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Tuesday, February 01, 2022 11:04 PM

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ARLINGTON, Texas, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, fined $125,000 this year for his hard helmet hits, took a swipe at NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Tuesday.

Harrison, indicating he's "bitter" over the disciplinary actions taken against him by the commissioner, told reporters during Super Bowl XLV Media Day that perhaps supplying pillows for his targets to land on is what the league is aiming for.

"I don't want to hurt nobody. I don't want to step on nobody's foot or hurt their toe," Harrison told The Washington Post. "I don't want to have no dirt or none of this rubber on this field fly into their eye and make their eye hurt.

"I just want to tackle them softly on the ground, and if you all can, we'll lay a pillow down where I'm going to tackle them, so they don't hit the ground too hard ... Mr. Goodell."

Harrison was fined four times during the this season. League officials said the fines were punishment for what they considered dangerous and banned hits to the head.

The fines included one for $75,000 for an Oct. 17 helmet hit on Cleveland Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, which was later reduced to $50,000.

Rays introduce signees Damon, Ramirez

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Former Boston Red Sox teammates Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez were officially introduced Tuesday as new members of the Tampa Bay Rays.

The pair, appearing with their agent Scott Boras and Tampa Bay team officials, kicked off their stints with the team by assuring fans they can still play and will do what it takes to win another American League East title for the Rays.

After helping the Red Sox end a historic championship drought with a 2004 World Series victory, the two have gone their separate ways. Damon last year played with the Detroit Tigers and Ramirez split time between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox.

"This is my dream team," Damon, an Orlando, Fla., native, told reporters. "I'll see much more of (my family and friends). I love this opportunity to come back home and hopefully help this team win a championship."

"I want to show people that I can still play," Ramirez added, saying he could have signed elsewhere for more money.

Both have signed one-year contracts with the Rays. Damon's is reportedly worth $5.25 million with Ramirez signing for $2 million, down from the $10 million he made last season.

Vikings' Griffen won't face felony charges

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen won't face felony charges in an alleged altercation with police, prosecutors said Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office announced that only misdemeanor counts would be considered against Griffen, who allegedly grabbed the crotch of an officer during a tussle that ended with police using a stun gun on the player, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.

Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor's office, told the newspaper that because the officer wasn't injured and Griffen had no criminal history, the former University of Southern California standout wouldn't face more serious charges.

She said Griffen was released from jail early Tuesday after posting $50,000 bail and was scheduled to make his first court appearance Feb. 25.

Los Angeles Police confirmed Griffen had also been arrested early Saturday in Hollywood on charges of public drunkenness and was released later that day.

The Los Angeles Times reported that officers asked Griffen for his license during a routine traffic stop Monday, and police said the license turned out not to be valid.

Officers said Griffen told them "he did not want to go back to jail" and ran away, with police giving chase. When they tried to subdue him, Griffen allegedly grabbed an officer in the groin area and a Taser was used to subdue him.

LA mayor unveils new stadium naming deal

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and backers of an NFL stadium for the city Tuesday unveiled a $700 million naming rights deal with Farmers Insurance.

A $1 billion stadium proposed to be built by the entertainment company AEG would be named Farmers Field under the agreement, in which the company would pay $20 million for the first year and escalate each year thereafter for a total of 30 years.

The announcement represents a significant step in billionaire Philip Anschutz's efforts to build a retractable-roof stadium next to the Los Angeles Convention Center, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"With this announcement I think it's very clear football is coming back to Los Angeles," Villaraigosa told an audience at a convention center press conference.

Villaraigosa said he has talked to several unidentified NFL teams about moving to the stadium with hopes of landing one or two franchises for the city.

The San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars are considered the most likely candidates to move.

AEG says the stadium would be privately financed but is seeking $350 million in city bonding authority to replace part of convention center with a connector to the stadium.

(Source: UPI )
(Source: Quotemedia)
 

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