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Sports briefs for Thursday, Dec. 24, 2013

Tebow likely to end up with Jaguars next season

New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow is a “virtual certainty” to play for the Jacksonville Jaguars next season, ESPN reported Sunday.

Tebow will reportedly be traded or released by the Jets at the end of the season. ESPN, citing league sources, reported that the Jets will honor Tebow’s request to be released so he can become a free agent.

The Jaguars offered a fourth-round pick to the Denver Broncos in March and owner Shad Khan offered to pay the Broncos $3 million to get Tebow. Jacksonville was committed to Blaine Gabbert, whom it drafted in the first round last year.

Tebow, the former Florida star, ended up going to the Jets for fourth- and sixth-round draft picks. The Broncos also paid the Jets $2.53 million.

Indians sign Swisher to 4-year, $56 million deal

Free agent outfielder Nick Swisher has agreed to a four-year, $56 million contract with the Cleveland Indians, Major League Baseball’s website said on Sunday.

The deal, which is pending a physical, makes the 32-year-old Swisher the highest paid free agent ever signed by the Indians, who are trying to recover from a 94-loss season in 2012.

Swisher, who spent the past four seasons with the New York Yankees, hit .272 with 93 runs batted in and 24 home runs while playing in 148 games last season.

Celtics recall Joseph from Red Claws

BOSTON – The Boston Celtics have recalled forward Kris Joseph from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

Joseph, a 6’7 forward, has appeared one game during his most recent assignment against Erie on December 22. He has posted averages of 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.88 steals in his eight contests for Maine this season.

Vikings’ Walsh sets record with ninth 50-yards-plus FG

Minnesota Vikings kicker Blair Walsh set the NFL single-season record with his ninth field goal of more than 50 yards Sunday against the Houston Texans.

He set the mark with a career-long and team record 56-yarder in the second quarter to put Minnesota ahead 10-3.

Walsh is 9 for 9 from beyond 50 yards this season. The previous record of eight was held by Morten Anderson (1995) and Jason Hanson (2008).

Ibanez agrees to $2.75 million deal with Mariners

Free agent outfielder Raul Ibanez agreed to a one-year, $2.75 million contract with the Seattle Mariners on Saturday night, according to the New York Post.

The deal also reportedly includes up to $1.25 million in incentives.

Ibanez, 40, batted .240 with 19 home runs and 62 RBI in 130 games this year for the New York Yankees. He also hit three homers in eight playoff games.

Ibanez is expected to start in left field for the Mariners when they face right-handed starting pitchers.

Timberwolves’ Love out with eye injury

The Minnesota Timberwolves announced that star forward Kevin Love would not play Sunday’s game against the New York Knicks because of an eye injury.

Love was poked in the eye during Thursday’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He did not travel with the team to New York.

Love is averaging 19.6 points and 13.9 rebounds in 14 games this season.

Redskins’ Forbath hits record 17th straight FG to start career

Washington Redskins kicker Kai Forbath set an NFL record by connecting on the first 17 field-goal attempts of his career.

Forbath kicked 45- and 42-yard field goals in the first half of Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles to set the mark.

Garrett Hartley kicked 16 straight for the New Orleans Saints in 2008-09.

Seahawks CB Sherman claims urine sample contaminated

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman, appealing his four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, argued that his urine specimen was contaminated while being collected for testing, ESPN reported Sunday.

Sherman’s appeal was heard on Friday. He reportedly claimed that the cup containing his urine was leaking, prompting the collector to place a second cup underneath it to catch the leakage.

He also claimed that the second cup’s seal was already broken before it was used. Because of this, the chain of custody was also broken, which nullified Sherman’s positive test for Adderall.

Cycling-British paper to sue Armstrong

LONDON — The Sunday Times is suing disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong for around one million pounds ($1.62 million) over his libel action against the British newspaper in 2004.

Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005 in October, received 300,000 pounds from the Sunday Times as payment toward his legal fees after the paper raised questions about the American’s success following his recovery from testicular cancer.

“It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent. Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false,” read the letter to Armstrong’s lawyers in the Sunday Times.

The paper is demanding the return of the 300,000 pounds payment plus interest, as well as costs accrued in defending the case, which was settled in 2006.

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