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January 5, 2022
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January 6, 2022
AP Sports


Update on the latest sports


NFL teams could lose draft pick for interview violations
UNDATED (AP) – The NFL has issued a warning to teams that they could lose a draft pick and face significant fines if club representatives conduct themselves unprofessionally in interviews with draft prospects. In a memo obtained by the AP that was sent to clubs on Wednesday, the league said a team would forfeit a draft pick between the first and fourth round and be fined a minimum of $150,000 if it’s determined a club representative displayed conduct that is “disrespectful, inappropriate, or unprofessional” during an interview. Fines and/or suspensions of individual club employees also could be imposed, according to the memo.
The league also plans to eliminate the Wonderlic test for prospective players, and it is revising some of its scouting combine drills to better simulate game-related movement. Wide receivers and tight ends will run crossing routes instead of wheel routes, and running backs will run option routes instead of corner and post-corner routes. Some drills for offensive linemen and defensive players also were revised to better assess in-game player movements.
The league reminds teams annually ahead of the combine that federal and state laws as well as the collective bargaining agreement between the league and the NFL Players Association prohibits discrimination based on various factors, including race, color, disabilities, religion, sexual orientation, national origin and marital status, and questions on these subjects are off limits. This is the first time the NFL has threatened specific accountability measures if draft prospects are asked about any of these subjects.


In other NFL news:
– In a record-setting season for last-play wins, no team has sweated it out more than the Las Vegas Raiders. After game-winning field goals on the final play this week by Cincinnati’s Evan McPherson and Las Vegas’ Daniel Carlson, there have been 32 games decided by a winning score on the final play, the most in NFL history. Carlson has made field goals to win four of those games to help the Raiders become the NFL’s first team to win five games in a season with a score on the final play.


– Riddell has developed a football helmet that might not be just the next big step in design and player safety, but a major leap. While there has been a focus on position-specific headgear for some time, Axiom is a personal-fit helmet. It is designed and manufactured player by player rather than position by position. Axiom’s features are based on data and designed to improve impact response, reduce head impact exposure and deliver unprecedented protection. Axiom includes a new fitting system, a redesigned helmet shell platform, reimagined face-mask system and integrated smart helmet technology called InSite – which analyzes and reports on HIE compared to Riddell’s database of 8 million on-field player impacts. Axiom also features a removable visor.


Ross Browner, 2-time All-American at Notre Dame, dies at 67
UNDATED (AP) – Ross Browner, a two-time All-American at Notre Dame and longtime defensive lineman for the Cincinnati Bengals, has died. He was 67.
Browner’s son, former NFL offensive lineman Max Starks, posted on Twitter that his father had died. A native of Warren, Ohio, Browner was part of an accomplished football family. He was the oldest of six brothers, and three others, Jimmie Browner, Keith Browner and Joey Browner, also played in the NFL.
Browner was a four-year starter at Notre Dame, helping the Fighting Irish win national titles in 1973 and 1977.


Barty opens her 2022 season with win over Gauff
UNDATED (AP) – Top-ranked Ash Barty has started her 2022 season with a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 comeback win over 17-year-old American Coco Gauff in the second round of the Adelaide International. Barty dropped serve twice in the first set and was a break down in the second before recovering to win.
Second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka had an upset straight-set loss to No. 100-ranked Kaja Juvan in her first match of the season.
Barty and Sabalenka had byes in the first round at Adelaide, one of the main tune-up tournaments for the Australian Open which starts Jan. 17.


In other tennis news:
– Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) has received the medical exemption he needs but the 20-time major champion may still have some explaining to do. The exemption allows the top-ranked Djokovic entry to the tournament regardless of his vaccination status for COVID-19. It’s a subject he has declined to clarify amid months of speculation he could miss the season-opening major unless he can prove he’s had two doses of a coronavirus vaccine. Djokovic isn’t obligated to reveal his reasons for seeking a medical exemption.