Quick Links

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.

Quick Links

Suggs, Smith among six Ravens named to PUP list

Suggs, Smith among six Ravens named to PUP list

The Ravens announced six players placed on the physically unable to perform list Saturday - linebacker Terrell Suggs, wide receivers Steve Smith Sr. and Breshad Perriman, linebacker Elvis Dumervil, running back Trent Richardson, and cornerback Jumal Rolle.

Quarterback Joe Flacco (knee), cornerback Jimmy Smith (foot), tight end Dennis Pitta (hip), and cornerback Will Davis (knee) were not placed on PUP, indicating they were ready for the team’s first full-team training camp practice Thursday.

Any player on the PUP list can be activated and return to practice at any point prior to the regular season. Once a player is placed on the regular-season PUP list, he must sit out at least the first six weeks of the regular season.

RELATED: WILL SMITH'S BODY BETRAY HIM AGAIN?

Rolle (Achilles injury) is expected to miss the entire season. Here’s the breakdown on the other five PUP list players:

Suggs – He still has not fully recovered from his season-ending Achilles injury suffered in Week 1 last September. Suggs is scheduled to meet with the media Wednesday, where further details about his progress should be revealed.

Smith Sr. – Also recovering from a season-ending Achilles injury suffered in November. Smith said he would not care if he missed the entire preseason. His priority is to be ready by Week 1.

Perriman – He suffered a knee injury during minicamp which did not require season-ending surgery. However, Perriman has still not played a preseason or regular season game since being drafted in the first round in 2015. After two knee injuries in two years, the Ravens have every reason to be cautious with Perriman until they think he is ready to return.

Dumervil – He had offseason foot surgery after playing through pain last season. Dumervil missed mandatory minicamp, but did not sound concerned about being ready for Week 1.

Richardson – His lingering hamstring issue could ruin his bid for an NFL comeback. The Ravens are deep at running back, and Richardson needs to get healthy to have any chance to win a roster spot.

MORE RAVENS: FLACCO HAS LONG ODDS FOR MVP

Quick Links

Best case, worst case scenario for WR Steve Smith Sr.

Best case, worst case scenario for WR Steve Smith Sr.

Clifton Brown and Bo Smolka are taking turns putting 25 key Ravens under the microscope leading up to veterans reporting to training camp. They’ll speculate on a best-case, worst-case scenario for at least one player every day, concluding with quarterback Joe Flacco on July 25.

UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: Steve Smith Sr., 37-year-old wide receiver

Best-case scenario for Smith:

He enjoys a typical 1,000-yard season, and he remains the Ravens’ top receiver.

Why it could happen:

It’s dangerous to bet against Smith making a full recovery from Achilles surgery, even in the twilight of his career. Few athletes perform with more of a chip on their shoulder than Smith, who is always driven to prove doubters wrong. He’s a technician at route running, he studies film diligently, and he’s a master at using his body and hands to ward off defenders. Smith never relied on pure speed to be a top receiver. So even if he’s a tad less explosive, Smith has the talent to end his career playing at a high level.

Worst-case scenario for Smith:

Smith’s body betrays him, and the Ravens’ depth at wide receiver reduces his playing time and role.

Why it could happen:

Father Time is undefeated, and may finally be calling for Smith. The older an athlete gets, the harder it gets to recover from injuries. With their deep group of tight ends, and the addition of wide receivers Mike Wallace and rookie Chris Moore, the Ravens may not be as dependent on Smith as they have been. Even if Smith is healthy, his role in the offense might be less prominent.

RELATED: FLACCO HAS LONG ODDS FOR MVP

Quick Links

Flacco has same MVP odds as Winston and Mariota

Flacco has same MVP odds as Winston and Mariota

Joe Flacco has been a Super Bowl MVP and has won 10 playoff games. Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston have played one NFL season.

However, all three of those quarterbacks have been given the same odds (100/1) of winning next season’s MVP award by sportsbook Bovada.lv.

People who think Flacco is an elite quarterback may view that as disrespect. But the Bovada.lv odds throw even more shade at Flacco.

Sixteen quarterbacks are given a better chance of winning the MVP award in 2016 than Flacco. Some of the names you would expect, like Aaron Rodgers, who is the favorite at 4/1, followed by Ben Roethlisberger (7/1), Cam Newton (15/2), Russell Wilson (8/1), and Tom Brady (9/1).

But do Blake Bortles (66/1) of the Jaguars or Brock Osweiler of the Texans (66/1) really have a better chance of winning the MVP than Flacco? According to Bovada.lv they do. That’s also an indication that not much is expected from the Ravens overall after their 5-11 season. The better your team does, the better your chances of winning the MVP.

Newton won the MVP last year starting at 50/1 odds. So if you believe in Flacco and the Ravens, those 100/1 MVP odds for Flacco may look like an enticing play.

RELATED: Can Dumervil lead a rebirth of Ravens's pass rush?