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Steelers' Bell, Blount set to face pot charges
PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount will be charged with marijuana possession following a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon. Ross Township detective Brian Kohlhepp said traffic officer Sean Stafiej pulled over a Camaro operated by Bell around 1:30 p.m. after Stafiej, who was on a motorcycle, noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Stafiej found a 20 gram bag of marijuana inside the car. Bell, Blount and a female passenger all claimed ownership of the marijuana according to police. Bell, 22, was taken to a hospital to have blood drawn and is expected to be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. Bell, Blount and the female passenger were arrested and released. All three are expected to receive notice of formal charges through the mail said Kohlhepp. The possession and DUI charges are both misdemeanors. The Steelers play a preseason game in Philadelphia on Thursday. Bell and Blount, signed as a free agent in the offseason, were expected to see significant playing time in the main tuneup for starters before Pittsburgh's Sept. 7 opener against Cleveland. "We are aware of the reports and still gathering information," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said. "We will have no further comment at this time." Bell set a franchise record for total yards by a rookie running back last season, smashing the mark set by Hall of Famer Franco Harris. The second-round pick out of Michigan State ran for 860 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 45 passes for 399 yards despite missing the first three games of the season with a foot injury. Pittsburgh plans to use Bell and Blount as a one-two punch, with the burly 27-year-old Blount expected to be featured heavily in short-yardage situations. The Steelers finished tied for 27th in the league with 1,383 yards rushing in 2013 on their way to an 8-8 record. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:20:00 +0000
Hoyer beats injury, Manziel to win starting job
BEREA, Ohio (AP) Brian Hoyer defied long odds - and stiff-armed Johnny Football - to keep his dream job. Through sweat and tears, he fought his way back from a serious knee injury only to be faced with the Browns drafting Johnny Manziel, college football's dynamic quarterback with the cult-like following. Hoyer, though, persevered. He endured grueling rehab to get back on the field sooner than expected, stayed focused as Manzielmania consumed the Browns, and ignored trade rumors. It will be Hoyer who will lead the Browns, his hometown team, onto the field for the Sept. 7 opener against the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers. For a Cleveland kid cut by three NFL teams and waiting for his chance, it doesn't get any better. "Obviously it's very special for me," Hoyer said. "Did I believe this could happen after I got hurt? There was no doubt in my mind, but there were days when rehab (stunk) and I hated what I was doing. It's amazing how you appreciate the game when it's taken away from you." Needing to fix his offense quickly, first-year Browns coach Mike Pettine chose Hoyer as his starter Wednesday over Manziel, who wasn't able to do enough during training camp or two preseason games to convince Cleveland's coaching staff he deserved the job. Manziel is 0-1 as a pro. "It's obviously disappointing," Manziel said. "I feel like if I would have come out and played better it would have been a different outcome. I don't think I played terrible, but I didn't do anything to jump off the page. I made strides and got better throughout training camp and that's what I wanted to do." Despite a 40 percent completion percentage, 57.9 rating and seeming to buckle under the pressure this month, Hoyer will start the season. However, in Cleveland that usually only guarantees one game. After all, the Browns have had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999. Hoyer is the 12th QB to start the opener, a damning indictment toward a franchise that has only made the playoffs once in its expansion era. The first major decision of Pettine's coaching career wasn't easy. He chose Hoyer's experience over Manziel's potential and he may have to make another switch. Pettine knows the best plans can change in an instant. "Give me a crystal ball, and I'll tell you," he said when asked if Manziel will play this season. "The NFL season is so long, so much can happen. We don't want Brian looking over his shoulder thinking one bad throw and I'm out. But over time, if you feel you have to make a change, time will only tell. "You could foresee a scenario where he doesn't play this year and there are other scenarios that are absolutely possible as well. It's hard to tell." Pettine brushed aside the notion Hoyer is on a short leash. "This is Brian's job," he said. "I never think of it whether it's a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager. We want him to be confident and go out and play." Pettine's selection of Hoyer will finally allow the Browns to move on to other things, and there's plenty of work to be done. Pettine had targeted the third preseason game as the drop-dead date to pick his starter, but after both Hoyer and Manziel looked so bad in a loss at Washington on Monday, he met with his staff Tuesday night. He informed Hoyer and Manziel of his decision before a team meeting. Hoyer didn't have enough time to contact his family, but while he was in the meeting, he received dozens of congratulatory text messages. Nothing has ever come easy for him and although there was an outside perception Manziel would prevail, the 28-year-old Hoyer wasn't going down without a fight. With Manziel on his heels, he can't relax. "My entire career's been looking over my shoulder," he said. "The pressure you put on yourself is far greater than anything else, because when you're a rookie undrafted and you're trying to come in and make a team, there's no one to look over. You're just trying to get on the team and to me, I feel like I'll carry that chip with me forever." Manziel temporarily is pushed aside, and that appears to be OK with the 21-year-old, who draws attention with every move he makes on and off the field. Manziel hopes the hysteria quiets down a little. "I'm the backup quarterback," he said. "I shouldn't be in the spotlight." Manziel has no regrets about the way he approached his competition with Hoyer. He was widely criticized for some weekend partying, but the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner insists he wouldn't change a thing. He's developing as a player, maturing as a man, and hopes to one day take over. "Now next time I come into training camp I won't be surprised by it," he said. "But I wouldn't go back from the point after the draft to now and change a single thing. I'm going to continue to live my life and the offseason is the offseason. I'm going to go places, I'm going to do things and that's going to have no effect. "Obviously I need to do it in the proper way, but I'm still going to continue to have fun in my life and continue to live my life." For now, as a backup. NOTES: Browns DE Desmond Bryant underwent wrist surgery. Pettine doesn't know yet if Bryant, limited to 12 games last season by a heart problem, will be back for the opener. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:41:00 +0000
Tony Stewart skips 3rd race after Ward's death
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Tony Stewart will not race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, the third Sprint Cup race he's skipped since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race. Stewart's decision was announced Wednesday and Jeff Burton will once again replace him in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Burton also drove Stewart's car at Michigan last weekend. Stewart-Haas Racing is allowing Stewart to take the time he needs away from the track, and the team statement indicated the three-time NASCAR champion is taking it week-by-week. Stewart will not have to decide on another race until the Aug. 31 event at Atlanta. Stewart has been in seclusion since the Aug. 9 incident at an upstate New York dirt track. He has not commented since he issued a statement the day after Ward's death. Stewart also pulled out of the race at Watkins Glen, which began about 12 hours after his car hit Ward at event in Canandaigua, New York. Ward's car had spun into a wall as he and Stewart raced for position, and the 20-year-old climbed out to confront Stewart. Authorities said the first car to pass Ward had to swerve to miss hitting the driver, who was gesturing toward the NASCAR star. The front of Stewart's car then appeared to clear Ward, but Ward was struck by the right rear tire and hurtled through the air. Ward died of blunt force trauma, and authorities are still investigating the incident. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero has said investigators did not have any evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart, but the investigation is expected to last at least another week. Povero said this week were no new updates. None of Stewart's peers has spoken to the driver since the accident. But they've come to his defense, with six-time champion Jimmie Johnson saying nothing he's seen has convinced him that Ward's death was anything but a tragic accident. Kevin Harvick, a longtime friend of Stewart's and his teammate at SHR, also bristled at the negative portrayal of Stewart since Ward's death. "I've known Tony Stewart for a long time ... I know for sure that Tony Stewart is not going to run over somebody," Harvick said. "I don't think there's anybody in this garage that would. It would be hard to find somebody in the racing world that could point that car, just run somebody over." NASCAR last week announced a rule that prohibits drivers from exiting from a crashed or disabled vehicle - unless it is on fire - until safety personnel arrive. Stewart has 48 career Cup wins in 542 starts. He has one career win at Bristol, in 2001. Burton made just his third start of the season last week. The 21-time Sprint Cup winner parted ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season and is transitioning into an analyst for NBC. Burton won at Bristol in 2008 and has 15 top-10 finishes in 40 career starts. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:15:00 +0000
U.S. routs Dominicans in exhibition at MSG
NEW YORK -- Derrick Rose heard the fans chanting his name, and yes, he would've loved to give them what they wanted. But after missing most of the past two years and with still a long summer of basketball ahead, he's willing to take this return slowly. "Just trying to protect myself, just knowing that this is a long, long schedule and this is the most basketball I'll be playing in two years," Rose said. "I want to be out there, but at the same time my health is the No. 1 issue right now." With Rose sitting out, Kyrie Irving started and made all five shots, scoring 12 points as the U.S. national basketball team beat the Dominican Republic 105-62 on Wednesday night in an exhibition game. James Harden also scored 12 in limited playing time for the Americans, who used their subs for most of the second half. Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan each scored 13 points. Rose and U.S. assistant Tom Thibodeau, Rose's coach with the Chicago Bulls, both said he was experiencing general soreness, though Rose was quick to point out it was nothing related to his multiple knee surgeries. Rose's absence allowed U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski to take a longer look at other players with cuts coming soon. The Americans have 16 players on the roster and have to get down to 12 before the upcoming Basketball World Cup. "When we do eventually make decisions on the 12, it will be very, very difficult," Krzyzewski said. Krzyzewski said there would be no cuts before Friday's game against Puerto Rico, and he said Rose would play that night. Fans chanted loudly in the third quarter for Rose to get into this one, but Krzyzewski decided shortly before tip the Chicago Bulls star wouldn't play. Rose had sat out practices the past two days after starting in Saturday's exhibition victory over Brazil on his home floor, saying Tuesday he just wanted extra rest as he tries to play his way back into shape after missing most of the past two seasons because of knee surgeries. "He's feeling a lot better, he was probably feeling good enough to play tonight, but because he hasn't played and he's trying to shake off some rust, the best thing to do was to give him the day off," Thibodeau said. Houston Rockets forward Francisco Garcia scored 14 points for the Dominican Republic, coached by South Florida's Orlando Antigua. The Dominicans are without their best player, the Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford, who is recovering from a torn right pectoral muscle. Karl Towns played 10 minutes for the Dominicans, though he won't accompany them to Spain as the highly touted freshman heads to Kentucky. The team shot 34 percent. "Would've liked to shot the ball a lot better, but I thought we did a lot of good things throughout the game. We showed some good points," Antigua said. The teams will meet again in Bilbao, Spain, where they are both in Group C. The Americans leave Saturday for Spain, where they will finish their preparations with a final exhibition against Slovenia. The World Cup opens on Aug. 30. The Dominicans took a 6-4 lead, the Americans answered with 14 straight points to make it 18-6, and that was about it. The Americans expanded a 28-17 lead after one quarter to 53-31 at the half, as Harden and Klay Thompson each scored 10 points by the break. The U.S. pushed it to 69-34 with a little more than 4 minutes left in the third after a flurry by Irving, allowing for extra playing time for players at the back end of the roster such as Andre Drummond and Gordon Hayward. Drummond finished with 12 points for the Americans, who shot 58 percent. Chandler Parsons, Kyle Korver and Mason Plumlee were the only Americans who didn't play. Before the game, U.S. military members presented each player with two dog tags. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said one featured the American flag, the player's name, and the words leadership, service and teamwork, and the other featured the name of a serviceman. Thu, 21 Aug 2014 02:18:00 +0000
Angels RHP Richards leaves field with knee injury
BOSTON (AP) Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards was taken off the field on a stretcher with a left knee injury on Wednesday night. Richards was hurt in the second inning while running to cover first base on a potential double-play grounder by Boston's Brock Holt. Richards' fell in the dirt near the base. Several minutes later he was wheeled off while he raised his right arm to the crowd and put his left hand on his forehead. The Angels said he sustained a patellar injury but didn't disclose the extent. With runners at first and second, Holt grounded to first baseman Albert Pujols, who threw to shortstop Erick Aybar for the out at second. Richards then fell while running to first for a return throw that never came. Aybar spun and threw to third, but Xander Bogaerts, who had run past the base, dove back safely. Cory Rasmus replaced Richards. Richards (13-7) was 7-2 in his previous 11 starts, lowering his ERA from 2.87 to 2.53. Since June 4, he had a 1.79 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 100 1-3 innings. But he struggled on Wednesday, allowing two runs and five hits with one walk and no strikeouts in 1 2-3 innings. Thu, 21 Aug 2014 01:14:00 +0000
Yankees RHP Tanaka throws 35-pitch bullpen session
NEW YORK (AP) Masahiro Tanaka threw 35 pitches Wednesday in his second bullpen session as he tries to return to the New York Yankees this season. The injured rookie from Japan threw fastballs, breaking balls and five splitters at Yankee Stadium. He said he felt a little rusty, but his elbow is healthy and now it's just a matter of rebuilding arm strength and getting sharp. "It was a good day," Tanaka said through a translator. "The elbow is fine now. I'm more looking towards playing in a game now. But that said, even that said, I think I do have to be cautious about the elbow." Tanaka went on the disabled list July 9 with a partial ligament tear in his right elbow and had a platelet-rich plasma injection. New York hopes he can avoid Tommy John surgery and return to the rotation next month. The right-hander threw 25 pitches in his first bullpen session last Saturday and might have another one before moving on to batting practice. After that, it would be a simulated game and then a rehab game. No more MRIs are planned. "So far, so good. I mean, every step has been positive for him and that's obviously the way we hope it continues to go. But each step, he increases intensity, and I'm sure BPs will be a little bit more intense than bullpens," manager Joe Girardi said. "The fact that he felt good today was encouraging. See how he feels tomorrow, obviously, is really important, but he was able to throw his curveball, his slider and his split, and I watched it and it looked pretty good." Tanaka is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts. New York began the day four games out of a playoff spot with 39 to play. In other news, slumping Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup against Houston because of discomfort in his troublesome right elbow, which has bothered him for much of the season. Beltran was scheduled to be examined by a doctor Wednesday evening. "I'm not really sure what it means. Hopefully, it's just a day or two," Girardi said. Derek Jeter was the designated hitter instead of Beltran, with Stephen Drew set to start at shortstop. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 23:09:00 +0000
Giants win protest, rain-shortened game to resume
CHICAGO (AP) The San Francisco Giants on Wednesday became the first team since 1986 to win a protest filed with Major League Baseball, and will now get to resume a rain-shortened game the Chicago Cubs thought they had won. MLB executive Joe Torre ruled on Tuesday night's game at Wrigley Field that was called after 4 1-2 innings. The Cubs were declared the winners by a 2-0 score. Now, it is instead a suspended game that will resume at 4:05 p.m. CDT Thursday with the Cubs batting in the bottom of the fifth. The playoff-contending Giants and Chicago have a regularly scheduled game set to begin three hours later. "I thought we had a strong case," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm just thankful and grateful that they (MLB) were open minded. "They listened and they looked at it and I think it's the fair thing to do." A short rainstorm caused a delay of more than 4 1-2 hours Tuesday after the grounds crew couldn't put the tarp down quickly. The umpires said the field was unplayable and called it at 1:16 a.m. MLB ruled that the tarp had not been properly put away after its previous use. Therefore, under provisions of Official Baseball Rule 4.12 (a) (3) there a "malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club." Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer called it a "just" decision. "The last thing you want is a playoff team feeling bitter about the result here," Hoyer said. "And obviously it was caused by our organization. It's a good outcome." "Hopefully we win the game. We have a 2-0 lead and pick it up from there," he said. Hoyer said the Cubs had hoped all along to play a complete game on Tuesday night, and that the Wrigley Field grounds crew and the umpires were caught off-guard by a "weird weather pattern" and a lack of advance warning of the localized downpour. That resulted in the field "wetter than usual," according to Hoyer, who added there was no rain at his house, located 12 blocks away from Wrigley Field. Manager Rick Renteria agreed with Hoyer that the game should be completed. "I believe in karma, OK," Renteria said. "The league has made the decision that this is what should be done. We're going to abide by it and hopefully we go out there and finish it off." Bochy was grateful to the Cubs for their support. I really have to compliment the Cubs," he said. "They were all for this too. They wanted to do the right thing." Giants President Larry Baer said in a statement: "We appreciate Major League Baseball's careful review of our protest that will allow last night's game to be continued tomorrow." "We want to thank Commissioner Bud Selig, Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre and the Chicago Cubs organization for their cooperation throughout this process," he said. The last time a team won a protest filed with MLB was June 16, 1986, when St. Louis played at Pittsburgh. There were two rain delays at Three Rivers Stadium, and the Pirates correctly contended those didn't meet the National League's 30-minute threshold for cancellation. MLB said in its statement that after watching video of the trouble at Wrigley Field and talking to Cubs' representatives, "the Cubs' inability to deploy the tarp appropriately was caused by the failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use." "As a result, the grounds keeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened," MLB said. MLB said it talked with umpire crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt and that grounds crew worked hard to comply with his direction to get the field covered. Thu, 21 Aug 2014 05:03:00 +0000
Schilling blames chewing tobacco for mouth cancer
BOSTON (AP) Former major league pitcher Curt Schilling says he has been treated for mouth cancer and blames the disease on his use of chewing tobacco for about 30 years. Schilling discussed details on WEEI-FM in Boston on Wednesday. The former Red Sox right-hander announced in February that he had cancer but hadn't disclosed what kind. He has said he is in remission after seven weeks of radiation and chemotherapy and has lost 75 pounds. "I'm not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing," he said. "It was an addictive habit. I can think about so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever. "And I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part. I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit." Schilling revealed the type of cancer two months after Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn died at the age of 54 of oral cancer, a disease he attributed to years of chewing tobacco. Use of chewing tobacco has been "a norm in the baseball culture," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "On the heels of the unfortunate passing of Tony Gwynn and now what Curt's going through, you would think that this would be more of a current beacon for guys to take note and know that there's a price to be paid if you're one of the unfortunate ones that is stricken by cancer." Major League Baseball prohibits having smokeless tobacco in public view and imposes fines for violations. Minor leaguers cannot use it in games. Former Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester was coming back from treatment for anaplastic large cell lymphoma in 2007, Farrell's first year as Boston's pitching coach. Lester, sent to Oakland at the trade deadline last month, was 4-0 that year and won the final game of Boston's four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the World Series. "Any time a public figure who is, unfortunately, diagnosed with cancer, is able to come out and speak about it - I know how hard that can be - it brings awareness," Lester said after Schilling's disclosure, "and maybe sheds a little light or a little hope on somebody who's struggling." Before his team faced the Red Sox on Wednesday night, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the use of smokeless tobacco "is non-existent in the minor leagues during a game. ... You hope that the next generation will heed the mistakes of the prior generation." Schilling is a three-time World Series champion with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Red Sox. "It's a very serious issue," said Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, Schilling's manager with the Diamondbacks in 2000, the year before they won the World Series after Showalter left. Awareness "has gotten a lot better over the years through things like Curt is doing, but there's a long way to go." Schilling played from 2004-07 with the Red Sox, who won the World Series in his first and last seasons with them. "He's elected to keep it very personal and I wouldn't want to betray that confidence," said Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, who managed Boston from 2004-11. "He's said what he's wanted to say, when he's wanted to say it." Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer said he tries to encourage young players not to use smokeless tobacco. "Anybody that thinks about it or wants to do it because it's cool should realize it's definitely not," he said. "You're seeing these guys' lives get put in jeopardy because of it. Young players and young kids should be aware of that. It's a disgusting habit." Schilling is being sued by Rhode Island's economic development agency after his video game company received a $75 million state loan guarantee and then collapsed. --- AP Sports Writers Pat Graham and Janie McCauley and freelancers Patrick Donnelly and Paul Ladewski contributed to this story. Thu, 21 Aug 2014 00:57:00 +0000
Serena Williams seeded No. 1 at US Open; Halep 2nd
NEW YORK (AP) Top-ranked Serena Williams is seeded No. 1 as she seeks her third straight U.S. Open title. The U.S. Tennis Association followed this week's WTA rankings in announcing the seedings Wednesday. French Open runner-up Simona Halep is seeded second after reaching a career-best ranking this month. She has never advanced past the fourth round at the U.S. Open. Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova is seeded No. 3 with third-ranked Li Na out because of a knee injury. Agnieszka Radwanska moves up to No. 4. Five-time major champ Maria Sharapova is seeded fifth, meaning there's a chance she could face Williams in the quarterfinals. The runner-up the last two years, Victoria Azarenka, is seeded 16th after an injury-plagued season. Venus Williams is seeded 19th. The draw is Thursday, and the tournament starts Monday. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 15:57:00 +0000
Jim Kelly's follow-up exam shows no sign of cancer
Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly received encouraging news in his battle with cancer. An initial physical exam showed no evidence of sinus cancer three months after the former Buffalo Bills quarterback completed radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Dr. Peter Costantino said in a release issued by New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital on Wednesday. "The treatments have so far completely eliminated Mr. Kelly's pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal," said Costantino, who heads the hospital's head and neck institute. "Further, on physical examination, there is no evidence of the cancer." The statement was issued a day after Kelly visited the hospital for a follow-up examination. Costantino said a series of tests over the next week will determine if further treatments are necessary. "It is possible that no further treatment will be required," he said. Kelly had surgery in June 2013 to remove cancerous cells in his upper jaw. The cancer then spread to his sinus in March. Kelly's wife Jill welcomed the news in a note posted on her Instagram account. "We have come away from our checkup visit in NYC encouraged and hopeful," she wrote. She added that the follow-up tests will include biopsies to confirm the cancer has been eradicated. Kelly was in a weakened state following a two-month barrage of treatments last spring. In one of his first public appearances following the treatments, Kelly surprised Bills players and staff by showing up to one of their final minicamp practices in June. Kelly was then strong enough to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, three weeks ago, when former Bills teammate, receiver Andre Reed, was among the seven inductees. Reed closed his speech by having Kelly throw him a pass on stage. A day later, Kelly served as the Bills honorary captain before their preseason-opening game against the New York Giants. Kelly's battle with cancer has been a public one, and attracted thousands of supporters and well-wishers on social media. "Kelly Tough" and "Prayers For JK" have become catch phrases and hashtags on Twitter by those voicing their support for Kelly. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:31:00 +0000
Settlement reached in Moore-Bertuzzi lawsuit
TORONTO (AP) A settlement has been reached in Steve Moore's lawsuit against NHL forward Todd Bertuzzi, more than 10 years after the bloody, on-ice attack ended Moore's career. Geoff Adair, a lawyer for Bertuzzi, confirmed the case was "settled in its totality" but said Tuesday the terms are confidential. The multimillion-dollar lawsuit had been set for trial Sept. 8. "We are pleased that the resolution of this matter allows the parties to turn the page and look to the future," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email. On March 8, 2004, Bertuzzi, then playing for the Vancouver Canucks, hit Moore from behind. The Colorado Avalanche rookie crashed face first to the ice, leaving him with a concussion and fractured vertebrae. The Canucks released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying a settlement was reached and that they planned no further comment on the matter. Moore alleges the Canucks had put a bounty on him following his check that injured their captain, Markus Naslund. Bertuzzi pleaded guilty to criminal assault causing bodily harm. He was sentenced in December 2004 to one year of probation and 80 hours of community service. There has been years of legal wrangling since. The civil case was filed in Ontario court in 2006 but was slowed by delays. Moore, now 35, never fully recovered from his injuries and was unable to keep playing. In March, a day before the 10th anniversary of the play, he told The Canadian Press he still has headaches and low energy. "I lost my entire career in my rookie year," he said. "I think any player put in that situation would do the same thing. I can't recover anything else. I can't recover my career, the experience of living out my dream from the time I was 2 1/2 years old of playing in the NHL." It all started on Feb. 16, 2004, when Moore flattened Naslund with an open-ice hit that left Vancouver's scoring star with a concussion. The play drew no punishment from the NHL. Major retaliation was expected. Vancouver's Brad May was quoted as saying there was a "bounty" on Moore. But when the teams next met on March 3, with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in the house, there were no incidents. Not so on March 8, a 9-2 Colorado victory. Moore squared off in a fight against Matt Cooke in the first period, and it appeared that was the end of it. But things got nasty in the third period. Moore was challenged again. He turned away. Bertuzzi skated up behind him, tugging on his jersey, then punched him from behind and fell on top of him as others piled on. Moore lay motionless on the ice in a pool of blood before being removed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, which cost him about $502,000. He didn't play during the 2004-05 lockout season but was reinstated for the 2005-06 season. He has since continued his career, most recently with Detroit. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:30:00 +0000
Cowboys worth more than $3 billion, tops in NFL
NEW YORK (AP) The Dallas Cowboys are the first U.S. sports franchise to top $3 billion in value. For the eighth straight year, the Cowboys are worth the most of all 32 NFL franchises, according to Forbes. They're valued at $3.2 billion; only Real Madrid at $3.4 billion is worth more among global franchises. Dallas posted the NFL's highest revenue, $560 million, and operating income, $246 million. That was far ahead of second-place New England, worth $2.6 billion and with $428 million in revenues, $147 million in operating income. But the Patriots had the biggest increase since last year, up 44 percent in value. Dallas was up 39 percent. The average NFL franchise value for 2014 is $1.43 billion, the highest in the 17 years the business magazine has tracked professional football. That shows a 23 percent increase, the largest in one year since 1999. Forbes determines team values using equity plus net debt figures, and accounts for each team's current stadium situation, with adjustments for pending new stadiums and renovations to existing ones. Washington ($2.4 billion) is third in value, increasing 41 percent since the last rankings, and the New York Giants ($2.1 billion) are fourth. For the 2013 season, the average NFL team generated record revenue of $299 million and operating income of $53 million. Each franchise received a record $170 million of national revenue, mainly from league broadcasting and licensing fees. At the bottom are Buffalo, worth $935 million and currently for sale after owner Ralph Wilson's death, and St. Louis at $930 million. But every team increased in worth, the lowest rise being Arizona at 4 percent. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL www.forbes.com Wed, 20 Aug 2014 17:16:00 +0000
Lackey gives Neshek a Ruth ball for number switch
ST. LOUIS (AP) St. Louis Cardinals newcomer John Lackey really wanted to keep his old number, so he gave teammate Pat Neshek quite a reward for switching jerseys. After Neshek gave up his No. 41 uniform, Lackey gave him a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth that's worth thousands of dollars. Neshek switched to No. 37 after Lackey was acquired from Boston last month at the trade deadline. Neshek announced the payoff Wednesday on Twitter, along with a photo of the ball and a letter of authenticity. Manager Mike Matheny remembers giving up No. 22 when the Cardinals traded for Will Clark in 2000 and said it was no big deal, just a number. Clark gave Matheny a compound bow that the manager has passed on to his children. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 22:40:00 +0000
Former NFL linebacker Tim Shaw says he has ALS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Former NFL linebacker Tim Shaw has announced that he has ALS. In a 25-second video posted Tuesday on the Tennessee Titans' web site, the 30-year-old Shaw reveals he was recently diagnosed with ALS and pours a bucket of ice water on his head as part of the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise money and awareness to battle the disease. Shaw then challenges "the Tennessee Titans organization, James Franklin and the Penn State football team and my Clarenceville community" to do the same. "I'm here today to stand up and fight with all of you against this disease," Shaw says in the video. Before entering the NFL, Shaw played at Penn State and Clarenceville High School in Livonia, Michigan. He started 32 games at Penn State, where he played running back, middle linebacker, outside linebacker and defensive end. Shaw was drafted in the fifth round by the Carolina Panthers in 2007. He spent his NFL career with the Panthers (2007), Jacksonville Jaguars (2008), Chicago Bears (2009) and Titans (2010-12). He played in 80 career games. The Titans named Shaw a special teams captain in 2011 and 2012. After getting cut by the Titans before the 2013 season, Shaw announced his retirement from football earlier this year. Wed, 20 Aug 2014 16:51:00 +0000
Rookie Report: QBs make it tough on coaches
For the second straight week, the first four quarterbacks selected in Mays draft attempted to push the veteran incumbent out of the starters role. Blake Bortles began the weekend with a bang, while Teddy Bridgewater rebounded nicely from a scatter-brained first effort. Derek Carr looked, well, better than Matt Schaub, while Johnny Manziel, the player with the clearest road to a starting job failed to impress on multiple levels. Heres where the Browns, Jaguars, Vikings and Raiders sit after two preseason games. Browns Coach Mike Pettine has said all offseason that he planned to pick a starting quarterback before Clevelands third preseason game. When asked Monday night about his timeline, Pettine said all options are on the table. It would be hard for Pettine or offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan to find any answers mired in Mondays quarterback quagmire. Neither Manziel nor Hoyer did anything to win the job, with each seemingly saying to the other, No, you take it, throughout the first half. The highlight of Manziels night came when he was caught flipping the bird to the Washington sideline after an incompletion late in the third quarter, a moment that lit the hot-take world of Twitter on fire even though it's largely irrelevant when it comes to his ability to play quarterback. Manziel was far less headline-worthy with the ball in his hands. Although he finished with better numbers than Hoyer, they were due entirely to extra reps in the second half against Washingtons second- and third-string defense. He was mostly overwhelmed by Washingtons pressure and his play regressed after an uneven, but exciting effort the previous week against Detroit. Thanks to sloppy footwork and hesitation in the pocket, Manziel consistently missed open receivers, particularly throwing behind targets on slants. The two best throws Manziel made both came on a drive that started on his own 1-yard line. After Ben Tate picked up a yard on first down, Manziel remained calm operating in his own end zone, side-stepping pressure and checking the ball down to tight end MarQueis Gray. Seven plays later, the Browns got Manziel out of the pocket on a naked boot to the right, where he hit Andrew Hawkins for an easy 12-yard gain. They werent the highlight-reel plays, but they were the kinds of simple throws the Browns will have to rely on if Manziel ends up starting this season. Your browser does not support iframes. The fact that the Browns still dont know their starting quarterback after Manziels effort mostly followed Hoyers performance speaks to the level of the veterans play. On the first drive of the game, Hoyer gave little hope to fans (or viewers) after a sack, a false start and a throw behind Jordan Cameron put the Browns in 3rd and 21 at their own nine yard line. It was his first of three three-and-outs in four series as Hoyer completed just two passes on the night for an average of 2.7 yards per completion. Although hardly a grizzled vet, Hoyer has enough NFL experience (six seasons) to not be intimidated by the moment, yet he appeared completely overwhelmed and looked nothing like the bright light he appeared to be at times during three appearances last season. His throws were consistently behind receivers and one practically rolled to Hawkins' feet. Both quarterbacks were done in by the Browns short-sighted idea to alternate them every two series Monday. The positions other than quarterback never appeared in sync with either Manziel or Hoyer and the offense didnt find any semblance of a rhythm until Manziels 16-play, 68-yard touchdown midway through the second half. It was a move driven by Pettines insistence on picking a starter by the teams Week 3 game and it led him to make a decision that fit his personal timeline instead of the one best for the team. Hopeful of installing a starter in time to give the quarterback nearly a full game with the first team, Pettine is now stuck choosing between a rookie whos not ready and a veteran who hasnt done anything under this staff to earn the job at least according to their guidelines. If the starting quarterback is truly based on game reps, theres no way Pettine can pick between Manziel or Hoyer without at least one more game. The only deadline now is the season opener against the Steelers on September 7 -- unless Pettine plans to alternate series again. Jaguars If theres been a star born this preseason, its Blake Bortles. The UCF product has taken the NFL by storm while playing backup to starter Chad Henne, who has actually played well himself more on that in a minute. Bortles entered the NFL as a project who needed at least some time behind a more-experienced passer before taking the reins himself. After chipping away at that logic in his first preseason start, Bortles blew it to hell Thursday night against Chicago. With Twitter playing Flava Flav to Bortles Chuck D, Bortles looked extremely comfortable in Jacksonvilles no-huddle scheme and was unafraid of what pressure the Bears managed to generate. My favorite Bortles moment came early in the second quarter. As soon as Bortles steps to the line, he recognizes that Chicago loaded up to stop the run, putting eight men in the box and leaving single coverage on the outside with a safety high. Bortles audibled out of the play and moved back into the shotgun. When the ball was snapped, he checked his first read to the right, which was blanketed. He then looked off the deep safety before dropping a picture-perfect ball over the shoulder of receiver Kerry Taylor. It was a perfect example of Bortles being able to diagnose a defense at the line of scrimmage and challenging the defense down the field. Unfortunately for the Bortles fan club myself included the Jaguars are insistent on Henne as the starting quarterback. In his second year in Jedd Fischs no-huddle scheme, Henne looks as good as he has since entering the league in 2008. Still just 29 years old, Henne has the big arm that was his biggest attribute coming out of Michigan and could feasibly lead the Jaguars to a respectable season with more talent around him. The problem, though, is that most of the roster surrounding Henne on offense is closer to Bortles age and is in no way ready to win more than four to five games this season, despite playing in the weak AFC South. That doesnt mean the Jaguars are going to change their view on the non-competition. Coach Gus Bradley said that Bortles will get to play a quarter with the first-string offense against the Lions on Friday, but that has likely more to do with wanting to give Bortles competitive reps in the third preseason game, which is mostly devoted to the first teamers. Barring an injury to Henne, theres no chance Bortles starts Week 1, even though its the better option long term. Vikings Similar to the Jaguars, the Vikings have an age vs. youth dilemma. Matt Cassel is the current leader in the QB clubhouse after another strong performance Saturday against the Cardinals. Cassel is an adequate holdover for a team unsure of its rookie QB and can make all the throws necessary in offensive coordinator Norv Turners west coast system. As an added bonus, Cassel has a strong rapport with tight end Kyle Rudolph, who has slimmed down and figures to be a big part of Minnesotas passing game regardless of the quarterback. Despite some high praise for Bridgewater in spring OTAs and minicamps, Cassel had clearly been the better immediate option through most of training camp and through the first preseason game against the Raiders -- until Teddy Bridgewater threw a bit of ice water onto the Cassel fire Saturday night. With the opening-night jitters no longer an issue, Bridgewater displayed the skills that made him the top quarterback prospect in the country last season at Louisville. He was calm under pressure and succeeded in, as Rotoworlds Josh Norris puts it, winning from the pocket. He made several excellent adjustments and moved to avoid the pressure before resetting his feet and delivering a strike to an open receiver. Playing mostly against twos and threes, Bridgewater stood tall, read the defense and made decisive throws instead of hesitating and taking a hit like he had the week before. The best throw Bridgewater made was also the last. After orchestrating an impressive one-minute (and seven second) drill against an overly-aggressive Cardinals defense, Bridgewater had the Vikings on the the Cardinals' 2-yard line with 22 seconds left and the Vikings down four points -- a field goal will do them no good. Look at what Bridgewater sees when he come to the line of scrimmage. Just before the snap, Bridgewater is able to see that he's facing a seven-man rush with six in to block -- one rusher will be coming free. He also knows that he'll have single coverage to his right. When the ball is snapped, the linebacker directly in front of Bridgewater shoots the gap, but, unlike last week, he never hesitates in the face of pressure. He stares down a seven-man rush, knowing he could get drilled, and delivers a perfect fade pass for a touchdown. Most impressive to me was where Bridgewater places the ball here. On his first drive, Bridgewater had made a similar throw, but the pass fell incomplete after he throw it to the inside shoulder, allowing the cornerback to knock it down. This time, Bridgewater placed the ball so that only the receiver could make a play on it. Yes, it was against the last-string defense, but it was still a sign of a rookie quarterback not backing down against pressure and learning from a mistake in a key moment in the game. The difference between the Vikings and Jaguars is that unlike Henne, Cassel has yet to officially be named the starter. Bridgewaters performance Saturday night wasnt enough to unseat the favorite and it shouldnt be given how well Cassel is playing but it was a strong step in the right direction. Right now, it looks like Cassels job to lose, with Bridgewater likely entering the picture before Halloween. Raiders Matt Schaub isnt an NFL quarterback anymore definitely not a starting one. We already knew this by the end of the 2013 season, but its been confirmed through two preseason games. Schaub no longer trusts whatever arm he has left and refuses to throw the ball further than 15 yards downfield. Multiple times Friday night against the Lions, Schaub had the opportunity to test a shaky Detroit secondary but hesitated and either ended up taking a hit, throwing the ball away or dumping it off for a nominal gain. The times when Schaub did attempt a pass, the ball fluttered, especially on passes across his body or outside the numbers. Its OK when Peyton Mannings passes flutter because Manning is more accurate and timely than Schaub, who hesitated on far too many throws behind a leaky offensive live. Playing mostly against backups, Derek Carr was still clearly better than Schaub. His throws outside the numbers were crisper than his veteran counterparts and he looked more at ease in an NFL pocket. That said, Carrs footwork is still sloppy and he throws off his back foot far too much, especially when under duress. He also took too many hits, one of which concussed the rookie and forced him to exit the game in the fourth quarter. Carrs best throw of the night was a perfect example of both his positives and his faults. With 2:56 left in the third quarter, Carr took a seven-step drop, looked off his first read to the left before quickly shifting his eyes right and lofting one to a wide-open Greg Little 38 yards down the field. The ball was slightly underthrown, which caused Little to tumble while adjusting to make the catch. But take a look at Carr's body position and footwork before the throw. Carr's weight is completely on his back leg and even though he's under pressure, he has enough room to step into the throw. Instead, Carr doesn't transfer his weight forward and throws off his back foot, 40-plus yards down the field. It's an incredible display of Carr's arm strength and it's impressive that the ball nearly landed on target. However, if the ball is out in front, Little walks into the end zone. (Disclosure: Carr ended up throwing a TD pass a few plays later, so I know I'm nit-picking to a degree, but I just wanted to use this as an example of things that can hold him back at other times.) None of this is to say Carr is ready to start. Hes not, but hes a better option than the utterly-predictable Schaub, who limits what the Raiders can do on offense. With Schaub in the game, defenses will crowd the line of scrimmage, stop the run and dare Schaub to beat them over the top. Carr at least provides energy and makes one aspect of the Raiders offense dynamic. Of course, coach Dennis Allen doesnt seem to understand this, which is why hell probably be the first coach looking for work this season. Corey Griffin is an editor and writer for NBCSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyGriffinNBC. Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:58:49 +0000
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