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Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
Media Day free-for-all kicks off Super Bowl frenzy
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Members of the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens felt the full force of Super Bowl week on Tuesday when they attended the annual Media Day crush where wacky questions are the norm. Viewed by some reporters as a sort of Christmas Day for journalists and by others as a torturous free-for-all, Media Day has come to kick off America's biggest sporting extravaganza.
Rangers hit back in win over Flyers
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Doping-Spanish doctor had clients in soccer and tennis
MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, accused of masterminding a doping ring in cycling, told a court on Tuesday he also had clients in other sports including soccer, tennis, athletics and boxing after finally taking the stand in a high-profile and much-delayed trial. Fuentes and four other defendants are appearing before a Madrid judge almost seven years after police seized anabolic steroids, transfusion equipment and blood bags as part of a investigation code-named "Operation Puerto".
Ravens' Lewis denies report linking him to banned substance
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Ray Lewis, dogged by various accusations over his brilliant NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens, dismissed a report on Tuesday that said he had used a product containing a banned substance. Holding court on a podium during Media Day for Sunday's Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers, the soon-to-be retired Lewis was asked about a Sports Illustrated article published online that linked him to a substance banned by the National Football League.
Ravens QB Flacco grows into leadership role
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - He is the "Cool Joe" that makes the Baltimore Ravens go, and in Sunday's Super Bowl quarterback Joe Flacco could take a giant step toward assuming the team's leadership role from retiring linebacker Ray Lewis. The strong-armed quarterback, quiet but brimming with confidence, lifted his game in the postseason, throwing eight touchdowns without an interception and earning consideration as one of the game's top quarterbacks.
Demoted Smith finds Super Bowl week a trying experience
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - While the key starters for the San Francisco 49ers sat on elevated podiums at the Super Bowl media day on Tuesday, quarterback Alex Smith stood among the reporters with the largely anonymous ranks of defense men and reserves. Smith, who led the team to six wins from their opening eight games this season, lost his starting spot after suffering a concussion in week nine against the St. Louis Rams.
Cuban baseball defector returns home under new law
HAVANA (Reuters) - A decade after he defected to the United States to play Major League Baseball, Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras has returned to his homeland in the first test of the island's liberalized travel laws. He was welcomed on Tuesday at Havana's Hot Corner, a mecca for baseball fans, by about 200 people who crowded around to get photos and autographs from the lanky right-hander.
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49ers' Kaepernick rises, without fear, to the ultimate test
NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick replaced Alex Smith after the starter went down with a concussion midway through the regular season the 25-year-old second-year signal caller did not flinch. Whether it be the three sacks suffered in his first game last November, a damaging interception returned for a touchdown in the playoffs against Green Bay, or erasing a 17-0 deficit in the NFC championship game, Kaepernick has taken everything the National Football League has thrown at him in stride.
WADA vs. UCI row escalates over truth and reconciliation
PARIS (Reuters) - The long-standing row between the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) took a farcical turn on Tuesday when WADA boss John Fahey denied having agreed to work with the UCI on a truth and reconciliation process. On Monday, the UCI said it was disbanding the Independent Commission investigating the Lance Armstrong drugs scandal in favor of a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC), a move which, it said, was supported by Fahey.