College footballAll-America receiver Justin Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden are returning to Oklahoma State, giving the Cowboys another season with the two key playmakers in one of the nation’s most dynamic offenses. Blackmon and Weeden helped propel the Cowboys to their first 11-win season and the No. 13 ranking at the end of the season, setting numerous records along the way. The Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation’s top receiver, Blackmon led the Bowl Subdivision with 148.5 yards receiving per game and 20 touchdown catches. Blackmon was considered a possible first-round draft pick. Weeden set school records with 4,277 yards passing and 34 TDs — both in the top four in the FBS — and was named the all-Big 12 quarterback in his first year as a starter . . . LSU and coach Les Miles have agreed in principle to a new contract that will run through the 2017 season. Miles’s annual pay of a little more than $3.75 million will remain the same . . . Georgia Tech junior offensive tackle Nick Claytor is entering the NFL draft . . . New Michigan coach Brady Hoke has lost quarterback Tate Forcier, who is no longer with the program. Forcier was academically ineligible to play for the Wolverines in the Gator Bowl. A bigger question for Hoke and the Wolverines remains the status of starting QB Denard Robinson, who chose Michigan to play for Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense. Rodriguez was fired last week. Hoke hopes to persuade Robinson to return for his junior season . . . Michael Floyd, Notre Dame’s leading receiver this season and one of the top pass catchers in school history, will return for his senior season.
SoccerRevolution re-sign versatile Tierney The Revolution re-signed midfielder/defender Chris Tierney, who played a league-high seven positions last season. It will be Tierney’s third season with the team. Tierney, 25, had 33 appearances last season and played at left midfield, left back, central midfield, right back, defensive midfield, attacking midfield, and center back. The Revolution open preseason camp Jan. 31 . . . The US team released Chivas USA forward Justin Braun and Dallas defender Ugo Ihemelu before an exhibition game against Chile because of injuries. The US opens Jan. 22 at Carson, Calif.
Softball8 women out; they won’t play for USA Jessica Mendoza, a two-time Olympic medalist, and seven of her teammates from the 2008 Beijing Games will not play for Team USA this year, opting to play professionally. Mendoza said she and the others informed Amateur Softball Association of America this month that they were declining invitations to attend the US team’s June camp so they can play exclusively in the four-team National Pro Fastpitch league. Because the US Olympic Committee dropped funding for softball, there was no financial reward for the players. Fellow Olympians Natasha Watley, Cat Osterman, Monica Abbott, Caitlin Lowe, Lauren Lappin, Andrea Duran and Vicky Galindo also will not play for the US in 2011.
MiscellanyNadal, Wozniacki top Australian seeds Rafael Nadal and Caroline Wozniacki will top the seedings in the Australian Open, reflecting their No. 1 rankings in men’s and women’s tennis. With seedings done purely on rankings, nine-time Grand Slam winner Nadal got the top spot, followed by Roger Federer. Vera Zvonareva is seeded No. 2 in the women’s field, followed by Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams . . . Former NBA star Allen Iverson plans to have a lesion removed from his right leg in the US and intends to rejoin his Turkish team in time for the playoffs. Iverson doesn’t plan to retire because of the painful condition, which will require surgery and rehabilitation of 4-6 weeks.
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