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Sports briefs: NFL owners to consider adding two playoff teams
First Published Mar 19 2014 06:59 pm • Last Updated Mar 19 2014 07:31 pm

NFL • NFL owners likely will consider expanding the playoffs by two teams, starting in 2015, when they hold spring meetings next week in Orlando, but a vote is uncertain. A groundswell for raising the number of playoff qualifiers to seven in each conference figures to get plenty of support from the 32 owners. The format of four division winners and two wild-card teams has existed since 2002.

• The Panthers say Cam Newton had successful surgery Wednesday on his left ankle and that the two-time Pro Bowl QB will be sidelined for four months.

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• The Tennessee Titans have released Rob Bironas, the franchise’s second-leading career scorer and the fourth-most-accurate kicker in NFL history. The 36-year-old Bironas had 1,032 career points in his nine-year career with Tennessee.

Cherundolo retires

SOCCER • U.S. defender Steve Cherundolo, nicknamed "Mayor of Hannover" during a 15-year career that saw him play for just one club and rise to become Hannover’s captain, is retiring because of persistent knee injuries. The 35-year-old right back, a member of the U.S. World Cup teams in 2002, 2006 and 2010, played a in club-record 302 Bundesliga games for Hannover.

Murray, Lendl split

TENNIS • Following a fruitful two-year relationship, Wimbledon champ Andy Murray has parted ways with coach Ivan Lendl — the man who helped turn him from a four-time Grand Slam runner-up into a two-time major champion. With Lendl, Murray won the U.S. Open and Olympic gold in London in 2012. In 2013, he became the first British man to win Wimbledon in 77 years.

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Braves’ Medlen out

MLB • Atlanta pitcher Kris Medlen has undergone elbow-ligament replacement surgery for the second time. The Braves said Wednesday that the 28-year-old righty is likely out for the season.

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