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Mike Pettine: ‘We’re Proud of’ Johnny Manziel

Mike Pettine: ‘We’re Proud of’ Johnny Manziel

Elsa/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) -- Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine is proud of quarterback Johnny Manziel checking himself into rehab.

Petttine spoke with reporters at the NFL combine on Wednesday and said that before they drafted 'Johnny Football' that they were aware of the player they were getting.

"We had the same information everyone else in the league had," Pettine said. "It's easy to look back now and say, 'What did you miss?' You can interpret something a little bit differently now and it turns out to be a deeper-rooted thing than you thought."

Pettine said he visited with Manziel and credited him for not letting things get any worse.

"I just wanted to go visit him and see how he's doing, let him know that we're proud of him for the decision he made to go in," Pettine said. "Obviously he has our full support. ...He stepped up and said, 'I need help.'"

"He's in a much better place now than before he went in," Pettine continued. "He's very determined to come out of it in a much better way."

Pettine said he was not told what exactly happened to Manziel, but was happy he got the help that was available.

"As we were getting into discussions on each player at the end of the year and the best path moving forward, he decided to put himself in," Pettine said. "I'm sure something occurred. I personally don't know what that exact point was."

The Browns still must address their quarterback situation, if Manziel doesn't become the starter next season. 

Brian Hoyer remains a free agent, but both sides are reportedly not even close to a deal.

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Royals and Hosmer Agree to Two-Year Deal, Avoid Arbitration

Royals and Hosmer Agree to Two-Year Deal, Avoid Arbitration

Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images(KANSAS CITY, Mo.) -- The Kansas City Royals and first baseman Eric Hosmer agreed Wednesday to a two-year deal worth $13.9 million. The deal also allowed the two to avoid arbitration.

Hosmer's defense was key in their World Series run last year, and he batted .270 with 35 doubles and just nine homers. He also took home a Gold Glove award. The 25-year-old batted .351 with two homers and 12 RBIs in the postseason.

Hosmer was drafted with the third overall pick in the 2008 amateur draft by Kansas City.

With this deal, Hosmer won't be eligible for free agency until 2018.

The Royals avoided an arbitration hearing with all their players this year.

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Durant Explains His Critical Comments of the Media

Durant Explains His Critical Comments of the Media

Oklahoma City Thunder/NBA(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant explained Tuesday why he made critical comments about the media over the past weekend.Durant was asked Saturday about the job security of his head coach Scott Brooks. That prompted the reigning league MVP to snap saying, "You guys really don't know s---." That response created a negative storm of attention toward Durant who had previously, for the most part, been very mild-mannered when talking with the press. Durant met with reporters Tuesday to try and clear the air."I had a moment," Durant said. "Everybody in life has moments. You had one for sure before, but it's not broadcasted like mine. I was more so trying to take up for my teammates, my coach and other guys in the league that gets scrutinized and I don't like. Maybe I should shut up about it. I had one moment. What made me more mad than anything I was told I bite the hand that feeds me. I don't know what that means. I really don't know what that means. I wish someone would explain it to me. But I don't remember none of you guys being there when I was 8 years old and putting in that work, the nights when I'm in here putting in that work in. So I don't really understand what that one means. But, hey, I gotta roll with it. That's a part of it. I was told I shouldn't cry 'cause everybody been through it. So I'm going to shut up."The 26-year-old Durant has played in 26 games this season averaging 25.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, four assists, and one block per game.

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Former Trail Blazers Forward Jerome Kersey Dead at 52

Former Trail Blazers Forward Jerome Kersey Dead at 52

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- Former Portland Trail Blazers forward Jerome Kersey passed away Wednesday at the age of 52. The cause of death is unknown.

Kersey played 17 NBA seasons, 11 with the Trail Blazers, and was a starter on Portland's 1990 and 1992 teams that made the NBA Finals. He also won a championship as a member of the 1999 San Antonio Spurs team.

“Today we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform,” Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen said in a press release. “My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It’s a terrible loss.”

Kersey ranks fifth on the Trail Blazers all-time scoring list (10,067) and third in rebounds (5,078). He also played for Golden State, the Los Angeles Lakers, Seattle, and San Antonio before retiring in 1991. 

Kersey finished his NBA career averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 2/18/15

Scoreboard Roundup – 2/18/15

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Top 25 Men’s College Basketball: (5) Wisconsin 55 (24-2) – Penn State 47 (15-12)

(11) Northern Iowa 58 (25-2) – Loyola (IL) 39 (16-11)

Syracuse 69 (17-9) – (12) Louisville 59 (20-6)

(14) Iowa State 70 (19-6) – (22) Oklahoma State 65 (17-9)

(18) Arkansas 84 (21-5) – Missouri 69 (7-19)

NHL: Ottawa Senators 4 (23-23-10; 56pts) – Montreal Canadiens 2 (37-16-4; 78pts)

Detroit Red Wings 3 (32-14-10; 74pts) – Chicago Blackhawks 2 (35-18-5; 75pts) SO

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Dodgers Closer Kenley Jansen Out 8-12 Weeks

Dodgers Closer Kenley Jansen Out 8-12 Weeks

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen underwent surgery on his left foot and is expected to be out indefinitely, according to the team.

Jansen reported discomfort after running last week, and tests showed there was a growth on a bone in his foot.  Jansen will be on crutches for the next 10 days and in a protective walking boot for another 3-4 weeks.  The entire healing process is expected to take between eight to 12 weeks.

The Dodgers' closer is expected to miss the entire first month of the 2015 regular season.

Last year Jansen had a 2.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and a 101/19 K/BB ratio over 65 1/3 innings.  Jansen also converted 44 saves in 49 opportunities.

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ESPN: Patriots Attendant Attempted to Put Unapproved Football in AFC Championship Game

ESPN: Patriots Attendant Attempted to Put Unapproved Football in AFC Championship Game

Doug Pensinger/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The New England Patriots have won Super Bowl XLIX, but the "Deflate-gate" non-troversy plods along.

According to "Outside the Lines," 48-year-old Jim McNally, a Patriots locker room assistant, attempted to insert a non-approved kicking ball into the AFC Championship game.

The referee assigned to the game, Walt Anderson, followed standard procedure by marking footballs during pre-game inspection.  McNally attempted to hand a non-marked football to alternate official Greg Yettle on the sideline during the game.  

Yettle found the practice to be odd, as locker room attendants do not have ball handling responsibilities during the game.  Yettle then informed Mike Kensil, the NFL vice president of football operations, who was residing at the stadium in the press box.

The NFL is currently investigating the incident.

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Report: Colts Will Attempt To Void RB Richardson’s Contract

Report: Colts Will Attempt To Void RB Richardson’s Contract

Al Bello/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, In.) -- The Indianapolis Colts are entering the first stages of what appears to be a messy divorce.

After trading for Trent Richardson four weeks into the 2013 season, the Colts will attempt to void the final year of the running back's contract, reports Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Richardson is due $3.184 million next season.

As Holder points out, language in Richardson's contract allows the team to release the player and avoid paying him in the case of "failure to report, incarceration" and — as is the case here — "suspension by the team." Richardson was suspended by the team in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs after he missed a team walkthrough to deal with a "serious family emergency."

It would later be revealed that the family emergency was in fact related to Richardson's girlfriend's pregnancy. His girlfriend appeared to enter premature labor after just 28 weeks, putting both her and the unborn child's life at risk.

The Colts traded a 2014 first-round pick to acquire Richardson from the Cleveland Browns. In 29 games with Indianapolis, the former third overall pick has run for only 977 yards and six touchdowns.

 

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Reports: Mariota and Winston to Throw at NFL Combine

Reports: Mariota and Winston to Throw at NFL Combine

NFL Shield (NFL)(NEW YORK) -- With the NFL's annual "Underwear Olympics" approaching this weekend, the two most high profile quarterback prospects will participate in passing drills.

Oregon's Marcus Mariota informed teams that he will throw at the NFL combine, reports ESPN's Chris Mortensen.  Florida State's Jameis Winston will also toss passes at Lucas Oil Stadium, according to NFL Network's Ian Rappaport.

A shoulder injury had caused Mariota's hesitation to throw at the combine. After being informed that it would not cause further damage, the Oregon Ducks quarterback decided to participate.

Last season, Teddy Bridgewater decided to skip the combine passing drills and only throw at his pro day. Bridgewater was considered a top 10 prospect before his pro day, but was drafted No. 32 by the Minnesota Vikings.

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A-Rod Issues an Apology to MLB and Fans

A-Rod Issues an Apology to MLB and Fans

Leon Halip/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez released a lengthy personal handwritten letter obtained by ESPN on Tuesday, apologizing to the fans of Major League Baseball and the organization.

Rodriguez apologized for taking steroids again and is hoping to move onto bigger and better things this season with the Yankees after serving a one-year suspension.

"I take full responsibility for the mistakes that led to my suspension for the 2014 season," Rodriguez said in the statement. "I regret that my actions made the situation worse than it needed to be. To Major League Baseball, the Yankees, the Steinbrenner family, the Players Association and you, the fans, I can only say I'm sorry."

Rodriguez is owed $61 million over the next three years and can also make even more money in home run bonuses.

"I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that's on me," the letter continued.  "It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job."

The letter comes on the same day that Anthony Bosch, former owner of a Florida medical clinic, was sentenced to four years in a federal prison.

Bosch pretended to be a doctor and illegally supplied injections and other performance-enhancing drugs to professional baseball players, including Rodriguez.

Rodriguez also reached out to third baseman Chase Headley this week to get to know his new teammate.  The Yankees signed Headley to a four-year deal this offseason.

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant Seeking Career ‘Rebirth’

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant Seeking Career ‘Rebirth’

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For the third-straight season, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has suffered a season-ending injury. With no plans to walk away from basketball, Bryant has a vision for how he'd like his career to go going forward.

"I can't say it is the end," Bryant said during an interview with NBA TV. "I thought the Spurs were done 20 years ago. Those guys are still winning."

"So, to answer the question, I can't say this is the end of my era because I thought their [era] was done, and they're still there. So I'm hoping I can have the same rebirth," he added.

Bryant is recovering from season-ending surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff that he suffered in his right shoulder.

After appearing in six games last season, the 36-year-old Bryant played in 35 games this season and averaged 22.3 points on .373% shooting.

He has spent his entire 19-year career wit the Lakers, and has one more year left on his current contract.

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Jermaine O’Neal Ends Comeback Attempt

Jermaine O’Neal Ends Comeback Attempt

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images Sport(DALLAS) -- Despite initial plans to return for a 19th NBA season, veteran forward Jermaine O'Neal will not play this season.

O'Neal was coveted by the Dallas Mavericks among other teams, and despite training to prepare for the grind of the NBA season, O'Neal decided it wasn't the right time to return.

"I don't feel like I'm at that position now with just seven weeks of training, and I'm not comfortable making that commitment at this point," O'Neal wrote in an Instagram post. "The issue for me is timing and things feeling right. I'm a true believer of signs and listening and understanding life."

ESPN reports that the Mavericks are still interested in signing O'Neal if he changes his mind. The Mavericks will also be signing former New York Knicks power forward Amare Stoudemire once or if he clears waivers, ESPN adds.

A former All-Star during his time with the Indiana Pacers from 2000-2008, O'Neal transformed himself into a reliable bench player capable of playing good defense. During his career, O'Neal has averaged 13.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

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Lance Armstrong Loses Arbitration Hearing

Lance Armstrong Loses Arbitration Hearing

Gary Miller/FilmMagic

(DALLAS) -- Lance Armstrong has been ordered to pay a Dallas-based promotions company $10 million for committing fraud.

A three person arbitration panel in Texas ruled 2-1 that Armstrong lied under oath in 2005, saying that he never used performance enhancing drugs. 

SCA promotions accused the former cyclist of lying to obtain bonuses connected with winning seven Tour de France titles. In 2004, Armstrong sued SCA promotions for breach of contract when they withheld bonuses tied to a Tour de France victory.  An arbitrator ruled in favor of Armstrong, awarding him $7.5 million.

In what is believed to be the largest penalty levied against an individual in American judicial history, SCA promotions filed paperwork with a Texas court to make the arbitration ruling final. 

Earlier this month, Armstrong was involved in a car accident in Aspen and initially allowed his girlfriend to accept the blame. Police officials cited Armstrong for hit-and-run and exceeding safe a driving speed.

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Kurt Busch Ordered to Stay Away from Ex

Kurt Busch Ordered to Stay Away from Ex

Getty Images

(WILMINGTON, De.) -- The arduous hearing between Kurt Busch and ex-girlfriend Patricia Driscoll has reached its conclusion.

Delaware Family Court Commissioner David Jones ruled Monday that Busch must remain 100 yards away from Driscoll and maintain a "practicable" distance away from her at NASCAR events. He is also ordered not contact her for any reason.

Additionally, Jones ordered that Busch undergo psychiatric counseling "for mental health problems related to anger control and impulse control."

Driscoll tweeted Monday afternoon: "From my lawyer: GOT IT!!! Order for finding of Abuse entered today Opinion with supplemental findings to be available on Friday #ThankYouGod."

The tweet was later deleted. 

NASCAR released a statement after the ruling: "NASCAR has been closely following the civil proceedings in Kent County (Del.) Family Court regarding driver Kurt Busch and therefore is aware of the court order issued today. We now await the full findings of the Commissioner and any actions by the Attorney General of Delaware related to the allegations against Busch."

"As we stated earlier, NASCAR fully recognizes the serious nature of this specific situation and the broader issue of domestic violence. We will continue to gather information and monitor this situation very closely, and we expect our members to conduct themselves properly," the statement concluded.

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Report: Stoudemire Joining Mavericks

Report: Stoudemire Joining Mavericks

NBA via New York Knicks(DALLAS, Tx.) -- The Dallas Mavericks are on the brink of signing Amar'e Stoudemire after his recent contract buyout from the New York Knicks.

Stoudemire cleared waivers Monday night and has committed to joining the Mavericks, according to RealGM.com.

After acquiring Rajon Rondo from the Celtics earlier this season, Dallas has been intent on adding size to its front court. The Mavericks were also interested in signing Jermaine O'Neal, who has been rehabbing a knee injury, but the 6'11" O'Neal announced on his Instagram page that he suffered a setback and would not return this season.

Stoudemire, 32 is currently averaging 12 points and 6.8 rebounds in 26 games this season. 

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ESPN: Bucks Talking Buyout with Center Larry Sanders

ESPN: Bucks Talking Buyout with Center Larry Sanders

Chris Chambers/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The fallout between the Milwaukee Bucks and Larry Sanders could result in the two sides parting ways. ESPN is reporting that the Bucks and Sanders have began discussion regarding a buyout that would make Sanders a free agent.

A talented player, Sanders hasn't played since Dec. 23, when he was suspended by the team for 10 games for violating the league's anti-drug program. He's since been listed out for "personal reasons."

"Soon you all will know the truth," Sanders tweeted last week.

In the summer of 2013, Sanders signed a four-year extension with the Bucks worth $44 million. Since signing that deal, he's only appeared in 50 games as a result of suspensions and injuries.

When he plays, Sanders is still a valuable basketball player. Still just 26 years old, Sanders is averaging 7.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks in 26 games while averaging 21.7 points per game.

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Jhalil Okafor Considering Staying at Duke for Another Year

Jhalil Okafor Considering Staying at Duke for Another Year

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- While many have Duke freshman center Jahlil Okafor penciled in as the top pick in the upcoming NBA Draft, Okafor says jumping to the NBA after this season is no sure thing.

By all accounts, Okafor has been one of the most dominant players in college basketball this season. In his first collegiate season, Okafor is averaging 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game.

Okafor has been so impressive, he's considered by many as the top collegiate prospect.

“I know I’ll be in position to live my dream in the NBA or live my dream and stay here at Duke with people who truly love me,” Okafor said via Steve Greenberg of the Chicago Sun-Times. “I totally feel comfortable with staying here in college, and my family wouldn’t care one bit as long as I’m happy. They know how much I love being here.

“I love everything about Duke. I wish I could just stop time and be able to enjoy this as much as I can.”

Around this time last season, former Duke freshman sensation Jabari Parker said he was also considering staying for his sophomore season, but wound up declaring and was the second pick in the draft.

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Predators Acquire Defenseman Cody Franson from the Maple Leafs

Predators Acquire Defenseman Cody Franson from the Maple Leafs

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The top team in the NHL has added even more reinforcements as they've acquired defenseman Cody Franson and center Mike Santorelli from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

In exchange, the Predators will send the Maple Leafs forward Olli Jokinen, prospect Brendan Leipsic, and a 2015 first-round pick.

"In preparation for the 2015 playoff run, our goal was to add a veteran defenseman who could play in all situations and a proven forward who could move up and down lineup based on the situation," Predators general manager David Poile said in a statement. "We were fortunate to do this in the same transaction with players who are in the prime of their careers more than two weeks before the trade deadline in order to give them more time to contribute and gel with their teammates."

Both Franson and Santorelli began their careers with the Predators, and are also both set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

In 55 games this season, Franson has 32 points, while Santorelli has 29 points in 57 games.

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Knicks Agree To Buyout of Stoudemire’s Contract

Knicks Agree To Buyout of Stoudemire’s Contract

NBA via New York Knicks(NEW YORK) -- The New York Knicks and Amar'e Stoudemire have agreed to a contractual buyout.

Stoudemire was in the final year of a five-year, $99.7 million contact and after clearing waivers will be free to sign with any team. He was scheduled to make $23.4 million this season.

ESPN's Marc Stein reports that the Dallas Mavericks appear to be the front-runner to sign the 6'10," 32-year-old power forward.  Other suitors include the Golden State Warriors -- Stoudemire has a relationship with head coach Steve Kerr -- and the Phoenix Suns.

Stoudemire earned his sixth All-Star appearance during the 2010-2011 season with the Knicks, but since that season a change in offensive philosophy and injuries have limited his effectiveness.

In 36 games this season, Stoudemire is averaging 12 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

 

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Russell Westbrook Named All-Star Game MVP

Russell Westbrook Named All-Star Game MVP

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook was named NBA All-Star Game MVP.

The electric Westbrook posted 41 points for the West in a 163-158 victory in Madison Square Garden.

More than 17,000 people witnessed a display of incredible offense as the 6'3" point guard put up 27 points in the first half, an NBA record, and fell one point short of breaking Wilt Chamberlain's All-Star Game record of 42, set in 1962.

"Moments like this [are] what you dream about as a kid growing up," Westbrook said. "Especially in the Garden, in the Mecca of basketball."

For the East, LeBron James led a valiant effort with a 30-point performance, but Westbrook's night would prove to be too much.

"He's an unbelievable talent in our league," James said. "His motor, his athleticism, his demeanor about how he approaches the game - it's all great. He showcased that on a big stage."

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