'Skins release Taylor over workout clause
Jason Taylor's disappointing tenure with the Redskins ended when he was cut by Washington yesterday for refusing to commit to the team's offseason workout program. The Redskins wanted to add a workout clause to Taylor's hefty contract, but the defensive end, 34, declined. The clause would have required Taylor, who was acquired from the Miami Dolphins in July, to take part in 25 days of offseason workouts. The 2006 Defensive Player of the Year had been considered a possible salary cap cut in Washington because of the value of his contract, which would have paid him a salary of about $8.5 million this season. Taylor's 120 1/2 career sacks are the most among active NFL players. But he had just 3 1/2 last season.
Seahawks:: T.J. Houshmandzadeh, considered the top wide receiver on the free agent market, agreed to a five-year deal that is worth more than $40 million, sources told ESPN. More than $15 million is guaranteed. Houshmandzadeh, 31, caught a combined 204 passes for 2,043 yards and 16 touchdowns over the past two seasons with the Bengals.
49ers: : With no established quarterback on its roster, San Francisco is in hot pursuit of Kurt Warner, sending a private jet for the two-time Most Valuable Player to travel from Phoenix to the team's training complex for a typical free-agent physical exam and a meeting with top brass. Warner led the Cardinals to the Super Bowl last season but became a free agent when he didn't re-sign with the club.
Broncos:: Star receiver Brandon Marshall faces a possible suspension even though a disorderly conduct charge stemming from a fight with his fiancee was dismissed in an Atlanta court yesterday. Municipal Judge Clinton Deveaux dismissed the case after Marshall and his fiancee, Michi Leshase Nogami-Campbell, both of whom were charged with disorderly conduct, refused to testify against each other. "We will [still] look into it," league spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press after the case against Marshall was dropped. Marshall, who was jailed for five hours Sunday morning after his fourth arrest in three years. ... The Broncos signed linebacker Andra Davis.
Pro Bowl: : The state tourism board will reconsider the NFL's offer to return the Pro Bowl to Hawaii in 2011 and 2012, a bid that was voted down last week. This time, the Hawaii Tourism Authority will probably approve the $4 million-per-year offer, which previously fell one vote short, board chairman Kelvin Bloom said.
Et cetera: : The Dolphins released defensive end Vonnie Holliday, 33. ... The Lions signed free-agent receiver Bryant Johnson to a three-year contract. ... Cincinnati linebacker Darryl Blackstock, an unrestricted free agent, agreed to stay with the Bengals.
Safety changes made at Churchill Downs
Nearly a year after Eight Belles became the first fatal injury at America's most famous horse race, Churchill Downs announced yesterday that it is beefing up safety requirements ahead of this year's Kentucky Derby. The company is enacting more than 20 changes, including enhanced drug testing and limits on whips and racing ages, in time for the start of the spring meet at its signature track in Louisville, Ky. Other Churchill-owned tracks will follow by next year. The track will now give winning horses a "supertest" for more than 100 types of drugs. It also is extending the safety tests for track surfaces, banning certain types of whips and prohibiting horses younger than 24 months old from racing. Field sizes in many races will also be limited to 10 horses, although there are no immediate plans to change the 20-horse limit on Derby starters.
Galaxy, AC Milan reach Beckham deal
An agreement that would allow David Beckham to finish the season with AC Milan before reporting to the Los Angeles Galaxy is close to being finalized, according to a newspaper report. The deal would call for Beckham to miss the first 17 games of the Major League Soccer season before he rejoined the Galaxy in mid-July, the Los Angeles Times reported on its Web site, citing a person close to the negotiations. The Times said the person requested anonymity because the deal was not signed. Beckham had been due to report to Los Angeles on March 9. The proposed agreement would allow him to remain with AC Milan until the Italian season ends on May 31, the Times reported. If that's the case, his first appearance of the season with the Galaxy would be on July 18 in New York. Beckham would remain under contract with the Galaxy until the end of this calendar year, when his buyout clause takes effect. He then would be free to return to AC Milan.
More soccer: : Because of poor weather conditions in College Park, the Maryland men's match against D.C. United scheduled for tonight has been canceled.
Tennis: : Serena and Venus gave the crowd exactly what it wanted - an all-Williams final for the return of women's tennis to Madison Square Garden. Serena Williams shook off an early challenge from Ana Ivanovic and won, 6-3, to reach the Billie Jean King Cup championship after sister Venus advanced with a 6-4 victory over Jelena Jankovic in the one-night exhibition. The players cleared the court after the second semifinal for a tribute to Billie Jean King featuring former President Bill Clinton as tennis returned to the Garden after a nine-year absence.
Auto racing: : On top of the world a few months ago, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner and Dancing with the Stars champ Helio Castroneves faces possible prison time if convicted at a tax evasion trial that began yesterday in Miami with selection of a jury. An ethnically diverse panel of five men and seven women was chosen to hear the case, with attorneys' opening statements set for today.
Track and field: : The sport is launching a Diamond League for 2010, a series of at least 12 international meets pitting the sport's biggest stars against each other on a more regular basis. The International Association of Athletics Federations wants to expand its worldwide appeal outside Europe. It will add two meets in the United States (New York and Eugene, Ore.) and one in China, with a likely extension into the Middle East.