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Sports Today / News, notes & quotes

Bills name linebackers coach

The Buffalo Bills hired Matt Sheldon as linebackers coach on Tuesday, completing the staff of head coach Dick Jauron.

Sheldon spent the past five seasons as an assistant with the St. Louis Rams, focusing mostly on defense and special teams.

The Bills also formally announced the hiring of DeMontie Cross as a defensive/special teams assistant. Cross, who had accepted the job last week, spent the past five years coaching outside linebackers at Iowa State.

Elsewhere in the NFL:

Defensive end John Abraham was designated as the New York Jets' franchise player for the second straight year. Abraham stands to make $8.33 million in 2006, and the Jets are expected to explore trade options because they are well over the salary cap.

Seven-time Pro Bowl safety John Lynch signed a two-year contract extension with the Denver Broncos, through the 2008 season.


Hasek: 'I'm worried'

Ottawa Senators goalie Dominik Hasek said there's "very little chance" he'll be able to play when the NHL resumes March 1 and isn't sure when he'll return from a groin injury that forced him to withdraw from the Olympics.

"Of course I'm worried, I'll be honest," the 41-year-old said Tuesday as he met in Ottawa with reporters for the first time since returning from the Turin Games.

Hasek was hurt in the first period of the Czech Republic's opening game last week.

"But on the other hand, I want to do all the best to get on the ice as soon as possible, and I hope I can be in the same shape I was during the season," he added.

Senators team doctor Donald Chow said Hasek has a mild muscle strain in the adductor muscle of his right thigh.


NASCAR extends suspension

NASCAR suspended crew chief Chad Knaus for three more races and fined him $25,000 for making an illegal modification to Jimmie Johnson's car during preparation for the Daytona 500.

Knaus was ejected from Daytona following the cheating scandal, and Johnson went on to win the race in a legal car.

Now Johnson must compete in the next three events without his crew chief. Knaus won't be eligible to return to a race track until the March 26 race in Bristol, Tenn.

NASCAR also placed Knaus on probation for the rest of the year.


Ramirez gets a free pass

After asking Boston to trade him during the offseason, Manny Ramirez was given permission by the Red Sox to report to spring training on March 1, six days after the club's first full-squad workout and one day after Major League Baseball's mandatory reporting date.

"Manny is in Florida completing an extensive training regimen and is prepared to have an exceptional season," said a joint statement from Ramirez and the team.


Ice competition canceled

The Super Trap Attack ice fishing competition set for Saturday and Sunday at Silver Lake has been canceled due to a lack of safe ice.

An unofficial competition is set for Lake Simcoe. For details, go to:

From News and wire service reports

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