- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 22, 2015


NEW YORK (AP) - The New England Patriots will host the Pittsburgh Steelers to open the NFL season on Thursday night, Sept. 10.

The game will match quarterbacks with six Super Bowl rings and nine Super Bowl appearances: Tom Brady vs. Ben Roethlisberger.

Other prime-time matchups on opening weekend will have the New York Giants at Dallas on Sunday, Sept. 13; Philadelphia at Atlanta, followed by Minnesota at San Francisco in a Monday night doubleheader.

Traditional Thanksgiving Day games will feature Detroit hosting the Eagles, followed by Carolina visiting the Cowboys. The holiday evening contest is a renewal of the NFL’s longest-running rivalry, with Chicago at Green Bay. The Packers reportedly will retire Brett Favre’s jersey that night.

Three games in London will have the Jets against the host Dolphins on Oct. 4; Buffalo facing host Jacksonville on Oct. 25; and Detroit against host Kansas City on Nov. 1.

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles suburb of Carson will consider a proposed $1.7 billion NFL stadium Tuesday - even though many details haven’t been worked out and funding is uncertain.

The City Council was expected to vote on whether to approve the stadium plan now or schedule a summer election.

The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders want to share a Carson arena if both teams fail to get new stadiums in their hometowns.

Details that have not been worked out involve parking, a land swap to free up a former landfill site that already has development plans, and even whether the arena would make money.

Still, the City Council might not want to wait to show its willingness to bring the NFL back to the Los Angeles area after a two-decade absence.



ATLANTA (AP) - Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks has been chosen as NBA coach of the year.

The second-year coach was honored Tuesday after leading the Hawks to a 60-22 record - the best in franchise history - and top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Budenholzer received 67 first-place votes and 513 points overall in balloting by sports writers and broadcasters. Golden State’s Steve Kerr, who guided the Warriors to an NBA-best 67-15 record, received 56 first-place votes and 471 points.

A longtime assistant at San Antonio, Budenholzer’s team was plagued by injuries and went 38-44 in his debut season. But the Hawks surged to the top of the East, giving Atlanta its first coach of the year since Lenny Wilkins in 1994.



LAS VEGAS (AP) - Veteran referee Kenny Bayless will be the third man in the ring when Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao meet in boxing’s richest fight ever.

Nevada boxing commissioners picked Bayless on Tuesday to referee the May 2 fight. They also appointed Dave Moretti, Glenn Feldman and Burt Clements as judges.

Bayless won’t have to introduce himself to either fighter, having worked four of Mayweather’s fights and seven of Pacquiao’s bouts. He is widely considered the best referee in Nevada, and is often used for big name fights.

Bayless will be paid $25,000, while the judges will each receive $20,000.



MILWAUKEE (AP) - Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price has apologized for using profanity during a pregame meeting with reporters, but says he stands by his message that media shouldn’t report developments he feels would put his team at a competitive disadvantage.

Price had a profanity-filled monologue before a 6-1 win over the Brewers on Monday. The struggling Reds had just been swept in St. Louis.

Through the team’s Twitter account on Tuesday, Price said his language was “wholly inappropriate” but that he wasn’t backing away from his message.

Price was particularly upset over a Cincinnati Enquirer report that catcher Devin Mesoraco wasn’t available to play during a game in St. Louis because of injury. The Reds confirmed on Monday that Mesoraco is in Cincinnati getting tested for a sore hip.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Major League Baseball suspended Kansas City Royals reliever Kelvin Herrera five games and fined him and pitcher Yordano Ventura on Tuesday after both targeted Oakland third baseman Brett Lawrie during a testy series over the weekend.

Herrera was tossed in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game after throwing behind Lawrie, the second time he had thrown inside to him. Ventura was ejected a day earlier when he hit Lawrie with a 99 mph fastball above the left elbow immediately following Josh Reddick’s home run.

Herrera is appealing the suspension, which was due to begin with Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota. He declined to comment on the situation until the appeal is heard.

Ventura, who accepted his fine, said he was just “trying to protect my teammates.”



NEW YORK (AP) - The director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency is disappointed Lance Armstrong has not apologized for costly and time-consuming lawsuits before the former cycling champion admitted using performance-enhancing drugs.

In an interview at The Associated Press on Tuesday, David Howman said NFL and NHL players need to change their attitude toward drug testing, the NCAA and amateur sports require upgraded testing, and professional soccer clubs should coordinate efforts with FIFA and continental confederations. He also said WADA policies would not prohibit mixed martial arts star Anderson Silva from competing in the Rio Olympics in taekwondo.

Armstrong was given a lifetime ban from his sport in 2012 and admitted the following year his denials had been lies. He was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles.

“He was able to beat the system in ways and means where others were complicit and others understood what he was trying to do. And I’m not just talking about his team. There was a healthy disrespect for the rules. I don’t think that will happen again,” Howman said.



MUNICH (AP) - Robert Lewandowski scored twice, and Bayern Munich overcame a two-goal deficit from the first leg to defeat Porto 6-1 Tuesday night and reached the Champions League semifinals for the fourth straight year.

Thiago Alcantara, Jerome Boateng, Thomas Mueller and Xabi Alonso also got goals for five-time champion Bayern, which advanced on 7-4 aggregate in the home-and-home, total-goals series.

“It’s easy to love my players now,” Pep Guardiola said after his 100th game with Bayern. “I am the coach of extraordinary players. I didn’t expect such a first half.”

In the night’s other match, Neymar scored in the 14th and 34th minutes, and Barcelona beat visiting Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 for a 5-1 aggregate win. Barcelona, a four-time champion, is in the semifinals for the seventh time in eight seasons.

Despite missing injured stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, Bayern applied pressure from the opening whistle and by midway through the first half had wiped out Porto’s 3-1 advantage from the first leg.

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