Just released from Raiders, Bruce Irvin heads to hometown Falcons

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) -- The Oakland Raiders released Bruce Irvin less than one week ago, and now he's confirmed his decision to head home to Atlanta. On Wednesday, Irvin, 31, signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

Neither the team nor Irvin revealed the financial details of the deal, but Irvin told ESPN he passed up more lucrative offers for the chance to play for Atlanta.

"This was a dream [come] true. The Patriots and Steelers offered more money, but being able to play for my city and my people -- just can't put a price on that," Irvin told ESPN's Vaughn McClure.

The former first-round draft pick posted a similar statement on his Twitter account.

Irvin's deal with Atlanta also reunites him with his former Seahawks defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who now leads the Falcons as head coach.

The hope, according to the Falcons' website, is that Irvin can help improve Atlanta's struggling pass rush.

"We know exactly how Bruce with fit into our team on the field, and just as importantly into our locker room," Quinn told the Falcons' website.  He added, "He will add to our rotation along the defensive line, while adding to our pass rush."

Quinn said he looks forward to "getting [Quinn] on the field as soon as possible."

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Giants name Farhan Zaidi new president of baseball operations

iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) -- The San Francisco Giants have snatched Farhan Zaidi from the Los Angeles Dodgers and named him their new president of baseball operations, the team announced on Tuesday.

"We set out to find one of the best minds in baseball and Farhan's many accomplishments and expertise exceeded our expectations," Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. "Farhan is widely viewed as one of the top executives in our industry and we are thrilled to have him lead the next chapter of Giants Baseball."

Zaidi, 41, has been with the Dodgers since 2014, serving as their general manager. Under his leadership, the team has clinched four consecutive division titles and has advanced to the National League Championship Series three times and to the World Series twice.

In his four years with Los Angeles, the team has posted the second-best winning percentage (.584) in the MLB.

"I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game," Zaidi said in a statement. "I have watched the Giants from afar and I have great respect for the organization's culture and many accomplishments."

"I am excited about this new opportunity and I'm looking forward to getting right to work," he added.

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High school football coach pulls off sweet proposal with the help of his players

iStock/Thinkstock(SUGAR HILL, Ga.) -- A high school football coach in Georgia enlisted his team to help him pop the question to his girlfriend.

Nafis Pickett is the recruiting coordinator and wide receiver coach for Lanier High School's football program.

Pickett told ABC's Good Morning America that when it came time to propose to his girlfriend of one year, Ashley Wilson, he asked some of his players to help.

"She's the love of my life," Pickett, 31, said. "She supports me in everything I do ... She's at every single football game, she knows it's my passion. She knows I'll do anything [for] those boys."

On Nov. 2, with a minute and 30 seconds left in the game, Pickett asked some of his players to give roses to Wilson.

In a video shared to Pickett's Twitter account, Wilson collects roses from the boys as Pickett gets down on one knee.

The touching moment was met with cheers and applause.

"You can tell by her face she was very shocked," Pickett said. "I'm just grateful that God was able to place her in my life. When you can find a woman like that, that's all you can ask for."

Pickett also said he is grateful to Lanier's head coach, Korey Mobbs, for welcoming him to the team.

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Report: Bryce Harper turned down 'aggressive offer' from Nationals

Dustin Bradford/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Washington Nationals made an offer to Bryce Harper late in the season in an attempt to reach a deal before he became a free agent.

At the general managers' meetings on Tuesday, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo disclosed the team's talks with Harper's agent, Scott Boras.

The team made Harper an "aggressive offer" in September that included no opt-outs and was less than the $400 million Harper was speculated to receive, according to Washington Post reports.

Harper, who turned 26 last month, is expected to receive the largest contract among the 164 free agents. He is a six-time All-Star with 184 homers, 521 RBIs and a .900 OPS.

Boras is known for extending talks with his free agents past the holiday break. His clients include Nationals pitchers Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, and former Nats outfielder Jayson Werth.

According to soruces, Boras is floating the notion that Harper could shift from outfield to first base which could open up negotiations with other teams.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 11/6/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Here are the scores from Tuesday's sports events:

Charlotte 113, Atlanta 102
Dallas 119, Washington 100
Brooklyn 104, Phoenix 82
Portland 118, Milwaukee 103

Columbus 4, Dallas 1
Toronto 3, Vegas 1
N.Y. Rangers 5, Montreal 3
Ottawa 7, New Jersey 3
SO Detroit 3, Vancouver 2
Tampa Bay 5, Edmonton 2
St. Louis 4, Carolina 1
San Jose 4, Minnesota 3
L.A. Kings 4, Anaheim 1

(1) Kansas 92, (10) Michigan St. 87
(4) Duke 118, (2) Kentucky 84
(3) Gonzaga 120, Idaho St. 79
(5) Virginia 73, Towson 42
(6) Tennessee 86, Lenoir-Rhyne 41
(7) Nevada 86, BYU 70
(8) North Carolina 78, Wofford 67
(9) Villanova 100, Morgan St. 77
(11) Auburn 101, South Alabama 58
(14) Oregon 84, Portland St. 57
(16) Syracuse 66, E. Washington 34
(17) Florida St. 81, Florida 60
(19) Michigan 63, Norfolk St. 44
(21) UCLA 96, Fort Wayne 71
(22) Clemson 100, The Citadel 80
(23) LSU 94, SE Louisiana 63
(24) Purdue 90, Fairfield 57
(25) Washington 73, W. Kentucky 55

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George Steinbrenner headlines ten-man ballot for Baseball Hall of Fame's Today's Game Era committee

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Legendary former New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner headlines a list of ten larger-than-life figures eligible for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame next month, with their selection to be overseen by the Today's Game Era committee.

Also on the list are former managers Davey Johnson, Lou Piniella and Charlie Manuel, and a group of players that includes Harold Baines, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Orel Hershiser, and Lee Smith. The 16-person committee is responsible for choosing candidates who were involved in the sport from 1998 and the present.

The committee will meet on December 9 at Major League Baseball's winter meetings in Las Vegas. Any candidate who receives 75 percent of the vote will be inducted at Cooperstown next July, alongside the players chosen from the standard ballot in January.

The Today's Game Era committee last met two years ago, choosing former MLB commissioner Bud Selig and former Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz for induction. Each of the individuals up for consideration this year were considered then, but none received more than half of the vote.

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Chicago Blackhawks fire head coach Joel Quenneville

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- The Chicago Blackhawks have parted ways with Joel Quenneville, the second-winningest head coach in the franchise’s history.

In a press release Tuesday morning, the team announced that it has relieved Quenneville of his coaching duties and named Jeremy Colliton as its next head coach. At 33 years old, Colliton is now the youngest head coach in the NHL.

"This was an extremely difficult decision, given our respect for Joel and all that he has brought to the Chicago Blackhawks organization the last 10 years,” Blackhawks President and CEO John McDonough said in a statement.

Quenneville, 60, came on board as the Blackhawks’ head coach in 2008. Since then, the team has posted a record of 452-249-96 in 797 games.

Under his leadership, Chicago has made it to the playoffs nine times and has won three Stanley Cups -- in 2010, 2013 and 2015. With a record of 76-52, Quenneville holds the best playoff record in the team’s history.

“His leadership during three Stanley Cup championships speaks for itself and there is no way to adequately express what he has meant to this organization,” McDonough said. “He will always be a significant member of the Blackhawks family.”

But last season, the Blackhawks failed to advance to the playoffs for the first time in a decade, with a record of 33-39-10, which put them in last place in the Western Conference’s Central Division.

The team’s slump appears to be continuing this year as they hold the second-worst record in the division at 6-6-3.

“[A]s we look to a future history not yet defined, we believe the change we made today, will provide the Chicago Blackhawks a critical element in achieving our goals of Championships in the future, including this season,” Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz said in a statement.

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USOC moves to take over USA Gymnastics in wake of sexual abuse scandal

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The U.S. Olympic Committee is seeking to revoke USA Gymnastics’ status as a member of the national governing body.

The move comes in the wake of the sex abuse scandal involving USA Gymnastics national team doctor Larry Nassar, who was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison earlier this year.

In a statement Monday, USOC CEO Sarah Hirshland said the decision was “not a conclusion that we have come to easily.”

“In the short-term, we have to work to ensure that USAG gymnasts have the support necessary to excel on and off the field of play. We are building plans to do just that,” Hirshland said.

“In the long-term, it will be the critically important responsibility of the recognized Gymnastics NGB, whether the existing organization or a new one, to lead gymnastics in the United States and build on the supportive community of athletes and clubs that can carry the sport forward for decades to come. We are prepared to identify and help build such an organization,” she added.

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Scoreboard roundup -- 11/5/18

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  Here are the scores from Monday's sports events:

Houston 98, Indiana 94
Orlando 102, Cleveland 100
OT Miami 120, Detroit 115
2OT Chicago 116, N.Y. Knicks 115
Oklahoma City 122, New Orleans 116
Denver 115, Boston 107
Toronto 124, Utah 111
L.A. Clippers 120, Minnesota 109
Golden State 117, Memphis 101

New Jersey 5, Pittsburgh 1
OT Boston 2, Dallas 1
SO Montreal 4, N.Y. Islanders 3
Washington 4, Edmonton 2
Philadelphia 5, Arizona 2

Tennessee 28, Dallas 14

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Floyd Mayweather steps out of retirement, sets fight for Dec. 31

Kohjiro Kinno / ESPN Images(TOKYO) -- Floyd Mayweather Jr. is stepping out of retirement again to ring in the New Year in the ring.

At a news conference in Tokyo Monday, the fight pitting Mayweather, 41, against 20-year-old Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa was announced. The match will be held on Dec. 31 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Further details about the fight, like the rules, weight limit and number of rounds, were not disclosed.

"As far as the weight class and the rules, we'll talk about that," Mayweather said at the press conference. "We'll get that situated within the next couple of weeks. “

“This particular bout is a special bout as far as we're giving the people something they've never seen before,” he added. “The world has never seen Mayweather compete live in Tokyo.”

"It's all about me going out there and displaying my skills against another skillful fighter. So we both want to go out there and display our skills and give people excitement. I just want to entertain,” Mayweather said.

“I will speak with my team and I will let my team get with Rizin and I'm pretty sure they'll come up with a great idea, but it's all about entertainment and that's what we want to do for the people,” he continued.

Mayweather stepped out of a two-year retirement last August to face the UFC’s Conor McGregor, who he knocked out in the 10th round of the boxing match.

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