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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
KANNAPOLIS ó Tony Stewart won yet another race Tuesday, when he beat several other teams courting a sponsor new to NASCAR.
Stewart signed Quicken Loans to a nine-race deal for Ryan Newman next season, a sponsorship agreement that gives Stewart-Haas Racing its most stable funding package since Stewart became co-owner in 2009.
ěWe still have some gaps, but this is the best (sponsorship) position weíve ever been in,î Stewart said. ěThis was months in the making. These deals are very long processes, and they met with a lot of teams. They did a lot of homework. When you are as competitive as I am, itís great to be able to beat all those other teams to get this deal done.î
The two-time NASCAR champion is coming off Sundayís win at Martinsville Speedway, his third since the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship began. The victory moved him within eight points of series leader Carl Edwards, and with three races remaining, his confidence is soaring.
NFL
DETROIT ó Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Suh issued a statement on his Facebook account in which he appreciated the opportunity to sit and speak with Goodell along with his staff to clarify questions about his play and the game. The second-year player says he has gained a better understanding how he needs to play to help the Lions win.
Detroit has a 6-2 record for the first time since 2007 and is off until playing Nov. 13 at Chicago.
Suh requested the bye-week session in New York at NFL headquarters to talk about the flags and fines he has gotten for roughing up quarterbacks.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó One day after giving his embattled young quarterback a less than ringing endorsement following a humiliating 45-10 loss at home to the Lions, Broncos coach John Fox said he’s sticking with Tebow “for this week, yes.”
ALAMEDA, Calif. ó The Oakland Raiders have signed wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh to a contract.
CHARLOTTE STADIUM
CHARLOTTE ó The Charlotte 49ers have a football team ó and now they have a name for their new stadium.
The school announced their 15,000-seat stadium will be named McColl-Richardson Field, in appreciation of former Bank of America CEO Hugh McColl and Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson, both of whom provided financial support for the football program.
The 49ers on-campus stadium is currently under construction and will be completed in August of 2012, in time for the 49ers first recruiting class to begin practice.
The 49ers will begin play in 2013 as an FCS independent.
Judy Rose, the director of athletics at Charlotte, said McColl and Richardson have represented a “can-do attitude” in Charlotte.
“It is a resilient spirit that has helped the city grow to the thriving force it is today ó and now these two have chosen to share in the vision of our university,” Rose said. “We cannot thank them enough for their exceptional gift and cannot be more pleased to have their names on the 49ers football field.”
The 49ers will be coached by Brad Lambert, who’s still assembling his coaching staff.
ECU TO BIG EAST?
RALEIGH ó Three of North Carolina’s top elected officials are asking the rapidly changing Big East Conference to invite East Carolina University into the league.
Gov. Beverly Perdue’s office said Monday she and U.S. Sens. Richard Burr and Kay Hagan signed a letter dated Oct. 26 to presidents of Big East schools. The letter said ECU would strengthen the conference by bringing in a school with an ardent fan base, proven sports record and growing academic reach.
The Big East was expected to invite Boise State, Navy and Air Force for football and SMU, Houston and Central Florida for all sports in upcoming days.
East Carolina currently plays in Conference USA but applied to the Big East in September.
WELCOME TO BIG 12
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. ó Interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas said Tuesday he fully expects West Virginia to start play next season despite a hard-line stance from the Big East.
Neinas attended a reception in Morgantown officially welcoming the Mountaineers into the Big 12 on Tuesday, a day after the university filed a lawsuit against the Big East seeking to clear the way for West Virginia to start Big 12 competition next fall.
Neinas, West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck and university President James Clements were peppered with questions about the lawsuit and the timetable on the Mountaineers’ Big 12 debut.
“I’m not concerned because I trust the two gentlemen on each side of me, that’s why,” Neinas said.
The Big East has said it plans to keep West Virginia from leaving for 27 months under the league’s bylaws.
BASEBALL
XINZHUANG, Taiwan ó Curtis Granderson hit a grand slam to lead a team of major league stars to a 7-0 win over Taiwan’s national team on Tuesday night.
The Yankees slugger went deep off Yao-Hsun Yang in the third inning, electrifying the crowd at the suburban Taipei stadium before the game was called in the sixth inning because of rain.
The five-game series between MLB stars including Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval and Orioles pitcher Jeremy Guthrie resumes on Thursday.
HOCKEY
GLENDALE, Ariz. ó Phoenix Coyotes forward Raffi Torres is being criticized for wearing blackface while dressed as rapper Jay-Z at a Halloween party.
Fans and some media criticized Torres and his wife, Gianna, after teammate Paul Bissonnette posted a photo on Twitter of the couple wearing blackface as they dressed up as Jay-Z and singer Beyonce Knowles at a team Halloween party.
NBA
STILLWATER, Okla. ó With the NBA lockout dragging on, two-time scoring champion Kevin Durant was ready for some football. Flag football.
And LeBron James could be interested in joining him.
Durant tweeted Monday that he was interested in playing flag football. When fans at Oklahoma State University offered an invitation, he showed up in Stillwater that night to play. He tweeted later that he threw four touchdown passes and three interceptions in a victory.
Then on Tuesday, James tweeted to him that he was interested in setting up a showdown between Durant’s team and his own team in Akron, Ohio. Durant answered back that his team is ready and James should set it up.
The NBA season would have started Tuesday if not for the lockout.

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