BEARS AGREE TO TERMS WITH SLAUSON, McCOWN: The Bears on Friday agreed to terms with guard Matt Slauson and reserve quarterback Josh McCown on a one-year contract.
“We are excited that Matt will be a Bear,” Bears General Manager Phil Emery said. “He brings physical play and smarts to the offensive guard position and to the offensive line as an overall unit.
"His size, strength and power will allow him to challenge for either of the starting guard positions.”
The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder has started 48 of the last 51 games he has played since being drafted by the Jets in the sixth round (193rd overall) out of Nebraska in 2009.
He did not allow a sack in 2012 and has helped the Jets rush for no less than 1,600 yards since becoming a full-time starter (1,896 in 2012; 1,692 in 2011; 2,374 in 2010).
The 6-foot-4, 213-pound McCown has started 33 of 50 games since being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals 81st overall in the 2002 NFL draft. He has tallied 645 completions for 6,998 yards, 37 touchdowns and 44 interceptions over his career.
McCown returns to the Bears after spending parts of the last two seasons on the active roster.
BULLS SIGN THOMAS TO SECOND 10-DAY CONTRACT: The Bulls signed forward Malcolm Thomas to another 10-day contract Friday.
Thomas has appeared in one game for Chicago, and had three points and five rebounds in five games with the Golden State Warriors. He also appeared in two NBA Development League games this season with the Santa Cruz Warriors and with the Los Angeles D-Fenders.
The 24-year-old Thomas began his college career at Pepperdine and played two seasons at San Diego State.
VALPARAISO SECOND AFTER OPENING ROUND AT INVITE: Valparaiso University is second with a 294 after Friday's opening round of the Beu/Mussatto Invitational in Macomb. Ill.
IUPUI leads the Crusaders by eight strokes. VU's Kyle Henning is tied for third with a 1-under-par 71.
MILWAUKEE BLANKS VU: Tanner Vavra and Chris Manning each had two hits for Valparaiso, but Milwaukee still shut out the Crusaders 2-0.
Spencer Mahoney doubled for the Crusaders (9-14, 1-3 Horizon League).
VU FALLS AT HOME TO GREEN BAY: Joylyn Ichiyama and Jessie Marinec each hit solo home runs, but Green Bay still held on to edge host Valparaiso University 3-2 in the Horizon League opener for the Crusaders (13-12).
THREE PLAYERS LEAVING ILLINI: Three of Illinois' reserve basketball players have been given the OK to transfer, coach John Groce said Friday. The move opens up three scholarships but leaves the Illini with just four scholarship players from this season's NCAA Tournament team.
Sophomore forwards Mike Shaw and Ibby Djmide and redshirt freshman forward Devin Langford asked and were given permission to transfer, Groce said in a printed statement. It isn't known where they will go.
MONDAY QUALIFIER IN THE LEAD AS MCILROY BARELY MAKES CUT: Steve Wheatcroft hates going to Monday qualifiers. He was reminded Friday why they can be worth it.
Wheatcroft ran off three straight birdies early in his round and kept bogeys off his card for a second straight 5-under 67. That gave him a one-shot lead over D.A. Points and Jason Kokrak going into the weekend at the Houston Open.
Rory McIlroy also will be around, but just barely. He two-putted from 85 feet on the fringe on his 17th hole for a birdie that gave him a 70. McIlroy made the cut on the number.
TIGERS MAKE VERLANDER HIGHEST-PAID PITCHER: Detroit Tigers ace Justin Verlander has agreed to a $180 million, seven-year contract, topping Felix Hernandez for the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history.
The 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner had been signed through 2014 and set to earn $20 million in each of the next two seasons.
The new deal announced Friday keeps those salaries and adds $140 million in new guaranteed money: $28 million each season from 2015-19. It includes a $22 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he finishes among the top five in 2019 Cy Young voting. The deal could be worth $202 million over eight seasons.
Around the horn
A deal to loan Mark Martin to Joe Gibbs Racing as a replacement driver for injured Denny Hamlin fell apart Friday, when Michael Waltrip Racing said Martin will fulfill his commitment to its team.