National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Spurs rout Thunder to take 3-2 lead in West finals

SAN ANTONIO (AP) Tim Duncan had 22 points and 12 rebounds, Manu Ginobili scored 19 points and the San Antonio Spurs rolled to a 117-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Western Conference finals.

Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green each had 14 points, Boris Diaw added 13 and Tony Parker scored 12 for the Spurs, who are a win away from returning to the NBA Finals after losing in seven games to Miami last year.

Kevin Durant scored 25 points, but Russell Westbrook had only 21 points and seven assists after finishing with 40 points and 10 assists in Game 4.

Game 6 is Saturday in Oklahoma City.

The Jekyll and Hyde series continued between the past two Western Conference champions, as the road team has been thumped in every game of the best-of-seven series.

After losing twice in Oklahoma City by an average of 11 points, San Antonio upped its winning margin in San Antonio to 26.7 points.

"We played so much harder, sharper, smarter, everything we talked about," Ginobili said. "It was a fun-to-play and fun-to-watch game. So when we play like this it's a completely different story."

San Antonio outscored Oklahoma City by 10 points in both the second and third quarters, allowing both teams to sit their starters for much of the fourth.

Serge Ibaka, who dominated the interior in Oklahoma City, was held to six points and two rebounds.

"We have to regroup and come back better in a few days," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said.

The Spurs started Matt Bonner in place of Tiago Splitter to draw Ibaka out of the paint and it worked early. It also helped defensively, as Ibaka attacked Bonner but missed his first five shots on a series of running hooks. Duncan was also able to help defensively, rolling over to block a layup attempt by Ibaka.

San Antonio's crowd was raucous from the start, booing Westbrook heavily during pregame introductions and erupting joyously when Green scored the team's first points on a 3-pointer 1 1/2 minutes into the game

Oklahoma City withstood the early barrage, going on an 11-2 run for its largest lead of the game.

San Antonio kept Westbrook out of the paint early, but that only opened up the lanes for Jackson, who made his first five shots. He had four straight layups and then drained a 3-pointer with Parker closely defending.

Three-point shooting got San Antonio back into the game, as Patty Mills and Green closed the first with consecutive 3s to tie the game at 32-all.

Diaw's 3 gave San Antonio a 42-37 lead with 6:12 left in the first half and resulted in an Oklahoma City timeout.

Ginobili's 3 gave a 65-52 lead with 6.9 seconds left in the first half.

Ginobili's third 3 gave San Antonio an 87-70 lead with 3 minutes remaining in the third.

NOTES: San Antonio used its 31st different starting lineup this season, with Bonner making his first start. He averaged 11.3 minutes in 61 regular-season games but his playing time has been curtailed to 4.8 minutes while appearing in all 16 postseason games. Diaw started in Bonner's place in the second half. . Durant was sent back to the sideline after attempting to substitute with 10:29 remaining in the second quarter. A timekeeper told official Tony Brothers that Durant was not at the table in time to enter prior to an inbounds. "I was there," Durant said. "That's (wrong). You know that." Durant was able to enter about 10 seconds later, however. . Ibaka wore a heating pad on his injured calf when he was not in the game.

AP Source: Former Microsoft CEO wins Clippers bid

LOS ANGELES (AP) Shelly Sterling reached an agreement Thursday night to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion in what would be a record deal if approved by the NBA, according to an individual with knowledge of the negotiations.

The individual, who wasn't authorized to speak publicly, told The Associated Press that Ballmer and the Sterling Family Trust now have a binding agreement. The deal now must be presented to the NBA.

Shelly Sterling negotiated the sale after her husband, Donald Sterling, made racist remarks that were made public. The remarks included Sterling telling girlfriend V. Stiviano not to bring blacks to Clippers games, specifically mentioning Hall of Famer Magic Johnson. Donald Sterling must also approve the final agreement as a 50 percent owner.

Ballmer beat out bids by Guggenheim Partners and a group including former NBA All-Star Grant Hill after presenting an "all-around superior bid," the individual said. Ballmer made more than an hour-long personal visit to Shelly Sterling's Malibu home Sunday and laid out his plan.

"He knocked their socks off, they bonded, had a good connection," the individual said. The amount was also the largest of the offers, and Ballmer was one potential buyer to deal with rather than multiple in a group.

On Thursday, Magic Johnson posted on his Twitter account: "Steve Ballmer owning the Clippers is a big win for the City of LA and all the people who live in the City of Angels!"

It's unclear if the deal will go through. The individual said that though Donald Sterling was not involved in the negotiations, "at the end of the day, he has to sign off on the final process. They're not going to sell his 50 percent without him agreeing to it."

Donald Sterling's attorney says that won't happen. "Sterling is not selling the team," said his attorney, Bobby Samini. "That's his position. He's not going to sell."

That's despite a May 22 letter obtained by The Associated Press and written by another one of Sterling's attorneys that says that "Donald T. Sterling authorizes Rochelle Sterling to negotiate with the National Basketball Association regarding all issues in connection with a sale of the Los Angeles Clippers team." It includes the line "read and approved" and Donald Sterling's signature.

Samini said Sterling has had a change of heart primarily because of "the conduct of the NBA." He said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Sterling for life and fine him $2.5 million as well as to try to oust him as an owner was him acting as "judge, jury and executioner."

"They're telling me he should stand back and let them take his team because his opinion on that particular day was not good, was not popular?" Samini said. "That his team should be stripped from him? It doesn't make sense. He's going to fight."

It's unclear how the agreement will affect a special hearing of NBA owners planned for Tuesday in New York to consider the charge against Donald Sterling for damaging the league with his comments. A three-quarters vote of the 30 owners to support the charge would have resulted in the termination of both Sterlings' ownership of the franchise.

The deal with Ballmer will go to the NBA for the league's approval sometime before Tuesday, the individual said, ostensibly rendering Tuesday's hearing moot.

Silver has said his preference would be for the franchise to be sold rather than seized - and that means sold in its entirety, with neither Sterling retaining a stake. Though according to the deal's terms Ballmer will own 100 percent of the team, Shelly Sterling may continue to be involved under conditions worked out privately with Ballmer, the individual said.

Franchise sale prices have soared since the current collective bargaining agreement was ratified in 2011. The Milwaukee Bucks were just sold to New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for about $550 million, an NBA record.

Last year, Vivek Ranadive's group acquired a 65 percent controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings at a total franchise valuation of more than $534 million.

The bid for the Clippers, purchased by Sterling in 1981 for a little more than $12 million, blew right past those.

It is not Ballmer's first foray into potential NBA ownership. Ballmer and investor Chris Hansen headed the group that agreed to a deal to buy the Kings from the Maloof family in January 2013 with the intention of moving them to Seattle, where the SuperSonics played until 2008.

But Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson lobbied the NBA for time to put together a bid to keep the team in California, and though the Ballmer-Hansen group later increased its offer, owners voted to deny the bid for relocation and the Kings were sold to Ranadive.

The person with knowledge of the deal said that Ballmer would have to ensure the team remains in Los Angeles.

The former Microsoft CEO helped Bill Gates transform the company from a tiny startup with fewer than 40 employees and $12 million in annual revenue into the world's most valuable business. The pair met in 1973 while living down the hall from each other at a Harvard dorm.

During his tenure at Microsoft, Ballmer was known for his competitive drive and wild displays of emotion and hand-waving.

At his farewell address to Microsoft employees, he high-fived and hugged audience members, pumped his fists in the air, and even shed tears as the popular 1987 song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life" played on the sound system. In a video of the event widely viewed on YouTube, he screams: "You work for the greatest company in the world!"

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AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney contributed to this report.

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Tami Abdollah can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/latams

Rangers knock out Habs in 6, reach Cup finals

NEW YORK (AP) Dominic Moore scored in the second period, Henrik Lundqvist bounced back from his worst performance in the playoffs and the New York Rangers beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 on Thursday night to advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

The Rangers are in the championship round for the first time since winning it all in 1994.

Lundqvist and the Rangers shook off a 7-4 road loss Tuesday night and took out the Canadiens on home ice. Lundqvist needed to make only 18 saves in his team-record tying ninth postseason shutout. He was pulled after allowing four goals in less than two periods Tuesday.

Lundqvist had been 0-5 since 2009 in non-Game 7 clinching games. He leaped several times in his crease with his hands raised as streamers were fired off from the rafters.

Montreal's Dustin Tokarski, who replaced injured No. 1 goalie Carey Price after Game 1, was solid in making 31 saves.

The Stanley Cup finals will begin Wednesday at either Chicago or Los Angeles, which leads the Western finals 3-2.

Montreal made one final push after Tokarski was pulled for an extra skater with 1:53 left. Lundqvist held off the Canadiens as fans chanted "Hen-rik! Hen-rik!"

The Rangers broke the deadlock late in the second period after some good grinding work in the left corner by rugged forward Derek Dorsett. The puck came free to defenseman Ryan McDonagh, who sent it behind the net to Brian Boyle in the right corner. Boyle spotted Moore alone in the crease and fed a crisp pass for a hard shot that got through Tokarski with 1:53 left.

Moore punctuated his third goal of the playoffs with an emphatic fist pump and yell.

Montreal came right back and drew its second power play of the night when Brad Richards was forced to hook Thomas Vanek as the struggling forward was making a strong drive in front from behind the net with 12.9 seconds remaining in the period.

The Canadiens failed on their two power plays and finished 2 for 23 in the series.

Tokarski kept his club in it early in the third when the Rangers pushed for an insurance goal. Tokarski did splits and lunges to deny Derick Brassard on the doorstep after New York moved the puck out from behind the net.

Vanek, who hasn't scored in seven games, nearly gave the Canadiens the lead with 4:45 to go in the second when he put a shot on net while Montreal had a mini 2-on-0 in front. Lundqvist made a desperate rolling move onto his back and got a piece of the puck with a swipe of his blocker, deflecting it away from the top of the net.

Montreal got back forward Brandon Prust after he served a two-game suspension for a late hit in Game 3 that broke Derek Stepan's jaw. But Dale Weise sat out two nights after he was wobbled by a hit to the head from John Moore that cost the Rangers defenseman a two-game suspension that will carry into the Cup finals opener.

Despite being outshot 11-5 in the scoreless first period, the Canadiens had the most dangerous chances and controlled play in the New York end in the closing minutes of the frame.

The Rangers came out quickly and built a 6-0 edge in shots that grew to 11-1, before Montreal began pressuring Lundqvist. For several stretches, the Canadiens successfully cycled the puck inside the New York edge and drew nervous groans and sighs from the crowd each time they put it in on net. Alex Galchenyuk had the best shot, a backhander that Lundqvist turned aside with 5:10 remaining.

New York did little with the first power play, a goalie interference call against Canadiens captain Brian Gionta 4:50 in, and then killed an interference call on defenseman Marc Staal that lasted through the first minute of the second period.

NOTES: Lundqvist earned his team-record 41st career playoff victory. ... The Rangers hadn't won a series in less than seven games since the first round in 2008 against New Jersey. ... Montreal hasn't been to the Stanley Cup finals since winning the title in 1993.

Goodell responds to NFLPA criticism

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell responded Thursday night to criticisms by NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith, who contended a double standard exists when it comes to the league doling out punishments.

In comments to ESPN earlier Thursday, Smith specifically addressed the delayed discipline of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay, who has yet to be punished by Goodell after being arrested in March for allegedly operating a vehicle while intoxicated and while in the possession of prescription drugs and $29,000 in cash. Irsay was formally charged Friday.

"The personal conduct policy applies to commissioners, owners, players, coaches," Goodell told reporters at the New England Patriots' team facility. "It applies to all of us. We all have a responsibility to do things the right way. There are several players that we haven't taken any action on, either.

"We like to get the facts, we like to be thorough and we like to understand them. Charges were just filed last week. I don't believe there's a credibility gap."

Goodell was at Foxborough to speak at a football safety clinic for mothers, a program aimed at furthering safer play at all levels of the game.

Smith pointed toward Goodell's swift and sometimes harsh action when dealing with troubled players in the past.

"The commissioner understands that there is a significant credibility gap that exists in the National Football League," Smith said. "What troubles our players is the speed and the deliberateness of the punishment that they have seen in the past when it comes to a player.

"There isn't the same speed or deliberate action when it comes to an owner, and that's a problem."

Goodell said the league has yet to collect all the facts on Irsay's case.

"You can judge us when we make our final determinations, which you undoubtedly will, and so will everybody else," he said. "That's fair. But don't make judgments until we've had an opportunity to do what's in the best interest of everyone, which is getting the facts. Everybody wants process. DeMaurice Smith talks about process all the time.

"The process is important."

The safety program organized by the Patriots comes more than a week after a group of retired players filed another lawsuit against the league, accusing team doctors and trainers of supplying them with powerful painkillers and other drugs that allowed them to keep playing despite injuries, but led to serious complications later in life.

The lawsuit, filed on behalf of more than 500 former players, charges the NFL with placing profits ahead of players' health.

Goodell addressed the league's continued role in the education and pursuit of safer play.

"We want you to learn the right techniques from the moment you play, regardless if you play one year, two years, or if you play flag football," he said. "I think our popularity, the platform we have, gives us an opportunity and it's part of our responsibility to make the game safer, not only at the NFL level to protect our players, but also at every other level of football, and frankly, sports in general."

Patriots owner Robert Kraft said the health and safety of his players have never been greater in his 20-plus years of owning the team.

"I know I'm a better human being from having played the game, and when I played, it wasn't as safe as it is now," he said. "So, I'm a big believer in the lessons you learn in football."

Kraft also was asked about the arraignment Wednesday of former New England tight end Aaron Hernandez, who pleaded not guilty to two more counts of first-degree murder stemming from a 2012 double homicide. Hernandez already is facing charges for the 2013 slaying of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was released by the team following his arrest last summer.

"A year ago when he was arrested, we cut him from the team, I made a statement," said Kraft, who at the time said the organization was "duped" if the accusations were true. "I was very clear about it, and you can go back and read what I said then, and that's the way that I continuously feel."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Obama says sports concussions need more attention

WASHINGTON (AP) Saying he wants kids to play sports but play safely, President Barack Obama called Thursday for more and better research into the effects and treatment of concussions in youth athletes. The issue is one of growing concern for parents who spend weekends driving their kids from one game to another.

But without direct authority over youth sports leagues, Obama's ability to address the issue meaningfully is limited to calling for research and trying to jumpstart a national conversation to teach parents, coaches and young athletes about concussions - the goal of a summit he hosted at the White House.

He also said a new attitude is needed where players who have been hit don't feel wimpy for sitting out a game or two.

"We have to change a culture that says you suck it up," Obama said, adding that he probably suffered mild concussions as a young football player. He noted that concussions are also an issue in soccer, hockey, lacrosse and other contact sports.

The event brought together representatives of professional and college sports associations, coaches, parents, young athletes, doctors and others. The president was introduced by Victoria Bellucci, a high school graduate from Huntingtown, Maryland, who suffered five concussions during her high school and club soccer career.

Victoria said her injuries made it hard to focus on her assignments. She eventually turned down a full scholarship to play soccer at Towson University in Maryland and will instead attend Flagler College in Florida in the fall, the White House said.

"Concussions have drastically altered my life," she said.

Obama, an avid sports fan whose two daughters are active in sports, also highlighted millions of dollars in pledges from the NFL, the National Institutes of Health and others to conduct research that could begin to provide answers and improve safety.

"We want our kids participating in sports," he said. "As parents, though, we want to keep them safe."

Nearly 250,000 kids and young adults visit hospital emergency rooms each year with brain injuries caused by sports or other recreational activity, Obama said. He noted that the figure excludes those who see a family doctor or seek no treatment.

Obama previously had waded into the debate over concussions, saying last year that he'd have to think "long and hard" about allowing a son to play football because of the risk of head injury.

The NFL recently agreed to pay $765 million to settle concussion claims from thousands of former players whose complaints range from headaches to Alzheimer's disease. That settlement is still awaiting a judge's approval, while a group of former professional hockey players has filed a class-action lawsuit of their own against the NHL for head injuries sustained on the ice.

Among the financial pledges Obama highlighted is a $30 million joint research effort by the NCAA and Defense Department and an NFL commitment of $25 million over the next three years to promote youth sports safety.

UCLA also will use $10 million from New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch, who attended the summit, to launch a program to study sports concussion prevention, outreach, research and treatment for athletes of all ages, but especially youth. The money will also support planning for a national system to determine the incidence of youth sports concussions.

Panelists who discussed the issue after Obama spoke agreed that information and education are important. Otherwise, parents' fears about on-field safety could lead them to pull their kids from team sports, an outcome the panelists agreed would be harmful for young people because of the benefits of participation in athletics.

"Do you replace kicking a soccer ball with Doritos?" asked former NFL linebacker LaVar Arrington.

Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, said he worries that without education "we walk away from sports." He said he would not have attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, "if not for sports."

Odierno participated in the summit because concussions are a form of traumatic brain injury, which has become a signature issue of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan because of the widespread use by insurgents of improvised explosive devices.

Dartmouth researcher Richard Greenwald said Obama hit the right notes with his remarks but that it was important to realize that a lot of work remains before the problem can be considered solved.

"Public awareness is a great thing as long as it leads to better diagnosis, better treatment, better coaching, better outcomes," Greenwald said.

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Associated Press writer Eric Olson in Omaha, Nebraska, contributed to this report.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dsupervilleap

Curry speaks out on Warriors' coaching change

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry received the NBA's yearlong community assist award, spoke passionately about his charitable works, then dished out another assist to his former coach.

In his first extended public comments since Mark Jackson was fired, Curry said Thursday that he voiced his support for the coach but the team "made a decision otherwise." He also said the "semi-quick hire" of Steve Kerr was "kind of a shock" to most of his teammates.

"There's no sugarcoating it - it was a weird, expedited situation that we didn't see coming," Curry said. "And guys are human. You have to be able to adjust to it and have some time to respond. That's kind of what happened. I think we'll be fine once we have a clear picture of what's going on next year."

Curry had been the strongest supporter of Jackson before the Warriors dismissed the coach May 6 after a 51-win season and back-to-back playoff appearances. Golden State agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with Kerr on May 14 and introduced him at a news conference in Oakland on May 20.

Even with owner Joe Lacob and general manager Bob Myers going against Curry's request, the All-Star point guard insists he still believes in the franchise's commitment to winning.

"One thing I can say about this organization, they want to win," Curry said. "Each decision is geared toward winning. That's something that flies well with a lot of players - that they're going to try to put us in the best position to win. Obviously, I had a certain opinion of Coach Jackson that they made a decision otherwise, and I heard the reasons, but I won't dwell on it.

"As long as we're focused on winning and taking advantage of the roster we have and the opportunity we have with this window to try to continue to get better, I'm just looking forward to next year and getting back to making that happen," Curry said. "I haven't lost faith in that at all. As much as I supported Coach Jackson and loved everything about playing for him, I think they're about winning."

Curry said he has spoken to Kerr three or four times by phone already. He said the conversations have been more informal than any basketball strategy, and he's looking forward to in-person meetings after Kerr finishes his job as a broadcast analyst for TNT in the Western Conference finals.

Curry said his support of Jackson stems from their bond off the court and his memories of the organization before the coach arrived: a lot of losses - and two ankle surgeries - under Don Nelson and Keith Smart.

"He was a sign of stability for me," Curry said. "I had three coaches in three years, and he embodies what I know is good around here with the Warriors - winning and that kind of feel. It was a lot different in my first few years."

But Curry said he will adjust, learn Kerr's style and play just as hard for him as he did for Jackson. And he has no doubt his teammates will, too.

"At the end of the day, all of the guys in the locker room are trying to win," Curry said. "I know Steve Kerr has that mentality and that mission as well. Those two things will align, and we'll be fine."

Earlier, Curry was awarded the NBA's 2013-14 Kia Community Assist Seasonlong Award in front of a crowd on Golden State's practice floor that included many of the individuals and groups he impacted.

Curry's charity of choice, ThanksUSA, will receive $25,000 from the NBA and Kia Motors. ThanksUSA provides college, technical and vocational school scholarships for children and spouses of active-duty military personnel. Curry has served as a spokesman for the charity since 2010.

Curry's other charitable works included distributing 38,000 bed nets in Tanzania last summer with the "Nothing But Nets" campaign. He also helped raise money for the fight against malaria in Africa by donating three bed nets for every 3-pointer he made.

Curry called the award a "huge honor" and a team effort. He thanked his family, agents, members of the Warriors, the NBA, and several organizations for partnering with him.

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Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

Pacers' Hibbert, Stephenson fined for flopping

MIAMI (AP) Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert of the Indiana Pacers have both been fined for flopping in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Stephenson was fined $10,000 for his second violation of the playoffs. Hibbert was fined $5,000.

Stephenson's flop with 8:23 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Pacers' 93-90 win over the Miami Heat. Hibbert's was with 5:18 remaining.

Game 6 is Friday in Miami. The Heat lead the series 3-2.

NBA expands games to Mexico, London

NEW YORK (AP) The NBA will play regular-season games in Mexico City and London as part of its extended global schedule for next season.

The Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves will play at the Mexico City Arena on Nov. 12. The Milwaukee Bucks will face the New York Knicks at The O2 on Jan. 15.

The two regular-season games will follow the NBA global preseason games in October that will feature five teams - Brooklyn, Cleveland, Miami, Sacramento and San Antonio - playing a series of games in Brazil, China, Germany and Turkey.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says, "These regular-season games will bring the excitement and incredible competition of our league to more fans in Europe and Latin America."

Blackhawks beat Kings 5-4 in 2OT to stay alive

CHICAGO (AP) Michal Handzus scored at 2:04 of the second overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 5-4 in Game 5 on Wednesday night to stay alive in the Western Conference final.

Brandon Saad made a nice pass to the middle to Handzus, who beat goalie Jonathan Quick with a backhander for his second goal of the playoffs. Handzus celebrated by jumping against boards behind the net as the sellout crowd of 21,871 roared.

Saad had a goal and two assists for the defending Stanley Cup champions, who stopped a three-game losing streak. Patrick Kane set a playoff career high with four assists.

Game 6 is Friday night in Los Angeles.

Pacers stay alive with 93-90 Game 5 win over Heat

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Paul George scored 31 of his 37 points in the second half Wednesday night and almost single-handedly kept the Indiana Pacers alive in the Eastern Conference finals with a 93-90 victory over the Miami Heat.

The Pacers still trail 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. Game 6 will be played Friday night in Miami.

It took a frantic effort just to extend the series, even with the foul-plagued LeBron James held to just seven points in 23 minutes. Chris Bosh led the Heat with 20 points missed a potential go-ahead 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

Indiana turned a 50-41 deficit into a 64-57 lead after three, then led by as much as 11 in the fourth. But Miami's last-ditch rally made it 91-90 with 16 seconds to go before Indiana held on.

Report: Golisano expresses plans to buy Bills

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Former Sabres owner Tom Golisano has met with Buffalo Bills officials and public leaders, and informed them of his interest in purchasing the NFL franchise, said people involved with the negotiations.

One person said Wednesday that Golisano also has had talks with developer Scott Congel to be his partner in the potential ownership group. The person added that their discussions have included the proposal of building a new stadium in West Seneca, about a 10-minute drive from the Bills' current home, Ralph Wilson Stadium. The people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because Golisano has not publicly announced his plans.

The land where the proposed stadium would be built belongs to Pyramid Management Group, which is owned by Robert Congel, Scott's father. The Syracuse-based company is one of the largest shopping mall developers in the northeast.

A person at Golisano's office told the AP Wednesday that he has no comment regarding the Bills. Golisano also failed to return a message left on his cellphone.

Congel declined to comment about a potential partnership with Golisano in an interview with The Buffalo News published on the newspaper's website Wednesday evening. Congel did confirm he has made plans to redevelop the Shops at West Seneca land, which would include the potential of building a 60,000-plus seat stadium.

The Bills are on the market after the team's Hall of Fame owner and founder, Ralph Wilson, died in March. Wilson's estate hired an attorneys and an investment banking firm last week to oversee the sale. They are expected to begin contacting prospective ownership groups by the end of next month.

A new owner could be identified by as early as the end of July. The new owner would require approval from 24 of the NFL's 31 owners.

New York City real estate mogul Donald Trump has already announced his interest in buying the team. Bills Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly has also said he has had talks to partner with numerous ownership groups.

Golisano's entry into the bidding process does not come as a surprise.

He first discussed the possibility of buying the Bills not long after purchasing the Sabres out of bankruptcy in 2004. Golisano said he would especially become involved in an ownership group if there were any fears of the team relocating.

Wilson's death has raised concerns about the franchise's long-term future because of the possibility the team could be sold and eventually relocated to a more prosperous market such as Toronto.

Golisano sold the Sabres in 2011. Later that year, he became involved in a group that failed in a bid to purchase the Major League Baseball Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 72-year-old Golisano made his fortune founding Rochester-based Paychex, a payroll processing firm. His net worth was most recently estimated by Forbes to be at about $2 billion. He's from Rochester, but now makes his home in Florida.

He came to prominence in New York in the late 1990s, when he made three unsuccessful gubernatorial runs.

Congel was previously a principal at Pyramid. He has most recently run into difficulties attempting to redevelop the Medley Centre mall outside of Rochester. The mall is now vacant.

Earlier this month, The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported that Monroe County officials voted to declare that Congel was in default of his tax deal by failing to invest at least $165 million to redevelop the property.

Pyramid's holdings, by comparison, have been lucrative with the company estimated to bring in estimated $5 billion in annual revenue from its 17 properties.

The land the Shops at West Seneca are located upon are partially undeveloped and on the site of a former mall.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said a new stadium would be the next step in securing the team's long-term future.

New York state has also hired an architectural and design firm to identify between three or four sites across the region that could serve as the team's new home.

The Bills are essentially locked into playing at Ralph Wilson Stadium through the end of the 2019 season under the terms of the lease the franchise reached with the state and county in December 2012.

New 49ers tackle Jonathan Martin back from illness

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Jonathan Martin's early weeks with his new San Francisco 49ers teammates have been spent recovering from mononucleosis and regaining strength zapped by the viral infection.

Because he was contagious, Martin initially had to isolate himself for part of this month while sick. That has limited his on-field time during the team's offseason program, and he didn't practice during the voluntary organized team activity Wednesday.

"I was working out here for a couple of weeks before I got sick," Martin said. "I was here from the beginning. It was important for me to be with the team and start the program. It's been fun to be around the guys and get to know everybody and learn the offense. It's been great. My teammates are great. The coach is great. So I'm excited to get back at it. It kind of stunk to have mono."

Martin was traded from the Dolphins to the Niners in mid-March, providing him with a new start after his departure from Miami last October. He accused teammate Richie Incognito of bullying in a scandal that overshadowed the franchise's 8-8 season.

Martin is aware of Incognito's apologetic posts directed to him on Twitter from March following the veteran offensive lineman's earlier rant and harsh comments about Martin.

Martin said again Wednesday he is thrilled to be "moving forward" and he hasn't given the situation with Incognito "a second thought."

An NFL investigation determined Incognito and two other Dolphins offensive linemen engaged in persistent harassment of Martin. Incognito was then suspended and missed the final eight games.

San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick said he hopes a Miami investigation from April that names him will soon be over.

Earlier this month, Miami Police released two calls to a 911 dispatcher saying a woman identifying herself as Jesus was lying naked in a bed and refusing to leave. The callers said the woman wanted to spend time with a third man who wasn't there.

Police say the players also involved in the case are 49ers wide receiver Quinton Patton and Seahawks receiver Ricardo Lockette. None of them has been charged with any wrongdoing.

"Well, the district attorney has the information today," Kaepernick said. "At this point, I'm going to let them handle their business. I did nothing wrong in that incident. So, I want to do everything I can to let the DA close this matter. I'm very eager to have the matter closed."

Coach Jim Harbaugh reiterated Wednesday he would like the 49ers to re-sign Kaepernick before the season starts, while also acknowledging reaching agreements on long-term commitments can be complicated. Kaepernick, who took over as the starter in November 2012 from departed 2005 No. 1 overall pick Alex Smith, would enter the final season of his original rookie deal.

"Again, I'm hopeful. I'm a big proponent of Colin Kaepernick, his abilities. On record as stating that I would like to see that happen. It's a process. I know you've heard me use that word before in many other ways. But, that is not like some of the other examples. There's a process in place. And it'll play out."

Kaepernick wouldn't say what he thought would be a "fair" contract, a word he has used regarding his future with the franchise.

"I'm letting my agents handle all of that and I'm worried about being out here trying to get better with my teammates and get ready for the season," Kaepernick said. "I'm playing football regardless."

And he is thrilled to get to work with his deep receiving corps featuring Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd, who hardly looks as if he just spent a year out of football.

Lloyd signed to a one-year contract last month to rejoin the team that drafted him the fourth round in 2003.

He caught 105 passes for 1,510 yards and 13 touchdowns for San Francisco from 2003-05. That included leading the team with 48 receptions, 733 yards receiving and five TD catches in 2005.

Lloyd has also played for the Washington Redskins (2006-07), Chicago Bears (2008), Denver Broncos (2009-11), St. Louis Rams (2011) and New England Patriots (2012) during his career.

"I had seen plays he had made. But, I hadn't seen him on a consistent basis," Kaepernick said. "Coming off of a year off from football, he's been amazing out here. Very smooth, very disciplined with his routes and an easy target to throw to."

NOTES: New WR Stevie Johnson sat out Wednesday because "he had a little something he's working through," Harbaugh said without elaborating. ... Whether RG Alex Boone is absent because of his frustration with an unsettled contract situation, Harbaugh wouldn't say. "I've always chosen, as a policy, not to discuss contracts publicly," he said. ... Also absent: TE Vernon Davis and RB Frank Gore, who has been a regular working out at team headquarters "The workouts are voluntary," Harbaugh said.

Ramirez apologizes for behavior with Red Sox

BOSTON (AP) Manny Ramirez apologized Wednesday for his behavior with the Boston Red Sox in his first public appearance since being hired as a minor league player-coach with the Chicago Cubs.

His apology came before a pregame ceremony in which the team honored its 2004 team that won Boston's first World Series championship since 1918.

"I realize that I behaved bad in Boston," Ramirez said. "The fans were great. I also played great when I was here, but I realized I behaved bad. I apologize for that. I'm a new man."

He said he has been attending church for almost a year.

During seven-plus seasons with Boston, Ramirez hit .312 with 274 homers and 868 RBIs before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008. While with Boston, he often jogged to first base and after fly balls, had a physical altercation with traveling secretary Jack McCormick and exhibited quirky behavior that led to the phrase, "Manny being Manny."

Ramirez was the last of more than 30 members of the 2004 team introduced before Boston's game against the Atlanta Braves. He was the MVP of that World Series sweep over St. Louis.

He threw the ceremonial first pitch, but Johnny Damon cut it off, rolled to the ground and relayed the ball to catcher Jason Varitek behind the plate. It mimicked a play in 2004 when Damon fielded a ball off the center-field wall and threw toward third base. But Ramirez inexplicably dove and cut it off rather than let it go through, allowing Baltimore's David Newhan to get an inside-the-park homer.

Ramirez received a warm reception as he entered the field through a door on the left field scoreboard in the Green Monster. He occasionally would use the door to go into the cramped area behind the scoreboard during pitching changes.

On Wednesday night, the crowd chanted "Manny, Manny," when he was introduced and walked toward the infield.

Current designated hitter David Ortiz is the only Red Sox player remaining from the 2004 team.

"Now that I see David and the rest of the guys, I wish I could have done better," Ramirez said. "I wish it turned out better than it did."

Now he hopes to make a good impression on players in the Cubs' farm system.

"I'm looking forward to that," Ramirez said. "I can go over there and meet those kids and teach them what to do in the field and what not to do off the field. It's going to be a blast. We're going to have fun out there."

Other players from the 2004 team who received loud ovations where pitchers Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling and outfielder Kevin Millar. Schilling, who has skipped other Fenway Park events this season while being treated for cancer, was accompanied by his son Gehrig as they walked in together from left field.

Keith Foulke, who was on the mound for the final out of the 2004 World Series, carried the championship trophy as he made his way to the infield.

"You work your entire career and you always dream of being on top for at least once," Foulke said before Wednesday's game. "We're honored to be a part of something that, unfortunately, had been set up by a lot of failure. We're proud to be a part of it, I'll tell you that."

Ramirez appeared with a haircut in which the sides of his head were shaved, leaving hair only on top.

"It's Manny," Foulke said, with a laugh.

Cowboys ready to fill void with Sean Lee out again

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) When Sean Lee's left leg slid out from under him and he didn't get up, teammate Barry Church figured the Dallas Cowboys were in for some bad news on the first day of offseason practice.

The fifth-year safety also knew Dallas' defensive leadership was shifting his direction.

"I was right behind him when it happened," Church said Wednesday, a day after Lee tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and put his season in jeopardy. "And that's one of my best friends on the team. Feels kind of awful. But we have his back no matter what."

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett refused to offer any details on Lee's injury after participating in a home run derby for charity at the home of the Texas Rangers. The team reported on its website that Lee has been told he has a torn ACL.

Even with a quick recovery from such an injury, Lee wouldn't be ready until the second half of the season. His teammates talked like they were expecting to be without the linebacker who hasn't played a full season in his four years in the league.

"You always have to stay positive," cornerback Brandon Carr said of a defense that was plagued by injuries a year ago and finished last in the league and is now without Lee and career franchise sacks leader DeMarcus Ware, who was released in March. "It's a very unfortunate situation - a guy that works his butt off each and every day. He brings a lot to the table, but at the same time it's the next man up mentality."

First on that list might be Church, who assumed a leadership role when Lee missed the final three games last year with a neck injury and is versatile enough to fill the role of a linebacker for a few snaps.

Church missed the last 13 games in 2012 with a torn Achilles tendon before bouncing back last year with the first 16-game season of his career. If the Cowboys are to break a three-year rut of 8-8 finishes and a four-year playoff drought, plenty will fall to him.

And Lee has already told him that.

"Me and a couple of the other guys are going to have to take over that defense, just lead the younger guys in the right direction," Church said. "Feel like we can do that."

The oft-injured Lee went down during the 11-on-11 portion of Tuesday's practice. His left leg slid out from under him as rookie guard Zack Martin was closing in for a block, and Martin rolled over him.

Contact isn't allowed in offseason workouts, but blockers frequently engage linemen and linebackers before plays stop in 11-on-11 drills. Lee was already on his way to the ground when Martin lunged over him.

"I don't really know what happened," said Martin, the Cowboys' first-round pick at No. 16. "Two guys playing hard, running to the ball."

The 27-year-old Lee hasn't played a full season in four years. The middle linebacker has missed 15 games over the past two years, including five of the final six games in 2013.

Lee signed a six-year extension worth up to $51 million last year, but durability-based incentives are built into the deal. He's already likely to miss out on a bonus in 2015 for not playing enough snaps in 2013 or the coming season.

When healthy, Lee is among the most productive linebackers in the league, leading his position with 11 interceptions since entering the league in 2010 despite missing 18 games.

But his injury history dates to his college days, when he also tore a knee ligament during offseason workouts. The right ACL injury in spring practice in 2008 kept him out that season, pushing his senior year to 2009.

He was already back at the team's practice facility a day after his latest injury, going over plays with some of the younger players. That group includes rookie fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens, who could get a shot at replacing Lee.

"He wants to win, if he's on the field or not," Hitchens said. "It means a lot to me, being a young guy that he's helping me out already. He's been here for a while, so he knows all the pieces of the puzzle. So I always go to him and ask questions."

Not that he wants it, but Lee apparently will have plenty of time to answer them.

LA fan alleges Blackhawks' Crawford sprayed face

LOS ANGELES (AP) Los Angeles police say they are investigating a battery report from a fan who says Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford sprayed water in his face during Game 4 of the Western Conference final against the Kings at Staples Center.

LAPD spokeswoman Rosario Herrera confirmed the investigation for The Associated Press on Wednesday, shortly before the Blackhawks faced the Kings in Game 5 in Chicago.

Crawford did not speak with the media after the team's morning skate.

"I just heard about it on my way over," coach Joel Quenneville said earlier Wednesday. "First I heard of it. I'm not aware of the situation other than what you just said. I'm not worried about it right now. I'm worrying about the game."

Los Angeles had a 3-1 series lead heading into Game 5.

The report alleges Crawford used a water bottle to spray the face of the heckling fan, who was thrown out of the arena and later filed the complaint with police. Crawford finished the game on the bench in the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss.

Police had no further details, and could not say whether charges are likely.

The investigation was first reported by TMZ.

Man United and Bucs owner Glazer dies at 85

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Malcolm Glazer, a self-made billionaire who shunned the spotlight while leading the takeover of English soccer's Manchester United and transforming the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Super Bowl champions, died Wednesday. He was 85.

The reclusive Palm Beach businessman had been in failing health since April 2006 when a pair of strokes left him with impaired speech and limited mobility in his right arm and leg.

He was not involved in day to day operations of either of his sports franchises and was rarely spotted at games in recent years, instead remaining at his mansion in South Florida while entrusting leadership of the Bucs to three of six children, sons Bryan, Joel and Ed.

While some disgruntled fans blame ownership for a stretch of futility that has seen the Bucs miss the playoffs the past six seasons, the elder Glazer generally will be remembered for making the commitment necessary to keep the team from moving to another city in the 1990s.

Glazer raised his profile in 2005 with a $1.47 billion purchase of Manchester United that was bitterly opposed by fans of one of the world's richest soccer clubs. Before that, his unobtrusive management style helped transform the Bucs from a laughingstock into a model franchise that won the franchise's only NFL title 12 years ago.

"The thoughts of everyone at Manchester United are with the family tonight," Manchester United said in a statement.

Born Aug. 25, 1928, in Rochester, New York, the son of a watch-parts salesman, Glazer began working for the family business when he was 8 and took over the operation as a teenager when his father died in 1943.

As president and CEO of First Allied Corp., the holding company for the family business interests, he invested in mobile-home parks, restaurants, food service equipment, marine protein, television stations, real estate, natural gas and oil production and other ventures. Forbes ranked him this year, along with his family, as tied for No. 354 on the world's richest people list with an estimated net worth of $4.2 billion.

He purchased the Bucs for a then-NFL record $192 million in 1995, taking over one of the worst-run and least successful franchises in professional sports. And while Glazer once said he probably overpaid by $50 million, the value of the team has more than quadrupled.

"Malcolm Glazer was the guiding force behind the building of a Super Bowl-champion organization. His dedication to the community was evident in all he did, including his leadership in bringing Super Bowls to Tampa Bay," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. "Malcolm's commitment to the Bucs, the NFL and the people of the Tampa Bay region are the hallmarks of his legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Linda, their six children and the entire Glazer family."

In an era when many owners of professional teams attract nearly as much attention as the athletes, Glazer was content to allow three of his sons handle daily operation of the Bucs and rarely granted interviews or visited the team's offices and training facility.

But he was a fixture at games before his health became an issue, and he spent generously to acquire players and provide coaches and front office personnel with the resources to do their jobs. To fans accustomed to the frugal ways of original Bucs owner Hugh Culverhouse, Glazer was a savior.

"With our major investment here, we didn't come in here to have a loser," Glazer said after acquiring the Bucs.

In one of its boldest moves as NFL owners, the Glazer family fired Tony Dungy as coach after the 2001 season and paid a hefty price - four draft picks and $8 million cash - to the Raiders for the opportunity to sign Jon Gruden to a contract.

The move paid off right away. Gruden led the Bucs to their first NFL title the following season, and Glazer joined in the celebration in the locker room.

"He came from heaven and he brought us to heaven," Glazer said. "We were waiting for the right man and the right man came - Jon Gruden."

The Glazers didn't get a warm reception in the United Kingdom, where Man U fans protested and burned Glazer's likeness in effigy because they feared the American was acquiring the storied British soccer franchise purely for financial gain.

At the time, Mark Longden of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, said his group was "calling on all supporters to wear black. If they can get hold of black flags, they should wave them because it represents what is happening to the club."

The club, though, has had success on the pitch, winning the League Cup in 2006, 2009 and 2010, the English Premier League from 2007-09, 2011 and 2013 and European Cup and Club World Cup titles in 2008.

Within a year of the leveraged buyout, Glazer had two strokes and his children ran the 20-time English champions, with all of them sitting on the board of directors and owning the remaining 90 percent of the club that was not listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2012.

Although United's debt has dropped from a high of high of $1.1 billion in 2008-09 to $590 million, anger toward the Glazers has remained among sections of the fan base. The family's divisiveness in Manchester has been exacerbated by its reluctance to engage with any supporters or speak publicly about the club.

Despite its worst league finish in 24 years this season, United has been generating record revenue, each quarter, with income set to exceed $700 million in the 2013-14 financial year.

Before he bought the Buccaneers, Glazer made failed bids to land an NFL expansion franchise for Baltimore and purchase the New England Patriots, San Diego Padres and Pittsburgh Pirates. He also tried to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Rupert Murdoch before turning his attention to Manchester United.

"I will remember Malcolm Glazer as someone whose influence made a lasting impact on both ends of the Atlantic in the world's two greatest sports leagues, the National Football League and the Barclays Premier League, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan said.

"But his greatest legacy may be in the state of Florida, where I am now fortunate to own the Jacksonville Jaguars. Malcolm brought to our state the Bucs, Super Bowls and of course a world championship in 2002. In essence, he helped turn a good football state into a great football state. He will be missed but always admired."

Chrome to face a large field at Belmont

California Chrome has become Thoroughbred racing's biggest star, extending his win streak to six with authoritative victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but his presence won't dissuade the competition from the Belmont Stakes.

There's too much recent history against him and the 1 1/2-mile distance represents such a daunting assignment.

Fans would love to see a Triple Crown winner -- 36 years has been too long a wait -- but 11 Thoroughbreds have come up short in the Belmont Stakes since Affirmed completed the last sweep, and dominant three-year-olds like Point Given and Afleet Alex bungled one of the earlier legs with a substandard performance.

There's no guarantee California Chrome will show up with his best effort on June 7.

He remains the most talented member of the group, with the potential to run his rivals off their feet once again, and is training forwardly at Belmont Park according to reports. But it's impossible to shake the foreboding sense of doubt that comes with this familiar territory and that emboldens the connections of California Chrome's rivals.

With 10 days left until the 146th running of the Belmont, 11 opponents appear likely to take on the heavy favorite. Here is a brief look at the competition, rated in categories:

Top challengers

Wicked Strong posted a 3 1/2-length win in the TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial two starts back and exits a troubled fourth in the Kentucky Derby. Based locally with Jimmy Jerkens, he could benefit from the hometown advantage and brings a strong closing kick to the equation.

Tonalist was derailed by a lung infection prior to the Wood, knocking him out of the Kentucky Derby as well, but he'll join the Triple Crown fray off of a four-length score in his stakes debut, the May 10 Peter Pan. That sterling performance netted a field-best 107 BRIS Speed rating and stamped him as a serious upset contender.

Ride On Curlin rebounded from a rough trip in the Kentucky Derby, recording a commendable second in the Preakness, and the hard-trying colt is a candidate to finally break through at the highest level.

Potential players

Commanding Curve made up a lot of ground through the stretch of the Kentucky Derby, registering a career-best effort in second, and the improving colt's connections hope the long Belmont stretch plays to a late runner's strengths.

Samraat won his first five starts in New York, including a pair of Grade 3 events, before sustaining his first setback with a second in the Wood. He missed fourth by a nose in the Kentucky Derby and will look to fire a career-best while returning to familiar surroundings at Belmont Park.

Medal Count should appreciate the 1 1/2-mile distance with his pedigree and the Dynaformer colt didn't get the chance to offer his best in the Kentucky Derby, finishing eighth after experiencing severe interference in the midst of a rally. He's eligible to run well if handles the deep track at Belmont Park.

Social Inclusion is under consideration for both the Belmont and seven-furlong Woody Stephens on the undercard, but nobody expects owner Ron Sanchez to opt for a lesser spotlight. The colt needs to handle the post parade better than he did at Pimlico, but his speed can't be overlooked.

Commissioner was nearly omitted from this grouping, registering pedestrian speed ratings through most of his career, but he exits an encouraging second in the Peter Pan and the grinder could find the 1 1/2-mile distance to his liking. Trainer Todd Pletcher upset last year's Belmont Stakes.

Pretenders

Kid Cruz was overmatched when stepping up to face Grade 1 competition in the Preakness; Materrhorn hasn't been a serious factor in three starts this year; and Matuszak probably needs easier company to be effective.

Pace scenario

Social Inclusion, if he does enter the Belmont, figures to gun for the early lead. Samraat and Tonalist likely will be up close stalking the action but rate as possible wild cards, horses who could flash speed in an attempt to steal it.

California Chrome also owns plenty of speed, leading wire to wire in the San Felipe Stakes earlier this spring, and Victor Espinoza will have the option to send him if he breaks forwardly -- a slow early pace can be expected at the 1 1/2-mile distance.

However, Espinoza would prefer to settle into a similar trip that he enjoyed in the Kentucky Derby, in the clear tracking the front-runners while waiting until the top of the stretch to ask his mount. The jockey will attempt to save as much as possible for the latter stages regardless of early positioning.

The 1 1/2-mile distance has proven to be a great equalizer and California Chrome faced pedigree questions entering the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby five weeks ago. He's probably the first Belmont favorite to open his racing career with four straight races at less than six furlongs, short dashes that are usually filled by precocious types with distance limitations.

The bright chestnut has outrun any pedigree concerns so far and California Chrome now stands on the cusp of history.

Tiger Woods withdraws from US Open

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) Tiger Woods withdrew from the U.S. Open on Wednesday as he recovers from back surgery that has kept him out of golf for nearly three months.

It will be the second U.S. Open, and sixth major, he has missed because of injury over the last six years.

The U.S. Open is June 12-15 at Pinehurst No. 2, where Woods tied for third in 1999 and was runner-up in 2005. The announcement on his website was not surprising. A week ago at a promotional event for the Quicken Loans National at Congressional, Woods said he still had not taken a full swing with a golf club and did not know when he could.

He had microdiscetomy surgery to relieve a pinched nerve on March 31.

"Unfortunately, I won't be there because I'm not yet physically able to play competitive golf," Woods said. "I'd like to convey my regrets to the USGA leadership, the volunteers and the fans that I won't be at Pinehurst. The U.S. Open is very important to me, and I know it's going to be a great week."

Woods last played on March 9 at Doral, where he closed with a 78 while suffering what he called back spasms. He withdrew in the middle of the final round at the Honda Classic with back pain a week earlier.

Woods is a three-time U.S. Open champion, one short of the record shared by Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Bobby Jones and Willie Anderson. His most recent U.S. Open victory was in 2008 at Torrey Pines, where he won in a playoff over Rocco Mediate a week before he had season-ending knee surgery.

That was his 14th victory in 46 majors, a winning rate of 30 percent as a pro. He has not won a major since Torrey Pines, leaving him four short of Nicklaus' record.

Woods missed the British Open and PGA Championship after knee surgery in 2008. He missed the U.S. Open and British Open while allowing leg injuries to heal in 2011. He missed the Masters for the first time in April because of back surgery.

Nicklaus said earlier Wednesday that Woods' health would be the biggest obstacle in breaking his record in the majors. Woods called Nicklaus earlier Wednesday to express regrets about missing the Memorial, and Nicklaus said that Woods indicated he was making progress.

"If he's healthy, I think Tiger has got 10-plus years to play top quality tournament golf," Nicklaus said. "And I've said many times, he's got a little over 40 tournaments to play the major championships; he's only got to win five to pass my record. As good a player as he is, I don't think that should be a big deal. But then again, he's got to do it. Plus, he's also got to be healthy to be able to do it."

Woods has not indicated when he might be able to return to competition, saying that would be up to his doctors and how he recovers from the surgery.

"Despite missing the first two majors, and several other important tournaments, I remain very optimistic about this year and my future," he said.

Rangers defenseman Moore suspended 2 games by NHL

NEW YORK (AP) New York Rangers defenseman John Moore was suspended for two games by the NHL on Wednesday for an illegal check to Montreal Canadiens forward Dale Weise's head in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

Moore received a match penalty for the hit in the third period of Montreal's 7-4 home victory Tuesday night.

The suspension matches the two-game ban that Canadiens forward Brandon Prust received for his late hit against Derek Stepan in Game 3 that left the New York forward with a broken jaw. Prust wasn't penalized during the game.

"It's kind of what I would've thought would've happened," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said Wednesday night about Moore's suspension after the team arrived at its New York hotel. "They were very similar plays, and I guess the precedent was set on Prust's hit."

Stepan missed one game because of his injury, but scored two goals in his return to the lineup Tuesday night.

Weise was staggered and looked wobbly following the hit from Moore, but later returned to the game after being cleared by doctors and spending time in a quiet room.

Prust is eligible to play in Game 6 on Thursday night in New York. Moore will miss the remaining two games in the series if it goes the distance, or will sit out Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals if the Rangers - who hold a 3-2 lead - advance with a Game 6 win.

"I think it's fair," Canadiens forward Daniel Briere said about the latest ban. "Brandon paid the price for it. If you talk to us, we're probably thinking more (games). If you talk to the Rangers, they were thinking less, obviously.

"I guess it's kind of a middle ground. I think the biggest thing is seeing that Dale is OK. That's what matters the most for us."

The Rangers, who also traveled to New York on Wednesday, didn't have an immediate reaction to Moore's suspension. Raphael Diaz will likely fill in for Moore on defense, but New York coach Alain Vigneault declined to speculate on that when he spoke earlier in the day before leaving Montreal.

"It was a hit that Johnny caught him a little high in the chest. The player didn't see it coming," Vigneault said. "It probably warrants the penalty that was given on the ice. Other than that, I don't see what else it could warrant, but I've been surprised before.

"The player didn't see him coming, but the guy was admiring his pass a little bit at the same time. Unfortunately, it was a hit and because of the force of the hit, the head seemed to snap back a little bit. But as far as what I know about league standards and from what I heard from the Prust hit where the dynamics of the hit changed because Stepan was hurt, I don't see that at this time."

Open or closed? Mixed signals on Jets' QB battle

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Rex Ryan and Michael Vick might need to huddle up.

While Ryan insisted Wednesday there's "no doubt" the New York Jets have an open competition at quarterback, Vick continued to differ.

So, here's where we are: It's a controversy over a competition that could become a controversy at some point in training camp.

"I think there is competition, there's no doubt," Ryan said after the Jets completed the second day of organized team activities. "As a coach, you love it."

But, shortly after Ryan's news conference, Vick reiterated his comments from last week, and has said since he signed with New York in March, that Geno Smith is the team's starting quarterback.

"Nah," Vick said. "It's not an open competition."

Ryan and general manager John Idzik have preached competition at all positions. While Ryan acknowledged that some competition has to be "manufactured" - for instance, center Nick Mangold, left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson and defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson are in no danger of losing their jobs - players pushing each other on the field improves everyone.

That was the thought when the Jets signed Vick in March; he would give Smith a serious run for the job. But last week, Vick made it clear he thinks this is Smith's job to lose and it's not an open competition, at least not like last year when he and Nick Foles went against each other in Philadelphia.

"We've got two guys who are really pushing to be the starting quarterback," Ryan said, when asked about Vick's comments from last week.

Vick and Smith split snaps with the starting offense Wednesday.

"I've said from Day 1 that I think Geno will be hard to beat out," Ryan said. "But I've also said Mike will have an opportunity to compete, and he definitely will."

The coach added he didn't know why Vick thinks it's not a true competition, but was noncommittal when asked if Vick could be the starter if he outperforms Smith in camp.

"I think we'll let it play out a little bit," Ryan said. "It's the second day of OTAs, so it's not a closed competition."

That's news to Vick, though. He at first danced around questions regarding the quarterback situation and Ryan's comments.

"I'm here to compete every day to help this team win football games," Vick said, later repeating that line a few times before appearing to grow frustrated.

"I don't know how to answer this question," Vick said. "This is the third time around."

Smith, who has repeatedly said he's taking nothing for granted, was not made available to the media.

Vick doesn't appear disgruntled about his situation, and hasn't indicated he was misled when he signed a one-year, $4 million deal and was reunited with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

"I knew what I was getting into when I got here," he said. "It's everything I expected. I'm having fun with the guys. Everything is team oriented. We're just having a good time. We just have to keep everything rolling. That's the most important thing."

One thing's for sure: Whoever wins the job will have a proven receiver in Eric Decker to throw to. But the former Broncos star is going from Peyton Manning to an unsettled quarterback situation.

Arguably the top wide receiver available when free agency opened, Decker visited the Jets first and never left. Now, he's expected to give New York a No. 1-type target.

"I've been telling people I feel like a rookie all over again, which is nice," Decker said. "I've got to prove myself, in a way."

Decker broke out in a big way the last two seasons, catching a combined 172 passes for 2,352 yards and 24 touchdowns.

"The two years I got to spend with (Manning), he made me a better professional," Decker said. "But, again, I see a lot of talent in this quarterback room, and I'm excited about growing with them."

NOTES: S Calvin Pryor, the team's first-round pick, sat out because he needs three wisdom teeth pulled and his mouth is swollen. "I can't put my helmet on," he said. "So (the trainers) don't want me out there with contact right now." He expects to practice next week. ... RB Chris Johnson caused a stir Tuesday night when he tweeted that the Jets should pursue disgruntled Texans WR Andre Johnson. "Anytime you've got another friend in the league, you always want to play with him," Chris Johnson said. ... WRs David Nelson (illness) and Shaq Evans (finishing school) and RB Mike Goodson (knee) were among those not at the voluntary sessions Wednesday. ... The Jets signed CB Brandon Dixon, a sixth-round pick, to a four-year deal. That leaves Pryor and CB Dexter McDougle, a third-rounder, as the only unsigned players of the Jets' 12 selections.

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