ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The one-win Detroit Lions, looking nothing like the team that reached the playoffs last season, fired team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew and promised to bring in new leadership to put a consistent winner on the field.
”We are very disappointed with the results of the season so far and believe a change in leadership was necessary,” said owner Martha Firestone Ford, reading from a prepared statement. She did not take questions.
The Lions are an NFC-worst 1-7 under second-year coach Jim Caldwell, whose staff was not affected by the changes a week after he replaced some assistants, including offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi.
Sheldon White, the Lions’ vice president of pro personnel and a 19-year veteran of the organization, will be the team’s acting general manager. Allison Maki, chief financial officer, will oversee business operations for the team. Both will report directly to Ford.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) The city of Jacksonville and Jaguars owner Shad Khan have $90 million in upgrades planned for EverBank Field.
The city still needs to get funding approved for its half of the project, which includes remodeled club seating, an indoor practice facility and a 5,000-seat amphitheater. The practice facility and the amphitheater would be outside the south end of the stadium.
Khan already has pledged $45 million toward the project, adding to the $31 million he already invested in the stadium. The billionaire spent $20 million for the world’s largest scoreboards last year and $11 million for locker room and training room renovations in 2013.
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Prosecutors dropped a rape investigation against Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, citing a lack of credible evidence in a case ”rife with reasonable doubt” and said the accuser no longer wanted to cooperate.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita said a three-month investigation found that physical and forensic evidence ”tend to contradict” the accuser’s claim that she was raped last Aug. 2 at Kane’s offseason home outside Buffalo.
”The DNA results lend no corroboration whatsoever to the complainant’s claim,” said Sedita, who decided against presenting the case to a grand jury for possible charges. Sedita said the 21-year-old accuser had recently signed an affidavit saying she did not want to press charges.
”I have repeatedly said that I did nothing wrong,” Kane said in a statement issued by the Blackhawks. ”I have respected the legal process and I am glad that this matter has now been closed and I will have nothing further to say going forward.”
NEW YORK – Yankees pitcher CC Sabathia says he had ”no other option” than to leave the team for treatment for alcoholism ahead of its loss to Houston in the one-game AL wild-card playoff.
In his first remarks to media since seeking treatment, Sabathia told ABC ”it was just the time.”
An excerpt from the interview was posted on ABC’s website. The network says the interview will be broadcast Friday on ”Good Morning America.”
”I know it was a bad time of the season, but there was no other option for me but to get help,” Sabathia said. ”And I understand where, you know, fans would be upset and people don’t understand, but it’s a disease. And if it was my knee or it was anything else, then people wouldn’t have a problem with it, but, you know, it being alcoholism, it’s tough for people to swallow. But it’s the same thing.”
The 35-year-old left-hander was 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA this season, slowed by a chronic knee injury.
WASHINGTON – Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said the team negotiated contract terms with Bud Black and Dusty Baker simultaneously before hiring Baker as manager.
In his first remarks on what he calls ”a unique situation,” Rizzo said that ”sometimes the negotiating process also tells you a lot about the people that you’re negotiating with.”
Speaking to reporters after the news conference introducing Baker as Washington’s manager, Rizzo said Baker and Black were the finalists from nine candidates.
Rizzo said the decision to pick Baker ”did not come down to money; it did not come down to term.” Instead, he said, it was about whom the GM and owners were ”most comfortable with.”
The Nationals also agreed to terms with pitching coach Mike Maddux and first base coach Davey Lopes.
MINNEAPOLIS – Torii Hunter declared an end to his playing career of 17-plus major league seasons, including more than a decade with the Minnesota Twins.
The 40-year-old Hunter has a plan to stay in the game, though.
Hunter said at his farewell news conference at Target Field that he doesn’t want to ”sit out too long” from the sport. This fall, he’ll enjoy some down time with his wife, Katrina, and watch his three sons play college football.
But Hunter said he’s already fielded offers from different networks about serving as a television analyst. He has also spoken informally with Twins general manager Terry Ryan about creating a role for him in the organization.
SEATTLE (AP) – The Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays didn’t wait long to pull off the first significant trade of the offseason.
Four days after the World Series ended, the teams completed a six-player swap. Seattle sent infielder-outfielder Brad Miller, first baseman Logan Morrison and pitcher Danny Farquhar to Tampa Bay for pitchers Nathan Karns and C.J. Riefenhauser, and minor league outfielder Boog Powell.
Miller, Morrison and Farquhar played extensive roles with the Mariners last season, but won’t be part of the club’s future under new general manager Jerry Dipoto and manager Scott Servais. Dipoto said discussions with Tampa Bay began right after the conclusion of the regular season and less than two weeks after Dipoto took the job.
”We’ve talked to the Rays pretty consistently close to the last four weeks,” he said.
Tampa Bay gets experienced players, while Seattle is banking on potential.
Morrison played in a career-high 146 games last season, hitting .225 with 17 homers. Miller was used nearly as much, playing in 144 games that included a mix of middle infield and outfield positions as the Mariners struggled to find a set spot for his athleticism.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A final appeals officer rejected an appeal by Matt Kenseth after he challenged his two-race suspension by NASCAR for intentionally wrecking Joey Logano over the weekend during the race at Martinsville.
Kenseth will miss the next two races, at Texas and Phoenix, and be eligible to return for the Nov. 22 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Final appeals officer Bryan Moss did reduce his probation period from six months until the end of this year. Moss’ decision is binding.
The case was an interesting one for NASCAR, which has not been consistent over the years in punishing drivers who exact revenge. Kenseth was spun out three races ago by Logano as both raced for the win at Kansas, ruining a chance to advance in NASCAR’s championship playoffs. On Sunday, he deliberately crashed into Logano at Martinsville and Logano lost a shot at an automatic berth in the final four.
Kenseth was suspended and put on six months of probation. Danica Patrick was fined $50,000 for wrecking another driver in retaliation on Sunday.
PORTLAND, Ore. – Adidas is offering to help high schools nationwide drop Native American mascots.
The athletic shoe and apparel maker said it will provide free design resources to schools looking to shelve Native American mascots, nicknames, imagery or symbolism. The German company also pledged to provide financial support to ensure the cost of changing is not prohibitive.
Adidas announced the initiative in conjunction with the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, which includes leaders from the 567 federally recognized tribes.
The company, which has its North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon, also said it will be a founding member of a coalition that addresses Native American mascots in sports.
According to the group Change the Mascot, there are about 2,000 schools nationwide that have Native American mascots.
The advocacy group says about a dozen schools have dropped Native mascots over the past two years and another 20 are considering a change.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Tennis star Serena Williams should file a police report after she said someone tried to steal her cellphone at a restaurant, San Francisco police said.
Officer Grace Gatpandan said police would like to know if they are dealing with a serial cellphone thief.
Williams said on her Facebook page that she was having a Chinese dinner on Tuesday when she noticed a man lurking near her table. Her cellphone was on the chair next to her, and at some point the man grabbed it and left, she said.
Surveillance footage shows Williams leaving the restaurant and confronting the man on the sidewalk. Williams said she asked the man if he had accidentally taken the wrong phone, and he said he had before giving it back.