New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees gifts commemorative footballs to 174 former teammates, coaches, and others

Photo by Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images(NEW ORLEANS) -- After he set the NFL career passing yards record earlier this season, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees set out to do something special to recognize all of the players who played a part in the record.

So, he surprised nearly 200 former teammates, coaches and mentors with commemorative footballs this week.

"I wanted to do something for everybody," Brees said. "You just start thinking about all the guys that had a hand in that."

Among the big names who received a football from Brees, former San Diego Chargers teammate LaDainian Tomlinson, ex-Saints wide receiver Brandin Cooks (now playing for the Los Angeles Chargers), and Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner (Turner's Panthers are the Saints' next opponent).

Brees credited Saints general manager Mickey Loomis, and members of the communications staff with putting together a list of teammates and tracking down addresses and other information. The 39-year-old initially wanted to honor every player who had ever caught a pass from him, but said he then thought about every offensive lineman who blocked for him and every coach he has had.

"It was actually a long list," Brees said. "But I just wanted to do that for them."

One other person who received the gift was Dr. James Andrews, who performed surgery on Brees' shoulder in 2006.

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US Olympic Committee chooses Salt Lake City for potential 2030 Winter Games bid

4kodiak/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The United States Olympic Committee has selected Salt Lake City to represent the U.S. in a potential bid for the 2030 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Salt Lake City and Denver were the two finalists to represent the U.S. after Reno/Tahoe, Nevada dropped out of the running. In a press release, USOC Chair Larry Probst said Salt Lake City was eventually chosen because "we believe Salt Lake City will give us the best chance to return the winter Games to the U.S."

The Utah capital hosted the 2002 Winter Games.

The International Olympic Committee will choose the host city for the 2030 Games. It is not yet clear when the IOC will make that decision.

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Philadelphia Eagles' Carson Wentz likely out remainder of season with stress fracture in back

Photo by Allen Kee / ESPN Images(PHILADELPHIA) -- Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is likely done for the remainder of the season, head coach Doug Pederson admitted Friday, after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back.

Wentz saw his rookie season end early last year, following a torn ACL. Backup quarterback Nick Foles took over for Wentz last year and led Philadelphia to a Super Bowl win. Foles is expected to take the reins in Wentz' absence.

Pederson says Wentz will travel with the team this weekend andis listed as doubtful to play.

The fracture in Wentz' back was discovered on a scan earlier this week, after the second-year quarterback was limited at practice due to back soreness. Pederson insists there will be no long-term issues for Wentz following his recovery, which should take about three weeks and will not require surgery.

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Suns owner Robert Sarver affirms commitment to keep team in Phoenix

stevanovicigor/iStock(PHOENIX) -- One day after reports that he had threatened to move the the team elsewhere, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver said Thursday he is fully committed to keeping the team in place.

"I am 100 percent all-in in keeping this team right here where we stand," Sarver said in a video message posted to Twitter. "And I want to make sure that message comes across crystal clear to every one of you."

Earlier in the week, the Phoenix City Council delayed a vote on more than $200 million in renovations to the team's stadium. The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday that Sarver had recently contacted a member of the council threatening to move the team to Seattle or Las Vegas if the renovation deal wasn't approved.

On Friday, Suns president Jason Rowley released a statement that indicated the team has had no discussions with any other city about potential relocation.

Sarver has said he is looking to build a "first-class" practice facility in addition to improving the arena. The vote on those renovations will now be held on January 23.

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Fired Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin offering input to Alabama coaching staff

33ft/iStock(TUSCALOOSA, Ala.) -- Former University of Maryland football coach D.J. Durkin has been working with the University of Alabama coaching staff this week, ahead of the Crimson Tide's College Football Playoff game.

Durkin was fired by the University of Maryland in October after two investigations into the program -- focusing on the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair and the culture Durkin had created.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban has invited a number of former head coaches to spend time with the Alabama staff in recent years, including Hugh Freeze, Chip Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Butch Jones, Steve Sarkisian and Rich Rodriguez. Freeze, Kelly and Kiffin all eventually received head coaching jobs elsewhere after working with Alabama, while Jones, Kiffin and Sarkisian each ended up on the Alabama coaching staff.

Sources told ESPN that Durkin has not been hired in any capacity, and was solely offering input ahead of Alabama's game against Oklahoma on December 29. ESPN also says Durkin has met with multiple NFL teams since his firing to "watch tape and offer input."

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Sophia Floersch, after terrible crash, looks forward to next F3 season

ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Sophia Floersch can't wait to get back on the track.

In an exclusive interview with ABC News' Good Morning America, the German Formula Three driver recounted the moment she lost control of her car during the Macau Grand Prix in November, sending it flying over the barriers and into the photographer's box at 170 mph.

"I wasn't really afraid because, for me, it was a normal crash," Floersch said. "When I saw the video, I was quite shocked as well, because it looks horrible and, all the flying parts, it feels different in the car."

Days shy of her 18th birthday, Floersch lost control of her car as she was trying to pass Jehan Daruvala. She spun out of control and catapulted into Lisboa Bend, smashing into Sho Tsuboi's car before flying into the photographer's pit.

Following the crash, doctors spent 11 hours surgically repairing Floersch's fractured spine and removing a bone splinter jammed dangerously close to her spinal cord, threatening paralysis.

Floersch admits the crash was the worst she's ever had, but she said she's not fazed by it. Actually, she added, it motivates her.

"It doesn't scare me at all because every race driver knows the risk," she said. "I have one big crash now and nothing really bad happened. So it doesn't scare me, no."

Floersch started her racing career karting when she was 4 years old, switching to race cars at 14. She admits she wasn't happy the first time she tried it.

"I was crying," she added. But she grew to love it and learned to push back and fight in a male-dominated sport.

"Most of the people think it's a man's world and a man's sport -- for sure, it's still a man's world, but it's not a man's sport," Floersch said, sending a message to aspiring female race drivers to "keep doing what you love and believe in yourself, because as a girl it's not always easiest, especially in karting. You need to learn to be self-confident and not believe in what everyone is saying."

Floersch already has secured her spot in the next F3 season. Depending on how quickly her back and neck bones heal, she hopes to begin training in February.

"It was never a thought to not continue racing," Floersch said. "I want to drive again."

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Scoreboard roundup -- 12/13/18

iStock(NEW YORK) -- Here are the scores from Thursday’s sports events:

Houston 126, L.A. Lakers 111
San Antonio 125, L.A. Clippers 87
Orlando 97, Chicago 91
Phoenix 99, Dallas 89

Buffalo 3, Arizona 1
Columbus 4, L.A. Kings 1
Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 1
Montreal 6, Carolina 4
OT Nashville 4, Vancouver 3
OT Winnipeg 5, Edmonton 4
Minnesota 5, Florida 1
San Jose 3, Dallas 2

L.A. Chargers 29, Kansas City 28

(16) Wisconsin 101, Savannah St. 60

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Former tennis pro Justin Gimelstob facing assault charges

zorandimzr/iStock(LOS ANGELES) -- Tennis broadcaster and former tennis pro Justin Gimelstob has been charged with assaulting a man he knew during a Halloween night altercation. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced the charges Thursday morning.
Gimelstob, 41, is accused of attacking his former friend, Randall Kaplan, while trick-or-treating in West L.A. with his wife and son, the New York Times reports. He now faces one count of battery with serious bodily injury.

While Gimelstob confirmed there was a skirmish, he has pleaded not guilty and is due back in court Jan. 31.

The former tennis pro, who currently coaches top-ranked John Isner and sits on the board for the Association of Tennis Professionals, could face up to four years in prison if convicted.

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Jose Canseco expresses interest in being Trump's next chief of staff

Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images for Cheryl J. Kagan PR(NEW YORK) -- Former MLB slugger Jose Canseco is throwing his hat in the ring for President Donald Trump's next chief of staff.

Canseco, 54, tweeted to Trump Wednesday evening, saying he needs a "bash brother for Chief if (sic) Staff."

The Cuban-born baseball player said he has a "secret reorg plan already" and directed the president to send him a direct message.

Last Saturday, Trump announced that his chief of staff, John Kelly, will leave at the end of the year. The president is now scrambling to fill the top White House position after Kelly's expected replacement announced he would not take the job.

Back in October, Canseco also expressed interest in serving in Trump's administration. Following the news that Nikki Haley was stepping down as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the slugger said he was "interested" in the job.

In his 17 seasons in the MLB, Canseco played for seven teams and hit 462 home runs. He was named the American League MVP in 1988 while playing with the Oakland Athletics.

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Reports: Relief pitcher Jeurys Familia returning to Mets

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(NEW YORK) -- It appears relief pitcher Jeurys Familia is heading back home to Queens.

Multiple reports say the Dominican right-hander has agreed to a three-year deal with the New York Mets. The deal, which is pending a physical, is for $30 million.

Familia, 29, joined the Mets as a non-drafted free agent in 2007 when he was 17. He made his MLB debut with New York five years later.

Familia remained with the Mets until this past July, when he was traded to the Oakland Athletics.

Last season, he had a 3.13 ERA with 83 strike outs and 18 saves.

So far in his career, Familia has a 2.73 ERA with 369 strike outs and 124 saves.

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