Latest Florida sports


Magic sign free agent center Smith to fortify front court

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic have taken a step to improve their front court play by signing free agent center Jason Smith.

Smith's addition was announced Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 7-footer is known for his ability to shoot mid-range jumpers and will be called upon to help improve the Magic's interior defense under new coach Scott Skiles.

The 29-year-old Smith is entering his eighth NBA season and joins his fourth NBA team. He spent last season with the New York Knicks, averaging eight points and four rebounds. He also appeared in a career-high 82 games.

The Magic dealt former backup big man Kyle O'Quinn to Smith's old team in a sign-and-trade last week. Orlando also signed veteran point guard C.J. Watson.


Bills offensive line coach Kromer put on leave amid arrest

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Bills President Russ Brandon says offensive line coach Aaron Kromer has been put on paid administrative leave after being accused of punching a boy in the face for using his beach chairs.

Brandon says the team is following the league's personal conduct policy, putting Kromer on leave while investigating with the league.

The Walton County Sheriff's Office says Kromer was arrested over the weekend after confronting two boys, pushing one to the ground and punching him.

An arrest report released this week says the boy told deputies that Kromer threatened to kill his family if he reported the incident.

Kromer is charged with battery that caused bodily harm.

Kromer joined the team in January after being fired from the Chicago Bears.


SEC to post medical observer in replay booth

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference will have an extra person monitoring games for possible head and neck trauma.

SEC coordinator of officials Steve Shaw said Tuesday at league media days that an independent medical observer will be in the instant replay booth. The person will be a certified athletic trainer appointed by the league.

Shaw describes it as a fourth line of defense in protection after the players themselves, coaches and game officials.

The observer will have a replay monitor and be able to communicate with the referee to have a player taken from the game. Any player pulled must miss at least one play.

The observer will be used at all SEC games and league home games. Florida used one at some games last year.


Jones: Tennessee on rise, not doing cartwheels over 7-6 mark

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Butch Jones says nobody at Tennessee was doing cartwheels over a winning season, whatever Steve Spurrier says.

The Volunteers coach opened Southeastern Conference media days Tuesday responding to Spurrier's earlier remark to reporters regarding how Tennessee and Arkansas were celebrating 7-6 seasons that exceeded most expectations.

Spurrier's South Carolina team had the same record after opening ranked in the top 10.

Jones' retort: "Contrary to reports, there were no backflips and there were no somersaults." But he does think the Vols deserve credit for overachieving.

They secured the program's first winning record since 2009 and beat Iowa in the TaxSlayer Bowl.

Jones thinks the strong finish and back-to-back highly rated recruiting classes have created some momentum for his program. He says this season "is different for each and every player."


Mississippi State lacks hype despite last year's success

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen says he doesn't mind the low expectations for his team and the seeming lack of respect is "kind of like a tradition."

The Bulldogs spent five weeks as the No. 1 team in the nation on the way to a 10-win season last year and return one of the nation's top quarterbacks.

Yet they are widely expected to finish near the bottom of the Southeastern Conference's Western Division this fall.

There are some legitimate reasons for that — including that the Bulldogs return just four starters on both sides of the ball.

But Mullen said Tuesday at SEC Media Days he believes senior quarterback Dak Prescott will provide plenty of leadership and that the team is more experienced than it appears because several second-string players received ample playing time last season.