National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Canucks get the best of Luongo with shootout win

SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Nicklas Jensen scored in the first period and added the only goal in the shootout and the Vancouver Canucks earned a 4-3 victory over former goalie Roberto Luongo and the Florida Panthers on Sunday.

Alex Burrows had a goal and two assists and Dan Hamhuis also scored for the Canucks. Eddie Lack made 26 saves.

Jimmy Hayes scored two power-play goals for the Panthers. Vincent Trocheck also scored and Luongo stopped 29 shots.

Luongo faced his former team just 12 days being traded from the Canucks to the Panthers on March 4. Luongo is 2-3 since joining the Panthers.

Lack stopped all three shots in the shootout and won against Luongo, his former teammate.

The Canucks won for just the fourth time in 17 games and are 3-4 since they traded Luongo.

Luongo was dealt along with forward Steven Anthony to Florida in exchange for goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Shawn Matthias. This is Luongo's second stint with the Panthers, whom he played for from 2000-06.

Hayes tied the game at 3 on his second goal during a power play with 1:35 left. Brian Campbell's shot was deflected by Hayes, blocked by Lack, then Hayes was able to poke in his own rebound.

Trailing 2-1, the Panthers tied it at 2 on Trocheck's goal at 4:19 of the third. Trocheck brought the puck around the back of the net and was able to sneak it past Lack on the wraparound.

It wasn't long before the Canucks regained the lead. Burrows was able to stuff in a rebound on the power play to make the score 3-2 at 5:34.

The Panthers nearly tied it at 10:47 of the third but a shot by Colby Robak was kicked out of the crease by defenseman Kevin Bieksa.

A quiet first period ended with three goals scored in the final 3 1/2 minutes, two by Vancouver.

The Panthers went ahead 1-0 on a power-play goal by Hayes. Tom Gilbert shot from the slot and Hayes deflected it off his stick at 16:28. It was the eighth power-play goal in the past 12 games for the Panthers.

The Canucks scored twice in less than a minute. Hamhuis shot from the point glanced off the skate of defenseman Robak and into the net to tie it at 1 at 17:42.

Jensen fired a one-timer from the high slot that beat Luongo on the glove side to make it 2-1 at 18:35. It was Jensen's second NHL goal. His first came in Friday's 4-3 loss at Washington.

NOTES: Panthers C Jonathan Huberdeau left the game with an upper-body injury in the first period and didn't return. ... F Sean Bergenheim missed his third consecutive game with a lower-body injury. ... The Canucks are 4-12-1 in their past 17 games and have allowed 28 goals in their past eight games.

Broncos sign former Steelers receiver Sanders

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Before John Elway headed out to the golf course to take advantage of a sunny Sunday in the Rocky Mountains, the Denver Broncos general manager made yet another splash in free agency by signing wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to a three-year, $15 million contract.

The Broncos have been the league's most successful suitors so far, committing nearly $128 million to five players, including three thumpers who will reinforce a defense that was exposed in the Super Bowl: safety T.J. Ward, cornerback Aqib Talib, pass rusher DeMarcus Ware, and two receivers in Bubba Caldwell and Sanders.

"They definitely did a great job from a free-agent perspective," Sanders said. "When I saw them bring in DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward, I was like, `They're stacking up on defense.' I knew with Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas and Julius Thomas and Wes Welker and (Bubba) Caldwell, I was like, `I would fit with these guys really well.' When my agent, Steve Weinberg, got the call, we were definitely fist-bumping. We were hoping that the numbers matched, and they matched. So yesterday was probably one of the best days of my life."

A former Pittsburgh Steelers No. 2 receiver, Sanders can play both the slot and the outside in place of Eric Decker, who left Denver for the New York Jets.

This latest move left several teams fuming, according to NFL.com, which reported that Sanders' agent, Steve Weinberg, shopped is client around after agreeing to a deal with principle with the Kansas City Chiefs.

A call from The Associated Press to Weinberg went straight to voice mail Sunday, and that mailbox was full.

Sanders defended his agent, saying Weinberg did nothing wrong. He said he visited four teams and when he was ready to sign they reached out to all four of those teams to ask for their final offer.

"And I guess the Chiefs felt like they had a deal. But we never officially had a deal," Sanders said.

He said the fact that he was at the Chiefs' facility at the time may have made them believe they had a deal in place.

"There was no handshake. There was no kind of agreement ... we were close to a deal, but it wasn't anything official just yet," Sanders said. "In terms of shopping around, we didn't shop around. Teams were still calling. Teams were still trying to get involved. That's what happened. Steve Weinberg, he did an exceptional job in terms of the whole free-agency process. At times, I was like, `Steve, what is going on? Am I flying East Coast or West Coast?' But I believe in him. Everything that he said was going to happen, happened. I ended up at the place that I needed to be."

Elway said this sort of thing happens this time of year.

"I will say this, we didn't know anything about it, but having been in this for the last three years, that stuff happens quite a bit, so miscommunications happens a lot of times," Elway said.

Sanders, a third-round draft pick in 2010, had 161 catches for 2,030 yards and 11 touchdowns in four seasons with the Steelers. He also has 13 receptions for 172 yards in four career playoff games.

Last year, he caught a career-best 67 passes for 740 yards and six TDs, including four over the Steelers' final six games.

Although not as big as Decker, Sanders is fast and elusive - he ranked fourth in the league last year by causing opponents to miss 15 tackles.

Elway said, "I think he's going to add a lot," to Denver's high-octane offense that shattered several records last year and was the envy of many a wide receiver who marveled at the numbers Manning put up week after week.

"It was amazing and I remember sitting at my house saying, `Man, that's what I want to be a part of someday,"' Sanders said. "It always works out as long as you work hard. They had a really good season last year and hopefully we can repeat the same things and this time finish it off."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

No. 22 Michigan St. upsets No. 8 Michigan 69-55

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Adreian Payne scored 18 points and Gary Harris and Branden Dawson added 15 each to lead No. 22 Michigan State to its second Big Ten tournament title in three years with a 69-55 upset of No. 8 Michigan on Sunday.

The third-seeded Spartans (26-8) are getting healthy and will have some momentum entering the NCAA tournament with four wins in five games.

Top-seeded Michigan (25-8) was led by Big Ten player of the year Nik Stauskas with 17 points and Derrick Walton Jr. had 11, but the Big Ten regular season champs had their seven-game winning streak come to an end.

It was never really close.

Michigan State took control with an early 12-0 run, led 38-29 at halftime and opened the second half with an 8-0 spurt to make it 46-29.

Michigan never got closer than 10 points again.

The Spartans had lost their previous two meetings with Michigan this season but weren't about to lose again Sunday.

For the first time all season, Michigan State started the same five players for a fifth straight game. Harris, who hurt his left shoulder early in the second half, returned later.

Harris, an Indiana native who never got to play for a state basketball title at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, took advantage of this opportunity. He scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Dawson, another Indiana native who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half.

Michigan State has four tournament titles since the Big Ten started the event in 1998.

Michigan, meanwhile, will be waiting to see if this ugly loss could cost it a No. 1 seed in next week's NCAA tournament.

The Wolverines, who narrowly escaped with wins in the quarterfinals and semifinals, were not their usually strong shooting selves as they played for the third time in three days. They avoided matching their season-low point total when Zak Irvin hit a 3 with 15.9 seconds to go and their shooting percentage (31.5) nearly matched a season low, too. Michigan shot 31.1 percent from the field in a 63-61 loss to Charlotte on Nov. 24. And they were outrebounded 38-28.

Michigan's problems started early.

The Spartans went on a 12-0 run to take a 16-9 lead - and never gave it up.

They led by as much as 25-14 in the first half, getting Michigan's top two big men - Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford - into early foul trouble. Coach John Beilein even was called for a technical foul midway through a dreadful half.

Harris finished it off emphatically by taking a pass at midcourt and driving right through Michigan's defense for a one-handed dunk to make it 38-29.

Things didn't get any better for Michigan in the second half.

Michigan State scored the first eight points to make it 46-29, then closed it out with a late 10-4 run that extended the lead to 69-52.

No. 1 Florida holds off Kentucky 61-60 in SEC

ATLANTA (AP) Top-ranked Florida capped a perfect run through the Southeastern Conference when Kentucky failed to get off a shot on its final possession, allowing the Gators to escape with a 61-60 victory in the league championship game Sunday.

Florida (32-2) built a 16-point lead early in the second half, but Kentucky nearly pulled off an improbable comeback to hand the Gators their first loss since early December. Two missed free throws gave the Wildcats (24-10) a final possession, but James Young slipped trying to drive into the lane.

The Gators extended their school-record winning streak to 26 games and awaited a sure No. 1 seed when the NCAA pairings are announced Sunday evening. Patric Young and Michael Frazier II led Florida with 14 points apiece, while Scottie Wilbekin and Casey Prather had 11 each.

Kentucky, also headed for the NCAAs, was paced by Aaron Harrison with 16 points.

No. 6 UVa tops No. 7 Duke 72-63 for ACC title

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) Malcolm Brogdon scored 23 points and No. 6 Virginia claimed its first Atlantic Coast Conference tournament title since 1976 by beating No. 7 Duke 72-63 on Sunday.

Tournament MVP Joe Harris added 15 points and hit the backbreaking 3-pointer with just under 2 minutes remaining for the top-seeded Cavaliers (28-6).

They shot 45 percent, pestered the Blue Devils into 38 percent shooting and used a late 12-3 run to pull away and claim the second ACC tournament title in school history.

Jabari Parker scored 23 points on 9-of-24 shooting for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-8), who were making their 31st appearance in the championship game but were denied their ACC-record 20th title.

Anthony Gill added 12 points and was 10 of 17 from the free-throw line for Virginia. Duke as a team was just 7 of 11 from the line.

The Cavaliers came to Greensboro off of their first outright regular-season title since 1981, and were trying to do something not even Ralph Sampson could do.

It had been a long time - 38 years - since Wally Walker led Virginia to its only previous ACC tournament title.

Now that trophy will have some company.

With its "pack line" defense clicking and holding Duke 13 points below its scoring average, Virginia was in control for most of the day, yet could never get any separation until the final 2 1/2 minutes.

Akil Mitchell hit a shot to make it 61-57, then stripped Parker at the other end to set up Harris' wide-open 3 in transition that extended the lead to seven and had Duke's Rodney Hood fuming.

Harris gave Duke a final chance when he rushed up a shot and Quinn Cook countered with a 3 with 1 1/2 minutes left to pull the Blue Devils back within four.

Brogdon then drove through the Duke defense for a momentum-shifting layup that made it 66-60 with just over a minute to play and caused Duke assistant Jeff Capel to tellingly slump back on the bench in exasperation.

Cook missed a short jumper before Brogdon hit six of eight free throws in the final minute to help the Cavaliers pull away.

Hood finished with 13 points on 4-of-12 shooting and Amile Jefferson added 11 for Duke.

This was a one-possession game throughout the second half until Mitchell's tip-in with 5:10 left pushed Virginia's lead to 57-53.

Parker missed three shots on Duke's next possession, then picked up his fourth foul with 3:53 left and Gill hit two free throws to put the Cavaliers up by six.

Virginia was one of the few opponents which found a way to slow Parker, holding him to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting in the regular-season meeting - a four-point Duke win that came down to the final seconds.

With Mitchell keying the defensive effort on him, Parker was just 2 of 10 in the first half.

Then he got hot midway through the second half and single-handedly kept Duke in the game, reeling off seven straight points for his team in a 90-second span.

He went coast-to-coast and threw down a one-handed dunk on London Perrantes, hit a 3-pointer from the wing to briefly give Duke a one-point lead and added a jumper off a spin move with 8 1/2 minutes remaining.

Mitchell finished with 15 rebounds for Virginia, which led 28-25 at the end of a physical, intense first half notable for its low shooting percentages - and a technical foul on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Official Jamie Luckie hit Coach K with a T with 2:07 left in the half when Krzyzewski, with his back to the court, tossed his dry-erase marker toward his bench while coming out of a timeout.

There were plenty of reasons for Duke to be frustrated, yet the Blue Devils managed to keep themselves in the game despite a rough first half from its two best players: Parker and Hood were a combined 4 of 18 from the field.

Parker hit a point-blank shot while falling down with just under 16 minutes left to put Duke up 34-33 - its first lead since the opening minute.

Brogdon snatched the lead right back with a jumper on Virginia's next trip down the court, and it stayed tight the rest of the way until the Cavaliers' late surge.

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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

Hall of Famer Schmidt recovering from skin cancer

CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) Mike Schmidt sat down at a picnic table beyond the left-field wall on a sunny morning at Bright House Field, then scooted over to seek the shade of some palm trees and a light tower.

He wasn't taking any chances.

The 64-year-old Hall of Famer is recovering from an advanced form of skin cancer that kept him from being a guest instructor with the Philadelphia Phillies in spring training.

Schmidt was in camp Sunday and publicly spoke for the first time about his illness - stage 3 melanoma, and the two operations, radiation and chemotherapy treatments that followed.

"I feel fantastic right now," he said.

Looking fit and trim, the three-time NL MVP is scheduled for a scan Monday to see how far his recovery has progressed. He still plans to join the Phillies' television crew to work 13 home Sunday games this season, and to return to camp next year to work with hitters.

"I'm a very lucky man," he said.

Schmidt felt most fortunate that he got a "crusty little thing" on his hand checked out in August. A dermatologist decided to give him a full examination and found a mole on his back.

A biopsy revealed the melanoma was more serious than stage 1, and Schmidt spent the following months shuttling between Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and his home in Jupiter, Fla.

"I've done just about everything I can to destroy the cancer cells in my body," he said.

Along the way, his voice became raspy, he lost his taste buds and he had trouble concentrating. He said he also had surgery to remove 35 lymph nodes, wound up with an 8-inch scar and endured episodes of chills and restless leg syndrome.

"He'd eat two bites of his meal, then get up and walk around the table," said his wife, Donna. "He couldn't sit still."

Said Schmidt: "It was kind of a rough road."

"Was it scary? If you sit and ponder the possibilities," he said.

Schmidt said he is taking depression pills to help aid his recovery, and is feeling fine.

"Hopefully, stay clean," he said. "Hopefully, no issues."

The former third baseman said his grandfather had a bout of melanoma that cost him an ear. Schmidt spent much of his life in the sun - not using sunscreen, trying to get tan, as he pointed out.

Now, he takes a different approach.

"I don't like the sun," he said. "It's evil."

"You get scared of the sun," he said.

The Phillies had said on Jan. 22 that Schmidt was dealing with an unspecified health issue and wouldn't be at spring training so he could "remain near his doctors." He had been in camp the previous 12 years, in uniform working with the team.

Schmidt hit 548 home runs and led the Phillies to their first World Series crown in 1980, when he was the MVP of the six-game win over Kansas City.

The 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glover spent his whole career with Philadelphia, starting in 1972 and retiring in May 1989.

Even after his career, he had avoided any major health problems.

"The older you get ... you still carry some sort of invincibility," he said, later adding, "the moral of the story is everybody get checked."

Rosberg wins, Ricciardo disqualified in F1 opener

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Formula One's season-opening race ended in rancor and controversy Sunday as initial second-place finisher Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull disqualified for a breach of fuel regulations, five hours after Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg took the checkered flag.

Ricciardo's exclusion from the results tarnished what had been a day of celebration for local fans, who were jubilant that the Red Bull driver had apparently become the first Australian to finish on the podium at his home race.

However just before midnight, stewards ruled that Ricciardo's car had "exceeded consistently the maximum allowed fuel flow" and that the team refused an instruction from the race's technical delegate Charlie Whiting to change the fuel-flow sensor before the race and a further request during the race to reduce the fuel flow.

Red Bull immediately announced it would appeal the decision.

"Inconsistencies with the FIA fuel flow meter have been prevalent all weekend up and down the pit lane," a Red Bull statement said. "The team and (engine supplier) Renault are confident the fuel supplied to the engine is in full compliance with the regulations."

The exclusion capped a day of shocks at the Albert Park street circuit.

Thought Rosberg's victory was little surprise, given Mercedes had been the dominant team in preseason testing and across the race weekend in Melbourne, few would have expected pole sitter Lewis Hamilton and defending four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel to be mere onlookers after half a dozen laps.

Both Hamilton and Vettel suffered engine failures, illustrating the difficulties all teams are having getting performance and reliability out of the sport's new V6 hybrid engines.

Ricciardo's disqualification meant Kevin Magnussen was promoted to second in his debut race, ahead of his McLaren teammate Jenson Button, giving the team a bright start to the season and the lead in the constructors' championship after a very disappointing 2013.

Rosberg started third on the grid and was first to reach turn one, then drove away from the field to eventually win by 24.5 seconds at the Albert Park street circuit. The margin of victory and the authority of the performance showed why Mercedes is considered a strong favorite to finally win its first constructors' title this season.

"I had an unbelievably quick car today," said Rosberg, whose world champion father Keke won the inaugural Australian F1 GP in 1985. "It was such a pleasure to drive, it's such a great feeling and I really look forward to the new races."

Rosberg's delight was a contrast to the disappointment on the other side of the garage as Hamilton quickly retired a car that was only firing on five cylinders.

"We looked so strong but to then have a hiccup is tough for everyone, but we will bounce back," Hamilton said.

Like Mercedes, Red Bull was on one hand celebrating a strong performance in the opening race while also harboring concern about the engine problems that caused the retirements of their top drivers.

"We learned the car is quick, we just need to get everything together," Vettel said. "No doubt we'll fix this issue, the question is how soon?"

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished fourth in a worryingly uncompetitive performance for the Italian team, while Williams driver Valtteri Bottas recovered from losing a wheel early in the race to finish fifth; pulling off a succession of impressive passing moves that showed the strong potential of the car.

Force India's Nico Hulkenberg and Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen - in his return to the team after six years away - finished sixth and seventh respectively, ahead of the Toro Rosso pair Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat. After Ricciardo's exclusion, Force India's Sergio Perez was promoted to the final points-paying position in 10th.

The 19-year-old Kvyat's 10th place made him the youngest driver ever to earn an F1 point, breaking Vettel's record set at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. The 21-year-old Magnussen was the second-youngest driver to claim a podium finish, behind Vettel's record at the 2007 U.S. Grand Prix.

Despite fears that few cars would complete the race due to a series of reliability problems in preseason testing and over this weekend, 15 of the 22 racers finished. There was only one major accident, with Caterham driver Kamui Kobayashi slamming into the back of Felipe Massa's Williams at the first corner, immediately ending the race for both drivers.

Magnussen's heady performance for a rookie driver illustrated why McLaren put such faith in him, discarding Sergio Perez after a single season to make room.

McLaren leads the constructors' championship after one race; an impressive recovery after a dire 2013 season in which the high-achieving team failed to secure a single podium.

"It's not a win but it feels like a bit of a win," Magnussen said. "The team is coming off a difficult season and they just wanted to come back.

"The team is massively motivated to stay on top and they are a team that should be on top in Formula One."

Providence beats Creighton 65-56 to win Big East

NEW YORK (AP) Bryce Cotton scored 23 points and Providence won its first Big East tournament title since 1994 with a great defensive effort against Doug McDermott and No. 14 Creighton in a 65-58 victory Saturday night.

The fourth-seeded Friars (23-11) used a 2-3 zone to hold the second-seeded Bluejays (26-7) 24 points below their season average and to an 8-for-30 effort from behind the 3-point line.

Cotton, the senior guard who finished second to McDermott in the conference scoring but was also a unanimous first-team All-Big East selection, was the scoring star in the championship game and he was selected the tournament MVP.

McDermott, who came in leading the nation in scoring with 26.5 average, finished 10 for 19 from the field, including 5 of 12 from 3-point range, for 27 points.

No. 16 Iowa State beats Baylor 74-65 to win Big 12

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) DeAndre Kane scored 17 points, Georges Niang added 13 and No. 16 Iowa State rallied to beat Baylor 74-65 on Saturday night to win its first Big 12 tournament title since 2000.

Naz Long and Dustin Hogue had 12 points apiece, and Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for the fourth-seeded Cyclones (26-7), who knocked off top-seeded Kansas in the semifinals before ending the Bears' tremendous tournament run.

Kenny Chery had 16 points for the seventh-seeded Bears (24-11), who have never won a postseason conference tournament. They've lost all three tries since the formation of the Big 12.

76ers tie team mark with 20th straight loss

PHILADELPHIA -- The 76ers had a loss for the record book.

Mike Conley scored 19 points and Zach Randolph had 14 to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 103-77 win Saturday night, sending the 76ers to a franchise-tying 20th straight loss.

The Sixers can set the team mark with a loss Monday night at Indiana.

The Sixers also lost 20 straight games from Jan. 9, 1973-Feb. 11, 1973 in a 9-73 season. The NBA record for consecutive losses in a season is 26 set by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.

That mark just may be next: The Sixers (15-51) play only one team over the next six games with a losing record, the Knicks on Friday, and they are on a six-game winning streak.

Michael Carter-Williams led the Sixers with 23 points and Thaddeus Young had 20.

"This is not slit-your-wrist time. This is not even close to that," coach Brett Brown said before the game. "This is about building a program and understanding the short-term pain for a lot of long-term gain. That's my vision. That's how I approach it."

As the NBA season tipped off, the over-under in Las Vegas for total wins for the 76ers this year was 16.5, the lowest of any team in the league.

They stunned the league with a 3-0 start, including an opening-night win over the Miami Heat, and won four straight road games from Dec. 29-Jan. 4. Outside of those spurts, the Sixers have played down to their preseason projection as one of the NBA's worst.

"Any win we have right now would be considered an upset," Brown said. "That's the way it's played out at this stage."

The Sixers last won on Jan. 29 on former guard Evan Turner's buzzer-beater at Boston. They've lost a team-record 16 straight home games, last winning at the Wells Fargo Center on Jan. 15.

The 53-year-old Brown was part of three NBA title teams with San Antonio as an assistant and won another with the Spurs when he served in the basketball operations department in 1998-99. Brown is used to a winning program at San Antonio, so he's not familiar with starting from the bottom. But the Sixers realize it's not an overnight process and gave him a four-year contract to turn things around.

"I've been asked by so many people, `Why would you take the job and screw up your coaching percentage?"' he said. "As if I care about that. I knew what I was getting in to."

The free-falling Sixers are gaining fast on Milwaukee (13-53) for the worst record in the NBA.

Unlike Friday night's loss against Indiana when they never led, the Sixers held an early edge against Memphis and played a competitive first half.

The Grizzlies were coming off a 99-86 loss at Toronto on Friday and needed some time to warm up in Philly. Once they got going, they became just the latest team to stomp the Sixers.

Conley scored nine points during Memphis' 15-6 run to open the second half that stretched the lead to 18. He kept the lead rolling with a 3-pointer and a fast-break layup off a turnover for a 67-46 lead. The Grizzlies, winners of 12 of 16, had 13 players score and their 29-point lead in the fourth was their largest of the season.

Even a bit of an off night was enough for Memphis to cruise: The Grizzlies made only 4 of 15 3-pointers, were outrebounded, and had 22 turnovers.

NOTES: The 76ers sent F Arnett Moultrie, the 27th overall pick in the 2012 draft, to the D-League. He played only 12 games this season. "He's a young player, he's a first-round draft pick, he needs to play," Brown said.

No. 5 Louisville beats No. 21 UConn 71-61

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Montrezl Harrell had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks, and fifth-ranked Louisville beat No. 21 Connecticut 71-61 Saturday for the inaugural American Athletic Conference tournament title in the Cardinals' lone season in the league.

The defending national champions clinched their 40th NCAA tournament berth.

The Cardinals (29-5) have won three straight league tournament titles after taking the last two in the Big East, and they added their 19th overall to go with their share of the regular-season title with Cincinnati. They will play next season in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Russ Smith, named the tournament's most outstanding player, had 19 points and five steals for Louisville, and Chris Jones added 11 points.

UConn (26-8) came in looking for an eighth tournament title to go with seven from the Big East. It was barred from postseason play a year ago, but is a virtual lock to return to the NCAA tournament this year.

DeAndre Daniels led the Huskies with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Conference player of the year Shabazz Napier had 16 points on 4-of-12 shooting, and Amida Brimah finished with 14.

UConn outscored Louisville 32-28 in the paint, but the Cardinals turned the Huskies' 13 turnovers into 13 points. Louisville also outrebounded the Huskies 38-33 with a 14-6 advantage on second-chance points.

Louisville routed UConn 81-48 a week ago on the Cardinals' home court. But the Huskies were a confident bunch heading into the final, coming off victories over No. 19 Memphis in the quarterfinals and No. 13 Cincinnati in the semis.

The Cardinals grabbed an early lead and controlled the action for much of the game. Harrell scored 10 points in the first half and was a blur at times, blocking Brimah twice on one possession. He also swooped in for a dunk off a Smith assist that looked more like a layup that just missed the basket short.

UConn stayed within six of the Cardinals down the stretch, but Louisville finished the half on a 10-2 run that included 3s by Terry Rozier and Luke Hancock. Smith also had a steal and a pass ahead to Rozier for a fast-break layup that gave the Cardinals their biggest lead yet at 37-23 going into the break.

The Huskies tried to take advantage of Louisville's shooting woes to open the second half.

The Cardinals missed their first five shots, but Harrell had big three-point play for a 45-28 lead. Louisville went up by as much as 20 a couple times, the last at 52-32.

Bruins top No. 4 Arizona 75-71 in Pac-12 final

LAS VEGAS (AP) Kyle Anderson had 21 points and 15 rebounds, Jordan Adams hit a huge 3-pointer in the final minute, and UCLA outlasted No. 4 Arizona 75-71 in a spirited Pac-12 championship game on Saturday.

The Pac-12's two best teams during the regular season, UCLA (26-8) and Arizona (30-4) put on a show in the tournament final, trading big plays and floor burns.

Offense ruled the first half and defense the second until Adams dropped in his contested 3-pointer to put the Bruins up 71-68 with 45 seconds left.

David Wear and Norman Powell combined to hit four free throws down the stretch, giving UCLA the Pac-12 title in its first year under coach Steve Alford.

Adams finished with 19 points and Powell had 15 for the surging Bruins.

Nick Johnson had 22 points and Kaleb Tarczewski added 12 for Arizona, which may have lost out on a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament with the loss.

After 10 games in three days, the Pac-12 tournament came down to UCLA and Arizona, the top two seeds, on a big roll since arriving in Sin City.

Arizona, the conference's regular-season champion, overwhelmed its first two opponents with its don't-let-them-breathe defense. The Wildcats raced into the tournament record books with their 32-point win over Utah in the quarterfinals and cranked up the highlight reel in the second half of its semifinal rout over Colorado, allowing 82 combined points in the two games.

UCLA swamped Oregon in its opener, turning what was supposed to be a track meet into a stomping. The Bruins did the same thing to Stanford in the semifinals, all but putting the game out of reach in the opening five minutes.

These teams met once during the regular season, Jan. 9 in Westwood. Arizona ended a three-game losing streak to the Bruins in that one, escaping with a 79-75 win despite 17 turnovers and blowing a 13-point lead in the final 6 1/2 minutes.

UCLA had the advantage early in the rematch by doing what two previous tournament opponents couldn't: Score on the Wildcats.

Getting shots seemingly wherever and whenever they wanted, the Bruins used a 12-0 run to go up 14-3 and kept pouring `em in against one of the nation's best defenses.

UCLA hit 18 of 31 shots and scored 43 points in the first half - more than Utah did the entire game against Arizona and matching Colorado's total.

The Wildcats kicked their offense into gear to get back in it, shaking off a string of questionable shots in the opening minutes with a bunch of 3-pointers, including three by Gabe York. Arizona shot 16 of 30, including 5 of 8 from the arc, to close to 43-40 at the half.

The game turned from an offensive show to a defensive shutdown in the second, every possession a struggle to get off a pass, much less a good shot.

UCLA went nearly six minutes without a field goal until Adams' 3-pointer and Arizona went nearly five without one until Johnson hit a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left.

The Bruins got the victory despite shooting 7 of 27 in the second half.

Michigan State beats Wisconsin in Big Ten tourney

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Adreian Payne scored 18 points, Branden Dawson had 14 and No. 22 Michigan State beat No. 12 Wisconsin 83-75 on Saturday to reach the Big Ten tournament championship.

The third-seeded Spartans (25-8) won consecutive games for the first time since winning 11 straight in a stretch over December and January. They will face No. 8 Michigan in the final on Sunday.

The Spartans went on a 16-1 run in the first half and took a 37-16 lead when Gary Harris scored with 5:39 left before halftime.

Frank Kaminsky had 28 points and Sam Dekker added 11 points and seven rebounds for the second-seeded Badgers (26-7).

Packers pick up Peppers to perk up pass pressure

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) The Green Bay Packers defense has gotten a big jolt from a big name: Eight-time Pro Bowl defensive end Julius Peppers.

The ex-Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears defensive end signed a three-year deal with the Packers on Saturday morning, bringing one of the NFL's best pass-rushers to a team that has historically avoided major free-agent splashes.

The move was first reported by ESPN. Peppers' agent, Carl Carey, posted photos to his Twitter account of Peppers signing the deal and standing on the still-frozen tundra of Lambeau Field before the team announced it officially later in the day.

The Packers would not make Peppers available to media.

"I haven't won a championship," Peppers told the Packers' website. "That's where my focus is. I feel like the team is set up to make a run and I feel I can help get it there."

Peppers went to the Super Bowl in 2003 with the Panthers, losing to the New England Patriots.

The 34-year-old Peppers was released Tuesday by the Bears in a cost-cutting move. Peppers would have counted $18.183 million against Chicago's salary cap this season and had a base salary of $13 million.

Peppers played in all 64 of the Bears' games the past four seasons, posting 37.5 sacks. His 7.5 sacks last season were his fewest since a career-low 2.5 sacks in 2007, but he still would have led the Packers in that category in 2012.

In Green Bay, Peppers is reunited with Mike Trgovac, who coached him for his first seven seasons in Carolina. Trgovac, the Packers' defensive line coach, was Peppers' defensive line coach as a rookie in 2002 and his defensive coordinator from 2003 through 2008.

Browns sign free agent RB Ben Tate

CLEVELAND (AP) Ben Tate was on the Browns' radar for months. He's now on their roster.

Tate signed a two-year, $7 million free agent deal on Saturday with Cleveland, which has been desperate to find a quality every-down running back since trading Trent Richardson to Indianapolis early last season.

Tate, who spent the past four years with Houston, fills the void and the 25-year-old is excited to begin a new chapter of his career with the Browns.

"LET'S DO THIS CLEVELAND!! (hashtag) DawgPound," Tate posted on his Twitter account along with a photo of him wearing a Browns ball cap.

Later in a teleconference, Tate said he's eager to show he can be a feature back.

"It's been something I've been waiting for, for a long time," he said. "I'm just ready to grab this opportunity and run with it and show everyone what I'm all about. ... I feel like now that I've been given this opportunity that I can be one of the top backs in the league. I'm going to let my play speak for itself. But I want it to be known that I do feel like I'm a guy who's gonna be a top-10, top-8, top-5 running back."

Tate had been linked to the Browns almost from the moment they made the shocking deal to send Richardson to the Colts for a 2014 first-round draft pick.

Cleveland considered trading for Tate, but decided to wait until he was available as a free agent. Tate was one of the top free agent backs on the market, and after spending two days visiting the Browns, his agents and the team finalized a deal.

He spent the down time messaging with fans on Twitter, hoping Cleveland would become his new football home.

"I really wanted to be here," said Tate, adding he had other visits lined up. "I thought this was going to be the best opportunity for me. I felt like the pieces that's already here, offensive line-wise and their plans to build in the rest of free agency and also in the draft, so I felt like this was going to be just the best opportunity for me to succeed and to help turn this thing around and take it to another level."

Tate rushed for 771 yards last season, his fourth with the Texans. He played part of the year with broken ribs, an injury that would have sidelined most players.

He has averaged 4.7 yards per attempt during his career. After sitting out his rookie season in 2010 with a broken ankle, Tate took over after starter Arian Foster got hurt in 2011 and rushed for 942 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Tate said it was tough sitting and waiting behind Foster for his chance to shine.

"I feel like I'm explosive," he said when asked to describe his running style. "I feel like I can make guys miss when you hit the open field. I feel like if it's third-and-1 and I've got to go one-on-one with a linebacker that I can do that as well.

"So I just feel like I'm a total package. I feel like I can do everything there is to. I can catch the ball out of the backfield. I feel like I can do everything. I'm a three-down back. I just would say I'm just a complete back."

The Browns ranked tied for 27th in the league with 86.4 yards rushing per game last season and scored only four TDs on the ground.

Tate is the fifth free agent signed by the Browns this week, joining safety Donte Whitner, linebacker Karlos Dansby, cornerback Isaiah Trufant and tight end Jim Dray. Cleveland has signed Cincinnati wide receiver Andrew Hawkins to an offer sheet and is waiting to see if the Bengals are going to match it for the quick slot receiver.

Also, the Browns are in a holding pattern on Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. They designated him as their transition player, locking him into a one-year, $10.039 million deal in 2014 unless he signs an offer sheet elsewhere that Cleveland will have time to match.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

No. 7 Duke beats NC State 75-67 in ACC semifinals

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) Jabari Parker scored 20 points and No. 7 Duke beat North Carolina State 75-67 on Saturday in an Atlantic Coast Conference tournament semifinal.

Rasheed Sulaimon added 16 points for the third-seeded Blue Devils (26-7) while Rodney Hood had 14 points and keyed the defensive effort against ACC player of the year T.J. Warren.

Duke earned its 31st championship game appearance and first since 2011.

The Blue Devils will play No. 6 Virginia on Sunday. Duke's 69-65 win in January stood as the Cavaliers' lone conference loss until Maryland beat them last week.

Warren scored 21 points but was just 4 of 13 after halftime while facing a barrage of double teams.

The seventh-seeded Wolfpack (21-13), playing their third game in three days, shot just 36 percent in the second half - after hitting 67 percent in the opening half - and were denied their first title game berth since 2007.

Lennard Freeman had 13 points and Anthony "Cat" Barber finished with 12 for N.C. State, which for much of the day looked capable of pulling off a second straight resume-enhancing upset after knocking off No. 11 Syracuse in the quarterfinals.

The Wolfpack might have gotten it, had it not been for Duke's 20-7 run in the second half that was fueled by three N.C. State turnovers and a spate of missed shots.

Parker scored six points during the burst that pushed the Blue Devils' lead into double figures for the first time.

A botched lob to N.C. State big man Jordan Vandenberg led to an open court the other way for Parker, and his authoritative dunk over a sidestepping Barber made it 49-45 with 15 minutes left. Quinn Cook ended the run with a 3 that made it 61-49 with about 9 1/2 minutes remaining.

N.C. State never could string together a game-threatening run after that, and the Wolfpack's best chance down the stretch came when they closed to 67-59 on Freeman's jumper with about 3 minutes left.

Hood missed the front end of a one-and-one but the rebound went to Parker - who finished with a momentum-shifting dunk to put Duke back up by 10.

Cook had 14 points for the Blue Devils, who gave N.C. State its most lopsided loss of the season in the teams' only previous meeting - a 95-60 thumping at Cameron Indoor Stadium in which Duke seemed content to let Warren score and clamp down on everyone else.

At least early in this one, though, the Blue Devils once again couldn't stop anyone.

Duke - which got only one defensive stop in the final 5 minutes of a one-point quarterfinal victory over Clemson about 15 hours earlier - was just as porous against the Wolfpack.

N.C. State hit 13 of 15 shots over an 11-minute stretch and scored on 15 of 16 possessions, with the only empty trip in that span coming when Warren missed the front end of a one-and-one.

This one also had all the intensity expected of a Tobacco Road rivalry: During one whistle-free sequence, Barber went skidding across the floor after a collision with Parker, who then stormed downcourt and put up a jumper through hard contact from Freeman - drawing howls from both sets of fans.

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Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

Knicks players eager to see what Jackson can do

NEW YORK (AP) Even before meeting with him, Knicks players like Phil Jackson's hiring to run their franchise.

"I'm a chess player, so that was a power move right there," Carmelo Anthony said. "So now we're going to see what's the next move. But that was a great power move."

The Knicks haven't officially announced it yet, holding off until a press conference Tuesday morning. But the 11-time champion as a coach was already the focus before and after the Knicks' 115-94 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday.

Jackson was on the Knicks' only two championship-winning teams, in 1970 and 1973. He went on to win 11 more rings as a coach with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers, and the players are confident he can be a winner next as an executive.

"Phil knows what to do and how to build teams and how to win, that's the most important thing," Anthony said. "When you know how to win, whether you're a coach or whether you're in the front office, that stands out."

Jackson will be responsible for trying to keep Anthony - if that's what he wants - when the All-Star forward becomes a free agent this summer. He also will have to decide whether Mike Woodson remains as coach after leading the Knicks to the Atlantic Division title last season but only a 27-40 record so far in this one.

Woodson said he doesn't feel he has to prove anything to Jackson in the final weeks of the season, though is aware some changes will be coming.

"When someone new comes in, he has his own thought process and philosophy in terms of how he feels and how the shape of the team should be, and until he gets here you just have no idea what he's thinking and which direction he wants to go," Woodson said.

Anthony said he hadn't spoken with Jackson. Nor had center Tyson Chandler, but he can envision the type of boss Jackson would be after competing against him.

"I can see him being hands on, the type of competitor that he is," Chandler said. "I can see him taking time out with certain individuals and really, like I say, maximizing the talent that we have."

Woodson had a chance to talk with Jackson last year, when the Knicks held a dinner to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their last championship. Woodson recalled Jackson praised the team and told him to keep it up.

There's little to praise this season, another in a long list of debacles over the last decade. So the players are eager to see the impact that can be made by someone who's been around so much winning.

"He is a champion and a leader," forward Amare Stoudemire said. "He knows what it takes to win. He has been around great organizations and has been successful."

Backstrom to get silver medal despite drug test

LONDON (AP) Swedish hockey star Nicklas Backstrom will receive an Olympic silver medal even though he was suspended from the final in Sochi after a positive drug test.

The International Olympic Committee ruled Friday that Backstrom hadn't intended to enhance his performance, laying the blame for his positive test for pseudoephedrine on the Swedish team doctor.

The Washington Capitals center was suspended and pulled from the team just hours before the Feb. 23 gold-medal game, which Sweden lost 3-0 to Canada.

"It's been on my mind a little bit. I'm happy that it's over," Backstrom said Friday night after the Capitals beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3. "I'm glad I got the silver medal. With that being said, I'm looking forward to playing for the Caps now and make sure we get ourselves into the playoffs. That's all I want to focus on now.

"I'm happy about the decision absolutely. Who wouldn't be happy to get a silver medal?"

The Swedes were outraged by the timing of the decision and said it affected the team's performance.

"While I will always be disappointed that I wasn't able to play in the gold medal game with my fellow countrymen, I'm pleased that my name has been cleared by the IOC," Backstrom said earlier Friday in a statement. "It is important to me that the IOC has acknowledged that I had asked for and received specific advice from my team doctor that taking this allergy medication would not be a violation.

"In addition, I had disclosed my use of over-the-counter medication prior to being tested."

The IOC defended the suspension, saying it was "fully justified" because of the positive test and noting that Backstrom conceded also taking the allergy medication on the day of the final. But the IOC ruled that the player should not be kicked out of the Sochi Games altogether, citing "mitigating circumstances."

"There was no indication of any intent of the athlete to improve his performance by taking a prohibited substance," the IOC's three-person disciplinary commission said. "As a consequence, the athlete is entitled to receive the silver medal and diploma awarded in respect of the men's ice hockey event."

Backstrom tested positive for excess levels of pseudoephedrine after Sweden's win over Slovenia in the quarterfinals on Feb. 19. He said the stimulant was contained in "Zytec-D," a medication he had been taking for allergies.

The IOC said the positive result in the "A" sample was confirmed on the morning of Feb. 23. A hearing with Backstrom and Swedish team officials was quickly assembled. Among those attending was Bjorn Waldeback, the Swedish hockey team doctor and chief medical officer of the Swedish Olympic Committee.

The IOC said Backstrom had "nothing to hide" and explained he had been taking the allergy medication regularly for seven years on the advice of a doctor and had never produced a positive test. He said he had taken the medication earlier that day.

"We are certainly pleased that Nicklas Backstrom's name has been cleared by the IOC ruling, allowing him to receive the silver medal that he earned with his Swedish teammates," Don Fehr, the NHL Players' Association executive director said in a statement. "The decision by the IOC Disciplinary Commission makes it clear that Nicklas was open and cooperative throughout the process and had clearly disclosed on his doping control form the Zyrtec-D medication he had been taking for his allergies.

"Moreover, it is also welcome that the decision makes clear that Nicklas had both requested and received specific advice from the Swedish Chief Medical Officer that the allergy medication he was taking would not give rise to an adverse analytical finding. Backstrom did nothing inappropriate, but merely asked for and followed medical advice from his team doctor."

The IOC said Backstrom told the panel he knew the medication contained pseudoephedrine but relied on Waldeback's advice that the dosage wouldn't trigger a positive test. Waldeback said he was "at fault" for that advice.

Backstrom's backup "B" sample was tested later on Feb. 23 and also came back positive.

The IOC ruled that Backstrom committed an anti-doping violation by having the banned substance in his system. But the panel said he had been "open and cooperative," had disclosed the medication on his doping control form and had relied on Waldeback's advice.

The IOC ruled that Waldeback "made a serious error" by telling Backstrom his use of the medication wouldn't result in a positive test. If the doctor applies for Olympic accreditation in the future, the IOC should "seriously consider" his role in the case, the panel said.

The IOC said the decision "should in no way" be seen as taking away from the responsibility of athletes to be vigilant and ensure that no prohibited substances enter their body.

"It is unfortunate that his test results were not disclosed until just prior to the gold medal game on Feb. 23, four days after the test was done," Fehr said. "Had this matter been presented in a timely manner, it is possible that steps could have been taken to resolve this issue before the gold medal game."

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Follow Stephen Wilson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/stevewilsonap

WR Steve Smith signs 3-year deal with Ravens

Steve Smith is eager to continue his NFL career in Baltimore, where he's just a short flight from his permanent home in Charlotte.

The longtime Panthers standout wide receiver didn't waste time finding a new home, signing a three-year contract with the Ravens about 24 hours after being released by Carolina.

The Ravens announced the signing of the 34-year-old Smith on Friday.

Smith was released by the Panthers after 13 seasons. He should provide a solid weapon for quarterback Joe Flacco.

"This has been an organization with a history of giving veteran players a chance and meshing them with younger players," Smith said on a conference call Friday.

Smith arrived in Baltimore late Thursday night and negotiations and meetings continued into the early morning hours on Friday.

Smith said he had a contract offer from the San Diego Chargers and cancelled a visit with the New England Patriots scheduled for Monday. Smith added the Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks also expressed interest.

One of the reasons he chose Baltimore, he noted, is because it's about a one-hour flight to Charlotte, where his family will continue to live. Smith's wife, Angie, is expecting their fourth child later this year.

Smith ranks 19th in the NFL in career receptions. He caught 64 passes for 746 yards and four touchdowns in 2013. Smith is Carolina's all-time leader in receptions (836), yards receiving (12,197) and touchdowns (67).

Baltimore has had a void at wide receiver since trading Anquan Boldin to the San Francisco 49ers after winning the Super Bowl in February 2013. The Ravens went 8-8 last season and missed the playoffs for the first time in six years.

"We have added one of the top competitors in the NFL to the Ravens," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a statement. "He's a proven player who has performed the best in big games and biggest situations. He adds toughness to our offense."

The Ravens will play the Panthers in 2014 in Baltimore, something Smith is clearly looking to forward to. He told Charlotte-based radio station WFNZ-AM on Wednesday that fans will need to wear goggles because there will "blood and guts everywhere" on the field when he plays the Panthers.

He backed off those comments Friday, saying it was a tongue-in-cheek statement.

"It wasn't that I don't like the organization," Smith said. "I have nothing but respect. My teammates have been telling how much they are going to miss me. I have no ill feelings and I'm not upset. I can't be upset at an organization that gave me everything and allowed me to display for other teams that I can still play."

Smith said he's excited about the Ravens' offense, calling it a good fit.

He also made it clear he no longer views himself as a No. 1 receiver, instead seeing himself as a player comparable to Kevin Walter, who played under new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. Smith has wanted to play in the slot for the last few years and could get that chance in Baltimore.

"I know this system and seen the very creative ways they have gotten guys the ball and I want to be a part of that," Smith said.

Smith has never won a Super Bowl.

"We're going to swing for the fence," Smith said. "But chasing a ring and making it about all those other things, you can't do that."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh called Smith a "Ravens-style player."

"He always has been in our eyes, it's just that he has been playing for another team," Harbaugh said. "We have always been challenged playing against him."

The Ravens also got a four-year deal with linebacker Daryl Smith that solidifies the middle of Baltimore's defense. The sides reached agreement on Smith's 32nd birthday.

"I'm really just fired up. I knew I wanted to be back and I'm happy we could come to an agreement so I could get back in there for four years," Darryl Smith said.

He started all 16 games for the Ravens in 2013 and led the team with 123 tackles. He also had a career-high 19 passes defensed, setting a Ravens record by a linebacker.

In other moves Friday:

-Free-agent linebacker Brandon Spikes agreed to a one-year deal with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills announced deal with the former New England linebacker on Friday night, and also said they had reached terms with former San Francisco running back Anthony Dixon.

-Chicago agreed to a one-year contract with two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman. Tillman, 33, is coming off a season limited to eight games because of a torn right triceps.

-Oakland signed free-agent defensive lineman Antonio Smith to a two-year, $9 million contract and cornerback Tarell Brown to a one-year, $3.5 million deal Friday. The moves come a day after Oakland signed Justin Tuck and LaMarr Woodley to two-year deals to bolster the defensive line.

-Suspended former Seattle cornerback Brandon Browner said Friday that he has agreed to a contract with New England. Browner, who was suspended four games in 2012 for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, was suspended in December for again violating the league's substance abuse policy. He will miss the first four games of the regular season.

-Eight-year veteran cornerback and rookie negotiator Cortland Finnegan found a new home in Miami after an injury-plagued 2013 with the Rams. Finnegan said he spoke with a lot of general managers and head coaches around the NFL, but his only free-agent visit was to Miami, and the 2008 All-Pro represented himself. The Dolphins added former Rams guard Shelley Smith with a $5.5 million, two-year contract.

-Detroit re-signed tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who will get a $16 million, four-year contract with half the money guaranteed. He has 284 receptions for 2,828 yards and 16 touchdowns in five NFL seasons with the Lions.

-Green Bay re-signed defensive tackle B.J. Raji to anchor their defensive line. He started all 16 games last season for the Packers.

-Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick told The Associated Press on Friday, "You can say I've been released, yes" when asked if Tennessee had cut him. He started nine games for the Titans last season and went 217 of 350 for 2,454 yards with 14 touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. The 31-year-old Fitzpatrick has thrown for 16,790 yards, 106 touchdowns and 93 interceptions in 85 career games.

The Titans also agreed to a multiyear deal with linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who spent the last six years with the Denver Broncos. During the 2012 season, Woodyard was the only player in the NFL with at least 100 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions.

Tennessee also agreed to a multiyear deal with tackle Michael Oher, who spent his first five seasons with the Ravens.

-Minnesota re-signed receiver Jerome Simpson, who bounced back from an injury-plagued first season with the team in 2012 with a solid season. He caught 48 passes for a career-high 726 yards in 2013.

-Linebacker Jameel McClain joined the Giants. He started 55 games for Baltimore and won a Super Bowl ring.

-Center Evan Dietrich-Smith agreed to a contract with Tampa Bay. Dietrich-Smith spent the past three seasons with the Packers.

-New Orleans re-signed linebacker and special teams player Ramon Humber to a one-year contract.

-Carolina added a player when it signed tight end Mike McNeill from the St. Louis Rams to a two-year contract. McNeill mostly is a blocking tight end.

-Pittsburgh addressed depth issues along the defensive line, signing Cam Thomas to a two-year deal. The 27-year-old Thomas started a career-high 10 games for San Diego in 2013, finishing with 30 tackles and an interception.

-Indianapolis agreed to terms with free-agent receiver Hakeem Nicks, with owner Jim Irsay confirmeing the deal on Twitter. Nicks had 1,000-yard seasons in 2010 and 2011 and was part of the Giants' Super Bowl-winning team following the 2011 season. But injuries sidetracked his career the past two seasons.

-Kansas City signed former Raiders defensive tackle Vance Walker to a three-year contract and announced the signing of linebacker Frank Zombo, who agreed to terms earlier in the week. Zombo appeared in 16 games for Kansas City last season.

-Free-agent linebacker Will Herring isn't joining the Cowboys after all. The team reported the signing on its website Thursday, but said Friday the deal was off in "a mutual parting of the ways that had to do with the language of the contract."

-San Francisco signed free-agent cornerback Chris Cook to a one-year deal, and also finalized a trade with Jacksonville for quarterback Blaine Gabbert when he passed a physical. The Niners agreed to send a sixth-round pick to Jacksonville on Tuesday for Gabbert.

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AP Sports Writers Steve Reed in Charlotte, N.C., and John Wawrow in Orchard Park, N.Y., contributed to this report.

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

Yankees visit Mariano Rivera's home country

PANAMA CITY (AP) The New York Yankees prepared Friday for a pair of exhibition games against the Miami Marlins in the home country of Mariano Rivera, the retired career saves leader.

A fundraising dinner for Rivera's foundation and the games Saturday and Sunday at Rod Carew Stadium highlight a weekend that is a tribute to the pitcher, who retired after last season.

Rivera told reporters Thursday night before the Yankees' split squad arrived that "I feel like a peacock."

He said "it was my dream to bring my team and my teammates to enjoy my homeland."

Appropriately, the Yankees players were wearing Panama hats when they got off their plane. On Friday, a group of players visited the Panama Canal, a waterway built by the United States a century ago that is credited with spreading the baseball tradition in the Central American nation.

No ships crossed during the team's visit, but the players and manager Joe Girardi took pictures and signed autographs for tourists at one of the canal's viewpoints.

"You never think they could fit a ship through this canal, but somehow they do," said David Robertson, who has taken over Rivera's role as closer.

Later on Friday, Robertson and the Yankees captain Derek Jeter visited the Children's Hospital of Panama, along with Rivera.

"The children were very happy," Rivera said at the dinner to raise funds for that hospital. "We want to help and that's what this is about."

The Yankees hadn't visited Panama since 1947, when they played several games against the then Brooklyn Dodgers. A year before that, their roster included Joe DiMaggio when they played a Panamanian team.

Rivera said he was happy Panamanian families who cannot travel to the United States will be able to watch the Yankees play this weekend. The 44-year-old Rivera, a native of the fishing village of Puerto Caimito, spent his entire 19-year career in the major leagues the Yankees.

Both the Yankees and the Miami Marlins only traveled with part of their squad, leaving the rest to play split-squad games in Florida. The Marlins arrived in Panama City on Friday.

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