Cowboys' Phillips comes to Barber's defense
Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips yesterday denied that the team ever questioned the toughness of running back Marion Barber, which became an issue because owner Jerry Jones brought it up after Sunday's 20-13 loss at Pittsburgh. Asked about the fact Barber didn't make the trip to Pittsburgh because of a dislocated pinkie toe on his right foot, Jones said, "He can play with that injured toe. ... I see nothing that would have led us to believe that he couldn't." Phillips said yesterday that Barber was slowed more by a calf injury caused by Barber running differently to compensate for the toe problem. Jones, however, had told reporters the calf was not an issue. Phillips also said the team determined Barber couldn't play, as opposed to Barber saying he couldn't. Said Phillips: "I don't want to speak for Jerry, but I don't think you question his toughness." Barber could be back Sunday night against the Giants.
Andersen: : Kicker Morten Andersen, the NFL's career-leading scorer, is retiring because of knee problems. Andersen, 48, scored 2,544 points during his 25-year career. He played 13 seasons for the Saints, eight for the Falcons, two for the Chiefs and one season each with the Giants and Vikings.
Et cetera: : Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper had magnetic resonance imaging on his shoulder, leading to doubt he will play Sunday at Indianapolis. ... Right tackle Mark Tauscher will miss the Packers' final three games of the season because of knee ligament he tore in Sunday's loss to Houston. ... Broncos rookie Peyton Hillis has a torn right hamstring and is done for the season. ... Vikings coach Brad Childress said that if Gus Frerotte is healthy enough to play through the lower-back injury he suffered Sunday against the Lions, the quarterback will start this weekend at Arizona.
Gordon elected to Hall by Veterans Committee
Former second baseman Joe Gordon was elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee, while another panel shut out the likes of Joe Torre, Ron Santo and Gil Hodges. Gordon, a nine-time All-Star and five-time World Series winner with the New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians, was picked by a 12-member committee that looked only at players who started before 1943. But a panel made up of the living 64 Hall of Famers failed to pick anyone who began his career after World War II. It took 75 percent for election and no one came close - Santo got 61 percent, followed by Jim Kaat, Tony Oliva, Hodges and Torre. The results were announced at the baseball winter meetings in Las Vegas.
Stadiums: : The Yankees and Mets are asking the city for $450 million more in public bonds to finance their new ballparks in New York, on top of nearly $1.5 billion they were already granted, the city's Economic Development Corp. said. The teams asked for the additional financing in applications filed with the city ahead of a public hearing on the funding next month. The applications have not yet been made public, but the city shared details in response to questions from the Associated Press. In the Yankees' application, the team is asking for $259 million more in tax-exempt bonds and $111 million in taxable bonds, on top of $940 million in tax-exempt bonds and $25 million in taxable bonds already granted for its $1.3 billion stadium. The Mets are requesting an additional $83 million, on top of $615 million already approved for their $800 million park.
Et cetera: : Phillies officials were working on a multi-team trade that would send second baseman Mark DeRosa from the Cubs to Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The Phillies would send the Cubs a prospect or two, which in turn could be sent to San Diego in a package for pitcher Jake Peavy, the newspaper said. Pitcher J.A. Happ is one of the prospects the Phillies could part with. ... Pitcher Greg Maddux formally announced his retirement from baseball in Las Vegas after 355 wins and 23 major league seasons. ... Jeff Conine, a former Oriole who also played for two World Series championship teams with the Marlins, has rejoined the Florida organization as a special assistant to team president David Samson. ... The Rangers traded catcher Gerald Laird to the Tigers for right-handed pitching prospects Guillermo Moscoso and Carlos Melo.
Azinger won't be captain of U.S. Ryder team in '10
Paul Azinger will not return as U.S. captain in the Ryder Cup after leading the Americans to their only victory this decade. The PGA of America will announce the new captain Thursday, with all indications that it will be Corey Pavin. American players lobbied for Azinger to return as captain in 2010 when the Ryder Cup is played in Wales, and the former PGA champion was said to be considering it. ... Harrison Frazar finished a memorable week that included a 59 by reaching his ultimate goal, closing with a 5-under-par 67 at the PGA Tour qualifying tournament in La Quinta, Calif., to lead 28 players who earned their cards for next season.
College football: : Texas quarterback Colt McCoy, a Heisman Trophy candidate, will return for the senior season to pursue a national title, he told the Austin American-Statesman. The Longhorns (11-1) just missed playing for the title after finishing third in the Bowl Championship Series ranking behind Florida and Oklahoma, a team the Longhorns beat this season. A redshirt junior, McCoy has thrown for 3,445 yards and 32 touchdowns, both school records. ... Tommy Tuberville's mother, Olive Tuberville, told the Opelika-Auburn News that her son was fired as Auburn's coach, a claim that runs counter to public statements by the school that Tuberville left on his own after 10 seasons. The Tigers went 5-7 this year. ... Al Groh will be back for ninth season as the coach at Virginia, but his son Mike, the offensive coordinator, will not after the Cavaliers went 5-7. ... Steve Sarkisian signed a five-year, $10 million deal to be Washington's coach. ... Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, 38, is the new coach at New Mexico, Lobos athletic director Paul Krebs confirmed.
Politics: : Former Ravens linebacker and Florida State star Peter Boulware, who lost a contest for the Florida House of Representatives last month by 440 votes, is the newest member of that state's Board of Education. Gov. Charlie Crist appointed Boulware, a 33-year-old Republican, to the seven-member panel yesterday.
NHL: : Milan Lucic, Phil Kessel and Michael Ryder scored in the opening 10:46 and the host Boston Bruins coasted to their 14th win in 16 games, 5-3 over the Tampa Bay Lightning. ... B.J. Crombeen scored three goals, including the game-winner with 3:43 to play as the host St. Louis Blues defeated the Nashville Predators, 6-3. ... Stephen Weiss scored with 9.1 seconds left in overtime to give visiting Florida a 4-3 win over the Ottawa Senators.
Basketball: : A world championship for clubs will be launched in 2010. The sport's world governing body, FIBA, said that its first annual club event will be played in 2010, offering $1 million to the winner. It will not include an NBA team.
Jurisprudence: : O.J. Simpson was transferred from jail to a Nevada state prison to begin serving nine to 33 years for his felony convictions in a gunpoint confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers, a state corrections official said.
Soccer: : D.C. United forward Jaime Moreno is recovering from surgery Saturday for a sports hernia. He is expected to recover in time for preseason next year.