Favre will play next season
GREEN BAY, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Long-time Green Bay quarterback Brett Favre Monday said he would play again in 2003.
Favre hinted at retirement before the Packers' surprising 27-7 loss to Atlanta Saturday night in the NFC wild-card game, the first home-field setback in franchise history, and he stormed out of the stadium without talking to the media.
"As I said during the season, I have every intention of coming back and want to be back," Favre said Monday. "I see no reason why this team shouldn't compete for a Super Bowl next year, or why I shouldn't be a part of it. Hopefully, we'll leave it at that and next year you all can start asking me the same (retirement) questions again. In my opinion we have nothing but great things to look forward to here."
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported Friday that the Packers would take a $3.5 million salary cap hit if Favre retired, and the Packers would have to absorb about $9.3 million of his pro-rated signing bonus.
Favre still has eight years left on his current contract. He admits that he has been hampered by nagging injuries this season and that it is getting more difficult to bounce back.
Favre is a threat to win an unprecedented fourth MVP award. He was 325-of-518 (62.3 percent) for 3,486 yards, with 26 touchdowns and 15 interceptions this season. His quarterback rating in the NFC was No. 4.
In Saturday's loss, Favre was 20-of-42 for 247 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Duke remains No. 1 in Coaches' Poll
ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Unbeaten Duke, which thrashed Clemson in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener on Sunday, remained atop the latest College Coaches baskerball poll released Monday.
Duke (9-0) posted a pair of easy victories and received 28 first-place votes and 769 points from a panel of Division I coaches. The Blue Devils routed Fairfield by 28 on Thursday and kicked off conference play with an 18-point victory over Clemson.
Arizona, which posted three wins during the week, received two first-place votes and is second with 736 points. The Wildcats (9-1) were fourth last week.
Also moving up was Connecticut (9-0), which went from fifth to third after winning its only game of the week.
Alabama (10-1), which lost on the road to Utah but beat Xavier, fell from third to fourth and received a first-place vote.
Pittsburgh (10-1), which dropped from the second spot after a loss to Georgia, rounds out the top five.
Notre Dame (12-1), which faced Pittsburgh on Monday, Texas (9-2), Mississippi State (10-1), Oklahoma (8-2) and Oregon (10-2) round out the top 10. Oregon lost to Arizona on Thursday.
Illinois (10-1) is 11th, followed by Florida (11-2). Missouri (8-1), which won twice, including a victory over Iowa, jumped from 16th to 13th. Kansas (9-3) climbed from 17th to 14th after a pair of victories but will have to make do for a while without leading rebounder and second-leading scorer Wayne Simien, who dislocated his right shoulder in a rout of Missouri-Kansas City on Saturday.
Indiana (10-2) moved up three spots to 15th. Creighton (11-1), defending national champion Maryland (7-3), Wake Forest (9-0), Kentucky (9-3) and Michigan State (8-4) round out the top 20.
Texas Tech (9-1), Xavier (9-3), Marquette (8-3), Georgia (9-3) and Louisville (8-1) complete the top 25. Georgia and Louisville entered the rankings while North Carolina State and Louisiana State dropped out after losses.
Jordan NBA Player of Week
NEW YORK, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan's throwback effort on Friday earned him the nod as the NBA's Eastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday.
Jordan, who posted season highs with 41 points and 12 rebounds, was honored along with the Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki, who was named the top player in the Western Conference for the seven-day period ending Sunday.
Jordan recorded his first double-double of the season in the Washington Wizards' 107-104 win over the Indiana Pacers on Friday. He averaged 22.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game as the Wizards went 3-1 last week.
Nowitzki averaged a double-double - 29.7 points and 10.7 rebounds - over three games last week as Mavericks, went 2-1.
His best effort of the season came in a rare Dallas home loss, as he scored a career high-tying 40 points and added 14 rebounds, five assists and two steals in a 110-107 setback against Milwaukee on Monday.
15 finalists named for Hall of Fame
CANTON, Ohio, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The Pro Football Hall of Fame Monday put 15 finalists on its list for 2003.
Among the 15 is Marcus Allen, the first player in NFL history to rush for 10,000-plus yards and catch passes for 5,000 more. He is one of two first-time eligibles among the 15.
Seven previous finalists -- wide receivers Art Monk and James Lofton, quarterback Ken Stabler, guard Bob Kuechenberg, linebacker Harry Carson, cornerback Lester Hayes, and Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson -- qualified as finalists again this year.
Linebacker Randy Gradishar and former general manager George Young are among six that had been eligible for Hall of Fame election prior to this year but had not been finalists. The others are defensive ends Elvin Bethea and Claude Humphrey, guard Joe DeLamielleure, and coach Hank Stram, the recommended nominee of the Hall's Seniors Committee.
Tackle Gary Zimmerman joins Allen as the only first-time eligibles under consideration.
The modern era finalists were determined by a vote of the Hall's 39-member Board of Selectors. The Class of 2003 will be announced on Jan. 25, the day before Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego. A minimum of 80 percent of the voting is required for election.
Enshrinement of the Class of 2003 will take place at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton on Sunday, Aug. 3.
Allen, a six-time Pro Bowler, rushed for 12,243 yards, added 5,411 yards in receptions, and totaled 145 touchdowns in 16 years with the Los Angeles Raiders (1982-92) and Kansas City Chiefs (1993-97). He rushed for a career-high 1,759 yards in 1985 and was named the MVP of Super Bowl XVIII, rushing for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the Raiders' 38-9 rout of Washington.
Monk played 14 of his 16 seasons with the Washington Redskins, and ranks fifth all time with 940 receptions.
Lofton is third all time with 14,004 receiving yards on 764 receptions.
Stabler, a four-time Pro Bowler, played 10 of his 15 seasons with the Raiders. At the time of his retirement in 1984, his 59.9 career pass completion percentage was second to Hall of Famer Joe Montana.
Stram led Kansas City to a Super Bowl title, one other Super Bowl appearance, and three AFL championships.
Iowa State coach gets new contract
AMES, Iowa, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Dan McCarney, who coached Iowa State's football team to a third straight postseason game, has been given a new contract through 2010.
McCarney's previous contract ranked him near the bottom of the Big 12 Conference, where the median compensation is $1.078 million. He will earn an annual base salary of $925,000 through 2010.
Athletic Director Bruce Van De Velde said McCarney's compensation will be funded entirely without using state tax dollars. Iowa State's football revenue went from $9.1 million in 1999 to $14 million in 2002.
McCarney's 2000 team was the first at Iowa State to win nine games since 1906, the only other nine-win campaign in program history. The Cyclones ended the season with a win over Pittsburgh in the Insight.com Bowl, the school's first bowl victory.
Iowa State went to the Independence Bowl in 2001 and the Crucial.com Humanitarian Bowl this season, despite playing the toughest schedule in school history. The Cyclones played nine bowl teams with a combined record of 75-19.
The 2002 season ended with a 34-16 loss to Boise State, which dropped the Cyclones to 7-7. McCarney, who was an assistant under Hayden Fry at Iowa and Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin, is 36-57 in eight years at Iowa State.
McGahee has knee surgery
MIAMI, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- All-American running back Willis McGahee of Miami Sunday underwent surgery on his left knee.
McGahee, a Heisman Trophy finalist who helped the Hurricanes reach a second straight national championship game, tore three ligaments in the fourth quarter of Friday night's 31-24 double-overtime loss to Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
The procedure was performed by Miami team physician and orthopedic surgeon Dr. John Uribe at HealthSouth Doctors' Hospital in suburban Miami.
"The surgery went very well and Willis tolerated the procedure very well," Uribe said. "If nature does its job and his rehabilitation goes well, he should be able to make a full recovery."
No timetable was given for McGahee's return, but the injury and rehabilitation process definitely will put a hold on his football future. The rehab program will be lengthy, and he could miss part or all of next season. The 2003 campaign begins in just under eight months.
The 6-1, 224-pounder, a third-year sophomore who rushed for 1,686 yards and 27 touchdowns after beginning spring practice behind teammate Frank Gore on the depth chart, suffered his crippling injury less than 3 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter.
McGahee, who had to be carried off the field in obvious pain, did not return. It was later determined he had torn the ACL, the posterior cruciate, and the MCL.
Ironically, McGahee moved into the starting lineup when Gore suffered torn ligaments in spring practice.
"We're certainly devastated and disappointed about Willis' injury, but we know the kind of person he is and we're sure he'll come back from this," said Miami Coach Larry Coker. "The most important thing for Willis is to be healthy in life, not just for football."
The Miami Herald reported Monday morning that the injury was less serious than expected.
"It's not as serious as they thought it was going to be," McGahee's older half-brother, Eugene Poole, told the paper. "It was not reconstruction of the knee."
McGahee was held to 67 yards on 20 carries by OSU. He was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy this season, and had said on numerous occasions that he likely would declare for the NFL draft, thus foregoing his last two years of college eligibility.
McGahee also was a finalist for the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back.
Woods wins fourth consecutive award
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods on Monday was named Player of the Year for the fourth consecutive season, extending his own PGA Tour record.
In a vote of the member players, Woods took home the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as Player of the Year for the fifth time in the last six years. He is the only golfer to earn the honor more than twice.
Hale Irwin was honored for the Senior PGA Tour while Patrick Moore was lauded for the previously named Buy.com Tour. The circuits have changed to the Champions Tour and Nationwide Tour, respectively.
Also, Jonathan Byrd was named PGA Tour Rookie of the Year and Morris Hatalsky was honored as the top rookie on the Champions Tour. Gene Sauers and Hubert Green were named Comeback Players of the Year on their respective circuits.
Woods won five titles, including two major tournaments, and collected more than $6.9 million, taking home the Arnold Palmer Award as top money winner for the fourth straight season. That tied Tom Watson for the most in tour history.
In leading the tour with a 68.56 scoring average, Woods also won his fourth consecutive Byron Nelson Award. He also led the tour in greens in regulation and birdie average.
"It's always special to have the votes of the other players," said Woods, who turned 27 on Dec. 30. "I'm especially proud to have won this award (Player of the Year) four consecutive times."
Woods is skipping this week's season-opening Mercedes Championships in Hawaii after undergoing knee surgery.
Irwin won his third Jack Nicklaus Trophy after claiming four titles in 2002. He and Lee Trevino are the only players from the Champions Tour to win the honor three times.
The 57-year-old Irwin became the first player on the elder circuit to top $3 million in season earnings, breaking his own record with more than $3.028 million. He also collected his fourth Byron Nelson Trophy with a 68.93 scoring average.
Irwin won the second annual Charles Schwab Cup, which comes with a $1 million annuity.
Moore began the 2002 season with conditional status on the Nationwide Tour but won three times to a earn a promotion to the PGA Tour. He led the tour with $381,965 and a 69.86 scoring average.
Byrd won the Buick Challenge and nearly $1.5 million. Hatalsky began the season with no status but earned a win and almost $1.4 million.
More than 13 years after his last win, Sauers won the Air Canada Championship. Green went from 51st to 16th on the money list and won his fourth career Champions Tour title.
The 2003 Champions Tour season gets under way Jan. 31 in Hawaii with the Mastercard Championship. The Nationwide season stars Feb. 27 in Australia with the Jacob's Creek Open Championship.
Fick signs with Braves
ATLANTA, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Free agent catcher Robert Fick Monday signed a one-year contract with the Atlanta Braves.
MLB.com, the official Web site of Major League Baseball, reported that the signing occurred Sunday night, and said it will be worth $1 million.
Fick, who bats left-handed, led the American League in batting average for much of April last year while with the Detroit Tigers. He ended up hitting .325 for the month and then fought nagging shoulder discomfort the rest of the year.
Surgery repaired torn cartilage in his right shoulder, and doctors have said he will be ready for the start of spring training.
Fick hit .270 with 17 homers and 63 RBI last year. He has spent his entire career with Detroit and has never been part of a team that has finished higher than third in the AL Central.
The 6-1, 189-pounder has played catcher, first base, and right field. Despite playing the outfield on a regular basis for the first time last year, he produced a Major League-best 21 assists.
For his career, Fick has batted .268 with 45 home runs and 163 RBI in 1,183 at-bats and 360 games.
Four seeds advance at Sydney
SYDNEY, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Juan Carlos Ferrero Monday won his first round match at adidas international tennis harcourt event.
He beat Australian qualifier Jaymon Crabb, 5-7, 7-5, 6-3.
Ferrero, whose greatest success has come on clay courts, won a title on clay at Monte Carlo and reached the final at the French Open in 2002. He reached the final on clay at the Generali Open, but also won his second career hardcourt title at Hong Kong last September.
The Spaniard lost to world. No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the season-ending Tennis Masters Cup, which also was played on hard courts.
"It was my first match of the year and I need some rhythm," said Ferrero. "There were a lot of rallies and I played a good, solid match. On hard courts, I think you need to be more aggressive and hit more winners. Reaching the finals of the Tennis Masters Cup Shanghai has given me a lot of confidence on hard courts."
The eighth seed, Gaston Gaudio of Argentina, also moved into the second round, posting a 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 7-5 victory over Todd Reid of Australia.
In matches involving unseeded players, Jarkko Nieminen of Finland recorded a 6-0, 3-6, 7-5 win over Peter Luczak of Australia, and Wayne Ferreira of South Africa beat Sweden's Thomas Enqvist, 6-2, 6-4.
On the women's side, eighth-seeded Magdaleena Maleeva of Bulgaria made her 2003 debut with a 3-6, 7-5, 6-0 victory over Silvia Farina-Elia of Italy. Maleeva improved to 4-3 lifetime against Farina-Elia.
No. 5 Anastasia Myskina of Russia was upset by countrywoman Elena Bovina, 6-3, 7-5. Bovina will face qualifier Olga Barabanschikova of Belarus. She upset Conchita Martinez of Spain, 6-2, 2-6, 6-4.
Wild card Tamarine Tanasugarn of Thailand also advanced with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Czech qualifier Klara Koukalova.
The $932,000 event is a tune up for the Australian Open, which begins Jan. 13.