National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Foles, offense sharp as Eagles beat Steelers

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Nick Foles threw for 179 yards and a touchdown to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to a 31-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night.

Steelers running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount both played one day after they were arrested for marijuana possession shortly before Pittsburgh (1-2) traveled to Philadelphia.

Eagles All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy left the game with a right thumb injury after a 22-yard TD catch gave Philadelphia (1-2) a 7-0 lead. X-rays on McCoy's thumb were negative, but he didn't return. McCoy showed no effects of a toe injury that forced him to miss one practice earlier in the week.

The Eagles' first-team offense had only one touchdown on six drives in road losses to Chicago and New England. But this was more like last year's offense that set several franchise records.

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Lynx's Moore wins WNBA MVP award

Maya Moore put up incredible numbers all season for Minnesota. Now she's got her first WNBA MVP award.

Moore earned the league's most valuable player on Thursday, hours before the Lynx opened their Western Conference semifinals playoff series with the San Antonio Stars.

"It's a great feeling to be recognized for all the hard work that I've put in," said Moore in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday night. "I think of all the people who have helped me in my journey as a basketball player. They should be recognized with this award. It means so much to have the respect of the people who watch the game and love the game."

Moore led the league in scoring, averaging a career-best 23.9 points. She set a WNBA record by scoring at least 30 points 12 times, including in four straight games. The scoring mark was the third-highest average in league history, trailing only Phoenix's Diana Taurasi's 25.3 points in 2006 and 24.1 points in 2008.

Accepting the trophy roughly 90 minutes before the Lynx faced the Stars, Moore's only lament was the timing, having to talk individual honors, while trying to focus on the team goal of repeating as WNBA champs.

"It's definitely awkward for me," Moore said. "I kind of jump back to Big East competition where right before the Big East tournament, awards were being handed out and it was funny, awkward timing trying to keep your mind focused on something. This is such an awesome moment that I do want to put some thought into how to best celebrate this, but it makes me think of all the help that I have."

Moore received 35 of the 38 first place votes, surpassing Taurasi and Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry. Los Angeles' Candace Parker was fourth and Phoenix's Brittney Griner finished fifth.

"When she was a senior in college, Geno (Auriemma) described Maya to be similar to a shark, where if you punch her in the face, she goes away. I'm really proud to say that you can't punch Maya in the face anymore," Minnesota coach Cheryl Reeve said. "She's going to make you pay. She's going to take the hit, she's going to get the layup. So that's been the evolution of Maya."

The MVP award is the latest accolade for Moore, who won two national championships at Connecticut and was instrumental in the Huskies' record 90-game winning streak. She also won gold medals in the 2010 world championship and 2012 London Olympics.

The WNBA's top draft pick in 2011, Moore finished second in voting last season before earning the finals MVP honor.

"Maya is the Michael Jordan of this league," Tulsa Shock coach Fred Williams said after Moore had 32 points, nine rebounds and five assists against his team in July.

Moore grew up idolizing Jordan and represents his Nike brand.

"When I think of Michael Jordan, I think of course of a winner, someone who is a great leader," Moore said. "He was super competitive, had a tireless work ethic. He was also great teammate who made the players around him better. It's a great compliment."

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Nats stretch streak to 10 with 1-0 win vs. D-Backs

WASHINGTON (AP) Denard Span scored from second on third baseman Jordan Pacheco's throwing error in the ninth inning, and the Washington Nationals stretched their winning streak to 10 games with a 1-0 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.

Five of Washington's last six wins have come in its final at-bat of the game, and the streak is tied for the franchise record. Kansas City is the only other team to win 10 consecutive games this year.

Rafael Soriano (4-1) pitched a scoreless ninth for the Nationals, who swept three-game series against the New York Mets and Pittsburgh Pirates before winning all four games of this series.

Oliver Perez (2-3) got the loss for the Diamondbacks.

Judge drops rape charge against ex-Tigers pitcher

DETROIT (AP) A judge on Thursday dismissed rape charges against former Detroit Tigers pitcher Evan Reed, saying the testimony of the woman who accused him wasn't credible and prosecutors failed to show that force or coercion took place.

Reed, 28, said he was "elated" to be cleared of the third-degree criminal sexual conduct charges. He was with the Tigers at the time of the March incident and appeared in 27 games for Detroit before being sent to his current assignment with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens.

"It's not my time or place to bash my accuser, (but) her lies caught up with her," Reed said after the hearing. He has said they had consensual sex.

"There were some bad decisions made, but I didn't commit any crimes (and) the judge just agreed with me," he added.

The 45-year-old woman testified at the probable cause hearing that she met Reed at a bar in the suburb of Royal Oak on March 30 and that they later went to a casino in downtown Detroit. She said that she "blacked out" after taking her third drink at the bar, which tasted "sour," and that she believes she had been drugged.

"The last thing I remember was my body feeling funny. ... Everyone just sounded robotic to me, like I was in another world," she said, adding that the next thing she remembered was "waking up in the hotel room."

She said she woke up in bed with Reed, both of them naked, and prosecutors say he tried to force her to have sex on two occasions in the room. She said he then asked her to leave.

Judge Kenneth King threw out the charges, though, saying the woman gave contradictory accounts of what happened, including testifying that she had no idea that Reed and his companions at the bar played for the Tigers, then acknowledging that she texted a friend that evening to say she was with members of the team.

"Because of the alleged victim's vacillating testimony and her inability to remember many parts of the evening, I don't think (prosecutors) have met their burden of probable cause," he said.

Assistant prosecutor Suzette Samuels said afterward that the ruling was "disappointing," and that she believes "it was another value judgment" against a sexual assault victim. The prosecutor's office said in a statement that no decision has been made about appealing the case.

Defense attorney David Gorcyca said King made a "wise" and "courageous" decision.

"We never had anything to hide," he said.

Goalie Giguere retires after 16 seasons in NHL

DENVER (AP) The goaltender known as "Jiggy" is stepping away from the net.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere announced his retirement Thursday after 16 NHL seasons in which he won 262 games, a Conn Smythe Trophy and a Stanley Cup championship.

The Colorado Avalanche say Giguere made his decision in Quebec while with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada hockey team. He's part owner of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League squad.

"His achievements speak for themselves, from winning the Stanley Cup to winning the Conn Smythe, Jiggy was always a top-notch goaltender," team executive Joe Sakic said in a statement. "He was also a very important part of our team during the past three seasons, providing veteran leadership and stability in net. We wish him and his family the best of luck."

Giguere served as Semyon Varlamov's backup last season in Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy's first season behind the bench. The team made it back to the postseason for the first time since 2010.

What's more, Giguere took rookie Nathan MacKinnon under his wing and allowed the talented teenager to live in the family's basement all season. The two even car-pooled to games and practices.

The 37-year-old Giguere is best known for his time with the Anaheim Ducks. He led the team to two appearances in the Stanley Cup finals, capturing the Conn Smythe Trophy in defeat in 2003 and hoisting the Cup in 2007.

The Ducks fans even gave Giguere an ovation after a game in Anaheim, California, last April. He skated to center ice that night with former teammate Teemu Selanne, their clasped hands held aloft. Selanne recently retired after a 21-season NHL career spent mostly with Anaheim.

"For (Selanne) to do that, it's something that's very special for me, and something I'll never forget," Giguere said.

Giguere was originally drafted by Hartford with the 13th overall pick 1995 and played eight games with the Whalers in 1996-97. He was the last active player to have suited up for Hartford.

A fan favorite wherever he went, Giguere also played for Calgary and Toronto.

Giguere played in 597 regular season games and faced 16,325 shots in 33,719 minutes. He finished his career with a 2.53 goals-against average and 38 shutouts.

Manziel, Browns agree he's not ready to start

BEREA, Ohio (AP) On one knee and far from the action, quarterback Johnny Manziel leaned on his orange helmet and watched.

This is his new position.

As Browns starter Brian Hoyer worked with Cleveland's first-team offense during 11-on-11 drills Thursday, Manziel, for now relegated to the second string, observed from the side. He took mental notes as he waited for his turn.

This rookie has been no sensation. He's not ready to start.

Meet Johnny Backup.

Failing to make any magic happen in his first two NFL preseason games and unable to close the gap enough to beat out Hoyer, Manziel will begin the season as Cleveland's No. 2 quarterback, matching his uniform number. It's not a major surprise given he's had to learn a complex offense and he entered training camp behind Hoyer.

But Manziel's inability to leap-frog Hoyer, a journeyman who has made four career starts and is coming off knee surgery, shows the jump from college to pros is gargantuan - even for Johnny Football.

"Obviously I didn't want this to be the outcome," Manziel said. "But at the same time, I didn't necessarily feel I was ready, I felt like there were steps that I needed to take, and I need to take, to get better."

Manziel has shown flashes, just not enough.

Still, the Browns have seen promise in him, and Manziel's immense fan base now has members inside Cleveland's locker room.

"We got arguably the best No. 2 in the NFL," said wide receiver Nate Burleson. "I'm a Johnny Football fan. Not only was I a fan before he got here, but now he's family because we play for the same team. I'll always be in his corner."

Manziel has improved in recent weeks. He's got a much better grasp on offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's playbook and its tongue-twisting verbiage; some plays contain 17 words. He's made better decisions with the ball, and he's won over some skeptical teammates with a solid work ethic and humble attitude.

Trouble is, Manziel may have damaged his chances to win the starting job before camp with his well-documented partying. The photos of Manziel chugging champagne while floating on an inflatable swan, talking into a phone made of money, and rolling a dollar bill in a bathroom brought him unwanted attention.

The Browns were privately concerned about Manziel's behavior and warned him about it. He obliged, but had two recent missteps: being late for a team meeting and flipping his middle finger at the Redskins' sideline Monday night on national TV.

The gesture, relatively harmless compared to other things than go on during a game, may have reinforced the belief of coach Mike Pettine and his staff that Manziel wasn't prepared mentally or physically to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 7.

Sitting and waiting is nothing new for Manziel. He was so far behind when he got to Texas A&M that the Aggies redshirted him as a freshman. It wasn't long, though, before he was the big man on campus and quickly the biggest name in college football, a one-man scrambling highlights machine.

Manziel, who has completed 14 of 27 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown, said nothing has surprised him so far.

"It's exactly what I thought it would be," he said. "I knew it would be a big step, a big learning process. If people would have seen me my first year at A&M they would've said no way this kid could get to where I'm at today. People don't understand that my first year-and-a-half at A&M I was terrible.

"I just continued to try and get better, learn the playbook, got more comfortable around everybody, around the coaches with the system, and then good things happened for me."

Pettine said there won't be a "leash" on Hoyer, who will get an opportunity to take the job and run with it. But the Browns' difficult early schedule - they'll host New Orleans and Baltimore after facing the Steelers - could make things interesting if they're 0-3 or 1-2 at the bye week.

Manziel isn't the first prominent rookie to take a back seat in Year 1. He'll find his path, and knowing Manziel, it won't be a straight one.

"You don't have to come in from your first day of your rookie season and play right away," he said. "There's no exact guideline to how this process works with young quarterbacks. For me, I need to continue to do what I need to do to get better as a football player, get smarter and learn more, control what I can control and everything will work out fine for me."

NOTES: Pettine plans to play his starters most of the first half against St. Louis on Saturday. Pettine is also leaning toward his starters playing in the exhibition finale against Chicago. ... Pettine said WR Josh Gordon's pending NFL suspension has weighed on the Pro Bowler. "He wants to get on with it and move forward," Pettine said. "Just being in limbo for so long, it can be draining."

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

Loose sod at new Levi's Stadium removed

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers were working to re-sod the field at new Levi's Stadium on Thursday, a day after a public workout was cut short and moved to the regular practice fields because players were slipping.

San Francisco hosts the San Diego Chargers at the $1.2 billion stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. PDT, and the team has said it expects to have the field ready in time. KTVU's news chopper showed images of the sod replacement in some areas of the turf Thursday.

"The 49ers organization would like to apologize to any fans who were inconvenienced by today's practice ending early," the team said Wednesday. "We have determined the appropriate measures necessary to have the field ready for Sunday and look forward to hosting the San Diego Chargers."

Coach Jim Harbaugh moved his team out of the stadium Wednesday about an hour into the practice.

"It's a beautiful field for a first-year field," veteran placekicker Phil Dawson said this week. "Those guys are working their brains out to get that thing ready."

Dawson missed wide right on first-half field goal attempts from 55 and 44 yards in Sunday's 34-0 loss to the Denver Broncos. He said there are always adjustments with new grass. The field looked dry in places and chunks of sod could be seen missing in places where it apparently didn't root properly.

"We're all kind of in foreign territory here and learning as we go," Dawson said. "There were a lot of new experiences, not just wind but the footing on the field. It's the first time the big boys have been out there and trudging around and seeing how the field held up. There's a whole lot going on all at once. ... If your technique requires a six-inch step and your six-inch step goes in a divot or something like that, it can affect things. That's not unique to fields we play on. I have pretty good experience playing on fields that are less than ideal, so I'll just have to draw on those experiences."

San Francisco's regular-season home opener is a Sept. 14 prime-time matchup against Chicago. The 49ers are scoreless in their last seven quarters and have been outscored 57-3 this preseason. They lost 23-3 at Baltimore on Aug. 7.

West Coast Turf has provided the 49ers' sod at both Candlestick Park and Levi's Stadium. It is not unheard of around the league for teams to re-sod fields midweek or in short order, for example between a college bowl game and NFL game.

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

Brad Keselowski gets 1st NASCAR Truck Series win

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) Brad Keselowski earned his first NASCAR Truck Series win on Thursday.

Keselowski passed defending champion Kyle Busch with 75 laps to go and held off Busch's teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. in the UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Wallace closed to Keselowski's back bumper with two laps left, but drifted high in turn one and Keselowski pulled away.

Four-time Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. finished third, followed by Matt Crafton and series points leader Johnny Sauter. Busch crashed with 22 laps left and finished 24th.

Keselowski first Truck Series win came after 62 starts. The driver of the No. 19 Ford is the 25th driver to win in all three of NASCAR's national series (Cup, Nationwide and Trucks).

Rain washed out the race on Wednesday night.

US routs Dominicans in exhibition as Rose rests

NEW YORK (AP) Derrick Rose heard the fans chanting his name, and yes, he would've loved to give them what they wanted.

But after missing most of the past two years and with still a long summer of basketball ahead, he's willing to take this return slowly.

"Just trying to protect myself, just knowing that this is a long, long schedule and this is the most basketball I'll be playing in two years," Rose said.

"I want to be out there, but at the same time my health is the No. 1 issue right now."

With Rose sitting out, Kyrie Irving started and made all five shots, scoring 12 points as the U.S. national basketball team beat the Dominican Republic 105-62 on Wednesday night in an exhibition game.

James Harden also scored 12 in limited playing time for the Americans, who used their subs for most of the second half. Rudy Gay and DeMar DeRozan each scored 13 points.

Rose and U.S. assistant Tom Thibodeau, Rose's coach with the Chicago Bulls, both said he was experiencing general soreness, though Rose was quick to point out it was nothing related to his multiple knee surgeries.

Rose's absence allowed U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski to take a longer look at other players with cuts coming soon. The Americans have 16 players on the roster and have to get down to 12 before the upcoming Basketball World Cup.

"When we do eventually make decisions on the 12, it will be very, very difficult," Krzyzewski said.

Krzyzewski said there would be no cuts before Friday's game against Puerto Rico, and he said Rose would play that night.

Fans chanted loudly in the third quarter for Rose to get into this one, but Krzyzewski decided shortly before tip the Chicago Bulls star wouldn't play.

Rose had sat out practices the past two days after starting in Saturday's exhibition victory over Brazil on his home floor, saying Tuesday he just wanted extra rest as he tries to play his way back into shape after missing most of the past two seasons because of knee surgeries.

"He's feeling a lot better, he was probably feeling good enough to play tonight, but because he hasn't played and he's trying to shake off some rust, the best thing to do was to give him the day off," Thibodeau said.

Houston Rockets forward Francisco Garcia scored 14 points for the Dominican Republic, coached by South Florida's Orlando Antigua. The Dominicans are without their best player, the Atlanta Hawks' Al Horford, who is recovering from a torn right pectoral muscle.

Karl Towns played 10 minutes for the Dominicans, though he won't accompany them to Spain as the highly touted freshman heads to Kentucky. The team shot 34 percent.

"Would've liked to shot the ball a lot better, but I thought we did a lot of good things throughout the game. We showed some good points," Antigua said.

The teams will meet again in Bilbao, Spain, where they are both in Group C.

The Americans leave Saturday for Spain, where they will finish their preparations with a final exhibition against Slovenia. The World Cup opens on Aug. 30.

The Dominicans took a 6-4 lead, the Americans answered with 14 straight points to make it 18-6, and that was about it. The Americans expanded a 28-17 lead after one quarter to 53-31 at the half, as Harden and Klay Thompson each scored 10 points by the break.

The U.S. pushed it to 69-34 with a little more than 4 minutes left in the third after a flurry by Irving, allowing for extra playing time for players at the back end of the roster such as Andre Drummond and Gordon Hayward.

Drummond finished with 12 points for the Americans, who shot 58 percent.

Chandler Parsons, Kyle Korver and Mason Plumlee were the only Americans who didn't play.

Before the game, U.S. military members presented each player with two dog tags. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said one featured the American flag, the player's name, and the words leadership, service and teamwork, and the other featured the name of a serviceman.

Giants win protest, rain-shortened game to resume

CHICAGO (AP) The San Francisco Giants on Wednesday became the first team since 1986 to win a protest filed with Major League Baseball, and will now get to resume a rain-shortened game the Chicago Cubs thought they had won.

MLB executive Joe Torre ruled on Tuesday night's game at Wrigley Field that was called after 4 1-2 innings. The Cubs were declared the winners by a 2-0 score.

Now, it is instead a suspended game that will resume at 4:05 p.m. CDT Thursday with the Cubs batting in the bottom of the fifth. The playoff-contending Giants and Chicago have a regularly scheduled game set to begin three hours later.

A short rainstorm caused a delay of more than 4 1-2 hours Tuesday after the grounds crew couldn't put the tarp down quickly. The umpires said the field was unplayable and called it at 1:16 a.m.

MLB ruled that tarp had not been properly put away after its previous use. Therefore, under provisions of Official Baseball Rule 4.12 (a) (3) there a "malfunction of a mechanical field device under control of the home club."

Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer called it a "just" decision.

"The last thing you want is a playoff team feeling bitter about the result here," Hoyer said. "And obviously it was caused by our organization. It's a good outcome."

"Hopefully we win the game. We have a 2-0 lead and pick it up from there," he said.

Hoyer said the Cubs had hoped all along to play a complete game on Tuesday night, and that the Wrigley Field grounds crew and the umpires were caught off-guard by a "weird weather pattern" and a lack of advance warning of the localized downpour.

That resulted in the field "wetter than usual," according to Hoyer, who added there was no rain at his house, located 12 blocks away from Wrigley Field.

Giants President Larry Baer said in a statement: "We appreciate Major League Baseball's careful review of our protest that will allow last night's game to be continued tomorrow."

"We want to thank Commissioner Bud Selig, Commissioner-elect Rob Manfred, Executive Vice President for Baseball Operations Joe Torre and the Chicago Cubs organization for their cooperation throughout this process," he said.

The last time a team won a protest filed with MLB was June 16, 1986, when St. Louis played at Pittsburgh. There were two rain delays at Three Rivers Stadium, and the Pirates correctly contended those didn't meet the National League's 30-minute threshold for cancellation.

MLB said in its statement that after watching video of the trouble at Wrigley Field and talking to Cubs' representatives, "the Cubs' inability to deploy the tarp appropriately was caused by the failure to properly wrap and spool the tarp after its last use."

"As a result, the grounds keeping crew was unable to properly deploy the tarp after the rain worsened," MLB said.

MLB said it talked with umpire crew chief Hunter Wendelstedt and that grounds crew worked hard to comply with his direction to get the field covered.

Steelers' Bell, Blount set to face pot charges

PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh Steelers running backs Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount will be charged with marijuana possession following a traffic stop Wednesday afternoon.

Ross Township detective Brian Kohlhepp said traffic officer Sean Stafiej pulled over a Camaro operated by Bell around 1:30 p.m. after Stafiej, who was on a motorcycle, noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle.

Stafiej found a 20 gram bag of marijuana inside the car. Bell, Blount and a female passenger all claimed ownership of the marijuana according to police.

Bell, 22, was taken to a hospital to have blood drawn and is expected to be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

Bell, Blount and the female passenger were arrested and released. All three are expected to receive notice of formal charges through the mail said Kohlhepp. The possession and DUI charges are both misdemeanors.

The Steelers play a preseason game in Philadelphia on Thursday. Bell and Blount, signed as a free agent in the offseason, were expected to see significant playing time in the main tuneup for starters before Pittsburgh's Sept. 7 opener against Cleveland.

"We are aware of the reports and still gathering information," Steelers spokesman Burt Lauten said. "We will have no further comment at this time."

Bell set a franchise record for total yards by a rookie running back last season, smashing the mark set by Hall of Famer Franco Harris.

The second-round pick out of Michigan State ran for 860 yards and eight touchdowns and caught 45 passes for 399 yards despite missing the first three games of the season with a foot injury.

Pittsburgh plans to use Bell and Blount as a one-two punch, with the burly 27-year-old Blount expected to be featured heavily in short-yardage situations. The Steelers finished tied for 27th in the league with 1,383 yards rushing in 2013 on their way to an 8-8 record.

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Angels RHP Richards leaves field with knee injury

BOSTON (AP) Los Angeles Angels right-hander Garrett Richards was taken off the field on a stretcher with a left knee injury on Wednesday night.

Richards was hurt in the second inning while running to cover first base on a potential double-play grounder by Boston's Brock Holt. Richards' fell in the dirt near the base. Several minutes later he was wheeled off while he raised his right arm to the crowd and put his left hand on his forehead.

The Angels said he sustained a patellar injury but didn't disclose the extent.

With runners at first and second, Holt grounded to first baseman Albert Pujols, who threw to shortstop Erick Aybar for the out at second. Richards then fell while running to first for a return throw that never came.

Aybar spun and threw to third, but Xander Bogaerts, who had run past the base, dove back safely.

Cory Rasmus replaced Richards.

Richards (13-7) was 7-2 in his previous 11 starts, lowering his ERA from 2.87 to 2.53. Since June 4, he had a 1.79 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 100 1-3 innings.

But he struggled on Wednesday, allowing two runs and five hits with one walk and no strikeouts in 1 2-3 innings.

Schilling blames chewing tobacco for mouth cancer

BOSTON (AP) Former major league pitcher Curt Schilling says he has been treated for mouth cancer and blames the disease on his use of chewing tobacco for about 30 years.

Schilling discussed details on WEEI-FM in Boston on Wednesday. The former Red Sox right-hander announced in February that he had cancer but hadn't disclosed what kind. He has said he is in remission after seven weeks of radiation and chemotherapy and has lost 75 pounds.

"I'm not going to sit up here from the pedestal and preach about chewing," he said. "It was an addictive habit. I can think about so many times in my life when it was so relaxing to just sit back and have a dip and do whatever.

"And I lost my sense of smell, my taste buds for the most part. I had gum issues, they bled, all this other stuff. None of it was enough to ever make me quit."

Schilling revealed the type of cancer two months after Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn died at the age of 54 of oral cancer, a disease he attributed to years of chewing tobacco.

Use of chewing tobacco has been "a norm in the baseball culture," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "On the heels of the unfortunate passing of Tony Gwynn and now what Curt's going through, you would think that this would be more of a current beacon for guys to take note and know that there's a price to be paid if you're one of the unfortunate ones that is stricken by cancer."

Major League Baseball prohibits having smokeless tobacco in public view and imposes fines for violations. Minor leaguers cannot use it in games.

Former Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester was coming back from treatment for anaplastic large cell lymphoma in 2007, Farrell's first year as Boston's pitching coach. Lester, sent to Oakland at the trade deadline last month, was 4-0 that year and won the final game of Boston's four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the World Series.

"Any time a public figure who is, unfortunately, diagnosed with cancer, is able to come out and speak about it - I know how hard that can be - it brings awareness," Lester said after Schilling's disclosure, "and maybe sheds a little light or a little hope on somebody who's struggling."

Before his team faced the Red Sox on Wednesday night, Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the use of smokeless tobacco "is non-existent in the minor leagues during a game. ... You hope that the next generation will heed the mistakes of the prior generation."

Schilling is a three-time World Series champion with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Red Sox.

"It's a very serious issue," said Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter, Schilling's manager with the Diamondbacks in 2000, the year before they won the World Series after Showalter left. Awareness "has gotten a lot better over the years through things like Curt is doing, but there's a long way to go."

Schilling played from 2004-07 with the Red Sox, who won the World Series in his first and last seasons with them.

"He's elected to keep it very personal and I wouldn't want to betray that confidence," said Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona, who managed Boston from 2004-11. "He's said what he's wanted to say, when he's wanted to say it."

Colorado Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer said he tries to encourage young players not to use smokeless tobacco.

"Anybody that thinks about it or wants to do it because it's cool should realize it's definitely not," he said. "You're seeing these guys' lives get put in jeopardy because of it. Young players and young kids should be aware of that. It's a disgusting habit."

Schilling is being sued by Rhode Island's economic development agency after his video game company received a $75 million state loan guarantee and then collapsed.

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AP Sports Writers Pat Graham and Janie McCauley and freelancers Patrick Donnelly and Paul Ladewski contributed to this story.

Yankees RHP Tanaka throws 35-pitch bullpen session

NEW YORK (AP) Masahiro Tanaka threw 35 pitches Wednesday in his second bullpen session as he tries to return to the New York Yankees this season.

The injured rookie from Japan threw fastballs, breaking balls and five splitters at Yankee Stadium. He said he felt a little rusty, but his elbow is healthy and now it's just a matter of rebuilding arm strength and getting sharp.

"It was a good day," Tanaka said through a translator. "The elbow is fine now. I'm more looking towards playing in a game now. But that said, even that said, I think I do have to be cautious about the elbow."

Tanaka went on the disabled list July 9 with a partial ligament tear in his right elbow and had a platelet-rich plasma injection. New York hopes he can avoid Tommy John surgery and return to the rotation next month.

The right-hander threw 25 pitches in his first bullpen session last Saturday and might have another one before moving on to batting practice. After that, it would be a simulated game and then a rehab game. No more MRIs are planned.

"So far, so good. I mean, every step has been positive for him and that's obviously the way we hope it continues to go. But each step, he increases intensity, and I'm sure BPs will be a little bit more intense than bullpens," manager Joe Girardi said. "The fact that he felt good today was encouraging. See how he feels tomorrow, obviously, is really important, but he was able to throw his curveball, his slider and his split, and I watched it and it looked pretty good."

Tanaka is 12-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 18 starts. New York began the day four games out of a playoff spot with 39 to play.

In other news, slumping Carlos Beltran was out of the lineup against Houston because of discomfort in his troublesome right elbow, which has bothered him for much of the season.

Beltran was scheduled to be examined by a doctor Wednesday evening.

"I'm not really sure what it means. Hopefully, it's just a day or two," Girardi said.

Derek Jeter was the designated hitter instead of Beltran, with Stephen Drew set to start at shortstop.

Hoyer beats injury, Manziel to win starting job

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Brian Hoyer defied long odds - and stiff-armed Johnny Football - to keep his dream job.

Through sweat and tears, he fought his way back from a serious knee injury only to be faced with the Browns drafting Johnny Manziel, college football's dynamic quarterback with the cult-like following.

Hoyer, though, persevered. He endured grueling rehab to get back on the field sooner than expected, stayed focused as Manzielmania consumed the Browns, and ignored trade rumors. It will be Hoyer who will lead the Browns, his hometown team, onto the field for the Sept. 7 opener against the archrival Pittsburgh Steelers.

For a Cleveland kid cut by three NFL teams and waiting for his chance, it doesn't get any better.

"Obviously it's very special for me," Hoyer said. "Did I believe this could happen after I got hurt? There was no doubt in my mind, but there were days when rehab (stunk) and I hated what I was doing. It's amazing how you appreciate the game when it's taken away from you."

Needing to fix his offense quickly, first-year Browns coach Mike Pettine chose Hoyer as his starter Wednesday over Manziel, who wasn't able to do enough during training camp or two preseason games to convince Cleveland's coaching staff he deserved the job.

Manziel is 0-1 as a pro.

"It's obviously disappointing," Manziel said. "I feel like if I would have come out and played better it would have been a different outcome. I don't think I played terrible, but I didn't do anything to jump off the page. I made strides and got better throughout training camp and that's what I wanted to do."

Despite a 40 percent completion percentage, 57.9 rating and seeming to buckle under the pressure this month, Hoyer will start the season. However, in Cleveland that usually only guarantees one game. After all, the Browns have had 20 starting quarterbacks since 1999. Hoyer is the 12th QB to start the opener, a damning indictment toward a franchise that has only made the playoffs once in its expansion era.

The first major decision of Pettine's coaching career wasn't easy. He chose Hoyer's experience over Manziel's potential and he may have to make another switch. Pettine knows the best plans can change in an instant.

"Give me a crystal ball, and I'll tell you," he said when asked if Manziel will play this season. "The NFL season is so long, so much can happen. We don't want Brian looking over his shoulder thinking one bad throw and I'm out. But over time, if you feel you have to make a change, time will only tell.

"You could foresee a scenario where he doesn't play this year and there are other scenarios that are absolutely possible as well. It's hard to tell."

Pettine brushed aside the notion Hoyer is on a short leash.

"This is Brian's job," he said. "I never think of it whether it's a leash or we want a guy to be a game manager. We want him to be confident and go out and play."

Pettine's selection of Hoyer will finally allow the Browns to move on to other things, and there's plenty of work to be done.

Pettine had targeted the third preseason game as the drop-dead date to pick his starter, but after both Hoyer and Manziel looked so bad in a loss at Washington on Monday, he met with his staff Tuesday night. He informed Hoyer and Manziel of his decision before a team meeting.

Hoyer didn't have enough time to contact his family, but while he was in the meeting, he received dozens of congratulatory text messages.

Nothing has ever come easy for him and although there was an outside perception Manziel would prevail, the 28-year-old Hoyer wasn't going down without a fight.

With Manziel on his heels, he can't relax.

"My entire career's been looking over my shoulder," he said. "The pressure you put on yourself is far greater than anything else, because when you're a rookie undrafted and you're trying to come in and make a team, there's no one to look over. You're just trying to get on the team and to me, I feel like I'll carry that chip with me forever."

Manziel temporarily is pushed aside, and that appears to be OK with the 21-year-old, who draws attention with every move he makes on and off the field.

Manziel hopes the hysteria quiets down a little.

"I'm the backup quarterback," he said. "I shouldn't be in the spotlight."

Manziel has no regrets about the way he approached his competition with Hoyer. He was widely criticized for some weekend partying, but the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner insists he wouldn't change a thing. He's developing as a player, maturing as a man, and hopes to one day take over.

"Now next time I come into training camp I won't be surprised by it," he said. "But I wouldn't go back from the point after the draft to now and change a single thing. I'm going to continue to live my life and the offseason is the offseason. I'm going to go places, I'm going to do things and that's going to have no effect.

"Obviously I need to do it in the proper way, but I'm still going to continue to have fun in my life and continue to live my life."

For now, as a backup.

NOTES: Browns DE Desmond Bryant underwent wrist surgery. Pettine doesn't know yet if Bryant, limited to 12 games last season by a heart problem, will be back for the opener.

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Lackey gives Neshek a Ruth ball for number switch

ST. LOUIS (AP) St. Louis Cardinals newcomer John Lackey really wanted to keep his old number, so he gave teammate Pat Neshek quite a reward for switching jerseys.

After Neshek gave up his No. 41 uniform, Lackey gave him a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth that's worth thousands of dollars.

Neshek switched to No. 37 after Lackey was acquired from Boston last month at the trade deadline. Neshek announced the payoff Wednesday on Twitter, along with a photo of the ball and a letter of authenticity.

Manager Mike Matheny remembers giving up No. 22 when the Cardinals traded for Will Clark in 2000 and said it was no big deal, just a number. Clark gave Matheny a compound bow that the manager has passed on to his children.

Tony Stewart skips 3rd race after Ward's death

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Tony Stewart will not race Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, the third Sprint Cup race he's skipped since his car struck and killed Kevin Ward Jr. during a sprint car race.

Stewart's decision was announced Wednesday and Jeff Burton will once again replace him in the No. 14 Chevrolet. Burton also drove Stewart's car at Michigan last weekend.

Stewart-Haas Racing is allowing Stewart to take the time he needs away from the track, and the team statement indicated the three-time NASCAR champion is taking it week-by-week. Stewart will not have to decide on another race until the Aug. 31 event at Atlanta.

Stewart has been in seclusion since the Aug. 9 incident at an upstate New York dirt track. He has not commented since he issued a statement the day after Ward's death.

Stewart also pulled out of the race at Watkins Glen, which began about 12 hours after his car hit Ward at event in Canandaigua, New York. Ward's car had spun into a wall as he and Stewart raced for position, and the 20-year-old climbed out to confront Stewart.

Authorities said the first car to pass Ward had to swerve to miss hitting the driver, who was gesturing toward the NASCAR star. The front of Stewart's car then appeared to clear Ward, but Ward was struck by the right rear tire and hurtled through the air.

Ward died of blunt force trauma, and authorities are still investigating the incident. Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero has said investigators did not have any evidence to support criminal intent by Stewart, but the investigation is expected to last at least another week. Povero said this week were no new updates.

None of Stewart's peers has spoken to the driver since the accident. But they've come to his defense, with six-time champion Jimmie Johnson saying nothing he's seen has convinced him that Ward's death was anything but a tragic accident.

Kevin Harvick, a longtime friend of Stewart's and his teammate at SHR, also bristled at the negative portrayal of Stewart since Ward's death.

"I've known Tony Stewart for a long time ... I know for sure that Tony Stewart is not going to run over somebody," Harvick said. "I don't think there's anybody in this garage that would. It would be hard to find somebody in the racing world that could point that car, just run somebody over."

NASCAR last week announced a rule that prohibits drivers from exiting from a crashed or disabled vehicle - unless it is on fire - until safety personnel arrive.

Stewart has 48 career Cup wins in 542 starts. He has one career win at Bristol, in 2001.

Burton made just his third start of the season last week. The 21-time Sprint Cup winner parted ways with Richard Childress Racing at the end of the season and is transitioning into an analyst for NBC. Burton won at Bristol in 2008 and has 15 top-10 finishes in 40 career starts.

Jim Kelly's follow-up exam shows no sign of cancer

Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly received encouraging news in his battle with cancer.

An initial physical exam showed no evidence of sinus cancer three months after the former Buffalo Bills quarterback completed radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Dr. Peter Costantino said in a release issued by New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital on Wednesday.

"The treatments have so far completely eliminated Mr. Kelly's pain, and his level of function has essentially returned to normal," said Costantino, who heads the hospital's head and neck institute. "Further, on physical examination, there is no evidence of the cancer."

The statement was issued a day after Kelly visited the hospital for a follow-up examination.

Costantino said a series of tests over the next week will determine if further treatments are necessary.

"It is possible that no further treatment will be required," he said.

Kelly had surgery in June 2013 to remove cancerous cells in his upper jaw. The cancer then spread to his sinus in March.

Kelly's wife Jill welcomed the news in a note posted on her Instagram account.

"We have come away from our checkup visit in NYC encouraged and hopeful," she wrote.

She added that the follow-up tests will include biopsies to confirm the cancer has been eradicated.

Kelly was in a weakened state following a two-month barrage of treatments last spring.

In one of his first public appearances following the treatments, Kelly surprised Bills players and staff by showing up to one of their final minicamp practices in June.

Kelly was then strong enough to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremonies in Canton, Ohio, three weeks ago, when former Bills teammate, receiver Andre Reed, was among the seven inductees. Reed closed his speech by having Kelly throw him a pass on stage.

A day later, Kelly served as the Bills honorary captain before their preseason-opening game against the New York Giants.

Kelly's battle with cancer has been a public one, and attracted thousands of supporters and well-wishers on social media.

"Kelly Tough" and "Prayers For JK" have become catch phrases and hashtags on Twitter by those voicing their support for Kelly.

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

Settlement reached in Moore-Bertuzzi lawsuit

TORONTO (AP) A settlement has been reached in Steve Moore's lawsuit against NHL forward Todd Bertuzzi, more than 10 years after the bloody, on-ice attack ended Moore's career.

Geoff Adair, a lawyer for Bertuzzi, confirmed the case was "settled in its totality" but said Tuesday the terms are confidential. The multimillion-dollar lawsuit had been set for trial Sept. 8.

"We are pleased that the resolution of this matter allows the parties to turn the page and look to the future," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in an email.

On March 8, 2004, Bertuzzi, then playing for the Vancouver Canucks, hit Moore from behind. The Colorado Avalanche rookie crashed face first to the ice, leaving him with a concussion and fractured vertebrae.

The Canucks released a statement Wednesday afternoon saying a settlement was reached and that they planned no further comment on the matter.

Moore alleges the Canucks had put a bounty on him following his check that injured their captain, Markus Naslund. Bertuzzi pleaded guilty to criminal assault causing bodily harm. He was sentenced in December 2004 to one year of probation and 80 hours of community service.

There has been years of legal wrangling since. The civil case was filed in Ontario court in 2006 but was slowed by delays.

Moore, now 35, never fully recovered from his injuries and was unable to keep playing. In March, a day before the 10th anniversary of the play, he told The Canadian Press he still has headaches and low energy.

"I lost my entire career in my rookie year," he said. "I think any player put in that situation would do the same thing. I can't recover anything else. I can't recover my career, the experience of living out my dream from the time I was 2 1/2 years old of playing in the NHL."

It all started on Feb. 16, 2004, when Moore flattened Naslund with an open-ice hit that left Vancouver's scoring star with a concussion. The play drew no punishment from the NHL.

Major retaliation was expected. Vancouver's Brad May was quoted as saying there was a "bounty" on Moore. But when the teams next met on March 3, with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman in the house, there were no incidents.

Not so on March 8, a 9-2 Colorado victory. Moore squared off in a fight against Matt Cooke in the first period, and it appeared that was the end of it. But things got nasty in the third period.

Moore was challenged again. He turned away. Bertuzzi skated up behind him, tugging on his jersey, then punched him from behind and fell on top of him as others piled on. Moore lay motionless on the ice in a pool of blood before being removed on a stretcher and taken to the hospital.

Bertuzzi was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs, which cost him about $502,000. He didn't play during the 2004-05 lockout season but was reinstated for the 2005-06 season. He has since continued his career, most recently with Detroit.

Cowboys worth more than $3 billion, tops in NFL

NEW YORK (AP) The Dallas Cowboys are the first U.S. sports franchise to top $3 billion in value.

For the eighth straight year, the Cowboys are worth the most of all 32 NFL franchises, according to Forbes. They're valued at $3.2 billion; only Real Madrid at $3.4 billion is worth more among global franchises.

Dallas posted the NFL's highest revenue, $560 million, and operating income, $246 million. That was far ahead of second-place New England, worth $2.6 billion and with $428 million in revenues, $147 million in operating income.

But the Patriots had the biggest increase since last year, up 44 percent in value. Dallas was up 39 percent.

The average NFL franchise value for 2014 is $1.43 billion, the highest in the 17 years the business magazine has tracked professional football. That shows a 23 percent increase, the largest in one year since 1999.

Forbes determines team values using equity plus net debt figures, and accounts for each team's current stadium situation, with adjustments for pending new stadiums and renovations to existing ones.

Washington ($2.4 billion) is third in value, increasing 41 percent since the last rankings, and the New York Giants ($2.1 billion) are fourth.

For the 2013 season, the average NFL team generated record revenue of $299 million and operating income of $53 million. Each franchise received a record $170 million of national revenue, mainly from league broadcasting and licensing fees.

At the bottom are Buffalo, worth $935 million and currently for sale after owner Ralph Wilson's death, and St. Louis at $930 million. But every team increased in worth, the lowest rise being Arizona at 4 percent.

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

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