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NFL-NEWS

AP source: Washington tells Alex Smith he’s being released

UNDATED (AP) — Washington has informed Alex Smith the team is releasing the veteran quarterback, according to a person with direct knowledge of the decision.

Smith’s release could happen as soon as Friday. It would clear just under $15 million in salary cap space for Washington, which is hoping to figure out its long-term QB situation and fill many holes in the aftermath of a 7-9 season, NFC East title and wild-card round loss.

The move was largely expected given the organization’s goal of finding a franchise quarterback and the financial ramifications of releasing Smith.

Smith made a triumphant return to NFL action last season, two years after breaking two bones in his right leg and requiring 17 surgeries to repair it. His battle against a life-threatening infection and long rehab process to get back on the field became a documentary and an inspirational tale when he was able to play again.

The AP Comeback Player of the Year hopes to continue playing next season at age 37.

In other NFL news:

— The NFL has hired Maia Chaka as the first Black female official in league history. She will work games during the 2021 season. Chaka enters the NFL after working in the Pac-12 and Conference USA. She was selected in 2014 for the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, which identifies college officiating talent with the goal of showing them some of the same experiences as NFL officials before determining if they have the ability to succeed as an NFL official. The NFL did not specify which officiating position she will work.

NHL-NEWS

Flames fire coach Geoff Ward, replace him with Darryl Sutter

UNDATED (AP) — The Calgary Flames have fired coach Geoff Ward and replaced him with Darryl Sutter, who will lead the team for the second time.

The team announced the moves shortly after Ward coached the Flames to a 7-3 win over the Ottawa Senators Thursday night. The Flames went 11-11-2 under Ward this season.

Ward became the interim coach when Bill Peters resigned in November 2019 following an investigation by the team into allegations of racism and assault by Peters. He was formally named the coach in September 2020. Ward went 35-26-5 in 66 games with the Flames.

In other NHL news:

— Longtime Chicago Blackhawks defenseman and three-time Stanley Cup winner Brent Seabrook says he’s unable to continue playing because of injury. The team doctor says among Seabrook’s many recent injuries, a lingering issue with the 35-year-old’s right hip is preventing him from playing hockey again. Seabrook will likely remain on long-term injured reserve for the foreseeable future because he has three years remaining on his contract. Seabrook helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He also won a gold medal playing for Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.

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