NFL

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP)J.J. Watt could be a terrifying presence on a football field, hunting opposing quarterbacks with unparalleled ferocity, particularly during the early 2010s with the Houston Texans.

But the 6-foot-5, 288-pounder also could be a joyful fan favorite, playing catch on the sideline with young fans in the stands before games.

Now one of the best defensive players in NFL history looks as if he’s ready to call it a career.

Watt – a three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year – indicated that he will retire at the end of the season, posting pictures of his wife and baby on social media while writing: ”Koa’s first ever NFL game. My last ever NFL home game. My heart is filled with nothing but love and gratitude. It’s been an absolute honor and a pleasure.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Pro Football Hall of Famer Ed Reed has agreed to become the football coach at Bethune-Cookman and is leaving his job with the Miami Hurricanes, the schools announced.

Reed played at Miami and spent the last three years in an administrative role with the Hurricanes, first as chief of staff under former coach Manny Diaz for two years and this past year as a senior advisor under coach Mario Cristobal.

Reed will replace Terry Sims at Bethune-Cookman. Sims was fired after going 38-39 in seven seasons, and when the school made that move Wildcats athletic director Reggie Theus – the longtime NBA player – said he would be looking to hire someone who can ”ensure that we not only build a championship culture on the field, but also aspire to academic excellence and career achievement off the field.”

About a month later, he struck a deal with Reed.

The move will inevitably spark comparisons to the move Jackson State – like Bethune-Cookman, a historically Black college and university – made when it brought in Deion Sanders to lead its program. Sanders went 27-6 in three seasons at Jackson State before getting hired earlier this month to take over at Colorado.

BASEBALL

ATLANTA (AP) – The Atlanta Braves signed newly acquired catcher Sean Murphy to a $73 million, six-year contract, locking up another key player with a long-term deal.

The contract includes a $15 million club option for 2029 with no buyout that could raise the total value of the agreement to $88 million.

Murphy will make $4 million in 2023, $9 million in 2024 and $15 million each season from 2025 through 2028. He agreed to donate 1% of his annual salary to the Atlanta Braves Foundation.

The deal follows a familiar pattern of the Braves agreeing to new contracts with players who are still under club control for an extended period. Over the past year, they reached long-term deals with sluggers Austin Riley and Matt Olson, as well as rookie stars Michael Harris II and Spencer Strider.

The Texas Rangers have added another proven veteran to their revamped starting rotation.

Texas native Nathan Eovaldi agreed to a two-year contract that includes a vesting player option for the 2025 season. The team announced the deal after the right-hander completed a physical exam in Texas.

Eovaldi’s addition comes only 3 1/2 weeks after the Rangers signed two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom in free agency.

A person familiar with the deal said Eovaldi was guaranteed $34 million, with salaries of $16 million each in 2023 and 2024, and a $2 million signing bonus payable at a later date. That person spoke on condition on anonymity because the team didn’t disclose the terms, which include a vesting player option of $20 million for 2025 if Eovaldi pitches a total of 300 innings over the next two seasons.

TENNIS

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) – Novak Djokovic has arrived in Australia almost a year after he was deported over his stance against COVID-19 vaccination, Tennis Australia confirmed.

Djokovic will open his 2023 campaign in Adelaide as he prepares for a shot at a 10th Australian Open title.

The 21-time major winner has been granted a visa by the Australian government and is listed to play at the Adelaide International, which starts Sunday.

The 35-year-old Serb arrived in Adelaide on Tuesday night, the governing body confirmed.