National Sports Briefs
FORT BRAGG ó NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will spend the weekend preparing for the next set of negotiations, energized by this week’s secret talks that he believes show both sides are committed to ending the labor dispute.
While the owners and players spent Friday in a St. Louis courtroom arguing over the legality of the lockout, Goodell visited with troops at a U.S. Army base in North Carolina with Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera.
“The importance is to have the principles talk,” Goodell said. “That’s what we were interested in doing, have the owners and players talk to one another. That was accomplished this week. … That’s a positive sign for us.”
Goodell was far from specific ó he wouldn’t say when the next round of talks would be held or if the owners will be preparing another offer ó but acknowledged both sides showed a willingness to work toward a deal.
He wouldn’t say how the two sides would compromise on the stumbling blocks in the negotiations, mostly notably how to divvy up $9 billion in annual revenue.
“I would just tell you that both sides are committed to continuing the dialogue,” Goodell said.
BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. ó Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier says Vikings coaches stand firmly behind their owners in the NFL labor dispute and were not consulted before the NFL Coaches Association filed a brief supporting the players.
DUBLIN, Ohio ó On a course with such a fine line between birdies and bogeys, Steve Stricker settled for perfection Friday in the Memorial with a hole-in-one that put him in control at Muirfield Village.
Stricker used a 6-iron on the 188-yard eighth hole ó his 17th hole of the second round ó then birdied his final hole for a 5-under 67. Instead of being part of a five-way tie for the lead, he wound up three shots clear going into the weekend.
Luke Donald, in his debut as the No. 1 player in the world, had another strong rally by finishing with back-to-back birdies for a 69 that left him at 5-under 139, still very much in the hunt. Donald has not finished out of the top 10 in nine straight tournaments.
GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, N.J. ó Third-ranked Jiyai Shin shot a 5-under 66 to a take a one-stroke lead over playing partner Sandra Gal of Germany after the wind-whipped first round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic.
WEST DES MOINES, Iowa ó Mark Brooks battled through hot, breezy conditions to shoot a 6-under 65 for a two-stroke lead over Mark Calcavecchia and Peter Senior in the Principal Charity Classic.
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. ó Penn State chose Boston University’s Patrick Chambers to take over its men’s basketball program, capping a whirlwind coaching search following the surprise departure of Ed DeChellis.
COLUMBUS, Ohio ó A restaurant chain has yet to decide about dropping a steak named for former Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel. Tradition says the meal be named for a current coach.
Hyde Park Prime Steakhouses is based in suburban Cleveland. It serves a 14-ounce and 18-ounce version of the New York strip steak that carried Tressel’s name.
Restaurant co-founder Rick Hauck tells The Associated Press on Friday that despite reports that the chain was discontinuing the Tressel ó and might rename it after basketball coach Thad Matta ó he had not made up his mind.
WASHINGTON ó The Justice Department’s antitrust division will meet with the BCS this summer, following up on concerns the department raised with the NCAA about college football’s postseason format.
EDMONTON, Alberta ó Edmonton Oilers center Gilbert Brule stopped this week to pick up a most unlikely hitchhiker ó rock star Bono.
The U2 frontman and his assistant were walking in West Vancouver, British Columbia, on Tuesday when they got caught in the rain. Fortunately for them, Brule and his girlfriend were driving by, taking their German shepherd to a park.
Bono hopped in for a ride. To thank them, he offered Brule and his girlfriend backstage passes for the U2 concert Wednesday night at Edmonton’s Commonwealth Stadium.
PITTSBURGH ó Penguins center Sidney Crosby has been cleared by team doctors to start offseason, off-ice workouts.
Crosby played his last game on Jan. 5, and did not return for the Penguins as he recovered from a concussion. Pittsburgh advanced to the playoffs without him, but lost in the first round to Tampa Bay in seven games.
LEXINGTON, Ky. ó Horse of the Year Zenyatta is pregnant again, two months after suffering a miscarriage.
A post on Zenyatta’s Web site said that a routine 60-day checkup by officials at Lane’s End Farm, where she lives, revealed the mare is in foal to Bernardini. The due date is in March.