Thursday's Sports in Brief

Thursday's Sports in Brief

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Nevin Shapiro's attorney said Thursday that she did nothing wrong during the former Miami booster's bankruptcy proceedings, instead insisting that the NCAA's problems during an investigation of the Hurricanes' athletic department were self-inflicted.

Further, attorney Maria Elena Perez said she's one of the victims of the NCAA's mistakes.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Perez said that the NCAA had representation present during two depositions in the bankruptcy case of her client, who is currently serving a 20-year prison term for masterminding a $930 million Ponzi scheme. The NCAA said Wednesday that it has ordered an outside review of the Miami investigation after finding ``a very severe issue of improper conduct'' by former investigators working the Miami case.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - The person Manti Te'o says was pretending to be his online girlfriend told the Notre Dame linebacker ``I love you'' in voicemails that were played during his interview with Katie Couric.

Taped earlier this week and broadcast Thursday, the hour-long talk show featured three voicemails that Te'o claims were left for him last year. Te'o said they were from the person he believed to be Lennay Kekua, a woman he had fallen for online but never met face-to-face.

After the first message was played, Te'o said: ``It sounds like a girl, doesn't it?''

``It does,'' said Couric, who suggested the person who left those messages might have been Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, a 22-year-old man from California, who Te'o said has apologized to him for pulling the hoax.

The interview was the All-American's first on camera since his tale of inspired play after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day in September unraveled as a bizarre hoax in an expose by Deadspin.com on Jan. 16.

Couric addressed speculation that the tale was concocted by Te'o as a way to cover up his sexual orientation. Asked if he were gay, Te'o said ``no'' with a laugh. ``Far from it. Faaaar from that.''

PRO FOOTBALL

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - John Idzik was introduced as the New York Jets' new general manager, replacing the fired Mike Tannenbaum.

The 52-year-old Idzik, formerly the Seahawks' vice president of football administration, insists that the Jets will ``explore every measure to bring in talent and to compete.'' He adds that the NFL draft will be the team's ``lifeline.''

Neither Idzik nor owner Woody Johnson would definitively answer questions about a report that the Jets will explore trading star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is recovering from a serious knee injury.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The New Orleans Saints fired defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo after one season - a record-setting year in the wrong way.

New Orleans ranked last in the NFL in total defense and run defense, yielding the most yards (7,042) ever in a single season. The Saints went 7-9 this season and allowed 454 points; only Tennessee gave up more.

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) - Ravens safety Ed Reed isn't planning on joining teammate Ray Lewis in retirement after the Super Bowl.

``I'll be playing next year,'' Reed said before Baltimore hit the practice field in preparation for their Feb. 3 Super Bowl matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.

There had been speculation that the 34-year-old Reed might retire after this season.

BASEBALL

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The entrance to the Cathedral Basilica looked more like that of a St. Louis Cardinals game on Thursday, just the way Stan Musial would have liked it.

Thousands of fans turned out for Musial's public visitation at the ornate Roman Catholic church, many of them bundled up against the bitter cold in red Cardinals jackets. Musial, a 24-time All-Star who remained a beloved figure in his adopted hometown a half-century after his playing career ended, died Saturday after years of declining health. He was 92.

Family, close friends and perhaps some of baseball's biggest names will be back at the cathedral for a funeral on Saturday.

PHOENIX (AP) - Justin Upton is having a family reunion in Atlanta.

Arizona traded its star right fielder to the Braves in a seven-player deal that sent former All-Star infielder Martin Prado to the Diamondbacks.

For the first time since he was a high school freshman, Upton will have older brother B.J. Upton as a teammate.

The brothers combine with Jason Heyward, who won a Gold Glove in 2012, in an outfield potentially packed with power and speed.

The Braves, who also get third baseman Chris Johnson, are giving up one of their top pitching prospects, Randall Delgado, and three minor leaguers in the deal.

They are right-hander Zeke Spruill, shortstop Nick Ahmed and first baseman Brandon Drury.

BOSTON (AP) - Pedro Martinez is returning to the Boston Red Sox.

Martinez, a three-time Cy Young Award winner and eight-time All-Star, who spent seven seasons in Boston, was brought back to the franchise as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.

GOLF

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Brandt Snedeker ended another round at Torrey Pines atop the leaderboard. Only this time he had company, and still a long way to go.

Snedeker had a flawless start to his title defense in the Farmers Insurance Open by playing bogey-free on the North Course for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with K.J. Choi. The advantage after one day goes to Choi, who birdied three of his last four holes on the tougher South Course for his 65.

Tiger Woods, a seven-time champion at Torrey Pines as a pro, looked as if he might join them. Woods was one shot off the lead with five holes to play on the South until he stumbled in the final hour of a cloudy day with two bogeys and had to scramble to save par on the par-5 18th for a 68.

DOHA, Qatar (AP) - European Ryder Cup players Martin Kaymer and Sergio Garcia were among four players tied for the lead after the second round of the Qatar Masters.

Kaymer shot a 5-under 67, and Garcia had a 66 to match Ricardo Santos (70) and Marcus Fraser (67) at 9-under 135. Michael Campbell (68) topped the group at 8 under. Justin Rose was 5 under after a 71, and Louis Oosthuizen was 4 under after a 69. Jason Dufner shot a 70 to reach 3 under.

PRO BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Tim Duncan was selected to his 14th All-Star game, Spurs teammate Tony Parker is joining him, and the Chicago Bulls also had two reserves chosen for next month's game in Houston.

Joakim Noah and Luol Deng were picked from the Bulls, who have stayed in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race despite the season-long absence of point guard Derrick Rose. Noah is one of five first-time All-Stars for the East, along with New York's Tyson Chandler, Indiana's Paul George, Cleveland's Kyrie Irving, and Philadelphia's Jrue Holiday.

Miami's Chris Bosh, picked for his eighth All-Star team, rounded out the East squad.

West forwards David Lee (Golden State), LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland) and Zach Randolph (Memphis) all were picked for the second time. Houston's James Harden was chosen for the first time and joins former Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook, headed to his third straight All-Star game.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Hornets owner Tom Benson is changing his team's nickname to the Pelicans and said the switch will create a bond with the city that could lead to a championship.

The NBA still has to approve it, but Commissioner David Stern has said he wouldn't object to any name Benson chose. The league is expected to expedite the change at the start of next season.

The new color scheme is blue, gold and red, a departure from the Hornets' teal, purple, gold and white.

CYCLING

MONTREAL (AP) - The World Anti-Doping Agency disputed a claim by former cycling federation leader Hein Verbruggen that discussing suspicious doping samples with athletes was once normal practice in sports.

It highlights the growing gulf between the doping watchdog and the International Cycling Union following the Lance Armstrong case.

``This approach totally contradicts the purpose of an effective anti-doping program,'' WADA said of Verbruggen's claim, adding that a governing body's policy should be ``designed to deter, detect and prevent athletes from doping.''

Verbruggen, the UCI president from 1991-2005, claimed Wednesday it was the governing body's former policy and ``indeed also of other federations.''

MILAN (AP) - Lance Armstrong's disgraced former doctor Michele Ferrari says the American cyclist could have been just as successful without doping.

Armstrong said in last week's interview with Oprah Winfrey that winning seven Tour de France titles would have been impossible without banned drugs.

However, on Ferrari's website Tuesday, the Italian doctor wrote ``I think Lance is wrong.''

Ferrari describes the effects of testosterone, EPO and blood transfusions, and says that had Armstrong taken testosterone in the manner and amount described by his former teammates, it would have simply had a ``placebo effect.''

AUTO RACING

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) - Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Kyle Busch has signed a long-term extension to continue driving the No. 18 Toyota Camry.

In addition, JGR will field the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota in the Nationwide Series for at least 25 races with Busch as the primary driver. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

PRO HOCKEY

DALLAS (AP) - Jamie Benn and the Dallas Stars agreed to a $26.25 million, five-year contract.

The All-Star center gets $5.25 million each season, with the first year of the deal pro-rated because of the NHL lockout.

Ozzie Newsome, Ronnie Stanley deny Laremy Tunsil was Ravens' choice before video

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Ozzie Newsome, Ronnie Stanley deny Laremy Tunsil was Ravens' choice before video

OWINGS MILLS -- Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome denied the Ravens were going to pick left tackle Laremy Tunsil over Ronnie Stanley, until the gas mask video of Tunsil appeared on social media prior to the draft.

“No,” Newsome said Saturday night, when asked point blank if Tunsil would have been the Ravens’ choice, absent the video. “There’s a lot of speculation.”

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Ravens were going to pick Tunsil at No. 6, but picked Stanley instead after the video became public. Tunsil plummeted to No. 13 where the Dolphins took him, costing Tunsil millions of dollars.

Stanley took exception to Schefter’s report, refuting it on Twitter Saturday.

Believe who you want. But the careers of Stanley and Tunsil will now be compared even more, with both the Ravens and Dolphins hoping their rookie left tackle has the better NFL career.

After finishing 5-11 in 2015, and having already dealt with the domestic violence elevator video of former running back Ray Rice in 2014, can you blame the Ravens for passing on Tunsil? The controversy would have hovered over the Ravens and Tunsil -- baggage the Ravens don’t need, and can’t afford.

The Ravens did not shun Tunsil to reach for somebody who had no business being drafted No. 6. Some scouts had Stanley rated over Tunsil even before the video.

“He (Stanley) was right at the top row, with the top row of players,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh.

Newsome has admitted the Ravens tried to trade up to No. 4 to get defensive back Jalen Ramsey. But the Cowboys stayed put at No. 4 and took running back Ezekiel Elliott. After Ramsey went No. 5 to the Jaguars, the Ravens took Stanley at No. 6.

The fact Newsome was willing to disclose how badly he wanted Ramsey was revealing. Newsome is not worried about protecting Stanley’s feelings. There is already pressure on Stanley, and if he can’t handle that, he is going to struggle anyway.

Remember, Tunsil wasn’t the only top player the Ravens passed on at No. 6. Any of the next five players drafted would have addressed one of the Ravens’ primary needs - defensive end DeForest Buckner (No. 7, left tackle Jack Conklin (No. 8), outside linebacker Leonard Floyd (No. 9), and cornerbacks Eli Apple (No. 10) and Vernon Hargreaves (No. 11).

Stanley’s job is to prove Newsome made the right choice. But Tunsil’s video? That was one video too many for the Ravens.

Ravens draft grade: Solid, not sensational

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Ravens draft grade: Solid, not sensational

After a draft that featured a whopping 11 players, the Ravens should be better, and they are. We’re all guessing at this point, but I’d give them a B grade for this draft. Here are five takeaways Ravens’ which should explain why I like their draft, but can’t love it at this point:

1. The Ravens attacked their need for pass rushers

Unless the Ravens missed in the second-round (OLB Kamalei Correa), the third-round (DE Bronson Kaufusi), and the fifth-round (DE Matt Judon), their pass rush will improve. With those three, along with Elvis Dumervil and Za’Darius Smith, the Ravens can get after quarterbacks even if Terrell Suggs is not the same after his second Achilles injury.

2. Not taking a cornerback sooner could haunt the Ravens

They need corner help, but did not get any until drafting Tavon Young of Temple (fourth-round) and Maurice Canady (sixth round). If those two are slow to develop, the Ravens could find themselves scrambling to find cornerback help in August, especially if there is an injury or two at that position.

3. More playmakers should make the Ravens more explosive

The pass rushers on defense should create more turnovers.  And keep an eye on running back Kenneth Dixon (fourth round) and wide receiver Chris Moore (fourth round). Dixon is shifty, and he has good hands. Moore is a deep threat with superb ball skills. Both have the potential to be Sunday playmakers, not only in 2016, but beyond.

4. Taking either pass rusher Noah Spence or inside linebacker Miles Jack would have given this draft more star potential

After Laremy Tunsil’s gas mask video surfaced, I agreed with the Ravens’ decision to take left tackle Ronnie Stanley at No. 6. But the Ravens may regret passing on both Spence and Jack in the second round. After wide receiver Breshad Perriman missed all of last season with a knee injury, it’s hard to blame the Ravens steering clear of Jack due to his knee issues. But without Jack, the Ravens still need help at inside linebacker next to C. J. Mosley. As for Spence, maybe the Ravens’ background check told them it was too risky to take him, after he left Ohio St. for Eastern Kentucky due to drug issues (ecstasy). But Spence went No. 39 to the Buccaneers, and if he becomes a double-digit sack artist immediately, that will be tough for Ravens fans to watch.

5. Keenan Reynolds could be much more than just a popular sixth-round pick

Ravens’ officials had tears in their eyes talking about the reaction of former Navy star Reynolds, after he received the Ravens’ phone call. It’s a feel-good story, but it could be much more. Reynolds has all the traits to be a dynamic punt returner – toughness, vision, open-field quickness, and sound judgment. Reynolds usually makes the most of an opportunity. Don’t be surprised if he does it again.

Ravens take chance on Navy QB Reynolds after position change

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Ravens take chance on Navy QB Reynolds after position change

After his memorable career at Navy, Keenan Reynolds fulfilled another dream Saturday when the Ravens drafted him in the sixth round (No. 182 overall).

Reynolds has been told by Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome that he will compete for a roster spot as a wide receiver – punt returner, after playing quarterback at Navy. When he received the phone call from Newsome, Reynolds described it has one of the most emotional moments of his life. 

“Relief, excitement,” Reynolds said during a conference call. “I was upset (watching the draft). I know I can play with these guys. To see my name, to see my phone ring…It’s a dream come true. All I ever wanted to do was play on Sundays.”

It remains to be seen if Reynolds’ Navy obligations will interfere with his dream of an NFL career. Reynolds said he had already talked with some Navy officials, and hoped a resolution could be reached.

“I think being in the DMV area is going to help my cause, but again that’s a call that’s up to the Navy,” Reynolds said. “It’s up to the secretary of the Navy and the Navy. But right now I’m just trying to bask in what the now is, and I’m just blessed to be picked up, and I’m ready to get started.”

Asked when he would get an answer from the Navy, Reynolds said, “It will be soon. It will probably happen within the next few days. 

Reynolds believes he can make a quick transition to wide receiver. 

“I’ve been running routes like crazy, trying to get quicker in and out of my routes, I’ve been catching punts – everything that they want me to do. To get to work with Steve Smith Sr. and learn from him, try to get better from him? It’s going to be an awesome ride.”

CSN analyst Brian Mitchell, a former returner with the Redskins, has been working with Reynolds on his punt return technique. 

“He kind of gave me some extra drills,” Reynolds said. “He brings an innovative style, also perspective from somebody who has returned punts. I’m just extremely excited.”