Washington President Barack Obama honored the national championship University of Alabama football team on Monday at a White House event where the president punctuated his remarks by declaring, “Roll Tide.”
Obama congratulated the team for its undefeated season and invoked Alabama coaching legend Paul “Bear” Bryant as he recognized the program for its first national title in 17 years. He said the team’s newfound success is due in large part to the efforts of coach Nick Saban, who quickly turned the program around after arriving in Tuscaloosa and won a championship in his third season.
“I think it’s safe to say that the Tide is back,” Obama said, to the occasional “Roll Tide” chant from his audience.
The president received a football, helmet and jersey from Alabama players after his speech and went on to shake the hands of most of the team, including Saban and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram.
“As Coach Bryant once said, ‘I think the most important thing of all for any team is a winning attitude,’” Obama said. “I think this team would make him proud, because they’ve got that winning attitude.”
Leach to be deposed Friday
Lubbock, Texas — Mike Leach is expected to return to Lubbock later this week to answer questions under oath from attorneys for Texas Tech handling the former football coach’s lawsuit against the school.
Leach, who currently lives with his family in Key West, Fla., is set for oral and video depositions beginning Friday at the offices of his Lubbock attorney, Ted Liggett.
The university fired Leach on Dec. 30, two days after suspending him amid allegations that he mistreated a player who had a concussion. Adam James, the son of ESPN analyst and former NFL player Craig James, said his coach twice ordered him to stand for hours while confined in a dark place during practice.
Chiefs re-sign Chambers
Kansas City, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs have re-signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Chris Chambers, who provided spark to a lackluster offense when he joined the team midway through last season.
The Chiefs declined Monday to release details of the contract.
Chambers played in nine games for the Chiefs last year. He finished with 36 receptions for 608 yards and four touchdowns, including two in his first outing after being claimed off waivers from San Diego.
Arguably one the team’s best acquisitions in 2009, he was a Pro Bowl selection with the Miami Dolphins in 2005.
Chambers has 518 career receptions for 7,435 yards and 57 touchdowns. He was a second-round draft pick for the Dolphins in 2001, and played for the Chargers from 2007-2009 before joining the Chiefs.
In other NFL personnel moves:
• The Seattle Seahawks traded backup quarterback Seneca Wallace to the Cleveland Browns in exchange for a 2011 undisclosed draft pick.
• The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have acquired wide receiver Reggie Brown from the Philadelphia Eagles for a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft.
• Colts guard Ryan Lilja has been cut by Indianapolis, his agent told the Associated Press.
• The Philadelphia Eagles and wide receiver Jason Avant agreed on a five-year contract Monday.
• The Pittsburgh Steelers bolstered their special teams, a weakness last season, by signing wide receiver Arnaz Battle and safety Will Allen.
• The Detroit Lions have re-signed tight end Will Heller to a three-year deal and signed free-agent wide receiver Brian Clark to a one-year deal. The Lions also released defensive end Dewayne White.
• The Detroit Lions have traded two late-round draft picks to acquire cornerback Chris Houston from the Atlanta Falcons.
• Receiver Kevin Walter and punter Matt Turk, both unrestricted free agents, have been re-signed by the Houston Texans.
• Chad Pennington will be back with the Miami Dolphins for at least one more season. The quarterback signed a one-year deal with the team Monday.
• The St. Louis Rams have made their second free-agent signing of the offseason, reaching a deal with veteran defensive tackle Fred Robbins.
• The Carolina Panthers have added to their purge of veterans with the release of longtime fullback Brad Hoover.
• Offensive tackle Cornell Green’s agent says his client has agreed to a three-year contract with the Buffalo Bills.
• Dunta Robinson, considered by many as the most sought-after cornerback in free agency, left the Houston Texans to sign a six-year, $57 million contract with Atlanta.
• The Oakland Raiders released wide receiver Javon Walker and defensive end Greg Ellis on Monday in their latest dumping of veteran players.
Attorney denies assault
Milledgeville, Ga. — A high-profile defense attorney hired by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Monday disputed a college student’s claim that the two-time Super Bowl winner sexually assaulted her at a Georgia nightclub.
The 20-year-old told police Roethlisberger, who had been out barhopping with friends, assaulted her early Friday. Roethlisberger has not been charged.
“The facts show that there was no criminal activity. No sexual assault occurred,” attorney Ed Garland said in a statement Monday. “Ben is completely innocent of any crime.”
McDermott safe at ISU
Ames, Iowa — Despite a disappointing season, Iowa State basketball coach Greg McDermott is receiving a vote of confidence from athletic director Jamie Pollard.
Pollard and McDermott held a news conference Monday where they discussed the Cyclones’ frustrating season and the program’s future. Pollard insisted he sees McDermott as part of that future.
Hawaii coach Nash fired
Honolulu — Bob Nash was fired as coach of the University of Hawaii’s men’s basketball team on Monday after posting a 34-56 record over three seasons.
This season, Nash compiled a 10-20 record overall, 3-13 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Seattle F declares for draft
Seattle — Charles Garcia is hoping his size and skills, combined with a strong start to his only season of major-college basketball, are good enough for the NBA. Garcia averaged 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds as the Redhawks finished the regular season 17-14.
Ping wedges off Tour
Jacksonville, Fla. — The 20-year-old Ping wedges with square-shaped grooves will no longer be allowed on the PGA Tour starting March 29 under an agreement reached Monday with Ping executives.
John Solheim, the chairman and CEO of Ping, said the Phoenix-based company is waiving its right that had kept the PGA Tour from banning Ping Eye2 wedges made before April 1, 1990, that have deeper, wide grooves no longer allowed under new USGA regulations.
Those wedges were allowed through a 1990 settlement from when Ping sued the PGA Tour and U.S. Golf Association. Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan, John Daly and Fred Couples were among players who used the Ping wedges. It had become such a divisive issue that Scott McCarron accused Mickelson of “cheating” by using the club.
Doctor: HGH not for A-Rod
Toronto — A sports doctor at the center of drug investigations in Canada and the United States said Monday he treated Alex Rodriguez after the Yankees slugger had hip surgery last year and prescribed anti-inflammatories but not human growth hormone.
Dr. Anthony Galea also told the Associated Press an assistant who was stopped at the U.S.-Canadian border in Buffalo, N.Y., last year was carrying only a minuscule amount of HGH — which Galea said was for his own use.
“I only brought enough for her to do two injections into me because I was away for two nights,” said Galea, who believes authorities and the media have exaggerated the accusations involving him and his practice.
“They made it look like I had 100 vials. I had one little vial, and two doses were for me and you think that someone along the line would ask, ‘Well how much is there?”’
Rodriguez and other high-profile baseball players including Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran have been contacted by U.S. federal investigators regarding Galea. Reyes and Beltran each say they did not receive HGH from Galea.