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Cowboys to Franchise Dez Bryant

Cowboys to Franchise Dez Bryant

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(IRVING, Texas) -- The Dallas Cowboys have informed the agent of Dez Bryant that the team will place the franchise tag on the All-Pro wide receiver, Vice President Stephen Jones confirmed.

The Cowboys have to notify the league by 4 p.m. ET Monday, which will guarantee Bryant roughly $13 million in 2015. The Cowboys will not use the exclusive franchise tag on Bryant, but if a team wants to take Bryant away from the Cowboys, they would have to give up two first-round picks if Dallas decides to not match an offer sheet.

In five seasons with Dallas, Bryant has caught 381 passes for 5,424 yards and 56 touchdowns. No player in team history has more catches, yards or touchdowns than Bryant in the first five years of his career.

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Jimmie Johnson Wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Jimmie Johnson Wins at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Jerry Markland/Getty Images(HAMPTON, Ga.) -- The pressure is off Jimmie Johnson early this season after he took home the checkered flag at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sunday at the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500.

Johnson held off Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win the second Sprint Cup race of the year.

"I'm just so excited that the guys — we have new guys — could understand what I was complaining about and the things I didn't like about my race car," said Johnson, who started 38th. 

"This thing was just bad fast. I had a blast racing with the 4. He was awfully strong today. I think track position there at the end set things in place," Johnson continued.  "We had the restart we needed to, cleared the 88 and off we went."

Johnson increased his chances of making the Chase this year with the win as well.

"Takes pressure off in some ways," Johnson said.  "We don't have the questions of are you going to win this year.  It's nice to dodge that."

Last weekend's Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano finished in fourth and was followed by Matt Kenseth.

“We raced hard," Logano said. "We raced up toward the front all day, just those Hendrick cars are fast."

"I did everything I could to maintain on restarts and being aggressive," Logano continued.  "Overall we're still having a good start to the season."

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Minoso, Chicago’s 1st Black MLB Player Dies

Minoso, Chicago’s 1st Black MLB Player Dies

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images(CHICAGO) --  Minnie Minoso, Chicago's 1st African-American Major League Baseball player has passed away.  

Minoso established himself in his first at-bat in the majors in 1951 by hitting a two-run home run.

"We have lost our dear friend and a great man," White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a release. "Many tears are falling."

The medical examiner's office did not offer details right away, however, there is some question about his age, but the White Sox say he was 90.

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Del Zotto Leads Flyers Past N.Y. Rangers, 4-2

Del Zotto Leads Flyers Past N.Y. Rangers, 4-2

Comstock/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Flyers defenseman Michael Del Zotto scored the goal-ahead goal, 1:19 into the third period as Philadelphia (27-25-11; 65pts) doubled up the New York Rangers (38-17-6; 82pts) on Saturday night, 4-2.

Del Zotto with an assist from center Sean Couturier bypassed Rangers goaltender Cam Talbot for the short-handed goal, his 8th of the season. Talbot saved 30-of 33 shots while Flyers goaltender Steve Mason was 34-of-36 in save attempts.

The Rangers had a 2-1 lead after defenseman John Moore scored, 11:55 into the second period, but the Flyers came back to tie it 2:42 later with a goal from forward Michael Raffl.

Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds notched his 25th goal of the year with one second remaining in the game.

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Juan Pierre Retires

Juan Pierre Retires

Rich Pilling/MLB Photos via Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Three-time stolen base champion Juan Pierre announced that after playing 14 years in the major leagues, he will retire.The 37-year-old Pierre finishes his career 18th in career stolen bases (614). He was also a member of the 2003 Florida Marlins World Series championship team.Pierre was selected in the 13th round of the amateur draft by the Colorado Rockies. He finishes his career playing three seasons with the Rockies, four with the Marlins, one with the Chicago Cubs, three with the Los Angeles Dodgers, two with the Chicago White Sox and one with the Philadelphia Phillies. During that time Pierre hit .295, scoring 1,075 runs while accumulating 2,217 hits. He also had 18 home runs, something Pierre poked fun at on Twitter."I do have one regret I finished with 18 homeruns really wanted to get 20 so if any team wants to sign me for 3yrs that should be enough time," Pierre tweeted.While Pierre wasn't a power-hitter, he did hit over .300 six times.

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Kevin Harvick Wins XFINITY Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Kevin Harvick Wins XFINITY Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images(HAMPTON, Ga.) -- Kevin Harvick took the lead with 26 laps to go on Saturday and took home the checkered flag in the XFINITY Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Harvick held off Joey Logano to win at Atlanta for the third straight time.

"The first thing I want to do is thank all those fans today," Harvick said. "To see that crowd out there, I'm really happy for Atlanta Motor Speedway."

"That pit stop is what won this race," Harvick continued.  "Joey probably had a little bit better car the second half of the run, but it really played out there for us as we were able to have that short run and take off."

Logano won the pole for Sunday's Sprint Cup race and was happy to have a great run.

"This is the closest anyone's been to beating Kevin here in a long time," Logano said. "We got beat off pit road. We had a decent restart, but the outside lane is so tough. At that point, I was trying to move around to different lanes. Trying to find something for some speed."

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Kentucky Cruises Past Arkansas, 84-67

Kentucky Cruises Past Arkansas, 84-67

G. Fiume/Getty Images(LEXINGTON, Ky.) -- The Wildcats improved to 29-0 after their 84-67 win over No. 18 Arkansas (23-6) on Saturday.

Kentucky guard Andrew Harrison led the way with 18 points and three assists and forward Trey Lyles scored 18 as well in the rout.

"Thought Andrew was like ridiculous," Kentucky head coach John Calipari said.  "Andrew just dominated the game, in my mind he was the best guard on the floor."

Tyler Ulis added 14 points off the bench and Devin Booker scored 10 in the victory.

The Wildcats defense held Arkansas guard Michael Qualls to 17 points in the loss and outrebounded the Razorbacks 38-32.

The Georgia Bulldogs will host Kentucky on Tuesday.

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Chris Sale Out At Least 3 Weeks

Chris Sale Out At Least 3 Weeks

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(GLENDALE, Ariz.) -- Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale suffered a foot injury in an accident at his home and he is expected to miss at least three weeks of preparation time for the regular season.

Sale was diagnosed with an avulsion fracture to the side of his right foot, however, Sale declined to comment on how the injury happened.

White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Sale landed awkwardly when he got off the back of his truck unloading items.  His status for Opening Day won't be determined until a later date.

Sale finished third in the American league Cy Young Award voting last year, going 12-4 with a 2.17 ERA.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 2/28/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 2/28/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Top 25 Men's Basketball: (1) Kentucky 84 (29-0) - (18) Arkansas 67 (23-6)

(2) Virginia 69 (27-1) - Virginia Tech 57 (10-19)

(6) Villanova 78 (27-2) - Xavier 66 (18-12)

(11) Wichita State 74 (27-3) - (10) Northern Iowa 60 (27-3)

Kansas State 70 (15-15) - (12) Iowa State 69 (20-8)

(14) Maryland 66 (24-5) - Michigan 56 (14-14)

(15) North Carolina 73 (20-9) - Miami (FL) 64 (18-11)

(16) Oklahoma 67 (20-8) - TCU 60 (17-12)

(17) Louisville 81 (23-6) - Florida State 59 (15-15)

Dayton 59 (22-6) - (22) VCU 55 (21-8) 

(23) Butler 67 (21-8) - DePaul 53 (12-18)

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49ers Release WR Stevie Johnson

49ers Release WR Stevie Johnson

Andy Lyons/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO, Ca.) -- The 49ers will be releasing wide receiver Stevie Johnson, according to NBC reporter Dianna Russini. 

Johnson, 28, was traded to San Francisco from Buffalo during last year's draft for a conditional fourth-round draft pick.

The Bills drafted Johnson in the 7th round of the 2008 draft out of Kentucky. His best season came in 2010, when he caught 82 passes for 1,073 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He was never able to recapture that level of production and fell out of favor with the organization. They felt he was expendable after trading up to select Sammy Watkins with the 4th overall pick last year.

Last season he played in 13 games, catching 35 passes for 435 yards and three touchdowns.

The 49ers entered the offseason with just over $6 million dollars in cap space.  Releasing Johnson carries no dead money and will free up another $6 million.

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Police Find Kvapil’s Car

Police Find Kvapil’s Car

BananaStock(LOGANVILLE, Ga.) -- Police have discovered Travis Kvapil's No. 44 car one day after it was stolen from a Georgia Hotel parking lot.

The car was discovered near the woods off of Lenora Road, according to Team Xtreme Racing owner John Cohen.

According to police, a man was seen entering the team's trailer that was hauling the car and drove away with it early Friday morning.

The theft of Kvapil's car forced the team to withdraw from Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The car appeared undamaged, according to Cohen, however police were unable to find a spare engine and racing equipment that, all totaled, is valued at $175,000.

The team plans to race next weekend at Las Vegas.

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Former Knick Anthony Mason Passes Away

Former Knick Anthony Mason Passes Away

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Former New York Knick Anthony Mason has passed away Saturday, according to ESPN.

Mason, 48, suffered a heart attack and successive congestive heart failure earlier this month. 

Earlier this week, Mason's son suggested that the 6'7" native of Miami, Fl. was showing signs of improvement.

Mason played five seasons with the Knicks and was a key member of the 1994 four team that brought New York to the NBA Finals. As part of the team headlined by Patrick Ewing and John Starks, Mason won the NBA's sixth-man during the 1994-1995 season.

A third round pick in 1988 out of Tennessee State, Mason was selected by the Portland Trailblazers. He would play 13 seasons in the NBA.

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Dan Mullen Extended Through 2018 Season

Dan Mullen Extended Through 2018 Season

Football Texture/iStockphoto(NEW YORK) -- Mississippi State extended the contract of head football coach Dan Mullen through the 2018 season.Mullen, who last season led the Bulldogs to their first 10-win season in school history and was named the 2014 Maxwell National Coach of the Year, will make an average of $4.275 million per year.

"It's a privilege to represent our university, our program and our fans here at Mississippi State," Mullen said. "I appreciate (athletic director) Scott Stricklin and our administration who have given us the tools and resources to be successful and develop Bulldog football into a national brand over the last six years."We spent five weeks ranked No. 1 last season for the first time, but we have only scratched this surface on what we can accomplish here. We have created a winning culture both on and off the field and built a program that has sustained success in the nation's toughest conference. I've always said we are going to win a championship here, and I firmly believe that."Before Mullen arrived in Starkville in 2009, Mississippi State had losing records in seven of its previous eight seasons. Since then the program has had five winning seasons.Mullen has a 46-31 record at Mississippi State and has won more bowl games (3) than any other coach in Bulldogs history.

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Florida Reinstates F Dorian Finney-Smith

Florida Reinstates F Dorian Finney-Smith

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images(GAINESVILLE, Fla.) -- Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan reinstated junior forward Dorian Finney-Smith on Friday.Finney-Smith was suspended for the past three games due to an unspecified violation of team rules. "He served his penalty," Donovan said. "He did all the things we asked him to do and expected him to do."The 6-foot-8 Finney-Smith is the team's leading rebounder (5.8 per game) and second-leading scorer (12.9 per game).Finney-Smith will be on the floor for the Gators (13-15, 6-9 Southeastern Conference) Saturday when Donovan tries to win his 500th career game versus Tennessee.

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Rose has Knee Surgery, Should Miss 4-6 Weeks

Rose has Knee Surgery, Should Miss 4-6 Weeks

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose had successful knee surgery and should be able to return to the team in four to six weeks, Bulls general manager Gar Forman said Friday.The 24-year-old Rose has had surgeries on both of his knees in the past couple years. Those surgeries caused Rose to miss most of the past two seasons, but this one shouldn't keep the former MVP off the court as long."There's the old saying that surgery's minor as long as it's on somebody else," Forman said. "But in this case, in comparison to what Derrick's had to go through the last several years, this surgery really was minor."Rose tore his medial meniscus in his right knee for the second time in 15 months. The previous time Rose had surgery he missed most of the 2013-14 season. This time should prove to be less serious as Rose was able to walk out of the hospital after the surgery.Rose could also begin working out at the team's practice facility as soon as Saturday, according to Forman.Rose has played in 46 games this season and is averaging 18.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and five assists per game.

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Blackhawks Acquire Timonen from Flyers

Blackhawks Acquire Timonen from Flyers

Len Redkoles/NHLI via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Chicago Blackhawks traded a second-round draft pick in 2015 and a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2016 to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for defenseman Kimmo Timonen."We've been working on this one for a while," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman. "He was a defenseman we really wanted. Setting aside the fact he hasn't played, once we get him up to speed, he's a great player. He's been an elite defenseman for a lot of years."We looked around at the other guys. When we get him back on his game, he's a great defenseman, low risk, high reward."The 39-year-old Timonen has not played this season due to blood clots in his lower right leg and both of his lungs, but on Thursday Timonen skated with the Flyers and said he's ready to play.Timonen ranks third among active defenseman with 571 career points over 15 NHL seasons.Timonen has declared he will retire at the end of the season.

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Josh McCown Signs Three-Year Deal with Browns

Josh McCown Signs Three-Year Deal with Browns

Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Cleveland Browns signed veteran quarterback Josh McCown to a three-year deal on Friday.

McCown spent last season with the Buccaneers and finished 1-10 before being released.

During his 11 games as the starter, McCown had completed 56.3% of his passes for 2,206 yards and 11 touchdowns while committing 18 turnovers.

His signing points towards the end of the Brian Hoyer era in Cleveland.  Hoyer is scheduled to be a free agent.

McCown has played for the Cardinals, Lions, Raiders, Panthers, Bears and Bucs in a 12-year career.

Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel is the only quarterback still on the roster and is currently in rehab.

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NFL Considering Changes to Combine Drills

NFL Considering Changes to Combine Drills

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Each year college players hoping to make it in the NFL must participate in what is often dubbed the "Underwear Olympics."

What was once intended as a convenient location to gather medical information has become a media spectacle: watching athletes bench press 225 lbs. and run a 40-yard dash.

Now some in the League Office would like to make adjustments.

"We run the 40-yard dash in Indianapolis. Why? The only reason anyone can ever give you is, that's how it's always been done," said Matt Birk, the league's director of player development.

In order to more accurately gauge players to their projected position, the hope is to tweak the tradition 40-yard dash, three-cone drill and short shuttles.

"That's a project we'll be working on this offseason,"Birk said. "Once we look at the data that was gathered in-game this year, it may be important to know how fast a wide receiver or defensive back can go 60 yards. Maybe for an offensive lineman it's only 20 yards.

"We can actually see that in-game: how far are these guys running? What are the real or improved measures of importance and value as it relates to evaluating players and whether or not they should be drafted in the first round or the sixth round?"

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton also supports the potential changes.

"I think you'll gradually see position-specific change where it won't be just one whole new set of drills," he said. "It will gradually phase itself in as we know more and more what we're looking for for an offensive lineman, compared to a running back."

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NFL Appeals Adrian Peterson Ruling

NFL Appeals Adrian Peterson Ruling

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Football League is not pleased with Minnesota Judge David Doty's ruling to reinstate Viking's running back Adrian Peterson.

Hours after Thursday's ruling, the NFL appealed Judge Doty's decision to overturn the suspension of Peterson in federal court. Additionally, the NFL placed Peterson back on the Commissioner's Exempt List. 

The NFL released a statement:

"Judge Doty’s order did not contain any determinations concerning the fairness of the appeals process under the CBA, including the commissioner’s longstanding authority to appoint a designee to act as hearing officer. Even so, we believe strongly that Judge Doty’s order is incorrect and fundamentally at odds with well-established legal precedent governing the district court’s role in reviewing arbitration decisions. As a result, we have filed a notice of appeal to have the ruling reviewed by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. In the interim, Adrian Peterson will be returned to the Commissioner Exempt List pending further proceedings by appeals officer Harold Henderson or a determination by the Eighth Circuit Court."

Peterson is set to count for $15.4 million against the Vikings salary cap this season. The team has made public statements saying they would welcome him back, however the running back may not wish to return and privately the team may not want him back either.

Last week, Peterson's agent Ben Dogra had to be separated from Vikings President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski after the two engaged in an altercation regarding the running back's future in Minnesota.

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Vanderbilt Basketball Coach Apologizes for Postgame Remark

Vanderbilt Basketball Coach Apologizes for Postgame Remark

Thomas Northcut/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tn.) -- Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings has issued an apology for an "inappropriate comment" during the postgame handshakes of a victory over Tennessee.

Stallings was seen berating Commodores freshman guard Wade Baldwin, Jr. and was overheard yelling "I'll f***ing kill you," after being informed by a Tennessee assistant coach that Baldwin was clapping in the face of Volunteers players.

Friday Stallings released a statement:

"One of our players acted inappropriately and violated what we believe is good sportsmanship following the game," Stallings said. "In my haste to resolve the situation, I made a very inappropriate comment. While obviously it was not meant literally, it was still inappropriate. I apologized to the player immediately following the game. Displaying good sportsmanship is of the highest priority in our program, win or lose. I am very remorseful of my actions tonight."

Baldwin tweeted out after the game: "Coach Stallings is the best coach in America. I felt no offense to anything. We are both fiery people and that's why I chose Vandy."

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