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National Sports Briefs: Flag-waver at Talledega race

Associated PressNew folk hero Boo Weekley, who helped the United States team upset the Europeans last week in golf’s Ryder Cup, has been picked as the honorary starter for the AMP Energy 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 5.
“I can’t believe I’m actually going to wave the green flag at Talladega,” Weekley said. “I have actually been to a race there before and it was so much fun to be in the middle of all those fans. It’s going to be intense to see all those cars come roaring past at 200 mph, I can’t wait.”
Over the course of his first Ryder Cup event, Weekley went 2-0-1, with a team victory in Saturday fourballs competition with teammate JB Holmes and a singles victory over Oliver Wilson on Sunday.
Weekley also had one of the most best moments of the weekend when he hit a great drive off the first tee on Sunday then put his driver between his legs and galloped down the fairway as if it were a horse. He drew laughter for his antics and cheers for his five birdies and an eagle he holed from the bunker later that day.
He is currently ranked 17th on the PGA Tour Money list and owns two career PGA Tour victories.
MILLEN FIRED
ALLEN PARK, Mich. ó Matt Millen insisted he would stick with the tough job of turning the Detroit Lions into a winner instead of returning to the broadcast booth to make easy money.
So the Lions got rid of him.
Finally.
The Lions fired Millen seven-plus years after the acclaimed TV analyst and Super Bowl-winning linebacker took over as team president for one of the NFL’s mediocre franchises and made it the worst.
“I have relieved Matt Millen of his duties effective immediately,” Lions owner William Clay Ford said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Millen’s teams won a league-low 31 games since he took over in 2001, but his boss refused to get rid of him until now.
Bill Ford, son of the team owner, said Monday he would fire Millen if he had the authority.
Detroit was routed in each of its first three games this season, falling behind 21-0 twice and 21-3 once en route to lopsided losses going into its bye week.
RAMS
ST. LOUIS ó Marc Bulger is out as the St. Louis Rams starting quarterback after throwing only two touchdown passes in three games and will be replaced by 38-year-old Trent Green for Sunday’s game against Buffalo.
YOUNG UPDATE
NASHVILLE, Tenn.ó Vince Young has started working his way back onto the practice field for the Tennessee Titans. Once his knee is healthy enough to return fully, coach Jeff Fisher says he will be as the backup to veteran Kerry Collins.
BASEBALL
NEW YORKó Spring training is expanding by nearly a week next year because of the World Baseball Classic.
Players will start reporting to training camps on Feb. 14, under an agreement between the players’ association and the commissioner’s office. Exhibition games will start about Feb. 25.
LOS ANGELES ó Wally Joyner quit as hitting coach of the San Diego Padres.
NBA
PENSACOLA, Fla. ó Disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has reported to a federal prison camp to begin his 15-month sentence in a gambling scandal.
Donaghy’s attorney, John Lauro, says his client arrived at the Saufley Field minimum-security prison about 1 p.m.
A New York judge sentenced Donaghy in July after the 41-year-old referee said he took thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on games ó including games he worked. Donaghy said he was a gambling addict who needs treatment, not incarceration.
He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce in the tips-for-payoffs scheme.

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