Monday’s Sports In Brief – The San Diego Union-Tribune

PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – The Denver Broncos have fired first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett with two games left in the season.

Team owner and CEO Greg Penner said he would lead the search for a new coach with the help of general manager George Paton, and Hackett expressed confidence in announcing his departure.

The move comes after an embarrassing 51-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams dropped the Broncos to 4-11.

Hackett’s firing with two games left in a losing season allows the search for Penner’s replacement to begin immediately.

Hackett told the players during a team meeting that Jerry Rosburg, the senior assistant coach he hired in September, will serve as interim head coach to help with game operations and time management.

The Broncos are scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday to discuss the changes.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – Dolphins linebacker Tua Tagovailoa is back in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Although Tagovailoa was showing symptoms when he met with team doctors, Miami coach Mike McDaniel said it was unclear if Tagovailoa suffered a concussion in Sunday’s 26-20 loss at Green Bay.

He appeared to hit his head on the ground in the second quarter against the Packers, but he never left the game and it was not determined whether he suffered a concussion.

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The concussion protocol is approved when a player exhibits concussion-related symptoms, even if it is not clear whether or not a concussion is present.

There is no specific timetable for coming out of the protocol, so Tagovailoa will be eligible for Sunday’s key game in New England if he clears the NFL through five rounds.

McDaniel said Teddy Bridgewater will practice with the first team this week, but it’s too early to name a Week 17 starter.

NEW YORK (AP) — Broncos quarterback Randy Gregory and Rams wide receiver Odai Aboushi each received one-game suspensions for exchanging blows after Los Angeles beat Denver 51-14 on Sunday.

NFL Vice President of Football Operations John Runyan has been suspended for unsportsmanlike conduct and unnecessary roughness.”

Gregory will miss the Broncos’ game at Kansas City on Sunday, while Aboushi will miss the Rams’ game against the Los Angeles Chargers. Coach Sean McVay said Aboushi and the Rams will appeal the suspension.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have signed 35-year-old cornerback Josh Norman to their practice squad.

Horn broke his left wrist in Carolina’s 37-23 win over the Detroit Lions on Saturday and will undergo surgery on Tuesday, interim coach Steve Wilks said. Wilkes said it’s not yet clear if Horne will be able to play with a stick in hand, or if he’ll be able to play the rest of the season.

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The Panthers named Norman, who played for Carolina, to the practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Bucks. If Horn leaves the field, Norman will back up Keith Taylor at cornerback.

BASEBALL

HAVANA (AP) — The United States will allow Cuban Major League Baseball players to represent their country in the World Baseball Classic next year.

The decision, announced in a news release by the Cuban Baseball Federation (FCB) on Saturday, could be a major step in getting the Cuban national team back on the international stage.

Major League Baseball has confirmed that the US has granted the license to FCB. That clears the way for Cuba to play in the WBC next March, should MLB stars such as Jose Abreu, Jordan Alvarez, Randy Arozarena, Yoan Moncada and Luis Robert decide to accept an invitation.

It is the national governing body of each country that selects the players for the WBC team. The final 30 names for the WBC will be announced on February 7, when the Cuban national team will play the Netherlands in Taiwan on March 8.

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HOCKEY

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Sabers’ game at Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday has been postponed by the NHL as Buffalo International Airport remains closed due to a powerful winter storm that has paralyzed the region.

The makeup date has not yet been announced.

A travel ban has been in place in Buffalo since Friday after a storm dumped 50 inches of snow, and the airport will remain closed until at least Wednesday morning. The Sabers were scheduled to travel to Columbus on Tuesday morning after the NHL’s mandatory Christmas break, which runs through Monday night.

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — Jaroslav Chmelar and Matus Mencic scored 33 seconds apart in a five-minute power play as the Czech Republic defeated defending champion Canada 5-2 in its World Junior Hockey Championship opener.

In other games, USA beat Latvia 5-2; Switzerland stunned Finland 3-2 in overtime; Sweden beat Austria 11-0.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

DETROIT (AP) – Diego Pavia threw for 167 yards and two touchdowns as New Mexico State held off a late rally against Bowling Green and won the Quick Lane Bowl 24-19. Aggies coach Jerry Kill picked up his first win in six bowl games.

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