ESPN

It's official: Celtics ship Rondo t...

It's official: Celtics ship Rondo to Mavericks

The Boston Celtics have traded Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, the teams announced Thursday night.
Winston ruled to have not violated ...

Winston ruled to have not violated FSU code

Jameis Winston attorney David Cornwell confirmed to ESPN's Joe Schad that the Florida State Seminoles quarterback was ruled to have not violated university conduct code.
Patriots escape Jets to pick up 1st...

Patriots escape Jets to pick up 1st-round bye

Jonas Gray scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run early in the fourth quarter after the Patriots intercepted Geno Smith, and New England clinched a first-round playoff bye with a 17-16 victory over the New York Jets on Sunday.
Ross: Philbin to return as Fins' co...

Ross: Philbin to return as Fins' coach in '15

Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said after Sunday's 37-35 win against the Minnesota Vikings that coach Joe Philbin will return for a fourth season.
Falcons eliminate Saints, stay in S...

Falcons eliminate Saints, stay in South hunt

Julio Jones returned from a hip injury to catch seven passes for 107 yards, and the Atlanta Falcons remained in playoff contention with a 30-14 victory over New Orleans on Sunday.
Rodgers, Pack rebound to clinch pla...

Rodgers, Pack rebound to clinch playoff spot

Aaron Rodgers threw for 318 yards and one touchdown Sunday to help the Green Bay Packers beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3 and clinch a wild-card playoff berth on Sunday.

MSNBC

49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th...

49ers squander 21-point lead in 4th straight loss

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) Colin Kaepernick jumped into the open arms of his leaping coach and all seemed right with the San Francisco 49ers for a few hours Saturday night.

Then, in a matter of minutes, a matter of three clutch completions by Philip Rivers, the good feelings were gone.

Just when San Francisco seemed poised for a rare celebratory moment between embattled fourth-year coach Jim Harbaugh and his highly criticized quarterback, Rivers changed everything and sent the 49ers to a fourth straight defeat.

After Rivers led a 21-point rally in the second half, Nick Novak kicked a 40-yard field goal nearly 5 minutes into overtime to give the Chargers a 38-35 victory over the 49ers on Saturday night.

Rivers completed his fourth touchdown pass of the day with a tying 11-yard TD pass to Malcom Floyd with 29 seconds left in regulation after completing a pair of fourth-and-longs as the Chargers (9-6) forced overtime.

Phil Dawson's 60-yard field goal attempt for San Francisco as regulation ended fell way short. Quinton Patton then fumbled in overtime to set up San Diego's winning drive.

A lot went right for San Francisco when it really didn't matter. Six days after the Niners' season essentially ended with playoff elimination at Seattle, Kaepernick, Frank Gore and the 49ers finally got it together in all phases - for most of the night, that is.

On second down during the 49ers' first drive of overtime, Quinton Patton got loose in the open field on an end around for 20 yards and fumbled on his way down when Eric Weddle knocked the ball loose and nose tackle Sean Lissemore recovered at the San Diego 38.

That gave Rivers the opportunity he needed to get his team into position.

The 49ers blew just their second game when leading by 21 or more at halftime and lost their fourth straight game under embattled coach Jim Harbaugh. They lost 42-41 to Minnesota on Oct. 24, 1965, after leading 35-14 at halftime.

Colin Kaepernick ran 90 yards for a touchdown and Gore had a 52-yard touchdown run as the Niners (7-8) grabbed early momentum.

"Right now there's not much to say," Harbaugh said. "That's a tough one."

Rivers threw touchdown passes of 21 and 1 yard to Antonio Gates and another to Eddie Royal, but also was hurt by three interceptions. On one of those, Antoine Bethea ran an interception back 49 yards for his first career touchdown, and a defense minus recently released starting lineman Ray McDonald never let Rivers find a rhythm.

The 31-year-old Gore finished with 158 yards and he needs 38 yards in the final game next weekend against Arizona for a fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season and eighth in his 10 NFL seasons. His scoring run was his longest since a 64-yarder on Nov. 1, 2009, at Indianapolis. It also was the longest TD run allowed by San Diego since 2010 before Kaepernick topped it.

Gore had more yards in this game than in his previous four combined, and New York Yankees star Alex Rodriguez was in attendance wearing the running back's red No. 21 jersey.

Gore broke four tackles on his 52-yard touchdown run in the first quarter six days after a concussion.

The 49ers became the first team since at least 1960 to rush for as many as 355 yards in a loss. Kansas City had the previous high of 352 in a 20-13 loss to the Colts on Dec. 23, 2012.

Rookie Bruce Ellington caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Kaepernick early in the second quarter that put the Niners up 21-0, then ran for a 1-yard score in the waning moments before leaving with a hamstring injury.

In one half, San Francisco topped its combined scoring total from the previous three games of 23 points. The Niners had their biggest lead since going ahead 28-3 in the third quarter of the season opener at Dallas - and their first lead by 21 points at home since a 34-3 victory against Houston on Oct. 6, 2013.

Rivers, 33 for 54 for 356 yards, had his team driving late in the first quarter before throwing an interception picked off by Perrish Cox. Unclear whether ailing, Rivers didn't look comfortable. He sat out Wednesday's practice with neck and back injuries, and he was without running back Ryan Mathews and wide receiver Keenan Allen.

Harbaugh, who is facing a constant swirl of speculation about his future - like a report alma mater Michigan has made him a six-year offer to coach the Wolverines - has said there's still plenty to play for, like a winning season despite the disappointment following three straight trips to the NFC championship game.

Four players sustained concussions or head injuries - 49ers safety Eric Reid and San Diego cornerback Shareece Wright with concussions and San Francisco cornerback Leon McFadden and linebacker Aldon being evaluated for a head injuries.

NOTES: 49ers RT Anthony Davis returned for the first time since Nov. 9 after missing four games with a concussion. ... Cox's fifth interception moved him into a tie for third place in the NFC. ... 49ers S Bubba Ventrone and WR Brandon Lloyd suffered groin injuries.

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Gruden praises RG3 after Redskins t...

Gruden praises RG3 after Redskins top Eagles 27-24

LANDOVER, Md. (AP) After all the negative things Jay Gruden has said about Robert Griffin III, the Washington Redskins' coach found some positives to discuss after the quarterback earned his first complete-game win in more than a year.

So maybe they'll figure out a way to coexist next season, after all.

Back as the starter because of an injury to Colt McCoy, Griffin threw for 220 yards and led the drive that resulted in Kai Forbath's 26-yard go-ahead field goal with 5 seconds left Saturday night. The Redskins beat the Eagles 27-24, pushing Philadelphia to the brink of elimination from playoff contention.

"You have to be impressed with his performance," Gruden said. "I just thought he managed the game extremely well, getting out of the huddle and no delay-of-game penalties. He competed, man, and that's what you want to see a quarterback do - be a `competer,' be a leader. I told him before the game, `I don't care if you go 14 for 100, 10 for 10, or 1 for 1, man, just as long as we get the W."'

Wins have been few and far between in Gruden's first season as an NFL head coach: This victory ended a six-game losing streak for Washington (4-11). Griffin, the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the year, hadn't been in from start to finish of a win since beating San Diego in overtime on Nov. 3, 2013.

"It really isn't about me. This one's about this team. We've been through the wringer a little bit this year. We've been through a lot of adversity, a lot of mess," Griffin said. "Guys have responded."

He was benched a few weeks ago, but regained the job by default because McCoy went on injured reserve this week with a neck injury.

"Everybody's helped me get through this time," Griffin said.

Griffin still looked a bit awkward and unsure at times, and threw an interception in the fourth quarter, but there were flashes of improvement as a drop-back passer. He connected with former Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson for two big gains - 51 yards in the second quarter, and 55 in the third.

"Robert did a great job, getting the ball out of his hands and making good decisions," said Gruden, who earlier this season was publicly critical of Griffin's flaws as a QB.

The Redskins certainly got plenty of help from the Eagles (9-6), who now have lost three games in a row and will be out of the hunt for a postseason berth if NFC East leader Dallas beats Indianapolis on Sunday.

There were a couple of missed field-goal attempts in the third quarter - from 34 and 46 yards, both wide right - by Cody Parkey, who had botched two tries all season, going 29 of 31 until Saturday.

There were three roughing-the-passer penalties by the Eagles, including two in a span of four plays during a drive that ended with one of Redskins fullback Darrell Young's two 1-yard TD runs in the third quarter.

And there were Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez's turnovers. He fumbled on the game's opening possession - setting up a field goal by Forbath - and then threw an interception to Bashaud Breeland with 1 1/2 minutes left that led to Washington's six-play, 50-yard last drive.

On the first play, Griffin completed a 23-yard pass to Pierre Garcon, before five runs by Alfred Morris.

"You cherish those moments, those moments when you can go out there and lead your team to victory on that final, last drive," Griffin said. "And everybody was locked in."

Notes: Morris went over 1,000 yards for the season, making him the only the team's second player - along with Stephen Davis - to gain at least that many three years in a row. ... Injured Redskins included LT Trent Williams (re-aggravated right shoulder) and LB Trent Murphy (broken bone in right hand).

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

No. 23 Utah routs Colorado St in La...

No. 23 Utah routs Colorado St in Las Vegas Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) Utah quarterback Travis Wilson ran for three touchdowns and passed for another Saturday, leading the No. 23 Utes to a 45-10 rout of Colorado State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Wilson rushed for a season-high 91 yards on 11 carries and completed 17 of 26 passes for 158 yards.

Utah (9-4) scored three times in the first quarter and finished with 548 total yards, including 359 on the ground. Devontae Booker ran for 162 yards and a TD and Troy McCormick ran for 86.

Colorado State (10-3) fell behind in the first three minutes and never got its vaunted offense in gear. Garrett Grayson completed 21 of 35 passes for 242 yards, but he was unable to avoid Utah's rush in the second half when the Rams were forced to throw the ball.

Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

Celtics trade Rondo to Mavericks

BOSTON (AP) The Boston Celtics traded point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas on Thursday night, cutting ties with the last remnant of their last NBA championship while giving Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks a chance at another title.

The Celtics will send Rondo and forward Dwight Powell to Dallas for Jameer Nelson, Jae Crowder, Brandan Wright, two draft picks and a $12.9 million trade exception.

"Welcome to Rajon Rondo the newest member of the Dallas Mavericks," team owner Mark Cuban wrote on the social media application Cyber Dust shortly before the official announcement. Cuban also thanked the three departing players, calling them "Amazing players and better people."

Boston got a first-round pick in next year's draft and a second-rounder in 2016. The Celtics have eight first-round picks in the next four years, picking them up in trades for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce and even coach Doc Rivers as they shed the pieces of the New Big Three that earned the franchise its unprecedented 17th NBA title in 2008.

"We would not have won Banner 17 without Rajon and will always consider him one of our most valuable Celtics," the team's owners said in a joint statement. "We will always cherish the time he was here."

The Mavericks get a pass-first point guard - a four-time all-star - to team with Nowitzki, Monta Ellis, Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler in what they hope will make them a contender again. Dallas is 19-8 this season but in third place in the Southwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference.

The Mavericks, who won their only NBA title in 2011, have not won a playoff series since.

The deal has been years in the making, with the Celtics shopping Rondo every time a coach grows tired of his moods or his contract expectations grow too large for their budget. But every previous time Boston management decided that the offers weren't enough.

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge found a partner in Dallas, which is coached by his former Boston teammate Rick Carlisle.

Rondo, 28, joined the rebuilding Celtics as the 21st overall pick out of Kentucky in 2006 and became the point guard for an NBA champion in his second year when Boston acquired Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett the next summer. They helped the Celtics reach the NBA finals again two years later.

With the once-proud franchise mired in what now looks to be an extended rebuilding process, though, Rondo became more valuable as a trading chip. Due to be a free agent at the end of the season, he was reportedly expecting a contract at or near the NBA maximum.

Rondo has averaged 11 points, 8.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds over his career. He missed the second half of the 2012-13 season and the first half of last season to have reconstructive knee surgery, and then reportedly fell in the shower in Las Vegas on the eve of training camp and missed all of the preseason.

In 22 games this season for Boston, Rondo had an NBA-best 10.8 assists per game and also averaged 8.3 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Nelson, who signed a two-year, $5.5 million deal last summer after 10 seasons in Orlando, was starting at point guard for Dallas, averaging 7.3 points and 4.1 assists while shooting 37 percent from the field.

Wright has played about 19 minutes a game, averaging 8.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Crowder has averaged 3.6 points per game for Dallas.

Powell has totaled nine points and nine minutes in five games for Boston this season as the Celtics (9-14) opened their second season under new coach Brad Stevens.

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AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski and AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins contributed to this report.

Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Claus...

Bears bench QB Jay Cutler for Clausen

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) The thought crossed Jay Cutler's mind as soon as he found out he was being benched: He might have played his final game for Chicago.

The Bears announced Thursday that they will start Jimmy Clausen against the Detroit Lions on Sunday instead of the man who signed a massive, seven-year deal at the end of last season.

Coach Marc Trestman said Cutler will be available as the backup at Soldier Field, where boos have rained down on a punchless, porous team that is now 5-9 and playing out the string after starting the season with legitimate hopes of a playoff run. They will miss the postseason for the seventh time in eight years and it's unclear whether Trestman - or Cutler - will be back for another try next year.

"I would like to stay here," Cutler said. "I really like it here. I love the guys in the locker room that I get to play with. Clearly, it's a different circumstance now. But going forward, this is where I'd like to be."

The move comes after Trestman pledged his allegiance to Cutler as the starter several times the past few weeks.

"Certainly, it was not an easy decision," Trestman said. "In my mind those types of decisions never are, and I worked it through and think it through not only myself but with our staff."

Trestman said he met with general manager Phil Emery on Tuesday and informed Cutler and Clausen of his decision on Wednesday. He met again with Emery later in the day to discuss his decision and informed the staff that night.

Did Emery support the decision?

Trestman paused for a few seconds, then said: "That's the way we are with each other. When we make decisions, we support it. We give our opinions and then we actively and passionately support each other with the decisions that we have to make. That's the way it's been the last two years. We talk thoroughly about it. We talk analytically about it. We talk passionately about it. And once a decision is made, we support each other."

Cutler was taken aback by the decision, saying that he was "Shocked, I think at first. And then, I think disappointed."

He said he could play for Trestman next season, although there would have to be some mending to the relationship during the offseason.

Asked if he believed the team was committed to him, Cutler responded: "I don't know if I can answer that."

Does he wonder about that?

"Yeah," Cutler said. "I think everyone would. It's a natural response to wonder that."

The switch adds more fuel to the idea that the Bears are in a state of dysfunction and that the future of everyone from Emery on down is open to discussion. There has been plenty of speculation about Trestman, now in his second year, not to mention defensive coordinator Mel Tucker and offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer.

Cutler's future is also in question despite the big contract.

"All I know is there's a lot of money involved in my contract, which comes with a lot of expectations and a lot of responsibility," he said, when asked if the change was fair. "And whenever you're not winning and performing the way you should, there's a likelihood that could happen."

Cutler leads the league in interceptions (18) and turnovers (24) and he was benched after arguably his worst game of the season in Monday's loss to New Orleans. He threw three interceptions and got sacked a season-high seven times as the Bears fell meekly at home to the Saints, 31-15. That performance came after Kromer admitting he was a source behind a report by the NFL Network criticizing the quarterback's ability to identify when plays should be changed at the line.

Kromer might have sealed his fate with his leak and admission. But there could be a long list of personnel taking the fall.

The defense has ranked among the league's worst in two years with Tucker, and the offense has taken a big step back in Year 2 under Trestman.

Then there's Emery, who fired Lovie Smith after a 10-win season in 2012 and chose Trestman over Bruce Arians, now rolling with the Cardinals. He also signed Cutler to that seven-year contract at the end of last season when the Bears could have applied the franchise tag instead.

Even so, the timing of the benching seems curious considering the Bears are out of contention. Trestman, who came with a reputation for getting the most out of quarterbacks, acknowledged this week that has not happened with Cutler.

So the Bears are going with Clausen, the former Notre Dame star. He has appeared in three games this season and attempted nine passes, completing three. H

"Obviously, it's tough on him," Clausen, who was 1-9 in 10 starts as a rookie with Carolina in 2010, said of Cutler. "Being the starting quarterback and coach going a different way, it's obviously going to be tough on him, but he's been great with me."

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Online:

AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Jaguars hold off Titans late, win 2...

Jaguars hold off Titans late, win 21-13 in home finale

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Blake Bortles revived a stagnant offense. Jordan Todman provided some cushion. And Sen'Derrick Marks sealed it with the most rewarding sack of his career.

The trio provided all the highlights in the Jacksonville Jaguars' 21-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Thursday night.

In a matchup that was widely billed as unwatchable, Bortles, Todman and Marks offered some compelling moments in a relatively meaningless game.

"The neat thing about this was different guys stood up at different times," Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said.

Bortles completed 13 of 26 passes for 115 yards and a touchdown, a 4-yard pass to Marcedes Lewis that got Jacksonville going late in the second quarter. He also ran for 50 yards playing with a sprained right foot.

"I wasn't going out there if I couldn't move around and help the offense," Bortles said.

Todman's 62-yard run put the Jaguars ahead for good. He juked one defender and stiff-armed another in his first carry of the night, ending his first score of the season with a leap into the stands.

Marks' play, though, got the most attention.

With the Titans driving, Marks sacked Charlie Whitehurst on the final play. It gave him 8 1/2 sacks on the season, triggering a $600,000 bonus in his contract.

"What a great way to end the night," Bradley said.

Marks stood up and starting rubbing his fingers together before getting mobbed by teammates near midfield.

"Oh, we're going to spend some of that money," Jaguars defensive end Red Bryant said.

The Jaguars (3-12) won for the second time in four weeks thanks to a rejuvenated offense that had scored just two touchdowns in the previous four games. Playing the Titans (2-13) surely aided the effort.

Tennessee lost its ninth consecutive game and moved a step closer to securing the No. 1 draft pick.

"It was more about mistakes that we made than anything else because when we did it right - as you can see by most of the first half - we played pretty good," Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said.

The Jaguars had only 16 yards of offense until Bortles led them on an 80-yard drive at the end of the first half, ending it with the jump ball to Lewis in the left corner of the end zone.

The Jaguars got the ball to start the second half, and Bortles found Marquise Lee on a 34-yard catch-and-run on third-and 7. After two more completions, Jacksonville went to some trickery with a backward to Cecil Shorts III, who then threw across the field to Todman to the 9.

It looked as if Jacksonville would have to settle for a tying field when Bortles was flushed from the pocket and scrambled down the sideline to the 2 on third-and-goal. But linebacker Avery Williamson was called for holding Lewis away from the play, giving the Jaguars new life. Toby Gerhart punched it in from the 1 on the next play.

The turnaround for the Jaguars was surprising. Losers of seven of their last eight games, the Jaguars had only two offensive touchdowns in their previous 46 drives over four games and nearly two quarters, and just like that, Bortles took them down the field for touchdowns on consecutive drives.

That was a bright spot in a game otherwise devoid of them early.

For the final NFL game on Thursday night this year, about the only thing at stake was the inside track for the No. 1 pick, and likely a slightly easier schedule. In this case, the loser had more to gain.

The Titans were led by third-stringer Whitehurst, who was replacing Zach Mettenberger. Whitehurst couldn't miss at the start, and for the first time this year, the Titans scored a touchdown on their opening possession.

Tennessee made it 10-0 in the second and had a 179-16 advantage in yards.

But things turned from there, with Bortles, Todman and Marks providing the big plays.

"It was a great feeling," Todman said. "You're looking up at the scoreboard just hoping you don't get caught from behind. It was a great call. The line did a good job. I made a guy miss and then it was off to the races. It was just what we needed - just what I needed."

Notes: The Jaguars gave up four sacks, giving them 66 for the season and breaking the franchise record of 63 set in 2001. Jacksonville has allowed at least four sacks in six consecutive games. ... Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart left the game with bruised ribs, tried to return and then sat out for good late. He finished with 53 yards on 12 carries. ... Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton was on the sideline for the first time this season. ... After NFL observers complained and maybe threatened a fine, Jaguars LB J.T. Thomas removed his teal-tinted visor at halftime.

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AP NFL websites: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Yahoo

Documents: QB Winston cleared in co...

Documents: QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2014, file photo, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston looks to pass in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Louisville in Louisville, Ky. Winston was cleared of the accusations he faced at a student code of conduct hearing involving an alleged sexual assault two years ago, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Garry Jones, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was cleared of the accusations he faced at a student code of conduct hearing involving an alleged sexual assault two years ago, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press on Sunday.

Panthers beat Browns 17-13, move in...

Panthers beat Browns 17-13, move into first place (Yahoo Sports)

Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton (1) gives high-fives to fans after an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. The Panthers won 17-13. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- The Carolina Panthers never quit on the season, and now have a chance to repeat as NFC South champions.

Pats edge Jets 17-16, clinch 1st-ro...

Pats edge Jets 17-16, clinch 1st-round playoff bye (Yahoo Sports)

New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) spikes the football after scoring a touchdown during the first half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Tom Brady and the Patriots will be resting at home for the start of the playoffs.

Rodgers, Packers clinch playoff spo...

Rodgers, Packers clinch playoff spot, 20-3 over Bucs (Yahoo Sports)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gives the thumbs up to fans as he leaves the field following the team's 20-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -- With the NFC North title still up for grabs, Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers couldn't afford a slip-up against the struggling Tampa Buccaneers.

Murray active, Hilton out as Cowboy...

Murray active, Hilton out as Cowboys face Colts (Yahoo Sports)

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) hands off the ball to running back DeMarco Murray (29) during the first half of an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray is active for Dallas despite a broken left hand, and Indianapolis receiver T.Y. Hilton is out with a hamstring injury.

Steelers wrap up playoff berth, top...

Steelers wrap up playoff berth, top Chiefs 20-12 (Yahoo Sports)

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) celebrates with fans as he walks off the field after a 20-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in an NFL football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Steelers spent two years rebuilding themselves on the fly, a necessary process that frequently looked more erratic than inspiring.

Fox Sports

Rosenthal: Tanaka to Yankees restor...

Rosenthal: Tanaka to Yankees restores natural order in baseball

Japanese ace Tanaka agrees to 7-yea...

Japanese ace Tanaka agrees to 7-year, $155 million deal with Yankees

The New York Yankees and prized Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka agreed Wednesday to a $155 million, seven-year contract.
Aussie Open: Federer ousts Murray, ...

Aussie Open: Federer ousts Murray, will face Nadal in semis

Roger Federer regained his dominance over Andy Murray in Grand Slam matches and advanced to his 11th consecutive Australian Open semifinal with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-7 (6), 6-3 win Wednesday.
Red-hot Durant scores 46, leads Thu...

Red-hot Durant scores 46, leads Thunder past Trail Blazers

Kevin Durant scored 11 of his 46 points in the final 3:23 to help the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Portland Trail Blazers 105-97 on Tuesday night.
Browns to interview Bills' Pettine ...

Browns to interview Bills' Pettine with Broncos' Gase out of running

Adam Gase has told the Browns not to wait for him.
Players reportedly wanted A-Rod kic...

Players reportedly wanted A-Rod kicked out of MLBPA after lawsuit

Several angry major league players wanted Alex Rodriguez kicked out of their union after he sued it last week, but staff lawyers told them expulsion was not allowed.

Reuters

Lightning strike in Florida sends f...

Lightning strike in Florida sends fans to hospital after NFL game

(Reuters) - A lightning strike in a parking lot outside a stadium in Tampa, Florida, after a National Football League game on Sunday landed about a dozen people in the hospital, an emergency response official said.
Florida State quarterback Winston c...

Florida State quarterback Winston cleared in conduct hearing into alleged rape

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - Florida State University star quarterback Jameis Winston has been cleared in a student conduct code hearing looking into charges that he sexually assaulted a female student two years ago, according to documents released to Reuters on Sunday.
Packers, Steelers into playoffs, Pa...

Packers, Steelers into playoffs, Patriots earn bye

(Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers booked their places in the playoffs after victories on Sunday while the New England Patriots earned a bye in the first round of the postseason.
Steelers beat Chiefs, return to pla...

Steelers beat Chiefs, return to playoffs

(Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Steelers clinched their first playoff berth in three seasons when they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 20-12 on Sunday.
Packers secure playoff spot with wi...

Packers secure playoff spot with win over Tampa Bay

(Reuters) - The Green Bay Packers secured a playoff place with their 20-3 win at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
FIFA official says England had best...

FIFA official says England had best bid for 2018 World Cup

LONDON (Reuters) - England's failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup "was by far the strongest contender", FIFA official Harold Mayne-Nicholls was quoted as saying on Sunday.

SI.com

A few words with World Cup broadcas...

A few words with World Cup broadcaster Darke

The poet laureate of soccer in the United States is not an American. ESPN's Ian Darke was born on the south coast of England in the naval port town of Portsmouth and since he landed on American shores fulltime for the 2010 World Cup, his soccer calls have thrilled the American public with the most famous being his description of Landon Donovan's injury-time game-winner against Algeria during that tournament.
Colombia's Radamel Falcao out for W...

Colombia's Radamel Falcao out for World Cup, ACL recovery comes up short

Star Colombian striker Radamel Falcao will miss the World Cup after his ACL recovery falls short.
Colombia's Radamel Falcao out for W...

Colombia's Radamel Falcao out for World Cup

Seattle rises to No. 1

Seattle rises to No. 1

End of an era: Frank Lampard leaves...

End of an era: Frank Lampard leaves Chelsea

USA's first foe Ghana finalizes Wor...

USA's first foe Ghana finalizes World Cup roster

Sky Sports

Griezmann stars in Atletico win

Griezmann stars in Atletico win

Antoine Griezmann scored his first hat-trick for Atletico Madrid as the champions came from behind to win 4-1 at Athletic Bilbao.
Packers clinch play-off spot

Packers clinch play-off spot

Green Bay Packers clinched their place in the play-offs following a 20-3 win against Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Marseille go clear at top

Marseille go clear at top

Marseille moved three points clear at the top of Ligue 1 thanks to a 2-1 win against Lille at the Stade Velodrome.
Inter and Lazio share spoils

Inter and Lazio share spoils

Felipe Anderson and Mateo Kovacic exchanged goals of real quality as Inter Milan fought back to rescue a 2-2 draw with Lazio at the San Siro on Sunday night.
Bellamy wants more from Johnson

Bellamy wants more from Johnson

Craig Bellamy praised Tyne-Wear derby winner Adam Johnson, but says the Sunderland man is nowhere near his potential level.
Rodgers: Anfield pitch awful

Rodgers: Anfield pitch awful

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has criticised the Anfield playing surface, describing it as "terrible" after his side's 2-2 draw with Arsenal.

abc News

Michael Vick praises Jameis Winston

Michael Vick praises Jameis Winston

Once considered one of the NFL's biggest stars, New York Jets quarterback Michael Vick says he thinks Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston could be the league's next big one. "I think he's the future of the NFL," Vick said of last year's Heisman Trophy winner, according to NJ.com. "I've been around so long, I appreciate guys coming out of college. I look forward to watching him. I have high expectations for him." Vick, 34, broke into the league as an athletic wonder with the Atlanta Falcons before being sent to federal prison for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring that cost him nearly two years of his life and three seasons in the NFL. With that history, Vick can somewhat relate to the off-field concerns surrounding Winston. "I think he, over time, has made some poor decisions," Vick said of Winston. "Have I been there to know exactly what happened? No. "But I do know one thing: He may make...
Muhammad Ali has mild pneumonia

Muhammad Ali has mild pneumonia

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Boxing great Muhammad Ali was hospitalized with a mild case of pneumonia that was caught early and should result in a short hospital stay, an Ali spokesman said Saturday night. The three-time world heavyweight champion, who is battling Parkinson's disease, is being treated by his team of doctors and is in stable condition, said his spokesman, Bob Gunnell. "He was admitted earlier this morning and because the pneumonia was caught early, his prognosis is good with a short hospital stay expected," Gunnell said in a statement. Gunnell declined to say where the 72-year-old Ali is hospitalized. No other details are being released due to the Ali family's request for privacy, he said. Ali's public appearances have diminished in recent years as he continues to battle Parkinson's disease, but he still enjoys getting out and watching sports and visiting friends. Ali appeared in public in September at a ceremony in his hometown of...
Adam Silver: No player trying to lo...

Adam Silver: No player trying to lose

NBA commissioner Adam Silver says the perception of tanking in the league is greater than the reality of it. "I absolutely don't think any team is trying to lose," Silver said in an interview with ESPN's Andy Katz for "Outside the Lines." "No player is going out there to lose. In terms of management, I think there's an absolute legitimate rebuilding process that goes on. It's so hard to win in this league, and it's so complex. "I think what's happened in the case of Philadelphia -- their strategy has been reduced into a tweet. This notion, 'be bad to be good.' ... When it gets reduced into a headline, I understand the reaction." The Sixers (2-23) own the worst record in the NBA and have been considered the team most blatantly tanking in the league. Philadelphia has acquired talented players with pre-existing long-term injuries ( Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid) in each of the past two drafts, almost guaranteeing difficult seasons...
ESPNTopNews

ESPNTopNews

Steelers, Packers Win, Move Into Pl...

Steelers, Packers Win, Move Into Playoffs

Steelers, Packers into playoffs; Patriots earn bye in AFC first round after Week 16 win
Documents: QB Winston Cleared in Co...

Documents: QB Winston Cleared in Conduct Hearing

Documents: Florida State QB Jameis Winston cleared of allegations in student conduct hearing

CBS Sports

Steelers wrap up playoff berth, top...

Steelers wrap up playoff berth, top Chiefs 20-12

PITTSBURGH (AP) Ben Roethlisberger passed for 220 yards and a touchdown, Le'Veon Bell added a score and the Pittsburgh Steelers locked up a postseason berth with a methodical 20-12 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
Odd taunting call

Odd taunting call

Odd taunting call
Giants...

Giants, Rams brawl; 3 ejected

Giants, Rams brawl; 3 ejected
Mule kick

Mule kick

Mule kick
Lawyer: Winston won't face discipli...

Lawyer: Winston won't face discipline from FSU

Lawyer: Winston won't face discipline from FSU
Report: Fans struck by lightning af...

Report: Fans struck by lightning after Bucs game

Report: Fans struck by lightning after Bucs game
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