National sports briefs: Panthers’ decision to release Robinson clears path for Moore
CHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers released Ryne Robinson on Monday, just over two years after taking him in the fourth-round with hopes he’d become the team’s long-term answer in the return game.
After spending last season on injured reserve with a slow-healing knee injury, Robinson was unable to retain his returner jobs in the preseason and fell behind Kenny Moore in the competition for the No. 4 receiver job.
“It was just a matter of what we felt was best for the team at this time,” coach John Fox said. “This gives him an opportunity, a little earlier, to seek employment elsewhere.”
The Panthers also waived little-used defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams and tackle Gerald Cadogan. Guard C.J. Davis was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Robinson’s release likely guarantees a roster spot for Moore, a Charlotte native who starred at Wake Forest.
“I don’t know what my spot on the team is yet,” Moore said. “We still have cuts yet to do, and there are 31 other teams out there who’ll be cutting wide receivers as well. So I just have to keep competing all the way until the 53-man roster has been decided.
“It gives you a little comfort, a little less anxiety, but it’s a performance-based business. I have to come in and make plays every day.”
* HOUSTON ó Adrian Peterson scored on the game’s first play, Brett Favre played three quarters despite saying he might have a cracked rib and the Minnesota Vikings beat the Houston Texans 17-10. Favre was 13 of 18 for 142 yards.
* SAN DIEGO ó The Chargers acquired defensive tackle Travis Johnson from the Texans for a 2010 pick.
* The NFL said it will allow players to use social media networks this season, but not during games.
MINNEAPOLIS ó Point guard Ricky Rubio will be staying in Spain for the next two seasons, according to two published reports.
SMIAMI ó FIU will announce today if it will play North Carolina in a Coaches vs. Cancer event.
WELCOME ó Team owner Richard Childress reiterated that Kevin Harvick will be back in his car next season.
“We want to put the rumors behind us by stating together that Kevin will drive RCR’s No. 29 … for the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season,” Childress said in a statement.
* CHARLOTTE ó Bobby Labonte won’t race this weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, his best track, because of sponsorship issues at Yates Racing.
The team had seven races to sell this season for the No. 96 Ford, and the sponsorship it secured wanted Erik Darnell, 26, in the car. He will make his Sprint Cup Series debut at Atlanta, where Labonte has six career wins.”This is not about Bobby; it’s about making sure we have funding for these races,” Yates co-owner Max Jones said. “If it was about Bobby, I would have just put Erik in the car for the rest of the year. That was hard to convey to Bobby.
Academy Sports & Outdoors will sponsor Darnell for three races ó at Atlanta, Talladega and Texas. Northern Tool + Equipment, who sponsored him last season in the Truck Series, will be on the car at New Hampshire and Kansas.
Jones said Labonte did not take the decision well.
“I wouldn’t have either if I was him,” Jones said. “He’s a class act; he’s a professional. I had to explain my side, why I was doing it, and he wasn’t happy about it. But he understood, and I respect that.”
AUGUSTA, Ga. ó Augusta National announced that Jack Nicklaus will join Arnold Palmer as an honorary starter for next year’s Masters.
Nicklaus, who last played the tournament in 2005, says he accepted the invitation because it was also supported by Palmer.
NEW YORK ó Close to losing in the U.S. Open’s first round for the first time, Venus Williams Vera Dushevina 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-3.
Day 1 included victories for Roger Federer and Serena Williams. Kim Clijsters, who recently came out of retirement, won her first match at the U.S. Open since claiming her lone Grand Slam title in New York in 2005.
Andy Roddick was forced to wait until after 11 p.m. on Monday to get on court. He made quick work of Bjorn Phau, beating him 6-1, 6-4, 6-2.
They finished at 12:45 a.m.