National Sports Report


In the Week 3 finale Monday, Terence Newman's interception return for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter essentially sealed the Cowboys' first win at their new stadium, as Dallas scored 21 unanswered points to come away with a 21-7 victory over listless Carolina. With Marion Barber sitting out due to a left quadriceps strain, the backfield duo of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice took over after a scoreless first half. Jones gained 94 yards on eight carries before leaving with a knee injury, while Choice had 118 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown for the Cowboys (2-1), who rebounded from a loss to the Giants in their home opener last week. Tony Romo played mistake-free football, ending with 255 yards on 22-of-33 attempts for the victors. Jake Delhomme continued his struggles for the winless Panthers (0-3), tossing two interceptions with a touchdown and 220 yards on 22-of-33 efficiency.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are off to an 0-3 start and have decided to make a switch at quarterback. Bucs head coach Raheem Morris announced Monday that Josh Johnson will start next Sunday's game against Washington. Byron Leftwich, who started the first three games, will be dropped to the No. 3 quarterback behind Josh Freeman.

Miami Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano addressed the health of Chad Pennington late Monday at a press briefing and said his quarterback's status remains unclear. ESPN has already reported, citing unnamed sources, that Pennington is out for the rest of the season with a torn capsule in his right shoulder. But Sparano indicated he was "still waiting" on information to assess the severity of the injury. The ESPN report also states Pennington will seek a second opinion from renowned orthopedist James Andrews. Pennington left Sunday's 23-13 loss to San Diego after being hit in the third quarter. Sparano termed the injury "a weird looking deal" and said it appeared to have happened at the point of initial contact and not after he hit the ground. The 10th-year pro finished 8-for-12 for 54 yards and has thrown for 413 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on 51-of-74 passing in three games this season.

San Francisco running back Frank Gore will be sidelined for three weeks after an MRI exam Monday revealed a strained right ankle and a right hind foot sprain. Gore was forced to leave Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Minnesota Vikings after getting hurt on his first carry of the game. He had previously been suffering from a sprained right ankle, but did post a 207-yard, two-touchdown performance against Seattle in Week 2. Through three games this season, Gore has amassed 241 yards and three touchdowns on the ground while catching eight passes for 57 yards and an additional score.

Marc Bulger's status for Sunday's game in San Francisco is in question after head coach Steve Spagnuolo revealed Monday the Rams quarterback has a bruised rotator cuff. Bulger took a hit from Aaron Kampman on Sunday in a 36-17 loss to Green Bay. He left the game late in the opening quarter and did not return. The injury to his right (throwing) shoulder is termed day- to-day, but Spagnuolo added he wasn't sure on his QB's status for the week. Bulger was 3-of-4 for 23 yards before exiting and has thrown for 339 yards and a touchdown on 35-of-68 passing in three games this season.


Another team celebrated a division crown on Monday night, as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim secured their third consecutive AL West title and fifth in the last six seasons with a resounding 11-0 win over the Texas Rangers. Kendry Morales homered and drove in three runs, and Ervin Santana tossed his fourth career shutout in the win. Boston had a chance to wrap up the AL wildcard with a win and a Texas loss, but dropped an 11-5 decision to Toronto on Monday. The Red Sox's magic number is now one to reach the postseason.

Another huge four-game series was set to start tonight but will instead commence on Tuesday as the Tigers and Twins were rained out in Detroit. The series will certainly help decide the American League Central champion with Detroit holding a two-game edge on the second-place Twins for the division lead with only seven games left to play. The opener will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Tuesday with the first game scheduled for 12:05 p.m. (et) and the second for 7:05 p.m. (et). Rookie Rick Porcello was scheduled to start Monday for the Tigers opposite the Twins' Nick Blackburn. They will face off in the first game. Tuesday's original starters remain Brian Duensing for Minnesota and Justin Verlander for Detroit.

The Dodgers failed to clinch the National League West this afternoon as the Pittsburgh Pirates posted an 11-1 victory at PNC Park in the finale of a four- game set. Los Angeles wrapped up a postseason berth Saturday and its magic number to clinch the division crown is mathematically at two, but it's really one because the Dodgers won the season series with second-place Colorado, giving the Dodgers the tiebreaker if both teams qualify for the postseason with identical records. The Rockies are idle today and could see their lead in the wild card race trimmed by Atlanta, which starts the day 2 1/2 games off the pace heading into tonight's contest at Florida.


Former Calgary great Theo Fleury announced his retirement on Monday, three days after the Flames released him from a tryout agreement. The 41-year-old antagonist was attempting a comeback after a six-year absence from the NHL. The diminutive forward played the first 11 years of his career in Calgary, and last played in the league during the 2002-03 season with the Blackhawks before he was suspended indefinitely for violating the NHL's substance abuse policy. After the Flames decided to release him last Friday, Fleury took the weekend to consider his future in hockey. In four preseason games, Fleury recorded four points -- including the shootout winner at home against the New York Islanders. Fleury registered 455 goals and 633 assists in his NHL career while playing with Calgary, Colorado, the New York Rangers and Chicago. He made his debut with the Flames during the 1988-89 season and helped Calgary capture the Stanley Cup title that year.


The Orlando Magic have reportedly handed general manager Otis Smith and head coach Stan Van Gundy contract extensions. An Orlando newspaper is reporting the Magic picked up the options on their existing pacts, with Van Gundy retained through next season and Smith through the 2011-12 campaign. Smith was promoted to general manager in May of 2006 and brought in Van Gundy as coach the following year after a week-long debacle where the team hired Florida coach Billy Donovan and then allowed him to back out of the deal after he had second thoughts. In his short tenure as GM, Smith has already secured the services of center Dwight Howard with a five-year contact extension and acquired All-Star forward Rashard Lewis. Smith received a two-year extension following the 2007-08 season after Orlando won the Southeast Division and captured its first playoff series win since 1996. Van Gundy has compiled a 111-53 record in two seasons guiding the Magic. He led Orlando to a 59-23 mark and a trip to the NBA Finals last season for the first time since 1995 before bowing out to the Lakers in five games.


President Barack Obama will join the United States' delegation in Copenhagen this week in an effort to help Chicago land the 2016 Olympics. The International Olympic Committee will vote to select a host city on Friday. The finalists in competition with Chicago are Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo. First Lady Michelle Obama is leading the U.S. contingent and is slated to arrive in Copenhagen on Wednesday. The President is set to arrive on Friday morning and is expected to leave later that day. According to the White House, the President and First Lady will both make presentations to the IOC during Friday's session.