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Headlines from Around the World in Sports

  • Tom Watson attends a news conference in New York, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.  The Americans are bringing back Watson as their Ryder Cup golf captain with hopes of ending two decades of losing in Europe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    Tom Watson attends a news conference in New York, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. The Americans are bringing back Watson as their Ryder Cup golf captain with hopes of ending two decades of losing in Europe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is congratulated by wide receiver Miles Austin (19) after Bryant scored on a 27-yard pass reception in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Cincinnati. Dallas won 20-19. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

    Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is congratulated by wide receiver Miles Austin (19) after Bryant scored on a 27-yard pass reception in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Cincinnati. Dallas won 20-19. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)

  • Tom Watson attends a news conference in New York, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.  The Americans are bringing back Watson as their Ryder Cup golf captain with hopes of ending two decades of losing in Europe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    Tom Watson attends a news conference in New York, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012. The Americans are bringing back Watson as their Ryder Cup golf captain with hopes of ending two decades of losing in Europe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

  • Tom Watson attends a news conference in New York, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.  The Americans are bringing back Watson as their Ryder Cup golf captain with hopes of ending two decades of losing in Europe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
  • Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant (88) is congratulated by wide receiver Miles Austin (19) after Bryant scored on a 27-yard pass reception in the second half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Cincinnati. Dallas won 20-19. (AP Photo/Tom Uhlman)
  • Tom Watson attends a news conference in New York, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012.  The Americans are bringing back Watson as their Ryder Cup golf captain with hopes of ending two decades of losing in Europe. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

NFL

Cowboys’ Bryant says he’s playing against Steelers

IRVING, Texas – Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant says he will play with a broken finger Sunday against Pittsburgh and there are signs that it might not be wishful thinking.

Bryant was listed as a limited participant in practice yesterday, an upgrade from a day earlier, when he sat out. Dallas Coach Jason Garrett said he caught some passes in practice after saying before the workout he didn’t think Bryant would.

The third-year pro fractured his left index finger in last weekend’s 20-19 win at Cincinnati, but he caught a touchdown after getting injured. He will need surgery, but the question remains whether he can try to play through the injury and have surgery after the season.

NFL

Saints coach Vitt: Witnesses lied in investigation

METAIRIE, La. — Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt said witnesses in the NFL’s bounty investigation of New Orleans’s pay-for-pain system have lied about him and the organization and that their stories might change in federal court.

Vitt angrily said yesterday he feels the truth will come out in federal court, where the punishment for perjury can be jail time. He also once again vehemently denied that he kept the system going after the NFL began its investigation.

Vitt’s comments come a day after transcripts obtained by the Associated Press showed former Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams testified during NFL appeal hearings that he tried to stop the Saints’ cash-for-hits program, only to be overruled by Vitt.

Those same transcripts show Vitt denied Williams’s allegation and offered to take a lie detector test.

NFL

Tebow will be active for Jets, but no wildcat

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Tim Tebow’s days of running the New York Jets’ wildcat-style offense appear over for now.

Rex Ryan said yesterday that the backup quarterback will be active Monday night at Tennessee, but will likely not run the wildcat or participate as the punt protector on special teams. Tebow has not played in the Jets’ last three games while dealing with two broken ribs, sustained Nov. 11 at Seattle.

Ryan says Tebow has been medically cleared to play the last few weeks, but the coach has chosen to keep Tebow on the sideline rather than risk further injury. Ryan adds that it’s possible third-stringer Greg McElroy, who led the Jets to a comeback win over Arizona two weeks ago, could also be active but Tebow is still the No. 2 quarterback.

Olympics

Baseball backs merger with softball in bid

LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The International Baseball Federation formally approved a merger with softball’s governing body in a joint bid to return to the Olympics.

IBAF said the creation of a single international federation received unanimous approval in a mail-in vote of its members.

The International Softball Federation approved the move in October.

Baseball and softball are bidding jointly to win a spot on the program for the 2020 Games.

Baseball and softball, voted out by the IOC in 2005, were last played at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

College football

Big East non-football schools consider departing

NEW YORK – The seven Big East schools that don’t play FBS football are considering making a break from the drastically reshaped conference – and how best to go about doing it. In any form, such a breakup would be complicated and could conceivably kill the Big East.

Commissioner Mike Aresco conferred by phone with the leaders of those seven schools early yesterday, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The current Big East football membership includes only four schools – South Florida, Connecticut and Cincinnati, Temple – that are committed to the league beyond 2013. But there are 11 schools with plans to join the Big East in the next three years, including Boise State and San Diego State for football only in 2013.

Because those schools won’t be members until next summer, the non-football schools in the Big East could try to vote to dissolve the conference now. Or they could simply leave the league.

The schools that do not play FBS level football are St. John’s, Georgetown, Marquette, DePaul, Seton Hall, Providence and Villanova. Officials at those schools have concerns about the direction of the conference and feel as if they have little power to influence it.

College basketball

Rutgers suspends coach three games

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Rutgers suspended Coach Mike Rice three games without pay and fined him $50,000 for a violation of department policy.

Athletic Director Tim Pernetti announced the decision yesterday. He said the suspension is a result of inappropriate behavior and language, not NCAA violations.

Associate head coach David Cox will serve as the team’s interim coach. Rice will return to his duties as head coach Jan. 2 at Syracuse.

Rutgers is 6-2 this season. Rice, in his third season at the Big East school, apologized to his team and the university and says he’s made a commitment to becoming a better coach.

Nordic skiing

Germany’s Tscharnke wins World Cup race

CANMORE, Alberta – Germany’s Tim Tscharnke won the men’s World Cup cross country 15-kilometer mass-start race yesterday, finishing in 41 minutes, 14.8 seconds.

Norway’s Sjur Roeth was second in 41:19.6, and Germany’s Tobias Angerer third in 41:20.6.

Poland’s Justyna Kowalczyk won the women’s 10-kilometer race in 28:58.4. Finland’s Anne Kylloenen was second in 29:12.8, and Norway’s Maiken Caspersen Falla third in 29:26.6.

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