Friday’s Sports In Brief

December 31, 2022 GMT


LONDON (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo completed a lucrative move to Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr on Friday in a landmark deal for Middle Eastern soccer.

Al Nassr posted a picture on social media of the five-time Ballon d’Or holding up the team’s jersey after Ronaldo signed a deal through June 2025, with the club hailing the move as “history in the making.”

The 37-year-old Ronaldo gets a massive payday in what could be the final contract of his career. Media reports have claimed the Portugal star could be earning up to $200 million a year from the deal.

Ronaldo had been a free agent after his contract was terminated by Manchester United following an explosive TV interview in which he criticized manager Erik ten Hag and the club’s owners after having been repeatedly benched and even temporarily suspended by the club.


TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Buccaneers backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert became an unexpected hero Thursday when a helicopter crashed into Hillsborough Bay.


He and his two brothers were cruising nearby on jet skis, checking out from afar some of the sail boats at a yacht club, when they heard a “faint noise” south of Davis Island and rushed toward it. The brothers arrived at the crash to find a sinking helicopter and multiple people in need of saving.

Gabbert called 911 and was able to get two of the people out of the water and onto his jet ski, while his brothers helped a third person. A fourth occupant was helped out of the water by authorities, who Gabbert said arrived in record time.

The pilot and three passengers were on a helicopter tour of the area when they heard a loud bang and the helicopter lost power, the Tampa Police Department said in a statement. The pilot made an emergency landing into the water.

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has officially been ruled out Sunday at New England after suffering a concussion in Miami’s Christmas Day loss to Green Bay.

Miami coach Mike McDaniel said Friday that Tagovailoa is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol and is day to day as he focuses on his health.

Teddy Bridgewater will lead Miami in the critical division matchup, which will be a factor in whether the Dolphins secure their first postseason berth since 2016.


OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — Lamar Jackson will miss a fourth straight game for the Baltimore Ravens because of his knee injury.

The Ravens ruled out Jackson for their Sunday night game against Pittsburgh. The Ravens have already clinched a playoff spot, but trail Cincinnati by a game for first place in the AFC North.

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals are set to start their fourth quarterback in four games, saying David Blough will get the nod Sunday at Atlanta.

Colt McCoy was the expected starter, but has been battling concussion symptoms. Coach Kliff Kingsbury elected to go with Blough over Trace McSorley, who started a 19-16 loss to Tampa Bay on Christmas Day.

The 27-year-old Blough started five games for Detroit in 2019, losing all five. The former Purdue standout was signed a little more than two weeks ago, a few weeks after starter Kyler Murray was lost for the season due to a knee injury. The Cardinals (4-11) have lost five straight games and seven of their past eight.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A radio play-by-play announcer for No. 25 North Carolina State was suspended indefinitely after making a reference to “illegal aliens” while announcing the score of a bowl game in El Paso, Texas, during the Wolfpack’s game against Maryland in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl.

Gary Hahn was disciplined by N.C. State broadcast rights holder Learfield Communications. While Hahn was giving the score of the Sun Bowl, he said: “Down among all the illegal aliens in El Paso it’s UCLA 14 and Pittsburgh 6.”

Wolfpack Sports Properties general manager Kyle Winchester, in a statement relayed by the school, said the broadcaster was suspended “from his agreement indefinitely following comments made during today’s Duke’s Mayo Bowl radio broadcast.” N.C. State referred inquiries to Learfield’s statement.


MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Quarterback Tanner Mordecai announced on social media that he is transferring from SMU to Wisconsin.

Mordecai tweeted the news two weeks after playing in SMU’s 24-23 New Mexico Bowl loss to BYU. Mordecai threw his school-record 72nd career touchdown pass for SMU in that game.


ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks coach Nate McMillan said he has no plans to retire in the middle of the season, brushing back a report citing unidentified sources.

The Athletic reported that McMillan is considering stepping down before the season ends, but McMillan said that’s not true.

The 48-year-old McMillan is in his third season with the Hawks. They are 17-18 and in ninth place in the Eastern Conference.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) — Wofford basketball coach Jay McAuley, who has been on leave from the program for the past four weeks, has resigned.

School spokesman Brent Williamson said Wofford could not add details about why McAuley resigned.

Williamson said associate coach Dwight Perry will continue as interim head coach. McAuley was 58-41 in three-plus seasons at the school.