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Sports briefs, Feb. 7

The Associated Press

Bryant won’t be charged in San Diego church fight

SAN DIEGO — San Diego prosecutors won’t file criminal charges against Kobe Bryant after reviewing allegations by a man who accused the Los Angeles Lakers star of injuring him during a scuffle at church.

The city attorney’s office said Tuesday that there was insufficient evidence to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt. It says it did an exhaustive investigation that included interviews with independent witnesses.

Police have said Bryant took the man’s cellphone in August, apparently thinking it was being used to take his picture during a Sunday service at the St. Therese of Carmel Church in San Diego. The man went to a hospital for treatment of an injured wrist.

Bryant has denied the allegations. The accuser’s name has not been released.

Nolan announces retirement from NHL.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Owen Nolan, who hasn’t played in the NHL since the 2009-10 season, announced his retirement Tuesday at the San Jose Sharks home rink.

Nolan, who lives in San Jose, played 18 seasons and scored 422 goals with 463 assists in 1,200 games. He played for the Quebec Nordiques and Colorado Avalanche, the Sharks, Toronto Maple Leafs, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames and, most recently, the Minnesota Wild.

He was with the Wild in 2009-10 and played in Zurich last year.

Nolan retires ranked 71st on the NHL’s career goals list, 33rd in power-play goals and 100th in points.

The former Sharks captain, who turns 40 Sunday, was the first overall pick in the 1990 draft.

2.1 million viewers live stream Super Bowl online

NEW YORK — The first live stream of the Super Bowl drew 2.1 million unique viewers, NBC said Thursday.

That’s a small fraction of the record 111.3 million viewers that watched NBC’s broadcast of the big game. But it was still enough to make it the most-watched single-game sports event online, according to the network.

Kevin Monaghan, managing director of digital media for NBC Sports Group, said the live stream “exceeded our expectations in every way.”

The New York Giants 21-17 win over the New England Patriots was streamed on NBCSports.com and NFL.com. The Internet webcast included optional camera views, tweeting from a handful of personalities and HD-quality video. But it didn’t feature the live TV broadcast commercials (they were clickable for on-demand viewing) or the Madonna halftime show, and the feed lagged behind the broadcast.

The webcast was available on some mobile phones from Verizon.

Monaghan framed the live stream not as an alternate viewing option from broadcast, but as “a complementary ‘second screen’ experience” to the televised game.

RB Ricky Williams says he’s retiring from NFL

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ricky Williams is retiring from the NFL.


This time, however, it appears to be for good.

The 34-year-old Williams told the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday he won’t be back to fulfill the second year of a contract he signed in August. Playing as a backup to Ray Rice this year, Williams ran for 444 yards and scored two touchdowns.

He also became the 26th player in NFL history to reach 10,000 yards rushing, reaching the plateau in the season finale at Cincinnati.

“The NFL has been an amazing page in this chapter of my life,” Williams said. “I pray that all successive adventures offer me the same potential for growth, success and most importantly, fun. … As for what’s next, I am excited about all the opportunities ahead — continuing my education, running The Ricky Williams Foundation and whatever other opportunities present themselves.”

Williams retired previously before the 2004 season when facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy. He returned in 2005, then left to spend the 2006 season with Toronto of the Canadian Football League.

A’s agree to extend GM Billy Beane through 2019

Billy Beane is planning to stay in the Bay Area for the long haul.

Oakland Athletics owner Lew Wolff said Tuesday that the team has agreed to extend the contracts of the general manager as well as team President Michael Crowley through the 2019 season. Wolff, confirming comments first made on Bloomberg Television, wrote in an email to The Associated Press that the deals are in the process of being finalized.

Wolff is counting on Beane’s leadership and innovation to lead the club in a new stadium in the San Jose area.

The franchise needs approval from Major League Baseball to move to the south bay, where the San Francisco Giants hold territorial rights to the technology-rich region filled with fans and corporate dollars. The A’s are hoping for a resolution to the long-standing dispute soon.

Beane and Crowley hold small ownership stakes in the team. Crowley took over as team president at the end of the 1998 season.

Beane has been Oakland’s general manager since 1997. He is the subject of Michael Lewis’ 2003 book on baseball statistics and economics titled “Moneyball,” which was made into a film starring Brad Pitt as Beane last year.

Beane bucked the baseball trend of relying on the common trio of statistics — batting average, home runs and RBIs for hitters; wins, losses and ERA for pitchers — and instead turned to hard numbers over subjective scouting to fuel his team’s successful runs in the early 2000s.

Bill Hall agrees to deal with Yankees

NEW YORK — The Yankees have agreed to a minor league contract with utilityman Bill Hall and invited him to big league spring training.

Hall announced the deal on his Twitter account Tuesday, and New York confirmed the agreement.

If Hall is added to the Yankees’ 40-man roster, he would get a $600,000, one-year contract and have the chance to earn an additional $600,000 in performance bonuses.

The 32-year-old played with Houston and San Francisco last season before he was designated for assignment on July 28, batting a combined .211 with 14 RBIs and two homers. He finished the season at Triple-A Fresno.

In 10 big league seasons with five teams, Hall is hitting .248 with 124 homers and 439 RBIs. He hit 35 homers for Milwaukee in 2006.

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