Friday's Sports In Brief

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Associated Press

Posted on January 12, 2013 at 7:06 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 12 at 8:00 AM

NFL

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Single-season sacks leader Michael Strahan and two players who tried to block him are among 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Strahan, who had 22½ sacks in 2001 and 141½ for his 15-year his career with the New York Giants, is joined by offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden of the Baltimore Ravens and guard-tackle Larry Allen of the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers. The fourth first-year eligible to make the cut is defensive tackle Warren Sapp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.

Strahan, Ogden and Sapp all won Super Bowls.

The hall announced Friday that among the other finalists are Jerome Bettis, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Andre Reed, Bill Parcells and Art Modell.

NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Westhoff, the Jets' recently retired special teams coordinator, told a Florida radio station that the way the team handled Tim Tebow was "an absolute mess."

Westhoff told WQAM in south Florida that he was "very, very disappointed" in the Jets' lack of use of Tebow, the popular backup quarterback acquired last March to be a key part of the offense. Instead, Tebow barely got on the field in most games and never started at quarterback — even after Mark Sanchez was benched.

Westhoff adds that he's "still waiting for the unveiling" of the game plan that included lots of Tebow. The quarterback tried to hide his frustration throughout the season, but Westhoff says he could see a change in his demeanor and "that swagger that got out of him a little bit.

NHL

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — After rejoining his Buffalo Sabres teammates on the ice for the first time in some nine months, goalie Ryan Miller had a few lingering frustrations to get off his chest regarding the NHL lockout.

"The best thing to do is acknowledge that it was stupid," Miller said.

Miller, who played a role in negotiations, called himself "embarrassed" that it took more than six months of negotiations to reach an agreement. At one point during talks, he gave up on the possibility of there being a season this year.

And he laid the blame on owners, specifically singling out Commissioner Gary Bettman, whom he accused of being the reason why the four-month lockout wasn't resolved sooner.

NBA

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and his wife Vanessa both announced on social media that they've called off their divorce.

Shortly after Vanessa posted the news on Instagram, Kobe confirmed it on Facebook less than an hour before the Lakers hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce in December 2011, seeking to end a marriage that began in April 2001 and survived a sexual assault accusation against the five-time NBA champion. The Bryants have two daughters, Natalia and Gianna.

Vanessa Bryant stood by her husband when he was charged with sexually assaulting a 19-year-old woman in Colorado in 2003, saying Kobe Bryant was only guilty of "the mistake of adultery."

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA coach Jim Mora agreed to a one-year contract extension through 2017 after revitalizing the Bruins in his debut season.

Mora led UCLA to nine victories, the Pac-12 South title and a Holiday Bowl berth just one year after replacing Rick Neuheisel at a school that hadn't won even eight games in a season since 2005.

The former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks head coach adjusted splendidly to the college game, even beating crosstown rival USC while climbing as high as No. 15 in the rankings.

The Bruins (9-5) lost their final three games, including two meetings with Rose Bowl champion Stanford before a 49-26 loss to Baylor in the Holiday Bowl. But the quiet finish didn't dampen the renewed enthusiasm for football in Westwood.

CYCLING

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The head of Switzerland's anti-doping laboratory described as "nonsense" claims by U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart that he helped Lance Armstrong avoid being caught for doping.

Lab director Martial Saugy called a news conference to answer accusations by Tygart that he provided Armstrong with information on how to avoid detection for use of the blood-boosting drug EPO.

Tygart told "60 Minutes Sports" on Wednesday that Saugy acknowledged to him that he gave Armstrong and his team manager "the keys to beating EPO tests" before the 2002 Tour de France.

Saugy suggested that Tygart had "deficiencies" in his recollection of their discussion in Moscow in 2010 soon after U.S. federal investigators opened a probe into Armstrong and doping in cycling.

GOLF

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) — Ryo Ishikawa of Japan is headed back to the Masters.

Augusta National Golf Club said that Ishikawa and Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand have accepted special invitations, which are reserved for international players. It will be the fifth straight year the 21-year-old Ishikawa is playing the Masters. This is his third special exemption.

Thaworn is No. 68 in the world and won the Asian Tour money title last year. He also holds the Asian Tour record for most career victories, winning the Hero India Open last year — his 15th title.

Ishikawa dropped as low as No. 91 in the world late last year before his game picked up. He won the Taiheiyo Masters for his 10th career title on the Japan Golf Tour, part of seven top-10 finishes in his last 10 tournaments of the year. He is No. 75 in the world.

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