Junior Seau had brain disease CTE
UNDATED (AP) — Star linebacker Junior Seau (SAY'-ow) had a degenerative brain disease when he committed suicide last May.
The National Institutes of Health tells The Associated Press that an NIH study of Seau's brain revealed abnormalities consistent with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
The NIH conducted a study of three unidentified brains, one of which was Seau's. It said the findings were similar to autopsies of people "with exposure to repetitive head injury."
Seau was an outstanding linebacker for 20 NFL seasons before retiring in 2009. He died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound.
Seau joins a list of several dozen football players who had CTE. Boston University's center for study of the disease reported last month that 34 former pro players and nine who played only college football suffered from CTE.
BASEBALL-HALL OF FAME
Writers pitch shutout in Hall voting
NEW YORK (AP) —The baseball writers have spoken and spoken loud. For the first time since 1996 they are sending nobody to the Hall of Fame as a ballot full of former Major League Baseball stars struck out in their effort to receive the game's highest honor.
Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Sammy Sosa were among the players on the ballot who have been linked to steroids one way or another.
Bonds got 36.2 percent of the vote, Clemens got 37.6 percent and Sosa 12.5 percent. Seventy-five percent of the ballots are needed for election to Cooperstown.
The most votes went to Craig Biggio (BEE'-zhee-oh), falling 39 shy of election. That was 68.2 percent of the ballots cast.
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt said in an email to The Associated Press that "Curt Schilling made a good point, everyone was guilty. Either you used PEDs, or you did nothing to stop their use."
Another Hall of Famer, Al Kaline, said he's "kind of glad that nobody got in this year." He says he "would've felt a little uneasy sitting up there on the stage, listening to some of these new guys talk about how great they were."
Goose Gossage went even further, saying "I think the steroids guys that are under suspicion got too many votes." He says "they cheated."
At ceremonies in Cooperstown on July 28, the only inductees will be three men who died more than 70 years ago: Yankees owner Jacob Ruppert (ROO'-purt), umpire Hank O'Day and barehanded catcher Deacon White. They were chosen last month by the 16-member panel considering individuals from the era before integration in 1947.
RG3 has surgery for torn LCL and ACL
WASHINGTON (AP) — Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III may be ready for the start of the 2013 season. The surgeon who operated on the rookie signal-caller, Dr. James Andrews, said it's "everyone's hope and belief" that Griffin will be ready for the 2013 campaign.
RGIII had surgery for what Andrews termed "a direct repair" of the lateral collateral ligament and "a redo of his previous ACL reconstruction."
University of Maryland head team physician Craig Bennett said football players typically need seven to 11 months to return from a second ACL reconstruction, but that it often takes up to a year for the ligament to be fully healed.
Andrews says he expects a full recovery because of Griffin's "high motivation."
Arians released from hospital
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The agent for Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians says that his client has been released from an Indianapolis hospital and that they are finalizing details to begin interviewing for head coaching jobs. Mike Brown, Arians' agent, denied there had been any change to Arians' schedule.
Arians, a 60-year-old prostate cancer survivor, has been complaining of dizziness and migraine headaches, conditions doctors believe is related to an inner-ear infection, the person told the AP.
The Colts have given at least three teams permission to speak with Arians: the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles.
Chargers name new GM
SAN DIEGO (AP) — The San Diego Chargers have hired Tom Telesco to replace fired general manager A.J. Smith. Telesco has been vice president of football operations for the Indianapolis Colts.
His first task with the Chargers will be to help select a new coach to replace the fired Norv Turner.
Panthers pick new general manager
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Carolina Panthers have hired New York Giants senior pro personnel analyst David Gettleman as their new general manager.
Gettleman replaces longtime Panthers GM Marty Hurney, who was fired six games into the season.
Carolina finished the season 7-9.
NHL okays new labor deal
NEW YORK (AP) — NHL owners have ratified the tentative labor deal. All that now remains is player approval to finally start the hockey season.
The league's board of governors met in a Manhattan hotel and voted on the agreement that was reached early Sunday on the 113th day of the NHL lockout.
Following the vote, Commissioner Gary Bettman apologized to everyone hurt by the 113-day lockout that preceded the agreement. He's presided over three lockouts in his nearly 20 years as commissioner.
Players are expected to vote Friday and Saturday.
Leafs fire GM
TORONTO (AP) — The Maple Leafs have fired general manager Brian Burke. A team spokesman says that longtime Burke assistant David Nonis will fill the job. Burke will stay as a senior adviser. Toronto has not made the playoffs since Burke was hired in 2008.
Wolverines lead the way
UNDATED (AP) — Second-ranked Michigan remains undefeated.
Glenn Robinson III had 14 points, including a pair of crucial dunks in the second half, as the Wolverines equaled their best start to a season with a 62-47 victory over Nebraska. The Wolverines, who are 16-0 and 3-0 in the Big Ten, overcame their shakiest shooting performance in a while, holding the lead for the entire second half. The only other Michigan team to start 16-0 was the 1985-86 edition which went on to win the Big Ten title.
—No. 3 Louisville got a big game out of Gorgui Dieng, 16 points and 14 rebounds, as the Cardinals got their ninth straight win with a 73-58 victory over Seton Hall. The Cards, who are 14-1, also got 14 points out of freshman Montrezl Harrell.
— Freshman Ben McLemore had a career-high 33 points, including a tying 3-pointer with a second left in regulation, and No. 6 Kansas rallied to beat Iowa State 97-89 in overtime.
— Seventh-ranked Syracuse got 23 points and 11 rebounds from C.J. Fair, and Michael Carter-Williams scored 17 with six assists in a 72-66 win over Providence.
— In a Big Ten battle, Joe Coleman scored 29 points and Andre Hollins added 19 to help No. 8 Minnesota top No. 12 Illinois 84-67. The Gophers are 15-1 overall and 3-0 in the conference. The loss dropped the Illini to 14-3 and 1-2. Brandon Paul led Illinois with 21 points.
— Mike Rosario scored 19 points, Erik Murphy added 11 and No. 11 Florida opened Southeastern Conference play with a 77-44 victory over Georgia.
— Rotnei Clarke scored 28 points and Andrew Smith had 24 points and 10 rebounds to lead No. 14 Butler to a 72-66 win over Saint Joseph's. Clarke made six 3-pointers to help the Bulldogs (13-2, 1-0 Atlantic 10) win their 10th straight game.
— No. 16 San Diego State racked up another win, beating Fresno State 65-62. San Diego State is now 13-2.
— No. 20 North Carolina State pulled away late to beat Georgia Tech 83-70, its ninth straight win. Lorenzo Brown had 21 points and 10 assists in the victory. Scott Wood added 20 points and C.J. Leslie had 19 in his 10th straight game in double figures for the 13-2 Wolfpack.
— Cleanthony Early scored 39 points to help No. 23 Wichita State beat Southern Illinois 82-76. Early's 39 points were the most for a Wichita State player since Xavier McDaniel had 44 in 1985. The win gives the Shockers a record of 15-1 and 4-0 in the Missouri Valley.
— No. 25 New Mexico beat No. 24 UNLV 65-60. Alex Kirk had 23 points and nine rebounds for New Mexico, which is 13-3. The game was the Mountain West opener for both teams.
Duke loses forward
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Duke says senior forward Ryan Kelly is out indefinitely with a right foot injury. Team officials said Wednesday night that there is no timetable for Kelly's return.
The 6-foot-11 Kelly was hurt late in the first half of the top-ranked Blue Devils' 68-40 win over Clemson on Tuesday night. Kelly averages 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds for 15-0 Duke, which plays No. 20 North Carolina State on Saturday.
Busy night of pro play
UNDATED (AP) — The NBA Western Conference champion Thunder racked up a 106-84 win over Minnesota. Kevin Durant led the way with 26 points while Russell Westbrook added 23.
After losing its last game on a buzzer-beater against a last-place Washington team saddled by injuries to its three top players, Oklahoma City left nothing to chance with the Timberwolves missing All-Star forward Kevin Love and four others.
Alexey Shved scored 18 points for Minnesota, which announced earlier in the day that Love would miss eight to 10 weeks after breaking his right hand for the second time.
—The Clippers are now 18-3 at home this season, after beating Dallas 99-93. The win ups the Clippers overall mark to 28-8.
— Memphis completed a 3-0 road trip with a 94-87 win over Golden State. Zach Randolph had 19 points and 12 rebounds in the win while Rudy Gay scored 18 points.
— Tony Parker scored 24 points and the San Antonio Spurs handed the slumping Los Angeles Lakers their fifth straight loss with a 108-105 victory. It was the Spurs' 11th straight win at home.
—Brandon Jennings scored 20 of his 35 points in the third quarter and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Chicago Bulls 104-96 for their second consecutive victory under interim coach Jim Boylan.
— New Orleans is riding a three-game winning streak as the Hornets got the better of Houston, 88-79. Roger Mason scored 15 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter to rally the Hornets to the win.
— Kenneth Faried had 19 points and 19 rebounds to help the Denver Nuggets rally for a 108-105 win over Orlando.
— Kyrie Irving scored 18 of his 33 points in the third quarter and the injury-riddled Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Atlanta Hawks 99-83.
— Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan each had 19 points, Jose Calderon added 14 points and 11 assists, and the Toronto Raptors beat Philadelphia 90-72, handing the slumping 76ers their fifth straight loss.
— Al Jefferson had 26 points and eight rebounds, and the Utah Jazz won for the fourth time in five games, beating Charlotte 112-102.
— Boston overcame a lousy third quarter to beat the Phoenix Suns, 87-79. Jeff Green scored 14 points, rookie Jared Sullinger added 12 points and a career-best 16 rebounds in the win.
In NBA news off the court:
— Carmelo Anthony has been suspended one game by the NBA for confronting Kevin Garnett after the New York Knicks' loss to Boston on Monday. Anthony, who was angry about Garnett's choice of words during a fourth-quarter altercation, went toward the Celtics' locker room after the game and later waited for Garnett outside Boston's team bus.
— Cleveland center Anderson Varejao (VER'-eh-zhow) will miss up to two months of playing time after surgery to repair a muscle that split near his right knee. The NBA's leading rebounder was injured Dec. 18 vs. Toronto.
— Washington guard John Wall says he'll be ready to make his season debut Saturday against the Atlanta Hawks if he can get through the next couple of days of practice pain-free. The former No. 1 overall draft pick out of Kentucky has been recovering from a stress injury to his left knee cap, diagnosed in September.
— People with knowledge of the situation said Wednesday that investor Chris Hansen has contacted the Maloof (mah-LOOF') family about buying the Sacramento Kings. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no deal has been reached.
Former Notre Dame star passes away
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Mirko Jurkovic, a former University of Notre Dame football standout who was part of the 1988 national championship team and later a consensus All-American offensive guard, died of cancer Wednesday evening in Indiana, according to the university's athletic department. He was 42.
Radwanska continues hot start, wins 8th in a row
SYDNEY (AP) — Top-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska has advanced to the Sydney International final, running her 2013 winning streak to eight matches with a 6-3, 6-4 win Thursday over former French Open champion Li Na.
Radwanska, who lost last year's Wimbledon final to Serena Williams, won the Auckland WTA tournament last week and goes into next week's Australian Open as the fourth-seeded player.
The Pole will take on Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in Friday's final. Cibulkova beat second-seeded Angelique Kerber of Germany 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 Thursday.
In men's matches, unseeded Kevin Anderson of South Africa beat Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-3 and will play France's Julien Benneteau in a semifinal on Friday. Benneteau beat American qualifier Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2.
British player Ross Hutchins diagnosed with cancer
LONDON (AP) — British tennis player Ross Hutchins has been diagnosed with cancer and says he hopes to return to the circuit before the end of the year after six months of chemotherapy.
The 27-year-old Hutchins has Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells.
Hutchins won titles in Eastbourne and Delray Beach in 2012 with doubles partner Colin Fleming and also reached two other finals. He says "I have been staying very positive, and looking forward to getting back on court."
Close friend Andy Murray dedicated his victory at the season-opening Brisbane International to Hutchins.
Hutchins says "it brought a tear to my eye. He has been very involved talking to me every day, with lots of encouragement."
Isner to miss Open
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — John Isner (IHZ'-nur) has withdrawn from the Australian Open because of a knee injury, leaving No. 22 Sam Querrey (KWEER'-ee) as the highest-ranked U.S. man at the season's first Grand Slam tournament.
Vonn feels 'excited' to be back on WCup circuit
ST. ANTON, Austria (AP) — Lindsey Vonn is "excited" to be back again on the World Cup circuit after a three-week layoff caused by an intestinal illness.
Vonn spoke briefly after her downhill training run Thursday, saying, "I'm really excited to be back, feeling good, feeling happy and strong."
The four-time overall World Cup champion left the circuit in mid-December for three weeks to fully recover from her illness. She missed six races.
Vonn says the break was "important for me because after being sick my legs just weren't strong anymore. At some point you have to listen to your body."
She plans to have another training run Friday before competing in the downhill and a super-G this weekend.
Report: Armstrong exploring "redemption"
UNDATED (AP) — Lance Armstrong recently met with the head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to explore a "pathway to redemption," according to a report Wednesday night on "60 Minutes Sports" dealing with the investigation that cost the cyclist his Tour de France titles. USADA (YOU'-sah-duh) CEO Travis Tygart, in an interview that aired during the show's premiere on Showtime, didn't discuss the meeting on camera and provided no details, including when it was held and where. The only mention, with no elaboration, came at the end of the segment.
The New York Times reported last week that Armstrong and Tygart had been meeting about a possible confession. Armstrong's attorney, Tim Herman, denied the meetings had taken place.
Meanwhile, Tour de France winner Andy Schleck says it's unlikely Armstrong will fully admit using performance-enhancing drugs in his interview with Oprah Winfrey.
The Luxembourg rider, in Australia for the Tour Down Under, said "I don't think (Armstrong) goes there to say he's innocent and that he didn't do anything. It's been many years. For him it's not easy — the media, the pressure."
The show will be broadcast Jan. 17 on OWN.