Sports briefs, Jan. 19

Posted Jan. 19, 2012, at 8:04 p.m.

Hermon Junior ROTC to honor veterans Friday night

HERMON — The Hermon High School Junior ROTC program will be holding its annual Veterans Recognition Night during the school’s boys basketball games against John Bapst Friday night.

All veterans are invited to be the school’s guests for its JV and varsity boys basketball games at 5:30 and 7 p.m., respectively.

There will be a Junior ROTC demonstration and the Hermon High band will play patriotic tunes during halftime.

Jets owner backs Sanchez, doesn’t rule out Manning

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Mark Sanchez is still the New York Jets’ quarterback of the future.

Well, at least for now.

Owner Woody Johnson supported his embattled quarterback while meeting with writers who regularly cover the team Thursday for the first time since the Jets finished 8-8 and failed to make the playoffs.

But, he also wouldn’t rule out the possibility of pursuing a veteran such as Peyton Manning if the Indianapolis Colts star became available.

“I’m not going to ever tell you guys what we may or may not do,” Johnson said in a 30-minute far-ranging interview.

“Our job, and my job for the fans, is to take this team to the very top level, and I’ve said that from the beginning. And I have a lot of confidence that we can do it. So, we’re going to look at everything. We’re going to look at every possibility, and that’s what you’d want us to do.”

Johnson said “there’s no such thing as 100 percent” when asked if Sanchez would definitely be the starter next season.

“Barring whatever,” he said, “yes.”

That “whatever” could be the status of Manning, who missed the season after a few operations on his neck.

He’s still a highly unlikely possibility for Rex Ryan’s Jets since he’s still under contract to the Colts, is 10 years older than the 25-year-old Sanchez and would be a tough fit financially for New York.

Brady practices after missing Wednesday

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Tom Brady is back practicing. Everyone associated with the New England Patriots is acting like he never missed a snap.

Brady returned to the field Thursday after being out the previous day resting his left, non-throwing shoulder. If it’s a big deal to the football world that the Patriots’ star quarterback briefly was sidelined four days before the AFC championship, his teammates and coach treated it as an inconsequential blip.

So did the two-time league MVP.

“It’s not the first practice I have missed over the years,” Brady said with a shrug of his shoulders — including the sore left one. “When coach feels its best that you do other things to get yourself ready, that’s what you do, and you still use all that time very wisely. When your coach feels it is best to do other things to get yourself ready, that is what you do.”

Coach Bill Belichick revealed little about Brady’s absence on Wednesday, lumping it in with every other player in the NFL who gets nicked. Then again, Belichick doesn’t give out much information or insight on anything injury-related. Ever.

New England hosts the Baltimore Ravens for the AFC championship on Sunday.

Colts oust 8 assistants, while DC Murphy retires

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Colts have responded to their worst season in two decades with a major housecleaning.

Following the firing of head coach Jim Caldwell two days earlier, the Colts announced the departure of eight assistants Thursday, as well as the retirement of defensive coordinator Mike Murphy.

The coaches let go were assistant Devin Fitzsimmons, offensive line coach Pete Metzelaars, special assistant to the defense Rod Perry, receivers coach Frank Reich, defensive assistant Bill Teerlinck, defensive line coach John Teerlinck, strength and conditioning coach Jon Torine, and quarterbacks coach Ron Turner.

With four-time MVP quarterback Peyton Manning sidelined all season because of a neck injury, the Colts stumbled to a 2-14 record, leading owner Jim Irsay to fire Caldwell, vice chairman Bill Polian and his son, Chris, the team’s general manager.

Gary Carter’s health takes turn for worse

NEW YORK — Gary Carter’s health has taken a turn for the worse.

The 57-year-old Hall of Fame catcher, diagnosed last May with a malignant brain tumor, received results of his latest MRI exam Thursday, according to the online journal of his daughter, Kimmy Bloemers.

She writes “I wish I could say that the results were good. … There are now several new spots/tumors on my dad’s brain. I write these words with tears because I am so sad for my dad.”

Carter had the MRIs Friday in North Palm Beach, Fla., and they were sent to his doctors at Duke University for evaluation.

A day earlier, he fell at a doctor’s appointment and completely tore a rotator cuff, Bloemers wrote, adding that he also fell on Christmas Eve.

Indians’ Carmona arrested for false identity

CLEVELAND — From year to year and game to game, the Cleveland Indians never knew what to expect from Fausto Carmona.

On Thursday, he stunned them again.

Carmona, the Indians’ opening-day starter season, was arrested in the Dominican Republic for allegedly using a false identity. Officials in his native country are contesting his real name and birthdate.

Police spokesman Maximo Baez Aybar said Carmona was arrested in Santo Domingo outside the U.S. consulate, where he had gone to renew his visa. Carmona had played winter ball in the Dominican as he prepared to report to the Indians’ training camp in Goodyear, Ariz., next month.

At this point, his future with the club is uncertain.

Aybar said Carmona’s real name is apparently Roberto Hernandez Heredia and he’s 31, three years older than the pitcher claimed. The Indians list Carmona’s birthday as Dec. 7, 1983, in their 2011 media guide.

“We were recently made aware of the situation that occurred today in the Dominican Republic and are currently in the process of gathering information,” Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. “We are not prepared to make any additional comment at this time.”

Carmona’s agent said he was caught off-guard by the arrest and that there are Dominican lawyers working on the player’s behalf. He did not disclose the names of the lawyers.

Spagnuolo to take over Saints’ defense

METAIRIE, La. — A person familiar with the decision says former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo has agreed to take over as defensive coordinator for with the Saints.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the Saints have not announced the hiring.

The 52-year-old Spagnuolo was head coach in St. Louis the past three seasons and was fired in January after going 10-38 with the Rams. Before that he was defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, a stint that included a Super Bowl upset of the New England Patriots.

Gregg Williams, who was New Orleans’ defensive coordinator the past three seasons, has joined Jeff Fisher’s staff in St. Louis.

Spagnuolo’s Rams was one of three teams to beat New Orleans during the regular season.

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