Updated: Saturday, 02 Mar 2013, 4:14 AM EST
Published : Saturday, 02 Mar 2013, 4:14 AM EST
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — PRO FOOTBALL
Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens reached a tentative agreement Friday on a new contract that would make the Super Bowl MVP the highest-paid player in NFL history.
If the deal is finalized, the veteran quarterback would receive in excess of $120 million over six years, according to a person close to the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract has not yet been signed.
Flacco would earn more than the $20 million average salary Drew Brees receives with the New Orleans Saints.
Flacco played out his rookie contract last season for $6.76 million and led Baltimore to the NFL championship.
Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said the sides have settled on the parameters of the deal, but still have some language and details to work out. Fox Sports first reported the new deal.
The NFL also set the franchise tag at that figure earlier in the day. Already tagged were Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd at $6.916 million, Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee at $2.977 million, Cincinnati defensive end Michael Johnson at $11.175 million, Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady at $9.828 million and Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton.
The Atlanta Falcons started their youth movement by ditching three key players from the most successful era in franchise history.
The Falcons released running back Michael Turner, defensive end John Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson, moves that were not unexpected given their age (all in their 30s) and hefty salaries. The moves free up about $16 million in salary cap space.
U.S. Speedskating began an investigation into the report of a female skater accusing former Olympian and organization president Andy Gabel of sexual abuse in the 1990s.
Bridie Farrell told public radio station WUWM in Milwaukee that she had sexual contact with Gabel repeatedly over several months in 1997 and 1998 while both were training in New York and Michigan. When the alleged abuse began, she was 15 and Gabel was 33.
Gabel competed in short track at three Winter Games and won a silver medal in the relay at Lillehammer in 1994. He also served a term as president of U.S. Speedskating and is currently chairman of the short track committee for the International Skating Union.
The national governing body said it was not previously aware of any allegations against Gabel.
AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Mark Martin may be getting better with age.
Coming off a third-place finish at the Daytona 500, Martin became the second-oldest driver to win a Sprint Cup pole by earning the top spot at Phoenix International Raceway for the second straight year.
Martin went around PIR's mile oval with a speed of 138.074 mph for his 56th career pole, passing Bill Elliott for seventh all-time. Martin turned 54 in January, leaving him just a few months behind Harry Gant, who was 54 years and 7 months when he won his last pole at Bristol in 1994.
Martin will be joined on the front row by Kasey Kahne for Sunday's 312-mile race, with Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch in the second row.
The Hulman-George family should retain ownership of the IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to a report from a consulting group it hired to evaluate business operations, including running the Indianapolis 500.
The Boston Consulting Group offered a wide array of suggestions on how to better position the troubled open-wheel series and historic speedway in a 115-page report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
Among the ideas: a 15-race IndyCar schedule in major American cities held over 19 weeks; a three-race playoff with a season finale on the road course at Indy; a new marketing strategy promoting IndyCar's "daredevil drivers"; using just one U.S. television partner instead of both ABC/ESPN and NBC Sports Network; overhauling the ticket pricing at IMS in tiers that would raise the cost of the most expensive Indy 500 ticket from $150 to $200 and lower almost every ticket for the Brickyard 400 and Red Bull Grand Prix.
Hulman & Co. is under no obligation to follow the suggestions, but Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said in a statement late Friday night the company is taking the report under advisement.
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — Manti Te'o is focused on getting faster.
The Notre Dame star and Heisman Trophy runner-up, who was clocked at 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine last week, expects to improve his time and is looking forward to his Pro Day on March 26.
The linebacker was in the Garden State to accept the Maxwell Football Club's Maxwell Award for collegiate player of the year and Chuck Bednarik Award for collegiate defensive player of the year. Te'o spoke to reporters for nearly six minutes, but wouldn't address his highly publicized online romance with a girlfriend that was exposed as a hoax.
Other award winners were: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who received the Bert Bell Award for professional player of the year; Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who won the Greasy Neale Award for professional coach of the year; Penn State coach Bill O'Brien, who is the college football coach of the year; and Rutgers linebacker Khaseem Greene, who is the tri-state player of the year
MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) — Jurors deliberated for more than two hours before acquitting a former University of Montana quarterback in a rape trial that has played out amid NCAA and federal investigations into how the city and school respond to rape allegations on campus.
Jordan Johnson and his attorney David Paoli both cried after the verdict was announced, and cheers erupted from the area where the defendant's family was sitting in the packed courtroom.
The accusations against Johnson, 20, have drawn much attention in Montana, where UM football is the top sports attraction. Johnson led the school to a successful 2011 season as starting quarterback before being accused of assaulting a woman while watching a movie with her at her home last year.
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The insurance carrier for the children's charity founded by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky doesn't have to cover his criminal or civil legal costs related to acts of child sexual abuse, a judge ruled.
U.S. District Judge Yvette Kane said Sandusky was not acting as an employee or executive of The Second Mile when he abused and molested boys.
The judge ruled in favor of Warren, N.J.-based Federal Insurance Co., which had brought the case against Sandusky. The decision related to paying for his lawyers follows the judge's earlier ruling that the insurer wasn't on the hook for judgments against him.
MORAGA, Calif. (AP) — The NCAA put Saint Mary's on four years of probation for a "failure to monitor its men's basketball program," reducing scholarships and placing other penalties on the team after the governing body said the tiny Catholic college committed several recruiting violations.
A report by the NCAA Committee on Infractions found that Gaels coach Randy Bennett "failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance," particularly over the recruiting practices of a former assistant. Bennett will not be allowed to recruit off campus and will be suspended for the first five West Coast Conference games next season.
Saint Mary's will still be allowed to participate in the league tournament and the NCAA tournament but can't play in preseason or in-season tournaments not already contractually obligated to attend. The team also will have a reduction in scholarships from 13 to 11 for the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons and an elimination of all foreign tours until the start of the 2017-18 season.
NEW YORK (AP) — D'Angelo Harrison, the third-leading scorer in the Big East Conference, was suspended by St. John's for the rest of the season.
Red Storm coach Steve Lavin made the announcement without giving a reason for the suspension, which includes postseason games. Harrison, a sophomore guard from Missouri City, Texas, averaged 17.8 points. He reached the 20-point mark in 13 of 27 games this season with a high of 36 against Villanova. He recently became the 48th player in St. John's history to reach 1,000 points.
ATLANTA (AP) — An Atlanta woman filed a lawsuit saying basketball Hall of Famer and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is the father of her 16-year-old son.
The lawsuit was filed Feb. 6 by Pamela Y. Smith, 48, in Fulton County Superior Court. It requests Jordan take a paternity test, pay child support and share medical, dental and hospital costs that are not covered by insurance.
Publicist Estee Portnoy said Jordan has no comment, and calls to several numbers listed for Smith were not returned Friday afternoon.
PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — Ending his unexpected round of basketball diplomacy in North Korea, ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman called leader Kim Jong Un an "awesome guy" and said his father and grandfather were "great leaders" — an assessment that got short shrift from the U.S. government.
Rodman, the highest-profile American to meet Kim since he inherited power from father Kim Jong Il in 2011, watched a basketball game with the authoritarian leader Thursday and later drank and dined on sushi with him.
At Pyongyang's Sunan airport on his way to Beijing, Rodman said it was "amazing" that the North Koreans were "so honest." He added that Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, North Korea's founder, "were great leaders."
At Beijing's airport, Rodman pushed past waiting journalists without saying anything.