Vick released by Falcons Atlanta Falcons release Michael Vick

Wire Reports

Less than five years after the Atlanta Falcons signed Michael Vick to a $130-million contract, the suspended quarterback was released Friday in a 98-word statement.

Before Friday’s announcement -- a move that clears Vick to sign with any NFL team -- General Manager Thomas Dimitroff called the team’s former franchise player.

Dimitroff said Vick, who has missed two seasons while serving a prison sentence for running a dogfighting ring, deserved to hear first about his release. He said Vick “was upbeat” and was looking forward to moving on.


Vick is eligible to immediately sign with a team even though he has not been reinstated by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

The Minnesota Vikings are planning to send a trainer and a coach to Mississippi to work with Brett Favre, ESPN reported. The purpose of the trip is to assess the quarterback’s progress since he had arthroscopic surgery two weeks ago to repair a partially torn biceps tendon in his right arm, the network reported, citing an unidentified source.

Former Pro Bowl quarterback Trent Green has decided to retire after 15 seasons and plans to pursue a career in broadcasting.

The Houston Texans have signed quarterback Rex Grossman, an unrestricted free agent who led the Chicago Bears to the NFC championship in 2006. . . . Veteran receiver James Thrash has been released by the Washington Redskins after failing a physical.


Vickers wins pole for LifeLock 400

Brian Vickers has won the pole for the LifeLock 400 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. It was the eighth pole of his Cup career and third of the season for the Red Bull Racing driver. Vickers posted a lap of 189.110 mph on the two-mile Michigan oval that will host Sunday’s race. Runner-up Kyle Busch wasn’t close at 188.536.

General Motors has told NASCAR teams it is cutting back on its support in all of the sanctioning body’s professional series. Among the teams already notified that they will lose funding are JR Motorsports, owned by Sprint Cup star Dale Earnhardt Jr.


Roddick to face Blake in semifinal

Andy Roddick stayed on track for his fifth title at Queen’s Club in London by defeating Ivo Karlovic, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5), advancing to the semifinals of the Aegon Championships. Roddick will face James Blake, who downed Mikhail Youzhny, 7-6 (5), 6-3.

Top-seeded Andy Murray lost only five points on his serve in beating Mardy Fish, 7-5, 6-3.

Second-seeded Novak Djokovic overwhelmed Jurgen Melzer, 6-1, 6-4, to reach the semifinals of the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. Djokovic next will play qualifier Olivier Rochus, who came from a set down to defeat Benjamin Becker, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3.

Maria Sharapova reached her first semifinal in more than a year by defeating Yanina Wickmayer, 6-1, 2-6, 6-3, at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham, England.


Sparks lose third straight on road

The host Indiana Fever matched a season high with nine three-pointers in a 73-61 victory over the Sparks, who lost their third straight. Leading scorer Betty Lennox hurt her knee in the second half.

Michael Phelps easily won the 200-meter butterfly at the Santa Clara International Grand Prix in Santa Clara. He touched first in 1 minute 54.31 seconds in the final, beating the field by 5.67 seconds.

Formula One will feature three new teams in the 2010 season, including one from the United States. The sport’s governing body announced a lineup of 13 teams, including American team US F1, based in Charlotte, N.C.

Oregon led the men’s team competition at the NCAA track and field championships with 36 points. The Oregon men are trying for a “triple crown” after winning cross country and indoor track and field titles earlier this season. Oregon leads on the women’s side too, with 39 points.