National Sports Briefs
WALTHAM, Mass. ó Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge was approaching his postseason news conference when his cell phone rang.
He smiled and told reporters it was from his new coach, then ducked into the nearby workout room to take the call. But he was only half-joking: It was Doc Rivers calling, and he had just agreed to a five-year contract extension that would not only give him another run at a title with the current roster but keep him in Boston to help rebuild the franchise when the Big Three era is done.
“I think Doc is the best coach in the league. So it’s great for us,” Ainge said Friday at the team’s practice facility. “There’s nobody I’d rather have as my coach than Doc.”
ASHLAND, Wis. ó Green Bay Packers president and CEO Mark Murphy says the team will eventually retire Brett Favre’s No. 4. They just want to make sure he’s really retired.
“He deserves that for what he did as a Packer,” Murphy told fans in Ashland, Wis., on Wednesday during the team’s annual Tailgate Tour. “But it’s a very, very meaningful honor and we want to do it at a time when it’s meaningful for both him and the organization.”
According to the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Murphy says it would likely be a few years before the ceremony. He said when Favre retired after the 2007 season, they planned a ceremony at the opening game against the Vikings but then Favre went to play for the Jets. And then he went to Minnesota.
DALLAS ó Former Dallas Cowboys running back Ron Springs, who spent the past four years in a coma after losing oxygen during a 2007 operation, has died without ever regaining consciousness. He was 54.
Former Cowboys teammate Everson Walls, who donated a kidney to Springs for a transplant, said the Springs family informed him that his friend died about 4:30 p.m. at Medical City Dallas hospital.
SAN FRANCISCO ó Colin Kaepernick recently had a surgical procedure on his lower left leg that the San Francisco 49ers believe will have no impact on the second-round pick’s rookie season.
CORAL GABLES, Fla. ó Tate Forcier’s career at Miami is over before it started.
A person familiar with his decision told The Associated Press on Friday that the former Michigan quarterback broke off contact with the Hurricanes about six weeks ago because undisclosed personal matters were overshadowing football.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. ó Belmont University, a steady presence in the NCAA basketball tourney, is leaving the Atlantic Sun Conference and joining the Ohio Valley Conference effective in the 2012-2013 academic year, the school announced Friday.
Belmont has been in the NCAA basketball tournament four times in the last five years, losing in the first round each time. This year the Bruins finished 30-5 overall and lost to Wisconsin as a 13th seed. They nearly upset Duke in 2008, losing 71-70.
NEW YORK ó Venus Williams pulled out of the French Open on Friday, 24 hours after her younger sister Serena withdrew, making it the first Grand Slam tournament since 2003 without either Williams.
NEW YORK ó With the Los Angeles Dodgers in danger of running out of cash in less than three weeks, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig wouldn’t set a timetable for approving a $3 billion television deal that would enable owner Frank McCourt to make payroll at the end of the month.