Jonathan Martin is returning to familiar territory, months after he accused a teammate of bullying and left the Miami Dolphins. The offensive tackle is headed back to the Bay Area to play for Jim Harbaugh – again. Martin was traded from Miami to the San Francisco 49ers on Tuesday night, reuniting the lineman with his college coach at Stanford and a supportive coaching staff he knows so well. In fact, Harbaugh publicly expressed his support of Martin last year and called him a ”personal friend.” The Dolphins announced the move late on the first day of NFL free agency.
It didn’t take long for the San Antonio Spurs to show the Chicago Bulls why they’re leading the NBA. Manu Ginobili scored 22 points and Tony Parker had 20 points and nine assists, and the Spurs beat the Bulls 104-96 Tuesday night for their seventh straight win and 10th in their last 11. San Antonio jumped out to a big advantage early, taking a 38-14 lead after one quarter and going up 61-33 into halftime. That helped them improve to 24-6 on the road, the NBA’s best mark away from home.
Michael Bennett gambled last offseason that playing on a one-year deal in Seattle would pay off in the future with the long-term contract he always wanted. Bennett now has a Super Bowl title and a new four-year contract that will keep him with the Seahawks. ”But ultimately I wanted to come back and play with these guys and win some more games.” Bennett was considered one of the top free agents in the NFL after a breakout season with the Seahawks where he led the team in sacks and proved a versatile option as a defensive end and defensive tackle. But he never made it all the way to the start of free agency Tuesday after the Seahawks came up with a satisfactory deal.
Kansas center Joel Embiid is expected to miss the first weekend of the NCAA tournament. Embiid got a second opinion on his ailing lower back from a specialist in Los Angeles on Monday, and the school says the physician confirmed the original diagnosis of a stress fracture. The school says Embiid’s treatment for the injury makes him ”unlikely to play in the first weekend of the NCAA tournament.” A potential top choice in the NBA draft should he choose to declare, Embiid sat out Kansas’ final two regular-season games, a home victory against Texas Tech and a road loss against West Virginia.
Tone Time is over for the New York Jets. The Jets parted ways with wide receiver Santonio Holmes on Monday, cutting the talented but injury-plagued playmaker after four seasons. The move, which had been expected, saves the Jets $8.25 million, which Holmes was due to make as his base salary this season. The Jets also released cornerback Antonio Cromartie on Sunday, clearing $17.75 million of salary cap space before the NFL’s free agency period starts Tuesday.
Running back Rashard Mendenhall is retiring from the NFL at the age of 26. Agent Mike McCartney confirmed via Twitter on Sunday that Mendenhall had decided to end his playing career after six NFL seasons, all but one of them with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mendenhall, the Steelers’ first-round draft pick and 23rd overall selection out of Illinois in 2008, gained 4,326 career yards, averaging 3.9 yards per carry.
William Clay Ford was born into a fortune and spent much of his life staying away from fame as he steered the family business and owned an NFL franchise. The man reverently referred to as Mr. Ford, the last surviving grandchild of automotive pioneer Henry Ford and owner of the Detroit Lions, died Sunday. Ford Motor Co. said in a statement that Ford died of pneumonia at his home in Grosse Pointe. He bought a business of his own, the Lions, a half-century ago.
Its NCAA chances all but gone, West Virginia showed it still has some fight left in a lackluster season. West Virginia built a 25-point lead and had to withstand 41 points by freshman Andrew Wiggins and a furious comeback by No. 8 Kansas to upset the Jayhawks 92-86 in their Big 12 regular-season finale Saturday. ”We just had to stay composed, not get too down, don’t say, ‘dang, they’re going to come back,”’ said Eron Harris, who led West Virginia with 28 points. ”You’ve got to always have confidence in your team that you’re going to win.” The Mountaineers (17-14, 9-9 Big 12) could have finished with a thud like they had in losing four of their five previous games that reduced them to playing for a spot in the NIT.
Jason Calliste made the go-ahead jumper and free throw with 4:22 left and finished with 18 points as Oregon defeated No. 3 Arizona 64-57 Saturday for its seventh straight victory. Johnathan Loyd added 16 points for the Ducks (22-8, 10-8 Pac-10) who greatly improved their chances of a bid in the NCAA tournament. The Ducks won 13 straight to start the season and got ranked as high as No. 10, but then they lost five straight to tumble out of the poll and fall in the Pac-12 standings. But Oregon’s six-game winning streak put them back in the conversation for a possible NCAA tournament bid and gave them their fourth straight season with at least 20 victories.
A person familiar with the situation says Darren Sproles has been informed that the Saints will release him if they are unable to trade him before free agency begins. New Orleans’ decision to part with Sproles is the latest in a series of cost-cutting moves, including Friday’s release of receiver Lance Moore. The moves give the Saints more flexibility under the NFL’s salary cap as they try to sign free agent tight end Jimmy Graham to an extension. Before the Moore move was announced, Moore all but confirmed it with a note on Twitter, writing, ”Thank you New Orleans for an amazing nine years.
Harvard became the first team to reach the NCAA tournament, and the Crimson did it on rival Yale’s court. ”You couldn’t ask for much better,” said senior guard Brandyn Curry, who had 14 points in in the 70-58 win over the Bulldogs on Friday night that secured the outright Ivy League championship. ”It means a lot to come back after everything and win here, in this place.” Curry was on this same floor three years ago, when Harvard lost to Princeton on a buzzer-beater in a conference playoff game. That was the last time someone other than Harvard represented the Ivy League in the NCAA tournament.