Ferrari and Alfa Romeo have confirmed that Mick Schumacher has been selected for in-season Formula One testing in Bahrain.

Schumacher - the son of seven-time F1 champion and Ferrari icon Michael - won the Formula 3 European title last season before moving up to F2 with Prema Racing.

The 20-year-old was revealed as a candidate for Alfa Romeo last month, making the shortlist for test days on which teams must run young drivers.

And both Ferrari and Alfa Romeo - formerly Sauber - have now announced that Ferrari Driver Academy member Schumacher will make his F1 debut in Bahrain, representing the two outfits on consecutive days.

Schumacher will link up with the teams next week after making his F2 bow this weekend.

"I am obviously more than excited and would like to thank Ferrari and Alfa Romeo for giving me this opportunity," Schumacher said. "I am really looking forward to what I'm sure will be a great experience.

"But for the moment, I am consciously putting all thoughts of the test to one side, because I am also very much looking forward to competing in my first F2 race and would like to focus 100 per cent on the weekend to come."

Fellow Academy driver Callum Ilott will also represent Alfa Romeo in Barcelona later next month.

"We are firm believers in the value of the Ferrari Driver Academy as a high level training programme for talented youngsters," Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto said. "The decision to give Charles Leclerc a race seat with our team is proof of that.

"We are therefore very pleased to be able to give Mick and Callum the opportunity to experience driving a Formula One car.

He added: "I believe that driving the SF90 in an official setting such as the tests in Bahrain and Barcelona can be very useful at this stage in their career."

Jusuf Nurkic suffered compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula on Monday, the Portland Trail Blazers have confirmed.

The Bosnian center sustained the gruesome injury late in the second period of overtime against the Brooklyn Nets as he fell awkwardly after going up for a rebound.

Nurkic was stretchered off court at a hushed Moda Center before the Trail Blazers won 148-144 to clinch a playoff spot.

Portland described the injury as "season-ending" and added: "There is no timetable for his return to basketball activity."

Nurkic had contributed 32 points and 16 rebounds in a superb individual display against the Nets. He averaged 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season.

The player's team-mates were understandably shaken by the injury, with Enes Kanter lost for words before the extent of Nurkic's ailment was announced.

"It's tough. Seeing one of your brothers go down like that, I just don't know what to say," Kanter said.

"But tonight I'm just going to go home and just pray for him because this is way bigger than basketball."

Damian Lillard said the blow would motivate the team down the stretch in 2018-19.

"He wouldn't want us to say, 'alright, let's feel sorry for ourselves, feel sorry for Nurk and not care as much'," Lillard said. "We're going to finish the job."

Dana White paid tribute to former two-weight UFC champion Conor McGregor after the Irishman announced his retirement.

McGregor had hinted at a return to the octagon once he had served his six-month ban for the brawl after his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October – which the Russian won.

Speaking to Jimmy Fallon on Monday's Tonight Show, McGregor said: "We're in talks for [a fight in] July, so we'll see what happens. I am in shape and I am ready, so let's see what happens.

"I don't necessarily need to fight, I am set for life, my family is set for life. But I am eager to fight."

However, hours later he posted on social media that his fighting career was over, and White was full of praise for the former featherweight and lightweight champion.

"He has the money to retire and his whiskey is killin' it," White told ESPN. "It totally makes sense. If I was him I would retire too.

"He's retiring from fighting. Not from working. The whiskey will keep him busy and I'm sure he has other things he's working on.

"He has been so fun to watch. He has accomplished incredible things in this sport. I am so happy for him and I look forward to seeing him be as successful outside of the octagon as he was in it."

UFC star Conor McGregor said he is retiring from mixed-martial arts in a shock social media post.

McGregor has been talking up a return to the octagon following his loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 in October.

The Irishman – whose six-month ban for his brawl involving Nurmagomedov after the event ends in April – has emerged as an opponent for Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone.

A third fight against Nate Diaz has also been touted ahead of McGregor's return, with the 30-year-old revealing talks over a July comeback during an appearance on 'The Tonight Show' on Monday.

"My next fight, we're in talks for July," McGregor said. "We're in talks for July so we'll see what happens. A lot of politics going on. The fight game is a mad game but as I said again, to my fans I am in shape and I am ready.

"There are many opponents. In reality, I can pick who I please."

However, just hours after the interview aired, McGregor said he had retired via Twitter.

McGregor wrote: "Hey guys quick announcement, I've decided to retire from the sport formally known as 'Mixed Martial Art' today.

"I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!"

Former featherweight and lightweight champion McGregor boasts a 21-4 record in the UFC, with 18 knockouts.

Jusuf Nurkic suffered a gruesome leg injury in the Portland Trail Blazers' 148-144 double-overtime victory against the Brooklyn Nets.

Trail Blazers center Nurkic went up for a rebound in the second overtime of Monday's NBA game before coming down awkwardly and collapsing to the floor.

Nurkic was carried off on a stretcher as the arena fell silent and did not return.

Portland fans gave Nurkic a standing ovation as the Bosnian was taken back to the locker room.

The Trail Blazers later sent out a message of support on Twitter. 

Nurkic recorded 32 points, 16 rebounds and five assists in the win over the Nets in Portland.

The Orlando Magic routed the high-flying Philadelphia 76ers 119-98 in the NBA on Monday.

Orlando pulled away in the second half and claimed a 21-point win thanks to a game-high 28 points and 11 rebounds from Nikola Vucevic.

Evan Fournier contributed 24 points in the victory at home to the 76ers in Orlando.

Ben Simmons sat out for the 76ers with an illness, and the Philadelphia just did not look their best.

Joel Embiid led the way for the 76ers, posting 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Ninth-seeded Orlando are jockeying to get into playoff position, while Philadelphia sit firmly in third in the Eastern Conference standings.

Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers' 148-144 double-overtime victory against the Brooklyn Nets was overshadowed by a serious knee injury to Jusuf Nurkic.

 

Booker shines as Suns set

Devin Booker scored 59 points in the Phoenix Suns' 125-92 loss to the Utah Jazz.

Paul George's 30 points and 12 rebounds were not enough for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 115-103.

 

Redick cold from the field

JJ Redick tallied eight points on two-of-10 shooting in Philadelphia's loss.

 

Ayton slams over Gobert

Phoenix's Deandre Ayton threw down a big dunk over Rudy Gobert.

Dennis Schroder dished a quick touch pass to George on the break for an emphatic finish.

 

Monday's results

Orlando Magic 119-98 Philadelphia 76ers
Memphis Grizzlies 115-103 Oklahoma City Thunder
Utah Jazz 125-92 Phoenix Suns
Portland Trail Blazers 148-144 Brooklyn Nets (2OT)

 

Rockets at Bucks

The two front-runners for MVP, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo, are going head-to-head on Tuesday. This matchup between the Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets could have a playoff feel to it.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert broke the NBA record for most dunks in a single season.

Gobert recorded his 270th dunk of 2018-19 in the second quarter of the Jazz's 125-92 win over the Phoenix Suns.

It saw Gobert break Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard's record of 269 dunks set in 2007-08.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has the second-most dunks in the league this season with a mark of 262, while Clint Capela of the Houston Rockets ranks third with 205.

Simona Halep moved into the WTA Miami Open quarter-finals at the expense of Venus Williams, while Indian Wells champion Bianca Andreescu was forced to retire.

Romanian second seed Halep needed two sets and just over an hour to send Williams packing at the Premier Mandatory tournament on Monday.

Andreescu's winning run came to an end after the Canadian sensation succumbed to injury against Anett Kontaveit in the fourth round.

Caroline Wozniacki was also ousted in Miami, where Australian Open runner-up Petra Kvitova rolled on, Karolina Pliskova progressed and Marketa Vondrousova prevailed.

 

HALEP BLITZES VENUS

Williams was no match for Halep, who cruised to a 6-3 6-3 win en route to the last eight.

Halep survived a marathon against Polona Hercog in the previous round – which lasted almost three hours – but the 2015 semi-finalist was a class above on Monday.

Three-time champion Williams was bidding to win in Miami for the first time since 2001 but Halep set up a clash with 18th seed Wang Qiang, who beat Wang Yafan 7-5 6-4.

 

ANDREESCU PROUD OF 'CINDERELLA STORY'

The 18-year-old's match did not go according to plan after she retired when trailing Kontaveit 6-1 2-0.

A right shoulder injury saw Andreescu's 10-match winning streak ended in unfortunate circumstances, after she won her maiden title via the Indian Wells Open.

"I guess this is just a way of my body telling me that it's had enough," Andreescu said. "It's disappointing, but it's part of the sport."

"Well, now I'm pretty upset with what happened today, so I wasn't really looking back at my time at Indian Wells," she added. "But I guess, now that you mentioned it, I really can't complain with what I have achieved. It's been an incredible run, a Cinderella story, like a lot of you guys said. It's a dream come true, so I'm really pleased."

Next up for Kontaveit is Hsieh Su-wei, who stunned former world number one Wozniacki 6-3 6-7 (0-7) 6-2.

 

KVITOVA ON TRACK FOR TOP RANKING

Czech third seed Kvitova accounted for Caroline Garcia 6-3 6-3 – keeping her quest for the world number one ranking alive.

Kvitova was dominant throughout, hitting 26 winners after a two-hour rain delay against the Frenchwoman.

"I had a quick nap, and, you know, it's always kind of different and difficult coming back to the court. I felt pretty tight in those two games, and I'm very glad that I was able to finish it with good serves in the last game," Kvitova said.

Ashleigh Barty awaits after the 12th seed rallied past Kiki Bertens 4-6 6-3 6-2.

Roger Federer continued his quest for a fourth Miami Open crown after reaching the last 16, but Grigor Dimitrov crashed out.

Former world number one Federer – the fourth seed – eased past Filip Krajinovic in straight sets on Monday.

Bulgarian star and 24th seed Dimitrov was sent packing by Jordan Thompson as he earned a round-of-16 clash against Kevin Anderson.

Daniil Medvedev, David Goffin, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Denis Shapovalov also advanced to the fourth round of the ATP 1000 Masters event.

 

FED EXPRESS SAILS THROUGH

Federer came from a break down to win the opening set and eventually claimed a 7-5 6-3 victory.

After a shaky start, Federer blitzed Krajinovic thanks to 35 winners as he improved to 52-14 in Miami.

"It was an... intense match in the first 10 games. Then I was able to pull away. I had a good 20-minute stretch where I was really able to stretch the lead, and that was key today," Federer said.

Medvedev awaits Federer after the Russian 13th seed prevailed 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (5-7) 7-6 (7-0) over Reilly Opelka.

 

DIMITROV OUSTED BY THOMPSON

Former world number three Dimitrov failed to make it past the third round following a 7-5 7-5 loss to Australia's Thompson.

Thompson broke Dimitrov in the 12th game of both sets to clinch a showdown with sixth seed Anderson.

Playing only his second tournament of the season following his second-round defeat at the Australian Open due to an ongoing right elbow injury, Anderson defeated Joao Sousa 6-4 7-6 (8-6).

 

TIAFOE ENDS FERRER'S MIAMI CAREER

David Ferrer's 17th and final Miami Open campaign was ended by 28th seed Frances Tiafoe, who won 5-7 6-3 6-3.

Set to retire at the Madrid Open, Ferrer's farewell tour was reduced to two tournaments following the three-set loss on Monday.

After rallying past the 36-year-old Spaniard, Tiafoe has the chance to reach his maiden Masters quarter-final when he faces 18th seed Goffin.

Goffin saw off fellow seed Marco Cecchinato 6-4 6-4.

Jason Kidd said it would be an honour to coach LeBron James as he discussed the possibility of joining the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kidd, who was fired by the Milwaukee Bucks in January 2018, has been linked to the Lakers job if Luke Walton is fired after the NBA season.

The 2011 NBA champion also could head to the collegiate ranks as he is reportedly the leading candidate to replace Wyking Jones at California.

"I think Cal is a great institution. We'll see what happens," Kidd told ESPN. "Right now, it's nice to be wanted.

"And it just tells me I'm doing the right thing. And I think the year off helps clean up some things too, just to refocus and have that energy.

"We'll wait until the season's over to see what opportunities come about and hopefully, there's one that fits."

Kidd said the Lakers were one of the best franchises in the "world" but added Walton has done an "incredible job".

"If you ever have the opportunity to wear the purple and gold, you can't turn that down, as a coach, as a player, because they're all about championships," Kidd said. "They have a process."

LeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers and signed a four-year, $153.3million contract with the Lakers in July 2018.

The three-time NBA champion is averaging 27.5 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists during his first season in Los Angeles, where the playoff drought continues.

"When you talk about the best player in the world [in James], you always are going to say yes because as a coach or as a team-mate, he's always going to make you better because you're going to work," Kidd said. "As a coach, X and Os, you’ve got to be on point.

"As a team-mate, you're going to work extremely hard because you know he's going to need you to make that shot or come up with a defensive play. So, that would be a great honor to coach any elite basketball player."

Kidd, who was a 10-time All-Star as a player, registered a 139-152 record and made two playoff appearances during his time with Milwaukee. He also coached the Brooklyn Nets for one season.

Pelicans owner Gayle Benson recently addressed the rumors indicating the team could move to Seattle or another interested market.

The New Orleans Pelicans will not be relocating to Seattle or any other markets, according to owner Gayle Benson.

There have been rumours the Pelicans could be uprooted from New Orleans to Seattle.

However, Benson insisted she is not interested in selling the NBA franchise.

"There is no way that I am going to sell that team — ever," Benson announced during a press luncheon on Monday.

"I value the Pelicans as much as I do the Saints, and I don't look at myself as an owner of the teams. I feel like it is an asset that I am protecting for the city."

Benson inherited ownership of NFL team the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans when her husband Tom died in March 2018.

Day-to-day operations of the franchises are handled by Pelicans team president Dennis Lauscha and Mickey Loomis, the executive vice president and general manager of the Saints.

But, Benson plans to establish a succession for both team's day-to-day operations, which she has not yet revealed.

As for Benson, herself, she is "not going anywhere."

"The owners of both leagues needed to know what we were going to do," Benson said. "[NFL and NBA officials] have been involved, and they know what it is. It's all under lock and key and it's going to be great…

"People are going to talk and there's really nothing you can do about that. Time will take care of it. They'll see that I'm sincere."

 

The Philadelphia Eagles are looking to agree on a long-term deal with star quarterback Carson Wentz, according to vice-president Howie Roseman.

Wentz is entering his fourth year in the NFL. Injuries late in the season have forced him to miss significant time in the playoffs, including the Eagles' Super Bowl LII victory.

The 26-year-old threw for 3,074 yards and 21 touchdowns in 11 games last season before being shut down with a back injury.

Wentz has been replaced by Nick Foles in the playoffs for the past two seasons. But, the latter signed a four-year, $88million deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month.

"We're incredibly optimistic about the 2019 season," Roseman said. "Having Carson here long term is our goal, and we’re working toward that."

Philadelphia finished 2018 at 9-7 and fell to New the Orleans Saints in the divisional round of the playoffs.

Wentz is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.

"We think we've added talent to our football team, continue to look for ways to add talent to our team," Roseman said. "But at the same time, we have to be realistic about the fact that we have a quarterback that we want to pay … and how we're going to build our team with that player, which is exciting for us.

"I mean, we want to have a team led by a franchise-type quarterback. We know that we have that in Carson, and so now what are we going to do around him to make sure that we can continue to have [a great team]?"

Derek Carr will be in an Oakland Raiders jersey this upcoming NFL season, according to head coach Jon Gruden.

Oakland reportedly had been shopping around the 27-year-old Carr at the NFL combine earlier this month.

Gruden, however, said that was not the case as he addressed the speculation on Monday.

"He's going to be our quarterback," Gruden told the NFL Network. "I'm not going to address all the rumours. I could not care less about the rumours. … I've got a lot of confidence in Carr."

Carr completed 68.9 per cent of his passes and threw for 19 touchdowns, along with 10 interceptions, on a Raiders team that struggled in 2018.

Oakland, however, have made major upgrades to their offense, including trading for disgruntled Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown as well as signing wideout Tyrell Williams and offensive lineman Trent Brown.

"I'm excited about Carr [and] what he can do with Antonio Brown, with Tyrell Williams, with Trent Brown coming in here," Gruden said.

Gruden said Brown — a seven-time Pro Bowl player with Pittsburgh — is "exactly what" the team need.

"He's one of the most prolific receivers in football," Gruden said. "I think that he is the real deal. ... A go-to, clutch football player at a position that we needed. And we are so excited to have him.

"The energy that he brings to the practice field, the meeting room, his preparation is legendary."

Gruden left the broadcast booth and signed a 10-year, $100million contract with the Raiders in January 2018. Oakland finished with a 4-12 record during the 55-year-old's first season with the team.

"It was a tough year," Gruden said. "No doubt. For the fans, for the players, for the coaches and for me. But necessary. It was something we had to get through and we got through and we're excited about the future.

"We're on schedule. We had a great offseason. … We've established a really good work ethic in our building. Our guys know how to prepare, how to practice and we've got a good environment."

The Raiders will have three first-round picks in the 2019 NFL Draft next month.

Jason Day and Phil Mickelson have been drawn together in a star-studded group at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, as Tiger Woods eyes a fourth championship.

Former world number one Day and five-time major champion Mickelson headline Group 12, which also includes 2016 Open winner Henrik Stenson and former U.S. Open titleholder Jim Furyk for the tournament in Austin.

The World Golf Championships event – which Day won in 2014 and 2016 – will start with 16 groups of four players, divided by their world ranking, contesting round-robin matches from Wednesday through to Friday.

Only the group winners will advance to Saturday's round of 16, with three-time champion Woods set to feature against Patrick Cantlay, Brandt Snedeker and Aaron Wise in Group 13.

Woods' appearance at the Match Play marks the first time that he will play the round-robin format – rather than the previous single-elimination set-up – and the Austin Country Club course.

World number one Dustin Johnson – the 2017 champion – has been grouped with Hideki Matsuyama, Branden Grace and Chez Reavie.

Fresh off his Players Championship triumph, four-time major winner and 2015 Match Play champion Rory McIlroy will play Matt Fitzpatrick, Justin Harding and Luke List, while Bubba Watson's title defence will start against Jordan Spieth, Billy Horschel and Kevin Na.

 

Group 1

(1) Dustin Johnson
(24) Hideki Matsuyama
(40) Branden Grace
(55) Chez Reavie

Group 2
(2) Justin Rose
(22) Gary Woodland
(34) Eddie Pepperell
(53) Emiliano Grillo

Group 3
(3) Brooks Koepka
(27) Alex Noren
(36) Haotong Li
(60) Tom Lewis

Group 4
(4) Rory McIlroy
(32) Matt Fitzpatrick
(47) Justin Harding
(64) Luke List

Group 5
(5) Justin Thomas
(31) Keegan Bradley
(33) Matt Wallace
(50) Lucas Bjerregaard

Group 6
(6) Bryson DeChambeau
(17) Marc Leishman
(39) Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(59) Russell Knox

Group 7
(7) Francesco Molinari
(21) Webb Simpson
(45) Thorbjorn Olesen
(63) Satoshi Kodaira

Group 8
(8) Jon Rahm
(23) Matt Kuchar
(43) JB Holmes
(54) Si Woo Kim

Group 9
(9) Xander Schauffele
(29) Rafa Cabrera Bello
(35) Tyrrell Hatton
(62) Lee Westwood

Group 10
(10) Paul Casey
(25) Cameron Smith
(42) Charles Howell III
(58) Abraham Ancer

Group 11
(11) Tommy Fleetwood
(19) Louis Oosthuizen
(41) Kyle Stanley
(49) Byeong Hun An

Group 12
(12) Jason Day
(20) Phil Mickelson
(37) Henrik Stenson
(52) Jim Furyk

Group 13
(13) Tiger Woods
(18) Patrick Cantlay
(44) Brandt Snedeker
(61) Aaron Wise

Group 14
(14) Tony Finau
(30) Ian Poulter
(48) Kevin Kisner
(56) Keith Mitchell

Group 15
(15) Bubba Watson
(28) Jordan Spieth
(38) Billy Horschel
(57) Kevin Na

Group 16
(16) Patrick Reed
(26) Sergio Garcia
(46) Shane Lowry
(51) Andrew Putnam

Roger Federer breezed into the fourth round of the Miami Open with a straight-sets defeat of Filip Krajinovic.

The fourth seed came from a break down to win the opening set and went on to move into the last 16 with a 7-5 6-3 victory on Monday.

Federer needed three sets to defeat qualifier Radu Albot in the second round, but never looked like going the distance again once he overcame a shaky start.

The 20-time grand slam winner struck 35 winners to leave an expectant crowd marvelling at his mastery and will take on Daniil Medvedev or Reilly Opelka in round four.

Krajinovic defeated Stan Wawrinka in the second round and he was eyeing an even bigger Swiss scalp when Federer was broken to love in the third game, paying the price for overhitting a couple of forehands.

Federer broke back immediately and fended off a break point to lead 6-5, before avoiding a tie-break by fizzing a searing cross-court forehand winner past the Serbian.

The world number five, attempting to win the tournament for a fourth time, ramped up the pressure at the start of the second set and charged into a 3-0 lead.

Federer came to the net at every opportunity and worked Krajinovic from side to side in the heat, going on to seal victory by serving out the match to love without facing a break point in the second set.

Bianca Andreescu's 10-match winning streak came to an end when she retired during a fourth-round encounter with Anett Kontaveit at the Miami Open due to a shoulder injury.

Andreescu defied the odds to become the first wildcard to be crowned Indian Wells champion earlier this month, but there will be no Sunshine Double after the 18-year-old Canadian shook hands at 6-1 2-0 down on Monday.

A right shoulder injury halted the rising star's incredible run and ensured Kontaveit will face either Caroline Wozniacki or Hsieh Su-wei in the quarter-finals.

Kontaveit took charge following a rain delay of around 90 minutes and Andreescu called for a medical timeout after losing the first set.

It was all over just 56 minutes into the contest on Court 1, with Andreescu deciding she was unable to continue.

Andreescu had beaten Angelique Kerber - her opponent in the final at Indian Wells - to reach the last 16 after saving a match point in her defeat of Irina-Camelia Begu in the first round and got past Sofia Kenin in round two.

The teenager will go no further though, as the world number 24's exploits in the United States appeared to catch up with her.

 

 

The NFL will kick off its 100th season by honouring its oldest rivalry, with the Chicago Bears scheduled to host the Green Bay Packers in the opening game on September 5.

Chicago and Green Bay first played in 1921 and have faced each other 198 times since, with the Packers holding a 97-95-6 edge. 

The NFC North showdown confirms a February report that had hinted at a tentative Thanksgiving Day slate that is rumoured to include the Bears, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys.

"As an organisation, we are thrilled to be kicking off the 100th season of football in the NFL," Bears chairman George H. McCaskey stated.

"As a charter franchise, we cannot think of a better way to begin our centennial season by hosting our long-time rival in prime time at Soldier Field.”

It marks just the second time since 2006 that the Super Bowl champion will not appear in the league's opening game.

Defending champions the New England Patriots will host the season's first "Sunday Night Football" match-up on September 8 against an opponent to be announced at a later date.

New England will also host a ceremony to raise its Super Bowl 53 banner.

The full NFL schedule is set to be released in April.

Rob Gronkowski may have walked away from football, but his agent is leaving the door open for a return.

While discussing his client on Get Up! on Monday, Drew Rosenhaus said he would not be surprised if the tight end suited up again in future after taking some time off.

"Rob is 29 years old. He's still a very young man. It wouldn't shock me if he has a change of heart, if he feels great and he decides that he wants to play football," Rosenhaus said.

"But this is just me talking. This isn't Rob. And I don't want to create any unnecessary expectations.

"Rob is a very unique personality. If the team was struggling or they needed him at some point next year, and let's just say hypothetically Tom Brady gave him a call and said 'Rob, I need you,' I wouldn't be shocked if he came back to play a few games."

Gronkowski announced his retirement on Sunday in a lengthy Instagram post, hanging his helmet after nine historic seasons spent entirely in New England.

While Rosenhaus did not deny Gronkowski's intentions, he pointed out that other players have changed their minds in the past.

"Rob Gronkowski is retired and it's unlikely that he will ever play football again," Rosenhaus said. "However, I did close my conversation with Rob yesterday when he called to tell me he was going to retire, and I said, 'Rob, just keep in mind that if you ever have a change of heart, you can come back and play.

"I'm sure the Patriots would welcome you with open arms. If it's sometime during the season. If it's late in the year. If you feel good and want to come back and play, we'll make it happen.'

"That's all. It was just a suggestion. I couldn't let go without leaving that in Rob's ear. Hey listen, Jason Witten did it. Witten [is] another Hall of Fame tight end; he took the year off and decided to come back."

Asked what Gronkowski would do with his free time, Rosenhaus added: "Nothing. A lot of fun. A lot of rest. Good times. Relaxation. Partying. Being himself. Being Gronk.

"Eventually we could see him doing TV, acting, a whole number of things. Appearances. Endorsements. He's one of the biggest personalities. He won't disappear. He's going to have fun for a while, but he'll be back in the limelight in the near future, I believe."

Toto Wolff says Mercedes only consider themselves "challengers" for more Formula One glory this season and he expects a "very different race" in Bahrain.

Mercedes have won the constructors' championship in each of the past five seasons and started the 2019 campaign by taking maximum points at the Australian Grand Prix.

Ferrari set the pace in pre-season testing in Barcelona but only amassed half of the Silver Arrows' 44-point tally in Melbourne.

Valtteri Bottas led a Mercedes one-two ahead of Lewis Hamilton at Albert Park, but Wolff expects the Scuderia to hit back under the lights this weekend.

The Mercedes team principal said: "Claiming the maximum 44 points from the first race was a fantastic result, we could not have asked for a better start to the season.

"But the fight has only just begun: Ferrari will try everything they can to hit back and Melbourne showed that Red Bull will have something to say in the fight too.

"We've seen the potential of Ferrari's package in Barcelona, so we expect them to come back strong in Bahrain, with Red Bull in the mix as well.

"We will see a very different race in Bahrain, where the weekend presents unique challenges, especially the change in conditions between the sessions. FP1 and FP3 take place in the middle of the day when both the air and the track can be very hot; FP2, qualifying and the race on the other hand are held in the evening in considerably cooler temperatures.

"These temperature swings make it very tricky to set up the car and find the right configuration for the sessions that really count. 

"After the Barcelona test, we felt that we were the challengers. Whatever the Melbourne result says, our mindset hasn't changed since then. One race doesn't determine the pecking order for the rest of the season.

"We need to extract every bit of performance from our package and keep on working hard to improve the car over the weekend to be competitive. We've had some great racing in recent years in Bahrain, so I'm looking forward to an exciting weekend."

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