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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.

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Antonio Brown apologizes for streaming Steelers' locker room scene

Antonio Brown apologizes for streaming Steelers' locker room scene

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown apologized Tuesday night for streaming live video from the Steelers locker room on Sunday featuring coach Mike Tomlin calling the New England Patriots 'a--h---s' in advance of Sunday's AFC Championship Game.

Brown posted the locker room scene through Facebook Live and has since deleted it.

Ironically enough, the video also included Tomlin telling his team to "keep a low profile."

"I'm sorry for my actions and behavior after Sunday's game," Brown posted on his Twitter feed. "I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me, and I wanted to share that moment with our fans."

"It was wrong of me to do, against team and NFL policy, and I have apologized to Coach Tomlin and my teammates for my actions.

"I'm sorry for letting it become a distraction and something that they've had to answer questions about while we're preparing for a big game on Sunday."

Tomlin, of course, has indeed been asked about the video as the Steelers try to prepare for the AFC title game at New England.

"It was foolish for him to do that, it was selfish for him to do that, it was inconsiderate for him to do that," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "Not only is it a violation of our policy, it's a violation of league policy, both of which he knows.

"There are consequences to be dealt with from his perspective," Tomlin added. "We will punish him, we won't punish us."

 Translation: He might take a hit in the wallet, but he's playing Sunday, and don't think for a fraction of a second he's not.

MORE RAVENS: Weighing pros and cons of bringing back Dumervil

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Will Elvis Dumervil get his 100th career sack with Ravens, or someone else?

Will Elvis Dumervil get his 100th career sack with Ravens, or someone else?

The Ravens face critical offseason personnel decisions, including which players to bring back, and which veteran players are no longer worth the financial investment.

Here are the pros and cons regarding pass rusher Elvis Dumervil:

Reasons to keep Dumervil:

Dumervil is a proven pass rusher with 99 career sacks, and he will be highly motivated wherever he plays next season. He turns 33 years old Thursday (Jan. 19), and wants to show he has plenty left in the tank. I asked Dumervil after the season-ending game in Cincinnati whether he thought he would return to the Ravens.

“Wherever I play next season, I’ll be a beast,” Dumervil said.

Dumervil had 17 sacks in 2014, and the Ravens need pass rushers. He was never fully healthy in 2016, missing eight games after Achilles surgery.  If the Ravens release Dumervil, there’s a chance he could have a big season playing for someone else.

Reasons to release Dumervil:

The Ravens would save more than $6 million in salary cap space by cutting ties with Dumervil. There’s no guarantee Dumervil will stay healthy, or be a double-digit sack artist again. The money the Ravens could save by releasing Dumervil could be used to fill holes elsewhere.

Prediction:

My gut feeling is that Dumervil and the Ravens will part ways. Terrell Suggs is returning, and he led the Ravens with eight sacks in 2016 playing with a torn biceps. Matt Judon had four sacks as a rookie. The biggest disappointment in the pass rushing department was Za’Darius Smith, who had just one sack. However, even with Dumervil getting just three sacks in 2015, the Ravens won eight games, and had the league’s seventh-ranked defense. I think the Ravens will use the money they would pay Dumervil to address issues like finding another cover corner and an offensive playmaker.  

MORE RAVENS: Playoff winners expose Ravens shortcomings