NFL Titans' Bironas not worried about early struggles
When you're one of the most accurate place-kickers in NFL history, people tend to notice when you miss. Rob Bironas missed not once, but twice in his pre-season debut for Tennessee.
Neither Bironas nor Titans Coach Mike Munchak are concerned.
Bironas, who starred in high school at Trinity, said Tuesday he knew instantly what went wrong when he missed wide left from 38 yards, and wide right from 37 in last week's loss to Cincinnati. He's working back from a two-week layoff because of back soreness and said he is glad he has two more weeks left this pre-season.
"It's one of those things at this time I'm not worried about it," Bironas said. "I know in the game my get-off times were a tenth of second difference when usually they're a thousandth of a second difference. One of them I was on top of the ball and there way too early, and one of them I slowed everything down trying to make up for it and just leg-whipped it. Paying attention, my focus wasn't there 100 percent. I was paying more attention to more than just my job."
Munchak has been around Bironas all of the kicker's eight previous seasons with the Titans and doesn't plan on bringing in any kickers to push the veteran or compete for the job.
"Coming off an injury or medical condition, you're always going to be a little rusty because you haven't really been in a game situation since last year," Munchak said.
Bironas, who signed a two-year deal this off-season, is glad his struggles are happening now rather than later.
"I'm glad that it was able to show its ugly face right now and I can fix it now rather than in a month or in three weeks or be dealing with an injury that takes me out of a game in season because I've been here eight years and haven't missed one" game, Bironas said. "This was a right time to be patient and let the body get right for the season."
Broncos' Miller suspended for 6 games
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller received a six-game suspension under the NFL's substance-abuse policy Tuesday, taking away the best defensive player from a team many expect to make a run at the Super Bowl. The league wanted a longer penalty for the third-year linebacker, but the sides agreed to less than half the season, a source told The Associated Press.
Broncos executive vice president John Elway said the team was frustrated with what happened "and, I think, disappointed in Von."
"We'll live with that decision," Elway said. "What I'd like to do is try to do everything we can to prevent any other situations."
After being notified of the decision, Miller released a statement saying, "although my suspension doesn't result from a positive test, there is no excuse for my violations of the rules."
"I made mistakes and my suspension has hurt my team, Broncos fans, and myself," he said. "I am especially sorry for the effect of my bad decisions on others. I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future. "
The NFL has two drug policies — one that covers use of performance-enhancing substances and the "Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse" that applied to Miller's case.
There are ways to violate the drug policy without necessarily testing positive. They include missing a test, refusing to test, tampering with tests or giving a diluted urine sample.
Likely to take his spot at the rush linebacker position is Shaun Phillips, a 10-year veteran the Broncos signed in free agency during the off-season. Others in the mix in a juggled linebacker corps include Nate Irving and former University of Kentucky stars Wesley Woodyard and Danny Trevathan. Weeden, Vick earn starting QB jobs
Brandon Weeden was named Cleveland's starting quarterback on Tuesday, ending a "competition" with veteran Jason Campbell set up by Browns first-year coach Rob Chudzinski, who wanted to push the QB to bring out the best in him. Weeden followed up a solid off-season with a strong training camp and two impressive pre-season performances, completing 18 of 25 passes for 229 yards and three touchdowns in two exhibition wins.
■ Eagles first-year coach Chip Kelly named veteran Michael Vick Philadelphia's starting quarterback. Vick was solid in two pre-season games, and backup Nick Foles, in his second season with the Eagles, has struggled to grasp Kelly's multifaceted offense. Vick has thrown for 199 yards this pre-season and will take a 113.2 quarterback rating into Friday's game at Jacksonville (0-2). 'He's our starter for the season," Kelly said. "It's not a one-game trial basis."
Horse racing Grade I winner Jimmy Creed retired
Leading sprinter Jimmy Creed was retired from racing and will stand stud in 2014 at his owner B. Wayne Hughes' Spendthrift Farm. A Grade I winner by leading sire Distorted Humor, Jimmy Creed sustained a minor injury to the sesamoidean ligament in his right front ankle. The setback would have required him to miss the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita, so the decision was made to retire the 4-year-old colt.
Jimmy Creed scored his biggest career win last winter as a 3-year-old in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. He followed that up by defeating older horses in the Grade II Potrero Grande Handicap this year at Santa Anita.
NBA Report: Harrellson to sign with Pistons
Former Kentucky standout Josh Harrellson agreed to a two-year contract with the Detroit Pistons, sources told Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday night. The first year of the deal would be partially guaranteed and the team would have an option for the second. Harrellson, who has played in the NBA for the New York Knicks and Miami Heat, most recently played in China's National Basketball League where he was named regular-season Player of the Year after averaging 22.3 points, 18.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks for Chongqing FD.
■ Former Kentucky star Walter McCarty was hired to join Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens' staff as an assistant coach.
UK men's soccer
Cats, Flyers play to draw in exhibition
Neither Kentucky's men's soccer team nor Dayton managed a goal in the Cats' exhibition opener at the UK Soccer Complex on Tuesday night. The Flyers, who ranked seventh in the NCAA in scoring last season, couldn't get the ball past UK goalies Jack Van Arsdale and Callum Irving.
The Cats will play at Northern Kentucky at 7 p.m. Sunday in their final exhibition matchup. They open the regular season at home on Aug. 30 against Wright State.
Legends close gap on GreenJackets
Hunter Dozier hit a game-tying RBI double and Mark Donato followed up with a three-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning to send the Lexington Legends to a 6-3 victory against the Augusta GreenJackets on Tuesday night at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
The Legends trimmed Augusta's lead in the South Atlantic League's Southern Division to 11/2 games.
Terrence Gore, who knocked in two runs, also got his 65th stolen base of the season.
The last word
Pace of play has been a major topic of discussion in golf. World Golf Hall of Fame member Judy Rankin, the lead analyst on the Golf Channel's LPGA coverage, said:
"I don't think that golfers care about how long it takes, I think they care if they wait. I think that should be everybody's mission when they play. Don't have anybody wait on you."