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Sports briefs for Jan. 10, 2014

By Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

UMaine’s Perillo earns honor

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine football senior tight end Justin Perillo (Wilmington, Del.) has been honored with the College Football Performance Awards’ Elite Tight End Trophy Award.

Perillo, an Associated Press All-America third-team selection and Colonial Athletic Association first-team honoree, had 39 catches for 490-yards and four touchdowns in the Black Bears’ 10-3 season. He eclipsed the 100-catch and 1,000-yard career receiving marks.

Yankees release outfielder Vernon Wells

The New York Yankees designated veteran outfielder Vernon Wells for assignment, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

Wells, 35, confirmed the team cut ties with him through Twitter.

Wells had a batting line of .233/.282/.349 with 11 home runs and 50 RBIs in 424 at-bats in 2013. His batting line over the last three seasons is .226/.267/.387.

He is still owed $21 million for 2014: $18.6 million by the Los Angeles Angels and $2.4 million by the Yankees. He played one season with the Yankees after getting traded by the Angels. This year is the final one on his $126 million contract he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2008.

The Yankees no longer need Wells after adding Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran to their crowded outfield that also includes Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki.

UNC letters to Jordan being auctioned

Two of Michael Jordan’s college recruiting letters are being auctioned off, according to ESPN.com.

New Jersey-based Goldin Auctions acquired the 1980 North Carolina Tar Heels letters from a consigner. The letters were in a storage locker bought by a man in North Carolina.

One of the letters to Jordan was from then-Tar Heels coach Dean Smith and the other by assistant Bill Guthridge.

The letters, which had changed hands twice, were among the personal items Jordan gave to “Michael Jordan’s 23″ restaurant that opened in Chapel Hill, N.C., in 1999 and hung on a wall.

After the restaurant closed in November 2003, the documents went into a storage locker and became the property of a man who purchased the locker after the storage bill was not paid.

Survey: Suh, Johnson most feared players

Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and wide receiver Calvin Johnson are the most intimidating players in the NFL, according to an ESPN.com survey of 320 players.

The survey asked the players, “Who is the most feared player in the NFL?”

Suh led all players with 61 votes (19 percent), and Johnson followed with 58 votes (18.1 percent). Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt was third in the polling with 7.7 percent of the vote.

Suh had 49 tackles, 5.5 sacks and six pass breakups this season. Johnson had 84 catches for 1,492 yards with 12 touchdowns.

Kiffin hired as Alabama offensive coordinator

Alabama hired former USC and Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin as its new offensive coordinator, ESPN.com reported Friday.

Kiffin, 38, will replace Doug Nussmeier, who left Alabama on Thursday to become offensive coordinator at Michigan

Kiffin was dismissed as USC’s head coach in September after a 62-41 loss at Arizona State. He was in his fourth seasons as the Trojans head coach and had a 28-15 record.

He came to USC after one season as the head coach at Tennessee, where he went 7-6.

Kiffin became the head coach of the Oakland Raiders prior to the 2007 season. He went 4-12 in his first year with the Raiders before being fired four games into the 2008 season with a 1-3 record.

Yankees sign pitcher Thornton

The New York Yankees signed left-handed relief pitcher Matt Thornton to a two-year contract, the team announced Friday.

Thornton, 37, went 0-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 60 appearances in 2013 with the Chicago White Sox and Boston Red Sox.

Thornton is 32-42 with a 3.53 ERA in his 10 major-league seasons.

He is the only Major Leaguer to make at least 55 appearances in each of the last nine seasons.

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