SPORTS digest

Texans GM vows to return after leave


Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith provided more details on his future with the team on Monday, a day after announcing that he was taking an extended leave of absence to be with his wife as she battles breast cancer.

Smith said that he will return to the team, but that he expects to be away for at least a year.

“This is not a referendum on my tenure, because my tenure is not over,” Smith said. “This is a comma, not a period.”

It’s unclear if he’ll step back into his role as general manager when he does return.

“I am going to maintain the executive vice president title,” Smith said. “If we hire a GM and have a guy to run the personnel then we’ll do that. It’s a fluid process.

“But again, I am absolutely intent on coming back. I will maintain at least that executive vice president title and if (owner) Mr. (Bob) McNair feels like he wants to hire a general manager then he will hire a general manager and that will be just fine.”

Bills’ McCoy gets good news about ankle


Buffalo Bills coach Sean McDermott says medical test results on LeSean McCoy’s injured right ankle were negative, giving the running back a chance to play against Jacksonville in the AFC wild-card game on Sunday.

The victory combined with Baltimore’s 31-27 loss to Cincinnati clinched Buffalo (9-7) its first playoff berth since the 1999 season, and ended the longest active postseason drought in North America’s four major professional sports.

McCoy was hurt and carted off the field after a 3-yard run on Buffalo’s first possession of the third quarter.

The ninth-year player leads Buffalo with 1,138 yards rushing, 59 catches and eight touchdowns, including two receiving.

Mourinho, Scholes have verbal joust


Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has hit back at club great Paul Scholes for his criticism of midfielder Paul Pogba.

While working as a TV pundit, Scholes said after United’s 0-0 draw with Southampton on Saturday that Pogba was “just strolling through games” and “doesn’t look fit.”

On Scholes, Mourinho said: “If Paul one day decides to be a manager, I wish that he can be 25 percent as successful as myself. Fifty percent of that is 12.5 silverware, 25 percent is around 6. If he’s 25 percent, he’ll be quite happy.”

Gionta named captain of US hockey team

Veteran winger Brian Gionta will serve as captain of the U.S. Olympic hockey team at the Winter Olympics, which will be the first without NHL players since 1994.

USA Hockey announced its roster Monday at the Winter Classic in New York. It includes college players Troy Terry from Denver, Jordan Greenway from Boston University, Will Borgen from St. Cloud State and Ryan Donato from Harvard.

Father and son kicked out of soccer game


A father and his son received red cards within moments of each other in a fourth-tier match in England on Monday.

Forest Green player Charlie Cooper was sent off for a bad foul in the 39th minute of his team’s game against Wycombe Wanderers. His father, Mark, who is Forest Green’s manager, protested the decision and was promptly sent to the stands.

Forest Green was losing 1-0 at that stage.

Wycombe won the League Two match 2-1.

Staff/wire report

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