Wednesday's Sports In Brief


HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Texans filled their biggest need, starting free agency with a splash by snagging Brock Osweiler from Denver.

The quarterback arrived in Houston in the evening after agreeing to a four-year contract reportedly worth $72 million and will be introduced in Houston on Thursday.

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The Broncos hoped to keep Osweiler in the wake of Peyton Manning's retirement on Monday. Instead he's joining the Texans who were looking to upgrade the position after Brian Hoyer's struggles last season, particularly his turnover-filled performance in their wild-card playoff loss to Kansas City.

The Texans also made other upgrades to their offense, agreeing to deals with running back Lamar Miller and offensive linemen Jeff Allen and Tony Bergstrom. Houston needed a running back after releasing franchise rushing leader Arian Foster last week.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - New Tennessee general manager Jon Robinson made his first big move in rebuilding the woeful Titans.

And acquiring the NFL's 2014 Offensive Player of the Year DeMarco Murray cost only a new contract for the running back and a simple swap of fourth-round draft picks with Philadelphia.

The Titans confirmed the trade and tweeted out a photo of Murray signing his new deal. Murray will be introduced at a news conference Thursday.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - The prospect of leaving the Tampa Bay Buccaneers never really appealed to All-Pro running back Doug Martin.

Heading into his fifth-season, the top player at his position in free agency agreed to terms of a five-year contract worth more than $35 million, with $15 million guaranteed.

The 27-year-old two-time Pro Bowl selection has had two outstanding seasons with the Bucs in addition to two injury-filled years. In 2015, he rushed for 1,402 yards, second in the NFL, and six touchdowns. His 4.87-yard average was the highest in team history.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Defensive end Charles Johnson has agreed to take a major pay cut to return to the Carolina Panthers.

Fullback Mike Tolbert isn't going anywhere, either.

The Panthers announced Johnson, a nine-year NFL veteran, has re-signed with the team after being released last week in a salary cap move. Johnson received a one-year contract worth $3 million to return to the NFC champions, according to his agent, Drew Rosenhaus.

Tolbert, an All-Pro fullback, signed a two-year deal.


NEW YORK (AP) - Jay Wright and Kris Dunn made some Big East historyand both were humbled by it.

Wright, who led Villanova to a first-place finish in the Big East, was named co-coach of the year along with Seton Hall's Kevin Willard. It is the fifth time - and third in a row - that Wright was honored by his fellow coaches.

This award breaks a tie with Jim Boeheim of Syracuse and former Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun for the most in conference history.

Dunn is the Big East player of the year for the second straight season, making him the sixth player to be so honored. Dunn was also named defensive player of the year for a second straight season, the first guard in conference history to win both awards twice.


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - The NHL ruled that an offseason rape allegation made against Patrick Kane was unfounded in determining that the Chicago Blackhawks star forward will not face any league disciplinary action.

The decision was announced when the league issued a one-paragraph statement announcing it had completed its independent review of the allegations against Kane. The final step of the investigation occurred on Monday, when Kane met with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in New York.

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Outdoor hockey is coming to St. Louis.

The NHL announced before the St. Louis Blues' shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks that the teams will play in the Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on Monday, Jan. 2.

St. Louis will be the eighth franchise to host the Winter Classic. The game is usually held on Jan. 1, but the league is pushing it back a day as it did in 2012 to avoid going head-to-head with the NFL.

NEW YORK (AP) - The NHL announced the Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Detroit Red Wings in the Centennial Classic on New Year's Day to celebrate the league's 100th anniversary.

The outdoor game will take place at BMO Field, home of Major League Soccer's Toronto FC and the Canadian Football League's Toronto Argonauts. It's a rematch of the 2014 Winter Classic, which was held at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

TORONTO (AP) - The New York Islanders will be without starting goalie Jaroslav Halak for the next six weeks due to a lower body injury.

Halak left the Islanders' 2-1 win over Pittsburgh on Tuesday night with 4:22 remaining with an apparent groin injury. New York coach Jack Capuano announced the expected length of the Halak's absence Wednesday before the team's 4-3 shootout loss to the Maple Leafs.

Thomas Greiss, who finished the win over the Penguins to help Halak get his 200th career victory, will likely get the bulk of the starts the rest of the regular season and into the start of the playoffs.


INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) - Agnieszka Radwanska said she was ''shocked, like everyone else'' when Maria Sharapova revealed she failed a drug test in January at the Australian Open.

Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep used much the same words while discussing Sharapova's positive test for the drug Meldonium.

Halep, the defending women's champion in the Indian Wells event that started Wednesday, called it ''a tough moment for the sport, a bit disappointing,'' and Kvitova said ''I hope it will not affect the tennis world. I hope that the fans will still like tennis.''

Men's star Rafael Nadal termed it ''terrible for the world of sport in general and for our sport especially.''

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. (AP) - Qualifiers Laura Siegemund of Germany and Kurumi Nara of Japan set up matches against the Williams sisters with first-round victories in the BNP Paribas Open.

On Friday, Siegemund will face top-ranked Serena Williams, and Nara will play 10th-seeded Venus Williams.

Nara beat Teliana Pereira of Brazil 6-1, 6-2, and Siegemund topped Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 3-6, 6-4, 6-4. At No. 35, Begu was the highest-ranked player in action on the opening day with all 32 seeds receiving first-round byes.


BOCA RATON, Fla. (AP) - Alex Morgan and Samantha Mewis scored and the United States rallied to beat Germany 2-1 to win the SheBelieves Cup.

The World Cup champion Americans were 3-0-0 in the four-team event. Germany (2-1-0) finished second.