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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.