Sports Briefs April 11th, 2012

Panthers award Steve Smith with three-year extension

It’s not often these days that an NFL player begins and ends his career with the same franchise, but the Carolina Panthers are hoping their new three-year extension with wide receiver Steve Smith accomplishes that rare feat. Carolina announced yesterday that both player and organization have agreed to add three years onto his current contract, making Smith a panther until the 2015 season, with a one-year team option for 2016. Financial terms of the deal have not been made public yet. “The Panthers wanted to try to lock him down for the future and Steve is simply ecstatic about being able to finish his career in Carolina. A lot of L.A. guys want to get back to the West Coast, but Steve and his family love living Charlotte,” said Smith’s agent Derrick Fox. The Compton, California-native currently sits 32nd on the NFL’s all-time receiving yards list and just finished up his fifth Pro Bowl season in 2011.

Mavericks place Lamar Odom on inactive list

During halftime of the Dallas Maverick’s game last Saturday, Lamar Odom and franchise owner Mark Cuban exchanged heated words, ultimately resulting in the two mutually agreeing to cut ties. Odom has been placed on the team’s inactive list for the rest of the season and has likely played his last game as a member of the squad. According to sources, the confrontation came to a head when Cuban asked Odom if he was “in or out.” The veteran responded with harsh words and didn’t take his seat on the bench heading into the third quarter of the contest. This is just one of several arguments between the owner and player, with Cuban confronting Odom during the team’s March 6 contest against the New York Knicks. ESPN.com reported that the Mavs and Odom have agreed that former Los Angeles Laker will leave the team immediately, however he won’t be outright released.

Ozzie Guillen suspended five games

The Miami Marlins suspended Ozzie Guillen for five games for comments he made regarding Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Guillen, 48, told Time Magazine he loves Castro and respects the retired Cuban leader for staying in power so long. On Tuesday, Guillen held a press conference in which he apologized for his comments, stating ”I’m very sorry about the problem, what happened. ‘I will do everything in my power to make it better. I know it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.” Marlins bench coach Joey Cora will be the interim manager during the suspension, and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said he supported the Marlin’s decision to suspend Guillen.

Bill Parcells unlikely to coach Saints

Bill Parcells will not become interim coach for the New Orleans Saints in 2012, according to team sources. Sean Payton’s suspension for the bounty scandal took effect Monday, and the Saints have apparently been in talks with Parcells about the coaching position for the past month. Parcells, 71, told Payton in a recent conversation that he preferred to remain retired. The future Hall of Famer retired from coaching in 2006, after coaching the Dallas Cowboys for four seasons.

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