Steelers acquire Leftwich
The Pittsburgh Steelers have acquired veteran quarterback Byron Leftwich from Tampa Bay, the NFL club said on Tuesday, in a move providing insurance for the possible loss of Ben Roethlisberger for the start of the season. Pittsburgh sent a seventh-round pick in this week’s NFL Draft to the Buccaneers in exchange. Roethlisberger could face a suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy even though charges were not filed against him after allegations of a sexual assault were made by a 20-year-old college student in Georgia. Leftwich, 30, played with the Steelers in 2008, completing 21 of 36 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns.
Saints to host opener
Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints will kick off the 2010 National Football League season by hosting the Minnesota Vikings in a Thursday night game on Sept. 9, the league said on Tuesday. The rematch of the NFC title game launches a 17-week, 256-game regular season that will feature more divisional games in the closing weeks to enhance the potential for more of those games having playoff ramifications. The regular season concludes on Sunday, Jan. 2, with all 16 contests being division games.
Volquez on drug suspension
Former Major League Baseball All-Star pitcher Edinson Volquez of the Cincinnati Reds was suspended for 50 games on Tuesday following a positive test for a performance-enhancing drug. Volquez said in a statement he received a prescription in the Dominican Republic as part of treatment to start a family with his wife. He said the drug was banned by the MLB. “Although I understand that I must accept responsibility for this mistake and have chosen not to challenge my suspension, I want to assure everyone that this was an isolated incident involving my genuine effort to treat a common medical issue,” he said. Volquez’s suspension started yesterday. The 26-year-old pitcher was already out of action — he’s recovering from reconstructive surgery on his elbow and was expected to rejoin the Reds around midseason.
Japan to send biggest team
Japan plans to send its biggest ever team of athletes to the Asian Games in November after an expansion of the regional Olympics program, a report said yesterday. The Japanese Olympic Committee estimates it will send at least 680 athletes to the quadrennial Games in Guangzhou, China, in November, the Sankei newspaper reported. The number is expected to rise even further as the committee will negotiate with national federations governing three sports making their Asiad debut — cricket, roller sports and dragon boat — the daily said. The board game “go” will also be added to the chess category of events, which made its Asiad debut at the last Games in Doha in 2006. The previous Japanese record was the 678 athletes it sent to the 1994 Games in Hiroshima.
Essien could sit out season
Chelsea’s Ghana midfielder Michael Essien could miss the rest of the season as he struggles to recover from a knee injury sustained at the African Nations Cup in January, the London club said on Tuesday. “The Ghanaian’s participation in the remainder of the campaign is now in doubt, with only four games to play including the FA Cup Final [against Portsmouth] on May 15,” the Premier League club said on its Web site.