Eric Mangini to pilot Jets
New England Patriots defensive coordinator Eric Mangini was hired as New York Jets coach on Tuesday, becoming the youngest head coach in the NFL. Mangini, a disciple of Patriots coach Bill Belichick, turns 35 today. He replaces Herman Edwards, who left for Kansas City after five seasons. Mangini accepted an offer from the Jets on Monday, a few hours after the team interviewed former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice. But the deal wasn't completed until Tuesday. Terms of the deal weren't known but it is believed he will get between US$2 million and US$2.5 million per year over five years. He emerged as the leading candidate for the Jets last week. Though he is young and has been a coordinator for one season, he is regarded as one of the brightest defensive minds in the game after spending 10 of his 11 seasons in the NFL working under Belichick.
Bloomquist a Mariner
The Seattle Mariners and utility player Willie Bloomquist on Tuesday agreed to a two-year contract worth US$1.525 million. The deal is pending a physical. Pitcher Gil Meche is the only Seattle player left eligible for arbitration. Seattle used Bloomquist's versatility last season, when the 28-year-old played at first (one game), second (32 games), third (six games), shortstop (24 games) and the outfield (15 games). Bloomquist had career-highs in at-bats (249), batting average (.257), doubles (15), RBIs (22) and stolen bases (14) last season. He is hitting .261 in 267 career games. "He helps us in a variety of roles, including the ability to steal a base and play almost any position on the field," general manager Bill Bavasi said. Bloomquist tied a team record with three doubles on July 6 against Kansas City, but his season ended early after he was placed on the disabled list on Aug. 30 with a strained left hamstring.
Italy uses military units
The Italian army is moving 2,500 soldiers -- including 1,000 members of an anti-aircraft artillery unit -- to strengthen security at next month's Turin Olympics. Many are already patrolling Turin and the Alpine venues based around Sestriere for the Feb. 10-26 games. General Franco Cravarezza said Tuesday that 760 soldiers will help prepare ski courses and another 40 will be assigned to emergency snowmobile vehicles, according to news agency ANSA. Italian police forces are expected to mobilize around 9,000 officers as the main security force.
■ Gaelic Games
Stadium deal signed
International football and rugby matches will be played next year at Croke Park -- the citadel of native Gaelic games and a venue off-limits to British sports for more than a century -- following an agreement of Irish sports leaders. In a joint statement on Tuesday, the Gaelic Athletic Association, Football Association of Ireland and Irish Rugby Football Union said they had agreed on a contract for 2007 only. The move followed a vote in April by GAA officials to open Croke Park to their sporting rivals when Dublin's traditional home for football and rugby, Lansdowne Road, is demolished for redevelopment.