NHL and union still stalemated
NEW YORK (AP) — The NHL and the players' association took another major step toward the cancellation of the entire season.
Federal mediators were brought back into the negotiations today, and even they couldn't get the two sides to sit together. The owners and the union met separately with mediators, but the discussions didn't immediately appear to have moved the sides any closer to a deal.
Mediators informed the union that the league's proposal that was pulled off the table last week was still available, but carried a take-it-or-leave it ultimatum. Free-agent center Brendan Morrison said that wasn't much of a decision, while NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said there was nothing new to report.
The 88-day lockout already has wiped out 43 percent of the season through Dec. 30.
Lawmaker takes NFL players union to task
WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressman accused the NFL Players Association of "trying to back out" of an agreement to start testing for human growth hormone in pro football.
Speaking at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing about the science behind the testing, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, noted that nearly two full NFL seasons have passed since the league and the players' union signed a labor deal that set the stage for adding HGH to the sport's drug program.
The NFLPA won't concede the validity of a test that's used by Olympic sports and Major League Baseball, and the sides haven't been able to agree on a scientist to help resolve that impasse. HGH is a banned substance that is hard to detect and used by athletes for what are believed to be a variety of benefits, such as increasing speed or improving vision.
RG III hopeful...Kolb done for the season
UNDATED (AP) — Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III says he feels the chances are "really good" that he'll be able to play against the Cleveland Browns.
The No. 2 overall pick in this year's draft practiced on his sprained right knee Wednesday as the Redskins returned to the field to prepare for Sunday's game.
Griffin favored his right leg slightly during the portion of practice open to reporters. He was officially listed as limited on the practice report.
Griffin says he "did enough" and that he will try to push the knee Thursday and Friday.
In other pro football news:
— The Arizona Cardinals have placed Kevin Kolb (kahb) on injured reserve, ending the season for the only quarterback who was able to lead the team to victory this year. The Cards have lost nine in a row since alternating between John Skelton and rookie Ryan Lindley.
— Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe (KLOO'-wee) says he's been fined $5,250 by the NFL for wearing a message on his uniform promoting Ray Guy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Kluwe wore a note bearing the words "Vote Ray Guy" on top of his jersey patch commemorating the Hall of Fame during Sunday's game against Chicago.
— The Cowboys have placed Josh Brent on the reserve/non-football illness list. Brown is facing an intoxication manslaughter charge after being involved in a one-car accident that killed close friend and teammate Jerry Brown early Saturday morning.
— The New England Patriots have re-signed Deion Branch for their battered corps of wide receivers. They signed him for the second time this season after Donte' Stallworth joined Julian Edelman on injured reserve.
— Ahmad Bradshaw didn't practice with the Giants, but coach Tom Coughlin (KAWK'-lihn) says he has not ruled the veteran running back out from Sunday's matchup in Atlanta despite a knee injury suffered in last Sunday's game.
— Oakland Raiders linebacker Rolando McClain returned to practice after serving a two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. McClain started nine games this season for the Raiders but had not been at the team's facilities since Nov. 28, when he was kicked out of practice following an argument with coach Dennis Allen.
— The San Diego Chargers have placed defensive end Vaughn Martin and safety Darrell Stuckey on season-ending injured reserve. To take their roster spots, the team re-signed running back Curtis Brinkley and added linebacker Gary Guyton.
DIX HILLS, N.Y. (AP) — Jovan Belcher was remembered Wednesday for the accomplishments of a life that ended so suddenly and violently.
Several hundred mourners gathered for the Kansas City Chiefs linebacker's funeral near his hometown on Long Island. The 25-year-old Belcher shot and killed his girlfriend on Dec. 1, then drove to the Chiefs practice facility and committed suicide in front of team officials.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL -NEWS
Harsin fills Red Wolves' vacancy
UNDATED (AP) — There are new head football coaches at Texas Tech and Arkansas State.
Former Red Raiders quarterback Kliff Kingsbury has returned to Texas Tech after serving as Texas A&M's offensive coordinator. Kingsbury coached Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel (man-ZEHL') this year and was the first in a string of record-setting quarterbacks for the Red Raiders under former coach Mike Leach.
Kingsbury succeeds Tommy Tuberville, who left unexpectedly last week to take the Cincinnati job.
Former Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin has been hired as Arkansas State's new coach.
The former Boise State offensive coordinator spent the last two seasons with the Longhorns, during which time Texas was 16-9. Harsin says he will begin work immediately at Arkansas State and will not coach the Longhorns in the Alamo Bowl against Oregon State.
Harsin replaces former Red Wolves coach Gus Malzahn, who left after one season to coach at Auburn.
— Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron says he will return for his senior season with the Crimson Tide, saying he thinks another year in Tuscaloosa will help him succeed. McCarron leads the nation in passing efficiency headed into the BCS championship game against Notre Dame, and he helped Alabama win the national championship last season.
— Injured South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore has announced he is giving up his final season to enter the NFL draft. He was considered a can't-miss, first-round talent after his first two seasons. However, a horrifying right knee injury in October has dropped his draft stock and it is unclear when Lattimore might return to action.
— Running back Knile Davis is skipping his senior year at Arkansas and will be available for the NFL draft. Davis missed all of the 2011 season after leading the SEC in rushing in 2010. He returned this season and rushed for 377 yards while averaging 3.7 per carry.
— An internal investigation into allegations by a former player of abuse by coaches on the Washington State football team did not turn up any evidence of such abuse in the program headed by coach Mike Leach. Star receiver Marquess Wilson quit the team late in the season and contended that players were suffering physical and mental abuse at the hands of coaches.
Love happy with T-Wolves direction
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Kevin Love is standing by some critical remarks he made about the Minnesota Timberwolves organization, though he says he is happy with the direction things are headed.
Love raised eyebrows with some comments in a Yahoo! Sports story on Tuesday in which he criticized team president David Kahn's personnel decisions and expressed frustration once again with not getting a maximum five-year contract extension last January.
The All-Star power forward met with reporters Wednesday and said he doesn't regret making the comments, but wishes he would not have made them in a public forum.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Sacramento Kings are without their leading scorer and top rebounder for tonight's game at Milwaukee. Demarco Cousins is serving a one-game suspension handed down by the NBA for striking Dallas' O.J. Mayo in the groin area during Monday's game.
It's the second suspension of the season for Cousins, who missed two games in November after confronting San Antonio Spurs broadcaster Sean Elliott following a game.
That's it for Clijsters
ANTWERP, Belgium (AP) — Former No. 1 Kim Clijsters (KLY'-sturz) ended her career with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Venus Williams in a ceremonial farewell match in Belgium.
Clijsters retired after the U.S. Open but organized a match to thank her fans, some 13,000 of whom turned up at Antwerp Sports Palace.
Clijsters was destined to win the lighthearted encounter but managed to wow the crowd with the play that made her famous before injuries led to her retirement at 29.