NFL father and former 49er Clay Matthews Sr. dies at 88

Former San Francisco 49ers lineman Clay Matthews Sr., who was the patriarch of a famous football family, has died. He was 88.

The 49ers said Matthews died Thursday. He had been dealing with a long illness.

Matthews was a two-way player for San Francisco for four seasons in the 1950s. He played in 45 games and missed two seasons while serving in the Korean War.

His impact on the NFL is still felt today. His two oldest sons, Bruce and Clay Jr., each spent 19 seasons in the league. Bruce received seven first-team All-Pro selections and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Clay Jr. was a four-time Pro Bowler for Cleveland.

Five of Matthews’ grandsons have also played in the NFL, including Green Bay linebacker Clay Matthews III and Atlanta offensive lineman Jake Matthews.

The Chicago Bears signed quarterback Mark Sanchez to a one-year contract, the team announced Friday.

Sanchez is expected to back up Mike Glennon, who was signed one day after the Bears cut longtime quarterback Jay Cutler earlier this month.

Sanchez played in two games last season with the Cowboys.

The Panthers signed veteran running back Jonathan Stewart to a one-year extension, through the 2018 season.


U.S. WOMEN’S TEAM: Two players told The Associated Press on Friday they had declined an inquiry from USA Hockey to replace members of the women’s national team at the upcoming world championships.

Former Maine Black Bear Brittany Ott, a goaltender for the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League, and Annie Pankowski, a junior forward at the University of Wisconsin, said USA Hockey reached out to them to gauge their interest in filling in at the women’s world championship that begins next week in Plymouth, Michigan. The players said the email from USA Hockey was not an invitation but rather an inquiry about their availability and they said no.

The U.S. women’s national team has said it plans to boycott the world championships over a wage dispute with USA Hockey.

On Friday, unions representing NHL and Major League Baseball players posted messages in support of the players.


MIAMI OPEN: Rafael Nadal won his opening match at Key Biscayne, holding every service game to beat Dudi Sela 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal, playing in the event for the 13th time, has never won the tournament. He is a four-time runner-up.

No. 2-seeded Kei Nishikori and No. 3 Milos Raonic also advanced, while No. 7 Marin Cilic lost to Jeremy Chardy.

In women’s play, Elena Vesnina made a quick exit only five days after winning at Indian Wells for the biggest title of her career. Seeded 13th, Vesnina lost to wild card Ajla Tomljanovic 3-6, 6-4, 7-5.


NASCAR CUP: Kyle Larson turned a lap in 38.493 seconds to claim the pole for the race Sunday at Fontana.

Denny Hamlin clocked in at 38.507 seconds to earn the fifth front-row start of his career at Auto Club Speedway. Brad Keselowski was third, and Martin Truex Jr. was fourth.

Jimmie Johnson will start 37th after deciding not to participate in qualifying. The defending Fontana champion didn’t have time to prepare his backup car after crashing in practice.

– Staff and news service report