Update on the latest in sports:
Panthers fire coach Ron Rivera
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Panthers have fired coach Ron Rivera with four games left in the NFL season.
Secondary coach Perry Fewell was been named interim head coach Tuesday. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner will transition to special assistant to the head coach, and quarterbacks coach Scott Turner will serve as offensive coordinator.
Panthers owner David Tepper says in a statement that “I believe this is the best decision for the long-term success of our team. I have a great deal of respect for Ron and the contributions he has made to this franchise and to this community.”
Tepper will begin a search for a new coach immediately.
Rivera was hired in 2011 and is the team’s winningest coach, but since losing to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 four seasons ago, the Panthers are 29-31 and have not won a playoff game. The team is 5-7 this season.
Browns release Chris Smith
CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns have released defensive end Chris Smith, whose girlfriend was killed in a roadside accident earlier this season. Smith spent the past two seasons with Cleveland. He did not play in Sunday’s loss at Pittsburgh despite the Browns being short-handed on the defensive line with Myles Garrett out due to an indefinite suspension. Smith’s girlfriend, Petara Cordero, was struck and killed by a car on Sept. 11 while standing on the side of a highway after Smith’s car had swerved and crashed.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— Coach Mike Tomlin confirms Tuesday that quarterback Devlin “Duck” Hodges will make his second straight start on Sunday when the Steelers visit the Arizona Cardinals. Tomlin named Hodges the starter over Mason Rudolph last week.
— Miami Dolphins running back Kalen Ballage has been placed on injured reserve after hurting his left leg in Sunday’s victory over Philadelphia. The second-year pro finishes the season with just 135 yards in 74 carries.
— Los Angeles Rams kick returner JoJo Natson has been placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury. The Rams also signed rookie tight end Kendall Blanton from their practice squad.
— The Tennessee Titans have claimed cornerback Tramaine Brock off waivers from the Arizona Cardinals. The Titans also waived center Hroniss Grasu.
Wizards center Bryant out with left foot stress reaction
WASHINGTON (AP) — Wizards center Thomas Bryant has a stress reaction in his right foot and will be sidelined for at least three weeks before he’s re-evaluated.
Bryant, who is averaging 13.9 points and 8.5 rebounds per game, was diagnosed Tuesday after experiencing pain in his foot following the team’s 150-125 loss at the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
In other NBA news:
— Memphis Grizzlies rookie Brandon Clarke has aggravated a sore left oblique muscle and now is week to week. Clarke was hurt in the first half of Sunday’s win at Minnesota. The Grizzlies already are without their top draft pick, Ja Morant, who is week to week because of back spasms.
Oakland reaches two-year deal with Diekman
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Left-handed reliever Jake Diekman has reached agreement on a $7.5 million, two-year contract with the Oakland Athletics.
Diekman joined the club in a trade from Kansas City before last July’s deadline. His deal includes a team option for the 2022 season. Oakland also announced Tuesday that it reached minor league agreements with right-hander Jordan Weems and outfielder Dillon Thomas and each receives an invite to spring training.
In other MLB news:
— Top free agent pitcher Gerrit Cole was set to meet with New York Yankees officials in California. They made the trip to speak with the 29-year-old right-hander. New York selected Cole with the 28th overall pick of the 2008 amateur draft, but he decided not to sign and attended UCLA. Pittsburgh took him with the first overall pick in 2011.
Devils fire Hynes, name Nasreddine interim coach
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils have fired coach John Hynes.
General manager Ray Shero announced the move Tuesday. Shero said assistant Alain Nasreddine will become the interim coach and Peter Horachek, a pro scout for the team, will join the coaching staff as an assistant.
The Devils have a 9-13-4 record and are coming off embarrassing losses to the rival New York Rangers on Saturday and a disastrous 7-1 defeat on Monday night in Buffalo. They are in last place in the Metropolitan Division.
In other NHL news:
— Matt Stajan has retired after 14 seasons in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames. The 35-year-old two-way center announced his decision through the NHL players’ union. Stajan had 146 goals, 267 assists for his career. He spent more than five seasons in Toronto and more than eight in Calgary.
Stanford says college scam mastermind approached 7 coaches
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Stanford University says a review found that the mastermind behind the college admissions bribery scandal had approached seven of its coaches about potential sports recruits over the past decade.
University President Mark Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement Tuesday that only one coach went along with the scheme proposed by college consultant Rick Singer.
Former sailing coach John Vandemoer has pleaded guilty to charges that he accepted $270,000 in contributions to the program for agreeing to recommend two prospective students for admission.
Dozens of people including Hollywood stars, coaches and others have been charged in the wide-ranging scheme.