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News Summaries from The Sports Network - Wednesday, November 26



Redskins bench Griffin for McCoy



Ashburn, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Colt McCoy will return to the starting quarterback role for the Washington Redskins.

Redskins coach Jay Gruden confirmed Wednesday the benching of Robert Griffin III, who had started the past three games after recovering from a dislocated ankle suffered in Week 2.

"Colt's going to start this week," Gruden told reporters on a conference call Wednesday. "He's done some good things. I felt like he deserved a bit of a promotion."

The Redskins have lost all three games since Griffin's return, falling to 3-8. Griffin has been sacked 16 times in losses to Minnesota, Tampa Bay and San Francisco, and last Sunday against the 49ers completed 11-of-19 passes for just 106 yards with a lost fumble in the 17-13 setback.

"I'm not putting the blame all on Robert, it seems that way when you make a change at that position," Gruden added. "Robert has done some good things. I think he needs a little more time in this system and needs to take a step back and learn. Right now, I felt like Colt would give us a better chance this week."

McCoy led the Redskins to each of their last two victories. He replaced an ineffective Kirk Cousins in the second half of the Redskins' Week 7 matchup against Tennessee and rallied the team to a 19-17 decision, then led the way in an overtime road upset of Dallas a week later.

In his limited action, McCoy has connected on 36-of-42 throws for 427 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He finished 25-of-30 for 299 yards in the 20-17 win at Dallas in Week 8.

Griffin has completed 69.7 percent of his passes for 869 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions in his five starts this season. He has also been sacked 20 times, and has run for 100 yards on 22 carries.

"He's not happy, nor did I expect him to be," Gruden said when asked how Griffin reacted to the decision.

Griffin's future with the Redskins could also become a topic of consideration, as the team must decide during the offseason whether to exercise an option to extend his contract through 2016.

Jets turn back to Geno Smith



Florham Park, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - The New York Jets will start Geno Smith at quarterback for Monday's game against the Miami Dolphins.

"Everybody's on board with this decision," Jets coach Rex Ryan said on Wednesday.

Smith, who started the first eight games this season, replaced Michael Vick under center during this past Monday's 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills, a setback that dropped the Jets to 2-9.

Ryan made the decision and informed both quarterbacks Wednesday morning.

"I have said it all along that I feel we have two good quarterbacks, I definitely feel that. And we have another guy that is a decent quarterback as well, in [Matt] Simms. But I feel that way," Ryan said.

Smith had been the Jets' starter for the first 24 games of his career after the team selected him in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was benched in the Week 8 loss to Buffalo after throwing three interceptions in the first 10 minutes of the contest and Vick was named the starter the following week.

"We purposely put Geno back, let him observe," Ryan said. "Now is the opportunity for him to step back in and let's see how it goes. I, for one, am excited to watch him. He has my support on this, and that's what I'll say about it."

Vick started the past three games for the Jets, leading the team to a victory in Week 10 against Pittsburgh to end an eight-game losing streak. He struggled in Monday's game against the Bills, completing just 7-of-19 passes for 76 yards with an interception while being sacked five times.

Smith entered in the third quarter and connected on 10-of-12 throws for 89 yards while being sacked twice.

In nine games this season, Smith has thrown for 1,459 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

NFL fines Lions C Raiola $10K



(SportsNetwork.com) - Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola was fined $10,000 by the NFL this week for striking a New England player in the back of the helmet in the final minute of Sunday's 34-9 loss to the Patriots.

NFL spokesman Michael Signora said Wednesday Raiola was fined for unnecessary roughness for violating a rule prohibiting "striking, swinging at, or clubbing the head, neck, or face of an opponent" with your wrist, arm, elbow or hand.

Raiola swung at rushing Patriots defensive lineman Zach Moore on a 3rd-and-9 pass play, hitting him in the back of the helmet and knocking him to the ground.

Signora said Raiola was not fined for diving at Moore's legs on the final snap of the game as the Lions kneeled to run out the clock

Raiola drew criticism for the attempted cut block and for implying he did it because the Patriots scored a late touchdown in a rout.

Vikings place Loadholt on IR; add Webb



Eden Prairie, MN (SportsNetwork.com) - The Minnesota Vikings placed right tackle Phil Loadholt on injured reserve Wednesday and brought back tackle J'Marcus Webb.

Loadholt suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 24-21 loss to Green Bay. He had started the first 11 games this season.

Webb appeared in eight games last season with Minnesota and started once. He spent this summer in training camp with the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 26-year-old product of West Texas A&M was selected in the seventh round of the 2010 draft by the Bears and started 44 of the 46 games he played for Chicago.

Patriots' Slater gets two-year extension



Foxboro, MA (SportsNetwork.com) - The New England Patriots prevented special teams ace Matthew Slater from hitting the open market in the offseason, with the wide receiver agreeing to terms on a two-year extension on Wednesday.

Financial terms were not disclosed, though an ESPN report said the deal is worth $4 million and includes a $100,000 bonus if Slater is selected to the Pro Bowl.

Slater has been named to the Pro Bowl as the AFC's special teamer in each of the last three years and was a first team All-Pro in both 2011 and 2012. The 29-year-old has recorded 83 special teams tackles since 2010.

"He's really pretty much a model player. I'd love to have 53 guys like him," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick of Slater.

"His personality, his intelligence, his toughness, his character -- both on and off the field -- his leadership is all exemplary. You couldn't really find anything any better."

Slater, the son of Hall of Fame offensive tackle Jackie Slater, was in the final season of a three-year contract he signed in March of 2012. The UCLA product entered the NFL as a fifth-round draft pick of New England in 2008.

Redskins put CB Porter on IR



Ashburn, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Washington Redskins have placed cornerback Tracy Porter on injured reserve, the team announced Wednesday.

Porter separated the AC joint in his shoulder during Washington's 17-13 loss at San Francisco on Sunday. The oft-injured veteran had previously missed eight of the team's first nine games while dealing with a pulled right hamstring before returning to play in the last two contests.

The Redskins signed Porter in the offseason after he made 16 starts with Oakland in 2013, recording 67 tackles, two interceptions, 1 1/2 sacks and 12 passes defensed.

Cornerback Chase Minnifield was added back to the active roster from the practice squad to take Porter's place. Minnifield appeared in six games with Washington earlier this season prior to being waived on Nov. 4.

Bears place Brian de la Puente on IR



Lake Forest, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Bears have placed guard/center Brian de la Puente on injured reserve because of an ankle injury.

The 29-year-old de la Puente appeared in eight contests with six starts (four at center and two at left guard) this season, his first with the Bears.

The Bears also elevated defensive tackle Brandon Dunn to the 53-man roster from the practice squad, signing him to a two-year contract.

Lacy among NFC Players of the Week



New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy has been selected as the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for games played from Nov. 23-24.

Seattle Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor was named the conference's top defensive player for Week 12, with Philadelphia Eagles rookie Josh Huff claiming NFC Special Teams Player of the Week recognition after delivering a franchise-record 107-yard kickoff return touchdown in Sunday's 43-24 win over Tennessee.

Lacy amassed 138 yards from scrimmage while scoring both a rushing and receiving touchdown in the Packers' 24-21 road victory over fellow NFC North member Minnesota. The 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year finished the game with 125 rushing yards on a season-best 25 carries.

The award is the second of Lacy's career, having also earned the honor during Week 15 of last season.

Chancellor led an outstanding Seattle defensive effort that lifted the Seahawks to a 19-3 triumph over NFC West-leading Arizona last Sunday. The physical safety recorded eight tackles -- seven solo -- for a unit that held the Cardinals to 204 total yards.

This is Chancellor's second Defensive Player of the Week award this season, also receiving the nod for a nine-tackle, one-interception and one forced fumble performance in the Seahawks' overtime win over Denver in Week 3.

Forsett highlights AFC Players of the Week



New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett, Oakland Raiders safety Charles Woodson and Buffalo Bills running back Boobie Dixon were named AFC Players of the Week for Week 12.

Forsett carried the ball 22 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens' 34-27 win at New Orleans. His 182 yards led all NFL players in Week 12 and marked his third 100-yard performance of the season.

Woodson had eight tackles and one sack in the Raiders' first win of the season, a 24-20 decision over Kansas City on Thursday night. His sack marked the 20th of his career, and Woodson is the only NFL player with at least 20 sacks and 50-plus interceptions (58) since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.

Dixon blocked a punt that was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown in the Bills' 38-3 win against the New York Jets at Detroit's Ford Field on Monday night. The Mississippi State product, who also blocked a punt in Week 2 against Miami, is the first Bills player with two blocked punts in a season since Steve Tasker in 1990.

Lions' Reiff, Bush questionable for Thanksgiving



Allen Park, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush and left tackle Riley Reiff are questionable for Thursday's Thanksgiving Day game against the Chicago Bears.

Bush has missed the last two games with an ankle injury. The USC product was limited in practice this week.

The 29-year-old Bush has carried the ball 53 times for 191 yards and one touchdown in seven games this season. He has also caught 26 passes for 169 yards.

Joique Bell has started the past two games. He has carried the ball 141 times for 490 yards and three touchdowns in 10 games this season.

Reiff was a limited participant in Wednesday's walkthrough after missing practice on Monday and Tuesday. He suffered a left knee injury on the first play of the Lions' 34-9 loss to the New England Patriots last weekend.

If Reiff can't go, expect rookie Cornelius Lucas to make his first start at left tackle.

Guard Larry Warford and defensive tackle Nick Fairley are both out with knee injuries for the Lions.

D-backs reportedly land Tomas



(SportsNetwork.com) - The Arizona Diamondbacks have reportedly come to terms with Cuban power-hitting outfielder Yasmany Tomas on a six-year, $68.5 million contract.

MLB.com reported the agreement Wednesday and noted Tomas has an opt-out in the deal after four years.

There was no confirmation from the Diamondbacks on the contract for the 24- year-old Tomas, who was on Cuba's World Baseball Classic team in 2013. He hit .375 with a pair of homers and five RBI in the tournament.

Tomas, a corner outfielder, played for Havana Industriales in the Serie Nacional in Cuba for five seasons. He would become the latest Cuban player to sign a big contract to play in the majors, as Yasiel Puig, Yoenis Cespedes, 2013 American League Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu and Aroldis Chapman have all become household names.

Additionally, Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo signed a $72.5 million contract with the Boston Red Sox this past August.

The addition of Tomas could inject power into a Diamondbacks team that finished with the worst record in the majors at 64-98 in 2014.

Rays sign Frieri to one-year deal



St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Tampa Bay Rays have signed pitcher Ernesto Frieri to a one-year contract.

Financial terms for the former Angels closer were not disclosed.

Frieri split last season with the Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates after losing his closer role in Anaheim. He finished the year 1-4 with 11 saves and a 7.34 ERA in 48 games.

The 29-year-old right-hander notched 37 saves in 41 chances for the Angels during the 2013 season and has 71 saves in 81 opportunities during a six-year career with the Pirates, Angels and San Diego Padres.

Frieri has a career record of 10-13 with a 3.46 ERA in 276 appearances, all out of the bullpen.

The Rays also designated infielder Sean Rodriguez for assignment to open a spot on the 40-man roster.

Rodriguez batted .228 with 40 homers and 172 RBI over the past five seasons with the Rays. In 2014, he hit only .211, his lowest average during his Tampa Bay tenure, but set career highs with 12 homers and 41 RBI.

Orioles acquire LHP Scott Barnes



Baltimore, MD (SportsNetwork.com) - The Baltimore Orioles acquired left- handed pitcher Scott Barnes from the Cleveland Indians for cash considerations on Wednesday.

Barnes, 27, spent all of 2014 with Cleveland's Triple-A affiliate, the Columbus Clippers. He finished with a 3-2 record and a 3.69 ERA in 25 appearances, including one start.

In his major league career, Barnes has made 22 appearances out of the Indians bullpen, posting an 0-1 mark with a 5.20 ERA in 27 2/3 innings with 26 strikeouts.

The Orioles also signed infielder Rey Navarro to a major league contract. The 24-year-old has never appeared in the majors. Between Double-A and Triple-A in the Cincinnati organization in 2014, Navarro batted .282 with 12 home runs and 57 runs batted in, splitting time between shortstop and second base.

Spurs' Popovich to miss Wednesday's game



San Antonio, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich will miss Wednesday's game against the Indiana Pacers after undergoing a minor medical procedure.

Popovich, the longest tenured NBA head coach, will miss an undisclosed period of time.

First-year assistant Ettore Messina will guide the Spurs in Popovich's absence. Messina, a member of the Italian Basketball Hall of Fame, is a two- time Euroleague Coach of the Year.

Messina will make NBA history, as no one born outside of the United States has ever coached an NBA game.

Former Canadien, broadcaster Tremblay dies



Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Former Montreal Canadiens forward and Hall of Fame broadcaster Gilles Tremblay died on Wednesday at the age of 75.

"My sincere condolences to the Tremblay family. Gilles was a pioneer and an ambassador for the Canadiens and the game of hockey," said Habs president Geoff Molson.

Tremblay recorded 168 goals and 330 points over 509 contests, all for the Habs from 1960-69, and was a member of four Stanley Cup-winning teams before he was forced to retire due to asthma.

"The National Hockey League mourns the passing of Gilles Tremblay, whose career as a player and broadcaster bridged four glorious decades of Montreal Canadiens hockey," said NHL commissioner Gary Bettman in a statement.

The native of Quebec then distinguished himself as a color commentator over 27 years for Le Soiree du hockey, the French-language equivalent to Hockey Night in Canada, and received the Foster Hewitt Memorial Award in 2002.

Brodeur signs PTO with Blues



St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - Martin Brodeur's quest to continue his NHL career hasn't ended just yet.

On Wednesday evening, the St. Louis Blues announced the future Hall of Famer was signed to a professional tryout contract.

"Marty has agreed to come in and practice through early next week. We will address the media at Friday's practice at Scottrade," said Blues GM Doug Armstrong.

Bringing in the 42-year-old into the fold was necessary due to the lower-body injury to starter Brian Elliott which may keep him sidelined for weeks.

Jake Allen has only participated in 24 games at the NHL level and the club had to make an emergency recall of goaltender Jordan Binnington from Chicago of the American Hockey League.

Brodeur, a nine-time All Star and three-time Stanley Cup winner, and the Devils had a parting of the ways at the end of last season. In a career which began late in the 1991-92 season, he managed to set NHL records in wins (688), games played (1,259) and shutouts (124).

Blues' Elliott sidelined with lower body injury



St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Blues said goaltender Brian Elliott suffered a lower body injury during Tuesday's game against Ottawa.

Elliott left in the second period of the 3-2 shootout loss.

The Blues did not provide an update on Elliott's status Wednesday, but did recall goaltender Jordan Binnington from their American Hockey League affiliate in Chicago under emergency conditions.

Binnington, a 21-year-old former third-round draft pick, owns a 6-2-1 record with the Wolves, posting a 1.89 goals-against average and a .925 save percentage.

Elliott has an 8-4-1 record for St. Louis this season with a 1.82 GAA and a .931 save percentage. Jake Allen, who replaced Elliott in Tuesday's game, has a 6-2-1 record in nine games.

Cricket star Phillip Hughes dies



Sydney, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Australian cricket player Phillip Hughes died Thursday, two days after sustaining injuries when he was hit in the head with a ball during a match, Cricket Australia said.

Hughes, 25, was struck on the head below his helmet while batting for South Australia during a Sheffield Shield game. He underwent emergency surgery and was in an induced coma before he died.

Team doctor Peter Brukner said in a statement that Hughes never regained consciousness after the injury.

"He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends," Brukner said.

California Chrome faces five in Hollywood Derby



Del Mar, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner California Chrome heads a field of six 3-year-olds for Saturday's $300,000 Hollywood Derby going 1 1/8 miles on the turf.

Owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome will be making his grass debut on Del Mar's Jimmy Durante Turf Course after already winning on dirt and synthetic tracks. The 3-year-old chestnut colt will again have Victor Espinoza riding.

"I want to run him on the grass," trainer Art Sherman said. "It will give me a lot of options when he runs next year as a 4-year-old. And he's got a chance at Horse of the Year (for 2014)."

California Chrome finished third in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Nov. 1 just a neck behind Bayern and runner-up Toast of New York. He was sixth to Bayern in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing on Sept. 20 in his first start after finishing fourth in the Belmont Stakes.

Early this year he posted three straight wins at Santa Anita in the California Cup Derby, San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby before taking the first two legs of the Triple Crown.

California Chrome has banked $4,042,650 from 15 career starts with eight wins.

Also entered in the race is Queen's Plate winner Lexie Lou. The 3-year-old filly is owned by Gary Barber and trained by Mark Casse.

Lexie Lou won the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate by 1 1/2 lengths as the 3-1 second pick. The filly followed by winning the Wonder Where Stakes at Woodbine five weeks later on Aug. 10. After finishing 10th in the Canadian Stakes on grass, Lexie Lou won the Autumn Miss Stakes on Oct. 25.

The 3-year-old has banked $1,059,470 this year with four wins from seven starts.

Here is the Hollywood Derby field in alphabetical order: Cabral, Kent Desormeaux; California Chrome, Victor Espinoza; Flamboyant, Mike Smith; Lexie Lou, Corey Nakatani; Sawyer's Hill, Rafael Bejarano and Talco, Drayden Van Dyke.

11/27 02:18:37 ET