With Manning uncertain for opener, Colts add Collins
The Indianapolis Colts agreed to terms Wednesday with Kerry Collins, making him the likely starter in case Peyton Manning isn't healed completely from off-season neck surgery by the time the season begins Sept. 11 at Houston. Not every player liked the move.
"We don't even know him, we ain't vanilla, man, we ain't no simple offense," receiver Reggie Wayne said. "So for him to come in here and be the starter, I don't see it. I think that's a step back."
Colts Coach Jim Caldwell wasn't available to talk with reporters about Collins, but he struck a calm tone in a statement released by the team. "He is a veteran quarterback who has started many games and he brings dimension and depth to the quarterback position, which will be helpful," Caldwell said. "He is familiar with our division and will make a great addition to our roster."
The move is another indication that Manning's streak of 227 consecutive starts, including playoff games, is in jeopardy. Manning had surgery May 23 to repair a nerve in his neck, and the recovery has gone slower than expected partially, Manning said, because he couldn't work out with team trainers during the 41/2-month lockout.
Wayne, a five-time Pro Bowler and one of Manning's favorite targets, has supported backup Curtis Painter. And while he called Collins "a great guy," he said he was worried about the Colts getting better. "Who says Kerry's going to be the starter?" Wayne said. "Just because we bring him in doesn't mean he's the starter. He's got to learn too, right? Unless they gave him a playbook months ago, he's got to learn too. ... I don't care who you are, I mean I'm not going to let anyone just come in here and just push someone (like Painter) aside like you're that dog now, you know what I mean?"
For his part, Painter doesn't expect it to take Collins long to get up to speed. "He's a veteran guy, been around a while, I'm sure the terminology across the league isn't too different," he said. "I expect he'll come in and pick it up quite well."
Packers hope to have Cobb back soon
Packers Coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that promising rookie Randall Cobb will be held out of the pre-season game Friday because of bruised knees. And veteran Greg Jennings has what McCarthy called a knee bruise from practice Tuesday and didn't participate in the team's final workout of the week Wednesday.
Cobb, Green Bay's second-round draft pick out of Kentucky, didn't practice this week and is considered day to day by the team. McCarthy wouldn't speculate whether Cobb could be sidelined for the team's season opener Sept. 8. "He will not play this week, I do know that," McCarthy said. "I'm hopeful that he'll be back at practice next week."
Vargas cut before Dominican exhibitions
The Dominican Republic National Team, led by University of Kentucky Coach John Calipari, is playing three basketball games in four days this week in preparation for the upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament. The Marchand Cup in Foz de Iguazu, Brazil, brings together four countries who will be taking part in the FIBA Americas Championship on Aug. 30-Sept. 11 in Mar del Plata, Argentina — Brazil, Canada, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
Calipari's team was scheduled to play Puerto Rico late Wednesday night, followed by games against Brazil at 10 p.m. EDT Thursday and against Canada at 8 p.m. Friday. Broadcasts of Thursday's and Friday's games are available on fibaamericastv.com.
Calipari announced that Kentucky center Eloy Vargas did not make the cut for the Dominican team. "I've talked with Eloy and he fully understands the decision," Calipari said. "He will be coming home this weekend to prepare for his senior season. ... Eloy has enjoyed a great experience with this Dominican team. He was a really great teammate and gained valuable experience during his three weeks."
Tennessee dismisses junior safety
The turbulent career of Janzen Jackson at Tennessee is over. Not even a full 24 hours after Derek Dooley reiterated that Jackson was on a zero-tolerance policy and managed day-to-day, the Vols coach announced the decision to dismiss the junior safety in a release on Wednesday morning. Multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about the issue confirmed to the News Sentinel in Knoxville that Jackson has dealt with substance-abuse problems during his time with the Vols, which appear to have contributed to his withdrawal from the program in the spring prior to returning over the summer.
■ Authorities said they searched the apartment of LSU starting quarterback Jordan Jefferson in connection with a bar fight last week that injured four people. Baton Rouge Police Sgt. Don Stone said the warrant was obtained Wednesday and Jefferson was home during the search. Jefferson is one of four LSU players identified by police as people of interest in the investigation, which authorities said could result in arrests on charges as serious as felony second-degree battery.
Cy Young winner Flanagan found dead
Former Cy Young winner Mike Flanagan, who won 167 games over 18 seasons with Baltimore and the Toronto Blue Jays, has died. Authorities found a body outside Flanagan's home on Wednesday afternoon in Monkton, Md., and it was later determined to be the former left-handed pitcher. Flanagan was 59. Flanagan won the Cy Young Award with the Orioles in 1979 when he went 23-9 with a 3.08 ERA and five shutouts. He also played for Baltimore's 1983 world championship team, going 12-4 despite missing nearly three months with ligament damage in his left knee. He finished 167-143 with a 3.90 ERA, including 141-116 with Baltimore.
Thomas advances at U.S. Amateur
Gregor Main of Danville, Calif., earned medalist honors by posting a 10-under-par 132 over 36 holes in stroke-play qualifying for the U.S. Amateur Championship in Erin, Wis. St. Xavier graduate Justin Thomas shot a 138 to advance to the match-play portion of the tournament that is still behind schedule because of rain on Tuesday. Eastern Kentucky University's Billy Peel was one of 20 golfers who had to go into a playoff for four spots, but he did not advance.
Main is 2 up through nine holes on Bobby Leopold in the first round of match play. Defending champion Peter Uihlein defeated Eugene Wong 3 & 1. Thomas was 1 up through two holes on Michael Stewart of Scotland.
■ Danica Patrick will make her debut in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series in the 2012 Daytona 500, the Charlotte Observer reported. Patrick is scheduled to make an announcement Thursday in Phoenix, where she will formally announce a full-time move to NASCAR beginning next season, multiple sources confirmed. While Patrick does not plan to run a full Cup schedule until 2013, she will attempt eight to 10 Cup races next year with Stewart-Haas Racing.Patrick will run a full Nationwide schedule with JR Motorsports.
■ Kensei, winner of Saratoga's Grade II Jim Dandy in 2009, was euthanized on Tuesday after breaking down during a gallop over the Belmont Park training track. The 5-year-old son of Mr. Greeley suffered a broken right front cannon bone.
The last word
The NCAA, in its report on Tennessee athletics, said the football staff committed 12 violations, all connected to recruiting, but it didn't determine the miscues to be a major violation because most were isolated. Still, the NCAA wrote, "This is not a record of which to be proud." Former Vols coach Lane Kiffin saw it differently. His response to the report:
"I'm very grateful that the Tennessee football program was cleared of any wrongdoing."