Jeff Gordon, with a nagging back injury, a young family he wanted to spend more time with and a phenom waiting in the wings at Hendrick Motorsports, knew midway through last season that he had one more year in him.
NEW YORK (AP) - The NFL has fined Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch $20,000 for making an obscene gesture during last Sunday's NFC championship game, a person with knowledge of the fine told The Associated Press on Thursday.
LA QUINTA (AP) - Phil Mickelson got most of the attention in his return to competition after a four-month break. Blake Adams got a lot more out of his comeback round.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The University of California's governing board tabled a policy on Thursday that would have made the public college system the nation's second to tie bonuses awarded to winning athletic coaches to how well their players do in the classroom.
OAKLAND (AP) - Stephen Curry got involved in a rare altercation before finishing with 22 points and 10 assists, and the Golden State Warriors held off the Houston Rockets 126-113 on Wednesday night for their franchise-record 17th straight home win.
SAN JOSE (AP) - Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski scored power-play goals to send the San Jose Sharks into the NHL All-Star break on a winning note with a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night.
SACRAMENTO (AP) - Brook Lopez had 22 points and six blocks and the Brooklyn Nets defeated the Sacramento Kings 103-100 on Wednesday night for only their second win in the last 10.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Second baseman Marco Scutaro was designated for assignment by the San Francisco Giants on Wednesday as he recovers from back surgery.
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Andre Ward wrote out his retirement speech a few times in the last two years. With his usual fastidious style, the super middleweight champion laid out every reason he felt he had to end his unblemished boxing career in his prime.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - An agitated Roger Federer spat out the question that Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova easily could have asked the players who pushed them to the limits in the second round of the Australian Open.
PHOENIX (AP) - The NFL is taking its extra-point experiment to the Pro Bowl.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) - The New England Patriots are brushing off and even finding humor in questions about whether they used under-inflated footballs in the game that put them in the Super Bowl.
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - As a first-time dad with a baby at home, Novak Djokovic could see merits in the tale of Serena Williams' mid-match espresso that has been brewing in the lead-up to the Australian Open.
The Chicago Bears hired Vic Fangio as their new defensive coordinator Tuesday, hoping the veteran coach who spent the last four seasons with San Francisco can breathe some life into the once-storied unit.
ALAMEDA (AP) - Jack Del Rio picked the same offensive coordinator to start his tenure in Oakland as he did more than a decade ago in Jacksonville.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Jordan Spieth is making the Masters look easy.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - The man was so darned agreeable from tee to green you half-expected his post-round interview to begin:
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and handed out 10 assists as Oklahoma City held off the pesky Sacramento Kings 116-103 to remain even with New Orleans for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
PITTSBURGH (AP) - His flowing locks bouncing off the top of his No. 43 jersey, Troy Polamalu spent more than a decade flying across football fields as the heady but humble backbone of a defense that fueled the Pittsburgh Steelers' return to the NFL's elite.
SANTA CLARA (AP) - Colin Kaepernick dropped back to pass and tight end Vernon Davis could hardly believe he was watching the same player.
CINCINNATI (AP) - Lauren Hill's teammates and coaches are remembering the 19-year-old college basketball player with her own inspiring words: "Never give up."
OAKLAND (AP) - The Golden State Warriors bet on Andrew Bogut staying healthy when they signed him to a three-year, $36 million extension before last season, and Bogut bet on himself by taking an incentive-rich deal.
FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) - Jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots player Aaron Hernandez completed a fourth day of deliberations on Friday with no verdict.
OAKLAND (AP) - Stephen Curry eclipsed his own NBA record for most 3-pointers in a season, scoring 45 points to rally the Golden State Warriors to a 116-105 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Jordan Spieth pulled off the unthinkable Thursday. With the best opening round in 19 years, he managed to make the Masters about a lot more than the Grand Slam bid of Rory McIlroy and the curious return of Tiger Woods.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Not exactly the Tiger of old.
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Pinch-hitter Justin Maxwell delivered an RBI single with two outs in the 12th inning and the San Francisco Giants spoiled the new-look San Diego Padres' home opener with a 1-0 victory Thursday.
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Bryan Lerg scored in his NHL debut and the San Jose Sharks beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-1 on Thursday night in a game between two teams out of the playoff picture.
PHOENIX (AP) - Chris Heston pitched six effective innings in a combined five-hitter for his first big league win, Casey McGehee hit a two-run homer and the San Francisco Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 5-2 Wednesday night
OAKLAND (AP) - Scott Kazmir struck out 10 and was backed by a couple of rookies getting their first big league hits, and the Oakland Athletics beat the Texas Rangers 10-0 on Wednesday night.