NFL

Spagnuolo stays with Giants, gets new contract

Less than a week after winning the Super Bowl, the New York Giants got the 2008 season off to a good start by retaining defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

Only hours after Spagnuolo withdrew his name from consideration for the Washington Redskins coaching job Thursday, the Giants gave the 48-year-old a new three-year, $6 million contract that will make him one of the NFL's highest paid coordinators.

"I was happy to have the opportunity to explore that situation," Spagnuolo said in a statement released by the Giants. "But I am equally happy to be staying in New York and look forward to continued success with the Giants."

Spagnuolo left the Washington area Wednesday night after more than 16 hours of talks with Redskins owner Dan Snyder. He called him Thursday morning to withdraw.

• Tight end L.J. Smith, who was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the month, was given the franchise tag by the Philadelphia Eagles. Although Smith can receive offers from other teams, the tag gives the Eagles seven days to match. A team signing him would have to give up two first-round picks as compensation.

• The bullet that killed Redskins safety Sean Taylor ripped first through his right leg and then the left, and possibly came from a 9mm handgun, an autopsy released Thursday said.

The report notes a bullet perforated the soft tissues and muscles of the right groin and the right femoral artery, a crucial pathway for blood.

• Restaurateur Kurt Havelock, angry at being denied a liquor license, threatened to shoot people at the Super Bowl and drove to within sight of the stadium with a rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition before changing his mind, federal authorities said. Havelock said in a manifesto mailed Sunday to media outlets that he would "shed the blood of the innocent," according to court documents.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Arizona's Stoops apologizes for calling archrival 'a J.C.'

Arizona coach Mike Stoops apologized for saying Arizona State has "turned into a J.C. [junior college]"

"Yesterday in my annual signing day news conference I regretfully made some comments about sister institution Arizona State University," Stoops said in a statement. "These remarks were dutifully reported by the media, and not necessarily taken out of context -- which was within some of my heartfelt observations about the recruiting process and what it entails for individuals and college football programs. But it was a personal mistake and one for which I apologize."

SOCCER

Beckham blogs about being left off England team

David Beckham said he respects Fabio Capello, even though the new England coach denied him his 100th national team appearance by leaving the former captain off the squad for an exhibition match against Switzerland.

In an entry posted Thursday on his blog, Beckham said it was good to see England defeat the Swiss 2-1 Wednesday night. The 32-year-old midfielder had been left off the roster because he hasn't played a competitive match since November.

"I am sure you will have read a lot of Mr. Capello's call to leave me out of the squad, but in truth I admire him as a manager and respect his decision," Beckham wrote.

"In his explanation, he said that it was purely down to match fitness and that it was unfair to the other players, competing week in and week out for their clubs, to include me in the squad."

ASSOCIATED PRESS