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ALLEN PARK, Mich. - The Detroit Lions hired Mike Martz after all.

The former Rams coach became Lions offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Wednesday, a week after he turned down the job for financial reasons.

Martz interviewed with new coach Rod Marinelli and team president Matt Millen nine days ago, but said last Thursday he wasn't taking the job because, "It just didn't work out with the money."

Erickson returns to roots in Idaho

MOSCOW, Idaho - Dennis Erickson returned to Idaho on Wednesday to become head coach at the school that gave him his start.

The 58-year-old Erickson, who won two national championships at Miami, got his first head coaching job at Idaho in 1982. He left after the '85 season for a string of college jobs and eventually ended up in the NFL.

His last stop was San Francisco, where after two disappointing seasons with the 49ers he was fired in January 2005.

"I just thought it was an opportunity for me to come back, give back and get back to coaching college football … my first love," Erickson said at a news conference.

Jackson shrugs off Cuban's comments

HOUSTON - Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson laughed off Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's claim that Jackson "must now be considered my bucket boy."

The comments were posted on Cuban's Web log - under the heading "I Own Phil Jackson" - on Wednesday, the day after the Mavericks beat the Lakers 102-87 in Dallas.

"It's just fun to have Mark in the league," Jackson said with a wry smile before the Lakers played the Rockets on Wednesday night.

In Dallas, the Lakers deliberately took back-to-back delay of game penalties and got a technical foul in the fourth quarter. After the game, Jackson implied that NBA referees are intimidated by Cuban.

Busch sentenced to community service

PHOENIX - NASCAR driver Kurt Busch was ordered Wednesday to perform 50 hours of community service as part of a plea agreement over a reckless driving citation he received near Phoenix International Raceway.

His lawyer, Lee Stein said his client admitted to speeding, a misdemeanor, and two civil citations: following too closely and passing in a no-passing zone. In exchange, the reckless driving charge was dropped. The community service must be completed within a year, Stein said. Busch also paid $580 in court fines.

NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said the sanctioning body would take no action against the 2004 Nextel Cup champion.

From Associated Press


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