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Oregon QB Mariota announceshe will return for junior season

Quarterback Marcus Mariota announced Tuesday he will return to Oregon for his junior season.

There had been speculation Mariota might declare himself eligible for the NFL draft.

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In a statement, Mariota said, “It is an honor to be a student at the University of Oregon and to have the opportunity to represent our institution on the football field alongside my teammates.”

Mariota has a school-record 3,994 yards total offense this season for the Ducks (10-2). Coaches voted him to the All-Pac-12 first team.

Big Ten honors Miller again

Quarterback Braxton Miller of Ohio State is the Big Ten Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season.

Wisconsin linebacker Chris Borland earned the defensive honor and Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio was voted coach of the year.

Michigan State (11-1) will play Ohio State (12-0) in the Big Ten championship game Saturday in Indianapolis.


Nathan might be Tigers’ closer

Closer Joe Nathan reportedly has reached a tentative agreement on a two-year, $20 million deal with the Detroit Tigers.

Nathan, 39, spent the past two seasons with the Texas Rangers. In that span, he had 80 saves, a 2.09 earned-run average and 151 strikeouts in 129 innings.

A’s are active in trade market

The Oakland Athletics made two trades.

The two-time defending AL West champions got outfielder Craig Gentry from Texas for top outfield prospect Michael Choice. The A’s acquired right-handed reliever Luke Gregerson from San Diego for outfielder Seth Smith.

Clark is likely to head union

The executive board of the Major League Baseball Players Association voted unanimously to appoint Tony Clark as head of the union.

Pending a vote of the general membership, Clark would replace Michael Weiner. Weiner died Nov. 21 of brain cancer.

Clark, 41, is the first former major-league player to become head of the union. A first baseman, he had a batting average of .262 and hit 251 homers in 15 seasons.


Davis to miss from 4 to 6 weeks

Forward-center Anthony Davis, who is averaging 18.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per game this season for the New Orleans Pelicans, is expected to miss from four to six weeks because of a broken left hand.

Davis’ hand hit the rim during Sunday’s 103-99 victory over the Knicks in New York.

Heat’s win streak ends at 10

Kyle Singler scored 18 points and Rodney Stuckey, a former standout at Eastern Washington and Kentwood High in Covington, added 16 as the visiting Detroit Pistons beat Miami 107-97, ending the Heat’s winning streak at 10 games.

All-Star guard Dwyane Wade didn’t play for Miami because of a sore knee.

Thunder fights off Sacramento

Ex-Sonic Kevin Durant had 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to its eighth straight victory, a 97-95 decision in Sacramento.

Kings guard Isaiah Thomas, a former Washington Husky, scored 21 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter but missed a last-second jumper that would have sent the game to overtime.

In another game, host Golden State rallied from 27 points down in the second half and beat visiting Toronto 112-103. Ex-Washington State standout Klay Thompson made four three-point baskets in the fourth quarter and finished with 22 points and seven assists for Golden State.


• NBC Sports Group has made driver Jeff Burton its first hire for the broadcast booth for when the network resumes covering NASCAR in 2015.

Meanwhile, after a series of fan votes on Facebook, Tony Stewart was selected to be on the cover of the “NASCAR ’14” video game, scheduled for release in early 2014.

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