NEW ORLEANS (AP) — NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league needs to make football safer by doing more to eliminate blows to the head and knees and by suspending players for illegal hits.
During his annual news conference two days before the Super Bowl, Goodell also said he wants a "new generation" of the Rooney Rule because "we didn't have the outcomes we wanted" when none of 15 recent coach and general manager jobs were given to a minority candidate.
Goodell hopes and expects testing for human growth hormone to start next season, even though the league and the players' union are still at an impasse after 18 months of back-and-forth.
He vowed to be "relentless" about keeping pay-for-pain bounties out of the game.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Phil Mickelson made a mess of his final hole in the second round of the Phoenix Open, costing him another shot at history.
A day after his putt for a 59 curled 180 degrees and stay out, Lefty missed a chance to break the PGA Tour's 36-hole scoring record when he finished with a double bogey.
Mickelson followed his opening 60 with a 65 to reach 17-under 125, a stroke off the tour record for the first two rounds of a tournament set by Pat Perez in the 2009 Bob Hope Classic and matched by David Toms at Colonial in 2011.
His drive on No. 18 bounced into the left-side water hazard and, after a penalty drop, he still had a chance to get par and the record. But he didn't get enough on his approach shot, with the ball landing on the green and rolling off the front edge. His chip got away from him a bit, running 7 feet past, and his bogey putt slid by to the left, leaving him with a share of the Phoenix Open 36-hole record set by Mark Calcavecchia in 2001.
Bill Haas (64) was four strokes back, followed by Keegan Bradley (63) and Brandt Snedeker (66) another shot back.
NEW YORK (AP) — NBA players put union chief Billy Hunter on an indefinite leave, two weeks after a report they commissioned questioned Hunter's leadership and criticized him for bad decisions and questionable business practices.
The union is forming an interim executive committee and an advisory committee, the group's president, Derek Fisher, said in a statement. An outside attorney is also being hired as players begin moving forward, likely without the man who has guided them since 1996.
Hunter's attorney responded that the actions weren't allowable under NBPA rules, setting up the possibility of a Hunter fight to keep to his job.
Fisher pushed for the outside review of Hunter and the union. That examination by a New York law firm found no illegal use of funds but cited Hunter for a number of poor choices and recommended players discuss whether he should remain in charge during their All-Star weekend meetings.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — LeBron James has been an NBA champion once, an Olympic gold medalist twice and the league's MVP three times. The Miami Heat star said there's one title he's not worried about holding — NBA's biggest salary.
James was the top prize on the free-agent market in 2010, but acknowledged he took less money to play with Miami and pursue NBA championships with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James and Bosh each reportedly signed six-year deals worth $110 million. Wade's deal was for six years and $107 million. Each deal was under the NBA's maximum contract.
The Heat won the title last season, and all three Miami stars can opt out of their contracts next year.
PARK CITY, Utah (AP) — American rookie Michael Rossi wasn't even supposed to make the finals of the World Cup freestyle aerials competition. Yet when the jumper with the highest score of the night slid hard on his landing, the 18-year-old Rossi sneaked in.
Rossi landed a final jump to claim the first World Cup podium of his young career. He took the bronze after hitting a full, full, full combination, finishing with 111.37 points.
Maxim Gustik of Belarus finished with 117.85 points to win his first World Cup gold. Canada's Travis Gerrits (115.83) took the silver.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — John Isner and Sam Querrey each won their matches to give the United States a 2-0 lead over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup.
Isner earned a straight-set win over Brazil's Thiago Alves 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3. Isner's win came two hours after Querrey earned a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 victory over Thomaz Bellucci.
The United States is one win away from advancing. Bob and Mike Bryan, the world's No. 1 ranked doubles team, face Brazil's Marcelo Melo and Bruno Soares on Saturday, followed by Sunday's reverse singles.
NEW YORK (AP) — Travis Hafner and the New York Yankees agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract that allows him to earn up to $4 million more in bonuses based on plate appearances.
Limited by injuries the past five seasons, the 35-year-old gives the Yankees a designated hitter with power potential from the left side of the plate. He essentially takes over the role filled last season by Raul Ibanez, who signed a $2.75 million, one-year deal with Seattle in December.
Hafner played in only 66 games for Cleveland last year because of knee and back problems and hit .228 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs in 263 at-bats.
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Mets agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Marlon Byrd, who served a 50-game suspension last season after testing positive in June for a performance enhancing drug while he was a free agent.
An NL All-Star in 2010, Byrd was traded from the Chicago Cubs to Boston Red Sox on April 21. Boston released him on June 12. Two weeks later, MLB announced he tested positive for Tamoxifen, which can reduce side effects of steroid use and increase testosterone.
Byrd hit .210 in 47 games for Boston and Chicago last season, and has hit .278 in 11 big league seasons with 82 homers and 445 RBIs.