Associated Press Sportswatch

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

JAGUARS-MULARKEY FIRED
Jaguars fire Mularkey after team's worst season
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have fired coach Mike Mularkey after one season, the worst in franchise history.
New general manager David Caldwell made the announcement Thursday, giving him a clean slate heading into 2013.
Mularkey, who went 2-14 this season, looked like he would be one and done when owner Shad Khan parted ways with general manager Gene Smith last week. Even though Khan ultimately hired Mularkey, Smith directed the coaching search last January that started and ended with the former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator.
Mularkey's brief tenure -- he didn't even last a year -- was filled with mistakes. His biggest one may have been his loyalty to Smith, who assembled a roster that lacked talent on both sides of the ball.
SEAU-CTE
Junior Seau had brain disease CTE
UNDATED (AP) -- An examination of Junior Seau's (SAY'-owz) brain has revealed that the former linebacker had a degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide last May.
The National Institutes of Health tells The Associated Press that an NIH study found abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a condition linked to repetitive head injuries. Seau joins a list of several dozen football players who had CTE.
The NIH conducted a study of three unidentified brains, one of which was Seau's. It said the findings were similar to autopsies of people "with exposure to repetitive head injury."
Seau was an outstanding linebacker for 20 NFL seasons before retiring in 2009. He died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound.
Seau joins a list of several dozen football players who had CTE. Boston University's center for study of the disease reported last month that 34 former pro players and nine who played only college football suffered from CTE.
PENN STATE-ABUSE
Judge hears arguments on Sandusky trial fairness
BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) -- A judge has heard arguments from Jerry Sandusky's attorneys about the fairness of his trial but did not issue a ruling.
The proceeding Thursday in central Pennsylvania related to Sandusky's claim that his lawyers didn't have enough time to prepare for his molestation trial.
Sandusky's post-sentencing motions are before Judge John Cleland. The former Penn State assistant football coach wants to have his 45-count conviction thrown out and a new trial granted.
Sandusky is serving a 30- to 60-year state prison sentence after being convicted in June of 45 counts of child sexual abuse. The 68-year-old Sandusky is likely to die in prison, unless he can persuade a court to release him.
He maintains he is innocent.
The case led to the ouster of longtime Penn State football coach Joe Paterno.
PITT PLAYERS-ASSAULT
Pitt football players get assault charges reduced
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pitt football players Ray Graham, Lafayette Pitts and Devin Street have cut a deal to reduce misdemeanor assault and conspiracy charges to disorderly conduct counts.
The players were charged in November after police say they surrounded another student on a sidewalk near the campus before one of the players punched the man in the head.
The man told police he didn't want to press charges but wanted to ensure the players didn't harass others.
The three players were scheduled for a preliminary hearing Wednesday. But Graham's attorney says a deal was struck to have their charges reduced to disorderly conduct -- a charge similar to a traffic ticket that carries up to a $300 fine.
The players must complete community service by April 15 for that to happen.
GEORGIA-GEATHERS
Georgia loses another defensive player to NFL
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- Another Georgia defensive player is heading to the NFL.
Junior nose tackle Kwame Geathers informed the school Wednesday that he plans to enter the draft with a year of eligibility remaining.
The 6-foot-6, 355-pound Geathers follows linebackers Jarvis Jones and Alec Ogletree in declaring early for the pros.
This past season, Geathers played in all 14 games and finished with 40 tackles, including five for losses and a sack, along with a blocked field goal. He had eight starts and 61 tackles in his career.
The Bulldogs, coming off a second straight Southeastern Conference East title, will have big holes to fill on the defensive side next season. They're also losing nose tackle John Jenkins and safeties Bacarri Rambo and Shawn Williams.
NASCAR-WALTRIP-DAYTONA 500
Waltrip to enter Daytona 500 with Swan Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Michael Waltrip will enter the Daytona 500 this season with Swan Racing.
The two-time Daytona 500 winner will drive the No. 30 Toyota in a one-race deal. The team will use full-time driver David Stremme the rest of the season.
The season-opening Feb. 24 race marks the debut for the team under new owner Brandon Davis, who has vowed the No. 30 car will no longer "start and park." In the team overhaul, Davis hired crew chief Tony Eury Jr. and competition director Steve Hmiel.
Eury, Hmiel and Waltrip worked together at Dale Earnhardt Inc., where Waltrip won the 2001 and 2003 Daytona 500s. Waltrip and Eury were paired together for 26 races in 2005.
Waltrip will bring with him an engine from Toyota Racing Development.
NBA-SCHEDULE
Light night of play
UNDATED (AP) -- The 23-11 Miami Heat lead the way in the NBA this evening. The Southeast Division leading club is on the road for a game at Portland. The Trail Blazers are 19-15 in the Northwest Division.
The Atlantic Division leading Knicks take their 23-11 record to Indianapolis to face the Pacers and Dallas is playing at Sacramento.
T25 SCHEDULE
Equally light night of college hoops
UNDATED (AP) -- Just three games are taking place in top-25 men's basketball this evening. The highest-ranked school in action will be No. 4 Arizona as the 14-0 Wildcats are at Oregon. Ninth-ranked Gonzaga (gahn-ZAG'-uh) is home to Saint Mary's of California, while 22nd-ranked Michigan State is at Iowa.
NHL-LABOR
Owner wait for players vote
UNDATED (AP) -- The NHL owners have approved the labor agreement. Now they must wait and see what the players will do. A vote is expected to be taken both Friday and Saturday.
The league's board of governors met in a Manhattan hotel Wednesday and voted on the agreement that was reached early Sunday on the 113th day of the NHL lockout.
Following the vote, Commissioner Gary Bettman apologized to everyone hurt by the 113-day lockout that preceded the agreement.
MLB-HALL OF FAME
Repercussions still being felt
UNDATED (AP) -- People are still trying to understand Wednesday's vote by the baseball writers. There were no players elected to the Hall of Fame and that's the first time that has happened since 1996.
The potential class of 2013 included names like Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, but none were elected as the specter of performance-enhancing drug use hung over the vote.
The induction ceremonies will take place in Cooperstown on July 28 with the only inductees being three men who died more than 70 years ago: Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert (ROO'-purt), umpire Hank O'Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White. They were chosen last month by the 16-member panel considering individuals from the era before integration in 1947.
PGA-SONY OPEN
Johnson looks to defend title
HONOLULU (AP) -- The first full-field event of the 2013 PGA season starts today in Honolulu. It's the Sony Open and it is the second event of the season. Dustin Johnson won last week's Tournament of Champions on Maui. The defending champion is Johnson Wagner.
It could get confusing. Dustin Johnson and Johnson Wagner will play the first round with Zach Johnson.


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