FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) EJ Manuel and Geno Smith were two guys with big arms and even bigger dreams when they first met at a football camp in South Florida a few years ago.
They kept in touch with occasional text messages through high school and then college, where Manuel starred at Florida State and Smith at West Virginia. By the time the draft rolled around in April, both quarterbacks were considered first-round possibilities.
Manuel went to Buffalo at No. 16, a bit higher than some projected.
Smith, once mentioned as a possible No. 1 pick, slid all the way to the Jets in the second round at No. 39.
"I stood up," Smith recalled Wednesday of his reaction when Manuel was drafted before him. "I congratulated him and that was it. I was happy for him. I was happy for every single guy that got drafted."
Smith, however, went through the embarrassment of having television cameras focused on him as each pick was made in the first round - without hearing his name.
"I'm past that now," Smith said. "I hate to talk about it because I'm focusing on what we have here, which is a great opportunity, (a) good team and we've got a tough matchup coming up on Sunday."
That's when the attention will again be on the first two quarterbacks drafted, when the Bills (1-1) and Jets (1-1) square off. It's the 106th game in the series, and the first featuring a pair of rookie starting quarterbacks.
"To be compared to EJ, I'll take it," Smith said. "EJ's a great guy. He's accomplished a bunch in his career and I think the world of him. He's also my good friend, so it's good to compete against a guy like that.
"But when it comes down to Sunday, there are no friends on the field. We're out there competing for our teams and that's all there really is to it."
Both Manuel and Smith have already led their teams to fourth-quarter comeback victories and are considered the potential future of their respective franchises. Sunday's game also will put the winner in a respectable position in the AFC East at 1-1, while the loser will fall to 0-2 in the division.
"We know this is a huge game for us," Manuel said. "One, it's on the road, and, two, it's a divisional game and it's definitely a game we need to win. We both lost to the Patriots and early on you don't want to get behind in the season.
"It just adds even more urgency to this game."
Both quarterbacks were heavily scouted by the Bills and Jets during the draft evaluation process.
"You notice the physical (size), when he walks in the door he fills up that doorway," Jets coach Rex Ryan said of the 6-foot-4, 237-pound Manuel. "He was really a tremendous person and you can see why Buffalo's excited about him."
Manuel's ability to come through in the clutch was evident last week when he connected with Stevie Johnson on a 2-yard touchdown pass with 2 seconds left to lead Buffalo past Carolina 24-23. It capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive as Manuel became the fifth quarterback in NFL history since 1960 to record a fourth-quarter comeback in either the first or second game of his career.
The fourth quarterback? Well, that was Smith, who did it in the season opener while leading the Jets to the winning field goal with 2 seconds left in an 18-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"He's always been able to make every throw, he's always had a high level of accuracy," Bills coach Doug Marrone said of Smith. "I see him going through progressions and I see him talking with protection. You're seeing that he's developing into a fine quarterback. He's going to create some challenges for our defense."
Smith was the first quarterback to overcome a deficit of at least nine points in his NFL debut since St. Louis' Ryan Fitzpatrick did it against Houston in 2005. Meanwhile, Manuel is the first quarterback since 1960 to post a passer rating of 89.0 in each of the first two games of his rookie season.
Both the Bills and Jets fell just short against New England: Buffalo was edged 23-21 in Week 1, and New York dropped last Thursday's game 13-10. Manuel was solid against the Patriots, going an efficient 18 of 27 for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Smith threw three fourth-quarter interceptions at New England.
"Both players were poised, I thought," Ryan said. "I'm not lumping them together, but EJ was impressive. I thought Geno was for the most part, as well."
As for trying to prove whether the Bills or Jets got the better quarterback, both Manuel and Smith insist that can be for everyone else to debate.
"No, I think that mindset would be selfish," Smith said. "It's about this team. It's about all of us going out there and getting a win for each other."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
NEW YORK (AP) Roger Goodell believes the NFL's new player safety rules are working.
Goodell participated in a series of meetings on player health and safety at the league's headquarters Wednesday. He said the feedback he has received from coaches, players, officials and administrators has been positive.
"The overwhelming reaction is that players are adjusting to the new rules, the new techniques," Goodell said. "I do believe that this is a very positive shift in the culture. You're always going to have things that don't necessarily fit into that culture in a period of time, but people are recognizing when these hits don't fit into the context of the game."
Asked about appeals officer Matt Birk overturning the one-game suspension for Tampa Bay safety Dashon Goldson for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles, Goodell said he had not read the decision. But he stressed that the $100,000 fine delivers a message to Goldson and others that such hits must be eliminated from football.
"It's not that there wasn't a violation of the rule, and it's not that there were not consequences for violating the rule," he said. "So that, in and of itself, is a shift, and a positive shift that the culture is changing. But the culture doesn't change overnight, and we will probably always have violations of rules."
The Buccaneers could wind up being punished financially for excessive fines accumulated by their players this season. In fact, any team is subject to such penalties.
Fine amounts under the league's club remittance policy for player safety count toward a team maximum of $105,000. If a team's players go over that, the club is fined $50,000. If the total of fines gets to $157,500, the club must hand over another $25,000 and match any subsequent fines or suspension amounts. The most an individual's fine can count toward the club total is $50,000, and Goldson already has two infractions worth $80,000 in fines.
Tampa Bay is at $87,825 in 2013 - just two games into the season.
Goodell also said the league has compromised as much as it can with the players' union on HGH testing. The NFL and NFLPA agreed in principle to conducting such tests in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement, but the union has balked about procedural matters in the testing, and about the appeals process, for which the union wants neutral arbitration. Both sides have gotten much closer to finding a solution, but no testing is happening yet.
"What does neutral arbitration add but more credibility?" NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said. "The majority of the policy that they already agreed to allows the commissioner to impose discipline, but an appeal is subject to neutral arbitration if the player so chooses. The players don't want an exception to the rule."
The NFL will release its second annual health and player safety report next week. It will show that USA Football's Heads Up Football program to teach the proper and safest tackling techniques has met with an overwhelmingly popular response. The NFL, which supports USA Football and the program, expected perhaps 100 youth football organizations to sign up this year; 2,800 have, covering more than 90,000 coaches and 600,000 players.
"Next year, we're going to look to get to all 10,000 across the country," said Jeff Miller, the league's senior vice president of health and safety. "We want youth football unified in a way that it's taught safer and better."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Miami Heat forward Chris Andersen was the victim of a wide-ranging Internet hoax that resulted in a raid of his Denver-area home last year, his lawyer said Wednesday, and prosecutors confirmed Andersen was cleared of wrongdoing in the "extremely complex" case.
Lisa Pinto, spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office, told The Associated Press that the office is reviewing a 4,000-page report before charging decisions are made, but added that "based on the information that we have been able to obtain and analyze, we are not pursuing charges against Chris Andersen."
Andersen's lawyer and agent, Mark Bryant, said his client was duped by a woman in Canada who sought a relationship and gifts and who threatened a female acquaintance of Andersen's in California while impersonating the tattoo-covered fan favorite known as "Birdman."
Bryant said neither Andersen nor his acquaintance realized they weren't communicating with each other online or via cellphone texts but rather were communicating with the woman in Canada, who impersonated one to the other.
The Canadian woman initially contacted Andersen through his now-shuttered Facebook profile, Bryant said.
"Chris was a victim," said Bryant, adding it was his understanding that the investigation uncovered at least a dozen people across several other states who were duped by the same woman who's been charged in Canada.
Although she was arrested in January, her connection to Andersen's situation didn't become clear until recently, Bryant said.
Sgt. Line Karpish, a spokeswoman with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, said Douglas County, Colo., authorities requested assistance on the case in May 2012, and that investigation led to the January arrest of Shelly Lynn Chartier, 29, of Easterville Manitoba.
Chartier was charged with possession and transmission of child pornography, extortion and utter threats, Karpish said. Her next court appearance is Oct. 22.
Chartier also faces possible charges in Colorado.
"It would be premature for us here at the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office to discuss this case before filing charges," Pinto said. "We are looking at 4,000 pages of information in relation to an investigation that is extremely complex. The Douglas County Sheriff's Office has conducted a highly sophisticated investigation where they have crossed state lines and international borders to obtain evidence and pursue the truth in this case. We will announce our findings in the near future after a careful review of the evidence."
In May 2012, Douglas County Sheriff's detectives searched Andersen's Larkspur home as part of an ongoing investigation by the department's Internet Crimes Against Children unit.
Although Andersen wasn't arrested or charged, the Denver Nuggets, in the midst of a playoff series against the Lakers, excused him from all team-related activities. That offseason, they released him under the NBA's amnesty clause.
Andersen, 35, signed with Miami last winter and helped the Heat win their second straight NBA title, after which he signed a one-year deal to return this season.
"I want to thank the Miami Heat organization for reaching out and believing in Chris probably more as an individual than as a basketball player," Bryant said. "That embrace assisted him in this difficult time and to that organization and to the fans around the world that stood behind him, his deepest thanks."
The Heat released a statement saying, "We are not surprised that this is the end result. We are happy for Chris and glad this unfortunate incident is behind him."
Bryant said Andersen will continue to cooperate with investigators and prosecutors "as they seek justice for all involved." He said he didn't believe any of the other alleged victims were celebrities or sports figures.
With his reputation tarnished, Andersen had to halt his numerous appearances for children's charities until his name was cleared.
"I can't tell you how much Chris agonized about the label placed on him and some of the public's perception that resulted from these acts," Bryant said. "Chris among all things is a member of our community and has a long, documented history of reaching out to children. He's done this through assisting with children's camps, local orphanages, literally (dressing up as) Santa Claus in our community."
Bryant said Andersen, who didn't release a statement, told him he appreciated those who reserved judgment and stood by him as he professed his innocence.
As for Andersen's acquaintance in California, "that individual here is also a victim," Bryant said.
Bryant said the young woman from California flew to Denver to see Andersen, "but again, that liaison was set up by the individual in Canada. (The young woman) came here and they spent time together and left. What transpired after that we believe was a threat from the individual in Canada, presuming to be Chris Andersen to that individual. And that threat subsequently led to the warrants that were executed on Mr. Andersen's house - although they had nothing to do with Chris."
The young woman was 17 at the time, which is the age of consent in Colorado.
"There was no crime committed in Colorado," Bryant said.
Associated Press Writer Ivan Moreno contributed from Denver.
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Former NFL offensive lineman Brian Holloway initially thought the Twitter photos showing young people partying at his family's second home in upstate New York were a hoax.
Then he saw pictures of teens standing on the dining room table he bought with his Super Bowl bonus.
Holloway's rural vacation home was trashed during a Labor Day weekend party attended by an estimated 200 to 400 teenagers. Holloway said the partiers caused at least $20,000 in damage, breaking windows and doors, punching holes in walls and spraying graffiti. He saw the whole thing unfold live on Twitter - and now he's using the teens' own posts to reveal their identities and to try to set them on a better path.
Holloway, who played offensive tackle for the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Raiders in the 1980s, said his 19-year-old son, a University of Southern Florida sophomore, alerted him to the party after receiving tweets about it the night of Aug. 31.
Holloway was at his home in Lutz, Fla., at the time and watched as more tweets about the party were posted, many of them accompanied by photos of young people drinking throughout his home in Stephentown, on the Massachusetts border 25 miles southeast of Albany.
"We were getting eyewitness reports of what was happening while it was happening. We couldn't believe what was going down," Holloway told The Associated Press.
Before he could call police, more tweets reported that officers had arrived, Holloway said. The partygoers scattered across his 200-acre property, which includes the main house and a guest house set amid rolling countryside in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains.
Yvonne Keefe, spokeswoman for the Rensselaer County Sheriff's Office, confirmed Wednesday that a "very large investigation" into the party was underway. Police believe 200 to 400 young people were at the party, but investigators aren't commenting on the role social media is playing in the probe, she said.
No arrests have been reported.
Word of the party had spread via social media, and it attracted students at high schools from the Albany area and western Massachusetts, Holloway said. Holloway, who's now a motivational speaker, said he gave anti-drug and alcohol talks at some of those same schools during his playing days, which included an appearance in Super Bowl XX, when the Patriots lost to the Chicago Bears.
Holloway said the partiers broke about 10 windows and glass doors, punched dozens of holes in the walls, dragged kegs of beer across oak floors and left behind an "enormous amount" of graffiti. He put the total damage at more than $20,000, not including personal items that were stolen.
Several teens who weren't at the party but heard about it showed up this week and helped remove urine-soaked carpets and 10 large trash bags filled with liquor bottles, Holloway said, adding that drug paraphernalia was also found scattered about his property.
Holloway, a father of eight, said he used Twitter postings to compile 200 names of teens he said were at the party. He has been posting them on a website he created, www.helpmesave300.com, in an effort to get them to come forward, take responsibility for their actions and change their behavior.
"Any kids where this makes sense to go to a party like this and be a part of that, this kid's in trouble," he said.
The superintendent for a district where Holloway said some of the partiers go to school said one student had been confirmed as having been at the party. Averill Park Superintendent James Hoffman said the underage drinking party is a police matter but will be used to educate other students about personal behavior.
"It will be brought up in freshman seminar classes about kids making choices," Hoffman said. "It's definitely a topic that'll come up in places like that."
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco lived up to his nickname during one unforgettable game day.
At 5:30 in the morning last Sunday, Flacco got a phone call from his wife, Dana. She was going into labor, poised to deliver the couple's second child. Dana was in New Jersey and Flacco n Baltimore, less than eight hours from taking the field against the Cleveland Browns.
"You obviously don't know how you're going to react when you get that call," Flacco recalled Wednesday. "It's always a game-changer."
Even for a guy known as Joe Cool.
Dana gave birth to a boy around 11:30, 90 minutes before the start of the game.
"The fact that it happened before the kickoff was settling for my mind. I was able to relax a little bit," Flacco said. "I'm usually pretty reserved before the game, and I was walking around the locker room way more fidgety than I normally am. So it was definitely soothing to know she had the baby. It was a lot easier to deal with."
Following the national anthem, Flacco was all business. Baltimore was held scoreless in the first half, but Flacco directed two touchdown drives over the final 30 minutes to help the Ravens pull out a 14-6 victory.
In the huddle, Flacco was able to hide the emotions of only hours removed from welcoming a new child into the world.
"On the field you couldn't tell," center Gino Gradkowski said. "Definitely, in the locker room before the game you could tell he was excited. All smiles. We were all happy for him. But during the game, he was same old Joe."
The only real difference in his schedule was that Flacco skipped the postgame interviews so he could get on the road to join with his wife and newborn child.
"It was a pretty cool day, a pretty special day," Flacco said. "It definitely helps that we won, but it probably wouldn't have been that bad of a loss knowing that I was going to be able to go back to that. Still couldn't believe it, really. Just wanted to get back there, see if she was doing OK and he was doing all right. Everything was good."
Flacco was so calm under pressure that morning that he considered playing a joke on coach John Harbaugh, telling him he was going to leave before the game to be with his wife.
The quarterback decided against it.
"I'm so glad he didn't do it," said Harbaugh, who had plenty on his mind that day with the Ravens coming off a 49-27 loss at Denver.
Flacco and the Ravens struggled for a half, but after intermission Baltimore went 7 for 8 on third-down conversions in an important AFC North win. That certainly made the drive back to New Jersey easier to take.
"It definitely helps that we won," Flacco said, "but it probably wouldn't have been that bad of a loss knowing that I was going to be able to go back to that."
Everything fell into place perfectly.
"I wouldn't have it any other way. It was a really special day the way it worked out," Flacco said.
"Obviously all of us have landmark days in our lives, and for Joe, that was one of them," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure he'll remember it for the rest of his life. To be able to play the way he did, especially in the second half with the third-down conversions and that kind of thing to get us the win, and then to bring his wife and newborn son home from the hospital the next day is pretty neat."
Now that he's gotten that out of the way, Flacco is preparing for a matchup Sunday against the unbeaten Houston Texans, who beat Baltimore 43-13 last year.
In that game, Flacco was sacked four times and threw two interceptions.
"They got ahead early, they batted some passes," Flacco said. "They got a couple turnovers and were able to get after me a little bit. We just didn't have a good day. It's definitely frustrating when you don't have a good day."
The Texans (2-0) come into the rematch as a slight favorite on the road, which doesn't happen in Baltimore (1-1).
There was no update Wednesday on the status of Ravens running back Ray Rice, who strained his left hip flexor on Sunday. Rice did not practice Wednesday.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Auburn at LSU and Tennessee at Florida sounds like a big day in the Southeastern Conference.
Beyond the Deep South, though, those rivalries don't quite resonate the way they did not so long ago, and it is part of the reason this week's college football schedule is short on marquee matchups.
The Volunteers haven't beaten the Gators since 2004, and No. 19 Florida is favored by more than two touchdowns to extend its winning streak in the series to nine games.
"We have to be the team that overachieves on Saturday," said first-year Tennessee coach Butch Jones, whose Vols are coming off a 59-14 loss to Oregon.
Florida (1-1) had last week off, after losing at Miami the week before. It allowed the Gators to get some banged up players such as quarterback Jeff Driskel (knee), offensive linemen Jon Halapio (pectoral) and Tyler Moore (ankle) and cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee) healthy.
LSU has won five of the past six in the annual SEC West Tiger fight. Only Cam Newton's one season at Auburn has produced a recent victory in the series for the War Eagle set.
Auburn is off to a 3-0 start in its first season rebuilding under coach Gus Malzahn, including last week's 24-20 victory against Mississippi State on a late touchdown pass, so optimism abounds on the Plains.
A road trip to Death Valley, however, has brought the mood of many teams down.
"I'm real curious to see our team responds (on the road)," Malzahn said.
No. 6 LSU (3-0), like Florida, opens SEC play as a big favorite, thanks in large part to improved play at a position that's been a trouble spot for several seasons, even with all the Tigers' success.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger is third in the nation in passer efficiency rating, with seven touchdown passes and no interceptions. Coach Les Miles credited new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron with Mettenberger's improvement.
"I think Zach is seeing the reasons for the calls and what's expected and has really embraced the work ethic that's allowed him to enjoy practice, enjoy play call, and really enjoy the position that is quarterback," Miles said. "It's more leadership; it's more strategic. It's a thinking man's position, and I think he's enjoying it greatly."
An upset in either of the SEC's big rivalry games could have a real impact on the conference races and beyond.
No.23 Arizona State (plus 7 1/2) at No. 5 Stanford
First test for Cardinal ... STANFORD 31-21.
Michigan State (plus 7) at No. 22 Notre Dame
Irish defense has been more hype than production so far ... NOTRE DAME 21-17.
No. 3 Clemson (minus 13 1/2) at NC State, Thursday
No Clemsoning for Tigers ... CLEMSON 38-14.
Auburn (plus 17 1/2) at No. 6 LSU
Mettenberger and Auburn QB Nick Marshall both transferred from Georgia ... LSU 31-20.
Tennessee (plus 17) at No. 19 Florida
Vols still searching for a quarterback ... FLORIDA 35-14.
No. 15 Michigan (minus 17 1/2) at UConn ... MICHIGAN 38-13.
Purdue (plus 24) at No. 24 Wisconsin ... WISCONSIN 37-17.
Louisiana-Monroe (plus 29) at No. 20 Baylor ... BAYLOR 62-28.
The Wolverines tried hard to get out of this road trip, but to no avail. Boilermakers put up a fight against Notre Dame, but Badgers should be salty after odd end at Arizona State. ULM pushed Baylor last season and, if nothing else, won't shy away from trying to keep pace with the Bears.
Colorado State (plus 39 1/2) at No. 1 Alabama ... ALABAMA 42-10.
Florida A&M (no line) at No. 4 Ohio State ... OHIO STATE 55-7.
Florida International (plus 42) at No. 7 Louisville ... LOUISVILLE 58-10.
Bethune-Cookman (no line) at No. 8 Florida State ... 50-10.
North Texas (plus 32 1/2) at No. 9 Georgia ... GEORGIA 41-14
SMU (plus 28 1/2) at No. 10 Texas A&M ... TEXAS A&M 56-21.
New Mexico State (plus 42 1/2) at No. 13 UCLA ... UCLA 58-13.
Savannah State (no line) at No. 16 Miami ... MIAMI 62-0.
Idaho State (no line) at No. 17 Washington ... WASHINGTON 55-14.
Maine (no line) at No. 18 Northwestern ... NORTHWESTERN 49-10.
Texas State (plus 26 1/2) at No. 25 Texas Tech ... TEXAS TECH 45-14.
Last week: Record straight: 14-4; vs. points 5-11-1.
Season: 51-10; 22-28-1.
Best bet: 1-1-1.
Upset special: 1-2.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Peyton Manning will have a new left tackle protecting his blindside after the Denver Broncos placed Ryan Clady on season-ending injured reserve Wednesday.
Clady hurt his left foot Sunday when New York Giants defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins rolled up on him while the Broncos were trying to run out the clock in their 41-23 win. Clady will soon undergo surgery for what's being called a Lisfranc tear, which involves a separation of ligaments and joints in the foot.
Chris Clark, a fifth-year journeyman, will take the place of Clady - the undisputed leader on the line - and make his first career start at left tackle Monday night when the Broncos (2-0) host the Oakland Raiders (1-1).
"Stepping up into a role like this, it's not going to be hard for me to adjust," said Clark, who received a two-year contract extension on Monday. "It's not about filling a guy's shoes for me. It's about me creating my legacy, just helping the team the best way I can and doing my job."
Still, those are some big cleats for Clark to fill.
After all, Clady has been a mainstay at left tackle, never missing a start since being selected in the first round in 2008 out of Boise State. He allowed just one sack last season, the fewest in the NFL. By keeping Manning so safe and secure, Clady made his third Pro Bowl team and was voted an All-Pro first-teamer for the second time in his career.
The Broncos also rewarded his protection of Manning by signing him to a five-year deal in July worth up to $57.5 million. Clady was slowed during training camp as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery.
Over the years, Clark has been paying close attention to Clady's stellar technique, preparing just in case a day like this ever arrived.
"Just the way he moves, the way he sets, the way he moves his feet and hands, attention to detail. You try to mimic those things because he's been a great player and those things will help me a lot," Clark said of his understudy role. "It helps me being here, practice, games, whatever - it helps a lot."
This isn't the first time the Broncos have had to reshuffle the offensive line in front of Manning. Earlier this summer, the team lost center Dan Koppen for the year to an ACL injury. The offense hasn't missed a beat with Manny Ramirez snapping the ball to Manning, averaging 45 points a game.
"You want your quarterback to feel comfortable when he's back there, knowing that the person that's responsible for that is going to make the right calls and the right adjustments when the time comes," said Ramirez, who also signed a two-year extension last week. "I think I've filled that role so far and I'm just going to continue to improve it."
To fill Clady's spot, the Broncos brought in veteran tackle Winston Justice, who played last season in Indianapolis after spending six years in Philadelphia. The 6-foot-6, 317-pound Justice has started 43 games in his career, including one at left tackle.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Nebraska is ready to move on from Bo Pelini's profane rant against fans two years ago.
Chancellor Harvey Perlman and athletic director Shawn Eichorst said in a joint statement Wednesday that they believe the football coach was sincere in his apology for what he said in an audio leaked to the Deadspin.com sports website this week.
There was no mention of any disciplinary action taken against Pelini.
"The comments made by Head Football Coach Bo Pelini in 2011, published Monday, are unfortunate and deeply concerning to us, as they would be to anyone who loves this university," the statement said. "Our coaches, staff and student-athletes must be held to a high standard and Coach Pelini's remarks were unfair to the legions of Nebraska fans and not what we expect from a representative of this university."
The statement said former athletic director Tom Osborne was aware of the recording more than a year ago and addressed the matter with Pelini at the time.
Messages were left for Pelini, Perlman, Eichorst and Osborne.
Pelini's rant has captivated a Cornhuskers fan base that has sold out an NCAA-record 328 consecutive games since 1962.
Pelini became unhinged minutes after the Huskers had beaten Ohio State 34-27 in Lincoln in October 2011. Nebraska erased a 27-6 second-half deficit in the biggest comeback in program history.
The Deadspin audio caught Pelini speaking off air with Husker Sports Network play-by-play man Greg Sharpe and associate athletic director for community relations Chris Anderson.
Pelini criticized people who left the stadium in the third quarter, when the Huskers trailed by 21 points. Pelini repeatedly used expletives while talking on the audio about "fair-weather" fans and how the day was coming that he would be gone and he wondered how the team will fare without him. He also used profanity while criticizing two Omaha World-Herald sports writers.
The Deadspin audio surfaced Monday, two days after the Huskers squandered a 21-3 lead and lost 41-21 to UCLA and on the same day Pelini said at his news conference that the program didn't need the support of Tommie Frazier, the 1990s Huskers great who had tweeted that Pelini should fire his defensive staff.
Pelini said in an interview on SiriusXM Radio on Wednesday that he had an "idea" of who leaked the audio.
Management of the Husker Sports Network has not returned calls from The Associated Press.
The statement from Perlman and Eichorst noted that Pelini, long known for his volatility on the sideline, has improved his demeanor over the past two years.
"Coach Pelini has given us his assurance that he understands the seriousness and inappropriateness of his comments," the statement said. "We believe he is sincere in his apology and in his regret. We are prepared to put the matter to rest. Our football student-athletes, coaches and staff deserve all of our support and we know the Nebraska faithful will be there for them."
Pelini is 51-21 in six seasons at Nebraska but has had a run of lopsided losses on the national stage. His contract runs through the 2015 season. He's being paid $2.975 million this year.
The boxing judge at the center of a firestorm following Saturday's Floyd Mayweather-Saul Alvarez fight will step down indefinitely, according to 8 News NOW in Las Vegas.
CJ Ross drew the ire of the sporting world after scoring the Mayweather-Alvarez bout a draw, 114-114. The other two judges scored the fight decisively for Mayweather, 116-112 and 117-111.
Saturday was the second time in the last 15 months that Ross found herself mired in controversy following a fight. Ross was one of two judges to score the June 2012 Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao fight in Bradley's favor, despite overwhelming popular opinion that Pacquiao won the fight.
According the Las Vegas report, Ross informed the Nevada Athletic Commission of her intentions prior to a meeting with NAC chairman Bill Brady.
"To her credit, she does not want to take away from the story, being what a dominate performance by Floyd Mayweather. So, she has asked us if she can take some time off, we've agreed. It shows the type of person she is. Bill was very understanding and supportive. He agreed that that was a great avenue to take," NAC executive director Keith Kizer told 8 News NOW.
Ross has been a judge for 22 years but told the Vegas outlet she's unsure if she'll reapply for a license.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Asdrubal Cabrera drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, and the Cleveland Indians rallied against the stingy Kansas City Royals bullpen for a 5-3 victory Tuesday night.
The Indians were shut out until the sixth by Yordano Ventura, who made an electric major league debut. They tied the game 3-all in the seventh off reliever Kelvin Herrera, and Cabrera's double off Wade Davis (7-11) in the eighth scored Drew Stubbs and gave Cleveland the lead.
Michael Bourn added a homer in the ninth to provide a cushion.
Meanwhile, Cody Allen (6-1) was among six Indians relievers who kept Kansas City off the scoreboard the final 4 1-3 innings. Chris Perez handled a perfect ninth for his 25th save.
The win allowed the Indians to remain a half-game back of Texas and Tampa Bay in the AL wild-card race. The Royals are 3 1/2 games adrift after the Rangers beat the Rays earlier in the night.
KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Jacob Peterson scored in the 78th minute, and Sporting Kansas City salvaged a 1-1 draw against Real Esteli in the group stage of CONCACAF Champions League on Tuesday night.
Peterson's equalizer came after a low corner kick to the near post from Graham Zusi. The substitute collected the ball near the goalmouth and put it between goalkeeper Justo Lorente's legs for his first goal of the year in any competition.
It was a rare lapse for Lorente, who finished with five saves for the Nicaraguan side.
Real Esteli, which remained winless in 37 CONCACAF matches across all tournament formats, went up 1-0 in the 54th minute on Rudel Calero's header off Samuel Wilson's corner kick.
Sporting had several chances to win late, including Peterson's shot just outside the post in stoppage time after a poor clearance from Lorente.
Sporting still leads Group 2 with seven points through three matches. Kansas City closes out the group stage against Honduras' CD Olimpia on Oct. 23.
HOUSTON -- Jay Bruce hit a grand slam and had 5 RBIs, Mike Leake pitched eight scoreless innings and the Cincinnati Reds cruised to a 10-0 win over Houston on Tuesday night, handing the Astros their 100th loss.
Cincinnati is 4 1/2 games ahead of Washington for second NL wild card.
The Astros are the first major league team to lose at least 100 games in three straight seasons since Kansas City from 2004-06.
The Reds got to work early, with Zack Cozart driving in two runs in a four-run first inning.
Cincinnati was up by five in the fourth before Bruce's towering slam to the Crawford Boxes in left field pushed the lead to 9-0 and chased Jordan Lyles (7-8).
Leake (14-6) allowed five hits over eight innings and struck out six with two walks.
Sean Marshall, who hadn't pitched since May 20 because of shoulder tendinitis, threw a perfect ninth to complete the shutout.
The Reds tagged Lyles for nine hits and nine runs in 3 1/3 innings.
The Astros, who have the worst record in the majors, fell to 51-100. They were 56-106 in 2011 and dropped to 55-107 last year, their final season in the National League.
With a rookie-filled team and the lowest payroll in the majors, the Astros have had plenty of lopsided games this year. But even in an already dismal year, the night they eclipsed the century mark yet again was particularly ugly.
Things went downhill quickly for the Astros. Lyles had a two-base error when he fielded a high-bouncing grounder hit by Brandon Phillips and badly overthrew first base with one out in the first.
Joey Votto singled before an RBI single by Bruce made it 1-0. Xavier Paul walked to load the bases and Todd Frazier's single pushed the lead to 2-0.
Cozart wrapped up the scoring in that inning with a two-RBI single to make it 4-0.
The bottom of the first didn't go any better for Houston. Jonathan Villar hit a leadoff single, but was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double. But it wasn't just that he was thrown out, but the way he was thrown out that was embarrassing.
Villar slid into second base, but Phillips already had the ball before he began the slide. The always flamboyant Phillips reached backward between his legs to apply the tag as Villar crashed head-first into Phillips' backside.
Cozart added an RBI single in the third to extend Cincinnati's lead to 5-0.
Derrick Robinson walked with no outs in the fourth inning before Shin-Soo Choo drew a walk. A one-out walk by Votto loaded the bases to set up the slam by Bruce, which chased Lyles. It was his 30th homer this season and first grand slam since Sept. 5, 2008.
A sacrifice fly by Cesar Izturis in the seventh put Cincinnati up 10-0.
NOTES: Houston All-Star catcher Jason Castro was placed on the 15-day disabled list with discomfort in his right knee, ending his season on Tuesday. ... The series wraps up on Wednesday when Houston's Brad Peacock opposes Greg Reynolds. ... Votto extended his hitting streak at Minute Maid Park to 23 games, which is the longest by a player in the park's history.
PHILADELPHIA -- Juan Pierre is even with the Yankee Clipper.
Pierre tied Joe DiMaggio on the all-time hits list when he doubled in the seventh inning of the Miami Marlins' 6-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Tuesday night.
For a team with the second-worst record in the majors, these are still moments worthy of celebration.
Pierre, pinch-hitting for pitcher Brian Flynn, hit a double to right for his 2,215th career hit, tying him with the Hall of Famer for 175th on the all-time list.
"I never set out to beat any of those guys," Pierre said. "I know all about Joe DiMaggio and what he meant to the game. Just to be mentioned with him is pretty cool."
Pierre, who played with the Phillies last season, was standing on second base when former teammate Jimmy Rollins had some fun with him.
"He pretended to throw the ball away, but he gave it to me," Pierre said.
Chase Utley hit a three-run homer and drove in four and Roy Halladay tossed six effective innings for the Phillies.
Halladay (4-4) allowed one run and four hits in his fifth start after returning from right shoulder surgery. The two-time Cy Young Award winner didn't top 88 mph and relied on guile to get outs.
The top three hitters in Philadelphia's lineup -- Cesar Hernandez, Rollins and Utley -- were 8 for 12 with four RBIs and six runs.
Jonathan Papelbon allowed an RBI single to Giancarlo Stanton before finishing for his 28th save in 35 chances.
"I liked the way we battled back," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We had the guys we wanted up there at the end. We gave ourselves a chance."
Flynn (0-2) gave up six runs and 11 hits in six innings.
The going-nowhere Phillies improved to 18-13 since interim manager Ryne Sandberg replaced Charlie Manuel on Aug. 16. They have won seven straight over the last-place Marlins.
Utley hit an RBI single in the first and Carlos Ruiz followed with a two-run single for a 3-0 lead.
Utley connected off Flynn in the fifth, driving one off the facing of the second deck in right field for his second three-run shot in two games. He has eight RBIs in the last two nights.
Halladay improved to 114-0 when he's given a four-run lead, the longest streak since Pedro Martinez retired at 114-0 in similar situations.
"He can still pitch," Redmond said. "He may not be throwing 94, but he can pitch."
The Marlins got two runs off B.J. Rosenberg in the eighth. Justin Ruggiano doubled one in and scored on Adeiny Hechavarria's single.
NOTES: Utley's homer was his 217th, tying him with Cy Williams for seventh on the club's all-time list. ... The Phillies are 11-4 vs. the Marlins this season. ... Kyle Kendrick was scratched from Wednesday's start because of right shoulder soreness. Zach Miner (0-1, 3.71) will take his place against Miami's Nathan Eovaldi (3-6, 3.80).
PITTSBURGH -- Jedd Gyorko blasted a 3-run homer among his three hits and the San Diego Padres topped the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Ronny Cedeno added three hits for San Diego, which beat the Pirates for the second straight night to put a dent in Pittsburgh's pursuit of its first NL Central title. St. Louis and Pittsburgh entered the day tied for first in the division.
Luke Gregerson worked the ninth for his fourth save.
Eric Stults (9-13) allowed two runs over five innings to pick up his first win in more than two months. Stults struck out five and walked one.
Andrew McCutchen went 2 for 3 and Marlon Byrd drove in both of Pittsburgh's runs, but the Pirates continued to have problems with the Padres.
Jeff Locke (10-6) struggled with his command, allowing four runs and seven hits in five innings, striking out five and walking three as his second-half struggles reappeared.
A night after getting one-hit by San Diego's Andrew Cashner and his series of 97 mph fastballs, the Pirates were handcuffed by Stults' slower pitches.
The left-hander hadn't won in his previous 10 starts and came in with a 3-9 mark on the road.
Then again, there's no place quite like PNC Park for the Padres. San Diego improved to 30-10 in Pittsburgh since the ballpark opened in 2001.
Stults used his series of slow, slower and slowest offspeed pitches to keep the Pirates off balance.
At one point he retired Pedro Alvarez on a 66-mph changeup and dropped it down to 64 mph to get Josh Harrison to ground meekly to third.
It was enough to prevent one of the National League's top-hitting teams against left-handers from cashing in as the Pirates try to keep pace with St. Louis and Cincinnati in a crowded playoff race.
Locke briefly regained his All-Star form in his last start, when he handcuffed the Chicago Cubs for seven innings to pick up his first win in nearly two months.
The good vibes disappeared in the third, when Gyorko took an 89-mph fastball over the middle of the plate and sent it into the bleachers in left field for his 19th homer of the season.
The Pirates drew within one in the bottom of the inning thanks to a little help from San Diego right fielder Kyle Blanks, who stumbled trying to track down a sinking line drive by Byrd, allowing two runs to score.
Byrd tried to tie the game one batter later when Gaby Sanchez's infield chopper was mishandled by Gyorko at second base.
The ball trickled behind Gyorko but Cedeno -- who spent three mostly forgettable seasons in Pittsburgh from 2009-2011 -- picked it up and fired home to throw out Byrd as he attempted to score from second.
Pittsburgh didn't get closer. Cedeno singled leading off the fifth and came around to score and Pittsburgh's offense disappeared against a trio of San Diego relievers.
The Pirates managed just two base runners over the final four innings, with Cedeno providing a highlight play from deep shortstop against Byrd in the eighth to provide an exclamation point as Pittsburgh stumbled again.
NOTES: Pittsburgh outfielder Starling Marte went 1 for 3 in his first start since suffering a contusion to his right index finger on Aug. 18 ... Pittsburgh C Russell Martin caught his major league-leading 29th base stealer in the ninth when he threw out Will Venable at second ... Padres LHP Cory Luebke will be examined by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Tim Kremchek in Cincinnati later this week. Luebke has been shut down for the season as he attempts to come back from Tommy John surgery in May 2012 ... The series continues on Wednesday when Pittsburgh's Charlie Morton (7-4, 3.54 ERA) faces San Diego's Tyson Ross (3-8, 3.29 ERA).
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus homered and drove in three runs each and the Texas Rangers snapped a seven-game losing streak with a 7-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.
The Rangers pulled even with the Rays at the top of the AL wild-card race.
Kinsler hit Jeremy Hellickson's first pitch for his 12th home run, breaking a streak of seven homerless games for the Rangers, their longest in 23 years. The 1-0 lead marked the first time Texas has led in a game since its last victory, on Sept. 8.
Kinsler added a two-run single in the Rangers' four-run third, driving in three runs on the first two pitches he saw from Hellickson (11-9). Andrus followed with his third home run of the season to put the Rangers up 5-0.
Alexi Ogando (7-4) won in his first start since Aug. 13, giving up two hits in five innings.
NEW YORK -- Matt Harvey will try to rehab his injured right elbow without reconstructive surgery, a move the young ace hopes is going to keep him on the mound for the New York Mets next season.
Tommy John surgery remains a possibility. Harvey will soon begin a throwing program designed to last as long as six to eight weeks. If he feels pain or other symptoms that hinder his pitching, he likely will need the operation -- which probably would sideline him for 2014.
"There's always a risk to having surgery. There's obviously going to be a risk not to have surgery. It's not a 100 percent procedure, although it's definitely getting a lot better," Harvey said. "I believe if I can rehab, I'd rather bet on myself doing the work to stay out of getting surgery than having the surgery."
The decision was announced Tuesday night at Citi Field, one day after Harvey was examined by Dr. James Andrews in Florida to get a second opinion on his right elbow. The 24-year-old was diagnosed with a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament by Mets doctors on Aug. 26.
Harvey said Andrews tested his elbow and told him he believed it was "very stable."
"I've never had pain in my actual elbow area where the UCL is," Harvey said. "And just for me it felt like, why jump into surgery in a situation where I never had the tingling, the numbness, the shooting pain in my elbow that are usually the symptoms of needing that surgery? For me, if a rehab process of strengthening is the way to go, in my mind that's what I wanted to do."
At a long-awaited news conference only minutes before the Mets played the San Francisco Giants, general manager Sandy Alderson said if Harvey eventually needs Tommy John surgery, trying the throwing program first should not prevent the right-hander from returning for the 2015 season.
"We may know nothing at the end of this period of time, or we may know something early in the process," Alderson said.
Stunned by the news last month, Harvey said he would do everything he could to avoid surgery. He spoke with other pitchers who had similar injuries and didn't require the operation, including Philadelphia right-hander Roy Halladay.
Harvey was so encouraged that a day after his diagnosis, he tweeted that he would be back on the mound next April. Still, the Mets maintained that no decision would be made for a few weeks, until the swelling subsided and Harvey was re-examined.
In the meantime, he was shut down for the rest of the season.
"The last three weeks have been pretty tough," Harvey said. "Obviously, I want to be on the field and I want to be pitching, and (being) kind of in that area of not knowing what's going on is tough. It's a tough process. But everything feels completely normal."
Tommy John surgery has become a common procedure for pitchers, with a great many making successful comebacks after their damaged ligaments were replaced. The recovery and rehabilitation, however, usually takes at least a year.
"I'm still very optimistic," Harvey said. "But I know if there is a red flag during that (throwing program) that something needs to be done."
Harvey started the All-Star game for the National League on his home field in July. He is 9-5 with a 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178 1/3 innings.
The seventh pick in the 2010 amateur draft, Harvey blossomed into one of baseball's most dominant pitchers this year - his first full season in the majors. His 98 mph fastball and polished off-speed pitches gave hope to a foundering franchise that is finishing up its fifth straight losing season since moving into Citi Field.
Harvey and Zack Wheeler were the first to arrive from a crop of touted young pitchers the Mets have pinned their future on. New York captain David Wright cited all the hard-throwing talent in the minors as one reason he signed a $138 million, eight-year contract last winter to stay with the team.
With more than $40 million in player salaries coming off the payroll after this season, the Mets expect to be active in free agency. They have long fancied themselves a 2014 contender, but Harvey is certainly a lynchpin.
"I think there's some ambiguity of course at this point, and maybe through the next couple of months. There may be ambiguity beyond that," Alderson said. "I don't think it's going to affect our offseason planning as much as has been speculated. One thing we have is a great deal of starting pitching depth - some of it untested at the minor league level. But we have a lot of confidence in the quality and quantity of our starting pitching. So hopefully Matt is part of that rotation next year, but if he's not, I don't foresee us working hard to fill his spot from outside the organization."
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez missed practice Tuesday, putting his availability for Saturday's game against South Dakota State in question.
Coach Bo Pelini said Martinez was wearing a walking boot on his left foot the last two days because of turf toe.
Senior Ron Kellogg III or redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong Jr. would start against the Jackrabbits if Martinez can't play.
Pelini said Martinez will play if he's healthy but "we're going to make sure he's 100 percent and feeling good."
SAN FRANCISCO -- Barry Bonds has been ordered to meet with U.S. Probation Department officials to discuss terms of his 30-day house arrest.
A federal judge ordered Bonds to meet with the officials to work out the details of his sentence after he lost his appeal of his felony obstruction of justice conviction. The order was dated Monday and made public Tuesday.
A jury convicted Bonds in 2011 and he was sentenced to home confinement, two years of probation and a $4,000 fine. The sentence was put on hold while Bonds pursued his appeal.
Now that he lost, Major League Baseball's career home run leader said he would like to immediately begin serving his sentence.
Bonds said he still plans to pursue his appeal. He could ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider his appeal or petition the U.S. Supreme Court.
OAKLAND, Calif. -- The AL West-leading Oakland Athletics sold out the normal Coliseum seating for the playoffs so fast Tuesday they have decided to open up additional seating in the third deck view level by removing the green tarps over those sections.
With approximately 12,000 extra seats available - which includes space for overflow media - the capacity will go from 35,067 to 48,146. That doesn't include the highest Mt. Davis section, the fourth level on the ballpark's east side. Tickets for three potential AL division series games to be played next month at the Coliseum sold out in two hours Tuesday, prompting the decision.
The first potential home playoff game sold out in 40 minutes. Oakland officials have only made decisions about stadium capacity for the first round, the team said.