Suspended Saints coach apologizes for bounties
Coach Sean Payton apologized Friday for the bounty system under which New Orleans Saints players were offered payouts for big hits on opponents, saying he takes “full responsibility” for the program that operated for three years under his watch.
“I share and fully support the league’s concerns and goals on player safety,” Payton said in a written statement released by the team. “It is, and should be paramount.
“Respecting our great game and the NFL shield is extremely important to me,” Payton added, referring to the league’s logo.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Wednesday suspended Payton for the 2012 season, effective April 1, one of several unprecedented penalties he issued against the Saints.
Payton said that, as head coach, he should take full responsibility for an operation which the NFL said offered improper cash bonuses for blows that either knocked targeted star players out of the game or left them needing help off the field.
Also: The Green Bay Packers made a rare reach into unrestricted free agency to find a new anchor for their offensive line, agreeing to a two-year deal with veteran free-agent center Jeff Saturday.
Saturday, 36, has started 188 regular-season games in 13 NFL seasons. He replaces former Packers starter Scott Wells, who signed with the St. Louis Rams as a free agent.
In other deals of note:
u25B6 The Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms with kicker Jay Feely on a two-year contract and re-signed offensive lineman D’Anthony Batiste on a one-year contract.
u25B6 The Baltimore Ravens agreed to terms with cornerback Corey Graham.
u25B6 The Chicago Bears announced the retirement of running back Marion Barber.
u25B6 The Cincinnati Bengals re-signed cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones and offensive tackle Anthony Collins, and signed defensive end Derrick Harvey.
u25B6 The Dallas Cowboys signed wide receiver Kevin Ogletree to a one-year contract.
u25B6 The Denver Broncos agreed to terms with tight ends Joel Dreessen and Jacob Tamme.
u25B6 Indianapolis Colts offensive lineman Ryan Diem announced his retirement.
u25B6 The New England Patriots signed wide receiver Donte Stallworth and quarterback Brian Hoyer.
u25B6 The New York Jets traded quarterback Drew Stanton and a 2012 seventh-round draft pick to Indianapolis for a 2012 sixth-round draft pick. Stanton, who signed with New York last week, had requested the trade after the Jets’ acquisition of Tim Tebow.
u25B6 The Seattle Seahawks agreed to terms with running back Kregg Lumpkin.
Taiwan’s Tseng grabs two-shot lead at Kia Classic
Yani Tseng shot a 4-under-par 68 to open a two-stroke lead over Se Ri Pak after the second round of the Kia Classic in Carlsbad, Calif.
The 23-year-old Taiwanese star, tied for the first-round lead after a 67, had a 9-under 135 total on La Costa’s Legends Course.
Also: Tom Pernice Jr. topped the leaderboard at 7 under through 12 holes when first-round play in the soggy Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic, a Champions Tour event in Saucier, Miss., was suspended because of darkness.
Chien Soon Lu and David Eger were a stroke back. Lu played 16 holes and Eger completed 15.
Wales’ Phillip Price shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Spain’s Jose Manuel Lara in the suspended second round of the European Tour’s Hassan II Trophy in Agadir, Morocco. Price had a 10-under 134 total, while Lara was 9 under after a 65.
UNLV loses at Air Force in baseball league opener
The UNLV baseball team opened Mountain West Conference play with a 10-7 loss to Air Force at Air Force Academy, Colo.
Brandon Bayardi hit his third home run of the season, a two-run shot for the Rebels (10-12, 1-0 MWC) in the first inning. T.J. White added a triple for UNLV in the second.
Also: The UNLV softball team suffered a pair of losses in Cal Poly’s Mustang Classic at San Luis Obispo, Calif., losing to Lipscomb 2-1 and to Ball State, 5-1. Tayler Aleman and Paige Emerson each had two hits on the day for the Rebels (14-14).
UNLV swimmer Cody Roberts finished 19th in the 100-yard butterfly — missing All-America status by three spots — in the NCAA Championships at Federal Way, Wash. Roberts finished in 46.99 seconds.
College of Southern Nevada overwhelmed Colorado Northwestern Community College in the first game of a Scenic West Athletic Conference baseball doubleheader at Morse Stadium 11-0, and then lost 8-4 to give the Spartans just their second SWAC victory.
Quinton Mack homered, singled and drove in four runs as the Coyotes won the opener in five innings on the 10-run mercy rule. CSN (20-10, 7-7 SWAC) surrendered six runs in the third inning of the second game en route to their first loss to CNCC (3-18, 2-12) since 2008.
The CSN softball team dropped a Scenic West doubleheader to College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, 8-2 and 5-4.
Brigit Godfrey, Jasmine Fukuda, Andi Felise and Desiree Laswell had four hits for CSN in the opener. The Coyotes (15-23, 10-16 SWAC) had the bases loaded with one out in the top of the seventh inning in the second game, but a pop-up to shortstop and a grounder back to the pitching circle ended the rally.
Nebraska basketball hires Colorado State’s Miles
Nebraska lured Colorado State’s Tim Miles to Lincoln to take over its basketball team.
Colorado State athletic director Jack Graham announced that Miles had resigned so he could take the job with the Cornhuskers. Miles, who toured Nebraska’s facilities on Friday, will be introduced at a news conference today.
The 45-year-old Miles, who replaces Doc Sadler, just finished his fifth year at Colorado State. He coached the Rams to a 20-12 record this season and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2003. They lost to Murray State 58-41 in their tournament opener.
Miles takes over a struggling Nebraska program that hasn’t won a share of a conference championship since 1950 or played in the NCAA Tournament since 1998.
Also: Duquesne fired basketball coach Ron Everhart, who spent six seasons with the Dukes, went 99-89 and took the embattled program to postseason play three times.
Questions began to surface this week when three members of the team — including sophomore point guard T.J. McConnell, the team’s best player — announced intentions to transfer.
Super featherweight Diego Magdaleno of Las Vegas got off the deck in the fourth round to defeat two-time world title challenger Fernando Beltran Jr. on a Top Rank championship boxing card at the sold-out Casino Del Sol in Tucson, Ariz.
The 25-year-old Magdaleno (22-0) won a fiery battle, knocking down Beltran Jr. (35-8-1) in the seventh round. Moments later, at 2:28 of the round, Beltran Jr.’s trainer threw in the towel and the fight was stopped.
Magdaleno is ranked No. 2 by the WBA and No. 3 by the WBC at 130 pounds.
Roger Federer was named the greatest tennis player of all time by the Tennis Channel. The network’s “100 Greatest of All Time,” a five-night series, aired this week.
Federer edged Rod Laver for the top spot. Rounding out the top 10 were Steffi Graf in third, followed by Martina Navratilova, Pete Sampras, Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Margaret Court, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King.
An international panel determined the rankings.