Sports in brief: Philadelphia Eagles great Chuck Bednarik hospitalized for shortness of breath

Pro football

Eagles great Bednarik hospitalized

Chuck Bednarik, the 85-year-old Eagles Hall of Fame center/linebacker, remained hospitalized in serious condition but was said to be improving after suffering shortness of breath Tuesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

Bednarik was sitting up in bed and talking at a Bethlehem, Pa., area hospital on Thursday, his son-in-law Ken Safarowic told the newspaper.

"It's not a heart attack," Safarowic said. "His heart is as strong as when he was playing. But I think he'll be in the hospital for a couple more days."

Bednarik, nicknamed "Concrete Charlie," played 14 seasons in the NFL (1949-62 with the Eagles) and was a 10-time All-Pro.

More football: Bill Parcells, who turned over football operations of the Dolphins to GM Jeff Ireland last year but served as a consultant, is no longer affiliated with the team, the Dolphins announced. Parcells is set to tape a 90-minute special about the inner workings of the NFL draft for ESPN next month. … Former Gators returner Brandon James, who appeared in three games with the Colts last season, signed with the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimos.

Colleges

Nader: Nix athletic scholarships

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader is calling for the elimination of college athletic scholarships, saying the move is necessary to "de-professionalize" college athletes.

" … It's time we step back and finally address the myth of amateurism surrounding big-time college football and basketball in this country," said Nader, whose League of Fans is proposing that the scholarships be replaced with need-based financial aid.

NCAA spokesman Bob Williams said referring to college athletes as professionals defies logic. "They are students, just like any other student on campus who receives a merit-based scholarship," he said.

Nader, a former presidential candidate, wants to reduce the "win-at-all-costs" mentality in high schools, by reducing the incentive of college scholarships. "An entire industry has developed in the youth sports arena — club teams, personal trainers, etc. — to prey on families' dreams of an athletic scholarship," said Nadar, who will try to gain support from university presidents, Capitol Hill and the Education Department.

ET CETERA

Tennis: Uzbekistan-born Varvara Lepchenko, who plays today, is the only American left in the women's draw at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne. Bethanie Mattek-Sands was eliminated by No. 1-ranked Caroline Wozniacki 6-2, 7-5, and Jamie Hampton and Melanie Oudin were also ousted. In men's play, Kei Nishikori advanced to a second-round match Saturday against top-ranked Rafael Nadal. Radek Stepanek also won and faces Roger Federer in the next round.

Soccer: FC Tampa Bay defender Yendry Diaz, who had returned to practice last week after offseason groin surgery, tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and is out for the season. The 23-year-old was in line for a back-row starting spot. … Manchester United is suing Glazer family protester Thomas McKenna in a London court, claiming that details of 400 corporate clients of the Premier League club were leaked online as part of an effort to force the Bucs owner to sell the soccer team. Club leaders claim McKenna's actions led to some business premises and homes being attacked.

Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer; Times wires

Sports in brief: Philadelphia Eagles great Chuck Bednarik hospitalized for shortness of breath 03/24/11 [Last modified: Thursday, March 24, 2011 11:18pm]

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