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UPI NewsTrack Sports

March 4, 2013 at 5:15 PM   |   Comments

Flacco signs NFL's richest contract

OWINGS MILLS, Md., March 4 (UPI) -- Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco signed a new contract Monday, making him the highest-paid player in NFL history.

The agreement is reportedly for six years and worth $120.6 million, nearly half of which is guaranteed.

"It's not really about the money," Flacco, 28, said at a news conference. "It's about the respect."

Flacco, who was drafted by the Ravens in 2008, was in the final year of his rookie contract as he helped Baltimore to a 34-31 win over San Francisco last month in Super Bowl XLVII. He was voted the game's Most Valuable Player.

The 28-year-old quarterback has started all 80 regular-season games the last five seasons, passing for 17,633 yards and 102 touchdowns against 56 interceptions. The Ravens have advanced to the playoffs in each of Flacco's seasons.

Flacco's new deal, which includes a $29 million signing bonus, tops the $100 million contract signed by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees.


Gonzaga takes No. 1 in coaches' poll

MCLEAN, Va., March 4 (UPI) -- Gonzaga is the No. 1 team in the USA Today Coaches' basketball poll for the first time in school history.

The Bulldogs (29-2) become the fifth team this season to reach the top of the poll, which has had a different No. 1 in eight of the last nine weeks. Gonzaga claims 29 of the 31 first-place mentions and two others for second,

Indiana (25-4) had its third turn at No. 1 ended after two weeks.

Gonzaga joins a list that includes Indiana (three times), Duke (twice), Kansas and Louisville as claiming the No. 1 ranking for at least one week this season.

While the Hoosiers fall to No. 2, third-ranked Kansas (25-4) rises two spots in getting a first-place mention. Duke (25-4) drops one place to fourth and rapidly rising Georgetown (23-4) goes from eighth to No. 5 this week.

Louisville (24-6), which takes the other first-place vote, is sixth with Miami (Fla.) keeping the No. 7 spot. Michigan (24-5) is down four places to eighth while Florida is down to No. 9 and Kansas State (24-5) goes from 13th to 10th this week.

New Mexico (25-4) also improves three places, moving to 11th while Michigan State (22-7) is down two to No. 12 and Ohio State (21-7) is up two to 13th. Oklahoma State (22-6) and St. Louis (23-5), both moving up four, are 14th and 15th, respectively.

Syracuse (22-7) falls four rungs to No. 16 but Marquette improves five to 17th. Arizona (23-6) has the biggest drop of the week, going from 11th to No. 18. Virginia Commonwealth (23-6) jumps six places to 19th. Memphis (25-4) takes the No. 20 position.

Wisconsin (20-9) comes in 21st and Pittsburgh (23-7) re-enters the Top 25 at No. 22. St. Mary's (Calif.) (26-5) is again 23rd with Notre Dame (22-7) and Oregon (23-6), unranked a week ago, in the 24th and 25th places.


Hingis Voted into Tennis Hall of Fame

NEWPORT, R.I., March 4 (UPI) -- Martina Hingis, who won five Grand Slam titles and was ranked No. 1 for 209 weeks, has been selected for induction into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Hingis, 32, retired in 2007 after a career in which she won 43 WTA titles. She won the Australian Open three consecutive years from 1997-99 and took Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 1997. She was a finalist at the French Open in 1997 and '99.

She also won nine women's doubles major tournaments and one title in mixed doubles.

Hingis is one of the handful of player to have been ranked No. 1 in singles and doubles at the same time. Her 209 weeks at No. 1 singles is fourth most all-time

"Being inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame is tremendous honor," Hingis said. "It is truly a privilege to be part of such an exclusive group of tennis icons. I am looking forward to the enshrinement weekend in Newport [R.I.] and to being welcomed in by the other Hall of Famers."

The International Tennis Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are scheduled for July 13 in Newport.


First-time winners jump in golf rankings

VIRGINIA WATER, England, March 4 (UPI) -- Michael Thompson and Dawie van der Walt notched their first major-tour golf tour titles and made large gains in the men's world rankings.

Thompson picked up his first PGA title by winning the Honda Classic in Florida. That moves him to No. 45 in the rankings. Van der Walt won the European Tour's Tshwane Open in South Africa and is up more than 200 places to No. 223.

There was only one change in the Top 10 this week, with Justin Rose moving past Louis Oosthuizen for fifth in the rankings, pushing Oosthuizen to No. 6.

Rory McIlroy, after a controversial walk off the course Friday, marks his 37th week overall as the world No. 1-ranked golfer. His ranking points average is 11.45.

Tiger Woods, who owns the record with 623 weeks atop the golf rankings, is second at 8.75. Luke Donald's average of 7.20 is third highest while Brandt Snedeker (6.65) is fourth.

Rose has an average of 6.44 and Oosthuizen is No. 6 at 6.27.

Adam Scott comes in seventh with 5.60 with, in order, Matt Kuchar (5.47), Lee Westwood (5.40) and Ian Poulter (5.25) completing the Top 10.

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