May 16, 2013

 

NEW YORK (AP) -- David Garrard is out of the New York Jets' quarterback competition.

A person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Garrard plans to retire because of lingering knee issues.

The 35-year-old Garrard was signed in March to provide veteran competition for Mark Sanchez. But Garrard, who hadn't played in a regular-season game in the NFL since 2010 because of injuries, is planning to step away because of knee troubles.

The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because neither the team nor Garrard had officially announced the decision.

NFL Network first reported that Garrard planned to retire. SiriusXM Radio host Adam Schein said that Garrard told him in a text that he had to ''call it quits'' because ''my knee is not holding up. Continuing to swell after practices. Limiting what I can do.''

The former Jacksonville Jaguars star was cut by the Miami Dolphins last summer after he needed arthroscopic surgery on his ailing left knee. Garrard was expected to be in the mix to compete for the Jets' starting job along with Sanchez and second-round pick Geno Smith. New York, which cut Tim Tebow two weeks ago, also has Greg McElroy and Matt Simms on the roster.

In a conference call with season ticket holders earlier in the day, new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg insisted that the Jets starting QB job is up for grabs - and that included Garrard at the time.

''This will be a bona fide quarterback competition. Period,'' Mornhinweg said. ''I'm hoping that somebody will rise to the top quicker rather than later.''

Garrard, it now appears, will not be a part of that.

The Jets could look to add another veteran quarterback to the mix, but it appears to solidify Sanchez's spot on the roster. It was likely the team's 2009 first-round pick would remain on the Jets, mainly because he is owed $8.25 million in guaranteed money. But there was some speculation that New York could take the salary cap hit and eat the contract by releasing Sanchez - or trade him - and let Smith battle Garrard for the job.

Smith, the former record-breaking West Virginia star, was expected to be a first-round pick, but stunningly slid into the second round of the draft last month. The Jets, needing to fill several needs, surprised many by taking Smith and adding yet another quarterback to a crowded competition.

Smith said last weekend that he had spoken with the other Jets quarterbacks since being drafted, and was asked specifically about his conversations with Garrard.

''He spoke to me about just how he looks forward to competing with me, teaching me and mentoring me,'' Smith said. ''I told him, 'I'm all ears, I'm an open sponge here.' I'm just here to learn and I'm learning from every one. It's kind of like learning on the job.''

When he signed with the Jets, Garrard passed his physical with the team and said he had his sights set on having a chance at the starting job. He said he felt healthy at the time, adding that ''my knee is great now.''

Garrard had apparently been having issues with it, though. Another person familiar with the situation told the AP that the quarterback wanted to have his knee examined either Tuesday or Wednesday morning, so it had clearly been bothering him during offseason workouts.

That person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn't been announced, was not aware that Garrard was contemplating retirement as recently as last night.

Garrard was a fourth-round pick of Jacksonville in 2002, and became the team's full-time starter in 2007. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2009, but was released before the 2011 season. Garrard signed with Miami in March 2012 and appeared to be the front-runner to be the starter ahead of rookie Ryan Tannehill and veteran Matt Moore, but was released after missing the preseason with a knee issue.

He has thrown for 16,003 yards in his career, with 89 touchdowns and 54 interceptions. Garrard, also known for his mobility during his prime, has 17 career rushing touchdowns.

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May 09, 2013

The Associated Press

 

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman is tapping his friendship with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to ask for the release of a Korean-American man sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in the North.

“I’m calling on the Supreme Leader of North Korea or as I call him ‘Kim’, to do me a solid and cut Kenneth Bae loose,” Rodman said on Twitter. He later called the tweet a direct response to a Seattle Times editorial that dared him to ask Kim for the release if the two are really buddies.

Rodman visited North Korea in February and sat next to Kim as they watched an exhibition basketball game. His trip came at a time of high tension between Pyongyang and Washington and was not en­dorsed by the U.S. State Depart­ment.

Bae is a tour operator who was arrested in North Korea in November. The North’s Supreme Court sentenced him last week for unspecified “hostile acts” against the state. In a Foreign Ministry statement on Sunday, North Korea said the 44-year-old Washington state man entered the country with a disguised identity.

Bae is at least the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. The others eventually were deported or released, some after trips to Pyongyang by prominent Americans, including former U.S. presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

North Korea’s Foreign Ministry rejected speculation that it was seeking a U.S. envoy to negotiate Bae’s release, saying he is not a political bargaining chip.

Analysts have said North Korea may be using Bae as bait to open direct negotiations with the United States over its nuclear arms programs. Bae’s sentencing came during a lull after weeks of threats of war from Pyongyang against the U.S. and South Korea.

The U.S. has called for the North to immediately release Bae. It relies on Swedish diplomats in Pyongyang to deal with Bae’s case because the North and the U.S. have no formal diplomatic relations after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce instead of a peace treaty.

North Korea has not described the exact nature of Bae’s alleged crimes. Friends say Bae is a devout Christian and tour operator based in China who traveled frequently to North Korea to feed orphans.

Rodman said after his trip to North Korea that he planned to return in August to vacation with Kim, a diehard basketball fan.

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May 09, 2013

By JOSEPH WHITE

AP Sports Writer

 

Robert Griffin III’s knee is still feeling fine. His ability to turn a room upside down is better than ever.

The Washington Redskins quarterback made an appearance - and quite an impact - Wednesday at a luncheon for the American Cancer Society. He raised $33,000 in a matter of minutes, more than half of the $60,000 tallied during the auction portion of the fundraiser.

The crowning moment came when a man from Texas paid $15,000 for a pair of pink cleats worn by Griffin in a game last season.

“You don't think that a pair of cleats can make that kind of difference,” Griffin said. “But I guess they were highly sought-after.”

Eighteen people then paid $1,000 each to pose with Griffin for a photograph that the quarterback will sign. He flashed his charismatic smile for each and every flash of the camera.

The guest of honor was Tanya Snyder, wife of Redskins owner Dan Snyder. A breast cancer survivor, Tanya Snyder received the society's Mother of the Year award. The Snyders’ 17-year-old daughter Tiffanie gave a moving a tearful tribute to her mother and presented a slide show of intimate family photographs, offering a rare display of the media-shy owner’s personal side.

“I was going to cry,” Griffin said. “I think everybody got a little choked up.”

Overall, the event raised some $400,000 for cancer research.

Griffin also showed up his playful side, flashing bunny ears behind his fiancee as they posed with Tanya Snyder. And, of course, there was the inevitable football question: How’s the rehab coming along with his surgically reconstructed right knee?

“I’m doing great. The knee feels fine,” said Griffin, whose stated goal is to return by Week 1 of the regular season. “It’s about taking it slow, and each day is a better day because the knee feels better and you do more things. It’s just a process that I'm going through.”

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May 09, 2013

By JIMMY GOLEN (AP Sports Writer)

 

BOSTON (AP) -- The Boston Athletic Association sold out its first event since last month's marathon bombings in 13 hours Wednesday as 6,500 runners filled the field to support the organization and the victims of the attack on its flagship race.

''Thank you for all of the support, especially those who ran on April 15 and are coming back for this event (the 10k) on June 23,'' the B.A.A. posted on its Facebook page shortly after closing registration at 11:15 p.m. ''We are grateful to the running community and locals who entered today. Boston Strong! Boston Stands As One!''

The B.A.A. 10K, which began in 2011, had not sold out in either of its first two years. B.A.A. executive director Tom Grilk said the popularity of this year's race was consistent with the support he'd seen from runners and non-runners alike after two bombs killed three people and wounded hundreds more on Boylston Street on April 15.

''We're not going to give in to terror. They're going to stand up, show up and run,'' Grilk said Wednesday afternoon, when a few hundred spots in the 10K remained. ''I'm pleased to be part of a community that reacts that way.''

The B.A.A. has received what Grilk called overwhelming support following the bombing - actor Kevin Spacey stopped by the office last week - and runners have been among the most visible backers. Already-scheduled events dedicated their races to Boston, and new runs sprouted up to show support and raise money for the victims.

Grilk would not say yet what would be done at the B.A.A.'s own race. He also declined to comment on security measures for a course that travels two blocks from the Boylston Street bombing site.

''Everyone will have a heightened sense of security,'' Grilk said. ''In terms of what public safety officials will do, I can't say, and wouldn't.''

A 125-year-old organization that remains best known for its signature, 26.2-mile race, the B.A.A. expanded its calendar in 2001 to include a half-marathon and then added a 5K five years ago and a 10K in 2011. The three shorter races are combined into a distance medley, and those who run all three are eligible for prize money based on the combined times.

The inaugural B.A.A. 10K had a field of 3,656. There were 5,503 runners last year.

Organizers decided last fall to expand the field to 6,500 runners.

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May 09, 2013

(AP) — Jason Collins, the NBA veteran who last week announced he was gay, is seeking a book deal, The Associated Press has learned.

Officials at three publishing houses said Monday that they had been contacted about a planned memoir by Collins, the first active player in any of four major U.S. professional sports leagues to come out as gay. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the proceedings.

The officials said Collins was working on the book with Sports Illustrated's Franz Lidz, to whom he broke the news that he was gay, and was being represented by Kristine Dahl of International Creative Management. Dahl did not immediately respond to phone and email messages left by the AP.

At least one publisher turned down the book, said one official, who noted the extensive media coverage of Collins and expressed concern that his story already has been told.

Earlier Monday, the Democratic National Committee announced Collins would headline its annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender gala, on May 29. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, has phoned the 34-year-old athlete to praise him for his courage.

Collins, who has played for six teams during 12 seasons, was most recently a center for the Washington Wizards. He becomes a free agent on July 1.

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