In addition to Monday Night’s game between the Pats and the Chiefs, here is a look at the other big sports stories you’ll be talking about today.
Allen let go
The Oakland Raiders will have a new head coach.
A person with knowledge of the move has confirmed to The Associated Press that Dennis Allen is out after just two-plus seasons and an 8-28 record.
The firing was first reported by Fox Sports.
The decision comes one day after the team lost its 10th straight contest dating to last season, 38-14 to Miami in London. The Raiders went 4-12 in each of their two full seasons under Allen and haven’t had a winning season since capturing the 2002 AFC championship.
Allen was the first coach hired by the Raiders following the death of owner Al Davis.
Bills bench Manuel
The Buffalo Bills have benched starting quarterback EJ Manuel. Coach Doug Marrone has announced that Kyle Orton will start Sunday’s game against the Detroit Lions. The move comes after Manuel had another sub-standard performance in the 2-2 Bills loss to Houston Sunday. Orton was signed in the offseason as a veteran back-up to Manuel who was Buffalo’s first-round draft pick in 2013 and had started 14 games over the past two seasons.
Belcher suffered from brain disease
An autopsy performed one year after Jovan Belcher fatally shot his 22-year-old girlfriend and killed himself found the Kansas City linebacker had signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. That’s the degenerative brain disease found in athletes and others with a history of repetitive brain injuries.
Belcher’s mother, Cheryl Shepherd, filed a lawsuit in December alleging her son was subjected to “repetitive head trauma,” and that the Chiefs failed to provide adequate medical care before he killed his girlfriend and then committed suicide.
The attorneys for the family released the details of the autopsy.
Astros go with Hinch as Gardenhire is let go by Twins
Ron Gardenhire was named American League Manager of the Year the same season A.J. Hinch was fired as skipper of the Arizona Diamondbacks. On Monday, Hinch got another major league managerial job and Gardenhire got the boot.
The Astros have hired Hinch, less than a month after firing manager Bo Porter. Hinch previously managed the Diamondbacks, recording an 89-123 record from May 2009 until July 2010. The former major league catcher most recently was the vice president of professional scouting for San Diego from 2010 until August.
The Astros introduced Hinch hours after the Twins fired Gardenhire following 13 seasons and six AL Central division titles. The Twins finished first in their first three seasons under Gardenhire and captured back-to-back division crowns in 2009 and 2010. Gardenhire was the 2010 AL manager of the year, but the team has averaged 96 losses the last four seasons.
Ready for the second season
Baseball’s post season gets underway Tuesday night in Kansas City as the Royals play host to the Athletics in the American League Wild Card game. The winner of the game advances to the AL divisional playoffs against the Los Angeles Angels.
The pitching for Tuesday’s game is set with Scott Shields taking the mound for the Royals against Oakland’s Jon Lester.
On Wednesday, the Giants send 18-game winner Madison Bumgarner to the hill against Edinson Volquez and the Pirates in Pittsburgh. The winner gets the Washington Nationals, who host the first two games of their National League Division Series.
Later this week, the Los Angeles Dodgers will take on St. Louis in an NL division series and Baltimore will play Detroit in an AL division series.
Rodriguez needs to prove he can play
Yankees manager Joe Girardi says returning third baseman Alex Rodriguez will have to show in spring training that he can still play. Rodriguez served a season-long suspension for violations of baseball’s drug agreement and labor contract. The three-time AL MVP turns 40 on July 27.
Girardi said he expects Rodriguez will be a starter at third but cautioned the team needs him to prove it.
Rodriguez is signed for three additional seasons for a total of $61 million.
New QB for LSU
Freshman quarterback Brandon Harris is slated to make his first start when 15th-ranked LSU plays its first SEC road game of the season at No. 5 Auburn this Saturday. Tigers coach Les Miles announced the change in the pecking order after watching Harris lead touchdown drives on nine of his last 10 series in a backup role. Former starter Anthony Jennings had arguably his worst outings of the season over the weekend before Harris entered the game and led seven straight touchdown drives.
Four players suspended for weekend game
Kentucky has suspended four freshmen for Saturday night’s SEC game against South Carolina for their involvement with air pistol shots being fired near a residence hall on campus. Running back and Wildcats all-purpose yards leader Stanley “Boom” Williams was suspended, along with backup quarterback Drew Barker, wide receiver Dorian Baker, and defensive end Tymere Dubose. Coach Mark Stoops and athletic director Mitch Barnhart issued a statement Monday night saying the players could face additional internal discipline.
No one was injured Sunday night, but police issued an alert advising people to stay indoors on the Lexington campus as they investigated.
Stewart speaks out
Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart says he never considered retiring from racing following the death of Kevin Ward Jr. The three-time NASCAR champion talked with reporters Monday in his first news conference since a grand jury decided last week not to charge him in Ward’s death. The 20-year-old Ward was struck and killed by Stewart’s car during a sprint car race in upstate New York on Aug. 9.
Stewart discussed the accident openly and said if the parents of Ward wanted to hear from him he’d be glad to meet with them.
Hornets react to investigation
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte Hornets general manager Rich Cho says the team is waiting for the NBA to complete its investigation into the arrest of Jeffery Taylor before it decides whether to reinstate the forward.
The Hornets announced Friday that the 25-year-old wouldn’t be allowed to participate in any team-related activities one day after East Lansing Police in Michigan charged him with one count of domestic assault, one count of assault and one count of malicious destruction of property following an altercation at a hotel.
Suns ink twins
The Phoenix Suns have signed twin forwards Markieff and Marcus Morris to four-year contract extensions after both had career years in 2013-14. Markieff set career highs last season with 13.8 points per game, 6.0 rebounds and 48.6 shooting in 81 games. Marcus also had a career year, with 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 44.2-percent shooting.
The twins played together at Kansas and were reunited in the NBA in 2013, when the Suns acquired Marcus in a trade with Houston.
Former Dodgers outfielder dies
Former Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder George “Shotgun” Shuba has died at age 89.
Shuba played eight seasons with the Dodgers and helped them win the 1955 World Series, but he is best known for offering a congratulatory handshake to minor league teammate Jackie Robinson. Shuba congratulated his teammate on the Montreal Royals near home plate after Robinson hit a three-run homer on April 18, 1946. The moment shared by a smiling Robinson and Shuba was captured in a famous photograph and dubbed “A Handshake for the Century.”
Shuba reportedly hung a copy in his living room.
Shuba had a .259 career batting average with 24 homers and 125 RBIs in 355 games as a utility player from 1948-55.