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Football

  • Antonio Brown has put a small legal matter behind him.

The former Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders and New England Patriots wide receiver settled a small claims lawsuit filed in Alameda County court by his personal trainer, Sean Pena.

Pena claimed Brown owed him $7,194.81 in “unpaid therapy and training services” and “agreed-upon reimbursement for hotels, airfare, rental car” during a week in April spent preparing for the NFL season.

Attorneys for Pena and Brown on Tuesday told the Bay Area News Group a confidential resolution was reached before a trial date scheduled for Wednesday morning. The hearing will be taken off the court’s calendar, saving Brown from having to personally appear in a Hayward courtroom. In California, attorneys cannot appear on behalf of clients in small claims cases.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph “appears to be doing fine” according to coach Mike Tomlin, but Rudolph remains in the concussion protocol following an illegal hit by Baltimore safety Earl Thomas.

Rudolph left last weekend’s overtime loss to Baltimore in the third quarter after Thomas hit Rudolph in the chin with his helmet. Rudolph was knocked unconscious on the play but was able to slowly make his way to the sideline.

Tomlin made it a point Tuesday to say the medical cart that malfunctioned after it pulled up next to Rudolph didn’t play a factor in the decision to let Rudolph try and make it to the locker room on his own.

“He walked off the field because he chose to walk off the field and because the medical experts were comfortable with his ability to walk off the field and his safety in it,” Tomlin said. “Whether or not the cart was functioning is irrelevant to the fact that he walked off the field.”

  • Fox Sports has hired Rob Gronkowski as an NFL analyst. The network announced on Tuesday that the former New England Patriots tight end will make his debut during Thursday night’s pregame show before the Patriots-New York Giants game.

Gronkowski retired at the end of last season after winning his third Super Bowl with the Patriots. He is expected to appear on Fox’s NFL studio show as well as be an analyst for some games.

Fox Sports executive producer Brad Zager said in a statement that Gronkowski’s passion for the game and larger-than-life personality made him a great fit.

Gronkowski was a four-time All-Pro selection during his nine seasons with New England. His 79 touchdowns are third among tight ends.

  • After a Penn State player received a letter from a fan criticizing his “awful” dreadlocks, Nittany Lions coach James Franklin opened his weekly news conference by talking about how football teams bring people together.

The letter was sent to Penn State safety Jonathan Sutherland and it gained attention after his teammates posted it on social media Monday night. The person, a Penn State graduate, acknowledged writing the letter in an interview with The Tribune-Democrat on Tuesday. The letter said Sutherland’s shoulder-length dreadlocks looked “disgusting.”

Franklin addressed the letter indirectly. He said, “The football that I know and love brings people together and embraces differences.” The coach complimented Sutherland for being “the ultimate example of what our program’s about.”

Sutherland posted on Twitter that the message was “ignorant,” but said he forgave the sender without an apology necessary.

Baseball

  • The Cubs are set to interview Joe Girardi and David Ross for their manager job this week.

Girardi, 54, who has 11 years of managerial experience with the Marlins and Yankees, was scheduled to meet Wednesday with team officials, two sources said.

Girardi, who spent seven of his 14 seasons as a catcher with the Cubs (1989-92, 2000-02), also has been linked to the Mets, according to multiple reports. Girardi, who also reportedly is a candidate for the Mets job, is serving as a Fox analyst for the American League Division Series between the Astros and Rays.

Ross, 42, will interview later this week. He serves as a special assistant in the Cubs baseball operations department and as analyst for ESPN after a 14-year career that concluded with a 2016 World Series title with the Cubs.

The Cubs interviewed bench coach Mark Loretta on Thursday and first-base coach Will Venable on Monday, sources said.

The Cubs haven’t announced a timetable for hiring a replacement for Joe Maddon. Maddon reportedly is the favorite to be hired as Angels manager after interviewing for the job Monday.

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