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National Sports Briefs: Obama’s All-Star

Associated Press
WASHINGTON ó Barack Obama plans to throw out his first pitch as president when he visits St. Louis next month.
Obama will offer the ceremonial first pitch at the All-Star Game on July 14. He’ll also have a town hall-style meeting in Detroit that day.
The White House says Major League Baseball’s focus on community service matches with Obama’s service initiative this summer, known as United We Serve.
This would be Obama’s first pitch as president. He skipped traditional opening day invites.
NFL
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Chris Johnson is using his Twitter account seeking touchdown celebration suggestions because the Tennessee running back wants to top the antics of Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco.
“I’m trying,” Johnson said Tuesday. “I need help. I’m pretty sure they have somebody to help them, so I’m thinking hard now.”
Johnson isn’t new to TD celebrations. He drew a $10,000 fine from the NFL last October for celebrating a 66-yard TD run in Kansas City by banging on drums in the end zone ó and wasn’t happy being fined for trying to have fun. He tweeted last Friday asking for help and also alerted his followers to “pay close attention to what i have in store.”
– DALLAS ó NFL offensive linemen bang heads all the time. A trio of Dallas Cowboys linemen are now professional head-bangers, too.
Leonard Davis, Marc Colombo and Cory Procter have signed a recording contract as part of a heavy metal band called Free Reign. Their debut album for Australia’s Riot Entertainment will be released this fall.
– KANSAS CITY, Mo. ó The Kansas City Chiefs will retire the number of the late Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Thomas during a ceremony Dec. 6.
Thomas’ family will also be presented his Pro Football Hall of Fame ring at halftime of the Chiefs’ game against Denver at Arrowhead Stadium.
– KANSAS CITY, Mo. ó The Kansas City Chiefs have signed kicker Ryan Succop, one of the team’s three seventh-round draft picks.
Succop, taken with the 256th overall pick in last month’s NFL draft, played 50 games in four seasons at South Carolina, hitting 71 percent of his field goals with a long of 55 yards. He hit 66 percent his senior season and converted all 30 of his PATs.
– PITTSBURGH ó Fernando Bryant, a cornerback and former first-round draft pick who played 10 NFL seasons with the Jaguars, Lions and Steelers, is retiring.
Bryant started 109 of the 112 NFL games he played, making seven interceptions and recovering nine fumbles.
– PITTSBURGH ó Offensive tackle Max Starks has signed a four-year contract that keeps him with the Pittsburgh Steelers through the 2012 season and frees up several million dollars in salary cap room for the team.
Starks, the starting left tackle, was designated as the Steelers’ franchise player on Feb. 20 ó less than three weeks after they won the Super Bowl ó and he initially accepted a 2009 salary of $8.45 million.
NHL
NEW YORK ó Steve Yzerman’s greatest accomplishment in captaining the Detroit Red Wings to the 2002 Stanley Cup might have been managing all the egos on that star-studded roster.
The talent of that team was never more evident than Tuesday, when three members were elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. Yzerman, Brett Hull and Luc Robitaille will be inducted alongside Brian Leetch and New Jersey Devils president Lou Lamoriello on Nov. 9.
– CALGARY, Alberta ó The Calgary Flames are adding another Sutter to their lineup.General manager Darryl Sutter hired his brother Brent Sutter to be the coach of the Flames on Tuesday.
– PHOENIX ó Chicago Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf has promised to make an offer by Friday to buy the bankrupt Phoenix Coyotes and keep the team in Arizona.

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