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Update on the latest sports

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Chiefs’ Edwards-Helaire out for playoff opener vs Steelers

UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs will be without Clyde Edwards-Helaire for their wild-card playoff game against the Steelers on Sunday night after their starting running back was unable to put together a full week of practice because of a hurt collarbone.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid confirmed Friday that Edwards-Helaire would be ruled out for the playoff opener after he returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday, but did not practice at all Thursday or Friday.

The Chiefs should have Darrel Williams in the backfield after hurting his toe in their regular-season finale. Derrick Gore and Jerick McKinnon will also be available.

In other NFL news:

— Houston Texans general manager Nick Caserio says it was his decision to fire head coach David Culley after just one season. During a news conference Friday Caserio cited differences in opinion with Culley about the organization’s path forward. The Texans announced the firings of Culley and offensive coordinator Tim Kelly Thursday night following a 4-13 season. Culley’s dismissal left only one Black head coach in the NFL, Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin.

— Five players, including dynamic pass catchers Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams, are unanimous choices for The Associated Press 2021 NFL All-Pro Team. Joining the Rams’ Kupp and the Packers’ Adams in receiving votes Friday from all 50 members of a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league are Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, Steelers edge rusher T.J. Watt, and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, makes the team for the seventh time in his eight pro seasons. Watt is on it for a third time. He tied the NFL record for sacks with 22 1/2. Adams makes it for the second time, and the other two are newcomers as All-Pros.

— The NFL is continuing to crowdsource new ways to track head and helmet impacts during games from data scientists, and for the second straight year the winner of its artificial intelligence competition comes from outside the United States. The league announced Friday that the NFL and Amazon Web Services has awarded $100,000 in prizes for this year’s competition and the top prize of $50,000 going to Kippei Matsuda of Osaka, Japan. The league estimates Matsuda’s system could detect and track helmet impacts with greater accuracy and 83 times faster than a person working manually.


Maple Leafs put 3 on COVID-19 list as outbreak persists

UNDATED (AP) — The Toronto Maple Leafs have added three more players to the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol as an outbreak on the team that started in December continues to drag on. The Leafs announced Friday that forwards Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie and defenseman Justin Holl have been added to the list. Toronto lost 2-1 on Wednesday at Arizona, which is dealing with its own COVID-19 issues. A total of 20 Maple Leafs players have entered the protocol since the team’s outbreak began last month. Toronto’s next game is Saturday at St. Louis.

More than 100 games have been postponed this season because of coronavirus concerns.

In other hockey news:

—New York Islanders forward Ross Johnston was suspended for three games without pay by the NHL on Friday for an illegal check to the head against New Jersey Devils forward A.J. Greer. Johnston was assessed a minor penalty for illegal check to the head early in the first period of the Islanders’ 3-2 home victory Thursday night. The suspension will cost Johnston $15,000.

— A showcase game in Canada featuring prime prospects eligible for the NHL draft has been postponed because of COVID-19 concerns. The Canadian Hockey League announced the move Friday. The 2022 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game was originally scheduled for Feb. 2 at Kitchener Memorial Auditorium, home of the Ontario Hockey League’s Rangers.

— Claude Julien has been named coach of Canada’s men’s hockey team for the Beijing Olympics, and Shane Doan has been named general manager. Doan and Julien replace St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong and Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, who vacated their positions on the national team when the NHL pulled out of an agreement to send its players to the Olympics last month.


Durant fined $15,000 for profanity during interview

UNDATED (AP) — Kevin Durant has been fined $15,000 for using profane language during an interview after the Brooklyn Nets’ 114-108 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night. The NBA announced the fine on Friday, saying Durant declined to participate in an interview with the league about the incident.

The star forward had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets in the loss. Brooklyn has played five games in the past week because of COVID-19-related schedule adjustments, going 2-3 in those contests.

In other NBA news:

— Washington Wizards coach Wes Unseld has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, and assistant Pat Delany is taking over as acting head coach starting with Saturday night’s game against Portland. Unseld is in his first season coaching the Wizards, who are 22-20 and have won three in a row. Delany said he spoke at length with Unseld on Friday morning, and that he’s feeling OK.

— The Cleveland Cavaliers are bringing back former guard José Calderón as a special advisor in their front office. Calderón played 14 seasons in the NBA, spending the the 2017-18 season in Cleveland as the Cavs made their fourth straight trip to the Finals. The 40-year-old was with the Detroit Pistons in 2018-19. After retiring, he worked with the National Basketball Players Association.


ACC commissioner says CFP expansion should be put on hold

UNDATED (AP) — Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner Jim Phillips says now is not the time for College Football Playoff expansion.

Phillips told reporters on a conference call Friday that with the NCAA about to embark on a transformation of Division I, CFP expansion should not be the priority. He also cited the continuing need for federal legislation regarding name, image and likeness compensation for athletes.

In other college football news:

—The nation’s longest-tenured FBS head coach plans to stick around even longer as University of Iowa officials said they were extending Kirk Ferentz’s contract through the 2029 season. Iowa on Friday announced the four-year extension that followed a 10-4 record in 2021. It was Ferentz’s 23rd season at Iowa. The university said Ferentz would be paid $7 million a year.

— Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum is skipping his senior season and entering the NFL draft. The consensus All-American was the Big Ten’s offensive lineman of the year and received the Rimington Trophy as the nation’s top center. He also was a finalist for the Lombardi Award and Outland Trophy.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day continued to revamp his coaching staff by hiring of two defensive assistants Friday. Tim Walton, a former Ohio State player who spent the last 13 years coaching in the NFL, most recently with the Jacksonville Jaguars, was added as cornerbacks/secondary coach. Perry Eliano, who coached cornerbacks for the past two seasons under Luke Fickell at Cincinnati, will be the new safeties/secondary coach for the Buckeyes.

— South Carolina has hired former Jacksonville Jaguars assistant Sterling Lucas as its outside linebackers and defensive ends coach. University trustees approved a two-year contract on Friday that will pay Lucas $350,000 a year. Lucas takes over for Mike Petersen, who left this month to join the new staff of coach Billy Napier at Florida.


Lawmaker proposes mandatory neck guards after hockey death

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut state lawmaker says she plans to introduce legislation requiring all hockey players to wear a neck guard or a similar protective device during practice or games. The proposed legislation follows the death last week of a 10th-grader, 16-year-old Benjamin Edward “Teddy” Balkind, whose neck was cut by a skate.

While the governing body for interscholastic sports among secondary schools in the state requires all hockey players to wear neck protection, state Rep. Nicole Klarides-Ditria says the rules don’t apply to private schools or youth hockey programs. The incident involving Balkind occurred during a game between two private schools.

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