NFL playoffs set to begin
PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The NFL playoffs begin today with a pair of games that are rematches from contests that took place last week.
Tampa Bay will visit Philadelphia to open the march to the Super Bowl and Oakland will host the New York Jets in an evening encounter.
There have been persistent reports that Dungy will be fired if the Bucs do not win Saturday and the St. Petersburg Times published a story Friday that said signs pointed to Parcells being ready to take over.
Carrying the label as a perennial underachieving team, the Bucs are in the playoffs for the fourth time in five years under Dungy. Tampa Bay is 0-3 on the road in the postseason under Dungy.
Philadelphia defeated Tampa Bay last Sunday in Tampa, 17-13, with both sides resting many of their key players.
That was not the case in Oakland, however, where the Jets had to win to make the playoffs. They did so on a 53-yard field goal by John Hall with 59 seconds remaining. The loss cost the Raiders a first-round bye.
On Sunday, Green Bay will host San Francisco and the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens will be at Miami.
Grossman staying at Florida
Friday was the deadline for underclassmen to enter the NFL Draft, but the sophomore quarterback made the biggest news on the final day with his decision to stay and play for new Gators Coach Ron Zook.
Grossman's decision to remain for his junior season became even more vital when backup quarterback Brock Berlin announced Thursday night he was transferring to Miami, where he must sit out a year.
Grossman made his announcement at a news conference along with Gators junior Taylor Jacobs, who returns as the top receiver with the departure of Gaffney and Caldwell.
Grossman threw for 3,896 yards and 34 touchdowns this season and was the Heisman runner-up to Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch. After being benched for the start of the Orange Bowl for missing curfew, Grossman played just 2 1/2 quarters yet still threw four touchdowns in a 56-23 rout of Maryland.
Jacobs was named Most Valuable Player in the Orange Bowl, catching 10 passes for 170 yards. He finished with 38 receptions for 712 yards.
Tennessee receiver Kelley Washington announced Friday that he will remain in school.
Washington, who came to Tennessee as a walk-on after four years of minor league baseball, caught 64 passes for 1,010 yards and five touchdowns this past season, including a school-record 256 receiving yards in a win over LSU.
Middle Tennessee star running back Dwone Hicks, who was second nationally in scoring, also announced Friday he will return for his senior season.
Hicks was the Sun Belt Conference offensive player of the year in 2001 after rushing for 1,143 yards and a school record 148 points.
Hockey dad fuond guilty
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- A jury Friday convicted a hockey dad of involuntary manslaughter for beating another parent to death in a rage stemming from a dispute over rough play in a practice youth ice hockey game involving their sons.
The jury deliberated about 14 hours over two days before finding Thomas Junta, 44, of Reading, Mass., guilty in the death two years ago of Michael Costin, 40, of Lynnfield, Mass.
With Junta's family and friends in tears in the Cambridge, Mass., courtroom, the burly truck driver was ordered held pending sentencing Jan. 25. He could be sentenced to as much as 20 years, but most likely will get less because the verdict was guilty of involuntary rather than voluntary manslaughter.
Junta stood with his head down as the verdict was read.
The two men had engaged in a fistfight on July 5, 2000, after Junta accused Costin of failing to control hitting, fighting and slashing in what was supposed to be a non-contact ice hockey scrimmage at the Burbank Ice Arena in Reading.
Costin died of head injuries suffered in the brawl.
The Middlesex Superior Court jury of nine women and three men rejected Junta's contention he was acting only in self-defense when he repeatedly punched Costin, causing fatal injuries.
The trial attracted national attention because it involved the growing problem of adults acting out violently at youth sports events. It was believed to be the first such parental sports-rage case that resulted in death.
Timberwolves down Lakers for seventh straight win
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Wally Szczerbiak scored 34 points and Kevin Garnett added 32 Friday night as the Minnesota Timberwolves downed the Los Angeles Lakers, 120-102, for their seventh straight victory.
Minnesota nearly became the ninth team in NBA history to make 30 or more free throws in a game without a miss. The Timberwolves finished 30 of 32 from the line after Anthony Peeler missed a pair with 1:28 remaining.
Minnesota improved to 26-9, matching the Lakers and Sacramento Kings for the most wins in the NBA. It moved past San Antonio into first place in the Midwest Division.
Other NBA results: Indiana 97, Chicago 90; Philadelphia 101, San Antonio 84; Toronto 94, Atlanta 91 in overtime; Boston 104, Detroit 90; Charlotte 92, Los Angeles Clippers 91 in overtime; Portland 92, Orlando 84; Milwaukee 105, Washington 86.
Maple Leafs tie with Capitals
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Tomas Kaberle recorded his second career two-goal game Friday night, but Olaf Kolzig turned aside 29 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals battled to a 3-3 tie.
Kaberle, who had just three goals in his first 31 games, gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead late in the first period and knotted the contest with 14:21 left in the third.
His only other two-goal game in a four-year career came nearly two years ago against Kolzig and the Capitals.
But Mikael Renberg was the only other Maple Leaf to score and Kolzig came up huge, turning aside 22 shots over the first 40 minutes.
Ken Klee had his fourth goal of the season and Dainius Zubrus and Sergei Gonchar had power-play tallies for Washington, which played without offensive stars Jaromir Jagr (groin) and Peter Bondra (flu).
Other NHL results: Ottawa 4, Florida 2; Atlanta 1, Calgary 0; Anaheim 2, Minnesota 2.
Cook leads Sony Open.
HONOLULU, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- John Cook, who won this tournament a decade ago, shot the lowest round of the young PGA Tour season Friday to move three strokes in front at the Sony Open
Cook fired an 8-under 62 over the Waialae Country Club course for a 36-hole total of 12-under 128. Jerry Kelly was alone in second at 131 following a 65 while Chris Riley and Brad Elder shared third place at 132.
Cook beat Paul Azinger by two shots to win the event in 1992, the first of his three victories that year. He has won only four times since, the most recent of those triumphs being the 1998 Byron Nelson Classic.
He began play on the back nine Friday and was only 1-under through six holes. But he finished the back side birdie, birdie, eagle. Cook has eagled the par-5 18th in both rounds.
Davenport has knee surgery
VAIL, Colo., Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Lindsay Davenport, the world's top-ranked women's tennis player underwent surgery to correct a cartilage defect in her right knee Friday and will need four to six months of rehabilitation.
Tony Godsick of IMG, Davenport's agent, said in a release that Davenport had successful surgery to correct a full thickness cartilage defect on her lateral tibia.
The surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Steadman, who said in a statement that Davenport's prognosis "is good for a full recovery, but the recovery will require four to six months of rehabilitation."
On Tuesday, Davenport withdrew from the Australian Open, which starts Monday.
Should Davenport require the full six months of rehabilitation, she would miss both the French Open and Wimbledon, the second and third Grand Slam tournaments.
Davenport suffered cartilage damage to her right knee during her semifinal match at the Sanex Championships in Munich in November. The 25-year-old American pulled out of the adidas International in Sydney this week but was hoping to participate in the Grand Slam event she won in 2000.
In addition to claiming the crown two years ago, Davenport was a semifinalist in 1998, 1999 and 2001, when she fell to eventual champion Jennifer Capriati.
Mariners sign Hasegawa
SEATTLE, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- The Seattle Mariners addressed the need for a righthander in their bullpen Friday by signing veteran reliever Shigetoshi Hasegawa to a one-year contract with an option for 2003.
Financial terms were not disclosed. Hasegawa, who has averaged 60 games a year over the past five seasons, earned $1.15 million in 2001.
The 33-year-old Hasegawa is among the more reliable arms in the game, going 30-27 with a 3.85 ERA in 287 games for the Angels since breaking in 1997. With Seattle, he'll likely serve as a long man -- replacing Jose Paniagua, who was traded to Colorado.
Hasegawa went 5-6 with a 4.04 ERA in 46 games appearances in 2001. He allowed just 52 hits in 55 2/3 innings and struck out 41 but was not tendered a contract by the Angels following the season.
Kwan will try for sixth straight national title
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Michelle Kwan will try for her sixth national title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships today when the ladies' long program will be held at the Staples Center.
Sasha Cohen, Sarah Hughes and Angela Nikodinov will likely fight for the other two Olympic spots.
Kwan took the lead with a flawless routine in the ladies' short program on Thursday.
Continuing her pursuit of an Olympic gold medal, Kwan received seven perfect 6.0s.
A winner of four world titles and five nationals, Kwan settled for a silver medal at the 1998 Olympics in Nagano.
She will have a chance to seal a berth in Salt Lake on Saturday in the free skate, which will make up two-third of the scores.
Woods struggles in New Zealand
PARAPARAUMU BEACH, New Zealand, Jan. 12 (UPI) -- Paid $2 million to make his first appearance in New Zealand, Tiger Woods struggled to make the cut Friday.
Woods recorded a second-round 2-over 73 at the New Zealand Open, a round that featured three straight bogeys.
His 36-hole total of 1-over 143 left him closer to the cut of 146 than to co-leaders James McLean and Stephen Leaney of Australia, who were tied at 7-under 135.
"I hit a lot of good putts," Woods said. "It's just the greens are not smooth right now and a little tough. "On top of that, the wind was blowing hard, which makes it even more difficult."
McLean, the 1998 NCAA champion for the University of Minnesota, shot a 1-under 70 on Friday after an opening round 65. Leaney fired a 67 on Friday.
Woods received a $2 million appearance fee.