Wednesday Sports in Brief
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nobody with the Titans will ever wear Eddie George's No. 27 nor the No. 9 of the late Steve McNair again, players who helped the franchise through its difficult relocation from Houston to Tennessee to its lone Super Bowl berth.
Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk announced Wednesday that the franchise will retire both numbers Sept. 15 at their home opener against the Indianapolis Colts.
"This is a big moment for me personally because I love these guys, and I know my dad loved these guys and he will be so happy and proud that we were honoring them today," Strunk said of her late father, Bud Adams, who founded the franchise in 1960.
The Titans say this will be the first time an NFL team has retired either a No. 9 or 27, giving the league 153 numbers that have been retired. McNair and George will join six other former Titans and Oilers whose numbers have been retired, including Warren Moon, Earl Campbell, Mike Munchak, Bruce Matthews and Elvin Bethea — all members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I couldn't imagine having a day like this where my jersey (is) retired by myself," George said. "It has to be with Steve. ... It's totally appropriate to have us go in together."
Mechelle McNair, his widow, was not able to attend Wednesday's news conference. Team announcer Mike Keith read a statement she sent.
"Steve would be truly honored to know that he was held in such high esteem by you," Mechelle McNair wrote. "Retiring his jersey is a really big deal for us. It is a tangible reminder for me and the boys to know that No. 9 will forever be held in the highest regard in the Titans nation."
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Bobby Witt Jr. has spent his much of his short life around the major leagues. For the first time Wednesday, he was the star attraction at the ballpark.
The son of retired pitcher Bobby Witt was introduced as the highest-profile new member of the Royals' farm system. Witt, who turns 19 on Friday, was the second-overall pick in last week's draft.
"It's a blessing for me to be a part of this organization," Witt said. "They really respect their players and their staff. I was really impressed with the respect they had for me."
Witt has been compared favorably to some of the top shortstop prospects in recent history, including Alex Rodriguez. He said he looks forward to trying to live up to that lofty billing.
"That motivated me," Witt said. "You can write all that stuff down on paper, but until I perform the way they did, I'll never be satisfied. I've got to go out there and play my game. Maybe one day I'll be there."
The Royals have not announced where Witt will make his professional debut.
"He's our kind of guy," general manager Dayton Moore said. "(He fits) our city, our fans. I can't say enough about his family and how he was raised. The way Bobby handles questions speaks for itself. The thing I've admired about him for a while is, while he's the guy everyone gravitates to, he treats everybody else like they're the first-rounder. That's a great quality to have."
Witt is the highest selection by the Royals since they took Luke Hochevar with the No. 1 overall pick in 2006. He received the highest signing bonus in club history.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Taylor Jenkins feels confident that Memphis' new front office will give him enough time to turn around the Grizzlies.
The 34-year-old Jenkins said Wednesday at a news conference that he learned a lot about the Grizzlies during the interview process and the front office's vision.
"We know there's going to be ups and downs," Jenkins said. "We're going to have our successes. We're going to have our mistakes. We want to be perfect, but we know it's going to take a team to do that, and that's what made me excited about this opportunity and there was no concern whatsoever."
It's the first NBA head coaching job for Jenkins, who was Mike Budenholzer's assistant in Milwaukee this season and was with him in Atlanta for five seasons. Jenkins started in the NBA as an intern with the San Antonio front office before going into coaching with the Spurs' G League team, coaching the Toros for one season.
While Memphis did not disclose terms of Jenkins' contract when announcing his hiring, Zachary Z. Kleiman, the Grizzlies' new executive vice president of basketball operations, said the Grizzlies know they won't get where they want overnight. He said the organization wants Jenkins as its partner while rebuilding the franchise.
"The organization has made a significant commitment to Taylor, a long-term commitment, and we're collectively vested in making sure we get to that sustainable, special place we're building toward over time," Kleiman said.
Immortals Gaming Company has acquired Infinite Esports in what is believed to be the competitive video gaming industry's first $100 million deal.
IGC announced the agreement Wednesday, expanding its stable of esports teams by purchasing the parent company for OpTic Gaming. OpTic's franchises include teams in the League of Legends Championship Series (LCS) and Overwatch League.
It's a move back into League of Legends for IGC, which lost its top-level pro club when publisher Riot Games moved to a franchising model in 2018. The LCS team will retain the OpTic name until rebranding to Immortals in 2020.
CEO Ari Segal told The Associated Press it felt like a "welcome homecoming" for IGC to be back in the LCS fold.
"That's how it feels," Segal said. "That's how the community has responded. That's how our management team and our board has responded."
IGC already owns an Overwatch franchise, the Los Angeles Valiant. The company says it will manage OpTic's Houston Outlaws on an interim basis, with oversight from the Overwatch League, while trying to sell the franchise to another party.
IGC will also take over OpTic's Call of Duty World League team, but says it will divest its Counterstrike: Global Offensive team. IGC purchased Brazilian CS:GO club MIBR last year.