Sports Extra

NFL

Tagliabue overturns Goodell on Saints’ suspensions

NEW ORLEANS – In a sharp rebuke to his successor’s handling of the NFL’s bounty investigation, former Commissioner Paul Tagliabue overturned the suspensions of four current and former New Orleans Saints players in a case that has preoccupied the league for almost a year.

Tagliabue, who was appointed by Commissioner Roger Goodell to handle the appeals, still found that three of the players engaged in conduct detrimental to the league. He said they participated in a performance pool that rewarded key plays – including bone-jarring hits – that could merit fines. But he stressed the team’s coaches very much were involved.

College Football

No. 2 Crimson Tide rolls 4 AP All-Americans

NEW YORK – Alabama is No. 1 when it comes to All-Americans.

The second-ranked Crimson Tide placed four players on The Associated Press All-America team released Tuesday. Among them was center Barrett Jones, who became a two-time first-team selection.

No other team had more than two players selected to the first team. The Tide also led with six players chosen to all three teams.

Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Stanford and Florida were second with four players on the three teams, though linebacker Manti Te’o was the only Fighting Irish player to make the first team.

Alabama will face top-ranked Notre Dame in the BCS championship game Jan. 7.

Nine Southeastern Conference players made the first team, more than any other conference. The Pac-12 was second with six players on the first team. No other conference had more than two.

Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and Georgia linebacker Jarvis Jones also became two-time All-Americans.

The team was voted on by a panel of 16 AP college football poll voters.

NHL

Mediators, owners, players will meet on Day 88

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 11.

Day: 87.

Last Negotiations: Thursday, Dec. 6, in New York.

Next Negotiations: Today at an undisclosed location.

Games Lost: 527 (all games through Dec. 30, plus the New Year’s Day Winter Classic and All-Star weekend).

Back to the Table: It took a few days to set up the next round of negotiations, but the NHL and the players’ association will return to the bargaining table today in an undisclosed location.

These talks will include a pair of mediators, who are rejoining the process after an unsuccessful bid to help reach a settlement last month. The union has been more interested in having mediators present, while the league has been less enthusiastic about the idea.

This is the first time the sides will sit down since three days of talks last week ended with negotiations falling apart.

Auto Racing

Earnhardt Jr. says 2013 car will revolutionize NASCAR

CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR spent almost the entire year developing its 2013 car in hopes the “Gen 6” model dramatically will improve the racing.

After his first test drive Tuesday, NASCAR’s most popular driver approved of the car: “This sport is going to be revolutionized again with this car,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said.

That’s a ringing endorsement for NASCAR, which stumbled out of the gate with the launch of its 2007 car and never recovered. Drivers were mixed on the “Car of Tomorrow” during its development, and the messaging reflected the varying opinions.

NASCAR strived to give the manufacturers brand identity with the 2013 cars in an effort to make them resemble what the automakers actually are selling in the showrooms.

NASCAR has worked tirelessly this year on orders from chairman Brian France to develop a racier 2013 model, which officially will debut at the season-opening Daytona 500 in February.

Associated Press