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Sports briefs for Aug. 16, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Sharapova confirms split with Connors after one match

Maria Sharapova has confirmed she has severed ties with coach Jimmy Connors after one match together.

The Russian world number three said in a statement emailed to Tennis.com that the pairing had not been “the right fit for this time in my career”.

Sharapova had originally hoped her partnership with the fiery eight-times grand slam champion would produce the same type of success Andy Murray has enjoyed since recruiting Ivan Lendl, another former playing great, as his coach.

But instead the brief experiment ended after one match, a second round loss to Sloane Stephens in the Western and Southern Open on Tuesday.

The 60-year-old Connors, who was pugnacious on court with a relentless determination through his playing career, and tennis glamour queen Sharapova had always seemed an odd fit.

Looking on from the stands on Tuesday, Connors could only hang his head as he watched his student unravel in a three-set loss to American teenage prospect Stephens which owed as much to a seven-week injury layoff as any breakdown in coaching.

While it had been a rocky start to their collaboration, Connors seemed to indicate after the match that it would continue, tweeting: “Every good round starts with a bogey — not the start we wanted, so back to work tomorrow.”

Titans’ Pollard fined $10,000 for late hit

Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard was fined $10,000 by the NFL for a late hit out of bounds in an Aug. 8 preseason game against the Washington Redskins, NFL.com reported.

The Titans were penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness on the play, in which Pollard hit Redskins wide receiver Aldrick Robinson.

Pollard had told the Tennessean earlier this week that he did not expect to be fined.

“I am already going in to make the hit, so I don’t see his other foot go out,” he said. “He was inbounds and his other foot finally went out.

“For me as a defender, I am going to make the hit. I am going to hit you. There have been times I have been late and there have been times when I’ve had solid hits but for me, I can’t worry about whether the league is going to fine me or not.”

Also Detroit Lions linebacker Travis Lewis was fined $15,750 for a horse-collar tackle, and Redskins defensive end Chris Baker was fined $15,750 for hitting a Tennessee Titans quarterback below the knees.

Bucks sign Sanders to $44 million extension

The Milwaukee Bucks, who lost guards Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings during the offseason, signed center Larry Sanders to a four-year, $44 million extension of his rookie deal, Yahoo! Sports reported.

Incentive bonuses could add as much as $4 million to the deal.

The 6-foot-11 Sanders is best known for his defense, averaging 2.8 blocks per game.

He also averaged 9.8 points and 9.5 rebounds.

Sanders started 51 games for the Bucks this past season, his third in the NBA.

A major issue for Sanders is controlling his emotions. He was issued 14 technical fouls last season, the third most in the NBA, and he was ejected from five games, the most in the league.

Stewart expected out at least a month

Tony Stewart is at home resting his broken leg but it is uncertain when he will return to racing.

Stewart broke his right leg in an Aug. 5 sprint car race accident.

Stewart-Haas Racing competition director Greg Zipadelli gave an update on the driver/team owner at Michigan International Speedway on Friday.

“He’s supposed to be in bed and keep his leg elevated above his heart for the next seven days … just to keep the swelling and stuff of that nature down,” Zipadelli said.

Stewart will miss his second straight race NASCAR Sprint Cup race on Sunday because of the injury. Austin Dillon will drive in Stewart’s place again in the Pure Michigan 400.

Bears to sign QB Jordan Palmer

The Chicago Bears will sign quarterback Jordan Palmer, according to multiple media reports on Friday.

The signing is pending a physical.

The Bears are looking for a third quarterback after Matt Blanchard fractured a knuckle on his non-throwing hand during Thursday’s preseason win over the San Diego Chargers.

Palmer worked out for the Bears in June, along with JaMarcus Russell and Trent Edwards.

Palmer is the brother of Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer. He was a sixth round draft pick of the Washington Redskins in 2007. He played three games with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008 and one in 2010, and was with the Jacksonville Jaguars last season.

Blanchard completed 16 of 19 passes for 193 yards with an interception combined in the Bears’ two preseason games.

Josh McCown backs up starter Jay Cutler.

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