The Saints yesterday placed the franchise tag on Drew Brees - giving them exclusive negotiating rights with their Pro Bowl quarterback for the next year. Brees has been involved in lengthy contract talks with the Saints and, without the tag, could have negotiated with other teams as a free agent. In 2011, Brees set NFL records with 468 completions, 5,476 yards passing, and a completion percentage of 71.2 . . . Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw to receivers in a recent workout on Duke’s campus in Durham, N.C., less than a month after he was there to throw with Duke coach David Cutcliffe. Manning has spent the past six months recovering from his third neck operation in less than two years, and the Colts have to decide by Thursday whether to pay the four-time league MVP a $28 million bonus or let him become a free agent . . . Alex Webster, 80, a star running back for the Giants from 1955-64 who took over as head coach (1969-73), died at Port St. Lucie (Fla.) Hospital. Webster played in six NFL championship games, scoring two touchdowns in the Giants’ 47-7 win over the Bears at Yankee Stadium in 1956.
Federer defeats Murray for Dubai title
Roger Federer edged Andy Murray, 7-5, 6-4, to win his fifth Dubai Championships title in United Arab Emirates. The second-seeded Federer didn’t drop a set all week and kept Murray off balance much of the match. The 16-time Grand Slam champion improved to 7-8 against Murray, who was coming off a semifinal win against top-ranked Novak Djokovic . . . John Isner was bounced from the Delray Beach International Championships, losing to Kevin Anderson in the semifinals, 7-5, 7-6 (7-4). Anderson and Marinko Matosevic, who beat Dudi Sela, 5-7, 6-4, 7-6 (9-7), will meet today for the title . . . Sara Errani beat Flavia Pennetta, 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-0, to win the Mexican Open women’s title in Acapulco . . . Hsieh Su-Wei reached the Malaysian Open final in Kuala Lumpar, defeating Eleni Daniilidou, 6-0, 4-6, 6-1. The semifinal between Jelena Jankovic and Petra Martic was suspended because of rain.
Rebensburg wins slalom, Vonn second
Olympic champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany won her second straight World Cup giant slalom in Ofterschwang, Germany, while overall leader Lindsey Vonn had a blazing second run to finish second. Slovenia’s Tina Maze finished third . . . American Sarah Hendrickson, 17, clinched the inaugural women’s World Cup ski jumping overall title in Zao, Japan . . . Klaus Kroell of Austria won a World Cup downhill in Kvitfjell, Norway, to take the lead in the overall standings. Norway’s Kjetil Jansrud and Aksel Lund Svindal finished second and third . . . Roland Fischnaller of Italy and Patrizia Kummer of Switzerland won men’s anad women’s snowboard World Cup parallel slalom events in Moscow . . . Jan Schmid of Norway won a Nordic combined World Cup event in Lahti, Finland . . . Martin Fourcade of France finished ahead of two-time Olympic champion Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway to win the 10-kilometer sprint at the biathlon world championships in Ruhpolding, Germany . . . American Tucker Fredricks won the 500 meters at the speedskating World Cup in Heerenveen, Netherlands, to stretch his lead atop the event standings.
Klitschko retains heavyweight crowns
Wladimir Klitschko (57-3) stopped Jean-Marc Mormeck (36-5) in the fourth round in a one-sided fight to retain his WBA and IBF heavyweight titles in Duesseldorf, Germany . . . Jose Ramirez won his third straight national boxing title, beating ex-Olympian Raynell Williams in their 132-pound bout in Fort Carson, Colo. . . . World champion Sally Pearson declared her Olympic intentions, running the fastest 100-meter hurdles (12.49 seconds) on Australian soil at trials in Melbourne to beat American Yvette Lewis (13.22) . . . Hansen confirmed his status as a top contender for the Kentucky Derby by cruising to a 3-length win over My Adonis in the $400,000 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct in New York . . . Ron the Greek won the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap by 3 1/2 lengths in Arcadia, Calif., sending Setsuko to a runner-up finish for the second straight year.