizen to reach the semifinals for the second straight year. Day next plays Rickie Fowler, who won the last two holes for a 1-up win over Jim Furyk.

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