Favre retires, says it's for good this time
Brett Favre swears this is the "real deal" - no more last-minute comebacks. The quarterback, 39, retired again yesterday. "I have no reason to wonder why you would be so skeptical," Favre said with a slight chuckle after announcing that he was leaving the game after 18 record-setting seasons. Favre, who retired last March only to return a few months later, kept this goodbye simple. He spoke to the New York Jets yesterday morning, telling owner Woody Johnson, general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan, hired last month after serving as the Ravens' defensive coordinator for four seasons, that he was calling it a career. "I have family and friends who are like, 'All right, Brett. Is this the real deal?' " Favre said during a conference call. "To me, it is." The Jets placed Favre on the reserve-retired list, meaning the quarterback's retirement paperwork had been filed with the NFL - something he didn't do last winter with the Green Bay Packers. His decision came six weeks after his only season with the Jets ended in disappointment as New York went 1-4 down the stretch and failed to make the playoffs. If this is indeed it for Favre, he leaves the game with a slew of records, including career touchdown passes (464) and passing yards (65,127). New York will move forward with a new quarterback, whether that will be Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff or Erik Ainge. Favre, a three-time NFL Most Valuable Player, had two years left on his contract and was due $13 million for next season, clearing a chunk of salary cap space for the Jets.
Et cetera: : The Redskins re-signed cornerback Byron Westbrook (Salisbury), who spent the past two seasons on the team's practice squad, and hired Chip Garber as defensive quality control coach. Garber was the defensive backs coach of the Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats last year. ... The Jaguars released wide receiver Jerry Porter and cornerback Drayton Florence after the high-priced free agents failed to play up to expectations. ... The Raiders claimed quarterback Bruce Gradkowski off waivers from the Browns.
The Washington Nationals and Adam Dunn agreed to a two-year, $20 million contract, according to multiple reports. Dunn, 29, hit .236 with 40 home runs and 100 RBIs with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Cincinnati Reds in 2008. He has played in the outfield and at first base in eight major league seasons, and he has hit 40 or more homers in the past five. The Washington Post first reported the deal.
Blue Jays: : First baseman Kevin Millar signed a minor league contract with the team and was invited to major league spring training camp. Millar, 37, batted.234 with 20 home runs and 72 RBIs for the Orioles last season, his third with them.
Angels: : Right fielder Bobby Abreu reached a preliminary agreement on a one-year deal with the team, ESPN.com reported, citing an anonymous source. The Web site reported that the team was expected to announce the contract after Abreu passes a physical. ESPN.com reported that Abreu will make about $5 million in base salary. Abreu hit .296 with 20 homers and 100 RBIs for the Yankees last season, when he made $16 million.
Et cetera: : Red Sox manager Terry Francona is upbeat about the health of designated hitter David Ortiz (wrist) and third baseman Mike Lowell (hip), saying neither is "a question mark" going into spring training. ... Second baseman Dan Uggla went to a salary arbitration hearing with the Marlins in Phoenix, asking that he be awarded his request of $5.35 million rather than the team's offer of $4.4 million. ... Frank Viola, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 1988 with the Twins, will work with the Indians' pitchers in training camp.
Phelps apologizes to Chinese fans
Olympic champion Michael Phelps apologized to Chinese fans for what he called his "regrettable behavior" after he was photographed with a marijuana pipe. The Rodgers Forge native spoke via the Internet on a video that appeared widely today on Chinese-language Web sites. The Chinese-language newspaper Southern Metropolis Daily said the Web sites had received the statement from automaker Mazda, which is reported to be paying Phelps more than $1 million to endorse the car brand in China. Last month Phelps was back in Beijing - where he won a record-breaking eight gold medals - to do commercials for automaker Mazda.
Horse racing: : Seventh Street, a filly with three consecutive wins, is the early favorite in an eight-horse field for the Barbara Fritchie Grade II Handicap at Laurel Park on Saturday. The $150,000 Barbara Fritchie is limited to horses 3 years and older. In addition to the Barbara Fritchie, Saturday's card will feature the John B. Campbell Handicap with a purse of $50,000. On Monday, Presidents Day, Laurel will hold another Grade II, the $150,000 General George Handicap for horses 3 years and older. The draw for the General George, also a seven-furlong race, is today. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Seventh Street - listed at 5-2 and in the No. 3 post position - will be trying to extend her victory run, all accomplished at Aqueduct in New York, in the seven-furlong Fritchie Handicap. The local contender, Access Fee (9-2), has four wins in six starts, and all her victories have been at Laurel. BILL ORDINE
NBA: : Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) had 29 points and eight rebounds, and the Nuggets (36-17) ended a 15-game losing streak in Orlando with an 82-73 win over the Magic (38-13). ... Deron Williams had 31 points and 11 assists, and the host Jazz (30-23) ended a seven-game winning streak for the Lakers (42-10) with a 113-109 victory. Kobe Bryant scored 37 for Los Angeles. ... Mo Williams scored a career-high 44 points in his first home game since being named an All-Star as the Cavaliers (40-11) reached the break with a 109-92 victory over the Suns (28-23). ... Paul Pierce scored 30 points and the visiting Celtics (43-11) spoiled guard Chris Paul's return from injury with an 89-77 win over the Hornets (30-20). Paul had missed four games with a right groin strain. Boston guard Ray Allen hyperextended his right thumb in the first half and didn't return. ... Elgin Baylor, the former Clippers general manager who was dismissed in the fall after 22 years, sued the team, the NBA and team owner Donald Sterling in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleging employment discrimination.
Golf: : Champions Tour pro Jim Thorpe (Morgan State) has been charged with failing to pay $1.6 million in federal taxes. The charges filed in federal court in Orlando, Fla., accuse Thorpe of failing to pay taxes on income he earned in 2002, 2003 and 2004. The golfer's attorney told the Associated Press that his client plans to plead not guilty.
Soccer: : Crystal Palace Baltimore announced its schedule for the 2009 USL2 regular season. Palace's season will kick off at 7:30 p.m. April 17 against Pittsburgh. For the second consecutive year, Palace's home matches are set to take place at UMBC Stadium in Catonsville. Tickets are available on the club's Web site - www.crystalpalaceusa.com - or by telephone at 410-933-8326. For the complete schedule, see For the Record below on this page.
More soccer: : Michael Bradley scored twice to lead the U.S. to a 2-0 win over Mexico in a World Cup qualifier in Columbus, Ohio. ... The U.S. men will play World Cup qualifiers in Chicago, Utah and Washington, D.C., later this year. The U.S. will face Costa Rica at RFK Stadium on Oct. 14.
College football: : Georgia Tech cornerback Jerrard Tarrant was reinstated to the team after being suspended for more than seven months. Tarrant had been accused of rape. The charges were eventually dropped. ... Virginia defensive coordinator and former Marshall head coach Bob Pruett, 65, announced his retirement.