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Chipper Jones spotted with Playboy model

Chipper Jones was a baseball sensation in his 19-season career, piling up 2,726 hits, 468 homers and a .303 career batting average.

But the former Braves third baseman became an internet sensation Thursday when word, and a photo, spread around the World Wide Web that Jones is dating a Playboy model.

Chipper with Taylor Higgins. Photo from deadspin.com

Chipper with Taylor Higgins. Photo from deadspin.com

Jones, who tweeted on November 16 that his divorce from his second wife was final, has been spotted with Taylor Higgins, Bustedcoverage.com and several other websites reported. The sites also posted a photo of the couple posing for a photo at an unknown location.

Higgins is known professionally as Lexi Ray or Lexi Ray Taylor. Bustedcoverage.com says Higgins was once a Playboy coed of the week, and that she “specialized in naked shower videos and your run-of-the-mill naked photo shoots.”

A 2010 bio on Higgins said she was studying nursing at the University of Kentucky and quoted Higgins as saying, “I’m surprisingly good at …

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UGA’s Jones just misses Lombardi Award

Georgia’s Jarvis Jones didn’t win the Lombardi Award Wednesday night in Houston, finishing behind Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o for the honor going to the nation’s best lineman or linebacker.

Now the two linebackers will head to Orlando Thursday to see who wins the Bednarik Award for defensive player of the year.

Georgia's Jan. 1 game against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl could be Jarvis Jones's final college game.

Georgia’s Jan. 1 game against Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl could be Jarvis Jones’s final college game.

Te’o has more tackles (103) than Jones (77) this season and more interceptions (7) than Jones (1). But Jones has more tackles for losses (22.5 to 5.5), more sacks (12.5 to 1.5) and more forced fumbles (7 to 0). Both recovered two fumbles.

Jones, Te’o, Alabama offensive lineman Barrett Jones and South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney were the four finalists for the Lombardi Award, and Jones, Te’o, and Clowney are the final three up for the Bednarik.

Te’o has already won the Nagurski Trophy as the nation’s top defensive player and the Butkus Award for …

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Report: Strong turns down Tennessee job

Does anybody want to coach Tennessee?

The Vols’ search for a head coach will continue as Louisville’s Charlie Strong has reportedly become the latest coach to turn down an offer to succeed Derek Dooley.

Sports Illustrated, citing an anonymous source, is reporting that Louisville and Strong are working on a contract extension that could be announced as early as Thursday.

“It was Charlie’s desire to end this constant speculation and re-commit long-term to Louisville,” the source was quoted as saying.

Strong, the former Florida defensive coordinator, took over the Cardinals program in 2010 and led them to a 10-2 record and a berth in the Sugar Bowl against Florida this year.

On Wednesday it was reported that Tennessee offered the job to Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, but Gundy also turned the job down. Earlier speculation had centered on former NFL coach Jon Gruden, but Gruden also said he had no interest in the job.

Tennessee is the last of four SEC schools to fill its …

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Auburn hires Malzahn as head coach

From the Associated Press

Auburn has turned to Gus Malzahn to restore a program that made an unprecedented fall two years after winning the national title with Cam Newton operating the then-assistant coach’s high-powered offense to perfection.

Malzahn was the Tigers’ offensive coordinator during their 2010 national championship run before heading to Arkansas State for his first college head coaching position. He received a five-year contract worth $2.3 million annually to try to get the team back on solid footing.

“I recruited a lot of them and have very good relationships,” Malzahn said. “I just told them our expectations are to win championships. Whatever happened last year happened last year. It’s a new day. We’re going to put a good brand of football on the field and we’re going to have fun doing it.”

He led the Red Wolves to a 9-3 record, a Sun Belt Conference title and a berth in the GoDaddy.com Bowl, then parlayed that into a job in the powerhouse Southeastern …

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Radio host apologizes for question to Richt

Sports radio talk show host Chuck Oliver said Monday he was guilty of “horrible timing” in asking UGA Coach Mark Richt a question about losing big games after Saturday night’s SEC Championship Game.

Oliver, part of the “Chuck and Chernoff Show” on 680 the Fan, said he used “awful, terrible, wretched, horrid judgment” in posing such a question after Georgia’s emotional 32-28 loss to Alabama, a game many are calling the greatest SEC championship game ever.

In the exchange at a post-game press conference, Oliver asked Richt: “There are some people, whether its fans, media or whomever else, that may want to make further conclusions about you or your quarterback specifically in big games. Would you have any response to those people?”

Richt: “I don’t know what you’re saying. Why don’t you just say it straight up what you’re trying to say.”

Oliver: “There will be people who say that you and Aaron Murray specifically come up short on the biggest stage against the biggest opponents. Do …

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Williams named coach and GM of Dream

Longtime assistant Fred Williams has been named coach and general manager of the Dream.

Williams has served as interim coach since Marynell Meadors was fired in late August. He signed a one-year contract with the Dream holding the option of a one-year extension. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity,” he said. “I’ve been here from the start of the organization and have helped build the organization to where it is today.”

Williams, who has been on staff since the team was started play in 2008, led them to an 8-5 record, which included a 2-1 series loss to Indiana in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Dream, which lost in the WNBA finals each of the previous two years, finished 19-15.

Williams has been a head coach on the college level (USC) and pro level (WNBA’s Utah Starzz, NWBL’s San Diego).

He said he doesn’t plan on changing the team’s philosophy. He wants them to continue to push the pace.

He also plans on keeping the core of the …

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Costas calls for gun control on ‘Sunday Night Football’

NBC’s Bob Costas used his halftime commentary on “Sunday Night Football” to call for stricter gun control in the wake of the murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs player Jovan Belcher.

In a 90-second statement, Costas quoted Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock:

In the aftermath of the nearly unfathomable events in KC, that most mindless of sports cliches was heard yet again: Something like this really puts it all in perspective … You want some actual perspective on this? Well a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree, but who today said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article. “Our current gun culture,” Whitlock wrote, “ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They …

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LSU to face Clemson in Chick-fil-A Bowl

Some SEC football fans may be frustrated by the rule that limits conferences to just two representatives in BCS bowls but the Chick-fil-A Bowl is among the post-season games that will reap the benefits.

SEC power LSU will face Clemson in the Dec. 31 game at the Georgia Dome. LSU (10-2, 6-2 SEC) finished second to Alabama in the SEC West but the Crimson Tide and Florida filled two BCS slots for the league.

LSU finished No. 9 in the final AP poll and No. 8 in the BCS standings and Clemson (10-2, 7-1 ACC) is ranked No. 14 in both.

“We’re about as excited as you can be to have two 10-win teams for the first time in our history with a Clemson-LSU match-up,” said Gary Stokan, the Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “These teams are two of the top teams in the country and create one of the best bowl game match-ups of the post season.”

LSU is 5-0 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, including four victories when the game was known as the Peach Bowl. LSU defeated Clemson 10-7 in the 1996 game and …

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Fights break out at service for ‘Macho’ Camacho

Boxer Hector “Macho” Camacho is apparently as divisive in death as he was in life.

Several fights erupted at the viewing of the slain fighter’s body in Puerto Rico this week, ESPN reports, including a scrap between women claiming to be his girlfriend at the time of his death, his former girlfriend and his sisters.

During the viewing Tuesday, Cynthia Castillo, who claimed to be Camacho’s most recent girlfriend, kissed Camacho’s body on the mouth and then walked to an area reserved for family, where she claimed someone threw a plate of food at her and then attacked her.

She got into an altercation with Gloria Fernandez, who said she had been Camacho’s girlfriend for the past 25 years, and Camacho’s sisters, Esther and Estrella, ESPN said.

If that weren’t enough, former former bantamweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez got into it with a man named Jorge Lozada, who said he’s a member of the Camacho family.

Camacho, 50, was shot Nov. 20 while sitting in a parked car outside a bar in …

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Herschel Walker to open sports bar in Athens

Herschel Walker’s coming back.

No, unfortunately he won’t be available to play Saturday against Alabama in the SEC Championship Game — his eligibility is all used up. But the legendary running back is opening a sports bar in Athens.

Herschel’s Famous 34 Pub & Grill will open at 320 East Clayton Street downtown, which is already awash in bars and restaurants. None of them, however, has the marketing power of being owned by the famous No. 34, whom many consider to be the greatest running back in the history of college football.

According to the bar’s Facebook page, the restaurant “honors the magic of Herschel Walker and the number 34 with a great mix of American favorites like grilled steaks, burgers, seafood, signature sandwiches and fresh salads, plus a selection of 34 variations of wings and 34 craft beers. Join us on exciting journey from renovation to grand opening!”

In a statement Wednesday, Walker said, “We are excited to open the first Herschel’s Famous 34 Pub & Grill in …

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