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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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Five observations from Day 2 of Ravens training camp

Five observations from Day 2 of Ravens training camp

OWINGS MILLS – Five observations from Day 2 of Ravens training camp:

RELATED: DAY 1 OBSERVATIONS

1. Wide receiver Michael Campanaro had an impressive day.

— Campanaro consistently got open making decisive moves and catching the ball cleanly, whether lined up wide or in the slot. Injuries have been the main stumbling block during Campanaro’s career. But there is no doubt he can make plays if he makes it to Week 1 healthy. Unless he suffers another injury, I think Campanaro is on the 53-man roster, especially since he can also return punts.

2. Joe Flacco showed no discomfort practicing on his surgically-repaired knee for a second straight day.

— Flacco throw the ball crisply, he moved well in the pocket, and he smiled when on the sideline. If Flacco was thinking at all about his knee, he disguised it well.

3.  Rookie cornerback Tavon Young is a player to watch.

— Young made several nice plays on the ball, including an interception in which he showed good technique and ball awareness. A fourth round pick from Temple, Young is making a bid to earn playing time as a nickel corner. Jerraud Powers missed his second straight practice (failed conditioning test), and Young took advantage of the extra reps. It will be interesting to learn more about Young’s tackling ability when the Ravens begin practicing in pads.

4. Rookie fourth-round pick Chris Moore looks like a potential playmaker.

— Ravens corners are having trouble keeping up with Moore when he goes deep, including Jimmy Smith, who saw Moore race by on his way to a deep reception. With left tackle Ronnie Stanley, linebacker Kamalei Correa, Young, and Moore, the Ravens have the potential for an instant-impact draft class.

5. There is no getting around Stanley’s importance as a rookie.

— Stanley needs to continue looking good when the Ravens go to pads Saturday, and whenever linebackers Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil return from PUP. A potential Ravens deal with veteran left tackle Jake Long fell through Friday. The Ravens will be counting on Stanley, not only to start but to play well.

 

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Long won't join Ravens, potential deal with LT falls through

Long won't join Ravens, potential deal with LT falls through

OWINGS MILLS – Veteran left tackle Jake Long won’t be joining the Ravens after all. A potential deal between Long and the Ravens fell through Friday, leaving Long a free agent according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, and confirmed by CSN.

The issue was Long’s right knee. He tore his ACL in both 2013 and 2014, leaving concern about how his knee would hold up if he returned to action. Long went to see Dr. James Andrews after taking a physical with the Ravens on Wednesday. According to a source, while Long was healthy enough to play, the Ravens were not comfortable being financially liable if Long’s knee failed to hold up.

The Ravens targeted Long as a potential backup for rookie left tackle Ronnie Stanley. While Stanley has looked solid during practice, the Ravens have been searching for veteran insurance in case Stanley suffered an injury. Long is a former No. 1 overall pick (2008) and has more experience than James Hurst, who is currently the Ravens’ backup left tackle.

Now the Ravens have a roster spot available, which they may use to sign another offensive lineman, or to address depth at another position.

MORE RAVENS: FIVE OBSERVATIONS FROM DAY 1 OF RAVENS TRAINING CAMP

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Mike Wallace finally passes conditioning test; allowed to join Ravens at practice

Mike Wallace finally passes conditioning test; allowed to join Ravens at practice

OWINGS MILLS – Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace was back on the practice field Friday, after passing his conditioning test on the second try.

Wallace missed Thursday’s practice after he failed the test on his first attempt. Joining him on the field Friday was wide receiver Dobson Collins, who also passed the test on his second attempt.

The Ravens hope Wallace will return to the form he had early in his career, when he was a consistent deep threat for Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Wallace was a disappointment during stints with the Dolphins and Vikings, but Joe Flacco’s ability to throw the deep ball could help Wallace rejuvenate his career.

RELATED: RAVENS TIGHT END LEAVES CAMP WITH INJURY

In other practice news, cornerback Jerraud Powers missed practice for the second straight day and remained the only player yet to pass the conditioning test. Running back Kenneth Dixon, who sprained his left knee Thursday, also did not practice.  

Ravens coach John Harbaugh was hoping the team would stay disciplined during the first day of practice in pads on Saturday.

“The biggest message when you put the pads on is, ‘You’ve been in pads before,’’’ Harbaugh said. ‘“Don’t overreact. It’s going to be fine.’…I want to get right into executing and keep building on what we’ve done the last two days.

“We’re not going to be out here tackling too much – especially the veteran guys. Let’s just go play football.”