Tennessee and Lane Kiffin have reached a tentative agreement for the former Oakland Raiders coach to lead the Volunteers, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press yesterday. A formal announcement was expected early next week, said the person, who requested anonymity because the deal had not been finalized. Kiffin, 33, replaces Phillip Fulmer, who was forced out after 17 seasons as Vols coach. Fulmer won a national championship in 1998 but had two losing seasons in the past five years, including a 4-7 mark this year. Tennessee athletic department spokeswoman Tiffany Carpenter declined to comment on Kiffin because Fulmer had not finished his season. Kiffin was the youngest coach in the NFL's modern history when hired to lead the Raiders in January 2007 at age 31. The son of longtime NFL defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin had a rocky relationship with Oakland owner Al Davis, who fired him Sept. 30 for what he said was insubordination. Kiffin had a 5-15 record with the Raiders.
Texas: : Junior quarterback Colt McCoy plans to seek information from an NFL committee projecting where he might be drafted if he decides to leave school after this season, The Houston Chronicle reported. "I think it would be foolish not to look at it," McCoy said. "At the same time, I want to play four years here. Not many people have had the opportunity to do that. That's really special and important to me." McCoy said he will talk with Longhorns coach Mack Brown and weigh his options after the season. The only thing that would change his mind about staying in school, McCoy said, is if he's projected as a first- or second-round pick. McCoy is expected to be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy.
New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress will miss tomorrow's game against the Washington Redskins with a sore right hamstring. Burress pulled the hamstring in the Giants' win over the Ravens on Nov. 16. He aggravated the injury Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Burress "is progressing, no doubt. He is getting better." Domenik Hixon, who is dealing with an ankle injury, will start in Burress' place.
Cowboys: : Magnetic resonance imaging on injured linebacker DeMarcus Ware and running back Marion Barber revealed no significant damage a day after both were injured in Dallas' Thanksgiving Day win over Seattle. The MRI on Ware's hyperextended left knee showed no ligament damage. An MRI on Barber's right pinkie toe, which was dislocated, revealed no fracture.
Panthers: : Cornerback Chris Gamble signed a six-year contract extension that will keep him in Carolina through the 2014 season. Agent Carl Poston said the contract makes him one of the top five highest paid cornerbacks in the league. That would make it worth more than $50 million. Gamble was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. The 2004 first-round pick's 19 interceptions rank second in team history.
Dolphins: : Linebacker Joey Porter has been fined $7,500 for unsportsmanlike conduct during Miami's 48-28 loss to New England on Sunday. NFL spokesman Corry Rush said Porter was fined for verbally abusing the opponent after the play was over.
Et cetera: : Bills starting tight end Robert Royal (hamstring) and starting cornerback Jabari Greer (right knee) won't play because of injuries when Buffalo hosts San Francisco on Sunday. ... Browns quarterback Brady Quinn is still deciding whether to have surgery on his damaged right index finger. ... Jaguars wide receiver Mike Walker missed practice yesterday, hours after a friend was fatally stabbed inside an Orlando nightclub. ... The Bengals placed guard Andrew Whitworth (ankle) and guard-offensive tackle Scott Kooistra (knee) on injured reserve.
Jose Theodore made 28 saves for his first shutout with host Washington, and Alex Ovechkin, Tomas Fleischmann and David Steckel scored goals in the Capitals' 3-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. Theodore, who spent parts of 10 seasons with the Canadiens before being traded to Colorado in March 2006, joined the Capitals as a free agent over the summer. His second game against Montreal was a lot better than his first. He allowed eight goals in a loss to the Canadiens on Oct. 21, 2006, with Colorado. The win was the Capitals' seventh straight at home - their longest streak since also winning seven in a row from Nov. 17 to Dec. 16, 2000. Washington is 9-0-1 at home and is 15-0-1 since March 9. The victory was Washington coach Bruce Boudreau's 50th since he took over the team on Thanksgiving Day 2007, tying him for sixth place among Capitals. He reached 50 wins in 84 games, the fastest to the mark in team history.
Baseball: : John Robert "Red" Murff, the Mets scout who discovered Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, died in a Tyler, Texas, nursing home. He was 87. ... Nationals right-hander Tim Redding had surgery to repair a bone in a joint on his left foot and is expected to be ready for the start of spring training. ... The Rangers traded pitcher Wes Littleton to the Red Sox for a player or players to be named or cash. ... Boston hired former major leaguer and Rays infield coach Tim Bogar as its first base coach.
Golf: : Miguel Angel Jimenez and Pablo Larrazabal lifted Spain into a four-shot lead at the World Cup of Golf, shooting a surprising 9-under-par 63 in the difficult foursomes (alternate-shot) format in Shenzhen, China. Spain shot a 17-under 127 through 36 holes. Australia (68) and Germany (69) were in second place.
Horse racing: : Jockey Julien Leparoux broke a 23-year-old Churchill Downs record for wins (56) at a Fall Meet set by Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day in 1985.
From Sun news services