McDaniels could be Belichick successor

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BOSTON (AP) - Josh McDaniels sent ripples throughout the NFL with his decision to pull out of an agreement to become the Indianapolis Colts' head coach.

He has yet to speak publicly about what factored into the 11th hour about-face. But McDaniels' return as New England's offensive coordinator keeps a possible successor for Patriots coach Bill Belichick in house.

Belichick gave no indication after the Super Bowl loss to Philadelphia on Sunday night that he plans to exit in 2018. And just last month he said that it was "absolutely" his intention to be back for his 19th season with the Patriots.

But at age 65 he's also the second-oldest coach in the NFL, behind only Seattle's Pete Carroll at 66.

McDaniels has been one of the hottest names in coaching searches every offseason over the past three years.

At 41, he's considered one of the NFL's brightest young minds. What's more, McDaniels is someone whom Patriots quarterback Tom Brady trusts and recently called "a great coach and a great friend."

It's unclear how McDaniels' decision will affect him regarding future opportunities with other NFL teams, a gamble should he never get the opportunity to lead the Patriots.

Colts general manager Chris Ballard said Wednesday that the assistants that McDaniels had already hired to be on his staff would have their contracts honored. If McDaniels ever leaves New England again, he will certainly have some repairs to make to his image around the league.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - St. John's took down another of the nation's elite, and stunned No. 1 Villanova 79-75 on Wednesday night for its second win over a top-five team this week - and first over the top-ranked team in 33 years.

Shamorie Ponds scored 26 points to spark the Red Storm (12-13, 1-11 Big East) to its first conference win of the season and easily their best week since Chris Mullin was in uniform, not the coach.

Mullin played for St. John's when it beat No. 1 Georgetown 66-65 on Jan. 26, 1985. And he was on the sideline exhorting his players in the final minutes of this shocker.

St. John's beat then-No. 4 Duke Blue Devils 81-77 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, snapping an 11-game losing streak. It was the first win for St. John's since Dec. 20 against Saint Joseph's.

PRO BASKETBALL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The NBA game between the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Pelicans has been postponed after nearly two-hour delay because of a roof leak that briefly allowed rain water to puddle near one of the foul lines.

While Smoothie King Center crews fashioned a fabric catch basin in the rafters to stop water from dripping on the court, Pacers coach Nate McMillan said coaches and players on both teams didn't want to risk an injury in the event the make-shift fix didn't hold up for the duration of Wednesday night's game.

Officials have not yet announced when the game will be made up.

HOCKEY

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin will miss the next three to four weeks recovering from a broken left hand.

The Wild announced Brodin had surgery Wednesday. He's one of the top four blue-liners and by far the team's leader with a plus-19 rating.

Brodin was hurt in the second period at St. Louis on Tuesday night. The Wild beat the Blues 6-2 in their third straight game with their entire lineup available, after a number of injuries to their forwards scattered throughout the season.

PRO FOOTBALL

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Steelers have no plans on moving on from All-Pro running back Le'Veon Bell.

Team president Art Rooney II is optimistic the team can sign Bell to a long-term extension going into the 2018 season, but didn't rule out using the franchise tag for a second straight year as a precaution if the two sides can't come to an agreement before free agency begins next month.

While allowing that contract negotiations can be hard to predict, Rooney stressed Wednesday that "the good news is both sides want to get something done and hopefully that will lead us to getting it done."

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