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Sports in brief

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day full of drug bans

Cowboys DE Randy Gregory, who failed a marijuana test at the NFL combine last year and slid to the draft's second round because of off-field concerns, will miss the first four games next season for violating the league's substance abuse policy, the league said Friday. Under the policy, a four-game suspension comes after four failed tests.

• Ravens TE Nick Boyle was suspended for 10 games next season for violating the policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He previously was banned for the final four games last season under the policy. Boyle said on Twitter he was sorry for the "poor choice" he made.

• Packers DT Mike Pennel was suspended for the first four games of 2106 for violating the substance abuse policy. His representatives didn't return emails from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel seeking comment.

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Rams begin cap purge

The Rams released LB James Laurinaitis, DE Chris Long and TE Jared Cook to reduce their salary by nearly $25 million as they relocate from St. Louis to Los Angeles.

Laurinaitis has been one of the NFL's leading tacklers in his seven-year career. Long, son of Hall of Fame DE Howie Long, was the Rams' top pass rusher for most of his eight seasons. Cook set franchise records for most receiving yards by a tight end in a season (671 in 2013) and in a game (141, Sept. 8, 2013, versus Arizona).

Steelers TE Miller retires: Heath Miller, regarded as the best tight end in Steelers history, announced his retirement. Miller, 33, started 167 of a possible 168 regular-season games in the past 11 seasons and is the team's all-time leader for tight ends in receptions (592), receiving yards (6,569) and receiving touchdowns (45). Miller started in three Super Bowls and helped the Steelers win Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII.

et cetera

College football: Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is getting a raise after leading the Spartans to the playoffs last season. Dantonio's annual compensation increases from $3.67 million to $4.3 million, the school said. … Michigan said its spring game will be at night for the first time. The April 1 game will be the 15th and final practice for Jim Harbaugh's second spring with the Wolverines.

Skiing: Lara Gut won a World Cup downhill by a large margin and reclaimed the overall World Cup lead from Lindsey Vonn, who lost a ski, fell and did not finish at La Tuile, Italy. Vonn wasn't hurt.

Soccer: Alex Morgan had a hat trick and the U. S. women secured a spot in this summer's Olympics with a 5-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago in the semifinals of the Olympic qualifying tournament at Houston. In the final, the Americans face Canada, which got an Olympic spot with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica.

Tennis: Top seed Rafael Nadal advanced to the semifinals of the Rio de Janeiro Open after Alexandr Dolgopolov withdrew before their claycourt match with a shoulder injury. No. 5 Dominic Thiem upset No. 2 David Ferrer 6-3, 6-2.

Times wires

Sports in brief 02/19/16 [Last modified: Friday, February 19, 2016 11:11pm]
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© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

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  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …