Friday's Sports In Brief


LONDON (AP) Jet-lagged and a little bleary-eyed, the Miami Dolphins arrived in London early Friday and almost immediately went to work.

With Ryan Tannehill as the starting quarterback.

Tannehill and his teammates hit the practice field only hours after touching down in the British capital, getting in one last session before the Dolphins (1-2) face the Oakland Raiders (0-3) on Sunday at Wembley Stadium.

''We had an excellent practice today,'' Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said. ''I really thought the focus and concentration was really good.''

After days of questions surrounding the quarterback situation in Miami, ''really good'' is probably about as good as it gets.

Philbin has been noncommittal all week on who will start against the Raiders. And although he again declined to say the name ''Tannehill'' on Friday, he indicated he would not switch to backup Matt Moore this weekend by mentioning the team's depth chart.

''Those guys are going to be starters until I announce something different,'' Philbin said. ''That's one way of answering the question, and that's the way it's going to be answered.''


ZURICH (AP) - Under pressure from FIFA's independent prosecutor to unlock the secrecy that surrounds a World Cup bidding corruption probe, Sepp Blatter shut down that populist move Friday.

In doing so, the longtime president showed he remains as influential as ever - even as he moves closer to a fifth term leading soccer's governing body.

Blatter was in combative form at a news conference after a two-day executive committee meeting, and used his chance to seize back control of an agenda dominated for a week by ethics prosecutor Michael Garcia.

Still, even on a day when Blatter told his executive committee he intends to run for re-election next year, he had to spend more time talking about a corruption investigation when addressing the media.

Responding to public pressure on FIFA to publish a report into alleged corruption surrounding the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, Blatter said his body is bound by its ethics code to keep it secret. He also chided the chief investigator, former U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia, for issuing a press release Wednesday calling for FIFA's executive committee to publish his report, rather than contacting Blatter personally.

''The FIFA president or secretary general have not had any demands or requests from Mr. Garcia to speak with us,'' Blatter said Friday. ''The only contact that we have had ... was his press releases.''


GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - Phil Jackson said it happens every time he walks around New York.

''Someone asks the question, `How we gonna be? How we doing?''' Jackson said.

OK, so how are the Knicks going to be?

''We believe we're going to be a playoff team,'' Jackson said, ''and then we don't know how far we'll be able to go, but we're hoping for the best.''

It was an optimistic and possibly realistic view of the Knicks, who went 37-45 last season and missed the playoffs. Jackson was hired as team president late in the season, re-signed All-Star Carmelo Anthony, hired Derek Fisher as coach, and engineered a number of roster moves to make the team younger, deeper and quicker.

He also hopes that makes them better, but the 11-time champion as a coach with the Bulls and Lakers realizes there's a process to building contending teams that the Knicks haven't been following.

''Usually teams come into the playoffs and learn from being in the playoffs, and gradually assume the capabilities of carrying out the championship,'' Jackson said. ''I was fortunate to have a situation in L.A. where a team had gone into the playoffs. They had been swept a couple of times in the playoff run, but they had been in the midst of the playoffs and were able to win the very first year that I coached that team there, which was a ready-made team basically with tremendous talent. Very similar situation in Chicago.

''This team does not got a personality. It's got over 35 percent of this team has changed, so we still have to kind of come together in a bonding way that creates trust, teamwork, identity, some things like that.''

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - Mitch Kupchak is confident Kobe Bryant will make an impressive return to the Los Angeles Lakers after losing last season to injuries.

The general manager also realizes the Lakers' chances of returning to the playoffs probably depend on it.

''I think he'll be very effective,'' Kupchak said Friday. ''I'm not going to predict what his statistics will be, but ... if we needed 30 or 35 (points) from him, I think he could get it.''

Kupchak radiated preseason optimism while discussing the Lakers' prospects for a rebound from last spring's disappointments. Los Angeles finished 27-55 and missed the playoffs for just the third time in 38 years, but the GM believes he has a playoff-contending roster in place around Bryant this fall.

Still, much depends on the health of Bryant, who will make $48.5 million over the next two seasons. Just six games after he finally returned from surgery on a torn Achilles tendon last winter, Bryant broke a bone near his knee and was lost for the year.

Kupchak has been watching Bryant's recovery for several months, observing his workouts at the Lakers' training complex and near his home in Orange County. Bryant has lost at least 10 pounds during the process, getting back down to his playing weight prior to the injuries.

More NFL


Drag this icon to your bookmark bar.
Then delete your old SI.com bookmark.


Click the share icon to bookmark us.