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Lots of sports people with ties to Oregon — some better known than others — are making news, in a variety of ways.

Here's a rundown on some of them:


    • Fortunes have changed for Nino Niederreiter, former Portland Winterhawks star.

    After a slow start to his NHL career, a trade from the New York Islanders to the Minnesota Wild gave him new life, and the right winger has taken advantage of it.NINO NIEDERREITER

    In 49 games with the Wild, he is fifth on the team in scoring with nine goals, 16 assists and 25 points. His plus-minus rating of 9 is tied for first on the squad.

    And Niederreiter, 21, has been chosen to play for Switzerland in the 2014 Winter Olympics next month in Sochi, Russia.

    "I'm really excited," he says. "I feel like we have a good team."


    • Sammy Carlson, 25-year-old Portland-area product, Hood River resident and American freeskiing/X Games veteran, is among the contenders for a spot on the U.S. Olympic team going into final qualifying Thursday through Sunday at Park City, Utah. Carlson, though, has ranked ninth in the new Olympic discipline of freeskiing/slopestyle.

  • GOLF

    • Portland native Peter Jacobsen, 59, makes his first PGA Tour appearance in five years this week. He'll tee it up in the Humana Challenge at La Quinta.

    Jacobsen, primarily a TV analyst these days, missed the cut in his last PGA Tour start, the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. He's back at the event this year on an exemption for being a former champion (1990).

    This will be his 28th appearance in the tourney. Only Arnold Palmer (42) and Miller Barber (29) have more trips to the former Bob Hope Classic in the Palm Springs area.

    • Also in the Humana field is Beaverton's Ben Crane, who is attempting to bounce back from a sub-par 2013 season but hasn't finished higher than 62nd in three 2013-14 starts on the PGA Tour circuit.


    Chip Kelly's 2013 quarterbacks coach with the Philadelphia Eagles, Bill Lazor, is the new offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions under their new head coach, Jim Caldwell.

    • Sports Business Daily reports that TV viewership of Seahawks games in the Seattle-Tacoma are were up 37 percent in 2013 from the previous year.

    NFL teams averaged a 28.5 local rating in their respective home markets for regular-season games in 2013, with New Orleans first at 52.0.

    Seattle ranked fifth at 38.6.

    • The Pro Football Writers of America have named former UO linebacker Kiko Alonso of the Buffalo Bills as the NFL defensive rookie of the year.

    Alonso, a second-round pick, led the Bills with four interceptions and was third in the league with 159 tackles.

    • Kyle Long, another ex-Duck, has been named to the NFL all-rookie team by the writers association after his season with the Chicago Bears.


    • Portland product Steve "2 Pound" Forbes, a Grant High grad, returns to the ring Feb. 10 at San Antonio.

    The veteran Forbes, 36, will take a 35-12 record (11 knockouts) into a 10-round junior welterweight bout against 22-year-old southpaw Fidel "The Atrisco Kid" Maldonado Jr. (17-2, 14 KOs) of Albuquerque, N.M.STEVE FORBES

    It's the co-main event at Cowboys Dancehall and will be televised by FOX Sports 1 and FOX Deportes.

    Forbes, a former world champion who lives in Las Vegas, last fought Jan. 12, 2013, when he lost a controversial majority decision against Johan Perez in Sunrise, Fla.

    In a press release promoting Maldonado-Forbes, Forbes says: "Don't count me out yet. I'm still strong and fast, and I can do things in the ring a kid like Maldonado hasn't even seen yet."


    • Trevor Crowe, the former Westview High star who has become an MLB journeyman, is among 16 invitees to the Detroit Tigers' major league camp.

    Crowe, 30, was a first-round draft pick out of Arizona (14th overall) in 2004. He has played all three outfield spots and played 60 games last year with both the Houston Astros and Triple-A Oklahoma City. With the Astros, he hit .218, with six stolen bases. With OKC, he hit .304 and stole 16 bases.

    Crowe has 265 MLB games under his belt over the past four seasons, mostly with the Cleveland Indians.


    • The Oregon Ducks women's indoor team, ranked fourth in NCAA Division I, opens its season at 8 a.m. Saturday at the University of Washington Indoor Preview.

    Illinois transfer Samantha Murphy, No. 2-ranked at 800 meters, has joined the Ducks, who also have the No. 1-ranked 800 runner in Laura Roesler.

    The UO men also open at the Seattle meet. They are ranked third in D-I.


    • Shannon O'Keefe, a former All-American softball player at Portland State, has made Team USA for the 2014 World Cup.

    O'Keefe, who has been a pro bowler for about a decade, also played softball at Oregon City High. She hit .410 in one season at PSU before having to give up the sport because of shoulder and knee injuries. But she got serious about bowling and has had various successes in that sport, including a second-place showing in the 2007 U.S. Women's Open.


    • The best player in the United States over a long period has been and continues to be former Lincoln High student Julian Illingworth.

    He recently claimed the 2013 U.S. Pro Squash Series, based on points accumulated in various events.ILLINGWORTH

    Illinworth, 29, who pocketed $5,000 for the season title, is an eight-time national champion. He hopes to defend his new series crown in 2014.

    The 2013 series runner-up was Campbell Grayson of New Zealand, and Pakistan's Farhan Zaman was third.

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