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No. 1 Florida St survives against No. 22 Clemson

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) With Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston watching from the sideline, No. 1 Florida State come back to beat No. 22 Clemson 23-17 in overtime on Karlos Williams' 12-yard touchdown run Saturday night. Winston was suspended for the game against No. 22 Clemson after making "offensive and vulgar" comments earlier this week on campus. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney declined to attempt a 33-yard field goal on the first possession of overtime and Adam Choice was stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-1. Two plays later, Karlos Williams bounced outside and went untouched into the end zone. Sean Maguire made the first start of his career with Winston sidelined. He was regularly pressured by a loaded Clemson defensive line and completed 21 of 39 passes for 305 yards with two interceptions and a 74-yard touchdown to Rashad Greene to tie it at 17 with 6:04 left in the fourth.

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 04:08:00 +0000
Estimated 7,000 fans trade in Ray Rice jerseys

BALTIMORE (AP) More than 7,000 fans showed up to exchange their Ray Rice jerseys for those of other Ravens players during a two-day event at Baltimore's home team officials said Saturday. The Ravens handed out 5,595 new jerseys before running out before midday Saturday, then issued more than 2,400 vouchers for fans to pick up their jerseys once new shipments arrive in October. Team spokesman Kevin Byrne said the Ravens spent "six figures" on the trade-in. He declined to disclose an exact figure. "We anticipated over the two days getting about 5,000 people, so we got about 2,000 more," Byrne said. "We just felt it was the right thing to do, and that's why we did it." Byrne said the jerseys collected by the team will be given to companies that deal in scrap materials. "The NFL licensed jerseys are not recyclable because of certain materials in parts of the jersey, so what we're going to do is offer them to companies who deal in scrap," Byrne said. "We're not getting paid for it. We'll just give it to them, and they can do with it as they please." Approximately 15 percent of those who showed up had their jerseys rejected because either they were not officially licensed by the NFL or hadn't been available through the team's online or stadium store. The team offered them token gifts in exchange. "It's clearly an unusual time for the franchise," Byrne said. "I think the one thing that we've tried to be, historically . is that we've been transparent. So this is new territory for us. We're learning as we go." Fans began lining up as early as 4 a.m. on the first day of the exchange Friday. By the time gates opened at 8 a.m. on Friday, there were estimated to be more than 1,000 people in a line that stretched at least halfway around the stadium. The most requested jerseys, according to the team, were those of quarterback Joe Flacco and wide receiver Torrey Smith. Five other player jerseys also were available. Ross Sober and his 9-year-old son, Logan, of Hampstead, Md., arrived at around 9:45 Saturday to find an imposing line that stretched much of the way around the stadium. Still, they completed the exchange in 50 minutes, turning in two youth jerseys. Both Logan and his 12-year-old brother Griffin were hoping to land Lardarius Webb jerseys before the stock ran out. Still, their father was quite pleased with the process. "It was as rosy an event as you could hope for," Sober said. "The people at the counter where we got our voucher were smiling and happy. The guy noticed that we had a Super Bowl patch ironed on, and he ripped the patch off and gave it back to us. It was orderly, it was friendly and nobody was protesting. You couldn't ask for better." --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 19:43:00 +0000
Sprint car driver killed in Wisconsin

BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) Sprint car driver Scott Semmelmann was killed in a wreck during practice for a race Saturday night at Beaver Dam Raceway. Beaver Dam Raceway general manager Carolyn Mueller and Bumper to Bumper IRA Outlaw Sprint Car Series President Steve Sinclair confirmed the death. Beaver Dam police later confirmed that a 47-year-old driver was killed, but did not provide a name. Semmelmann's car made contact with another car during the second practice session, flipped three times and hit the outside concrete wall. The 47-year-old Semmelmann, from Brookfield, was racing for the first time this season. "This incident appears to be (a) tragic accident at this time," the police statement said. The race was canceled. Beaver Dam Raceway is a 0.33-mile clay oval about 75 minutes northwest of Milwaukee. Mueller said it was the first on-track fatality at the track since the facility re-opened in 1993. Last month, Kevin Ward Jr. was killed in a sprint car race at a dirt track in upstate New York when he left his car and was struck by a car driven by NASCAR star Tony Stewart.

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 04:59:00 +0000
LeBron banner approved to hang in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) A larger-than-life LeBron James will again tower over downtown. The city's planning commission approved artwork on Friday for a new 10-story-high banner of the NBA superstar, his arms outstretched and "Cleveland" across the back of his jersey. It will hang across the street from Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cavaliers. The Nike-sponsored banner is similar to the black-and-white "Witness" that adorned an outside wall of Sherwin-Williams Co.'s headquarters for years. It was removed after James left for the Miami Heat in 2010. The new banner is expected to be installed before the Cavs' home opener on Oct. 30 against New York. James signed as a free agent with the Cavs this summer, returning to his home state to attempt to win Cleveland's first major pro sports championship since 1964.

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 17:04:00 +0000
Mississippi St. stuns No. 8 LSU, 34-29

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) Dak Prescott highlighted a dynamic performance with two touchdown passes and 56-yard scoring run, and Mississippi State held off a wild rally by No. 8 LSU for a 34-29 victory Saturday night that snapped the Bulldogs' 14-year losing streak in the series. MSU led 34-10 in the fourth quarter, but LSU scored three late touchdowns. That set up a last-second desperation heave by LSU backup quarterback Brandon Harris, which was intercepted by Will Redmond at the goal line. Prescott, a Louisiana native, finished with 268 yards passing and 105 yards rushing while helping the Bulldogs (4-0) not only beat LSU (3-1) for the first time since 1999, but win in Tiger Stadium for the first time since 1991 - about two years before Prescott was born. His touchdown passes went for 74-yards to Jameon Lewis and 9 yards to De'Runnya Wilson. Josh Robinson rushed for 197 yards and a touchdown.

Sun, 21 Sep 2014 03:03:00 +0000
Goodell: 'Same mistakes can never be repeated'

NEW YORK (AP) More defiant than contrite, Roger Goodell announced no sweeping changes in his first public statements in more than a week of turmoil surrounding the NFL's handling of players accused of crimes. The commissioner was definitive about one thing: He has not considered resigning. Goodell was short on specifics Friday as he discussed how he would address the rash of domestic violence incidents in the league. He said the NFL wants to implement new personal conduct policies by the Super Bowl. "Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, we have seen all too much of the NFL doing wrong," he said in his opening statement. "That starts with me." The league has faced increasing criticism that it has not acted quickly or emphatically enough. The commissioner reiterated that he botched the handling of the Ray Rice case. "The same mistakes can never be repeated," he said. Goodell said he would meet with NFL Players Association chief DeMaurice Smith next week, and they would work with outside experts to evaluate the league's policies. Among the areas that will be examined is Goodell's role in discipline. The commissioner now oversees all personal conduct cases, deciding guilt and penalties. He will establish a committee to review NFL personal conduct, seeking experts in the area of domestic abuse and violence to serve on it. Goodell's role with such a committee was not directly addressed. "Nothing is off the table," he said. One of the key questions is how to balance the league's desire to take a stance against violent acts with the due process requirements - and the sometimes slow pace - of the legal system. Goodell indicated the league is considering becoming "engaged" in the investigation process while law enforcement is still handling its probes. Goodell said he believes he has the support of the NFL's owners, his bosses. "That has been clear to me," he said. The commissioner and some NFL teams have been heavily criticized for lenient or delayed punishment of Rice, Adrian Peterson and other players involved in recent domestic violence cases. Less than three weeks into the season, five such cases have made headlines. Vikings star running back Peterson and Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy are on a special commissioner's exemption list and are being paid while they go through the legal process. Arizona running back Jonathan Dwyer was placed on the reserve/non-football illness list, meaning he can't play for the team again this season. Ray McDonald, a defensive end for San Francisco, continues to practice and play while being investigated on suspicion of domestic violence. Groups such as the National Organization of Women and league partners and sponsors have come down hard on the NFL to be more responsive in dealing with them. Congress also is watching to see how the NFL reacts. NOW President Terry O'Neill reiterated her calls for Goodell to resign. "NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell today did nothing to increase confidence in his ability to lead the NFL out of its morass," O'Neill said in a statement. "What Mr. Goodell doesn't seem to understand is that he should be aiming to make fundamental changes in the organization." Rice was initially suspended for two games. Goodell admitted more than a month later that he "didn't get it right" and announced tougher penalties for future domestic violent incidents. After video emerged of the assault, the Baltimore Ravens cut the star running back and the league banned him indefinitely. Goodell reiterated Friday that he didn't believe anybody at the NFL had seen the video before it was published by TMZ. The Associated Press reported last week that a law enforcement official says he sent the video to a league executive five months ago. Citing Rice's appeal of his suspension, Goodell declined to specify Friday how the player's description of what happened was "inconsistent" with what the video showed - the commissioner's reason for changing his punishment. The NFL asked former FBI director Robert Mueller to conduct an investigation into the league's handling of the Rice case. The law firm where Mueller is now a partner, WilmerHale, has connections to the NFL. Goodell insisted Friday that it wasn't a conflict of interest because Mueller himself has not previously worked with the league. Goodell acknowledged he has learned that interviewing Rice and his now-wife together is an inappropriate way to handle a domestic violence case. The commissioner declined to address whether any women were involved in the decision to suspend Rice for two games, but conceded that's "exactly what we're concerned about." "We didn't have the right voices at the table," he added. The NFL has since added domestic violence experts as consultants. It also announced it is partnering with a domestic violence hotline and a sexual violence resource center. In a memo to the clubs late Thursday, Goodell said that within the next 30 days, all NFL and team personnel will participate in education sessions on domestic violence and sexual assault. The league will provide financial, operational and promotional support to the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. --- AP Sports Writer Rachel Cohen contributed to this report. --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 05:08:00 +0000
Procter & Gamble cancels on-field NFL promotion

NEW YORK (AP) Procter & Gamble is canceling an on-field breast cancer awareness promotion it had been planning with the National Football League, the latest sponsor to respond to the NFL's growing problems. The consumer products maker is the latest major sponsor, following PepsiCo and Anheuser-Busch, to show concern over the NFL's handling of domestic abuse allegations against several players. The move came as NFL commissioner Roger Goodell held a press conference to say that the NFL needs to change its policies and will implement new personal conduct policies sometime before the Super Bowl early next year. "I made a mistake. I'm not satisfied by the process that we went through. I'm not satisfied with the conclusions," he said during the conference. Women make up 35 percent of the average audience of 17.4 million during a regular season NFL game, and the NFL has made it a point to reach out to women in recent years. The league has made Breast Cancer Awareness month in October a particular focus. Part of its NFL Pink "Crucial Catch" campaign, in partnership with the American Cancer Society, features players, coaches and referees wearing pink game apparel, on-field pink ribbon stencils, special game balls and pink coins. P&G's Crest brand had been working on a program with players from each of the NFL's 32 teams to wear pink mouthguards and participate in other activities. But on Friday the Cincinnati-based company said Crest would no longer be part of on-field activities and joined the chorus of sponsors voicing disapproval of the NFL's actions. It remains a sponsor but said it will "determine future actions as needed." "The brand has decided to cancel on-field activation with NFL teams," said spokesman Paul Fox in a statement. "Domestic violence is completely unacceptable and we have strongly urged the NFL to take swift and decisive action to address this issue... Our decision to cancel this on field activity was related to this ongoing issue." The company will still donate $100,000 to the American Cancer society as planned and said breast-cancer awareness is a "critically important program to support women and their health." The NFL said that the sixth year of the "Crucial Catch" program will proceed. "We understand the ways the last week have impacted our partners, including Crest," the NFL said in a statement. "Players will still have the option to wear pink gear, including mouthguards, as planned, this year." The league and its teams are under fire over their handling of several players with domestic violence allegations against them. An investigation has been launched into whether commissioner Roger Goodell knew about or saw a video of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice hitting his then-fiancee earlier than he said. Most major sponsors have voiced disapproval, with Budweiser beer maker Anheuser-Busch saying it is "increasingly concerned" about the situation. On Thursday PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi made a double-edged statement on the NFL's problems handling domestic violence, calling some players' behavior "repugnant" while also noting that she believes Commissioner Roger Goodell is "a man of integrity." During Friday's conference Goodell added that the company has been in contact with its sponsors and understands their recent criticism. "They're not looking for talk. They want to see action," he said. Manish Tripathi, assistant marketing professor at Emory University, said it's not yet clear whether P&G's move will be an isolated incident or open the floodgates for others. "You're talking now about a specific promotion or campaign geared toward women," he said. "Anything that is negatively associated with NFL right now gets exacerbated with a campaign like that." --- AP Writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to report.

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 21:00:00 +0000
Petition filed seeking to block Peterson from son

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Authorities in Minnesota filed a petition Friday seeking a protective order for the 4-year-old son of Vikings running back Adrian Peterson. In the petition, Hennepin County Human Services asked a judge to block Peterson from using corporal punishment or physical discipline on the boy. It also would block unauthorized or unsupervised contact, and require Peterson to complete a parenting assessment. Peterson faces a child abuse charge in Texas for using a wooden switch to spank the boy in May. He has said he meant only to discipline the boy and not hurt him. The order says Peterson told investigators in Texas that he also used a belt to spank his son. Peterson has been dropped from the Vikings' active roster while the criminal case against him is pending in Texas, where he has an Oct. 8 arraignment. "This petition reflects that a conscientious government agency wants to work with the parent to protect a child and to ensure that alternative methods of discipline are adopted," Rusty Hardin, Peterson's attorney, said in a statement. "Adrian is very willing to continue cooperating with authorities in every way in order for them to conclude he is a good parent. The facts stated in the petition have been known to investigators from the beginning. They will be carefully considered in a courtroom by a judge and jury. We look forward to that day." According to the petition: The child visited Peterson in Montgomery County, Texas, from about May 6-22. His mother reported possible abuse to Hennepin County Child Protection services on May 22. Separate exams by a doctor May 22 and a nurse practitioner May 23 documented injuries "clinically diagnostic of child physical abuse." A follow-up exam May 29 found the boy still had traces of the injuries "10 days after the last known time he was physically abused." "His injuries are significant and may cause some scarring," a summary of the exam said. The petition also described Peterson's interviews with Texas child protection investigators, including: "Respondent Peterson admitted that Child No. 1 received two spankings as a form of physical discipline, one with a belt and one with a switch." Hennepin County juvenile court staff attorney Maggie Skelton said prosecutors have asked that the order be suspended until the Texas case is resolved. County Attorney Mike Freeman said in a statement that the petition was required by law once criminal charges were filed. It was first reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Sat, 20 Sep 2014 02:41:00 +0000
Browns' Gordon has suspension reduced to 10 games

BEREA, Ohio (AP) Josh Gordon's tangled ordeal, full of legal twists and turns, has finally been straightened out. He can run a route back to the Browns this season. Cleveland's star wide receiver was reinstated into the NFL and had his one-year suspension reduced to 10 games Friday after the league announced changes to its drug policy. The decision ends months of personal torment for the Pro Bowler, who had been banned for repeated drug violations. Gordon will be eligible to play in Cleveland's final six games after the league and NFL Players Association agreed on revisions to the substance abuse program two days after announcing changes on performance enhancing drugs. "I'm happy that the NFLPA and NFL worked hard to agree on a new substances of abuse policy," Gordon said in a statement. "I'm very thankful to my union for fighting for a significant reduction in my suspension. I'm glad I can go to the facility during my suspension. I look forward to going to meetings, working out individually, and learning from my coaches and teammates. I can't wait until game 11 to get back on the field!" Because he has already served two games of the suspension, Gordon will be eligible to play Nov. 23 when the Browns visit Atlanta. Gordon's 10-game suspension will cost him more than $800,000. He'll be paid over $300,000 if he plays in those last six games. Gordon's complicated saga has hung over the Browns for months. He spent training camp with the team and played in some exhibition games as his case remained in limbo while he and the Browns waited for the league to rule. Gordon didn't speak to reporters for months, and only recently disclosed in an interview that he was depressed. Now, there's some closure and it may have saved Gordon's career. Along with Gordon, free agent LaVon Brazill also had his suspension lessened to 10 games. Gordon was suspended by the league earlier this year for one season for another failed marijuana test. Gordon appealed the ban, his lawyers arguing he tested positive for secondhand smoke. The appeal was denied on Aug. 22 by an arbitrator and it appeared Gordon would not be able to play until 2015. And even that wasn't for certain. But thanks to the revised policy, Gordon is coming back, assuming he'll stay clean during the suspension. Under the new provisions, Gordon will be allowed to work out and attend team meetings at the Browns' facility. Before the changes, Gordon was only permitted to meet with his clinician at team's headquarters. During his suspension, Gordon has been working for a local car dealership. But his locker remained filled with his personal belongings. On Tuesday, Gordon pleaded guilty to a DWI charge in Raleigh, North Carolina, allowing him to avoid an additional two-game suspension under the new policies. The NFL's new policy on substance abuse includes two additional disciplinary stages for marijuana positives. A first violation will result in referral to the substance abuse program, which has always been the case. Subsequent violations will result in a two-game fine, a four-game fine, a four-game suspension, a 10-game suspension, and one-year banishment. In addition, the threshold for a positive marijuana test will be raised from 15 nanograms to 35 nanograms, reflecting recent actions taken by other testing organizations. Once Gordon returns, Browns coach Mike Pettine said he and general manager Ray Farmer plan to meet with the talented 23-year-old. "We'll sit down with him and just kind of lay the plan out for him," Pettine said. Farmer said the team remains focused on Sunday's game against AFC North rival Baltimore. "We are aware of the new NFL policy related to the reduction of Josh Gordon's suspension to 10 games," Farmer said in a statement. "We will continue to support and work with him under the NFL guidelines throughout this process. Our team's focus right now remains on preparing for Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens." Despite being suspended for two games - he blamed a prescription codeine cough syrup - last season, Gordon led the league with 1,646 yards receiving and scored nine touchdowns. He became the first player in league history to have consecutive 200-yard receiving games. While the Browns could have him back for the home stretch, his teammates were more excited about having Gordon the person around. "That's great for him," safety Donte Whitner said. "That's great for anybody that's suspended and can't be around their second family, and you can't go to your second home. He'll be able to lift here. He'll be able to eat here. He'll be able to watch film, so that when he's ready to step back on the field, he doesn't miss a step." NOTES: Browns backup QB Johnny Manziel was glad to make his regular-season debut last Sunday, even if it was for only three plays. "It was good to shake a little rust off and just get out and run around," he said. Manziel handed off twice and threw an incompletion against the Saints. Manziel was happy for starter Brian Hoyer, who drove the Browns 85 yards to set up the winning field goal " I'm ... proud of him," Manziel said. "It was really emotional for us." --- AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 22:52:00 +0000
Police visited 49er McDonald's home before arrest

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) Police say they responded to an argument at 49ers lineman Ray McDonald's home in San Jose three months before his arrest there on suspicion of domestic violence. According to a police report released Thursday, an engaged couple got into an argument at the home on May 25 during which the woman grabbed the man's gun and held it at her side. Police do not identify the couple by name. McDonald is known to live at the address with his fiancee. The report says the woman did not make any threats or point the firearm at the man. San Jose police officer Albert Morales tells the San Jose Mercury News (http://bit.ly/1yjr8hc) the May case was closed, and no charges were filed. McDonald was arrested in August. He has not been charged. --- Information from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News, http://www.mercurynews.com

Fri, 19 Sep 2014 15:33:00 +0000