Sports briefs for Feb. 23

Posted Feb. 23, 2012, at 7:12 p.m.

Danica Patrick OK after wreck in Daytona qualifier

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Danica Patrick walked away OK after taking a hard hit to the wall in her qualifying race at Daytona International Speedway on Thursday.

Her race car didn’t fare quite so well.

Patrick was caught up in a crash on the final lap of the first of two 150-mile qualifying races, sending her car into the wall on the backstretch. The wreck ripped the front end off Patrick’s car, and she’ll have to use a backup car in Sunday’s Daytona 500.

After being released from the infield medical care center, Patrick said she hoped her backup car might be even faster than her primary car.

“I’m just very disappointed that the car got crashed with two corners to go,” Patrick said. “It’s not how we wanted to roll into Sunday. We wanted to just be cool, calm and collected with no damage. But like I said, maybe that backup car’s fast.”

Rex Ryan: No Super Bowl guarantee this year

INDIANAPOLIS — Jets coach Rex Ryan offered no guarantees this year.

A year ago at the NFL scouting combine, a confident Ryan guaranteed that New York would win the Super Bowl. The Jets had reached the previous two AFC championship games, and Ryan felt the team was on the cusp of greatness. Instead, New York finished 8-8, missed the playoffs and watched the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

In his return to the combine on Thursday, Ryan was apologetic. Before a single question was asked, he said the guarantee was a “huge mistake,” an honest attempt to push his team that backfired.

“It’s something that I’ve been thinking about a great deal,” he said. “Obviously, we had a terrible season. I take full responsibility for it. Part of that guarantee really contributed to it.”

Losing, it appears, is the one thing that can quiet Ryan. Or at least, make him think before he speaks.

“First off, no promises,” he said. “There’s not going to be any promises. But I will say we’re going to have a team now that I think is going to have the potential to do great things.”

Ryan said he’ll still be outspoken and fun, but he won’t say things that hurt the team.

Duerson’s family sues NFL over his suicide

CHICAGO — The family of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL on Thursday, claiming the league didn’t do enough to prevent or treat the concussions that severely damaged his brain before he killed himself last year.

The suit was filed in Chicago on behalf of Duerson’s son, Tregg, and three other children. Duerson died on Feb. 17, 2011, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.

Duerson’s family wants to know more about the NFL’s handling of concussions during his career, according to his son.

“If they knowingly failed to inform and implement proper safety concussion procedures, then their indifference was the epitome of injustice,” Tregg Duerson said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “The inactions of the past inevitably led to the demise and death of my father.

The lawsuit accuses the NFL of negligently causing the brain damage that led Duerson to take his own life at the age of 50 by not warning him of the negative effects of concussions. Attorney Thomas Demetrio, who is representing Duerson’s family, said the NFL should have been a leader in educating current and former players about head injuries.

“They not only dropped the ball, they maintained until current times that there was no connection between playing football, receiving concussions and brain damage,” Demetrio said. “That’s wrong.”

The NFL said in a statement that it had not yet seen the lawsuit.

‘Linsanity’ sparks trademark war

The fanatical frenzy surrounding New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin is becoming even more Linsane.

A trademark war is brewing over the catch-phrase that describes the crazed excitement around Lin.

Since his breakout 25-point game against the Nets on Feb. 4, there have been seven applications filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark “Linsanity”.

That includes one by Pamela Deese, a lawyer representing Lin.

The applications cover use of the phrase on everything from cellphone cases and sunglasses to action figures and footwear.

A trademark can take a year or more to register.

The NBA says Lin jerseys have been the hottest selling jerseys at its online store since Feb. 4. It is preparing to sell more Lin-related merchandise like bobbleheads and plush animals.

Roethlisberger restructures deal for Steelers

PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is restructuring his contract to help the team get under the salary cap.

This is the second time in six months Roethlisberger has reworked the eight-year, $102 million deal he signed in 2008. He deferred some of his salary last August to make sure the Steelers could get under the $120.4 million cap last season. He was scheduled to make $11.6 million in 2012 but the new deal will save the Steelers several million next season.

Linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons and cornerback Ike Taylor — all of whom signed new contracts last summer — have already agreed to restructured deals.

Pittsburgh has several issues as free agency looms, including restricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace. General manager Kevin Colbert said Thursday in Indianapolis that he believes Wallace will stay with the team.

Blackhawks captain involved in auto accident

CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews was involved in an automobile accident on the way to the United Center.

According to Chicago police, the Blackhawks captain struck the support pillar of Chicago Transit Authority elevated rail line as he made a turn in his Mercedes.

The police report says Toews was not injured and no citations were issued. The team called the accident a “minor one” and in a text message to the Chicago Tribune, Toews said: “It’s nothing serious at all. I’m good.”

The team also said Toews was not injured in the accident. He was still expected to miss Thursday’s home game against the Dallas Stars due to an undisclosed upper-body injury.’ Coach Joel Quenneville said it hasn’t been decided if he will travel with the team to Los Angeles for Saturday’s game against the Kings.

 

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