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Released Six-time Pro Bowl kicker David Akers has been released by the San Francisco 49ers after two seasons filled with record-breaking highs and incredible lows. Akers appeared in all 32 regular-season games and five playoff contests the past two seasons. He connected on 73 of 94 field goal attempts and all 78 extra points. But Akers made just 29 of 44 attempts last season, his lowest percentage since 1999.

Lifted The NCAA has lifted a recent ban against New Jersey schools being allowed to host tournament games or championships sanctioned by the sports governing body. The NCAA informed its member schools of the decision after U.S. District Judge Michael Shipp in Trenton issued a permanent injunction, barring New Jersey from offering sports betting in the state. Gov. Chris Christie signed a sports wagering law last year, but the NCAA and four major sports leagues challenged it.

Added The New York Rangers are adding veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik to the roster while they wait to find out the severity of Marc Staal’s eye injury. New York claimed the 38-year-old Hamrlik off waivers from the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, one day after Staal was struck in the eye by a deflected puck in the third period of the Rangers’ 4-2 win over Philadelphia.

Announced The Washington Redskins have announced that A.J. Smith has joined the team as a senior executive. Smith spent nine years as general manager of the San Diego Chargers before he was fired on Dec. 31.

• Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer will replace the injured Mark Teixeira on the United States team at the World Baseball Classic. Hosmer adds a left-handed bat to a lineup loaded with right-handers. The U.S. opens on Friday night against Mexico in Phoenix.

Pledged Golfer Rory McIlroy says the pressure of meeting expectations as the No. 1 player got the best of him when he quit and walked off the course last week. He says he has learned his lesson and “it won’t happen again.” McIlroy says he needs to be tougher when things aren’t going his way.