NFL: Smith to coach at Tampa Bay
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith is set to take on the challenge of rebuilding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Two people familiar with Smith’s plans said the coach has reached an agreement to fill the opening created by the firing of Greg Schiano following a 4-12 finish.
The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement hasn’t been made. One of the people also said that former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier will be the Bucs’ defensive coordinator.
Bridgewater to enter draft
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has announced that he will forgo his senior season with the No. 18 Cardinals and enter the NFL draft.
Projected as a first-round selection and possibly the first QB taken this spring, Bridgewater passed for 3,970 yards and a school-record 31 touchdowns this season, including a career-best 447 yards with three TDs in Saturday’s 36-9 rout of Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
Bridgewater said in a release that the decision “was extremely difficult,” but said that attending Louisville “was one of the best decisions I could have ever made.”
The Cardinals won 27 games with Bridgewater starting, including 12 this season to tie a school record. The highlight was last year’s 33-23 Sugar Bowl upset of Florida in which the Miami native earned MVP honors.
Clowney closes career in win
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney said he will enter for the NFL draft.
Likely the top overall talent in the draft class, Clowney finished his college career Wednesday in the Gamecocks’ 34-24 victory over Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl. He had five tackles.
Lehman earns second berth
KEARNS, Utah (AP) — Emery Lehman will be heading back to high school in a few days. He’s going to need a lot of time off in February.
The 17-year-old from suburban Chicago earned a second Olympic berth with a thrilling victory over Jonathan Kuck in the 10,000 meters, the final race of the U.S. speedskating trials.
In the final women’s race, Maria Lamb earned her third trip to the Olympics with a victory in the 5,000. The 27-year-old Wisconsin native dominated the 11-skater field with a time of 7:13.31 — more than 7 seconds ahead of runner-up Petra Acker.
First stadium opens in Brazil
SAO PAULO (AP) — One of six Brazilian World Cup stadiums that had to be completed before the end of 2013 was symbolically delivered on New Year’s Eve, although it won’t be fully ready until the end of January.
Local World Cup organizers in the northeastern city of Natal turned on lights at the Arena das Dunas stadium for the first time Tuesday to symbolize the venue’s completion. Officials admit, however, that work will continue until the official inauguration on Jan. 20.
Brazil starts the year without six of the 12 World Cup stadiums ready even though FIFA had set the end of 2013 as the final deadline. Six venues already had been made ready for the Confederations Cup.
Setbacks have included financial problems, workers safety issues and construction-site accidents.