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Monday Sports in Brief

Monday Sports in Brief

SAN DIEGO (AP) Tiger Woods is a winner again at Torrey Pines, and the only question Monday was how long it would take him to finish.

Woods stretched his lead to eight shots in the Farmers Insurance Open before losing his focus and his patience during a painfully slow finish by the group ahead.

Despite dropping four shots over the last five holes, he still managed an even-par 72 for a four-shot victory on the course where he has won more than any other in his pro career. Defending champion Brandt Snedeker and Josh Teater finished tied for second after both shot 69..

He won the tournament for the seventh time, one behind the record held by Sam Snead, who won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. It was the eighth time Woods won at Torrey Pines, which includes his playoff win in the 2008 U.S Open.

PRO FOOTBALL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed agrees with President Obama that football needs to be made safer, and he wants to help make that happen.

Reed, an 11-year veteran and one of the most respected players in the NFL, was in the minority among players at the Super Bowl on Monday when said that Obama's comments questioning the safety of the game are on target.

``I am with Obama,'' Reed said. ``I have a son. I am not forcing football on my son. If he wants to play it ... I can't make decisions for him. All I can do is say, `Son, I played it so you don't have to.' ``

While acknowledging he's a football fan, Obama told The New Republic in an interview that he's concerned about the violent nature of the sport - enough so that if he had a son, he'd think twice about allowing him to play.

``I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence,'' he said.

``In some cases, that may make it a little bit less exciting, but it will be a whole lot better for the players, and those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much.''

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Former San Francisco 49er Kwame Harris was charged with felony domestic violence and assault charges from an August beating involving a former boyfriend, a prosecutor and defense lawyer said.

Following a pretrial hearing in the case, a San Mateo County judge set a late April trial date for Harris, an offensive tackle who played five seasons with the 49ers and one season with the Oakland Raiders, Assistant District Attorney Al Serrato said.

The charges stem from an altercation outside a Menlo Park restaurant between Harris, 30, and Dimitri Geier, who suffered several facial fractures that required surgery, Serrato said.

HONOLULU (AP) - At least one key NFL executive thinks play improved at the Pro Bowl this year: Commissioner Roger Goodell.

During a one-hour question and answer session on Reddit he said he thought the game improved from last year, when players were clearly not trying and were booed by fans in Hawaii.

The NFC dominated the AFC 62-35 on Sunday in a game that had some highlight-quality plays but that quickly became lopsided.

Goodell says he appreciates the commitment from players to make the game better.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Chastising the NFL Players Association for standing in the way of testing for human growth hormone, two members of Congress told union head DeMaurice Smith in a letter that they might ask players to testify before their committee.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, and ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland asked Smith to turn over documents connected to HGH negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - New Orleans Saints spokesman Greg Bensel says general manager Mickey Loomis has a contract that runs through 2017.

Bensel says Loomis agreed to the deal last August but the team chose not to discuss it publicly until Monday, when the subject came up during media events connected to the Super Bowl.

PRO BASKETBALL

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama honored the Miami Heat for winning the 2012 NBA Championship title after falling short just a year before.

``Everybody doing their part, is what finally put the Heat over the top,'' Obama said, as he welcomed the team to the White House to celebrate their victory.

LeBron James, who presented Obama with an autographed basketball, said the team that included members that hail from Illinois, Texas, Michigan, Ohio and South Dakota was honored to be in the executive mansion.

``We're in the White House right now, which is like, like `mama I made it,''' James said, as the audience laughed and cheered.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Rick Adelman is back on the court and coaching basketball after three weeks away to help his wife through a health scare.

His Minnesota Timberwolves lost nine of 11 games without him to fall behind in the powerful Western Conference playoff race.

Adelman ran practice Monday and said he planned to coach against the Clippers on Wednesday night if all is satisfactory with Mary Kay Adelman, who is being treated for an undisclosed condition.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The NCAA says it is committed to ensuring the safety of all college athletes and plans to open a national sports science institute to make playing sports safer.

The comments came in a statement emailed to The Associated Press the day after President Barack Obama acknowledged that if he had a son, he would have to think about letting him play football. The NCAA did not specifically address Obama's comments, choosing instead to address the broader issue.

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) - Two Pennsylvania congressmen want the NCAA to restore football scholarships taken away from Penn State, saying in a letter those sanctions unfairly punish innocent student-athletes for the child sex abuse scandal involving retired assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

In the letter to NCAA President Mark Emmert, U.S. Reps. Charlie Dent and Glenn Thompson wrote that taking away up to 40 scholarships harmed players who had nothing to do with the scandal that engulfed the university in 2011.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Michigan is No. 1 in The Associated Press' college basketball poll for the first time since its Fab Five days 20 years ago.

For the second straight week the No. 1 team lost. This time it was Duke, which was routed 90-63 by Miami in the third-worst defeat by a top-ranked team.

Michigan received 51 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel, 38 more than Kansas, which moved up one spot. They are the only one-loss teams in the poll. Indiana, Florida, which drew the other first-place vote, and Duke complete the top five

In the women's poll, Baylor remained No. 1 for a fourth straight week.

Notre Dame and UConn stayed second and third, Stanford moved up to fourth and Duke fell one spot to fifth after losing by 30 points to the Huskies last Monday.

CYCLING

LONDON (AP) - The International Cycling Union disbanded an independent panel put together to review any involvement the cycling governing body had in the Lance Armstrong scandal, saying it will go ahead with a ``truth and reconciliation commission'' instead.

The UCI said its independent panel did not have the support of the American and global anti-doping bodies, and that a truth and reconciliation process favored by those groups offered the best way ``to clear the air'' and get to the bottom with the rampant doping culture during the Armstrong era.

MADRID (AP) - Spain's Operation Puerto finally went to trial after a delay of seven years, raising the prospect over the coming weeks of new revelations about doping in cycling following the confession of Lance Armstrong.

Cyclists themselves will not be on trial because of the legal limitations of the case. But there is great interest in the event other sports - particularly soccer and tennis - are mentioned in evidence.

Thirty-five witnesses are expected to testify in a trial due to last until March 22.

BASEBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Dodgers formally announced a deal with Time Warner Cable to create a new TV channel that people familiar with the situation say assures the team more than $7 billion over 25 years. That is double what Major League Baseball thought the local TV rights were worth when the team was sold out of bankruptcy just last year.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Derek Jeter worked out on a baseball field for the first time since breaking his left ankle last October.

The 38-year-old New York Yankees captain fielded 55 grounders on the grass in front of the infield dirt at shortstop at the team's minor league complex. He also hit in a batting cage.

``Everything went well,'' Jeter said as he drove out of the complex.

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Carl Pavano's spleen was removed last week after the pitcher was injured when he fell in the snow.

The 37-year-old right-hander was hurt in mid-January at his home in Vermont and has been in a Connecticut hospital for nearly two weeks.

``He lost a lot of blood. It was very, very serious,'' agent David Pepe said Monday.

PRO HOCKEY

MONTREAL (AP) - Defenseman P.K. Subban signed a two-year, $5.75 million contract with the Montreal Canadiens.

WINTER SPORTS

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) - Snowmobile rider Caleb Moore remained in critical condition after a crash at the Winter X Games in Aspen and is being closely monitored.

His family thanked Moore's fans for their support and asked for their prayers.

The 25-year-old was performing a flip Thursday when he clipped the top of a jump and went over the handlebars. The snowmobile rolled over him, but he walked off the course with help and went to a hospital with a concussion.

While there, he developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to Grand Junction for surgery Friday. His family said Sunday that Moore then had a secondary complication involving his brain.

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Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale welcomes second chance at role

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AP Images

Ravens defensive coordinator Don Martindale welcomes second chance at role

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Don Martindale wondered if he would ever get a second chance to be an NFL defensive coordinator after his one-and-done disaster with the Denver Broncos in 2010.

The Broncos went 4-12 that season and gave up more points (29.4 per game) and yards (390.8) than any team in the league. Those miserable numbers, not surprisingly, cost Martindale his job.

He latched on with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012 as linebackers coach. After working diligently with several stars, including Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs, Zachary Orr and C.J. Mosley, the 54-year-old Martindale last week was promoted to defensive coordinator.

RELATED: WHO WERE THE RAVENS' MVP'S IN 2017?

To say he's pleased to be in charge of an NFL defense again would be a profound understatement.

"Without a doubt," Martindale said Thursday. "My family knows it. Everybody knows it. My players know it. I can't wait."

His performance in Denver eight years ago is hardly worth putting on a resume, but Martindale believes it was a worthwhile experience.

"Even though the stats were what they were, I was really proud with how we played," he said. "I'm glad I went through that process because I think that makes me a better coach today. It's like I tell my guys: You either win or you learn."

Martindale's new job with the Ravens carries the responsibility of overseeing a unit that has long been among the best in the NFL, thriving under notable leaders such as Marvin Lewis, Rex Ryan, Chuck Pagano and Dean Pees, who retired on Jan. 1.

"I've been preparing for this job all my life," Martindale said. "It's very humbling, but I understand the pressure and I look forward to the challenge."

Martindale takes over a defense that this season ranked 12th in net yards allowed, first in takeaways (34) and sixth in fewest points allowed (18.9). He has no plans to revamp the unit or change the philosophy, especially since head coach John Harbaugh stressed the need to retain continuity before launching his search for Pees' replacement.

RELATED: CALVIN RIDLEY A TOP PROSPECT FOR RAVENS IN 2018 DRAFT

Martindale will, however, put his own stamp on the unit.

"I think personality-wise, and just calls, there's going to be some things that are the same. And then there are going to be sometimes where I'm going to pressure more," Martindale said. "I just think I have a more aggressive personality in calling the game. Sometimes, too aggressive. That's some of the things I've learned from the past."

His most daunting task will be finding a way to make the defense to come up big late in the game. In 2016, a fourth-quarter collapse in Pittsburgh cost Baltimore a playoff berth. This season, a fourth-down touchdown pass in the final minute by Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton bounced the Ravens from the postseason chase.

"Our mantra has always been to finish," Martindale said. "We're close. Obviously, the last two years, it's been the last play that's knocked us out of it. We are going to work diligently -- all of us -- with our package and situational football.

"That's going to be the next step, I think, that will skyrocket us. That's the big thing that I see. We were really good. Let's make it great."

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Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

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USA Today Sports

Offensive, defensive and rookie of the year awards for Ravens' 2017 season

The Ravens' season had it's ups and down, but out of it came some bright spots.

The defense continued to prove dominate and the offense found its groove during the second half of the season, but who stood out the most?

Offensive MVP: RB Alex Collins

Collins was a late preseason pickup after being cut by the Seattle Seahawks and Ravens fans are grateful they let him go. After new acquisition Danny Woodhead injured his hamstring on the first drive in Week 1 and Terrance West injured his calf Week 5 in Oakland, Allen emerged as a saving grace. He finished the season with 973 yards, six touchdowns and 212 attempts averaging 4.6 yards-per-carry. His longest rushing attempt was 50-yards against the Steelers in Week 4, and then in Week 14, rushed 120-yards on their defense. 

RELATED: RAVENS' 2018 NFL MOCK DRAFT ROUNDUP

Defensive MVP: OLB Terrell Suggs

This one was a toss up between Suggs and inside linebacker C.J. Mosley, but considering the level at which Sizzle is playing at in his 15th season, his 2017 performance is MVP worthy.

The 35-year old finished the season with 49 combined tackles, 12 assist, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. Suggs ranks 11th in the league in sacks and was voted to his seventh Pro Bowl, something that should be expected from the leader of a defense that finished the regular season ranked sixth in points allowed. During the Ravens' Week 12 matchup, Suggs proved he doesn't age when he strip sacked Texans QB Tom Savage with 4:44 remaining in the fourth, shifting the momentum back to the Ravens who were clinging on to a 23-16 win. He's suffered two Achilles tears and a torn bicep over the last 5.5 seasons but has remained Hall of Fame worthy. As of right now, T-Sizzle has no plans of retiring. 

RELATED: FIVE OFFSEASON QUESTIONS RAVENS MUST ANSWER

Rookie of the Year: CB Marlon Humphrey

The Ravens' 2017 first-round pick stepped up to the plate when starting CB Jimmy Smith's season was over after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 13. The rookie out of Alabama finished the season with 34 combined tackles, four assists and two interceptions. Pro Football Focus graded Humphrey the fifth-best cover corner in the league. QBs only had a 53.5 rating when they threw in his direction. PFF also gave Humphrey a 82.7 rookie rating. 

Humphrey will continue to prove his worth during the 2018 season if Jimmy Smith is still recovering come Week 1.

RELATED: IMPORTANT 2018 OFFSEASON DATES

Special Teams MVP: P Sam Koch

Koch is in his 12th season with the Ravens and he's continuing to prove how efficient that leg of his is. He had a season long of 67-yards and placed 40 of 84 punts inside the 20-yard line. Koch's accuracy earned him AFC special teams player of the week not once, but twice this season. The first came in Week 12 against the Houston Texans when he not only placed five punts inside the 20-yard line, but also faked a punt and threw a 22-yard pass to Chris Moore for a first down. The second honor came in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns after placing four punts inside the 20-yard line, three of them inside the five. While neither Koch or kicker Justin Tucker were named to the Pro Bowl, Ravens fans never break a sweat when the game is in their hands, or should we say, legs.