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National briefs: New deal for Earnhardt

Associated Press
CHARLOTTE ó NASCARís most popular driver will stay with the most dominant race team at least through 2017.
Hendrick Motorsports on Thursday announced a five-year contract extension with Dale Earnhardt Jr., who heads to Atlanta Motor Speedway this weekend trying to clinch his first berth in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship in three years.
ěItís great to have it all wrapped up so quickly and far in advance,î said Earnhardt, who had another year left on the original contract that began in 2008.
ěRick and I were on the same page from the first time we talked about it, so there wasnít any sense in waiting. There were never any questions or hesitations from either of us. It was just, ëYeah, letís do it.í
Earnhardt left Dale Earnhardt Inc., his late fatherís race team, at the end of the 2007 season to join car owner Rick Hendrick. Earnhardtís courtship was the most frenzied free agency in NASCAR history, and he chose the most dominant team in the Sprint Cup Series.
NFL
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Vince Young hurt his right hamstring late in the first half against the New York Jets on Thursday night.
Young rolled out on a fourth-down play and was about to run for the first down when his right leg stuck in the turf. He wound up throwing an incomplete pass as he went down, then immediately limped to the sideline.
CHARLOTTE ó The Carolina Panthers waived Kentwan Balmer a week after claiming the defensive tackle off waivers from Seattle.
The Panthers also announced before Thursday nightís preseason finale against Pittsburgh that they waived fullback Rashawn Jackson and claimed fullback Jerome Felton off waivers from Detroit.
Balmer, a former first-round pick out of North Carolina, was claimed by the Panthers on Aug. 25 to replace Ron Edwards. He was placed on injured reserve after tearing his triceps last month.
NBA
NEW YORK ó Thereís still time for a deal to keep the entire NBA season intact, though itís running out.
And with that in mind, owners and players realize itís time to stop talking about each other, and start talking to each other.
They returned to the bargaining table Wednesday, meeting for about six hours in just their second bargaining session since the leagueís lockout began on July 1.
ěEveryone loses if we donít reach an agreement, thatís something that I think has always been understood,î union president Derek Fisher of the Lakers said. ěBut as we approach Sept. 1 and obviously the training camp schedule to start on Oct. 1, the urgency is just continuing to build and increase on both sides, and weíre going to remain focused on finding a way to get this done.î
GOLF
DUBLIN, Ohio ó Jack Nicklaus is trying something new to get more people to play golf. He is holding events at his Muirfield Village Golf Club in which the cup will be twice as large and the tournaments only will be 12 holes.
Nicklaus is concerned that fewer people are playing golf. He says itís important to think beyond the traditional rules and try something different to make the game more appealing.
NCAA BASKETBALL
STORRS, Conn. ó University of Connecticut basketball coach Jim Calhoun is staying on the job, ending speculation he might retire.
Kyle Muncy, assistant director of athletics, said in an email that the 69-year-old Calhoun informed university President Susan Herbst that he will coach this coming season.
Calhoun had not set a deadline for himself to decide on whether to retire. He led the Huskies to a third national championship last April.
Herbst did not comment, but she has said in the past that she told the Hall of Famer that she loves having him in the job and praised his achievements as a coach and philanthropist.
Muncy said Calhoun will not comment.
The Associated Press
08/31/11 16:35

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