The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. Several teams have suggested there could be a competitive disadvantage in keeping those dates and have cited the inability to perform physical exams on draft prospects. But the draft remains on schedule and the league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas. Commissioner Roger Goodell instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday. In a memo to the teams, Goodell said the restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8, when the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities.
Panthers sign QB Bridgewater
The Carolina Panthers officially signed free agent quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year contract. A person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press last week that the contract is worth $63 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity last week because the team doesn’t release financial terms of a contract. Bridgewater replaces 2011 No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton, who was released on Tuesday after nine seasons with the team. The Panthers also announced they have signed former XFL quarterback P.J. Walker to a two-year contract. Walker is expected to battle for the backup QB spot with last year’s third-round draft pick Will Grier.
Payton cleared of virus
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton, who tested positive for COVID-19 last week, said doctors “cleared” him Tuesday, according to multiple media reports.“I’m feeling a lot better,” Payton said on WWL Radio on Wednesday, via Jeff Duncan of TheAthletic.com. Payton began feeling the symptoms of coronavirus on March 15 … The Dallas Cowboys have resumed contract negotiations with quarterback Dak Prescott for the first time since using the exclusive franchise tag on him earlier this month, ESPN reported … Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is expected to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a one-year, $8 million deal, sources told ESPN … Free agent offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo and the Tennessee Titans agreed to terms on a one-year contract. Sambrailo spent the past three seasons with Atlanta after a two-year stint with Denver. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder has played in 57 games, including 13 starts … The Minnesota Vikings agreed to contract terms with wide receiver Tajaé Sharpe and defensive end Anthony Zettel, adding two fifth-year veterans at positions vacated by star players. Sharpe, for now, would be the No. 2 wide receiver behind Adam Thielen after the trade that sent Stefon Diggs to Buffalo. The Vikings lost six-year starter defensive end Everson Griffen to free agency, as well as backup Stephen Weatherly. Griffen was the longest-tenured player on the team … A person with direct knowledge of the deal says the New York Jets and linebacker Patrick Onwuasor agreed to terms on a one-year contract. Onwuasor played his first four NFL seasons in Baltimore and was once considered the heir apparent to C.J. Mosley with the Ravens. Now, the two are teammates again in New York …The Pittsburgh Steelers officially signed the well-traveled Stefen Wisniewski to a two-year deal on Wednesday, bringing the veteran offensive lineman to his hometown… Former Buffalo Bills star linebacker Mike Stratton, who was a key member of the franchise’s American Football League championship teams in the mid-1960s, died. He was 78. The Bills announced Stratton died because of heart complications stemming from a recent fall. Stratton was living in his native Tennessee, where he spent his college years playing for the Volunteers.
Betts may still be free agent
Mookie Betts and all the players set to be free agents after the 2020 season would still get that chance if there is no baseball this year, part of a broad deal being negotiated by the commissioner’s officer and the players’ association. If there’s no season because of the new coronavirus, the agreement would credit major leaguers with the same service time this year that they earned in 2019, a person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing. Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, George Springer, JT Realmuto also would be eligible for free agency, even if the season is canceled … Injured New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge still has not resumed baseball activities. Judge did not play in any spring training games because of discomfort in his right pectoral muscle and shoulder that he felt when swinging. The Yankees said March 6 that the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year had a stress fracture to his first right rib, an injury likely dating from a diving catch late last season. Judge revealed last week that he recovered from a collapsed lung. He is among about 10 players who have remained at the Yankees spring training complex in Tampa, Fla.
Penguins star Guentzel recovering well
Pittsburgh Penguins All-Star forward Jake Guentzel’s recovery from shoulder surgery is on schedule, opening the door for him to play at some point should the NHL return this season. General manager Jim Rutherford said that Guentzel has not endured any setbacks since undergoing surgery on Dec. 31 for the shoulder he injured while awkwardly slamming into the end boards shortly after scoring his 20th goal of the season against Ottawa on Dec. 30 … The Buffalo Sabres agreed to sign prospect defenseman Mattias Samuelsson to a three-year entry- level contract. Samuelsson was selected by Buffalo with the 32nd pick in the 2018 draft, and completed his sophomore season at Western Michigan.
Wimbledon still undecided
The All England Club is still evaluating whether to postpone or cancel Wimbledon because of the coronavirus pandemic and plans to make a decision next week. That’s when the club’s main board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting. Main-draw play at Wimbledon is slated to start June 29 and preparations for the tournament are supposed to begin in late April. The club’s statement Wednesday said that postponing the two-week grass-court tournament would not come ‘‘without significant risk and difficulty’’ because of the surface. Playing without fans has been ruled out. Wimbledon hasn’t been canceled since World War II.
Tiz the Law favorite at Florida Derby
Tiz the Law was installed as the 6-5 favorite at Florida Derby in Hallandale Beach. The race is typically one of the biggest Kentucky Derby prep races and serves as the crown jewel of the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park. That won’t be the case this year, of course, with the coronavirus pandemic keeping virtually everyone — bettors, fans and even owners — away from the track for safety and health reasons … Aqueduct extended the suspension of live horse racing through at least April 5 because of the impact of the new coronavirus in New York. As a result, the $750,000 Wood Memorial was postponed. No make-up date has been determined yet for the major Kentucky Derby prep that was to be run on April 4
Dayton’s Toppin to enter NBA draft
Dayton’s Obi Toppin is headed to the NBA after leading the Flyers to a 29-2 record and No. 3 ranking as a redshirt sophomore. Toppin, a sophomore, tweeted his decision , a day after he was honored as the Associated Press’ men’s college basketball player of the year. The Flyers’ Anthony Grant was voted coach of the year. Southern California forward Onyeka Okongwu declared for the NBA draft after one season … NASCAR said in a memo to teams that one of its employees at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago tested positive for the coronavirus. The employee was not identified and NASCAR said the individual has been receiving medical care and all potentially exposed have been told to self-quarantine … Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, died of complications from COVID-19 in Norwalk, Conn. She was 83. A childhood polio survivor, Roman began competing in senior track events in 1989 and won hundreds of medals, mostly in the throwing disciplines … A lawsuit filed against the World Anti-Doping Agency by Russian cyclists in Canada was dismissed last month. WADA said that the Superior Court of Ontario dismissed the claim with Canadian investigator Richard McLaren, ruling that the Court of Arbitration for Sport had already decided the matter when it dismissed an appeal by the riders in 2016. WADA said the ruling was issued last month and the appeal period has now expired.