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Originally published February 21, 2014 at 7:29 PM | Page modified February 21, 2014 at 11:25 PM

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Browns reportedly tried to get rights to Jim Harbaugh via trade with San Francisco

The Cleveland Browns tried to make a trade for the rights to San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, according to a report that cited unnamed league sources.

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Report: Browns tried to trade for Harbaugh

The Cleveland Browns tried to make a trade for the rights to San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, according to a report that cited unnamed league sources.

Cleveland media noted the Browns, who hired Mike Pettine as coach Jan. 23, didn’t deny the report.

Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert released a statement that began: “The team conducted an extensive coaching search, and explored several options.”

But Jed York, 49ers chief executive officer, tweeted “Report isn’t true.”

Harbaugh, 50, has two years left on a five-year contract that pays him $5 million per year. Mike Florio of reported a deal was in place with the Browns that would have sent multiple draft picks to the 49ers for Harbaugh, but Harbaugh decided not to leave San Francisco.

Coughlin gets new deal

In coaching news that resulted in less controversy than the report about Harbaugh, the New York Giants gave Tom Coughlin a one-year extension. Coughlin, 67, is under contract through 2015.

Davis faces DUI charge

Washington tight end Fred Davis was charged Thursday with driving under the influence, a day after he was suspended for a violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Davis, 28, was stopped in Fairfax County in Virginia. Court records show 34 traffic-related charges from 23 incidents involving Davis since 2008. Twenty-one of the charges resulted in convictions.

College football

Cal AD blasts Bielema

California athletic director Sandy Barbour says it was “beyond inappropriate” for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema to reference the death of Golden Bears player Ted Agu while defending his position on a rules proposal to slow up-tempo offenses.

Bielema brought up Agu while speaking to reporters Thursday night and in an interview Friday with Bielema supports the proposal to require offenses to wait until at least 10 seconds run off the 40-second play clock before snapping the ball. He contends not allowing defenses time to substitute can put players in danger.

Agu, 21, died during a conditioning workout Feb. 7. No cause of death has been released. Burial services are scheduled for Saturday.

“Bret Bielema’s comments about our Ted Agu are misinformed, ill-advised and beyond insensitive,” Barbour tweeted. “Using the tragic loss of one of our student athletes as a platform to further a personal agenda in a public setting is beyond inappropriate.”

Arkansas released a statement from Bielema soon after Barbour’s tweet was posted. Bielema noted his remarks “were unintentionally hurtful” and added, “I would like to extend my deepest condolences and sympathy to the Agu family, Coach Sonny Dykes and to the University of California family.”

Auto racing

Petty accepts challenge

Richard Petty, a seven-time NASCAR champion, told Fox News he would be all in for a possible race against Danica Patrick.

“I’m 76 years old, OK?” Petty said, according to USA Today. “It’s been 25 years since I’ve been in a race car. But I’ll take that challenge.”

The challenge was issued by Patrick’s teammate and team owner, Tony Stewart, who was upset with Petty for comments he made about Patrick’s chances of ever winning on the NASCAR circuit.

“I think that (a race) would pretty much settle it once and for all, and maybe get him to shut up a little bit, too,” Stewart said Wednesday. “I will supply the cars.”

Patrick was third in qualifying for Saturday’s Nationwide Series race in Daytona Beach, Fla. Dylan Kwasniewski, an 18-year-old rookie, will start from the pole in the DRIVE4COPD 300.


• The hope of an all-Williams tennis final at the Dubai Championships ended on the racket of Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.

Cornet, ranked 26th in the world, beat No. 1 Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4 in a semifinal match. Venus Williams, Serena’s sister, defeated eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-3, 6-2 to reach the final.

Serena Williams had a harsh rating for her performance. “I think out of a 10, I was at, like, a negative 283,” she said.

• Top-ranked Rafael Nadal of Spain advanced to the semifinals of the Rio Open in Brazil by cruising past Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-1, 6-0.

Henrik Zetterberg, captain of the NHL Detroit Red Wings, had back surgery and the team expects him to be evaluated again in about eight weeks.

• Video evidence should be used to punish soccer players who dive, fake injuries or waste time, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said.

“Video evidence can contribute greatly to fair play, provided the sport’s disciplinary bodies are prepared to use it — and they should,” Blatter wrote in FIFA’s magazine.

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