Rome retires McCann's jersey, announces HOF induction

Brian McCann may someday have his number retired by the Atlanta Braves. But already no one will wear No. 17 anymore with the Rome Braves.

The catcher helped Rome win the 2003 South Atlantic League title in its first season and he will always be a hero in the northwest Georgia city.

McCann was the first inductee into the Rome Braves Hometown Heroes Hall of Fame and it was also announced at the team's annual hot stove gathering that his number was being retired.

Just a year out of Duluth High School, McCann batted .290 with 31 doubles, 12 homers and 71 RBIs as a 19-year-old with Rome in 2003 and was named to the SAL all-star team. Also on that Class A championship team were present Atlanta teammates Jeff Francoeur and Blaine Boyer.

McCann has continued his heavy hitting in the majors, making the National League team for the All-Star Game three times and winning two Silver Slugger awards.

Busch, Simpson win SpeedFest

NASCAR driver Kyle Busch and Greg Simpson won the two Sunday races at SpeedFest, an auto racing kickoff event at Lanier National Speedway this past weekend.

Busch won the 200-lap Champion Racing Association Super Late Model feature race over runner-up Jason Hogan and third-place finisher Johanna Long. Gwinnett native Casey Roderick, the race's fast qualifier and pole sitter, led the first half of the race before a transmission problem dropped him to his eventual finish at 26th.

Simpson held off second-place Kyle Fowler and third-place Russell Fleeman for first place in the 100-lap Georgia Asphalt Series Pro Late Model event.


Bills sign Buford's P.K. Sam

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. - Free agent receiver P.K. Sam and center Marvin Philip signed with the Buffalo Bills on Tuesday.

Sam, selected by New England in the fifth round of the 2004 draft out of Florida State, played two games with the Patriots as a rookie. The Buford grad played for the CFL Toronto Argonauts last season. He also spent time with Cincinnati, Miami and Oakland.

Miami picks Whipple to run offense

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Mark Whipple was sitting last week in a film room at the Philadelphia Eagles' complex, watching tapes of three Miami games from this past season.

He noticed many talented offensive players.

Now, it's Whipple's job to make them winners.

Whipple, who helped Ben Roethlisberger win his first Super Bowl and coached Massachusetts to a Division I-AA national title in 1998, was hired Tuesday as Miami's new offensive coordinator - returning to the college game after four seasons as an NFL assistant.

He'll also be assistant head coach, something Miami coach Randy Shannon didn't have in either of the past two years.

'In one sense, my goal was to be a coordinator in the National Football League and a head coach,' Whipple said. 'But this opportunity came ... and my focus is really on trying to get the University of Miami to a national championship.'

Friendly Casey retires after 12 years

CINCINNATI - Chatty first baseman Sean Casey is retiring after a dozen major league seasons with five teams, headed for a second career that suits him as well.

'The Mayor' is hitting the airwaves.

Casey announced his retirement Tuesday and his move to the fledgling MLB Network, a 24-hour channel launched this month to about 50 million homes. He'll be a studio analyst initially.

The 34-year-old Casey came up with Cleveland and was traded to Cincinnati for pitcher Dave Burba a day before the Reds' 1998 opener, a surprising twist to start his career. Quickly, Casey became known for base hits and friendly banter - he chatted with runners at first base, respectfully referring to them as 'Mr.'

'Throughout my career, everyone was always interested in what I was talking about at first base and everything like that,' Casey said. 'Now people can see me talk on TV instead of wondering what I'm saying at first base.'

Johnson to coach women's U.S. hockey in 2010 Games

MILWAUKEE - Mark Johnson will coach the U.S. women's hockey team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

Johnson was selected Tuesday to continue as coach of the women's program he's led since replacing Ben Smith. Smith left after the U.S. women finished third at the Turin Olympics.

Johnson is also the coach of the University of Wisconsin's women's team. He has taken the Badgers to the NCAA title game the last three seasons, winning in 2006 and 2007. He will take a leave of absence for the 2009-10 season to work with USA Hockey.

Johnson played in eight world championships. He scored two goals in the Miracle on Ice victory over the Soviet Union for the 1980 U.S. team that won the gold medal.

Patriots hire ex-Titans GM Reese

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots have hired former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese as part of a restructuring of the team's front office.

The team also announced Tuesday that Nick Caserio will manage the daily operations of the personnel department following the departure of vice president of player personnel Scott Pioli. Caserio became director of player personnel a year ago.

Jimenez, Rockies agree to deal

DENVER - Ubaldo Jimenez and the Colorado Rockies agreed Tuesday to a four-year contract that guarantees the right-hander $10 million.

The deal contains club options for 2013 and 2014 that if exercised would raise its value to $22 million.

- From staff, wire reports