Wednesday Sports in Brief

Wednesday Sports in Brief

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Smiling, even laughing, at questions about a report linking him to a company that purports to make performance-enhancers, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said Wednesday he ``never, ever took'' the stuff.

Lewis described himself as ``agitated,'' not angry, that the story has become part of the Super Bowl-week prelude to Baltimore's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

He added that he's certain his teammates won't be distracted by the report in Sports Illustrated. The magazine said Lewis sought help from a company that says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a banned product connected to human growth hormone. The 37-year-old Lewis is the leading tackler in the NFL postseason after returning from a torn right triceps that sidelined him for 10 games.

The San Francisco 49ers never have tasted defeat in a Super Bowl, going 5-0. It's the most impressive mark for any franchise in the big game.

Baltimore also is undefeated, with the Ravens winning their only appearance, in 2001.

Someone will have the Super Bowl blahs for the first time after Sunday's title game in the Superdome.

The Ravens (13-6), who are 3 1/2 -point underdogs, are on one of those runs reminiscent of recent NFL champions. Indeed, the New York Giants reached the Super Bowl a year ago in a similar manner, winning a wild-card game at home, then two playoffs on the road, including an overtime thriller.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Dr. Phil McGraw says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who masterminded the dead girlfriend hoax involving Manti Te'o, told him the Notre Dame linebacker was not involved in the scheme and that he ended up falling ``deeply, romantically'' in love with the football player.

McGraw spoke on the ``Today'' show, previewing an interview he did with Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old California man who created the fictional woman Te'o knew as Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo's interview with McGraw will air in two parts on the ``Dr. Phil Show'' starting Thursday.

Since the hoax was revealed earlier this month, Te'o has said the relationship with Kekua started online and eventually became serious, even though the two only talked on the phone and exchanged electronic messages, never meeting in person.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Wednesday when a judge rejected his argument that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the three-week proceeding that ended with a 45-count guilty verdict on child sex abuse charges.

Judge John Cleland's 27-page order said lawyers for the former Penn State assistant football coach conceded that their post-trial review turned up no material that would have changed their trial strategy.

Also, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously approved a bill that aims to keep Penn State's $60 million fine to the NCAA over the Sandusky scandal within the state. The NCAA issued a statement saying it was monitoring the legislation, ``including examining whether, if enacted, the proposed legislation would violate both the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.''

It had previously said 25 percent of the annual grants would be reserved for Pennsylvania organizations.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Once considered a player who could shatter the career home run record, Alex Rodriguez has transformed from All-Star to annoyance to some in the New York Yankees organization.

Rodriguez hasn't played a full season since he was voted his third AL MVP award in 2007, he's out for at least the first half of this year following hip surgery on Jan. 16 and now he's been accused of again purchasing performance-enhancing drugs - an allegation he denies.

According to a Yankees executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not publicly commenting on Rodriguez's situation, if A-Rod doesn't play again due to a career-ending injury, about 85 percent of the $114 million he's owed by the team would be covered by insurance.

PRO BASKETBALL

PHOENIX (AP) - Michael Beasley scored a season-high 27 points and the Phoenix Suns rallied from 13 down in the fourth quarter to hand the Los Angeles Lakers their eighth straight road loss 92-86.

The dramatic comeback came in Steve Nash's first game in Phoenix since he left for the Lakers after last season.

The Lakers, who had won three straight - all at home, lost Dwight Howard when he reinjured his right shoulder with 6:57 to play. Beasley, whose previous season best of 25 came two games earlier, scored on a scrambling layup as the shot clock was expiring to put the Suns ahead 88-86 with 43.8 seconds to play.

Kobe Bryant had 17 points and nine assists, but missed what would have been the tying layup with 24 seconds to play.

CYCLING

LONDON (AP) - A truth and reconciliation program is the ``only way'' to rid cycling of performance-enhancing drugs, and the sport's governing body should have no role in the process, Lance Armstrong said in an interview with a British publication.

Cyclingnews on Wednesday published questions and answers it exchanged with Armstrong through emails and texts. In an interview two weeks ago with Oprah Winfrey, the cyclist acknowledged for the first time that he doped to win a record seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong said no generation was ever ``clean,'' and the best way forward is a truth and reconciliation process offering amnesty to riders and officials who detail doping in the sport.

Asked if he felt like a fall guy, Armstrong said: ``Actually, yes I do. But I understand why. We all make the beds we sleep in.''

He said the program should be run by the World Anti-Doping Agency and not the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the body which produced a scathing report detailing systematic doping by Armstrong and his teams. Asked why he would not speak to USADA, Armstrong said: ``No brainer. This is a global sport not an American one.''

WINTER X GAMES

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - Prayers are pouring in and fans are donating money for a Winter X Games snowmobile competitor who is in critical condition following a crash last week.

Caleb Moore was performing a flip off a jump last week when he caught the top of the hill in the landing area and went over the handlebars. The 25-year-old was able to walk away but later developed bleeding around his heart and a secondary complication involving his brain.

No update on his condition was available.

To help defray the medical costs, a website has been set up for the family to raise $300,000 to help pay his hospital bills.

Three things to know about Ravens fourth-round pick Chris Moore

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Three things to know about Ravens fourth-round pick Chris Moore

Three things to know about Ravens fourth-round pick (107), wide receiver Chris Moore from the University of Cincinnati:

1. Moore’s college breakout game came against Ohio St in 2014.

Everybody in the Buckeyes’ secondary who played against Moore remembers him. Moore had three catches for 221 yards and three touchdowns, and he also had a 40-yard touchdown nullified by a penalty. On two of those touchdowns, Moore burned highly-touted Ohio St. defensive backs - cornerback Eli Apple, who was drafted No. 10 overall by the Giants, and safety Vonn Bell, who went to the Saints in Round 2.

“When it came time to play against the best talent, I performed,” Moore said.

2. At 6-foot-2, 190 pound, Moore has the frame to be more than just a deep receiver.

“I practice running every route, every single day,” Moore said. “I run all the short routes too, so I’m not just a deep threat.”

3. The biggest knock on Moore is the drops he had in college.

The Ravens coaching staff, particularly wide receiver coach Bobby Engram, will be looking for ways to improve Moore’s concentration and technique.

Fifth-rounder becomes Baltimore's first 2016 draft pick to sign

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Fifth-rounder becomes Baltimore's first 2016 draft pick to sign

The Ravens have signed fifth-round draft pick Matt Judon, CSN has confirmed through an NFL source. Judon became the first of the Ravens’ 11 draft picks to sign, reaching agreement on a four-year, $2.595 million deal.

Judon led all of college football with 20 sacks last season at Grand Valley State, and will likely make the transition from defensive end to outside linebacker in the Ravens’ 3-4 defense. His combination of size (6-foot-3, 275 pounds) and quickness caught the eye of Ravens’ scouts at the combine, and he fit their desire to improve their pass rush in this draft.

“He’s an explosive pass rusher, which is something that was obviously of interest to us,” Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said after the draft. “I should also say that Joe Cullen, who works with our defensive line and rush linebackers, was really, really excited. This was a guy that we thought was an outstanding prospect, and he (Cullen) spent a lot of time with him this spring, and we felt very, very good about his ability to come in and help us right away.”

AFC North: Manziel struggles continue, as does Browns search for franchise QB

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AFC North: Manziel struggles continue, as does Browns search for franchise QB

Watching Johnny Manziel make his court appearance Thursday on domestic violence charges was another reminder of how badly many of the Browns’ quarterback decisions have turned out.

Just two years ago, Manziel was the 22nd overall pick, and the Browns hoped he would be the answer to their quarterback problems. How wrong that looks now, with Manziel out of the NFL, with an uncertain future both on and off the field.

The Browns’ decision to take Manziel in 2014 looks even worse when you consider:

- Two other starting quarterbacks were drafted after Manziel in 2014 – Teddy Bridgewater of the Vikings (No. 32) and Derek Carr of the Raiders (No. 36). 

- Eight first-round picks in the 2014 draft have already made the Pro Bowl – linebackers Anthony Barr (Vikings), Khalil Mack (Raiders), and C. J. Mosley (Ravens); wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants), defensive tackle Aaron Donald (Rams); guard Zach Martin (Cowboys); cornerback Jason Verrett (Chargers), and Bridgewater.

The Browns’ new regime of executive VP Sashi Brown, chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, and coach Hue Jackson could have spent another first-round pick on a quarterback this year. Instead, they signed Robert Griffin III during free agency, traded down out of the No. 2 spot in the draft, acquired some valuable draft picks, and waited until Round 3 to draft quarterback Cody Kessler of USC in the third round.

The Browns aren’t sure Griffin or Kessler will solve their quarterback problems either. But it’s hard to blame them for avoiding spending another first-round pick on a quarterback. Not after seeing how far Manziel has fallen so fast.