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Emmitt Thomas returns to Chiefs

Hall of Fame CB to be K.C. defensive backs coach

February 2, 2010

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Kansas City, Mo. — Emmitt Thomas, a Hall of Fame cornerback for Kansas City’s Super Bowl teams in the late 1960s, is returning to the Chiefs as defensive backs coach.

Thomas played cornerback for the Chiefs from 1966-78 and is still their all-time leader with 58 interceptions.

A five-time Pro Bowler, Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. He spent the past eight years as an assistant coach with Atlanta. He was the Falcons’ interim head coach for the final three games in 2007. Before that, he was defensive coordinator for Minnesota, Green Bay and Philadelphia.

The Chiefs also announced Monday that they have added Bernie Parmalee as tight ends coach, and Otis Smith as head of defensive quality control.

NFL

Freeney could be out

Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — The hope is that Dwight Freeney will play in Sunday’s Super Bowl for the Indianapolis Colts.

The plan is to play the game without him.

After Freeney missed all four practices last week, coach Jim Caldwell said Monday the team was preparing to play without the injured All-Pro defensive end.

“He hasn’t been practicing, so if he’s not practicing, we are preparing to not have him,” Caldwell told reporters after arriving in South Florida. “If he can’t go, we’ll do some rotations, and Raheem (Brock) will be a big part of that.”

Freeney is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report with a sprained right ankle. Caldwell reiterated the team’s position, saying Freeney has a third-degree, low-ankle sprain and is improving.

Bears hire Martz

Chicago — Mike Martz, the headstrong coach who orchestrated the “Greatest Show on Turf” while molding Kurt Warner into a Pro Bowl quarterback with the St. Louis Rams, is the Chicago Bears’ new offensive coordinator.

Martz’s hiring on Monday ended a nearly monthlong search to replace the fired Ron Turner. His job is to turn around a struggling offense and get the most out of Jay Cutler after the quarterback and team failed to meet high expectations this season.

College basketball

UK’s Wall just frustrated

Lexington, Ky. — Kentucky freshman star John Wall says his comments after last Saturday’s victory over Vanderbilt that he “wasn’t having fun” were simply a sign of frustration.

Wall had 13 points and nine assists against the Commodores but also committed seven turnovers and complained afterward that he has struggled living up to the high expectations he’s set for himself.

Wall said Monday he talked to coach John Calipari and that “everything is OK.” Calipari told Wall it’s OK to make mistakes and reminded him that former college stars Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans — both of whom played for Calipari at Memphis — also struggled at times.

Calipari called Wall’s frustration “a good teaching lesson” and said it’s an opportunity for the point guard to learn how to deal with adversity.

Forward leaves FSU

Tallahassee, Fla. — Junior forward Jordan DeMercy has left the Florida State basketball team after a recent drop-off in playing time.

DeMercy said in a news release issued by the school that he plans to “seek opportunities at a different institution.”

NBA

Celtics’ Pierce injured

Washington — Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce says he has what he thinks is a mild sprain to his left foot and will have an X-ray on it.

Pierce rolled his foot in the first half of Boston’s 99-88 victory over the Washington Wizards on Monday night. He stayed in the game through the third quarter but sat out the fourth.

Hornets’ Paul out

New Orleans — Hornets’ All-Star point guard Chris Paul is out indefinitely with a left knee injury that will likely require surgery.

An MRI revealed more damage to the knee than the initial diagnosis of a bruise, Hornets coach Jeff Bower said on Monday. The coach refused, however, to confirm reports that Paul had a meniscus tear and would miss at least a month.

Arenas writes op-ed piece

Washington — Gilbert Arenas insists he now understands that “guns and violence are serious problems, not joking matters.”

In an op-ed piece written for The Washington Post and put on the newspaper’s Web site Monday, the suspended Washington Wizards guard pledges to be a better role model and says a “message of nonviolence will be front and center as I try to rebuild my relationship with young people in the D.C. area.”

He continues: “I know that won’t happen overnight, and that it will happen only if I show through my actions that I am truly sorry and have learned from my mistakes. If I do that, then hopefully youngsters will learn from the serious mistakes I made with guns and not make any of their own.”

MLB

A’s get CF Taveras

Cincinnati — A trade that saved some money made the Cincinnati Reds’ next shortstop affordable.

The Reds sent center fielder Willy Taveras to the Oakland Athletics on Monday as part of a four-player deal, then agreed to a $3.02 million, one-year deal with Orlando Cabrera to become their starting shortstop. Both teams made a series of moves that changed the looks of their rosters.

Along with Taveras, the Reds sent infielder Adam Rosales to the A’s for infielder Aaron Miles and a player to be named. Oakland was busy as well, agreeing with outfielder Gabe Gross on a $750,000, one-year contract and claiming infielder Steve Tolleson off waivers from Minnesota.

Mora, Rockies agree

Denver — Melvin Mora has agreed to a $1.3 million, one-year contract with the Colorado Rockies, according to his agent.

Eric Goldschmidt said Mora’s primary goal as a 38-year-old free agent was to sign with a playoff contender after spending the last nine seasons with the Baltimore Orioles.

Mariners, Garko agree

Seattle — Ryan Garko and the Mariners agreed to a $550,000, one-year contract Monday as Seattle tried to address its need for a right-handed hitter.

Women’s basketball

OSU rises, OU falls

The Oklahoma State Cowgirls moved up three spots while Oklahoma dropped three in this week’s Associated Press women’s college basketball poll.

OSU moved up from 15th to 10th and the Sooners fell from No. 11 to 13th.

Connecticut was the unanimous choice for No. 1 followed by Stanford, Notre Dame, Nebraska and Tennessee.

College athletics

Conferences criticized

Houston — A member of the House Judiciary Committee criticized the biggest conferences in college athletics Monday for failing to adopt policies on handling athlete concussions that go beyond what’s required by the NCAA.

During a committee hearing on head injuries in college and youth football, Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., chided leagues such as the Southeastern Conference and Big 12 for not implementing tougher rules.

Golf

Golfer not backing down

San Diego — Ping chairman John Solheim reminded the PGA Tour on Monday that it cannot make a separate rule to ban Ping Eye2 wedges, the 20-year-old clubs that led Scott McCarron to claim Phil Mickelson is “cheating” by using them.

Hours after McCarron said he would “not be silenced” over the grooves controversy, the PGA Tour’s situation became a little more muddled with Solheim’s gentle reminder.

Mickelson was among at least four players at Torrey Pines who used the Ping wedges, which have square grooves.

Obit

Ex-Texas QB dies

Houston — Walter Fondren, all-Southwest Conference halfback at Texas before playing quarterback for coach Darrell Royal’s first Longhorns team, has died at the age of 73.

Texas athletics spokesman Bill Little says Fondren died Jan. 28 of congestive heart disease.

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