Steelers' Polamalu says he won't change his playing style
Troy Polamalu fears one day he will take a blow to the head that will result in serious long-term negative effects on his brain. But he has no plans to change his style of play or torpedo-like manner of tackling. Speaking publicly for the first time since being knocked out of Sunday's win against Kansas City because of concussion-like symptoms, Pittsburgh's All-Pro safety said he feels good.
Polamalu went through his second consecutive full practice Friday and is listed as probable for Sunday's AFC North showdown between the Steelers (8-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (7-4). He said he plays with a perpetual internal struggle between the constant threat of serious injury and not letting it affect his performance.
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"That's the fear I think that any player faces," he said. "And that's the fear that any individual faces, overcoming any certain fears of being a coward, you know, and letting your teammates down or turning down a hit. That's the beautiful thing about sports is these fears are right in your face and it's pretty obvious if you turn them down or not. ... Oh, I have the fear, no question about it. But I'm willing to fight it, for sure."
Sunday was the second time in six weeks Polamalu left a game early with a head injury. Counting high school, college and the pros, Polamalu has been diagnosed with at least seven concussions. Asked if he was concerned how those repeated blows will have a cumulative effect on him, Polamalu said "not at this time, no."
"I'm well aware of the research, well aware of the frenzy that's kind of surrounded this particular injury," he added. "I also realize that with the amount that I have had that I'm probably under a lot more scrutiny, and we're under a lot more scrutiny than other organizations."
■ Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh's appeal of his two-game suspension for stomping on the arm of Green Bay Packers guard Evan Dietrich-Smith was denied by the NFL. Suh will miss Sunday's game at New Orleans and a Dec. 11 home game against Minnesota.
■ Green Bay linebackers Desmond Bishop and A.J. Hawk will both miss Sunday's game against the New York Giants. Both suffered calf injuries in a win at Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.
■ Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will miss Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos with a high ankle sprain.
Woods takes 3-shot lead in California
For the second straight tournament, Tiger Woods is atop the leader board going into the weekend. Woods hit another collection of shots that had been missing from his game the last two years. He made two eagles Friday in the Chevron World Challenge in Thousand Oaks, Calif., and after a double bogey late in the second round, he had a 5-under 67 to take a three-shot lead over Matt Kuchar and K.J. Choi.
"I want the lead after four days," said Woods, winless in his last 26 official starts dating to the Australian Masters in November 2009. "Two days is nice, but four days is even better. I know I'm playing better, and it's nice to see my position on the leader board equating to it."
■ Will Claxton shot a 3-under 69 on Friday on PGA West's TPC Stadium Course to increase his lead to two strokes after the third round of the PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament in La Quinta, Calif. Claxton is at 13 under overall.
The top 25 in the six-round event will earn 2012 PGA Tour cards. The top Kentuckian in the field is former University of Louisville golfer Adam Hadwin, who is tied for 19th at 7 under after shooting a 2-under 70 on Friday.
■ Christine Song shot a 2-under 70 in windy conditions Friday on LPGA International's Champions Course to increase her lead to five strokes after the third of five rounds of the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The top 40 and ties will receive LPGA Tour membership. Former University of Kentucky golfer and Versailles native Mallory Blackwelder is tied for 27th at 4-over overall after shooting 1 under on Friday. Louisville native Leah Wigger is tied for 47th at 7 over.
■ Graeme McDowell recovered from a double-bogey seven at No. 14 to birdie two of his last three holes Friday for a 5-under 67 and a one-shot lead at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa.
■ Rory McIlroy and Alvaro Quiros both shot 69s Friday and remained tied for the lead at 7 under in the Hong Kong Open.
Report: Marlins add All-Star closer Bell
All-Star closer Heath Bell agreed to a $27 million, three-year contract with the Miami Marlins, a source told The Associated Press. Bell had more than 40 saves each of the past three seasons for the San Diego Padres. This year he had 43 with a 2.44 ERA.
■ The Cincinnati Reds announced their 2011 award winners on Friday. They included Joey Votto (Reds' Most Valuable Player), Johnny Cueto (Reds' Most Outstanding Pitcher), Billy Hamilton (minor-league player of the year), Josh Smith (minor-league pitcher of the year) and Denis Phipps (minor-league hitter of the year).
Lindsey Wilson advances to NAIA finals
Eddy Campbell scored his 11th goal of the season just more than nine minutes in and Lindsey Wilson went on to defeat third-seeded Baker (Kan.) 2-0 in the NAIA men's soccer semifinals in Orange Beach, Ala. Phillip Sandgren added his 17th goal of the season in the 64th minute. Lindsey Wilson, the No. 2 seed, will face No.1 seed Hastings (Neb.) in the championship match at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Two games added to Christmas schedule
Oklahoma City will host Orlando before Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers visit Golden State on Christmas night, running the NBA's planned opening-day schedule to five games.
Those games were added Friday to the three that were already set when the 2011-12 schedule was originally unveiled: Boston at New York, Miami at Dallas, and Chicago at the Los Angeles Lakers.
The revised 66-game schedule will be released Tuesday night.
Ali OK after treatment for dehydration
A spokesman for Muhammad Ali said the former heavyweight champion is "well, happy and carrying on with his daily routine" after being treated for dehydration last month. Spokesman Craig Bankey said in a statement released Friday that Ali was treated Nov. 19, five days after the funeral of Joe Frazier, whom he fought in three epic fights. Bankey said Ali, 70, is home in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Spain has 2-0 lead in Davis Cup finals
David Ferrer needed one of the best matches of his career to put Spain on the brink of another Davis Cup title. Ferrer rallied for a grueling 6-2, 6-7 (2), 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Juan Martin del Potro on Friday to give the host Spaniards a 2-0 lead over Argentina in the finals. Rafael Nadal cruised to a 6-1, 6-1, 6-2 win over Juan Monaco in the Friday's other match.
The last word
To hear Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid tell it, when it comes to DeSean Jackson, the NFL Network is guilty of trick photography. Reid blasted the network and specifically sideline reporter Alex Flanagan for creating drama around the controversial receiver. During the game, Flanagan reported that Jackson was not speaking with teammates while on the sideline. And the network's cameras honed in on Jackson seemingly ignoring Vince Young while the quarterback was talking to him. Reid said Friday:
"I'm disappointed with the NFL Network, very disappointed in the way they portrayed that. I'm going to tell you now that DeSean was all-in in that game, and he had a great attitude during that game. You can take a camera and make some things look any way you want to make it look, but that kid was all-in last night."