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Sports briefs for Sept. 2, 2013

By Wire Service Reports, Special to the BDN

Griffin to start Redskins’ opener

Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that Robert Griffin III will start the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Griffin, who has been held out of preseason action, was cleared to play last week by Dr. James Andrews. However, Shanahan said Andrews still had concerns.

Shanahan spoke to Andrews to find out what those concerns were, but declined to provide details.

“You’ll have to trust us,” he said.

Andrews performed reconstructive knee surgery on Griffin in January, days after he was injured in a playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks.

ESPN reported last week that Andrews does not want the Redskins to expose Griffin’s knee to excessive punishment during games. It’s not clear which plays or type of plays concerned Andrews, but presumably it involves the read-option, which allows defenders to take a shot at Griffin.

The Redskins open against the Eagles next Monday night.

Patriots re-sign Cole, cut Kline

The New England Patriots re-signed cornerback Marquice Cole on Monday, a day after releasing him.

To make room for Cole on the 53-man roster, New England cut offensive lineman Josh Kline.

Cole will serve a backup role in the secondary and contribute on special teams. Last year, Cole had 17 tackles, an interception and three pass breakups in 14 games played for New England. He also spent three seasons with the New York Jets.

Kline is eligible for the practice squad if he clears waivers.

Helton reaches milestone with 2,500th hit

Todd Helton was getting antsy. So were his teammates and the Rockies fans.

After hitting his second three-run home run Friday night, Helton struck out on his final at-bat. He went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Saturday. Helton went 0-for-2 with a strikeout in his first two at-bats in Sunday’s 7-4 win over the Reds. Worse, he was intentionally walked to load the bases in the fifth.

All of which led to the seventh. Michael Cuddyer led off with a home run against Curtis Partch, whom the Cincinnati Reds had recalled that day. Helton fouled off two straight pitches and with the count 3-2, he rifled Partch’s seventh pitch, a 96 mph fastball, down the left-field line for a double and the 2,500th hit of Helton’s career.

Helton became the 96th player in major league history to reach that milestone. The double was No. 584 for Helton, moving him into sole possession of 17th place all-time and past Hall of Famer Robin Yount.

Blackhawks agree contract extension with goalie

The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks have agreed to a six-year contract extension with goaltender Corey Crawford, the National Hockey League team said on Monday.

Crawford, 28, went 16-7 with a league-best 1.84 goals-against average during the 2013 postseason to help the Blackhawks clinch their second Stanley Cup title in four seasons.

He registered a 19-5-5 record with three shutouts, a 1.94 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage in 30 regular-season appearances last season for Chicago.

Selected by the Blackhawks in the second round of the 2003 draft, Crawford has gone 83-43-19 with eight shutouts, a 2.40 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in 152 career games for the team.

Jets sign QB Quinn, release Harrell

Brady Quinn was signed by the New York Jets, who continue to shuffle their quarterback depth chart leading into the regular season.

Graham Harrell was released to make room for Quinn, who lost the backup quarterback competition in Seattle to Tarvaris Jackson and was released by the Seahawks on Saturday.

Quinn is likely to serve as rookie Geno Smith’s backup for Sunday’s opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Mark Sanchez not expected to play due to a right shoulder injury.

Quinn, 28, spent last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, starting eight of the 10 games he appeared in and posting a 60.1 passer rating while throwing two touchdowns and eight interceptions. Prior to the 2011 season, Quinn worked out with current Jets quarterbacks coach David Lee.

A first-round pick by Cleveland in 2007, Quinn also spent 2010-11 with Denver. For his career, he has thrown 12 touchdowns and 17 interceptions, posting a 64.4 passer rating.

American Horner wins 10th stage to lead Tour of Spain

ALTO DE HAZALLANAS, Spain — American Chris Horner regained the overall lead in the Tour of Spain on Monday after a solo victory in stage 10, a summit finish at Hazallanas.

Horner attacked 4.5 kilometers from the summit, leaving Italy’s Vincenzo Nibali to come home second in the race’s third straight summit finish, around 48 seconds back.

Spain’s Alejandro Valverde was third.

Two arrested for trying to steal Wrigley ivy

Two Pennsylvania men were arrested Saturday morning while trying to steal ivy from Wrigley Field’s outfield walls, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The men were able to squeeze through bars to enter the stadium, but were arrested while attempting to steal ivy. The incident was caught on security cameras.

Twenty-five-year-olds Kevin Burge and Steven Gudknecht of Chalfont, Penn., were charged with misdemeanor trespassing. They were arrested at Wrigley Field about 3:45 a.m. Saturday, according to police. The two men were spotted by team security on closed-circuit cameras entering the stadium. When police arrived, they were on the field trying to get ivy, according to Chicago Cubs spokesman Julian Green.

Police found no evidence that anything was stolen or damaged in the ballpark, according to Chicago Police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli. He would not say how the men were able to squeeze through the bars to get into the park.

Green characterized the men as “just some fans who probably wanted to take a piece of Wrigley Field back home.” However, he said the Cubs do pursue criminal charges against any trespasser, which happens a few times a year.

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