BC-AP Sports Preview Digest

Some of the sports stories The Associated Press is covering Wednesday. A full Sports Digest will be sent at about 3 p.m. EDT:

- AKRON, Ohio- Tiger Woods returns to Firestone as the defending champion and eight-time winner, and a player in dire need of a big week

- GLENDALE, Ariz. - Patrick Peterson says he is the best cornerback in the NFL. Now he has a paycheck to match. Peterson says he and the Arizona Cardinals have agreed on a five-year, $70 million contract, with $48 million guaranteed.

- ST. JOSEPH, Mo. - Alex Smith has made it perfectly clear: He won't be worrying about whether he reaches an agreement on a contract extension with the Chiefs anytime soon. He'd much prefer to worry about what happens on the field, where he's coming off arguably the best season of his career

- OWINGS MILLS, Md. - With a new five-year contract, Eugene Monroe provides the Baltimore Ravens with the kind of stability at left tackle they haven't had since Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden retired. U

- MONTGOMERY, Ala.Quarterback battles and questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league. Big names, not so much. The turnover at football's most important position has been so significant that division favorites Alabama and South Carolina will be banking on new starters. Ditto for Texas A&M, Georgia and defending East Division champion Missouri.

- INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Doug Boles keeps looking for ways to fill seats. He's created a full weekend of NASCAR and sports car races in the lead up to the Brickyard 400. He's scheduled motorcycles, road races and vintage car races at the historic venue. He's hired headline bands for concerts and even gone camping on the track's infield. But in today's economy, promoting races has become a tough business.

- STANFORD, Calif. - Top-seeded Serena Williams plays her first match at the Bank of the West tournament.

- WASHINGTON - Seeded men Tomas Berdych, Milos Raonic and John Isner get started at the hard-court Citi Open tennis tournament.

- NEEDHAM, Mass. - Billy Starr was living at his father's house - sometimes in a tent in the backyard - when, after hiking a portion of the Appalachian Trail and in need of another adventure, he first decided to ride his bicycle to the very tip of Cape Cod. A two-sport varsity athlete in college - neither of them was cycling - Starr made the 140-mile trip with a few friends and no real purpose except the journey. He quickly realized the ride would be even more meaningful if he could raise money for cancer research in the memory of his mother, Betty Starr, who died of melanoma at the age of 49.

- ORLANDO, Fla. - A new report on the NCAA and its member institutions shows fewer women are being hired, but more racial diversity among college sports' three divisions. The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport gave college sports a B for racial hiring and C-plus for gender hiring in its 2013 Race and Gender Report Card. College sports still has the lowest grade for racial hiring practices and only ranks higher than the National Football League for gender hiring among all the college and pro sports studied by the Institute.

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