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National Sports Briefs: Panthers face Giants

Associated Press
It’s the opening of the preseason, so neither the Carolina Panthers nor the New York Giants will be revealing any top secrets when they meet tonight.
Both teams might be even more cautious and secretive than usual at the Meadowlands because they also meet Dec. 27, the penultimate week of the regular season. Sure, that’s eons away, but the less they show to each other now the better; a lot could be at stake in the NFC two days after Christmas.
While such key players as Giants quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Osi Umenyiora, plus Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams and Carolina tackle Jordan Gross should get onto the field in the nationally televised game, they will make cameo appearances. The real stuff begins Sept. 13.
PITINO
LOUISVILLE, Ky. ó Rick Pitino’s personal failings should be forgiven and he should remain as head basketball coach at the University of Louisville, some Catholics in Kentucky said Sunday.
Some anti-abortion groups have called for the state-supported, public university to fire Pitino because a woman with whom he admitted having extramarital sex had an abortion soon after.
But some attending Mass said the high-profile coach, who is Roman Catholic, should be given another chance.
Pitino’s moral shortcomings are between the coach and God, despite the Catholic church’s opposition to abortion, said a member of a Louisville church that Pitino has attended.
BASEBALL
NEW YORK ó Mets third baseman David Wright and Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda were released from the hospital Sunday and Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler was back in the lineup after all three took balls off their heads Saturday.
The All-Star third baseman still had a headache and was experiencing “post-concussion symptoms,” Horwitz said.
Wright was hit square on the helmet by a 94 mph fastball from Matt Cain in New York’s 5-4, 10-inning loss to San Francisco.
– “I feel lucky to be alive and to be able to get back on the mound again,” Kuroda said.
The 34-year-old Kuroda crumpled to the mound after pinch-hitter Rusty Ryal’s liner deflected off the right side of his head and landed near the Arizona on-deck circle.
– Kinsler homered and drove in two runs a day after Fernando Cabrera’s fastball bounced off his shoulder and struck him in the batting helmet. He got up off the ground quickly and exchanged words with Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek before taking first.
VICK
NEW YORK ó Michael Vick says he cried in prison because of the guilt he felt about being involved in dogfighting, and was disgusted with himself for allowing it to happen.
In an interview with “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday night, Vick said the day he walked into prison he realized “the magnitude of the decisions that I made.
“And, you know, it’s no way of, you know, explaining, you know, the hurt and the guilt that I felt. And that was the reason I cried so many nights.”
A three-time Pro Bowl pick during six seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, Vick served 18 months in federal prison for running a dogfighting ring and was reinstated last month by the NFL after being out of action since 2006.
He signed with Philadelphia on Thursday.
PLAYER KILLED
CHARLOTTE ó A former North Carolina State football player who set a record for tackles by a freshman was killed when the car in which he was a passenger was split in half by another car.
Police said 29-year-old Edrick Smith was killed early Sunday when the Honda Accord he was riding in was struck at a Charlotte intersection by a Chevrolet Camaro traveling at speeds of up to 100 mph.

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