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Armstrong Suggests He's Victim of 'Setup' (AP)
In this image from television, cyclist Lance Armstrong appears on CNN's 'Larry King Live' by remote from New York, Thursday Aug. 25, 2005 to discuss recent allegations of doping. (AP Photo/CNN's 'Larry King Live')AP - Even facing the most serious drug allegations of his career, Lance Armstrong says he sleeps well at night. The seven-time Tour de France champion continues to try to beat back reports in the French media that he used a banned blood booster in his first tour victory in 1999. On Thursday, he lashed out at the French lab that produced the findings in question.


Schilling Shelled as Royals Beat Red Sox (AP)
Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling is trailed by catcher Jason Varitek as Schilling reacts after allowing three runs in the second inning against the Kansas City Royals on Thursday, Aug. 25, 2005, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)AP - Curt Schilling doesn't have the time most starting pitchers do to straighten things out.


Mets Beats D'backs, Completes 4-Game Sweep (AP)
New York Mets' Pedro Martinez follows through on a pitch during the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2005, in Phoenix.(AP Photo/Roy Dabner)AP - Pedro Martinez and Victor Diaz finished off the Arizona Diamondbacks to give the New York Mets their first four-game sweep in more than two years. Martinez took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, and Diaz homered and added a sacrifice fly in the Mets' 3-1 road victory Thursday night.


Wells: Some Players Still Using Steroids (AP)
AP - Boston Red Sox left-hander David Wells said Thursday that he believes there are major league players probably still using steroids.

Gooden Surrenders After Fleeing DUI Stop (AP)
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Dwight Gooden, shown in this Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office booking photograph taken Thursday afternoon, Aug. 25, 2005 , turned himself in to authorities in  Tampa, Fla. Gooden, sought by police since he fled a DUI traffic stop three days ago, turned himself in at a county jail Thursday, police said. (AP Photo/Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office)AP - Dwight Gooden spent the night in county jail after finally surrendering to police, three days after the former baseball star fled from authorities during a DUI traffic stop.


Parcells: Cowboys in a Lot of Flux (AP)
AP - The regular season is approaching faster than Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells would prefer. With two preseason games during the next week and 20 players to be cut by Sept. 3, Parcells said Thursday he has more blanks than usual to fill in this time of year.

Pistons Sign Maurice Evans to Offer Sheet (AP)
AP - The Detroit Pistons signed Sacramento swingman Maurice Evans to a three-year, $4.5 million offer sheet Wednesday.

Orioles' Ponson Arrested on DUI Charge (AP)
This is a 2005 file photo of   Sidney Ponson of the Baltimore Orioles.  Ponson was arrested early Thursday, Aug. 25, 2005, just south of Baltimore, Md., on a charge of drunken driving said Cpl. Pamela Thorne, a spokeswoman for the Maryland Transportation Authority Police (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)AP - Sidney Ponson is in legal trouble again after being arrested on a drunken-driving charge. The Baltimore Orioles pitcher, who started the 2004 season as the team's ace, was arrested early Thursday. It's the latest alcohol-related legal problem for Ponson, who was charged in January with driving under the influence in Florida — a case that has not yet been resolved.


Shock Beat Fever 55-40 to Near Playoffs (AP)
Detroit Shock's Swin Cash, left, fights for a loose ball with Indiana Fever's Deanna Jackson during the first half, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2005, in Auburn Hills, Mich. A jump ball called on the play. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)AP - Cheryl Ford had 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Detroit Shock moved closer to the WNBA playoffs with a 55-40 victory Thursday night over the Indiana Fever.


Thrashers Seek Goalie to Back Prospect (AP)
AP - The Atlanta Thrashers are looking for another goalie to back up prized prospect Kari Lehtonen, fearing Pasi Nurminen's career is over because of a serious knee injury.

Not well received
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. – The Falcons' weakness continues to be their unproductive corps of wide receivers.

Owens to play in first preseason game (AP)
Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb now can give each other the silent treatment in a game. Owens and McNabb will play together for the first time since their public feud began when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday night. Owens missed the first preseason game after he was sent home for a week following an argument with Eagles coach Andy Reid.

Agent: Vikes' Birk ready to have surgery (AP)
Matt Birk was willing to trade a risk for a risk. He would try to play with ``excruciating'' pain in his hip this season if the Minnesota Vikings guaranteed he'd be paid next year. The Vikings declined the unique request, so the four-time Pro Bowl center will undergo his fifth surgery in a little over a year and could miss three months.

Jenkins has 2 TDs as Falcons top Jaguars (AP)
Michael Jenkins took advantage of his team's depleted receiving corps Thursday night. With Peerless Price, Roddy White and Dez White on the sideline, Jenkins showed he can be Atlanta's No. 1 receiver. Jenkins caught four passes for 35 yards and scored twice, helping the Falcons beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-7 in a rain-drenched, penalty-filled preseason game Thursday night.

Bears holdout Benson visits camp (AP)
Cedric Benson paid a surprise visit to the Chicago Bears' training facility on Thursday, the 33rd day of the first-round draft pick's holdout. Benson, a running back out of Texas who was the No. 4 selection overall, showed up at Halas Hall and met with general manager Jerry Angelo, but there were no negotiations.

Franks, Packers agree to long-term deal (AP)
Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Bubba Franks has some big plans to match his new contract. ``Before all is said and done, I want to be known as the best tight end in Packers' history, hands down,'' Franks said. ``Actually, I want to be known as the best tight end in the NFL. It's just a matter of being put in the right situation.

WR Warrick's future with Bengals murky (AP)
Peter Warrick dropped his head and his voice, talking in a near-mumble about his preseason gone awry. The Cincinnati Bengals' former No. 1 pick has played in only one game and has yet to catch a pass, a bad sign for a receiver who needs to prove himself healthy to keep his job. ``I'm just trying to get in where I fit in, that's all,'' Warrick said, slouched forward on a wooden stool by his locker.

Win-loss record
Cleveland ranks among the NBA's big offseason winners, while the Lakers have languished as one of its losers.

Suns sign D'Antoni to 2-year extension (AP)
The Phoenix Suns have signed coach Mike D'Antoni to a two-year extension, the team announced Thursday. The deal puts the reigning NBA coach of the year under contract through the 2008-09 season. D'Antoni directed Phoenix to a 33-game improvement in his 2004-05, his first full season as head coach. The Suns won an NBA-best 62 games but were eliminated by the San Antonio Spurs in the Western...

Pistons sign Dale Davis to two-year deal (AP)
Dale Davis signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, adding depth to their frontcourt. ``He went to the finals once in Indiana, and he's really hoping to get back there with the Pistons,'' agent Chubby Wells said. ``He knows a lot of players on the team and (president of basketball operations) Joe Dumars, so he's really comfortable with the organization from top to...

Rockets sign G Derek Anderson (AP)
Free agent Derek Anderson signed with the Houston Rockets on Tuesday -- yet another addition in a busy offseason for the team. Anderson, a 6-foot-5 guard, was released by the Portland Trail Blazers under the NBA's amnesty provision. ``We think we've added another top-line piece of the puzzle and a great talent,'' general manager Carroll Dawson said.

Suns entourage makes case to Finley (AP)
The Phoenix Suns sent a six-person delegation, including three players, to meet with free agent guard Michael Finley in Chicago on Tuesday to try to persuade him to sign with the team that drafted him a decade ago. ``I think the meeting was productive,'' said Henry Thomas, Finley's agent, ``and Michael is still evaluating the teams that he is considering.'' Finley has narrowed his choices to...

Pistons sign Evans to offer sheet (AP)
The Detroit Pistons signed Sacramento swingman Maurice Evans to a three-year, $4.5 million offer sheet Wednesday. The Kings have seven days to match the offer to retain Evans, a restricted free agent. They might not because after signing Shareef Abdur-Rahim earlier this month, they were expected to let Evans and forward Darius Songaila leave.

Sonics match offer sheet on Wilkins (AP)
The Seattle SuperSonics re-signed restricted free agent Damien Wilkins on Wednesday, matching an offer sheet made by the Minnesota Timberwolves. Wilkins signed the offer sheet from the Timberwolves last Thursday, and Seattle had seven days to respond. The deal is for five years and $15 million, Wilkins' agent Mark Bartelstein said.

Nowitzki allowed to play with Germany (AP)
Dirk Nowitzki has received permission from the Dallas Mavericks to join the German national team for warmup games before next month's European championship. Nowitzki had been practicing on his own, but Mavericks' owner Mark Cuban has said the forward can now start practicing and playing with his national team, the German basketball federation said Tuesday.

Sabres' Peters admits andro use in 2003 (AP)
Sabres enforcer Andrew Peters briefly and legally used the steroidlike supplement androstenedione two years ago to help him make the team. Peters did not break any laws or NHL rules at the time and has stopped using the performance enhancer since the Food and Drug Administration banned its sale in April 2004, his agent, Steve Bartlett, said Thursday.

St. Louis signs six-year deal with Tampa (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning took another step to keep the core of their Stanley Cup championship team together Wednesday, signing Martin St. Louis to a six-year contract worth more than $31 million. The 30-year-old right wing had 38 goals and 56 assists for 94 points during the 2003-04 season to win the Hart Trophy as MVP, Art Ross Trophy (scoring leader) and Lester B.

Andreychuk returns to Lightning (AP)
The Tampa Bay Lightning retained another important player from their Stanley Cup championship team Thursday, signing unrestricted free agent Dave Andreychuk to a two-year contract. The 41-year-old left wing helped a young team led by Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier, Brad Richards and Nikolai Khabibulin win the NHL title in 2004, realizing a dream of hoisting the Cup for the first time in his...

Atlanta, Ottawa swap Heatley and Hossa (AP)
Dany Heatley returned to the ice and played through the memory of that awful night. But he never really got over it -- and didn't think he would as long as he played in Atlanta. Still haunted by the car crash that killed teammate Dan Snyder nearly two years ago, Heatley asked to be traded by the Thrashers.

Arbitrator grants Luongo $3.2M salary (AP)
An arbitrator granted Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo a one-year, $3.2 million contract Thursday. Luongo, who has expressed frustration over being taken to arbitration, rejected a five-year, $25 million deal before Wednesday's hearing with arbitrator Vernon Gill. In the 2003-04 season, the last played before the lockout, Luongo set NHL records for most saves (2,303) and most shots faced...

Canucks re-sign Ohlund to four-year deal (AP)
The Vancouver Canucks avoided salary arbitration with Swedish defenseman Mattias Ohlund by re-signing him to a four-year, $14 million contract Wednesday. Ohlund had 14 goals and 20 assists in 82 games during 2003-04, the last NHL season before the lockout. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defenseman averages more than 25 minutes of ice time, anchoring the penalty kill, playing the power play and matching up...

Mighty Ducks trade Rucchin, Leclerc (AP)
The Anaheim Mighty Ducks traded two longtime mainstays Tuesday, sending center Steve Rucchin to the New York Rangers and left wing Mike Leclerc to the Phoenix Coyotes. The 34-year-old Rucchin was dealt to the Rangers in exchange for left wing Trevor Gillies and a conditional pick in the 2007 NHL draft.

Trading Paint: Boob tube and hot dogs
Our readers don't like on-track debris, and they are concerned about ratings – and, of course, the Chase.

France not concerned about big names missing Chase (AP)
If NASCAR's 10-race Chase for the Nextel Cup championship began this week, two of its biggest names would be on...

Madame Tussauds in Vegas unveils new NASCAR attraction (AP)
LAS VEGAS &ndash' The Madame Tussauds of wax statue fame unveiled its newest interactive attraction, called...

Two race fans injured by debris at Bristol (AP)
Debris from a race car flew into the stands and hit two spectators at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Skinner dominates, wins NASCAR Trucks O'Reilly 200 (SportsTicker)

Skinner wins at Bristol (AP)
Mike Skinner led all but 10 laps and won in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series for the first time since 1996 by turning back a late challenge from Todd Bodine on Wednesday night.

Hopes fading for Chase, Earnhardt focuses on future (AP)
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. is done talking about the points standings. In fact, he claims he hasn't...

Darlington gets NASCAR race for 2006 (AP)
Darlington Raceway's spot on the 2006 NASCAR schedule is signed, sealed and delivered. Track president Chris Browning said Wednesday that he has signed the sanctioning agreement to hold the Carolina Dodge Dealers 500 on May 13 and sent it on to NASCAR. Like this year, the race will be run the Saturday night before Mother's Day.

Teams lose points and pay fines for Michigan infractions (AP)
Ken Schrader's Nextel Cup team and the Busch series operation owned by Rusty Wallace were punished Tuesday by NASCAR for infractions Michigan International Speedway.

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