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National

  • Douglas named female athlete of year

    When Gabby Douglas allowed herself to dream of being the Olympic champion, she imagined having a nice little dinner with family and friends to celebrate. Maybe she'd make an appearance here and there.

    "I didn't think it was going to be crazy," Douglas said, laughing. "I love it. But I realized my perspective was going to have to change."

    Just a bit.

    The teenager has become a worldwide star since winning the Olympic all-around title in London, the first African-American gymnast to claim gymnastics' biggest prize. And now she has earned another honor. Douglas was selected The Associated Press' female athlete of the year, edging out swimmer Missy Franklin in a vote by U.S. editors and news directors that was announced Friday.

    "I didn't realize how much of an impact I made," said Douglas, who turns 17 on Dec. 31. "My mom and everyone said, 'You really won't know the full impact until you're 30 or 40 years old.' But it's starting to sink in."

  • A&M's Johnny Football is AP's Player of the Year

    Johnny Manziel ran for almost 1,700 yards and 30 touchdowns as a dual-threat quarterback his senior year of high school at Kerrville Tivy.

    Who would have thought he'd be even more impressive at Texas A&M when pitted against the defenses of the Southeastern Conference?

    On Tuesday, Manziel picked up another major award for his spectacular debut season. He was voted The Associated Press Player of the Year. As with the Heisman Trophy and Davey O'Brien Award that Manziel already won, the QB nicknamed Johnny Football is the first freshman to collect the AP award.

    Manziel's 31 votes were more than twice that of second place finisher Manti Te'o, Notre Dame's start linebacker. He is the third straight Heisman-winning quarterback to receive the honor, following Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton.

    Manziel erased initial doubts about his ability when he ran for 60 yards and a score in his first game against Florida.

  • Dickey traded to Blue Jays

    NEW YORK (AP) — Eager for a new challenge and certainly a better chance to win, R.A. Dickey broke the news of his trade even before the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Mets.
    A few minutes ahead of the teams announcing the seven-player swap Monday that sent the NL Cy Young Award winner to Toronto, he tweeted his thanks to Mets fans and added he was all set to pitch for the Blue Jays.
    “Now that its official, I want to say that I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am to you for the steadfast support,” Dickey posted on Twitter. “Thank you for making me feel wanted.”
    “Looking forward to a new chapter with the Jays,” he wrote.
    Toronto acquired the 38-year-old knuckleballer and catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas. The Mets got top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud and veteran catcher John Buck, plus minor league right-hander Noah Syndergaard and outfielder Wuilmer Becerra.
    “It was an extraordinary privilege for us to be part of his career,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said about Dickey. “The final chapter has not been written.”
    Dickey and the busy Blue Jays agreed to a new contract, clearing the way for the Mets to send him to a team that’s spending a lot of money trying to join baseball’s elite.

  • Brady, Patriots crush Texans Monday night

    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady can’t stop smiling these days. Or winning.
    Five days after becoming a father for a third time, Brady threw four touchdown passes, leading the Patriots to a 42-14 rout of the Houston Texans.
    If the game was a measuring stick in the AFC, New England and its star quarterback aced the test with a seventh consecutive victory.
    Houston failed the test miserably.
    “It’s a Monday night game,” Brady said. “We have played in a lot of big games in December.”
    A matchup of the top two scoring teams in the league was a mismatch from the outset. It took New England (10-3) only one possession to start its scoring barrage as the Patriots surpassed their average of 35.8 points per game.
    “It needs to come together now, this is the perfect time for it,” said Brady, whose his wife, Gisele, gave birth to Vivian Lake last Wednesday.
    “She is doing very well,” Brady said. “It’s been a great week, a great way to end it.”
    So look out. That familiar sight is the Patriots romping through December, looking like a Super Bowl team.
    “We can’t predict the score but we know we can dominate games,” said Devin McCourty, who had a first-quarter interception.

  • Manziel is first freshman Heisman Trophy winner


    NEW YORK (AP) — Johnny Football just got himself a way cooler nickname: Johnny Heisman.

    Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, taking college football's top individual prize Saturday night after a record-breaking debut.

    Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o finished a distant second and Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein was third in the voting. In a unique Heisman race, with two nontraditional candidates, Manziel broke through the class barrier and kept Te'o from becoming the first purely defensive player to win the award.

    Manziel drew 474 first-place votes and 2,029 points from the panel of media members and former winners.

    "I have been dreaming about this since I was a kid," he said during his acceptance speech after hugging his mom, dad and kid sister.

  • Sanchez to start for Jets

    FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Mark Sanchez spent a few days after his miserable performance wondering what was next.

    The New York Jets quarterback had been benched, his coach tired of his mistakes, and there was no guarantee Rex Ryan would give him his job back anytime soon.

    "I knew at some point before I died, I'd start at quarterback again," Sanchez said Wednesday. "I'm glad it's this week."

    Ryan gathered his three quarterbacks Wednesday morning and told them he made up his mind: He's sticking with Sanchez.

    For this week, at least.

    Ryan weighed his options after pulling Sanchez for Greg McElroy last Sunday against Arizona, talking to many people within the organization before settling on his quarterback.

    "I have to get this decision right," Ryan said, "and I believe I have."

    So it will be Sanchez and not McElroy or Tim Tebow on Sunday when the Jets take on the Jaguars in Jacksonville.

    "I'm pleased with coach's decision," Sanchez said. "Now it's my job to go make him right."

  • Perkins' family asks for privacy

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Breaking their silence for the first time, the family of the woman shot and killed by Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher said Monday their "hearts are truly broken" and asked for privacy while they grieve the loss of two loved ones.

     

    Belcher shot and killed his 22-year-old girlfriend, Kasandra Perkins, at their Kansas City home Saturday before driving to Arrowhead Stadium, where Belcher committed suicide in the practice facility's parking lot, police said. The couple had a 3-month-old daughter, Zoey.

     

    "Our hearts are truly broken for Kasi was a beloved daughter, granddaughter, sister, mother, cousin and friend," the family said in an emailed statement. The family also asked that the media "respect our privacy during this difficult time."

     

    "Please keep us in your hearts and prayers as well as the Belcher family," the statement said.

     

    Kansas City police Sgt. Marisa Barnes said Monday that authorities hope to deliver an investigative report to prosecutors on Tuesday.

     

    "They're moving it along just like any other case. There's a formal process it has to go through," she said.

     

  • 2012-13 College Football Bowl Schedule

    All times Eastern

    Bowl Location/Tickets Date/Time Network
    Gildan New Mexico
    Nevada vs. Arizona
    Albuquerque, N.M.
    University Stadium
    Dec. 15
    1 p.m.
    ESPN
    Famous Idaho Potato
    Toledo vs. Utah State
    Boise, Idaho
    Bronco Stadium
    Dec. 15
    4:30 p.m.
    ESPN
    S.D. County Credit Union Poinsettia
    BYU vs. San Diego State
    San Diego
    Qualcomm Stadium
    Dec. 20
    8 p.m.
    ESPN
    Beef 'O' Brady's St. Petersburg
    UCF vs. Ball State
    St. Petersburg, Fla.
    Tropicana Field
    Dec. 21
    7:30 p.m.
    ESPN
    R+L Carriers New Orleans
    East Carolina vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Notre Dame vs. Alabama: Star power, power football

    NEW YORK (AP) — On one side, a blossoming dynasty from the college football capital of the Deep South. On the other, the sport's most famous team, trying to reclaim its place among the elite.

    Notre Dame and Alabama bring star power and power football to the BCS championship.

    The matchup became official Sunday night when the final standings were released and, to no one's surprise, the Fighting Irish were first and the Crimson Tide was second.

    The one bit of drama on college football's selection Sunday was whether Northern Illinois could be this year's BCS buster. The Huskies got in, getting a spot in the Orange Bowl against Florida State, taking a bid away from Oklahoma and sparking heated debate about a system that never fails to tick off fans in some way.

    The other BCS matchups:

  • The AP top 25 college football poll 12-2-12

    The Top 25 teams in The Associated Press college football poll, with first-place votes in parentheses, records through Dec. 1, total points based on 25 points for a first-place vote through one point for a 25th-place vote, and previous ranking: