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Wednesday Sports in Brief

Wednesday Sports in Brief

NEW ORLEANS (AP) Smiling, even laughing, at questions about a report linking him to a company that purports to make performance-enhancers, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said Wednesday he ``never, ever took'' the stuff.

Lewis described himself as ``agitated,'' not angry, that the story has become part of the Super Bowl-week prelude to Baltimore's game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

He added that he's certain his teammates won't be distracted by the report in Sports Illustrated. The magazine said Lewis sought help from a company that says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a banned product connected to human growth hormone. The 37-year-old Lewis is the leading tackler in the NFL postseason after returning from a torn right triceps that sidelined him for 10 games.

The San Francisco 49ers never have tasted defeat in a Super Bowl, going 5-0. It's the most impressive mark for any franchise in the big game.

Baltimore also is undefeated, with the Ravens winning their only appearance, in 2001.

Someone will have the Super Bowl blahs for the first time after Sunday's title game in the Superdome.

The Ravens (13-6), who are 3 1/2 -point underdogs, are on one of those runs reminiscent of recent NFL champions. Indeed, the New York Giants reached the Super Bowl a year ago in a similar manner, winning a wild-card game at home, then two playoffs on the road, including an overtime thriller.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Dr. Phil McGraw says Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who masterminded the dead girlfriend hoax involving Manti Te'o, told him the Notre Dame linebacker was not involved in the scheme and that he ended up falling ``deeply, romantically'' in love with the football player.

McGraw spoke on the ``Today'' show, previewing an interview he did with Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old California man who created the fictional woman Te'o knew as Lennay Kekua. Tuiasosopo's interview with McGraw will air in two parts on the ``Dr. Phil Show'' starting Thursday.

Since the hoax was revealed earlier this month, Te'o has said the relationship with Kekua started online and eventually became serious, even though the two only talked on the phone and exchanged electronic messages, never meeting in person.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Jerry Sandusky lost a bid for a new trial Wednesday when a judge rejected his argument that his lawyers were not given enough time to prepare for the three-week proceeding that ended with a 45-count guilty verdict on child sex abuse charges.

Judge John Cleland's 27-page order said lawyers for the former Penn State assistant football coach conceded that their post-trial review turned up no material that would have changed their trial strategy.

Also, the Pennsylvania Senate unanimously approved a bill that aims to keep Penn State's $60 million fine to the NCAA over the Sandusky scandal within the state. The NCAA issued a statement saying it was monitoring the legislation, ``including examining whether, if enacted, the proposed legislation would violate both the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions.''

It had previously said 25 percent of the annual grants would be reserved for Pennsylvania organizations.

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) - Once considered a player who could shatter the career home run record, Alex Rodriguez has transformed from All-Star to annoyance to some in the New York Yankees organization.

Rodriguez hasn't played a full season since he was voted his third AL MVP award in 2007, he's out for at least the first half of this year following hip surgery on Jan. 16 and now he's been accused of again purchasing performance-enhancing drugs - an allegation he denies.

According to a Yankees executive who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not publicly commenting on Rodriguez's situation, if A-Rod doesn't play again due to a career-ending injury, about 85 percent of the $114 million he's owed by the team would be covered by insurance.

PRO BASKETBALL

PHOENIX (AP) - Michael Beasley scored a season-high 27 points and the Phoenix Suns rallied from 13 down in the fourth quarter to hand the Los Angeles Lakers their eighth straight road loss 92-86.

The dramatic comeback came in Steve Nash's first game in Phoenix since he left for the Lakers after last season.

The Lakers, who had won three straight - all at home, lost Dwight Howard when he reinjured his right shoulder with 6:57 to play. Beasley, whose previous season best of 25 came two games earlier, scored on a scrambling layup as the shot clock was expiring to put the Suns ahead 88-86 with 43.8 seconds to play.

Kobe Bryant had 17 points and nine assists, but missed what would have been the tying layup with 24 seconds to play.

CYCLING

LONDON (AP) - A truth and reconciliation program is the ``only way'' to rid cycling of performance-enhancing drugs, and the sport's governing body should have no role in the process, Lance Armstrong said in an interview with a British publication.

Cyclingnews on Wednesday published questions and answers it exchanged with Armstrong through emails and texts. In an interview two weeks ago with Oprah Winfrey, the cyclist acknowledged for the first time that he doped to win a record seven Tour de France titles.

Armstrong said no generation was ever ``clean,'' and the best way forward is a truth and reconciliation process offering amnesty to riders and officials who detail doping in the sport.

Asked if he felt like a fall guy, Armstrong said: ``Actually, yes I do. But I understand why. We all make the beds we sleep in.''

He said the program should be run by the World Anti-Doping Agency and not the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the body which produced a scathing report detailing systematic doping by Armstrong and his teams. Asked why he would not speak to USADA, Armstrong said: ``No brainer. This is a global sport not an American one.''

WINTER X GAMES

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - Prayers are pouring in and fans are donating money for a Winter X Games snowmobile competitor who is in critical condition following a crash last week.

Caleb Moore was performing a flip off a jump last week when he caught the top of the hill in the landing area and went over the handlebars. The 25-year-old was able to walk away but later developed bleeding around his heart and a secondary complication involving his brain.

No update on his condition was available.

To help defray the medical costs, a website has been set up for the family to raise $300,000 to help pay his hospital bills.

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Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens agree to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst

The Ravens have their entire 2018 draft class locked up.

The team agreed to terms with first-round pick Hayden Hurst, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Hurst's rookie contract - like all first-round picks - is a four-year deal with a team option of a fifth year. According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the 25th overall pick is due $11.1 million. 

The 24-year old, who was a walk on at South Carolina at 21-years old after being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2012, finished his three-year career with 100 receptions, 1,281 yards and three touchdowns.

Standing at 6-foot-3, Hurst will be a nice addition to the TE corps with Nick Boyle and third-round draft pick Mark Andrews. 

Fellow first-round pick Lamar Jackson signed his rookie contract on June 5th.

Training camp kicks off for the Ravens July 19th. 

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

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Ravens experimenting with getting Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on field at same time

Since drafting Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have made it clear that Joe Flacco is their starter. That doesn't mean they're not experimenting with having them both on the field at the same time, however. 

During this week's minicamp, the team has been lining Jackson up at multiple positions. 

"Gosh, I sure like him out there helping us," coach John Harbaugh said of Jackson during Tuesday's minicamp, via ESPN.com.

"If you put two quarterbacks on the field at once, what options does it create for our offense? That's what we're trying to figure out."

While at Louisville, Jackson rushed for 4,132 yards and 50 touchdowns in three seasons. That's more rushing yards than No. 2 overall pick Saquon Barkley. That unique skill set could be the creative options the Ravens are looking for. 

While at the NFL Combine, however, Jackson refused to workout at any other position than QB. 

"I have a lot of fun seeing what they come up with and what they're going to come up with next," Jackson said. "We'll see where it goes. You have to use your good players."

The Ravens are already viewing Jackson as one of those 'good players.' 

"Once he gets out of the pocket, it's like watching a young Michael Vick," LB C.J. Mosley said after minicamp practice. "It's amazing to watch. When you're defending him, you just have to act like you're tagging off -- you don't want to be on the highlight reel."

Harbaugh has alluded to the fact that the rookie will be active on game days, just exactly how they get the most out of him is what's in play.

"There's a lot of considerations that go into that," Harbaugh said of using two QBs at the once. "Everybody has an opinion. I've read a few. You want to find a way to get the most out of all your guys."

While Flacco isn't the fasted QB in the league, he has shown glimpses of running ability in the past. Figuring out how to utilize Flacco when Jackson is under center is where things will get interesting.

Interesting - as long as it works - is what Ravens fans have been searching for over the last several seasons. 

"Joe has to be able to do other things if [Jackson is] throwing the ball," Harbaugh said. "It gets the creative juices flowing for our offensive coaches, and they've worked hard on that."

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