Texans' Mallett stung by losing starting QB job to Hoyer
Ryan Mallett was still seething on Tuesday, a day after Brian Hoyer beat him out to earn Houston's starting quarterback job.
"Am I disappointed? Yeah. Angry? Little bit," Mallett said. "Thought I did enough to deserve the job. But it was not seen that way so I'll do what's best for the team."
Coach Bill O'Brien, who announced the decision on Monday, said he wouldn't expect Mallett to be happy about losing the job.
"When you name a starter and the other guy happens to be the No. 2 guy, that guy's not going to be happy. Especially if he's a competitor," O'Brien said. "That's what you want. You don't want a guy jumping around doing back-springs when he gets named the backup."
The Texans played four quarterbacks last season because of injuries. Mallett, who started two games last season before a season-ending pectoral injury, thinks he'll get a chance to play.
"I'm just going to wait until my turn gets called," Mallett said. "At some point it's going to happen this year."
Mallett had just finished practice when he spoke on Tuesday. His hulking 6-foot-6 frame looked tense as he grabbed the sides of the podium as he spoke.
"I thought I had a pretty good camp," he said. "I thought I was consistent in my completion percentage every day. Didn't turn the ball over. Three incompletions so far in the preseason so I thought I was playing all right."
Aside from his two starts last season, Mallett has been a backup his entire career, spending three years behind Tom Brady in New England before joining the Texans last August. He felt much more comfortable in this offense this season after having an entire year to work on it and lamented being relegated to second string once again.
"I wanted this job more than anything," he said.
Mallett probably won't get over the sting of this decision for a while, if he ever does. So for now all he can do is stay focused and continue to prepare in case he gets a chance to play.
"I don't know what else to do but work my (butt) off so that's what I'm going to keep doing," he said.
■ Michael Vick needed a job. The Pittsburgh Steelers needed a backup quarterback. One solid workout solved both problems. The Steelers signed the four-time Pro Bowler to a one-year deal, hopeful there's enough game left in the 35-year-old's still dangerous legs to provide the defending AFC North champions some insurance should something happen to Ben Roethlisberger.
"There's not a throw on the field he can't make from an arm strength standpoint," Pittsburgh Coach Mike Tomlin said. "He's a very experienced guy at what he does at this point in his career and the mobility is still unique even at 35."
Vick spent 2014 with the New York Jets, engineering an upset over the Steelers on Nov. 9 by throwing for two TDs in a 20-13 victory, his lone triumph during an otherwise forgettable season.
■ Not long after praising his young offensive line Tuesday, Broncos Coach Gary Kubiak welcomed two-time Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis to Denver. The 11th-year pro agreed to a one-year deal that could be worth up to $4 million. Mathis made the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons and has allowed just 51/2 sacks since 2011, the fewest among starting NFL guards in that span.
■ Dallas cornerback Orlando Scandrick left practice at training camp with what he told his secondary coach he thought was a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. Scandrick went down working against rookie receiver Lucky Whitehead on Tuesday and was carted off the field. The Cowboys were awaiting results of an MRI. Secondary coach Jerome Henderson said Scandrick told him, "It's my ACL. I know it. It's gone."
Minor league baseball
Ex-Cat Littrell extends scoreless streak to 23
Former University of Kentucky pitcher Corey Littrell, now a St. Louis Cardinals prospect, hasn't surrendered a run in his last 23 innings. Littrell, who also starred in high school at Louisville Trinity, pitched eight shutout innings in Class A Advanced Palm Beach's 5-0 win at Bradenton on Tuesday night.
Littrell improved to 9-8 with a 2.62 ERA. He gave up four hits and one walk in the win against Bradenton. He had five strikeouts.
He didn't give up a run in either of his previous two starts, which included eight innings on Aug. 13 and seven more on Aug. 19.
This is Littrell's third year in the minor leagues. The Boston Red Sox draft pick was 0-3 with a 1.74 ERA for Class A Short Season Lowell in 2013. He combined to go 5-7 with a 3.83 ERA at Class A Advanced Salem and Palm Beach last season.
■ Lexington Legends starter Matt Tenuta and relievers Eric Stout and Jake Newberry combined to shut out Rome 3-0 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. Tenuta (2-6) had four strikeouts in six innings. First baseman Mike Hill was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
Minnesota gives Pitino a 2-year extension
Minnesota finalized a two-year contract extension for Coach Richard Pitino through the 2020-21 season, including a $400,000 raise. Pitino, who finished his second year as coach of the Gophers, will now make $1.6 million annually. His $500,000 base salary stayed the same; his supplemental compensation was bumped up from $700,000 to $1.1 million.
Pitino is still well within in the bottom half of the Big Ten, in terms of money being made by the men's basketball coaches in the conference. He has a 43-28 record at Minnesota. The Gophers won the NIT in 2014 but missed the postseason altogether in 2015.
"Being the basketball coach at this tremendous university is something I cherish every day," Pitino said in a statement. "My family and I love living in the Twin Cities and we look forward to continuing to build this basketball program the right way."
Little League World SeriesCalifornia eliminates Bowling Green squad
California hit a pair of home runs and took full advantage of four errors, pulling away to an 11-3 victory on Tuesday night that eliminated Kentucky from the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pa.
Bowling Green managed only six hits and self-destructed with fielding miscues. Bonita, Calif., scored three times in the first with the help of two throwing errors and a wild pitch. Levi Mendez hit a two-run homer in the second for a 5-0 lead.
Bonita starter Dante Schmid allowed only two hits through 32⁄3 innings. Antonio Andrade homered in the fifth, and Bonita scored four times in the sixth with the help of a pair of errors and a wild pitch.
GolfChampions Tour cancels China event
The Champions Tour canceled its September tournament in China near the port where an explosion killed more than 100 people and left several more missing. The Pacific Links China Championship was to be held Sept. 18-20 at the 27 Club in Tianjin. The golf club and adjacent area were not affected by the Aug. 12 blast at a storage facility in the port area of Tianjin.
Organizers decided it was best to cancel the tournament out of respect to a grieving community. Pacific Links International chairman Sun Liping said it is time to support the victims' families and friends and the community of Tianjin.
The last word
After Sunday's IndyCar crash that took the life of Justin Wilson, fellow driver Tony Kanaan said he was asked by his wife why he continues to race in the series despite the high risk:
"No one puts a gun to our heads and makes us do this. We're not rich, but we certainly won't starve if I don't do this. But I do it because I can't live without it."