June 4, 2009 in Sports

In brief: Harrison trades hitting for speaking

From Staff And Wire Reports
Associated Press photo

Costa Rica’s Pablo Herrera celebrates his goal against the U.S.
(Full-size photo)

NFL: Two-time Pro Bowl safety Rodney Harrison announced his retirement on Wednesday, saying he is through hitting quarterbacks after a 15-year career for the New England Patriots and San Diego Chargers.

“I am done, and I am very much so at peace with that,” he said in a conference call with reporters. “Football has been good to me. I’ve worked hard; I’ve played hard. I’ve done some things that I never dreamt I could do, and now it’s time to move forward to the next phase of my life.”

Later Wednesday, NBC announced that Harrison will join its NFL studio show; he worked for the network during its Super Bowl coverage last year.

Expect Harrison’s frank speaking to continue.

“When I played I didn’t have many friends,” he said on the network’s conference call, “so I’m sure I’m not going to make friends now.”

Harrison, 36, holds the NFL record for defensive backs with 301/2 sacks; he also has 34 interceptions, making him the only player to have at least 30 of each. But the numbers only tell part of the story about a player who had a reputation as one of the hardest hitters in the league – and one of the dirtiest, too.

NFL meets with union: The NFL and its players’ union opened talks in a bid to avoid a work stoppage in 2011, when the current labor contract expires.

Commissioner Roger Goodell and DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, were present at the meeting in New York.

“We had a good meeting and agreed to meet again,” the NFL said in a statement.

These meetings were mainly about procedural issues rather than substantive ones. One early subject of contention: the union’s demand that NFL teams open their books and the league’s position that the union already has all the relevant financial information.

Dallas officials had concerns about facility: A series of text messages from city officials after the Dallas Cowboys’ practice facility collapsed reveals concerns about the structure’s quality and suggest the team “pushes” things through and receives preferential treatment.

The day after the facility collapsed, Irving City Manager Tommy Gonzalez referred to it as “a big ole tent” that “probably never was structurally sound enough” to hold up against straight-line winds. The Cowboys’ tentlike practice facility collapsed on May 2, paralyzing scouting assistant Rich Behm and injuring 11 others.

Yahoo files lawsuit against union: Yahoo Inc. has sued the NFL Players Association, claiming it shouldn’t have to pay royalties to use players’ statistics, photos and other data in its popular online fantasy football game because the information is already publicly available.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Yahoo filed its lawsuit Monday in federal court in Minneapolis.

Westbrook faces surgery: Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook will have surgery on his right ankle Friday.

Ching misses U.S. team’s setback

Soccer: Alvaro Saborio scored 79 seconds in, the second-fastest goal against the United States in a World Cup qualifier, and Costa Rica coasted to a 3-1 victory in a World Cup qualifier at San Jose, Costa Rica.

U.S. forward Brian Ching (Gonzaga University) missed the match with an injured hamstring.

Celso Borges added a goal in the 13th minute, and Pablo Herrera sealed the victory for 41st-ranked Costa Rica when he made it 3-0 in the 69th.

Landon Donovan scored the U.S. goal on a penalty kick in the second minute of second-half stoppage time.

Soccer leader asks for change: The leader of soccer’s governing body urged nations to avoid treating fans like “prisoners and wild animals” by using fences to hold them back in cramped stadiums.

“We have to go to the roots,” FIFA president Sepp Blatter said at Nassau, Bahamas. “We have to go to the causes of some of the tragedies or accidents that happen.”

Manchester United lands lucrative deal: Manchester United announced a four-year shirt sponsorship agreement with Chicago-based insurance broker Aon Corp. in what media reports said was worth more than $130 million.

Wrestlers could grab hold of dough

Olympics: U.S. wrestlers will see a lot of green for any gold they win at the London Olympics.

Gold medalists at the 2012 Summer Games will earn a $250,000 bonus through the Living the Dream Medal Fund, a new incentive program that USA Wrestling hopes will lead to more success at both the Olympics and world championships. The Americans won three wrestling medals at the Beijing Olympics, their worst showing since 1968.

Stewart’s charity race gets soaking

Auto racing: Rain forced postponement of NASCAR driver Tony Stewart’s charity race at a dirt track he owns in Rossburg, Ohio.

Organizers say the race has been rescheduled for Sept. 9.

Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Ryan Newman and others had been scheduled to participate in the fifth annual Prelude to the Dream at Eldora Speedway.

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