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      === News Summaries from The Sports Network - Wednesday, March 4 ===
 
 
                === Peyton Manning to return, taking pay cut ===
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Peyton Manning will play an 18th NFL season on a reduced
 salary in 2015, agreeing to a $4 million cut with the Denver Broncos.
 
 ESPN  first reported the  news that Manning will have his pay slashed from $19
 million  to $15 million next season, with the Denver Post confirming the news.
 The  Broncos are  expected  to  make an  official  announcement Thursday  once
 Manning takes and passes a physical exam.
 
 According to NFL.com, the five-time NFL MVP can still earn the $4 million back
 in incentives.
 
 Manning  is entering the fourth season of a five-year, $95 million contract he
 signed  with the  Broncos in  March of  2012. The  soon-to-be 39-year-old  has
 started  every game  during his tenure with  the club and led Denver to an AFC
 championship in 2013, though his struggles near the end of last season and the
 Broncos' plans to make changes on offense under new head coach Gary Kubiak led
 to speculation that Manning would consider not returning.
 
 It  marks the  first time in Manning's  storied career that he has agreed to a
 pay cut.
 
 The  team is  budgeting  $12.823  million to  account  for  the franchise  tag
 designated Monday for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Tight end Julius Thomas,
 defensive  tackle Terrance Knighton and offensive lineman Orlando Franklin are
 set to hit the market.
 
 Manning  finished second  in the NFL with 39 touchdown passes this past season
 after  throwing  for a league-record 55  in 2013. The NFL's all-time leader in
 that  category  finished last year's  campaign with  4,727 passing yards and a
 101.5 quarterback rating.
 
 
                       === Eagles release Trent Cole ===
 
 Philadelphia,  PA (SportsNetwork.com)  -  The  Philadelphia Eagles  officially
 released veteran pass-rusher Trent Cole on Wednesday.
 
 Cole's  release  comes one day  after reports surfaced  that the Eagles have a
 deal in place to trade former NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo
 Bills for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
 
 In the past two weeks, the Eagles have parted ways with tight end James Casey,
 guard Todd Herremans, cornerback Cary Williams and now Cole.
 
 Cole,  32,  carried cap figures  of $11.625 million  in 2015, $12.6 million in
 2016  and $14 million  in 2017 as part of the four-year extension he signed in
 March  of 2012. He  had base salaries of $10 million in 2015, $10.9 million in
 2016 and $13.9 million in the final year.
 
 "We  spoke with Trent  and his agent and expressed a desire to have him back,"
 said  Eagles  coach Chip Kelly.  "We have been talking  for a couple of weeks.
 However,  at this  point, we think it's  best to let him explore other options
 around the NFL."
 
 A  two-time Pro Bowl selection, Cole recorded 569 tackles, 85 1/2 sacks and 19
 forced  fumbles  in 10  seasons with  Philadelphia, which  selected him in the
 fifth  round  of the  2005 draft. He  ranks second in  Eagles history in sacks
 behind Reggie White (124).
 
 Cole,  who played eight seasons in a 4-3 defensive scheme, played his past two
 seasons  with the Eagles in the 3-4. The Cincinnati product had 52 tackles and
 6 1/2 sacks in 2014.
 
 
                  === RB Thomas says goodbye to Saints ===
 
 (SportsNetwork.com)  - Veteran running back Pierre Thomas is saying goodbye to
 the New Orleans Saints.
 
 "As  the  saying goes, all  good things must  come to an  end but I'm not done
 yet," said part of a message Thomas posted to his Instagram account Wednesday.
 
 The  statement,  which thanked the  Saints and  their fans, came amid multiple
 reports that the team is going to release Thomas after eight seasons.
 
 Thomas,  30, carried  the ball 818 times  for 3,745 yards and 28 touchdowns in
 105  games for the  Saints after they signed him as an undrafted free agent in
 2007. He caught 327 passes for 2,608 yards and 12 scores.
 
 
                  === Bills to acquire Cassel from Vikings ===
 
 Orchard  Park, NY  (SportsNetwork.com) - The Buffalo Bills announced Wednesday
 that  they  have a deal  in place to acquire  quarterback Matt Cassel from the
 Minnesota Vikings.
 
 However, there appears to be confusion on the exact terms of the trade.
 
 The  Bills  said they will acquire  the 32-year-old veteran and an undisclosed
 draft  pick  in exchange for two  undisclosed draft choices. Minnesota, on the
 other hand, said it is dealing Cassel for an undisclosed draft pick.
 
 Regardless  of the  terms,  the trade  cannot become  official  until the  new
 league year begins at 4 p.m. ET next Tuesday.
 
 The  news  comes a day after  the Bills reportedly  agreed to a trade with the
 Philadelphia Eagles for former NFL rushing champion LeSean McCoy.
 
 Cassel started the Vikings' first three games this past season before breaking
 several  bones in his left foot against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 21. He
 was placed on injured reserve three days later.
 
 The  USC product has  completed 59 percent of his passes for 15,727 yards with
 96  touchdowns and  70 interceptions during his 10-year career. He has started
 71 games for New England, Kansas City and Minnesota since 2008.
 
 
                         === Texans release C Myers ===
 
 Houston,  TX (SportsNetwork.com)  - The Houston Texans released veteran center
 Chris Myers on Wednesday.
 
 Myers,  who was acquired by the Texans through a trade with the Denver Broncos
 in March of 2008, started all 112 games he appeared in for the Texans.
 
 The  33-year-old  Myers had  been due  $6 million  in the  final season of his
 contract. He carried a $8 million salary-cap hit.
 
 "Chris  has been a mainstay on our offensive line for the past seven seasons,"
 said  Texans general  manager Rick Smith. "He has been a consummate pro during
 his  time here in  Houston. Chris, his wife, Jenny, and his entire family have
 represented   our  organization  in  the  Houston  community  with  class.  We
 appreciate  his contributions  and  wish  him the  best  as  he continues  his
 career."
 
 A  sixth-round  pick of  Denver in  2005, Myers  has played  in 153 games (128
 starts)  in his  10 NFL seasons. He holds the NFL's longest active consecutive
 games  played streak  for an offensive linemen (153) and consecutive starts at
 center (128).
 
 
                      === Cowboys sign LB Keith Rivers ===
 
 Irving,  TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Cowboys signed veteran linebacker
 Keith Rivers to a one-year contract on Wednesday.
 
 Rivers  was cut by  the Buffalo Bills last month after signing a two-year deal
 worth $5 million with the club in 2014. He made just three starts and recorded
 16 tackles over 12 games last season.
 
 The  former Cincinnati  first-round pick has started 50 times over six seasons
 with  the  Bengals, Giants and  Bills. Rivers  has compiled 291 tackles, three
 sacks and two interceptions for his career.
 
 
                    === Tigers release injured Hanrahan ===
 
 Lakeland,  FL  (SportsNetwork.com) - The  Detroit Tigers have released pitcher
 Joel Hanrahan, who will undergo a second Tommy John procedure in less than two
 years.
 
 Hanrahan  signed  with the  Tigers last  May while he  was recovering from the
 elbow reconstruction surgery performed in May 2013, but the right-hander never
 appeared  in a game  for Detroit. He had soreness in the elbow during throwing
 sessions last summer and again last month.
 
 After  further  exams, it  was determined  he needed  another operation on the
 elbow. It has been scheduled for March 18 in Texas.
 
 Hanrahan  signed  with the Boston  Red Sox  as a free  agent in 2013 after two
 solid seasons as a closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He converted 76 saves in
 84  opportunities  during the  2011 and 2012  seasons with Pittsburgh, earning
 All-Star nods each year.
 
 However,  he  struggled in  his short  time in Boston,  appearing in just nine
 games  while  posting a record  of 0-1  with four saves  and a 9.82 ERA before
 being diagnosed with the torn ulnar collateral ligament.
 
 Hanrahan  owns a  career record of 22-18 with  100 saves and a 3.85 ERA in 362
 games,  all but  11 as  a reliever,  during a  seven-year career  with Boston,
 Pittsburgh and Washington.
 
 
         === Pirates' Cole, 20 others reach deals on 2015 contracts ===
 
 Bradenton, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to contracts
 for the 2015 season with Gerrit Cole and 20 other players on Wednesday.
 
 Cole,  the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, was limited to 22 starts last
 season  because  of two  stints on  the disabled  list. The 24-year-old right-
 hander finished with an 11-5 record and a 3.65 ERA.
 
 Lefty  Jeff  Locke,  young  outfielder Gregory  Polanco  and  infielder  Jordy
 Mercer were among the other notable players to sign.
 
 Locke,  27, was 7-6  with a 3.91 ERA in 21 starts last season after earning an
 All-Star nod in 2013.
 
 The  23-year-old  Polanco made his MLB  debut in 2014, batting .235 with seven
 home runs and 33 RBI in 89 games.
 
 Mercer, 28, hit .255 with 12 homers and 55 RBI in 149 games last season.
 
 
                    === Ray Allen to sit this season out ===
 
 Arlington, VA (SportsNetwork.com) - Ray Allen announced Wednesday that he will
 not  play in the NBA this season and will instead spend the next couple months
 contemplating his future.
 
 "Over  the past several  months, I have taken a lot of time to deliberate what
 is  best  for me,"  Allen said in  a statement released  through his agent Jim
 Tanner.  "I've  ultimately decided that  I will not  play this NBA season. I'm
 going  to  take the  remainder of  this season,  as well  as the upcoming off-
 season, to reassess my situation, spend time with my family and determine if I
 will play in the 2015-16 season."
 
 The  39-year-old guard  had  drawn  strong interest  from  numerous teams.  He
 averaged 9.6 points and shot 38 percent from 3-point range in 73 games for the
 Miami Heat last season.
 
 Allen  holds  the league's  all-time record  for most  3-pointers made and has
 averaged 18.9 points per game during his 18-year career.
 
 
              === Magic's Marble out 4-6 weeks with eye injury ===
 
 Orlando,  FL (SportsNetwork.com)  - Orlando Magic rookie guard Devyn Marble is
 expected  to be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks with a detached retina in his left eye,
 the team announced Wednesday.
 
 Marble  has averaged  2.3 points and 1.9  rebounds in 16 games this season for
 the  Magic. He also averaged 13 points and 5.2 rebounds in six games with Erie
 of the NBA Development League.
 
 The  Iowa  product was selected  by Denver in the  second round of last year's
 draft. The Magic acquired his rights in exchange for Aaron Afflalo on June 26.
 
 
                === Raptors rest Lowry for 3rd straight game ===
 
 Toronto,  ON (SportsNetwork.com)  - Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was
 given a third consecutive game off to rest.
 
 The  Raptors said  Lowry would sit out Wednesday night against Cleveland after
 missing games against New York and Philadelphia.
 
 He  has  struggled, averaging just  11.6 points and  4.8 assists in five games
 since making his All-Star debut last month.
 
 
            === Pelicans sign Elliot Williams to 10-day contract ===
 
 New  Orleans,  LA (SportsNetwork.com) -  The New Orleans Pelicans signed guard
 Elliot Williams to a 10-day contract on Wednesday.
 
 Williams  was averaging  21.8 points, 7.6 assists and 4.5 rebounds in 25 games
 for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League.
 
 A  first-round  pick of the Portland  Trail Blazers in 2010, Williams averaged
 3.6 points in five games for the Utah Jazz earlier this season.
 
 
              === James, Westbrook named Players of the Month ===
 
 New  York,  NY (SportsNetwork.com)  - LeBron James  and Russell Westbrook were
 named Wednesday as the NBA Players of the Month for February.
 
 James  averaged 24.4 points,  6.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists in 10 games for the
 Cleveland Cavaliers, helping them post an 8-3 record in the month.
 
 Westbrook  finished  the month with three consecutive triple-doubles, becoming
 the first player since James in March 2009 to get three in a row.
 
 He  averaged  31.2 points, 9.1  rebounds and 10.3 assists  in 12 games for the
 Oklahoma  City  Thunder, who went  9-3. He joined  Oscar Robertson as the only
 players  in NBA  history to put up  a 31-9-10 line in one calendar month while
 playing at least 10 games.
 
 
               === Wiggins, Smart named Rookies of the Month ===
 
 New  York, NY  (SportsNetwork.com) -  Guards Andrew  Wiggins of  the Minnesota
 Timberwolves  and  Marcus Smart of the  Boston Celtics were named Wednesday as
 the Rookies of the Month for February.
 
 Wiggins,  the  No. 1 overall draft  pick, won the Western Conference honor for
 the  fourth  consecutive month  after averaging 16.8  points, 4.8 rebounds and
 38.7 minutes in 11 games during February.
 
 Smart  won the  Eastern Conference award for the first time behind averages of
 9.8 points, 4.3 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 32.6 minutes over 11 games.
 
 
                      === Ducks' Jackman out 4-6 weeks ===
 
 Anaheim,  CA  (SportsNetwork.com) - Anaheim  Ducks forward Tim Jackman will be
 sidelined 4-to-6 weeks with a lower-body injury, the team announced Wednesday.
 
 Jackman,  who  signed a  one-year contract extension  last month, suffered the
 injury during Sunday's 3-1 win at Dallas.
 
 The  33-year-old  enforcer has  five goals  and two  assists while leading the
 Ducks with 84 penalty minutes in 53 games this season.
 
 
            === Panthers, after dressing coach, recall 2 goalies ===
 
 Sunrise,  FL (SportsNetwork.com)  - The  Florida Panthers  recalled two  minor
 league  goaltenders  on Wednesday,  one day  after both  Roberto Luongo and Al
 Montoya were injured in a game against Toronto.
 
 The  Panthers called up Dan Ellis from San Antonio of the AHL and Sam Brittain
 from Cincinnati of the ECHL.
 
 Luongo  suffered an  undisclosed upper-body injury after taking a shot off his
 shoulder late in the first period and didn't return to the ice for the second.
 
 Later,  chaos  reigned after Montoya  went down  with a lower-body injury less
 than  a minute  into the  third. Play  was stopped  twice to  see if  he could
 continue.
 
 Eventually,  Panthers goaltending coach Rob Tallas put on a uniform and took a
 seat  on the bench  under the NHL rule that allows teams to dress any eligible
 player  in  a goaltender emergency.  But Luongo  changed back into his uniform
 from street clothes to relieve Montoya and finish the game, which the Panthers
 lost 3-2.
 
 The  well-traveled Ellis, 34, has appeared in 204 career NHL games for Dallas,
 Nashville,  Tampa Bay,  Anaheim, Carolina and Florida. Brittain, 22, has never
 played in an NHL game.
 
 
               === Ivanovic, Errani advance to Monterrey QFs ===
 
 Monterrey,  Mexico (SportsNetwork.com)  -  Top-seeded Anna  Ivanovic and  Sara
 Errani were a pair of second-round winners Wednesday at the Monterrey Open.
 
 Ivanovic,  the reigning  champion at this tournament, topped French challenger
 Pauline  Parmentier  6-3, 6-2 to set  up a meeting with Kristina Mladenovic in
 the quarterfinals.
 
 Second-seeded  Errani cruised past Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 6-3, 6-3 on
 the hardcourts of the Sierra Madre Tennis Club.
 
 Mladenovic  defeated  Russian Vera  Zvonareva  6-4,  6-2 in  her  second-round
 matchup.  Zvonareva was  coming off a first-round upset of sixth-seeded Alison
 Riske.
 
 Eighth-seeded  Slovak Magdalena  Rybarikova prevailed  over Slovenia's  Polona
 Hercog  in a marathon  match that lasted over 2 1/2 hours. Rybarikova earned a
 7-5,  3-6,  7-6 (11-9) decision to  reach the quarterfinals at Monterrey for a
 second straight year.
 
 This year's champ will earn $111,389.
 
 
                === Gajdosova, Nara advance in Kuala Lumpur ===
 
 Kuala  Lumpur,  Malaysia (SportsNetwork.com)  - Jarmila Gajdosova of Australia
 and  Japan's Kurumi  Nara were among the second-round winners Wednesday at the
 Malaysian Open tennis event.
 
 The  fourth-seeded Gajdosova battled through a tough first set and pulled away
 in the second for a 7-5, 6-2 win over Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum and will next
 play Nara in the quarterfinals.
 
 Nara, seeded sixth this week, needed more than three hours to eliminate Polish
 qualifier Magda Linette, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6).
 
 Eighth-seeded  Julia Goerges  of Germany cruised into the quarters with a 6-1,
 6-2  rout  of Kateryna  Kozlova of  Ukraine. Goerges  will next meet Romania's
 Alexandra  Dulgheru,  who followed  her upset  of second-seeded Sabine Lisicki
 with a 6-4, 6-1 triumph over China's Duan Ying-Ying.
 
 Russian  qualifier Elizaveta Kulichkova also moved into the quarterfinals with
 a 6-0, 6-2 pounding of Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva.
 
 The  remaining  second-round  matches  will take  place  Thursday.  Top-seeded
 Caroline Wozniacki highlights the action against China's Zhu Lin.
 
 This week's champion will collect $43,000.
 
 
                  === Love named Presidents Cup assistant ===
 
 Miami,  FL  (SportsNetwork.com) -  United States captain  Jay Haas named Davis
 Love  III as  one of his captain's  assistants for the 2015 Presidents Cup, it
 was announced on Wednesday.
 
 Love  was named  U.S. Ryder Cup captain  for a second time last week, but this
 will   also   mark  his  second  stint   as  an  assistant  for  the  American
 Presidents  Cup team.  He  was  one of  Fred  Couples'  assistant captains  at
 Muirfield Village in 2013.
 
 Couples  was  already selected  by  Haas  as  a  vice-captain for  the  event,
 scheduled  for Oct.  6-11 at the Jack  Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Songdo IBD,
 Incheon City, South Korea.
 
 "I'm  ready to  help  Jay  and the  team  as  much as  I  can  as a  captain's
 assistant,"  Love said.  "Jay and I were successful as assistants for the last
 Presidents Cup in 2013, and I am very excited to join him and the U.S. team in
 South  Korea this fall. I love being in the team room and positively impacting
 the U.S. side anyway I can."
 
 International  captain  Nick Price  tabbed Mark McNulty  and Tony Johnstone as
 assistants  to go  along  with  the previously-named  K.J.  Choi. McNulty  and
 Johnstone were assistants under Price in 2013.
 
 The U.S. team has won the last five editions of the Presidents Cup.
 
 
              === BMW Championship headed to Aronimink in 2018 ===
 
 (SportsNetwork.com)  -  The 2018 BMW  Championship will be played at Aronimink
 Golf  Club in  Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, tournament officials announced on
 Wednesday.
 
 The  BMW  Championship is the penultimate  event of the FedExCup playoffs. The
 top 70 players on the FedExCup points list qualify for the tournament.
 
 "The  BMW Championship has had wonderful success with its rotation to date and
 Aronimink  Golf  Club will continue the  trend in 2018," PGA Tour Commissioner
 Tim Finchem said in a statement.
 
 "Philadelphia is one of America's great sports cities, and thanks to the great
 community support we anticipate the tournament receiving, the BMW Championship
 will  continue  to be able  to raise significant  funds for the Evans Scholars
 Foundation."
 
 Aronimink  previously hosted  the 2010 and 2011 AT&T National, now the Quicken
 Loans  National.  The course also has  hosted the PGA Championship, Senior PGA
 Championship and U.S. Amateur.
 
 "We  look  forward to bringing  a major  world-class event to Aronimink," said
 Aronimink  president Steven Zodtner. "Our membership and the Philadelphia golf
 community  are  excited to partner  with the  Western Golf Association, BMW of
 North America and the PGA Tour to showcase our championship golf course and to
 return professional golf to our region."
 
 The   BMW  Championship,  formerly  the  Western  Open,  was  last  played  in
 Pennsylvania in 1959, when the Pittsburgh Field Club hosted the tournament.
 
 This  year's BMW Championship will be played at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake
 Forest,  Illinois. Billy  Horschel won  the title  last year  at Cherry  Hills
 Country Club on Colorado.
 
 
                  === MLS, players' union agree to new CBA ===
 
 Washington,  DC (SportsNetwork.com)  - Major  League Soccer  and its  players'
 union  agreed  to terms in principle  on a new collective bargaining agreement
 which  will  run through  the  2019  season,  the league  announced  Wednesday
 evening.
 
 With the deal in place, the league will avoid its first-ever work stoppage and
 kick  off  its 20th season  on Friday when  the defending champion Los Angeles
 Galaxy host the Chicago Fire at the StubHub Center.
 
 "We  are  pleased to  finalize the  framework for  a new Collective Bargaining
 Agreement  with our  players," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "We now enter
 our  20th season  with enormous momentum with our new television partnerships,
 dynamic  star  players from the  US, Canada and  abroad, and two new expansion
 teams  in  New York  City and  Orlando that will  debut in  front of more than
 60,000  fans on  Sunday in  the  Citrus Bowl.  This agreement  will provide  a
 platform  for  our players, ownership and  management to work together to help
 build Major League Soccer into one of the great soccer leagues in the world."
 
 Heading  into  the negotiations, the big  sticking points for the players were
 trying  to secure some form of free agency, as well an increase in the minimum
 salary.
 
 According  to initial  reports, the league's first offer regarding free agency
 was to allow a player to pick his next team as long as he had accrued 10 years
 in the league and was at least 32 years of age.
 
 The  deal, according to a report from the Orlando Sentinel, grants free agency
 to  players  that are  at least  28 years old  with eight  years of service. A
 player's raise in free agency is capped based on salary.
 
 The  new deal  also includes a minimum  salary increase to $60,000 per year, a
 substantial mark-up from the 2014 minimum salary of $36,500.
 
 "We  are pleased  to announce that we have reached a new Collective Bargaining
 Agreement  with  the league,"  said Bob  Foose, Executive  Director of the MLS
 Players  Union. "We are pleased to finally turn our fans attention back to our
 players  and the  competition on  the  field as  we  get started  on the  2015
 season."
 
 In  addition  to  Friday's  opening  match,  the  2015  season  will  see  the
 introduction of two new expansion teams: Orlando City Soccer Club and New York
 City  Football  Club. The two  new clubs will  open their seasons against each
 other on Sunday at the Citrus Bowl.
 
 Other  notable opening-weekend  matches  include the  MLS  Cup runners-up  New
 England Revolution traveling to CenturyLink Field to face Seattle Sounders FC,
 while the New York Red Bulls will face Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park.
 
 
          === Owners of Bombers' stadium suing architect, builder ===
 
 Winnipeg,  MB  (SportsNetwork.com) -  The owner of  Investors Group Field, the
 home  of the  Winnipeg  Blue Bombers,  filed a  Statement  of Claim  Wednesday
 against the stadium's architect and builder.
 
 According  to the  Winnipeg Free Press, Triple B Stadium Inc. is suing Raymond
 S.C.  Wan  Architect Inc.  and Stuart Olson  Construction Ltd. for purportedly
 paying  inadequate  attention to  water drainage and  insulation needs for the
 stadium, which opened in May 2013.
 
 "While  we are extremely disappointed that we have had to deal with continuous
 and  ongoing  issues since  we became  the primary tenant  in 2013, we believe
 today  is an important step forward in attempting to have them resolved," Blue
 Bombers president and CEO Wade Miller said in a statement.
 
 The  paper  reported that  Triple B  Stadium has  spent $4.7 million repairing
 cracks and luxury suites damaged by melting snow since 2014.
 
 03/04 23:55:02 ET

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