Around the Nation (March 3): Peyton Manning clears neck examination

Associated Press Published:

Associated Press

FOOTBALL

AP source: Peyton Manning passes neck examination

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- A person with knowledge of the results tells The Associated Press that Peyton Manning has passed his physical on his surgically repaired neck, clearing the way for him to play in 2014.

In what was considered the final formality for his return, Manning passed the exam as required by his contract that will pay him $20 million next season, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because results of medical checkups typically aren't announced.

Manning won his fifth MVP award in 2013, when he set single-season records by passing for 5,547 yards and 55 TDs while guiding the Broncos to their first Super Bowl in 15 seasons.

Bills choose not to franchise safety Jairus Byrd

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills have chosen not to use the franchise tag to retain safety Jairus Byrd, a decision that allows the three-time Pro Bowl player to become an unrestricted free agent.

The decision was announced by the team shortly before the NFL deadline to apply the tag arrived Monday And it came after the two sides were unable to negotiate a long-term contract.

Though the two sides can still talk, it's unlikely a deal will be reached before the league's free-agency period opens on March 11.

Negotiations reached a standstill last weekend after the Bills made Byrd what they regarded as a lucrative multi-year offer.

BASEBALL

Joe Namath calls Derek Jeter an 'angel'

TAMPA, Fla. -- Broadway Joe was filled with praise for Mr. November.

Joe Namath says Yankees captain Derek Jeter is an "angel" for his life on and off the field.

The quarterback was at New York's spring training game Monday against the Washington Nationals to threw the ceremonial first pitch. Wearing a Yankees No. 12 uniform, Namath took out the starting lineup before the game to the umpires.

Namath says "the scrutiny that he's had over the years, and I can't imagine how the guy could be an angel like this over the years. He's to be respected for every phase of his life it seems."

FOX adds Reynolds, Verducci to booth alongside Buck

NEW YORK -- Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci will join Joe Buck in the announcers' booth for Fox's Major League Baseball coverage this season.

Tim McCarver retired after the World Series as the network's top color commentator.

Reynolds had been a studio analyst for MLB Network since its launch at the start of 2009. He was fired by ESPN in 2006 after a decade with the network.

Verducci had served as a reporter for TBS's baseball playoff coverage since 2008 and worked previously for Fox and with Reynolds at MLB Network.

The trio will make their debut April 5 for a Giants-Dodgers game on Fox Sports 1.

TENNIS

Murray says back better after surgery

NEW YORK -- Wimbledon champion Andy Murray says he no longer feels the effects of September's back surgery.

Murray said Monday that last week's tournament in Acapulco was the first time since he returned that he could wake up the morning after a match feeling no discomfort. Murray was upset in the semifinals by Grigor Dimitrov on Friday, but he was encouraged that he felt good after playing four matches in four days, including three three-setters.

Murray faces friend and rival Novak Djokovic on Monday night in an exhibition at Madison Square Garden. Earlier, the Bryan brothers take on the McEnroe brothers in doubles.

Murray missed four months after the minor surgery to alleviate nagging pain. He lost to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals at the Australian Open.

BOXING

Former world champion Tarver arrested in Florida

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- A former world champion boxer was arrested in Florida on a warrant issued by Nevada authorities.

The Florida Highway Patrol arrested Antonio Tarver on Saturday night after a traffic stop.

Officials say the 45-year-old Tarver was arrested on a warrant failure to appear out of Clark County, Nevada. He is being held on $215,425 bail. Is unclear whether he has retained an attorney.

Jail records show that Tarver, who lives in the Tampa Bay area, was charged in Nevada with passing a worthless check.

His professional career includes 30 victories and six losses. He also won a bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics.

Tarver played a heavyweight boxer in the 2006 movie "Rocky Balboa" and has served as a commentator for Showtime Sports Boxing.

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