Representatives of the Oakland Athletics and Major League Baseball met Sunday with Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, a day before the Oklahoma quarterback’s deadline to enter the NFL draft, a person with direct knowledge of the session said.

Oakland executives remained confident as recently as the baseball winter meetings last month in Las Vegas that Murray would report to spring training this year and pursue baseball. MLB joined the efforts to persuade the dual-sport star, sending someone from its marketing group to the meeting, the source said.

The 5-foot-10, 195-pound Murray’s Sooners lost in a college football playoff semifinal Dec. 29 to eventual runner-up Alabama.

Drafted last June in the first round as the ninth overall pick, the outfielder signed with Oakland for $4.66 million. There was an agreement between the team and Murray that he would play football this year, then skip his senior season to begin his pro baseball career — and A’s manager Bob Melvin as well as executive Billy Beane and general manager David Forst closely followed Oklahoma football in 2018.

Soccer

Lionel Messi took his all-time Spanish league scoring record to 400 goals on Sunday after contributing to a 3-0 win over Eibar to keep defending champion Barcelona comfortably at the top.

Messi scored Barcelona’s second goal shortly after halftime to reach a milestone in the competition after 435 league matches. Former Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo is second all-time in La Liga with 311 goals.

In all competitions, Barcelona says the 31-year-old Messi has scored an astonishing 575 goals in 658 appearances.

College football

All-America safety Deionte Thompson has joined a growing crowd of Alabama players leaving early for the NFL draft.

Thompson announced his decision Sunday on Twitter. He’s the sixth Crimson Tide underclassman to announce his decision to leave early.

Thompson was a consensus All-American in his first season as the starter. He made 79 tackles and had two interceptions and four forced fumbles.

Thompson, who has already graduated, says his experience at Alabama was “undeniably life-changing and an experience that I wouldn’t trade for the world.” He’s widely projected as a potential first-round pick.

Obituary

Former Miami Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and member of the only NFL team to achieve a perfect season, died at age 71.

His death Saturday was confirmed by the Dolphins, who had no further details.

Kuechenberg joined the Dolphins as a free agent in 1970, coach Don Shula’s first season, and played for them until 1983. He started every game for the team that went 17-0 in 1972, and started 16 games for the team that repeated as Super Bowl champions in 1973.

Kuechenberg was a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a member of the Dolphins’ Honor Roll.

Shula said Kuechenberg played with a broken arm in the 1974 Super Bowl and still dominated Hall of Fame defensive tackle Alan Page as Miami beat Minnesota 24-7. That game was 45 years ago Sunday.

Former teammate Jim Langer, a Hall of Fame center, said he stayed in touch with Kuechenberg, spoke with him in the past week and was shocked to learn of his death.

“He was the kind of guy you’d want in your foxhole,” Langer said. “He played hard and was very intense about the game, which was typical of our team. He was my roommate for 10 years, and we talked football damn near all the time.”

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