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Off the wire

by Compiled from Democrat-Gazette press services | April 8, 2021 at 2:03 a.m.


Cowboys sign Sprinkle

The Dallas Cowboys signed tight end Jeremy Sprinkle (Arkansas Razorbacks) and punter Bryan Anger on Wednesday, adding depth at both positions for offseason workouts. Sprinkle spent his first four seasons with Washington, which drafted him in the fifth round in 2017. Sprinkle had 26 of his 34 catches and 241 of his 301 career yards in 2019, when he started 13 games. He had one touchdown catch in each of his first three seasons. Anger figures to be competition for Hunter Niswander at training camp. Niswander punted during the second half of last season in place of the injured Chris Jones, the longtime Dallas punter who was released last month. The 32-year-old Anger was with Houston the past two seasons after previous stints with Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. The Jaguars drafted him in the third round in 2012. Anger's career average is 46.2 yards per punt.

Former FSU star charged

Former Florida State star player Travis Rudolph was arrested early Wednesday morning in South Florida for a shooting that left one man dead and another wounded, authorities said. Rudolph, 25, was charged with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder, according to a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office news release. Deputies responded shortly after midnight to a double shooting in the Lake Park area, officials said. One man was transported to a local hospital for treatment, while the other was found dead a short distance to the south in West Palm Beach, authorities said. Investigators identified Rudolph as a suspect in the shooting and arrested him a short time later. Officials didn't say what led to the shooting or why Rudolph was a suspect. Rudolph was Florida State's leading receiver in 2015 and 2016 and left the team early to enter the NFL Draft in 2017. He went undrafted but eventually signed with the New York Giants and then the Miami Dolphins. He also spent time with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League. The team released him Wednesday.


Ole Miss adds 7-footer

Graduate transfer center Nysier Brooks has signed to play with Mississippi. The 7-footer, whose signing was announced Tuesday, played last season at Miami (Fla.). Brooks averaged 7.4 points and 5.8 rebounds per game last season while shooting 51.7% from the field. Brooks has played in 130 college games and started 62, spending his first three seasons at Cincinnati. He started 25 games last season as a senior and was the Hurricanes' leading rebounder and shot blocker.

Vols' G declares for draft

Tennessee freshman guard Keon Johnson says he's declaring for the NBA Draft and will sign with an agent, becoming the Vols' second freshman to leave after one season. Johnson announced his decision Wednesday on social media, saying he has been thinking, praying and consulting with family and coaches since Tennessee's season ended in a first-round loss to Oregon State in the NCAA Tournament. The 6-5, 186-pound Johnson started 17 games and was the second-leading scorer, averaging 11.3 points a game. Johnson averaged 12.1 points a game in SEC play, including a career-best 27 in a win at Kentucky in February.


No. 1 player wins on clay

Top-ranked Ash Barty easily won her first clay-court match in two years, cruising past Japan's Misaki Doi 6-2, 6-1 on Wednesday in the WTA's Volvo Car Open in Charleston, S.C. Barty, fresh off a championship run at the Miami Open over the past two weeks, had little trouble moving from hard courts to clay. She won 10 of the last 11 games in her first match on the slower surface since winning the 2019 French Open. Not all the high seeds made the transition as smoothly as the top-seeded Australian. Second-seeded American Sofia Kenin fell to Lauren Davis of the United States in three sets, 4-6, 6-3, 6-4. Fifth-seeded Belinda Bencic of Switzerland lost in three sets to Spain's Paula Badosa, 6-2, 6-7 (2), 6-1. And No. 7 Elise Mertens of Belgium fell to Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 7-5, 6-3. Among the seeded players moving on was 17-year-old American Coco Gauff, who topped Russia's Liudmila Samsonova 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

Fritz advances in Sardinia

Second-seeded Taylor Fritz of the United States beat Andrej Martin 6-2, 7-6 (4) on Wednesday to reach the quarterfinals of the Sardegna Open in Cagliari, Sardinia. Fritz will next face Aljaz Bedene after the Slovenian overcame Egor Gerasimov of Belarus 6-4, 7-6 (5). Fifth-seeded Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany eased past British qualifier Liam Broady 6-4, 6-2 to book a quarterfinal against Nikoloz Basilashvili.


Mariners pitcher heads to IL

The Seattle Mariners placed left-handed starter James Paxton on the 10-day injured list Wednesday with a forearm strain in his pitching arm. Seattle also put starting left fielder Jake Fraley on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring strain he suffered while making a diving catch in Tuesday's loss to the Chicago White Sox. Manager Scott Servais said both players underwent MRIs on Wednesday morning and the team was still awaiting results. Paxton left in the second inning after just 24 pitches, grimacing after throwing a 92 mph fastball to Andrew Vaughn. It was the first start of his second stint with Seattle.


Virus sidelines 25 Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks said 25 players and coaches have tested positive in a covid-19 outbreak involving a variant of the virus. The team said Wednesday that 21 players, including three from the taxi squad, and four members of the coaching staff have tested positive, and one other player is considered a close contact. All players and staff are in quarantine, and 19 of the 22 players on Vancouver's active roster were listed on the NHL's covid protocol list Wednesday. The Canucks say the team has confirmed that a variant is involved in the outbreak, and full genome sequencing is being conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control to determine which specific variant.

Islanders deal for 2 forwards

The New York Islanders acquired veteran forwards Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac from the New Jersey Devils in a move to improve their Stanley Cup chances. The teams announced the deal Wednesday night with the Devils getting the Islanders' first-round pick this year, a conditional fourth-round choice next year and forwards A.J. Greer and Mason Jobst. The trade deadline is Monday. New Jersey will pay half of Zajac and Palmieri's salaries.


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