Friday, January 19, 2018
Sports

Top-paid defender: Mario Williams

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — New England quarterback Tom Brady might want to watch his back. The Jets' Mark Sanchez, too.

After spending the past six seasons harassing quarterbacks for the Texans, defensive end Mario Williams has found new motivation in a huge contract and a new home in the AFC East with the Bills.

"I'm ecstatic, very excited. I can't wait for the opportunity," Williams said Thursday after signing a six-year deal potentially worth $100 million. "There's no pressure. I've played against great quarterbacks. And I'm looking forward to playing against these quarterbacks, chasing them down and making things happen."

Williams' deal, which includes $50 million in guaranteed money, is the richest ever given to an NFL defensive player. Terms were provided by the player's agent, Ben Dogra.

"We got a lot better," Buffalo general manager Buddy Nix said, noting that the Bills addressed their highest offseason priority, improving a defense that managed 27 sacks in 2010, and 29 sacks in 2011.

Listed at 6 feet 6 and 285 pounds, Williams is a two-time Pro Bowl starter and had a franchise-best 53 sacks in six seasons with the Texans, who drafted him No. 1 overall in 2006. He was limited to five games last season because of a torn chest muscle, but Williams said he's healthy now.

Manning derby: Now Peyton Manning needs to decide what happens next.

All indications are that the Broncos, Cardinals and Titans are still in the running to sign the former Colts star.

Titans owner Bud Adams told KHOU radio in Houston on Wednesday that he has offered Manning a contract "for life" and said he "feels great" about the chances of landing Manning.

ESPN and other media said free agent QB Matt Flynn was planning to visit the Dolphins after his trip to Seattle, an indication that the Dolphins know they won't get Manning.

If there's no word from Manning by today, the Cardinals might have to move on. Arizona will decide by 4 p.m. today whether to release quarterback Kevin Kolb, who would be due $7 million if he is on the roster Saturday.

Jaguars QB duel? Jacksonville signed quarterback Chad Henne to a two-year contract worth nearly $6.75 million on Wednesday, envisioning him as a backup to Blaine Gabbert. But on Thursday, coach Mike Mularkey created a buzz when he spoke about Henne, who passed for 31 touchdowns and 37 interceptions in 36 games for the Dolphins. "He's coming in as a backup, competing for a starting job," Mularkey said. "We don't want anybody here that's very comfortable and wants to be in a backup role."

nameless are 'Gutless': Quarterback Mark Sanchez said he and receiver Santonio Holmes have ended their feud that contributed to the Jets' demise last season, but he described unnamed teammates who criticized him as "gutless," ESPN.com reported. Sanchez said he and Holmes cleared the air at a recent dinner, adding: "I know it can work between us. It's not a question of if, it's just a matter of when — and that's now." Later in a radio interview, Sanchez fired back at players who were quoted anonymously in newspaper stories. "It is a gutless thing to do," he said.

Viking acquitted: Cornerback Chris Cook was acquitted of all charges that he assaulted his girlfriend in October and said he will get ready to play this season. Cook said he acted in self-defense when the fight turned physical.

TRANSACTIONS

Bears: Free agent DE Israel Idonije agreed to a one-year contract.

Broncos: Former Browns S Mike Adams agreed to terms.

Browns: Free agent DE Frostee Rucker (Bengals) agreed to a five-year, $21 million contract. OL Oniel Cousins and TE Alex Smith, both backups, re-signed.

Chargers: WR/PR Eddie Royal (Broncos) agreed to a three-year, $13.5 million deal, $6 million guaranteed.

Chiefs: TE Kevin Boss (Raiders) agreed to terms on a three-year, $9 million contract.

Cowboys: Free agent S Brodney Pool (Jets) agreed to a one-year deal. Free agent LB Dan Connor (Panthers) agreed to a two-year deal and is expected to compete at inside linebacker.

Dolphins: G-T Artis Hicks signed a one-year deal, his agent said.

49ers: CB Shawntae Spencer was released.

Giants: S Chris Horton, who last played for the Redskins in 2010, signed.

Patriots: Special teams captain Matthew Slater and DT Marcus Harrison re-signed.

Redskins: Former Bears S Brandon Meriweather agreed to a two-year, $6 million deal.

Saints: G Ben Grubbs agreed to a five-year, $36 million contract, replacing Carl Nicks, who left for the Bucs. Grubbs gets $16 million guaranteed, including a $10 million signing bonus.

Titans: Free agent G Steve Hutchinson (Vikings) agreed to a multiyear contract. Terms not released.

Comments
Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

Lightning journal: Cory Conacher ready to take advantage of J.T. Brown’s departure

TAMPA — The loss of wing J.T. Brown to Anaheim will be a gain for some Lightning forwards in terms of ice time. Whether those players are currently with the team or still at AHL Syracuse has yet to be determined.For now, C Cory Conacher will try to t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning falls to Golden Knights

Lightning falls to Golden Knights

TAMPA — The door to the Lightning dressing room remained closed a little longer than usual Thursday night, and that wasn’t surprising.After the kind of performance displayed in its 4-1 loss to the expansion Golden Knights, this had players-only meeti...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Friday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosNASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony8 p.m.NBCSNCollege basketballBuffalo at Western Michigan7 p.m.ESPNUSt. Bonaventure at Davidson7 p.m.ESPN2Canisius at Manhattan9 p.m.ESPNUIllinois at Wisconsin9 p.m.FS1College gymnasticsFlorida at Kentuc...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Strong ties: USF vs. Louisville

Strong ties: USF vs. Louisville

TAMPA — USF has scheduled a three-game football series with Louisville — coach Charlie Strong’s former team — starting in 2022, giving his Bulls nine games against Power Five teams over the next seven years.USF visits Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium on ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 18

Thursday’s scoreboardGirls basketballNortheast 64, Largo 24Boys soccerIndian Rocks Chr. 3, Berkeley Prep 2Palm Harbor U. 7, Tarpon Springs 0Girls soccerCountryside 5, Pinellas Park 0Palm Harbor U. 5, Tarpon Springs 1...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Djokovic wins in rising heat

Djokovic wins in rising heat

MELBOURNE, Australia — On a day when shade was a valuable commodity in the searing heat at Melbourne Park, Roger Federer played it cool at the Australian Open. Six-time champion Novak Djokovic, however, complained about the brutal conditions during h...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Sports in brief

GymnasticsUSA gymnastics Ends deal with KAROLYI ranch tainted by SEX abuse allegationsINDIANAPOLIS — The long relationship between USA Gymnastics and the Karolyi Ranch is over. The organization announced Thursday that it has terminated its agreement ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Star battle: Team LeBron versus Team Stephen

Star battle: Team LeBron versus Team Stephen

Team LeBron against Team Stephen is the NBA’s new All-Star matchup. Cleveland’s LeBron James and Golden State’s Stephen Curry will go head-to-head again, this time as captains who pick teams for the revamped All-Star Game. James and Curry received th...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bruins continue climb up Atlantic Division

Bruins continue climb up Atlantic Division

NEW YORK — Patrice Bergeron scored three goals to lead Boston to a 5-2 victory over the Islanders on Thursday night, giving the Bruins at least a point for the 15th consecutive game. Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists as Boston improved to 11-0...
Updated: 6 hours ago
McIlroy returns from injury, trails by 3 in first round of European Tour event

McIlroy returns from injury, trails by 3 in first round of European Tour event

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates — Rory McIlroy’s patience was tested Thursday on his comeback, needing three late birdies to shoot 3-under 69 that left him three strokes behind first-round leaders Tommy Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara at the Abu Dhabi ...
Updated: 6 hours ago