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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS ó Susan Richard Nelson wanted to make a difference as an attorney. Do something that mattered.
She mentored disadvantaged students and young female lawyers. She was on a team that took on big tobacco and won. As a magistrate, she earned a reputation for her ability to bring parties together and settle cases.
Now, less than four months into her career as a federal judge, she’s responsible for deciding the fate of the NFL’s lockout and, perhaps, the 2011 season ó a daunting task with big-shot lawyers on both sides and billions of dollars at stake.
Those who know Nelson say her short time on the bench won’t matter. They note she has decades of courtroom experience and won’t be rattled by the glare this high-profile case will bring.
“There’s no question she can handle it,” said Michael Ciresi, who worked with Nelson for 16 years and was one of her partners at Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi. “As a judge, she’s very smart, savvy, respectful … and she’s not afraid to make the tough decisions.”
MINNEAPOLIS ó NFL players have put a number on how much money the league should pay back if it loses a court fight over $4 billion in television revenue.
Just what that number is wasn’t disclosed in court documents filed by attorneys for the players.
NEW YORK ó All-American linebacker Von Miller will attend the NFL draft even though he’s a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the league to stop the lockout.
The Texas A&M player says Thursday he will be at Radio City Music Hall and is looking forward to being a part of the festivities. He also is part of the 10-player antitrust suit filed against the NFL on March 11 in a Minnesota court. Miller is the only collegian among the plaintiffs, who also include Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.
TENNIS
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. ó Rafael Nadal usually receives a trophy when he beats Roger Federer. This time, the reward is a chance to play Novak Djokovic in Sunday’s final at the Sony Ericsson Open.
Nadal advanced with surprising ease Friday night, drubbing an erratic Federer 6-3, 6-2.
The Spaniard never lost serve, converted four of five break-point chances and committed only 10 unforced errors to 31 for Federer.
The first matchup in the United States in six years between Rafa and Roger was a clunker instead of a classic, disappointing a capacity crowd that tried in vain to inspire a Federer comeback by chanting his name.
GOLF
HUMBLE, Texas ó PGA Tour rookie Chris Kirk shot a 3-under 69 to take a one-stroke lead over defending champion Anthony Kim and 2008 winner Johnson Wagner after two rounds at the Houston Open.
SAUCIER, Miss. ó Jeff Sluman matched the Fallen Oak record with a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead over Tom Lehman in the Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic.
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. ó Stacy Lewis persevered through more desert heat to shoot a 3-under 69 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, opening a three-shot lead Friday over Yani Tseng, Brittany Lincicome and Jane Park.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL
CLEMSON, S.C. ó Former Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers made his point to NFL teams on Friday: His right knee is fine.
Bowers, the junior lineman who came out early, was considered a top-five NFL draft pick after a year when he led the country with 151/2 sacks and won the Nagurski and Ted Hendricks awards.
Bowers said he had a 40-yard dash time in the “low 4.8s,” which was slower than he had hoped. But he said he was a month behind other draft prospects in preparations because of the surgery, which occurred in Clemson’s 14-13 victory over North Carolina State on Nov. 6.
TUCSON ó Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe says he is encouraged by the Fiesta Bowl’s response to an investigative report that led to the firing of its longtime president for alleged misuse of funds.
The Big 12 has a contractual agreement to send its champion to the Fiesta Bowl if that team is not playing for the national championship.
“I feel good about their commitment to do the right thing,” Beebe told The Associated Press in a phone interview Friday. “There hasn’t been a reluctance or pushback (from Fiesta officials) at all.”

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