National briefs: Garcia a Gamecock again
SPARTANBURG, S.C. ó South Carolina quarterback Stephen Garcia is officially back on the Gamecocks ó again.
Coach Steve Spurrier said Monday that Garcia had completed the obligations he was asked to do for returning to the team after the fifth suspension of his college career. ěWe think heís going to do whatís right,î Spurrier said by phone. ěSometimes, it takes some guys a little longer, I guess.î
Garcia was banned for all team activities in April after displaying what athletic director Eric Hyman called ěbehavior that is unacceptable for one of our student athletesî during a life skills meeting. However, he was given the green light in May to attend offseason workouts on a probationary basis.
Spurrier praised the changes he saw in Garcia at last weekís media gathering. ěHe has changed his lifestyle almost completely,î Spurrier said then. ěHeís been on time. No goofing around. Heís very serious. Heís shown a commitment we havenít seen before. Hopefully that will continue and I expect that to continue. I expect him to be a different person.î
PITTSBURGH ó Ben Roethlisberger is doing his part to help the Pittsburgh Steelers get under the salary cap.
The veteran quarterback has agreed to restructure his contract to help the defending AFC champions get under the $120.4 million cap.
Ryan Tollner, Roethlisbergerís agent, said the team approached the two-time Super Bowl winner about the deal, but added it would not affect the length or the money involved in the eight-year, $102 million deal the quarterback signed in 2008.
ěWeíve reviewed it and agreed to it,î Tollner said Monday.
The Steelers entered training camp about $10 million over the salary cap and last week released veterans Max Starks, Flozell Adams and Antwaan Randle El to shed payroll.
NEW YORK ó David Stern returned to the bargaining table Monday and said ěnothingî gave him reason for encouragement.
And for that, the NBA Commissioner pointed the blame in one place.
ěI donít feel optimistic about the playersí willingness to engage in a serious way,î Stern said.
So the first meeting to include leadership from owners and players since the lockout began exactly a month ago produced nothing new ó except blame.
A downcast Stern, who long maintained he was optimistic during this collective bargaining process, said that was no longer the case. He added nothing had changed since the last meeting on June 30, hours before the old deal expired, and said he doesnít feel players are bargaining in good faith.
Players contend that although owners insist they are committed to making a deal, their proposals say otherwise.
Neither side offered a new one Monday, exactly three months before the Nov. 1 scheduled opening of the regular season that seems more in doubt than ever.
Stern and Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver were joined by San Antonio owner Peter Holt, who heads the labor relations committee, and Board of Governors chairman and Minnesota owner Glen Taylor represented ownership.