MINNEAPOLIS — For the third straight offseason, Adrian Peterson will be recovering from surgery.
The Minnesota Vikings said their star running back had an operation Thursday to repair his adductor muscle, which is part of the groin. The team said Peterson was expected to be fully recovered in about six weeks, giving him plenty of time to heal before offseason workouts get going.
The procedure was performed by Dr. William Meyers at the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia.
Peterson rushed for 1,266 yards in 14 games, missing two in December due to a sprained right foot. The groin problem was lingering long before that, though, sapping him of some of his explosiveness. He acknowledged after a loss at Seattle Nov. 17 that the injury was bothering him “a lot.” Peterson gained only 65 yards on 21 carries that afternoon, albeit against the league’s best defense.
He still managed, two weeks later, to rush for 211 yards against Chicago, the fourth-highest total of his career. But then came the sprained foot in the snow Dec. 8 at Baltimore, and he played only once more, and not at full speed. He tallied 45 yards on 11 attempts at Cincinnati on Dec. 22 and said afterward he felt uncomfortable, a rare admission for one of the sport’s most confident and determined players.
Keeping him off the field is always hard.
“That’s just not my mentality, leaving these guys out to dry, just because, what the heck, my passion for the game,” Peterson said last month. “I love the game too much to sit out just because. If I’m out, you’re going to know that he can’t go.”
Peterson is 27th on the all-time rushing list, second only behind Steven Jackson among active players, and he has often stated his goal of someday passing Emmitt Smith for first place in history. Peterson will be 29 before the 2014 season starts, though, which means he is already in the later part of his prime. His punishing running style and the nature of playing such a taxing position will make it difficult, even for him, to keep the pace.
This was Peterson’s third, though least invasive, surgery in the last 25 months. He had anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligament reconstruction in his left knee in December 2011. Then, after rushing for 2,097 yards and winning the NFL MVP award, Peterson had a procedure done in February 2013 to repair a sports hernia in his abdomen. Meyers performed that surgery, too.
Pettine hired as
Browns head coach
CLEVELAND — The Browns have hired Buffalo defensive coordinator Mike Pettine as their coach, ending a twisting, nearly four-week search.
Pettine finalized a contract Thursday with the Browns, who fired Rob Chudzinski on Dec. 29 following one season. The 47-year-old Pettine, the son of a legendary Pennsylvania high school coach, spent one year with the Bills after four as Rex Ryan’s defensive coordinator with the New York Jets.
With his clean-shaven head and no-nonsense approach, Pettine is popular with players. He’ll inherit a Cleveland team that went 4-12 this season after losing its last seven games.
Pettine emerged as the favorite to become Cleveland’s seventh full-time coach since 1999 — and fourth in six years — as the Browns eliminated candidates and Denver offensive coordinator Adam Gase, considered the front-runner when the search started, told the team to move on without him.
Jets QB, airline
NEW YORK — Geno Smith and Virgin America airline might fly together again, after all.
The New York Jets quarterback received an apology from the airline Thursday following a dispute with a flight attendant.
In joint statements released by the Jets, Virgin America said it reviewed the incident that occurred last Friday at Los Angeles International Airport.
“We believe it was the result of a misunderstanding that regrettably escalated unnecessarily,” Virgin America said. “We’ve apologized to Mr. Smith for his experience, which could have been better — and we’d welcome him back onboard any time. As an airline that prides itself on our guest service, we take incidents such as this one very seriously.”
Neither statement included details on what happened, but a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press last Friday that a flight attendant asked Smith to remove his headphones and an argument ensued.
Smith was on a flight scheduled to take off from Los Angeles to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., when an attendant asked Smith to remove his headphones and an argument ensued, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no official report was filed to or by the airport. Smith, who recently completed his rookie season with the Jets, got up and asked to speak to a supervisor before leaving the plane on his own and talking with police at the gate before leaving.
“I really appreciate that Virgin America took this seriously, looked into this matter and followed up with me,” Smith said in his statement. “I look forward to flying their airline again soon.”
Smith, a second-round draft pick out of West Virginia last April, had an up-and-down rookie season as the Jets went 8-8 and missed the playoffs for the third straight year. He threw 21 interceptions and just 12 touchdowns, but set a team rookie record with 3,046 yards passing and played well down the stretch to help the Jets win three of their last four games.
Rio Olympics budget
gets big bump
RIO DE JANEIRO — The operating budget for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was announced at 7 billion reals ($2.9 billion) by organizers on Thursday, an increase of 27 percent over the figure submitted in the 2009 bid.
The operating budget is only for organizing the games themselves, and has been delayed for months with Brazil’s three levels of government debating over who pays what.
A separate and much larger capital budget — a mix of private and public funds — will be unveiled next week and could top $11 billion. This is for building roads, subway lines and other improvements triggered by the games.
Rays sign Balfour to
2-year, $12 million deal
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays have signed right-hander pitcher Grant Balfour to a 2-year, $12 million deal.
Team owner Stu Sternberg announced the deal on Thursday. He says it is a significant move for the budget-minded Rays, noting, “We’ve had some exceptional teams. We want to give this organization the best chance to win, and we know it’s going to cost us more than we can afford to pay.”
Balfour, 36, was 62 for 67 in save opportunities the past two seasons with the Oakland Athletics.
It’s Balfour’s second tour with the Rays. He played with Tampa Bay from 2007-10 and helped the Rays reach the 2008 World Series.
Balfour was a first-time All-Star selection in 2013. He was 25 for 25 in save opportunities the first half of the season.MORE IN Sports WireBALTIMORE — Olympic gold medal swimmer Michael Phelps avoided jail time on Friday when a judge... Full Story
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