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'Deflategate' judge says Brady suspension in jeopardy

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 5:42pm

NEW YORK (AP) - A federal judge made clear Wednesday that the NFL's four-game suspension of Tom Brady over "Deflategate" is in jeopardy as the star New England quarterback returned to practice.

U.S. District Judge Richard M. Berman, who's been asked by the NFL Players Association to void the suspension, warned a league lawyer during oral arguments in the scandal over underinflated footballs that there was precedent for judges to toss out penalties issued by arbitrators.

Berman continued to push for a settlement in the dispute - a potential result he called "rational and logical." But throughout the hearing, he also cited several weaknesses in the way the NFL handled the controversy that could become the basis for handing a victory to Brady and his union.

After the hearing, Berman met behind closed doors with both sides for more than an hour before the lawyers left court, saying the judge asked them not to discuss the negotiations publicly. If there is no deal, the Manhattan judge has said he hopes to rule by Sept. 4, six days before the Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL's season-opening game.

Neither Brady nor NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was in court Wednesday. Brady returned to his team after participating in negotiations along with Goodell and lawyers on both sides a day earlier.

Berman ordered Brady and Goodell to return to court if they can't settle, scheduling a tentative Aug. 31 hearing.

The league announced in May that it was suspending Brady over allegations he conspired with two Patriots equipment employees to deflate footballs below what league rules allow, to give him a competitive edge in New England's victory over the Indianapolis Colts in January's AFC championship game. Goodell, who by contract with the players' union can act as an arbitrator for labor disputes, upheld the suspension, touching off the legal battle.

During more than two hours of arguments by attorneys, the judge noted other arbitration decisions have been rejected when a key witness was not allowed to testify as he asked why NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash - who worked on the NFL investigation - could not be questioned by union lawyers during the suspension's appeal.

Arbitration proceedings, while more relaxed than court proceedings, are still required to follow due process rules to ensure fairness, Berman said.

"You have to allow someone to make their case by calling witnesses," he said.

Berman also suggested that the league's finding that Brady was generally aware that game balls were being deflated was too vague, noting that any reference to the Jan. 18 game against the Colts was "conspicuously absent" in a report on an NFL investigation that the league used as a basis for the suspension.

Finally, Berman said he could not understand how the commissioner opted to keep a four-game suspension over a fine or a lesser penalty seen in other cases of equipment tampering. In one exchange, he questioned Goodell's defense of the Brady punishment on the grounds that it was comparable to penalties on players caught using performance enhancing drugs.

"How is that equal to steroid use?" he asked of the deflation allegations.

"They both go to the integrity of the game," responded NFL lawyer Daniel Nash.

"Well, everything goes to the integrity of the game," the judge shot back.

It was the second week in a row the judge seemed to lean harder on the NFL in open court, though he again cautioned that he had not yet made up his mind which side would win.


Associated Press writer Jake Pearson contributed to this report.


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Red Sox bring in ex-Tigers boss Dombrowski to run club

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 5:35pm

BOSTON (AP) New Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski thought enough of the team to pick Boston over other suitors.

Now he's going to spend the next six weeks trying to figure out what's worth keeping - in the front office, on the field at Fenway Park and in the minor leagues.

"I'm not here to blow up the organization," Dombrowski said at a Fenway Park news conference Wednesday, a day after he was hired. "They have a lot of good people here."

Speaking to reporters a day after a mid-game shake-up that left general manager Ben Cherington on the outs, Dombrowski said he would be hiring a general manager but was in no rush. He did not discuss the future of manager John Farrell, who is on leave from the team after being diagnosed with what he said was a treatable form of cancer.

Dombrowski said he spoke to Farrell on Tuesday night - after he underwent his first chemotherapy session - but just told him they would meet after the manager was healthy again. In Farrell's absence, bench coach Torey Lovullo is managing the team, which entered Wednesday night with a 53-66 record, 14 games behind the rival New York Yankees in the AL East.

Red Sox owner John Henry began the news conference with a statement that acknowledged the team's failures in finishing last two of the last three seasons. (In 2013, the club won the World Series for the third time in a decade, but the first in Cherington's tenure.)

"As owners, we're all responsible for the poor results we've had, and for results going forward," Henry said. "Dave Dombrowski is an architect of team-building the right way. For almost three decades now, he's earned the respect of almost everyone in the game."

The general manager of the Montreal Expos at the age of 32, Dombrowski won the 1997 World Series with the Florida Marlins and led the Tigers to the Series twice. But he was let go on Aug. 8 with Detroit languishing below .500.

Henry said he decided to pursue Dombrowski when he "became a free agent" less than a week after the Red Sox announced that president and CEO Lucchino would be stepping down at the end of the season.

Chief Operating Officer Sam Kennedy was named Lucchino's successor on the business side; he attended Wednesday's news conference along with chairman Tom Werner, prompting Henry to explain: "This is really our lineup for 2016 and beyond."

Although Dombrowski would be installed above Cherington in the baseball decision-making, "Ben did not object" to discussing the job with him, Henry said.

Up until Dombrowski was hired, the top Red Sox brass - including the new president - hoped that Cherington would stay, they said. Cherington declined, and on Tuesday night it was announced that he would be leaving after sticking around to help with the transition.

"We think the world of Ben," Werner said. "We are disappointed but respectful of his decision."

Cherington said later that he was surprised when Henry and Werner told him on Saturday that they were pursuing Dombrowski. Although he had pledged to do what he could to make the Red Sox better, the GM thought it was time to go.

"I felt strongly that what was best for Dave, what was best for me, what was best for the Red Sox was the same thing, and that was a clean break," he said. "I have great respect for Dave Dombrowski. His resume speaks for itself. He will be an asset clearly for the Red Sox and I wish him and I wish the Red Sox nothing but the best going forward."

Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who was with Boston from 2004-11, said "this place is never boring" before the Indians faced the Red Sox.


AP freelancer Ken Powtak contributed to this report.

Eli Manning not looking to be the NFL's top paid quarterback

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 4:59pm

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Eli Manning didn't ask the New York Giants to make him the NFL's highest-paid quarterback.

A perplexed and slightly miffed Manning on Wednesday shot down a report that he wants to be the league's top-paid quarterback, insisting that was not the goal in contract talks.

"Never been said, never come out of my mouth," Manning said Wednesday.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP is in the final year of a contract that will pay him a $17 million base salary. His agent, Tom Condon, has been negotiating a new deal, but the two sides are not close to an agreement, Giants co-owner John Mara said Monday.

Manning insisted neither he nor Condon told the Giants to make him the highest-paid quarterback. He said he speaks with Condon occasionally, but he isn't looking for constant updates on the talks.

"If something comes up, I ask him to call me and keep me updated or send me a text, but that's it," Manning said.

Aaron Rodgers of the Packers currently is the NFL's highest-paid quarterback, earning $22 million annually.

The 34-year-old Manning has spent all 12 of his NFL seasons with the Giants, so he knows how people in the New York-area react to headlines.

For those who know him, it's totally out of character to make such a demand.

Manning even received a telephone message from his father asking what was happening.

"I don't know how all negotiating goes and what is being asked," Manning said. "I don't think I want to know. That was never said by him, claiming that this is the goal of what we are trying to do."

Manning said he does not compare himself to other quarterbacks by salary, and right now he is not thinking or concerned about his contract.

"My focus is on practice and getting the best out of our practices and getting better," Manning said. "That's all I am focused on. Nothing has changed. Nothing is different. Reports are all wrong. I don't know where they are getting their information from. I just kind of laugh at it."

Manning had a bounce-back season in 2014 playing in Ben McAdoo's West Coast offense. He threw for 4,410 yards, 30 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while hitting 63.1 percent of his passes. The previous season he had 3,818 yards, 18 touchdowns and a career-high 27 interceptions.

The Giants' offense struggled in the preseason opener last weekend, failing to get a first down in four series.

Manning expects improvement this weekend against Jacksonville at MetLife Stadium.

"Obviously, put some points on the board and get some drives going, sustain some drives," he said about goals for Saturday. "Hopefully be able to get out there, set the tempo, play fast with the offense, get some first downs and get into a good rhythm with the offense."

Manning said the offense practiced well against the Bengals earlier in the week, then didn't make anything happen in the game.

"I don't think there's a case of us doing things incorrectly, we've just got to do them a little bit better," he said. "I think we're on the right process of getting better, and I think it'll show up this weekend."

NOTES: WR Odell Beckham Jr. and LG Justin Pugh had dental work and did not practice. WR Victor Cruz was out with a strained calf. Cruz had just recovered from knee surgery. ... DE George Selvie is only expected to miss a couple of days with a knee injury. Coughlin said there was no ligament damage. ...WR Dwayne Harris, the former Cowboys' special teams maven, had an outstanding day catching passes. ...Coughlin got in the face of CB Chandler Fenner after he tackled Harris following a reception. ...CB Trevin Wade ended the practice, intercepting a Ryan Nassib pass. ....CB Prince Amukamara (groin) returned to practice for the first time in a week.


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Panthers WR Benjamin has torn ACL, sidelined for the season

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 3:08pm

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (AP) Panthers wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin suffered a torn ACL in his left knee Wednesday, an injury that the team announced will sideline him for the season.

"Obviously, we feel awful for Kelvin," general manager Dave Gettleman said in a press release. "He's worked tremendously hard to put himself in a positon to have a strong year. We're confident he will attack his surgery and rehab with the same determination he has met all challenges before."

It's a major blow to the Panthers in their quest to win a third straight NFC South championship. Benjamin had developed into Carolina's No. 1 receiver after setting franchise rookie records in 2014 with 73 receptions for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera told reporters earlier in the day Benjamin had a sprained knee and remained hopeful everything would be fine. However, Benjamin was taken back to Charlotte, North Carolina where an MRI revealed the tear.

The injury occurred during a joint practice with the Miami Dolphins.

Benjamin was running a one-on-one route against Dolphins safety Reshad Jones when he made a cut toward the sideline and his knee buckled. He crashed to the ground and screamed in pain as he grabbed for the knee.

"He went to plant and make a swim move and without any contact just kind of went down," Rivera said. "It was unfortunate and it's one of those things that could have happened in any drill."

As Benjamin lay on the ground, players from both teams gathered around him and took a knee.

Trainers attended to Benjamin and quickly called for the cart to take him into the locker room. Quarterback and close friend Cam Newton helped Benjamin into the cart. Newton appeared disturbed by the events as trainers carted his top target off the field.

While wide receiver is considered one of Carolina's deeper positions, it will be difficult to replace Benjamin.

To make matters worse, rookie wide receiver Devin Funchess also tweaked a hamstring and is expected to miss practice Thursday against the Dolphins. Earlier in training camp wide receiver Stephen Hill suffered a torn ACL at training camp and was later waived-injured.

It's expected that Corey Brown and veteran Jerricho Cotchery would be the starters entering the team's preseason game against Miami on Saturday night. The Panthers will count on wide receivers like Ted Ginn Jr., Brenton Bersin and Jarrett Boykin to step up and battle for more playing time.

Ginn said he spoke with Benjamin after practice told him, "keep his head up."

"You've got to realize he's our No. 1 guy," Ginn said. "Not having your No. 1 guy on the practice field, it hurts you a little bit. I believe we have the guys behind him to step up and do whatever we need to do to fill the void right now."


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Woods hopes to push for unlikely playoff spot at Wyndham

Wed, 08/19/2015 - 10:51am

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) It's now or never for many players at the Wyndham Championship - the last chance to qualify for golf's postseason.

That group includes Tiger Woods.

The biggest name in the sport is playing the final event of the PGA Tour's regular season for the first time.

He's trying to get his game back on track and make a highly improbable, last-gasp push for the playoffs.

Woods said Wednesday that he needs to find consistency and "start stringing together not just holes, not just rounds but tournaments."

He missed the cut at the PGA Championship last week. He beat last Friday's deadline to enter the Wyndham but didn't finalize his commitment until Monday.

He says he had "a blast" playing a pro-am round Wednesday with NBA All-Star Chris Paul.

Red Sox manager Farrell says he has 'highly curable' cancer

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 6:51pm

BOSTON (AP) Fighting back tears, Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell said Friday that he had a "highly curable" form of cancer and has taken a medical leave for the rest of the season to deal with lymphoma.

The 53-year-old Farrell said bench coach Torey Lovullo will run the team in his absence. Farrell said he planned on being back with the team for spring training.

Farrell said the cancer of the lymphatic system was discovered when he had hernia surgery in Detroit earlier this week.

"I know we usually start out with the injury report. I'll start out with myself on this one. Monday's surgery for the hernia revealed that I have lymphoma," he said before Friday night's game at Fenway Park against Seattle.

"Thankfully, it was detected in the hernia surgery. I can honestly tell you I'm extremely fortunate that it was found. Treatment will begin in the coming days," he said.

Farrell said a mass was completely removed during the procedure and no additional surgery was necessary. He said chemotherapy would start early next week.

Red Sox stars David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia stood along a wall to Farrell's left when he made the announcement. Vice President Sam Kennedy, general manager Ben Cherington and Lovullo also were in the room.

"A little bit of a shocker to be told later that afternoon that this was going on. Like I said, I'm fortunate," Farrell said. "Stage 1. It's localized. It's highly curable. I'm extremely fortunate to not only be with people with the Red Sox, but access to MGH (Massachusetts General Hospital) and world class talent that can handle this."

The Red Sox are in last place in the AL East with a 50-64 record. In February, Farrell's contract was extended through 2017 with a club option for 2018.

"When they mentioned the word `cancer,' it's something that it doesn't matter where it comes from, it kind of impacts you," Ortiz said.

Farrell guided Boston to the World Series championship in his first season in 2013. He previously managed the Toronto Blue Jays for two years.

"Sending you best wishes for a speedy recovery. Stay Strong and look forward to seeing you at the ballpark soon," the Blue Jays tweeted.

On Tuesday, Minnesota Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said he is being treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, and his doctors consider it "very treatable and curable." His plans were to remain coach and team president while being treated.

Cherington said Farrell told him the news Thursday when the GM was traveling between flights en route to Greenville, South Carolina, to visit one of the team's Single-A affiliates.

"He called me on a quick layover," Cherington said. "I was sort of in shock. A few minutes to sink in and I figured I had to get back to Boston last night. I've been talking to him yesterday and this morning."

"There's a lot of respect for him, not just in the Red Sox organization, but throughout baseball," he said. "There's a lot of people already reaching out. He's someone that spent his whole life in baseball. He's played, he's coached, worked in the front office and, obviously, he's managed now."

Red Sox chairman Tom Werner spoke about Farrell during the pregame TV telecast.

"We all love John," he said. "We said the most important thing is get back soon."

Farrell, a former major league pitcher, was the pitching coach for the 2007 Red Sox when they won the World Series. Ace Jon Lester returned from lymphoma that July and started the clinching game of the Series in Colorado.

"Obviously, we go pretty far back. I talked to him a little bit, already," said Lester, now pitching for the Chicago Cubs. "He seems pretty positive. Everything seems pretty positive, so that's good."

"He's in a good place for it. That's obviously one of the better places, if not the best place, in the country to be if you have cancer. He's in good hands. I know those doctors pretty well," he said.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona is one of Farrell's closest friends. Farrell was the pitching coach in Boston under Francona.

"He's such a tough guy and he has so many people that care about him that I just honestly feel like he will come through this with flying colors," he said before the Indians played at Minnesota.

"I'm glad we're going to go through there in a couple days because I'd like to see him. But he sounded really good," Francona said.

New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi wished Farrell well.

"It's not what you want to see. Say some prayers for him and his family, hope everything goes well," he said before a game in Toronto. "Just get healthy, that's most important. He's a good man, a good baseball man, you want to see him get healthy."

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia echoed that sentiment.

"It's awful. We heard the prognosis is very good, that's encouraging," he said before a game in Kansas City. "But it's scary whenever you hear of something like that happening. He's a young man."

Farrell said he never had any symptom before the notification of the cancer discovery.

Ortiz said he heard about Farrell's condition from teammate Hanley Ramirez, who was crying when he delivered the news.

"We have a big family around here and definitely when it comes down to health issues, you want to be sure that everything goes OK. The organization is taking a lot of responsibility on that to make sure that John gets through it the way it's supposed to be," Ortiz said.

Farrell was touched by his players' support.

"In a way, you live vicariously through their careers," he said. "Yours is over, you try to help when you can with them, and when they show that support, it's meaningful."

Packers QB Rodgers follows McIlroy-Spieth pairing at PGA

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 6:33pm

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took advantage of his day off from training camp to play golf fan.

The state's best-known athlete spent some time following the Rory McIlory-Jordan Spieth-Zach Johnson group Friday, but mostly took in the view of the PGA Championship from a hospitality tent.

"I only noticed him on the last couple of holes," the top-ranked McIlroy said. "Obviously, this is a big area (for football) with Green Bay. It was cool to see him out here."

Even though Rodgers is one of Spieth's favorite athletes, the world's second-ranked golfer didn't find out the Green Bay QB was a fan until afterward.

"But I think it's really cool that ... that he would come down to watch considering they (the Packers) had a game last night," Spieth said.

Rodgers threw 19 passes in Green Bay's preseason win at New England on Thursday.

"I don't really get star struck," Spieth added. "But it would be cool to meet him."


SPEAKING OF FOOTBALL: Billy Horschel is at even par and has plenty on his plate, especially if he plans to contend on the weekend.

But he's also got the fantasy football season to start preparing for.

He plays in a league run by fellow golfer Chris DiMarco "and I got to see when they're having the draft and all that.

"I'm keeping an eye on things, and I haven't done a ton of research," Horschel said. "But next week my wife and my little girl are going home, so I'll have early in the week to research and be prepared to draft well."


SHOULDN'T HAVE SAID THAT: Justin Rose opened his mouth too soon. With storm clouds gathering, he finished the 17th hole and figured his group would make it.

"I opened my big mouth to the boys playing with us," Rose said. "I said, `The end is in sight.' And 30 seconds later, they blew the horn. So my name is mud all over here."

That means Rose will have to get up at 5 a.m. to get ready to complete one hole. Play resumes at 7 a.m. And because he's at 8-under par, he likely won't have to start the third round until the early afternoon. That's a lot of time to kill.

"Do I go back to sleep? Go chill? So that's going to be interesting to deal with that tomorrow," Rose said. "But I'm in good position."

Oddly enough, it was a situation like this that Rose said was important in his 2013 U.S. Open victory at Merion. Rain kept the second round from being completed on Friday, and Rose was in the last group that finished without having to return Saturday morning.

In near darkness, he chose to finish his round so that he could sleep in and have what he described as the "rhythm of the week."

He won't have that at Whistling Straits.


WHO'S AFRAID OF SOME RAIN?: Matt Jones is tied for the lead and was rolling along on his 13th hole of the day when a rainstorm powered by 48-mph gusts forced supension of play.

He'll have a tough starting spot when the second round resumes Saturday morning.

"Tough hole to start back out tomorrow, second shot out of the bunker," Jones said, "but there's a few more birdie holes, so I'm happy with where I am."

Especially given the scene on the golf course when play was called.

"It got really, really dark out there. It was pretty eerie," he said. "It was kind of hard to see out there."


DIVOTS: Adam Scott's streak of making the cut at 17 consecutive majors - the longest among current players - ended this week at Whistling Straits, where the Aussie was sent packing at 7 over ... Jamie Donaldson withdrew after playing 15 holes in the second round with a recurring back injury ... With the cut projected at 2 over, a trio of players - Ryan Palmer, Carl Pettersson and Morgan Hoffman - will all have seven holes or less to make a birdie and book a spot in the field for the weekend.

NASCAR sticking with original rules package for Chase

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 5:23pm

BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) NASCAR is sticking with its original 2015 rules package for the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR's executive vice president and chief racing development officer, announced the decision Friday after a meeting with drivers at Michigan International Speedway. This choice comes after NASCAR put track-specific packages in place for a handful of races recently - including this weekend at Michigan.

But when the 10-race Chase begins Sept. 20 at Chicagoland, the original rules will be used.

"We've seen some good things with that package," O'Donnell said. "A lot of work has been done by the race teams already, leading up to the final 10 races. Feel like that's the best decision for the sport."

A special high-drag aerodynamic package was used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month and will be in place again this weekend at Michigan, and it received some criticism from drivers. But a low-downforce package put in place at Kentucky was more popular, and it will be used again at Darlington next month.

"A ton of positives we saw from Kentucky, but we've got to take the time to dial those things in and make sure that everybody's on the same page, we've got the best package to put forth, especially as we look to `16," O'Donnell said. "That does have a lot of momentum and a lot of positives that we can apply to Darlington, and then make some calls post-Darlington as well."

Friday's announcement came shortly after Matt Kenseth won the pole at MIS. Joe Gibbs racing swept the top three spots in qualifying, with Denny Hamlin and Carl Edwards finishing second and third.

JGR recently won four consecutive races - three by Kyle Busch and one by Kenseth. Busch's wins came at Kentucky, New Hampshire and Indianapolis, meaning he won under three sets of rules.

That left Kenseth understandably confident about his team's ability to adapt.

"Our cars have been really fast in all three configurations," Kenseth said. "We've been up front in all three of them, on speed and in the races and in qualifying, so from that aspect, I feel OK about no matter what they bring."

Kenseth did say his personal preference was for the low downforce.

NASCAR will have another chance to observe the high-drag package this weekend, and there's plenty of uncertainty surrounding Sunday's race at MIS. Drivers complained it was too hot with the high-drag rules package, which reduces airflow under the car, trapping heat in the cockpit.

This week, NASCAR mandated a dual outlet duct be used on the right-side window to help with ventilation.

"There were some drivers that got real hot and were very vocal, so now we all have to run with the ducts open to cool the cars, which has always been an option. The guys that were hot wanted to make everybody have it, so it wouldn't just slow their cars," said Matt Kenseth, who won the pole Friday. "I don't really foresee any problems cooling the car for everybody. It's definitely warmer than the normal package."

Jeff Gordon has won three Cup races at Michigan, including a victory last August, but that may not mean much this time.

"Obviously, this weekend a lot has changed that is going to change the aspect of the race and how you win it. That is going to be a challenge that we can't quite predict," Gordon said. "I think it's going to make for some pretty intense and exciting racing and yet there are still a lot of unknowns that we are all going to be challenged with all weekend."

Michigan is wider and faster than Indianapolis - qualifying speeds have surpassed 200 miles per hour at MIS in recent years, although that didn't happen Friday. Perhaps the rules package will work better than it did at the Brickyard.

"The high-drag package may afford some opportunities because the track is so wide, that we can get up beside cars and get a draft at the end of a straightaway and get up beside them better than Indy was," said Greg Biffle, who has four wins at Michigan. "Indy is really one lane. It was difficult to get close to that car in front of you because of the extra spoiler and extension on the bumper cover. "

What everyone is waiting to see is how the cars will handle in traffic.

"I don't think anybody's really going to be able to answer that until Sunday night after the race is over," Kenseth said. "Certainly the car has a lot of the same characteristics as Indy, which it should."

Yankees to honor A-Rod's 3,000th hit in pregame ceremony

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 4:01pm

TORONTO (AP) The New York Yankees will honor Alex Rodriguez's 3,000th hit with a pregame ceremony before hosting the Blue Jays on Sept. 13.

Rodriguez homered off Detroit's Justin Verlander on June 19, becoming the 29th player to reach the 3,000-hit plateau.

Rodriguez said he was "in disbelief" upon learning of the planned celebration.

Manager Joe Girardi said he was pleased to see the Yankees pay tribute to A-Rod's achievement.

"All relationships are going to have rocky moments and you like to see things get righted and repaired," Girardi said before Friday night's game in Toronto. "I think both sides have made a lot of gestures to do that."

Rodriguez missed all of last season while serving a drug suspension. Last month, Rodriguez and the Yankees settled a dispute over a marketing payment with a deal that gave $3.5 million to charitable groups.

Rodriguez is batting .264 with 24 homers and 63 RBIs in a resurgent season. He began the day in an 0-for-11 skid.

UNC uncovers potentially more violations in academic scandal

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 2:35pm

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina uncovered possible additional NCAA violations in women's basketball and men's soccer while preparing the response to its long-running academic scandal, the school announced Friday.

Its response to the NCAA, due next week, has been delayed. The NCAA will set a date after a review of the new information, school officials said.

During a 20-minute conference call with reporters, athletic director Bubba Cunningham twice referred to the school's ongoing effort to "earn back trust."

"As painful as it is, it's part of the Carolina culture that we want to know what happened, we want to understand it, we want to fix it," he said.

Cunningham said the new information in women's basketball was discovered when officials prepared to release emails from former U.S. Justice Department official Kenneth Wainstein's eight-month investigation. In their review of up to 6 million pages of information, they uncovered more examples of possible improper academic assistance to players.

They also discovered potential recruiting violations over two years in men's soccer that were unrelated to the current NCAA probe.

"I'm very disappointed in the timing. I'm very disappointed in the impact it's going to have on the institution, on the program and how it delays where we were," Cunningham said. "But I'm proud of the fact that people owned up to the mistakes that happened."

He said those possible violations came to light when the school administered a compliance test to its men's soccer coaches and one of them got a question wrong.

The AD didn't identify the coach and declined to disclose additional details because the investigation is ongoing.

"We came to understand the coaches misunderstood the rules, and we immediately turned that in," Cunningham said.

Under NCAA procedures, if those are determined to be Level I or II violations, the notice of allegations must be amended to include them. The school would then have 90 days from the day it receives the amended notice to respond, Cunningham said.

It is unclear exactly when the new possible violations were discovered. The school says they were reported to the NCAA's committee on infractions on Aug. 10.

Cunningham said he still hopes the investigation will be resolved by spring 2016.

The NCAA's notice of allegations included five charges, outlining a lack of institutional control and four other potential Level I violations, which are described as a "severe breach of conduct."

The NCAA regarded issues surrounding academic irregularities within the formerly named African and Afro-American Studies (AFAM) department as potential improper benefits by saying athletes received "special arrangements," such as access to courses and other assistance generally unavailable to non-athletes.

The lack of institutional control focused on the AFAM department and the academic support program for athletes, including the conduct of a women's basketball adviser for providing too much help on assignments. Cunningham described the new information in women's basketball as "more of the same of what we've seen in the past," referring to what was found by Wainstein.

No coaches were charged by the NCAA, and when asked about the possibility of coaching changes, Cunningham called it "speculative."

"But I will say I have a lot of confidence in our coaching staff," he added.

The academic investigation grew out a 2010 investigation into the football program, with the committee issuing sanctions in March 2012 in that case about nine months after the notice of allegations arrived.

"We are fully cooperating with the NCAA and continue to work with them to bring closure to this long, arduous process," Cunningham said.


This version clarifies that Cunningham's comments about the new information in women's basketball as "more of the same of what we've seen in the past" were referring to Wainstein's findings.

NFL issues memo reminding players to avoid fighting

Fri, 08/14/2015 - 11:51am

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The NFL warned teams about fighting during games in response to inter- and intra-team altercations that have erupted in training camp, including the one that left New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith with a broken jaw.

In a memo obtained by The Associated Press, executive vice president Troy Vincent reminded all 32 teams on Friday that "fighting will not be tolerated." Vincent asked coaches, general managers and club executives to remind players of the rules, and noted that the prohibition of fighting will be a point of emphasis for officials.

"These rules are in place for the protection and safety of our players and to keep them on the field," Vincent wrote. "As professionals, no matter how emotional the game becomes, there is nothing that should resort to fighting."

The memo cited Article 12 of the NFL rules, which prohibits "striking, kicking or kneeing opponents." The penalty for a violation is 15 yards, with the official given the discretion whether to also eject the player from the game in the case of a flagrant violation.

The memo also cited the 2015 League Policy for Players, which says: "Don't fight, and if a fight breaks out involving other players, stay away."'

Training camp fights are a long tradition, with young players or others trying to make the roster attempting to impress coaches with their intensity but sometimes taking it too far.

Washington and Houston had several fights during a joint practice, one of them devolving into a bench-clearing brawl that caused no injuries but forced the coaches to separate the teams for the rest of the day. Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant and cornerback Tyler Patmon threw fists at each other in practice; Chiefs receiver Jeremy Maclin exchanged words and punches; the Titans had three scuffles in a night practice; and Carolina quarterback Cam Newton scuffled with cornerback Josh Norman.

Smith is out 6-10 weeks after he was punched by Jets linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali, who was immediately released and soon signed by the Buffalo Bills.


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ATP fines Kyrgios for 'insulting remark' toward Wawrinka

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 7:37pm

MONTREAL (AP) The ATP fined Nick Kyrgios $10,000 on Thursday for his "insulting comment" toward French Open champion Stan Wawrinka during a match at the Rogers Cup.

On Wednesday, a courtside microphone picked up Kyrgios saying that fellow Australian player Thanasi Kokkinakis had slept with a player who is reportedly now Wawrinka's girlfriend.

The $10,000 is the maximum fine allowed by the ATP rule book for incidents of verbal abuse or unsportsmanlike conduct. Also, the ATP fined Kyrgios an additional $2,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct related to a comment made to a ball person during the match. The tour said Kyrgios has been served with a "Notice of Investigation," which begins a process to determine if his actions also constitute a violation of the "Player Major Offense" provisions set forth under "Aggravated Behavior" or "Conduct Contrary to the Integrity of the Game."

On Friday, Tennis Australia said in a statement that it noted Kyrgios "has apologized to all involved for his comments on court in Montreal yesterday and deeply regrets his actions ... Tennis Australia is working closely with Nick and his team to provide the best possible support; we understand how important it is to help educate and influence him both on and off the court."

Kyrgios' troubles also continued on the court Thursday, when he was beaten 7-5, 6-3 by John Isner, and got into a verbal altercation with a fan.

Wawrinka tweeted Thursday: "There is no need for this kind of behaviour on or off the court and I hope the governing body of this sport does not stand for this."

He called the 20-year-old's Australian's words "not only unacceptable but also beyond belief."

Kyrgios issued an apology Thursday on his Facebook page.

"My comments were made in the heat of the moment and were unacceptable on many levels," Kyrgios wrote. "I take full responsibility for my actions and regret what happened."

The 30-year-old Wawrinka, ranked fifth in the world, announced in April that he had separated from his wife, with whom he has a daughter. The Swiss player has since been linked with 19-year-old Donna Vekic of Croatia, who is ranked 127th.

Vekic played mixed doubles with Kokkinakis, also 19 and ranked No. 76, at the 2014 Australian Open as a wild-card entry.

Kyrgios beat Wawrinka on Wednesday when the Swiss player retired with a lower-back injury while trailing 4-0 in the third set.

In a post-match interview on court, Kyrgios said Wawrinka had provoked him.

"He was getting a bit lippy at me so, I don't know, it's just in-the-moment sort of stuff," Kyrgios said. "I don't really know, I just said it."

Wawrinka's coach, Magnus Norman, also criticized Kyrgios, who has been at the center of controversy in recent weeks.

"That was really really low Nick Kyrgios," Norman wrote on Twitter. "Hope for u that u have people around that will teach u a thing or 2 about life tonight. Very bad."

At Wimbledon last month, Kyrgios was booed by spectators in a fourth-round loss to Richard Gasquet of France. Kyrgios appeared to make little attempt to return Gasquet's serve during the third game of the second set after a dispute with the chair umpire.

That incident prompted Australian swimming great Dawn Fraser to question the character of Kyrgios and suggest he could leave the country and return to where his parents came from.

Kyrgios, who was born in Australia to a father born in Greece and mother born in Malaysia, replied on Twitter that Fraser was a "blatant racist." She later apologized.

Without mentioning Geno Smith, Enemkpali says he's sorry

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 6:04pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) Without mentioning New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith - the player he sucker punched - by name, linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali said he's sorry, and never meant to hurt anyone.

As for joining his new team, the Buffalo Bills, on Thursday, Enemkpali said he's grateful for a second chance a day after being claimed off waivers.

In making his first public comments two days after punching and breaking Smith's jaw during an altercation in the Jets locker room, Enemkpali referred only to something that "happened," spoke for just 45 seconds and declined to take any questions.

"I want to apologize to the Jets organization, the fans, my teammates and the coaches. I apologize for what happened," Enemkpali said, speaking at a podium placed beneath a goalpost on one of the fields of the Bills' training camp facility in suburban Rochester.

"It should've never happened. I should've walked away from the situation," he said. "It was never my intention to hurt anybody."

The Jets released Enemkpali shortly after the altercation. Smith had surgery on his jaw Thursday and is projected to miss between six and 10 weeks.

Turning his attention to the Bills, Enemkpali thanked coach Rex Ryan and the entire organization.

"I look forward to being a good teammate, an accountable player," he said. "And I'm just happy to be here, and thankful."

He then said, "Thank you," before being escorted away by two Bills officials.

The second-year player arrived at camp earlier in the day and passed his physical.

Though Enemkpali has not yet practiced with the Bills, Ryan is still considering making him active for Buffalo's preseason opener against Carolina on Friday night.

Ryan pushed for the team to place a claim on Enemkpali, and received approval from general manager Doug Whaley and first-year Bills owner Terry Pegula. As the Jets former coach, Ryan became familiar with Enemkpali during the player's rookie season last year.

Though Ryan wouldn't defend Enemkpali for punching Smith, he called the player a "good teammate" and said he was deserving of a second chance.

"Nothing justifies hitting somebody," Ryan said. "For what I know about this young man, I think he'll come in here and I think he'll do just fine."

Whaley said he's reserving judgment on what happened in New York.

"It was an unfortunate incident. We're not downplaying that," Whaley said. "But we also recognize that with what we are building around here that this guy could help us win."

Whaley, however, cautioned that Enemkpali "knows he's on a short leash."

Enemkpali could still be disciplined by the NFL for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He could also face legal charges if Smith pursues them.

In Buffalo, Enemkpali will be listed as a linebacker, but work with the defensive linemen. He'll be given a shot to compete for a backup job behind outside linebacker Manny Lawson, and also play a role on special teams.

Enemkpali was a sixth-round draft pick out of Louisiana Tech, who had three tackles in six games last season.

IK, as he's known, went from being an obscure rookie on a 4-12 Jets team last season, to gaining national notoriety for punching Smith. The altercation became the subject of social media ridicule, with many comments referring to the Jets' dysfunctional past. NFL broadcaster Adam Schein posted a note on his Twitter account reading: "Jets Football!!!! You can't make this up!"

The punch also inspired several inventive headlines, such as the New York Post's: "Jaw Disorder."

Now the attention focuses on the Bills, who have raised questions and criticism by adding yet another troubled player.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, whose county has a stake in the Bills' Ralph Wilson Stadium, was unhappy with Buffalo acquiring Enemkpali. In a message posted on his Twitter account, Poloncarz wrote: "As a season ticket holder and fan my personal opinion is this pickup is embarrassing. We can do better."

Buffalo's roster already includes offensive lineman Richie Incognito, who was a central figure in the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal in 2013. Receiver Percy Harvin had several run-ins with teammates in Seattle and was recently dubbed by Sports Illustrated as the NFL's "most hated player in the locker room."

And then there's offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, who will miss the first six games after the Bills suspended him for allegedly punching a boy in Florida in an altercation over beach chairs.


NOTES: Receiver Justin Brown was released after reaching an injury settlement. He was placed on the reserve-injured list on Sunday. ... The Bills resume camp Sunday, and then hold two joint practice sessions with the Cleveland Browns on Monday and Tuesday.


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Hisashi Iwakuma's gem finally ends AL no-hitter drought

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 1:49pm

SEATTLE (AP) After years of waiting, the drought finally ended thanks to the Seattle Mariners' Hisashi Iwakuma.

No, not Iwakuma becoming just the second Japanese pitcher to throw a no-hitter in Major League Baseball - as important an accomplishment as that was - joining Hideo Nomo in exclusive company when he shut down the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

That ended the run of 12 straight no-hitters - 11 individual and one combined - thrown by National League pitchers. Almost three years to the day that teammate Felix Hernandez threw a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Iwakuma finally ended the drought for the American League.

It's a rare stat and in many ways likely just an odd coincidence. But it also highlights the difficulty of pitching in the American League, where there simply are no free outs thanks to the designated hitter.

"I think the outs are tougher. Look, the lineups are deeper. The DH's in the American League, the DH's are animals," Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon said. "Those are tough outs. There really are no easy outs in the American League."

Four of the last five no-hitters in American League ballparks have come at Safeco Field. Prior to Hernandez's perfect game, six Seattle pitchers combined on a no-hitter in June 2012 against the Los Angeles Dodgers and unknown Phillip Humber threw a perfect game for the Chicago White Sox against the Mariners that April.

The only other AL park to see a no-hitter since 2011: Angels Stadium, where Jered Weaver threw his no-hitter in May 2012, less than two weeks after Humber's perfect game.

The NL streak was the longest streak of no-hitters in one league since the inception of the AL in 1901.

"There's an obvious number one reason. That reason and probably just coincidence," Texas manager Jeff Banister said Thursday. "I've got to believe that an oddsmaker would say that it's a little more challenging in our league. They are still pretty special, no matter what the circumstance or situation is. That's why we celebrate them so much."

Iwakuma was as unlikely a candidate as any to throw the fourth no-hitter of this season. He spent 2 1/2 months on the disabled list after straining a muscle in his back and side in late April, another in a series of injuries that has made his career in the majors go in fits and starts.

He had pitched more than eight innings only twice in his career before Wednesday and had never pitched a complete game. He came close earlier this month against Minnesota, throwing 8 2-3 innings before being lifted in a game that went to extra innings.

"I couldn't help my team at all and that's all I had in mind, to come back and give it all I've got every start and make up for the lost time I've had the first half and do anything to contribute for the team," Iwakuma said through an interpreter.

Iwakuma is the 17th pitcher since 1914 to have his first career complete game be a no-hitter and the first since Humber's unlikely perfect game. McClendon would have picked Hernandez - obviously - and young right-hander Taijuan Walker as more likely candidates on his staff to throw a no-hitter.

"I said about three weeks ago the `Bear' was back and he's only getting better," McClendon said. "It's nice to see because I think this is probably the longest stretch I've had him where he's been truly healthy and the ball is coming out and the velocity is back. He can work down in the zone, he can elevate the fastball. That's what makes him special."


AP Sports Writer Dave Campbell contributed to this report.

Settlement discussions in NFL 'Deflategate' case continue

Thu, 08/13/2015 - 11:11am

NEW YORK (AP) For a second day Thursday, lawyers for the NFL and its players' union met separately with a federal judge to try to resolve their legal dispute over whether Commissioner Roger Goodell's four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady should stand.

Two hours of morning meetings occurred a day after Judge Richard M. Berman in Manhattan oversaw more than four hours of discussions aimed at moving both sides toward a settlement of a dispute over deflated footballs that threatens to taint next month's start of a new season.

Neither Brady nor Goodell attended Thursday's talks. The judge instructed both sides that Brady and Goodell are not required to attend a scheduled court hearing next Wednesday.

Last month, Goodell upheld Brady's suspension, concluding he "knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards" to support a scheme in which a Patriots employee deflated balls before the Patriots beat the Indianapolis Colts 45-7 in the Jan. 18 AFC championship game. The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl.

Brady has repeatedly said he knew nothing about a plot to deflate game balls. The players' union, fighting the suspension, maintains there is no proof balls were deflated.

There are no additional talks with the judge scheduled before next week's hearing, though lawyers were expected to continue negotiations on their own.

The latest talks occurred because lawyers had not finished their meetings with Berman when they left the courthouse Wednesday after four hours of discussions.

If there is no settlement, Berman will decide whether Brady's suspension remains in place at the start of the season.

Asked about the talks, union attorney Jeffrey L. Kessler said Thursday: "Sorry, not commenting." An NFL lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

During a public court session Wednesday, the judge softened each side for negotiations by pointing out weaknesses in their arguments.

He narrowed the case facts to January's championship game and pressed the NFL to cite direct evidence that Brady knew balls were deflated. He asked a union lawyer to explain how balls could be deflated without Brady's knowledge and why Brady would destroy a cellphone that contained nearly 10,000 text messages, some of them presumably relevant.

Judge puts NFL on hot seat as he belittles 'Deflategate'

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 7:32pm

NEW YORK (AP) A federal judge put the NFL on the defensive Wednesday over its four-game suspension of Tom Brady, demanding to know what evidence directly links the New England quarterback to deflated footballs and belittling the drama of the controversy.

"What is the direct evidence that implicates Mr. Brady?" Judge Richard M. Berman repeatedly asked NFL lawyer Daniel L. Nash at the first hearing in the civil case in Manhattan federal court as Brady and Commissioner Roger Goodell looked on.

Nash responded there was "considerable evidence Mr. Brady clearly knew about this," including records of text messages and phone calls between the quarterback and one of two Patriots employees implicated in the scandal known as "Deflategate."

But he also said there was no "smoking gun" showing Brady had direct knowledge that the balls were underinflated for the first half of the Patriots' 45-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC championship game Jan. 18.

Brady and Goodell didn't speak during the hearing, except to introduce themselves to Berman. Brady, his head lowered, looked dour as lawyers spoke for about 1 hour, 20 minutes.

Immediately afterward, Brady smiled slightly as he signed sketches for two court artists. Berman then met individually with each side for more settlement discussions in private.

The talks continued more than four hours until about 5 p.m. Afterward, a smiling Brady left the courthouse. Several people shouted "cheater, cheater!"

Berman could be seen briefly speaking with Goodell inside the courthouse before the commissioner left to a waiting sports utility vehicle about 10 minutes after Brady. Goodell smiled as dozens of photo and video journalists did their work. Neither of them spoke and there was no immediate word on the status of talks.

Two weeks ago, the NFL asked Berman to declare that its punishment of Brady was properly carried out. The players' union countersued, asking him to nullify the suspension. The judge has signaled from the start that he wants the parties to reach a swift settlement.

On Wednesday, Berman called it "ironic or not" that Brady's statistics were better in the second half of the AFC championship game, after the balls were re-inflated.

"You might say (Brady) got no better advantage from the under-inflation," the judge said.

At one point, the judge also seemed to try to defuse the controversy, saying: "This Deflategate. I'm not sure where the `gate' comes from."

When the union got its chance to argue, the judge asked attorney Jeffrey L. Kessler why one of the Patriots employees would deflate balls without Brady's knowledge. Kessler said the union does not believe the balls were deflated but, if they were, the employee did it on his own because he "thought it would be good for his quarterback."

The judge also questioned why Brady destroyed his cellphone in the midst of the inquiry - a move that the league argues was further proof of his deception. Kessler claimed that the quarterback got rid of the phone on the advice of his agent to protect his privacy but had otherwise cooperated with the inquiry.

However, in hindsight, "You're right, it could have been done a different way," the lawyer said of the phone.

Both sides are scheduled to return to court next week.

In an email after everyone left court, Kessler said: "Sorry, not commenting."

Lawyers for the NFL did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Goodell suspended Brady after concluding he "knew about, approved of, consented to, and provided inducements and rewards" to support a scheme in which a Patriots employee deflated balls on game day. Brady insists he knew nothing about it.

In a July 28 decision upholding the suspension, Goodell heavily criticized Brady for having an aide destroy a cellphone containing nearly 10,000 text messages from a four-month stretch including the AFC championship game. He accused him of obstructing the NFL probe about a controversy that represented "conduct detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football."

In court documents, the union's lawyers said the suspension was unfair and violated the labor contract and complained that it would cause irreparable harm to Brady by forcing him to miss games.

They called a June appeal hearing before Goodell "a kangaroo court proceeding, bereft of fundamentally fair procedures."


Associated Press Writer Jake Pearson and AP Sports Writer Jimmy Golen in Boston contributed to this report.


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EA Sports drops Patrick Kane from NHL 16 promotional plans

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 6:09pm

EA Sports dropped Chicago Blackhawks star Patrick Kane from promoting and appearing on the cover of its NHL 16 video game because he is under police investigation.

The popular video game company announced its decision on its Twitter account Wednesday.

"In light of the ongoing investigation involving Patrick Kane, he will no longer be a spokesperson for the launch of EA Sports NHL 16," the company said. "He will not appear on the EA Sports NHL 16 cover nor participate in other EA Sports NHL 16 promotional activities."

Kane was to appear alongside Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in what was supposed to be the first time two NHL players have been featured on the cover. In June, the two stars were key players in leading the Blackhawks to their third Stanley Cup championship in six years.

Kane's lawyer, Paul Cambria, and agent, Pat Brisson, did not return messages seeking comment.

EA Sports' decision comes less than a week after Hamburg police announced Kane is under investigation for something that may have happened at the player's offseason home outside Buffalo on Aug. 2.

Police Chief Gregory Wickett would only say that police are gathering information and awaiting forensic results.

Police are looking into something that happened between Kane and a woman in her 20s, a person familiar with the investigation said earlier this week on condition of anonymity because authorities have not revealed that detail.

It's unclear how much Kane was to be paid for promoting NHL 16.

Kane maintains a sponsorship commitment with Bauer Hockey Equipment, but that could come under review, Performance Sports Group spokesman Steve Jones said in an email to The Associated Press.

"Patrick Kane is currently a Bauer athlete," Jones wrote. "But we are obviously aware of the investigation announced late last week by the Hamburg Police Department, and we are closely monitoring the situation."

The EA Sports website on Wednesday afternoon still featured a photo of Kane and Toews together. However, EA Sports NHL's Twitter account featured a picture of just Toews.

Bills claim Enemkpali, day after he punched Jets QB Smith

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 6:04pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) Rex Ryan won't excuse linebacker Ikemefuna Enemkpali for a sucker punch that broke quarterback Geno Smith's jaw in the New York Jets' locker room.

That doesn't mean Ryan - the former Jets coach in his first season in Buffalo - isn't willing to provide Enemkpali a second chance with the Bills.

With new owner Terry Pegula's blessing, the Bills claimed Enemkpali off waivers a day after he punched Smith and was released by the Jets.

"I think it's clear it was a mistake. Nothing justifies hitting somebody and all that stuff. And I'm not trying to say that it wasn't a mistake," Ryan said before the Bills opened an evening practice. "But I also believe that he's going to learn from this. And we'll give him a chance to compete."

Ryan recalled Enemkpali being a "good teammate" in New York, and is confident he will be accepted by Bills players.

"Look at every person in that locker room, not anybody's perfect," Ryan said. "But they know that I feel in my heart that this young man will be successful for us."

Running back Fred Jackson is set to welcome Enemkpali and adds he doesn't owe Bills players an explanation.

"When he gets here, he's got a clean slate with us. We'll see how everything works out, but I'm excited to have him," Jackson said. "What happened in New York happened there. It's not something we have to worry about here in Buffalo."

Defensive tackle Kyle Williams said he's not going to prejudge Enemkpali.

"I'm not going to say he's totally wrong or anything like that, because I don't know the circumstances," Williams said. "I'm sure there's things that would make me want to hit somebody, too, but I just don't know what it was."

Enemkpali's addition is the latest offseason twist between the AFC East rivals.

Aside from hiring Ryan and much of his coaching staff, the Bills also signed former Jets receiver Percy Harvin in March.

In New York, former Bills coach Chan Gailey is the Jets' offensive coordinator. And former Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is taking over in place of Smith, who is expected to miss six to 10 weeks.

Ryan stressed there's no guarantee Enemkpali will make the team. Though it's unclear when he'll report to the Bills, Ryan didn't rule out the possibility of Enemkpali playing in Buffalo's preseason opener against Carolina on Friday.

Enemkpali's addition means Smith might not have seen the last of the linebacker.

Smith should be back in the lineup for the New York's first meeting against Buffalo, a prime-time game Thursday, Nov. 12 at the Meadowlands.

Enemkpali could face discipline from the NFL under its personal conduct policy.

An NFL spokesman said Wednesday that the league is reviewing the situation. Any incident involving workplace violence that occurs off the football field falls under the NFL's personal conduct policy. That means any team interested in signing Enemkpali, a sixth-round pick last year out of Louisiana Tech, might have to weigh a possible suspension.

Enemkpali, who had three tackles in six games last season, could also face legal charges if Smith pursues them.

"I thought it was childish, either way, and it was stupid," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "But we have to live with the results."

The Jets were off from practice Wednesday as they prepare to head to Detroit for their preseason opener on Thursday night. The team will then have another day off from the practice field before returning Saturday.

The incident clearly rattled and angered many Jets players, who were stunned that something of this nature happened in their locker room.

"This isn't a UFC match," Jets guard Willie Colon said. "We're football players, not fighters."

Enemkpali, from Pflugerville, Texas, has been in previous trouble for fighting. He was suspended from the Louisiana Tech team in 2011 after being arrested for an off-campus incident in which he was booked for disturbing the peace and battery of a police officer.

Bowles said Enemkpali was "remorseful" when he spoke to him, and the linebacker later released a statement through his agent, apologizing to the team and fans.

"Geno and I let our frustration get the best of us, but I should have just walked away from the situation," Enemkpali said. "I deeply regret and apologize for my actions. It was never my intention to harm anyone. I appreciate the opportunity I had with the Jets."

Enemkpali joins a Bills team that features several players who have had off- and on-field troubles.

Starting left guard Richie Incognito was signed in January after he was out of football for 15 months after playing a central role in the Miami Dolphins' bullying scandal. Harvin had several run-ins with teammates in Seattle and was recently dubbed by Sports Illustrated as the NFL's "most-hated player in the locker room."

And then there's offensive line coach Aaron Kromer, who will miss the first six games after the Bills suspended him for allegedly punching a boy in Florida in an altercation over beach chairs.


Waszak reported from Florham Park, New Jersey.


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LeBron: Health, family will determine 2016 Olympic plans

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 4:24pm

LAS VEGAS (AP) LeBron James said Wednesday his health and his family will determine whether he tries for a record third basketball Olympic gold medal next summer.

James took part in USA Basketball's minicamp, satisfying chairman Jerry Colangelo's mandate that anyone wanting to be considered for the 2016 roster show up this week in Las Vegas.

James suited up in a No. 27 jersey and worked out, though he won't play in the Americans' intrasquad exhibition Thursday because of a previous commitment back in Ohio.

The Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star could join Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul as the only three-time gold medalists, and he and Anthony would be the first American men to appear in four Olympics. James says he's "not penciling it in, as of now, for next summer" and that his decision may not come until after next season.

"All my decisions go through my family. We'll see how my family feels about it," James said. "And then with my health, going another NBA campaign season, as far as my team back home in Cleveland, and I'll go from there."

He first played for the Americans in the 2004 Olympics, when he and Anthony were part of the disappointing bronze medalists following their rookie seasons. That duo and Paul, all close friends, are the only players in camp this week who competed in both 2008 and 2012, and could decide together whether they will try to make history.

"It'll probably be a joint decision," James said. "Pretty much everything that we do, for the most part, especially with Team USA, we kind of do together. We'll see what happens."

James also played with the Americans in the 2006 world basketball championship and the 2007 Olympic qualifying tournament. He said he enjoyed being back Wednesday and reconnecting with coaches and teammates.

"LeBron's made an amazing commitment to our country's basketball program, huge positive impact besides just winning," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

But all that basketball, plus his four straight trips to the NBA Finals, have put a heavy workload on the 30-year-old James. The Cavaliers will be favorites to get back to the finals next season, and James may feel he needs rest more than another medal.

For now, he's done what is necessary to give himself the option if he wants it.

"I'm not penciling it in, as of now, for next summer. But this is the start of the process for all of us," James said. "There's 34 guys here. When you're a part of Team USA, you represent your country, this is all a part of the process.

"I've given everything to the NBA. I've given it all to USAB as well. If I'm fortunate enough, if I'm healthy enough and my family is willing to allow me be a part of it, it'd be great. ... We'll see where I'm at after the season."

Iwakuma tosses no-hitter in Seattle's 3-0 win over Orioles

Wed, 08/12/2015 - 3:19pm

SEATTLE (AP) Hisashi Iwakuma has become the second Japanese-born pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 3-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

Iwakuma struck out seven and walked three in throwing the first no-hitter by an American League pitcher in nearly three years. He joins Hideo Nomo, who threw two no-nos, as the only Japanese-born pitchers to accomplish the feat.

Iwakuma is the fourth pitcher to throw a no-hitter this season, joining Philadelphia's Cole Hamels - prior to his trade to Texas - Washington's Max Scherzer and San Francisco's Chris Heston.

Iwakuma is the first American League pitcher to throw a no-hitter since teammate Felix Hernandez tossed a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 15, 2012.