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The Sports Report Exclusive: Jared Goff talks about the Rams giving up on him

Rams quarterback Jared Goff before a scrimmage game last August.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Sam Farmer, with an exclusive interview of Jared Goff: Competing emotions have come at quarterback Jared Goff like an all-out blitz from every angle — sadness, confusion, frustration, hope, elation and gratitude — and his head is still spinning, a few days after the Rams traded him to the Detroit Lions.

The deal that ended his time in Los Angeles surprised Goff, and the reality is only starting to sink in.

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“Ultimately, they wanted to go in a different direction,” Goff, part of a blockbuster quarterback swap that sent Matthew Stafford to the Rams, said Tuesday. “As the quarterback, as the guy that’s at arguably the most important position on the field, if you’re in a place that you’re not wanted and they want to move on from you, the feeling’s mutual.

“You don’t want to be in the wrong place. It became increasingly clear that was the case. [The trade] is something that I’m hopeful is going to be so good for my career.”

In a half-hour phone interview with The Times, Goff said he learned of the trade immediately after it happened Saturday night, two weeks after the Rams were eliminated from the NFL playoffs in the divisional round by the Green Bay Packers.

It was an abrupt end for the first pick in the 2016 draft, who twice made the Pro Bowl, and two years earlier helped the Rams to their first Super Bowl in 17 years.

“I really enjoyed my time here,” said Goff, 26, “I want to leave this on a positive note. Obviously, the ending wasn’t favorable and wasn’t fun. But them drafting me No. 1 overall and bringing me to a city that hasn’t had a football team in a long time, being a part of that rebuild after 2016, being able to help bring L.A. football back to prominence, all that stuff I take extreme pride in. It’s something that I’ll always remember.”

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CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: Tyronn Lue played long enough in the NBA to know that not all regular-season games are created equal. Without fail, it seemed, the stars who were his teammates — Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Tracy McGrady — played with a bit more fire against opponents of their caliber.

“Whenever the greats are playing against the greats,” the Clippers’ coach said Tuesday, “you always want to be great.”

Lue ended his pregame media session and then watched a game unfold that was no exception — a 124-120 Brooklyn win in a matchup whose stars’ performances created the intensity of a playoff game despite taking place inside the emptiness of Barclays Center.

Brooklyn’s trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving lived up to their lofty offensive potential while, for the first time since Harden’s arrival in mid-January, flashed a bit of defense midway through the final quarter that proved enough to turn away the Clippers’ star duo, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Durant had 28 points, Harden 23 and Irving, whom Lue had witnessed take and make big shots under high stakes on plenty of occasions while in Cleveland together, scored 39, making six three-pointers.

The trio combined for 29 of Brooklyn’s 36 fourth-quarter points.

ANGELS

Maria Torres on the Angels: The Angels suspended pitching coach Mickey Callaway on Tuesday until they complete an investigation of his behavior after an online publication reported multiple allegations of sexual harassment against him.

The Athletic reported on Monday that Callaway, 45, was accused of making inappropriate advances toward at least five women in the sports media industry over the course of about five years when he was employed by the Angels, the New York Mets and the Cleveland Indians. According to the women, Callaway used electronic messaging to send shirtless photos of himself, request nude photos in return, compliment the appearance of some women and generally take advantage of a power imbalance. One accuser said he offered to provide her with information about the Mets if she met him for drinks.

“Late yesterday we were made aware of the allegations reported in The Athletic. This morning we suspended Mickey Callaway, and will work closely with MLB to conduct a full investigation,” the Angels said in a statement Tuesday.

Callaway responded to the allegations in an email to The Athletic.

“Rather than rush to respond to these general allegations of which I have just been made aware, I look forward to an opportunity to provide more specific responses,” he wrote, according to the report. “Any relationship in which I was engaged has been consensual, and my conduct was in no way intended to be disrespectful to any women involved. I am married and my wife has been made aware of these general allegations.”

USC MEN’S BASKETBALL

Ryan Kartje on the Trojans: The star freshman was running on fumes. The shots weren’t falling from long range. The Pac-12’s best defense hadn’t lived up to its high billing against an offense missing three starters .

All game long, Stanford had kept USC at arms length, shooting 50% from the field, swiftly thwarting any serious sniff at a comeback. But the Trojans stuck around nonetheless, dragged along by another double-double from Evan Mobley, their offense grinding away until the Cardinal went cold and the score was tied with 41 seconds left.

That’s when Tahj Eaddy, the one consistent beacon of offense in the Trojans backcourt this season, caught an inbounds pass far away from the basket, calmly walked the ball up the court, and cooly hit a go-ahead floater. One possession later, he dealt the dagger on a stepback in the lane, leading USC to an unlikely 72-66 victory over Stanford in a game where very little seemed to go right.

It crawled back from a double-digit deficit in spite of an offense that hit under 24% from long range. It stuck it out with minimal help from its bench, which scored just 10 after poring in a season-high 31 last week. At the start of a crucial month that so often confounded USC teams under Andy Enfield, the Trojans trudged their way to a Quad I road win, in spite of it all.

“We had our hands full,” said Enfield, whose February record at USC sits at 19-36. “Stanford was playing very, very well. Those last three or four minutes, I thought our defense really stepped up.”

KINGS VS. DUCKS

Jack Harris on Kings vs. Ducks: t won’t be the prettiest goal Arthur Kaliyev ever scores, but it’ll definitely be among the most memorable.

Making his NHL debut at 19 on Tuesday night, Kaliyev became the 21st player in Kings history to score in his first game in the league, burying a point-blank rebound in the second period of the team’s 3-1 loss to the Ducks at Staples Center.

Danton Heinen, David Backes and Nicolas Deslauriers (empty net) scored for Anaheim.

For Kaliyev, Tuesday’s game was two years in the making. Though the 6-foot-2 winger’s scoring touch has never been in doubt — he has 248 points (including 126 goals) in 192 junior games in the Ontario Hockey League — he unexpectedly fell to the second round of the 2019 draft, dropping to the Kings at 33rd overall amid questions about his defensive abilities and commitment level.

Since then, Kaliyev has been trying to set the record straight, complementing his tantalizing offensive talents with a more dependable full-ice skill set.

“I’ve been working on it a lot since coming on last season,” Kaliyev said hours before Tuesday’s game. “Trying to do a lot of video. Trying to work hard in the D zone, neutral zone. Having good details. Being able to try to be the best 200-foot player out there, not just trying to score.”

He did score Tuesday, of course, providing the lone offense on a night the Kings — playing without forwards Blake Lizotte and Andreas Athanasiou, and defensemen Matt Roy and Sean Walker — looked disjointed from the start.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1944 — Syd Howe of the Detroit Red Wings scores six goals in a 12-6 victory over the New York Rangers. Howe is the first player to score six goals in a game since Cy Denneny of the Ottawa Senators on Feb. 7, 1921.

1956 — Austria’s Toni Sailer wins the men’s downhill race to become first Olympic skier to sweep three alpine events.

1976 — Washington’s Dave Bing, making his final NBA All-Star game appearance, wins the MVP as the East wins 123-109 at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. Bing has 16 points and four assists and Bob McAdoo finishes with an East-best 22 points.

1980 — Larry Bird hits the first 3-point shot in the history of the NBA All-Star Game. Bird’s 3 came in overtime as the East team outscores the West 16-8 in the overtime for a 144-136 win.

1982 — Skier Steve Mahre, twin brother of overall champion Phil Mahre, becomes the first American man to win a gold medal in Olympic or World Championship competition when he edges Sweden’s Ingemar Stenmark by 0.51 seconds in the giant slalom.

1990 — Bill Shoemaker, the world’s winningest jockey, finishes fourth on Patchy Groundfog in his final ride at Santa Anita. The 58-year-old Shoemaker finishes his 40-year career with $123,375,524 in earnings, a record 8,833 wins, 6,136 seconds and 4,987 thirds in 40,350 starts.

1998 — Dino Ciccarelli becomes the ninth NHL player to score 600 goals when he scores a power-play goal with 5:09 remaining in the third period to give the Florida Panthers a 1-1 tie against the Detroit Red Wings.

2000 — World Wrestling Federation mastermind Vince McMahon unveils his latest creation: the XFL, a new pro football league.

2001 — One year later, the XFL muscles its way onto the national sports scene with its first two games. With exuberant cheerleaders and trash-talking players sharing center stage, the Las Vegas Outlaws beat the New York/New Jersey Hitmen 19-0, while the Orlando Rage beat the Chicago Enforcers 33-29 before a crowd of 35,603 in Orlando.

2002 — Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard field goal as time expires gives Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots their first Super Bowl title with a 20-17 win over the two-touchdown favorite St. Louis Rams.

2006 — Martin Brodeur becomes the third goaltender in NHL history to reach 100 shutouts as New Jersey blanks Carolina 3-0. Brodeur joins Terry Sawchuk (115) and George Hainsworth (102).

2008 — Eli Manning and the New York Giants end New England’s unbeaten season and pull off one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history. Manning throws a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left to beat the Patriots 17-14.

2013 — The Baltimore Ravens survive a power outage at the Super Bowl to edge the San Francisco 49ers 34-31. Jacoby Jones returns the second-half kickoff 108 yards, a Super Bowl record, to give Baltimore a 28-6 lead. Moments later, lights lining the Superdome fade. When action resumes 34 minutes later, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers score 17 consecutive points, getting as close as 31-29. Baltimore stops San Francisco on fourth-and-goal from the 5 with under 2 minutes left when Kaepernick’s pass sails beyond Michael Crabtree in the end zone.

2017 — Tara VanDerveer becomes the second NCAA women’s coach to reach 1,000 career victories, when No. 8 Stanford beats Southern Cal 58-42 to give the Hall of Famer a major milestone in front of the home crowd at Maples Pavilion.

And finally

The Giants upset the undefeated Patriots to win the 2008 Super Bowl. Watch it here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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