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Sports briefs for Aug. 12, 2013

By BDN Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Bangor soccer game to benefit Thompson Scholarship

The seventh annual Bangor High School Girls Soccer alumnae game will take place on Friday, Aug. 23 at Bangor High School. The game will begin at 6 p.m. and consist of two 30-minute halves featuring the current Bangor girls varsity squad against the alumnae.

Admission to the game is free; donations will benefit the Danielle Thompson Scholarship Fund. Concessions will be available starting at 5 p.m. and include cheeseburgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, drinks and baked goods. A silent auction and 50/50 will also take place during the game.

The alumnae soccer game was established in memory of Danielle Thompson (class of 2003), who died on Jan. 3, 2007 from a brief illness during her senior year at the University of New Hampshire. Prior to attending the University of New Hampshire, Danielle was a four-year team member and captain of the Bangor High varsity girls soccer squad.

All alumnae wishing to participate in the game are asked to register by calling or emailing Pam Tweedie, 947-7245 or stop by the Bangor High soccer field before 5:30 p.m. Friday. A $20 participant fee will go to the scholarship fund and will include a T-shirt.

Kicker Longwell calls it quits, retires a Packer

Former Green Bay kicker Ryan Longwell, the all-time leading scorer in Packers history, told the club on Monday that he has decided to retire. He decided to retire as a Packer despite playing six years for the Minnesota Vikings.

Longwell set the all-time Packers franchise scoring record with 1,054 points during his nine-year career that spanned from 1997-2005. He made 226 field goals and 376 extra points during that time. Also, he has kicked five overtime game-winners in his career.

He played for the Vikings during his final six seasons from 2006-2011.

Longwell retires ranked No. 13 on the NFL’s all-time scoring list with 1,687 points.

Coach puts Pope audience ahead of game

ROME — Meeting the Pope is more important than Italy’s friendly against Argentina on Wednesday, coach Cesare Prandelli told reporters on Monday as he disagreed with striker Mario Balotelli.

The teams are due to visit the Pope on Tuesday and while Balotelli was reported to have said that he was looking forward to the meeting he considered the match to be the priority.

“We play football matches every day, every week, on the other hand, you only visit the Pope once in a lifetime, it’s a new emotion,” Prandelli told reporters.

“If Balotelli has said that the match against Argentina is more important than an audience with Pope Francesco, then I don’t agree with Mario.”

Prandelli said that the Pope, who is Argentine, will give the match a special meaning as the two old rivals meet for the first time in 12 years.

“The two teams are staying in the same hotel, and the spirit should be that this match is a celebration for everyone,” he added.

NFL players association approves HGH study

The NFL moved a step closer to having testing for human growth hormone Monday when the league’s players union agreed on the protocol for an HGH population study, Fox Sports reported.

The NFLPA asked that the study be independent and confidential before approving the study.

It is only one of several steps toward the NFL testing players for HGH.

The union does not want to turn the population study over to a non-invested third party or the results to be used later after testing is in place.

Blood drawn for the population study will only be used to determine the basic levels of HGH present in the players’ bodies.

The league is hoping to institute testing in time for this season.

Golfer Westwood apologizes for tweets

Lee Westwood apologized Monday for using Twitter to vent frustrations after shooting a 76 at the PGA Championship.

Westwood fired off a series of tweets early Monday morning aimed at those who criticized him after he finished 13 shots behind tournament winner Jason Dufner. Westwood had started the final round within six shots of the lead.

Westwood started off at 4:11 a.m. ET by tweeting that he was tired of “sitting there taking it. Bring it on.” He then wrote that he had not “chewed up a troll for a good while.”

It was part of a 50-tweet session that included reflections, insults and profanities.

Nearly eight hours later, he used Twitter to apologize to his sponsors and followers, whose number exceeds 578,000.

Westwood’s official website lists 11 sponsors, including Footjoy, Ping, Titleist and UPS.

During his rant, he referred to his Twitter critics as “minions” who “need to live from the inside out rather than the outside in.”

Westwood, a former No. 1 player in the world, ended his venting by clarifying that his comments were real, but he was getting bored and signing off.

Nationals’ Werth reaches 1,000-hit plateau

In a season that has not gone well for the team, right fielder Jayson Werth is putting together his best season with the Nationals.

On Saturday, Werth reached 1,000 hits in his career on a game-changing two-run homer that gave the Nationals a 6-4 lead. Down 4-0 in the second, the Nationals came back to win, 8-5.

“Definitely a milestone,” Werth said. “When you set out however many years ago that was one of the things, a benchmark, on the list of things you want to accomplish. It was good.”

It was his 316th hit as a National, 507 of those hits came with the Phillies. So was it special to hit the 1,000-hit plateau against his former team?

“Not really,” Werth said. “You will take accomplishments like that as you can get them. I spent a lot of time with the guys over there, got a lot of memories. A lot of those hits along the way came in Philly and came with those guys. I am sure they weren’t as happy to see it as I was but at the same time, I am glad they were there to share it.”

Jaguars’ Blackmon, Cyprien cleared to play

Wide receiver Justin Blackmon and safety Johnathan Cyprien were cleared to return to the field Monday with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Blackmon spent the first two weeks of training camp on the physically unable to perform list recovering from groin surgery. He caught 64 passes as a rookie last season. He was drafted fifth overall in the 2012 draft.

Cyprien is projected as a starter at safety but hasn’t been on the field since straining a hamstring just before the start of training camp in July. The Florida International safety made a name for himself at the Senior Bowl and was a second-round draft pick in April.

Blackmon was involved in a sideline confrontation Friday with teammate Jason Babin. Blackmon was shouting at Miami Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll when coach Gus Bradley and Babin failed in attempts to calm him down.

Eventually Blackmon, who wasn’t dressed for the preseason game, was taken aside by running back Maurice Jones-Drew and escorted to the locker room. He returned to the sideline at halftime and had a brief conversation with Bradley before the third quarter.

Bradley said he met with both players and the incident “probably appeared bigger” than it was.

Blackmon is suspended for the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He has encountered a string of off-field issues dating to a pair of alcohol-related driving incidents — Oct. 2010 at Oklahoma State and June 2012, about five weeks after he was drafted.

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