National Sports Briefs
WASHINGTON ó Timeout, NFL. And NFLPA.
Buying time to try to close big gaps on big issues, the NFL and the playersí union agreed Friday to extend the deadline for negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement by a week.
The current labor deal had been set to run out Thursday night. But the sides used an initial 24-hour extension to discuss and vote on the second, lengthier delay. Now the league and union will take a break over the weekend to assess their positions, resume mediation Monday, then have until the end of next Friday to talk.
ěWeíre obviously having a lot of dialogue,î Commissioner Roger Goodell said Friday, the 11th day that he and NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith have spent time at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. ěWe met for a lot of days. And we are going to meet for more.î
Although the seven-day extension is the first true signal that owners and players might avoid a protracted legal skirmish and work stoppage, itís clear they are not close to a new CBA.
ěItís a challenge,î NFL general counsel and lead labor negotiator Jeff Pash said. ěWeíve got very serious issues. Weíve got significant differences.î
Most significant: money.
One person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press that the NFLPA has not agreed to any major economic concessions ó and that the NFL has not agreed to the unionís long-held demand that the league completely open its books and share all financial information.
NEW YORK ó Former New York Giants Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress is to get out of prison in June, after officials agreed Friday to shave about three months off his time behind bars in a gun case.
A committee of prison-system staffers decided Burress was eligible for time off for good behavior, so he can be freed after serving about 21 months of his two-year sentence, system spokeswoman Linda Foglia said.
INDIANAPLOLIS ó Unlike the NFL and its players, the Super Bowl host committee can’t afford to stop the clock.
The countdown was set to hit 337 days Friday night, and the clock in Indianapolis will continue to run no matter what happens in collective bargaining negotiations.
“We absolutely mean what we’ve been saying and that is we believe common sense will prevail,” 2012 host committee chairman Mark Miles said Friday. “If there is a lockout or any other scenario, we’re going to try and block that out and have blinders on because we believe we’re going to have a game in 2012.”
AUBURN, Ala. ó Newly released figures show Auburn University ran a deficit of more than $600,000 from its trip to the BCS national championship game in Glendale, Ariz., where the school sent more than 900 people in January, a newspaper reported Friday.
The Birmingham News and the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer said an expense report showed that Auburn spent $2.9 million on the trip. Auburn received an expense allowance of about $2.3 million for the trip from the Southeastern Conference, putting the school in the red by $614,106.
LUBBOCK, Texas ó Attorneys for former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach said Friday they have asked the Texas Supreme Court to review his wrongful termination lawsuit.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. ó Delighted to be 5-under par at the midway point of the windy Honda Classic, Rory Sabbatini predicted the score would be enough to win the tournament.
A few hours later, his lead was gone.
The gusts of more than 20 mph abated some, and Kyle Stanley took advantage with his late tee time Friday, shooting a 4-under 66 for a one-stroke lead over Sabbatini.
SILVA: MY FAULT
MESA, Ariz. ó Cubs pitcher Carlos Silva says he accepts the blame for his dugout confrontation with third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
Silva told reporters at the Cubs’ spring facility that he apologized to Ramirez after their scuffle and they would “talk later,” but that conversation apparently had not happened yet.
The two got into it after a brutal six-run first inning against Milwaukee on Wednesday in which Silva gave up two home runs and the Cubs committed three errors ó one by Ramirez.
Silva says Friday he made an offhand comment that the Cubs “need to start making plays here,” and his third baseman took exception.
The two scuffled briefly in the dugout before they were separated and Silva was lifted from the game.
LAWRENCE, Kan. ó Ed Manning, the former Kansas assistant basketball coach and father of current assistant coach and former Jayhawks star Danny Manning, has died. He was 68.
The university says Ed Manning died Friday at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. The cause of death wasnít specified, but the university said he had a long-standing heart condition.
Danny Manning was in Columbia, Mo., on Friday for Kansasí game Saturday against Missouri and plans to join his family afterward. He called his fatherís death ěa huge loss for our family and the Jayhawk family.î
Ed Manning played for Baltimore, Chicago and Portland in the NBA.