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National Sports Briefs: Economy hits NFL

Associated Press
NEW YORK ó The recession has hit the NFL.
The league said Tuesday it is cutting more than 10 percent of its headquarters staff in response to the downturn in the nation’s economy.
The cuts were announced in a memo to league staff by commissioner Roger Goodell. The league is eliminating about 150 of its staff of 1,100 in New York, NFL Films in New Jersey and production facilities in Los Angeles.
– EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó The NFL Players Association filed a grievance on Tuesday challenging the suspension and fine handed Plaxico Burress by the New York Giants after the receiver accidentally shot himself in a nightclub more than a week ago.
The union said that the Giants violated the collective bargaining agreement last week when it placed Burress on the reserve-non football injury list, suspended him for the final four games of the regular season and fined him an additional week’s salary.
BASEBALL
LAS VEGAS ó Big Unit to the Bay Area? Could be.The Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants appear to be among the teams interested in acquiring free agent Randy Johnson.
Johnson, a 21-year big league veteran, stands at 295 victories after going 11-10 with a 3.91 ERA in 30 starts this season for Arizona.
– PHILADELPHIA ó The Phillies have picked up the option for 2010 on manager Charlie Manuel’s contract and added a guaranteed year for 2011.
General manager Ruben Amaro rewarded Manuel on Tuesday for leading the Phillies to the NL East title and their first title since 1980. Manuel also led the Phillies to the division title in 2007.
– LAS VEGAS ó Francisco Rodriguez became the first top-tier free agent to reach an agreement when he decided to join the New York Mets.
Coming off a record 62 saves for the Los Angeles Angels, Rodriguez reached a preliminary agreement Tuesday on a $37 million, three-year contract with the Mets, desperate for bullpen help.
NHL
PHILADELPHIA ó Simon Gagne scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with less than 9 minutes left to lead the Philadelphia Flyers to a 4-3 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night.
Canadiens 4, Flames 1
MONTREAL ó Robert Lang had two goals and an assist, Matt D’Agostini extended his goal-scoring streak to four games for the Canadiens.
Canucks 3, Predators 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Defenseman Alexander Edler scored a power-play goal 24 seconds into the third period to help Vancouver win for the second time in three games.
Avalanche 6, Kings 1
DENVER ó Cody McLeod scored twice, Chris Stewart added his first NHL goal and Colorado won its fourth straight at home.
BOBCATS
CHARLOTTE ó The Charlotte Bobcats were closing in Tuesday night on signing veteran forward Juwan Howard, who had been without a job since being released by Denver last month.
The 6-foot-9 Howard would be reunited with Bobcats managing partner Michael Jordan, who traded Howard to create salary-cap space in 2001 when Jordan ran the Washington Wizards.

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