Colts release former defensive player of the year Sanders
Bob Sanders couldn't stay healthy and the Indianapolis Colts couldn't afford to keep investing in the oft-injured safety.
Team owner Jim Irsay released the 2007 NFL defensive player of the year on Friday, announcing the decision less than 24 hours after he told reporters he would make a decision about Sanders' future before March 3. After winning the league's top defensive honor, Sanders signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract but played in only nine regular-season games over the next three seasons. With safety Antoine Bethea signing a four-year, $27 million contract last summer; Melvin Bullitt, Sanders' backup, emerging as a competent starter; and the Colts still trying to sign four-time league MVP Peyton Manning to a new long-term deal, there wasn't enough room to keep Sanders.
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The contentious NFL labor negotiations went in front of a federal mediator Friday, two weeks before owners could impose a lockout on players and threaten the 2011 season. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, players' union executive director DeMaurice Smith and their bargaining teams met for about six hours at the Washington office of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said: "We're not going to make any comments or talk about what happens in today's session."
The NFL says the Detroit Lions have violated the league's policy against tampering and ruled they must forfeit their upcoming seventh-round draft pick and exchange fifth-round picks with the Kansas City Chiefs. The ruling was issued Friday for violations last year involving players under contract with the Chiefs. The fifth-round switch leaves the Lions with the 23rd pick in the round instead of the ninth.
Dave Duerson, a four-time Pro Bowl safety who played on Super Bowl winners with the Chicago Bears and New York Giants, has died. He was 50. Miami-Dade police said the body of Duerson was found Thursday in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla. Investigators have not determined the cause of death.
Rodman among Hall of Fame finalists
Dennis Rodman, Jamaal Wilkes and Tex Winter were among 12 finalists announced Friday for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Rodman was the flamboyant rebounder who won five NBA titles with Chicago and Detroit; Wilkes won four NBA titles with Golden State and the Lakers after starring at UCLA; and Winter was the architect of the triangle and triple-post offense.
The other finalists are former NBA stars Maurice Cheeks, Chris Mullin and Ralph Sampson, five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards, Stanford women's coach Tara VanDerveer, former NBA coach Dick Motta, Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee, college referee Hank Nichols, and Al Attles, the current vice president and assistant general manager of the Golden State Warriors.
Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe power rookies
Last year's Kentucky stars shined together again Friday. Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins had 33 points and 14 rebounds and Washington's John Wall dished out 22 assists as the rookies rallied to beat the sophomores 148-140 in the NBA All-Star weekend's Rookie Challenge. Wall scored 12, and his UK backcourt mate from last season, Eric Bledsoe, had six points, seven rebounds and five assists.
Carmelo Anthony says "no meeting at all" is scheduled with the New Jersey Nets. Speaking Friday at a community service event in south Los Angeles, Anthony says a reported meeting with Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov is "news to me." Russian billionaire Prokhorov told team executives last month to end drawn-out trade talks for Anthony, a day before they had been scheduled to meet.
Wozniacki back atop rankings
Caroline Wozniacki regained the No. 1 ranking after beating Shahar Peer of Israel to reach the semifinals of the Dubai Championships on Friday. The 20-year-old Dane lost the top spot Monday to Kim Clijsters, but will officially reclaim it when the new rankings are released next week. Wozniacki next meets former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic, who beat fourth-seeded Australian Samantha Stosur 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (4).
Coa seriously injured in spill
Jockey Eibar Coa fractured the cervical-4 vertebra in his neck in a spill that occurred just past the finish line in Friday's sixth race at Gulfstream Park, his former agent, Matt Muzikar, told Daily Racing Form. Coa was scheduled to undergo surgery Friday evening at Memorial East Hospital in Hollywood, Fla.
Muzikar said from the hospital that Coa, 38, was conscious and speaking to him just before being prepped for surgery. He said Coa told him "he hasn't had any movement in his arms or legs yet."
Paco Lopez, Gulfstream Park's leading rider, also went down in the mishap and suffered a chip in his elbow along with assorted bumps and bruises, according to Gulfstream's vice president of racing, Tim Ritvo. Lopez was expected to be released from the hospital Friday.
Ligety claims world giant slalom title
Ted Ligety produced a clean second run under declining conditions and gave the United States its first gold medal of the world championships Friday when he won the giant slalom title. Ligety jumped from fourth to first, making virtually no mistakes on a course softened by mild weather, and edged Cyprien Richard of France by .08 seconds.
"It was nerve-wrecking for sure," Ligety said. "This slope is difficult, especially in these conditions. I thought I'd lost it. I feel so lucky to come back and win it."
Richard moved up from seventh after the first run.
'Mac Attack' auditions set for Legends
The Lexington Legends are looking for new members of the "Mac Attack" team for the 2011 baseball season. The Mac Attack team, sponsored by McDonald's, entertains at Legends home games with dancing and skits, and assists with on-field contests and events.
Auditions will be held at Whitaker Bank Ballpark Thursday, Feb. 24 from 6 p.m.-7:30 p.m. Anyone interested in part-time work — 20 to 25 hours per week when the Legends are at home — is encouraged to attend. The Legends, a class A affiliate of the Houston Astros, open the 2011 season at Whitaker Bank Ballpark Thursday, April 7 at 7:05 p.m. against the Charleston RiverDogs.
UK softball caps day with a bang
Senior Megan Yocke blasted the third grand slam of her career and matched a career-high with five RBI to lead the No. 24 Kentucky softball team to a commanding 13-0 victory over Middle Tennessee State to conclude Friday's action at the Florida State tournament. Yocke was a combined 3-for-4 on the day with a home run, a double and an RBI single to pace the UK offense that erupted for 13 hits on the afternoon. Earlier in the day, junior pitcher Chanda Bell tossed a near-perfect game in a 7-0 victory over Georgia Southern in the opening game of the tournament. Bell matched her own single-game record when she struck out 15 batters and allowed just one base runner with a leadoff hit in the top of the seventh inning.
The last word
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Matt Kenseth's wife Katie was due to deliver the couple's second child on Friday, but Kenseth isn't concerned about the birth conflicting with Sunday's Daytona 500.
"I told her to wait until Monday, and she always listens to me so I am not too worried about it."