Critics, knee are no concern for Jets RB Johnson (Yahoo Sports) - Chris Johnson knows what a lot of people are saying about him. Well, the New York Jets running back is listening - and can't wait to silence the critics. ''I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me ... and prove the naysayers wrong.'' Johnson was signed Wednesday to a two-year deal after he was released by the Tennessee Titans on April 7. He said there were other teams interested, but New York was his first - and, it turned out, only - visit. Kentucky coach Calipari awaits players' decisions (Yahoo Sports) - Kentucky coach John Calipari has been too busy promoting his latest book to reflect on last week's NCAA championship game loss to Connecticut. Some clarity began to emerge Thursday, when guard James Young became the first to announce that he will enter the NBA draft, leaving forward Julius Randle and twin guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison to decide if they will follow him as speculated or return for another season. In all cases, Calipari said he has provided them enough information to make a decision. Regarding last week's tweet from ex-Kentucky player Rex Chapman that Calipari was headed to the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, the coach told former Wildcats star Anthony Davis he wasn't, but also joked ''unless you'll come with me.'' The coach conceded that Kentucky's surprising recovery from a shaky stretch run to reach the NCAA final - where the Wildcats lost 60-54 to Connecticut - ratcheted up discussion about his and players' pro prospects. Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract (Yahoo Sports) - Former NFL star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron in the Canadian Football League. The veteran receiver signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday after impressing team officials at a minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla. He last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England. ''Chad Johnson did an outstanding job the last three days,'' Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. He was very happy and very excited to be on the field again and we are happy to welcome him to the Alouettes.'' Johnson, who once changed his last name to Ochocinco, spent most of his 11 NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Wildcats G James Young to enter NBA draft (Yahoo Sports) - LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky guard James Young has announced that he will enter the NBA draft, becoming the first of the Wildcats' heralded freshmen to turn pro. Aaron Hernandez associate accused of lying to feds (Yahoo Sports) - An associate of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has appeared in federal court in Orlando, Fla., on charges in a gun trafficking investigation related to Hernandez's Massachusetts murder case. Oscar Hernandez Jr. was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Boston on charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying under oath. He is not related to Aaron Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez and two other men are charged in the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough. Pistorius trial: Prosecutor chides defense witness (Yahoo Sports) - An expert witness for the defense at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius was supposed to help the athlete's assertion that he killed his girlfriend by mistake last year, but he ended his testimony on Thursday amid blistering attacks on his credibility by a prosecutor who accused him of slipshod analysis and fuzzy explanations. Roger Dixon, a former forensic scientist for the South African police, was frequently on the back foot as he tried to fend off sharp questions from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who says Pistorius is lying and fatally shot Steenkamp on purpose after a nighttime argument in his home. Legal analysts say Judge Thokozile Masipa will review the mass of testimony in its totality, which is said to be almost 2,000 pages so far, and that it can be misleading to assess the course of the trial by a single witness. Defense lawyer Barry Roux, for example, hounded police witnesses with questions about alleged mishandling of evidence at the house where Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013. Affidavit: Smuggler threats follow Puig from Cuba (Yahoo Sports) - The smugglers who helped Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig leave Cuba on a speedboat have made death threats against him and against a Cuban boxer who says he defected with Puig, according to court documents. The documents are part of a federal lawsuit in Miami and describe a dangerous odyssey of shady characters, unpaid smuggling debts and threats of violence that have followed Puig since he left Cuba by boat in June 2012. The tale is based almost entirely on the account of the boxer, Yunior Despaigne, who says he is afraid he will be hurt by the smugglers or their associates if Puig hasn't paid them money he owes. In a 10-page affidavit, Despaigne said a smuggler he knew as ''Leo'' sent someone to see him in Miami to deliver a message. UCLA's Jordan Adams to return for junior season (Yahoo Sports) - Jordan Adams will return to UCLA for his junior season and won't enter the NBA draft. The sophomore guard from Atlanta said Thursday he's had fun playing college basketball and he's excited about the team the Bruins will have next year. They'll be without sophomore Kyle Anderson and freshman Zach LaVine, both of whom said this week they're leaving school early to go pro. Adams led the Bruins in scoring with 17.4 points per game, was the second-leading rebounder with 5.3 per game, and set the school single-season steals record with 95. Hitchcock: Blues chances hinge on Miller (Yahoo Sports) - Just as last spring, the St. Louis Blues have the higher seed but the unenviable task of facing the defending Stanley Cup champion in the first round of the playoffs. For the Blues to prevail against the Chicago Blackhawks in a matchup of 100-point teams and long-time rivals with Game 1 Thursday night, coach Ken Hitchcock says they'll need standout play from goalie Ryan Miller. ''We're going to need our goalie to be great,'' Hitchcock said Wednesday. He'll try to thwart a lineup filled with scoring threats, especially with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews back from lengthy injury absences. Jets' Johnson not concerned about knee, carries (Yahoo Sports) - Newly signed Jets running back Chris Johnson has no concerns about whether his surgically repaired knee will be healthy in time for training camp or how New York will split carries in its backfield. Johnson was signed Wednesday by the Jets after he was released by the Tennessee Titans on April 7. Johnson adds that a report suggesting he has arthritis in the knee is ''not accurate.'' After balking at splitting carries last season, Johnson says this year ''is about winning,'' and sharing the workload with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell isn't an issue.

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Critics, knee are no concern for Jets RB Johnson (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:29 pm]
Chris Johnson knows what a lot of people are saying about him. Well, the New York Jets running back is listening - and can't wait to silence the critics. ''I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me ... and prove the naysayers wrong.'' Johnson was signed Wednesday to a two-year deal after he was released by the Tennessee Titans on April 7. He said there were other teams interested, but New York was his first - and, it turned out, only - visit.
Kentucky coach Calipari awaits players' decisions (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:07 pm]
Kentucky coach John Calipari has been too busy promoting his latest book to reflect on last week's NCAA championship game loss to Connecticut. Some clarity began to emerge Thursday, when guard James Young became the first to announce that he will enter the NBA draft, leaving forward Julius Randle and twin guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison to decide if they will follow him as speculated or return for another season. In all cases, Calipari said he has provided them enough information to make a decision. Regarding last week's tweet from ex-Kentucky player Rex Chapman that Calipari was headed to the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, the coach told former Wildcats star Anthony Davis he wasn't, but also joked ''unless you'll come with me.'' The coach conceded that Kentucky's surprising recovery from a shaky stretch run to reach the NCAA final - where the Wildcats lost 60-54 to Connecticut - ratcheted up discussion about his and players' pro prospects.
Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:57 pm]
Former NFL star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron in the Canadian Football League. The veteran receiver signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday after impressing team officials at a minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla. He last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England. ''Chad Johnson did an outstanding job the last three days,'' Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. He was very happy and very excited to be on the field again and we are happy to welcome him to the Alouettes.'' Johnson, who once changed his last name to Ochocinco, spent most of his 11 NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Wildcats G James Young to enter NBA draft (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:52 pm]
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Kentucky guard James Young has announced that he will enter the NBA draft, becoming the first of the Wildcats' heralded freshmen to turn pro.
Aaron Hernandez associate accused of lying to feds (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:51 pm]
An associate of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has appeared in federal court in Orlando, Fla., on charges in a gun trafficking investigation related to Hernandez's Massachusetts murder case. Oscar Hernandez Jr. was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Boston on charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying under oath. He is not related to Aaron Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez and two other men are charged in the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd in North Attleborough.
Pistorius trial: Prosecutor chides defense witness (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:44 pm]
An expert witness for the defense at the murder trial of Oscar Pistorius was supposed to help the athlete's assertion that he killed his girlfriend by mistake last year, but he ended his testimony on Thursday amid blistering attacks on his credibility by a prosecutor who accused him of slipshod analysis and fuzzy explanations. Roger Dixon, a former forensic scientist for the South African police, was frequently on the back foot as he tried to fend off sharp questions from chief prosecutor Gerrie Nel, who says Pistorius is lying and fatally shot Steenkamp on purpose after a nighttime argument in his home. Legal analysts say Judge Thokozile Masipa will review the mass of testimony in its totality, which is said to be almost 2,000 pages so far, and that it can be misleading to assess the course of the trial by a single witness. Defense lawyer Barry Roux, for example, hounded police witnesses with questions about alleged mishandling of evidence at the house where Pistorius killed Steenkamp in the early hours of Feb. 14, 2013.
Affidavit: Smuggler threats follow Puig from Cuba (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:38 pm]
The smugglers who helped Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig leave Cuba on a speedboat have made death threats against him and against a Cuban boxer who says he defected with Puig, according to court documents. The documents are part of a federal lawsuit in Miami and describe a dangerous odyssey of shady characters, unpaid smuggling debts and threats of violence that have followed Puig since he left Cuba by boat in June 2012. The tale is based almost entirely on the account of the boxer, Yunior Despaigne, who says he is afraid he will be hurt by the smugglers or their associates if Puig hasn't paid them money he owes. In a 10-page affidavit, Despaigne said a smuggler he knew as ''Leo'' sent someone to see him in Miami to deliver a message.
UCLA's Jordan Adams to return for junior season (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:24 pm]
Jordan Adams will return to UCLA for his junior season and won't enter the NBA draft. The sophomore guard from Atlanta said Thursday he's had fun playing college basketball and he's excited about the team the Bruins will have next year. They'll be without sophomore Kyle Anderson and freshman Zach LaVine, both of whom said this week they're leaving school early to go pro. Adams led the Bruins in scoring with 17.4 points per game, was the second-leading rebounder with 5.3 per game, and set the school single-season steals record with 95.
Hitchcock: Blues chances hinge on Miller (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:14 pm]
Just as last spring, the St. Louis Blues have the higher seed but the unenviable task of facing the defending Stanley Cup champion in the first round of the playoffs. For the Blues to prevail against the Chicago Blackhawks in a matchup of 100-point teams and long-time rivals with Game 1 Thursday night, coach Ken Hitchcock says they'll need standout play from goalie Ryan Miller. ''We're going to need our goalie to be great,'' Hitchcock said Wednesday. He'll try to thwart a lineup filled with scoring threats, especially with Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews back from lengthy injury absences.
Jets' Johnson not concerned about knee, carries (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:03 pm]
Newly signed Jets running back Chris Johnson has no concerns about whether his surgically repaired knee will be healthy in time for training camp or how New York will split carries in its backfield. Johnson was signed Wednesday by the Jets after he was released by the Tennessee Titans on April 7. Johnson adds that a report suggesting he has arthritis in the knee is ''not accurate.'' After balking at splitting carries last season, Johnson says this year ''is about winning,'' and sharing the workload with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell isn't an issue.

Spartacus' Tips

MMA, or Mixed Martial Arts is catching on all over the world. There has been talks, mostly by UFC president Dana White, about trying to get it recognized as an official Olympic sport. While this still appears to be a long way off, here are the top five reasons why MMA should be an Olympic sport ...

Did you know that the first Super Bowl, the football championship game held annually by the National Football League, dates back to January 15, 1967?

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NBA Soccer
The Al Jefferson Effect: Now that the Bobcats are playoff-bound, how they want their big man to help next [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:53 pm]
What affect will Jefferson have on the development of Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller?

Blazers survive adversity to surge into playoffs (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:07 pm]
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- After starting off as one of the hottest teams in the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers wilted a bit after the All-Star break.

Amar’e Stoudemire: Knicks didn’t always buy into Mike Woodson’s coaching [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:00 pm]
Can you blame them?

2014 PBT Awards: Coach of the Year [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:59 pm]
Ballots show a tight race

Carmelo Anthony: “I want to come back…I also want to win.” [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:15 pm]
It really comes down to this: Does he trust Phil Jackson and Knicks management to build a winner quickly?

Winless Watch: Which MLS team’s most likely to break through this weekend? [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:53 pm]
Which MLS teams can join New York in leaving the ranks of the winless?

Murders soar in Brazil World Cup city during police strike [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:47 pm]
(Updates with strike ending, number of deaths) By Silvio Cascione BRASILIA, April 17 (Reuters) - A police strike ended on Thursday after unleashing a surge in violent crime in Brazil's third-largest city just two months before it is due to welcome hordes of soccer fans for the World Cup, authorities said. At least 39 homicides were committed during the two-day strike in and around the northeastern city of Salvador that added to fears about Brazil's ability to ensure public safety during the global soccer tournament. Violence swept the city after state police went on strike on Tuesday night to demand better pay and other benefits, prompting the federal government to dispatch troops to restore order in Salvador and nearby towns. Local media reported looting at supermarkets and stores, leading shop owners to close their businesses in a city that is one of Brazil's most popular tourist destinations.

Premier League Power Rankings: Liverpool or Chelsea for the title? – Week 34 [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:24 pm]
Unstoppable Reds continue to roll, but where did the contenders shake out in our latest rankings?

Marc de Grandpre rejoins Red Bulls [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:17 pm]
HARRISON, N.J. (AP) -- Marc de Grandpre is returning to the New York Red Bulls as head of commercial operations.

Boost for Bayern Munich as Neuer expects to return against Real Madrid [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:17 pm]
Germany's No.1 missed the win over Kaiserslautern with a calf injury he picked up against Borussia Dortmund but he is confident of being available for the trip to the Bernabeu

NFL NHL
Critics, knee are no concern for Jets RB Johnson (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:29 pm]
Chris Johnson knows what a lot of people are saying about him. Well, the New York Jets running back is listening - and can't wait to silence the critics. ''I can turn the bad things people are saying into a good thing for me ... and prove the naysayers wrong.'' Johnson was signed Wednesday to a two-year deal after he was released by the Tennessee Titans on April 7. He said there were other teams interested, but New York was his first - and, it turned out, only - visit.

Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:57 pm]
Former NFL star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron in the Canadian Football League. The veteran receiver signed a two-year deal with the Montreal Alouettes on Thursday after impressing team officials at a minicamp in Vero Beach, Fla. He last appeared in an NFL game during the 2011 season with New England. ''Chad Johnson did an outstanding job the last three days,'' Alouettes general manager Jim Popp said in a statement. He was very happy and very excited to be on the field again and we are happy to welcome him to the Alouettes.'' Johnson, who once changed his last name to Ochocinco, spent most of his 11 NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Vikings sign safety Kurt Coleman (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:13 pm]
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings have signed former Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman.

Jets' Johnson not concerned about knee, carries (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:03 pm]
Newly signed Jets running back Chris Johnson has no concerns about whether his surgically repaired knee will be healthy in time for training camp or how New York will split carries in its backfield. Johnson was signed Wednesday by the Jets after he was released by the Tennessee Titans on April 7. Johnson adds that a report suggesting he has arthritis in the knee is ''not accurate.'' After balking at splitting carries last season, Johnson says this year ''is about winning,'' and sharing the workload with Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell isn't an issue.

Aaron Hernandez associate accused of lying to feds (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 9:45 am]
An associate of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been arrested on charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to a federal grand jury. Oscar Hernandez Jr. was indicted Wednesday by a grand jury in Boston. Authorities say he is not related to Aaron Hernandez. Aaron Hernandez and two other men are charged in the June 17 shooting death of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player who was found dead about a mile from Aaron Hernandez's North Attleborough home.

No surprises: Niemi to start for San Jose in series opener [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:49 pm]
Head coach Todd McLellan took his time announcing this one, though.

Report: Hextall ‘in the mix’ for Vancouver GM job [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:26 pm]
Meanwhile, no word on Torts.

Fuel, meet fire: Torres to return for Sharks-Kings Game 1 [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:25 pm]
Oh, this should be good.

Now with Pens' attention, Jackets prep for Game 2 (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:19 pm]
The Columbus Blue Jackets don't feel they're doomed after blowing a two-goal lead in a Game 1 loss of their first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. ''It's not about missed chances, or feeling sorry about it,'' goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky said at Thursday's optional workout, 13 hours after falling 4-3 in Pittsburgh. The Blue Jackets had 11 skaters appear in their very first playoff game. The Penguins came back with two power-play goals in the span of 45 seconds to tie it before Brandon Sutter's game-winner midway through the third period.

Palat questionable for Game 2, Bolts don’t expect Bishop back ‘anytime soon’ [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:19 pm]
Not great developments on the injury front.

Baseball Golf
Teixeira hopes to rejoin the Yankees on Sunday (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:00 pm]
Mark Teixeira could be back in the New York Yankees' lineup Sunday. The first baseman walked twice, struck out and scored a run Thursday in his first extended spring training game since injuring his right leg. Teixeira is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled Sunday, when the Yankees finish a four-game series against Tampa Bay. ''I'll be ready Sunday,'' Teixeira said.

Revere's RBI single ifts Phillies over Braves 1-0 (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:53 pm]
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Ben Revere's RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning lifted the Philadelphia Phillies to a 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Thursday afternoon.

Cleveland's Jason Kipnis ejected at Detroit (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:40 pm]
DETROIT (AP) -- Cleveland second baseman Jason Kipnis was ejected from Thursday's game against the Detroit Tigers after striking out in the third inning.

Affidavit: Smuggler threats follow Puig from Cuba (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:38 pm]
The smugglers who helped Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig leave Cuba on a speedboat have made death threats against him and against a Cuban boxer who says he defected with Puig, according to court documents. The documents are part of a federal lawsuit in Miami and describe a dangerous odyssey of shady characters, unpaid smuggling debts and threats of violence that have followed Puig since he left Cuba by boat in June 2012. The tale is based almost entirely on the account of the boxer, Yunior Despaigne, who says he is afraid he will be hurt by the smugglers or their associates if Puig hasn't paid them money he owes. In a 10-page affidavit, Despaigne said a smuggler he knew as ''Leo'' sent someone to see him in Miami to deliver a message.

Reds break from slump, start getting players back (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 12:32 pm]
The Cincinnati Reds are starting to come around following their worst start in two decades. Closer Aroldis Chapman is throwing off the mound again. Jonathan Broxton is back to pitching the ninth inning. Johnny Cueto pitched a three-hitter for his third career shutout.

Miguel Angel Jimenez set for Champions Tour debut (The Associated Press) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:50 pm]
DULUTH, Ga. (AP) -- Miguel Angel Jimenez, Bernhard Langer and Fred Couples are looking to build off the best Masters ever for players 50 and over.

Kuchar shrugs off Masters letdown, grabs early Heritage lead (Reuters) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:44 pm]
(Reuters) - Matt Kuchar shrugged off his Masters near-miss last week to surge into the clubhouse lead during the opening round of the RBC Heritage in South Carolina on Thursday. Kuchar, who contended in Sunday's final round at Augusta National before slipping back into a tie for fifth, put that disappointment behind him and shot a five-under-par 66 on a cool, breezy morning at Harbour Town on Hilton Head Island. "Once I got out there this morning, I was ready to go," the six-times PGA Tour winner told Golf Channel after finishing in style with a 15-foot birdie at his final hole.

Watch: New golf trick shot mixes in baseball bat (PGA) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 8:52 am]
Trick shots have been getting a lot of run around these parts lately, thanks largely to the Bryan Brothers.

Which golf club scares you the most? (PGA) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 6:54 am]
Back in December, while playing in the PNC Father-Son Challenge, Jack Nicklaus was asked a simple question: Over the years, did he have a favorite club or set of clubs? "People ask me what my favorite club is, and I always said the shot I was playing at the time," Nicklaus said. But if I had a 1-iron in my hand it was my favorite club. If I had a sand wedge in my hand it was my favorite club.

Westwood leads by a shot in Malaysia [BBC.co.uk Sports: April 17, 2014, 6:48 am]
England's Lee Westwood shoots an opening-round 65 at the Malaysian Open to lead by one shot from Nicolas Colsaerts.

Motor Sports Tennis
France, NASCAR earn Cynopsis Sports Awards (NASCAR.com) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 2:01 pm]
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and NASCAR Fuel for Business were honored at the Cynopsis Sports Awards Thursday at the Yale Club in New York City. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team owner Rick Hendrick presented France with the Vision Award, which recognizes the executive of the year from a sports league or organization who has demonstrated innovation and transformed an industry. "Brian has revolutionized the sport of NASCAR, working with the entire NASCAR industry -- the teams, tracks and sponsors." France became NASCAR Chairman and CEO in 2003, achieving unprecedented growth in the value of the sport's broadcast rights.

NASCAR has shown outstanding parity through first eight races of 2014 [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:59 pm]
NASCAR chairman Brian France's unwavering stance to bring parity to the sport during his 10-year tenure is finally paying dividends.

VIDEO: Chinese GP Paddock Pass [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:20 pm]
News and notes from the ground in China from NBCSN's Will Buxton.

BREAKING NEWS: Swan Racing’s future in NASCAR in question [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:17 pm]
Just eight races into the Sprint Cup season, the future of the two-car Swan Racing team is looking rather murky, with the potential of everything from reorganization to scaling back involvement, if not outright shutting down.

MotorSportsTalk’s predictions: Chinese GP [NBC Sports: April 17, 2014, 1:00 pm]
F1 heads to China with change in the wind, only making the predictions harder for our experts.

Robson out of French Open & Wimbledon [BBC.co.uk Sports: April 17, 2014, 11:48 am]
Britain's Laura Robson confirms she will miss the French Open and Wimbledon after having minor wrist surgery.

Robson to miss French Open & Wimbledon [BBC.co.uk Sports: April 17, 2014, 11:26 am]
Britain's Laura Robson confirms she will miss the French Open and Wimbledon after having minor wrist surgery.

Robson out of French, Wimbledon with injured wrist (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 11:21 am]
LONDON (AP) -- Britain will be without its top female player at Wimbledon after Laura Robson announced she is having surgery on her injured left wrist.

Djokovic, Nadal race into Monte Carlo quarters (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 11:04 am]
Defending champion Novak Djokovic raced into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals in dispatching Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain 6-0, 6-1 in 47 minutes on Thursday. Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal also had little trouble, beating Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-3, while fourth-seeded Roger Federer shook off a slow start in a 6-4, 6-1 win against Czech player Lukas Rosol. The second-seeded Djokovic won his second-round opener in 45 minutes and has yet to be tested this week. He next faces Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.

Djokovic races into Monte Carlo Masters quarters (Yahoo Sports) [Yahoo! Sports: April 17, 2014, 9:38 am]
Defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia raced into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals on Thursday, dispatching Pablo Carreno Busta 6-0, 6-1 in just 47 minutes. Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal also had little trouble reaching the last eight, beating Italian Andreas Seppi 6-1, 6-3, while fourth-seeded Roger Federer shook off a slow start in a 6-4, 6-1 win against Czech player Lukas Rosol. The second-seeded Djokovic had won his second-round match in 45 minutes and has not been tested this week, while the top-seeded Nadal has looked a bit sloppy at times. Djokovic served out the match, tormenting him one last time with an exquisite drop shot.


Let the (real) games begin: It's NBA playoff time

MIAMI (AP) — Finally, the NBA playoffs are set. Duke freshman Jabari Parker declares for NBA draft

FILE - In this March 16, 2014 file photo, Duke's Jabari Parker (1) tries to shoot over Virginia's Darion Atkins during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament in Greensboro, N.C. Parker says he plans to meet with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski when he returns to Durham, N.C., on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, and he will decide Wednesday whether to declare for the NBA draft or return to college for his sophomore year. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)Jabari Parker is hoping to become Duke's latest one-and-done star to become the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.


Boston police safely blow up suspicious backpacks

Boston Marathon's finish line on TuesdayBOSTON (AP) — Survivors, first responders and relatives of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over the city's resilience in the face of a terror attack.


At Boston Marathon, a chance to finally finish

In this photo taken March 29, 2014, amputee marathon runners Jeff Glasbrenner, left, Chris Madison, center, and Andre Slay go through an exercise where they remove their running legs and adjust fittings in Little Rock, Ark. the runners must stop periodically in a race and try to loose as little time as possible. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Just one tiny misstep at mile 15 of the Boston Marathon last spring ruined any chance of amputee runner Jeff Glasbrenner breaking four hours.


Affidavit: Smuggler threats follow Puig from Cuba

Los Angeles Dodgers' Yasiel Puig runs to first base as he grounds out during the eighth inning of a baseball game on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, in San Francisco. San Francisco won 2-1. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)MIAMI (AP) — The smugglers who helped Los Angeles Dodgers star Yasiel Puig leave Cuba on a speedboat have made death threats against him and against a Cuban boxer who says he defected with Puig, according to court documents.


Wildcats G James Young to enter NBA draft

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky guard James Young will enter the NBA draft, becoming the first of the Wildcats' heralded freshmen to turn pro. War of words in Northwestern-athletes' union fight

WASHINGTON (AP) — Northwestern University and a group trying to unionize college athletes are trading accusations as the National Labor Relations Board considers the school's appeal of a federal ruling that scholarship athletes essentially are employees of the university and therefore have the right to unionize, bargain collectively and even strike. Montreal team sign Chad Johnson to 2-year contract

MONTREAL (AP) — Former NFL star Chad Johnson will make his return to the gridiron in the Canadian Football League. Jets sign former Titans RB Chris Johnson

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2013, file photo, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs ahead of San Francisco 49ers defenders Demarcus Dobbs (83) and NaVorro Bowman (53) on a touchdown reception in an NFL football game in Nashville, Tenn. The New York Jets signed the former Titans running back Wednesday, April 16, a little over a week after he was officially released by Tennessee on April 7. (AP Photo/Wade Payne, File)NEW YORK (AP) — Always fast on the field, Chris Johnson is looking to quickly prove his critics wrong.


Shumenov gets big chance against ageless Hopkins

In this photo taken April 5, 2014, WBA and IBA light heavyweight boxing champion Beibut Shumenov, of Kazakhstan, poses in Las Vegas. Shumenov and IBF light heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins will fight at the DC Armory on Saturday, April 19. (AP Photo/Joe Coomber)LAS VEGAS (AP) — The garage of Beibut Shumenov's waterfront mansion is filled with brand-new boxing gloves he likes to collect. There's a hyperbaric chamber in the master closet, and weights and machines are jammed into a large room.


04/14/2014 09:52 AM
Bubba wins second Masters in three years
Bubba Watson won the Masters for the second time in three years on Sunday, beating Jordan Spieth and Jonas Blixt by three shots.
04/17/2014 01:30 PM
Freshman Parker leaving Duke to enter draft
Duke freshman Jabari Parker is passing up his final three years of eligibility to enter the NBA draft.
04/17/2014 02:08 PM
Hernandez associate accused of lying to feds
An associate of former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez has been arrested on charges of obstruction of justice, witness tampering and lying to a federal grand jury.
04/17/2014 03:21 PM
Mattingly voices worry over threats to Puig
The latest news about Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig's perilous escape from Cuba has taken his relationship with manager Don Mattingly into new territory.
04/17/2014 01:57 PM
New Jet Johnson motivated to silence critics
After sitting on the market for 12 days and hearing a year's worth of whispers about his declining value as a running back, Chris Johnson comes to the New York Jets resolved to prove the doubters wrong.
04/17/2014 12:35 PM
Kobe takes next starring role in documentary
A documentary on the life and career of Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will air this fall on Showtime.
04/17/2014 03:17 PM
Mankato players to play for reinstated coach
Football players at Minnesota State, Mankato, say they are ready to practice under reinstated coach Todd Hoffner.
04/17/2014 02:27 PM
Ocho Canada: Johnson joins CFL's Alouettes
Chad Johnson is headed north of the border.
04/17/2014 01:18 PM
Griffin supports medical marijuana in NBA
Clippers forward Blake Griffin has added his voice to calls for the NBA and other professional sports leagues to investigate allowing players to use medical marijuana as a means to manage pain.
04/17/2014 06:46 AM
Palace loss should not stand - Cardiff
Cardiff City claim Crystal Palace got hold of important team information in advance of a key Premier League match.
04/17/2014 03:02 PM
Hull KR 21-20 Hull FC
04/17/2014 08:47 AM
Rosberg plans Hamilton Bahrain talk
04/17/2014 11:48 AM
Robson out of French Open & Wimbledon
04/16/2014 11:58 PM
VIDEO: Why Moyes should fear 'brave' Everton
BBC Sport's Pat Nevin looks at the reasons why former Everton manager David Moyes may be in for an uncomfortable return to Goodison Park on Sunday.
04/17/2014 10:01 AM
'I'll play it out until the song is over'
Boxing's oldest world champion Bernard Hopkins talks metaphysics, prison, chess and delusion - and why he's not ready to quit
04/17/2014 05:48 AM
O'Sullivan to face Hull in first round
04/17/2014 12:04 PM
Rodgers hopeful on Sturridge return
04/17/2014 09:50 AM
Lambert 'can't discuss suspensions'
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert says he is unable to talk about why two members of his coaching staff have been suspended.
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