Portis not shy about frustration with Zorn
Washington Redskins running back Clinton Portis unleashed a load of frustration toward rookie coach Jim Zorn yesterday, criticizing the coach for giving inconsistent messages and flippantly calling Zorn a "genius." Portis, in his weekly appearance on ESPN 980 AM, was still smarting from his lack of playing time in Sunday's 24-10 loss to the Ravens, from which he was removed after the first series of the second half. "Either you feel like you need to sever ties with me - split ties with me - but don't sit here and throw me out like I don't pay attention, like I don't know what's going on, like I'm making mistakes, like I'm the problem," Portis said. "It is what it is, bro." Portis, third in the NFL in rushing with 1,260 yards, had only 11 carries for 32 yards Sunday. His strong start - five straight 120-yard games from weeks 4 to 8 - helped lead the Redskins to a 6-2 start, but he has barely practiced during the past few weeks because of injuries to his knee, ribs and neck. He has not missed a game but has tallied only 54 yards the past two weeks for the Redskins (7-6), who have lost four of five. Portis was almost derisive when asked whether teams have figured out how to defend Zorn's offense after the team's hot start. "We got a genius for a head coach; I don't know, so I'm sure he's on top of things," Portis said. "He's got everything figured out. All I can do is when he calls the plays is to try and execute to the best of my ability."
Economic slump causes league to cut 150 jobs
The NFL said it is cutting more than 10 percent of its headquarters staff in response to the downturn in the nation's economy. Commissioner Roger Goodell announced the cuts in a memo to league employees. The NFL is eliminating about 150 of its staff of 1,100 in New York, NFL Films in New Jersey, and television and Internet production facilities in Los Angeles.
Jaguars: : The NFL upheld Matt Jones' three-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, meaning Jacksonville's leading receiver will sit out the final three games without pay. Jones, who has 65 catches for 761 yards and two touchdowns, was charged with cocaine possession in July. Jacksonville also could be without receiver Jerry Porter (groin) the rest of the way.
Giants: : The players association filed a grievance challenging the team's suspension of Plaxico Burress after the receiver accidentally shot himself in a nightclub more than a week ago. The union said the Giants violated the collective bargaining agreement with last week's actions. Carl Francis, the union's director of communication, said the grievance will be heard by an arbitrator after the season ends. ... The Panthers-Giants game on Dec. 21, which could affect home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, was shifted from 1 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and will be televised by NBC.
Retired players: : The NFL and its union will pay a combined $100 a month toward the Medicare costs of retired players under a new plan announced yesterday. The program begins Jan. 1 for ex-players older than 65 who are vested in the league's pension plan.
Fight breaks out at Carver-Walbrook game
A boys basketball game between host Carver and Walbrook was interrupted when a fight broke out between two males in the stands and quickly escalated to the point where school police used a chemical irritant to quell the disturbance. There were no arrests. One teenage boy suffered bruises and was treated at the scene by fire department medics and released, said Edie House, a spokeswoman for the city schools. There were no other injuries. House said that after the disturbance, which occurred between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., the gym was cleared of spectators and only the relatives and friends of the players were allowed back into the gym when the game resumed. City police assisted school police in restoring order, police said.
Ballesteros released from Madrid hospital
Golf great Seve Ballesteros was released from the hospital, more than two months after undergoing brain surgery to remove a malignant tumor. The Spaniard, 51, left the hospital but will continue to be treated as an outpatient, Madrid's La Paz hospital said in a statement. A five-time major champion, Ballesteros retired in 2007. He thanked not only the neurosurgeons who performed the operations, but also the staff and well-wishers who showed support. "Thanks to them I will be able to play the mulligan of my life, which I expect to enjoy at my best," Ballesteros said in a statement posted on his Web site.
Boxing: : Three-time heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis headlines the 2009 induction class into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, N.Y. Lewis enters as a modern-era fighter, along with American bantamweight champion Orlando Canizales and South African junior-lightweight champion Brian Mitchell. Posthumous honorees are middleweight champion William "Gorilla" Jones, welterweight champion "Mysterious" Billy Smith and middleweight champion Billy Soose. The induction ceremony is June 14. Lewis, 43, retired in 2003 with a record of 41-2-1, including 32 knockouts, and enters the Hall in his first year of eligibility.
WNBA: : The last-place Atlanta Dream will have the top pick in April's draft. The Washington Mystics received the second pick in the draft lottery, followed by the Chicago Sky, Minnesota Lynx and Phoenix Mercury.
Olympics: : About 500 doping samples from the Beijing Olympics will be retested next month for a new version of the endurance-enhancing hormone EPO and other illegal substances, the International Olympic Committee said.
Horse racing: : The Maryland Horse Racing Commission's next meeting is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Tuesday at Laurel Park. On the agenda is a scheduled appearance by Magna Entertainment officials to explain recent business developments, including new financial arrangements that would allow for the construction of a possible slots facility at Laurel. In other horse racing news, a joint committee of the state legislature, the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee, approved emergency regulations restricting the use of steroids in racehorses effective Jan. 1. In January, the horse racing commission is expected to take action on the regulations moving them toward final adoption.