Falcons, Ryan agree to $103.75 million extension
Matt Ryan joined the NFL’s $100 million club on Wednesday, agreeing to a five-year contract extension worth $103.75 million.
The new deal tacked onto his final year of his rookie deal in 2013 keeps him under contract through the 2018 season. Ryan is scheduled to earn $10 million this season, the final year of his six-year, $72 million deal signed as the third overall pick in the 2008 draft.
Ryan has started 77 games in his first five seasons with 18,957 yards, 127 touchdowns and 60 interceptions. He led the NFL with a 68.6 completion percentage in 2012, leading the Falcons to a 13-3 record with the sixth-ranked passing offense and No. 7 scoring offense in the NFL. Ryan set franchise records for attempts, completions, completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns last season.
His new annual average salary of $20.5 million puts Ryan second in the NFL behind only Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who averages $22 million per season.
Florida to remove Hernandez brick
The University of Florida continued to distance itself from Aaron Hernandez by announcing Thursday the school intends to remove a brick outside Ben Hill Griffith Stadium honoring the former All-American tight end for the Gators.
Hernandez has been charged in the June 26 murder of semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd, and the school immediately began removing photographs and images of Hernandez from around the football facility. The brick outside the stadium commemorates Hernandez being named an All-American in 2009.
Hernandez won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end in 2009 and went on to become a fourth-round pick of the New England Patriots the following spring.
Reports: Seahawks’ Harvin may need surgery
Percy Harvin has a “slight tear” in the labrum of his hip that could result in the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver requiring surgery.
Harvin opened the team’s training camp on the physically unable to perform list and the tear was discovered during an MRI Thursday, according to multiple reports.
While the team wants Harvin to practice and play through the injury, Harvin is expected to get a second opinion.
The oft-injured Harvin was acquired by the Seahawks over the offseason and signed a six-year, $67 million contract with $25.5 million in guarantees. He has been expected to add a dynamic element to Seattle’s offense to complement the dual threat of second-year quarterback Russell Wilson.
Tiger commits to Bridgestone
Tiger Woods announced he will play in the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club next week leading up to the PGA Championship at Oak Hill the following week.
The Bridgestone has traditionally been the lone tournament Woods plays in the week preceeding a major. He is a seven-time winner of the tournament and has finished in the top 10 in 12 of his 13 appearances at the Firestone Country Club.
The Bridgestone is the third of four World Golf Championship events this season.
Brett steps down as Royals’ hitting coach
George Brett stepped down as the Kansas City Royals hitting coach after two months on the job and will resume his role as vice president of baseball operations.
The Kansas City Star reported Brett initially agreed to serve as hitting coach for one month, and assistant hitting coach Pedro Grifol will take over the position full-time.
The Royals entered Thursday batting .261 as a team for the season, including .248 since Brett took over as the hitting instructor.
Serbia’s Troicki suspended for doping
LONDON — Serbia’s former world No. 12 Viktor Troicki has been handed an 18-month suspension by the International Tennis Federation (ITF) after violating doping regulations.
The ITF said on Thursday that the 27-year-old, a Davis Cup team mate of top-ranked Novak Djokovic, had been found guilty of “refusing or failing without compelling justification to submit to sample collection.”
Troicki, who is now 53rd in the world rankings, is one of the most high-profile players to break doping rules in tennis.
In a statement the ITF said Troicki had been notified on April 15 that he had been selected to provide a urine sample and a blood sample in association with his participation at the Monte Carlo Masters event.
Troicki, who the tribunal heard was under stress at the time, will be suspended until Jan. 24, 2015.
Colts sign Kenyan rugby player Adongo
Outside linebacker Daniel Adongo signed with the Indianapolis Colts, who waived tight end Weslye Saunders.
Adongo is a 6-5, 257-pound Kenyan who most recently played for the Southern Kings of Super 15 Rugby, the highest level of pro rugby in the world. The 23-year-old is pursuing a degree from the University of Pretoria Tuks.
Bears’ Ellis a no-show, will retire
Veteran defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis is expected to retire after failing to report to his first training camp with the Chicago Bears.
To fill his roster spot, the Bears signed defensive end Jamaal Anderson to a one-year contract Thursday.
Anderson was the eighth overall pick in the 2007 draft. He started 48 of 77 games played in six seasons with Atlanta (2007-10), Indianapolis (2011) and Cincinnati (2012), but he has just 7.5 career sacks.
According to the team, Ellis informed the club of his decision.
Ellis, the seventh overall pick with the New Orleans Saints in 2008, turned 28 in July. He was listed as a backup defensive tackle behind Henry Melton and Stephen Paea.
Cowboys Stadium becomes AT&T Stadium
Cowboys Stadium will be renamed AT&T Stadium, after a naming rights sponsorship deal with the telecommunications giant was reached.
The deal is expected to be worth more than $16 million per season, ahead of MetLife’s sponsorship deal for that amount.
Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones’ destination venue opened in 2009 and he said he has been in discussions with AT&T about joining their brands for months.
The name change is effective immediately, and reflected in signage updates inside and outside the stadium.
Hawks sign Greek big man Antic
The Atlanta Hawks signed guard/forward Pero Antic. Antic, a 6-foot-11, 260-pounder, averaged 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds in 30 games for Olympiacos in Greece last season. Olympiacos has won the past two Euroleague championships.
Antic, 30, has been playing professional since 1999.
Magic sign Ronnie Price
Guard Ronnie Price signed with the Orlando Magic. Terms were not disclosed.
Price, 6-2, 190 pounds, averaged 2.7 points and 1.9 assists in 39 games for the Portland Trail Blazers before being waived on Feb. 21.
Price was originally signed by Sacramento as an undrafted rookie in 2005.