Little All-American lineman found dead

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Heath Benedict, a two-time Little All-American offensive lineman from Newberry College in South Carolina, was found dead on a couch in his home Wednesday evening.

Jacksonville, Fla., police said no foul play is suspected. Benedict, a 6-foot-6, 326-pounder, finished his senior season in the fall and left school to train for next month's NFL draft. He was nine hours short of a business degree.

Benedict, 24, took part in the Senior Bowl in January, the first Division II player to do so since 2004, and was invited to last month's NFL combine. ...

Tennessee Titans offensive lineman Benji Olson retired after 10 years and 151 games. ... Former Rams defensive lineman Tyoka Jackson was ordered by a federal jury to pay a flight attendant $3,000 for pushing him on a plane.


Seeded players had first-round byes at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Fla., but two-time Grand Slam champion Marat Safin hit another low when he lost to American qualifier Bobby Reynolds 7-6 (3), 4-6, 7-6 (5). Safin fell to 1-5 in 2008; his ranking has fallen from 56th to 90th since the start of the year. Also beaten was Mardy Fish, who beat Roger Federer en route to a runner-up finish last week at Indian Wells. Arnaud Clement caught Fish on the rebound and won 6-3, 6-3.

In women's play, highly touted 16-year-old American Coco Vandeweghe lost to Sabine Lisicki 6-4, 7-5. Vandeweghe's grandfather, Ernie, played for the New York Knicks. ...

Andy Roddick and James Blake will play singles, and Bob and Mike Bryan doubles for the U.S. in next month's Davis Cup quarterfinal with France in Winston-Salem, N.C.


Britain's men set a team pursuit world record and the women's team broke the sprint mark in the world track cycling championships in Manchester, England.

Rebecca Romero emerged victorious in the individual pursuit for Britain's fourth gold in the velodrome. Two years after transferring from boat to bicycle

(she won a rowing silver medal at the 2004 Olympics), Romero beat two-time world champ Sarah Hammer by almost 7 seconds.


The U.S. men's team completed plans to play Argentina on June 8 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. It plays exhibitions at England on May 28 and at Spain on June 4. The U.S. starts World Cup qualifying against Barbados, June 15 at Carson.


The March 15 fight in Las Vegas between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez -- the world's top two 130-pound boxers -- generated $20.2 million in pay-per-view sales, setting a record for the sport's lower weight classes, HBO vice president Mark Taffet said. About 400,000 homes bought the fight.

Pacquiao won the WBC super featherweight belt by one point on one judge's scorecard in a widely acclaimed rematch of the fighters' 2004 draw. It was previously announced the bout generated $3.3 million in ticket sales at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. ...

Having his famous father (Leon) and uncle (Michael) working the corner was no help to Cory Spinks (35-6), who relinquished his IBF junior welterweight championship in his hometown of St. Louis in a 12-round split decision to 38-year-old Verno Phillips (42-11-1).


Eamon Sullivan broke the 50-meter freestyle world record and Olympic teammate Libby Trickett did the same over 100 meters in Sydney at the Australian championships. It was the third time in the past six weeks the men's 50 record has been lowered, after Alexander Popov's mark of 21.64 lasted nearly eight years.

Sullivan, competing in the men's 50 semifinals, finished in 21.41 seconds to break the mark of 21.50 established by France's Alain Bernard at last weekend's European Championships. Trickett, formerly Libby Lenton, swam a 52.88 to top the 53.30 by Germany's Britta Steffen. ...

In a span of 45 minutes in the opening night of the NCAA men's championships in Federal Way, Wash., Auburn junior and Brazilian national team star Cesar Cielo swam the two fastest 50-yard freestyle races ever. He led off Auburn's victorious 200 free relay team with a time 18.47 seconds, then came back to win the 50 free title race in 18.52.