Favre says report of comeback is ‘all rumor’

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Brett Favre dismissed an ESPN report that he’s considering coming out of retirement.

The quarterback responded Wednesday to the ESPN report by telling his hometown newspaper website, 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 that an unidentified Green Bay 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.

The Times reported in April that, according to NFL sources, Favre’s agent, James “Bus” Cook, had quietly inquired with teams about their interest in trading for the three-time NFL most valuable player.

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.


Defenseman Bickel signs with the Ducks

The Ducks signed defenseman Stu Bickel of the University of Minnesota to a three-year entry-level contract.

A physical, stay-at-home type, Bickel, 21, had one goal and six assists in 45 games during his freshman season with the Golden Gophers. He also had a team-leading 92 penalty minutes.


-- Eric Stephens

Winger Marian Hossa has left the Pittsburgh Penguins and signed a one-year contract with Detroit worth a reported $7.45 million. Meanwhile, forward Evgeni Malkin signed a five-year extension with the Penguins worth $43.5 million, a deal that will keep him under contract until 2013-14.

The New York Islanders agreed to terms with veteran forward Doug Weight on a one-year deal worth $1.75 million plus incentives. Weight spent part of last season with the Ducks.

The Dallas Stars signed former New York Ranger and King Sean Avery to a $15.5-million, four-year deal.



Indiana to give up two basketball scholarships

Indiana will give up two basketball scholarships for the upcoming season in anticipation of penalties related to the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate, a university official said.

Tennessee signed football Coach Phillip Fulmer and basketball Coach Bruce Pearl to new deals through 2014.


Brandon Dillard, a junior wide receiver for Virginia Tech, will miss the season after rupturing his right Achilles’ tendon in a workout.

Michigan running back Kevin Grady was arrested and will be arraigned next week on a misdemeanor drunk driving charge.


Pure Clan draws post for American Oaks


Kentucky import Pure Clan is the early 7-2 morning line favorite for Saturday’s Grade I, $750,000 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.

Pure Clan, to be ridden by Julien Leparoux, got post position No. 1 for the 1 1/4 -mile invitational turf race at Wednesday’s draw.

Pure Clan, third in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, remained undefeated on turf with a 2 3/4 -length victory in the Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 14.

The chestnut filly has five wins. Caribbean Sunset, an Irish import, heads a four-horse European contingent in the 12-horse field.


The American Oaks will be run as the ninth race of Saturday’s 11-race program, which also includes the Grade II, $750,000 CashCall Mile, a turf race for fillies and mares. -- Larry Stewart

The NHRA took the unprecedented step of temporarily shortening its traditional quarter-mile races in the top-fuel and funny car classes while it probes the recent fatal crash of funny car driver Scott Kalitta.

Races in those classes, where cars reach top speeds above 300 mph, will be shortened to 1,000 feet from 1,320 feet (a quarter-mile) starting at the Mopar Mile High Nationals in Denver next weekend. The move would reduce top speeds and provide drivers a longer distance to slow down.

-- Jim Peltz


Former track star Tim Montgomery, who had been scheduled for trial next week on heroin distribution charges, instead has opted for a plea hearing today.

Brian McNamee asked a federal court to dismiss Roger Clemens’ defamation lawsuit or move the case to New York. The case originally was filed in Texas state court and was shifted in February to the U.S. District Court in Houston.

Former San Diego Chargers linebacker Steve Foley has agreed to settle his lawsuit against a police officer who shot him off-duty two years ago and ended his pro football career. Financial terms are confidential.

A Dutch judge ordered Michael Rasmussen’s former cycling team Rabobank to pay the cyclist $1 million for wrongful dismissal during last year’s Tour de France.


Goalkeeper Jose Francisco Cevallos helped Liga de Quito become the first Ecuadorean winner in Copa Libertadores history, stopping three penalty kicks in a 3-1 shootout victory over Brazil’s Fluminense at Rio de Janeiro.

Luis Yanez plans to appeal a decision by U.S. boxing Coach Dan Campbell to kick the light-flyweight off the Beijing Olympic team.