Contract clause puts Asomugha on market

Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha's three-year, $45.3 million deal with the Raiders was voided when he failed to reach incentives.
Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha's three-year, $45.3 million deal with the Raiders was voided when he failed to reach incentives. (Paul Sakuma)
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Monday, January 10, 2011

The final year in Nnamdi Asomugha's record contract with the Oakland Raiders has been voided because the Pro Bowl cornerback didn't reach certain incentives.

Raiders senior executive John Herrera confirmed the development Sunday. ESPN first reported the change, which makes Asomugha a free agent.

Asomugha signed a three-year, $45.3 million deal in February 2009 that made him the highest paid defensive back in NFL history. He was paid $28.5 million in the first two years of the contract.

The Raiders had an option for 2011, which would be worth either $16.8 million or the amount of the quarterback franchise tag, whichever is greater.

Asomugha's contract had a clause that said his contract would be voided if he didn't participate in more plays in 2010 than the previous year or improve his interception, fumble recovery or sack totals.

Asomugha missed two games with a sprained ankle, so he did not reach the playing time incentive. He also had no interceptions, fumble recoveries or sacks. He had one interception, no fumble recoveries and no sacks the previous season. . . .

Running backs Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis and Marshall Faulk and cornerback Deion Sanders are among 15 finalists announced for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's class of 2011.

Martin, Bettis and Faulk are among the NFL's top 10 leading rushers, and are eligible for the first time. Sanders and offensive tackle Willie Roaf also are eligible for the first time.

The other finalists are wide receivers Tim Brown, Andre Reed and Cris Carter; center Dermontti Dawson; defensive ends Richard Dent, Charles Haley and Chris Doleman; defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy; and tight end Shannon Sharpe, along with NFL filmmaker Ed Sabol.

The 15 finalists, plus senior nominees Chris Hanburger, a Washington Redskins linebacker from 1965 to 1978, and linebacker Les Richter, will be considered for induction Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl.

College football

Rishard Matthews caught a touchdown pass and returned a punt for another score, and No. 13 Nevada topped Boston College, 20-13, in the Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco. . . .

A person familiar with Patrick Peterson's decision told the Associated Press that the LSU star cornerback has decided to enter the NFL draft. He is widely projected to be a first-round pick. . . .

Georgia wideout A.J. Green said he'll give up his senior season to enter the draft. He's projected as one of the top picks. . . .

West Virginia safety Robert Sands also plans to enter the NFL draft. Sands is projected by some scouting services to be among the top three safeties in the draft.


Pro basketball

The Nets are closing in on a deal to bring Carmelo Anthony to New Jersey.

Talks on a three-team trade with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons are "advancing," a person with knowledge of the discussions told the Associated Press. The trade would reunite Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton in New Jersey along with Anthony, the person said on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the talks.

The deal would fall apart if Anthony refused to sign a three-year, $65 million contract extension with the Nets. Billups also has said he would be reluctant to leave Denver. . . .

Phoenix signed free agent guard Zabian Dowdell (Virginia Tech) to a 10-day contract.


Jonathan Byrd started the new year the way he ended the old one - with a victory. Byrd opened the PGA Tour season by winning the Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii, in a sudden-death playoff against Robert Garrigus, who missed a three-foot par putt on the second extra hole. . . .

In tennis, third-seeded Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland defeated Xavier Malisse of Belgium, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, to win the Chennai (India) Open. . . .

Calgary Flames forward Tom Kostopoulos was suspended six games by the NHL for his head shot on Detroit defenseman Brad Stuart on Friday night. . . .

Lindsey Vonn made a couple of mistakes and Swiss teen Lara Gut capitalized to win a World Cup super-G race in Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, Austria.

- From news services

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