Steelers_Tomlin_Football_43154

Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin signed a three-year contract extension on Tuesday. Tomlin is 145-78-1 in 14 years with the Steelers, winning one Super Bowl and going to another. Seth Wenig/Associated Press

FOOTBALL

Mike Tomlin wants to be part of the post-Ben Roethlisberger era in Pittsburgh, and the Steelers on Tuesday signed their longtime coach to a three-year contract extension that runs through the 2024 season.

Tomlin is 145-78-1 in 14 years with the Steelers, winning one Super Bowl and going to another. The franchise has reached the playoffs nine times during Tomlin’s tenure and captured its seventh AFC North title under him in 2020. The Steelers went 12-5 in 2020, winning their first 11 games before stumbling down the stretch, including a blowout loss to Cleveland at home in the first round of the playoffs. The team is in the midst of a mini-overhaul, particularly on offense after two assistants were let go and center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Vance McDonald retired.

Still, Roethlisberger restructured his contract to lessen his salary cap hit, a move that helped the Steelers free up enough money to persuade wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster to return on a one-year deal. The extension likely means Tomlin will stick around for whatever happens after the 39-year-old Roethlisberger retires.

The agreement deepens Pittsburgh’s extraordinary commitment to its head coaches. The Steelers have had just three men in charge since hiring Chuck Noll in 1969: Noll, Bill Cowher and Tomlin. Noll and Cowher are in the Hall of Fame. The 49-year-old Tomlin already is 21st in NFL history in career wins and is one of just two coaches to begin their career with 14 consecutive non-losing seasons.

• Veteran tackle D.J. Fluker has signed a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, fortifying an offensive line that had three rookie starters last year.

Fluker has 96 career starts with four teams, including eight for the Baltimore Ravens last year. He has also played for the Seahawks, Giants and Chargers, who made him a first-round pick in 2013. The Dolphins ranked 29th in yards per rush last year.

• The Chicago Bears re-signed veteran safety Tashaun Gipson to a one-year contract on Tuesday. Gipson signed with the Bears last year after being released by Houston and started all 16 games, making 64 tackles and two interceptions. He has 25 interceptions over nine seasons with Cleveland (2012-15), Jacksonville (2016-18), Houston (2019) and Chicago.

HORSE RACING

BAFFERT SUSPENSION DROPPED: Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has successfully appealed his 15-day suspension to the Arkansas Racing Commission, allowing the six-time Kentucky Derby winner to resume preparations to run Medina Spirit in next weekend’s Derby.

Baffert was fined and suspended last year by Arkansas stewards for a pair of drug positives after Charlatan and Gamine tested positive for the painkiller lidocaine following their wins at Oaklawn Park on May 2. Charlatan won a division of the $1 million Arkansas Derby, while Gamine won another race that day. Both horses were disqualified and stripped of their purse money.

After 13 1/2 hours of testimony over two days, the commission voted unanimously Tuesday to uphold the stewards’ ruling but with modifications. Those changes involve reducing the fines to $5,000 per horse, restoring the horses’ placings and purse money, and dropping Baffert’s suspension. After the vote, an ARC member noted that there were problems on both sides of the case.

Baffert was patted on the back by his attorneys and appeared relieved during the administrative hearing that was shown live. He earlier testified in his own defense for about 30 minutes.

GOLF

PGA: Seamus Power of Ireland has withdrawn from the Zurich Classic of New Orleans after testing positive for the coronavirus. Power was replaced in the PGA Tour’s only official team event by Zack Sucher, who will partner with David Hearn of Canada.

Power is the 30th player to test positive, either at a tournament or testing at home in advance of traveling, since the tour returned the second week in June. This was the first positive test on the PGA Tour since Gary Woodland a month ago at the Honda Classic.

SOCCER

TOTTENHAM: Ryan Mason will lead Tottenham into the English League Cup final against Manchester City on Sunday as the youngest manager in the club’s history after being installed as the replacement for the fired Jose Mourinho until the end of the season.

The 29-year-old Mason retired from playing in 2018 on medical advice after failing to fully recover from a fractured skull following a clash of heads during a Premier League game the previous year. He has been working with Tottenham’s academy’s players but was given the top job on Tuesday for the remaining month of the season following Mourinho’s departure on Monday.

Mason’s first game in charge will be against Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday, before the cup final against City at Wembley Stadium on Sunday. He will be the first manager under the age of 30 take charge of a team for a Premier League game.

Tottenham is in seventh place in the league, five points behind fourth-place West Ham in the race for Champions League qualification.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: Jennifer Rizzotti, who was the point guard on UConn’s first national championship team before playing professionally and then becoming a college basketball coach, has been named president of the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun.

Rizzotti, who was part of two WNBA championships with the Houston Comets, will be responsible for the overall business operations and marketing strategies for the team, the Sun announced Tuesday.

“This league employs the very best women’s basketball players in the world. But more importantly, the WNBA is an inclusive and diverse community of women that inspire, lead and in their own words, ‘provide a voice for the voiceless,’” Rizzotti said in a statement. “I am proud to have won two championships as a player in the WNBA and will work tirelessly to help bring a championship to the Sun franchise.”

Rizzotti was fired in March as head coach at George Washington after a 9-14 season and just one trip to the NCAA Tournament in five years at the school. Before that, she spent 17 seasons at the University of Hartford, winning coach of the year honors in the America East in 2006, 2007 and 2010. She is currently an assistant coach on both the USA Olympic team and the USA AmeriCup Team.

TENNIS

PORSCHE GRAND PRIX: Petra Kvitova opened her delayed title defense with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Australian Open finalist Jennifer Brady at Stuttgart, Germany.

Kvitova, who won the previous edition of the tournament in 2019, saved all three break points she faced against Brady to book a second-round meeting with Maria Sakkari.

The clay court tournament was called off in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.


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