Broncos trade for former Saints HC Payton
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos have agreed to a deal with the New Orleans Saints that will make Sean Payton their head coach, a person with knowledge of the accord said Tuesday.
The person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams hadn’t announced the agreement, said the Broncos would send their first-round pick, No. 29 overall, in this year’s draft to the Saints along with a future second-rounder. Denver also will receive a third-round pick in the trade.
Payton remained under contract with New Orleans after stepping down from the Saints last year and working in broadcasting this season.
Payton, 59, went 152-89 in 15 seasons with the Saints and 9-8 in the playoffs. He led New Orleans to a 31-17 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl following the 2009 season. He stepped away last year when quarterback Drew Brees retired.
The Broncos, who went 5-12 in 2022 and extended their playoff drought to seven years, fired rookie coach Nathaniel Hackett on Dec. 26 after he went 4-11. Interim coach Jerry Rosburg went 1-1.
Payton’s top task will be to get quarterback Russell Wilson back to his winning ways after the 11-year pro had his worst statistical season following his blockbuster trade from Seattle for four premium draft picks and three players.
The Seahawks reached the playoffs under QB Geno Smith in their first year without Wilson, and now they own the Broncos’ No. 5 overall selection in the draft in April.
The Broncos got back into the first round by trading pass rusher Bradley Chubb at midseason to the Miami Dolphins, who sent the Broncos a first-rounder originally owned by the San Francisco 49ers.
That selection, the 29th overall pick, now belongs to the Saints.
Payton was the headliner during this year’s cycle of head coach openings. Just five teams were searching for coaches: the Broncos, Texans, Panthers, Colts and Cardinals.
The Broncos conducted an extensive search, beginning with a virtual visit with Jim Harbaugh, who decided to stay at the University of Michigan. Also considered were Dan Quinn, DeMeco Ryans, Raheem Morris, Ejiro Evero, Jim Caldwell and David Shaw. The Texans hired Ryans on Tuesday.
NFL rules didn’t allow the Broncos to speak with Payton until Jan. 17, more than three weeks after they’d fired Hackett.
Team owner and CEO Greg Penner led the search with assistance from limited partner Condoleezza Rice and general manager George Paton.
Paton led last year’s search and landed on Hackett, one of several decisions that backfired on him in 2022 as Hackett became just the fifth head coach in NFL history not to survive his first season.
Others were the $70 million contract he gave to free agent Randy Gregory, who played in six games and recorded a pair of sacks, and the $245 million contract extension he gave to Wilson before the opener.
Wilson threw a career-low 16 touchdown passes and was sacked a league-leading and career-high 55 times in 15 games for Denver. He has vowed to do everything he can to bounce back in 2023.
Wilson played well for two weeks under Rosburg, giving the team hope that his poor performances last season were an aberration and that maybe his skill set was just a bad fit in Hackett’s offense.
Penner, his wife, Carrie Walton-Penner, and her father, Rob Walton, purchased the Broncos last summer for $4.65 billion, a global record for a professional sports franchise. But the team turned out to be more of a fixer-upper than they expected.
“When we purchased this great franchise in August, this is not the season we were expecting,” Penner said after firing Hackett. “I want to personally apologize to our fans and all of Broncos country. We know that we need to be better and we will.”
Quick Reaction: Raptors 111, Bucks 118
|O. Anunoby37 MIN, 22 PTS, 4 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 8-12 FG, 4-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, -1 +/-
Not much more you could ask for from OG tonight, except maybe for some more touches down the stretch. His run of great form continued against the Bucks tonight where he played phenomenally on both ends.
|P. Siakam39 MIN, 13 PTS, 12 REB, 7 AST, 2 STL, 5-14 FG, 1-5 3FG, 2-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -12 +/-
Siakam is one of the better players in the league in terms of finding ways to impact the game when his shot isn’t falling, but boy the shot would have been nice to have tonight. He’s cooled down a bit from his unfathomably hot start earlier in the season. It’s not a cause to be concerned just yet, but as the team around him starts to hit their stride, it’ll be even sweeter as Pascal does as well.
|J. Poeltl31 MIN, 20 PTS, 6 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 10-18 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 2 BLK, 1 TO, -17 +/-
It was nice to finally have someone who can take the Brook assignment without Nurse having to implement an entire scheme to make up for the lack of size. Even so, it wasn’t the greatest performance from the big man tonight, who went a shocking -17 in his 30 minutes.
|S. Barnes13 MIN, 5 PTS, 2 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2-3 FG, 1-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -5 +/-
The X-ray came back negative thankfully, but Scottie missed the second half with a wrist injury. He was playing well up until his departure. While the loss is tough to swallow, it’s important to keep in mind that Mr. 4th Quarter had to watch it from the locker room.
|F. VanVleet38 MIN, 23 PTS, 4 REB, 11 AST, 1 STL, 9-21 FG, 3-8 3FG, 2-3 FT, 0 BLK, 4 TO, 3 +/-
Fred always plays well against the Bucks and tonight was no different. He kept the ball moving and made shot after shot for a team that desperately needed it.
|P. Achiuwa20 MIN, 5 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST, 0 STL, 2-3 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-2 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-
The numbers are underwhelming sure, but Precious looked like vintage Precious tonight. In a good way, too. Getting Precious back into a rhythm this season hasn’t been easy but he’s slowly finding his step, and was absolutely a positive on the floor tonight in a matchup where his physicality on defence was necessary.
|G. Trent Jr.33 MIN, 18 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 6-18 FG, 5-10 3FG, 1-2 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 3 +/-
This is a different Raptors team when Gary is on. He played great early on but it trailed off toward the latter half. I think he’ll continue to excel in his role off the bench, but in particular with Scottie out for the second half, Gary couldn’t deliver when they needed it tonight.
|C. Boucher16 MIN, 5 PTS, 3 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 2-4 FG, 0-1 3FG, 1-1 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -3 +/-
A pretty unremarkable stretch from Boucher all things considered. The Bucks are not a great match-up for him either and it showed.
|W. Barton13 MIN, 0 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST, 0 STL, 0-6 FG, 0-2 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-
The Barton minutes were, too put it bluntly, bad. He got an extended run in the fourth and it cost the team a lot more than it should have. The backup PG revolving door may continue until game 82 at this rate.
Outside of a questionable lineup to open up the fourth, Nurse did fine to put us in a position to win against perhaps the best team in the league.
Things We Saw
- The Raptors clearly wanted to let the Bucks shoot from 3, and it almost worked. They took 45 threes tonight and only made 16.
- OG Anunoby took one shot in the fourth quarter after playing a stellar three quarters offensively. As easy as it is to say I’d love to see him be more assertive, the Raptors also have to make an effort to find him in these situations.
UPEI coach defends team’s actions at the U Sports Men’s Hockey National Championship
The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) coach is defending the team’s actions, after the University of Alberta (U of A) team skated off the ice without handshakes at the U Sports Men’s Hockey National Championship in Charlottetown.
The crowd booed and hurled trash as the U of A’s team left the ice after defeating UPEI in the semifinals Saturday night.
During the third period, the teams got into an on-ice fight following a hard hit against U of A’s goalie.
Speaking to reporters, University of Alberta’s head coach Ian Herbers said he made the decision to not take part in the traditional handshake for safety reasons.
“Didn’t feel safe for our players. I thought something else would happen and then get into a bigger incident, and then create bigger havoc, and then be a big black eye for our league, so I didn’t want that opportunity to happen,” said Herbers. “I felt it was safer for our players and better for the league not to get into a situation like that.”
Someone in the crowd hurled a beer can at the U of A team as they left the ice.
Some players on UPEI’s team said the choice to shake hands was disrespectful.
“Honestly it’s kind of classless. Yeah it was a rough game, but it’s hockey,” said UPEI player Keleb Pearson. “Some of the plays, yeah, they shouldn’t have happened, but come on, at least you can shake our hands.”
University of Prince Edward Island’s head coach Forbes MacPherson defended his team’s behaviour on the ice.
“There was one incident that happened with 14 minutes left in the game,” said MacPherson. “Nothing else happened after.”
MacPherson said that the incident on the ice isn’t representative of the team’s behaviour.
“At no point was there multiple incidents. There was one incident,” said MacPherson. “All year there was only one team in our conference that had less penalty minutes than us.”
Sunday’s bronze medal game began with a reminder that abuse against players, staff, and officials would not be tolerated.
Sharks’ James Reimer declines to wear Pride-themed jersey
San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer won’t take part in pre-game warmups, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ community runs counter to his religious beliefs.
The Manitoba-born goalie, who got his start playing minor hockey in the small town of Arborg, said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.
“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in my life,” Reimer said.
A statement from Goaltender, James Reimer: <a href=”https://t.co/GwhWxhbmb4″>pic.twitter.com/GwhWxhbmb4</a>
Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys, with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov declining to in January. Reimer was not slated to start in Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.
Additionally, the New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.
The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.
“As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”
A statement from the San Jose Sharks: <a href=”https://t.co/nnhkcBS07V”>pic.twitter.com/nnhkcBS07V</a>
The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.
“Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said.
“Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”
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