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DT McCoy signs 7-year deal with Bucs

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has signed a seven-year extension with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers worth $98 million, making McCoy the highest-paid player at his position.

McCoy, a 2013 All-Pro, will get $51.5 million guaranteed, the most ever given to a defensive tackle in NFL history. His new deal will average $14 million per year.

Including his current salary for 2014, McCoy would make $111 million over the eight-year period.

The deal was concluded Saturday by McCoy's agent, Ben Dogra, and Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht.

"Gerald is extremely excited to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and he is especially thankful to Bucs owners, coaches, and Jason Licht for working so hard throughout the process," Dogra said.

McCoy is in his fifth NFL season and comes off his best year, when he had 9 1-2 sacks and 35 tackles. He is considered the anchor of Tampa Bay's rebuilding defense.

The Buccaneers (1-5) have struggled this year, allowing 204 points, the most in the league. But McCoy is among the league's best defensive tackles, often drawing double teams. He has played part of this season with a cast on his broken left hand.

Now, McCoy has long-term security in Tampa and can begin working on getting the Bucs into the postseason, something he has never experienced.

"That's eating away at me, man," the 6-foot-4, 300-pound McCoy said this summer. "I do all this training and preparing, trying to do what I can for my team for us to get to the playoffs. I just want to experience it."

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 03:08:00 +0000
No. 13 Ohio State beats Penn State 31-24 in 2OT

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) Quarterback J.T. Barrett scored twice in overtime to help No. 13 Ohio State escape with a 31-24 double-overtime victory over Penn State on Saturday night.

The Buckeyes (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) built a 17-0 lead and were cruising when Penn State defensive tackle Anyhony Zettel intercepted Barrett's pass and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.

Christian Hackenberg threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Saeed Blacknall early in the fourth, and Penn State (4-3, 1-3) tied it on Sam Ficken's 31-yard field goal with 9 seconds left in regulation.

In the first overtime, Penn State tailback Bill Belton took a direct snap from the Wildcat formation and scored on a 10-yard run. The Buckeyes countered when Barrett carried two straight times, the first for 17 yards and the second 5 yards for a touchdown.

Penn State was called for a personal foul on the touchdown, giving Ohio State the ball at the 12 to start the second overtime. With a third-and-2 from the 4, Barrett powered through the middle of Penn State's defense for a touchdown. Joey Bosa sacked Penn State's Hackenberg on a fourth-and-5 play to end the game.

Ezekiel Elliott ran for 109 yards on 26 carries for Ohio State, and Barrett added 75 yards on 20 attempts. The Buckeyes have won five straight games and 19 in a row in the conference.

Hackenberg was 31 of 49 for 224 yards and a touchdown. DaeSean Hamilton set a Penn State record with 14 catches for 126 yards.

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 04:44:00 +0000
Cooper leads No. 4 Alabama past Tennessee, 34-20

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Amari Cooper caught nine passes for a school-record 224 yards and scored two touchdowns to help No. 4 Alabama beat Tennessee 34-20 on Saturday night for its eighth consecutive victory in the series.

This game marked a return to Neyland Stadium for Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin, who coached Tennessee in 2009 and angered Volunteers fans by leaving for Southern California after only one season. Kiffin's offense produced touchdowns on four of its first five series - including Cooper's 80-yard touchdown catch on Alabama's first play from scrimmage - as the Crimson Tide (7-1, 4-1 SEC) raced to a 27-0 lead.

Tennessee (3-5, 0-4) got back into the game thanks to quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who provided a spark after entering the game on Tennessee's third possession. Dobbs helped the Vols cut the lead to 27-17 in the third quarter before Alabama's Derrick Henry stopped Tennessee's momentum with a 28-yard touchdown run.

Cooper's 224 yards receiving broke the school single-game record set by Julio Jones, who had 221 yards receiving in a 41-10 victory over Tennessee in 2010. By the end of the first quarter, Cooper already had five catches for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

The biggest suspense leading into the game was how the sellout crowd of 102,455 would treat Kiffin.

As fans tailgated before the game, a plane flew overhead with the message "Go Vols Beat Kiffin." One banner hanging from a parking garage featured Tennessee coach Butch Jones' face along with the message "Lane Kiffin? Never Heard of Her." At a rock on campus where students often paint various messages, the faces of Jones and Kiffin were featured with the word "future" by Jones and a crude remark next to Kiffin. Hours before the opening kickoff, all references to Kiffin on the rock were blacked out.

Alabama's team arrived at Neyland Stadium amid heavy security, but about 80 percent of the 1,000 or so fans who gathered to watch Alabama's players and coaches step off the team bus were Tide supporters. A few of them screamed "Lane" as Kiffin headed into the locker room.

Kiffin's offense wasted no time making an impact.

On Alabama's first play from scrimmage, Cooper caught a short pass from Blake Sims, ran to his right and raced 80 yards down the Tide sideline. Cooper reached the end zone again on Alabama's second series with a 41-yard reception down the left sideline. He added a 30-yard catch on Alabama's third series to set up T.J. Yeldon's 1-yard touchdown run. Alabama gained 249 yards and scored three touchdowns on its first three possessions.

Tennessee didn't go away thanks to its own surprisingly potent offense.

The Vols entered the night having failed to score a touchdown in their last two SEC games, and they had to face Alabama without three injured starters: Worley, left guard Marcus Jackson and right tackle Coleman Thomas. But the Vols moved the ball effectively behind Dobbs, who threw for 192 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 75 yards on 19 carries.

Nathan Peterman actually opened the game as Tennessee's quarterback, but Dobbs came on midway through the first quarter and stayed the rest of the way.

Tennessee scored 10 points in the final 7:03 of the first half to cut Alabama's lead to 27-10. Dobbs threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Josh Malone and got the Vols into range for Aaron Medley's 27-yard field goal on the final play of the half. After Dobbs capped Tennessee's first drive of the second half with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Von Pearson, a 27-point deficit was all the way down to 10.

But that's as close as Tennessee would get.

Sun, 26 Oct 2014 03:14:00 +0000
Finnegan passes big test, helps Royals win Game 3

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) Brandon Finnegan passed his biggest test yet.

Only four months after he pitched in the College World Series, the 21-year-old reliever trotted into a troubling seventh inning, got two key outs and helped the Kansas City Royals hold off San Francisco 3-2 Friday night in Game 3 of the World Series.

Finnegan made history with his rapid ascent, and later agreed to donate his cap to the Hall of Fame. All that, and something even more important to the Royals - he was part of giving them a 2-1 edge over the Giants.

"My time came, and luckily I got the job done," Finnegan said. "This is the real deal, y'know?"

His parents knew.

Outside the Kansas City clubhouse, surrounded by a bevy of Royals rooters, Betty and Gary Finnegan tried to absorb what they'd just seen.

"It is a dream ..." she said, some of her makeup washed away by tears. Without a pause, her husband finished the sentence, adding, "... that you don't want to wake up from."

Back in June, Finnegan reached the peak of his baseball career - until that point - when he threw for TCU in the College World Series. But no one could have envisioned what would follow, because no one had ever played in both events in the same year.

"I feel like I'm still in college," Finnegan said. "It's no different. It's still baseball."

Ah, youth.

Finnegan had warmed up in the sixth inning when the Giants scored twice to pull within a run, but didn't get the call.

"We figured he wouldn't pitch after that," his dad said.

Finnegan was back on the bullpen mound in the seventh at a rollicking AT&T Park, warming up when he was summoned into a tense spot to take over for proven reliever Kelvin Herrera: Runner on first, one out, Royals clinging to a one-run lead over the rallying Giants.

"Get a double play and the inning's over," Finnegan said he told himself.

All of Kansas City infielders huddled behind the mound as Finnegan got loose, realizing the most important point of their season was being entrusted to the rookie left-hander.

Right before pinch-hitter Juan Perez stepped up, Finnegan walked to the back of the mound and went the routine he uses to steady himself. He took off his hat, rubbed his hair and looked at the right-field foul pole.

"That's just what I do," he said.

Then it was time for business. Finnegan delivered, retiring Perez on an easy fly. When he fell behind in the count 2-0 to Brandon Crawford, All-Star catcher Salvador Perez went to the mound.

The message: "Be aggressive, not nervous," Perez said.

Finnegan came back to strike out a swinging Crawford on a full count, and started to jog off the mound. He stopped short of the dugout and walked the rest of the way to the bench, where he was congratulated by Herrera and several other Royals.

In the stands near the Kansas City bullpen, about 20 family members and friends whooped it up.

"I'm very proud of him," Royals ace James Shields said. "To be able to keep your composure on this big of a stage the way he's doing, it is very impressive."

"He's pitching well beyond his years. If he keeps that up, he's going to have a really good career," he said.

Small in stature but big in accomplishments, Finnegan already has done that, and a lot more.

"I fulfilled two dreams in one year," he said.

As he spoke, he glanced at the tattoo on his right wrist. His tattoos all refer to family and faith, he said.

There was some concern earlier this month that Finnegan's run of success was winding down. After finishing his minor league season in Double-A, he made his major league debut on Sept. 6 and pitched seven games for the Royals, allowing one run in seven innings.

He threw 2 1-3 effective innings in the AL wild-card win over Oakland, and pitched twice in the AL Division Series against the Angels and got a win. But he struggled in the AL Championship Series against Baltimore, giving up three hits and a walk while getting only one out in two outings.

Manager Ned Yost didn't need Finnegan in the first two games of the World Series. When it got tight in Game 3, it became Finnegan's turn to pitch - and his father's turn to soak in the whole experience.

"I was shaking for three innings," his dad said. "My heart was pounding pretty hard."

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 04:52:00 +0000
New advisers say NFL is serious about reform

CHICAGO (AP) Beth E. Richie is a professor and a college administrator. She has written articles and books about feminism, battered women and the prison system, and provided training for police, judges and other groups.

So when the NFL called to ask for help with its domestic conduct policy, Richie wanted to make sure it was more serious than window dressing.

"The players and the teams are one thing that almost could be easily managed," said Richie, the director of the Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy at Illinois-Chicago. "I wanted to know are they interested in the fan base, the sponsoring organizations, the other corporate interests?

"We almost haven't had a moment like this in the work to end violence when such power, such attention, such resources could go to prevention, changing culture, bystander education, those kinds of things."

Intrigued by the possibilities, Richie joined a high-profile effort that is hoping to have an impact on domestic violence beyond the sports world. Richie is one of five senior advisers recently hired by the NFL to help shape the league's policy on abuse.

Any action by the league after the Ray Rice scandal will be closely watched by the other sports. But the NFL's new group of advisers believes the process also could have a more far-reaching impact.

"I think that they have the opportunity to model some cutting-edge policies and protocols or guidelines, and I'm excited at the opportunity for that reach to go beyond just the NFL, but into all of corporate America," said Jane Randel, a co-founder of No More, a campaign against domestic violence and sexual assault.

Randel and the other advisers had a hand in a 40-minute educational presentation at last week's NFL meetings in New York. The presentation focused on the dangers of spousal abuse, child abuse, sexual assault and other domestic violence topics.

Richie praised the NFL owners for their attentiveness, and Randel said it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Richie and Randel said the owners seemed serious.

"You can see what people in the room are doing, and they were watching and engaged and taking notes and doing all the things that you would want them to do," she said, "because these things really only work if they start from the top."

Randel's background is in cause marketing and corporate communications. She helped start No More in 2009 in an effort to raise awareness and money for organizations working to end domestic violence and sexual assault.

Lisa Friel, another senior adviser, was the head of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit in the New York County District Attorney's Office for more than a decade, and Rita Smith is the former executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Tony Porter is a co-founder of A Call to Men, an organization dedicated to ending violence against women.

"The first thing that we're going to look at is the league's personal conduct policy and how we can educate people about that," Friel said at the owners' meetings. "In a perfect world, the hope is you never have to use the disciplinary end of that policy, right? That you have your standards of behavior, you educate people about them and they don't violate your policy. That's what we're hoping to do."

Sports have been a part of Richie's family life for a long time. She learned more about the business and organizational side of sports when her sister Laurel became president of the WNBA in 2011.

Laurel Richie said in an email to The Associated Press that the NFL made a smart choice in asking Beth for help.

"As a researcher, service provider, and advocate, my sister is one of the nation's leading experts on domestic violence and sexual assault in the African-American community," she wrote.

Beth E. Richie was the last addition to the NFL panel, and her appointment was announced after the Rev. Jesse Jackson and a leading black women's group criticized the league for not including any African-American women in the group of consultants.

It was clear the NFL was "looking for someone to fill that particular niche of race and community accountability," Richie said.

The league is mulling over when to act in cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, particularly when criminal cases drag on.

"I emphasize really, when possible, alternatives to only relying on the criminal legal system because in black communities that's been such a difficult tension," Richie said.

"My instinct has always been to try to find ways that communities can hold people accountable, and only rely on the criminal justice system when communities can't hold people accountable."

---

AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg and AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner in New York contributed to this report.

---

Online:

No More: http://nomore.org

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: www.ncadv.org

A Call to Men: www.acalltomen.org

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 17:05:00 +0000

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