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    by Published on 01-27-2011 06:15 PM

    Jeff Fisher, the longest tenured coach in the NFL, is out in Tennessee.

    The Titans released a statement Thursday evening saying: "The Tennessee Titans and Jeff Fisher have agreed to part ways and Fisher will no longer be the head coach of the team."

    The move comes as a surprise because Titans owner Bud Adams released a statement Jan. 7 which confirmed Fisher would return to the team.

    A news conference will be held either later Thursday night or Friday to discuss the first coaching change since the franchise relocated to Tennessee from Houston in 1997.

    Though Fisher had been derided locally as "Coach .500" or "Coacho Ocho," he seemingly had just survived a battle with quarterback Vince Young. Adams decided to either release Young or trade him on Jan. 5. The owner announced two days later that he would be keeping Fisher, leaving the coach to head into the 2011 season needing a playoff berth.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=6066144
    by Published on 01-27-2011 04:05 PM

    The NBA has suspended Grizzlies guard O.J. Mayo 10 games without pay for violating the league and union's anti-drug program with a positive test.

    The league announced the suspension Thursday for Mayo's positive test for dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Mayo's suspension will start Friday night when the Grizzlies visit Philadelphia, and he will be able to return Feb. 15 also against the 76ers in Memphis.

    Mayo said in a statement released by the team that he is extremely disappointed he will miss 10 games as the Grizzlies are making a push for the playoffs. He blamed an over the counter supplement that he didn't know was banned by the NBA for the positive test.

    "It was an honest mistake, but I take full responsibility for my actions," Mayo said in the statement released by the team. I apologize to my fans, teammates and the Grizzlies organization for regrettably not doing the necessary research about what supplements I can put in my body."

    Mayo was the No. 3 pick overall in 2008 after only one season at USC, and Minnesota swapped him in a draft night deal to the Grizzlies for Kevin Love. Mayo was runner-up to Chicago's Derrick Rose for rookie of the year.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=6065824
    by Published on 01-27-2011 04:00 PM
    1. Baltimore Ravens

    The Ravens fired Jim Zorn as their quarterbacks coach, a league source said.

    The team hasn't returned messages from The Sun.

    Zorn's release came after a seven-hour meeting with coach John Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron in which they questioned Joe Flacco's development this season, the source said. Zorn stayed with Harbaugh and Cameron at Ravens headquarters while the rest of the staff attended the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala.

    The Ravens hired Zorn on Jan. 30, 2010 to replace Hue Jackson, who left to become the Oakland Raiders' offensive coordinator. Zorn had just been fired as the Washington Redskins head coach after the 2009 season.

    Read more: http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/spor..._qb_coach.html
    by Published on 01-27-2011 02:09 PM

    NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France announced on Wednesday a new points system for its top three series that will make the sport simpler for fans to follow.

    The governing body also announced it will set qualifying order based on practice speeds and set starting order on practice speeds if qualifying is rained out. Previously, qualifying order was determined by a draw and starting order was set on points.

    But the changes to the points system was the biggest news as France unveiled the new formula at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to close Day 3 of the preseason media tour.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar...ory?id=6062289
    by Published on 01-27-2011 02:06 PM

    Julius Pepper will have to use some of the money he earns Sunday in the Pro Bowl to offset the hefty fine he has received from the NFL.

    The Chicago Bears defensive end was fined $10,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game at Soldier Field. A 15-yard penalty was called on the play.

    Read more: http://www.chicagobreakingsports.com...n-rodgers.html
    by Published on 01-27-2011 01:48 PM

    Starting catcher Miguel Montero has agreed to a one-year, $3.2 million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, avoiding arbitration.

    The 27-year-old Montero hit .266 with nine homers and 43 RBIs in 85 games. He missed 57 games after having surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.

    Montero tied for the Major League lead with a .996 fielding percentage and committed a career-low two errors. He's hit .267 with 40 homers and 160 RBIs in five seasons with the Diamondbacks.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6062505
    by Published on 01-27-2011 01:43 PM
    1. Minnesota Timberwolves
    2. Oklahoma City Thunder

    The Minnesota Timberwolves threw everything they had at Kevin Durant.

    They put hands in his face. They bodied him on the block. They knocked him down in the paint.

    It was almost enough. Almost.

    Durant had career highs of 47 points and 18 rebounds and the Oklahoma City Thunder overcame a 31-point, 21-rebound night from Kevin Love to beat the Timberwolves 118-117 in overtime on Wednesday night.

    Jeff Green had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who beat Minnesota for the eighth straight time. But it was Durant who carried the load, scoring 16 straight points for the Thunder in the fourth quarter of a thrilling back-and-forth game.

    "All I can say is Durant is incredible," Love said, a glazed look in his eye. "He's incredible."

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=310126016
    by Published on 01-27-2011 01:38 PM
    1. New Jersey Devils

    New Jersey Devils coach Jacques Lemaire will not return next season, he told the Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., on Wednesday.

    "No [I won't return even if I'm asked]. Because I find that it's tough," Lemaire, 65, said, according to the newspaper. "I'm not at the end of the season yet. I still have two to three months to go and we'll have tough days. You get back from road trips, I get more tired than when I was 40."

    Lemaire, who led the Devils to their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in 1994-95, retired from coaching following the end of the 2009-10 season. However, his retirement didn't last long.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/n...ory?id=6061535
    by Published on 01-27-2011 01:31 PM

    The hand-painted sign by a BYU fan told San Diego State players to "FredetteAboutIt."

    But the biggest showdown in Mountain West Conference history was about more than Jimmer Fredette and the 43 points he scored.

    The ninth-ranked Cougars showed they also have plenty of talented big men in Wednesday night's 71-58 victory over No. 4 San Diego State that left No. 1 Ohio State as the only unbeaten team in the nation.

    "It was a physical game and we stayed with them for about 35 minutes, but we just couldn't hang for 40," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "This team is really good and our team is really good. I think we are both capable of beating any team anywhere at any time."

    BYU (20-1, 6-0) has won 10 straight, and six in a row at home against San Diego State (20-1, 5-1).

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/recap?gameId=310260252
    by Published on 01-27-2011 01:24 PM

    The NCAA has granted a number of waivers from its bylaws, clearing Kansas to aid sophomore forward Thomas Robinson and his 9-year-old sister Jayla after the tragic death of their 43-year-old mother Lisa Robinson Friday.

    Lisa Robinson was a single mother raising Jayla in Washington D.C. and had recently lost her parents -- her mother earlier this month and her father five days -- before she suddenly died.

    Kansas coach Bill Self , who confirmed Lisa Robinson was 43 years old, not 37 as previously reported, said by phone Wednesday a cause of death hasn't been determined and won't be until results of an autopsy are released next month.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=6061997
    by Published on 01-27-2011 12:59 PM

    First Rafael Nadal, now Roger Federer.

    Federer, the 16-time Grand Slam winner, was knocked out of the Australian Open 7-6 (3), 7-5, 6-4 on Thursday by 2008 champion Novak Djokovic.

    Before the tournament Nadal was going for his fourth straight Grand Slam win and Federer was aiming for his fifth Australian title.

    Instead, Nadal was eliminated by fellow Spaniard David Ferrer and Federer is heading home. Djokovic will face Andy Murray or Ferrer in the final -- they play on Friday.

    "I'm looking forward to watching that match tomorrow from my bed with some popcorn," Djokovic said. "David played a fantastic match against Rafa even though Rafa was struggling obviously with injuries.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/ten...ory?id=6062135
    by Published on 01-27-2011 12:55 PM

    Women's tennis pioneer Fern Lee "Peachy" Kellmeyer has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame, joining Andre Agassi in the Class of 2011.

    Kellmeyer's induction in the contributor category was announced Thursday.

    She was the first director of the WTA in 1973 and now is a consultant for the women's tour. Hall chairman Christopher Clouser said in a statement that Kellmeyer "played a critical role in the growth of the game and in improving rights for female athletes."

    The hall's announcement notes Kellmeyer "spearheaded a lawsuit that ... paved the way for Title IX and contributed greatly to the increase of female athletes in intercollegiate athletics."

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/ten...ory?id=6064410
    by Published on 01-27-2011 12:49 PM

    Kim Clijsters cruised into the Australian Open final and will play for the title against Li Na, who overcame top-ranked Caroline Wozniacki to become the first Chinese player to reach the championship match at a Grand Slam.

    Li rallied to win the first of the women's semifinals 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 on Thursday, saving match point when Wozniacki was serving at 5-4 in the second set.

    U.S. Open champion Clijsters dictated play from the start against No. 2-ranked Vera Zvonareva and won it 6-3, 6-3 -- repeating the result of their U.S. Open final.

    Zvonareva had reached the previous two finals at the majors. And she had two break points in the eighth game of the second set but squandered both and Clijsters won four straight points to make it 5-3, then served out for the match.

    Clijsters was the only Grand Slam winner to qualify for the semifinals.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/ten...ory?id=6062136
    by Published on 01-26-2011 02:12 PM
    1. Chicago Bears

    When people attend a theatrical performance they are called an audience. When they attend a sporting event, they’re called a crowd. I’m starting to wonder why we make this distinction.

    On Sunday in the NFC Championship game, Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler and his teammates came out and performed poorly in the early going, falling behind 14-0 to the rival Green Bay Packers. Cutler was 4-10 for only 61 yards when, at the 4:11 mark of the 2nd quarter, Cutler felt something let go in his left knee. He felt pain, but more important, the knee had become unstable…loose. However, he made so little show of it that apparently no one on the sidelines, TV booth or TV control trucks noticed it.

    From this point on, two parallel, but virtually opposite stories began to play out. One was the real story of an injured player refusing to give in to his body’s betrayal, playing with pain and risking further and more serious injury. The other story was of an aloof and spoiled athlete who used a little pain to quit on his team.

    Unfortunately, the first story was invisible while the second one was played out before an audience numbering in the tens of millions.

    We know now that Cutler suffered a grade two tear of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee. With this injury, there’s an initial twinge of pain, but the real problem is instability in the joint. Bears’ center Olin Kreutz said he could see the knee “wiggle” as Cutler walked back to the huddle. Just to be clear, this is a very bad thing if you’re livelihood depends on you moving quickly to avoid large men with bad intent, running fast and throwing hard and accurately. Also, playing on a torn MCL significantly increases the risk of tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). A torn ACL almost always require surgery, rehab and a 6-9 month recovery period. It's also ended many athletes' careers.

    Still, Cutler continued to play. After the Bears punted, Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers threw an interception and Cutler returned with 49 seconds left in the half. Two plays later, Cutler threw his first interception. Whether this pick was caused by his bum knee is anybody’s guess.

    It’s unclear when exactly Cutler told the doctors and coaches about his knee, but at halftime he was examined by the Bears’ medical staff. The MCL sprain was diagnosed (the extent of tearing and the grade of the tear can only be determined with a MRI) and team doctors advised Cutler not to return to the game. Cutler listened to the advice and elected to ignore it. Instead, he received treatment, the knee was wrapped and he was “given something for the pain,” presumably an injection. The Bears received the ball to begin the second half with Cutler under center. Two handoffs and an inaccurate pass later, the Bears punted.

    As it turned out, Cutler wouldn’t return to the field. However, if you want to keep playing on a torn MCL, you have to keep it moving so the internal bleeding doesn’t cause the knee to stiffen up. So Cutler took to the stationary bike which the Fox Sports cameras captured. The bike didn’t do the trick and Cutler finally realized that he was done for the day. Although severely disappointed, he switched into “good teammate” mode. According to young backup QB Caleb Hanie, "He (Cutler) talked to me a lot coming off the field," Hanie said. "Trying to calm me down. Telling me to trust my line. Trust my reads. ... I thought he was well into the game. ... He told me what blitzes they were bringing. What coverages they were running." The Fox cameras didn’t share any of this with its audience. Instead, they showed Cutler sitting on a bench…none of his teammates were in the shot. Later they showed him standing on his own power…again alone.

    The Fox broadcast team of Joe Buck and former Dallas Cowboys QB Troy Aikman provided little information on Cutler’s injury. Either they didn’t have the information about Cutler ignoring doctors’ advice to continue to play through pain and risking more serious injury or the Fox team just didn’t like the story line. In any case, the story told in pictures and mostly an absence of words was one of a pouty and unpopular quarterback, healthy enough to ride a bike, quitting on his team.

    Cutler is also responsible for the true story getting lost. It’s said about some actors and actresses that “the camera loves them.” Well, the camera hates Cutler and the feeling is mutual. It’s not that he’s a bad actor…he simply refuses to act. The only "role" he cares to play is quarterback. While some sports stars behave as if they assume that the camera is constantly on them, Cutler assumes nothing about the cameras...they simply don't matter in his world.

    It was suggested by many fans, media members and even other NFL players that they’d feel differently about Cutler if he’d been carted off the field or at least helped off by his teammates or training staff. It would have looked better if Cutler would have shown more evidence of intense pain for the benefit of the cameras. The least he could have done was lean on a pair of crutches while on the sideline.

    Of course, Cutler did none of these things because, as he saw it, there was no reason to do these things. Based on the injury, he was no doubt experiencing pain, but it was tolerable…no need to wince, groan or grit his teeth. While he couldn’t run well if at all, he could walk and stand on his own power, so there was no need for carts or crutches. And although Cutler did what he could to help his replacements, he saw no reason to crowd in with his teammates and coaches when his team had the ball…he just watched the game.

    Steven Spielberg and Russell Crowe could have made this a compelling story of courage and shattered dreams. Fox Sports and Jay Cutler are clearly no Spielberg-Crowe. They let the audience down and that audience quickly showed their displeasure. Unfortunately for Cutler, it’s all directed at him.

    I guess it’s all a sign of the times. I have a suggestion for the NFL, though. At the annual combine where top draft prospects are evaluated through interviews, exams, 40-yard dashes and various drills, they may want to consider finding the time to add a screen test.

    Tom Nossem

    Sources: nfl.com, sun-times.com, sportsillustrated.cnn.com
    by Published on 01-26-2011 01:56 PM

    Korie Lucious made one too many mistakes at Michigan State.

    The junior guard was suspended for the rest of the season, another blow for the slumping Spartans.

    "Man did I really mess up this time...off 2 the gym I go!," Lucious posted on his Twitter account shortly before the school announced his suspension late Tuesday night.

    Lucious helped the Spartans reach the Final Four in each of the past two years.

    "Unfortunately, Korie Lucious displayed conduct detrimental to the program," Izzo said in a statement issued by the school. "My focus is on this team for the remainder of the season."

    The news release stated that the school and basketball program would have no further comment.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=6059518
    by Published on 01-26-2011 01:47 PM

    Former No. 1 Justine Henin retired from tennis for a second time Wednesday, citing a lingering right elbow injury that cut short her comeback from a glittering career that included seven Grand Slam titles.

    "I have undergone several tests the past few days, confirming that my elbow has sustained a lot more damage during my adventure in Australia," the 28-year-old Belgian said on her website.

    She made the announcement five days after losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 7-6 (8) in the third round of the Australian Open.

    "The past few weeks, there was a little bit more pain every day, but I thought my willpower would prevail. Today, the tests and my doctors are adamant," Henin said.

    She was ranked No. 1 when she abruptly announced her retirement in 2008, only to return 20 months later and reach last year's Australian Open final. She partially tore a ligament in the elbow in a tumble at Wimbledon last year and hasn't been the same since.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/ten...ory?id=6060474
    by Published on 01-26-2011 01:44 PM

    The New York Islanders suspended goalie Evgeni Nabokov for failing to report to the team after being claimed off waivers, the team announced Tuesday.

    The Islanders nabbed Nabokov two days after the 35-year-old goalie signed a one-year contract with the Red Wings. He had spent this season with SKA St. Petersburg of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, and according to the collective bargaining agreement, any player who starts the season with a team overseas must clear waivers first.

    Nabokov had been against joining the Islanders from the start.

    "I think I'm going to stay home for now, I'm sticking with my decision," Nabokov told ESPN.com from his home in San Jose, Calif. "It's nothing against the Islanders and their organization. It's nothing to do with that. It's just that I'm at the point in my career where I want to help a team win in the playoffs. I don't see how I could help the Islanders or what I could do for them. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. And I hope they understand that."

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/n...ory?id=6058357
    by Published on 01-26-2011 01:40 PM
    1. Pittsburgh Penguins

    "In a move that was hardly a surprise, Penguins coach Dan Bylsma announced Tuesday that forward Evgeni Malkin will miss the NHL All-Star Game this weekend in Raleigh, N.C.

    The twist is that it is not so much Malkin's left knee that is keeping him home; it is the pressure in his head from a sinus infection, Bylsma said.

    Malkin, who has 15 goals, 37 points in 42 games, missed his third game in a row Tuesday night when the Penguins played the New York Islanders at Consol Energy Center. His absence initially was attributed to a problem with his left knee, which has bothered him off and on since late October.

    Over the weekend, he developed symptoms of a sinus infection.

    "He needs to get healthy before he can move forward," Bylsma said. "Is that during the [all-star] break? Is that after the break? We don't know that. We hope it's in the next week or so that he can think about getting back on the ice again."

    Malkin's withdrawal came a day after the Penguins confirmed that center Sidney Crosby would miss the All-Star Game because of a concussion. He missed his ninth game."

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/allsta...ory?id=6057746
    by Published on 01-26-2011 01:35 PM
    1. Texas Rangers
    2. Toronto Blue Jays

    Mike Napoli's stay in Toronto was short-lived.

    The Texas Rangers acquired the catcher-first baseman from the Blue Jays in exchange for reliever Frank Francisco and cash considerations on Tuesday.

    Napoli, 29, had been acquired by Toronto along with outfielder Juan Rivera from the Angels for Vernon Wells last Friday.

    Napoli said the trade to Texas ends a "crazy couple of days."

    Napoli is a right-handed hitter who batted .238 with 26 homers and 68 RBIs in 140 games with the Angels in 2010. Napoli hit .305 against left-handed pitching, the top mark on the team.

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/mlb...ory?id=6058127
    by Published on 01-26-2011 01:30 PM
    1. Houston Astros

    The Houston Astros see Wandy Rodriguez as one of the best left-handers in baseball, and they didn't want him to get away.

    Rodriguez and the Astros avoided arbitration and reached agreement Tuesday on a $34 million, three-year contract.

    The Astros said the contract will be finalized after Rodriguez takes a physical on Thursday. The deal includes a vesting option for 2014 that would increase the value to $44.5 million.

    "This is one of the top left-handed starters in the game," general manager Ed Wade said. "[He was] a year away from free agency, so to be able to be able to do three years guaranteed, with a fourth-year option, made all the sense in the world for us."

    Read more: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=6058659

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