Sports briefs for Jan. 10

Posted Jan. 10, 2013, at 8:05 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 10, 2013, at 8:55 p.m.

Finalists named for Gaziano lineman awards

PORTLAND, Maine — Six finalists have been named for the third annual Gaziano Lineman Awards to be presented during a brunch to be held at 9 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 27, at the Augusta Civic Center.

Three defensive linemen and three offensive linemen have been selected from an original field of 31 statewide nominees for the awards.

Finalists for the Gaziano defensive lineman award are Greg Duff of Bangor, Zach Kendall of Mt. Blue of Farmington and Kurt Massey of John Bapst of Bangor.

Finalists for the Gaziano offensive lineman award are Bobby Begin of Thornton Academy of Saco, Jack Lucy of Orono and Andy Martel of Bonny Eagle of Standish.

The winning offensive and defensive lineman each will receive a $5,000 scholarship and a trophy, while the two runners-up in each division will receive a $1,000 scholarship and a trophy.

The Gaziano awards are based on on-field performance, character, leadership. academics and community involvement.

Maine Army, Air Guard hockey teams in Military Winter Games

LEWISTON, Maine — The Maine Army and Maine Air National Guard hockey teams will compete in the International Fire, Police and Military Winter Games tournament starting Friday at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

The two Guard teams will face off at 10:40 a.m. The championship game winds things up at 6 p.m. on Sunday.

The tournament is a charitable event which benefits the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Boston.

Jaguars dismiss Mularkey, not interested in Tebow

The Jacksonville Jaguars fired head coach Mike Mularkey after one season, general manager David Caldwell announced Thursday.

Caldwell also said he wasn’t interested in acquiring quarterback Tim Tebow from the New York Jets.

Mularkey went 2-14 in his only season with the Jaguars, after having spent four years as the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator. The Jaguars hired Caldwell earlier this week.

Regarding Tebow, Caldwell said, “I can’t imagine a scenario where he would be a Jacksonville Jaguar.”

Varejao faces two months out after operation

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Brazilian center Anderson Varejao has been ruled out for six to eight weeks after undergoing surgery on a quadriceps muscle on Thursday, the National Basketball Association team said.

Varejao suffered the injury on December 18 against the Toronto Raptors and on Thursday had an operation to repair a small split in his vastus medialis muscle, the Cavaliers said.

“Varejao is resting comfortably and will be admitted overnight. Rehab guidelines will be established today and he is expected to miss the next six to eight weeks,” the team said in a statement.

Varejao is the Cavaliers’ leading rebounder, averaging 14.4 rebounds a game and he is also their second top scorer averaging 14.1 points per game.

Steelers cut Rainey after domestic violence arrest

The Pittsburgh Steelers have cut rookie running back Chris Rainey following his arrest for a domestic battery, the National Football League team said on Thursday.

“Chris Rainey’s actions this morning were extremely disappointing,” said Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert in a statement on the team’s website. “Under the circumstances and due to this conduct, Chris will no longer be a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.”

Rainey was charged by Gainesville, Florida police with a single count of misdemeanor simple battery following an incident with his girlfriend, according to media reports.

A fifth-round selection of the Steelers in last season’s draft, Rainey was used primarily on specialty teams during his rookie campaign, returning 39 kickoffs for 1,035 yards while filling in at running back.

Oden working toward comeback

As he continues to regain strength from knee surgery nearly a year ago, former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden is working toward an NBA return, according to multiple reports.

Some sources told ESPN.com that Oden won’t seek to come back until the 2013-14 season. Other reports said teams have expressed interest in signing him to a multiyear deal before the end of this season to allow him to continue his rehab until he can return for training camp in the fall.

Two sources told ESPN.com that the Miami Heat are one of the teams pursuing Oden, who is taking classes at Ohio State.

Oden had his third microfracture surgery, this time in his left knee, in February 2012. He hasn’t played since Dec. 5, 2009.

Notre Dame loses prized recruit Alex Anzalone

The collateral damage of the Eagles bending Brian Kelly’s ear may have cost the Notre Dame coach one of his prized recruits for 2013.

Linebacker Alex Anzalone was expected to enroll early for classes at Notre Dame this week, but instead informed the program he had changed his mind and would enroll at Florida instead, according to a report on Irish Illustrated.

Blue & Gold Illustrated confirmed the Anzalone news and reported the unexpected flip was “due to the recent news on Brian Kelly and his interview with the Eagles.”

Anzalone is a four-star linebacker rated the No. 50 overall player in the country, according to Rivals.com.

Anzalone’s father, Sal, is a Florida graduate.

Danica Patrick to skip Indy 500

Danica Patrick said Thursday that she won’t participate in the Indianapolis 500 this season.

Patrick will make her full-time debut in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series with Stewart-Haas Racing and wants to focus on that. To attempt the 500, she would have to compete in that race and NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, on the same afternoon.

She also confirmed to reporters that she’s looking to run a partial Nationwide Series season and is in talks with Turner Scott Motorsports.

NFLPA hopes Redskins improve playing field

The NFL Players Association hopes the Washington Redskins upgrade the FedEx Field turf for next season, according to a USA Today Sports report.

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III and Seattle Seahawks defensive end Chris Clemons left Sunday’s wild-card playoff game with knee injuries during a Seahawks win.

Earlier this week, Seattle head coach Pete Carroll called the playing conditions “horrible” in a radio interview. A day later, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah told USA Today Sports: “The head coach and players have said themselves that the field was not up to snuff. We certainly hope that they upgrade it.”

Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson said the NFL should intervene if they’re concerned about player safety.

“You care about us, but we play on that field last week that was like, ‘Really? Really?’ That should be illegal,” Robinson told USA Today Sports. “That’s like working in a sweatshop to me.”

Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan said he’s willing to hear ideas for an artificial surface, even though he prefers natural grass.

“We have that here, but for some reason here it’s just not working as well,” he told the paper. “Anyway, we’ll try to address that for next year.”

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