Latest concussion suit cites Saints' bounties
The four former NFL players who sued the league on Monday in a state court in Atlanta could be leading a wave of new lawsuits that cite the New Orleans Saints' bounty system for hard hits as evidence that pro football didn't properly protect its players from concussions.
Legal experts and trial attorneys say they expect more complaints against the NFL to point to the Saints' scandal after the ex-players filed suit contending the bounty system was another example that the league "explicitly relied on violence" and neglected to educate players on the dangers of concussions.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Myron Guyton, who played for the New York Giants and New England Patriots in the 1980s and 1990s; Lomas Brown, who played for five teams over a 17-year career that ended in 2002; Jessie Small, who played for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Phoenix Cardinals and the Houston Oilers between 1989 and 1993; and Willie Whitehead, who played for the San Francisco 49ers and New Orleans Saints from 1995 to 2006.
Jordan Shipley got together with quarterback Andy Dalton last week in Texas and ran a few pass routes, an encouraging development for the Cincinnati Bengals offense. Their slot receiver is recovering from knee surgery that wiped out most of his 2011 season.
One offseason priority is to expand a group of receivers that isn't even big enough to fill a depth chart. Jerome Simpson is an unrestricted free agent serving a jail sentence — his locker was empty on Monday except for a wooden stool and a dozen plastic shirt hangers. The nameplate was gone.
Andre Caldwell signed with Denver last month, leaving Cincinnati without two of its top three receivers from 2011. Simpson was second on the team in catches by a receiver with 50, while Caldwell was third with 37.
Free agent receiver Lee Evans has signed a one-year deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars, upgrading the team's weakest position and giving it a potential deep threat. Evans has 381 receptions for 6,008 yards and 43 touchdowns in 118 games. He averaged at least 15.4 yards per catch in seven of his eight seasons.
Two months after losing to the New York Giants in the Super Bowl, cornerback Antwaun Molden is now a member of the team. Molden was claimed on waivers by the Patriots in September and appeared in all 19 games, making two starts. He had a career-high 28 tackles with two interceptions.
The New England Patriots have re-signed center Dan Koppen and signed first-year placekicker Chris Koepplin. He has started 120 of 121 regular-season games and 14 post-season games and has been a steady blocker for Tom Brady since joining the team in 2003.
Russian cycler banned for doping
Russian cyclist Denis Galimzyanov has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for the banned blood-booster EPO.
Anti-doping rules allow for Galimzyanov to attend the testing of his backup "B" sample. He faces a likely two-year ban if the second test also proves positive.
The 25-year-old Galimzyanov is a sprint specialist riding in his fifth season for the Russian team Katusha. Galimzyanov won the Paris-Brussels race last year.
Sports in the Courts
Vonn pays off $1.7M in back taxes
Olympic gold medalist Lindsey Vonn said she has paid off more than $1.7 million she owed in back taxes.
According to public records obtained through the Elko County recorder's office in Nevada, the IRS hit the reigning overall World Cup champion and her estranged husband with a tax lien earlier this month. The Detroit News first reported on the tax lien.
The Texas prosecutor who brokered a plea deal with former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf has filed a motion to revoke his probation and will press for prison time. Leaf faces four felonies in Montana after allegedly breaking into a home to steal prescription painkillers, then robbing a second home after being released from jail.
The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from the Cleveland Browns in the team's attempt to force into NFL arbitration a lawsuit by former center LeCharles Bentley over his career-ending staph infection. The high court's decision Monday keeps the case — and lawsuit — in Cuyahoga County court in Cleveland.
The team had appealed a July ruling by an Ohio appeals court that said the issue isn't related to the NFL collective bargaining agreement and can be handled in county court.
State soccer tournament format changed
The Kentucky high school state soccer tournament will have a different look beginning with the 2012 season after changes were approved by the KHSAA Board of Control.
The state tournament will expand to eight teams for both boys and girls and the sectional and sub-sectional rounds will be replaced with a semi-state round. The board previously approved a measure that creates a 16-region soccer alignment.
Winners of each of the 16 regions will advance to a one-game semi-state round, which is comprised of semi-state 1 (regions 1-4), semi-state 2 (regions 5-8), semi-state 3 (regions 9-12) and semi-state 4 (12-16). The semi-state pairings will be determined on a six-year rotation.
Pairings for the eight teams reaching the state tournament will be determined by a blind draw.
In accordance with national rules, Kentucky basketball games at all levels in grades 9-12 will feature a running clock beginning next season once the margin reaches 35 points in the second half.
The board also approved the dates for each of the six championship contests in the 2012 KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl. The championships for classes 1A, 3A and 4A will be Nov. 30, with the championships for classes 2A, 5A and 6A will be Dec. 1. All games will be at Western Kentucky University's Houchens Industries L.T. Smith Stadium.
The draws for the 2012 Kentucky National Insurance/KHSAA State Baseball Tournament and the Rawlings/KHSAA State Softball Tournament will be Friday at 2 p.m. in Lexington. The draw show will be streamed live at www.khsaa.tv.
Holsopple takes home silver
Kentucky sophomore Emily Holsopple fired a two-day total of 785 to win the silver medal in women's air rifle at the 2012 USA Shooting Junior Olympics, held over the weekend in Colorado Springs, Colo..
At 20, it was Holsopple's final junior Olympics. She posted a 389 during day one of the women's air rifle competition and a 396 during the second day. She shot a 100 during the final round for a total score of 885.
Sophomore pitcher Lauren Cumbess was named SEC Player of the Week on Monday afternoon. Cumbess pitched her first career no-hitter in a series-clinching victory over Georgia. She limited the Bulldogs to five base runners and struck out seven in her second shutout win of the season. The no-hitter was the first thrown against the Bulldogs since 2007.
The last word
The New York Jets arrived Monday looking to exorcise the demons that plagued them during a tumultuous 8-8 season.
The start of offseason workouts marked the first step toward moving on. No players-only meetings were necessary to clear the air, according to center Nick Mangold.
"We're not bickering little schoolchildren. This is not the 2011 Jets; it's the 2012 Jets."