National Sports Headlines from NBC Sports

Murray advances to 4th round with win over Lopez

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Three-time finalist Andy Murray advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the sixth straight year with a 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-2 win over No. 26-seeded Feliciano Lopez of Spain on Saturday.

Murray, playing only his second tournament since minor back surgery in September, was only broken once in a 2-hour, 15-minute match.

Fourth-seeded Murray, who broke some Grand Slam droughts for British men when he won the U.S. Open in 2012 and Wimbledon last year, is still aiming for his first Australian title. He has lost the finals at Melbourne Park in three of the last four years.

He next faces Stefane Robert, a lucky loser from qualifying who made the main draw after Philipp Kohlschreiber withdrew with an injury on the second morning of the tournament.

Durant scores 54, Thunder beat Warriors

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant scored a career-high 54 points to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Golden State Warriors 127-121 on Friday night.

Durant made 19 of 28 field goals and 11 of 13 free throws in his third straight game with at least 36 points.

Serge Ibaka had 21 points and eight rebounds, Reggie Jackson scored 14 points and Kendrick Perkins added 12 rebounds for the Thunder (30-10), who won for the third time in four games. Oklahoma City shot 58 percent from the field and scored a season-high point total.

Stephen Curry had 37 points and 11 assists and Klay Thompson added 26 points for the Warriors (25-16), who shot 52 percent but simply couldn't match up with Durant.

Federer advances to 4th round at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Four-time champion Roger Federer has advanced to the fourth round at the Australian Open for the 13th consecutive year following a 6-2, 6-2, 6-3 win Saturday over Teymuraz Gabashvili.

The win may be a good omen for the sixth-seeded Federer. The only other time the two have played - in the first round at Wimbledon in 2007, when the Russian also lost in straight sets - Federer went on to win the title.

Federer was back in familiar territory Saturday at Rod Laver Arena. On Thursday, he won his second-round match at the secondary Hisense Arena, the first time in a decade that Federer was not given prime billing at the 15,000-seat Rod Laver where he had played his previous 63 consecutive Australian Open matches.

Blackhawks cool off Ducks with 4-2 victory

CHICAGO (AP) Marian Hossa scored two goals, and Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell also tallied to lead the Chicago Blackhawks past Anaheim 4-2 on Friday night to end the Ducks' eight-game winning streak and hand them only their second loss in the past 20 games.

Corey Crawford made 19 saves to help the Blackhawks end a five-game losing streak against Anaheim - including three straight in Chicago - and beat the Ducks for the first time since December 2011.

With Chicago cruising 3-0, Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf scored on a wrist shot to cap an odd-man break with 6:13 left in the third to end Crawford's shutout bid.

Then Kyle Palmieri connected on a 40-foot shot 53 seconds later to make it close before Hossa scored into an empty net with 7.6 seconds left.

Anaheim's run of 18 wins in 19 games began with a 3-2 shootout victory at Chicago on Dec. 6. It was the longest span of one-loss play since the 1967-68 Montreal Canadiens won a record 20 of 21.

Anaheim goalie Jonas Hiller was sharp and made 31 saves, but his 14-game winning streak ended. That run tied him for second-longest in NHL history with four other goalies.

Hiller hadn't lost since a shootout defeat to Los Angeles on Dec. 3.

Despite scuffling along at 1-1-3 in its past five games, defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago entered the game with the NHL's second-best point total.

Through most of the showdown against league-leading Anaheim, the Blackhawks were a step quicker and more-determined physically.

Chicago outshot the Ducks 35-21.

Versteeg collided with Bickell behind the Anaheim net at the end of the second period and didn't skate in the third.

Chicago outshot Anaheim 15-8 in the first period and led 2-0 after 20 minutes.

The Blackhawks dominated early, and Hossa opened the scoring with a short-handed goal at 10:34.

Toews skated quickly out of the Chicago zone and sent the puck to Hossa on right wing. As Toews streaked down the slot, Hossa faked, used Anaheim defenseman Cam Fowler as a screen and fired a low shot under Hiller's pads.

It was the first time the Blackhawks had opened the scoring since Jan. 3, a span of six games.

Versteeg made it 2-0 with 2:54 left in the period when he batted in a loose puck that two Ducks players couldn't handle.

Anaheim's Matt Beleskey knocked the puck away from Versteeg as he tried to cut in from the right corner, but it deflected off defenseman Sami Vatanen and toward the net. Versteeg got a piece of the flipping puck and directed it past Hiller.

Crawford made a point-blank pad save on Corey Perry with 1:13 left to maintain Chicago's two-goal lead. He stopped Saku Koivu on a short-handed 2-on-1 break early in the scoreless second.

Aided by three power plays, Blackhawks outshot the Ducks 11-3 in the middle period.

Bickell made it 3-0 at 10:13 of the third. He gained a step on Anaheim defenseman Ben Lovejoy, plowed down the slot and fired.

Hiller got a piece of the shot, but it rolled over him and into the net.

After Getzlaf cut it to 3-1 with 6:13 left, Palmieri fooled Crawford on a low 40-foot shot from the slot 53 seconds later to set up a wild finish. The Ducks pressured and pulled Hiller for an extra attacker with 1:10 left, but couldn't tie it.

NOTES: The Ducks announced D Sheldon Souray will miss the season after another operation on his right wrist. Souray, 37, was injured during summer training and he never got on the ice in his second year in Anaheim. ... Ducks D Bryan Allen returned after missing five games with a lower-body injury. ... Chicago leading scorer Patrick Kane has no goals and just three assists in nine games following a career-high 14-game point streak during which he had eight goals and 17 assists. ... Anaheim sent top goalie prospect John Gibson back to the minors without making his NHL debut and assigned long-injured D Luca Sbisa to the AHL on a conditioning loan before Friday's game.

Clayton Kershaw calls lucrative deal 'humbling'

LOS ANGELES (AP) Even Clayton Kershaw has trouble contemplating the enormity of a $215 million, seven-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that makes him baseball's richest pitcher.

The team finalized the deal Friday, when Kershaw stayed home in Dallas. The 25-year-old ace said by phone that talking money is "a little bit uncomfortable for me."

Kershaw and his wife, Ellen, have been discussing how to spend the money, and most of their ideas revolve around charitable interests. The couple supports an orphanage in Africa and two groups that fund afterschool programs for children in Los Angeles and Dallas. They have no children of their own.

"Ellen and I understand the effects we can have on a lot of people with this money," he said. "We realize to whom much is given much is expected and that's what we're going to try and do."

Kershaw gets an $18 million signing bonus, payable in $6 million installments this April 15, July 15 and Sept. 15. He receives salaries of $4 million this year, $30 million next year, $32 million in 2016, $33 million in each of the next two seasons, $32 million in 2019 and $33 million in 2020.

He would earn a $1 million bonus each time he wins the Cy Young Award and $500,000 whenever he finishes second or third.

Kershaw said the money is both "a tremendous blessing and a tremendous responsibility."

His deal breaks the salary record for a pitcher of $180 million set by Justin Verlander last March for his seven-year contract with Detroit.

Kershaw's average salary of $30.7 million betters the previous high of $27.5 million, set by the New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez as part of a 10-year agreement from December 2007. While Roger Clemens had a contract with a listed salary of $28 million with the Yankees in 2007, he joined the team in June and actually made $17.4 million.

"Obviously, there's going to be a lot of expectations, as it should be if your salary's out there and you're one of the highest paid players in the game," said Kershaw, a two-time NL Cy Young Award winner. "That's fine with me. I understand those expectations and I look forward to try to live up to them."

Kershaw regards the lucrative deal as a precedent-setter for future players.

"Hopefully somebody comes along and beats it," he said.

Kershaw would have been eligible for free agency after the upcoming season if the new deal hadn't been reached. He can opt out after five years, a contract provision he wanted.

"I always want to be able to see the end," he said. "Anything longer than that, I would have been overwhelmed trying to live up to the expectations."

The Dodgers first began talking with Kershaw's representatives last March. By summer, they were nearing a deal, but decided to put it off until after the season ended. The team had baseball's second-highest payroll at the end of the regular season last fall - more than $236 million.

"A big, big factor for us that really was a positive for us is Clayton's age," Dodgers President Stan Kasten said. "I'd feel differently doing this contract with a player that's in his mid-30s. It doesn't make it fool-proof, there are still risks."

Kershaw was 16-9 for the NL West champion Dodgers last year and led the league with 232 strikeouts, and his 1.83 ERA was the best in the major leagues since Pedro Martinez's 1.74 for Boston in 2000. He has led the NL in ERA in each of the last three years.

The Dodgers were eliminated after Kershaw pitched a rare clunker in a 9-0 loss to St. Louis in the NL championship series.

"I definitely feel pretty responsible for us ending our season," he said. "It leaves a little bit of a bitter taste in your mouth."

The Dodgers continue to talk to representatives of Japanese star pitcher Masahiro Tanaka. The 30-day window to sign the 25-year-old right-hander ends on Jan. 24.

Kershaw hasn't been asked by the Dodgers to help recruit Tanaka nor does he want to weigh in on potential player acquisitions.

"From what I hear, he seems like a great pitcher," he said. "If he's a great pitcher it definitely can never hurt."

Typical of his low-key personality, Kershaw didn't see any reason to celebrate the new deal.

"I had a few of my buddies over here," he said. "We played some pingpong and grilled some burgers."

NOTES: The Dodgers exchanged salary arbitration figures with C A.J. Ellis (he asked for $4.6 million, the team offered $3 million) and reliever Kenley Jansen ($5.05 million to the team's $3.5 million).

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AP Sports Writer Ronald Blum contributed to this report.

Browns' Bess charged in Fla. with officer assault

MIAMI (AP) Cleveland Browns and former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Davone Bess was arrested Friday on charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer at an airport, the latest in a series of personal problems for the NFL player.

According to a Broward Sheriff's Office arrest report, Bess was approached by Deputy Thomas O'Brien inside the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport terminal because he was "acting irrationally, dancing, singing with his pants repeatedly falling down."

"I inquired if he was all right and received no response," O'Brien said in the report, adding later that Bess "appeared to be looking through me" while they talked.

Bess, 28, then picked up a cup of hot coffee from a counter and squeezed it, "which caused the cup to break with the liquid going all over my uniform," the deputy wrote. Bess then took up a "fighting stance," and O'Brien said he hit the player on the leg with a baton to no effect.

"Bess proceeded to take off his shirt and once again took up a fighting stance refusing my repeated orders to get on the ground," O'Brien said, adding that Bess was finally taken into custody when backup officers arrived.

Sheriff's office records show that Bess is charged with simple assault on an officer, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly conduct. It was not immediately clear whether Bess had a lawyer. Browns spokesman Zak Gilbert said the team was aware of the arrest and was gathering information.

Bess was released Friday morning on $100 bail. The three charges are all misdemeanors. He did not comment about the substance of the charges to waiting television news crews.

The Miami Herald reported Friday night that police were summoned to Bess' home in Florida last year before he was traded to the Browns. According to a report uncovered by the newspaper, six officers were needed to restrain Bess and his family reportedly had him hospitalized against his will.

The Browns signed Bess last year to a three-year, $11.5 million contract after acquiring him on draft day in April from the Dolphins. This season Bess had career lows with 42 catches for 362 yards.

The arrest comes one day after Bess posted a photo on his Twitter page of a small package containing what appears to be marijuana. The photo was later deleted. Last month, a photo posted on Bess' Instagram account showed him lighting a cigar or marijuana joint next to a photo of late reggae star Bob Marley, a Rastafarian flag around his shoulders.

On Dec. 19, the Browns placed Bess on the reserve/non-football illness list for what were described as personal reasons. He missed the final two games of the season.

Bess spent five seasons with the Dolphins. His best year was in 2010, when he caught 79 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns. The Oakland, Calif. native starred at the University of Hawaii before joining the Dolphins in 2008 as an undrafted free agent.

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AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this story.

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Follow Curt Anderson on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Miamicurt

AP Source: Jets' Smith leaves plane after argument

NEW YORK (AP) A person familiar with the situation says New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith left his flight at Los Angeles International Airport after getting into an argument with an attendant.

Smith was on a Virgin America flight from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Friday when an attendant asked Smith to remove his headphones and an argument ensued, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no official report was filed to or by the airport.

The person said Smith, who just finished his rookie season with the Jets, got up and asked to speak to a supervisor before leaving the plane on his own and speaking with police at the gate before leaving.

The Jets declined comment in a statement.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Rondo returns but Lakers beat Celtics 107-104

BOSTON (AP) Rajon Rondo returned from a knee injury and missed a 3-pointer for Boston that could have sent the game into overtime, allowing the Los Angeles Lakers to beat the Celtics 107-104 on Friday night.

Pau Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles, and Kendall Marshall finished 19 points and 14 assists. Ryan Kelly scored 20 points and Wesley Johnson added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Johnson made a 3-pointer with 69 seconds left to give the Lakers the lead for good. Kelly added a pair of clinching free throws with 9.4 seconds remaining as the Lakers snapped a six-game losing streak.

Kelly Olynyk scored a career-high 25 points for Boston. Rondo, who was limited to 20 minutes in his first game since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 25, 2013, had eight points, four assists and two rebounds.

Vanderbilt hires Stanford DC Derek Mason as coach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Vanderbilt took less than a week before filling its vacant head football coaching position, announcing Friday the university had tabbed Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason.

Mason will be introduced at a news conference Saturday morning.

"I am so excited to be at Vanderbilt," Mason said in the release. "This university combines the best of what's good about college athletics and academics. We expect to be competitive and look forward to competing for an SEC East crown."

Mason, 44, has spent the past four seasons at Stanford where academic requirements and recruiting challenges are similar to Vanderbilt. He joined former coach Jim Harbaugh's staff in 2010 as a defensive backs coach after serving in the same position with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings from 2007-09.

He was promoted to co-defensive coordinator and associate head coach when David Shaw took over in January 2011. He has had complete control over the unit the last two years.

Mason replaces James Franklin who left for Penn State on Jan. 11. Vanderbilt wrapped up its search in exactly a week, and athletic director David Williams said they are very happy with their search. Williams said they found the football world is aware of Vanderbilt's progress, resulting in lots of interest in the job.

"We talked to outside experts and did our own evaluations and the person that always seemed to be in the spotlight was the same person that was at the top of our list and that was Derek Mason," Williams said..

Mason takes over a program that is in much better shape than the last time Vanderbilt hired a coach in 2010. Franklin took over a program that had gone 4-20 over the previous two seasons. Now Vanderbilt is 24-16 over the past three seasons, and the Commodores are 16-4 over the past 20 games - second in the Southeastern Conference only to Alabama.

Vanderbilt also has won consecutive bowl games for the first time in school history and finished in the final Associated Press poll each of the past two seasons, including No. 24 for 2013. Vanderbilt hadn't finished in the final AP poll before Franklin arrived since 1948 under Red Sanders.

But a recruiting class that had been ranked in the Top 25 before Franklin left has been losing commitments left and right, forcing Mason to try and salvage a class before signing day Feb. 5.

Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos said they trust Mason to build on the work that has taken Vanderbilt football to "unprecedented heights."

"He embodies integrity, strategic thinking and a demonstrated commitment to success. He understands the important role that athletics plays in the life of a vibrant university, and that outstanding scholarly pursuits and top-notch sports are integral parts of the Vanderbilt experience," Zeppos said.

A fiery and energetic coach whose personality plays well with recruits, Mason has helped mold the Cardinal into one of the nation's best and most physical defenses.

Stanford allowed only 19 points per game last season, best in the offensive-oriented Pac-12 Conference and 10th nationally. The Cardinal also led the country with 44 sacks. Stanford has won the past two Pac-12 titles and is the only program to make a BCS bowl each of the last four years -- all during Mason's tenure.

Mason is a former cornerback at Northern Arizona and has been an assistant at various colleges the past 20 years, including stops at Ohio, New Mexico State, Saint Mary's, Utah, Weber State, Idaho State, Bucknell and San Diego Mesa College.

He has gained greater acclaim at Stanford for finding ways to slow down hurry-up offenses and read-option runs, especially against Pac-12 division rival Oregon, which Stanford has beaten the past two years. About a half-dozen NFL teams even sent coaches last summer to see Mason, who taught tutorials on his defensive schemes.

"We are so excited to be introducing him as our head football coach because we are confident he can build upon our successes on and off the field and that he will take us to the next level," Williams said.

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AP Sports Writer Antonio Gonzalez contributed to this report from California.

MLB approves expanded replay starting this season

PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. (AP) Ever since the game was invented, before television or even radio existed, baseball counted on the eyes and ears of umpires on the field. Starting this season, many key decisions will be made in a studio far away.

Major League Baseball vaulted into the 21st century of technology on Thursday, approving a huge expansion of instant replay in hopes of eliminating blown calls that riled up players, managers and fans.

"I think it's great," San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's about getting it right."

Acknowledging the human element had been overtaken in an era when everyone except the umps could see several views over and over in slow-motion, owners and players and umpires OKed the new system.

Now each manager will be allowed to challenge at least one call per game. If he's right, he gets another challenge. After the seventh inning, a crew chief can request a review on his own if the manager has used his challenges.

"I tell you the fans will love it," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said after owners met and voted their unanimous approval. "It's another in a long list of changes that will make this sport better than it already is."

Baseball was the last major pro sport in North America to institute replay when it began late in the 2008 season. Even then, it was only used for close calls on home runs.

The NFL, NBA, NHL, some NCAA sports and major tennis tournaments all use a form of replay, and even FIFA and the English Premier League have adopted goal-line technology for soccer.

Not that managers won't still occasionally bolt from the dugout, their veins bulging.

The so-called "neighborhood play" at second base on double plays cannot be challenged. Many had safety concerns for middle infielders being wiped out by hard-charging runners if the phantom force was subject to review.

Ball-and-strike calls can't be contested. Neither can check-swings and foul tips. Nor can obstruction and interference rulings - those are up to the umpires' judgment, like the one at third base in Game 3 of the World Series last October that sent St. Louis over Boston.

All reviews will be done by current MLB umpires at a replay center in MLB.com's New York office. To create a large enough staff, MLB agreed to hire six new big league umpires and call up two minor league umps for the entire season. A seventh major league umpire will be added to replace the late Wally Bell.

The umpires on the field will be able to talk to the command center. The replay umpire will make the final decision - that could include where to place runners if, say, a call is reversed from out to safe on a trapped ball in outfield.

In addition, managers and others in the dugout will be allowed to communicate by phone with someone in the clubhouse who can watch the videos and advise whether to challenge a call.

"I'm excited to see how it works out. I am interested to see how the flow of the game is affected," Oakland catcher Stephen Vogt said. "It's a good use of the technology that we have, the fact that we will be able to get more calls corrected and fixed."

Joe Torre, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations, said work continues on a proposed rule that would ban home-plate collisions between runners and the catcher. The rule has not been written and talks on its content are ongoing between MLB representatives and the players union, he said.

Even since William McLean became the first professional umpire when he worked a Boston-Philadelphia National League game on April 22, 1876, baseball has celebrated its old-fashioned traditions. Having umpires make the calls on the field was one of them.

So were arguments between managers and umpires, often to the delight of fans. Worries that replays would slow the pace even more were offset by this: Replay decisions cannot be argued.

Replay umpires will make their final rulings in no more than a minute to 90 seconds, MLB Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Joe Torre estimated.

"With our technology today we can do that in a way I don't think we will interrupt the flow of the game," Bochy said.

To make reviews uniform, cameras will transit 12 angles from each ballpark. MLB Chief Operating Officer Rob Manfred said it was uncertain whether the replay system will be in place in Australia for the season-opening series between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.

"For some, the discussions regarding expanded replay appeared to move too slowly, too deliberately," said Brian Lam, the lawyer for the World Umpires Association. "But there were technical and operational challenges that needed to be addressed, and that took time. With so many competing interests and opinions, it is unlikely that all will be completely pleased at the end of the day, but that's often the nature of things."

MLB had talked for a few years about expanding replay to include fair-or-foul calls and traps. Several missed calls in the postseason ratcheted up the debate.

The players' union gave its approval for the 2014 season.

"The players look forward to the expanded use of replay this season, and they will monitor closely its effects on the game before negotiating over its use in future seasons," union Executive Director Tony Clark said in a statement.

Selig said the replay expansion ranks "very, very high" when compared with other moves made during his time on the job.

The new rule allows ballparks to show fans the same replays on stadium video screens. But only plays under review can be shown on the screen in slow motion.

"It's the first time in the history of the game that a manager has the opportunity to change the call of a play that may have adversely affected their team," said Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, who chaired the committee that came up with the replay plan, "that may have cost them the game, that may have cost them the division, that may have cost them a World Series."

The existing rule on umpires calling for a review of whether a hit was a home run or not will remain, although the review will be done by the umpire in New York.

Torre said the number of manager challenges were limited to a maximum of two to maintain "the rhythm of the game."

"We're going to start this way and if we feel something has to be adjusted we're certainly going to be aware of that," he said.

Torre and MLB executive Tony La Russa, both ex-managers, joined Schuerholz on the replay committee.

"We're really going for the dramatic miss, not all misses," La Russa said. "...This is a challenge for a game-changing play that goes against you, and now you can correct it."

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AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum, Janie McCauley and Ben Walker contributed to this report.

NBA All-Star jerseys will have sleeves

NEW YORK (AP) The NBA All-Stars will wear jerseys with sleeves during this season's midseason celebration in New Orleans.

The NBA and athletic apparel giant Adidas revealed the All-Star game uniforms Thursday. The NBA All-Star game is scheduled for Feb. 16.

The Eastern Conference will wear blue and the West will wear red, but the jerseys will feature Mardi Gras colors - green and purple. The NBA All-Star logo appears on the chest of the jerseys in the shape of the fleur-de-lis, the official symbol of Louisiana.

Jets sign coach Rex Ryan to contract extension

NEW YORK (AP) Rex Ryan went from the hot seat to some job security.

Well, at least through the next two seasons.

The New York Jets signed the popular coach to a contract extension Thursday, removing the lame duck label from Ryan and keeping him with the franchise through the 2015 season - and possibly beyond. The team announced the extension for Ryan, who had one year remaining on his contract, but provided no further details regarding the length of the deal or financial terms.

ESPN, which first reported the deal, said it is a multiyear extension that contains incentives based on playoff victories. Ryan is 4-2 in the postseason with the Jets, including consecutive trips to the AFC championship game in his first two seasons, but New York hasn't made the playoffs in three years.

"I know what we all want and we're striving to get there," Ryan said in a statement issued by the team. "But it's not about me. We're already into our offseason planning. There are a lot of areas where we can improve and we can't wait to get this thing rolling."

Ryan was retained by owner Woody Johnson for next season after his job appeared in jeopardy. Expectations were extremely low outside the team entering this season, but Ryan led the Jets to a surprising 8-8 finish that had players and fans clamoring for Johnson and general manager John Idzik to keep the coach.

Johnson, who announced after the season-ending win at Miami that Ryan would be back, rewarded him with the extension and removed the specter of him heading into next season without a contract beyond this year. Ryan is 42-38 in the regular season in his five years with the Jets.

"I'm no different than any of our fans," Ryan said. "I'm an ordinary guy that's been given an unbelievable opportunity. I've said all along: I'm glad to be a Jet. I'm happy to be a Jet. That's never changed."

Despite the extension, Ryan wouldn't necessarily be guaranteed to return after next season or 2015 if the Jets continue to miss the postseason.

For now, though, the idea that Ryan could be around for at least two more seasons could help recruit free agents, and the Jets are expected to be a major player this offseason since they will be comfortably under the salary cap. It might also help Ryan with settling his coaching staff, especially after losing special teams coordinator Ben Kotwica to Washington and linebackers coach Brian VanGorder to Notre Dame as the school's defensive coordinator. Several other assistant coaches, including defensive line coach Karl Dunbar, have expiring deals.

Ryan faced an uncertain future last offseason after the Jets went 6-10, but Johnson retained the coach and fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum. The team hired Idzik as general manager, with Ryan already in place, and it had been speculated that Idzik could want to hire a coach of his choice this offseason.

During a news conference to wrap up the season two days after finishing 8-8, the two gushed about their working relationship.

"Rex and I have worked well since I got here and have the same vision for this football team," Idzik said in a statement. "As I have stated before, he is a phenomenal teacher and motivator. We are fortunate to have him as our head coach."

The Jets opened 5-4 and as one of the NFL's most surprising teams led by rookie quarterback Geno Smith heading into their bye-week break, but they set an NFL record by alternating wins and losses through their first 10 games. A three-game skid sent New York from controlling its playoff fate to barely in the postseason picture.

After the Jets were eliminated, there were serious questions as to whether Ryan would be retained. But there was an uncommonly overwhelming amount of support for Ryan with fans, players and ex-players taking to social media to state their case as to why he should stay.

Ryan and Idzik will now look forward to shaping next season's team with plenty of issues to consider, starting with the quarterback situation. The Jets will have to determine whether Smith has a chance to be their quarterback of the future, and whether they'll draft another player to compete with him or sign a proven veteran.

New York will likely part ways with injured quarterback Mark Sanchez and wide receiver Santonio Holmes and possibly cornerback Antonio Cromartie to save money on the salary cap, and there are several potential key free agents, including right tackle Austin Howard, right guard Willie Colon and kicker Nick Folk.

Ryan now gets a chance to build off the surprising performance of his team and try to make good on that Super Bowl title he boldly guaranteed when he was hired in 2009.

"The front office, coaches, players, this entire organization - we're all in this together," Idzik said. "We are all governed by the same motives and that is to build a perennial winner here with the Jets."

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Price, Rays agree to $14 million, 1-year contract

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Now that Tampa Bay's David Price is slated to earn the biggest single-season salary in Rays history, the three-time All-Star hopes he remains part of the budget-minded franchise's plans for 2014.

The team announced Thursday that the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $14 million, one-year deal. However, the agreement doesn't eliminate the possibility of a trade.

"I still have the mindset moving forward that I want to be with the Rays," said Price, who at the end of last season seemed resigned to the fact that he'd probably be dealt during the offseason.

The 28-year-old has been the subject of trade speculation after going 10-8 with a 3.33 ERA last year while earning $10,112,500. He is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, and the Rays likely won't be in a position to pay the type of money Price could earn on the open market.

If he's traded, Price believes it wouldn't be before Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka decides where to sign. Teams have until Jan. 24 to reach an agreement with Tanaka, a 25-year-old right-hander who was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA last year for the Japan Series champion Rakuten Golden Eagles.

Price believes the Rays, who've made the playoffs four of the past six seasons, could have one of the best teams again in 2014.

"I want to be part of it. I think we're going to have a really good season," Price stressed, adding a trade after the start of spring training likely would leave a "bad taste" in the mouths of teammates who'd also like to see him remain with the Rays.

Price's 2013 season was interrupted by his first stint on the disabled list, caused by a strained triceps. He went 9-4 with a 2.53 ERA, 102 strikeouts and just 13 walks in 18 starts after coming off the DL on July 2, spurring the Rays' drive for a playoff berth.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft is 71-39 over parts of six seasons and is Tampa Bay's career leader in ERA (3.19) and winning percentage (.645).

Price became the franchise's first 20-game winner in 2012, when he edged Detroit's Justin Verlander in AL Cy Young balloting. He was a 19-game winner in 2010, his first full season in the majors.

The left-hander's salary for 2014 will account for a significant portion of a projected payroll of about $72 million. Carlos Pena earned $10.25 million in 2010, the previous season high for the Rays.

Hernandez eyed as gunman in 2012 slayings

BRISTOL, Conn. -- Boston police have been investigating whether jailed former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez may have been the gunman in a 2012 double slaying, according to a search warrant request released Thursday.

Hernandez, who is awaiting trial on murder charges in a 2013 shooting near his home, was seen on surveillance footage in the same nightclub as the victims on the night of the attack in Boston's South End, authorities have said. But newly released documents in Connecticut confirm for the first time that police suspect Hernandez could have carried out the shooting.

No charges have been filed in the deaths of Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, who were killed on July 16, 2012, when somebody inside an SUV opened fire on their car. A third person was shot but survived.

A June 28 police affidavit and searched warrant application released by Superior Court in Bristol, Conn., says there is probable cause to believe that Hernandez was driving the vehicle used in the shooting and "may have been the shooter."

The affidavit was filed as police sought to search an SUV they say was involved in the shooting and was found at Hernandez's uncle's home in Bristol, where Hernandez was raised. The SUV had been given to Hernandez by a Rhode Island company in exchange for participating in promotional activities, according to court filings.

Authorities found the SUV while investigating the slaying of Odin Lloyd, a semi-professional football player whose body was found June 17 near Hernandez's North Attleborough, Mass., home. Hernandez has pleaded not guilty to murder in that case.

A lawyer for Hernandez did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Extreme heat brings Australian Open to a halt

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) The scorching weather finally brought play to a halt on the fourth day of the Australian Open when the temperature topped 43 Celsius (109F), but not soon enough for some players who criticized officials for not stopping matches earlier.

The Extreme Heat Policy was enacted at Melbourne Park just before 2 p.m. Thursday, suspending all matches on outer courts until the early evening and requiring the closure of the retractable roofs at Rod Laver and Hisense arenas before play could continue on the show courts.

It was the first time since 2009 play had been halted due to heat at the Australian Open.

For Maria Sharapova, playing at Rod Laver Arena, the call came too late. The rule dictates the roof can't be closed until the end of a set in progress, so she was forced to finish a grueling third set against Italian Karin Knapp under the blazing sun.

"Everyone knows there is no tiebreaker in the third set (at the Australian Open), so once you start that set, you're going to be out there until you're done," she said after closing out the 3 1/2-hour match, 6-3, 4-6, 10-8.

Other players wilted in the heat. American Varvara Lepchenko received medical treatment during her match against 11th-seeded Romanian Simona Halep, lying flat on her back during a changeover as trainers rubbed iced on her body.

"At first I didn't understand what was going on but then my legs, my arms started to get heavier. I couldn't focus at one point and started feeling dizzier and dizzier," she said.

She continued but only won one more game in a 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 defeat.

"They definitely should have just not started the matches in the first place," she said. "And the same goes for a couple of days ago when I played my (first) match."

Play finally got under way again on outer courts shortly after 6 p.m. local time, but 14 matches were later suspended due to lighting at 7:37 p.m.

The heat wave began Tuesday when the temperature peaked at 42C (108F). The tournament referee did not halt play then because the Extreme Heat Policy also takes into account other factors, such as humidity and wind speed.

The distinction is lost on the players, who have grumbled all week about the conditions which some have described as inhumane and dangerous. On Tuesday, Canadian Frank Dancevic blacked out and hallucinated during his match, while China's Peng Shuai vomited and suffered cramps.

No. 25-seeded Alize Cornet of France sobbed on court Thursday after her draining 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Italian Camila Giorgi, then blasted officials for not halting play sooner.

"On Tuesday, I don't know why they didn't stop matches," she said. "It was an oven. An oven. It was burning. Why today and not Tuesday?"

The heat hasn't just affected players - it's also kept fans away. Total attendance was just 49,860 on Wednesday, down from Monday's high of 63,595.

The unshaded seats on the outer courts were virtually empty Thursday, with spectators congregating under trees or in the upper reaches of stands where temporary covers provided a little relief.

New Zealander Helen Naylor escaped the sun after watching fellow Kiwi Marina Erakovic play for a bit on Court 13.

"Even the seats are really hot - God knows how (the players) are running around out there."

Relief is as least in sight. Friday will be another scorcher, with an expected high of 44C (111F), but Saturday it will only reach 23C (73F). That may feel downright chilly by comparison.

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Associated Press writer Jocelyn Gecker contributed to this report.

Oden, Heat ready for next step in comeback plan

MIAMI (AP) Many details about how Greg Oden has been rehabilitating his body in an effort to resuscitate his career with the Miami Heat remain a mystery, even to his teammates.

All they knew was that progress was steadily being made.

And on Wednesday night, Oden finally got to offer proof.

Exactly 1,502 days - four-plus years - removed from his most recent regular-season appearance, Oden made his return with a six-point, eight-minute outing in Miami's 114-97 loss to the Washington Wizards. He was explosive at times, winded at others, jumped on a stationary bike at halftime to avoid stiffening up and clearly isn't ready for a major role in the Heat game plan.

But he's back.

"It happened," the 7-foot Oden said afterward, all smiles.

Much as was the case when Oden last played on Dec. 5, 2009, the reaction told the story.

He checked in midway through the second quarter on Wednesday, and on Miami's first possession with Oden on the floor the former No. 1 overall draft pick rebounded Dwyane Wade's miss inside, gathered himself and threw down a dunk, the ball ricocheting off his leg after it dropped through the net. A few feet away, his teammates jumped off the Miami bench in unison, celebrating wildly for a few seconds.

For a moment, it didn't seem to matter that the Heat were actually trailing by 30 points.

"He can help us," four-time NBA MVP LeBron James said.

Shane Battier was actually in the game at Portland on that night 49 months ago when Oden - whose knee problems were already being labeled chronic before that day - went down in a heap after trying to contest a shot against the Houston Rockets. Replays suggest that Battier probably couldn't see Oden in that fateful moment, but his ears told him what was happening.

"I heard him scream and you knew right away," Battier said. "You just knew his voice, and my first thought was, `Oh, man. Not again.' I can promise you that's the same thought that 19,000 in the Rose Garden and both teams had. You look over and see him on the floor, grabbing his knee. It was sad. You talk about taking the air out of an arena - everyone knew what that meant."

Well, they did and they didn't. His 2009-10 season ended that night when he broke his left kneecap. No one realized that the following 3 1/2 seasons would be lost as well. And all this, of course, came after what would have been his rookie season was lost to microfracture surgery in the summer of 2007, the first of three such procedures he's needed to deal with cartilage problems.

Still, Miami landed him last summer, laying out what the team has called a very specific plan to ease him back to the court.

"I really couldn't tell you a lot about what he's been doing," Heat forward Chris Bosh said. "He's a quiet dude. Doesn't say much about it."

Oden was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft. Of the 59 other guys selected that night, 34 have made more NBA appearances than Oden, despite some of them being out of the league for half a decade already. Oden now has 779 career points. Kevin Durant, the No. 2 pick in that class, scored more than that in the first two months of this season.

In some respects, Oden is starting over. In others, he might be just starting.

"He's a good guy and you want good guys to succeed, to climb the mountain that he's been climbing," Battier said. "It's going to be a great screenplay someday."

The next act comes Friday, when the Heat play at Philadelphia. Whether Oden will be in the rotation is contingent on how his knees react to getting real game action. His appearance Wednesday wasn't exactly planned, coming on an odd day when the Heat traded little-used center Joel Anthony to Boston in the afternoon and found themselves down by 32 points in the second quarter at night.

So coach Erik Spoelstra decided to give Oden a reward, and called his number.

"We've been talking about progressing him for the last 2 1/2, three weeks," Spoelstra said. "He's been doing a lot of work, a lot of 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 scrimmaging with the guys."

For a few moments Wednesday, the wait was worthwhile. And with that, the Heat go to "the next step in the plan," Spoelstra said.

"They've all been cool with me getting out there and playing," Oden said. "They kind of let me and the staff kind of take our time and make sure I was ready."

Federer advances to 3rd round at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Roger Federer played his first Australian Open match away from Rod Laver Arena in a decade and beat Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (4) on Thursday to reach the third round at Melbourne Park.

Federer had played 63 matches in a row at Rod Laver Arena until being assigned to the secondary 10,000-seat Hisense Arena for Thursday's match.

The former No. 1-ranked but now sixth-seeded Federer won the first of four Australian Open titles in 2004 and hasn't played anywhere except the 15,000-seat center court since then at Melbourne Park.

Federer and Kavcic played under the roof at Hisense after the Extreme Heat Policy was invoked by tournament organizers earlier in the day due to searing temperatures in the city.

Wozniacki advances under the Rod Laver Arena roof

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Former No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki has advanced to the third round of the Australian Open in the relatively comfortable confines of a roof-covered Rod Laver Arena, beating American Christina McHale 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 Thursday.

Tenth-seeded Wozniacki was most definitely the beneficiary of the schedule. The first match at Rod Laver Arena - Maria Sharapova's 3 hour, 28-minute, three-set win over Karin Knapp - was played with the roof open and in temperatures that reached 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit).

But the tournament's Extreme Heat Policy was in effect by the time the Wozniacki match - second on the day on Rod Laver - started. That allowed the Danish player to complete her match in conditions not much warmer than room temperature.

Auburn's Malzahn wins Bear Bryant COY Award

HOUSTON (AP) Gus Malzahn knows all about Bear Bryant, so this award meant a whole lot to the Auburn coach.

Malzahn is the Paul "Bear" Bryant College Coach of the Year after leading a remarkable turnaround in his first season in charge of the Tigers, who went to the national title game a year after they went 3-9.

Malzahn, who like Bryant is from Arkansas, said Wednesday night he was honored to be associated with an award with the name of the fabled former Alabama coach.

"When you're growing up he's the man," Malzahn said. "The fact that I'm from the state of Arkansas and he's from Fordyce, Arkansas and one of my best friends is coaching high school there makes it even that much more special."

Auburn came up just short in the national championship, with Florida State scoring a touchdown with 13 seconds left to pick up a 34-31 win.

"We're still hurting over the fact that we were close to winning the national championship and got beat," Malzahn said. "But if you can remove yourself from that it was a lot of fun, our players came a long way, they improved each week and we were 13 seconds away from being the national champion."

Malzahn beat out Baylor's Art Briles, David Bailiff of Rice, Michigan State's Mark Dantonio and David Shaw of Stanford for the honor.

The Tigers, who were winless in Southeastern Conference play in 2012, reeled off nine straight victories after a loss to LSU on Sept. 21 to gain a spot in the title game this season. They were the talk of college football when they returned a missed field goal 109 yards for a last-second score to beat then-top-ranked Alabama on Nov. 30.

Malzahn knew his team was talented, but even he was amazed at what Auburn was able to do this season.

"There's no doubt," he said. "It's hard to get better each week. I bet we're one of the few teams that actually did that, and the fact that we were playing our best football toward the end of the year, it was a lot of fun to watch those guys grow and end up where they did."

Dantonio led the Spartans to a school-record 13 wins and a No. 3 finish in the final Associated Press poll. It was Michigan State's highest ranking since reaching No. 2 in 1966.

"To me, Bear Bryant is almost a mystical figure," Dantonio said. "When you grow up in a football setting as I did in Ohio in that time period in the `60s and 70s when you were playing high school football, Bear Bryant is legend. To be associated with an award like this is very humbling."

Briles helped the Bears to their first Big 12 title and first BCS bowl game this season. He said Baylor's recent success has helped him get a much warmer reception than he once received when he visits the homes of recruits.

"It is completely different," he said. "We're in living rooms and kitchens that we never were in before and that's the reality of the situation. Baylor has always had a great location. Now we've got a great location, with a great stadium on a great river that's doing a great job on the football field and a great education."

Former Texas A&M coach R.C. Slocum was the ceremony's other honoree, receiving the Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. Slocum coached the Aggies from 1989-2002.

"I did have a chance to know him and certainly his accomplishments I'm very aware of," Slocum said of Bryant. "Just to have a lifetime achievement award, there are so many people that are involved in that, and to me it's a sort of validation of the work of all those people, all those players."

The awards were given in conjunction with the American Heart Association.

Sharapova survives heat, unseeded scare at Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Maria Sharapova survived the searing heat and intense challenge from Karin Knapp to advance to the third round of the Australian Open with a grueling 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 win in 3 hours, 28 minutes on Thursday.

The temperature was forecast to spike at 44 Celsius (111) on the third straight day of a heat wave. It was already 39C (102F) when No. 3-seeded Sharapova's match started and increased to 42.5C (108.5), forcing organizers to enact the Extreme Heat Policy and suspend matches on outside courts.

Sharapova, playing her second tournament back from extended time off for a right shoulder injury, wore ice vests in every changeover after the third game, draped ice bags over shoulders and poured water over her head.

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