Lions release Burleson
The Detroit Lions released wide receiver Nate Burleson and safety Louis Delmas, two starters from last season’s team.
Burleson, a former Seahawk and O’Dea High School product, spent four seasons with the Lions, but Detroit likely made this decision with financial flexibility in mind. Burleson, 32, caught 39 passes for 461 yards and a touchdown last season in nine games. He missed time after injuring his arm in a car accident.
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When healthy, Burleson was a productive complement to star receiver Calvin Johnson. Burleson caught 194 passes in his four seasons with the Lions, including a career-high 73 when Detroit made the playoffs in 2011. That was also the last time he played a full season.
Before hiring Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator for the second time, St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher cleared it with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
Williams was part of Fisher’s first staff with the Rams in 2012, but only for a few weeks before getting suspended for his role in the Saints’ bounty scandal.
Alabama coach Nick Saban and Arkansas coach Bret Bielema voiced their concerns about the effects of up-tempo, no-huddle offenses on player safety to the NCAA committee that passed a proposal to slow down those attacks.
Neither Bielema nor Saban were on the committee and they did not vote on the proposal passed Wednesday to allow defenses time to substitute between plays by prohibiting offenses from snapping the ball until 29 seconds are left on the 40-second play clock.
Abby Wambach scored her record 165th international goal and the United States women beat Russia 8-0 in an exhibition in Atlanta to extend their unbeaten streak to 42 games.
Shutting out Russia for the second time in six days by a combined 15-0 score, the world’s No. 1 team improved to 36-0-6 since March 2012. The Americans are 70-0-10 in their past 80 home games.
Former Husky star and Seattle Reign goalkeeper Hope Solo started for the U.S. Reign teammate Megan Rapinoe scored a goal.
The U.S. men’s soccer team will host Mexico in an exhibition game April 2 in Glendale, Ariz., as both nations prepare for the World Cup. The game is not on a FIFA fixture date. That means Europe-based players are not likely to be available.
Patrick brushes off talk
Danica Patrick shook off comments by Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty this past week that questioned her abilities.
Patrick was at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., for NASCAR’s annual media event kicking off preparations for Feb. 23’s Daytona 500.
“People have said things in the past, and they’re going to say things in the future,” Patrick said. “I still say the same thing: that everyone is entitled to their own opinion.”
In an interview Sunday, the 76-year-old Petty was asked if Patrick would ever win a NASCAR Sprint Cup race.
“If everybody else stayed home,” the Hall of Fame legend said, adding that Patrick’s presence is still good for the sport.
Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart is scheduled to be back in a race car Friday for the first time since he broke his right leg in August. Six months and three surgeries after that crash, Stewart said his leg is only 65 percent healed.
Australian champ ousted
Australian Open champion Li Na of China was upset by Czech qualifier Petra Cetkovska 7-6 (7-2), 2-6, 6-4 in the Qatar Open third round in Doha. Regardless of her early defeat, Li will move up to a career-best No. 2 in the WTA rankings on Monday, overtaking Victoria Azarenka.
Top seeds Juan Martin del Potro and Andy Murray overcame bumps to reach the ABN Amro quarterfinals in Rotterdam, Netherlands. Del Potro, the 2012 runner-up and 2013 champion, beat Paul-Henri Mathieu of France 6-2, 7-6 (7-2), and the second-seeded Murray bested Austrian qualifier Dominic Thiem 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
• Lleyton Hewitt of Australia beat Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus 1-6, 6-2, 6-0 to advance to the quarterfinals at the U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships in Memphis, Tenn.
• Sporting Kansas City acquired midfielder Jimmy Medranda from Colombia’s Deportivo Pereira for an undisclosed transfer fee and signed him to a multiyear contract.
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