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Sports in Brief

Sports in Brief

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Former Star Modano retires after 21 seasons

Former Dallas Star Mike Modano (pictured) announced Wednesday that he is retiring after 21 seasons in the NHL, a career that includes a Stanley Cup championship along with 561 goals and 1,374 points -- both of which are records for U.S.-born players.

"It's just time," he said in a phone interview from Dallas, taking a break between playing 36 holes of golf. "I didn't get any calls after July 1, and I figured that was it."

Only it wasn't. Modano said Vancouver assistant general manager Lorne Henning offered him a chance last week to continue his career with the Canucks.

"I told him I had to pass because I hadn't touched a weight or unzipped my bag since we lost in San Jose," he said.

NFL memo warns teams about faking injuries

NEW YORK -- The NFL sent a memo Wednesday to all 32 teams warning of fines, suspensions and loss of draft picks if the league determines players faked injuries during a game. Yet several players admit its an accepted practice, and some coaches hinted they are not above condoning phony injuries if it provides a competitive edge.

"I've been places where it has been [taught]," said Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, a member of the players' union executive committee. "They have a name for it and I've been places where it's been pre-called. I've been places where it's one player who has been designated. Maybe I'm getting everyone in trouble, but I'm just being honest."

In the memo obtained by The Associated Press, the NFL reminded teams of league policy that calls on coaches to discourage the practice.

Nonetheless, two days after there was speculation the Giants' Deon Grant (pictured) faked an injury against the Rams during Monday night's game, the NFL is warning of disciplinary action.

Report says Armstrong paid banned doctor

ROME -- Lance Armstrong made payments to an Italian physician banned for doping through a front company in Switzerland, an Italian newspaper reported Wednesday.

The Milan-based daily Corriere della Sera said the seven-time Tour de France winner paid a company in the Neuchatel region called Health and Performance.

Citing work by Swiss and Italian investigators, Corriere said that Michele Ferrari, a banned Italian physician who was once Armstrong's training adviser, was behind the "anonymous company now in liquidation."

Ferrari was cleared on appeal in 2006 of criminal charges of distributing doping products to athletes, but he is barred for life by the Italian Cycling Federation under a 2002 ruling.

-- Wire reports

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