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PHOENIX (AP) — The first responders who saved Damar Hamlin's life were recognized with a tribute video at “NFL Honors” before being invited onto the stage. The man they saved was right behind them. Hamlin made his second appearance in Phoenix during Super Bowl week Thursday night, paying tribute to those who had a hand in giving him a second chance at life.

PHOENIX (AP) — Patrick Mahomes dominated the voting for the NFL Most Valuable Player award. Now, he’ll try to break the MVP curse. Mahomes, who also won in 2018, easily outdistanced Jalen Hurts, receiving 48 of 50 first-place votes from a nationwide panel of media members who regularly cover the league. He earned 490 points to 193 for Hurts, who got one first-place vote, 26 seconds, 11 thirds and 10 fourths. Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (16-3) face Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles (16-3) in the Super Bowl on Sunday.

The Southeastern Conference says it distributed an average of $49.9 million to its 14 member schools for the fiscal year that ended last August. Commissioner Greg Sankey said Thursday the league divided $721.8 million of total revenue among its members. That included $698.5 million distributed by the league office and $23.3 million retained by schools for travel and other bowl-related expenses. The amounts were from the 2021-22 fiscal year which ended August 31.

Mercer loses to Samford in overtime, 70-69

MACON, Ga. (AP) — A.J. Staton-McCray scored the last three points of overtime, Ques Glover finished with 22 points and Samford beat Mercer 70-69 on Wednesday night. Staton-McCray converted a three-point play with 1:02 left in the extra period and Bubba Parham forced a turnover on Mercer's final possession. A Shawn Walker Jr. jumper for Mercer with 38 seconds left in regulation forced overtime tied at 65-all.

ATLANTA (AP) — Lance Terry scored 19 points, the last two on a game-winning tip-in at the buzzer that gave Georgia Tech a 70-68 victory over Notre Dame on Wednesday night. With the score tied at 68 with five seconds remaining, the Yellow Jackets' Kyle Sturdivant drove the left side of the lane and missed a step-back jumper along the baseline. Terry, who had inbounded the ball after a timeout, followed down the left side and delivered a two-handed tip-in for the victory that snapped a nine-game losing streak.

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Wednesday he is encouraged by the progress of quarterback Desmond Ridder and the potential of building around the rookie. Blank, speaking with Falcons reporters via phone from the Super Bowl, expressed confidence in the direction of the team following a 7-10 finish under second-year coach Arthur Smith. As others have speculated the Falcons could have interest in a high-priced quarterback like Lamar Jackson, who has just finished his rookie contract with the Baltimore Ravens, Smith spoke of the advantages of building around Ridder and his rookie contract.

ATLANTA (AP) — After cutting ties with Josef Martinez, Atlanta United bolstered its front line Wednesday with the signing of Greek forward Giorgos Giakoumakis. The 28-year-old Giakoumakis comes to Major League Soccer from Celtic FC, where he led the Scottish Premiership in goals and helped the team win both the league title and Scottish Cup. He has some big shoes to fill in Atlanta.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James became the NBA's career scoring leader on a step-back jumper late in the third quarter, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's record during his 38-point performance in the Los Angeles Lakers' 133-130 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. James surpassed the mark held since April 1984 by Abdul-Jabbar, who watched the game from a baseline seat near the Lakers' bench. Abdul-Jabbar then joined a clearly emotional James and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on the court after the historic basket.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 30 points, CJ McCollum added 21 and the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Atlanta Hawks 116-107 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory. Jonas Valanciunas, returning from a one-game absence because of a sore right quadriceps muscle, had 16 points and 14 rebounds for New Orleans. The Pelicans led 111-95 when Trey Murphy III hit his fourth 3-pointer of the game with 3:24 to go.

Former Chelsea and Newcastle forward Christian Atsu was rescued from the rubble of a collapsed building following the deadly earthquake that struck Turkey, the Ghana Football Association said in a Twitter post Tuesday. The Ghana international plays for Turkish club Hatayspor. A club spokesman on Monday told Turkish media that Atsu was thought to be in a building that was brought down by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake and aftershocks that struck southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria and has killed more than 5,000 people.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — At the start of his first week at the Atlanta Falcons practice facility, new defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen said he’s not willing to commit to a 4-3 or 3-4 as the base alignment of his multiple schemes. “Let’s just stop people,” Nielsen said Monday. Nielsen, the former co-defensive coordinator for the New Orleans Saints, was hired by Atlanta on Jan. 27 to replace Dean Pees, who retired at 73.

PHOENIX (AP) — Seven-time Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green retired on Monday after 12 seasons in the NFL. The 34-year-old spent a decade with the Cincinnati Bengals before signing with the Arizona Cardinals for the last two seasons of his career. Selected by the Bengals with the No. 4 overall pick of the 2011 draft out of Georgia, Green was a Pro Bowl selection in each of his first seven seasons, topping 1,000 yards receiving six times.

Former Chelsea and Newcastle forward Christian Atsu is missing and believed to be trapped under rubble following the powerful earthquake that struck Turkey on Monday and left more than 2,500 people dead. The Ghana international, who plays for Turkish club Hatayspor, is thought to be in a building that was destroyed, Hatayspor spokesman Mustafa Özat said, according to Turkish media.

Jamal Murray scored a season-high 41 points, Nikola Jokic had his 18th triple-double of the season and the Denver Nuggets extended their winning streak to three games with a 128-108 win over the …

Ford will return to Formula One as the engine provider for Red Bull Racing in a partnership announced Friday that begins with immediate technical support this season and engines in 2026. Red Bull powertrains and Ford will partner on the development of a hybrid power unit that will supply engines to both Red Bull and AlphaTauri when new F1 regulations begin in 2026.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Terrell Burden scored 27 points as Kennesaw State beat Bellarmine 90-84 in double overtime on Thursday night. Burden also had six assists for the Owls (18-6, 10-1 Atlantic Sun Conference). Chris Youngblood was 6 of 13 shooting, including 2 for 5 from distance, and went 6 for 9 from the line to add 20 points. Brandon Stroud shot 6 of 11 from the field and 3 for 4 from the line to finish with 17 points, while adding eight rebounds and five steals. It was the eighth win in a row for the Owls.

ATLANTA (AP) — Brenden Tucker's 20 points helped Georgia State defeat Georgia Southern 64-60 on Thursday night. Tucker was 5 of 9 shooting, including 2 for 4 from distance, and went 8 for 12 from the line for the Panthers (10-13, 3-8 Sun Belt Conference). Jamaine Mann scored 18 points while going 6 of 11 from the floor, including 3 for 5 from distance, and 3 for 6 from the line, and added seven rebounds. Ja'Heim Hudson shot 5 for 11, including 0 for 3 from beyond the arc to finish with 11 points.

Mercer loses to UNC Greensboro, 69-49

MACON, Ga. (AP) — Mohammed Abdulsalam scored 15 points to help UNC Greensboro defeat Mercer 69-49 on Thursday night. Abdulsalam also had 16 rebounds for the Spartans (15-9, 9-2 Southern Conference). Keondre Kennedy added 12 points while going 5 of 12 (0 for 5 from distance), and he also had six rebounds. Mikeal Brown-Jones shot 5 of 6 from the field and 2 for 3 from the line to finish with 12 points.

PHOENIX (AP) — Trae Young rose up for a 3-pointer in the second half that left his hands way too hard, hurtling toward the basket before slamming off the backboard and through the hoop. Atlanta's star guard shrugged and ran back down the court with a sheepish grin. Things were going the Hawks' way Wednesday night, leading to a blowout victory. Dejounte Murray scored 21 points, Young added 20 points and 12 assists and Atlanta rolled past the Phoenix Suns 132-100.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jae’ly Withers had 19 points and 13 rebounds, Kamari Lands had 11 points and a big 3-pointer, and Louisville defeated Georgia Tech 68-58 on Wednesday night, for the Cardinals' first ACC win of the season. Louisville led 33-28 at halftime and maintained a slim lead through the first 10 1/2 minutes of the second half until Georgia Tech tied it at 45 on a dunk by Ja'von Franklin with 9:26 remaining. The Yellow Jackets never took the lead, making just 2 of 9 shots the rest of the game while the Cardinals finished 6 of 8 from the field.

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Johni Broome scored 19 points and matched a career high with 18 rebounds, Allen Flanigan scored a season-high 22 points, and No. 25 Auburn defeated Georgia 94-73 on Wednesday night. Wendell Green Jr. added 18 points and six assists and made two 3-pointers during a 17-0 first-half run for the Tigers (17-5, 7-2 Southeastern Conference). Broome secured his seventh double-double of the season with 2:54 remaining in the first half, then added six points and six rebounds in the second half.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Tom Brady, who won a record seven Super Bowls for New England and Tampa, has announced his retirement. Brady — the most successful quarterback in NFL history, and one of the greatest athletes in team sports — posted the announcement on social media Wednesday morning, a brief video lasting just under one minute. “Good morning guys. I'll get to the point right away," Brady says as the message begins. “I'm retiring. For good."

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith continued to reshape his defensive staff by hiring Jerry Gray as the assistant head coach for defense on Tuesday. Gray, 60, brings 26 years of NFL coaching experience to Atlanta, including eight as a defensive coordinator and 16 as a defensive backs coach. In those 24 years as a coordinator or defensive backs coach, his defenses have ranked in the top 10 in scoring defense 10 times and in passing defense 13 times.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Donna Kelce is going to have to pull out that now-familiar custom jersey — the one with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce's front stitched to Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce's back — one more time this season. At least this time, she'll get to see her boys in person.

ATLANTA (AP) — Right-hander Darren O'Day, who posted a 4.15 ERA in 28 games with the Atlanta Braves in 2022, announced Monday he is retiring after 15 seasons for six teams in the major leagues. O'Day said on his Twitter account “it's finally time to hang 'em up.” “The mental, physical and time demands have finally outweighed my love for the game,” O'Day said.

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