Rockies players react to Tracy's departure

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Rockies players react to Tracy's departure

From Comcast SportsNetDENVER (AP) -- Players who stood by Jim Tracy while the Colorado Rockies endured their worst season in franchise history are reiterating their support for him following the manager's resignation over the weekend.Left-hander Jeff Francis said he was surprised to hear Tracy had decided to step down, telling The Associated Press in an email: "I loved playing for him and I think everyone did. The Rockies will miss him for sure."Among the most vocal supporters was outfielder Dexter Fowler, who appreciated Tracy sticking with him through protracted slumps over the last two seasons before a breakout 2012. He tweeted, "Man I'm gonna miss Tracy, thanks for believing in me! You are a wonderful and stand up guy!"One of the few bright spots as the Rockies flirted with the dreaded 100-loss season before finishing 64-98, Fowler batted .300 with a .389 on-base percentage and 13 homers last season, all career highs.Rex Brothers, Tyler Colvin and Josh Rutledge also tweeted praise for Tracy, who informed Bill Geivett, the team's director of major league operations, on Sunday that he was forgoing the final year on his contract, which was to pay him 1.4 million."Gonna miss No. 4 sitting in that dugout at Coors! Thanks for everything skip. None better," Brothers tweeted.Colvin tweeted he was "Sad to hear the news about our skipper. It was a privilege to play for such a great manager and such a great person." He concluded with (hashtag)ClassAct"And Rutledge tweeted, "So lucky to be able to have played for a manager like Jim Tracy with the professionalism and intelligence for the game. He will be missed."Energized by the young players and the challenge of fixing things, Tracy had said repeatedly the last several weeks that he wanted to fulfill the final year on his contract and players including clubhouse leaders Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez said they were sticking by Tracy.Tracy, however, changed his mind after meeting with Geivett for several hours on Friday and then mulling those discussions over the weekend. He called him Sunday afternoon and offered his resignation.Tracy, who took over after Clint Hurdle lost the clubhouse in early 2009 and led them to the playoffs that year, finished 294-308 in three-plus seasons.The Rockies are now conducting their first managerial search since Jim Leyland resigned after the 1999 season. Geivett said he had no set time frame for hiring Tracy's replacement.Possible candidates include bench coach Tom Runnels and Stu Cole, who managed the Rockies' Triple-A farm club in Colorado Springs.

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Wizards at Knicks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

Wizards at Knicks: TV, live stream and radio info, things to watch

John Wall, Bradley Beal and the Washington Wizards play Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks on Thursday night as they aim to continue rising the ranks of the NBA's Eastern Conference.

Here is all you need to know: TV, live stream and radio info, tip-off time, plus three things to watch…

WASHINGTON WIZARDS at NEW YORK KNICKS

Where: Madison Square Garden
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
TV: TNT
Live stream: NBA.com
Radio: 1500 AM

Three things to watch...

Back-to-backs

After Wednesday's win over the Grizzlies, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks was asked a question about his team's struggles in the second game of back-to-backs. The reporter (okay, it was me) mentioned they have trouble in those games and Brooks quipped: "Ya think?"

It has truly been that bad. The Wizards are just 1-7 this season with zero days rest despite being 21-11 in all other scenarios. That one win was against the Knicks, on Nov. 17 after they had played the Sixers the night before. Not once this year have they taken both games in a back-to-back set.

Luckily for the Wizards, they go up against a team they have already beaten. The Knicks are also playing the second game of a back-to-back and they are terrible in those too at 1-8.

[RELATED: Wizards take stock at midpoint of season]

Road troubles

In addition to struggling in back-to-back sets, the Wizards have also found major trouble on the road. At the Verizon Center they have won 13 straight and are 18-6, tied with the Cavs for the second-most home wins behind the Warriors (19). But away from Washington, the Wizards have lost four of five and are 4-13 overall, second-worst in the NBA only to the Brooklyn Nets. 

This may be a good time to see if the Wizards can finally get over that hump. They have won six of their last seven games and nine of 12 overall, while five of their next six games are on the road. Will the road slow their roll or can they stay hot?

Porzingis likely out

The Wizards are probably not going to see Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis, as he is set for an MRI on his left Achilles'. He has missed four straight games and seven out of his last 11. The Wizards found success guarding Kristaps Porzingis in the first matchup between these two teams, when he shot 7-for-16 from the field, but things will surely be easier if they don't have to deal with his versatility on both ends of the floor.

The Knicks, on the other hand, can use all the help they can get. They have lost 11 of their last 14 games and now Carmelo Anthony trade rumors are heating up again. Seeing them at this time, and without Porzingis, should offer the Wizards a good opportunity to keep it rolling with a win.

[RELATED: Wall gives his Eastern Conference All-Star starters]

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Redskins set to interview new defensive coordinator candidate in Dennis Thurman, per report

Redskins set to interview new defensive coordinator candidate in Dennis Thurman, per report

The Redskins have conducted interviews with a number of candidates at defensive coordinator, but a new name emerged Thursday morning. 

Thurman played cornerback in the NFL for nine years from 1978 to 1986, recording 36 career interceptions in 137 games. The bulk of his playing career was spent with the Dallas Cowboys, but he played his final season with the then St. Louis Rams. 

In coaching since 1988, Thurman's coaching career started working with the secondary for the Cardinals before an eight-year run at his alma mater, Southern Cal. From there, Thurman came back to the pros, joining the Ravens coaching staff in 2002 working under Rex Ryan. In 2008, Thurman moved on with Ryan to the New York Jets, and in 2013, was named Jets defensive coordinator In 2014, he went to Buffalo with Ryan to serve as their defensive coordinator when Ryan was named head coach.

In four seasons as a coordinator, two in New York, two in Buffalo, Thurman's defenses ranked no worse than 19th, per Pro Football Reference.

A football lifer like Thurman likely has connections all over the league, but it's interesting to note he has worked with new Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn since 2009. The two were on staffs both with the Jets and the Bills. Another Redskins coordinator candidate Gus Bradley has often been linked with Lynn, though the two have never been on the same staff.

Meeting with Thurman will satisfy the NFL's guidelines to interview minority candidates for coordinator positions. The Rooney Rule, as it was instituted, requires NFL teams to interview minority candidates for head coaching jobs, but only suggests that teams extend the practice to coordinator positions. Washington had set an interview with Carolina's Steve Wilks, but then he was promoted internally to be the Panthers defensive coordinator and the meeting never took place. 

RELATED: 2017 NFL MOCK DRAFT 1.0

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