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Philadelphia 76ers fire coach Eddie Jordan

The Philadelphia 76ers fired coach Eddie Jordan after one season Thursday.

Team president and general manager Ed Stefanski announced the move, saying the Sixers took an “unacceptable” step backward after two straight seasons in the playoffs.

Jordan is finished after a woefully underachieving season that had the Sixers near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. Jordan was hired last summer and sold his Princeton offense as the way to turn them into contenders.

Instead, players were unhappy with his system almost from the start and the Sixers struggled to put together any kind of winning streaks. The Sixers finished 27-55 and missed the playoffs for the first time in three years.

The Sixers will look for their fourth coach in three seasons.

PRO FOOTBALL

Raiders sign quarterback Kyle Boller

The Oakland Raiders signed free agent quarterback Kyle Boller on Thursday, adding a former first-rounder to an unsettled quarterback mix.

Former No. 1 overall pick JaMarcus Russell lost his job midway through last season because of ineffectiveness and is competing with Bruce Gradkowski to get it back. Charlie Frye started three games last season and is also back.

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Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable asked a court Thursday to throw out a civil suit filed by a former assistant he allegedly attacked.

In a motion filed in Alameda County Superior Court, Cable argued that Randy Hanson‘s case against Cable and the Raiders should be decided in arbitration under NFL rules. Hanson accused Cable of attacking him at a training camp meeting in August, leaving him with a fractured jaw and broken teeth.

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Coach Pete Carroll says the Seahawks are “seriously” considering signing former NFL first-round draft picks Mike Williams and Reggie Williams.

Mike Williams starred for Carroll at USC before the Detroit Lions drafted him 10th overall in 2005. The 6-foot-5 Williams then ballooned to 270 pounds. He has been out of the league for two years.

Reggie Williams was the ninth overall pick by Jacksonville in 2004. He played three seasons for the Jaguars but remained unsigned through all of last season. The 6-4 former Washington Husky pleaded guilty to a drug charge last year and received probation.

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Tennessee running back LenDale White has signed his one-year tender with the Titans on the final day for other teams to offer contracts to restricted free agents.

TENNIS

Caroline Wozniacki advances at Family Circle Cup

Top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki beat Patty Schnyder 6-2, 7-5 on Thursday to reach the quarterfinals of the Family Circle Cup.

Wozniacki, ranked No. 2 in the world, overcame a sluggish second set and a crowd that seemed squarely in Schnyder’s corner to notch her third victory in four matches against the Swiss player.

The Dane now faces sixth-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia, who defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada 6-2, 6-4.

Vera Zvonareva of Russia beat Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine 6-2, 6-1 and next plays 13th-seeded Melanie Oudin, who defeated qualifier and fellow American Christina McHale 6-4, 6-0.

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Rafael Nadal breezed into the quarterfinals of the Monte Carlos Masters with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Michael Berrer on Thursday and joins four other Spaniards in the final eight.

GOLF

South Korean KJ Choi brought his U.S. Masters momentum with him to the Heritage Classic in Hilton Head Island, S.C., to charge into a two-shot lead in Thursday’s opening round.

Choi , who tied for fourth with Tiger Woods last week in the first major of the year, shot a seven-under-par 64.

He parred the last two holes to end the round two strokes in front of Mike Weir and Greg Owen.

Out of golf for five months until the Masters, Tiger Woods is waiting only two weeks to tee it up again.

Woods announced he will play the Quail Hollow Championship, which begins April 29. It will be his first time playing at a tournament where tickets are sold to the general public since his downfall from a sex scandal.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Eye black with messages and wedge blocks will be banned from college football this fall, and taunting in the field of play will start costing teams points in 2011.

On Thursday, the NCAA’s Playing Rules Oversight Panel approved the three rules changes.

One year after the NFL banned wedge blocking on kickoffs because of safety concerns, the NCAA followed the lead. The new rule says that when the team receiving a kickoff has more than two players standing within two yards of one another, shoulder to shoulder, it will be assessed a 15-yard penalty — even if there is no contact between the teams.

The reason: NCAA studies have shown that 20% of all injuries occurring on kickoffs result in concussions.

The hope is it will reduce concussions, an issue that has received greater attention over the past year.

The NCAA deemed it so important that it made a rare rules change in an off-year of the normal 2-year process.

But it’s the taunting rule that will create the biggest buzz.

Currently, players who are penalized for taunting on their way to the end zone draw a 15-yard penalty on the extra point attempt, 2-point conversion attempt or the ensuing kickoff.

Beginning in 2011, live-ball penalties will be assessed from the spot of the foul and eliminate the score. Examples include players finishing touchdown runs by high-stepping into the end zone or pointing the ball toward an opponent.

Celebration penalties following a score will continue to be assessed on conversion attempts or the ensuing kickoff.

A third change bans the use of eye black containing symbols or messages, a trend that grew in popularity because of the use by Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Tim Tebow.


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