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Peyton Manning back for 18th season, signs contract (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this Dec. 7, 2014, file photo, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning passes against the Buffalo Bills during an NFL football game in Denver. A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Manning will return for a fourth season in Denver and 18th in the NFL. Manning will reduce his salary from $19 million to $15 million in 2015, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because there was no official announcement. However, he can make up all of the $4 million pay cut by reaching certain performance benchmarks. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Peyton Manning has passed his physical and signed his revised contract Thursday. ''We're glad to work something out with Peyton so that he will be part of our team this season,'' general manager John Elway said.


Wilfork: Patriots aren't picking up my option (Yahoo Sports)

New England Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork (75) during the first half of NFL Super Bowl XLIX football game Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said Thursday he will not be back with New England next season, ending an 11-year stay in which he won two Super Bowls and established himself as the cornerstone of the Patriots' defense. In a statement on Twitter, Wilfork said the team told him it would not be picking up his option for 2015, making him eligible for free agency. ... But regardless remember I will always remain a New Englander a Patriot forever.'' A 6-foot-2, 325-pound gap-stuffer who was drafted in the first round out of Miami in 2004, Wilfork helped the Patriots win the Super Bowl as a rookie and returned to the NFL title game twice more in losing efforts before helping the franchise win its fourth championship last month. The money saved will help the Patriots bring back cornerback Darrelle Revis.


Prosecutors: No criminal charge for NASCAR driver Kurt Busch (Yahoo Sports)

In this Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015, photo, Kurt Busch stands on pit road prior to qualifying for the Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup series auto race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. NASCAR suspended Busch indefinitely on Friday, Feb. 20, after a judge said the former champion almost surely strangled and beat an ex-girlfriend last fall and there was a

NASCAR driver Kurt Busch will not face criminal charges over claims by his ex-girlfriend that he smashed her head into a bedroom wall and choked her, Delaware prosecutors said Thursday. The decision by the state attorney general's office ends the criminal investigation of Busch, known in NASCAR circles as ''The Outlaw,'' over allegations by Patricia Driscoll, whom Busch's attorneys portrayed as a scorned woman who tried to destroy Busch's career after he ended their relationship. ''After a thorough consideration of all of the available information about the case, it is determined that the admissible evidence and available witnesses would likely be insufficient to meet the burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Busch committed a crime during the September 26th incident,'' the attorney general's office said in a prepared statement. In a prepared statement, Busch thanked prosecutors for carefully considering the evidence and his supporters for standing by him ''throughout this nightmare.'' ''As I have said from the beginning, I did not commit domestic abuse,'' Busch said.


NFL: Greg Hardy is eligible to sign free agent contract (Yahoo Sports)

FILE- In this Feb. 9, 2015, file photo, Carolina Panthers' defensive end Greg Hardy arrives at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse on the first day of his domestic violence appeal trial in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. Hardy is seeking immediate reinstatement from the NFL after a federal judge cleared way for Adrian Peterson's return to the league. Hardy's agent Drew Rosenhaus said Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015,

Panthers defensive end and soon-to-be free agent Greg Hardy will be allowed to sign a new contract even if he remains on the commissioner's exempt list. League spokesman Greg Aiello said Thursday in an email to The Associated Press, ''There's nothing to prevent a player on the Exempt list without a contract from signing a new one.'' NFL free agency begins Tuesday. Hardy was scheduled to meet with NFL officials Wednesday in New York to discuss his domestic violence case, but no resolution has been announced. The NFL has said it is investigating Hardy's case.


Veteran defensive tackle Dockett joins 49ers on 2-year deal (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this Aug. 9, 2014, file photo, Arizona Cardinals' Darnell Dockett sits on the sideline during the first quarter of an NFL football game in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals have released defensive tackle Dockett, allowing the three-time Pro Bowl lineman to test the free agency market. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)

Defensive tackle Darnell Dockett has signed a two-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers that will keep him in the NFC West after playing all of his 10 NFL seasons with Arizona. Rosenhaus also posted a photo of him standing with Dockett on Twitter that read, ''Congrats to the newest Niner!'' with signing papers on the table. Now, he will play for promoted defensive line coach Jim Tomsula, named 49ers head coach in January. 'I love you all.''' He visited with the 49ers earlier this week, choosing a new start after being released last Friday when negotiations didn't work out on a restructured deal with Arizona because of salary cap concerns.


Westbrook has career-high 49, lifts Thunder past 76ers in OT (Yahoo Sports)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK- March 4: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on March 4, 2015 at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

Russell Westbrook donned a mask and played like a superhero. The All-Star Game MVP set career highs with 49 points and 16 rebounds, and added 10 assists for his fourth consecutive triple-double, helping the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 123-118 in overtime Wednesday night. Westbrook wore the facial protection after having a bone in his right cheek fractured last Friday against Portland. He had surgery Saturday and missed Sunday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers.


Davis has huge game in return, Pelicans beat Pistons 88-85 (Yahoo Sports)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 4: Anthony Davis #23 of the New Orleans Pelicans during the game against the Detroit Pistons on March 4, 2015 at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr./NBAE via Getty Images)

Anthony Davis was feeling great, fired up about being back on the court and not at all subtle about showing it. When it was over, Davis had piled up 39 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks in his return from a right shoulder sprain, and the New Orleans Pelicans won for the sixth time in seven games, 88-85 over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. I was just out there having fun and it showed.'' Davis hit two mid-range jumpers in the last 1:14, the second with 18 seconds left, to hold off Detroit in a frenetic, defensive game that had 15 lead changes and eight ties. Davis' seventh block of the game - a two-handed rejection of 6-foot-11 Greg Monroe in the paint - gave him the Pelicans career record, surpassing David West's 435.


Announcer Craig Sager returns from leukemia to NBA sideline (Yahoo Sports)

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 6: Reporter Craig Sager before a game against the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat at the AT&T Center March 6, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

CHICAGO (AP) -- Announcer Craig Sager is returning to his familiar spot on the NBA sideline after being treated for leukemia.


A-Rod 1 for 2 in return from drug ban as Phils top Yanks 3-1 (Yahoo Sports)

A New York Yankees fan wearing a Derek Jeter shirt walks past Jeter T-shirts for sale in the Yankees gift shop during a spring training baseball exhibition game between Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Alex Rodriguez walked from the batter's box to home plate in the bottom of the first inning, eye black smeared across his face, and said hello to Philadelphia catcher Tommy Joseph, who was just 1 when A-Rod was taken first in the 1993 amateur draft. ''I told Marty and Tommy to take it easy on the old man,'' Rodriguez explained. ''It's been a couple of years since I've been in the box.'' Rodriguez lined a single to left field in his return to the New York Yankees' lineup after an absence of 524 days. He went 1 for 2 with a walk in a 3-1 spring-training loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday, another step forward as he tries to resume his drug-scarred career.


James scores 29, Cavaliers beat Raptors 120-112 (Yahoo Sports)

TORONTO, ON - MARCH 4: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots against the Toronto Raptors on March 4, 2015 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Ron Turenne/NBAE via Getty Images)

LeBron James retaliated on the scoreboard after Jonas Valanciunas tackled him on a drive late in the third quarter. James scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth and matched a season high with 14 assists and the Cleveland Cavaliers held on to beat the Toronto Raptors 120-112 on Wednesday night. Valanciunas was called for a flagrant-1 foul after he took down James on the play that drew a loud cheer from the sellout crowd of 19,800. ''The game is more important than trying to deliver a hard foul,'' said James, kicked in the groin by Houston's James Harden on Sunday.


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