Cardinals give up on Leinart; Seahawks cut Houshmanzadeh
The Arizona Cardinals released quarterback Matt Leinart, ending a rocky stint with the team that began with fanfare as he was drafted 10th overall in 2006 and ended this pre-season with the former Southern Cal star taking a back seat to Derek Anderson. Leinart, the 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, played in 29 games with 17 starts for Arizona, and threw for 3,893 yards with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. Unless the Cardinals acquire another quarterback, the team would be left with the prospect of having two rookies — John Skelton and Max Hall — back up Anderson.
Receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh was sent packing from Seattle, cut by the Seahawks after just one season as Coach Pete Carroll continued his roster purge. Houshmandzadeh, the Seahawks' leading receiver last season, was in the second year of a $40 million, five-year deal he signed with Seattle before the 2009 season. Last season, Houshmandzadeh caught 79 passes for 911 yards and three touchdowns, his fewest receptions since 2005 and his fewest touchdowns since 2002. Even with his release, Houshmandzadeh is guaranteed $7 million for the 2010 season.
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■ Safety Ed Reed will miss the first six weeks of the NFL season after being placed on the reserve physically unable to perform list by the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens also cut quarterback Troy Smith and made Billy Cundiff their kicker. Reed underwent off-season hip surgery and did not practice during training camp or play in the pre-season. Cundiff won the job from Shayne Graham, who was signed as a free agent in June after spending six straight seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner, played in 14 games over three seasons with Baltimore.
■ The Houston Texans signed running back Derrick Ward. Ward, released by Tampa Bay on Tuesday, worked out for the Texans on Friday. He rushed for 1,025 yards for the New York Giants in 2008, but only 409 yards for the Buccaneers last season.
■ New Orleans Saints All-Pro safety Darren Sharper will miss at least the first six games of the season and projected starting linebacker Jonathan Casillas will be out for the season with a foot injury. Sharper is recovering from surgery on his left knee.
■ The Philadelphia Eagles traded starting right guard Stacy Andrews to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for an undisclosed 2011 draft pick. Andrews came to Philadelphia amid high expectations after the 2008 season, but he started only two games in 2009 and in recent weeks began splitting time in practice and pre-season games with veteran Nick Cole.
Nugent named Bengals' kicker
Mike Nugent won the Cincinnati Bengals' kicking job. The Bengals waived kicker Dave Rayner on Saturday. Nugent was bothered by a groin injury early in camp but went 3-for-4 on field goal attempts, including two from beyond 50 yards. The Bengals also released receiver Matt Jones, who is trying to revive his career. Jones didn't play in the NFL last year after Jacksonville released him because of off-field issues. As expected, cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones made the team as a third cornerback and punt returner.
■ The Bengals got former first-round pick Reggie Nelson from Jacksonville in a trade of defensive backs. The Jaguars received cornerback David Jones and a conditional draft pick in the deal. Nelson was the 21st overall pick in 2007 out of Florida. He had an impressive rookie season — 82 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and a sack. Since then, he's had only two interceptions and his tackles total has dropped.
Bradford to start at QB for Rams
No. 1 overall draft pick Sam Bradford will start at quarterback in the Rams' regular-season opener at home against Arizona next weekend. Coach Steve Spagnuolo announced the decision Saturday, saying Bradford had earned the job. "We're confident. The staff's confident. The team's confident," Spagnuolo said. "It's well deserved." A.J. Feeley, whose injury gave Bradford the chance to take plenty of snaps in the pre-season, and Thad Lewis are the backups.
Djokovic eliminates Blake in straight sets
Novak Djokovic reached the U.S. Open's fourth round for the fourth consecutive year, eliminating American wild card James Blake in straight sets. The third-seeded Djokovic beat Blake 6-1, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in a wind-whipped Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday night. Serbia's Djokovic made only 13 unforced errors — 18 fewer than Blake. In the fourth round, Djokovic will face another American, 19th-seeded Mardy Fish, who edged Arnaud Clement of France 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 on Saturday.
Track and field
Gay, Phillips both win in Croatia
Tyson Gay and Dwight Phillips helped stake the Americas team to a first-day lead at the Continental Cup on Saturday in Split, Croatia. The two-day meet features athletes from four regions: Africa, Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe. The Americas won eight of 20 competitions and leads with 219 points, nine ahead of Europe. Africa has 148 points and Asia-Pacific 134.
The Americas' 400-relay team, led by Gay, finished first, as did Phillips in the long jump. Gay, a Lafayette graduate, combined with Daniel Bailey, Wallace Spearmon and Churandy Martina to win the sprint relay in 38.25 seconds. Phillips, a three-time world champion who competed for Kentucky and Arizona State, won the long jump with a leap of 27 feet, 4½ inches.
Hamlin on pole for Atlanta Cup race
Denny Hamlin won the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Hamlin turned a lap of 187.380 mph Saturday to edge Ryan Newman. The rest of the top five was Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart.
■ Jamie McMurray's first win of the season made Kyle Busch wait for another try at Nationwide Series history. McMurray held off Busch to win the Great Clips 300 Nationwide Series race Saturday night at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Busch, trying to become the first driver in the 28-year history of the Nationwide Series to win 11 races in a season, fell short in his late efforts to catch McMurray.
Hohensee perfect at Southland
Kenny Hohensee rolled the second perfect game of the new season last week at Collins Bowling Centers-Southland in Lexington. Hohensee rolled his 300 in the Aroundtown League at Southland on Aug. 26. The score paced a 760 series for Hohensee on the first night of bowling for the league. Eric Grimes rolled a 300 a week earlier at Eastland. John Trumbo came close to perfection in the James R. Wafford Memorial League at Southland on Aug. 30. His 299-pin game highlighted a 710 series.
Serbia edges Croatia at worlds
Oklahoma City Thunder center Nenad Krstic had 16 points and Aleksander Rasic scored five points in the last 21 seconds to help Serbia edge Croatia 73-72 in the round of 16 at the basketball world championships Saturday in Istanbul. ... Juan Carlos Navarro scored 22 points for Spain in an 80-72 victory that eliminated Greece.
The last word
New York Jets wide receiver David Clowney on HBO's training camp show Hard Knocks.
"Coach calls me the butt back. You know what a butt back is? You go up to the coach (and ask), 'Coach, can I get into the game?' He's like, 'Boy, get your butt back.'"