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Lineman Essex agrees to stay with Steelers


Former Harding star Trai Essex agreed to terms Thursday to remain with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Essex, an offensive lineman, has played his entire career in Pittsburgh, re-signing with the club midway through training camp last summer. He ended up starting three games while filling in on an injury-depleted offensive line. The 29-year-old Essex likely will continue to serve in a backup role for the Steelers in 2012.

“I am ecstatic to announce that I am back with the Steelers! There is no place like Steeler Nation,” Essex posted on his Twitter account. “Truly an honor to play for the best franchise with the best fans on the planet!”

In addition to Essex, the Steelers also agreed to terms with wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery


Kroger to sponsor Brickyard weekend

Kroger will be NASCAR’s title sponsor for the first “super weekend” in Indianapolis. Four races will be run at Indianapolis Motor Speedway from July 26 to 29, including the Brickyard 400. It will be the first time the Nationwide Series and Grand-Am race at the track on the same weekend, which organizers will call the Kroger Super Weekend. It’s the first time the track’s 2.5-mile oval and the track’s road course will be used on the same weekend.

F1 says Bahrain GP will be run

Formula One’s governing body said the Bahrain Grand Prix will go ahead as planned despite ongoing political instability in the country and threats by some groups to disrupt the event. The race is scheduled for April 22 at the Sakhir circuit.


NBA news

Corey Maggette of the Bobcats will miss the rest of the season because of a strain in his right Achilles tendon that he initially suffered March 30 against Denver. … All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge of the Trail Blazers will have surgery on his right hip and miss the rest of the season. …

Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love suffered a concussion Wednesday in Denver, and it is unclear when he’ll play again.



Chad Campbell used a fast start, and Vaughn Taylor and Colt Knost had strong finishes to share the first-round lead at 4-under 67 in the RBC Heritage in Hilton Head, S.C. … In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, South Africa’s Charl Schwartzel shot an 8-under 64 to take a one-stroke lead over India’s Jeev Milkha Singh after the first round of the Malaysian Open.


26 players to attend draft

Quarterbacks Andrew Luck of Stanford and Robert Griffin III of Baylor are among 26 players who will attend the NFL draft later this month. Luck and Heisman Trophy winner Griffin are expected to go 1-2 to Indianapolis and Washington. The 26 players will be the most to attend a draft.

NFL news

The Bengals agreed to a deal with cornerback Terence Newman, an unrestricted free agent from Dallas who struggled in pass coverage last season. The Bengals also traded linebacker Keith Rivers to the New York Giants for a fifth-round draft pick. …

The NFL will allow teams to accept advertisements for casinos and other state-licensed gambling-related establishments during the next two seasons. Those ads can appear only in game programs, on local radio broadcasts and in the upper bowl and inner concourses of stadiums.

Warsaw senior headed to Franklin

Warsaw senior running back Zach Rooney has committed to Franklin College. Rooney ran for 975 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.