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Sept. 24, 2008 at 5:15 PM
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Report: Millen out as Lions' executive

DETROIT, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Matt Millen, whose team is an NFL-worst 31-84 since he took over the Lions, is reportedly out as president and general manager of the Detroit Lions.

Several media outlets, including the Detroit Free Press, WDFN-AM, Detroit, Fox Sports and ESPN, said Millen's tenure as the Lions' leader ended during a meeting Tuesday night.

The Free Press said it was unclear whether Millen resigned or was fired.

Detroit has started this season 0-3. Last year, the Lions were 6-2 halfway through the 2007 season but lost seven of their last eight games and missed the playoffs for the eighth consecutive season. The 7-9 record in 2007 was the best of Millen's tenure.

Millen, 50, in 2001 was made Lions president and general manager. Although he had no player personnel experience, he was highly regarded as a linebacker in 12 seasons. He was a member of four Super Bowl winning teams.

"I have relieved Matt Millen of his duties effective immediately," said Lions Owner and Chairman William Clay Ford in a statement on the team's Web site late Wednesday afternoon. "I believe that this decision is in the best interest of this organization. I appreciate Matt's efforts."

Jankovic wins in China Open second round

BEIJING, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Jelena Jankovic and Daniela Hantuchova both won matches Wednesday and will square off in the quarterfinals of the $600,000 China Open in Beijing.

Two second-round matches were postponed because of rain, but Jankovic was able to finish off a 6-3, 7-5 win over Aleksandra Wozniak and Hantuchova won, 6-1, 0-6, 7-5, over Tamarine Tanasugarn.

Jankovic, the tournament's top seed and 2007 China Open runner-up, is to face the seventh-seeded Hantuchova in Friday's quarterfinals.

Among the matches rained out Wednesday was one between defending China Open titlist Agnes Szavay and Anabel Medina Garrigues.

In first-round play, Chinese favorite Jie Zheng upset sixth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-3, 6-3. The match had been suspended Tuesday because of rain with Zheng ahead 3-0 in the first set.

The second round is to be completed Thursday with three seeded players, including No. 2-seeded Ana Ivanovic scheduled to play.

Miami back Brown earns AFC offensive honor

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Miami Dolphins running back Ronnie Brown has been named the AFC offensive player of the week.

Brown, a first-round pick by the Dolphins in the 2005 NFL draft, scored four touchdowns on 17 carries for 113 yards and threw a touchdown pass in Miami's surprising 38-13 rout of New England last Sunday.

It is his first player of the week honor of his career.

Brown was joined in the AFC by San Diego cornerback Antonio Cromartie (defense) and Jacksonville placekicker Josh Scobee (special teams).

Scobee kicked three field goals, including a 51-yard game-winner with 4 seconds left in the Jaguars' 23-21 win over the Indianapolis Colts, and Cromartie made a career-high 9 tackles and 2 interceptions, including an interception-touchdown return in the Chargers' 48-29 victory against the New York Jets Monday night.

It was the fourth time in his career that the former Florida State star made at least two interceptions in one game.

Atlanta backs lead NFC weekly honors

NEW YORK, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Atlanta Falcons running back Michael Turner is the NFC offensive player of the week.

Turner scored three touchdowns after 23 carries for 104 yards in last Sunday's 38-14 win over Kansas City.

He earned his second "POW" honor this season, and second straight.

Turner, a fifth-round draft pick by San Diego in 2004, is the first player in NFL history to record a 200-yard rushing game and a three-rushing-touchdown game in his first three contests with a new team and is the first Atlanta running back to win the award two times in one season.

Other NFC honors went to Philadelphia safety Brian Dawkins (defense) and New York Giants place kicker John Carney (special teams).

Dawkins, playing in his 170th NFL contest, compiled 10 tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Eagles' 15-6 win over Pittsburgh.

Carney's 22-yard overtime field goal gave the New York Giants a 26-23 win over Cincinnati.

Vikings great Wally Hilgenberg dies

MINNEAPOLIS, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- Former Minnesota Vikings linebacker Wally Hilgenberg has died after a two-year battle with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. He was 66 years old.

The former University of Iowa All-American died Tuesday morning at his Lakeville, Minn., home surrounded by family members.

Hilgenberg was a fourth-round pick by the Detroit Lions in the 1964 NFL draft, but his best playing days were from 1968-79 with the Vikings' "Purple People Eaters" defensive line.

He played in all four Vikings Super Bowl appearances and before he retired in 1979, and also played for Pittsburgh Steelers.

"As good as a football player as he was, he was even a better guy," said one-time teammate and longtime friend Stu Voigt. "I can honestly say that I was better as a football player and am better as a man for knowing (him)."

"He was a great guy in every respect," said former Vikings coach Jerry Burns. "Everything about him was first class."

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