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Ravens release Vonta Leach after failing to agree on new deal

The Ravens released Vonta Leach on Tuesday after both sides failed to come to an agreement on a restructured contract for the All-Pro fullback.
(Seth Perlman / Associated Press)

Vonta Leach was released Tuesday by the Baltimore Ravens, who failed to agree on a restructured contract with the All-Pro fullback.

Leach was an integral part of a running game that helped the Ravens become Super Bowl champions last season. Paving the way for standout halfback Ray Rice, Leach made the Pro Bowl in each of his two seasons with Baltimore and was a key figure in the locker room.

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After negotiations reached a standstill, both sides agreed it would be best to terminate Leach’s contract. But General Manager Ozzie Newsome left open the possibility that Leach could return if he fails to find an adequate suitor in the free-agent market.

Leach is the latest in a long line of players cut loose or traded by the Ravens this off-season. The list includes wide receiver Anquan Boldin, safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, and linebackers Darnell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger.

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The Indianapolis Colts agreed to terms with unrestricted free-agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw, adding a veteran running back to their crowded backfield. The 27-year-old Bradshaw spent seven seasons with the New York Giants, but was released in February.

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Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones pleaded not guilty to an assault charge after police say he hit a woman at a nightclub last week.

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An attorney for Jones, 29, entered the plea a day after he was arrested and then released on his own recognizance. He attended the start of the Bengals’ training camp Tuesday and worked out with the team in the afternoon, but declined to comment.

Jones is accused of hitting a 34-year-old woman at a downtown Cincinnati nightclub Wednesday shortly before midnight. A police report lists the injury as apparently minor.

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The backside pat former NFL star Chad Johnson gave his lawyer in a Miami court was not meant as disrespect to a judge and certainly wasn’t something that warrants a 30-day jail sentence, the attorney said in a motion seeking another chance.

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Adam Swickle asked Broward County Circuit Judge Kathleen McHugh to reconsider the sentence she imposed Monday. Johnson had reached a deal with prosecutors for community service and counseling to resolve a probation violation from his no-contest plea last year to battery on his then-wife, TV star Evelyn Lozada.

McHugh, elected last August to her first term on the bench, seemed poised to approve the plea deal until Johnson’s backside pat of Swickle triggered a wave of laughter in the court. The judge then angrily said she wouldn’t sign off and tossed the six-time Pro Bowler formerly known as Chad Ochocinco in jail.

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Etc.

Colin Moran hit an RBI triple in a three-run sixth inning and staff ace Kent Emanuel picked up his first career save by getting the final two outs to help North Carolina beat South Carolina, 5-4, sending the No. 1 overall seed to the College World Series.

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Brian Holberton hit a two-run homer for the Tar Heels (57-10), who trailed, 4-2, in Chapel Hill, N.C., before pushing ahead for good in the sixth to win the decisive third game in the weather-delayed super-regional. It will be the Tar Heels’ sixth trip to Omaha in eight seasons.

Reliever Trent Thornton (11-1) earned the win, allowing one earned run over 4 2/3 innings. Then Emanuel — who had thrown 238 pitches in the NCAA tournament — came on for a pair of one-pitch outs to end the season for the Gamecocks (43-20).

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North Carolina will play North Carolina State on Sunday in Omaha, followed by UCLA playing Louisiana State. The College World Series begins Saturday with Mississippi State playing Oregon State and Indiana playing Louisville.

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As the Clippers continued their search for a new coach, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach Byron Scott was the latest candidate to interview for the job Tuesday, according to several NBA executives who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

Scott met with Clippers President Andy Roeser, vice president of basketball operations Gary Sacks and director of basketball operations Eric Miller at the team’s practice facility.

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Scott talked to the Clippers on the heels of Indiana associate head coach Brian Shaw having his face-to-face with the team’s front office Monday, according to several executives.

— Broderick Turner

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Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan is giving old friend Patrick Ewing another shot to continue his NBA coaching career. The Bobcats have reached an agreement in principle with the Hall of Fame center to become their new associate head coach, said a person familiar with the situation.

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A decade after it created the Academic Progress Rate, the NCAA says its annual measuring stick continues to show improved classroom performance by college athletes.

The most recent four-year APR average for Division I was 974, up one point over last year, NCAA officials said. Over a five-year period, men’s basketball has improved by 12 points, women’s track by 11, women’s basketball by seven and football by six.

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Not all the news was good. While men’s basketball and football have improved, they continue to lag behind other sports, officials said. Historically black colleges have been hit with a disproportionate number of penalties.

Each school calculates the APR based on eligibility, graduation and retention. Teams that do not meet a predetermined benchmark face penalties such as practice restrictions and postseason bans. The NCAA is moving toward a mandatory 930 score, which predicts a 50% graduation rate.

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UCLA, USC and Pepperdine teams scored well in the APR. Cal State Northridge, banned from postseason play in the past, was free of any penalties.

Eighteen teams — mostly smaller schools — face postseason bans in 2013-14.

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— David Wharton

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IndyCar fined Team Penske $35,000 and docked it 15 points after a post-race inspection turned up a problem on Helio Castroneves’ race-winning car at Texas.

Series officials said the No. 3 car didn’t comply with a rule requiring the “exit of the underwing height” to be 7.6 inches. Team Penske said it found after Saturday night’s race that the height was instead 7.575 inches because “we neglected to tighten the braces that position the rear of the diffuser following pre-race inspection.”


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