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Sports briefs for March 21, 2013

By Joe McLaughlin, BDN Staff

UMaine student-athletes to receive academic honors

ORONO, Maine — A total of 250 University of Maine student-athletes will be honored and recognized for their success in the classroom at the Scholar-Athlete Recognition ceremony on Monday.

A total of 165 student-athletes will be recognized as scholar-athletes for achieving a 3.0 or better grade point average for the 2012 year and/or having a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Eighty-five first-year student-athletes will also be honored as rising stars for earning a 3.0 or better in their first semester at Maine.The scholar-athletes and rising stars total 250, more than half of the student-athletes at the University of Maine.

The University of Maine will honor these student-athletes at a reception at 6:30 p.m. Monday in Wells Conference Center, and also announce the annual recipients of the “M” Club Dean Smith Award, presented to the top male and female scholar-athlete. Team Maine will also be announced, honoring the sophomore, junior or senior from each team who has achieved the highest grade point average for the 2012 calendar year.

Pats’ Ninkovich to appear at Sea Dogs’ game May 8

PORTLAND, Maine — Rob Ninkovich, a defensive lineman for the New England Patriots, is scheduled to make an appearance at Hadlock Field on Wednesday, May 8 when the Portland Sea Dogs take on the Reading Fightin Phils at 6 p.m.

Ninkovich will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and will be available to sign free autographs on photos provided by the Portland Sea Dogs for fans from 6-7 p.m.

Ninkovich has started every game for the Patriots over the last two seasons. In 2012, he led the Patriots with eight sacks, while recording 58 tackles (32 solo), forced five fumbles, and had four fumble recoveries.

Edgar Renteria officially retires

Former shortstop Edgar Renteria announced his retirement Thursday after 16 major-league seasons.

The 36-year-old held a press conference in Colombia to make his decision official. He batted .286 with 140 home runs for the Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Detroit Tigers, San Francisco Giants and Cincinnati Reds, and was named to five All-Star teams.

He played for the Portland Sea Dogs when the Double-A team was an affiliate of the Florida Marlins and led the Sea Dogs to their first-ever playoff berth in 1995 when he hit .289 with 68 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.

As a 20-year-old in 1997, his 11th inning single scored Craig Counsell and won the World Series for the Marlins. In 2010, he batted .412 with six RBIs, and smacked a big home run to earn Series MVP honors. He also made the final out for St. Louis in 2004, when the Cardinals lost to the Red Sox.

Renteria’s final season came in 2011, when he batted .251 in 299 at-bats for the Reds.

Leafs’ Lupul suspended two games

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Joffrey Lupul was suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman during Wednesday’s game in Toronto.

Lupul, 29, will also forfeit $45,945.94 in salary. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

The incident occurred during the third period, and Lupul was assessed a two-minute minor.

The seventh overall pick in the 2002 draft has played in five games this season, recording three goals, an assist and a plus-4 rating along with eight penalty minutes since returning from a broken arm.

Ex-Dolphins receiver Duper accused of child abuse

Former Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mark Duper has been arrested and accused of child abuse, according to a report.

Citing an incident report, investigators claim Duper choked, punched and body slammed a teenager, knocking him unconscious and later threatened to kill the child.

According to the police report, Duper, 54, was playing video games with a friend’s kids in a Jacksonville, Fla. home, when the alleged victim tossed his hat to the ground and refused to pick it up.

Duper then punched the youth and slammed him to the floor, rendering him unconsciousness. The fight moved outside the house, where the boy’s father separated the two.

When the boy was leaving, he hit Duper’s car with his bike, causing Duper to choke and threaten to kill the victim, the police report said.

Brent not likely to play in 2013

No trial date has been set for Josh Brent, the Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman charged with intoxication manslaughter as the driver in the single-car accident that killed teammate Jerry Brown, but his NFL future is very much in doubt.

According to the Dallas Morning News, Brent will not play for the Cowboys in 2013.

The Cowboys continue offering support to Brent, who has met with coach Jason Garrett, and expect commissioner Roger Goodell to rule on Brent’s eligibility even before a trial date is known.

There is precedent for Goodell suspending players in a similar situation. He levied a one-year suspension when wide receiver Donte Stallworth, then with the Cleveland Browns, was the driver in a fatal, single-car traffic accident while intoxicated. A pedestrian was killed in the accident.

Brent is in the final year of his contract.

Bradshaw won’t audition until healthy

Free agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw said he won’t work out for interested teams until he’s healthy.

Released by the New York Giants in February because of foot issues, Bradshaw plans to keep playing. He told the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger that the New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers are interested.

“(There) are teams that I feel like need a running back, that I could help,” Bradshaw told ESPN radio Wednesday, according to the paper “Like I said, it’s a process. I just want to take it slow.

“I want to be as healthy as I can be, I want to be explosive and I want teams to see what they are able to get,” Bradshaw said. “Right now, I’m working on that, and I think it’s coming along faster and faster.”

Bulls’ Rose still unsure of return

With less than a month to go in the NBA regular season, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose told reporters Thursday that he remains unsure of when he’ll return.

“It could be (Friday) and I feel like I could play the next game,” Rose said after Thursday’s shootaround. “Nobody knows but God.”

The Bulls star player tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee April 28 during last season’s playoffs. He had surgery May 12.

“I’m not panicking or anything,” he said. “If anything, I think I’m going to be a better player. I’m just taking my time. I’m just being patient, doing all the right things and really eating right and getting rest.”

The 24-year-old reiterated that there at no point would he consider it too late to return.

Mets’ Niese to start opening day; Santana to open on DL

New York Mets starter Johan Santana will open the season on the disabled list, manager Terry Collins announced Thursday.

Collins followed that by officially naming lefty Jon Niese to start opening day.

Santana hasn’t appeared in a game this spring, as he continues to build arm strength. Neise, 26, posted a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts last season. This will be his first career opening day assignment.

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