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Published: Thursday, 7/3/2008

Favre dismisses ESPN report as rumor

ASSOCIATED PRESS

GREEN BAY, Wis. - Brett Favre dismissed an ESPN report that he's considering coming out of retirement as "all rumor."

Favre responded yesterday to the ESPN report by telling his hometown newspaper Web site, SunHerald.com in Gulfport, Miss., that "it's all rumor."

The paper reported that Favre sent a text message saying there's "no reason" for a media frenzy.

ESPN reported an unidentified Packers source said the 38-year-old Favre told coach Mike McCarthy in the last two weeks that he has the itch to play.

"The Packers have no reaction," team spokesman Jeff Blumb told the Associated Press.

Favre's agent, James "Bus" Cook, didn't return a message seeking comment. Packers general manager Ted Thompson and McCarthy were on vacation.

Favre retired March 6 after a 17-year career.

Cornerback Al Harris said on ESPN's NFL Live that Favre made similar comments to him.

"I know he has the itch to come back and play," Harris said. "If he will, I don't know."

The Packers plan to use Aaron Rodgers as their starting quarterback for the upcoming season, and he's been leading the team through organized team activities and minicamp.

Rodgers, meanwhile, has stirred up controversy himself this week. In a Sports Illustrated article, the quarterback said he didn't feel pressure to connect with fans the way Favre did.

"I don't feel I need to sell myself to the fans," he said in the article. "They need to get on board now or keep their mouths shut."

SEATTLE - The SuperSonics will move to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season as part of a settlement with the city of Seattle, ending a contentious relationship that resulted in a trial in which the judge was due to issue her ruling yesterday.

The settlement calls for Sonics owner Clay Bennett and the Professional Basketball Club LLC to pay up to $75 million to the city in exchange for the immediate termination of the KeyArena lease between the NBA team and the city.

The team's name and colors will stay in Seattle.

"We made it," Bennett said after stepping to an Oklahoma City lectern featuring the NBA logo and the letters OKC. "The NBA will be in Oklahoma City next season."

Bennett said the move would start TOday and the first focus would be on the SuperSonics' players.

INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana University will give up two basketball scholarships for the upcoming season in anticipation of penalties related to the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate, assistant athletic director Frank Cuervo confirmed.

The APR is a percentage score over a rolling four-year period that measures retention and eligibility of players. Teams can lose scholarships if their score is subpar and they have a player who left school early and would not have been academically eligible had he remained.

University officials do not comment on players' academic standing because of privacy laws, but coach Tom Crean has said he "inherited a tremendous amount of dysfunction."

COLUMBUS - It'll be high noon when toe meets football for Ohio State's first three home games this fall.

The Big Ten Network announced it would telecast the Buckeyes' games at home against Youngstown State on Aug. 30 and Troy on Sept. 20 and that both would start at noon. ESPN or ESPN2 will carry the Sept. 6 game at Ohio Stadium against Ohio.

The Buckeyes are scheduled to play at Southern California on Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. in one of the most highly anticipated games of the season. That game will be shown nationally by ABC.

The only other game times that have been announced are 8 p.m. games on Oct. 4 at Wisconsin and at home against Penn State on Oct. 25.

• WYOMING, Mich. - Michigan running back Kevin Grady was arrested and will appear in court next week on a misdemeanor drunken driving charge.

Kent County Jail records show the 22-year-old was released on a $5,000 personal recognizance bond. Grady is to appear Wednesday in the Grand Rapids suburb of Wyoming.

He's a graduate of East Grand Rapids High School, where he set state scoring and rushing records. Grady missed all of the 2007 season because of a knee injury suffered during spring drills.

Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez said in a statement the matter will be handled internally after he meets with Grady and reviews the details.

GLENDORA, Calif. - Eleven days after Scott Kalitta was killed in a racing accident, the NHRA reduced the length of Top Fuel and Funny Car races from a quarter-mile to 1,000 feet in an interim safety measure.

The 320-foot reduction will start next week in the Mopar Mile High Nationals in Colorado. The Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle classes will continue to run a quarter-mile.

The 46-year-old Kalitta, the son of longtime driver and owner Connie Kalitta, died June 21 after an accident during the final round of qualifying at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in New Jersey. His Funny Car burst into flames, continued at a high rate of speed and crashed and exploded at the end of the track.

Since the NHRA started in 1955, there have been nine deaths at national events, four in Top Fuel, three in Funny Car, and two in Pro Stock, a spokesman said. Before Kalitta, Darrell Russell was the last driver to die at a national event, in St. Louis in 2004. Funny Car driver Eric Medlen died last year after an accident in a testing session at Gainesville, Fla.

The distance change was made in collaboration with race teams.

"The board members of the Professional Racers Owners Organization wholeheartedly and unanimously support this decision," said Kenny Bernstein, the organization's president and a former driver.

"This may be a temporary change, and we recognize it is not the total answer. We will continue to work hand in hand with NHRA to evaluate other methods of making Top Fuel and Funny Car competition safer so that we might return to our quarter-mile racing standard."

YOUNGSTOWN - Middleweight boxing champion Kelly Pavlik has reported to police that a former sponsor threatened to shoot his hands so he can't fight again.

Pavlik filed a police report Monday in Boardman Township, a suburb of Pavlik's hometown Youngstown. He says in the report that some of his associates warned him about the threat.

Pavlik told The Youngstown Vindicator he hasn't been directly threatened but is concerned about the safety of his fiancee and daughter. Pavlik told police the person making the threat believes Pavlik owes him money.



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