Wednesday's Sports in Brief


NEW YORK (AP) NFL stars James Harrison, Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers can start the regular season without having the specter of a league investigation over whether they used performance-enhancing drugs hanging over their heads.

The NFL cleared all three players, saying there was ''no credible evidence'' the players were guilty of any of the claims made in a documentary by Al-Jazeera America in January.

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An NFL statement said ''the investigation involved witness interviews, a review of relevant records and other materials, electronic research, and laboratory analysis and review.''

The league threatened Harrison, Matthews, Peppers and free agent Mike Neal with indefinite suspensions if they did not meet with investigators.

All of them were mentioned in an Al-Jazeera television interview with Charlie Sly, who worked as an intern at an anti-aging clinic.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A last-minute appeal in the NFL concussion case, filed by the son of an all-star and civil rights activist, has sent the proposed settlement to the U.S. Supreme Court and delays payouts for at least several months.

The family of the late Buffalo Bills fullback Carlton ''Cookie'' Gilchrist asked the high court Tuesday to review whether the judge should have approved the potential $1 billion settlement without a full challenge to the scientific evidence presented jointly by both sides.

The appeal, for instance, questions why more money is awarded for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, than for chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, which some researchers link more closely with football concussions. At least two sets of other plaintiffs were granted extensions of the Tuesday deadline and can appeal through next month.

Players' lawyers who support the 2013 settlement negotiated with the league on behalf of 21,000 retirees insist their clients need financial and medical help now. Lawyer Jim Acho of Detroit, who sent a letter to clients Tuesday that said no further appeals had been filed and the payouts were imminent, called the Gilchrist appeal ''unbelievable.''

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Tom Brady has found at least one thing to do during his suspension.

The New England Patriots quarterback will return to his alma mater to be Michigan's honorary captain Sept. 17 when it hosts Colorado.

Brady will sit out the first four games of the NFL season, serving a suspension because of his role in what has become known as ''Deflategate.'' The Patriots drafted Brady out of Michigan in the sixth round in 2000 after he shared time as senior with Drew Henson.

Michael Jordan will serve as honorary captain for the seventh-ranked Wolverines on Saturday when they open the season against Hawaii. Michigan is the first and only college or pro football team to wear Jordan Brand apparel, cleats and shoes.


East Carolina, UNLV and New Mexico are out of the Big 12's expansion derby.

Officials at each school said that they were notified by the Big 12 that they are no longer being considered for membership.

East Carolina spokesman Tom McClellan says Commissioner Bob Bowlsby notified Chancellor Cecil Staton of the decision Tuesday by phone.

Athletic director Jeff Compher says it's ''obviously not the decision we were hoping for,'' but expressed satisfaction that ''we were able to tell our story to not only the Big 12, but the entire nation.''

UNLV President Len Jessup and athletic director Tina Kunzer-Murphy issued a statement later in the day to acknowledge the Rebels were no longer being considered. UNLV has been a member of the Mountain West since 1990.

New Mexico President Robert told the Albuquerque Journal that the school ''received very positive feedback from the Big 12,'' but was informed it would no longer be part the conference's expansion search. The Lobos are also a member of the Mountain West

CHICAGO (AP) - The latest round of class-action concussion lawsuits against the NCAA and major college football conferences were filed by former college football players from Florida State, Miami, Florida, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Louisville and Murray State.

The lawsuits were filed in federal courts by Chicago-based attorney Jay Edelson. The seven lawsuits increase the total number to 22 filed since May.

The players are seeking damages for injuries they claim are the result of mishandled concussions they suffered while playing college football.

In most cases the lawsuits name the NCAA and the conferences in which the schools competed. State laws protect most schools from being sued. The University of Miami, a private school, is named in the lawsuit filed by former defensive back Ryan Hill, who played for the Hurricanes from 2006-2010.


HOUSTON (AP) - TNT basketball broadcaster Craig Sager received a rare third bone marrow transplant as he continues his fight against cancer.

''OK, third time's the charm,'' Sager said moments after the process began.

The 65-year-old Sager has battled acute myeloid leukemia since 2014, and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.

His son, Craig Sager II, was the donor for his first two transplants, which put the elder Sager into remission for close to a year each time. This time, the anonymous 20-year-old donor was considered a perfect match.

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) - ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen says his throat cancer has been ''virtually reduced to zero detection.''

Mortensen was diagnosed in January and underwent intensive chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He has been on a leave of absence from the network. He says he anticipates returning for NFL coverage ''on a limited basis'' this season.

''I do have scheduled exams and scans during the next three months to monitor my status,'' he says, ''but my oncologists have directed me to recover and rehab from the treatments that have resulted in lengthy hospitalization, significant weight loss, strength, endurance and related health issues. I am following instructions to overcome these challenges.''


Following the lead of the World Anti-Doping Agency, the NHL has added meldonium to its list of banned substances.

Deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the addition in an email to The Associated Press. It was first reported by the Russian news agency Tass.

The change goes into effect for the upcoming season. The NHL and NHL Players' Association had to agree to add meldonium to its list of prohibited substances, as with any changes to the performance-enhancing drug program.

Daly says that decision was made for the same reason WADA banned meldonium on Jan. 1.