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Sports briefs: Titans agree to four-year deal with top pick, former Tech standout Caleb Farley
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Sports briefs

Sports briefs: Titans agree to four-year deal with top pick, former Tech standout Caleb Farley

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NFL

First-round pick Farley, Titans agree to deal

The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms on a four-year contract with first-round selection Caleb Farley and four of his fellow draft picks just before their three-day rookie minicamp.

Farley, a cornerback, was the No. 22 pick overall out of Virginia Tech. The Titans also agreed with right tackle Dillon Radunz of North Dakota State, their second-round selection; fourth-round wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick of Louisville, sixth-rounders wide receiver Racey McMath of LSU and safety Brady Breeze.

The Titans also signed several undrafted free agents, including Virginia Tech linebacker Justus Reed.

Packers sign quarterback Bortles

The Green Bay Packers signed Blake Bortles as they attempt to add quarterback depth while MVP Aaron Rodgers’ future with the team remains uncertain.

Rodgers, who has reportedly expressed his desire not to return to Green Bay, had been one of two quarterbacks on the roster along with 2020 first-round draft pick Jordan Love.

Bortles, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 draft, will be reunited with Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Bortles, 29, started 73 games for Jacksonville from 2014 to 2018. Hackett was Jacksonville’s quarterbacks coach from 2015 to 2016 and offensive coordinator from 2016 to 2018.

Bortles spent portions of the 2020 season with the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Rams but didn’t appear in a game for either team. He played three games in a reserve role for the Rams in 2019.

AUTO RACING

TMS president Gossage to retire

Eddie Gossage, an old-school promoter mentored by NASCAR’s pioneers, will retire after 25 years as president of Texas Motor Speedway following next month’s NASCAR All-Star Race.

Gossage, 62 and the face of TMS since its opening, has spent 32 years working for Speedway Motorsports and learned the art of selling tickets, packing grandstands and turning races into spectacles from company founder Bruton Smith and longtime executive Humpy Wheeler.

Gossage was named general manager of TMS in 1995, and added the title of president in 2004. The track opened in 1996.

NBA

Nets’ Harden returns from injury

James Harden returned to action for the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night after missing more than a month with a strained right hamstring.

Harden came off the bench with 8:06 remaining in the first half of the Nets’ 128-116 victory over the San Antonio Spurs. It was the All-Star guard’s first game since April 5, when he aggravated the injury in a game against New York.

Harden missed 18 straight games and 20 of the past 21. The Nets were 12-9 during that span.

Brooklyn has had its superstar trio of Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving on the court together for only seven games. That didn’t change Wednesday, as Irving was ruled out after having to leave a victory in Chicago on Tuesday with a facial contusion.

TENNIS

Nadal outlasts Shapovalov in Rome

When it comes to long, grueling clay-court battles, nobody is better than Rafael Nadal.

Nearing his 35th birthday, he showed he’s still got the stamina to withstand much younger challengers in a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) comeback win over 22-year-old Denis Shapovalov in Rome that secured him a spot in the Italian Open quarterfinals.

Nadal roared back from 3-0 down in the second set and then saved two match points on his serve at 6-5 in the third.

Nadal, a nine-time champion of this event who will be aiming for a record-extending 14th French Open title next month, next will face Alexander Zverev, the 2017 Rome champion and the winner of last week’s Madrid Open. Zverev also won in a comeback, beating Kei Nishikori 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Also advancing were top-ranked Novak Djokovic and 6-foot-11 American Reilly Opelka.

On the women’s side, top-ranked Ash Barty beat Veronika Kudermetova 6-3, 6-3 and next will face Coco Gauff, who defeated Aryna Sabalenka 7-5, 6-3.

COLLEGE ADMINISTRATION

Pac-12 picks Kliavkoff as commissioner

The Pac-12 hired George Kliavkoff to be the conference’s next commissioner, replacing Larry Scott with another college sports outsider and charging him with rebuilding the league’s football brand.

Kliavkoff has been the president of MGM Sports & Entertainment in Las Vegas since 2018. Kliavkoff has previously worked with Major League Baseball Advance Media and Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and was also the chief digital officer with NBC Universal Cable.

Kliavkoff takes over as commissioner with Pac-12 football struggling to assert itself nationally. The conference has only placed a team in the College Football Playoff twice since the CFP began in 2014.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Anderson, St. John’s reach six-year extension

St. John’s has given Big East Conference coach of the year Mike Anderson a six-year contract extension through the 2026-27 season.

The Red Storm posted a 16-11 record this past season, including a 10-9 mark in the conference after being picked ninth in the preseason coaches poll. It marked the first time St. John’s finished with a league record of .500 or better since 2014-15.

Anderson, who won his 400th career game this past season, is one of only three active Division I coaches with at least 15 years of experience to have never had a sub-.500 season. Entering his 20th year as a head coach, Anderson owns a 402-226 career record.

— The Associated Press

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